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Does a State have the right to secede?
08-21-2013, 05:03 PM
Post: #25
RE: Does a State have the right to secede?
I didn't request that we keep this in accordance with Lincoln's time. I suggested that we refer to Lincoln's arguments against secession while discussing secession on this forum. It just seems like a sensible thing to do, since this forum is dedicated to him. It's disappointing to see people referring to just about any other source or no source and leaving Lincoln out of it entirely.

As far as attempts by northerners to "opt out" of the Union, aside from some abolitionists arguing in favor of secession during the antebellum period, I'm not aware of actual formal moves by northern states to secede. Were there any secession conventions in the North at any time? Purportedly representing all voters of the state? It seems like most of the secession rumblings during the antebellum years came from the South, every time the issue of slavery came up.

I'm aware, as I'm sure everyone else on the forum is, that slavery was "legal." However, its legality doesn't afford the South any moral standing to secede, rebel, or criticize the North for working in any way it could to keep the Union together.

You mention natural rights, in the context of "revolution." But what about the natural right of every human being to be free in his person and free from being governed by a slave master or a slave power without his consent? Isn't that the most basic of natural rights? If not, who has the natural right? The state? Of course, the state doesn't exist in a state of nature, nor does the right of revolution, as the right of revolution presupposes the existence of a social compact and, through it, some sort of system of governance to which people are subject.

I'm also aware that a number of Confederate states gave Jefferson Davis quite a headache. They often didn't want to provide the necessary arms; they wanted to keep the arms to prevent one of those fearsome slave uprisings from happening. Again, the rebelling states, in claiming secession, set themselves up for yet more secession. Oh, well!

(08-21-2013 01:49 PM)brtmchl Wrote:  ...
You requested that we keep this in accordance with Lincoln's time, I'm simply stating that before and up to the Civil War, The notion of seccession wasn't clear. There were other attempts by Northerners before Southerners "opted out" of the Union.

Some have argued for secession as a constitutional right and others as from a natural right of revolution. The issue of secession was argued in many forums and advocated from time to time in both the North and South in the decades after (adopting) the Constitution and before the American Civil War.

1844 with his "Address to the Friends of Freedom and Emancipation in the United States," William Lloyd Garrison called for secession. Garrison wrote: the Constitution was created "at the expense of the colored population of the country"; southerners were dominating the nation—especially representation in Congress—because of the Three-Fifths Compromise; now it was time "to set the captive free by the potency of truth" and to "secede from the government".

As pertaining to W. Virginia:
Article IV, Section. 3, Clause 1 of the United States Constitutions reads: 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 as well as of the Congress. Some of the movements to partition states have or do identify themselves as "secessionist" movements.

This is an example of Lincoln's brillance as a lawyer. Not recognizing the Rebellious Governments and Only recognizing factions of the State that were loyal to the Union as the legitimate Government.

As far as your slave arguement. I don't see one. As horrible as slavery was, it was LEGAL. The Union recognized it as legal. The Supreme Court backed it up with it's horrible decision on Dredd Scott, and the Fugitive Slave Act was law.
Let's also not forget that Virginia voted down secession. That is until Lincoln made a call for troops immediately after Fort Sumter, a majority of Virginians voted in favor of secession feeling that the Federal government of the Union was becoming too coercive. Lincoln's quick action to recruit troops to suppress the southern force was met with protest by Virginia. With a final vote of 88 to 55, the Virginia convention decided to secede on April 17th, 1861.

Let's also not forget the difficulties that Jefferson Davis had, dealing with Southern States and their views of States Rights who continually threatened to leave the Confederacy. Georgia accused Davis of destroying states' rights and individual liberty. The first conscription act in North America authorizing Davis to draft soldiers was said to be the "essence of military despotism."

I'm really not trying to make this a heated debate. The problem when writing is that people misconceive the tone. It is however an interesting debate to have, as pertaining to the TIME. I don't even believe in Seccession, but I have a modern Government mentality. And a 21st century understanding of the Constitution. I can only imagine that the people of the time, some of who may have been decendents of the authors, had a better understanding. We all know politicians would never say one thing and write into law something else. I see the Constitution as it has evolved, not the way it was looked upon in the 19th century.
In 2008 an International poll found that 22% of Americans believed that "any state or region has the right to peaceably secede and become an independent republic."
Secession, what it really is, is Rebellion. Which any truly "free people" have the natural right to do.

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RE: Does a State have the right to secede? - Liz Rosenthal - 08-21-2013 05:03 PM
RE: Does a State have the right to secede? - Hess1865 - 08-24-2013, 09:04 PM

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