Post Reply 
Does a State have the right to secede?
08-21-2013, 12:46 PM (This post was last modified: 08-21-2013 12:47 PM by Thomas Thorne.)
Post: #23
RE: Does a State have the right to secede?
(08-21-2013 08:53 AM)Rob Wick Wrote:  In actuality, the escape clause previously mentioned was demanded in specific instances and was not a general overarching possibility of secession. In the late Pauline Maier's book Ratification, In New York, delegate Melancton Smith proposed an amendment which would have allowed New York to ratify the Constitution "in the firmest confidence that an opportunity will speedily be given to revise and amend the Constitution." Maier writes "However the state reserved the right 'to recede and withdraw from the said Constitution in case such opportunity be not given within ____ years."

Further, Maier writes "The idea of including an escape claue in the state's form of ratification wasn't new. Smith had mentioned it to [Nathan] Dane in late June. In Virginia, Richard Henry Lee had proposed a very similar form of ratification after the acceptance of the Constitution by several other states complicated the demand for prior amendments." So it appears pretty clear that the escape clause came about from the anti-Federalists, who were generally strongly opposed to ratification of the Constitution in the first place. There was little or no general feeling that secession would ever become necessary.


Did the 3 states-New York,Virginia and Rhode Island actually adopt this "escape clause'" as part of their ratification? The case of Rhode Island is particularly instructive as it did not ratify the constitution until 1790, the last of the original states to do so. Failure to ratify would have made Rhode Island a foreign country which would make failure to ratify the consitution an interesting form of secession. David Potter who was no historical friend of secession cited the Virginia escape clause as actually being adopted at the Virginia ratifying convention.

Please remember that the dry entertaining constitutional analysis of a right to secede should not be confused with the morality and wisdom of doing so in 1860/61. If I had been young and healthy,I would have joined the Union army.

Lincoln's view on the nature of the Union are very interesting. His ideas of "a more perfect union" bring to mind the wit who said the "US was the only nation conceived in perfection and dedicated to progress."
Find all posts by this user
Quote this message in a reply
Post Reply 

Messages In This Thread
RE: Does a State have the right to secede? - Thomas Thorne - 08-21-2013 12:46 PM
RE: Does a State have the right to secede? - Hess1865 - 08-24-2013, 09:04 PM

Forum Jump:

User(s) browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)