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Does a State have the right to secede?
08-21-2013, 08:26 PM (This post was last modified: 08-21-2013 08:28 PM by My Name Is Kate.)
Post: #31
RE: Does a State have the right to secede?
(08-21-2013 09:21 AM)Liz Rosenthal Wrote:  Even if, for the moment, we took as true the idea that three states entered the union on that basis, how does this feeling among three states govern the intent of all 13 original states? Wouldn't this be a case of three states dictating the conditions of union for the other 10? Wouldn't that amount to minority rule, which is about as un-democratic as you can get?

That is exactly the opposite of what you said in another thread "Erasing History", post #35:

"It was "majority rule" that kept black people from voting for 100 years after the end of the Civil War. Majority rule isn't all it's cracked up to be. I'm not saying I'm against majority rule, but sometimes majority rule has to take the minority view into account."

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08-21-2013, 08:37 PM (This post was last modified: 08-21-2013 08:49 PM by Liz Rosenthal.)
Post: #32
RE: Does a State have the right to secede?
Mea culpa. I did say that. But the two statements are not really "opposite." You'll notice that, in the "Erasing History" thread, I was referring to majority rule depriving a minority of voting rights - even human rights - in the case of Jim Crow. That is something that majority rule cannot validly do in a democracy. There are limits.

(08-21-2013 08:26 PM)My Name Is Kate Wrote:  
(08-21-2013 09:21 AM)Liz Rosenthal Wrote:  Even if, for the moment, we took as true the idea that three states entered the union on that basis, how does this feeling among three states govern the intent of all 13 original states? Wouldn't this be a case of three states dictating the conditions of union for the other 10? Wouldn't that amount to minority rule, which is about as un-democratic as you can get?

That is exactly the opposite of what you said in another thread "Erasing History", post #35:

"It was "majority rule" that kept black people from voting for 100 years after the end of the Civil War. Majority rule isn't all it's cracked up to be. I'm not saying I'm against majority rule, but sometimes majority rule has to take the minority view into account."

http://rogerjnorton.com/LincolnDiscussio...l#pid17682

brtmchl said:

"In 1847, Lincoln believed that Texas’ return to independence could bring a quick end to the U.S.-Mexico War."

Can you give me the citation for the statement? I can't find it in the Collected Works. Thanks.

brtmchl also said:

"In 1820 Maine voted to secede from Massachusetts, and the secession and formation of the state of Maine occurred in 1820."

That's irrelevant, and I'm sure you know why. Maine voting to secede and becoming a state independent of Massachusetts in 1820 occurred as part of the Missouri compromise! In other words, everyone consented, in fact, demanded, that this secession occur so as to balance the entry of a new slave state (Missouri) with the admission of a new free state (Maine).

Let's put this another way. The issue of whether a state has the right to secede really should be phrased as whether a state has the right to take the unilateral action of seceding.

brtmchl said:

"What if that slave master IS the Government?"

That was actually the case in the South. Given the power over national policy, Congress, the presidency and the U.S. Supreme Court possessed by the Slaveocracy in the antebellum period, the Slave Master was effectively in control of the national government, also.

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08-21-2013, 08:54 PM (This post was last modified: 08-21-2013 11:20 PM by My Name Is Kate.)
Post: #33
RE: Does a State have the right to secede?
But who decides when majority rule is valid and when it is not, and minority rule should be applied?

(The topic of the "Erasing History" thread was that Confederacy monument in Georgia, which you apparently think should be removed, even though the majority of Georgians think it should stay. Jim Crow and slavery is something you threw in afterwards.)
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08-21-2013, 09:26 PM (This post was last modified: 08-21-2013 09:45 PM by Gene C.)
Post: #34
RE: Does a State have the right to secede?
The Supreme Court has done it on a number of occasions, and it hasn't always worked out well.

The cases I can recall are ones that dealt with moral issues, and I felt the Court focussed to much on what was legal, and not what was morally right.
Many will argue that is not the role of the Court, but history teaches us that the morality of a country is directly related to the long term success of a country.
The Bible teaches that when people follow the instructions of God, he will bless them. If they don't, he will punish them. That is why I believe the morality of our leaders is an important consideration in selecting people to serve in public office. And sometimes that means calling certain behavior or actions "wrong". Not to many
politicians are willing to do that. Lincoln did.

So when is this "Old Enough To Know Better" supposed to kick in?
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08-21-2013, 10:06 PM (This post was last modified: 08-21-2013 10:09 PM by Thomas Thorne.)
Post: #35
RE: Does a State have the right to secede?
Like virtually every other society in the western world of the period of the Civil War, the South believed in the subordination of the African, but could not conceive of such subordination without the institution of slavery. It is striking how often Southerners argued that the only alternative to slavery was complete freedom and social equality for blacks, completely ignoring how comparatively successfully Northern society was able to function without either slavery or equality for persons of color.

This belief mixed in with the fear that a Republican administration would facilitate servile insurrections marks a departure from the norm of independence movements which obsessed on historical injuries rather than potential ones.
Tom
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08-21-2013, 11:19 PM (This post was last modified: 08-21-2013 11:34 PM by My Name Is Kate.)
Post: #36
RE: Does a State have the right to secede?
(08-21-2013 09:26 PM)Gene C Wrote:  ...I believe the morality of our leaders is an important consideration in selecting people to serve in public office. And sometimes that means calling certain behavior or actions "wrong". Not to many politicians are willing to do that. Lincoln did.
Of course I agree with that. But we can't expect our leaders to be moral if, as a society, we are not. Too much talking on cell phones, and Facebook, and Twitter, and not enough time spent with the kids, for starters. And if marriage doesn't work out, one can always get a divorce. Or why bother with marriage at all, when you can just live together and become illegitimate parents (gawd, I sound so OLD...and old-fashioned...)
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08-22-2013, 04:59 AM
Post: #37
RE: Does a State have the right to secede?
I do not feel adequate to enter this discussion, but I do have a question in case anyone would like to respond. Are "nullification" and "secession" two separate concepts, or are they essentially the same overall concept? The reason I ask is that courts look for precedents when they make decisions, and Lincoln was a lawyer. Nullification was an issue in 1832, and Andrew Jackson issued a proclamation regarding nullification. Just one paragraph of it reads:

The Constitution of the United States, then, forms a government, not a league, and whether it be formed by compact between the States, or in any other manner, its character is the same. It is a government in which all the people are represented, which operates directly on the people individually, not upon the States; they 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, cannot from that period possess any right to secede, because such secession does not break a league, but destroys the unity of a nation, and any injury to that unity is not only a breach which would result from the contravention of a compact, but it is an offense against the whole Union. To say that any State may at pleasure secede from the Union, is to say that the United States are not a nation.

Does anyone know if Lincoln looked at this as a precedent? Did this help him decide his own position on secession?

Thank you for any possible responses.
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08-22-2013, 07:57 AM
Post: #38
RE: Does a State have the right to secede?
Are we leaving out the third branch of government here? It is not the way Presidents interpret any part of the Constitution that should concern us. Above all else, throughout our history, the majority of them have been master politicians who will say or do any given thing at any given moment which will support their political agenda.

It would be more interesting to me to see what opinions/rulings have come down from the Supreme Court in the past 200 years on the issue of secession (without throwing in the race card, please).
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08-22-2013, 08:53 AM
Post: #39
RE: Does a State have the right to secede?
Roger, with the question of precedent. Doesn't Maine in 1820 set one? Not one of the original thirteen states because it was part of Massachusetts, Maine was not even contiguous with Massachusetts, with New Hampshire in-between. In 1819 Massachusetts allowed Maine to secede if Maine voters chose to do. Regardless of the Missouri Compromise. Maine, a non original 13 State was allowed Secession. Kentucky left the mother state of Virginia very early on, and was admitted in 1792, 5 After the Constitution was written.

It seems the argument should be more about whether the Government grants permission to secede. Not that it is illegal. And if secession is not granted and is continued anyway it is viewed as insurrection.

Since there is a mention as to Jackson's view on the subject of secession, which I no only of what you provided. I thought it would be interesting to see Buchanon's. Since after all he allowed much of this to start.
Buchanan's view of record was that secession was illegal, but that going to war to stop it was also illegal. Buchanan, an attorney, was noted for his mantra, "I acknowledge no master but the law." He placed the blame for the crisis solely on "intemperate interference of the Northern people with the question of slavery in the Southern States", and suggested that if they did not "repeal their unconstitutional and obnoxious enactments ... the injured States, after having first used all peaceful and constitutional means to obtain redress, would be justified in revolutionary resistance to the Government of the Union." Buchanan's only suggestion to solve the crisis was "an explanatory amendment" reaffirming the constitutionality of slavery in the states, the fugitive slave laws, and popular sovereignty in the territories.

What do the resident lawyers on this forum say?

Conflict between the Fourteenth and the Ninth and TenthAmendments:
There are certain vital things which, in natural fact and in the nature of man, are inalienable, i.e., they cannot in fact be alienated, even voluntarily. Specifically, a person cannot alienate his will, more particularly his control over his own mind and body. Each man has control over his own mind and body. Each man has control over his own will and person, and he is, if you wish, ‘stuck’ with that inherent and inalienable ownership. Since his will and control over his own person are inalienable, then so also are his rights to control that person and will. That is the ground for the famous position of the Declaration of Independence that man's natural rights are inalienable; that is, they cannot be surrendered, even if the person wishes to do so.

If the right of secession, protected as it is by the Ninth and Tenth Amendments, is inalienable, then that right survives any attempt to relinquish it through the Fourteenth Amendment. The right to "alter or abolish" forms of government does appear to be such a fundamental right that it should be treated as inalienable. It is integral to the protection of other rights which Jefferson termed inalienable such as the rights to life and liberty. Thus, it is a right that should survive regardless of its alleged implicit relinquishment under the Fourteenth Amendment.”

Why isn't there a clear Amendment oulawing secession?

Here is a letter I saw from Antonin Scalia:

   

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08-22-2013, 10:11 AM (This post was last modified: 08-22-2013 10:12 AM by Rob Wick.)
Post: #40
RE: Does a State have the right to secede?
If the right of secession, protected as it is by the Ninth and Tenth Amendments, is inalienable

That it is only a matter of personal opinion, and not one shared by the Supreme Court in 1869. How exactly does someone have an inalienable right to destroy a country? Isn't that treason, given that it's doubtful the country would allow itself to be destroyed, especially since there is no express mechanism for it's destruction listed in its founding documents? And given that treason is the only offense specifically defined in the Constitution, isn't that prima facie evidence that the founders wanted to make sure that treason never went unpunished?

Best
Rob

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08-22-2013, 10:33 AM
Post: #41
RE: Does a State have the right to secede?
(08-22-2013 10:11 AM)Rob Wick Wrote:  If the right of secession, protected as it is by the Ninth and Tenth Amendments, is inalienable

That it is only a matter of personal opinion, and not one shared by the Supreme Court in 1869. How exactly does someone have an inalienable right to destroy a country? Isn't that treason, given that it's doubtful the country would allow itself to be destroyed, especially since there is no express mechanism for it's destruction listed in its founding documents? And given that treason is the only offense specifically defined in the Constitution, isn't that prima facie evidence that the founders wanted to make sure that treason never went unpunished?

Best
Rob

Thanks Rob. I do agree with you, but then aren't Revolution and Treason one and the same? We celebrate our treasonable actions every July 4th.

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08-22-2013, 10:37 AM
Post: #42
RE: Does a State have the right to secede?
brtmchl:

You haven't gotten back to me about the citation for Lincoln's 1847 statement which you refer to in which he supposedly said that Texas seceding from the Union would solve the slavery issue. I'm very interested in reading what he said. Thanks.

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08-22-2013, 11:22 AM
Post: #43
RE: Does a State have the right to secede?
I'm sorry Liz. I have been going through my posts, and I don't believe I ever made that claim.

" Any man who thinks he can be happy and prosperous by letting the American Government take care of him; better take a closer look at the American Indian." - Henry Ford
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08-22-2013, 01:59 PM
Post: #44
RE: Does a State have the right to secede?
Hi Mike:

I misquoted you. I now see you were talking about Lincoln referring to the secession of Texas bringing a quick end to the Mexican War. Do you have a cite in Lincoln's Collected Works for that? Thanks! Smile

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08-23-2013, 10:47 AM (This post was last modified: 08-23-2013 10:48 AM by tblunk.)
Post: #45
RE: Does a State have the right to secede?
Thanks Rob. I do agree with you, but then aren't Revolution and Treason one and the same? We celebrate our treasonable actions every July 4th.
[/quote]

Eye of the beholder. If we had lost the war, Britain would have had a bunch of treasonable colonists to deal with afterwards. But we won, so it was a revolution, saving the king from having to lop off a bunch of heads.

Exactly the same process with secession/rebellion. Since the north won, it was the suppression of a rebellion.
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