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Friday, September 10, 2010

Do States Have The Right Of Secession

"Civil War" battle scene, circa 1860-1865.
With American Politics heating up, for the first time in a century and a half, many Americans are now revisiting the same political questions as our earlier ancestors. Among these very troubling issues are: Hard-Lined State Sovereignty, Jurisdictional Nullification, and [even] Lawful Secession. The fact, that our Federalized Republican Union is increasingly forcing these issues - by its overbearing and all encompassing political nature - is now well established... for such drastic political measures aren't easily, or lightly, being considered by anyone.

After all, our last attempt at peaceably walking away from an ongoing political argument, resulted in America's most destructive war upon historical record! Like an: abusive, compulsive, and obsessive spouse - our Federal Government doesn't believe in divorce and the Supreme Court is largely afraid of her, for very good reasons. In such instances, they do not have any real enforcement mechanism at their own political disposal! Without an ability to back up their decisions, they are forced to concede whatever points are dictated upon America's inevitable battlefields. Case in point, the Supreme Court Decisions upon Tribal and State Sovereignty [respective to the actions of 1838 and 1860], which simply read:
  • "Had the Office of The Presidency, or Congress, not had such political authorities and powers - then it couldn't have factually done so."

The United States Supreme Court.
Meanwhile, the underlying principle of settling our disputes through extreme physical violence, and later justifying it by "Ex Post Facto Legal Precedent," seems a rather ignorant and overly destructive methodology to most enlightened Americans. After all, we make legal allowances for all other legal forms of contractual dissolution: from marriages, to joint enterprises, and to corporations - rather than allowing the various parties involved to simply kill one another. In fact, all forms of: Political, Economic, and [even] Religious Unions are fully subject to lawful methods of necessarily uncoupling from one another! It would be a very strange thing, indeed, if our exceedingly enlightened Founding Fathers hadn't even considered such an inevitable political necessity - over the course, or fullness, of time. Wouldn't it?

What many in America continually fail to realize is that: "All Unions are subject to the: full knowledge, mutual acceptance, and informed consent of the parties contractual to it!" By its very definition, the word  "Union" refers to a voluntary association among equals... and all such voluntary associations are predicated upon the ongoing and continual acceptance by all parties involved within them. Anyone can quit any union, for any cause, or even none at all.... Certainly, there shall be legal consequences of varying degrees for doing so. However, "Shotgun Marriages" are never legal - for several glaringly obvious and highly important reasons.

In the case of Republican Unions - as which ours was initially so clearly designated - the Union [or federal entity] consists of numerous: separate, equal, and interdependent States [or countries]... each with its own: separate legislature, sovereign jurisdiction, enforceable laws, manageable resources, and constituent domestic population. Meanwhile, perceiving some readily apparent benefit in working largely together, they decided to form a political compact to meet certain common needs among them. However, without some arbitrary and external authority to resolutely ensure a fair playing field, they soon must invariably come to the inevitable conclusion that this New Political Union must have some factual authorities and powers delegated as its own.

This parallels the actual circumstances of our nation's own birth. First, came the much looser: "Articles of Confederation" - which had virtually no authority at all... and later, the more balanced: "Democratic-Republican Union" - which was clearly, carefully, and concisely defined with strictly limited political authorities and powers. Moreover, they clearly and carefully noted that the various Interdependent States - which were the: impetus for its initial creation, formative parties to its adoption, and signatories to the overall contractual obligations involved - were not in anywise subject to the very same constitutional restrictions and prohibitions. This is because the States are the actual parties which are signatory to the contract and the "Federal Government" is their own political creation. The States themselves were and continue to be the penultimate political authorities contractually involved.

In this light, therefore, let us consider some very important political quotations of our Founding Fathers. For instance, here are just a few of them....
  • Thomas Jefferson, in his First Inaugural Address, said: "If there be any among us who would wish to dissolve this Union, or to change its republican form, let them stand undisturbed as monuments of the safety with which error of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left to combat it."
  • Fifteen years later, after the New England Federalists attempted to secede, Jefferson said: "If any state in the Union will declare that it prefers separation ... to a continuance in the union .... I have no hesitation in saying, 'Let us separate.'"
  • At Virginia's ratification convention, the delegates stated: "The powers granted under the Constitution being derived from the People of the United States may be resumed by them whensoever the same shall be perverted to their injury or oppression."
  • In Federalist Paper 39, James Madison, the father of the Constitution, cleared up what "We The People" meant, saying 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.
  • Alexander Hamilton wrote: "The real object of those who resorted to Secession, as well as those who sustained it, was not to overthrow the Government of the United States but to perpetuate the principles upon which it was founded. The object in quitting the Union was not to destroy, but to save the principles of the Constitution."

Nor, with the imminent prospect of the Southern States actually seceding, had this commonly accepted understanding of "Ultimate State Sovereignty" changed in any relevant way. Let's consider some important political quotations from that actual time period....
  • On the eve of the War of 1861, even unionist politicians saw secession as a right of states. Maryland Rep. Jacob M. Kunkel said: "Any attempt to preserve the Union between the States of this Confederacy by force would be impractical, and destructive of republican liberty.
  • A State Of Maryland Legislative Resolution, in 1861, states: "Whereas, The war against the Confederate States is unconstitutional and repugnant to civilization, and will result in a bloody and shameful overthrow of our institutions; and whilst recognizing the obligations of Maryland to the Union, we sympathize with the South in the struggle for their rights-for the sake of humanity, we are for peace and reconciliation, and solemnly protest against this war, and will take no part in it..."
  • The 1860 Republican Platform stated, among other things: "That the maintenance inviolate of the rights of the States, and especially the right of each State to order and control its own domestic institutions according to its own judgment exclusively, is essential to that balance of powers on which the perfection and endurance of our political fabric depends, and we denounce the lawless invasion by armed force of the soil of any State or Territory, no matter under what pretext, as among the gravest of crimes."

And exactly what, should we ask, did the Mainstream Newspapers have to say about it - at the time? Virtually all of them editorialized in favor of The South's "Right To Secede." For instance, consider just these few common papers of that particular day....

  • New York Tribune (Feb. 5, 1860): "If tyranny and despotism justified the Revolution of 1776, then we do not see why it would not justify the secession of Five Millions of Southrons from the Federal Union in 1861."  
  • Detroit Free Press (Feb. 19, 1861): "An attempt to subjugate the seceded States, even if successful could produce nothing but evil -- evil unmitigated in character and appalling in content.
  • The New York Times (March 21, 1861): "There is growing sentiment throughout the North in favor of letting the Gulf States go."
  • Even Horace Greeley at The New York Tribune wrote: "We have repeatedly said, and we once more insist, that the great principle embodied by Jefferson in the Declaration of American Independence, that governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, is sound and just, and that if the Slave States, the Cotton States, or the Gulf States only choose to form an independent nation, they have a clear moral right to do so."

Do the various interdependent States have "A Right Of Secession?" Of course, they do! However, the Supreme Court doesn't have the jurisdictional capacity to rule upon this strongly contentious political issue. Without the necessary mechanisms in place to truly enforce such judicial decrees, nor the men and armaments to back them up, they are politically powerless to rule upon this particular matter! The real legal precedents being set are that: "All States have 'The Right Of Secession,' but the proper jurisdictional authority for any such societal claims is 'The Military Battlefield!'

How can I make such statements? It's simple. The Supreme Court initially ruled in the various interdependent State's favor - concerning this Firmly Established and State Retained Right - and then, utilized "Historical Precedent" to rectify the remaining legal issues after the fact. Thus, enshrining forever the legal concepts of: "Military Might Makes Right," "To The Victor Belong The Spoils," and "The End Justifies The Means." This is known merely as: "Ex Post Facto Legal Precedent" - since the victor determines what shall later be written.

The real political question, upon everyone's mind, is whether the cause of such invariable societal destruction is: readily-apparent, necessary, and just... because we already know - from our own previous history - the inevitable federal response. Our ancestors understood, that: "Hell hath no fury, like a woman being scorned," and our Federal Government is one calloused, nasty, and cold-hearted bitch - once she's been spurned! She personally doesn't believe in divorce, she'd rather die than lose any argument, and she'll wantonly play the harlot, before losing her all-powerful throne. The Truth About America is that these are the well-established facts looming largely before us. Don't fool yourselves....


  1. All of your statements in the yellow text supporting the secession of states are only opinions. For example:

    New York Tribune (Feb. 5, 1860): "If tyranny and despotism justified the Revolution of 1776, then we do not see why it would not justify the secession of Five Millions of Southrons from the Federal Union in 1861."

    Obviously Southerners felt justified to secede and, in fact did, the same as the colonies seceded from England. And just like England, the Union did not see things the same way. Did the colonies leave British rule with a peaceful agreement? No, they fought a war. Two of them in fact. Do you think this would be the USA if we had lost those wars? So why would one expect different results for the Confederate States of America? They lost the war.

    So what do these newspaper "opinions" show us anyway, other than that many northerners couldn't have cared less if the south left the union back then? Some would like to believe otherwise but the United States has never been made up of truly independent states. This is like a lot of things in politics, it never goes anywhere but never goes away either.

    Let's see... what was one major reason the south seceded? Oh yes, because they didn't want tariffs on imports because they wanted to keep buying cheaper goods from overseas rather than domestically produced goods. A bunch of "free traders" as it were. And they didn't want restrictions on slavery either. So they were getting rich on slave labor and cheap imports. Meanwhile, the north was experiencing a depression. Guess you can't blame the south for not wanting a good racket to end by sharing in the burden of the country. Ah yes, the almighty dollar, such a noble cause for the Confederate States to secede wasn't it?

    Of course not much has changed has it? Now the south lures high wage paying businesses down south with cheap labor while exporting their big box minimum wage import marts up north. Actually, maybe secession isn't such a bad idea after all.

  2. Vulcan420,
    You state: "All of your statements in the yellow text supporting the secession of states are only opinions."

    Yes, they are... I must admit it. To be more precise, they are the opinions of: The United States Supreme Court, Two Founding Presidents, The Entire Virginia Legislature [at the time of ratification], The Leader Of The Federalist Party, one member of Congress, The Entire Maryland Legislature [in 1861], The Entire Republican Party [prior to the civil war], Three Major Northern Newspapers [with circulations in the millions of individual readers], and Horace Greeley [a world renowned editor and publisher]....

    Once again, you have in-errantly hit upon the true problem with all laws - Constitutional, or otherwise. All Laws are merely commonly shared opinions which are enforced by governmental or military force. However, when the government itself is the offending party, there is no objective third party to honestly straighten them out.

  3. I understand how some people, severely disappointed in the federal government, would entertain the notion of their state seceding. But a serious, legitimate solution it is not. And as you pointed out, even with many opinions to the contrary, the federal government took action to keep the union intact. So then, what good are the opinions you presented when they, in fact, did not change the course of events the first time around?

    Like it or not, the civil war is the precedent. What has changed since then to make one think otherwise? And regardless of the "legal" issue, what about the issue of the fate of this country? Should individual states hold ransom over the entire country, with the threat to dissolve the union if they do not get their way? Should our motto be "Give me what I want or I'll leave."? How would any country or state or organization survive if its members simply can't compromise or work to change things from within and instead would simply leave whenever they feel like it? What kind of union would that be? A union of fair-weather members is no union at all, merely opportunists capitalizing on the backs of others until it suits their needs to do otherwise. Personally, I did not pledge allegiance to the state I grew up in, I pledged it to the United States of America. And those who went off and suffered and died in the service of our military did so for the benefit of everyone in the United States of America, not just their home state.

  4. Vulcan 420,

    I merely write "The Truth" - upon this particular blog. I do not necessarily advocate any specific position, simply because I present it openly and honestly! If this stated truth offends you deeply and personally, then I suspect that I have honestly done my job well. All Americans should be offended by such potentially destructive topics... particularly those in Washington - who are continually pushing all of our buttons - without any regard to our true Constitutional Laws.

    No one is blackmailing them [or even asking them] for special, or unlawful, treatment. On the contrary, they are demanding their lawful rights to be heard under: Freedom of Speech, Right to Petition, and The Expectation of Lawful Consent! They are also demanding that The United States Constitution - which is our lawful foundational document - be properly adhered to and observed. Where is the trouble with that?

    Moreover, any nation which refuses to obey its own laws deserves to be necessarily dissolved - regardless of how specifically egregious these continual impositions truly are! After all, it is far easier to deal with a Tyranny - before half of the civil population has been dragged from out of their homes and shot - by their highly efficient National Police.

    Although such necessary occurrences are inherently destructive toward the overall society at large, they are [honestly] far less destructive than the other alternatives. More importantly, it is far better for the ongoing societal cohesion, than allowing the unlawful imprisonment and/or extermination of highly principled dissenters - rightfully acting under the already existent laws.

    Thus, only two questions ultimately remain: "At what point has the government gone too far," and "How long can we allow them to follow that political path - before it is too late, to utilize force in invariably correcting it?" We can all safely agree on these two points of conjecture. What we can't agree upon, is the specific lines being crossed by our ongoing leadership.

    Some Americans are far more tolerant of political disenfranchisement than others... I get that. However, the fact that America is now having that political discussion is very telling to those with the mindset of a historian. For, we wouldn't be having these discussions at all, if millions of Americans weren't tremendously unhappy with all of these ongoing political takings across our great nation! If you fail to see that, then I'm very sorry for you indeed.

  5. The Civil War determined there is no right to sessession. End of story.

  6. A very strange position indeed Citizen Shelly.... Many nations have been created through Secession, since 1865! Hmmm..... I can think of at least a dozen in the last twenty years.


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