Why secession ordinance

atlantis

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Nov 12, 2016
Why did states choose an ordinance of secession over a declaration of independence? A sub question why have a convention do it instead of the state legislature.
 

Andersonh1

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Location
South Carolina
Why did states choose an ordinance of secession over a declaration of independence? A sub question why have a convention do it instead of the state legislature.

They chose to meet in convention because that was the same way the Constitution was originally ratified, and a convention was seen as the direct voice of the people of the state, while the legislature was a creation of the state and did not have the power to alter the state's relation to the Union in the way that the people did. The southern States believed it was legally correct to express the will of the people to leave the Union in the same way they had joined it.

As for why an ordinance of secession rather than a declaration of independence, again I think it was a question of legality. Some of them at least saw secession as an entirely legal choice, while a declaration of independence implied they were involved in a revolution.
 

atlantis

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Nov 12, 2016
They chose to meet in convention because that was the same way the Constitution was originally ratified, and a convention was seen as the direct voice of the people of the state, while the legislature was a creation of the state and did not have the power to alter the state's relation to the Union in the way that the people did. The southern States believed it was legally correct to express the will of the people to leave the Union in the same way they had joined it.

As for why an ordinance of secession rather than a declaration of independence, again I think it was a question of legality. Some of them at least saw secession as an entirely legal choice, while a declaration of independence implied they were involved in a revolution.
Thanks for the reply. I don't know how I would have voted after a life time as a US citizen.
 

Lubliner

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Why did states choose an ordinance of secession over a declaration of independence? A sub question why have a convention do it instead of the state legislature.
It would be interesting to read how a Declaration of Independence would have been worded by a few southern statesmen.
Lubliner.
 

Andersonh1

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Jan 12, 2016
Location
South Carolina
These conventions went on for some time, so the date here is the date they voted to secede. I think Tennessee was the only state where the legislature acted rather than a convention.


South Carolina - in convention - December 20, 1861
Mississippi - in convention - January 9, 1861
Florida - in convention - January 10,1861
Alabama - in convention - January 11, 1861
Georgia - in convention - January 19, 1861
Louisiana - in convention - January 26, 1861
Texas - in convention - February 1, 1861 - held a popular referendum to confirm, passed February 23
Virginia - in convention - April 17, 1861 - popular referendum to confirm passed May 23
Arkansas - in convention - May 6, 1861
Tennessee - legislature declared independence - May 6, 1861 - referendum confirmed decision June 8
North Carolina - in convention - May 20, 1861
 

unionblue

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Location
Ocala, FL (as of December, 2015).
These conventions went on for some time, so the date here is the date they voted to secede. I think Tennessee was the only state where the legislature acted rather than a convention.


South Carolina - in convention - December 20, 1861
Mississippi - in convention - January 9, 1861
Florida - in convention - January 10,1861
Alabama - in convention - January 11, 1861
Georgia - in convention - January 19, 1861
Louisiana - in convention - January 26, 1861
Texas - in convention - February 1, 1861 - held a popular referendum to confirm, passed February 23
Virginia - in convention - April 17, 1861 - popular referendum to confirm passed May 23
Arkansas - in convention - May 6, 1861
Tennessee - legislature declared independence - May 6, 1861 - referendum confirmed decision June 8
North Carolina - in convention - May 20, 1861

So, as I see in your above post, 8 states were seceding by convention, while only 3 submitted to referendum.

So, you are of the opinion that the voice of the people was expressed through their delegates in those conventions?
 

Andersonh1

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Location
South Carolina
So, as I see in your above post, 8 states were seceding by convention, while only 3 submitted to referendum.

So, you are of the opinion that the voice of the people was expressed through their delegates in those conventions?

I am of the opinion that if that type of convention was sufficiently representative of the voice of the people to ratify the Constitution, it was sufficiently representative to take a state out of the Union, yes.
 

retexan599

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Jun 3, 2018
Location
Houston, TX
If I make a comparison to the original colonies' Declaration in 1776 -- that document represented the beliefs and intentions of all the states acting together (even after passionate debate). Given the propensity of the nascent Confederate states to map out their own courses (in the sense of 'States Rights'), it would likely have been near impossible for them to all agree on a common document like the original Declaration for secession. So they each created their individual "Declarations" in the form of convention documents.
 

lelliott19

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It would be interesting to read how a Declaration of Independence would have been worded by a few southern statesmen.
Lubliner.
Maybe something like this?
1593225267470.png
 

Philip Leigh

formerly Harvey Johnson
Joined
Oct 22, 2014
These conventions went on for some time, so the date here is the date they voted to secede. I think Tennessee was the only state where the legislature acted rather than a convention.


South Carolina - in convention - December 20, 1861
Mississippi - in convention - January 9, 1861
Florida - in convention - January 10,1861
Alabama - in convention - January 11, 1861
Georgia - in convention - January 19, 1861
Louisiana - in convention - January 26, 1861
Texas - in convention - February 1, 1861 - held a popular referendum to confirm, passed February 23
Virginia - in convention - April 17, 1861 - popular referendum to confirm passed May 23
Arkansas - in convention - May 6, 1861
Tennessee - legislature declared independence - May 6, 1861 - referendum confirmed decision June 8
North Carolina - in convention - May 20, 1861

So, as I see in your above post, 8 states were seceding by convention, while only 3 submitted to referendum.

So, you are of the opinion that the voice of the people was expressed through their delegates in those conventions?

How many of the Union-loyal states submitted referendums to their voters to authorize coercing seceded states back into the Union?
 
Last edited:

BuckeyeWarrior

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Jan 1, 2020
Location
Ohio
Maybe something like this?
View attachment 364072
Maybe something like this;

"A brief history of the rise, progress, and policy of anti-slavery and the political organization into whose hands the administration of the Federal Government has been committed will fully justify the pronounced verdict of the people of Georgia. The party of Lincoln, called the Republican party, under its present name and organization, is of recent origin. It is admitted to be an anti-slavery party. While it attracts to itself by its creed the scattered advocates of exploded political heresies, of condemned theories in political economy, the advocates of commercial restrictions, of protection, of special privileges, of waste and corruption in the administration of Government, anti-slavery is its mission and its purpose. By anti-slavery it is made a power in the state."
From Georgia's declaration of secession

Or maybe this;

"Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery-- the greatest material interest of the world. Its labor supplies the product which constitutes by far the largest and most important portions of commerce of the earth. These products are peculiar to the climate verging on the tropical regions, and by an imperious law of nature, none but the black race can bear exposure to the tropical sun. These products have become necessities of the world, and a blow at slavery is a blow at commerce and civilization. That blow has been long aimed at the institution, and was at the point of reaching its consummation. There was no choice left us but submission to the mandates of abolition, or a dissolution of the Union, whose principles had been subverted to work out our ruin."
Mississippi declaration of secession

Or if they worded it like the US DoI, maybe this;

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that the white race should be masters, and the black race should be slaves. That the white race has been endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights ...
 

lelliott19

Brigadier General
Moderator
Forum Host
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Maybe something like this;

"A brief history of the rise, progress, and policy of anti-slavery and the political organization into whose hands the administration of the Federal Government has been committed will fully justify the pronounced verdict of the people of Georgia. The party of Lincoln, called the Republican party, under its present name and organization, is of recent origin. It is admitted to be an anti-slavery party. While it attracts to itself by its creed the scattered advocates of exploded political heresies, of condemned theories in political economy, the advocates of commercial restrictions, of protection, of special privileges, of waste and corruption in the administration of Government, anti-slavery is its mission and its purpose. By anti-slavery it is made a power in the state."
From Georgia's declaration of secession

Or maybe this;

"Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery-- the greatest material interest of the world. Its labor supplies the product which constitutes by far the largest and most important portions of commerce of the earth. These products are peculiar to the climate verging on the tropical regions, and by an imperious law of nature, none but the black race can bear exposure to the tropical sun. These products have become necessities of the world, and a blow at slavery is a blow at commerce and civilization. That blow has been long aimed at the institution, and was at the point of reaching its consummation. There was no choice left us but submission to the mandates of abolition, or a dissolution of the Union, whose principles had been subverted to work out our ruin."
Mississippi declaration of secession

Or if they worded it like the US DoI, maybe this;

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that the white race should be masters, and the black race should be slaves. That the white race has been endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights ...
Any of those are possibilities, I suppose.
 
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