Why Did Arkansas Secede?

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atlantis

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What information did Arkansas have as it relates to the seizure of federal property pre Sumter bombardment. Do we know Arkansans attitude about these seizures as they decided on the decision of secession?
 

jgoodguy

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What information did Arkansas have as it relates to the seizure of federal property pre Sumter bombardment. Do we know Arkansans attitude about these seizures as they decided on the decision of secession?
Seizure of the Federal Arsenal at Little Rock
They joined in well before the Arkansas secession conventions.

Secessionist forces began calling for the seizure of the Federal Arsenal in Little Rock. When rumors were circulated that the Federal Government intended to reinforce the troops at the Little Rock Arsenal, the leading citizens of Helena sent Governor Henry Massey Rector a telegram volunteering 500 men to assist in its seizure. Edmund Burgevin, adjutant general of the Arkansas State Militia, carried the message to the Governor. Burgevin complained of the impropriety of a direct offer of volunteers to the governor of a State which had not seceded, and might not secede. Governor Rector's response was:​
The governor has no authority to summon you to take possession of a Federal post, whether threatened to be reinforced or not. Should the people assemble in their defense, the governor will interpose his official position in their behalf.[7]
In response to the Governor's message, militia companies began assembling in Little Rock by February 5, 1861, and they made their intention to seize the Arsenal known to its commander, Captain Totten. Eventually more than a thousand militiamen would assemble, representing Phillips, Jefferson, Prairie, White, Saline, Hot Spring, Montgomery, Monroe, and St Francis counties. Although generally opposed to secession, the Little Rock City Council feared that a battle might ensue within the city itself and passed an ordinance requesting the Governor assume control of the assembling volunteer forces and to seize the Arsenal "to prevent the effusion of blood".[8]
Governor Rector, now armed with the city council's request, took control of the military situation. With militia forces now surrounding the arsenal grounds, Governor Rector dispatched General Thomas D. Merrick, commander of the First Division, Arkansas Militia, with a formal demand for the Arsenal's surrender.[9] Captain James Totten, Arsenal commander, agreed to evacuate the Arsenal in return for safe passage out of the state. Governor Rector agreed and the Militia took control of the Arsenal on February 8, 1861.[10] Later, artillery batteries were set up at Helena on the Mississippi River and Pine Bluff on the Arkansas to prevent reinforcement of Federal military posts.[11]
 
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Potomac Pride

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The Lower South Left. The Upper South didn’t leave until the call up of Troops by Lincoln. South viewed the Union as a Compact. Coercion wasn’t used to admit States in the Union initially. It was not a Forced Union. So for the Upper South, Lincoln using coercion to force States to remain in the Union, broke the Compact.

The South wasn’t the only States that thought of the Union being a Compact. The Federalists did. It was not Universally Recognized that the Union was perpetual. The War decided that it was perpetual. State Constitutions were Changed, post War. Too much credibility is given to the Internet Lawyers. Arkansas clearly States the Union is a Compact. Arkansas clearly reverses it’s decision of joining the Union. Read the Article of Secession, they use the same process to revoke their membership as they did to originally join it.
This post is very interesting because it really presents one of the factors that led to the war. There was a difference in opinion between the sections of the country about the nature of the Union. The South believed the Constitution was a compact and the Union was voluntary in nature. Therefore, the Union should not be held together by force since it was voluntary to begin with. Since states voluntarily joined the Union, they could also leave it if they felt there was a federal abuse of power. Unfortunately, the North did not share this same attitude in regards to the Union. They believed that no state could voluntarily withdraw form the Union.
 
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jgoodguy

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This post is very interesting because it really presents one of the factors that led to the war. There was a difference in opinion between the sections of the country about the nature of the Union. The South believed the Constitution was a compact and the Union was voluntary in nature. Therefore, the Union should not be held together by force since it was voluntary to begin with. Since states voluntarily jointed the Union, they could also leave it if they felt there was a federal abuse of power.
Interesting, but what abuse of federal power are we speaking of and most of the States that seceded, seceded before Lincoln took office. Is the secession of 1860-61 consistent with Calhoun's Compact theory? Do you have documentation on what the South believed? Compact theory was absent in the Constitutional Convention and the South abandoned a Compact Theory government to join the Constitutional republic knowing they were not in a compact. Finally, all the secessionists joined in a not compact theory government with no explicit way out.
 

uaskme

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Were the Arkansas secessionists stating clearly accepted fact or their own biased opinion, intended to justify their actions? Criminals can often provide seemingly logical rationale for their illegal acts.
What difference does it make? It was their reason. They thought it to be legal. The Compact theory is older than the 1830s and Calhoun. Southern States repeatedly talked about the Compact Theory. A War decided the difference.

What we know for sure, Arkansas's Ordinance of Secession has no mention of Slavery. Guess it was so important, they forgot to list it?

Oh, but now, we know the truth. Yep after the PC Police will accept no other reason for secession than Slavery. What relevance is there in what we know now? Does it not matter, what they knew and thought then?
 
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jgoodguy

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What we know for sure, Arkansas's Ordinance of Secession has no mention of Slavery. Guess it was so important, they forgot to list it?
That is a single data point with many others suggesting otherwise. I have a whole 522 page journal to review.
 

jgoodguy

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From this CWT post by @Eric Calistri

Looking to the Journal of the Arkansas Secession Convention pages 51-54, I believe you will find the resolutions referred to in bold in #307:​
1. People of the northern states have organized a political party, purely sectional in its character, the central and controlling idea of which is, hostility to the institution of African slavery, as it exists in the southern states, and that party has elected a President and Vice President of the United States, pledged to administer the government upon principles inconsistent with the rights, and subversive of the interests of the people of the southern states.​
2. They have denied to the people of the southern states the right to an equal participation in the benefits of the common territories of the Union, by refusing them the same protection to their slave property therein that is afforded to other property, and by declaring that no more slave states shall be admitted into the Union.​
3. They have declared that Congress possesses, under the constitution, and ought to exercise, the power to abolish slavery in the territories, in the District of Columbia, and in the forts, arsenals and dock yards of the United States, within the limits of the slaveholding states.​
4. They have, in disregard of their constitutional obligations, obstructed the faithful execution ol’ the fugitive slave laws by enactments of their state legislatures.​
5. They have denied the citizens of southern states the right of transit through non-slaveholding states with their slaves, and the right to hold them while temporarily sojourning therein.​
6. They have degraded American citizens by placing them upon an equality with negroes at the ballot-box.​
To redress the grievances hereinbefore complained of, and as a means of restoring harmony and fraternal good will between the people of all the states, the following amendments to the constitution of the United States are proposed:​
1. The President and Vice President of the United States shall each be chosen alternately from a slaveholding and no slaveholding state—but, in no case, shall both be chosen from slaveholding or non-slaveholding states,​
2. In all the territory of the United States now held, or which may hereafter be acquired, situate north of latitude 36 deg. 30 min., slavery or involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime is prohibited while such territory shall remain under territorial government. In all the territory now held, or which may hereafter be acquired, south of said line of latitude, slavery of the African race is hereby recognized as existing, and shall not be interfered with by Congress, but shall be protected as property by all the departments of the territorial government, during its continuance. And when any territory, .north or south of said line, within such boundaries as Congress may prescribe, shall contain the population requisite for a member of Congress, according to the then federal ratio of representation of the people of the United States, it shall, if its form of government be republican, be admitted into the Union on an equal footing with the original states, with or without slavery, as the constitution of such new state may provide.​
3. Congress shall have no power to legislate upon the subject of slavery, except to protect the citizen in his right of property in slaves.
4. That in addition to the provisions of third paragraph of the second section of the fourth article of the constitution of the United States, Congress shall have power to provide, by law, and it shall be its duty so to provide, that the United States shall pay to the owner, who shall apply for it, the full value of his fugitive slave, in all cases, when the marshal, or other officer, whose duty it was to arrest said fugitive, was prevented from so doing by violence; or when, after arrest, said fugitive was rescued by force, and the owner thereby prevented and obstructed in the pursuit of his remedy for the recovery of his fugitive slave under the said clause of the constitution and the laws made in pursuance thereof. And in all such cases, when the United States shall pay for such fugitive, they shall have the right, in their own name, to sue the county in which said violence, intimidation or rescue was committed, and to recover from it, with interest and damages, the amount paid by them for said fugitive slave. And the said county, after it has paid said amount to the United States, may, for its indemnity, sue and recover from the wrongdoers or rescuers, by whom the owner was prevented from the recovery of his fugitive slave, in like manner as the owner himself might have sued and recovered.​
5. The third paragraph, of the second section of the fourth article of the constitution, shall not be construed to prevent any of the states from having concurrent jurisdiction with the United States, by appropriate legislation, and through the action of their judicial and ministerial officers, from enforcing the delivery of fugitives from labor to the person to whom such service or labor is due.​
6. Citizens of slaveholding states when traveling through, or temporarily sojourning with their slaves in non-slaveholding states, shall be protected in their right of property in such slaves.
7. The elective franchise, and the right to hold office, whether federal, state, territorial or municipal, shall not be exercised by persons of the African race, in whole or in part.​
8. These amendments, and the third paragraph of the second section of the first article of the constitution, and the third paragraph of the second section of the fourth article thereof, shall not be amended or abolished, without the consent of all the states.​
That the sense of the people of the United States may be taken upon the amendments above proposed:​
1. Resolved by the people of Arkansas in Convention assembled, That we recommend the calling of a convention of the states of the Federal Union, at the earliest practicable day, in accordance with the provisions of the fifth article of the constitution of the United States.​
2. Resolved further, That a committee of three delegates of this convention be appointed, whose duty it shall be to lay before the President and Congress of the United States, and before the governors and legislatures of the several states, a copy of these proceedings.​
3. Resolved further, That looking to the call of a national convention, as recommended in the first resolution above, this convention elect five delegates to represent the State of Arkansas in such convention.​
4. Resolved further, That a committee of five delegates of this convention be appointed to prepare an address to the people of the United States, urging upon them the importance of a united effort on the part of the patriotic citizens of all section and parties to save the country from the dangers which impend it, and which threaten its destruction—and especially to arrest the reckless and fanatical spirit of sectionalism north and south, which, if not arrested, will inevitably involve us in a bloody civil war.​
________________________________________


I've used bolding to help highlight the causes, and you are correct not every one is slavery. Denying the vote and ability to hold office to "the African Race", as specified here by Arkansas, would also effect free blacks throughout all the United States.​
 

Potomac Pride

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Interesting, but what abuse of federal power are we speaking of and most of the States that seceded, seceded before Lincoln took office. Is the secession of 1860-61 consistent with Calhoun's Compact theory? Do you have documentation on what the South believed? Compact theory was absent in the Constitutional Convention and the South abandoned a Compact Theory government to join the Constitutional republic knowing they were not in a compact. Finally, all the secessionists joined in a not compact theory government with no explicit way out.
The Compact Theory states that the Constitution was a voluntary agreement among the states to create a federal government that is delegated certain powers as their agent. The states still retain their sovereignty and can withdraw from the compact if the federal government abuses the power that is delegated to it.
 
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Greywolf

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Were the Arkansas secessionists stating clearly accepted fact or their own biased opinion, intended to justify their actions? Criminals can often provide seemingly logical rationale for their illegal acts.
You well know there were people all over the US who believed in the compact between the states. Not just secessionists. I guess with150 years of nationalist chest thumping many have forgotten the first 75.
 

jgoodguy

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The Compact Theory states that the Constitution was a voluntary agreement among the states to create a federal government that is delegated certain powers as their agent. The states still retain their sovereignty and can withdraw from the compact if the federal government abuses the power that is delegated to it.
Interesting, but you have no abuses to report nor some description of how a Compact Theory is to be implemented. It sounds to me that the Southern secession is of the form, we are the judge, jury, and executor of our complaint.

P455 of the secession journal is this.

The one great evil, from which all other evils have flowed,​
is the overthrow of the Constitution of the United States. The​
government of the United States is no longer the government​
of Confederated Republics, but of a consolidated democracy.​
It is no longer a free government, but a despotism.​
Love to see some examples of the despotism, but last government of Confederate Republics of the US was the AOC. In any case, this proves the secessionists knew they were rebelling from a consolidated government and not some compact.
 

leftyhunter

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Here is the Ordinance of Secession. No mention of Slavery in it.

http://www.civilwarwiki.net/wiki/Arkansas_Ordinance_of_Secession
Except Arkansas Ordinance of Secession uses euphemisms. How is the Republican Party a" Sectional Party"? Why should it matter of it is? How exactly is Lincoln coercing any state to stay in the Union? Why do states that contain more then a twenty five percent enslaved population want to secede. Also @jgoodguy has shown that in other Ordinances the Arkansas State Legislature did mention slavery.
Leftyhunter
 
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leftyhunter

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WHY DID ARKANSAS SECEDE?
We become very explicit in this paragraph about motives.
In reference to the deep south, Governor Rector wrote, “Have they in the light of heaven been sinned against, or are they sinning against others? Their offence, like our own, in the eyes of the northern people, is slavery. This institution, co-existent with the remotest periods of civilization, and sanctioned by divine authority, is declared by the president elect to ‘be in the course of ultimate extinction.’ He has declared, and that truly, that the United States government ‘cannot exist half slave and half free. An irrepressible conflict, says he, is going on between freedom and slavery. That institution is now upon its trial before you, and if we mean to defend and transmit it to our children, let us terminate this northern crusade, by forming a separate government, in which no conflict can ensue. But if, upon the other hand, we are prepared to admit the argument, that slavery is a sin–that the melioration of the white and the black races requires us to abolish it, we shall keep in the true line of policy marked out by the incoming President, by remaining in the Union.” [Ibid., pp. 43-44]​
@uaskme ,
You might want to read the above post. Arkansas's Ordinances of Secession were all about slavery.
Leftyhunter
 

jgoodguy

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You well know there were people all over the US who believed in the compact between the states. Not just secessionists. I guess with150 years of nationalist chest thumping many have forgotten the first 75.
Lots of folks believe in ghosts too in the antebellum period. Do we have to take them into account?
 
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WJC

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The Compact Theory states that the Constitution was a voluntary agreement among the states to create a federal government that is delegated certain powers as their agent.
As our Constitution clearly states, it is an agreement of "WE THE PEOPLE of the United States". Unlike the Articles of Confederation, which were "a voluntary agreement among the states".
 

WJC

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What difference does it make? It was their reason. They thought it to be legal.
Thanks for your response.
It may truly have been their reason (I believe they were sincere) but it could as easily have been rationalizing. Hence my question, "Were the Arkansas secessionists stating clearly accepted fact or their own biased opinion, intended to justify their actions?"
We have ample evidence that in some states, secession was agreed upon only after aggressive action had already been taken, making secession a fait accompli.
 
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Potomac Pride

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@uaskme ,
You might want to read the above post. Arkansas's Ordinances of Secession were all about slavery.
Leftyhunter
The post that you refer to contains comments made at the initial meeting of the Arkansas Secession Convention in March 1861. At this meeting, the issue of slavery was a topic of discussion by the delegates in attendance. However, the delegates voted by a majority not to withdraw from the Union at that time and the Secession Convention adjourned. Subsequently, Lincoln's Call for Troops in April caused the Secession Convention to reconvene later that same month. The delegates had originally agreed that any attempt to coerce the southern states back into the Union would justify a decision to secede. Subsequently, the Convention voted overwhelmingly to secede from the Union in early May 1861 in response to the call for troops. The Ordinance of Secession approved by the Convention specifically refers to their opposition to the proposed federal coercion as a result of Lincoln's call for troops.
 
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