Skip to comments.Secession: It's constitutional (Walter E. Williams offers evidence from .... U.S. history)
Posted on 11/28/2012 9:42:40 AM PST by Perseverando
For decades, it has been obvious that there are irreconcilable differences between Americans who want to control the lives of others and those who wish to be left alone. Which is the more peaceful solution: Americans using the brute force of government to beat liberty-minded people into submission, or simply parting company? In a marriage, where vows are ignored and broken, divorce is the most peaceful solution. Similarly, our constitutional and human rights have been increasingly violated by a government instituted to protect them. Americans who support constitutional abrogation have no intention of mending their ways.
Since Barack Obamas re-election, hundreds of thousands of petitioners for secession have reached the White House. Some people have argued that secession is unconstitutional, but theres absolutely nothing in the Constitution that prohibits it. What stops secession is the prospect of brute force by a mighty federal government, as witnessed by the costly War of 1861. Lets look at the secession issue.
At the 1787 Constitutional Convention, a proposal was made to allow the federal government to suppress a seceding state. James Madison, the acknowledged father of our Constitution, rejected it, saying: A Union of the States containing such an ingredient seemed to provide for its own destruction. The use of force against a State would look more like a declaration of war than an infliction of punishment and would probably be considered by the party attacked as a dissolution of all previous compacts by which it might be bound.
On March 2, 1861, after seven states had seceded and two days before Abraham Lincolns inauguration, Sen. James R. Doolittle of Wisconsin proposed a constitutional amendment that said, No State or any part thereof, heretofore admitted or hereafter admitted into the Union, shall have the power to withdraw from the jurisdiction of the United
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The Articles of Confederation and the Constitution explicitly made the Union perpetual until and unless the States ratify the secession of a State in exactly the same means by which the State secured accession to the perpetual Union. claims that the Constitution does not forbid unilateral secession are totally false and deceptive.
If anyone thinks that 'filing paperwork' is going to lead to the FedGov agreeing with any secession movement, they are living in a dream world.
Secession is going to take force and bloodshed, in the mildest of circumstances. The FedGov is not going to let go the power it has compiled without a fight. It is going to have to be pried from the FedGov's hand by force.
Now let's see if force is going to follow, when the paperwork is laughed at and used for kindling.
Well, no. The Confederates fought for the right of white men to govern themselves, and to also forcibly govern black men.
It is a real tragedy that the secession movement was tainted by and based on the desire to perpetuate and expand slavery. The idea of secession in and of itself is not inherently wrong.
Zero states will secede from the U.S. This is all wing-nuttery that takes attention and effort away from actually rolling up our sleeves and getting back to work for 2014 & 2016.
When the Beast on the Potomac dies it will die like the Soviet Union - insolvent, unsupported and largely unmourned. Until it is too poor to pay for the brute force to compel submission however, it will destroy anyone anywhere who threatens the sweet life in Capitol.
“And may the odds be ever in your favor.”
Bumper sticker seen in South Carolina
And here I thought the whole deal had more to do with taxation without representation - the South was paying a huge burden compared to the North. I thought that Lincoln decided to "sweeten the pot" and make all the killing of those who disagreed "more palatable" by adding emancipation after the war was underway.
The problem with this notion of secession is that secession by definition means the withdrawing by a geographical section from the Union.
In 1860 this was feasible. In most of the states that later seceded Lincoln did not receive a single vote. The division was almost entirely sectional, except in the border states and a few other areas.
In our present country, the division is primarily ideological. It is sectional simply because one or another ideology predominates in that area. In even the most conservative parts of the country there is a large and active liberal minority that would, understandably, resist secession. In contrast to 1860, the highest vote totals Romney got were in Utah (72%), Wyoming (69%) and Oklahoma (67%). Most of the old CSA states came in with substantially smaller majorities for Romney.
So any seceding state would not only have to fight invading federal forces, it would at the same time have to fight an internal civil war to suppress dissent.
And since the American way for which conservatives would be fighting is based on the idea of the people ruling themselves, crushing dissent by force is pretty much a betrayal of that for which we would fight.
Apparently Mr. Williams is a Freeper. I have posted that sentence about 100 times, along with many others.
Well, no. The Civil War was not fought over slavery. Economics: Northern mercantilism. Slavery was already becoming uneconomical (cotton prices, corn the new cash crop) Lincoln freeing the slaves was an after thought—and he only freed the slaves in southern states. Missouri? U.S. Grant? Had slaves.
I think the North East power structure would let Texas and a few other states go without a fight. These are not you GGGF Yankees that charged Marye’s Heights, these are wusses.
Please forward to Glenn Beck.
Williams is correct. The hostilities did not begin until the hot heads in Charleston fired on Fort Sumter. The States voluntarily formed a union. A State can voluntarily withdraw from said union. Whether the remaining States allow this to happen or not is another matter. Power is not always right, but power is always power. Kinda like the vehicle and pederestrain. The pederestrain has the right of way over the vehicle. The trouble begins when the pederestrain exercises that riight.
So you are calling Mr. Williams a nut? Are you a racist?
Also, I’m pretty sure that I read some Walter Williams articles over twenty years ago in which he said exactly the same thing.
Exactly how were they unrepresented? The South dominated the national government right up to 1860.
The total budget of the federal government in 1860 was $60M. That's less than $2 per capita for the country, less than $7 per capita if paid entirely by the slave states, and less than $12 per capita if paid entirely by white southerners. And of course the taxes were almost entirely tariffs on imports, so the final purchaser of the imported item paid it, whether he did so in New Orleans or Chicago.
The fact is that federal taxes were a miniscule burden for anybody in 1860, and could entirely be avoided if desired simply by not purchasing tariffed items.
Do you seriously contend that this tiny taxation burden, one of the lowest of any nation in history, justified a war that cost over 600k men their lives and devastated a section of the country?
You are saying that this is explicit in the Constitution - please refer me to the provision that you are talking about. Thanks!
Loyalists had to be killed during the secession from England as well..
F—k it.... We are screwed anyway... We might as well go down swinging lets give it a shot.
P.S. Kep in mind, as well, that $1 was worth something back then.
P.S. Keep in mind, as well, that $1 was worth something back then.
I don’t see a reason for violence. Texas is probably the best candidate. You’d need a governor and legislature that wanted secession. All they would have to do is declare themselves an independent country and withdraw the credentials of their congress critters unless they wanted one as an ambassador.
You can collect social security if you move to a foreign country. Texas wouldn’t be any different. The feds would have to negotiate with Texas as an equal and not an inferior. If enough contiguous states joined with Texas, they might render DC irrelevant.
Texas contributes far more to the federal budget than it gets returned. With all of the refinery capacity, they’d do fine. Valenzuela might even cut them a break on heavy crude.
I think most of the countries in the world might not be unhappy about a breakup. Of course if enough states reformed to create a nation governed under the Constituion without the commerce clause a much more powerful country could be formed.
The real losers would be the few blue states left out in the cold. They could be readmitted to the new union, but they wouldn’t have the same power. One of the requirements for joining should be a fiscally responsible government operating under a budget with absolutely no deficits allowed.
No, the NE states suck up Texas oil for their heating bills.
Secession does not solve every problem, it just substitutes a new more manageable set of problems for the insurmountable problems created by an out of control FedGov.
If it happens... and I pray it does not... I will answer the call of Lady Liberty.
Whether it is Constitutional or not, secession is one of the options to break the mean-spirited domination of American life and culture through the “phony liberalism” of the current set of elites who have distanced themselves from actual contact with the people who live down here on the ground.
The Federal government is not interested in making any such secession amicable. But the Tenth Amendment of the Constitution clearly states, “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.”
The Supreme Court and both the executive and legislative branches of the Federal Government have, in fact, arrogated to themselves a number of powers that rightly belong to the several States, and up to now, this is largely unchallenged, because of a broad but very vague interpretation of the “Interstate Commerce clause” in the body of the Constitution.
King George of England once thought he had a free mandate to do as he wished in dealing with the colonies along the eastern seacoast of the North American continent. Ended up with a split decision on that, as the more northerly English colonies opted to remain under the Crown’s dominion.
Time for a Redeclaration of Independence. And once that is won, a Constitutional Convention to write out the ambiguities and contradictions contained in the existing Constitution of the United States.
His only other competition is Thomas Sowell.
Walter Williams has been talking about a national divorce since like 2000.
He sees the writing on the wall, producers and looters can not co-exist together anymore.
I'm behind enemy lines, in MA, and there is a good conservative minority here. Thus, any breakup would lead to clashes within both seceeders and seceedees.
Things are so distorted here that in a recent state senator race, the 'R candidate got 35% of the vote with NO money, no name recognition, no bumper stickers/lawn signs/phone calls or standouts; no campaign whatsoever. It's just that a frustrated conservative minority will vote against the single communist party here, no matter who or what is on the ballot, in pure disgust.
I do not think that is important whether federal law permits states to secede from the Union. Surely, British law did not permit the American colonies to unilaterally decide to become independent. It was clearly illegal under British law. Yet, the Patriots relied upon the superior, natural rights of man, citing their God-given rights and declaring that “whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it...” Who would expect the United States government, including its Supreme Court, to declare secession legal? I would presume the very opposite.
Have seen this repeated before, that getting rid of slavery was an afterthought. So I did a little research. It shows comprehensively that the hemming in and then destruction of slavery was a continuous process from May of 1861 (the month after the war started) to December of 1865, when it finally triumphed.
May: General Butler refuses to return three slaves being used to build CSA fortifications to their owner.
Concept of contraband of war originated.
August: Confiscation Act of 1861 declares that any property, including slaves, used by CSA could be confiscated by military action.
September: Contrabands employed by US Army and Navy paid wages, in addition to rations
November: Nathaniel Gordon (a Mainer) convicted and sentenced to death in NYC for slave trading (classified as piracy)
February: Nathaniel Gordon executed
March: Washington, DC slaves freed by Congress
Return of escaped slaves to their owners prohibited by Congress
April: Congress offers compensation to any state that emancipates
May: Lincoln publicly urges border states to free slaves
Slavery prohibited in territories
July: Lincoln appeals again to the border states
September: Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation
January: Final Emancipation Proclamation
July: WV slaves freed by state action
January: 13th Amendment introduced
March: AR slaves freed by state action
April: 13th Amendment passes Senate
June: Congress repeals Fugitive Slave Law
September: LA slaves freed by state action
November: MD slaves freed by state action
January: MO slaves freed by state action
13th Amendment passes House
February: TN slaves freed by state action
April: Lee surrenders
December: 13th Amendment ratified
Slaves in KY (50,000) and DE (200) freed
Notably, as you can see, Missouri slaves were freed by state action, not by the 13th Amendment.
As far as cotton becoming uneconomical, that is no doubt why slave prices reached their all-time high in 1860. Wise businessmen always bid up the price of a commodity when it is losing its market. /sarc
The Constitution is silent on the subject of secession. Meaning it is a right reserved for the state(s). Read Mr. Williams article it is well worth it.
Quite correct. Which is why any civil war today would be a much nastier affair than the Late Unpleasantness of the 1860s.
Our Civil War was more a war between sections than a war between neighbors, except of course in the border states, where the war was a great deal nastier than elsewhere, for exactly that reason. In an ideological civil war the enemy is not just the enemy, he’s also a traitor.
Of all great civil wars down through history, ours was fought with fewer atrocities than any other, by a huge margin. Doesn’t mean really bad things didn’t happen here, but look into the English, Spanish, Chinese, Russian, etc. civil wars and you’ll see what I mean.
He understands the dynamics of the infra-structure of a society, a government; here, a Federation, created by a written compact between sovereign peoples. It was Williams who identified the outrage--while it was still in progress under Clinton & Reno--at Waco. Williams who is willing to expose the socially destructive absurdities of the "Civil Rights" movement, more candidly than any equally prominent White Conservative. (He does not walk on eggs, lest he offend the agitators.)
God Bless this good man, in America's hour of need!
The following are only part of the documents which forbid secession from the Perpetual Union. Thee are other provisions which implicitly restrict the ability to secede without the consent of Congress, the States, and the seceding State.
Articles of Confederation and perpetual Union
Every State shall abide by the determination of the United States in Congress assembled, on all questions which by this confederation are submitted to them. And the Articles of this Confederation shall be inviolably observed by every State, and the Union shall be perpetual; nor shall any alteration at any time hereafter be made in any of them; unless such alteration be agreed to in a Congress of the United States, and be afterwards confirmed by the legislatures of every State.
And Whereas it hath pleased the Great Governor of the World to incline the hearts of the legislatures we respectively represent in Congress, to approve of, and to authorize us to ratify the said Articles of Confederation and perpetual Union. Know Ye that we the undersigned delegates, by virtue of the power and authority to us given for that purpose, do by these presents, in the name and in behalf of our respective constituents, fully and entirely ratify and confirm each and every of the said Articles of Confederation and perpetual Union, and all and singular the matters and things therein contained: And we do further solemnly plight and engage the faith of our respective constituents, that they shall abide by the determinations of the United States in Congress assembled, on all questions, which by the said Confederation are submitted to them. And that the Articles thereof shall be inviolably observed by the States we respectively represent, and that the Union shall be perpetual.
THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Section. 3. New States may be admitted by the Congress into this Union; but no new State 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, ithout the Consent of the Legislatures of the States concerned as well as of the Congress.
The Congress shall have Power to dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the United States; and nothing in this Constitution shall be so construed as to Prejudice any Claims of the United States, or of any particular State.
Section. 4. The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened) against domestic Violence.
All Debts contracted and Engagements entered into, before the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be as valid against the United States under this Constitution, as under the Confederation.
This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any state to the Contrary notwithstanding.
silly F’ers always wanna turn this into an argument about the civil war. its emotionally charged and tied with slavery, its how they end discussion of the subject...
Screw the civil war... Doesnt mean a damn thing today.
If People no longer want to suffer the influence of the stupid M’er F’ers who want to subject everyone to the tyranny of a forced collective. They have the basic human right to break those ties of association, and if enough people in an area (or state) feel the same way they can choose to do the same and setup something more compatible with freedom and liberty.
What exactly happened with the loyalists after the colonies seceded from England?
Well, no. TX (2005 stats but unlikely to have changed dramatically) receives $.94 for every dollar it sends to the feds. Which is just about exactly in the middle of the pack.
NM gets the most return for its tax dollars at $2.03, and NJ gets the least return at $.61.
All the more reason to secede, cut off all DC money. The deadbeats either work,starve or leave.
I would risk everything just for a chance to help manage those problems after a secession.
Sherman Logan is a status quo statist boot licker. The US could elect Hitler Jr. and he would fight anyone wanting to break away. It is his way.
A great many of them were treated the way the losing side in most civil conflicts were traditionally treated: imprisonment and in some cases executions, confiscation of property, disenfranchisement, etc.
About 2% of the population of the United States fled the country in the Loyalist exodus.
Which is why I find southern claims of their great mistreatment after the War so unhistorical, the fact being that the South was treated less harshly than any similar group in history after a great civil war. Exactly one trial and execution for war crimes. Not one for treason.
No freedom loving person, with an IQ above room temperature, could argue against that it would be easier for a state(like Texas) to start over than try to “reform” FedGov.
Me too brother... Me too....
However... I pray that secession DOES happen, as Im convinced that there is no rehabilitation of the masses of idiots that willingly subject themselves and us to tyranny.
We either leave them, kill them, or let them kill us. I prefer just leaving peacefully, if it gets ugly after that... Well... thats on them....
Interesting. I post facts and opinions based on those facts. I do not insult those who disagree.
You post unjustified insults based on nothing at all other than that I disagree with you.
IMO this tells the reader a great deal about us both.
All I know is you are all over this thread. You have made you point. Please start a vanity on “Why Mr. Williams is wrong” I am sure you will get thousands of replies.
On the contrary, each of the States held its own secession convention to authorize its own singular secession. In many casees the secession convention resulted in voting that denied the State the authority to secede. In a number of States Democrat vote fraud was rampant. Voters and officials were murdered, ballot boxes stolen, and anti-secession votes removed from the ballot counts to secure a fraudulent vote for secession. When a secession conveention failed, another seecession convention was held with changes to voting rules and voting count rules changed to fix a pro-secession result. The nation’s by far bloodiest war ever was the result of very massive vote fraud. In Texas, the secessionist leaders didn’t even wait for the results of the secession convention to be determined before they went ahead and sent deleegates to the Confederate States Congress to join Texas to the Confederacy. Governor Sam Houston and other Texas officers were illegally removed from office by the secessionists while Texas was still a State in the Perpetual Union of the United States of America. This is one of the many reasons why governor Sam Houston refused to recognize the authority of the rebel legislature and rebel govenment.
Actually, the author of the piece on which we are commenting, Mr. Williams, chose to drag the civil war into it. Basing part of his argument on the highly debatable proposition that southern secession was justified as "self-determination."
Notably he included no explanation of how this applied in MS and SC, in both of which states black people were a majority in 1860.
They weren't allowed self-determination of whether they wished to remain in the Union. In fact, they weren't allowed any self-determination at all, being in the eyes of the law merely chattel.
As I said above, there is a legitimate argument for secession today. But when proponents want to justify secession today by legitimizing the Confederacy and by extension the slavery-based society it fought to defend, they are blowing both feet off with a machine gun.