There Is No “Right of Secession” Guaranteed by the Constitution

May 22, 2007 at 11:28 am | Posted in America, American politics, Civil War | 171 Comments

Back in March, I wrote a post about the American Civil War. I titled it The American Civil War, Fought Over Slavery, Begun by South Carolina. This has garnered many views and plenty of comments. One point that seems to be made quite frequently by those who support and defend the South is that somehow the Constitution of the United States allows a right of secession, to secede from the Union at will. Most take the Tenth Amendment as their justification. The Tenth Amendment is:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

On the face of it, it would seem to, if you stretch logic, justify a state choosing to leave the Union, but that is not the case. The annotations at Findlaw, for example give no indications that it was so.

More importantly, beyond the Tenth Amendment, the Founding Fathers were attempting to create a “perpetual,” “more perfect union,” and not just some voluntary contract between states. Mackubin Thomas Owens writes for the Claremont Institute:

That the American Republic was both federal and national was the dominant view among statesmen of the antebellum period. For instance, in his reply to Calhoun on Feb. 16, 1833, Daniel Webster observed that the state conventions, including that of South Carolina, did not accede to a league or association when they approved the Constitution, but ratified and confirmed that Constitution as a form of government.

Andrew Jackson made the same point in his “Proclamation to the People of South Carolina” during the nullification crisis. The Constitution, said Jackson, derives its whole authority from the people, not the States. The States “retained all the power they did not grant. But each State, having expressly parted with so many powers as to constitute, jointly with the other States, a single nation, can not, from that period, possess any right to secede, because such secession does not break a league, but destroys the unity of a nation.” And Madison, who presumably knew something about the constitutional theory of the American Founding, was horrified by the idea that the coordinate sovereignty retained by the States, as stated in the Tenth Amendment, implied the power of nullification, interposition, or secession.

Lincoln argued that the Union created the States, not the other way around and that the States had no other legal status than that which held in the Union. Harry V. Jaffa has demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt that the Revolutionary generation universally understood the separation of 13 colonies from Great Britain and the union among them to have been accomplished simultaneously. Colonial resolutions called for both independence and union. According to Jefferson and Madison in 1825, the Declaration of Independence constituted an “act of Union of the States.”

The Articles of Confederation (a document that begins and ends with the assertion that the Union is perpetual) was an unsuccessful attempt to govern the Union created by the Declaration of Independence. It failed because the central government lacked the necessary power to carry out its obligations. The Constitution was intended to rectify the problems of the Articles — to create “a more perfect Union.” As George Washington wrote in his letter transmitting the Constitution to Congress, “In all our deliberations we kept steadily in our view that which appears to us the greatest interest of every true American, the consolidation of our Union, in which is involved our prosperity, felicity, perhaps our national existence.”

In my previous post on the Civil War, I quoted both Andrew Jackson and George Washington, who understood the importance of the Union over the priorities of the individual states, and I recommend their words in the strongest terms. I shall quote them here again:

From George Washington’s Farewell Address:

The unity of government which constitutes you one people is also now dear to you. It is justly so, for it is a main pillar in the edifice of your real independence, the support of your tranquility at home, your peace abroad; of your safety; of your prosperity; of that very liberty which you so highly prize. But as it is easy to foresee that, from different causes and from different quarters, much pains will be taken, many artifices employed to weaken in your minds the conviction of this truth; as this is the point in your political fortress against which the batteries of internal and external enemies will be most constantly and actively (though often covertly and insidiously) directed, it is of infinite moment that you should properly estimate the immense value of your national union to your collective and individual happiness; that you should cherish a cordial, habitual, and immovable attachment to it; accustoming yourselves to think and speak of it as of the palladium of your political safety and prosperity; watching for its preservation with jealous anxiety; discountenancing whatever may suggest even a suspicion that it can in any event be abandoned; and indignantly frowning upon the first dawning of every attempt to alienate any portion of our country from the rest, or to enfeeble the sacred ties which now link together the various parts…

The name of American, which belongs to you in your national capacity, must always exalt the just pride of patriotism more than any appellation derived from local discriminations…

But these considerations, however powerfully they address themselves to your sensibility, are greatly outweighed by those which apply more immediately to your interest. Here every portion of our country finds the most commanding motives for carefully guarding and preserving the union of the whole.

With such powerful and obvious motives to union, affecting all parts of our country, while experience shall not have demonstrated its impracticability, there will always be reason to distrust the patriotism of those who in any quarter may endeavor to weaken its bands.

In contemplating the causes which may disturb our Union, it occurs as matter of serious concern that any ground should have been furnished for characterizing parties by geographical discriminations, Northern and Southern, Atlantic and Western; whence designing men may endeavor to excite a belief that there is a real difference of local interests and views. One of the expedients of party to acquire influence within particular districts is to misrepresent the opinions and aims of other districts. You cannot shield yourselves too much against the jealousies and heartburnings which spring from these misrepresentations; they tend to render alien to each other those who ought to be bound together by fraternal affection.

To the efficacy and permanency of your Union, a government for the whole is indispensable. No alliance, however strict, between the parts can be an adequate substitute; they must inevitably experience the infractions and interruptions which all alliances in all times have experienced. Sensible of this momentous truth, you have improved upon your first essay, by the adoption of a constitution of government better calculated than your former for an intimate union, and for the efficacious management of your common concerns. This government, the offspring of our own choice, uninfluenced and unawed, adopted upon full investigation and mature deliberation, completely free in its principles, in the distribution of its powers, uniting security with energy, and containing within itself a provision for its own amendment, has a just claim to your confidence and your support. Respect for its authority, compliance with its laws, acquiescence in its measures, are duties enjoined by the fundamental maxims of true liberty. The basis of our political systems is the right of the people to make and to alter their constitutions of government. But the Constitution which at any time exists, till changed by an explicit and authentic act of the whole people, is sacredly obligatory upon all. The very idea of the power and the right of the people to establish government presupposes the duty of every individual to obey the established government.

Andrew Jackson’s Proclamation Regarding Nullification:

The ordinance is founded, not on the indefeasible right of resisting acts which are plainly unconstitutional, and too oppressive to be endured, but on the strange position that any one State may not only declare an act of Congress void, but prohibit its execution- that they may do this consistently with the Constitution-that the true construction of that instrument permits a State to retain its place in the Union, and yet be bound by no other of its laws than those it may choose to consider as constitutional. It is true they add, that to justify this abrogation of a law, it must be palpably contrary to the Constitution, but it is evident, that to give the right of resisting laws of that description, coupled with the uncontrolled right to decide what laws deserve that character, is to give the power of resisting all laws. For, as by the theory, there is no appeal, the reasons alleged by the State, good or bad, must prevail. If it should be said that public opinion is a sufficient check against the abuse of this power, it may be asked why it is not deemed a sufficient guard against the passage of an unconstitutional act by Congress. There is, however, a restraint in this last case, which makes the assumed power of a State more indefensible, and which does not exist in the other. There are two appeals from an unconstitutional act passed by Congress-one to the judiciary, the other to the people and the States. There is no appeal from the State decision in theory; and the practical illustration shows that the courts are closed against an application to review it, both judges and jurors being sworn to decide in its favor. But reasoning on this subject is superfluous, when our social compact in express terms declares, that the laws of the United States, its Constitution, and treaties made under it, are the supreme law of the land; and for greater caution adds, “that the judges in every State shall be bound thereby, anything in the Constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding.” And it may be asserted, without fear of refutation, that no federative government could exist without a similar provision. Look, for a moment, to the consequence. If South Carolina considers the revenue laws unconstitutional, and has a right to prevent their execution in the port of Charleston, there would be a clear constitutional objection to their collection in every other port, and no revenue could be collected anywhere; for all imposts must be equal. It is no answer to repeat that an unconstitutional law is no law, so long as the question of its legality is to be decided by the State itself, for every law operating injuriously upon any local interest will be perhaps thought, and certainly represented, as unconstitutional, and, as has been shown, there is no appeal.

If this doctrine had been established at an earlier day, the Union would have been dissolved in its infancy. The excise law in Pennsylvania, the embargo and non-intercourse law in the Eastern States, the carriage tax in Virginia, were all deemed unconstitutional, and were more unequal in their operation than any of the laws now complained of; but, fortunately, none of those States discovered that they had the right now claimed by South Carolina. The war into which we were forced, to support the dignity of the nation and the rights of our citizens, might have ended in defeat and disgrace instead of victory and honor, if the States, who supposed it a ruinous and unconstitutional measure, had thought they possessed the right of nullifying the act by which it was declared, and denying supplies for its prosecution. Hardly and unequally as those measures bore upon several members of the Union, to the legislatures of none did this efficient and peaceable remedy, as it is called, suggest itself. The discovery of this important feature in our Constitution was reserved to the present day. To the statesmen of South Carolina belongs the invention, and upon the citizens of that State will, unfortunately, fall the evils of reducing it to practice.

If the doctrine of a State veto upon the laws of the Union carries with it internal evidence of its impracticable absurdity, our constitutional history will also afford abundant proof that it would have been repudiated with indignation had it been proposed to form a feature in our Government…

I consider, then, the power to annul a law of the United States, assumed by one State, incompatible with the existence of the Union, contradicted expressly by the letter of the Constitution, unauthorized by its spirit, inconsistent with every principle on which It was founded, and destructive of the great object for which it was formed.

These words are of great importance, because the South’s actions were really unconstitutional and a detriment to the nation of America. If allowed to gain legitimacy, they would have destroyed the Constitution and the Union so carefully brought together by the Founding Fathers.

Finally, I offer a final arbiter on what is Constitutional, the Supreme Court of the United States. In Texas v White, the Supreme Court was faced with actually having to interpret the Constitution on whether or not the state of Texas was Constitutionally allowed to secede. As a commentator on a related post on Stubborn Facts writes:

I’m really surprised you haven’t gotten to Texas v. White yet, though. The question of secession has actually come before SCOTUS. While many may (and do!) disagree vehemently with that decision, it does, nonetheless, stand. Barring a new ruling from the court, there is no Constitutional right of secession.

Here is the relevant section of the case Texas v White:

Did Texas, in consecuence of these acts, cease to be a State? Or, if not, did the State cease to be a member of the Union?

It is needless to discuss, at length, the question whether the right of a State to withdraw from the Union for any cause, regarded by herself as sufficient, is consistent with the Constitution of the United States.

The Union of the States never was a purely artificial and [74 U.S. 700, 725] arbitrary relation. It began among the Colonies, and grew out of common origin, mutual sympathies, kindred principles, similar interests, and geographical relations. It was confirmed and strengthened by the necessities of war, and received definite form, and character, and sanction from the Articles of Confederation. By these the Union was solemnly declared to ‘be perpetual.‘ And when these Articles were found to be inadequate to the exigencies of the country, the Constitution was ordained ‘to form a more perfect Union.’ It is difficult to convey the idea of indissoluble unity more clearly than by these words. What can be indissoluble if a perpetual Union, made more perfect, is not?

But the perpetuity and indissolubility of the Union, by no means implies the loss of distinct and individual existence, or of the right of self-government by the States. Under the Articles of Confederation each State retained its sovereignty, freedom, and independence, and every power, jurisdiction, and right not expressly delegated to the United States. Under the Constitution, though the powers of the States were much restricted, still, all powers not delegated to the United States, nor prohibited to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people. And we have already had occasion to remark at this term, that the people of each State compose a State, having its own government, and endowed with all the functions essential to separate and independent existence,’ and that ‘without the States in union, there could be no such political body as the United States.’ 12 Not only, therefore, can there be no loss of separate and independent autonomy to the States, through their union under the Constitution, but it may be not unreasonably said that the preservation of the States, and the maintenance of their governments, are as much within the design and care of the Constitution as the preservation of the Union and the maintenance of the National government. The Constitution, in all its provisions, looks to an indestructible Union, composed of indestructible States. [74 U.S. 700, 726] When, therefore, Texas became one of the United States, she entered into an indissoluble relation. All the obligations of perpetual union, and all the guaranties of republican government in the Union, attached at once to the State. The act which consummated her admission into the Union was something more than a compact; it was the incorporation of a new member into the political body. And it was final. The union between Texas and the other States was as complete, as perpetual, and as indissoluble as the union between the original States. There was no place for reconsideration, or revocation, except through revolution, or through consent of the States.

Considered therefore as transactions under the Constitution, the ordinance of secession, adopted by the convention and ratified by a majority of the citizens of Texas, and all the acts of her legislature intended to give effect to that ordinance, were absolutely null. They were utterly without operation in law. The obligations of the State, as a member of the Union, and of every citizen of the State, as a citizen of the United States, remained perfect and unimpaired. It certainly follows that the State did not cease to be a State, nor her citizens to be citizens of the Union. If this were otherwise, the State must have become foreign, and her citizens foreigners. The war must have ceased to be a war for the suppression of rebellion, and must have become a war for conquest and subjugation.

Our conclusion therefore is, that Texas continued to be a State, and a State of the Union, notwithstanding the transactions to which we have referred. And this conclusion, in our judgment, is not in conflict with any act or declaration of any department of the National government, but entirely in accordance with the whole series of such acts and declarations since the first outbreak of the rebellion.

The South never really understood the Union, never really understood what The United States of America meant. It took a Civil War, the suppression of a rebellion, and even then, even today actually, many still do not understand, or we wouldn’t be talking about it.

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171 Comments

  1. The entire problem with the argument that the Union creates the states is that it implies that states only have rights at the pleasure of the Union, rights to be rescinded or redefined at will. It changes an inalienable right to a granted privilege fully subject to the whims of the current Congress and President. It is a truly dangerous thing to erode the rights of individual states for the sake of more power in the federal government. None of The Founders ever intended for such a thing to happen, yet we’ve witnessed an incredible amount of state power redistributed from the states to the feds without the common consent that formed our nation.

    While the Constitution does not provide any kind of explicit or implicit right of succession, one must wonder what recourse a state could find should even the Supreme Court do something un-Constitutional. What then? It would seem that to grin and bear it is not acceptable because it only encourages the notion that such abuses will be tolerated. At some point, states need to have recourse when the Legislative, the Executive and the Judiciary all fail to foment a Constitutional solution. Provided that a state’s desires are both legal and moral, what choice do they have left but to break ties when the contract between it and the Union has been violated and no other recourse can be obtained?

    (All that said, the South got what it had coming my Alabama heritage notwithstanding. You can’t take the avenue of last resort when your desires are neither legal or moral.)

  2. Jesse,

    The “inalienable right” did not belong to the States, but to the people.

    None of The Founders ever intended for such a thing to happen

    What about George Washington, who in his farewell address, strongly emphasized the importance and priority of the Union as a whole over the State?

    While the Constitution does not provide any kind of explicit or implicit right of succession, one must wonder what recourse a state could find should even the Supreme Court do something un-Constitutional. What then?

    I think Andrew Jackson best answered that when he said that each state and individuals as a whole have options, the most important of which is the vote. Basically such drastic action as secession becomes unnecessary and rather juvenile, showing that some just don’t have the patience to see things out. The Constitution of the United States makes it very hard for any one person or one state, or even the Federal government as a whole to become so overly tyrannical as to not have some way to overcome that tyranny. Take today’s situation with Bush clearly undermining the Constitution, breaking laws left and right, etc. In his current position, as the executor of the law, it would seem nigh impossible to get him to suffer the consequences of his actions. Well, we’re okay. He will be out of office fairly soon, and then the punishments can come if the American people deem it. The Constitution really is a marvelous document.

    Provided that a state’s desires are both legal and moral, what choice do they have left but to break ties when the contract between it and the Union has been violated and no other recourse can be obtained?

    There are plenty of options, number one being to not do something as stupid as secede from the Union just because you don’t like the way it is heading. The way of the wise is through patience and long-suffering. Jesus Christ taught us this. In the end, it WILL work out for the right.

  3. What about George Washington, who in his farewell address…?

    Since when is a farewell address binding on the rest of the nation?

    And just to restate the argument from the other side of the aisle, from those who find :

    The Right of Secession, which states that “the original intent of an unquestioned right of secession was established by the Founders, took root and “flourished for forty years,” then later a “perpetual Union” counter-argument developed out of political necessity when Northern states began realizing their wealth and power was dependent on the Union and its exploitation of the South.”

    To disallow secession, in my opinion, results in a level of coercion that the scriptures proclaim as “unrighteous dominion”.

  4. I think one of the most interesting questions in this regard is:

    If Texas retains the right to break up into 5 different states (as provided in it’s annexation agreement with the U.S.), as long as 1 of those states stays in the Union, would the other 4 be allowed to form their own country? Is annexation about the land or is it about governance?

  5. Any particular reason why my post is in moderation (should have been number 3)?

  6. Mark,

    I’m sorry, I don’t know why your post went to Akismet. Please, anytime your post doesn’t appear, write another quick comment and I will check to make sure it doesn’t get trapped with the hundreds of spam comments I get. I empty that thing out pretty frequently at like 100 comments, so I really don’t want to go through and check. But if it gets stuck please let me know.

  7. Mark,

    The source you link to does not even reference the Supreme Court decision, Texas v White. I would figure that even Southerners would respect the Supreme Court as the final arbiter of the interpretation of what the Constitution means. I do wonder why he ignores it completely in a discussion about the Constitution and secession. I mean his very first line is not accurate. He writes:

    There is no evidence that secession was illegal or prohibited by the Constitution, and in fact there is almost overwhelming evidence to the contrary, that secession was a legal, constitutionally sanctioned act.

    As I’ve shown that is not the case. There IS evidence that secession was illegal and prohibited by the Constitution. The Supreme Court stated so.

  8. The Revolutionary War was a secession from Great Britain. What makes that one right while the attempted secession by the South was wrong?

    You don’t think that the Supreme Court, being a branch of the centralized Federal government was actually going to make a ruling that would help slice the Federal government’s own throat, do you? No conflict of interest there, huh?

    Even Abe Lincoln was in favor of secession when it suited his purposes.

    What about divorce? Should a woman (or man) who finds that their marriage has become an intolerable situation be forced to remain together despite what one or both of them may want? “Hey, you guys signed an ‘until-death-do-us-part’ contract way back when, and by golly, we’re going to see to it that you fulfill it, come heck or high water!’

    Before 1861, the right to secede was rarely disputed.

    “… governments derive their just power from the consent of the governed”. A free people is always free to withdraw their consent at any time. A people not allowed to do so is not a free people, but are unwilling slaves of those who will not allow it. You can’t be against slavery and against the right of secession at the same time.

    As I stated before, this is just one of those things on which we’re going to disagree.

  9. one thing I have come to learn about the constitution is that there are many grey areas : that can easily apply to both sides of any argument ..

  10. The argument against secession denies that the general government derives its just powers from the consent of the governed. This is outrageous as well as counter intuitive.

    The Constitution is a Federal document constructed and adopted by the States.

    The Constitution created the Federal government.

    The states created & adopted the Constitution.

    Any other theory is inconsistent with the historical facts.

    Furthermore, the Constitution does not “give rights,” any rights. Rights are “natural” and come from the Creator.

    The Federal government, prior to The War to Prevent Southern Independence, derived the just powers by the consent of the states, the agents of the people.

    The Lincolnonian revolution of 1861-1865 changed what we call the United States from a Union to a Nation. (It has since that time, morphed into an Empire with a military presence in 70% of the world’s countries, but that is an altogether different subject.)

    The General government now derives its right by force of arms, not consent.

    Lincoln is the father of the NATION like Washington is the father of the REPUBLIC. These concepts are not interchangeable.

    The Republic and the Constitution were done away with long ago. We now need an army of Jaffas to construct arguments to prop up the legitimacy of a renegade government.

    It’s a shame that someone as intelligent as you would fall for the biggest lie in the National mythology.

  11. Mark,

    You don’t think that the Supreme Court, being a branch of the centralized Federal government was actually going to make a ruling that would help slice the Federal government’s own throat, do you? No conflict of interest there, huh?

    The Constitution has checks and balances against the tyranny of the Courts. States can alter the Constitution as they will, provided they have enough states to do so. If you really feel that the South was wronged, then go for it, alter the Constitution to allow for secession. Otherwise, the Supreme Court decision in Texas v White stands as the last word on whether or not secession is allowed by the Constitution.

    Before 1861, the right to secede was rarely disputed.

    Mark, I have quoted Andrew Jackson, a Southerner, on several occasions. Why do you not acknowledge his words? He lived before 1861 and he stood against South Carolina attempting to subvert Federal law. I would think his words were pretty clear.

  12. Paul,

    Thank you for your comments. I respectfully disagree, of course.

    The Lincolnonian revolution of 1861-1865 changed what we call the United States from a Union to a Nation.

    The South’s actions were rebellious and unconstitutional. Texas v White made that quite clear. But, don’t worry, we’re not in the tyranny of the courts, if the States really felt that the Constitution should allow for secession, the States have a mechanism wherein they can alter the Constitution to allow for secession. It is called Amending the Constitution. Feel free to convince enough states to agree with you. At this point, from a Constitutional perspective, there is no right of secession.

  13. I really am curious why proponents of secession totally avoid talking about Texas v White. You can’t ignore what the Supreme Court states, guys. If you really want to discuss secession, then you have to rebut their decision, or convince Americans to go against that court decision and alter the Constitution to allow for secessions.

  14. Exactly Trudy. On NPR a while back, I heard the following quote, “The Founding Fathers are a little like scripture, you can use it to whatever end you wish.” I was struck by the veracity of this wuote.

    As far as the slavery thing goes…. I’ve studied the issue for most of my life, and I’m content to say that it was a very complicated issue with many answers as to the cause, one that I know I can’t fully comprehend because I wasn’t born in the South. I still study and learn, but complicated issues very rarely have simple answers. Oh, sure I agree with the fact that slavery was the underlying issue, but to say simply that slavery caused it even with all of your research, is to negate the complexity of the issue thereby cheapening the event a little in my opinion. Some things just can’t be classified in black/white boxes or with titles like good/evil, bad-good. That’s what makes them so fascinating to study.

  15. Texas vs. White was an 1868 ruling that was clearly an attempt by the victors to write the history books.

    If secession isn’t a human right, then the colonies had no right to rebel against Great Britain.

    You can quote Andrew Jackson; I’ll quote Abraham Lincoln in 1847 on the floor of the United States House of Representatives:

    “Any people, anywhere, being inclined and having the power, have the right to rise up and shake off the existing government, and form a new one that suits them better. This is a most valuable, a most sacred right, a right which we hope and believe is to liberate the world.”

    During reconstruction, the Northern occupational armies were removed from Arkansas, North Carolina, Florida, South Carolina, Mississippi, and Virginia only after those former Confederate States had incorporated in their constitutions a clause surrendering the right to secede.

    How can they surrender a right that they didn’t already possess? By requiring changes to those states’ constitutions stating that they specifically had to surrender their right to secede, the US Government admitted that they did indeed have the right.

    Three states — Virginia, Rhode Island and New York — conditionally ratified the Constitution under the condition that they retained the rights to secede from the Union. The other states consented to those three states’ conditional ratification, thereby signalling their acceptance of the right of secession.

    Jefferson Davis wanted to be tried for treason, because it gave him the opportunity to defend the right of secession. The Federal government eventually dismissed the case, ostensibly because they felt they couldn’t win it.

    The Constitution was no “until death do us part” document. George Washington described the process of states joining the Union one by one by stating that it was an act of accession. If a state can accede to the Union, it can always secede from it as well.

  16. Mark,

    If secession isn’t a human right, then the colonies had no right to rebel against Great Britain.

    Secession is not a right. You really do have to fight for it. If it was a right, then Britain would have no reason to try and stop the Colonies from breaking away. Britain could also have really expended far more energy and resources to keeping the Colonies within the British Empire. They CHOSE to not pursue their actions against the Rebellious Colonies any further, because they felt it was not in the best interest for their empire. They had every right, however, within the British rule to continue putting down the rebellion. However, upon choosing to let the Colonies go, they forfeited all rights and powers over the Colonies, and the Colonies thusly became free to govern themselves.

    How can they surrender a right that they didn’t already possess? By requiring changes to those states’ constitutions stating that they specifically had to surrender their right to secede, the US Government admitted that they did indeed have the right.

    You do make a good point with this line of questioning, however, as a rebuttal—and granted this is without studying the situation any further than what I know—they probably did this so as to ensure the South understood that there was no legal right of secession.

  17. Secession is not a right. You really do have to fight for it.

    Then I guess blacks never really had a right to vote in the United States until they fought for it and won it.

    Which is, of course, preposterous, if we accept the idea that rights are inalienable, granted by God.

    If anything is a God-given right, it is the right to not be coerced in matters of association.

    After having read the entire Texas vs. White decision, the opinion of the dissenting justice, Mr. Grier, makes much more sense to me than the majority opinion:

    “The original jurisdiction of this court can be invoked only by one of the United States. The Territories have no such right conferred on them by the Constitution, nor have the Indian tribes who are under the protection of the military authorities of the government.

    “Is Texas one of these United States? Or was she such at the time this bill was filed, or since?

    “This is to be decided as a political fact, not as a legal fiction. This court is bound to know and notice the public history of the nation.

    “If I regard the truth of history for the last eight years, I cannot discover the State of Texas as one of these United States…

    “The ordinance of secession was adopted by the convention on the 18th of February, 1861; submitted to a vote of the people, and ratified by an overwhelming majority. I admit that this was a very ill-advised measure. Still it was the sovereign act of a sovereign State, and the verdict on the trial of this question, ‘by battle,’ as to her right to secede, has been against her. But that verdict did not settle any question not involved in the case.”

    The following comes from “The Constitutional Right of Secession” by James Spence:

    —–

    A federal republic is a partnership of republics. It has been argued that, admitting this to be the case, still, when once formed, it could not be dissolved by one without the consent of the others. But a very common form of partnership, in this and other countries, is partnership at will; from this any one party may retire without consulting the rest. And it seems to have escaped observation, how much wider are the powers of a sovereign State than those of a private individual. To a partnership of States the words of Madison apply: “When resort can be had to no common superior, the parties to the compact must themselves be the rightful judges, whether the bargain has been pursued or violated.”

    “It has, indeed, been contended that the principles of a partnership at will could not apply, because this was to last for ever. On the point of duration the Constitution is silent, except in what is merely the expression of a desire, in the preamble, “to secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.” On this subject there is no enactment or injunction. But on turning to the previous Articles of Confederation, we find in the title the words “perpetual union,” and in the body, the express injunction — “And the union shall be perpetual.” On this point they clearly possessed greater force than that of the Constitution; yet, notwithstanding this, they were terminated at the end of a few years, and that, too, with liberty to any State to leave the Federation altogether. The Union has, therefore, proved, by its own act, that terms of this nature have no force of law, but simply indicate the intention and the desire of the parties at the time. We find, too, that the Federal Government entered into a close alliance with France, the terms of which strongly enjoined that it should last for ever; yet these terms were held to be no obstacle to annulling it, without the consent of the other party.

    On turning to the Constitution, it causes surprise to find that no prohibition of secession exists in it. Those who framed it were men well versed in public affairs, surrounded by angry passions, employed in the very act of breaking up a Constitution, if, indeed, it may not be said, of seceding from one of the States, for Rhode Island continued to adhere to it. They provided for a State dividing into two or more — for several uniting into one — for the admission of States yet to come into existence. Why, then, this remarkable omission? A contingency far more probable than these was that of a State becoming dissatisfied, and desiring to separate. Was such an omission the result of negligence, of inability to foresee so probable an event, or was it the result of design?

    It has been contended that it would have been improper to forbid a State to withdraw — that it would have been “futile and undignified” to have added to a law, “And be it further enacted that the said law shall not be violated.” But this is just what all law has to do; and that which does it not, is not law. Who had the powers of a lawgiver over independent, sovereign States, entering into a compact of their own free will? And where is the law, either to be violated or obeyed? There is a provision for a State separating into pieces, and this appears quite as undignified as to provide against a State, whole and intact, separating from the rest. There is provision against the treason of individuals; and if a State can also commit treason, it would be strange law that provided against crime on a small scale, omitting to deal with it when on a large one. The men who framed the Constitution were eminently practical men. It cannot be supposed that they would slight so formidable a danger. Why, then, the omission? For the soundest and wisest reasons, which we have on record from their own lips.

    In the first place, had there been inserted in the Constitution a compulsory clause of this nature, it would have been impossible to obtain the ratification of the States. Very difficult, at the present day, would it be to obtain the assent to such a clause even of the Northern States. Theoretically nothing would be easier, but when it came to the point, it would hardly be possible to prevail upon Massachusetts, even at this day, to abandon, for ever, her often-asserted independence and sovereignty, and accept, in reality and truth, that position in which she is said now to exist — that of the province of a wider power. And if there would now be such practical difficulty, with the State whose present professions are those most favourable to the step, how great would have been the obstacles when all the States were to be included, many hostile to, and jealous of, the rest, and when the task was regarded, and proved to be, all but impossible, without this further and strong element of repugnance?

    In the next place, the framers of the Constitution perceived, that should they forbid the retirement of a State, they must provide means to prevent it; otherwise it would be an idle precept, a mere solicitation to remain. Other questions might be referred to the Supreme Court, but a retiring State withdrew from its jurisdiction. Other forms of delinquency could be visited on individuals, but here was the action of a whole community. Goodwill must have died out before it could occur; argument would be vain; there could be no appeal except to force. But no force was to be created, adequate to an undertaking of this nature. The first act under the Constitution for regulating the military establishment, provided for a standing force of only 1,216 rank and file. True, in case of need this might be increased; but a cardinal principle with the people was to distrust standing armies; a subject on which their feeling was jealous in the extreme. It was impracticable to run counter to this, even so far as to provide the framework of an army equal to such an object. The only possible force would be that of the remaining States, to be employed in coercing those that desired to secede. On such a proposition the views of the two chief framers of the Constitution are on record. In the Convention, on the 31st May, 1787, Madison declared that “the use of force against a State would be more like a declaration of war, than an infliction of punishment, and would probably be considered by the party attacked, as a dissolution of all previous compacts; a union of States containing such an ingredient seemed to provide for its own destruction.” Again, on the 8th June, he observed: “Any government formed on the supposed practicability of using force against the unconstitutional proceedings of the States, would prove as visionary and fallacious as the government of Congress.”

    Hamilton, in that great authority the Federalist, after showing the futility of employing force against a State, concludes thus:

    When the sword is once drawn the passions of men observe no bounds of moderation. The suggestions of wounded pride, the instigations of resentment, would be apt to carry the States against which the arms of the Union were exerted, to any extreme to avenge the affront, or to avoid the disgrace of submission. The first war of this kind would probably terminate in a dissolution of the Union.

    In one of the debates in the New York State Convention, Hamilton made use of these words: “To coerce a State would be one of the maddest projects ever devised. No State would ever suffer itself to be used as the instrument of coercing another.” His far-seeing description in the Federalist is but too applicable to the events of the present day; and remarkable it is that he, the master spirit of the Unionists, should have denounced as “madness” that coercion which is adopted by his followers at the present day.

    But there was a consideration of still higher import. The Constitution was a voluntary act, framed on the principles of free, mutual assent, and common belief in its advantages. To introduce force as a means of maintaining it, would be repugnant to these principles. It would be a commencement on the voluntary system, to be continued under compulsion. Force is an attribute of monarchy; the throne represents and wields the strength of the nation. Each part is subservient to the whole, and none can revolt without foreknowledge of this force to encounter and overthrow. But the basis of a Federal Republic is the reverse of all this. It stands upon consent, which is the abnegation of force. In place of submission of part to the whole, the parties are co-equal. Compulsion is not only inapplicable, but opposed to the principle of the system. And the men of that day were too logical to be unaware of this; they declined to incorporate with the structure they were rearing a principle directly antagonistic to it.

    —–

    I can’t disagree with any of that.

  18. Mark,

    Then I guess blacks never really had a right to vote in the United States until they fought for it and won it.

    I’m sorry, but I don’t see a connection between civil rights within a state/nation and secession.

    Which is, of course, preposterous, if we accept the idea that rights are inalienable, granted by God.

    Individual rights are a completely different beast than state rights. Before the United States existed there never was any concern about certain sections within a nation-state having inalienable rights to have power above the larger umbrella institution. I’m sorry but this is a very weak argument to make.

    If anything is a God-given right, it is the right to not be coerced in matters of association.

    Mark, this is quite inaccurate, especially given our own Articles of Faith which basically states that we believe in being compelled under the laws of the nation-state wherein we reside. In regards to associations of state, our rights, under God, are restricted.

    In regards to Mr. Spence, I’m not going to attempt to rebut his whole argument. Let me just point out a few problems with his argument:

    On turning to the Constitution, it causes surprise to find that no prohibition of secession exists in it

    Um, neither does the Constitution expressly allows it either, so this point is moot.

  19. While many may parse the Constitution trying to read a right of secession into it, it’s simply not there. To shed some light on SCOTUS’s ruling in WHITE that forming “a more perfect union” was carried on from (and incorporated) the concept of “Perpetual Union” in the Articles of Confederation, one need only go back to the Articles themselves, the full title thereof, and the content of Article 1. The Union was from inception meant to be “perpetual,” which reduces secession to one of two things–a succesful rebellion or a MUTUAL disassociation. Secession is a “right” of a state under the Constitution ONLY by succesful force of arms or mutual agreement, not by any unilateral action on the part of a state.

    “If Texas retains the right to break up into 5 different states (as provided in it’s annexation agreement with the U.S.), as long as 1 of those states stays in the Union, would the other 4 be allowed to form their own country? Is annexation about the land or is it about governance?”

    Texas does not retain (nor ever really possessed) the effective right of splitting up into extra states entirely on its own accord. The 1845 Annexation Resolution of the U.S. Congress that brought Texas into the Union required the consent of Congress for forming new states out of the existing Texas territory, and was predicated on the Missouri Compromise of 1820–which became moot with the Civil War. In any case Texas ceded the territory affected to the Union shortly thereafter in exchange for payment of the state’s external debts, and it now forms parts of six different states. But the Resolution was unequivocal in that any territory affected would remain part of the United States, the only questions addressed were those of slave versus free.

    IOW, it’s an interesting theoretical nit-picking debatable possibility, but an impossible practical one. And at all times it required the consent of the US Congress, and could not be done unilaterally by Texas acting on its own accord.

  20. In regards to Mr. Spence, I’m not going to attempt to rebut his whole argument. Let me just point out a few problems with his argument:

    “On turning to the Constitution, it causes surprise to find that no prohibition of secession exists in it”

    Um, neither does the Constitution expressly allows it either, so this point is moot.

    Well, the whole point of Mr. Spence’s writing was to point out exactly why no prohibition exists in it, and that it was clear that no state, in joining the union, gave up its sovereignty, and that any such prohibition being added to the Constitution would have guaranteed that no state would have acceded to the Union. So the point is not moot.

    Basically, for me, it all comes down to our own Declaration of Independence and the statements made therein by the founding fathers having universal application to all people everywhere: that when people are unhappy with their government, they have every right to change it as they see fit: “That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

    Of course, if we truly believed that our founding fathers were correct in these statements, our current government wouldn’t go messing in the affairs of other nations with the aim of doing their nation-building for them, but would recognize that to attempt to install our own vision as to what comprises “good government” all over the globe is sheer folly. If a people are unhappy with how their government is organized, then only that people themselves are capable of creating an improved replacement that will meet the approval of that people.

    However ill-advised the secession of the South from the Union was, it seems entirely possible to me that allowing them to go their own way to stand or fall on their own was the principled way to handle it, and they may very well have come back to the Union on their own some years later after weighing the costs and benefits of going it on their own, which decision may have spared some 600,000 lives.

    To this day, our own Federal Government continues to wage war on the various states by witholding Federal funding as a form of control over the states whenever any of them decides to enact laws that the Federal Government doesn’t agree with. Either we trust people to direct their own lives and make their own laws and determine their own actions, or we don’t. Liberty, or slavery. Lincoln, in “saving” the Union, made slaves of us all. The chains may be light, but they are there nonetheless.

  21. Daniel,

    You said that it was unconstitutional for the South to succeed from the union.

    You a flat out wrong. You need to read the “Draft of the Kentucky Resolutions” ( Written by President Jefferson, October, 1798). The Drafts explian how the states hove the power to review federal laws and actions and deem them unconstitutional if need be. This role of the states has deminished since 1803 when the Supreme court finally discovered that they too had the power of “review”.

    To take this argument a step further, I say to you that since these states left the union constitutionally and had their own government, that the South was a Nation state.

  22. “Um, neither does the Constitution expressly allows it either, so this point is moot.”

    That is a good point Mark. Just as a side note, in the Federalist papers, Alexander Hamilton points out that the constitution discribes the LIMITING FACTORS of government. He continues by explaining that there are far to many unforseen things in the future, and that everything that is ommitted by the Constitution is to be considered a right, unless proven unconstitutional. As Mark pointed out, it is not UNconstitutional, so according to Hamilton, it is a right.

  23. Mark,

    that when people are unhappy with their government, they have every right to change it as they see fit

    There are methods within the Constitution for this to happen without the need of secession. This is something Southerners never understood.

    If a people are unhappy with how their government is organized, then only that people themselves are capable of creating an improved replacement that will meet the approval of that people.

    Again, this is something allowed under the Constitution. The Amendments to the Constitution, all 27 of them to this point are just such attempts to improve upon the Constitution. Some of the amendments were not improvements (such as the 17th Amendments) while others drastically improved the lives of Americans, such as allowing women to vote, etc.

    Again, I don’t see as yet any real good justification for secession.

    However ill-advised the secession of the South from the Union was, it seems entirely possible to me that allowing them to go their own way to stand or fall on their own was the principled way to handle it, and they may very well have come back to the Union on their own some years later after weighing the costs and benefits of going it on their own, which decision may have spared some 600,000 lives.

    This is an excellent point, however it is Monday quarterbacking. We’ll never know if the South would have ever come back into the Union.

    Either we trust people to direct their own lives and make their own laws and determine their own actions, or we don’t.

    This argues that a people are better represented by a state than by the Federal government. I don’t agree. It also makes the assumption that the state looks out for the rights of individuals, to “direct their own lives” and so on. Frankly, I trust the state as little as I trust the Federal. I don’t see why you give them the benefit of the doubt that they really are looking out for what is best for the individual. Certainly the South was not looking out for the best interest of the individuals residing in their states. Shall I post again what the state of Mississippi said in their official declaration of secession about the black man, and how only the black man can stand working in the tropical sun? Certainly I do not trust the state of Mississippi to know what is best for the individuals of that state, frankly.

    Liberty, or slavery. Lincoln, in “saving” the Union, made slaves of us all. The chains may be light, but they are there nonetheless.

    Mark, there never was such a thing as “freedom from a state,” never in the history of the world, except where there never existed a “state.” Few are those times, and rarely were they stable.

  24. hospitaller,

    You said that it was unconstitutional for the South to succeed from the union.

    You a flat out wrong.

    Eh, if the reasons for your argument actually were relevant, then I’d say you might have a good point to argue, but alas, you don’t.

  25. Just as a side note, in the Federalist papers, Alexander Hamilton points out that the constitution discribes the LIMITING FACTORS of government. He continues by explaining that there are far to many unforseen things in the future, and that everything that is ommitted by the Constitution is to be considered a right, unless proven unconstitutional.

    Can you please share with us the relevant passage from the Federalist Papers?

  26. Again, I don’t see as yet any real good justification for secession.

    Should I breathlessly await an article denouncing the Revolutionary War? 😉

  27. heh, hardly. However, it really wasn’t a “revolution.” It was a secession. 😉

  28. Good, finally we agree!

  29. Oh I never disagreed that the “Revolutionary War” was in fact a secession. I just disagreed that the Constitution allowed secessions. Groups/nations/states that secede can only have legitimacy for their secession if the party they broke away from either give it legitimacy, or the party that seceded wins a conflict against that original group/nation/state.

  30. Groups/nations/states that secede can only have legitimacy for their secession if the party they broke away from either give it legitimacy

    That argument has been made on the part of the South as well.

  31. Daniel,

    I would be happy to post the article, but it no longer pretains to this argument, seeing that I found the section that specifically says “no state may enter a confederacy.”

  32. hospitaller,

    Please share the relevant passage from the Federalist Papers. 🙂

  33. Daniel,

    Here you go 😉

    “But it is evident that all conjectures of this kind must be extremely vague and fallible: and that it is by far the safest course to lay them altogether aside, and to confine our attention wholly to the nature and extent of the powers as they are delineated in the Constitution. Every thing beyond this must be left to the prudence and firmness of the people; who, as they will hold the scales in their own hands, it is to be hoped, will always take care to preserve the constitutional equilibrium between the general and the State governments.”

    THE FEDERALIST PAPERS : No. 31
    -Tuesday, January 1, 1788.
    ALEXANDER HAMILTON

  34. Thank you.

    Hmmmm, “everything beyond this must be left to the prudence and firmness of the people.” NOT the State, or the Federal, but THE PEOPLE. So, just what justification is there in this text for a State to secede?

  35. The Southern PEOPLE wished to secede from the union.

  36. Too bad for them it wasn’t allowed by the Constitution.

  37. It didn’t need to be allowed. It wasn’t disallowed.

    But since we all know that neither of us is going to give in on this, I’m now declaring a moritorium, on my part, from this topic.

  38. That sounds like a good idea.

  39. US constitution Article IV, section three, states,

    “New states may be admitted by the Congress into this union; but no new states shall be formed or erected within the jurisdiction of any other state; nor any state be formed by the junction of two or more states, or parts of states, WITHOUT THE CONSENT OF THE LEGISLATURES OF THE STATES CONCERNED…”

  40. So, in other words, no new states can be formed without the consent of the legislatures and the people, but states can withdraw at will without that same consent of the Union? Why should new states get the consent of the Union before entering, but old states can leave at will without that same consent?

  41. At the risk of breaking my self-imposed moritorium:

    Hey, it’s not my fault the framers of the Constitution didn’t put in a “buyer’s remorse” clause with a 3-day limit! 🙂

  42. heh, too funny.

  43. To write into the Constitiution that states had the right to secede, would be the Union signing it’s own death warrent. 😉

  44. ah, now I believe you are finally starting to see why secession isn’t really allowed by the Constitution…

  45. But as Mark pointed out, it is not disallowed either.

  46. I don’t claim to be a constitutional expert, but if secession were illegal, how come west virginia was allowed to secede from Virginia?

  47. al,

    Can you please share with us the details of that situation

  48. The Wikipedia has something on it at History of West Virginia.

    To show that you learn something every day, the section titled “Hidden Resources” refers to the game of Monopoly’s “B & O Railroad” (or, at least I assume it’s the same one). Now I know what “B & O” stands for. 🙂

    At any rate, it shows that the people of Virginia assumed a right to secede because it was taken up in the legislature as something to be settled by a vote of the legislators. But what I found the most interesting thing in the article was that West Virginia’s portion of Virginia’s pre-war debt wasn’t paid off until 1939. I mean, that’s a mere 16 years before I was born. I tend to think of the Civil War as being a “19th century thing”, but there were aspects of it that stretched out into the 20th century. I guess I shouldn’t find that surprising, since I have learned that there are some telecommuncation charges that still show up on people’s phone bills that were supposedly instituted as a means to pay off the costs of the Spanish-American war.

  49. 3 Percent Fee On Cell Phones Started 107 Years Ago talks about the Spanish-American war cell phone charge I mentioned above.

  50. Daniel, one of my posts is in moderation (about the Spanish-American War tax we’re still paying for), and there’s a good chance this one will end up in it, too, but it’s just too good to pass up:


    The Breakway Republic Of Vermont?

    The lead-in to the article:

    “At Riverwalk Records, the all-vinyl record store just down the street from the state Capitol, the black “US Out of Vt.!” T-shirts are among the hottest sellers.

    “But to some people in Vermont, the idea is bigger than a $20 novelty. They want Vermont to secede from the United States — peacefully, of course.”

  51. Mark,

    Thanks for sharing those. Sorry I haven’t replied to this point. I’ve been rather busy these past few days.

    So West Virginia broke away from Virginia to become its own state. What was the general reaction from the other states of the Union?

  52. I don’t know what the general reaction was (I wasn’t there! ;-)) but in attempting to find the answer to that one, I found this statement in the Wikipedia regarding Vermont (emphasis is mine):

    “West Virginia broke away from Virginia during the American Civil War and was admitted to the Union as a separate state on June 20, 1863 (an anniversary now celebrated as West Virginia Day in the state). It is the only state formed as a direct result of the American Civil War. It is one of only two states to form by seceding from a pre-existing state, the other being Vermont.

    The article on West Virginia contains this humorous note:

    “The Census Bureau considers West Virginia part of the South because much of the state is below the Mason-Dixon Line, despite its northern panhandle extending into Pennsylvania and Ohio as far north on parallel to Staten Island, New York. Many citizens of West Virginia claim they are part of Appalachia, rather than the Mid-Atlantic or the South, while the state’s Northern Panhandle, and North-Central region feel an affinity for Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Also, those in the Eastern Panhandle feel a connection with the Washington, D.C. suburbs in Maryland and Virginia, and southern West Virginians often consider themselves Southerners. Finally, the towns and farms along the mid-Ohio River have an appearance and culture somewhat resembling the Midwest[citation needed]. For these reasons, West Virginia can be noted as the southernmost Northeastern state, the northernmost Southeastern state, the easternmost Midwestern state as well as the westernmost Eastern state.

    As for the secession of Vermont (see, they’ve done it once already, so why not do it again?), here’s what it says about that:

    “Originally inhabited by Native American tribes (Abenaki, Algonquian, and Iroquois), the territory that is now Vermont was claimed by France but became a British possession after France’s defeat in the French and Indian War. For many years, control of the area was disputed by the surrounding colonies, notably between New Hampshire and New York. Settlers who held land titles granted by these colonies were opposed by the Green Mountain Boys militia, which eventually prevailed in creating an independent state. Vermont became the 14th state [in 1791] to join the United States, following a 14-year period during and after the Revolutionary War as the independent Republic of Vermont. Vermont is one of only five U.S. states or parts of states to have once been an independent nation, the other four being California, Hawaii, Texas, and the Florida Parishes of Louisiana.”

    I dun larned sumpin’ new again today.

    Since it is “the leading producer of maple syrup in the United States”, were it to secede, there’s a potential for massive disruption of breakfasts around the world should they decide to jack up the price of maple syrup to increse the revenue to the state. They’d probably have to enter into some kind of trade agreement with the International House of Pancakes. I smell a nasty war a-brewin’.

    We should probably find out which state is the leading producer of pancake mix while we’re at it. 🙂

  53. Daniel,

    I am currently studying this issue for my thesis, and I have to say that I strongly disagree with you on a number of fronts.

    However, I’ll limit myself to White v. Texas. The Supreme Court is a creation of the states. It cannot therefore be the final judge of when the document has been violated sufficiently to warrant action by the parties of the Constitution, the States (this speech of the states being “parties” of the Constitution is used by Madison, et al.)

    Who do you think said the following?

    “It appears to your committee to be a plain principle, founded in common sense, illustrated by common practice, and essential to the nature of compacts, that, where resort can be had to no tribunal superior to the authority of the parties, the parties themselves must be the rightful judges, in the last resort, whether the bargain made has been pursued or violated. The Constitution of the United States was formed by the sanction of the states, given by each in its sovereign capacity. It adds to the stability and dignity, as well as to the authority, of the Constitution, that it rests on this legitimate and solid foundation. The states, then, being the parties to the constitutional compact, and in their sovereign capacity, it follows of necessity that there can be no tribunal, above their authority, to decide, in the last resort, whether the compact made by them be violated; and consequently, that, as the parties to it, they must themselves decide, in the last resort, such questions as may be of sufficient magnitude to require their interposition.

    It does not follow, however, because the states, as sovereign parties to their constitutional compact, must ultimately decide whether it has been violated, that such a decision ought to be interposed either in a hasty manner or on doubtful and inferior occasions.”

    Those words are from James Madison, Father of the Constitution, in his report on the Virginia Resolution concerning the Alien and Sedition Acts.

    Do you think he would have admitted the right of the Supreme Court to overrule a State or States on this question? And if this was contrary to the understanding of the sovereign states at the time they entered the Union, how can it bind upon them?

  54. The United States (plural), were founded on the idea elucidated in the Declaration of Independence, stating that every so often, there comes a time when a group of people must break away and form a new nation because their former allegiances have become destructive to their rights. We apparently believed it in 1776, and some still believed in the concept in 1860.

    Abraham Lincoln put a stop to that, though. Thanks to him, we’ve come to the point where people in DC can dictate to the citizens of the various states and override decisions made by those same citizens because the presumed omniscient Feds know what is best for all of us (as the Supreme Court just ruled in a recent case to the detriment of citizens living in California) despite the express will of the voters living far from DC.

    When I was young, Disneyland’s “Great Moments With Mr. Lincoln” was a stirring piece of historical entertainment. Now that I’m older, I see it more as a propaganda piece.

    Land of the brave, home of the free? A nice sentiment, but that’s about all at this point. Not even our phone calls are protected at this point, and it looks like our “brave” Congress is going to grant immunity to the phone companies for being complicit in the Bush administration’s hijacking of our phone lines. And with the state of the economy as it is, there may not be that much time left before it all comes crashing to a halt.

    Nothing lasts forever, though, and particularly not when a President decides to show the Union that independence from overreaching central authorities is a concept of the past only.

    Thanks, Abe.

  55. It seems that either the state of West Virginia is unconstitutional or secession is constitutional.

    Since Article IV, section 3 of the US constitution states “…no new States shall be formed or erected within the Jurisdiction of any other State…without the Consent of the Legislatures of the States concerned as well as of the Congress.” This means that the state of Virginia couldn’t be split into 2 states unless Virginia consented by it’s legislature and then was approved by congress.

    The only constitutional way this could happen is if the whole state of Virginia had consented with it’s Legislature. This never happened but we do have West Virginia which means that Virginia had to be be considered another State during the war. In other words it wasn’t a state in rebellion it was a state in secession that had become part of a different government.

  56. ARGUMENT 1-

    Premise 1: if union perpetual then it is unending and undivided
    Premise 2: union was divided
    Sub Premise 1: North Carolina was outside from March 4th – November 21st 1789
    Sub Premise 2: Rhode Island was outside from March 4th 1789 – May 29th 1790
    Sub Premise 3: Federalist 43*
    ——————————————————-
    Conclusion: the union is not pertetual

    *(“…it may be observed, that although no political relation can subsist between the assenting and dissenting States, yet the moral relations will remain uncanceled.” James Madison Federalist 43 January 23, 1788)

    ARGUMENT 2-

    Premise 1: if the Constitution prohibits secession then it is illegal
    Premise 2: the Constitution doesnot prohibit
    Sub Premise 1: not prohibited in the text
    Sub Premise 2: not prohibited by any extension of doctrines
    Sub Premise 3: provided for in the 10th Amendment
    ——————————————————-
    Conclusion: It is not illegal to seceed

    (see a different opinion – Texas v. White, April 12, 1869 at http://supreme.justia.com/us/74/700/case.html)

    ARGUMENT 3-

    Premise 1: if rights are abused then citizens have a right to alter or abolish government
    Premise 2: they believed their rights abused
    Sub Premise 1: Declaration of Independence – inalienable rights
    Sub Premise 2: Unecessary for a violent revolution if it can be peacfully decided
    Sub Premise 3: the people/ state decided to seceed*
    ——————————————————-
    Conclusion : the states had a natural right to seceed

    *(All the “Confederate” States voted in Conventios of the people as well as Texas by a popular vote of 46,153 to 14,747; Virginia by a popular vote of 132,201 to 37,451 & Tennessee by popular vote of 104,471 to 47,183)

    CONCLUSION-

    Premise 1: if the union is not perpetual,
    Premise 2: if secession is not illegal,
    Premise 3: if states/people have a right to alter,
    ———————————————-
    Conclusion: Then there is a right to Seceed

    One last thing… What does Article 7 Say?
    “The Ratification of the Conventions of nine States, shall be sufficient for the Establishment of this Constitution between the States so ratifying the Same.”
    —-If the union is perpetual then how can the constitution effect only those states that ratify it? Wht about those outside who do not?

  57. It is a fundamental tenet of US constitutional law that States may do as they wish provided there is no specific prohibition on the action in question contained in the US Constitution. This is at the very heart of federalism as it was understood by the Founders and is a concept taught universally in US law schools even today. The US Constitution contains no prohibitions on State action to secede, therefore secession is de facto legal. All arguments, without exception, that propose the illegality of secession are chimeras and have no basis in US constitutional law.

  58. I agree with Sixian, no where among the enumerated powers of the federal gov’t is one that says a state can secede or one that states that the federal gov’t can stop it from seceding.

    Was for White vs Texas, I think that case was in 1868 and the SC was packed with Lincoln appointees … well duh!

    Only Lincoln apologist continue to argue that there a state isn’t allowed to secede; the rest of us know better.

  59. Secession – A Peculiar Concept
    by Scott T. Whiteman, Esq.

    Printer friendly
    If you’ve been reading the papers, you might come to the conclusion that it was 1859 – secession is the topic du jour. After the November U.S. elections, the “blue” states had begun to bandy about the notion that perhaps they ought to secede from the “red” states. I must admit, when I saw the blue vs. red breakdown in 2000, in addition to the nearly 50/50 split in the popular vote that perhaps secession would be discussed. After the most recent election, Larry O’Donnell on The McLaughlin Group suggested the topic, it has been written about in The Washington Times, The Boston Globe, The New York Times as well as many other opinion journals. Lawyers are even weighing in on the Constitutionality of the option.

    Unsatisfied with our North American squabble, Asia has seemed to chime in on the conversation. Taiwan, seeking to have free government by the consent of the Taiwanese, a true “American” concept, might consider secession from China – in fact the Mainland has already promised war if articles of secession are written. Attempting to stop such articles from being drafted, China is working on an Anti-Secession Law.

    How utterly silly, frankly. It is reminiscent of the post WWI measures to outlaw war. We must realise that passing legislation is nothing more, ever, than a paper tiger. Firstly, if there is no intention to enforce a law, such as with America’s immigration policy, no law will be effective. Secondly, as far as some fundamental rights or laws of nature go, such as the right of secession, some laws are void ab intitio, or on their face unlawful. It is as absurd to pass a law declaring tooth decay eradicated as it would be to declare secession illegal – law cannot prevent such things.

    It is deniable by only the hardest headed American that our independence stemmed from an act of secession from England in 1776 under the style THE UNANIMOUS DECLARATION OF THE THIRTEEN UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. This act of secession was opposed by England, and a war was waged against the thirteen colonies until 1783 when “His Britannic Majesty” signed the TREATY OF PARIS acknowledging the independence of the thirteen named British colonies in North America. Take notice that the independence of the colonies was effectuated on July 4, 1776, hence the united States dating their official documents and treaties from their dates of independence from Brittan – the truth of that fact is not diminished by a King who did not recognise it for more than seven years.

    In 1777, THE ARTICLES OF CONFEDERATION AND PERPETUAL UNION were ratified, establishing a “perpetual union” between the thirteen States and did not permit any alteration to the Charter absent unanimous consent of all States involved (Article XIII). It would seem, then, that when our Founders gathered in Philadelphia in the summer of 1787, in secret, to establish a “more perfect union” between the States, even that was an act of secession and nullification. The twelve states signing the CONSTITUTION seceded from the old Union and nullified the ARTICLES OF CONFEDERATION without the consent of Rhode Island. They weren’t about to let a procedural law, Article XIII of the ARTICLES OF CONFEDERATION, prohibit them from seizing a substantive right, to secure a more perfect government in America.

    Secession of one state from others was considered again in 1790, just three years after the Constitution was written and two years after it was ratified by the ninth State, making it effective. A group of Pennsylvanians, including Benjamin Franklin, sought abolition of the New England slave trade. Two Southern states indicated that they would seceded if the relief sought were granted.

    In 1804, New England and New York opposed the Republican practices of President Jefferson and the waning influence of the Federalists after John Adams’ and contemplated secession. Again in 1815, New Englanders seriously contemplated secession due to their opposition to the War of 1812. In the first 25 years of our Republic, the right of secession was an established American tradition.

    However, rather than engage in a evidentiary demonstration on why secession is a Constitutional right based upon a demonstration that the Constitution did not become effective upon a State unless it consented thereto, that consent of any endeavour, naturally can be undone, &c., I will assume the opponent’s arguments as given – 1. Secession is prohibited Constitutionally, but if not Constitutionally, 2. at least the question was settled in 1865 at the conclusion of the War for Southern Independence, what most refer to as “The Civil War.”

    First, secession is a peculiar concept – in a free government, the members are not seeking it – in a tyrannical government, the members are not permitted it. Secession from despotism is not a civil right, it is a fundamental, God-given right and thus cannot justly be suppressed by the King nor alienated by the People. Regardless of whether it is a recognised procedural right, secession is absolutely a substantive right that cannot be denied without offending the God who institutes governments for the maintenance of His people. Thus, with or without a declaration in support of secession in the UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION, the COMMUNIST MANIFESTO, or the BURGER KING BILL OF RIGHTS, the right to secede from a despotism is absolute. That right may be suppressed by the powers that be, as England suppressed that right to the colonies in 1776, or denied by the People as has occurred in America since 1861, but it is not within the rightful powers given by God to a civil government or the People to alienate it.

    Secondly, the First and Second Wars for Independence in America demonstrates one fundamental maxim: War settles nothing – it merely neutralizes the defeated. After the TREATY OF PARIS, England probably still had the military power to renege the Treaty and unleash a completely new set of war-time evils upon the fledgling united States, but it did not. Not long after Appomattox, “The South Will Rise Again” was spoken (and some of us think the “Old North” should too). The point is that nothing is settled by war, and certainly God-given rights are not established or disestablished at the passage of a human law or the point of a gun. I do not mean, however, that a war or threat of war might not serve to chill an attempt for liberty, in this case by the Taiwanese from despotic China.

    Have we forgotten that whenever governments become destructive toward the ends for which God institutes them, it is the right, “it is the duty” according to our DECLARATION, to alter or abolish that government? I trust that by “whenever,” Jefferson considered that such occasion might occur again in America when a despotic government might exist. Since all civil governments are but the subject provinces of the Almighty God for the establishment and enactment of His Laws, secession from a despotic government is one means to arrest evil in an area of governance.

    In closing, I want to mollify the concerns some might have – I am writing about secession from despotism. There is no right to secede from a just civil government to do evil. A State has responsibilities to God for the maintenance of His people, and if it is not able to perform those responsibilities because of a tyrannical federal head, it is incumbent upon it, the State, to interpose to arrest the evil. If interposition does not work, secession is the final alternative, and the King has no legal right to prevent it – but fundamental rights and justice rarely stop a “Rule of Law” tyrant who demands a strict adherence to the procedural laws that are set up for him against the Lord and His anointed.

  60. D Prater’s copy/paste is from the following:

    http://www.theamericanview.com/index.php?id=6

  61. Here are my thoughts.

    1. The modern Republican party has lost its way. It ought to change its name, because it does not any longer represent the Republican party that fought for the freedom of this country against rebellion. They ought to change their name to the Confederate Party.

    2. Whites in the Republican party ought to realize that the longer they side with the Southern states in the Civil War, the more they lose blacks and other minorities. Maybe whites don’t realize this because they can’t see, but minorities see very easily.

    3. this writer says “I want to mollify the concerns some might have – I am writing about secession from despotism. There is no right ot secede from a just civil government.” A just civil government. Boy, that sure is a loaded statement. Who gets to determine what is “just?” Who gets to determine what is “civil?” And who gets to determine what is “despotism?”

    If any state can make that decision on their own and decide to withdraw from the union at will, what you end up getting (and what we did get in the early 1800s) is a very unstable, erratic country as a whole, one that would not be able to compete in today’s world. Now, is that a good enough argument? No. It is but one.

    The other is that it is not solely up to the state in question to decide its own fate, but it is up to the union as a whole, or at the very least a majority. Because the decision of one state to leave the union has a very detrimental effect on the whole as well as on the part, on each other individual state as well as the state that desires to leave. The states that refuse to leave the union have rights too. They cannot be ignored. (and in the real world, they were not, hence the bloody Civil War). You can’t just pack up your bags and skip town without there being some very bad consequences. The union of free states into one United States irrevocably altered those free states, changed them. They were no longer free singularly. They were free together. A bond was created that tied them and their cause. To withdraw would have dire consequences for and from the other states involved. Like any marriage, you can’t simply walk away. There are consequences.

    I thought those consequences were resolved in the Civil War, but apparently the children of those who fought on the side of freedom and the United States now feel their grandparents did wrong. What a shame, what the Republican party has become today.

  62. And that would be a bad thing? Everyone has perspectives. Most of what you have written in this forum I would have to disagree with. Who is looking through rose colored glasses? We’ll have to agree to disagree. Neither of us are in the majority concerning this topic and the issue will forever live on.

  63. D Prater,

    well, I don’t know your own thoughts. You copied and pasted someone else’s thoughts. I can’t disagree or agree with your own because you have yet to have stated them.

  64. OK, fair enough. The answer is because I didn’t have the time to list all the arguments or even keep them All on my mind to write them anyway. The pasted comment made valid points which I agreed with and easier than writing a long winded post like some of those I’ve read on here. (Mostly by you) Personally, I’ve studied Civil War causes for a very long time and have found the view most people have depends on where they geographical live or their ethnicity. There have been valid points brought up by both points of view.
    Biographies of the major characters during this time, along with culture and economics of the time, leave no doubt the war was about “State Rights” and economics (not slavery) The right to secession is not mentioned in the Constitution, therefore it is a matter of opinion if it is “implied” by other rights given to the states. I wish I could find the source I read a few years ago about the right to withdraw from the Union when they were joining. If I am able to find this documentation, I certainly will post it here. As in my other post, this argument will go on and on and will never be settled, because it is just a matter of personal opinion. Applying today’s standards to yesterdays problems is not giving the issue a fair evaluation either. In those days, very few thought about the moral issue of slavery. They were simply an investment and considered property. ( This is not arguing the point of right and wrong of slavery) Technology in later years would have made the economic need for slavery disappear anyway. The issues here are complex. No one is going to change anyone’s mind. People interested enough to learn and educate themselves will be swayed and biased according to the parameters listed at the beginning of this post. Neither of us can claim to be completely right or the other to be completely wrong. We just have our opinion and entitled to it.

  65. Daniel, as you’ve stated above, “Like any marriage, you can’t simply walk away. There are consequences.”

    Does this mean that should my neighbors across the street decide to get a divorce and I’m not in favor of the idea, I should be able to veto their divorce because I have decided that it affects me negatively in some way?

    With the viewpoint of secession that you take, that would seem to be your message.

    Lucifer’s rebellion in the pre-mortal existence was essentially an act of secession; the Plan of Salvation as it had always existed was not to his liking, and he wanted out.

    Should God have overridden the agency of the 1/3 who ended up being cast out and forced them to stay instead? Whether or not they “walked out” or were “cast out”, the effect was the same.

  66. Mark,

    I’m surprised at you, muddying up the analogy. In your reply about how this is akin to a marriage, you give an analogy of a neighbor, as if the neighbor has any actual vested interest in the marriage of his neighbor!

    If you agree with me that the analogy of marriage fits, then please agree with me that the marriage of the United States was originally between the Thirteen Colonies. Thus when one state wished to withdraw, it had to deal with the consequences of the withdrawal with the other twelve states! If a state wishes to withdraw today, it has to deal with the consequences with the remaining 49 states. Would you not agree? Your analogy of a neighbor is that of Canada or Mexico, as if they have any say in whether or not a state within the Union can withdraw, Mark.

    Lucifer’s rebellion in the pre-mortal existence was exactly that: a rebellion. Nothing less. Nothing more. It was not a secession. Though I appreciate that you cast secession in such a negative light. 🙂

    You ask, should God have overridden the agency of the 1/3 who ended up cast out? Clearly they received their punishment, would you not say? Should not the Southern states have been punished for seceding and rebelling against the Union to which they belonged?

    Whether or not they “walked out” or were “cast out”, the effect was the same.

    No it wasn’t. The 1/3 chose out of their own free will to follow Satan’s plan. They were then cast out of heaven. They didn’t leave of their own free will. It was a consequence of their willful rebellion. There are consequences, and the Southern states refused to accept them. They thought they could simply walk away. Sadly, they were proven wrong. And it continues to be sad that there are still Americans who argue their case.

  67. D Prater,

    The pasted comment made valid points which I agreed with and easier than writing a long winded post like some of those I’ve read on here. (Mostly by you)

    What’s wrong with writing long posts? At least the views are my own.

    Biographies of the major characters during this time, along with culture and economics of the time, leave no doubt the war was about “State Rights” and economics (not slavery)

    Indeed it was. I should direct you to this post I wrote wherein I point out how the issue was about state rights over slavery. Check out the reasons stated by the various southern states as to why they felt the need to leave the Union. Note in particular, Mississippi’s reason:

    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.

    It’s quite clear that the reason Mississippi chose to leave the Union was over what to do about slavery. You want to argue otherwise? You’d have to somehow get around the actual declarations of the states involved. Mississippi’s is the most amusing. “none but the black race can bear exposure to the tropical sun” heh. Southern whites.

    The right to secession is not mentioned in the Constitution, therefore it is a matter of opinion if it is “implied” by other rights given to the states.

    If there is no right to secede in the Constitution, then no state can actually secede, am I right? At least not legally. Even the author you copied and pasted essentially said the same. He said There is no right ot secede from a just civil government. Like I said in my commentary earlier, who gets to make the decision as to what is “just” and “civil.” If the states themselves can do that, they have to face the consequences from the states that do not agree. Hence a Civil War. YOU JUST CAN’T LEAVE!

    In those days, very few thought about the moral issue of slavery.

    Um, actually the majority of Americans at the time thought quite a lot about it. The Southern states didn’t care. The Northern states had more industry and a greater population. The Southern states feared the increasing power of the North and how it would affect their slave trade. They knew it was only a matter of time. New states toward the West were slave-free. Eventually there would be a super-majority of the United States that would be against slavery and would abolish it. The Southern states feared that, so they got up and thought they could walk away. Over slavery.

    Technology in later years would have made the economic need for slavery disappear anyway.

    Slavery was never about economic need. It was about power and control. Always was, and always will. Surely you are not trying to tell me that whites were not able to handle the tropical sun, and only the black race could? That’s what the whites of Mississippi (and most likely other Southern states) thought. Surely you agree with me that even whites can handle getting into those cotton fields and do the grunt work too. No, don’t try to fool yourself. Slavery was, and always will be about power and control and domination.

    Neither of us can claim to be completely right or the other to be completely wrong.

    on some issues you can. there is enough evidence in this case that the Southern states tried to leave the Union because of eventual and inevitable abolishment of slavery in the United States. They thought they could pack up their bags and walk away from the Union without considering the consequences. Well, they were taught a lesson and sadly it cost the lives of 600,000 Americans.

  68. What’s wrong with writing long posts? At least the views are my own.

    It shows an individual need for attention rather than getting a simple point across and everyone looses interest in someone “ATTEMPTING” to bully their perspective on to others. You either win or lose based on simple facts.

    Indeed it was. I should direct you to this post I wrote wherein I point out how the issue was about state rights over slavery. Check out the reasons stated by the various southern states as to why they felt the need to leave the Union. Note in particular, Mississippi’s reason:

    That is lame. Sure anyone can find writings for or against slavery by Northern or Southern States and the privileged few that owned them. It is unfortunate money, corruption and politics go together. The majority did not feel this way. Mississippi was an exception and extreme, not surprising given their development and who owned land there at the time. No Southern State would be able to get up an Army to fight on the premise to defend slavery.

    If there is no right to secede in the Constitution, then no state can actually secede, am I right? At least not legally. Even the author you copied and pasted essentially said the same. He said There is no right ot secede from a just civil government. Like I said in my commentary earlier, who gets to make the decision as to what is “just” and “civil.” If the states themselves can do that, they have to face the consequences from the states that do not agree. Hence a Civil War. YOU JUST CAN’T LEAVE!

    No you are wrong! If it was not addressed, then it was neither legal or illegal. If anything it was an implied right given the wording of States rights.
    The last point you mention is interesting given you were comparing it to marriage in another post. How familiar are you with divorce? By using that comparison, I would call the Union the man and the Confederacy the woman. You should know the woman initiates divorce the majority of the time, it is legal, and yes she does walk away with more than her fair share of property. Consider it severance alimony for misleading them into a deceptive contract. YOU CAN JUST LEAVE! (unless you are married to a bully) ironic enough not much different than the American Revolution. Winning a war does not necessarily mean one is right, it only means they are forcing their “WILL”! Isn’t that the American way? (BS)

    Um, actually the majority of Americans at the time thought quite a lot about it. The Southern states didn’t care. The Northern states had more industry and a greater population. The Southern states feared the increasing power of the North and how it would affect their slave trade. They knew it was only a matter of time. New states toward the West were slave-free. Eventually there would be a super-majority of the United States that would be against slavery and would abolish it. The Southern states feared that, so they got up and thought they could walk away. Over slavery.

    Not at the time secession was being talked about.
    Only after the war had began and the public became more aware of what others were doing. Until then no one cared much except their own occupation. No history lesson need here I am well aware of what the North had vs what the South had. What you refuse to see is slavery did not pop up over night. The majority of slaves were in the South, it allowed the super plantations and the American economy to flourish, not just the South’s. A huge amount of investment was tied up in slaves. Banning slaves with no bail out plan would rob the owners of their investment, much like ENRON did to its investors and employees. That would make any sane person fighting mad and no one should blame them. Sure Whites could have done the work, but it would not have been as profitable ( At least until the arrival of more modern machinery). I must disagree with your analysis and it is obvious you are not a person raised in the South. Neither have you done much research on the issue. ( As stated that would be one of the deciding factors of where one gets their opinion.)

    on some issues you can. there is enough evidence in this case that the Southern states tried to leave the Union because of eventual and inevitable abolishment of slavery in the United States. They thought they could pack up their bags and walk away from the Union without considering the consequences. Well, they were taught a lesson and sadly it cost the lives of 600,000 Americans.

    Yes there is evidence, but it is conflicting not unanimous. Consider the source and who those people were vs the common state citizen. In the beginning Americans were tired of Great Britten also and they did pack up and leave. It also cost lives and was worth it, at least until the civil war came about and has been spiraling down ever since ( few proud moments). We only have an illusion of personal rights. Ironic the North wants to claim the moral high ground while at the same time indulging in genocide and theft with the American Indians and you want to talk about sad? Since your such the history buff what was that number of dead Americans (by murder). Oh but no they had no right to defend their land from the glorious Union much like the South. So what lesson is that you are referring too? Must be don’t mess with a bully! America hasn’t changed much still up to their old tricks. Everyone doesn’t want to live like the good ole US of A (old or new)

  69. Daniel, Wonder why you never made reply to Vito Messena and argue the points he raised?

  70. I didn’t respond to Vito, because I didn’t feel like it. 🙂

    No Southern State would be able to get up an Army to fight on the premise to defend slavery.

    DUDE! look at ALL their declarations of secession, and not just Mississippi’s. I only highlighted Mississippi’s because it was tragically amusing. They were out of their white minds! But each state, Georgia, Texas, South Carolina, etc., stated in their declaration of secession that the reason they were leaving the Union was over SLAVERY!

    How familiar are you with divorce? By using that comparison, I would call the Union the man and the Confederacy the woman. You should know the woman initiates divorce the majority of the time, it is legal, and yes she does walk away with more than her fair share of property.

    Okay, this is very disappointing. It seems you are the one not familiar with divorce, or with marriage either. The “marriage” of the states into one Union was not between the Union and the Confederacy. It was between Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and the rest of them. That they eventually became two conflicting sides has no legal bearing. The contract is between all the states to each other.

    As for divorce, one party (woman or man) may desire to walk away, but it is rarely pretty. Why is that? Because the other party has rights too. Simply walking away doesn’t work. YOU CAN’T JUST LEAVE!

    Not at the time secession was being talked about.
    Only after the war had began and the public became more aware of what others were doing.

    Actually all the way from the beginning of the Union was the abolition of slavery talked about among most Americans. You side with the South, so you think that all Americans thought little of slavery. Sorry dude. Go hang out in Boston and learn a bit about how much they were against slavery from the start. Look at the writings of John Adams. He was quite against slavery. Heck, even Thomas Jefferson was against it, though he had slaves himself.

    A huge amount of investment was tied up in slaves. Banning slaves with no bail out plan would rob the owners of their investment, much like ENRON did to its investors and employees. That would make any sane person fighting mad and no one should blame them.

    Fine by me. Let them get mad. They enslaved human beings.

    Sure Whites could have done the work, but it would not have been as profitable

    Wait a second. You mean to tell me that if the same amount of whites were working in the same fields as the blacks, their work would not have been as profitable? You’re not making your case well here, dude.

    I must disagree with your analysis and it is obvious you are not a person raised in the South.

    THANK GOD!

    Neither have you done much research on the issue.

    Actually I have. I just think that Southern slave owners were a dishonorable, disreputable lot, who cared more about making money off the backs of slaves so they could live in their beautiful plantations in a life of luxury.

    In the beginning Americans were tired of Great Britten also and they did pack up and leave.

    The only reason we were allowed to go by Great Britain (who could have defeated us if they really tried), was because they saw that it was in their best interest not to utterly destroy the American colonies.

    Ironic the North wants to claim the moral high ground while at the same time indulging in genocide and theft with the American Indians and you want to talk about sad?

    I know. Very sad.

    Since your such the history buff what was that number of dead Americans (by murder).

    I assume you mean Native Americans. Hundreds of thousands.

    So what lesson is that you are referring too?

    That there are consequences to just getting up and leaving. You can’t just leave. It has to be approved by all parties of the Union. You can’t force the other members of this contract to accept your own withdrawal. They have to approve of it too.

    Everyone doesn’t want to live like the good ole US of A (old or new)

    Actually most of the world would like to follow our lead. It just depends on who we elect as president. Clearly the current occupant has been the worst possible person to lead us. The next one should be better though.

  71. #

    I didn’t respond to Vito, because I didn’t feel like it. 🙂

    Yeah right, but you didn’t surprise me by the answer.
    No use arguing any further, you’ve confirmed my suspicions about all our dialog. You did have one post I’ll give you credit on pasted below and agree with, other than you need to consider the biases of the author when you do your research. Even the professionals in the field don’t agree. It depends on the culture they were raised as well.

    I just think that Southern slave owners were a dishonorable, disreputable lot, who cared more about making money off the backs of slaves so they could live in their beautiful plantations in a life of luxury.

    (* SPECIAL NOTATION)—> these owners were in the minority population but majority of the legislature, thus the wrongful impression given in history about the South. The North was no better in slavery attitudes at the time of secession. It changed after the war began, mostly because of Northern propaganda to gain support for the war cause at home and abroad.

    I’m finished with you and stand behind the same conviction as when I began.

  72. DUDE! How can you say that there was little difference between the North and South on the issue of slavery when that was THE MOST IMPORTANT ISSUE that came up every time a new western state wished to join the Union. Were they for slavery or abolishing it. That was the question of the day. The South tried to leave the Union because they knew it was just a matter of time before they would be outvoted on the issue and would be forced to give up domination over blacks. The more that western states joined with the North as slave free states, the worse off the South’s position got. The Civil War was always about slavery. Always will be.

  73. I’m surprised at you, muddying up the analogy.

    Hey, you’re the one who likened it to a marriage in your Jan 14 post, not me.

    … as if the neighbor has any actual vested interest in the marriage of his neighbor!

    It’s not up to my divorcing neighbors to say whether or not their divorce affects me negatively, only I can know that for sure. Therefore, if I say it affects me negatively and I want to put a stop to it, then I should be allowed to put a stop to it. That is, if marriage is, as you put it, like the union of the states.

    That’s how you say it worked for the thirteen original colonies. All of the other parties (states) who were affected negatively had a stake in the marriage/union, and therefore had the right to stop it.

    Like any marriage, you can’t simply walk away.

    People walk away all the time, Daniel. Sometimes that’s a much better solution than going through an acrimonius divorce, wherein both sides try to take out their frustrations on the other by means of the legal system.

    Was the discord between the North and South really worth the taking of over 600,000 lives? Wouldn’t it have been better if the North had just let the South “walk away”? It’s entirely possible that the South would have soon discovered that they couldn’t live as a separate nation without the North. Or they could have both discovered that they could very well have established treaties and trade agreements between them, and the deaths of over 600,000 people could have been avoided.

    But we’re treading old ground here; had I stopped to reread the thread before I responded this last time, I probably would just have let it go myself, rather than rehash ideas that I had forgotten having discussed before.

    So, looking forward to the new administration on Tuesday? Think things will get any better? It’s starting to look like the same group of Democrats are being put back into positions of power again, so we’ll see how it goes, I guess.

  74. Why do I never spot my spelling mistakes until after I click on “submit”?

    Acrimonious.

  75. Mark,

    Let me put it to you as simple as I can, using your paragraph:

    It’s not up to my divorcing neighbors (The States within The Union) to say whether or not their divorce affects me (Canada) negatively, only I (Canada) can know that for sure. Therefore, if I (Canada) say it affects me (Canada) negatively and I (Canada) want to put a stop to it, then I (Canada) should be allowed to put a stop to it. That is, if marriage is, as you put it, like the union of the states.

    Do you get it now? A neighbor is not a party to the contract. Canada is not a party to the contract. New York IS A PARTY TO THE CONTRACT. Georgia is a party to the contract. Mexico is NOT a party to the contract. South Carolina is a party to the contract. If parties to the contract wish to withdraw from the contract, what the neighbor (Canada and Mexico) think, really matters not one whit to the actual contract as they were not signatories to that contract. The only units that have any real say to what happens within the contract are those who signed the contract. Those would be the numerous parties that signed it. Today that number equals 50. If one of those parties wishes to act in a certain way that may negatively affect the other 49 states, the other 49 states get to have a say in the matter! This should be quite clear to anyone who has any knowledge in law.

  76. This should be quite clear to anyone who has any knowledge in law.

    What I think should be quite clear to anyone is that coercive measures that cause the deaths of 600,000+ people is far worse than rationally deciding that maybe secession isn’t all that bad.

    Heavenly Father doesn’t coerce, the concept has been thoroughly denounced in the scriptures, and therefore, we should never do it. One of the biggest of Satan’s lies is “There is no other way”.

    There’s always another way. That’s what Christ’s ministry was all about. God will do what He deems necessary, but we are required to repent and to forgive all men.

    Joining the military in order to contribute to the cause of bringing about the deaths of hundreds of thousands seems like an awfully lousy way to forgive.

    Although I guess we can say this much for it: it does give one a much bigger opportunity and reason to repent.

  77. Mark,

    Heavenly Father doesn’t coerce

    Actually he DOES coerce. He forces us to accept the consequences of our actions. We cannot escape the consequences. The 1/3 of heaven were FORCED out of heaven as a consequence of their own free choice. They didn’t choose to leave. They were kicked out against their will, but as a consequence of disobeying.

    Secession would have destroyed the concept of America. Frankly, 600,000 deaths were required to keep America alive.

  78. Quote—> Secession would have destroyed the concept of America. Frankly, 600,000 deaths were required to keep America alive.

    Now that is something worth debating. Just who’s concept of America are you talking about and who said the “Right” America survived? For you to try to argue legal points based on law is ridiculous. You have a long way to go. The experts can’t even agree, so where on that panel do you sit? It is all perception, and as I stated in my earlier post, those are based on geographical culture and ethnicity. So give it up you will never prove anything and this argument/debate will live on just as it has for over 100 years and counting.

  79. I thought you were done D Prater.

  80. Just trolling through but it seems worth noting that when the colonies here in America said ‘enough is enough’ to the British empire, secession was certainly a legitimate option. This can be clearly seen in that oft quoted secession document whose words ought to sound vaguely familiar,

    “When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

    Such begins the Declaration of Independence. If the states that seceeded from the union didn’t have legitimate grounds to leave the union – then the union itself – which was created solely as the result of an open secession – has no legitimacy in and of itself either.

    Therefore, based on it’s own existence, and declaration of independence, the United States had no grounds to deny a people no longer willing to consent to it’s governance by holding them bound in an union they deemed worth leaving. Or so it would logically seem.

  81. David McCrory,

    Are you sure the original 13 colonies “seceded” or did they rebel?

    Furthermore, the original 13 colonies actually had legitimate claims to want to be free of Britain. The most important reason was that they were not represented at the seat of power. The South could not make that argument. They were seated. They had a voice. They had influence. Sadly, they took a position that had no future, and stubborn as they were, they stuck with it to the death of 600,000 souls.

    The original colonies did NOT secede from Great Britain. They rebelled. There’s a big difference between the two. But I love how Southern apologists keep trying to legitimize an illegal act.

  82. Daniel,

    David McCrory makes a great point in quoting the declaration of independance. The declaration and/or constitution give no rights for rebellion any more than they give a right to secession.

    There is no difference between the two when the action is described by the drafters of those documents as “dissolving political bands”. They are simply 2 forms of dissolving.

    The constitution may not grant those rights explicitly, but the founding fathers addressed such rights as inalienable, granted by the creator, thus their justification for rebellion.

    So the rights are not documented in founding documents explicitly, but rather are fundamental human rights.

  83. And your earlier comment regarding God “forcing us to accept the consequences of our actions” is pure false doctrine.

    Consequences come as no Godly punishment, else they would be called punishment. Consequences are the result of choosing “bad” which is a debatable concept in and of itself, but can be summed up in that “bad” choices bring forth “bad” fruits, thus they are defined is “bad”.

    God does not punish, we prepare ourselves for our own consequences by attaining good rewards or falling short into lesser things.

    And quit cussing.

  84. Quote—->And quit cussing.

    That is what most angry liberal dumbycrats do, when they are loosing a debate.

  85. truther,

    this would be considered cussing:

    As if “working towards peace in the Middle East” is a new line.

    Don’t step in the bulls**t.

    But you’re a conservative which is by definition hypocritical. It’s okay for you to cuss.

    Oh, and to show further how you are a conservative, note the misspelling of a particular word:

    the declaration of independance

    Independence. Not Independance. But you are a conservative. You don’t know how to spell even the most fundamental words of our English language.

    And your earlier comment regarding God “forcing us to accept the consequences of our actions” is pure false doctrine.

    Huh. So we can choose not to accept the consequences of our actions? Something forces us to do so. Something beyond our will and desires compels us to accept the consequences of our actions. That something would be God. We cannot escape the consequences of our actions dude, be they for good or for bad.

  86. D Prater,

    That is what most angry liberal dumbycrats do, when they are loosing a debate.

    Fuck you.

  87. I self-censored. And the insults don’t promote your understanding.

    Why not argue the secession point, Daniel?

    I disagree that we are forced into consequences. And I think I see it as a cause-effect rather than a coercion.

    Its the difference between determinism and a power structure.

    I would generally posit that God forces nothing, but points out the law of the universe and allows us to choose good or bad results for ourselves.

  88. that last comment was mine

  89. I’ve BEEN arguing the point!

    I would generally posit that God forces nothing, but points out the law of the universe and allows us to choose good or bad results for ourselves.

    And who created that law that we are irrevocably tied to? God set the rules that guide us, dude. God set the rules that bind us. We make choices of our own free will, but God binds us to the consequences of our actions. It is forceful.

  90. God, by his own choices, attained a certain stature in the universe. The consequences of our actions are related entirely to our purposeful, by choice development of our own stature in the context of God.

    God did not create what is good, God IS what is good. If we do not match, we have forced it upon ourselves. If we choose bad, we force ourselves into the consequences that are the simple byproduct of bad.

  91. truther,

    we’re arguing semantics, because you are afraid to use the word “force” with “God.” I agree with everything you say. You’re just not going far enough with the logic. You say we have it forced upon ourselves. Who or what forces us to those consequences but God who created the rules that govern our world and universe?

  92. Hi Daniel,

    You ask, “Are you sure the original 13 colonies “seceded” or did they rebel?”

    ~ I think for the sake of this discussion, and in the eyes of Britian, they were one and the same.

    You say, “Furthermore, the original 13 colonies actually had legitimate claims to want to be free of Britain. The most important reason was that they were not represented at the seat of power.”

    ~ This is not entirely accurate. They were ruled by a monarchy. They understood that. There was no ‘seat of power’ other than the king. So the question is, ‘In whose eyes did the colonies have a legitimate claim”? Certianly not the king’s. It was in there own eyes. It is when a certain people, considered in and of themselves, determine their interests are no longer served by the established government, and are no longer willing to consent to a certain power’s governance, that their claim becomes legitimized. This is the thrust of the Declaration of Independence, and the onus of the Southern’s cause. If a people waited around for the powers that be to “ok” their up and leaving, it would obviously never occur.

    The Civil War was often referred to in Northern parlance and documentation as “The War of Southern REBELLION”. Southerners were called “rebels”. It was very much considered a rebellion. There was no real difference, linguistically speaking, and in the eyes of Northern leaders between secession and rebellion.

    And in one sense, it would appear that the South had better standing than the colonies for severing political ties. Whereas the coloines were financed, and supported heavily by British interest, and the colonies had made no claim to sovereignty per se, the several States both in the North and the South had established constitutions asserting their independent sovereignty thus making any alliance with other States, i.e. via the Constitution, voluntary. And with the 9th and 10th Admendments they entered the union with the understanding that they could leave if circumstances warranted it.

    In fact, if you’ll research it, there were several previous discussions of secession by both nothern and central states prior to the secession of the southern states where no question of the legitimacy of the right for individual states to leave the union was even in question.

    I hope this helps.

  93. David,

    This is not entirely accurate. They were ruled by a monarchy.

    That’s only part of the answer. There was a legitimate parliament in England that had great effect on the will of the nation of England. To have a seat at that parliament meant that your voice, and of your constituents would be heard and influential.

    It is when a certain people, considered in and of themselves, determine their interests are no longer served by the established government, and are no longer willing to consent to a certain power’s governance, that their claim becomes legitimized.

    That’s a fair argument to make. But in the case of the states wanting to secede from the Union, those states did not take into consideration what the other states thought about their leaving the Union. The contract was between all thirteen original states and all future states individually. To leave the Union would be of great significance to each and every state, thus any decision to leave should take into consideration that the other states may not want you to leave because it would negatively effect them too. This was the case in the Civil War. The northern states felt wronged by the southern states leaving and ended up having to really tell the south. In the case of the Revolutionary War (which really wasn’t a revolution) was pretty similar too. Great Britain had a vested interest in the colonies not leaving the empire, and they explained it to the colonies. Ultimately Great Britain felt it was in their best long term interest to allow the colonies to create their own independent nation. Sadly for the south, the North did not feel that way. They felt that the creation of a separate nation to their south would spell the doom of what the Founding Fathers attempted to create and they stood by that until the South finally declared defeat.

  94. “That’s a fair argument to make. But in the case of the states wanting to secede from the Union, those states did not take into consideration what the other states thought about their leaving the Union.”

    I appreciate your willingness to assert the fairness of this argument. I would contend it was the argument made by both the colonies v. the B.E., and the South v. the Union. I realize your opinion may differ. Never-the-less, the South did make several attempts, over the course of many years (as the situation declined) to resolve their concerns poltically, taking into considration the other staters, and within the pervue of the Constitutionally formed union before each individual state congress voted and resolved to seceed (which again, they understood to be a legal option).

    For example, Southern statesman, John C. Calhoun appealed to his congressional collegues on several occasions with well-known quotes such as,

    “Stripped of all its covering, the naked question is, whether ours is a federal or consolidated government; a constitutional or absolute one; a government resting solidly on the basis of the sovereignty of the States, or on the unrestrained will of a majority; a form of government, as in all other unlimited ones, in which injustice, violence, and force must ultimately prevail.”

    and

    “It is federal, because it is the government of States united in a political union, in contradistinction to a government of individuals, that is, by what is usually called, a social compact. To express it more concisely, it is federal and not national because it is the government of a community of States, and not the government of a single State or Nation.”

    And it does all really boil down to this…

    Is the union derived and dependant upon the several states? Or are the several states derived and dependent upon the union? Whereas I would say the former is the case, my guess you be you’d suggest the latter.

    And this has been the question from early on… and only settled by force (coercion), which is really no settlement at all. But both views have been represented in our country from early on and each represents a different purpose, role and function of government and the reason for it’s exisitence.

    I hope this helps.

  95. David,

    Andrew Jackson, a Southerner, agreed with those of the North, and with George Washington, another Southerner, who believed the Union as a whole was more important than the individual states. I quoted earlier in this piece and in my other piece about the civil war, but here is what I quoted above:

    Andrew Jackson made the same point in his “Proclamation to the People of South Carolina” during the nullification crisis. The Constitution, said Jackson, derives its whole authority from the people, not the States. The States “retained all the power they did not grant. But each State, having expressly parted with so many powers as to constitute, jointly with the other States, a single nation, can not, from that period, possess any right to secede, because such secession does not break a league, but destroys the unity of a nation.” And Madison, who presumably knew something about the constitutional theory of the American Founding, was horrified by the idea that the coordinate sovereignty retained by the States, as stated in the Tenth Amendment, implied the power of nullification, interposition, or secession.

    Note also what George Washington desired out of each state:

    The unity of government which constitutes you one people is also now dear to you. It is justly so, for it is a main pillar in the edifice of your real independence, the support of your tranquility at home, your peace abroad; of your safety; of your prosperity; of that very liberty which you so highly prize. But as it is easy to foresee that, from different causes and from different quarters, much pains will be taken, many artifices employed to weaken in your minds the conviction of this truth;

    And

    Here every portion of our country finds the most commanding motives for carefully guarding and preserving the union of the whole.

    And

    To the efficacy and permanency of your Union, a government for the whole is indispensable. No alliance, however strict, between the parts can be an adequate substitute; they must inevitably experience the infractions and interruptions which all alliances in all times have experienced.

    That is what George Washington fought for. Not for the rights of individual states to supersede that of the Union as a whole, but that the Union as a whole would remain intact.

    Andrew Jackson writes:

    It is true they add, that to justify this abrogation of a law, it must be palpably contrary to the Constitution, but it is evident, that to give the right of resisting laws of that description, coupled with the uncontrolled right to decide what laws deserve that character, is to give the power of resisting all laws.

    At some point, this point has to be made, that laws are meant to have force. If you can just pull out of anything you don’t really like, then you begin creating a lawless state. Frankly, that’s not what the Founding Fathers had in mind.

  96. I don’t wish to minimize the importance of the union – and I would contend neither did those southerners, who carefully and judically voted to sever their ties with it.

    We should not break ties, or nullify covenants and contracts without seriously perceived infractions. This much is spelled out in the Declaration of Independence too, along with the right to sever political ties when deemed necessary. As long as the union met reasonable expectations, I would obviously agree with Jackson and Washington – the union was something to be protected and preserved – Lee thought this as well. But the mindset of many, if not most Americans during that time, was a sense of alligence to their state first, then the union – that our loyalties lie with those closeset us, and flow outward from there.

    The question for me then is, “Whose is it to say when a government ceases to serve the best interest of a given people?” If we answer ‘the governemnt itself’ then there will never be a legitimate reason to leave in their eyes.

    Therefore I would still maintain, the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness cannot exist when complusion is the motivation for inclusion. In other words, a collective people, like those of the several southern states, I would contend, have the right to self-determination. And when exercised with civility (the southern state sought a peaceable departure), the right of self-determination must be preserved. This is the only way I can perceive honoring the integrity and freedom of any given people.

  97. David,

    But eventually the southern states did in fact minimize the importance of the union over the individual state. That the southern states decided to stick with slavery to their dying breath speaks much about what they really thought about the rights and liberties of ALL people. Thomas Jefferson, a Southerner, penned that. Though a slave owner himself, he sought for the day when all men would be treated equally as God saw them equal. The Southern states refused to keep the desires of the majority of the peoples of the United States, particularly in the expansion westward, that the United States would become a slave free nation.

    As to the “reasonable expectations,” that again is just like the other person who D Prater copied and pasted. He said There is no right to secede from a just civil government. In both cases the question is who gets to define what are “reasonable expectations” and “right” or “just” governments. If I get to decide which rules I consider “reasonable” and “unreasonable” it would frustrate the rule of law because each individual would make their own mind as to what is reasonable and unreasonable, and thus choose for themselves to break with a particular law they don’t like. This was the point Andrew Jackson was making. There comes a time in a contract like that of the Union where states cannot judge solely for themselves what is best for them or the Union. There comes a time when the whole supersedes the individual. That time came at the creation of the Union. It came when every new state joined the Union. They were no longer individually Alaska, or Arkansas, or Wyoming. They were now states within the United States of America. They are now subject to the laws of that nation-state whether they like it or not.

    On the other hand, individual people can, of their own free will, break their ties with the Union. This was never taken away from individuals. They have always had this freedom. You can change your citizenship status, David. Anyone can. Of course, you lose all privileges that normally come with citizenship, and you can be deported.

    But the mindset of many, if not most Americans during that time, was a sense of alligence to their state first, then the union

    George Washington thought otherwise, and warned his fellow citizens in his farewell address to change this belief. The Union as a whole mattered more, in George Washington’s eyes, than the local states.

    If we answer ‘the governemnt itself’ then there will never be a legitimate reason to leave in their eyes.

    Not the government. The will of the people. Not the will of a regional group, but the will of ALL the people in the entire nation-state.

    Therefore I would still maintain, the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness cannot exist when complusion is the motivation for inclusion.

    The pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness has nothing to do with state rights, but INDIVIDUAL rights. But even with individuals, there has to be some form of compulsion. For example, take taxes. I don’t like taxes, and if it were up to me, I’d rather not pay them. I have to be forced to pay them for my government to function and provide the necessary services for the state. It’s just a matter of fact. The point is to strike a balance in just how much force should be applied and how much individuals should retain their own liberties. Personally, I think America has done the best job out there right now. No other country is as close to providing individual liberties like America does. But freedom is not free.

    In other words, a collective people, like those of the several southern states, I would contend, have the right to self-determination.

    The people do. The states don’t. They gave that up when they joined the Union. That’s what Washington, Madison and Jackson among many others argued.

  98. I certainly appreciate your willingness to accomodate me here on your blog. Your statement…

    “There comes a time when the whole supersedes the individual.”

    … is where I believe the clincher is. You see, I’d contend it is the individual who has ultimate authority over himself – and the right to self-determination. If ultimately, there is no right to self-determination, then the whole notion of freedom is a myth. We are never truly free as long as we are beholden to another. This is true in principle whether you’re discussing 1 or 1000 people.

    There should be no objection to the notion, either by reason or logic, to suggest the principle of self-determination has to be limited to a single individual, and could not and/or should not be applied equally to a group of individuals, who through common bonds and interests, seek to exercise their right to self-determination and preservation collectively.

    When you say that the people have a right to self-determination but a state doesn’t, I feel you’re making a distinction w/o a difference. What is a state but the people who comprise it? If the founders of our nation really believed all unions are perpetual and indissolvable, then they’d have no legitmate grounds to seek political seperation from the union that was the British empire. Yet they did. Thus affirming the notion,

    “Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness”

    If there is no consent, there is no right to power. If it is determined government has become destructive of the interest of a certain people (notice the plurality used here, not simply individuals), then those people have the right to institute a new government. This is what the colonies did, not individual colonist. And this is what the several states in the South did as well.

  99. David,

    You see, I’d contend it is the individual who has ultimate authority over himself – and the right to self-determination

    He does. He still has to face the consequences of his actions. Take the issue of taxation for instance. Are you to tell me that an individual can choose of his own free will NOT to pay taxes in the nation-state of which he is a citizen and NOT expect punishment from that nation-state?

    Secondly, I caution you to not conflate the rights of individuals with the rights of states within the Union. They are two wholly separate entities with wholly separate rights and privileges.

    We are never truly free as long as we are beholden to another

    A very profound and accurate statement. There is no such thing as INDEPENDENCE. Every single human being on this planet depends on someone else. Either the person next to them, or if they are fairly self sufficient (which is near impossible in this world), on the Creator.

    What is a state but the people who comprise it?

    What is a nation but the people who comprise it?

    “Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness”

    This particular quote here highlights the fatal flaw of real democracy. Eventually enough of the people are not going to be happy with the direction of a particular government and will desire to break away. This form of democracy is inherently unstable and will not endure. No matter how much Thomas Jefferson may like it. It is an unattainable utopia. I side more with the John Adams of the world who believed in the importance of a strong central government. Thank goodness that Adams’ view has succeeded generally in America instead of Jefferson.

    If it is determined government has become destructive of the interest of a certain people (notice the plurality used here, not simply individuals), then those people have the right to institute a new government.

    No they don’t. Because the rest of the people, the ones who DON’T think that the government has become destructive of the interest of the people have something to say about it too. This goes right back to the issue of who gets to decide if they follow laws. Do YOU, David, get to decide to pay your taxes without consequence? Say you don’t like the tax rate right now and wish to only pay 5%. Can you do so yourself without consequence? Could you do that in the utopian state you seek and still have that state exist? If you don’t like a particular law, David, you can elect people to represent you that will change that law. But if you are unsuccessful in doing so does NOT give you the right to just break away. It’s tough luck dude. You’re just going to have to suck it up and pay your dues. At some point, you have to make a sacrifice (sacrifice here is defined as taking something from you that you would rather not have taken away) to ensure that your government and your way of life endures. Freedom is not free. Independence is not independent. Frankly, I do not know of a single individual on this planet who does not depend on another for his or her subsistence, or finally on God’s charity.

    There’s no better government on this planet right now than ours. It is the most free and (well as of Tuesday) the most open and transparent. It costs to keep this government of ours. I’m willing to make that sacrifice. If you aren’t, then please, remove yourself from this citizenship.

  100. I should note, the early United States, while declaring “independence” from Britain, was not really “independent,” was it? Did it not rely on the support of the French? Did it not rely on the credit of the Dutch?

  101. “There is no such thing as INDEPENDENCE. Every single human being on this planet depends on someone else.”

    ~ But again, this gets to the meat of the matter. There is a very strong difference between being able to chose with whom you will be mutually dependent upon, and being compelled against your consent to live under tyranny. At least three of the states (all in the north mind you) upon joining the union, reserved for themselves in their constitution, the explict right to seceed from the United States. This was never challenged by the government.

    So my point is, each individual state joined the union with the understanding that they could upon specific and legitimate reason, withdraw from this union. Yes, the goal was to strive for a “more perfect union”. There were obvious benefits for the states to join together in common interest. But it was at least implied, if not explictly stated in some cases, leaving was an option as well.

    As to the issue of taxes and what not, once you agree (consent) to be governed, you have a responsibility to follow the laws of that land -whether you agree with them or not. But this is not issue.

    The issue is, when it is determined a certain people can no longer live under a particular government, and whether they have the right to dissolve the relationship with that government. A government cannot be by the people, of the people and for the people without their consent. A government which must coherce and compel it’s citizen is not the government of a free people – it is a tyranny. Freedom in this sense is not freedom to live independent from other people, but the freedom to chose with whom you will cast your lot.

  102. David,

    But again, this gets to the meat of the matter. There is a very strong difference between being able to chose with whom you will be mutually dependent upon, and being compelled against your consent to live under tyranny.

    That exaggerates the nature of the government the individual who wishes to leave. That individual may call it tyrannical, but it is not necessarily so. Our current government (even under Bush) is not tyrannical. It abused its power, but it was not tyranny. I wish people like you who side with the South not use the word “tyrannical” to try and describe the Union. It undermines your argument. the United States is NOT tyrannical. Never was. Probably won’t ever be. Does it abuse its power on many occasions? You bet it does. But is leaving that Union the way to solve that problem? No.

    It really makes it hard for me to continue debating you if you use only one of two options. Complete freedom or hardcore tyranny. There are many many many gradations in between. There is no completely free government of the people. Never existed.

    As to the issue of taxes and what not, once you agree (consent) to be governed, you have a responsibility to follow the laws of that land -whether you agree with them or not. But this is not issue.

    Actually that IS the issue.

    The issue is, when it is determined a certain people can no longer live under a particular government, and whether they have the right to dissolve the relationship with that government.

    What about the rest of the population? Do they not get a say in approving (or disapproving) that dissolution? This is why such actions as rebelling and seceding lead to violence and death. Because those who rebel and who secede don’t take into account what the people who don’t want them to leave think. And then people die.

    You can’t just leave.

  103. “I wish people like you who side with the South not use the word “tyrannical” to try and describe the Union. It undermines your argument. the United States is NOT tyrannical. ”

    ~ I absolutely agree! I never meant to imply that the only cases that exist are extreme cases. I’ll refrain from using that word if it causes offense.

    The whole matter IS a very subjective thing. Which I would hope supports my case. We (ehem, you) want to sit in judgment over every state – thousands of people – that judicially voted and freely decided it was in their best interest to dissolve their relationship with the union and form a new government better able to serve their people. Who are we to say they were wrong for exercising what they believed was in their best interest? There were all sorts of factors, none of which would necessarily be considered extreme, that were brougt into consideration. But they did what they thought right and in their own best interest. Who are we to say they were wrong in doing so?

    As to the issue of others having a say – yes, you should appeal to them with your case. You should first see if a solution can be reached while preserving the relationship (in this case, the union). This things were done, Daniel. But there comes a time, like with the colonies, when self-preservation, self-determination takes precedent over the opinions of others – and you get a Declaration of Independence. They may or may not agree with you, but you certainly should afford them the same rights to the same principles you yourself are asserting. This was the position of the South. They were not doing anything they didn’t believe every other state, be it in the north, south, east or west had the freedom and responsibility to do for themselves as well.

  104. Our current government (even under Bush) is not tyrannical.

    Let’s resurrect a few founding fathers and see how they’d answer that question.

    As for God employing coercion, according to D&C 121, when one attempts to “exercise control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men, in any degree of unrighteousness”, one’s Priesthood power and authority is completely withdrawn.

    Since I imagine that God never acts in a way to cause His Priesthood power to be withdrawn, it is evident that he does not coerce.

    Daniel, should divorce be outlawed?

    Since the colonists freed themselves from Britain by the shedding of blood (and it seems to me that you are saying that this is the price that must be paid in order to seceed), is that how divorce should operate? One can only leave the other if one is willing to kill the other?

    I think it should be obvious that death, destruction and mass murder (of innocents, no less) shouldn’t have to be the price for deciding to walk away and start over.

  105. David,

    I absolutely agree! I never meant to imply that the only cases that exist are extreme cases. I’ll refrain from using that word if it causes offense.

    Thank you. It’s not that it causes offense, but that it undermines your argument, as we are talking about a nation-state that is NOT tyrannical.

    Who are we to say they were wrong for exercising what they believed was in their best interest?

    there are just some things that cannot be decided by one group of people alone because it adversely affects the rest of the population. Take for instance if you have a religious group that feels they need to reinstate human sacrifice as part of their religion. Should we allow them to practice that? After all, they are exercising what they believe to be in their best interest. The human sacrifice will be someone within their religion who willingly chooses to be sacrificed. Is that something that should be allowed?

    At some point, we have to appeal to a higher authority than ourselves because otherwise we end up in a stalemate that leads to war and destruction. The Founding Fathers appealed to a higher law, one above humanity because it would apply to EVERYONE regardless of the rules, cultures and discriminations of man. The Founding Fathers were barely unanimous in the creation of the Union, but they were viscerally divided over everything else. I side with the John Adams of the world, and I think the United States that survived the Civil War bore fruit worthy of the sacrifice and effort to keep the Union whole. I don’t think that the Southerners were looking out for the best interests of the principles of the Founding Fathers. The biggest reason why is slavery. Slavery, at the heart of the reason why the South felt they needed to rebel. They wished to continue the domination and control of another race solely based on color, against the principles upon which this nation of ours was founded. If they had not slavery, not only would there not be that great of an issue of them leaving the union on the principle that you espouse, that being that they felt that the Union government was no longer suited to their needs, but they wouldn’t need to leave in the first place! The rest of the country, and the expanding states westward were slave free. It was only a matter of time. This country was founded on the principle that all men are created equal on earth. How can Southern states make a claim that they espoused the principles of the creation of this Union when they wanted to continue the domination and slavery of another race? Slavery detrimentally undermined their argument.

  106. Mark,

    As for God employing coercion, according to D&C 121, when one attempts to “exercise control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men, in any degree of unrighteousness”, one’s Priesthood power and authority is completely withdrawn.

    Huh…when one attempts to “exercise control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men, in any degree of unrighteousness.” Surely you caught that. What about in “degrees of righteousness?” It seems that God here is talking about the ABUSE of the power to coerce. When used righteously, it seems it is okay. God is saying that when it is used unrighteously, amen to the priesthood of that brother. Or am I reading that wrong?

    Daniel, should divorce be outlawed?

    No. But it should be made more difficult to achieve.

    Since the colonists freed themselves from Britain by the shedding of blood (and it seems to me that you are saying that this is the price that must be paid in order to seceed), is that how divorce should operate? One can only leave the other if one is willing to kill the other?

    Please. The difference between international and family law is vast. The analogy works because it shows that in both cases, the rights of the offender are also taken into account. In international law, there is no great arbiter to settle the account or dispute between to conflicted parties. In family law, both sides already agree to be bound to the dictates of a judge.

  107. Daniel, according to http://www.madebysurvivors.com/SlaveryExists , slavery still goes on in the world:

    Where does Slavery and Trafficking Happen?

    Currently, the regions of the world with the most severe trafficking problems are Southeast Asia (the Mekong region including Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, Laos and Myanmar/Burma), South Asia (the Indian subcontinent, including India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka), the former Soviet Republics (including the Russian Federation, Ukraine, and the Czech Republic).

    Do we have a right and/or responsibility to send troops to all of these areas in order to put an end to it?

    Why or why not?

  108. “… in any degree of unrighteousness…”

    You don’t find any degree of unrightousness in the deaths of 600,000+ people who didn’t want to die?

  109. Mark,

    Do we have a right and/or responsibility to send troops to all of these areas in order to put an end to it?

    Nope. But we do in a nation that purports to believe that all men are created equal. You bet we do.

    You don’t find any degree of unrightousness in the deaths of 600,000+ people who didn’t want to die?

    You don’t find any degree of unrighteousness in the enslavement of an entire race based solely on the color of their skin? Really, Mark, why do you side with the South?

  110. Hmmm, I haven’t been cussing. I guess I’m winning the argument. 🙂

  111. Dear Daniel,

    If that is your understanding of our nations antebellum view of slavery, and the supposed reasons for the Southern War for Independence, then I feel we’ve hit an impass. If I can muster the time and energy to dive into the issue of American slavery with you, I will.

    But I’ll have to close today’s discussion with this.
    Many of those same men who penned those words, “All men are created equal” where card-carrying slaveowners – including Washington. Slavery was alive and well in our country long before the Constitution was created – yet there were no prohibitions included against it. Why? It was accepted across the board. Granted, shortly after the Constitution was ratified, a few states did begin to individually make it illegal to own slaves. Which again, strengthens the case of state sovereignty. But to suggest that the South was contiuning something, “against the principles upon which this nation of ours was founded” is completely inaccurate and revisionist to the core.

    As to the issue of slavery and the War, slavery wasn’t even mentioned by the North, i.e. Lincoln as a reason for going to war. The only reason Lincoln had was to “preserve the Union”. Let me close with a quote from that great defender and emancipator of the black race for your consideration,

    “I will say then that I am not, nor ever have been in favor of bringing about in anyway the social and political equality of the white and black races – that I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office (hmm…how bout Obama?), nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race.”

    ~ by: Abraham Lincoln(1809-1865) 16th US President Cited in: Fourth Debate with Stephen A. Douglas at Charleston, Illinois, September 18, 1858(The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume III, pp. 145-146.)

  112. David,

    This is getting frustrating. I don’t know how many times I have to quote the ACTUAL declarations of secession by each individual southern state before today’s Defenders of the South finally acknowledge that the reason the southern states seceded was because of SLAVERY. But let me quote them again.

    Georgia’s Official Declaration of Secession:

    The people of Georgia having dissolved their political connection with the Government of the United States of America, present to their confederates and the world the causes which have led to the separation. For the last ten years we have had numerous and serious causes of complaint against our non-slave-holding confederate States with reference to the subject of African slavery. They have endeavored to weaken our security, to disturb our domestic peace and tranquility, and persistently refused to comply with their express constitutional obligations to us in reference to that property, and by the use of their power in the Federal Government have striven to deprive us of an equal enjoyment of the common Territories of the Republic. This hostile policy of our confederates has been pursued with every circumstance of aggravation which could arouse the passions and excite the hatred of our people, and has placed the two sections of the Union for many years past in the condition of virtual civil war. Our people, still attached to the Union from habit and national traditions, and averse to change, hoped that time, reason, and argument would bring, if not redress, at least exemption from further insults, injuries, and dangers. Recent events have fully dissipated all such hopes and demonstrated the necessity of separation. Our Northern confederates, after a full and calm hearing of all the facts, after a fair warning of our purpose not to submit to the rule of the authors of all these wrongs and injuries, have by a large majority committed the Government of the United States into their hands. The people of Georgia, after an equally full and fair and deliberate hearing of the case, have declared with equal firmness that they shall not rule over them. 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. The question of slavery was the great difficulty in the way of the formation of the Constitution. While the subordination and the political and social inequality of the African race was fully conceded by all, it was plainly apparent that slavery would soon disappear from what are now the non-slave-holding States of the original thirteen. The opposition to slavery was then, as now, general in those States and the Constitution was made with direct reference to that fact.

    Note what their grievance is with the Government of the United States. Slavery.

    Let’s go on to the next one. Mississippi’s Official Declaration of Secession:

    In the momentous step which our State has taken of dissolving its connection with the government of which we so long formed a part, it is but just that we should declare the prominent reasons which have induced our course.

    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.

    It is the most amusing one of them all. But note their main reason. Slavery.

    Next one. Ah, Texas. Here you go:

    Texas abandoned her separate national existence and consented to become one of the Confederated Union to promote her welfare, insure domestic tranquility and secure more substantially the blessings of peace and liberty to her people. She was received into the confederacy with her own constitution, under the guarantee of the federal constitution and the compact of annexation, that she should enjoy these blessings. She was received as a commonwealth holding, maintaining and protecting the institution known as negro slavery– the servitude of the African to the white race within her limits– a relation that had existed from the first settlement of her wilderness by the white race, and which her people intended should exist in all future time. Her institutions and geographical position established the strongest ties between her and other slave-holding States of the confederacy. Those ties have been strengthened by association. But what has been the course of the government of the United States, and of the people and authorities of the non-slave-holding States, since our connection with them?

    Huh, Texas sides with those seeking slavery.

    How about South Carolina? Where it all started.

    We affirm that these ends for which this Government was instituted have been defeated, and the Government itself has been made destructive of them by the action of the non-slaveholding States. Those States have assume the right of deciding upon the propriety of our domestic institutions; and have denied the rights of property established in fifteen of the States and recognized by the Constitution; they have denounced as sinful the institution of slavery; they have permitted open establishment among them of societies, whose avowed object is to disturb the peace and to eloign the property of the citizens of other States. They have encouraged and assisted thousands of our slaves to leave their homes; and those who remain, have been incited by emissaries, books and pictures to servile insurrection.

    The South left the Union OVER SLAVERY! Can it be anymore clearer to you now?

    Slavery was alive and well in our country long before the Constitution was created – yet there were no prohibitions included against it. Why?

    Because the northern slave-free states knew quite well they would never get the Southern states on board unanimously if they were to really stand for what they just penned. It was a matter of time. get the southern states on board first, and then deal with the issue of slavery. Sadly, it cost the lives of 600,000 Americans (plus the countless other blacks that had to die in slavery before 1864). Maybe they fooled the Southern states into an agreement they never would have agreed to if they knew they would have to eventually give up slavery. The South should have realized the eventual inexorable outcome. Slavery would eventually have been abolished. They were just stubborn. 😛

    As to the issue of slavery and the War, slavery wasn’t even mentioned by the North, i.e. Lincoln as a reason for going to war.

    The North did not have to say anything. The South said it all, as I have just shown you. It doesn’t matter what the North says. The South left the Union over slavery. They said so themselves in their official declarations. You can’t beat official declarations my friend.

  113. So what if the Southern states all decided to walk away because of the slavery issue? Did that particular topic justify the gathering of “armies and navies, popes and priests” in order to stir up the population to bring about mass murder in retaliation? You don’t see mass murder as being worse than slavery?

    We’re horrified at the thought that some 4,000 people died on September 11, 2001. Well, let’s just imagine that every 10 days, for the next 4 years after that, we had another “911 event” with the same number of casualties. That would take us to 600,000 victims. You really think that the forced ending of slavery was worth that kind of a price?

    If you’re in favor of the shedding of blood in order to gain freedom (as in the Colonies vs. Britain), then shouldn’t it have been necessary for the slaves to revolt and win their own freedom at the cost of their own blood?

    Slavery was doomed eventually anyway. Technology would have eventually made it cost prohibitive.

    If the colonies had a right to secede from Britain, the Southern states had a right to secede from the Union. You can’t claim that the one attempt is justified and the other isn’t based on some attempt to paint the one as having a more “noble cause” than the other.

    That’s not to say that the desire to eliminate slavery was not a “noble cause”, for it certainly was. But how it justifies the equivalent of 150 “911 events” is beyond me.

  114. Mark,

    You’re getting WAAAY too melodramatic. Mass murder? Personally, I wasn’t horrified at 3000 dying on 9/11 (not 4000). Lots of people die violent political deaths around the world. America is just lucky it hasn’t experienced more.

    Slavery was doomed eventually anyway. Technology would have eventually made it cost prohibitive.

    You make the same argument as that other fellar. Slavery was NOT about economy! It always was about, and always will be about whites subjugating blacks, whites dominating and controlling blacks. Because of some perverse idea that blacks were descendants of Cain and thus should be punished for the sins of their father. That blacks should therefore be slaves to whites. THAT was what it was about. Or do you mean to tell me that you agree with the perverse view of the state of Mississippi that “none but the black race can handle the tropical sun?” Please!

  115. Daniel,

    Again, you’re being way too naive. Let’s back up. Slavery is/was wrong. In fact, bringing slaves into this country was probably the biggest mistake we’ve ever made – well… invading Iraq ranks up there. But you’re failing to see the big picture. Slavery wasn’t a Southern problem, IT WAS AN AMERICAN PROBLEM. If the framers of the Constitution were really interested in preserving the principle of equality of all men, then they would not have compromised on an issue as important as slavery. But the truth of the matter is, they didn’t see it as that significant of an issue – and moved right over it – some of them holding slaves all the while.

    Not one single slave was ever brought onto American soil by a ship flying a Confederate flag. Yet, most slaves were brought here on ships bearing the stars and bars. Additionally, most (I say most b/c there was one port in S.C.) of the slaves brought here came through ports in the north – mainly Boston. Wealthy northern businessmen financed trips around the world gathering up people to become slaves on southern plantations. Northern businessman got rich off selling human beings. There is enough guilt to spread around. It fascinates me when folks try to make slavery an exclusively southern issue. It’s anything but.

    Oddly enough, riots rampaged through north, particularly NYC, when word was spread that they were fighting to free black slaves. They went to war to ‘save the union’ – the ida of shedding their own blood to free slaves was unconsciousably to northerns. Many became draft dogers, and fled to Canada. Laws were enacted in northern states forbidding the entry of freed black slaves. In short, the north became a mess.

    Lincoln, in addition to his racist comments about blacks (noted above), he said that if he could save the union without freeing one single slave, he’d do so. And his idea for taking care of the problem of freed black slaves was to ship them out of the country – his choice was Liberia.

    So, slavery in America was an American issue. Both Northerners, and obviously Southerners owned slaves. And while Grant kept his slaves during the course of the war, Lee freed his upon inheriting them from his wife’s family (George Washington’s family). Linclon aboslihed slavery in rebellion areas, but keep slavery alive and well in non-secession areas of the country. Why? Lincoln could care-a-less about blacks being in bondage to slavery.

  116. David,

    If the framers of the Constitution were really interested in preserving the principle of equality of all men, then they would not have compromised on an issue as important as slavery.

    I’m not being naive at all. Thomas Jefferson said so himself that slavery was something they could not touch during the formation of the Constitution or they would never have gotten unanimity, and all would have been frustrated and never come to fruition.

    Not one single slave was ever brought onto American soil by a ship flying a Confederate flag. Yet, most slaves were brought here on ships bearing the stars and bars.

    Yep. But where did they go? To the Southern states, generally speaking.

    There is enough guilt to spread around. It fascinates me when folks try to make slavery an exclusively southern issue. It’s anything but.

    I’m not. What I am saying is that the South did not want to let go of slavery. Their declarations of secession proved that quite strongly. That was their stated reason for withdrawing from the Union. Read the declarations yourself again. The North knew they could not deal with slavery during the formation of the Constitution because the country was just not ready.

    They went to war to ’save the union’ – the ida of shedding their own blood to free slaves was unconsciousably to northerns.

    Dude! The Civil War did NOT have as its stated purpose to free the slaves. But the Civil War WAS ABOUT SLAVERY! The South left the union because of slavery. The North fought back to preserve the Union. During the war, they used the issue of slavery as a military strategy. By declaring emancipation, they forced southerners to deal with fleeing slaves.

    Lincoln could care-a-less about blacks being in bondage to slavery.

    Okay that’s just silly. If Lincoln had a choice between preserving the Union and freeing slaves, his priority would be preserving the Union. If preserving the Union wasn’t a question, what were his thoughts about blacks being free? Certainly more sincere than your blanket statement that he cared less about blacks being in bondage to slavery. Com’on dude. You’ve been smarter than this in our debate.

  117. I was going to wait for you to bring up the issue about how southern plantation owners who bought slaves couldn’t wait to get back home and start beating and whipping his new, very expensive investment to death, but I’ll save you the trouble.

    This is one of the grossest myths ever placed on the southren people – and utterly ridiculous to boot. Let me begin by saying atrocities did occur. We should not condone this. Yet, having said that, the conditions for a typical slave on a typial plantation were not that bad, and far better then from where he’ds been six months prior.

    At the height of the war, after Lincoln gave his emancipation order, his hope was to see a massive uprising of slaves accross the southland. Lincoln was well aware that 70-80% of able bodied southren men were off fighting the war. If the overwhelming majority of slave men had wanted to leave their plantation homes, they wouldn’t have found much resistance from the women children and little old men who remained. Rather remarkably( at least to some), what the northern military found as they marched throughout the south burning and pilliaging, was slaves willing to fight and defend their homes and families (including the plantation families).

    Many want to malign the character of the typical southerner, even when less than 1% of southerners could even afford to own a slave, and when the conditions in which the slaves lived were much better than they had been sixth months before landing here. It is easy to condemn a lie, the truth will not fall as easy.

    As an aside, as the industrial revolution swept through the north during the early part of the 20th century, many people still alive and their children as well, some black, some white, sought and found work in the factories of notherner businessmen after the southern cities & landscape had been decimated by northren total war tactics. Many former slaves and slave children and grandchildren commented that the conditions in an average northern factory was much more deplorable than any southern plantation they’d ever heard of. Factory owners treated their workers much worse than plantation owners ever did. Whereas a slave was an investment for a plantation owner that needed to be maximized for a good return on investment – factory workers making pennies a day were expendable. If one died because of hazard, exhaustion or otherwise, he, she or the little children (some as young a 6 and 7) were easily replaced with another cog in the wheel.

  118. David,

    I was going to wait for you to bring up the issue about how southern plantation owners who bought slaves couldn’t wait to get back home and start beating and whipping his new, very expensive investment to death, but I’ll save you the trouble.

    Uh, where the hell did I say something like that? Maybe you are referring to this comment:

    (plus the countless other blacks that had to die in slavery before 1864)

    I’m just talking about blacks who died as slaves, of whatever causes, old age, violent death, etc.

    Yet, having said that, the conditions for a typical slave on a typial plantation were not that bad, and far better then from where he’ds been six months prior.

    Are you kidding me? Far better than being in their own community among friends and family? In the culture they were raised up? You really think that Africa was a backward cannibalistic place before whites came along to “educate” those negroes?

    It is easy to condemn a lie, the truth will not fall as easy.

    I therefore condemn your lie. Life wasn’t better for slaves in America. They were FREEEEEEEE!!!!! IN AFRICA! They were with their families and friends. They were in their culture. Being enslaved in a whole new foreign land is NEVER better than that!

    Many former slaves and slave children and grandchildren commented that the conditions in an average northern factory was much more deplorable than any southern plantation they’d ever heard of.

    Ah, they should have remained as slaves. Forget this whole freedom crap.

    Factory owners treated their workers much worse than plantation owners ever did.

    At least until unions finally forced factory owners to treat their employees properly. But what does this have to do with being a slave vs being free? Absolutely nothing at all.

    Whereas a slave was an investment for a plantation owner that needed to be maximized for a good return on investment – factory workers making pennies a day were expendable. If one died because of hazard, exhaustion or otherwise, he, she or the little children (some as young a 6 and 7) were easily replaced with another cog in the wheel.

    Thank GOD for Unions.

  119. “If Lincoln had a choice between preserving the Union and freeing slaves, his priority would be preserving the Union. If preserving the Union wasn’t a question, what were his thoughts about blacks being free? Certainly more sincere than your blanket statement that he cared less about blacks being in bondage to slavery. Com’on dude. You’ve been smarter than this in our debate.”

    ~ Lincoln’s own words condemn him. He himself stated if he could preserve the union w/o freeing a single slave he’d do so. Those are his words not mine. His own words tell of his complete apathy about the issue of slavery. His actions confirm it in that he took no action to free slaves in non-rebel territory. Again, Lincoln preserved slavery where he had the power to abolish it!
    It is I that should be smarter in my debate, it was Lincoln who should have chosen his own condemning words more carefully in his political debates and career.

  120. “Are you kidding me? Far better than being in their own community among friends and family?”

    ~ Do your homework. The slave trade was alive and well in Africa. Africans bought and sold their own people to slave traders who came from all over the world. Those people who were brought to America as slaves were already in bondge. They certainly weren’t home sipping tea. Africa is still one of the few places on earth were slavery still occurs today! So, yes the civilized conditions of southern slavery were much better than in Africa in the 18th & 19th centuries.

  121. David,

    You are still not getting it. Between a choice of preserving the Union or freeing slaves, Lincoln chose to preserve the Union. I would too. But if he didn’t have to choose between the two, i.e. if he could have both, would he free slaves? you BET he would! Do you get it now?

    I’m really bothered by how defenders of the south really have a hard time understanding this concept.

    Let me put it simply

    1. The South seceded because they wanted to continue the practice of slavery.

    2. The North fought back to preserve the Union.

    3. During the war, the North used Emancipation as a military strategy to weaken the South.

    4. Slaves were declared no longer slaves within the United States of America.

    Is that clear enough for you?

  122. So you let those factory owners off scott-free b/c unions stepped in to proctect the workers, yet you still condemn southerners for ownig slaves even though slavery was abolished? Interesting.

    We all should be grateful slavery was ended, just as we all should be grateful industry was finally held accountable for it’s actions as well.

    As one final note, I’ll doubt you’ll believe this but…

    By 1865, slave labor was already on it’s way out as inefficient. Most scholars agree that slavery would have been done away with in ten more years through natural economic forces, and without the cost of hundreds of thousands of lives.

  123. David,

    Yes, the slave trade was alive and well in Africa. Yes, Africans traded slaves between themselves and others.

    But no, the “civilized” life of the South was not better for those Africans brought over than what it was in Africa. Sorry, but it’s just not so.

    Just curious, why do you defend slavery? Does it really matter what Africans did to each other? Why was it okay for the whites to do it too?

    In any case, we’re off topic here.

    Back to the main topic, the South was not keeping the principles of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, and they had to be taught a lesson. I’m saddened that many today (particularly in the Republican party!!!) defend slave owning South. What a shame.

  124. 1. The South seceded because they wanted to continue the practice of slavery.

    2. The North fought back to preserve the Union.

    3. During the war, the North used Emancipation as a military strategy to weaken the South.

    4. Slaves were declared no longer slaves within the United States of America.

    Is that clear enough for you?

    ~ Yes, and by and large I’d agree with this. The only quibble I might have is that slavery wasn’t the only reason the South desired secession. But it was a main one. It was a subset of greater states rights matters. The South wanted the states to reserve the right to be a slave state or not, among other things. The Fed’s wanted to keep any new states from being slave states. Why? Not b/c of the slaves, they wanted free white lands.

  125. David,

    So you let those factory owners off scott-free b/c unions stepped in to proctect the workers, yet you still condemn southerners for ownig slaves even though slavery was abolished?

    You think I let factory owners, and business owners (like Rockefeller) scott free? Hell no! There is little difference between them and anyone else who rides on the backs of their workers. Slavery is far different than working at a factory. The biggest difference? YOU ARE FREE!!! You can choose out of your own free will NOT to work at the factory. As a slave, you CANNOT choose to leave the plantation. If you did, your owner could justifiably KILL you!

    By 1865, slave labor was already on it’s way out as inefficient. Most scholars agree that slavery would have been done away with in ten more years through natural economic forces, and without the cost of hundreds of thousands of lives.

    Then blame the stubborn south. It was they who rebelled. Not the north. Blame the south for the deaths of those 600,000 to preserve the Union. If the South but realized that the future was not in slaves, then 600,000 Americans would not have died. Why do you want to blame those deaths on the North? It was the South who fired first. It was the south who broke the Union. It was the south that acted illegally and unconstitutionally. They are to blame for those deaths, not the north.

  126. “But no, the “civilized” life of the South was not better for those Africans brought over than what it was in Africa. Sorry, but it’s just not so. ”

    ~ Sorry, but it is. Even if we just consider the influence Christianity had on our society, those influences led to a more civilized and comfortable condition. Many Africans recieved the gospel through American slavery, something that wouldn’t have occurred in Africa. But we can agree to disagee here.

    “Just curious, why do you defend slavery?”

    ~ Who said I was defending slavery? I have said I’m grateful slavery was abloshed. I said bringing slaves here was a grave mistake. Most southerners regretted slavery, including Lee.

    I am very comfortable defending the right of the South, or any people for that matter to defend and fight for their best interest, to preserve their right to self-determination and to defend their liberties. And while the issue of slavery is unfortunatley intermingled in this matter as it relates to the WBTS, the principles I’m advocating were as true then as they were for our first war for independence.

  127. Then blame the stubborn south.

    ~ I’m not looking to blame anyone really, but apparently you are.

    It was they who rebelled.

    ~ They seceeded, legally mind you.

    Not the north. Blame the south for the deaths of those 600,000 to preserve the Union.

    ~ The north invaded the south to refortify it’s miliatry posts. Lincoln instigated a defensive strike on southern soil.

    If the South but realized that the future was not in slaves, then 600,000 Americans would not have died.

    ~ If Lincoln hadn’t been a power hungry greedy politican they wouldn’t have died.

    Why do you want to blame those deaths on the North?

    ~ B/C it was the north rampaging through the south not visa versa. In fact in the one opportunity the south had to capture Washington, they didn’t, They were simply defedning their own land.

    It was the South who fired first.

    ~ Again, Lincoln’s aggressive actions cased this.

    It was the south who broke the Union.

    ~ So what? It was their right to self-determination to do so.

    It was the south that acted illegally and unconstitutionally.

    ~ Unconstitutionally? Where does the constitution say states don’t have a right to leave the union?

    They are to blame for those deaths, not the north.

    ~ Umm, yea, right.

  128. David,

    I am very comfortable defending the right of the South, or any people for that matter to defend and fight for their best interest, to preserve their right to self-determination and to defend their liberties

    Even when those “interests” were to preserve the enslavement of another race? Sorry, but I do draw a line somewhere, and on this issue, that is my line. The South deserved what they got because they refused to accept the abolishment of slavery.

    The north invaded the south to refortify it’s miliatry posts. Lincoln instigated a defensive strike on southern soil.

    But the South fired first. They began. They also seceded first. They started it all. It was their fault. If, as you say, it was only a matter of time before slavery would have been abolished, why didn’t the South just wait it out? Surely their state rights would not have been an issue if slavery were indeed abolished, would you not agree?

    Again, Lincoln’s aggressive actions cased this.

    Nope, it was the south, not wanting to just wait it out until those supposed economic conditions forced them to give up slavery. The South started the war, the South tried to destroy the Union, and the South paid for it.

    Umm, yea, right.

    Thank you for agreeing. 🙂

  129. “the South was not keeping the principles of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, and they had to be taught a lesson.”

    ~ Your words are telling here, in that they reflect very closely the words of Sherman as he and his men tore through southern lands, making war on women and children (including blacks mind you), burning down homes, slaughtering every animal they came across and reportedly, raping and pillaging at will. He thought the southern citizens, no matter their afflilation with the war were simply “getting what they deserved” and were “being taught a lesson”.

    May God help us all if this is what Northern civility looks like.

    On other note, whenever two nations go to war, there will always be enough blame to go around. The South erred in many things, as did the North. I honestly believe the religious and spiritual temperment in the North had wained a great deal, and modernism and secularism had already begin to creep in and compromise the Christian influences in the North before the South. Yet by the end of Reconstuction, the South had succumb in the end as well.

    Having said that, I believe the principles of freedom and self-determination abided in both the War of Independence and the Civil War. Even if, and I’m not saying there were, laws prohibiting a people from exercising those rights, I’d be in favor of following our God-given rights, instead of man in that case. I like said, while I am a Southren apologist, I’m an apologist of a principle, a principle I believe is derived from God and granted to any people. We are all created in the image of our Maker and all have certain inalienable rights. And just because greedy power hungey politicans in any given government, be it in England or Washington think otherwise, don’t make them any less true for with living and in if necessary, dying for. Give me liberty or give me death.

  130. “Even when those “interests” were to preserve the enslavement of another race?”

    ~ The interest was to preserve a right to self-determination, a right to dissolve the union, over and against Lincoln’s assessment of a pertual union. Slavery was a symptom, states rights in general were the real cause – something Lincoln set out to abolish.

    “But the South fired first. ”

    ~ If someone was invading my home, I’d shot first too!

    “They also seceded first.”

    ~ And it would have been peaceably if Lincoln had not ordered troops to invade the South. The South didn’t go looking for a war, the war came to them.

    ~ “the South tried to destroy the Union”

    ~ They didn’t tryto destroy the union. This is gross mischaracterzation. They simply wanted to exercise their right to leave. Any other states desiring to stay would have preserved the remaining union. There is no such thing as a perpetual union, or government for that matter.

  131. Following the Declaration of Independence, each colony established by law the legitimacy of its own sovereignty as a state. Each one drew up, voted upon, and then ratified its own state constitution, which declared and defined its sovereignty as a state. Realizing that they could not survive upon the world stage as thirteen individual sovereign nations, the states then joined together formaly into a confederation of states, but only for the purposes of negotiating treaties, waging war, and regulating foreign commerce.

    Now notice this… The Articles of Confederation spelled out clearly where the real power lay. Article II said, “Each state retains its sovereignty, freedom, and independence, and every power, jurisdiction, and right, which is not by this confederation expressly delegated to the United States, in Congress assembled.” The Article also prohibited the secession of any member state (“the union shall be perpetual,” Article XIII) unless all of the states agreed to dissolve the Articles.

    But then look here… One major difference between the AoC and the Constitution is that the Constitution makes no mention of “perpetual union,” and it did not contain any prohibition against the secession of states from the union. The point was raised in the convention: Should there be a “perpetual union” clause in the Constitution? The delegates voted it down, and the states were left free to secede under the Constitution, which remains the U. S. government charter today.

    So while the AoC did make mention of secession as an illegal act, and a perpetual union – the Constitution was intententionally drafted in such a manner as to contain neither of the prohibitions. Again, these central issues are passed over with silence and intentioniality.

    After the election of Thomas Jefferson, the Federalist Party in New England was so upset that for more than ten years they plotted to secede. The party actually held a secession convention in Hartford, Connecticut, in 1814. Although they ultimately decided not to leave the Union, nobody really questioned the fundamental right of state secession. In fact, the leader of the whole movement, Massachusetts Senator Timothy Pickering, referenced the American Revolution. Even John Quincy Adams, who was a staunch unionist, said in an 1839 speech about secession that in “dissolving that which can no longer bind, we would have to leave the separated parts to be reunited by the law of political gravitation to the center.”

    And in a famous quote, Alexander Hamilton said, “to coerce the states is one of the maddest projects that was ever devised.” These men, and many others, understood that there was a right of secession, and that the federal government would have no right to force anybody to remain in the Union.

    One final thought for now: After the war, Jefferson Davis, the President of the Confederacy, was arrested and placed in prison prior to a trial. The trial was never held, because the chief justice of the Supreme Court, Mr. Salmon Portland Chase, informed President Andrew Johnson that if Davis were placed on trial for treason the United States would lose the case because nothing in the Constitution forbids secession. That is why no trial of Jefferson Davis was held, despite the fact that he wanted one. They refused to try him b/c they knew they had no legal case!

  132. David,

    The interest was to preserve a right to self-determination, a right to dissolve the union, over and against Lincoln’s assessment of a pertual union

    Self-determination. What about for blacks? It’s nice that the white folks of the South could demand that they decide for themselves. It’s really sad and very hypocritical of them though, because they refused to allow blacks the same privilege. Sorry, but their argument and yours on “self-determination” is fatally flawed because of SLAVERY!

    And it would have been peaceably if Lincoln had not ordered troops to invade the South. The South didn’t go looking for a war, the war came to them.

    True enough. Lincoln could have let them go. The North didn’t have to try and stop them. But then the Union that our Forefathers fought and died for would have perished. Sad, but that’s how it is. The North fought the same war as the Revolutionary warriors did. They fought to preserve the Constitution and the Union created. The South wanted to destroy it, probably because they would not have joined in the first place if they had known the push to remove slavery from the Union in later years.

    As to your final comment, clearly the Founders were divided over many things, including this one. John Adams preferred a strong central government (as do I). George Washington warned in his farewell address against those who wish to tear the union apart. Andrew Jackson warned against it too. I side with them. They won, in the end, and our nation has flourished under this system.

  133. It seems we’re getting somewhere…

    “Self-determination. What about for blacks?”

    ~ I as well as many southerners then as well as now understand the contradiction here. The TRUTH of the right to self-determination is what make slavery wrong! You can’t deny the wrongness of slavery and then turn around and deny a people’s right to freedom and self-determination. The fact that the South (an all America for a time even from the formation of the Constitution) was inconsisent doesn’t negate the truth claim. A people have a right to self-determination – including blacks! I appreciate your affirming this.

    “True enough. Lincoln could have let them go.”

    ~ Ah. And then only the South would have been responsible for their actions. But he didn’t. He didn’t uphold the rights and priviledges he swore to uphld in the Constitution which gave him no authority to go after them. The South didn’t want to destroy the union, they wanted to peaceably leave it. Lincoln denied them that. And as a result of the imperialism begun by a greedy Lincoln adminstration who sweep the Constitution under the rug, we are now trying to police almost every nation on earth. Way to go Abe!

  134. David,

    You can’t deny the wrongness of slavery and then turn around and deny a people’s right to freedom and self-determination.

    Actually you can. By what measure you mete, it shall be meted unto you. If you deny a people their own right to freedom, why shouldn’t your right to freedom be curtailed too? PARTICULARLY if your intent in that freedom is to continue the enslavement of another people! Sorry, but the South were not living the principles they supposedly believed in. “None but the black race can work under a tropical sun?” That’s what whites in Mississippi thought.

    Individuals hare a right to self determination. States do not. Big difference.

    And as a result of the imperialism begun by a greedy Lincoln adminstration who sweep the Constitution under the rug, we are now trying to police almost every nation on earth.

    Oh please. Our policeman of the world activities are not what they are thanks to Lincoln. You can thank James Monroe for that. Oh yeah, he’s a Southerner to boot.

  135. I want to say, I appreciate your willingness to dig into this matter. I’ve dealt with individuals who have no clue what their talking about. And more than anything, it is simply frustrating to know so many Americans are ignorant of their own past.

    We may not agree, but please be informed. That’s my exhortation to my neighbors and friends. I hope we can all come to agree with that great nobleman and Christian gentlemen Robert E. Lee when he wrote,

    “What a cruel thing is war: to separate and destroy families and friends, and mar the purest joys and happiness God has granted us in this world; to fill our hearts with hatred instead of love for our neighbors, and to devastate the fair face of this beautiful world”

    Deo Vindice!

  136. “Individuals hare a right to self determination. States do not.”

    ~ If States are not able to exerice the will of the people, then there is no freedom of self-determination.

    “By what measure you mete, it shall be meted unto you. If you deny a people their own right to freedom, why shouldn’t your right to freedom be curtailed too?”

    ~ Which is why it was grossly hypocritical for Lincoln to pretend he cared about freeing slaves in the South, all the while perpetuating slavery in the North. You can’t have it both ways!

  137. It is fascinating to watch, as thepolitical winds changed, so did Lincoln’s message. For instance take this mind-boggling Lincoln quote prior to Southern secession:

    “Any people anywhere, being inclined and having the power, have the right to rise up, and shake off the existing government, and form a new one that suits them better. This is a most sacred right—a right, which we hope and believe, is to liberate the world…. Nor is this right confined to cases in which the whole people of an existing government may choose to exercise it. Any portion of such people that can, may revolutionize, and make their own, of so much territory as they inhabit.”

    Umm, Hello?

    Speaking of Madision, in Federalist Paper 39, James Madison, the father of the Constitution, clarified what “the people” meant when he said that the proposed Constitution would be subject to ratification by the people, “not as individuals composing one entire nation, but as composing the distinct and independent States to which they respectively belong.”

    In a word, states were sovereign self-determining entities; the federal government was a creation, an agent, a servant of the states.

  138. My apologies, you said Monroe, not Madision.

  139. David,

    If States are not able to exerice the will of the people, then there is no freedom of self-determination.

    Why states and not the federal? Are you telling me that the federal cannot exercise the will of the people? As I see numerous democracies around the world, it seems to me that the federal does a pretty decent job at doing the will of the people throughout the world. Why the focus on states?

    Which is why it was grossly hypocritical for Lincoln to pretend he cared about freeing slaves in the South, all the while perpetuating slavery in the North.

    He didn’t perpetuate slavery in the north, nor was his focus to abolish slavery immediately or even completely.

    Yeah, I was talking about Monroe and the Monroe Doctrine. You stated that it was thanks to Lincoln that we became the policemen of the world. But really, it was Monroe who began that.

    I tell you, those southerners. Always causing such a mess that Northerners must clean up. 😉

  140. Daniel,

    “Why states and not the federal?”

    Sure. So if you agree that it can occur on a federal level, which i’m willing to concede, then hy not a state?

    “He (Lincoln) didn’t perpetuate slavery in the north”

    You’re kidding right? During Lincoln’s adminstration slavery went on in the north as usual. He never took any measures to abolish it in non-secession areas, where his authority was actually recognized. Even the great Emanicaption document only espoused freedom for slaves in seccession states, and not even in some entire states. In states like La. where there was an area of strong northern sympathy, some counties were exempt from the proclamation and were able to keep slaves. Lincoln was the real black man’s man.

    BTW,if I had been living back then and I read where Lincoln said this:

    “Any people anywhere, being inclined and having the power, have the right to rise up, and shake off the existing government, and form a new one that suits them better. This is a most sacred right—a right, which we hope and believe, is to liberate the world…. Nor is this right confined to cases in which the whole people of an existing government may choose to exercise it. Any portion of such people that can, may revolutionize, and make their own, of so much territory as they inhabit.”

    … I know I would have felt like he certain favored the right for a certain people to seceed. Who knew he’d crawfish on his own words to the degree that he did?

  141. David,

    Sure. So if you agree that it can occur on a federal level, which i’m willing to concede, then hy not a state?

    Because the federal is above the state. Frankly, I think the balance between states and federal right now is quite good. It is messy, but fairly functional.

    As to the rest, I really don’t care what Lincoln thought or did in terms of slavery. It was not he who tried to break the Union over it, but the southern states. The northern states were headed in the right direction. You are stretching here to try and defend the south. It doesn’t matter. They stood for slavery and had to learn the hard way to change.

  142. Daniel,

    “Because the federal is above the state.”

    ~ Actually w/o the states, they’d be no federal. As Madison, the father of the Constitution, so clearly deliniated in what “the people” meant when he said that the Constitution would be subject to ratification by the people, “not as individuals composing one entire nation, but as composing the distinct and independent States to which they respectively belong.” Individuals compose their respective states, not the nation, or so says the father of the Constitution, but what does he know?

    “As to the rest, I really don’t care what Lincoln thought or did in terms of slavery.”

    This is actually a quite remarkable statement. Lincoln is heralded in every single high-school textbook, every college history class, and the Obama voting public’s eye as the Moses of the black man – parting the tepid waters of the South and delieving the blacks out of bondage. I mean that is his legacy, above all else. And you don’t care if it’s all a lie. Again, I find that interesting.

    If you’re going to say that you don’t care that history has been rewritten to accomodate a man who is attributed with divine-like qualities in the eyes of our nation, but who in reality was a bigotted racist who didn’t consider a black person as much more than an animal, and who considered the white man as the black man’s “superior” – who didn’t care if one single slave was freed, but go to condmn the very few, the gross minority of southerners who could even afford to own slaves and have yet died in obscurity, I’m not sure what else to say. I will simply respond,

    “Live not by lies” ~ Alexander Solzhenitsyn

  143. What does Madison know? Madison knows that he believes one thing and other Founding Fathers believe other things. They were not in unison. I stand with George Washington. I quoted him in this post at the top. He makes more sense to me than Madison does. He is who I follow in this case.

    This is actually a quite remarkable statement. Lincoln is heralded in every single high-school textbook, every college history class, and the Obama voting public’s eye as the Moses of the black man – parting the tepid waters of the South and delieving the blacks out of bondage. I mean that is his legacy, above all else. And you don’t care if it’s all a lie. Again, I find that interesting.

    But it’s NOT a lie. Did Lincoln declare Emancipation or not? Did someone else? If Lincoln declared blacks free then he freed blacks. Did it mean that everything was perfect and blacks were suddenly equal with whites? Of course not! Did it mean that in all places everywhere in America, north or south, that blacks were all free? Of course not! But he forced that change that, to that point, hadn’t happened. We may have talked, as a nation, about all men being equal, and not in servitude, but to actually do it. Lincoln started it. It is NOT A LIE! The South that you defend has LIED TO YOU!

    History is definitely written by the victors. I wonder what lies would have been written if the South won…what an awful world that would have been.

  144. If Lincoln declared blacks free then he freed blacks.

    That’s always especially effective when you announce laws (such as the Emancipation Proclamation) that are to take effect, not in a geographical location that you control, but one that you don’t and whose citizens no longer consider you to be their national leader.

    Good one, Abe.

  145. Mark,

    It led to it being applied everywhere. That’s good enough for me. What ever did the South do to free blacks?

  146. I don’t know if the Constitution guarantees a right of secession but that’s a illogical argument. It doesn’t *actually* matter if it’s legal or not.

    A better questions is based on the moral question “Should the right be denied?”

    Laws do not.. as much as we would like to believe.. always reflect morality. (Internment of the Japneese was legal but immoral.) It was Martin Luther King Jr. showed us as a nation that it’s a good persons *duty* to break bad and immoral laws, and I believe that is true. Government being nothing without the people could not have powers the people themselves do not have so in this case, one must ask “Is it really moral to kill someone who wishes to leave a voluntary union?”

    Also.. American’s philosophical concept of rights is rooted in whats called “The Lockean Theory of Rights” from the 17th century. This theory express that natural rights exist not because they are provided by a higher power, but because no higher power exists. In other words, you don’t have rights because a government or a King allowed you to have them, but because all men are equal an other equal men do not have the power to *deny* a right to you. This is the basis for the “negative right” concept or as Locke put it “I have the right to be left alone from your forceful actions upon me, and you have the right to be left alone from my forceful actions upon you.” So if that is true, we must then ask “From where does the Federal Government get the power to to deny a State from it’s right of secession?”

    I believe they do not have any moral authority nor do they have any such power to prevent any such right from existing.. thus the right MUST exist.

  147. JayDee,

    You make a nice point, but the flaw is right at the end. You quote Locke and say, essentially, that the right is for individuals to say that no one can force upon them and they can’t force upon someone else. But then you apply it to a state entity, not an individual entity. The “rights” of states are vastly different than the rights of individuals. To make a claim that the rights that individuals have on equal grounds should be the same that states have just doesn’t work. A state is a GOVERNMENT institution. A state is just a smaller version of a federal government. A state does the same thing in forcing individuals within that state to accept the dictates that the ruling body of that state desires. Minorities are oppressed within that state just as they would be within a federal government. A “state” is not “the people.” A state is not an individual.

    Yes, individuals have rights that are undeniable and unalienable. Individuals are equal. But states are not. Because states are the will of the majority against the minority. There always has been inequality, always will be inequality.

    The irony is that the modern day defenders of the south claim to talk about equality but they defend the very states that wished to perpetuate the ultimate inequality, the enslavement of another human being based on a judgment of the color of that other person’s skin! How dare any defender of the south make a claim on the grounds of equality!

  148. The irony is that the modern day defenders of the south claim to talk about equality but they defend the very states that wished to perpetuate the ultimate inequality, the enslavement of another human being based on a judgment of the color of that other person’s skin!

    Therefore, to bring justice about, we shall make slaves of the states themselves, and forbid them to leave a voluntary union.

    In order to have less slavery at one level, we must have more of it at a higher level.

  149. Com’on Mark. Tell me. Did Locke ever talk about freedom of the state? I mean, really. This is very very silly.

  150. Admit it, Daniel: Lincoln turned the Union into a far bigger slaveholder than the plantations of the South ever brought forth. The southern states were to be regarded as the property of the northern states and simply would not be allowed to leave the union. Just another case of having to destroy the village in order to save it; or, maybe a comparison to the unhappy abusive husband who would rather kill his wife than let her go free wouldn’t be too far from the mark, either.

  151. That’s something I will never admit to, Mark, because, frankly, states do not have inherent inalienable rights like individuals have. Never have. Never will. States are government institutions, not individuals.

  152. Tell me, Mark. Who created the states? Did God create them? Or did man?

  153. Of course man created the states, just like the states (composed of men) created the federal government.

    I don’t think the United States were ever meant to be a suicide pact, Daniel. Was Lincoln our first national Godfather? Once you’re in, you can never get out? Lincoln made the South an offer they couldn’t refuse?

    I guess the South went about it all wrong. If only they had made polygamy their issue, the North would have only been too happy to see them leave the Union. Worked for the Mormons.

  154. Mark,

    1. So you do agree with me that states do not have the same inalienable rights of individuals. Yet you continue the tripe about the enslavement of states within the Union.

    2. On the issue of polygamy and leaving the Union. You hit upon the correct point. A state can leave the Union if the other states of the Union agree. If they don’t, you can’t leave.

    3. Um, George Washington would have been the first Godfather, not Lincoln. It was George Washington who implored the nation that the Federal was of more importance than the individual States. And he was a Southerner too.

  155. Daniel,

    I’m concerned about your method of interpreting the Constitution. Many posts back you stated that since the Constitution grants the States no positive right to secession that secession must be unconstitutional.

    Well, the Constitution doesn’t say with any specificity what the States may or may not do. On the other hand, it delineates with a great deal of specificity the powers of the Federal Gov’t. Regarding the States, all the Constitution says is what’s written in Article 10:

    “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States or respectively to the people.”

    Since the Constitution doesn’t prohibit secession, it is obviously constitutional.

  156. Jack,

    The Constitution was designed to delineate the powers of the Federal government and what was acceptable conduct within the United States. Clearly the writers of the Constitution allowed each state to have its own Constitution to set laws within each state, provided that they adhered to the overall Constitution of the entire United States. Obviously the Constitution of the United States was not going to delineate the rules of the various states.

    I’ve offered my support in the original post why I deem South Carolina’s (and the rest of them) decision unconstitutional and need not repeat them in this comment.

  157. No government ever provided rules for its own dissolution, and you won’t find any in the Constitution that allow for the peaceful dismantling of the nation. A people cannot overthrow the laws that bind them, while claiming to be acting within those laws. They can only appeal for their sanction to those moral principles upon which laws and rights depend, as the Founders did in the Declaration of Independence. Although people always have the right to rebel against tyranny, they do not have the right to rebel against a free government in order to establish or preserve a tyranny. The Confederacy was a tyranny. It was a nation of the slave-holders, for the slave-holders, and by the slave-holders. The North, therefore, had every right to stop its founding.

    Lincoln, in his wisdom, knew that there would be a war sooner or later. The question of the expansion of slavery into the western territories was not settled by secession. The question of the return of fugitive slaves was not settled by secession. There would be more fighting over those two questions, just like there had been in Kansas, but it would be between the citizens of two nations, instead of civil unrest within one. War would follow. It was better to have it sooner rather than later.

    That the leaders of South Carolina did not have the patience to negotiate an end to the occupation of the Federal forts, that they chose to fire on Sumter when it was going to have to be abandoned in a few more days anyway, shows how eager they were for war. It shows how arrogantly they believed in their ability to defeat the North. There would have been no way for the North to establish peaceful relations with such neighbors. It would have been impossible to negotiate satisfactory resolutions to the issues that divided them. They showed in their actions that war would be the only way to resolve the dispute.

    I was born in central Alabama. My ancestors came from Georgia, and before that, North Carolina. My great-great-grandfather was a private in the 53rd GA regiment, CSA. I give thanks every day that his side lost, that Lincoln had the wisdom not to allow the existence of a slave state on his southern border. When I think of what sort of country I would have been born into if the Confederacy had succeeded, I know that those Yankees who died in that war freed me just as surely as they freed the slaves, and I am grateful to them.

  158. Daniel,

    I’m sorry, but you really haven’t given any support for your reasoning. You’ve provided a lot of quotes from George Washington and Andrew Jackson, but you have not answered the fundamental question about what a State can and cannot do. If you want to argue that secession is unconstitutional because it’s not specifically enumerated in the Constitution, then you must explain how it is constitutional for the States to do any of the things that they do – build roads and bridges, fund Universities, and enact laws to regulate behavior, for example – when none of those things are specifically enumerated to the States.

    Also, you’ve completely ignored the point made in previous posts that 3 states made their ratification of the Constitution conditional upon their ability to secede if they desired.

  159. Jack,

    The Supreme Court DID answer the “fundamental question about what a State can and cannot do.” I quoted from Texas v White in the post. Please reread. Secession is unconstitutional.

  160. “Even when those “interests” were to preserve the enslavement of another race? Sorry, but I do draw a line somewhere, and on this issue, that is my line. The South deserved what they got because they refused to accept the abolishment of slavery.”

    You’re using the same logic here for the Civil War that Bush and the neocons used for the Iraq War – they refused to accept OUR morals and OUR demands so time to die.

    I wonder if anyone’s heard of this case:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Republic_of_Lakotah

    I just spent time reading most of the argument from 2007 until about January 2009, very interesting and thought-provoking stuff. I know Daniel was alone in his argument but I am pretty firm in my agreement with the right to secession by now.

  161. Harry,

    1. That’s not the rationale used by Bush and the neo-cons.

    2. The issue of slavery was not as important as the fact that if the South succeeded, America would have been destroyed. The fact that they wanted to secede over slavery makes their argument all the more abhorrent.

    3. The Republic of Lakotah? gimme a break.

  162. Daniel,

    There is something that you left out of your second point, and that is the fact that the US, as a free nation, had the moral right to preserve itself from destruction. The South, as a slave state, had no moral right to exist. Those are important points. Without them, you would just end up endorsing the status quo, and claiming that any nation has the right to squash rebellion regardless of how tyrannical it is.

  163. Daniel,

    Do you consider the justices of the Supreme Court to be infallible Gods that do no wrong? Is it possible that the court that considered Texas v. White, with Chief Justice Salmon Chase (a Lincoln appointee), decided the case based on something other than the Constitution or the intent of the ratifiers? The right of secession was widely understood and accepted by those who ratified the Constitution, and you continue to ignore and have no answer to the fact that 3 states made ratification conditional upon their right to secede. Yet you and the Chase court deem the intent of the ratifiers irrelevant and just rule as you wish.

  164. Jack,

    The Founders created a system where the Supreme Court was the final arbiter of the Constitution. The only thing above the Supreme Court was the will of the entire body (the whole Union). The Supreme Court ruled that secession was unconstitutional. The will of the people of the Union was that secession was unconstitutional and constituted a fatal threat to the idea and notion of America. Deal with it.

  165. I might deal with it if it were true, but it is not so clear cut. Many of the founders were strongly opposed to the idea of judicial review and you’re going to have to familiarize yourself a little better with those founders before you run around claiming they made the Supreme Court the final arbiter of the Constitution. They did not. The court under Marbury claimed the power for itself. That’s called usurpation.

    You’ve made it crystal clear that you don’t care much for the men who ratified the Constitution, the men who were promised repeatedly that the Judiciary would be the least powerful branch of Government and who never would have ratified the Constitution had they believed otherwise.

    If you’re looking for some insight into how most founders and ratifiers felt, Thomas Jefferson makes a pretty good representative:

    “Certainly there is not a word in the Constitution which has given that power to them more than to the Executive or Legislative branches.”

    “…the opinion which gives to the judges the right to decide what laws are constitutional and what not, not only for themselves in their own sphere of action but for the Legislature and Executive also in their spheres, would make the Judiciary a despotic branch.”

    “To consider the judges as the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questions [is] a very dangerous doctrine indeed, and one which would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy.”

  166. Jack,

    Because of course the Founders agreed on everything. . . As you say, many Founders were strongly opposed, while many were strongly for. This was true for almost everything. Only one thing actually united the Founding Fathers – the creation of a United States, a fusion of disparate and highly diverse states/regions. It was amazing that they pulled it off.

    But to try to undermine the final ruling of a “Supreme” court because some of the Founding Fathers disagreed with it just doesn’t work, Jack. This is what they set in motion. They argued about the efficacy of having set up such powers. They tried to argue down the power of such judges, but by the very fact that they had to argue those powers down shows that they understood the inherent power of judges. The system they created became a living entity.

    You may not like the ruling of Texas V White, but that ruling comes from the creation that our Founding Fathers created. If you truly think they had done correctly in their creation, then you’ll accept that ruling. Otherwise, your efforts are really to destroy the rule of law. Because you agree with those who only want to follow whatever laws they want to follow. Well, what the hell are laws for then?!?!?!

  167. “That’s not the rationale used by Bush and the neo-cons.”

    Sure it is. It’s one part of their rationale. We didn’t want them messing with WMDs because we were afraid of what they’d do with them. We didn’t like their style of government because it wasn’t our style of government. So we went in to take care of these things. This is the same rationale you have used in regards to the Civil War.

  168. Noticed while reading the posts that the only one to call themself good is also the only one to lose it and drop the f-bomb.

  169. Um, Mackubin Thomas Owens works for the Naval War College. I’d say he has a little more that some historical bias.

    I will quickly respond to this quote:
    “There comes a time when the whole supersedes the individual.”

    That’s the definition of communism.

  170. AND, if the Federal Govenment creates the States, how does these words of the Constitution make any sense?

    “The Ratification of the Conventions of nine States, shall be sufficient for the ESTABLISHMENT of this Constitution BETWEEN the States so ratifying the Same.”

  171. MAW,

    Methinks you will say anything is a definition of communism. Methinks you’ll say that the sun rising in the morning at the same time every day is the definition of communism. That’s how little you know of the definition of communism.


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