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Parting Company
Townhall.com ^ | November 28, 2012 | Walter Williams

Posted on 11/28/2012 2:23:59 PM PST by Kaslin

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 Obama's re-election, hundreds of thousands of petitions for secession have reached the White House. Some people have argued that secession is unconstitutional, but there's 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. Let's 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 Lincoln's 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 States."

Several months earlier, Reps. Daniel E. Sickles of New York, Thomas B. Florence of Pennsylvania and Otis S. Ferry of Connecticut proposed a constitutional amendment to prohibit secession. Here's my no-brainer question: Would there have been any point to offering these amendments if secession were already unconstitutional?

On the eve of the War of 1861, even unionist politicians saw secession as a right of states. Rep. Jacob M. Kunkel of Maryland said, "Any attempt to preserve the Union between the States of this Confederacy by force would be impractical, and destructive of republican liberty."

The Northern Democratic and Republican parties favored allowing the South to secede in peace. Just about every major Northern newspaper editorialized in favor of the South's right to secede. New York Tribune (Feb. 5, 1860): "If tyranny and despotism justified the Revolution of 1776, then we do not see why it would not justify the secession of Five Millions of Southrons from the Federal Union in 1861." Detroit Free Press (Feb. 19, 1861): "An attempt to subjugate the seceded States, even if successful, could produce nothing but evil -- evil unmitigated in character and appalling in content." The New York Times (March 21, 1861): "There is growing sentiment throughout the North in favor of letting the Gulf States go."

There's more evidence seen at the time our Constitution was ratified. The ratification documents of Virginia, New York and Rhode Island explicitly said that they held the right to resume powers delegated, should the federal government become abusive of those powers. The Constitution would have never been ratified if states thought that they could not maintain their sovereignty.

The War of 1861 settled the issue of secession through brute force that cost 600,000 American lives. Americans celebrate Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, but H.L. Mencken correctly evaluated the speech, "It is poetry, not logic; beauty, not sense." Lincoln said that the soldiers sacrificed their lives "to the cause of self-determination -- that government of the people, by the people, for the people should not perish from the earth." Mencken says: "It is difficult to imagine anything more untrue. The Union soldiers in the battle actually fought against self-determination; it was the Confederates who fought for the right of people to govern themselves."


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial
KEYWORDS: abrahamlincoln; constitution; gettysburgaddress; kkk; klan; liberty; secession; usamerica
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1 posted on 11/28/2012 2:24:02 PM PST by Kaslin
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To: Kaslin

Well written...and well-taken....


2 posted on 11/28/2012 2:26:28 PM PST by mo (If you understand, no explanation is needed. If you don't understand, no explanation is possible.)
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To: Kaslin

It is disturbing that the topic of secession has become mainstream. The liberal sites are talking about it, too. One site has people saying they’d approve letting states go except for Texas because they want the money from Texas.


3 posted on 11/28/2012 2:33:06 PM PST by MeganC (Our forefathers would be shooting by now.)
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To: Kaslin
"Several months earlier, Reps. Daniel E. Sickles of New York...proposed a constitutional amendment to prohibit secession."

Little bit of trivia...Sickles killed the son of Francis Scott Key, when he found him having an affair with his wife. Sickles then became the first person in the United States to succesfully employ a defense of temporary insanity.

4 posted on 11/28/2012 2:33:15 PM PST by Joe 6-pack (Que me amat, amet et canem meum)
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To: Kaslin
On the eve of the War of 1861, even unionist politicians saw secession as a right of states...

The Northern Democratic and Republican parties favored allowing the South to secede in peace...

Absolute nonsense. Mr. Williams needs to read some American history. Even Robert E. Lee saw secession as revolution, not as constitutional.

5 posted on 11/28/2012 2:34:37 PM PST by iowamark
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To: Kaslin

Good one.


6 posted on 11/28/2012 2:34:59 PM PST by rockinqsranch (Dems, Libs, Socialists, call 'em what you will, they ALL have fairies livin' in their trees.)
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To: Kaslin

Opus tease!


7 posted on 11/28/2012 2:36:30 PM PST by Rebelbase
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To: Kaslin

Is not state sovereignty guaranteed under the Tenth Amendment?
If a state freely joins the union, then cannot a state freely leave?


8 posted on 11/28/2012 2:44:19 PM PST by The Sons of Liberty ( Fast and Furious , Benghazi - What's 0bama's current body count?)
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The Heritage Foundation: “Can individual states secede from the United States?”

http://www.heritage.org/initiatives/first-principles/basics#can-individual-states-secede-from-the-united-states


9 posted on 11/28/2012 2:46:47 PM PST by iowamark
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To: Kaslin
Here's my no-brainer question: Would there have been any point to offering these amendments if secession were already unconstitutional?

Yes - to address an ambiguity in the Constitution.

10 posted on 11/28/2012 2:50:23 PM PST by rockrr (Everything is different now...)
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To: Kaslin

Starve them of revenue and make politicians lives as miserable as possible. States need to start banding together and tell the Feds to shove it. No one needs to support the BS from the kooks on thr left. The time honored method of shunning needs to re-emerge.


11 posted on 11/28/2012 2:56:51 PM PST by VRWC For Truth (Roberts has perverted the Constitution)
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To: Kaslin

States created the federal government in 1789, and states can abolish the federal government now if it choses to do so.


12 posted on 11/28/2012 2:59:13 PM PST by sergeantdave (The FBI has declared war on the Marine Corps)
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To: Kaslin

When I made a 600-mile, cross-state trip two months ago, here in my state of Texas, I was making a point to count how many Romney bumper-stickers I saw, in order to gauge how much enthusiasm there was for him. I counted seven Romney bumper-stickers in all. I also counted three “SECEDE” bumper-stickers. They’ve been around for a while, as a somewhat tongue-in-cheek message.

This was obviously before the election and the publicity of the petitions drive. I’m glad the whole topic has finally broken through. If blue-state America is bound and determined to follow Obama down his commie-statist rabbithole, and with the takers vs. makers threshold portending the country’s ignoble demise, the secession question is looking like a viable option. As it is, there is really becoming less and less of an America even worth preserving anymore.


13 posted on 11/28/2012 3:02:50 PM PST by greene66
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To: sergeantdave
States created the federal government in 1789, and states can abolish the federal government now if it choses to do so.

And give Obama his fantasy come true of being Just-Like-Lincoln? No thanks. The Kenyan would make even Old Abe look merciful.

I intend to keep my head down, cultivate my garden, pray for the best, and prepare for the worst. If enough of us Go Gault, it may not be too long before this mess collapses and we can pick up the pieces and get on with our lives.

That said, my last shred of loyalty to the Yankee government is gone forever.

14 posted on 11/28/2012 3:08:34 PM PST by Martin Tell (ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it)
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To: MeganC
One site has people saying they’d approve letting states go except for Texas because they want the money from Texas.

Bad news - Texas can't be "let" to do anything. If Texas decides to go, there is nothing anybody can do about it and I'm moving to Texas.

15 posted on 11/28/2012 3:15:33 PM PST by elkfersupper ( Member of the Original Defiant Class)
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To: Kaslin

bttt


16 posted on 11/28/2012 3:21:26 PM PST by BenLurkin (This is not a statement of fact. It is either opinion or satire; or both)
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To: Joe 6-pack

More trivia: Sickles received a General’s commission in the Union army because of his political connections, and commanded Third Corps at Gettysburg. Sickles disobeyed his orders to defend Little Round Top and projected his troops out into the Wheat Field, where they suffered serious casualties. Sickles was one of them, losing a leg. During Grant’s reorganization of the Army of the Potomac, Third Corps was eliminated, it’s components being distributed among other units.


17 posted on 11/28/2012 3:27:47 PM PST by henkster ("The people who count the votes decide everything." -Joseph Stalin)
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To: elkfersupper

Well, since there aren’t many elk in Oklahoma, and if we don’t hear “We did it a different way back home” whining out of you,, we may let you stay!


18 posted on 11/28/2012 3:28:02 PM PST by momf (Gun, mind, power shouldn't be followed by "control"!)
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To: sergeantdave

It would make much more sense to repeal the 17Th Amendment.

Easier, no bloodshed, no US troops...

It would put health care, control of the National Guard, local schools, local highway laws and gas tax, etc., all back under the control of the states, where it should have been all along.

Just look at what federal mandates have done to state fiscal problems.


19 posted on 11/28/2012 3:44:20 PM PST by old curmudgeon
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Comment #20 Removed by Moderator

To: Kaslin

There is a word for having a gun pointed at you and being told you can’t leave. It’s called a hostage situation.


21 posted on 11/28/2012 3:54:36 PM PST by SpaceBar
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To: sergeantdave

I haven’t a clue what you’re talking about. Three-quarters of the states can call for an Article V convention at any time. Are you saying Buckwheat will sic his fat welfare momma brigade on 34 states?


The question is whether the Supreme Court and obumbler would abide by that historical precedent.

Not likely.

Better to amend the 17Th.


22 posted on 11/28/2012 3:56:34 PM PST by old curmudgeon
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To: old curmudgeon

Sorry.

Meant to say “repeal the 17Th.”


23 posted on 11/28/2012 3:57:21 PM PST by old curmudgeon
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To: old curmudgeon

“Easier, no bloodshed, no US troops...”

What are you people talking about?

Bloodshed!!?? Give obuma a chance to be a Hitler? US troops??!!

An Article V Convention is authorized by Article V in the US Constitution. When two-thirds of the states submit one application for a convention, Congress must authorize it. No blood. No troops. No extra calories.


24 posted on 11/28/2012 4:03:21 PM PST by sergeantdave (The FBI has declared war on the Marine Corps)
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To: greene66
If blue-state America is bound and determined to follow Obama down his commie-statist rabbithole, and with the takers vs. makers threshold portending the country’s ignoble demise, the secession question is looking like a viable option. As it is, there is really becoming less and less of an America even worth preserving anymore.

I'm all for secession as long as my state can get its share of tungsten from the Federal Reserve.

25 posted on 11/28/2012 4:06:00 PM PST by Stentor (Shhhh!)
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To: Kaslin
The War of 1861 settled the issue of secession through brute force that cost 600,000 American lives. Americans celebrate Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, but H.L. Mencken correctly evaluated the speech, "It is poetry, not logic; beauty, not sense." Lincoln said that the soldiers sacrificed their lives "to the cause of self-determination -- that government of the people, by the people, for the people should not perish from the earth." Mencken says: "It is difficult to imagine anything more untrue. The Union soldiers in the battle actually fought against self-determination; it was the Confederates who fought for the right of people to govern themselves."

I've said it before...I'll say it again. The wrong side won.

FMCDH(BITS)

26 posted on 11/28/2012 4:06:00 PM PST by nothingnew (I fear for my Republic due to marxist influence in our government. Open eyes/see)
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To: Kaslin

Yes I’m stuck in the middle with you,
And I’m wondering what it is I should do,
It’s so hard to keep this smile from my face,
Losing control, yeah, I’m all over the place,
Clowns to the left of me, Jokers to the right,
Here I am, stuck in the middle with you.

Well you started out with nothing,
And you’re proud that you’re a self made man,
And your friends, they all come crawlin,
Slap you on the back and say,
Please.... Please.....


27 posted on 11/28/2012 4:09:08 PM PST by dennisw ( The first principle is to find out who you are then you can achieve anything -- Buddhist monk)
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To: MeganC

Why do you find it disturbing?


28 posted on 11/28/2012 4:09:31 PM PST by ilovesarah2012
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To: sergeantdave

Your assumption is that obumbler is a nice law abiding gentleman who will honor the Constitution.

No show us where he has in the past.

Obumblercare?

Libya use of troops?

Sending his personal emissary to lie to congress?


29 posted on 11/28/2012 4:10:45 PM PST by old curmudgeon
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To: nothingnew

The Noreast trash is still the problem it has always been.

The good people all left leaving behind the Loyalist’s who today are Euroists. They cling to the old country in desperation for their inadequacies.


30 posted on 11/28/2012 4:12:29 PM PST by bert ((K.E. N.P. N.C. +12 .....The fairest Deduction to be reduced is the Standard Deduction)
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To: Kaslin
Southrons
31 posted on 11/28/2012 4:13:47 PM PST by eyedigress ((zOld storm chaser from the west)/?)
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To: mo

“Well written...and well-taken....”

Especially the article’s most important sentence:

“What stops secession is the prospect of brute force by a mighty federal government, as witnessed by the costly War of 1861. Let’s look at the secession issue.”

Secession is certainly legitimate when “a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce [a country’s inhabitants] under absolute Despotism”. Indeed, “it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government”.

The petitions will accomplish nothing, and any direct action would be suicidally catastrophic. The Feds would sooner level a rebellious town in Texas than it would Fallujah. Historians would celebrate the President who ordered it for centuries and cinematographers would produce hagiographical movies about his greatness.


32 posted on 11/28/2012 4:16:39 PM PST by Skepolitic
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To: Kaslin

Are we really free if we’re not free to leave?


33 posted on 11/28/2012 4:19:24 PM PST by APatientMan (Pick a side)
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To: APatientMan
Are we really free if we’re not free to leave?

Folks are free to leave. The real issue is whether they should be allowed to force their friends and neighbors to go with them.

Check out the Confederados.

Also, check out this short video. Those are some very special people and I admire them,

34 posted on 11/28/2012 4:26:00 PM PST by Tau Food (Never give a sword to a man who can't dance.)
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To: MeganC

It is cruel to make conservatives and socialist live together, They deserve a country and so do conservatives. A split is coming. This is not disturbing to the informed, anyone can see it coming.


35 posted on 11/28/2012 4:27:28 PM PST by central_va ( I won't be reconstructed and I do not give a damn.)
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To: central_va

So if we split who gets to keep the original Constitution and Declaration of Independence?


36 posted on 11/28/2012 4:28:53 PM PST by MeganC (Our forefathers would be shooting by now.)
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To: Tau Food

“Folks are free to leave.”

So a whole state is free to pick up and go?


37 posted on 11/28/2012 4:29:35 PM PST by APatientMan (Pick a side)
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To: old curmudgeon

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™.


38 posted on 11/28/2012 4:29:54 PM PST by central_va ( I won't be reconstructed and I do not give a damn.)
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To: MeganC
I think states should separate...

why should eastern Washington be captive to a small area such as Seattle...and believe me, the election is decided there.....Dino Rossi is still fishing his ballots out of Puget Sound...

or NYS...why should upstate have to be saddled with NYC?.....let upstate have its own identity...it'll do better...

same with farm country in California....and even Illinois would be much better off if Chicago would be split from Mid and Southern Illinois....

39 posted on 11/28/2012 4:31:08 PM PST by cherry
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To: MeganC
"I love the Union and the Constitution, but I would rather leave the Union with the Constitution than remain in the Union without it."

President Davis

40 posted on 11/28/2012 4:32:18 PM PST by central_va ( I won't be reconstructed and I do not give a damn.)
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To: APatientMan

Well, if everyone in a state wanted to go to Brazil, Brazil might have a problem with it. But, trust me, that’s not a realistic concern. Folks who are tired of the USA should check out that video, though.


41 posted on 11/28/2012 4:34:13 PM PST by Tau Food (Never give a sword to a man who can't dance.)
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To: cherry

The state is the political unit defined in our republic, entire states are small counties. If after secession a part of a state wanted to form their own state then that might be a possibility. See the history of WV.


42 posted on 11/28/2012 4:36:01 PM PST by central_va ( I won't be reconstructed and I do not give a damn.)
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To: Tau Food

You aren’t answering the question. If a state (the people of that state) isn’t free to go, are they free?


43 posted on 11/28/2012 4:39:35 PM PST by APatientMan (Pick a side)
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To: nothingnew

The confeds fought so that their aristocrats could own other humans. Hardly a lofty sense of self-determination.

The right side won. Thank God.


44 posted on 11/28/2012 4:49:37 PM PST by rockrr (Everything is different now...)
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To: APatientMan
Maybe I don't understand your question. What do you mean by "go"? There is no Berlin wall here. Any or all can "go" whenever they want so long as they can find another country to accept them.

If by "go" you mean stay and secede from the USA, then my prediction is that the rest of the USA will prevent it, by force if necessary.

The USA purchased Louisiana from France. Does that mean that the USA can now sell Louisiana to another country?

These things aren't going to happen. Too many people are too patriotic. Like it or not, we're bound together, at least in our lifetimes. Some will leave, but most will stay and try to turn things around.

45 posted on 11/28/2012 4:50:32 PM PST by Tau Food (Never give a sword to a man who can't dance.)
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To: old curmudgeon

“Your assumption is that obumbler is a nice law abiding gentleman who will honor the Constitution.
No show us where he has in the past.”

Okay, fine. Since Buckwheat won’t honor a lawful Article 5 request, that means we fight it out in the streets and countryside. Happy now?

Jezuz kripes, I’m just pointing out that an Article 5 movement is one option to avoid secession or a bloody civil war. But since everyone knows better and thinks that it’s a bullshit idea without even trying it, let’s start killing each other yesterday.

Screw this. Goodbye.


46 posted on 11/28/2012 4:55:13 PM PST by sergeantdave (The FBI has declared war on the Marine Corps)
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To: henkster; Joe 6-pack

Dan Sickles took his leg with him to Washington when he was evacuated after the battle of Gettysburg, and gave it to a group of Army docs who were studying battle wounds. The leg was preserved, and for years after the war he visited his own leg in a museum in DC, and the leg still exists.

In spite of his battlefield screw-up, he wound up bewitching Congress into giving him a medal, and in the 1880s, he established the commission that turned Gettysburg into a national park.

Other little known fact—in 1890, he was elected Sheriff of NYC.

One of the most colorful characters in American history. If he was alive, he would agree.


47 posted on 11/28/2012 4:55:13 PM PST by exit82 ("The Taliban is on the inside of the building" E. Nordstrom 10-10-12)
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To: Kaslin

Outstanding article.

The older I become, the less I can find justification for the slaughter of over 600,000 men, and the widows and orphans that produced, in order to keep a “Union” of people who no longer wished to be associated with each other. The economic and social ruin to the South took over a century to repair.

It seems like the case presented by Jefferson in the opening of the Declaration of Independence certainly applied to the South in 1861.


48 posted on 11/28/2012 4:59:27 PM PST by exit82 ("The Taliban is on the inside of the building" E. Nordstrom 10-10-12)
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To: sergeantdave
Screw this. Goodbye.


49 posted on 11/28/2012 5:00:09 PM PST by WVKayaker ("Hang in there, America. Fight for what is right." - Sarah Palin 11/7/12)
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To: exit82

This absurdity of constantly refighting the civil war is pointless and only contributes to the waky notion of FR. The fact of life is we now live in a nation where states are irrelivant. Ideals matter.

The war of culture was/is not fought on borders it is fought on the airwaves. Want to win the culture war? crush one, and just one, outlet as an example. MSNBC is a good one. Make any advertising on that channel toxic to the point of GE selling them off. (probably to Hp, they have a history of stupid deals)


50 posted on 11/28/2012 5:04:47 PM PST by longtermmemmory (VOTE! http://www.senate.gov and http://www.house.gov)
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