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Secession in Principle - Part I

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Given that the sovereign and independent states were delegating specific and limited powers to the federal government established by the Constitution , and that by ratification of the same they were acceding to the compact or "union," it follows by simple logic that these states reserved the right to unmake the union or to secede individually from it.  Some states did not leave it to assumption, they expressly stated in their ratification documents that they reserved the right to withdraw from the union when and if, in the state's sole judgment, the union threatened the sovereignty of the state or the liberties of its people.

Stated plainly, the several states, by their own authority, made the union and by that same authority could unmake the union or leave it.  By virtue of the 9th and 10th Amendments, the states reserved the right to secede because those rights were not specifically prohibited by the Constitution.

The Articles of Confederation  styled itself a "permanent" union, however, when the Constitution was being drafted, the delegates specifically moved to strike any such suggestion.  The states used their authority to secede from the union formed by the Articles of Confederation and then to accede to the new union (formed by the Constitution) by ratification.  The several states each held their own Conventions where delegates selected by the people for this purpose met to debate the benefits and risks of the proposed Constitution.

The right of states to secede was unchallenged until the 1830s at which point advocates of central power (formerly the "extreme federalists") began to advance ridiculous and contrived arguments to establish the federal government as supreme over the states in matters other than those specifically delegated.  Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story and Daniel Webster were two of the best known advocates for this "one people, one nation indivisible" doctrine.  Abraham Lincoln adopted this "one nation indivisible" nonsense when it suited his political agenda, despite the fact that he was contradicting his own unequivocal previous public statements (see below).

Don't be swayed by the familiar ring of "one nation indivisible ."  It's familiar because it's a part of your childhood indoctrination.  That phrase was incorporated into the Pledge of Allegiance by Francis Bellamy, an American socialist, who wrote the Pledge in 1892 and advocated its adoption nationally.  The Constitution's Framers (especially the Anti-Federalists) clearly feared a consolidated national government and never used the word "indivisible."  Bellamy's pledge was a continuation of the ongoing propaganda against the idea of secession that followed the War for Southern Independence.

In Lincoln's 1861 Inaugural address, he advanced this contrived and deceptive doctrine that secession was "illegal" in order to (later) justify the use of force to "preserve" the union.  The convoluted theory suggests that the "union" existed before Constitution or the Articles of Confederation and that the "union" was perpetual and indivisible.  Read the 1861 Inaugural address (link above) and see if you can follow it. Lincoln's speech was often eloquent and poetic, but focus on the faulty logic in his words.

The Declaration of Independence described the thirteen colonies as "free and independent states." Clearly, this new found "one nation indivisible" doctrine was fabricated for the purpose at hand in 1861---to hold an advantage of political power (numerical majority in Congress).

"WE hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness -- That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these Ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its Foundation on such Principles, and organizing its Powers in such Form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness." --The Declaration of Independence

"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.  Nor is this right confined to cases in which the whole people of an existing government, may choose to exercise it.  Any portion of such people that can, may revolutionize, and make their own, of so much of the territory as they inhabit.  More than this, a majority of any portion of such people may revolutionize, putting down a minority, intermingled with , or neat about them, who may oppose their movement.  Such minority, was precisely the case, of the Tories of our own revolution."  --Abraham Lincoln, from the Congressional Record, Jan. 12, 1847.

Lincoln made the above statement to Congress in 1847 in discussing the Mexican war, and the right of the Texans to declare independence from Mexico after Mexico had declared independence from Spain.

Even though the Articles of Confederation labeled itself "perpetual," everyone acknowledged that it, in fact, was not because the states exercised their rights to secede from it and to accede to the union of the new Constitution.

Lincoln argued in his 1861 Inaugural address (see link above) that "Perpetuity is implied, if not expressed, in the fundamental law of all national governments."  Note that the Framers specifically avoided the use of the words "national" and "perpetual" and struck them from proposed documents.  James Madison made it clear that the people, their liberties and their "safety and happiness" were more important than any form of government when he said, "The safety and happiness of society are the objects at which all political institutions must be sacrificed."

James Ronald Kennedy and Walter Donald Kennedy, in their book Was Jefferson Davis Right? expressed scorn for Lincoln's ridiculous proposition that the union was perpertual.

"From his statement, it appears that Lincoln viewed goverment as having some form of everlasting life.  Adolph Hitler predicted a mere one thousand years duration for his Third Reich; Abraham Lincoln, on the other hand, contemplated his government lasting forever."

Stated plainly, the Framers never intended for the government to be perpetual.  In fact, they viewed occasional government "reform" to be healthy.  Remember, "...it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it and to institute new Government...." Abraham Lincoln himself expressed the concept very clearly and convincingly in his speech to Congress in 1847.  From this, we can only conclude that Lincoln understood very clearly that secession was a right.  Any 1861 arguments to the contrary were sophistry.

The next sections will demonstrate that not only was secession a right, but that the U.S. Government knew it and took steps to subborn perjury, convict innocent men of treason and war crimes, and to cast blame for their bloody conquest on their defeated foes, the Confederate patriots.

The links below will lead the reader to a reasonably comprehensive understanding of the Confederate Cause.

  1. Secession in principle:  Part I
  2. What does the Confederate flag represent?
  3. Conclusions

....under construction

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