Yes, Slavery Did Cause the Civil War, Part 4

Slavery and Society

The Confederate states seceded, then, because they suspected Lincoln and the North would, sooner or later, abolish slavery. They clearly dreaded the end of slavery. I trust the previous posts have shown this, but there’s one last issue. Why did Southerners fear the end of slavery so much?

This is a complex issue, but it is ultimately based on the fact that the South was a slave society. One can attempt to separate out other issues—economics, increasing hostility toward the North, a growing sense of nationalism—but in the end, all of these issues inexorably point back to slavery.

Scholars differentiate between slave societies and societies that have slaves. The difference lies in the completeness with which slavery affects every aspect of a society. It is a bit difficult to convey to the modern reader the totality of slavery in the South. Historian Peter Kolchin writes:

Slavery affected the whole South, not just the slaves.…Because the antebellum South was a slave society, not merely a society in which some people were slaves, few areas of life there escaped the touch of the peculiar institution….Slavery undergirded the Southern economy, Southern politics, and, increasingly, Southern literary expression. Slavery also buttressed the religious orthodoxy that set the South apart from the North, undermined the growth of a variety of reform movements, and helped shape virtually every facet of social relations, from the law and schooling to the position of women. By the eve of the Civil War, slavery virtually defined the South to both Southerners and Northerners; to be “anti-Southern” in the political lexicon of the era meant to be anti-slavery, to be “pro-Southern” meant to be pro-slavery. Few in either North or South doubted that the South’s way of life was a reflection of that section’s slave-labor system. When the challenge to that system appeared too great, Southern political leaders demonstrated the extent to which they identified slavery as central to their world by taking their states out of the Union and into war.

Was slavery so crucial to the economy of the South that economic concerns alone could have provoked secession? Perhaps. The profitability of slavery, once questioned by scholars, is now beyond question: slaves represented more capital investment than all other capital investments combined. Add up all the money invested in factories, banks, and railroads; the money sunk into slaves eclipses all. Eric Foner has recently pointed out [1:40] that American slavery—at nearly 4,000,000 slaves worth $3.5 billion (which works out to something like $75 billion in today’s money)—was the largest, wealthiest slave society in the history of the world. The staple crops these slaves produced (mostly cotton in the Deep South, but sugar as well) represented a vast source of wealth to the entire country—not just in exported staples, and raw cotton shipped to Northern factories, but in the slaves themselves. Slaves were bought, sold, brokered, insured, loaned out, and used as collateral in loans. (This massive source of capital and wealth shows that the modern Libertarian argument that slavery was dying out is pure fantasy.) So it’s not surprising that slaveholders should have objected to any notion that slavery was wrong in any way—either economically backwards, destructive of republican liberty, or morally reprehensible. It’s conceivable that for economic reasons alone, slaveholders would have violently resisted abolition. They might have considered secession for purely economic reasons, as Federalists in New England did with the Hartford Convention during the War of 1812.

One of the characteristics of the 1840s and 1850s is the increasing hostility between the sections. Southerners more and more began to feel that Northerners—especially abolitionists—insulted Southern honor. Words like “insolent” turn up again and again in the historical record. As New Englanders and other “insolent Yankees” increased their criticism of slavery, so Southerners increasingly felt their “way of life” was under attack, and they mobilized to defend themselves. It was John C. Calhoun who developed the most sophisticated arguments for the South. Using the “offense is the best defense” model, he defended slavery by attacking the “way of life” of Northerners, accusing them of being hypocrites. Plantation owners took care of their laborers from cradle to grave, Calhoun argued; Yankee factory owners forced their workers to fend for themselves, to become in effect “wage slaves.”

This increased hostility was fed significantly by the increasing dependence of Southern cotton producers on Northern financiers. In order to turn their staples into greater and greater profits, plantation owners had to rely more and more on outside expertise. But the more Southerners grew in outward prosperity, the more debt they seemed to be in; and most of this debt was owed to New York bankers and the like. Nobody loves their creditor. To carry on the lavish lifestyles to which the Southern gentry were accustomed meant leveraging more and more cotton and more and more slaves. Alan Taylor, in his excellent book The Internal Enemy: Slavery and War in Virginia, 1772-1832, demonstrates that one of chief reasons for not freeing slaves was simply that slave-owners were in too much debt to manumit slaves, even if they wanted to.

But these reasons for wishing to protect slavery—the great wealth it generated,  the anger at Northerners for disparaging them, the nationalism this anger engendered—which all hinge in one way or another on economics, don’t explain certain characteristics of the ante-bellum period, the Civil War, and Reconstruction (and beyond). What compounded matters, what made slavery indispensable to Southerners above and beyond its value as part of an economic system for controlling labor, is that American slavery was as much a tool to control blacks as it was to control labor—a slave society that ensured white supremacy. It’s my contention that these two impulses—the potential for great profitability and the legal subjugation of blacks—ranked as equally important to Southerners. This fraternization of the two became what they referred to as their “way of life”, and explains how Southern polemicists could make such crazy (to us) arguments urging secession; explains why Confederates fought so hard for so long, into 1865 when the war was clearly just a matter of time, drawing out the great pain and destruction and death, fighting far beyond what was reasonable; and explains why white Southerners went to such extraordinary lengths to perpetuate race control before, during, and long after Reconstruction—long after slavery had disappeared.

From the time Virginians institutionalized racism in the late 1660s and early 1700s, which degraded the humanity of free blacks as well as slaves, Southern lawmakers and slaveholders (which were much the same thing), equated blackness with inferiority and degradation. And it was this racism—this fear of “the other,” of blacks—that became the irrational underpinning of the entire society.

I’ve said before, and it deserves mentioning as often as possible, that race doesn’t exist. Science cannot determine a person’s “race” by looking at their DNA. Yet this notion continues to “inform” and influence institutions in society. (As Ta-Nahesi Coates has put it, race doesn’t exist; but racism does.) Since there is no such thing as race, any ideas based on race are, by definition, irrational.

And no idea perhaps is more irrational than American race-based slavery. The irony of a republic based on the principle of human liberty incorporating slavery into its organic law, overlapping with institutionalized racism, creates such an irrational foundation that we should not be surprised at all that it took a devastating war to end slavery—leaving behind the ugly stepbrother of racism.

It is important to emphasize here that in no way were Southerners alone in this racism. Racism was part and parcel of Northern politics in the nineteenth century. Politicians like Henry Clay and Abraham Lincoln, to name just two out of the majority of Northern statesmen, pushed the idea of colonization (the idea of sending free blacks out of the country, “colonizing” them in Latin America or Africa) until the end of 1862. But because numbers of blacks in the North were a fraction of what they were in the South, that racism—that irrational fear—tended to be far less vast and virulent.

Thomas Jefferson famously said, more than once, that adopting slavery was foolish, like taking “a wolf by the ears.” It was a dumb thing to do, but once done, you couldn’t let go. Well, why not? Why couldn’t white Americans accept that they had made a mistake, that slavery was wrong and free their slaves? And while it is true that some couldn’t free their slaves because of their huge debts, the real answer comes back that they couldn’t envision themselves living in a multi-racial society. The fear of free blacks living among them in large numbers was simply unthinkable. Free blacks were considered more dangerous to whites than slaves—a bizarre (irrational) notion, since free blacks had no particular need to attack whites, but enslaved blacks did. Indeed, the presence of free blacks vexed the slave society of the South.

Since almost the beginning, slave-masters had constructed a fantastical logic that bound them tighter and tighter to slavery. In The Internal Enemy, Alan Taylor shows how slavery made the Tidewater region of the Chesapeake Bay exceptionally vulnerable to British attack in the War of 1812. Virginians’ fear of all blacks, and their inability to trust free blacks—seen as bad examples to slaves who would covet freedom—meant that they were paralyzed, even as a truly dangerous, truly existent enemy in the form of the Royal Navy prowled the Tidewater shores. Virginians preferred that their militia was constantly needed at home to protect against an intangible slave revolt rather than fight the very tangible British.

And the British took advantage of this by encouraging slaves to flee their plantations in the night and board British ships, thus becoming free. The British even turned a number of these freedmen into the “Colonial Marines”: armed, uniformed, military units, terrifying the Virginia planter elite.

Events like the Haitian Revolution, the aborted slave revolt of Denmark Vesey in South Carolina, and the devastating rebellion of Nat Turner in 1831 appeared to justify Southern fears of slave revolts and free blacks. However, the simple fact that these events are so few in number—only two above occurred in the United States—confirm for us that Southerners allowed slavery to create for themselves an atmosphere of terror. Jefferson’s “fire bell in the night” quote regarding the Missouri Compromise is almost never given in its full context. In a given locale, the fire bell was rung to call volunteer firemen out to fight fire. But it was also used to call out militia in the case of slave insurrection. Thus, the “knell of the Union,” Jefferson’s chief metaphor for his fear that the Union might be destroyed by the issue of slavery, was the fear of slave insurrection.

If we then consider the irrationality caused by race-based slavery, the subsequent events beginning with the Mexican War leading to secession should not really surprise us. At every step, the Southern states behaved in an increasingly irrational fashion. (I’m going to set aside the truly insane attempts by Southern filibusteros to force Latin American countries into a “slave empire” from this narrative. We have plenty to work with without them.) Fearing the bounding of slavery by free states—and thereby putting slavery on the road to extinction—Southern aristocrats attempted to secede. Faced with Lincoln’s inflexibility on the dissolubility of the Union, and convinced that remaining was a direct threat to slavery, Southerners chose war against “the colossus of the North”–a war, of course, that ironically destroyed slavery. Confronted by defeat on all fronts in the winter of 1864 and 1865, the Confederacy continued to fight, continued to see its young men killed, continued to use propaganda to encourage its citizens that victory was at hand against the Yankee invader, refused to see reality as it existed. And after the war, ex-Confederates refused to accept black equality in any form. They passed the “Black Codes” to prevent that equality; they used murder and terror to prevent that equality; they delayed their own readmission to the Union rather than submit to “negro rule.” And after the ultimate failure of Reconstruction, the systematic attempt to humiliate and control blacks through Jim Crow. And why did they do this?

Because they did not like black people.

This hypothesis of irrationality/racism helps, I think, to explain why Southerners behaved as if they were insane.

This “irrational fear/racism” idea accounts for more than just Southern secession in 1860. In his excellent long essay “Losing the War,” writer Lee Sandlin argues that the irrational cultural ideologies of Imperial Japan and Nazi Germany—ideologies based on the racial superiority of each—compelled those nations to continue fighting the Second World War far beyond what was rational. If the war had just been about territory or economics, the Axis Powers would have sued for peace long before 1945. But they did not, because both were subsumed by their own cultural superiority, and felt that defeat meant the total annihilation of that culture: for Japan, that meant the Emperor, bushido, and the myth of Amaterasu; for the Nazis, it meant the Thousand Year Reich, the volk, and the Aryan myth. Both exhorted their people to fight to the very death; that death was preferable to cultural extinction. Sandlin argues that this recalcitrance, dragging the war on beyond any reasonable hope for victory, was one of the reasons it was an easy choice for the United States to drop the atomic bombs on Japan.

So it was with the Confederacy. The war was effectively over by fall of 1864, with the fall of Atlanta and Lincoln’s election. Any reasonable people or nation would have—should have—sued for peace. But not Jefferson Davis; not the Confederacy.

(Note: I know this portion of the essay threatens to invoke “Godwin’s Law.” It is not my intent to compare Southerners to Nazis, far from it. My purpose is merely to compare the irrational nature of the cultures to which each clung beyond reason.)

Their behavior shows what can only be considered irrational fury. From seceding because they disliked an election result, to fighting the war long past what can be considered reasonable, to their treatment of freedmen during Reconstruction—all of this behavior suggests deep irrational fear.

And so this, ultimately, is why slavery caused the American Civil War. The racism we live with today is not the residue of slavery; it is slavery’s brother.

Advertisements

About Christopher Shelley

Christopher Shelley teaches American history and American Indian history at Portland Community College. He is fond of border collies, and bleeds Dodger-blue. Any and all opinions expressed here are those of the expressors themselves, and in no way represent the views of Portland Community College.
This entry was posted in Civil War, Secession, Slavery and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

153 Responses to Yes, Slavery Did Cause the Civil War, Part 4

  1. Jimmy Dick says:

    Today was my Causes of the Civil War lecture for my survey class. The students all agreed that slavery was the obvious cause of the war, but to cover the bases and show them why the other items on the list weren’t the cause of the conflict I had them bring up other causes they’ve heard about. Then we went through them all and showed what they were, if they related to slavery, or were part of the process like the election of Lincoln. They asked some good questions and we had a good time going through the list. Naturally, we also went through primary source documents from the period as well.

    I enjoy this particular class because it gives the students a real learning experience on the alleged causes. I take pains throughout the course to make them aware of the theme of racism in America and not just in the South. I point out Lincoln’s words in the 1858 debates which really surprised them. They had not heard that before. All of this has to be put into context for them to understand how the Civil War would transform the nation on so many levels. I think I referenced the Constitution about ten times in this lecture alone.

    Beeman’s Pocket Guide is pretty handy for classes like this. You can just whip that out and read the Constitution right to them. It really cuts down on confusion. I find the Dred Scott case to be a great way to stress the importance of judicial review and how the SC decisions are law whether people like them or not.

    Like

    • Every term, I come to enjoy more and more the “sectional crisis.” And I especially like using Lincoln as a barometer of the anti-slave expansion position. In Battle Cry of Freedom, McPherson describes the varying intensity of anti-slave Northerners as concentric circles, with the “bullseye”, the smallest but most intense group, being the abolitionists: slavery was absolutely immoral and must be abolished yesterday. The second being the Seward crowd: yes, slavery is immoral, but it’s also Constitutional, and so we’ve got to deal with it legally. And the outside ring: slavery is bad, but agitation is worse, since it threatens the Union. Lincoln, JMcP says, fit into the outside ring.

      So I draw the “target” on the white board (each circle in different colors–I’ve got a freakin’ rainbow’s-worth of pens!), and after I get the positions on there, I ask “So where do you think Lincoln goes? And this before we’ve had a chance to hear him in his own words. (I’m rather guilty of reading a lot of Lincoln in my class.) They are always surprised to find him on the outside. I once had a student in an online class–an immigrant from Russia–who just refused to believe it. He was and would also be the “Great Emancipator” to her.

      I’ve been listening to the lectures by David Blight from the Yale University online courses series. He’s pretty cool. Makes me think I don’t do enough on the “Know Nothings.” But I could never figure out how to fit them into the Bigger Picture. “Oh yeah, and while all this slavery agitation is going on, there’s this ‘nativist’ movement happening.” Not very effective. But after Blight, I think I will put together a “shattering of the Whigs” and fit it in there.

      Yes, Northern racism! And to hear it in the Lincoln-Douglas debates so starkly, in the Charleston debate! Oh, my students are so disappointed. But by the end, by Lincoln’s “I want to see Richmond” moment, they have reconciled their visions of him with the reality–as far as we can know it.

      It cracks me up to hear neo-Confederates shout “Well, the North was racist too!” as if that’s material–as if “we Northerners” were trying to blame all Southerners from then to now for racism. Are you from Missouri originally?

      Beeman’s Pocket guide?! Like, Richard Beeman? Is it annotated? Of this I have not heard. I require my 201 (U.S. history from 1491-1840) students to buy the Declaration-Constitution combo with Pauline Maier’s fine essay added for $2.50. You mentioned she had died! I hadn’t heard that–very sorry to hear it now.

      My students get far more Constitutional history than they would prefer, I’m afraid; but your Dred Scott comment is spot on. I was infinitely fortunate to take graduate courses from Thomas Morris at Portland State. He is the foremost authority on slave law, and his tome, Southern Slavery and the Law, is pretty much the work in the field. He also wrote a book on the personal liberty laws of the North in the 1850s: Free Men All it was called. I think it’s out of print now. But he taught Constitutional history, and made me almost want to be a lawyer. Almost.

      Like

  2. Jimmy Dick says:

    Yes, it is Richard Beeman’s book. I have most of Maier’s works including those two. I think Ratification was outstanding. Understanding what went on in those conventions is critical to understanding how the Constitution was implemented in the US. The people of each state took a very big interest in the process and selected men to represent them and their interests, not just one segment of each state’s population.

    I’ve seen Blight’s videos several times. I link them in my online courses as well. Many people overlook the Know Nothings, but they reflect the racist theme in America. It is still in existence too. It is not as strong as it used to be, but that is due to the fact we are consciously working on eradicating it. My class found them interesting.

    I’ve used the circles before, but I like to just list the causes and then address each one. I love the state’s rights claim. I’m still waiting for anyone to tell me what those state rights were. It always seems to come right back to slavery and or the Constitution. So I explain to the students that state’s rights is just a political rallying cry by the party not in power.

    Like

  3. That some people did believe that secession was a right and that people in Northern states also held that view is without a doubt a fact. That does not mean they were correct in their view although I am a Jeffersonian Democrat and do support it philosophicaly but not pragmatically

    Letter from Mr. John Quincy Adams, to Thomas Jefferson
    ” had been formed in the winter of 1828, immediately after and as a consequence of the acquisition of Louisiana.” 1 This he disclosed to Mr. Jefferson, in the year 1809. About the same time, to the confidential friends of Mr. Jefferson he ” urged that a continuance of the embargo much longer would certainly be met by forcible resistance, supported by the Legislature and probably by the judiciary of the State [Massachusetts]. That to quell that resistance, if force should be resorted to by the Government, it would produce a civil war; and that, in that event, he had no doubt the leaders of the party would secure the cooperation with them of Great Britain. That their object was, and had been for several years, a dissolution of the Union, and the establishment of a separate Confederation, he knew from unequivocal evidence, although not provable in a court of law; and that in case of a civil war, the aid of Great Britain to effect that purpose would be assuredly resorted to, as it would be indispensably necessary to the design.”

    n this connection we may cite the speech delivered by Mr. Josiah Quincy, a leading and influential Representative from Massachusetts, on the I4th January, 1813 In this he boldly avows and defends both the right and the duty of States to separate from the Union, should Congress pass the bill then pending before them, “to enable the people of the Territory of Orleans to form a Constitution and State Government, and for the admission of such State [Louisiana] into the Union on an equal footing with the original States.”

    He alleges “that the principle of this bill materially affects the liberties and rights of the whole people of the United States. To me it appears that it would justify a revolution in this country, and that in no great length of time may produce it.” He then proceeds to declare as follows: ” If this bill passes, it is my deliberate opinion that it is virtually a dissolution of the Union; that it will free the States from their moral obligation, and, as it will be the right of all, so it will be the duty of some, definitely to prepare for a separation, amicably if they can, violently if they must.” Upon being called to order for the utterance of this sentiment, he repeated it and committed it to writing with his own hand.
    In the calm hours of self-possession, the right of a State to nullify an act of Congress, is too absurd for argument, and too odious for discussion. The right of a State to secede from the Union, is equally disowned by the principles of the Declaration of Independence. Nations acknowledge no judge between them upon earth; and their Governments, from necessity, must in their intercourse with each other decide when the failure of one party to a contract to perform its obligations, absolves the other from the reciprocal fulfilment of his own. But this last of earthly powers is not necessary to the freedom or independence of States, connected together by the immediate action of the people of whom they consist. To the people alone is there reserved as well the dissolving as the constituent power, and that power can be exercised by them only under the tie of conscience, binding them to the retributive justice of Heaven.

    “With these qualifications, we may admit the same right as vested in the people of every State in the Union, with reference to the General Government, which was exercised by the people of the United Colonies, with reference to the supreme head of the British empire, of which they formed a part; and under these limitations have the people of each State in the Union a right to secede from the confederated Union itself.

    “Thus stands the RIGHT. But the indissoluble link of union between the people of the several States of this confederated nation is, after all, not in the right, but in the heart. If the day should ever come (may Heaven avert it) when the affections of the people of these States shall be alienated from each other; when the fraternal spirit shall give way to cold indifference, or collision of interest shall fester into hatred, the bands of political association will not long hold together parties no longer attracted by the magnetism of conciliated interests and kindly sympathies; and far better will it be for the people of the disunited States to part in friendship from each other, than to be held together by constraint. Then will be the time for reverting to the precedents which occurred at the formation and adoption of the Constitution, to form again a more perfect union, by dissolving that which could no longer bind, and to leave the separated parts to be reunited by the law of political gravitation to the centre.”

    Like

    • No doubt various politicians have disagreed over the legality of secession. But words and deeds are different things. I encourage you to read my blog entry on Secession and the Constitution. There I argue that the ratification, the text, and the subsequent interpretations of the Constitution by the Supreme Court all show that secession was illegal. At the very least, I will take Madison and Marshall as expounders of the Constitution over Josiah Quincy and J.Q. Adams (although I admire that man greatly).

      But, just for the hell of it, let’s assume that secession was reasonably ambiguous enough that Southerners felt justified in testing the theory: two-thirds of the Congress and three quarters of the states at the time opposed secession. That’s the same proportion as a Constitutional amendment. And certainly three-quarters of all Americans were opposed to secession. In other words, by the amendment logic of the Constitution, We, the People decided that secession was not legal in 1860 and 1861. This is just a thought exercise, of course. But the logic of the democracy is compelling.

      Like

  4. Dr. Zhivago says:

    I am puzzled by the distinction between supporting secession philosophically, but not pragmatically. It seems clear to me that without the practical right of secession, none of the rights we assume to exist, actually do exist; and they most certainly can never be secure. For as the war sadly demonstrates, whenever the federal government wishes, it can suppress any right it chooses to through coercion and violence. Our “rights” therefore, are reduced to nothing more than privileges the goverment may withdraw at its pleasure. So if the right of secession and self-determination exist only philosophically and in the abstract, they will not, and cannot, help preserve the freedoms and liberties all Americans have inherited as their natural birthright.

    Like

    • Jimmy Dick says:

      The federal government did not suppress any right through violence and coercion. Secession is illogical and childish because what it really comes down to is a group that rejects the will of the rest of the country.

      Like

    • This is an eternal American question, isn’t it? How does the individual citizen protect their freedoms from an overbearing majority? Madison mocked bills of rights as “parchment barriers” that would not prevent any state majority from violating citizens’ rights. (Ironic, considering he’s the author of the Federal Bill of Rights.) His answer was a large republic formed of all the states. (Federalist #10) Local majorities would neutralize themselves, and be unable to attack minority rights. Of course, this didn’t anticipate the spread of slavery as a regional interest.

      Jefferson tells us we have the right to revolution. Of course, actual tyranny—the wanton abuse of rights—is the prerequisite for revolution. Some Southerners claimed to be staging a revolution in 1860, but most of the secessionists rejected the “revolution” argument, and made the distinction. That’s why they staged secession conventions. Their reactionary nature abhorred the notion of revolution, with its radical overtones. I understand you don’t make the distinction between revolution and secession, but there it is. In any event, there’s no evidence that the federal government was “tyrannizing” the slave states. No tyranny, no right to revolution.

      I actually believe there should be a mechanism in the Constitution to allow unhappy states to try and leave. But because that would sever the body politic of the United States, such a state would require permission. I think if two-thirds of both houses of Congress, plus three-quarters of all the states say “yes,” then by all means, leave the Union. Good luck with that.

      And the federal government in 1860 didn’t simply “wish” to “suppress any right it chooses to through coercion and violence.” Lincoln made the executive decision that secession was illegal, that the rejection of a legal election was the rejection of democracy and threatened the Union, and his decision was upheld by all the states in the North, and supported by the vast majority of Americans. If he had not been supported so, then there would have been no First Manassas in 1861, because Northerners would have said “no.” A true tyranny doesn’t have to rely on popular opinion.

      While the federal government has abused the rights of its citizens at various times, in the antebellum period it was the states themselves that consistently violated their citizens’ the civil liberties. Specifically, the slave states simply did not allow freedom of speech. Anyone who spoke their mind on freeing slaves was subject to very ugly punishments indeed. I would go as far as to argue that slave societies are incapable of protecting liberties. In the twentieth century, we see the federal government using the Fourteenth Amendment to protect American citizens from abuses by the states, again and again. So the arc of American history suggests that the feds are crucial in protecting individual rights.

      The checks on the federal government’s abuse of individual rights are supposed to be the Supreme Court and public opinion. In the twentieth century, this has worked for the most part, although clearly there’s a ragged history there. The internment of Japanese-Americans in 1942 is the most egregious example of the failure of this system, although I think it’s significant that this happened during wartime, and that the United States has formally apologized and offered a measure of compensation for their suffering.

      We disagree on the legality of secession, and therefore the legality of the war. And so, I don’t see the war as such as a violation of the civil liberties of Southerners.

      Like

  5. Dr. Shivago says:

    If secession is, as you describe, “childish” because it is merely “a group that rejects the will of the rest of the country” (and in the interest of civility, I offer that the quotes are meant to reflect accuracy, not to mock) it seems compellingly clear that the colonies did exactly that when they seceded from Great Britain. The majority of the British Empire clearly did not wish to see the that Empire fractured, ruptured, and fragmented, but the colonist chose independence and self-determination nevertheless,

    Now then, it is also crucial to remember that the colonists, under the Crown, were in fact not subjected to any tyranny, and that whatever injustices that were perpetrated, in no way justified a lawless and violent revolution. Especially considering that, when compared to the severe human rights abuses the colonists were inflicting upon the black population, their general complaints against the Crown and Parliament were immediately rendered petty, frivilous, and utterly unworthy of mention. In either case, tyranny is most certainly not a prerequisite in order to justify either secession or revolution. Indeed, the States under the Confederation, both revolted and seceded from the Union (the terms are by no means mutually exclusive, although Amar does describe the action as a secession), not because of tyranny, but because of myriad inefficiencies. So it is obvious that without the practical application of secession, this country could never have been formed, and that the right of secession is, therefore, the inherent and natural birthright of every American citizen.

    PS- As for the slave States of Kentucky and Missouri suppressing free speech, it is likely they used the Alien and Sedition Act as a model. And the 14th amendment is a monstrous illegality.

    Like

    • Jimmy Dick says:

      Here we go again with the same idiocy you always spout off with. Poor Confederates, always getting picked on by the North. You keep getting the concept of secession wrong because you are trying to make it legal. It is not legal. The South had NO legitimate right to secede. NONE. No state has that right and no state is going to secede any time soon.

      The colonists did not secede. Do not waste time trying to bring up an old paper of mine written in grad school either. I have already explained my error on that. I’m sure you will try to because that’s how you work. The states did not secede from the Confederation. You claim this and you lose every single time. You got hammered on this on Crossroads and lost. You have been hammered on this on multiple blogs and lost. Here you are again with the same old tired and lame arguments.

      Insanity is the act of repeating the same thing over and over again expecting a different result. So I’m done with your broken record and illogical conclusions.

      Like

      • If secession is illegal then show us proof . I must remind you that you got destoryed in Simpsons chatroom when you tried to prove that point.

        Like

      • Welcome, George, to the True Blue Federalist.

        I recommend you read the entry entitled “Secession and the Constitution”. That essay shows the evidence (much of it, though not all), and my argument. Then, tell me what you think. I don’t really want to recap all the arguments when I’ve already made them elsewhere.

        Like

      • Thank you Chris,

        Is there something you can do about Jimmy Dick’s insults or am I allowed to reply in like fashion. Remember you DID NOT get this sort of treatment at Cold Southern Steel.

        I do have some trouble post replies to the correct responses, it is a reason Simpson banned me. You will just have to bear with me and perhaps i can reslove the problem with Word Press.

        To you secession post. I really have no need to read anything you have posted in that respect unless you can prove that slavery was THE cause of the war. That is the title of this post.

        Like

      • I generally don’t believe in censorship, George, but if Jimmy goes beyond the pale, he will get the same treatment.

        In that case, please read my four posts on slavery and the war. In those posts, I show how and why slavery caused the war. I know it’s a lot to read. But read those and then you can try to refute my arguments.

        Like

      • Chris,

        I know this sounds rude, but trust me I don’t mean to be, but I have no interest in doing a bunch of reading that is just someone’s commentary of what they believe. I would rather you just do it the short and easy way and post the facts for me. Please?????

        Like

      • You make this really hard, George. I’ve put a great vast amount of time and energy “reading a bunch of commentary,” and deciding for myself what comports to the sources and what doesn’t. So do you see you are asking me to do your research for you?

        I tell you what: because I’m an incredibly nice guy, I will put together a list of “facts” supporting my position that the Constitution prohibits secession, and submit them to you. I’ve been wanting to put a list of sources together for a while, so this will be a good opportunity.

        But in return I expect a good-faith effort on your part to do more than schoolyard antics. Otherwise, go bother someone else.

        Like

      • I appreciate your efforts, I really do. I know the work involved in research and typing getting stuff online I have 3 website under SHAPE at http://southernheritageadvancementpreservationeducation.com/page.php?4

        However I am a simple person, I haven’t the desire to read a bunch of commentary. Please just post some facts and i will be happy.

        I too am a nice guy but that didn’t stop you from insulting me on Simpson’s blog or Cold Southern Steel.

        Like

    • At last! We are in complete agreement on something! I totally agree with you that the colonists were not being tyrannized. They thought and felt that they were on the verge of being tyrannized. According to their worldview of Republicanism, the actions of Great Britain appeared to be a kind of conspiracy of despotism, and they launched the Revolution as a preemptive strike. But no, they were not in actuality being tyrannized.

      However, they did not simply fly off at the first shock of the Stamp Act. These were men of reason, living still in the Enlightenment, who valued their rights as Englishmen. In fact, they struggled for 10 years with Britain to be taken seriously as a partner in the Empire, rather than a servant. In the process, they sent petition after petition to Parliament with their grievances. A grievance not merely a complaint; it is a constitutional complaint—an assertion that fundamental constitutional rights are being violated. Petitions are the lists containing these constitutional complaints. So just by using the words petition and grievance the Americans were trying desperately to let the English know that this was serious, that they felt their rights under the vaunted English Constitution were being violated, and they demanded redress. Off hand I can’t remember how many petitions they sent—Jimmy will know in a trice—but it was at least two, perhaps three. They were all ignored. But the point is, they declared their independence only after all the avenues of reconciliation were exhausted. And still, they didn’t declare independence until a year of actual shooting had passed! So the Revolution was on.

      The situation with Southern secession is very different. There was an election; the Republican candidate won; and the seven Cotton States seceded. No petition, no presentation of grievances, nothing. In this case, not only was there no tyranny, but there was no serious attempt to get the federal government to recognize the Constitutional rights at stake. Of course, those rights were the dispute over slavery’s extension, so Southerners weren’t likely to win, but that’s another issue.

      As said elsewhere, there is no unilateral right to secede. How can there be? The Constitution as ordained by the People created a sovereign government over a Union of also-sovereign states. It is indissoluble. Lincoln believed so, two-thirds of the states believed so, and probably three-quarters of all Americans believed so. Your idea, “the right of secession is, therefore, the inherent and natural birthright of every American citizen,” is unfounded.

      Like

      • Jimmy Dick says:

        It depends on what you call a petition. Do Declarations of Independence count? Pauline lists 91 in American Scripture and you can bet money there were others. As for petitions I think the first real one would have to be from the Stamp Act Congress. However, there were others from towns, villages, and colonies at the same time. From that point onward there would be more, but how do you define them? Should they only be from the quasi-national bodies such as the Stamp Act Congress, First and Second Continental Congresses?

        What do you do with the Suffolk Resolves which the First Continental Congress ratified and sent to Parliament? What about the Continental Association? Plus that congress also wrote addresses to the King and Parliament and to the people of both the colonies and Britain. What about the declarations they passed denouncing the Intolerable Acts, Quebec Act, and 13 other Parliamentary acts? They were busy men at that Congress and so were the next group of delegates in 1775.

        If you want to go with official protests directly to the King and or Parliament by a “national” body, then I say five.
        1. Declaration of Rights and Grievances
        2. The Suffolk Resolves (They sent an address directly to the King in October of 1774 too).
        3. Olive Branch Petition (King refused it and declared them in rebellion Aug. 23, 1775).
        4. Declaration of the Causes and Necessity of Taking Up Arms
        5. Declaration of Independence.

        It is so very interesting that the colonists waited for a full year to declare independence. They really thought the King might change his mind. That is some of them. Most of New England knew it was over in the middle of 1774. The Southern colonies were having problems internally, especially North Carolina. Virginia was still fighting a war of expansion with Native Americans via Dunsmore’s War. The middle colonies were the big question mark. They were the ones that held out the longest on the idea of independence. There were multiple reasons for that too.

        The Revolution itself was a contest of ideas. The fighting part was the physical struggle. Great Britain forced the Revolution upon the colonies via its actions. They were not necessarily tyrannical, but they were done without the consent of the colonists or their representatives. This is integral to understanding the Revolution. It is a case of bad men making bad decisions in Parliament in many ways. I should not say bad men as much as I should say lesser men.

        When governments put lesser men in positions of power bad things happen. A good case is the US during the 1850s. The greatest American politicians were leaving the stage with the Compromise of 1850. Lesser men took their places.Throughout the 1850s the slaveowners would make one stupid decision after another in attempts to maintain their power. The resulting backlash wiped out the national Democratic Party by 1860. In 1860 when strong intelligent men were needed to work together, lesser men refused to do so and refused to compromise. The result was a stupid, vain, petty, and ignorant choice to secede instead of working out differences.

        Like

      • A trice indeed.

        When governments put lesser men in positions of power bad things happen. A good case is the US during the 1850s. The greatest American politicians were leaving the stage with the Compromise of 1850. Lesser men took their places.Throughout the 1850s the slaveowners would make one stupid decision after another in attempts to maintain their power. The resulting backlash wiped out the national Democratic Party by 1860.

        I have never thought of this. And these lesser men taking the stage in the 1850s corresponds with a massive growth in the economics of slavery. McPherson points out the the late 1840s was a time when Southerners discussed diversifying the economy so as to avoid falling too far behind the North. But the cotton boom of the ’50s put that idea to sleep as every planter put every dollar into land and slaves.

        Like

      • Remember taxiation without representation?

        “Your idea, “the right of secession is, therefore, the inherent and natural birthright of every American citizen,” is unfounded.”

        Prove it.

        Like

      • Kenneth Almquist says:

        Other commentators have covered the issues pretty throuroughly, I want to highlight the difference between the right of secession and the right of revolution.

        The right to secession refers to a legal right for a portion of a country to withdraw from the rest of the country and set up its own government. The legality of secession thus depends on the laws of the country one desires to withdraw from. For example, at the time of the American Revolution, the colonies had no legal right to secede from Britain because British common law doesn’t recognize any such right. Similarly, the question of whether the Confederate states had the legal right to secede depends on the United States Constitution. For an explaination of why the Confederate states did not have the right to secede, see Abraham Lincoln’s first inaugural address or Christopher Shelley’s comments. I will only add that there is nothing special about the United States in this regard. As far as I know, no government anywhere or at any time has recognized a right of secession.

        In constrast, the right of revolution is a “natural right.” Unlike a legal right such as the right of secession, the right of revolution doesn’t depend on any constitution or man-made law. If gpthelastrebel was thinking of the right to revolution when he used the word “secession,” then he was justified in calling it “the natural birthright of every American citizen.” Lincoln believed in the right of revolution, saying in his first inaugural address: “This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it, or their revolutionary right to dismember, or overthrow it.”

        Were the Confederate actions justified by the right of revolution? The answer depends on exactly how the right of revolution is defined, but if we go by the fomulation in the Declaration of Independence, the answer is “no.” In that formulation, certain natural rights, such as the rights to life, liberty, and the persuit of happiness, are fundamental. The right of revolution is derived from the fundamental rights, and only exists when the government has become destructive of the fundamental rights. But the Confederate declarations of secession don’t have much to say about the federal government destroying the fundamental rights. Their fear was precisely the opposite: that the Republicans might use the power of the federal government to ensure that all Americans had the rights to life, liberty, and the persuit of happiness.

        In any case, the right of secession and the right of revolution are very different things. Neither one of them justifies the actions of Southern leaders in my view–the right of secession because it didn’t exist, and the right of revolution because it didn’t apply. But they are very different, so it’s important to not confuse them.

        Liked by 2 people

      • I agree, Kenneth. In fact, your point I think is the most salient here. This is what we should have been arguing all along!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thne post the portion of the constitution that makes secession illegal.

        Like

      • For the last time, George, I have made that argument. Yet you flatly refuse to read it. But I will play one last time. After this, either read the blog post or don’t bother to comment. Frankly, I can’t imagine why you would want to come to a blog just so you can write “Prove it” again and again.

        The explicit text of the Constitution neither permits nor prohibits secession. Therefore, we need to dig deeper. I have tried to summarize these deeper arguments that show the Constitution prohibits secession. If you are not interested in reading those arguments, and then engaging in debate, then please quit bothering me. I have papers to grade.

        Like

      • Well seems like you made the state the Constitution did not permit secession. All I want to do is read the portion of that document where secession is not permitted. Now you tell me it is neither permitted or not permitted. Seems to me you should be able to provide the article and section.

        Now you are mad and want to ban me because you cannot produce any documents that support your point. Let’s take a look at real history no agenda no long commentary involved.

        Secession was not illegal in 1860/1861 that is fact. If it had been illegal Lincoln would have said Under article 123 section xyz secession is illegal and I intend to bring the seceeded states back into the Union. He never made a leagal argument in the case of secession. Was it 1867 that Justice S. P. Chase declared secession illegal? Now remember you argument is secession was illegal in the Constitution which was written in 1787, and I just proved you wrong

        Those are facts not an opinion.

        Shall we try slavery as the casue of the war???.

        Like

      • The explicit text of the Constitution neither permits nor prohibits secession. Therefore, we need to dig deeper. I have tried to summarize these deeper arguments that show the Constitution prohibits secession. If you are not interested in reading those arguments, and then engaging in debate, then please quit bothering me. I have papers to grade.

        Like

      • the Constitution did not prohibit secession. The right was taken away at the point of a gun.

        Like

  6. Dr. Shivago says:

    Ya know what Jimmy, I made a deliberate, and quite misguided, effort to be civil with you. But you are blowhard a hopelessly obtuse moronic twit, and there is no reasoning with you. Take a hike.

    Like

    • Jimmy Dick says:

      You repeated the same things over and over again. At what point do you stop repeating yourself and accept the fact that you are wrong? If you don’t like being told you are wrong when you are completely wrong you need to start changing your mind or shut up. You can’t reason with anyone when you are wrong to begin with. What part of that do you not understand?

      Like

      • Dr. Shivago says:

        Except that the staff historian at Monticello, who holds a Phd from U Va, says the colonies did secede from Great Britain. So does Pulitzer Prize winning Historian Joseph Ellis. So does Superior Court Judge Andrew Napolitano, who was educated at Princeton and Notre Dame. And so does Thomas Jefferson, given that “separation” is synonymous with secession. And yes, even you, in a published paper, recognized the obvious truth that the colonies seceded from Great Britain. This is because secession simply means to withdraw or separate or disassociate. The simple and incontrovertible fact that the colonies seceded from the British Empire is plainly beyond dispute, and it is silly and hopeless to try and argue to the contrary.

        Like

      • The staff historian at Monticello, who holds a Phd from U Va is neither here nor there. Napolitano is an idiot. Citing him is like citing a slightly less-hysterical version of Glenn Beck. But I’m very interested to read what Joe Ellis has to say. Where do I look? What source?

        Like

      • Jimmy Dick says:

        Founding Brothers. This is an old argument of Caldwell’s. The problem with it is that he is trying to equate the Revolution with the Civil War in order to get legitimacy for his opinion on secession. The fact that the two events are in no way similar means nothing to him because he fails to understand context. He wants a very simplistic answer.

        The reasons for the Revolution are the keys to the situations. The Revolution was nothing like the Civil War. Direct taxation, lack of representation, unequal laws, protective economic situations for the mother country; those were present in the Revolution. There were not present in the Civil War. Current neo-Confederates want to complain about oppression by the North, but the problem they ignore is the only thing the North was doing was working to stop the expansion of slavery. That was perfectly within the framework of the Constitution, but preventing slavery’s expansion meant ending slavery eventually.

        When we look at the two events in their context they are nothing alike. You want to call the colonies leaving Britain secession? It was far more like being pushed to the point of no return. The Lower South wanted to protect slavery and they seceded in order to do so. They started a war to protect slavery. Ending slavery came directly from the ideas unleashed in the Revolution.

        The colonies leaving the Empire can be stated as being similar to secession, but in no way was the manner the same nor the reasons for the actions taken. The Civil War was not a Second American Revolution at all.

        Like

      • Jimmy Dick says:

        The staff historian at Monticello made her statement. Jefferson’s idea is simplistic in nature, but also was rejected by the other states. Napolitano is not a historian and not a very good judge either. He is like David Barton. They both make up their history to suit their ideology. Both get reamed by historians and constitutional scholars. However, they sell well to stupid people and generate ratings. That’s why they keep getting attention, sort of like Palin.

        Like

  7. Dr. Shivago says:

    As said, and said, and said, there is an explicit right to secede from a Union created and ratified “between the States”, and most certainly not over them. There is absolutely no constitutional language anywhere to support the false and preposterous position that our republic is a union of people and not of States; there is copious constitutional language which supports my position. And just to be perfectly clear, Akhil Amar explicitly acknowledges that the States seceded from the Confederacy of the AoC. Explicitly. As far as slavery is concerned, it is utterly and completely immaterial. Two slave-owning republics do not fight wars over slavery.

    Like

  8. Well I have read where Jimmy Dick says the colonies seceeded. I can look that up if necessary. At any rate secession was not illegal and slavery was not the cause of the war. Bring forth the documents that makes that statemment. It is just that simple.

    Like

    • Jimmy Dick says:

      “Secession is constitutional…skip…secession is constitutional…skip…secession is constitutional…skip…secession is constitutional…skip…secession is cons…skip…secession…skip…secession…skip…secession…skip…skip…skip…skip….

      Like

    • Jimmy Dick says:

      I’ve got the original document where I said it right here. I’m glad you like the line. I am also very glad that you agree with the rest of the paper that is from where I said the tariffs had nothing to do with causing the Civil War because the primary cause was slavery. It just makes me happy that you agree with me about slavery being the cause of the Civil War since you love referring to that paper so much.

      Like

  9. Jimmy Dick says:

    Ah, George Purvis has arrived finally! The man who holds his ass in both hands after it got whipped severely on multiple blogs including the Chatroom on Crossroads, but is too freaking stupid to understand that. BENT OUT OF SHAPE has been heard from again.

    Look! The same ignorant claim that secession is constitutional. Broken record time again. Just recite that Confederate mantra to yourself over and over again, George. I would debate you but there is no point in it. That’s why you got kicked away to the trash pile. You cannot accept facts as evidence.

    George can only prove his stupidity. If you gave him a ball and asked him to share with everyone he would run away screaming, “Mine!” Look at his first two posts here which are repeats of others from other blogs.

    Come on, George. You’re a punching bag on Crossroads for our amusement. Are you going to do it here too? Slink back off to your blog so you can make up some more stuff and whine.

    Like

    • Shall we all try to play nice? At least to start? I know there’s a lot of history here (see what I did there?), but it would suit me to at least pretend to respect everyone’s opinion. Let’s demolish arguments, not character.

      Like

    • Gee isn’t it easy to get whipped when the admin bans you??? I note you have very little fact to add to any conversation, do you actually know any???

      hey to prove that secession was not constitutional.all you have to do is provide the article and section that proves your point. Simple as that.
      Yes Dick you can prove your stupidity easily just look at you all that education and you have to resort to insults. You are a [blah blah blah–insert various body part here –Admin]

      Like

      • Bantering insults is one thing, but we don’t do vile here, George. “Poopy head” is about as far as I’m going to allow.

        George, I have laid out my arguments in the blog post I asked you to read. I showed that the mechanism of ratification by We, the People, the text of the Constitution, and subsequent Supreme Court decisions created a United States that possessed sovereignty. By definition, that sovereignty cannot be unmade by the unilateral actions of one member. You cannot divide a sovereignty entity without its permission. That is why secession was (is) illegal.

        The way this works is that you refute my argument. Not shout “Prove it!” Because I have proved it—until you show why I’m wrong.

        Like

      • but you still did not show any law that makes secession illegal. That is the only point I am looking for anything else is just smoke and mirrows.

        Am I to beleive that you are attempting to prove the act of secession was illegal in order to prove your argument that slavery was the cause of the war???

        Like

      • Neither do you show any law the makes secession legal. And there is much more to the point than just that. It is not “smoke and mirrors”; it’s actual Constitutional law.

        The two are connected, certainly, but there’s a lot more going on. And no, I don’t have an agenda. To me, all these many facts point to certain conclusions. I’m not trying to reach preconceived conclusions that don’t match the facts. This may sound corny, but my training simply doesn’t allow it. To do so would be to lie.

        Like

      • No sir that is not law that is simply your idea of what you want the constitution to read. BTW Buchannan did not say secession was illegal either. That is two US Presidents who had no legal issues with secession

        Like

      • You bring up a good point, George: the “indissoluble Union” theory I’ve discussed was not accepted by all Americans. Indeed, it was much more fluid than that. But most Americans agreed with Daniel Webster that it was indeed indissoluble, and when pushed, were willing to go to war to enforce it.

        Like

  10. Dr. Zhivago says:

    Actually, I was not referencing “Founding Brothers”, but, rather, “Revolutionary Summer” where Pulitzer Historian Joseph Ellis explicitly describes the colonial secession from the British Empire as, well, a secession. And one Jimmy R. Dick, in the Fall 2012 issue of “Saber and Scroll” described it this way:
    “The revolution was in itself an act of secession from Great Britain”
    (http://saberandscroll.weebly.com/uploads/1/1/7/9/11798495/_journalv1i3.pdf)
    So Jimmy R. Dick joins Phd Historians, Think Tank intellectuals, U.S. Congressman, retired Superior Court Judges, newspaper editorial writers, and thousands upon thousands of others who fully understand and plainly state the simple truth when they say that the colonies seceded from the British Empire. Indeed, it is an uncontestable fact. But perhaps the best evidence is from Jefferson himself. In the DoI, Jefferson says:
    “a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the SEPARATION.”
    Please note the specific languae “separation”. Please also note that “separation” IS A SYNONYM FOR SECESSION.
    (http://thesaurus.com/browse/secession)
    Game. Set. Match.

    Like

    • Jimmy Dick says:

      Really? You got match play from one line? You got match play from one line in a document that repudiates the secession of the South in the Civil War? Well, if you want to take that one line and say it is the absolute truth you have to take the rest of the document which proves the South’s attempt to secede was unconstitutional.

      As for the rest of your trash, let’s get into Amar. In the same place you find Amar’s statement about secession from the AoC you find Amar saying the South’s secession was unconstitutional. So if you want to cherry pick something like you do so well, you better take the whole pie with it. That’s what we call context and of course you know nothing about that because you are not a historian.

      So take your game, shove it up your ass with your tennis racket and balls, set it in place and eat your match.

      You got beat by yourself.

      Call me when you get a degree in history and are able to carry an argument with facts.

      Like

      • Can you degree in history also create a law that says secession was illegal? Post the law I would love to see it.

        Like

      • Studying history is often a multidisciplinary endeavour. It is impossible to understand American history without some understanding of the Constitution and how it was created and how it’s been interpreted. I took a number of graduate seminars in Constitutional history, and continue to read up.

        Like

      • Fair enough. Now we know the Constitution does not address the issue of secession, then post some reason why you believe that slavery was the cause of the war. That is the title of your page.

        Like

      • And if you had bothered to read the entry, you would see all the arguments laid out. But here’s the short version:

        The Southern slaveholding states felt that Lincoln’s election in 1860 was a direct threat to slavery, in spite of the fact that Lincoln never claimed to have any power or jurisdiction over slavery where it existed. Because of this perceived threat, seven states of the Deep South seceded from the Union. After this new “Confederates States of America” fired on Ft. Sumter, Lincoln called for volunteers to put down the insurrection. This provoked four more states to join the new Confederacy.

        These Southern slaveholding states asserted an alleged right to peacefully secede from the United States, while Lincoln maintained that the Union was perpetual and no state could unilaterally secede. Thus, both sides could technically claim that the war was not over slavery.

        That is the basic narrative accepted by scholars. That is the narrative I find most convincing after looking at the “facts” and the arguments of scholars.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you that is all I asked for. I do not think my request was unreasonable.

        Your reasoning is faulty because slavery was only ONE of the reasons, not the only reason, of secession. You use this reasoning to determine the war was also a result of slavery. The fact of the matter is with the South leaving the Federal government eliminating the power of the slaveholding states in congress. Lincoln and his Congress had opportunity to free all of the slaves in the states and territories not held by the Confederates. They did not.
        Let’s look at some facts –

        In March the Congress of the United States passed the 13th or Ghost amendment to the Constitution. This amendment stated —-
        “No Amendment shall be made to the Constitution which will authorize or give to Congress the power to abolish or interfere, within any state, with the domestic institutions thereof, including that of persons held to labor or service by the laws of said State.” –Joint Resolution of Congress, Adopted March 2, 1861

        This was an open invitation for the states that had left the Union to return and keep you slaves. The Southern states could have easily returned to the Union and war could have at least been delayed IF SLAVERY WAS THE ISSUE. They declined. There must have been another issue.
        We have the Crittenden- Johnson Resolution which passed Congress July 25, 1861 it stated —-
        ‘Resolved by the House of Representatives of the Congress of the United States, That the present deplorable civil war has been forced upon the country by the disunionists of the Southern States now in revolt against the constitutional Government and in arms around the capital; that in this national emergency Congress, banishing all feelings of mere passion or resentment, will recollect only its duty to the whole country; that this war is not waged upon our part in any spirit of oppression, nor for any purpose of conquest or subjugation, nor purpose of overthrowing or interfering with the rights or established institutions of those States, but to defend and maintain the supremacy of the Constitution and to preserve the Union, with all the dignity, equality, and rights of the several States unimpaired; and that as soon as these objects are accomplished the war ought to cease.”

        If the issue was slavery then here is a second chance to return to the Union and keep the slaves. I am also familiar with the arguments here; the South didn’t want to be blamed etc. These are US government documents, passed and approved by the United States government. They are not someone trying to tie a bunch of loose end facts together and make a case. There is more fact s to be considered should I post them?

        Oh and are you absolutely sure the Confederates fired the first shot at Sumter????

        Like

  11. Dr. Zhivago says:

    A few facts:

    1. Jimmy R. Dick, in a published paper, has explicitly stated that the colonies seceded from Great Britain
    2. Dr. Christa Dierksheide, Monticello Historian, has explicitly stated that the colonies seceded from Great Britain
    3. Pulitzer Historian Joseph Ellis,in a widely read book on the American Revolution, has explicitly stated that the colonies seceded from Great Britain
    4. Ron Paul, former U.S Congressman and published author, has explicitly stated the colonies seceded from Great Britain
    5. Judge Andrew Napolitano, educated at Princeton and Notre Dame, has explicitly stated that the colonies seceded from Great Britain
    6. Thomas Jefferson explicitly declared, using a synonym for “secession”, that the colonies seceded from Great Britain

    Now take these FACTS, and shove ’em right up your ass.

    PS- U mad? lol

    Like

    • Jimmy Dick says:

      You left out the one where Madison said secession was unconstitutional. You might want to start getting pissed off now.

      You call Rand Paul and Andrew Napolitano accurate sources? LOL! Those two are not historians, just two guys who make up stuff to suit their ideologies. Oh wait, no wonder you used them. You do the same thing.

      Oh, you left out the part where in the same paper I proved that secession is unconstitutional. I also used facts, but far better ones than you used.

      By the way, Jefferson was in Paris when the Constitution was written. James Madison on the other hand played a large role in writing it. That might be why Madison pointed out that Jefferson really didn’t understand the Constitution that well. So keep quoting Jefferson. The only thing you are doing is stating your opinion which doesn’t count for much because you cherry pick everything like the amateur you are.

      So take my term paper loaded with facts and ram it on up there with your tennis racket. If you want to say my statement on secession is absolute, then you have to use the whole thing.
      Thank you for agreeing with me that secession was unconstitutional, still is unconstitutional, and that slavery was the cause of the Civil War.

      Thanks for playing the home game, but as they say in Aliens, “Game over, man!”

      Like

    • Hold on there, Sparky. You’re spiking the football a little early. Let’s look at your “evidence,” shall we?

      1. Jimmy R. Dick, in a published paper, has explicitly stated that the colonies seceded from Great Britain

      First, as I understand it, Jimmy has since renounced this position as more evidence came to his attention. That sounds to me like the way actual scholarship is supposed to work: one revises one’s opinion as one acquires more knowledge. Second, the entire rest of Jimmy’s paper demonstrates why secession is illegal. Yet you ignore that this was the ultimate point he was making. This is the apogee of “cherrypicking.”

      2. Dr. Christa Dierksheide, Monticello Historian, has explicitly stated that the colonies seceded from Great Britain

      Is it this the Dr. Christa Dierksheide who wrote this?:

      The justification of the word “secede” in the referenced essay is that the 18th century British Empire was a federal union. Derived from the Latin word foedus meaning “treaty,” a federal union was an alliance or confederation of political entities created for mutual interest or benefit. Thus, the British American colonies originally entered into this confederation as semi-sovereign polities who agreed to offer loyalty to the British crown in exchange for protection from the British king. During the Imperial Crisis of the 1760s and 1770s, revolutionary patriots argued that Britain was no longer upholding its end of the bargain—it was neither protecting nor serving the interests of the American colonies. Instead, British Americans believed that Parliament and King George were impinging on their “rights,” most specifically, property right. These points became the justification for the colonies’ legitimate secession from the federal union that constituted the British Empire in 1776. Patriots promptly created their own federal union by establishing and uniting the new American states—this union survived until the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861.

      Dr. Christa Dierksheide
      Historian
      Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies
      Monticello
      P.O. Box 316
      Charlottesville, Virginia 22902
      [H/T Rob Baker]

      If so, she’s utterly out of her depth. The British American colonies entered into nothing with Great Britain. It was not remotely close to being a “federal union.” They were colonies, established by Englishmen (for the most part) and they derived their sovereignty from their charters. These charters were granted them by either Parliament or the King, which meant that, ultimately, they were subject to those forces. This was not a confederation, nor a federation, nor anything of the kind. And after—and only after—“a long train of abuses” those colonies drafted new constitutions in the spring and summer of 1776. These new constitutions located sovereignty in the people.

      3. Pulitzer Historian Joseph Ellis, in a widely read book on the American Revolution, has explicitly stated that the colonies seceded from Great Britain

      Ok. But how does he arrive at that conclusion? What is his argument? Will you provide the page number so I can look it up? You’ll forgive me if I don’t merely take your word for it. It’s vital to understand the context in order to understand Ellis’ meaning. He might very well mean what you say. But I need to see it for myself.

      4. Ron Paul, former U.S Congressman and published author, has explicitly stated the colonies seceded from Great Britain

      Ron Paul is a politician who is more interested in his Libertarian ideology than American history, and therefore has zero credibility here.

      5. Judge Andrew Napolitano, educated at Princeton and Notre Dame, has explicitly stated that the colonies seceded from Great Britain

      Andrew Napolitano is a television personality who is more interested in his Libertarian ideology than American history, and therefore has zero credibility here. The very best thing you can say about him is that Jon Stewart likes him.

      6. Thomas Jefferson explicitly declared, using a synonym for “secession”, that the colonies seceded from Great Britain

      No. He either explicitly said “secession” or he implicitly meant secession when he said “separation.” The use of a synonym by definition means he’s implying something. But basic English grammar aside, applying an online thesaurus definition of a word to an eighteenth century politician is grasping at straws. The fact is he wrote separation.

      But all of this seems to me beside the ultimate point. The process of separation from Great Britain, both legally and philosophically, was a completely different process, in completely different circumstances, than the separation of the Deep South from the Union. Is your argument that “The Colonists separated from Britain in 1776, and that was ok, so Southerners separating from the United States in 1860 was also ok”? If so, it is extremely specious.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jimmy Dick says:

        He can’t figure that part out, Chris. Don’t confuse him with facts about why the colonies left Britain. He thinks that if the colonies seceded from Britain the states can have secession. There is absolutely nothing that makes secession constitutional because the body of evidence tells us something else. One point he ignores is that the Constitution was written in 1787, not 1776.

        He also ignores all the facts from 1787 onward which show and prove secession is unconstitutional. He rejects Madison’s statement on secession. He rejects anything including multiple Supreme Court decisions which show secession to be unconstitutional. He can’t comprehend that stuff because it interferes with what he wants the interpretation to be, therefore he ignores it.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Ah but you cannot renounce something or misspeak you will get dragged through the mud. Jimmy Dick made the statement and he has to live with it.

        And regardless there was no law against secession.

        Like

      • As written elsewhere, a specific law is unnecessary, since secession is not permitted by the Constitution.

        Like

      • Ok that is fine. Now show us hwere secession is not permitted under the constitution I am going to make this really easy for you — why don’t we just say the pre-amble and save the argument???

        Like

  12. Dr. Zhivago says:

    Let’s please remember that James Madison was a secessionist in the purest, fullest, and most complete sense of the word. First, he led the thoroughly unlawful secession from the Confederacy under the “perpetual” Articles of Confederation. Secondly, by openly recognizing the right to both “abolish”, and “renounce” the union, he was, in addition to being a practical secessionist, a theorectical secessionist as well. So much for James “abolish the union” Madison. Now take that Jimmy, and cram it where the sun don’t never shine.

    As for as the efforts to repudiate the high authorities I provided, they are feeble, reek of baseless smearing and wild mud-slinging, and are ultimately unworthy of any serious or detailed attention. Suffice it to say the authorities stand thoroughly untouched, undisturbed, and unimpeached. Also a synonym, as far as that goes, implies nothing; a synonym is a word that, quite explicitly, carries the same meaning as other. So in the context of the DoI, the words “separation” and “secession” are freely interchangeable.

    Lastly, I offer no argument, only facts. And the simple facts are that the colonies seceded from the British Empire in 1776, and the Southern States seceded from the American Union in 1860-1861

    PS- Your paper was pure garbage Jimmy, and in no way was it ever used as a resource to demonstrate the validity of the colonial secession. Rather, your putrid paper was used merely to demonstrate that before you dishonestly revised your position to accommodate the views of The Crossroads gang, like everyone else, you simply understood the fact that the colonies seceded from Great Britain. But overall, the paper was written like an Elementary School book report.

    Like

    • Jimmy Dick says:

      Madison was a secessionist? LOL! You’re hilarious. Where do you get this stuff at? Come on, make up some more crap for us. That’s all you’re good for.

      By the way, I finished grading my student’s papers today. Oddly enough they all agree that slavery was the cause of the Civil War and that secession is not constitutional. See, they’re capable of learning. All you are capable of doing is lying, repeating the same crap, and basically showing what a jackass you are as an amateur historian.

      Oh and by the way, the people at Crossroads laughed at you. Ask Chris. He went and took a look. But then you’ve been laughed at so much on the blogs that it really doesn’t matter. This is what it comes down to isn’t it? Poor little Caldwell, cherry picking stuff, making up stuff, and then repeating it like a little child.

      Game’s been over for a while, kid. Now run back to Mommy.

      Like

    • Well, no. Your argument is fairly convoluted. But regardless, at no point during and after the creation of the United States under the Constitution did Madison support secession. You keep emphasizing the “secession” from the Confederation. Except for some Anti-Federalists who were angry about the Philly Convention’s exceeding its instructions, I’ve never seen any major contemporary controversy in the historical record of the period over the summary dismissal of the Articles of Confederation. Nor am I aware of any by modern scholars. You insist the Rakove discusses this? Very well, I’ll have to look at what he says. But barring that, the issue with the Articles of Confederation is a non-issue.

      If the Founders had wanted to create a mere league of sovereign states, they could have and would have done so. As Madison explained to Daniel Webster:

      It is fortunate when disputed theories, can be decided by undisputed facts. And here the undisputed fact is, that the Constitution was made by the people, but as imbodied into the several states, who were parties to it and therefore made by the States in their highest authoritative capacity. They might, by the same authority & by the same process have converted the Confederacy into a mere league or treaty; or continued it with enlarged or abridged powers; or have imbodied the people of their respective States into one people, nation or sovereignty; or as they did by a mixed form make them one people, nation, or sovereignty, for certain purposes, and not so for others.
      [My emphasis.]

      Madison clearly shows that the United States is truly a federal government, with We, the People and the States both sharing sovereignty. They might have made a compact—a league—or they might have got rid of the states altogether. But they did not.

      Madison did, however, support the “right to revolution,” just as he opposed secession. In the same letter:

      I return my thanks for the copy of your late very powerful Speech in the Senate of the United S. It crushes “nullification” and must hasten the abandonment of “Secession.” But this dodges the blow by confounding the claim to secede at will, with the right of seceding from intolerable oppression. The former [secession] answers itself, being a violation, without cause, of a faith solemnly pledged. The latter [intolerable oppression] is another name only for revolution, about which there is no theoretic controversy. Its double aspect, nevertheless, with the countenance recd from certain quarters, is giving it a popular currency here which may influence the approaching elections both for Congress & for the State Legislature. It has gained some advantage also, by mixing itself with the question whether the Constitution of the U.S. was formed by the people or by the States, now under a theoretic discussion by animated partizans. [My emphasis.]

      Thus spake Madison. I recommend you quit using him as a source supporting secession.

      I didn’t sling mud at the Monticello historian—I merely showed how she was wrong. And I did show that–you haven’t refuted my points there. I only slung mud at the two Libertarians. I will deal with their sad, sorry arguments in future posts.

      Now, since we are now covering the same ground we’ve covered elsewhere, I’m ending this thread. Feel free, however, to comment material in the “Slavery Caused the Civil War” posts.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Michael Rodgers says:

    Chris,
    Nice series of posts. You mentioned $3.5 billion from Foner’s talk. I think it might help some of your readers to see the graph, and read the associated commentary, in this post by Ta-Nehisi Coates. There’s a difference in kind between a society that includes slaves and slaveholders.and a society based on slaves and slaveholders, not just a difference in degree.
    Regards,
    Mike

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for commenting, Mike. I have indeed glanced at that graph, but I have not looked closely at it. Thanks, I certainly will. That Mr. Coates–what a gem he is.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Slavery was just one of the issues to secession. The Confederate states could have left the Union because of the smell of Lincoln’s breath if that had wanted. Still in keeping with the title of this post, slavery WAS NOT the cause of the war.

      Like

      • This is the equivalent of sticking your tongue out at me, George. Again, read my arguments on slavery, and then tell me what parts of my arguments are wrong. I will listen. That is the nature of debate.

        This is me doing my best to take you seriously. But again, I don’t have time for “No, it’s not,” after I’ve put energy into this. So, please take this seriously or stop commenting.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I am stating facts. Either argue the facts or just admit you are wrong.

        Oh and by the way the Confederate States do mention abuses of the Constitution in their secsssion documents. No need to dig into that event more.

        I do think the issue seriously. It is you that i fear does not. As I said, I have no need to read any long commentary when it is opinionated. I do think you have a fear of posting a single document or fact that I can challenge, I think you had rather just ban me and proclaim yourself a winner. That is what the rest of youir budies have done.

        Here is a portion of Lincoln’s letter to Greely. I post this to let you know I am sincere when I say let’s exchange facts. — “My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that. What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union; and what I forbear, I forbear because I do not believe it would help to save the Union.’

        Feel free to spin this however you want. Now please post something that points to slavery as being THE cause of tjhe war.

        George Purvis
        Southern Heritage Advancement Preservation and Education
        http://southernheritageadvancementpreservationeducation.com/page.php?4

        Like

      • Jimmy Dick says:

        Broken record by GP again. This indicates the lack of intelligence from George. He wants to so badly deny slavery was the cause of the war, but he has nothing to prove that with. Everything proves it was, but George can’t accept that fact. So he just repeats himself over and over again while we laugh at him.

        Like

      • Chtis I have asked you to stop Jimmy Dicks insults. It appears you have a double standard here on your blog. As I told you on cCold Southern Steel it is always aYankee that brings out the first insult. Since you moderate thyour blog I assume you approve of these insults. Fair enough.

        Dick quit playing with your brain and put it back in your nutsack.That way maybe you can actually bring some facts to the table.

        Like

      • Good point, George. I would prefer all insults stop. And I am most certainly not a Yankee–the Dodgers are my team. I bleed Dodger Blue.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Well you have the tools, use them . It is that simple.

        Like

  14. Dr. Zhivago says:

    This thread isn’t closed then?

    Like

    • I closed it only to remarks on the ground covered. But Kenneth made a point not previously made; and Michael made a comment that actually had to do with the Slavery posts, which is the location of this thread. I also rejected one comment that was a “screed,” and had no place in the discussion. If you would like comment on the blog posts on slavery and the war, please feel free.

      Like

    • Doc,

      Please make a post to Cold Southern Steel, I wish to excahnge some info with you via email

      Like

  15. Dr. Zhivago says:

    Actually Chris, you are guilty of precisely and exactly what you accuse George of doing. More specifically, both George and I, consistent with all the universally accepted principles of civilized society, demand that you show us either a law of perpetuity, or in the alternative, a law prohibiting secession. And how do you answer that perfectly reasonable demand? By basically sticking your tongue out. You say, quite literally: “I don’t need one”. And nanny, nanny, boo-boo too?

    But you most emphatically do need one. As Thomas Hobbes famously stated the case: “the liberty of the subjects dependeth on the silence of the laws”. It is positively barbaric and uncivilized to attempt to impose penalties in the absence of a clear nd precise law prohibiting the conduct which you claim is unlawful. This is a fundamental principle if civil society.

    Like

    • Actually, CAC, I am offering a cogent, reasonable, and logical argument to a complex issue that requires much more than a black and white answer. You crave a simple solution. In philosophy, law, and history, there often is not one. But just because the answer is complex doesn’t make it wrong. The arguments I’ve laid out are not crazy, out-of-left-field, pulled-out-of-thin-air. These arguments were made by minds infinitely greater than mine, and these arguments were made long, long ago, by the likes of Madison, Webster, Marshall and others.

      But instead of engaging these arguments on their face, you and George simply deny them. That’s the source of my frustration. You simply cannot disregard Madison, for example, and his letters and remarks that all support the fundamental idea that the Union itself is sovereign; and as such, it is indissoluble. Now, you can disagree with Madison, and you can try to marshal evidence to show that he was wrong (see: Calhoun, John C.); but to either disregard him, or worse, to misrepresent him, is to not engage in serious discussion. And to insist on a black-and-white answer on these issues is to exhibit the behavior of the fundamentalist.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jimmy Dick says:

        Chris, They cannot accept the argument. In their minds they have created a work of fiction that states if the Constitution does not forbid what we want, then it is allowed. Of course the part where the Constitution does not say secession is allowed therefore it is not allowed doesn’t apply in their minds because that is not how they want it to be interpreted. No matter how much evidence gets brought up to them, they will just reject it. But they will be quite happy to cherry pick pieces of stuff in a lame effort to prove their idea. In the process they prove themselves wrong, but they can’t see that.

        That is why it is not worth our time engaging people like this. They’re not interested in history or accuracy, just their incorrect version of the past to suit their ideology.

        Like

      • I am surprised that you can actually make a cooment without the insults.

        Well let’s play a little game. I am going to agree with you that secession WAS NOT legal under the Constitution. Please post the exact quote and sources where Buchanan and Lincoln said the Confederates states secession was illegal under Article XYZ section 123 and I am going to enforcethis law by taking any action necessary.

        And now since you are such a Constitutional scholar, please show me in the Constitution where Lincoln has the power to create West Virginia.

        Once you do that I will admit I am wrong.

        Like

  16. Michael Rodgers says:

    Chris,
    Alas, your indulgence with a couple of your interlocutors is resulting not in arguments and debates but in abuse and contradiction. They wish to saddle you not only with the burden of proof but also with its impossibility, as they intend to be the final arbiters.
    Regards,
    Mike

    Liked by 1 person

    • I fear you are correct, Mike. Clearly, my inexperience at this blog-thing is showing. I hope to be able to wrap it up without rudely cutting someone off, and therefore being accused of fearing their positions. Perhaps some rules are in order. At the same time, I really don’t have time for nonsense.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ah but on Cold Southern Steel it was a different Chris coming on like a mad bulldog to prove me wrong.

        Doing this has nothing to do with how long you have ran a blog, it is do you know the facts? Is it that you are trying to support an agenda that historical fact does not support?

        Please bring something to the table proving that slavery was the cause of the war.

        Like

    • Do you mean to tell me that a person can make a statement such as “Slavery Did Cause the war” and then just offer no proof. Then sir i say to you I make the statement “Slavery Did not cause the war” now tell me, do you think i should offer some fact to support my position? A simple yes or no satisfies me.

      Like

      • Very well. Let’s start with the “South Carolina Declaration of Causes of Secession.” Here is but one passage:

        But an increasing hostility on the part of the non-slaveholding States to the Institution of Slavery has led to a disregard of their obligations, and the laws of the general government have ceased to effect the objects of the Constitution.

        I would appear that South Carolina left the Union because it felt its Constitutional rights to hold slaves was in jeopardy.

        Like

      • Chris,

        Thank you for an honest reply.

        You can post all of the Declarations you want, the fact of the matter is they are not declarations of war. To the best of my knowledge the Confederates States issued no declarations of war

        and did you notice what document is mentioned—– “and the laws of the general government have ceased to effect the objects of the Constitution.”

        And while we are discussing documents let me just clear this out of the way now. The Cornerstone speech, here are a couple of facts you should know before you present that to me.

        “The Cornerstone Speech was delivered extemporaneously by Vice President Alexander H. Stephens, and no official printed version exists. The text below was taken from a newspaper article in the Savannah Republican, as reprinted in Henry Cleveland, Alexander H. Stephens, in Public and Private: With Letters and Speeches, before, during, and since the War, Philadelphia, 1886, pp. 717-729.”

        [REPORTER’S NOTE. — Your reporter begs to state that the above is not a perfect report, but only such a sketch of the address of Mr. Stephens as embraces, in his judgment, the most important points presented by the orator. — G.]

        These facts are what most people leave off their pages when they copy and paste.

        George Purvis
        Southern Heritage Advancement Preservation and Education (SHAPE)

        Like

      • Well, I’m very disappointed, George. You asked for a fact–post one fact!–and here I have done that, and now what? You deal with one, tiny aspect of that fact, and just simply deny the rest. Then you counter with a disclaimer of the Cornerstone Speech. I didn’t say anything about the Cornerstone Speech.

        That’s not how historical debate works, George. You demanded a fact; I responded with one; now, it’s your turn to show why that fact doesn’t help my argument. Simply denying it doesn’t make it go away.

        (Actually, that’s not how historical debate goes, either. In a real discussion, I offer a thesis, then I argue that thesis based on the evidence (“facts”). And then, you pick my argument apart and show that either my argument doesn’t take X into account, or I got my facts wrong, or the context of my argument is wrong, or something. But I’ve decided to play it your way here. For now.)

        To be fair, I did notice that part: “and the laws of the general government have ceased to effect the objects of the Constitution.” Do you know what parts of the Constitution the federal government was not enforcing to their satisfaction? The Fugitive Slave clause! (Article IV, Section 2, Clause 3) So, your point here actually strengthens my position, not yours.

        Now, George, I’ve provided evidence that South Carolina seceded because they were worried about losing slavery, as you’ve demanded. Here and now, please explain why this document doesn’t show that, or give me some other explanation for this document.

        Like

  17. Dr. Zhivago says:

    The arguments you offer are most certainly not complicated, nor are they, in any way, esoteric. And insofar as Calhoun is concerned, he absolutely demolishes Webster in their 1833 debate over the force bill; demolished him. additionally, the Union is not sovereign, the people are. And if you read Calhoun carefully, particularly his “Discourse”, you will find he makes it apodictaclly clear that that sovereignty rest with the people of the States, and certainly in one aggravated mass, as you contend.

    So here is what you need to render secession unlawful:

    “The Union of these United States is perpetual, and no State shall, without the express consent if Congress, withdraw from said Union”

    There. Do you really think the framers were incapable of writing something like this, as they did in the AoC? But they didn’t. They left the Union of the States as a voluntary polity.

    Like

    • See? You had all this time to use Calhoun, but instead you spent valuable comment space quoting Madison out of context.

      We disagree: Webster’s arguments were more consistent with the spirit and the text–not to mention the history–of the Constitution.

      Like

  18. Dr. Zhivago says:

    “certainly NOT in one aggregated mass” is how it should read.

    Like

  19. Dr. Zhivago says:

    It is true that I could have introduced Calhoun much earlier, and certainly to my advntage. It is untrue that I used Madison out-of-context.

    Like

  20. Jimmy Dick says:

    I’d say Calhoun was demolished by the United States of America.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Jimmy Dick says:

        Alexander Hamilton and John Jay wrote during the New York Ratification debates that secession was not consistent with the Constitution and that New York could not ratify the Constitution with any reservations or changes to it. It had to be accepted as it was or else. We keep ending up at the ratification conventions and with the men who wrote the Constitution. They created a new government where the federal government was supreme over the states. They did this on purpose because the government of independent states was a failure.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Rob Baker says:

      We should argue that Calhoun destroyed Calhoun. His actions as Secretary of War (arguably one of our greatest), set the stage for Sherman, Grant, Hancock, etc.
      Of course, we can all compromise and say that Jackson destroyed Calhoun. Forever….

      Like

  21. Dr. Zhivago says:

    It should be made perfectly clear that the Constitutional Convention had absolutely no authority whatsoever to dictate, to the States, how they treated the Constitution. The Peope of the respective States were sovereign, and the Convention most assuredly was not. Accordingly, the States were able to reject, accept, or place conditions upon their ratifications at their pleasure. And of course, at least three States, Virginia, New York, and Rhode Island, imposed express conditions upon their ratifications, and one of those conditions was the right to secede. And for the purposes of this discussion, it matters not at all whether it is believed that the right of secession inured to the benefit of the individual states, or to the people their aggregate capacity. The fact is that those States ratified the Constitution conditionally.

    It should also be recognized that the Constitutional Convention was, without question or shadow of doubt, also a Secession Convention. This is, quite obviously, because in order to adopt the proposed Constitution, the States would first have to secede from their existing Confederacy and “perpetual” Union under the Articles of Confederation. This is also why Hamilton, Jay, and Madison are regarded as among the most dedicated and foremost secessionists of their era. Their persistent and tireless efforts to promote the adoption of the Constitution was, necessarily and by definition, a relentless effort to dissolve and destroy the Union and Confederacy of the AoC. This is simply an irrefutable historical fact. Again, the two governments could not possibly exist simultaneously, and in order to enter into the new Union under the Constitution, the old Union under the AoC was dissolved and destroyed.

    Like

    • That is true: the Convention had no legal authority to compel the Congress or the states to do anything. And yet, both the Congress and the states complied with the Convention’s recommendation. Again, the process was entirely voluntary. And no, the states most certainly were not able to make alterations. Madison’s letter to Hamilton (which we’ve already presented as evidence), and the text of the Poughkeepsie Convention show that conclusively. The right to secede was not a condition of ratification. This is demonstrably false. It is also the last time I will say it. Show new evidence if you can.

      And if you want to consider the Philly Convention a sort of coup d’etat against the AoC Congress, that’s fine. It’s not entirely inaccurate, and has a certain lustre. But to equate that Convention to secession takes a way more active imagination than one needs to make sense of what went on. And no one–and I mean no one–regards Hamilton, Jay, and Madison to be “among the most dedicated and foremost secessionists of their era.” Now you are just making stuff up.

      Like

      • Dr. Zhivago says:

        I am amused that you think “Madison’s letter” had a binding legal impact. Quite frankly, tat is preposterous. And you need to read the New York Ratification. New York expressly reserved the right to secede. And I will repeat it as often as necessary.
        I am afraid it is you who is making stuff up at this point. Please tell me Chris, was it not necessary for the States to dissolve and withdraw from the Union of the AOC in order to enter the Union under the Constitution? And were not Hamilton, Jay, and Madison at the forefront of the effort to do so? Didn’t they collective write 85 papers urging the dissolution of the AoC and the adoption of the Constitution?

        Like

      • Madison’s letter is important because it tells us what his interpretation of the Constitution was. Since the text makes no explicit ruling on secession (although is strongly suggests an indissoluble Union), we must look at what the Founders thought they were doing when they did it. Madison’s note to AH is just one of perhaps a dozen references he makes to the Constitution imbued with the sovereignty of We, the People of the United States.

        Here is what the text of the New York ratification debates actually says:

        SATURDAY, July 19, 1788; when Mr. LANSING moved to postpone the several propositions before the house, in order to take into consideration a draft of a conditional ratification, with a bill of rights prefixed, and amendments subjoined. Debates arose on the motion, and it was carried The committee then proceeded to consider separately the amendments proposed in this plan of ratification.

        So far, so good, Sparky. It looks here like Lansing was successful in getting a ratification based on the conditions of a bill of rights and some other amendments.

        But wait–what’s this? Another vote?

        WEDNESDAY, July 23, 1788. — Mr. JONES moved, that the words on condition, in the form of the ratification, should be obliterated, and that the words in full confidence should be substituted — which was carried.

        Bummer. By the way, here’s the vote:

        For the Affirmative.
        Mr. Jay, Mr. J. Smith, Mr. P. Livingston, Mr. R. Morris, Mr. Jones, Mr. Hatfield, Mr. Hobart, Mr. Schenck, Mr. Van Cortland, Mr. Hamilton, Mr. Lawrence, Mr. Crane, Mr. Robt. R. Livingston, Mr. Carman, Mr. Sarls, Mr. Roosevelt, Mr. Lefferts, Mr. Platt, Mr. Duane, Mr. Vandervoort, Mr. M. Smith, Mr. Harrison, Mr. Bancker, Mr. Gilbert Livingston, Mr. Low, Mr. Ryerss, Mr. DeWitt, Mr. Scudder, Mr. L. Morris, Mr. Williams. Mr. Havens,

        For the Negative.
        Mr. R. Yates, Mr. Wynkoop, Mr. Winn, Mr. Lansing, Mr. Haring, Mr. Veeder, Mr. I. Thompson, Mr. Woodhull, Mr. Staring, Mr. Ten Eyck, Mr. Wisner, Mr. Parker, Mr. Tredwell, Mr. Wood, Mr. Baker, Mr. PRESIDENT, Mr. Swartwout, Mr. Hopkins, Mr. Cantine, Mr. Akins, Mr. Van Ness, Mr. Schoonmaker, Mr. Harper, Mr. Bay, Mr. Clark. Mr. C. Yates, Mr. Adgate, Mr. J. Clinton, Mr. Frey.

        Lansing tried one last time, though. Got to hand it to that guy:

        The committee continued the consideration of the amendments till Thursday; when Mr. LANSING moved to adopt a resolution, that there should be reserved to the state of New York a right to withdraw herself from the Union after a certain number of years, unless the amendments proposed should previously be submitted to a general convention.

        This motion was negatived. [My emphasis throughout.]

        Thank you for playing our game, Mr. Lansing.

        So you see, no conditions. Instead, New York has “full confidence” that the new government will push for a bill of rights, but this is far short of a condition. I will leave it to you to back up claims regarding the Virginia and Rhode Island conventions with evidence. I’m tired of doing your research for you.

        As for the rest, your confidence and faith in the powers of the Aoc is misplaced. They just didn’t care about it. The ratification of the Constitution was the de facto repeal of the Aoc. And surprisingly (not), no-body complained.

        Liked by 2 people

    • Jimmy Dick says:

      The facts show us that no state reserved any powers for itself. The same facts show us that no state imposed any conditions on ratification. To claim that they did shows a complete inability to comprend historical documents.

      Liked by 1 person

  22. Dr. Zhivago says:

    Stunningly, Jimmy Dick writes it is a “fiction” that if the Constitution does not forbid the States to exercise a power, then the States may exercise that power. Cheese and crackers, fiction?! That is, quite factually, exactly what the tenth amendment announces. But in all honesty, this what Dick’s arguments have always been about. Ignore the palpable truths of history and law, then angrily shout out a stream of insults at all who offer those truths.

    Like

    • The stream of insults reflects the frustration we “Unionists” (as we’ve been dubbed) have when you repeat the same trope with no more evidence than you had last time; or when you misrepresent important source material by taking it out of context; or when you refuse to read plain English (“The Ratification of the Conventions of nine States, shall be sufficient for the Establishment of this Constitution between the States so ratifying the Same.”). I would prefer to simply answer with the historical record, since I believe most of that evidence supports our position, and avoid insults, but I share the frustration. I am coming to understand why the well-established bloggers don’t engage in this sort of thing. But I’m willing to play–up to a point.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Dr. Zhivago says:

        Good grief, and in the name of all that is both Holy and Unholy under all of Heaven, talk about frustration, cherry-picking, and out-of-context quotes! Why Chris, did you use bold face only on the word “Convention”? That word is immediately followed by the words “of NINE STATES”. Please note Article VII most certainly does NOT read, as you desperately want it to, “The ratifications of the National Convention of the people-at-large…”
        And why did you not bold-face the explicit language “BETWEEN THE STATES SO RATIFYING” ? Please note it does not say “Between the People so ratifying” as you, again, so desperately want it to. The STATES, as the exact, clear, unequivocal, precise, and explicit language of Article VII certifies, ratified the Constitution. And each State ratified for itself and only itself.

        Like

      • Lol. You’re starting to grow on me, CAC. I wish I could quit you…

        As I’ve said before (and this really is the last time, I swear): the text of Article VII means that the conventions made up of representatives of We, the People would decide whether or not the Constitution would be accepted. We know this was the Philly Convention’s intent—to create a sovereign United States government—because we have Madison’s testimony. Here’s a letter he wrote to George Washington right before the Philly Convention:

        Conceiving that an individual independence of the States is utterly irreconcileable with their aggregate sovereignty; and that a consolidation of the whole into one simple republic would be as inexpedient as it is unattainable, I have sought for some middle ground, which may at once support a due supremacy of the national authority, and not exclude the local authorities wherever they can be subordinately useful….

        To give a new System its proper validity and energy, a ratification must be obtained from the people, and not merely from the ordinary authority of the Legislatures. This will be the more essential as inroads on the existing Constitutions of the States will be unavoidable. [My Emphasis.]

        The Constitution would be a compromise between the federal and state governments. But the essential aspect is that the relationship between the national and state governments would be fundamentally altered. The national government would be sovereign; and that national sovereignty would trump state sovereignty. (See Article VI) That, at any rate, was the intent. That is why the conventions are so important and why I chose to emphasize them. That is why they are in the text–otherwise, why mention them at all? And that is also why Chief Justice Marshall held that the act of ratification fundamentally altered the national-state relationship: that the states did not retain their perfect, absolute, individual sovereignty once We, the People spoke. Were those conventions conducted state by state? Yes, of course, said Marshall, because how else would you do it? And the idea was not to obliterate the states–that’s why Article VII does NOT say “The ratifications of the National Convention of the people-at-large…”. Instead, Madison’s compromise merely subordinates the states to the national authority.

        Because ordaining the Constitution made the new federal government sovereign, it made it indivisible. A sovereign cannot be divided against its will. And so whatever powers and rights the Tenth Amendment reserves to the states, secession cannot be one. Today, states cannot be divided against their will for the same reason.

        We can agree to disagree–reasonable people do this. You may disagree with this interpretation. Many Americans at the time disagreed. But the majority accepted it. And no-one seriously threatened it until the Nullification Crisis. And when it was finally tested in 1860, two thirds of the Congress and three-quarters of the states (the same proportions as required by Constitutional amendment) rejected your compact theory forever.

        Liked by 1 person

      • That is a bunch of hooey. As decendants of Confederates we have to endure of the lies, mis-information and spinning of history. We share the same frustrations with casting about insults. This seems to be the standard practice among your crowd. That fact is proven on Cold Southern Steel

        Like

    • hey Doc it is the best Dick can do. he cannot prove me wrong so he insults. [His mother was a hamster, and his father smelt of elderberries! —Admin]

      Like

  23. Jimmy Dick says:

    Hey Purvis, I’m still waiting for you and the rest of the Causers to bring facts to this blog and a lot of other ones. So far you’ve only shown you don’t your history while repeating yourself like a broken record.
    List those state’s rights, baby!

    Prove secession is constitutional.

    Prove something other than slavery was the cause of the Civil War.

    Bring facts. [Insert random taunt here. –Admin]

    [Insert spirited insult here. And here. And again here. –Admin]

    Like

  24. Michael Rodgers says:

    Chris,
    The facts are not in dispute, everything was thoroughly debated at the time, and everybody now knows why everybody then did everything they did. Attempts to stretch-characterize the past into strange definitions for unclear purposes is absurdly silly as well as terrifically futile.
    Regards,
    Mike

    Like

    • Thanks for the comment, Mike. You are right, of course. But this is more entertaining than grading exams.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Michael Rodgers says:

        Lara’s lover is one-of-a-kind entertainment. He wishes to characterize, in no particular order, (1) the constitution as a contract between the states,.(2) the tenth amendment as a unilateral secession reservation clause, (3) secession as an inherent right or power of a state, (4) the revolutionaries as secessionists, etc., etc. Why he wishes to engage in such characterizations is unclear and for no expressed purpose.
        The key is this: Is his attempt to characterize facts an attempt to find the right legal or historical interpretation for the fact, after weighing relevant facts and historical interpretations in a fair-minded and curious manner or an attempt to fit some facts into a pre-determined characterization while ignoring or dismissing out of hand any- and every-thing that might be debatable? I don’t see any curiosity or fair-mindedness — or any hint that reasonable people might disagree with his self-described unassailable and obvious characterizations — in the diatribes of Lara’s lover.

        Liked by 1 person

      • “Lara’s lover”–is this another of CAC’s nom de guerres?

        Like

      • Actually you are just trying to be funny. We all know you will not change your mind it is the open minded people willing to learn we are posting to. You are just a vehicle that allows us the access.

        It is the smae with Dick, I really don’t mind the insults it just serves to prove the sort of fellow he is and the sort of blog you run. Insults DO NOT happen on my blog Cold Southern Steel at http://coldsouthernsteel.wordpress.com/

        George Purvis
        Cold Southern Steel
        ” Then Sir, we will give the bayonet”

        Liked by 1 person

      • Michael Rodgers says:

        I was lamely teasing Dr. Zhivago, or is it Carmichael? because he’s so passionate about his perspectived research into American history and Constitutional law and because he’s got such a distinctive point of view and such a distinctive style and yet he’s apparently content to be an anonymous blog commenter. He ought to write a book, and if he added the curiosity and fair-mindedness and purposefulness I talked about — and possibly even if he didn’t — his book might do well.

        Like

  25. Dr. Zhivago says:

    Spot on Mike, and I agree one-hundred per cent.

    Like

  26. Dr. Zhivago says:

    Chris, “Lara’s lover” is a clumsy, oblique, and decidedly pedestrian reference to Dr. Zhivago (Lara was his mistress). The actual theme song, “Somewhere My Love”, is quite beautiful though. So much for that. Now then, I noticed you posted some misunderstood and out-of-context information from the New York Convention (not the United Peoples National Convention, by the way), and on the purported strength of which you claim, demonstrates that New York did not attach conditions to its ratification. Why didn’t you post the Ratification itself, which proves, beyond all doubt, that New York clearly did attach conditions to its Ratification. And it is the Ratification itself, and most certainly not the general back-and-forth during the debates, which is controlling and dispositive. And New York was but one of Thirteen States. Thirteen States, thirteen ratifications. Each State ratifying for itself, and only itself. Not one ratification for the entire national citizenry, but, rather, thirteen separate and distinct ratifications. Thirteen.

    The same is true of Article VII. Although there is a plethora of information confirming the fact that the States ratified the Constitution separately and independently, including Federalist 39 and 40, in which Madison explicitly declares, no fewer than six times, that the States ratifications will not be a national act, it is the plain and explicit text of Article VII that is, here again, controlling and dispositive. And despite your assiduous efforts to employ a weird constitutional alchemy designed to change the precise language of “BETWEEN THE STATES SO RATIFYING” to “BETWEEN THE PEOPLE SO RATIFYING”, that language will simply never change. Never.

    PS- Why do you keep dragging the Supremacy Clause into this. It has absolutely no bearing on the question.

    PPS- I was deeply troubled to see you claim that sovereignty now rests with the United States (not United Peoples) government. It most assuredly does not. Under our system of government, Sovereignty rests with the People. Always.

    Like

    • No, it won’t do. Telling me you have evidence is not the same as showing it. Please support your claim on Poughkeepsie with evidence. The same for Federalists #39 and #40. Waving them in the air is not the same as demonstrating they support what you claim. Same for Virginia. Same for Rhode Island.

      There’s nothing weird or alchemical about using English. I’ve already shown the intent behind the words conventions. You are free to accept or reject as you please. But your inability to absorb this point demonstrates concrete thinking–a kind of pathological literalism that prevents communication.

      Liked by 1 person

  27. Carmichael says:

    Chris please,

    From 39:
    1) “On examining the first relation, it appears, on one hand, that the Constitution is to be founded on the assent and ratification of the people of America, given by deputies elected for the special purpose; but, on the other, that this assent and ratification is to be given by the people, NOT AS INDIVIDUALS COMPOSING ONE ENTIRE NATIONA, BUT AS COMPOSING THE DISTINCT AND INDEPENDENT STATES to which they respectively belong. IT IS TO BE THE ASSENT AND RATIFCATION OF THE SEVERAL STATES, derived from the supreme authority in each State, the authority of the people themselves.”

    2) “The act, therefore, establishing the Constitution, WILL NOT BE A NATIONAL, but a FEDERAL act.”

    3) “That it will be a federal and NOT A NATIONAL ACT, as these terms are understood by the objectors; the act of the people, as forming so many independent States, NOT AS FORMING ONE AGGREGATE NATION, IS OBVIOUS from this single consideration, that it is to result neither from the decision of a MAJORITY of the people of the Union, nor from that of a MAJORITY of the States.”

    4.”It must result from the UNANIMOUS assent of the SEVERAL STATES that are parties to it, differing no otherwise from their ordinary assent than in its being expressed, not by the legislative authority, but by that of the people themselves.”

    5. “Were the people regarded in this transaction as forming one nation, the will of the majority of the whole people of the United States would bind the minority, in the same manner as the majority in each State must bind the minority; and the will of the majority must be determined either by a comparison of the individual votes, or by considering the will of the majority of the States as evidence of the will of a majority of the people of the United States. NEITHER OF THESE RULES HAVE BEEN ADOPTED.

    6. “Each State, in ratifying the Constitution, is considered as a sovereign body, independent of all others, and only to be bound by its own voluntary act. In this relation, then, the new Constitution will, if established, be a FEDERAL, AND NOT A NATIONAL constitution.”

    From 40:

    7 ” Instead of reporting a plan requiring the confirmation OF THE LEGISLATURES OF ALL THE STATES, they have reported a plan which is to be confirmed by the PEOPLE, and may be carried into effect by NINE STATES…”

    From Article VII: “BETWEEN THE STATES SO RATIFYING” (not “Between the People So Ratifying”).

    From the Official and Legal name of our country: “The UNITED STATES of America” (not “The United People of America”).

    There is not now, nor has there ever been at any time in the history of our country, a political entity known as “the united people of America”. Never.

    I’ll compare the conditional ratification of New York, with its express reservation of the right to secede, and compare it with the unconditional ratification of Maryland, next.

    Like

    • Jimmy Dick says:

      There is nothing to compare because New York did not reserve the right to secede. The document is in black and white.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jimmy Dick says:

        Here is a link to the full text of New York’s ratification of the Constitution. At no point in the document does it say the state of New York reserved the right of secession. http://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/ratny.asp
        Here is the part you will use to say it allows secession:

        That the Powers of Government may be reassumed by the People, whensoever it shall become necessary to their Happiness; that every Power, Jurisdiction and right, which is not by the said Constitution clearly delegated to the Congress of the United States, or the departments of the Government thereof, remains to the People of the several States, or to their respective State Governments to whom they may have granted the same; And that those Clauses in the said Constitution, which declare, that Congress shall not have or exercise certain Powers, do not imply that Congress is entitled to any Powers not given by the said Constitution; but such Clauses are to be construed either as exceptions to certain specified Powers, or as inserted merely for greater Caution.

        That does not reserve secession for New York. The convention itself made that clear. That is what is known as context. Constitutional scholars have gone through this in detail and agree that secession was not reserved by any state. You may disagree, but that is your opinion is like a bucket with no bottom. It does not hold water. The facts show us that no state reserved secession.

        Liked by 1 person

    • If you had read the entire text of Federalist #39, you would see that Madison is trying to assuage the fear of those who consider the new government a “consolidated” government–a “national” government with the states’ sovereignty obliterated. (This, by the way, would indeed be your United People of America. But he is arguing for a federal government, not a consolidated national government.) He is telling critics that the new “federal” government is a hybrid of the old league under the AoC and a stand-alone “national” government. I can see why at first glance you thought you had a smoking gun. An old cigarette butt is more like it.

      Federalist #40 actually proves my point, so thanks for bringing it up. In fact, if I needed a smoking gun, that would pretty much be it. If you think it helps your position, then you just flat don’t understand what federalism means.

      And to claim the New York had an “express reservation to secede” is to not have read the document closely enough.

      So, Carmichael, I recommend you spend more time with the documents and figure out what “context” means.

      Like

      • Dr. Zhivago says:

        Finally, finally, you concede that the government, and more specifically the ratification process, was not consolidated and not National. I guess, even for you, Federalist 39 was just too overwhelming to resist. Nevertheless, your concession did not go unnoticed, and I thnk you for it. But I need your help persuading Jimmy Dick. If you can believe it, he is still, somewhat comically, clinging to the myth that there is a political entity known as the united people of America, which mysteriously, acts in a National capacity. Help him out, would ya Chris?

        Now then, another word or two about context. Continuing to shout “context” when you are confronted with facts and language which oppose your pre-determined agenda, will not alter those facts and that language. I have already told you, this is not alchemy. Additionally, and let’s be very, very, clear on this point, in no way, shape, or form, are you entitled to choose the context of a historical event, fact, or document, and then have that “context” correspondingly control the discussion. Not a chance.. Absolutely no way. In fact, your continued use of the word, and the concept, is itself, entirely out-of-context. Like I said, I can just as easily assert your context to be false and erroneous, as in all cases, it most emphatically is.

        Like

      • Now you have crossed over the line into comedy; farce, even. It also totally confirmed that you either have zero idea what federalism means, or you are engaged in sophistry.

        Here is a test, CAC. Answer these three questions, yes or no:

        1) Can any entity except a sovereign government pass a law that has a direct effect on one of its citizens?

        2) Can the United States pass a law that has a direct effect on one of its citizens?

        And the bonus round:

        2b) Could the United States pass such laws in the period between 1789 and 1860?

        If you answered anything except 1) no; 2) yes; and 2b) yes, then you need a political science course as badly as you need a history course. And of course, as soon as you answer correctly, you’ve admitted that the United States government under the Constitution is a sovereign entity. That does not mean the states weren’t or aren’t sovereign. It means that the United States is as well. And as such, it cannot be divided against its will, regardless that racist dumbasses in 1860 wanted to.

        I grant you it is just a theory, this dual sovereignty thing. It’s just air and words. But it was put to the test in 1861, and a super-majority of Americans decided it was the theory of government that they lived under, and so they were willing to go to war for it. And that majority of We, the People–amounting to a Constitutional majority, I would argue–made it clear that the philosophy Jimmy and I and others have described was what the Constitution means. You may live in whatever little theoretical, word-game logic-puzzle world you choose. I will choose the one the Madison, Marshall, and Lincoln helped create.

        Liked by 2 people

  28. Dr. Zhivago says:

    Actually, it is your bottom that completely drops out, and you are stuck with the fact that the People of New York explicitly reserved the right to “reassume the powers of government”? Please note that the only condition needed to legally justify the People of New York “reassuming the powers of government”, was the pursuit of their happiness. That is a clear and direct reservation of the right to secede; it can be read no other way. In point of fact, language could not possibly be clearer. Please note that the Maryland Ratification, by stark contrast, places no conditions whatsoever on its ratification. And that is what’s known as context.

    Like

    • Again, that’s only true if you remove the document from its context. Conditions for ratification were proposed; those conditions were rejected. And speaking of context, the Circular Letter to the other states declaring ratification was written by George Clinton, the leader of the Anti-Federalist camp in New York. If there were indeed conditions on NY’s ratifying, don’t you think he’d spell them out in the letter? But to know all this you would A) have to read the entire document; and B) understand enough American history to know who the participants were.

      CAC, you arguments have officially devolved into tricky word games–at best.

      Like

      • Dr. Zhivago says:

        Judging from your last remarks, it is apparent, Chris, that you have gone from building sand-castles in the sky, to actually living in those sand-castles. To that end, not a single question you proffered touches upon the question of sovereignty. Not a single one. And by asking them, you, sadly, have demonstrated an utter disdain and complete disregard for your political birthrights. So to help you more fully understand the distinction between the concepts of “consent of the governed”, and “Sovereignty” I will provide you with the only question that need be asked, and answered, to determine, under our system of government, where sovereignty rests. Now then:

        Who has the rightful authority to make, and destroy, constututions?

        I will even give you a hint: it is not the government.

        Like

      • The truly boring thing about wrangling over this is your dancing around the very meaning of words; to purposefully misconstrue my meaning. I was prepared for you to ignore all of my evidence by saying “you haven’t shown any evidence.” I came to realize you didn’t understand context and prefer to dwell in some alternative universe where Madison is a secessionist. But I didn’t realize that I had to spell out the very meaning of sovereignty for you simply to make a larger point. Again, your lack of formal education is telling. (Don’t they have schools in Virginia? I could have sworn both Al and Brooks went to some university there.)

        And so, here you are. I will go slowly:

        In our system of popular sovereignty, the people are sovereign–sovereignty (the right to rule) resides in the people.

        The people vest that sovereignty in government; in our system, with written constitutions.

        The people then become subject to laws of that government that they themselves created.

        If the people become unhappy with the structure of the government they created, they can alter it; in our system, that’s called the amendment process.

        If the government itself becomes tyrannous, they can abolish it; that’s called the right to revolution.

        But under this system, the sovereign body of people cannot be subdivided without its consent.

        Now that you have the definitions, go back and take the test. Then you will understand why the United States is a sovereign government. Also, I highly recommend Pauline Maier’s excellent book Ratification. It will answer your confusion about the so-called “secession” of the states from the AoC. It will show you what a rich and complex time that was, and how it is worthy of deep and thoughtful study, and not the spastic, superficial grab-and-go copy-and-paste technique of argument you neo-Confederates are so fond of.

        So dance away, Amigo! But until you answer the test questions, you’re done on this thread. Certainly no reasonable observer could accuse me of cutting you off and not allowing you to present your argument.

        PS– Federalist #43: “The express authority of the people alone could give due validity to the Constitution.”

        Liked by 2 people

      • Dr. Zhivago says:

        OK, here is the answer to your question:

        You are a vulgar, [insert long insult against recipient’s educational background here —Admin]…pfffft.

        So [insert long insult and unsubstantiated claims of victory here —Admin]

        PS- you are a gutless [English pig-dogs! Go and boil your bottoms, son of a silly person! Ah fart in your general direction! Your mother was a hamster, and your father smelt of elderberries!].

        Liked by 1 person

      • You left out “pompous ass” there, Dogberry.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Doc could have a lot of frustrations built up a from dealing with your “yes buts’ so much. At any rate more to the point, here is my opinion. Read the preamble it states “We the people” that is you, me the Doc, Jimmy Dick and Al Mackey. It is just my opinion that if we desire to leave the Union there is no law made by man or god that says we can’t.

        Perhaps you would understand the idea more coming from someone else

        Any people anywhere, being inclined and having the power, have the right to rise up, and shake off the existing government, and form a new one that suits them better. This is a most valuable – a most sacred right – a right, which we hope and believe, is to liberate the world.

        Abraham Lincoln

        The Confederacy had the right, they just didn’t have the power.

        Like

      • No, George, I think I totally understand your question. But tell me something–sincerely, no BS, I’m really interested–do you understand the idea of sovereignty? (I’m serious–I have perfectly intelligent students who don’t really understand this.) In case you don’t, let me repeat it briefly here:

        Sovereignty means the right to rule. In the old days, that was the King. That’s why he was called “the sovereign.” The people were subjects, because they were subject to his (the sovereign’s) rule.

        In our system of popular sovereignty, the people are sovereign.

        The people take that sovereignty and vest it in government; in our system, with written constitutions.

        The people then become subject to the laws of that government that they themselves created. In effect, the people become subject to themselves.

        If the people become unhappy with the structure of the government they created, they can alter it; in our system, that’s called the amendment process.

        If the government itself becomes tyrannous, they can abolish it; that’s called the right to revolution.

        But under this system, the sovereign body of people cannot be subdivided without its consent.

        My argument all along has been that when the state conventions ratified the Constitution, as per Article VII, they vested sovereignty into the new United States government under that Constitution. This was precisely Madison’s intent: to create a sovereign federal government. Keep in mind, this did not destroy the sovereignty of the states themselves; but it did alter it. It’s a unique system, really: dual sovereignty: both the states, and the federal government, have sovereignty vested in them by the people. Now, we aren’t married to the “original intent” of the Founders, but we damn well better understand what it was they intended before we go messing around with it.

        And so, according to this theory of government–which was the theory accepted by most Americans in the period before the Civil War–secession (that is, smaller parts of the sovereign body splitting off and leaving the sovereign body without the permission of the rest of that body) is indeed illegal.

        Now, you don’t have to agree that it’s a good theory; you don’t even have to agree that it’s a correct theory. But you must recognize that that is the theory that Lincoln and the rest of the Union felt was the proper interpretation of the Constitution, and that’s why they felt they couldn’t let the Southern states go.

        There is currently an idea that individuals are fully, totally sovereign on their own. But both Madison and Washington rejected that notion.

        Does that make sense?

        Like

      • I would suppose there are many interpretations of what sovereignty means to different people. If you look up the word it has a least 4 different meanings, one being independence. That being the case all states are sovereign, being they have their own governments. Independent if you will.
        Now as we know there are rights reserved for the states, today that would be gay marriage, pot legalization and other issues that we read about in the news. In the period of the 1860, secession was the issue. It is my opinion and I have already stated this, and my ancestors believed in independence enough to go to war, therefore if the people of a given state desire to leave the union they have every right to do so. I do not give any government body or any single person absolute rights over me. I will fuight for what i believe is my rights, I may lose but I will fight.

        Lincoln believed this, the Confederates believed this.

        Constitution legality was in the process. It is doubtful for obvious reasons, that congress would not have viewed secession as legal, but under Buchanan the process was starting. Too as I have stated before, if Buchanan and Lincoln did not think secession was constitutional, then you would think that one of them would have cited what part of the Constitution the seceded states violated. To my knowledge that never happened.

        I just want to add this, those who believe the South had no right to secession or right of self-government are the same folks who are at the present time giving our country away to any and all takers—Rights be dammed. I received a very good email today on that subject. May I post it to your blog? I am going to post it to Cold Southern Steel

        Like

      • Well, you may apply any particular definition of sovereignty you like. I’m using John Locke and James Madison. My friends in Indian Country use a slightly different definition as well.

        Of course the states have their own governments, because of course they are sovereign. I’ve never, ever argued otherwise. But the sovereignty of the United States is supreme. That is explicit in the Constitution. And the whole body of the Union could not be divided by any states by themselves without the permission of the whole. And no-one is saying a government has “absolute control” over you or anyone else. That’s not at issue. That’s what rights are about. I agree that many Southerners in 1860 believed they had the right to secede. I’m saying that most Americans believed they did not.

        There was much contention in the 1850s and 60s over the meaning of the Constitution, it is true. And Buchanan was a very weak president. But Lincoln relied on the idea that Madison and John Marshall and Daniel Webster put forward and made popular: that the United States, under the Constitution, was a sovereign government; and, as such, it was incapable of unilateral secession. That’s why neither Buchanan nor Lincoln had to cite what particular clause in the Constitution outlaws secession–there is not one because there is no need for one. Indivisibility is inherent in the Constitution. I don’t need a rule that says “You can’t take my left arm off without my permission.” That’s a given. Same with the Constitution.

        You may, if you like, add that last opinion, although I don’t intend these comment threads to become political soapboxes (unless that’s the topic of the blog post).

        Now, finally, you have your answer as to why there’s no explicit prohibition on secession in the Constitution.

        Thanks for posting, George.

        Like

    • Jimmy Dick says:

      You lose with this one as usual. New York did not reserve a right to secession at all. You are mangling this document in your attempt to create an interpretation that just does not exist. We’ve been over this before and you keep doing the same thing over and over. The people may reassume their powers, but not the state because the powers of government derive from the state. The state cannot secede. The people are the people of the whole country, not just one state.

      That is the way it is and you need to stop trying to say it is something else when it clearly is not. The convention discussed it and rejected the secession part.

      Like

  29. Eh I have posted facts Aren’t they on the board???

    Like

      • gpthelastrebel says:
        July 28, 2014 at 6:56 AM
        Thank you that is all I asked for. I do not think my request was unreasonable.

        Your reasoning is faulty because slavery was only ONE of the reasons, not the only reason, of secession. You use this reasoning to determine the war was also a result of slavery. The fact of the matter is with the South leaving the Federal government eliminating the power of the slaveholding states in congress. Lincoln and his Congress had opportunity to free all of the slaves in the states and territories not held by the Confederates. They did not.
        Let’s look at some facts –

        In March the Congress of the United States passed the 13th or Ghost amendment to the Constitution. This amendment stated —-
        “No Amendment shall be made to the Constitution which will authorize or give to Congress the power to abolish or interfere, within any state, with the domestic institutions thereof, including that of persons held to labor or service by the laws of said State.” –Joint Resolution of Congress, Adopted March 2, 1861

        This was an open invitation for the states that had left the Union to return and keep you slaves. The Southern states could have easily returned to the Union and war could have at least been delayed IF SLAVERY WAS THE ISSUE. They declined. There must have been another issue.
        We have the Crittenden- Johnson Resolution which passed Congress July 25, 1861 it stated —-
        ‘Resolved by the House of Representatives of the Congress of the United States, That the present deplorable civil war has been forced upon the country by the disunionists of the Southern States now in revolt against the constitutional Government and in arms around the capital; that in this national emergency Congress, banishing all feelings of mere passion or resentment, will recollect only its duty to the whole country; that this war is not waged upon our part in any spirit of oppression, nor for any purpose of conquest or subjugation, nor purpose of overthrowing or interfering with the rights or established institutions of those States, but to defend and maintain the supremacy of the Constitution and to preserve the Union, with all the dignity, equality, and rights of the several States unimpaired; and that as soon as these objects are accomplished the war ought to cease.”

        If the issue was slavery then here is a second chance to return to the Union and keep the slaves. I am also familiar with the arguments here; the South didn’t want to be blamed etc. These are US government documents, passed and approved by the United States government. They are not someone trying to tie a bunch of loose end facts together and make a case. There is more fact s to be considered should I post them?

        Oh and are you absolutely sure the Confederates fired the first shot at Sumter????

        Like

  30. Jimmy Dick says:

    Yes, George, we are sure the Confederates fired the first shot at Ft. Sumter. They bragged about it. Your entire case is lame on the documents you presented. It was the expansion of slavery that was at issue. Note how the documents mention nothing about that part of the equation. Those docs prove the Union was not out to end slavery where it existed. However, when you couple those docs with what the Southerners secessionists said at the secession conventions you get a much better picture.

    Liked by 1 person

  31. Jimmy Dick says:

    Right. The south seceded over the concept that they could secede and were willing to die for it? Then why didn’t they just say that instead of saying they were seceding over slavery? I mean, come on. It’s all right there. You just do not want to admit the truth. What is it about the truth that bothers you, George? You just make the statement that secession was over the right of secession. That is utter nonsense. They didn’t say that was why they were seceding. They said they were leaving to protect the right to own people.

    If your opinion is right, George, then where is the proof? No one said that was the cause of secession in 1860/61. They said it was about slavery. They stated it over and over again.

    Your ancestors as well as mine fought for the right to own other people. They killed men for that right and they died for that right. Had it been over secession there would not have been secession. The secessionists would have been laughed out of the room. They said it was about slavery repeatedly. Your ancestors as well as mine said it was about slavery.

    Like

    • Jimmy,

      You are taking a narrow view of the secession documents. If you take them for what they are, they are nothing more than a list of grievances against the Federal government. I suggest you read each and every declaration and list these grievances to fully understand exactly what they are.
      Even so if secession was secession was only about slavery, so what? Slavery was a legal institution in the United States, and these Southern states were part of that country. Slavery was not the cause of the war. This has nothing to do with what bothers me. It does appear that it bothers you because you can’t find the document that proves otherwise. What did you expect these states to say we are seceeding because we are seceeding? Does that make sense really?????

      I am not going to go into what each individual soldier fought for, if slavery is the reason your ancestors fought then so be it. What side were they on?

      Let’s look at a few facts shall we? First we agree that secession was not addressed in the Constitution, and we all agree that sovereign can mean independent. Therefore the Southern States believed that had a right to withdraw from the Federal government. So with that behind us there is no need to revisit those issues. It is agreed that the war started at Fort Sumter with Major Anderson leaving Moultrie to occupy Sumter. Where are the freed slaves? For now we shall say the Confederates fired on Sumter and Anderson surrendered that fort, where are the enslaved people? There are none either way. In all of the communications I have read about the issue at Fort Sumter slavery was not mentioned the first time. Now the firing at Fort Sumter caused the war, why did the Confederates fire on this fort. It was because Lincoln sent an invasion fleet to Charleston and Pensacola. So now we see the Confederacy fired on an invasion fleet. Where are the slaves? Again there are none. This is not my opinion these are historical fact.

      I have also posted two US acts of Congress to this page you simply overlook them because they do not fit your idea of what the war was about. One gives the South a chance to come back under the Federal and keep their slaves; the other clearly states the war IS NOT about slavery. Again these are historical facts[deleted remark —Admin].

      Like

      • George, could you repost this to the blog entry on “Slavery and Secession: The Daily Show’s Take”? This thread is too crowded and I want lots of room for this discussion. Thanks.

        Like

  32. Michael Rodgers says:

    But Chris and Jimmy, if those are your real names, don’t you understand? The states that declared secession did so, first, foremost, primarily,and certainly because . . . wait for it . . . they wanted to. It’s ridiculous that people never talk about the elephant in the room. They wanted to declare secession. That’s why they did it! It’s so obvious but it’s never acknowledged! They wanted to. It’s the crucial explanation that everyone skips right over to move to other explanations, such as to protect and expand a society based on race-based slavery.

    Come on! Anything that explains why those states wanted to declare secession is a secondary consideration not worth discussing, but if we do have to move on to some secondary explanation, I’m sure it has something to do with money, which means it must be tariffs. I mean, really, there’s no reason at all to read the Declarations of Secession since the Ordinances of Secession tell the whole story: Those states published secession ordinances because they want to, as evidenced by the fact — it’s a fact! — that they published those ordinances. And they were learned men of the day, learned I say.

    Truly, the Declarations of Secession are basically just dicta, a lot of blather regarding only half-believed convenient justifications when anything could have sufficed. I mean even Lincoln said as much in his July 4 address to Congress, “The little disguise that the supposed right [to declare secession] is to be exercised only for just cause, themselves to be the sole judge of its justice, is too thin to merit any notice.” Lincoln didn’t care for the reasons given in the Declarations of Secession; he cared only about the Ordinances.

    And this is how he cared about the Ordinances. Based on his views of the Constitution he drew conclusions in that same speech, “that no State upon its own mere motion can lawfully get out of the Union; that resolves and ordinances to that effect are legally void, and that acts of violence within any State or States against the authority of the United States are insurrectionary or revolutionary, according to circumstances.” He focused on the Ordinances, not the Declarations. And he treated them with the respect they deserved, talking about them specifically in his address, calling them “legally void.”

    Faced with these Ordinances, Lincoln could have called them something else, perhaps, “legally valid,” who knows? The point though is that he had a choice. There was no Confederate puppet controlling Lincoln’s mouth. Lincoln had free will. Just because some states passed Ordinances of Secession, and some states began attempting to form the Confederate States of America — good work secession ambassadors! — and because Fort Sumter was fired upon doesn’t tie Lincoln’s hands! As an analogy, just because Japan bombed Pearl Harbor doesn’t mean Roosevelt has to declare war. He has a choice. If Lincoln, or Roosevelt, chooses, on their own, using their free will, based on how their breakfast tasted or any other reason including no reason at all, they could choose war or not war, and so it’s all on them. Lincoln started the Civil War — and that’s such an awful name, it should be America’s Holocaust or even better the Insane Massacre of the Southern People by the Tyrant Lincoln — just like Roosevelt started that war with Japan, I forget what people call it, it’s not important.

    Finally, what is crucially important is for you both to understand federalism because if you don’t you might accidentally pay taxes or something or vote for the wrong person or give money to the wrong charity, or, worst of all, be wrong on the internet. Federalism means that states are nations and that the federal government is a subserviant agent that any state can blackball at any time and for any reason. The US Constitution is the supreme law of the land? Give me a break. The Supreme Court’s jurisdiction extends to controversies between two or more states? Hogwash. Sovereignty rests solely in the states, according to my reading of the 10th amendment, which states, and I quote, “Sovereignty rests solely in the states.”

    The only thing that gives me pause in my analysis is not the federalist papers — come on, they totally define federalism exactly, precisely, and specifically the way I do — and not the constitution ratification conventions — come on, they totally, clearly, obviously and unassailably said the constitution is a contract that created the federal government as a subserviant entity and that states can unilaterally without any obligation escape the bounds of said contract. No, my only pause is from President George Washington’s farewell address.

    President George Washington explained clearly, “To the efficacy and permanency of your Union, a government for the whole is indispensable. No alliance, however strict, between the parts can be an adequate substitute; they must inevitably experience the infractions and interruptions which all alliances in all times have experienced. Sensible of this momentous truth, you have improved upon your first essay, by the adoption of a constitution of government better calculated than your former for an intimate union, and for the efficacious management of your common concerns. This government, the offspring of our own choice, uninfluenced and unawed, adopted upon full investigation and mature deliberation, completely free in its principles, in the distribution of its powers, uniting security with energy, and containing within itself a provision for its own amendment, has a just claim to your confidence and your support. Respect for its authority, compliance with its laws, acquiescence in its measures, are duties enjoined by the fundamental maxims of true liberty. The basis of our political systems is the right of the people to make and to alter their constitutions of government. But the Constitution which at any time exists, till changed by an explicit and authentic act of the whole people, is sacredly obligatory upon all. The very idea of the power and the right of the people to establish government presupposes the duty of every individual to obey the established government.

    “All obstructions to the execution of the laws, all combinations and associations, under whatever plausible character, with the real design to direct, control, counteract, or awe the regular deliberation and action of the constituted authorities, are destructive of this fundamental principle, and of fatal tendency. They serve to organize faction, to give it an artificial and extraordinary force; to put, in the place of the delegated will of the nation the will of a party, often a small but artful and enterprising minority of the community; and, according to the alternate triumphs of different parties, to make the public administration the mirror of the ill-concerted and incongruous projects of faction, rather than the organ of consistent and wholesome plans digested by common counsels and modified by mutual interests.

    “However combinations or associations of the above description may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely, in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.”

    That makes me pause for like half a second, but then I realize, hey man, my opinion is more valid than King George’s and if my state wants to secede — which is its right as explained in the tenth amendment, which I quote, “Any state that want to secede can do so by calling a secession convention and passing Ordinances of Secession, and if that state also wishes to publish Declarations of Causes of Secession those will be treated as dicta because really who cares” — then I say, more power to ’em. And you should too, Chris and Jimmy or whoever you are. Or maybe I’m just arguing about the past and no one should care except people who want to argue about history when it doesn’t matter at all except that some people forget to talk about what a racist Lincoln was. You don’t forget to eat lunch do you? But you forget about Lincoln’s racism. How convenient.

    Liked by 2 people

  33. This comment thread is now closed. Please post new comments on this topic to “Slavery and Secession: The Daily Show’s Take.”

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s