Why Argue About the Constitutionality of Secession?

unionblue

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Nope, they didn't.

They simply thought they could blast their way out of the Union without the need of presenting a "valid case" to the nation at large or in a court of law.

That's not a "valid case."

That's a criminal gang trying to shoot it's way out of a bank they just robbed.

They did present their case to the Supreme Court, and won big. That was the Dred Scott decision.

Dred Scott dealt with unilateral secession? Could you point that out in the records of the case?


Look at the reaction to that decision by the northern states and the Republican party, and it will tell you that a day in court simply was not going to solve the issue.

The issue was slavery, not unilateral secession, and in no way did it reflect about the constitutionality of secession.

And even then, the south did not "blast their way out of the Union" until backed into a corner.

Really? I seem to recall shots being fireed at one time or another. The Star of the West? Ft. Sumter?

They prepared for war, but they attempted to use diplomacy to obtain recognition.

I refer you to all the war-like acts prior to Lincoln even taking the oath of office.


It was Lincoln who refused to talk, not the Confederates.

It was the Confederates who shot first, demanded first, and who violated a free and fair constitutional election.

Who among them wanted just to "talk?"

Hence all this post-war chat about secession.

Unionblue
 

WJC

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They did present their case to the Supreme Court, and won big. That was the Dred Scott decision.
Although it's easy to make broad generalizations about Dred Scott v Sandford, we should avoid that temptation. The case, like many since, was a planned, deliberate attempt by anti-slavery elements to force a decision on the legality of slavery in the Territories. It had absolutely nothing to do with secession. The legality of secession was never directly addressed by the Supreme Court: it was only indirectly addressed post-war in Texas v White.
 

Andersonh1

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Although it's easy to make broad generalizations about Dred Scott v Sandford, we should avoid that temptation. The case, like many since, was a planned, deliberate attempt by anti-slavery elements to force a decision on the legality of slavery in the Territories. It had absolutely nothing to do with secession. The legality of secession was never directly addressed by the Supreme Court: it was only indirectly addressed post-war in Texas v White.

But Dred Scott was about slavery, and since so many of you believe that was the one and only defining issue for the South, their victory in the Dred Scott case should have settled the issue, and proven that the court was the way to go. But the court did not solve the issue of slavery in the territories, and it would not have solved the issue of secession either. Dred Scott showed how inadequate the court was to solve the big issues of the day. A ruling on secession would have been no different. The North had the numerical majority to do whatever they pleased, and that's exactly what they intended to do.
 
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unionblue

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The South fired on Fort Sumter because they saw their South Carolina as part of a new nation, separate from the United States and the Union troops stationed at the fort were looked at as invaders.

Whatever way they looked at it, they decided violence was the answer, not a "peaceful separation." Their choice, not the North's, not the United States, but their choice by trial-by-combat. The results of that choice resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths for no good reason other than the hope to retain chattel slavery. There is no constitutionality in that.

Thus the war termed slogan, "War of Northern Aggression".

No, that's a more recent, modern term, cooked up as a cover excuse in line with Lost Cause doctrine.

"The War of the Rebellion" was the official name given and the most correct.

Unionblue
 

John S. Carter

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Because both sections want to believe they are right. They support their own section usually depending on where they are from, whom their ancestors fought for, and deep family ties. Both sides buy the company line which supports the views of each side. If it had been spelled out perfectly clear there would be nothing to argue about, but you are correct, it will never end.
In some legal way to show that on a international political system that this was to be a new nation ,that no longer would these states be a legal section of the previous union,thus a movement for international recognition for this new nation there by establishing economic and diplomatic relations .A better question that I have not read of is ; Why the Confederacy not claim INDEPENDENCE before claiming national constitution as did the colonies?;Logic would seem that you claim and explain the reasons for such actions.It would be as a child leaving family without explaining reasons for doing so and the child only tells the parents he or she is leaving.(found something interesting in the CSA Constitution may be one can explain this /ARTICLE 1 SECTION 9 as to transfer of slaves).
 

wausaubob

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It wasn't a court case and people did not make their decisions regarding the Civil War based on the Constitution. Some people sought to create a new country and other people looked the history of France and Napoleon and decided that separation was a path toward endless war.
 
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Wars of conquest resolve nothing except in the short term. Might does not make right. The question of secession is a valid today as it was then. In theory it could come around again.
Leaving aside the fact that a society with a cornerstone of slavery is dedicated to the proposition that "might makes right." The question of secession doesn't exist anymore in this country. We're never had another secession movement. Because the real reason for disunion was destroyed in 1865.

The slave states didn't secede to exercise a theoretical right to secede. They had their unspeakable reasons.
 

Andersonh1

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We're never had another secession movement. Because the real reason for disunion was destroyed in 1865.

Because one half of the country showed it was willing to burn the other half to the ground to keep it from leaving. Don't leave that out of your equation.

And don't leave out that there were secession movements before the South left, all from New England. That none ever made it as far as the South's secession did does not make them any less real.
 
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But Dred Scott was about slavery, and since so many of you believe that was the one and only defining issue for the South, their victory in the Dred Scott case should have settled the issue, and proven that the court was the way to go.

What issue did Dred Scott address? Slavery in the territories. Not sure what you are getting at here in a discussion about secession.
 

thomas aagaard

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Wars of conquest resolve nothing except in the short term. Might does not make right. The question of secession is a valid today as it was then. In theory it could come around again.
If might didn't make right, the USA would not exist today... North american would be populated by what ever confederacy the "Indians" would have organized and Russia, Italy and Germany would not even exist as unified states.

Across human history disputes over borders and control of land have been solved by force way more often than by diplomatic means.

I don't see any state in western Europe starting a war over land they lost at some point during the last 500+ years.

A war in it self might not settle a issue... but 100+ years of peace after a war often do.



I agree that a state might one day want to leave the union, but unlike in 1860-61 they would most likely use the legal and peaceful means of going to congress and hammering out a bill that would solve the issue.
 

unionblue

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War for Southern Independence is the most accurate term.

Nope, as an entity that fought solely for the purpose of keeping nearly four million people in eternal bondage, independence had nothing to do with it.

War of the Rebellion was the official name for the conflict after the war. Can't help it, that was what they called it.
 

wausaubob

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People at that time looked at as an issue of war. Would there be one war to create an absolute winner and a return to representative democracy, or a series of escalating wars between two increasingly dangerous belligerents? Germany, Prussia and Austria got out from under Napoleonic rule and organically formed new kingdoms. The history of Europe suggests that recurring war solves nothing.
Most Americans think that the 1861 people made the right choice in creating a nation that was equal to the British and French empires, but was not surrounded by hostile powers as Germany was surrounded. But not everyone. Some people like the idea that the US and the Confederacy would have eventually fought it out with machine guns, and bombers and missiles.
 
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unionblue

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Wars of conquest resolve nothing except in the short term.

Correct, just as the Confederacy's efforts showed. Four, short, years of attempted violent rebellion resolved nothing in it's short term life.


Might does not make right.

Again, a lesson the Confederacy had to learn the hard way, the way the freely decided upon. Now the phrase should correctly read, "Right makes might" something the Confederacy never had.

The question of secession is a valid today as it was then.

Not unilateral secession, that boat has not only sailed, it was sunk at Appomattox. Now, if you want to discuss secession as a legal or constitutional means, I believe those with a valid cause have got a shot, but only with the consent of their fellow countrymen and states of the Union.

In theory it could come around again.

Yep.

Unionblue
 
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Because one half of the country showed it was willing to burn the other half to the ground to keep it from leaving. Don't leave that out of your equation.

And don't leave out that there were secession movements before the South left, all from New England. That none ever made it as far as the South's secession did does not make them any less real.
I think that the willingness to "burn the other half" meant they were willing to fight for the Union and the Constitution, sure. But with the end of slavery, there was no reason to fight for secession. I forget who said this, but the aftermath of the Civil War was win-win. The south got to maintain white supremacy, and the north got to maintain the Union. I could be misremembering this, but the point was the other reasons were secondary, and these were the core issues. I'm not one hundred per cent on who said this, or if I'm recalling it correctly.
 
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