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Did the southern states have the a Constitutional right to secede in 1861?

Helvidius

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I searched, but did not find any previous threads addressing this:

1. Did the southern states have the Constitutional right to secede from the Union?

2. Why did the southern states choose to secede? (economic, political, cultural, etc)

I realize this could easily be in the History forum, but I am most interested in hearing about the Constitutional aspect of secession. The Constitution, as far as I know, does not address the matter.
 

Technocratic

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1. Did the southern states have the Constitutional right to secede from the Union?
No, they did not. The entire concept of unilateral secession was alien to the Founding Fathers who wrote the document, and whenever it came up, most of them mocked the concept as rightly they should have. Madison himself addressed the issue of secession and found it utterly absurd that a State could just "up and leave" without the consent of the other parties to the Union. The Constitutional government was not the COnfederacy: it was not a league of independent sovereign governments. They deliberrately left out the provision that provided for secession on purpose, because unlike the Confederation, it was focus was on a Union of "The People of the United States" and not "these united states."

Unilateral Secession contradicts the entire concept of Federalism and power-balance inherent to the Founders' intention, as it allow any one state to hold all other states political hostages. For example, no state needs to obey any of the provisions for Federalism, because any state can simply threaten to ignor the Federal government at will via threat of "secession." It's the ulimate "I can't get whatever I want, when I want it, therefore, I will take the ball home and no one will play."

This also doesn't account for the contributions of other states to the development of the states that want to secede or the existence of Federal property and investments in State lands. If a state were to unilaterally secede "at will," it would necessarily entail the confiscation, and thus theft, of others' property and investments without their consent. This was actually the case in the 1861 crisis, where Southern states just left and stole Federal forts, arsenals, and armouries the traitors knew the Feds wouldn't give up voluntarily.

Secession makes the entire system pointless adn the Founding Fathers out to be morons. No, Madison believed that people had a moral right to secede from genuinely oppressive conditions, but there was no such "right" to secede for any old reason, much less unilaterally, in the Constitution. He admitted as much in his letter to Dan Webster in 1833. The moral concept is justified Revolution, but the former would be treason. If the Constitution supported open revolt, which is inherent to unilateral secession, then it wouldn't have articles that give the Federal government the power to put down rebellions.

2. Why did the southern states choose to secede? (economic, political, cultural, etc)
The Causes of the secession were actually pretty complex and multi-variable, but it's accurate to say that there was an over-arching meta-cause: slavery. Note this is not to be confused with the Civil War being caused to END slavery. Rather, slavery was pivotal to almost every Southern argument about the growing sectionalist tensions that lead to secession. Ultimately, according to the Southern Declarations of Secession, the most words and time is given to issues of slavery that caused secession.

The South required a dynamo of expansion: it could never really end, and it always needed more slave territories to offset agricultural losses of the plantation economy. THis required more states to be created, which in turn meant that the South needed pro-slavery governments. The North opposed the expansion of slavery as a result of the growing free soil movement, and this directly threatened the long-term sustainability of the Southern Plantation economy. If new states could not be admitted to the union as slave states, the South feared that the North would eventually have a senatorial advantage (the Southern interests were already losing out in the House and via the Electoral College by 1856.

The States seceded primarily because they feared an imbalance of power in Congress and the loss of expansion opportunities to keep their system afloat.
 
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niftydrifty

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I've heard number 1 argued both ways, and I've always been unclear on that myself. It is clear however, that it doesn't matter...the south was willing to defend its ways, legal or no.

Regarding number 2, IMO it was clearly for economic reasons. and it wasn't only about slavery. slave labor was a part of the southern economic shebang. The Civil War has always been interesting to me because it was the one time in US history when economic elites were in disagreement. at every other time, US economic elites have primarily been in consensus. now, laughably, you sometimes get conjecture in the media about how blue and red states will eventually go to war. no, they won't, not as long as there is economic consensus. the kind of right-left sparring now in our country, nothing can even compare to the vitriol of the mid-19th century! congressmen were beating each with canes! when there is economic elite cleavage, you get Civil War. even at the time it was called "a rich man's war, but a poor man's fight."
 
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Helvidius

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I'm not sure though. There was a lot the Founding Fathers had to compromise on. Here is a Jefferson quote:

If any State in the Union will declare that it prefers separation with the first alternative to a continuance in union without it, I have no hesitation in saying 'let us separate.' I would rather the States should withdraw which are for unlimited commerce and war, and confederate with those alone which are for peace and agriculture.
--Thomas Jefferson to William H. Crawford, 1816. ME 15:29

It is pretty clear he favors secession as an option for each state.

I would definitely say slavery was the tying together of a number of factors that caused the southern states to secede. The South depended on slave labor and claimed that the involvement of the federal government was an abuse of powers.
 

Harry Guerrilla

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The nation was set up as a "nation of nations" through a contract.
If one side violates that contract, the other party is allowed to withdraw or demand compensation.

I'd think it was completely legal.
 

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That would be true, if the Union were actually a compact of sovereign entities. But that wasn't the case. No state retained the sovereignty of an independent nation. Instead, they gave up full sovereignty to the Union in return for Federalism. The United States became a country in place of the old Confederate model of "these united States." The Constitution created a national government represented by Federal authority and State authority combined, each sovereign in only specific areas.

An actual sovereign state does many things that the individual united States did not have the ability to do. And it is an inherent right of any national entity to secure its borders and domestic integrity. Unilateral secession is inherently a violation of the right of nations to national integrity.

Moreover, if open rebellion against rightful Federal authority were allowed, the Constitution wouldn't give the Federal government the express duty to put down revolutions. Secession destroys the nation and undermines the balance of Federal and State authority by giving any State ultimate authority.

Quite the contrary, the Confederacy wasn't the beacon of States rights, the heir to the Founders' vision, nor was it exercizing a legal theory of Constitutional secession. It was quite literally a treasonous agency using secession as a blackmail tool for the minority to get everything it wanted by threatening the subversion of Republican institutions and the destruction of the United States as a nation. The South seceded because it could not get everything it wanted through the ballot. The South threatened to secede at least four times, each when it feared it would not get its way: the gag rule crisis, the tariff crisis, over the fugative slave law, and the kansas crisis. There is no moral, or legal, justification for that.

One can't even appeal to the natural right of revolution proposed by the Founders, because the Confederates repudiated it when they stated that theFounders views were horribly flawed and that there were no inalienable rights. But even if we were to argue that secession as a revolutionary rght existed, that doesn't imply a Constitutional legal right to secede.
Confederates were morally, as well as legally, bankrupt.
 
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jallman

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Regarding number 1, I think it was only a matter of time before the theory was put to trial by war. There's no doubt in my mind that the difference in culture between the north and south was going to result in conflict.

As for the reasons for their secession, those reasons were a combination of defending the sovereignty of the states against a growing federal power and the economic subjugation being forced on the south by an industrialized north needing cheaper raw materials which the south had been exporting out to foreign powers for higher profits. A series of protectionist tariffs, aimed at forcing the south to sell raw goods to the north for lower profits caused a great deal of dissatisfaction below the mason dixon. This was especially compounded by the fact that such tariffs did not penalize the north in the same way when they sold their manufactured goods back to the south at much higher profit margins.

All in all, it was pure economics that started that war. Slavery and emancipation was a side issue, even to Lincoln.
 

Helvidius

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That would be true, if the Union were actually a compact of sovereign entities. But that wasn't the case. No state retained the sovereignty of an independent nation. Instead, they gave up full sovereignty to the Union in return for Federalism. The United States became a country in place of the old Confederate model of "these united States." The Constitution created a national government represented by Federal authority and State authority combined, each sovereign in only specific areas.

An actual sovereign state does many things that the individual united States did not have the ability to do. And it is an inherent right of any national entity to secure its borders and domestic integrity. Unilateral secession is inherently a violation of the right of nations to national integrity.

Moreover, if open rebellion against rightful Federal authority were allowed, the Constitution wouldn't give the Federal government the express duty to put down revolutions. Secession destroys the nation and undermines the balance of Federal and State authority by giving any State ultimate authority.

Quite the contrary, the Confederacy wasn't the beacon of States rights, the heir to the Founders' vision, nor was it exercizing a legal theory of Constitutional secession. It was quite literally a treasonous agency using secession as a blackmail tool for the minority to get everything it wanted by threatening the subversion of Republican institutions and the destruction of the United States as a nation. The South seceded because it could not get everything it wanted through the ballot. The South threatened to secede at least four times, each when it feared it would not get its way: the gag rule crisis, the tariff crisis, over the fugative slave law, and the kansas crisis. There is no moral, or legal, justification for that.

One can't even appeal to the natural right of revolution proposed by the Founders, because the Confederates repudiated it when they stated that theFounders views were horribly flawed and that there were no inalienable rights. But even if we were to argue that secession as a revolutionary rght existed, that doesn't imply a Constitutional legal right to secede.
Confederates were morally, as well as legally, bankrupt.
So then why did the Union accept West Virginia as a member when it seceded from the rest of Virginia? Shouldn't West Virginia just be a part of the Union if Virginia didn't have the right to secede in the first place?
 

rathi

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I find it a fairly pointless issue. Even if it is legal to secede, it is equally legal for the federal government to conquer and annex the newly formed independent nation. Military power, rather than legal arguments determines the outcome.
 

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I will not go into all the issues surrounding the South's succession, I think Technocrat did a great job. But I will add, that from a realist point of view, power is all that matters. Whether it be military or wealth, or both might makes right. The South, if they were able to defend their new "nation" they would have had every right to do so. They were unable to, thus were conquered.
 

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So then why did the Union accept West Virginia as a member when it seceded from the rest of Virginia? Shouldn't West Virginia just be a part of the Union if Virginia didn't have the right to secede in the first place?
West. Virginia was the part of Virginia that chose not to secede from the United States. Virginia was engaging in treason. You can see it as secession from a secession. While technically no state should have been made out of Virgnia, and parts of states cannot secede from each other, it was a practical fudging of the rules.

W. Virginia was seen as the legitimate loyal remnant of the rogue state of Virginia.


Edit: What is really interesting is how a lot of NeoConfederates like to paint the Confederacy as a proponent of States' rights, but that's misleading. The confederacy didn't even respect the territorial decisions or integrity of other states that chose not to join it. For example, on one of the Confederate flags, there is one star for each state in the Confederacy, and 2 for states that chose not to secede. This mean that, despite the lack of a secessionist majority in MO or Kentucky, the COnfederacy--bastion of State sovereignty--choose to ignore the will of the people in two whole states and absorb them anyway, once the war was over.

Then, in 1854, the future Confederates tried to force slavery on Kansas, despite being a minority faction. They set up a whole bogus government staffed with people from other states to skew the elections and the constitutional process of the upcoming state.

One of the first acts of legislation in the Confederacy was also a gag rule that made it impossible for any of the members to discuss, much less support, abolition at any time. THis inherently restricted rights of popular sovereignty they previously supported.

But the Southern hatred for State's rights went back a long, long time. In the 1830s, the South forced a gag rule in Congress by threatening to leave the union. No state was even able to discuss the issue of slavery for many years, regardless of popular appeal to do so.

How freedom loving is that?
 
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Goobieman

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I searched, but did not find any previous threads addressing this:
1. Did the southern states have the Constitutional right to secede from the Union?
Yes. Amendment X. Nothing in the Constitution prohibits secession, so the right is retained.

2. Why did the southern states choose to secede? (economic, political, cultural, etc)
All of the above.
 

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The X amendment doesn't entail a legal right to revolution or the destruction of the nation. That's not a valid right in the first place, legally. It's actually contradicted by the Constitution, which authorizes the national government to put down rebellions, of which unilaterial secession certainly is.

It's a common misconception that the X Amendment gives a right to secession. An inherent power of any sovereign nation is the maintenence of territorial integrity, which the Constitution recognizes. That overrides the right of any state, as that states supposed action would conflict with a due power of the Federal government, which has an obligation to prevent the destruction of the country.

Secession also negates the concept of Federalism and balance of powers. Any state can ultimately check any Federal power, legitimate or otherwise, and the entire Republican system by itself if secession wereallowed. That was clearly not the intention of the Founders.

The Constitution doesn't even allow States to separate from themselves without consensus, so if a state doesn't even have sovereignty over its own territory, how can it be said that states can steal from the other states and leave the union unilaterally?
 
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Goobieman

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The X amendment doesn't entail a legal right to revolution or the destruction of the nation. That's not a valid right in the first place, legally.
According to...? Nothing forced a state to join the union, and nothing specifed in the constitution keeps them from leaving - as such, the right is reserved.

It's actually contradicted by the Constitution, which authorizes the national government to put down rebellions, of which unilaterial secession certainly is.
False. Secession and rebellion are different things, each can exist independent of one another.

It's a common misconception that the X Amendment gives a right to secession
Good thing that's not what I'm arguing.

Secession also negates the concept of Federalism and balance of powers. Any state can ultimately check any Federal power, legitimate or otherwise, and the entire Republican system by itself if secession wereallowed. That was clearly not the intention of the Founders.
Secession is a necessary part of Federalism, where the association with the group is voluntary. Secession derives from the fact that, ultimately, the states are sovereign and that the federal government is created by a voluntary association of those sovereign states. Without that voluntary association, there is no Federalism.

The Constitution doesn't even allow...
The constituion does not prohibit secession. Rights not prohibited are retained.
 

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According to...? Nothing forced a state to join the union, and nothing specifed in the constitution keeps them from leaving - as such, the right is reserved.
I addressed this above in a previous post. The inherent rights of a sovereign nation prevent the government from allowing self-destruction.

False. Secession and rebellion are different things, each can exist independent of one another.
A unilateral secession necessarily requires revolution. Regardless, the Confederat states decison to "up and leave" was a revolt against the legitimate authority of the Federal government when the states did not get everything they wanted. The confederates were traitors and criminals who held the nation hostage multiple times wth threats of secession designed to undermine and take control of the Republican institutions.


Good thing that's not what I'm arguing.

Secession is a necessary part of Federalism, where the association with the group is voluntary. Secession derives from the fact that, ultimately, the states are sovereign and that the federal government is created by a voluntary association of those sovereign states. Without that voluntary association, there is no Federalism.
Wrong. The Federal Union is not a league of sovereign nations. You are confusing the current system with the Confederation. All states gave up full sovereignty upon joining. They don't even have territorial integrity, much less the right to destroy the nation unilaterally. The fact that you join voluntarily has no bearing on whether you can leave at will.

Plus, all statesl agreed to the Northwest Ordinance, which explictly stated the union was permanent. This continued to be used as the admittance system well into the 19th century, and none of the states had a problem with it.

Again, for more on this issue, refer to my link, as well as the writings of Madison, who outlined how secession was not a right.



The constituion does not prohibit secession. Rights not prohibited are retained.
It actually does prohibit it, just not in explicit terms. But that's unnecessary. The prohibition is an inference from what is said. Madison pointed out that there is no legal right to recession granted by the Constitution to the states, but there was potentially a moral justification for a natural right of revolution.

Good thing that's not what I'm arguing.

Actually, that's exactly what you said, practically word for word.
 
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DrunkenAsparagus

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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

-10th Amendment

The Constitution doesn't mention secession. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the states.
 

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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

-10th Amendment

The Constitution doesn't mention secession. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the states.

It doesn't need to mention it explictly. It's contradicted via inference from what is said. An inherent right of any sovereign nation is the protection of his enemies external and internally and domestic integity. Allowing unilateral secession violates the right of nations. And that's indeed why the Federal government has sole authority to put down rebellions to its rightful authority.

The doctrine of implied powers is relevant, as it is necessary and proper to the execution of the Federal government's duties to prevent States from destroying the union and subverting the Republc.

In fact, one can argue that secession is tantamount to putting the remaining states in economc and military danger from competiting powers ,and thus an issue of national security.
 
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DrunkenAsparagus

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It doesn't need to mention it explictly. It's contradicted via inference from what is said. An inherent right of any sovereign nation is the protection of his enemies external and internally and domestic integity. Allowing unilateral secession violates the right of nations. And that's indeed why the Federal government has sole authority to put down rebellions to its rightful authority.
Preventing secession isn't mentioned or implied anywhere in the Constitution as an inherent right. You can think that secession should be illegal for these reasons, but there is no legal framework backing it up.

The doctrine of implied powers is relevant, as it is necessary and proper to the execution of the Federal government's duties to prevent States from destroying the union and subverting the Republc.
Secession could merely be another inefficiency in the federal government put in by the Founders like separation of powers and federalism.

In fact, one can argue that secession is tantamount to putting the remaining states in economc and military danger from competiting powers ,and thus an issue of national security.
By this argument, the government could do anything it wanted for national security.
 
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DrunkenAsparagus

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BTW, I agree that allowing secession would be stupid, but I do see it as legal.
 

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Preventing secession isn't mentioned or implied anywhere in the Constitution as an inherent right. You can think that secession should be illegal for these reasons, but there is no legal framework backing it up.
Indeed, it's not mentioned. It doesn't need to be. A Bank of the United States isn't mentioned either, but it's still Constitutioinal. Hamiltonianism at its finest. ;)
The Federal government has a duty to enforce Federal laws on the states as well as to secure national defense and integrity. It can therefore do anything necessary and proper to prevnt the dissolution, and destruction, of the united states. Allowing wanton secession contradicts the prime directive of a national defense. Secessionists are literally enemies of the State and domestic criminal revolutionaries. It entails forceful separation from the rest of a country by entities that gave up their full sovereignty long ago.


Secession could merely be another inefficiency in the federal government put in by the Founders like separation of powers and federalism.
Unfortunately, the Father of the Constitution has just the opposite interpretation. Have you read Madison's view on Secession? He clearly states there is no intended, or implied, power of Secession on behalf of the states as a legal mechanism. ONly a natural right of citizens to revolt against oppressive governments. Why do Libertarians worship the Founders, except for when they contradict politically correct viewpoints?

But we don't even need to take the authority of the author of the document. We need only look at how secession is a contradiction of the entire concept the Founders created and makes national integrity impossible.

We can also look toward the Northwest Ordinance, which stipulated a perpetual union, to which all the states existing agreed.


By this argument, the government could do anything it wanted for national security.
THis is obvious an instance wherein national security would apply. Allowing secession really does threaten the existence of the nation and weakens it abroad. It's absurd for any nation to allow it, and the Founders weren't fools. They did not design a system such that any state could ignore the balance of power at will by threatening secession and set into motion a chain of events that wuld certainly destroy the Republic. Every president has a duty to defend the Constitution and the country from domestic and foreign threats. Rebels who want to run off with a part of the country constitutes a real clearand present danger.

The confederacy didn't like the results of an election, so it blackmailed the country to try to get its way. When it didn't get its way, it subverted the legal democratic process and engaged in armed rebellion and theft of government property. How is that not illegal? Can you imagine what would happen if a country allowed that? Had the Confederacy won and left, we'd have a hostile, totalitarian regime to the South of us.. This is a direct threat. Not only would it be competiting with us on the contentient for our OWN resources, it would quickly balkanize the continent like Europe. ANy state could hold the government hostage with threats similiar to the SOuth. We'd constantly be in conflict over resource rights, under threat of subversion by COnfederate agents trying to steal states away (that was their intention). As it is, the Confederates "claimed" as part of their "new country" two states that did not join them SO much for their claim to care about States' rights.

The Confederacy was an imperiaistic regime that wanted to destroy the United States and extend across the Continent, displacing the United States.

Do you seriously think the founders allowed rampant treason as right? There is no difference between a foreign power that conquers part of the United States, and 11 states leaving at the point of a gun. Both steal territory, investments, etc.

Even so, the secession doesn't even take into consideration the citizens who live in the State. They have no say.

What about federal property inside the States that decide to go rogue? Do you think they are going to allow federal property inside a hostile nation that left in armed rebellion?

The South STOLE US property in leaving, inherently. THey confiscated material, infrastructure, forts, ships, weapons, etc. This is unavoidable unless all parties agree, an all parties did not agree.
 
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DrunkenAsparagus

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Indeed, it's not mentioned. It doesn't need to be. A Bank of the United States isn't mentioned either, but it's still Constitutioinal. Hamiltonianism at its finest. ;)
The Federal government has a duty to enforce Federal laws on the states as well as to secure national defense and integrity. Allowing secession contradicts the prime directive of a national defense. Secessionists are literally enemies of the State and domestic criminals revolutionaries. It entails forceful separation from the rest of a country by entities that gave up their full sovereignty long ago.

Many would say that bank isn't constitutional either. Peaceful secession is one things, but when attacks and confiscations are made on federal property, as was done by the South, then you have a point.

Unfortunately, the Father of the Constitution has just the opposite interpretation. Have you read Madison's view on Secession? He clearly states there is no intended, or implied, power of Secession on behalf of the states as a legal mechanism. ONly a natural right of citizens to revolt against oppressive governments. Why do Libertarians worship the Founders, except for when they contradict politically correct viewpoints?

But we don't even need to take the authority of the author of the document. We need only look at how secession is a contradiction of the entire concept the Founders created and makes national integrity impossible.

We can also look toward the Northwest Ordinance, which stipulated a perpetual union, to which all the states existing agreed.

I don't care what Madison said outside of the document. Nowhere is secession even mentioned. However, the 10th Amendment clearly states that the states may take on powers not delegated to the Federal government.

Why do Libertarians worship the Founders, except for when they contradict politically correct viewpoints?
I don't worship the Founders. I think that they created a great system, but that doesn't mean that I agree with everything they say. Libertarianism's support for the founders generally lies with their support of Classical Liberal principles.

THis is obvious an instance wherein national security would apply. Allowing secession really does threaten the existence of the nation and weakens it abroad. It's absurd for any nation to allow it, and the Founders weren't fools. They did not design a system such that any state could ignore the balance of power at will by threatening secession and set into motion a chain of events that wuld certainly destroy the Republic. Every president has a duty to defend the Constitution and the country from domestic and foreign threats. Rebels who want to run off with a part of the country constitutes a real clearand present danger.

The confederacy didn't like the results of an election, so it blackmailed the country to try to get its way. When it didn't get its way, it subverted the democratic process and engaged in armed rebellion and theft of government property. How is that not illegal?

Do you seriously think the founders allowed rampant treason as right? There is no difference between a foreign power that conquers part of the United States, and 11 states leaving at the point of a gun. Both steal territory, investments, etc.

Even so, the secession doesn't even take into consideration the citizens who live in the State. They have no say.

What about federal property inside the States that decide to go rogue? Do you think they are going to allow federal property inside a hostile nation that left in armed rebellion?
This is why I think secession should be explicitly banned, but those are the rules.

The South STOLE US property in leaving, inherently. THey confiscated material, infrastructure, forts, ships, weapons, etc. This is unavoidable unless all parties agree, an all parties did not agree.
I didn't say that I supported the South's secession. They continued to screw with the Federal government after secession.

I'll be back tomorrow.
 

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I really don't see how you can see secession as a "rule" that is legitimate, because it inherently violates the rights of sovereign nations, as recognized by the Constitution. No nation can survive if it allows self-destruction via internal revolution. Every government, including the United States, has a duty to protect the people from internal and external forces seeking to destroy the country. A state is no different.

Secession is an attack on the United States as a unified country by an internal enemy, thus a national security threat. It can do what is necessary and proper (as stipulated in the constitution) to carry out its duties as the national government. Ergo, the implied power of the Federal government as the representative of the United States of AMerica is to put down secessionist rebels, violent or otherwise peaceful in their attempt to usurp authority and destroy the country.

The potential right of secession is invalidated legally as it conflicts with Federal duties, powers of higher authority.



Edit: The entire concept is also unworkably impractical. There is nearly no way unilateral secession would ever result in a peaceful dissolution. It only works if all parties agree, and if all parties do not agree, there is no alternative but theft and war. The Confederate incidents of theft and conflict are almost inevitable. For example, pretend you are New Jersey, and I am the United States. I own property in NJ, (Fort Dix, McQuire, Fort Monmouth, etc) and I have financed internal improvements through collective investment of taxes from other states.

You want to leave, but I do not want to give up my property and investments in NJ. I won't sell or give the property over to you, a new power. If you were to try to secede, you cannot really tolerate pockets of a foreign power (Me) inside your country (arsenals, forts, etc). Therefore, in order to actually secede successfully, you must, by definition, declare war to justify the theft my property (weapons, citizens, land, etc0 I will not give up voluntarily.

Secession requires that everyone else agree to your demands, which is coercion.
Ergo, in order to practically secede, you must attack me. Just like the Confederates did at Fort Sumter.
 
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DrunkenAsparagus

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I really don't see how you can see secession as a "rule" that is legitimate, because it inherently violates the rights of sovereign nations, as recognized by the Constitution. No nation can survive if it allows self-destruction via internal revolution. Every government, including the United States, has a duty to protect the people from internal and external forces seeking to destroy the country. A state is no different.
The US isn't under any type of law, including the Constitution that states this "right of a sovereign nation." It does, however, state that something that isn't stated in the Constitution is the responsibility of the state. Cite the part of the Constitution that implies this.

Secession is an attack on the United States as a unified country by an internal enemy, thus a national security threat. It can do what is necessary and proper (as stipulated in the constitution) to carry out its duties as the national government. Ergo, the implied power of the Federal government as the representative of the United States of AMerica is to put down secessionist rebels, violent or otherwise peaceful in their attempt to usurp authority and destroy the country.


The potential right of secession is invalidated legally as it conflicts with Federal duties, powers of higher authority.
Secession is a roadblock that could also keep the Federal government within the interests of the every region, and prevent majoritarianism.

Edit: The entire concept is also unworkably impractical. There is nearly no way unilateral secession would ever result in a peaceful dissolution. It only works if all parties agree, and if all parties do not agree, there is no alternative but theft and war. The Confederate incidents of theft and conflict are almost inevitable. For example, pretend you are New Jersey, and I am the United States. I own property in NJ, (Fort Dix, McQuire, Fort Monmouth, etc) and I have financed internal improvements through collective investment of taxes from other states.

You want to leave, but I do not want to give up my property and investments in NJ. I won't sell or give the property over to you, a new power. If you were to try to secede, you cannot really tolerate pockets of a foreign power (Me) inside your country (arsenals, forts, etc). Therefore, in order to actually secede successfully, you must, by definition, declare war to justify the theft my property (weapons, citizens, land, etc0 I will not give up voluntarily.

Secession requires that everyone else agree to your demands, which is coercion.
Ergo, in order to practically secede, you must attack me. Just like the Confederates did at Fort Sumter.
If the government recognizes the secession, there is legal problem. Again, I'm not saying that secession a good idea, likely to lead to a good outcome, or shouldn't be explicitly banned, but it is currently legal.
 
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