Subscribe to Chuck's Column
Enter your information below and receive Chuck's column every Thursday directly to your email address!

    Search Articles

    This search box can be used to search both titles and article topics on the numerous subjects Chuck has extensively written on over the past decade.

    Romans 13: The True Meaning of Submission

    To Keep or Not to Keep Why Christians Should Not Give Up Their Arms Tim & Chuck Baldwin

    War is a Racket

    Second Treatise on Government - John Locke

    The Law by Frederic Bastiat

    Lex, Rex, or the law and the prince

    A Concurring Opinion For Secession, Parts 10,11,12

    Published: Thursday, March 4, 2010

    A Concurring Opinion For Secession, Part 10

    Anti-Secessionist Argument #4: The US Constitution Does Not Grant the State’s The Right to Secede Individually, and even if it were admitted that secession is a right, it may only be accomplished with the permission of at least three fourths of the states.

    Political Status as Independent, Sovereign States

    After having read all of the information in the previous articles I presented, some may still attempt to deny the states their right to secede by arguing that the states never had the right to secede even before the ratification of the US Constitution. They must argue this position because if it were shown that the states waived this power before ratifying the US Constitution, then the tenth amendment would prove worthless regarding their right to secede. Such an argument is crafty, but lacks any support in history, facts or law, for it has been universally accepted that:

    “[I]f any disputes arise in a state respecting the fundamental laws…it belongs to the nation alone to judge and determine them conformably to its political constitution…Every true sovereignty is, in its own nature, unalienable…[Transferring sovereignty] to other hands…can never take place without express and unanimous consent of the citizens…for the individuals who have formed this society, entered into it in order to live in an independent state, and not under a foreign yoke.” Emer De Vattel, The Law of Nations, (Indianapolis, IN, Liberty Fund, [1758] 2008), 96, 123.

    Given this fact, some will try to avoid the state’s sovereignty altogether by arguing that the colonies never enjoyed independent status from each other upon their Declaration of Independence, as if they formed one body-politic, despite the fact that even Justice Joseph Story (one of the most ardent unionists) admits that the Declaration of Independent did not form one body-politic and despite all logical arguments and facts to the contrary. Moreover, this argument has already been addressed in my previous articles and has been proven to be completely in error. The states were independent, sovereign and free and had the power to enter into compacts with each other, as they did under the Articles of Confederation and the US Constitution.

    Moving on from that argument, some will attempt to use the Articles of Confederation’s perpetual duration as “proof” that the states waived all rights to secede from the union from then on. However, this presupposition holds no truth but contains only serious flaws, and a study of American history will show that even those most outspoken unionists did not believe this position to be true. Consider first principles.

    First, the states possessed all powers of independent nations as described in the Declaration of Independence. After having separated from Great Britain, each state declared that all political associations had been dissolved among themselves and with Great Britain. Only a truly biased person would deny the sovereignty of the states at that point. Concerning the status of the states and their powers relative to the other states and the rest of the world, the Declaration of Independence declares, unequivocally:

    “[A]ll political connection between them and the state of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as free and independent states, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent states may of right do.” (emphasis added)

    Again, misconstruing the most fundamental document to the states’ existence reveals the most utter prejudice towards a national form of government and an elimination of the states. As a side, notice that nation of Great Britain was called a “state” as well, putting the status of that long-standing nation with the new nations, also called “states” (in plural form).

    The following federal supreme court justices and American jurists recognized the independent sovereign status of the states after the Declaration of Independence, having the power “to do all other acts and things which independent states may of right do”:

    US S CT Justice Nathan Clifford: “Counties and other municipal corporations were created by the States; but the States were not created by the United States, as the States existed as independent sovereignties before even the Union was formed.” John Brown Dillon, Historical Evidence on the Origin and Nature of the Government of the United States, (New York, NY, SW Green, 1871), 28.

    Professor George Sharswood: “The Declaration of Independence was the joint and several (separate) act of the Colonies, and its effect was to constitute each separate colony a free and independent State.” Ibid., 27.

    US S CT Justice Samuel Chase: “Under the Articles of Confederation each State retained its sovereignty, freedom, and independence, and every power, jurisdiction, and right, not expressly delegated to the United States.” Ibid., 28.

    US S CT Justice John Catron: “Before the new Constitution was adopted, she (Virginia) had as much right to treat and agree as any European government had.” Ibid., 26.

    Given the status of these states as independent and free states, they necessarily had the power to do what independent bodies-politic have: the power to make (accede to) and unmake (secede from) constitutions. If these states did not possess this ultimate demonstration of sovereignty, then they most certainly did not have the power to accede to the Articles of Confederation and the US Constitution. Yet, they did so, and it has never been doubted that the states had the sovereign power to accede to such a union, proving once again each individual states’ sovereignty.

    Second, under the Articles of Confederation, the states retained all powers not expressly delegated to the federal government, and it is clear that they did not delegate the power to secede, which all sovereigns have. Its “perpetual” duration had nothing to do with the right and power to secede. By virtue of the US Constitution being drafted, proposed and ratified, those states that assented to the US Constitution seceded from the old union under the Articles of Confederation, despite its duration being perpetual.

    They clearly demonstrated what sovereigns have a right to do: make and unmake constitutions. This is very similar to the laws regarding incorporation of a fictitious entity within a state. If one forms a corporation, the incorporation’s by-laws will state the duration, which in most cases, will be “perpetual;” but that most certainly does not mean the corporation cannot be dissolved–likewise with the “perpetual” duration of a union.

    Moreover, the accession to the US Constitution proves that the states did not intend to keep all of the states eternally bound to the then-existing union, because they only required nine of the thirteen states to ratify the constitution. More than assenting to the new union under the constitution, these nine states were in truth seceding from the old union under the Articles. All of this is proven by the fact that the Articles of Confederation could not be amended except through the unanimous consent of all the states:

    “[T]he Articles of this Confederation shall be inviolably observed by every State, and the Union shall be perpetual; nor shall any alteration at any time hereafter be made in any of them; unless such alteration be agreed to in a Congress of the United States, and be afterwards confirmed by the legislatures of every State.” Article 12 (emphasis added)

    The states clearly did not intend for the amendment clause in the Articles to substitute for a waiver or condition on the right to secede, yet unionists today attempt to substitute the amendment clause in the US Constitution as a waiver or condition of the right to secede. This simply does not comport to proper rules of construction concerning our forefathers’ true intent. In other words, it cannot be validly construed that the states waived the right to secede through the three-fourth requirement in the amendment clause of either the Articles or the Constitution, when the Articles was completely abandoned (seceded) by only nine of those thirteen states–without the consent of all the states–even though the Article’s amendment clause required consent of all the states (in addition to the Articles of Confederation declaring itself to be perpetual).

    In fact, each state ratified the US Constitution at different times, over a three year period (1787-1790). So, during three years, some states never acceded to the new union (US Constitution), and some states had already seceded from the old union (Articles of Confederation), which could have been changed only through amendment by consent of all the states. Still, those seceding states from the Articles treated those dissenting states of the Constitution as independent and sovereign states under the Law of Nations, and vice-versa. There was no union as formed under the “perpetual” Articles of Confederation, and the amendment clause had nothing to do with seceding from the union under the Articles. This is just what James Madison observed would rightfully happen if some of the states did not secede from the Articles of Confederation and accede to the US Constitution:

    What relation is to subsist between the nine or more States ratifying the Constitution, and the remaining few who do not become parties to it?… In general, it may be observed, that although no political relation can subsist between the assenting and dissenting States, yet the moral relations will remain uncancelled. The claims of justice, both on one side and on the other, will be in force, and must be fulfilled; the rights of humanity must in all cases be duly and mutually respected; whilst considerations of a common interest, and, above all, the remembrance of the endearing scenes which are past, and the anticipation of a speedy triumph over the obstacles to reunion, will, it is hoped, not urge in vain moderation on one side, and prudence on the other.” FP 43 (emphasis added).

    Madison notes that the states joining the union assented to the US Constitution (ergo, federal compact), and the remaining states dissented, and neither the two can meet: they were disjoined, despite the unanimous consent requirement of the Articles amendment clause and its perpetual duration. Moreover, how can these assenting and dissenting states act for themselves as individual states if each did not possess the power to make or unmake constitutions individually; if the US was one body-politic; or if the union was perpetual? How can Madison treat the dissenting states as independent and sovereign states outside of the union if these states did not possess all of the powers that independent nations possess? Did these dissenting states become sovereign states by virtue of what other states told them they were? Nonsense.

    If the states in fact waived all rights to secede from the union under the Articles of Confederation, then the US Constitution is illegitimate and illegal, as not having a basis in the compact among the states to dissolve the previous compact. If the states entered into the Articles of Confederation with the expressed or implied understanding that their union would be perpetual unless all of the states consented otherwise, then nine out of thirteen states’ seceding from that union to join a new union would be just cause for a war, as Lincoln claims he was justified to force union upon the dissenting states. Alternatively, if the right to secede was waived by the “perpetual” duration and a unanimous amendment requirement, it most certainly was reclaimed and reinstituted by the US Constitution’s duration not being stated as “perpetual,” by the secession from the Articles of Confederation, and by the reservation of rights under the tenth amendment.

    And if you want to scientifically apply political formulas relative to political action and freedom, then one might consider James Madison’s rules of construction concerning whether the US Constitution was even legitimately drafted in compliance with the state delegates’ limited authority to consider only amending the Articles of Confederation:

    “There are two rules of construction, dictated by plain reason, as well as founded on legal axioms. The one is, that every part of the expression ought, if possible, to be allowed some meaning, and be made to conspire to some common end. The other is, that where the several parts cannot be made to coincide, the less important should give way to the more important part; the means should be sacrificed to the end, rather than the end to the means.” FP 40 (emphasis added).

    To Madison, even if the US Constitution was not legitimately drafted by the delegates of the states at the constitutional convention (and thus ratified), the (greater) ends ought to give way to the (lesser) means where there is more than one interpretation to the matter. Well, if freedom is the greater end and union is the lesser means, should not freedom prevail over union? Should not an interpretation be given to whatever means protects freedom? If so, then this necessarily puts the question of freedom into the hands whose freedom is affected (self-government): that is, the body-politic of a state, for it cannot be reasonably argued that the people of New York have the right to tell the people of Idaho how freedom is best protected. Only the people of Idaho can make that decision for themselves.

    However, all of this being said, nothing of this sort (regarding the status of the states as sovereigns possessing the powers that all independent states possess under the Law of Nations) has ever been argued with any sort of credibility or historical confirmation. The fact remains, the States possessed the right to secede under the Articles of Confederation and they possess it under the US Constitution.

    A Concurring Opinion For Secession, Part 11

    (Continued) Anti-Secessionist Argument #4: The US Constitution Does Not Grant the State’s The Right to Secede Individually, and even if it were admitted that secession is a right, it may only be accomplished with the permission of at least three fourths of the states.

    Retained Powers of the States

    Since it was understood that the states possessed the sovereignty that states possess in the Law of Nations, Alexander Hamilton recognizes that “the States will retain all PRE-EXISTING authorities which may not be exclusively delegated to the federal head.” FP 82. States can retain sovereignty only if they possess it to begin with. As has been seen in the previous articles, this included the right to secede. Moreover, Hamilton observed that there are only three ways that the states’ powers would be diminished:

    “(1) where an exclusive authority is, in express terms, granted to the Union; or (2) where a particular authority is granted to the Union, and the exercise of a like authority is prohibited to the States; or (3) where an authority is granted to the Union, with which a similar authority in the States would be utterly incompatible.” FP 82 (parenthesis and emphasis added).

    Apparent in Hamilton’s description of the states’ retained powers is that all of the manners through which the states waived their rights were by express delegation or expressed prohibition within the constitution. (Notice: “granted to the Union” and “prohibited to the States.”) Not one provision of the constitution delegates this power of secession to the federal government nor prohibits this right from the states. This retention of state sovereignty is clear from the fact that the powers granted to the federal government and the powers retained by the states in the Articles of Confederation and the US Constitution were substantively identical; yet, we see that the states seceded from the Articles and acceded to the US Constitution.

    Even more telling about this qualification of delegating state sovereignty is that Hamilton clarifies that these restrictions against the federal government encroaching upon state sovereignty applies to the federal judiciary as much as it does to Congress:

    “Though these principles may not apply with the same force to the judiciary as to the legislative power, yet I am inclined to think that they are, in the main, just with respect to the former, as well as the latter. And under this impression, I shall lay it down as a rule, that the State courts will RETAIN the jurisdiction they now have, unless it appears to be taken away in one of the enumerated modes…[T]his doctrine of concurrent jurisdiction is only clearly applicable to those descriptions of causes of which the State courts have previous cognizance.” FP 82.

    This description of the jurisdictions of state and federal courts clearly indicate that sovereignty is outside the role of the court–any court. Cases belong to courts. Sovereignty belongs to the people. Hamilton recognizes that sovereignty is retained “unless it appears to be taken away in one of the enumerated modes.” To be certain, regarding the right or lack thereof to leave the union, the constitution is silent. So, which of the modes of enumeration, delegation or prohibition of sovereignty did the states use to waive their right to secede? None.

    Consider this: the constitution provides for a way to amend, ratify, and add new states, but it is utterly silent on secession. Do you find it peculiar that they left out this provision if the states in fact intended to bind themselves “perpetually” and all others to remain in the union against their will, especially when the right of secession was not only accepted and recognized, but also just used to secede from the Articles of Confederation and also incorporated into the ratification documents of some states and the constitutions of other states?

    The US Constitution did not even declare that it was “perpetual” as the Articles of Confederation did. Yet, the states seceded from the union under the Articles of Confederation by ratifying the US Constitution, despite the Articles’ provision that it could not be amended except by unanimous consent of all the states. Did the ratifiers and drafters of the US Constitution intend to strip the states of the right to secede but leave out the expression of it completely? That seems very implausible (and realistically, impossible), given all of the other evidence of the ratifiers’ and drafters’ intent to form a federal republic of sovereign states by their assent.

    Just the opposite was accomplished after the constitution was presented to the states for secession from the Articles of Confederation and accession of the new constitution. Instead of waiving their right to secede, they confirmed their retention of all powers not delegated or waived (just as they did under the Articles of Confederation), which they considered to be as important, if not more important, than all of the other bill of rights ratified.

    If the states intended to waive this right and to grant it to the union, they would have most certainly provided for the same in the constitution, for they included every other means of entering, amending and adding to the union. The exclusion of this waiver is telling, and points us to the tenth amendment, which states, all powers not delegated are reserved.

    History Lessons

    One must admit that the closer in time one gets to matters of intent, the more closely we will find the facts pertaining to that intention. The constitution is not defined in a vacuum, but has certain historical and principled context to understand its true meaning of the nature and application. “Do not separate text from historical background. If you do, you will have perverted and subverted the Constitution,” as James Madison tells us.

    Consider that the US Constitution and the Articles of Confederation are brothers of the same parent. Though they are not identical twins, their character and nature confirm that their parents were the same: Mr. Sovereign States and Ms. Federal Compact. Both their purposes for the federal government were the same. Both their limitations were the same. The retention of state sovereignty was the same. Go down the list, and you find nothing but similarity. This is why Madison confirmed that the Constitution was an extension of the same principles of the Articles. This point has already been discussed in previous articles, so I will not belabor the point.

    Moving on from that time, consider the Constitution of the Confederate States of America after those states seceded from the Constitution of the United States of America. Their constitution was virtually identical to the US Constitution as well. In that document, the states retained the powers not granted to the federal government, just as the tenth amendment does in the US Constitution. The amendment process was virtually identical as Article V of the US Constitution. The Supremacy clause was the same. The oath of office was the same. The preamble to the constitution is likewise similar, yet with a “permanent” status, just as the Articles of Confederation: “We, the people of the Confederate States…[do] form a permanent federal government.” Every provision used by unionists opposing the right for a state to secede was identical to the US Constitution. If one were to construe the Constitution of the Confederate States, they would no doubt come to the same conclusion: the states waived their right to secede. Yet, the historical context of that constitution proves otherwise.

    So, is it to be argued that those Confederate States intended to form an indivisible union, waiving their right to secede, when they had just demonstrated that they believed the opposite? Likewise, how can it be argued that the same provisions in the US Constitution are to be used against the right of a state to secede, when the practice and principles of government believed by those bodies-politic confirm the opposite intent and when they clearly demonstrated the right to secede from the Articles of Confederation? Clearly those Confederate States of America did not believe their forefathers had waived that right when they ratified the US Constitution, yet the Confederate States did not expressly state in their constitution, “the states reserve the right to secede.” Likewise, those United States of America did not waive this right. All of the states in the Articles of Confederation, the US Constitution and the Confederate States retained this right because they did not grant or waive it.

    Were those men in 1781, 1787 or 1861 so ignorant? Absolutely not. They were some of the most highly-educated and intelligent men alive. (It would be depressing to see how modern Americans compare to their intellect and education.) Yet, here we are, some 250 years after the ratification of the Articles of Confederation and US Constitution, and we are somehow to interject our own personal definition of what the states intended to form.

    Article V Only Addresses the Terms of the Compact, and Not the Parties of the Compact

    Do you think the constitution is defective or do you think that the federal government has usurped its authority? Do you think that the federal government ignores its limits or do you think that the constitution does not adequately limit the federal government? See, the problem here is that most people who believe there is a serious problem in the federal government do not believe the constitution is defective. In fact, they will hold anyone as a traitor who suggests that the states secede from it, because many hold the union itself to be above even the cause of freedom. So, by default, they believe the federal government is defective. Well, let us see what Hamilton said about this situation:

    “Tyranny has perhaps oftener grown out of the assumptions of power, called for, on pressing exigencies, by a defective constitution, than out of the full exercise of the largest constitutional authorities.” FP 20 (emphasis added).

    Hamilton says that tyranny grows out of assumptions of power arising out of a defective constitution, one where its principles are defective and in error; not from too large of grants of power within the bounds of the constitution. So, the conclusion here is that if you believe the constitution is not defective, then the solution is not an amendment. However, if it is defective, in what way is it defective? Are we learning of these deficiencies 250 years later? Are the deficiencies based upon the “out-of-control” behavior of the federal government, like a spoiled child that cannot be controlled by his parents, so the parents think the child needs a “new environment” to learn better behavior, instead of simply enforcing the rules already established?

    Indeed, what principles are defective? Are we then to blame the federal government for its abuses when the fault lies not with them, but with the constitution? And assuming you amended the constitution to limit the federal government more. Then what? The “final arbiter” decides what that amendment means and how far its limits go? Then we are right back where we started with more federal encroachments. This is truth: mere words on paper do not limit governments, just as James Madison said:

    “[P]ower is of an encroaching nature, and that it ought to be effectually restrained from passing the limits assigned to it…What this security ought to be, is the great problem to be solved. Will it be sufficient to mark, with precision, the boundaries of these departments, in the constitution of the government, and to trust to these parchment barriers against the encroaching spirit of power?” FP 48.

    Openly admitted, Madison believes that constitutional barriers mean nothing simply on paper, which is why a constitution can lose all practical effect and purpose; ergo, dead. There must exist “force meeting force” to be effective. So, you can amend the constitution every year if you would like. That is not going to change the problem of corrupted power and incorrect principles of government, nor does it provide disincentive for the federal government to stay within its bounds. Only actual resistance and fear of retribution can deter tyrants. Does this not comport with human nature? Do you think the federal government fears the states? Do you think the US S CT fears the other federal branches or the states? Do you think Congress fears their constituents? All indications suggest that the federal government fears no other and acts accordingly.

    Thankfully, our forefathers were far-sighted enough to know the best way to protect freedom is to keep power divided, limited and checked. For this reason, all powers not delegated are retained, and this conclusively means, secession.

    A Concurring Opinion For Secession, Part 12

    (Continued) Anti-Secessionist Argument #4: The US Constitution Does Not Grant the State’s The Right to Secede Individually, and even if it were admitted that secession is a right, it may only be accomplished with the permission of at least three fourths of the states.

    Detrimental Reliance Theory Disproven by Article V Argument

    If it is true (and it is not) that three-fourths of the states are required to allow a state to secede, then the “detrimental reliance” theory in no way binds an individual state to the union. Are you to argue that three-fourths of the states have the implied power to cause detriment to the remaining one-fourth of the states without any remedy being left to the remaining one-fourth of the states? Did not our constitution attempt to limit all vestiges of a tyrannical majority? This was just one of the main reasons why the states did not prefer a national form of government: because it has inherent risks of the majority abusing the freedom and interests of the minority. Thus, independent and sovereign states were left intact.

    If the argument goes that the amendment clause put all of the ratifying states on notice that secession could only be accomplished through three-fourths of the states, then the remaining one-fourth of the states would most certainly argue that the amendment clause never admits the right of three-fourths of the states to deny them the use and benefit of the (permanent and perpetual) union itself, but only that the terms of the constitution could be changed–not the parties. As such, not even three fourths of the states have that power. But honestly, addressing this matter any further seems a waste of time since it has been already proven that the amendment clauses had nothing to do with the power to secede.

    Why Not Require Three Fourths of the States to Correct State Action, As Opposed to Federal?

    The following is written for cynic’s sake. It is very interesting that some will argue that the states may do nothing against the federal government (e.g. nullification, secession, levy, etc.) unless three-fourths of the states ratify such action, but when the suggestion is made that an individual state has the right to resist the federal government until and unless three fourths of the states declare otherwise through ratification, they reject it out of hand. There is an obvious bias to condone the federal usurpations of the constitution and to condemn a state’s defense of the constitution, despite the fact that the ninth amendment guarantees that “[t]he enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.” Why is that?

    Did not the federalist writers admit that the states (and not the federal government) would retain powers over the most fundamental issues of life, liberty and property? What is more fundamental to life, liberty and property than the power and freedom to govern yourself under whatever union or lack thereof that body-politic deems fitting for freedom? Why would we deny these agents the ability to protect the most precious freedoms we say we love? The reason is likely because those people prefer convenience (normally associated with commerce and wealth) of “one nation” over the inconvenience of a federal union.

    Given the historical fact that the union is made up of sovereign states, through assent to a federal compact, the modes of interpretation and construction must favor the actions of the states where they are not contradicting a specific grant to Congress or an expressly waived area of the state. Justice Story admits, “one of the first elementary principles of all contracts is, to interpret them according, to the intentions and objects of the parties.” Joseph Story, Nature of the Constitution – Whether A Compact, Book 3, Chapter 3, sec. 331. The people of the states demanded that the constitution be not construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people and that all powers not delegated be retained. The right of secession is one of those fundamental rights and resisting usurpations against retained sovereignty is another.

    Inconvenience: Friend or Foe to Freedom?

    This right of secession would prove to be too inconvenient, unionists say, and thus it should be “unconstitutional.” Indeed, perhaps freedom has suffered for too long because of the desire for convenience, power and wealth! People casually say, “Freedom isn’t free.” In fact it is not free, but when people say that, do they realize that the cost of freedom has little to do with the US military than it does with United States’ citizens protecting freedom from domestic tyrants and exercising self-government principles every day on a local, state and federal level?

    Is this not why our system of government instituted divided sovereignty, limited government, enumerated powers and checks and balances, whereby each political branch checked the other and was completely independent of each other and not responsible to each other, even though all swore an oath to uphold the same constitution? Were these not inconveniences inherently placed in the federal system? Well, these same inconveniences were left in place by maintaining state sovereignty in a Confederate Republic through a federal compact.

    If you want freedom, expect inconvenience, hardship and labor. It is as US Senator John Taylor said in response to those who advocated that the US S CT possessed supreme power over state sovereign actions: “If the mutual control [of the state] is imperfect, and sometimes inconvenient, so are all other precautions for the preservation of liberty.” Taylor, 150.

    Choose which you prefer: freedom or convenience, but as Benjamin Franklin said, “he who sacrifices freedom for security deserves neither.” Same goes for those who choose convenience over freedom: they deserve neither.


    The matters of states’ authority, the power to secede, the true nature and character of U.S. constitution, the limitations of the federal government, the applications of limited government, dual sovereignty, federalism, etc. are crucial to one’s understanding of this current union called the United States of America and the relation of the members of that union: the states.

    Secession is not about “taking my ball and going home!” or simply “getting my way!” Do you believe that was the attitude of our colonial forefathers in 1776?! If not, what justification do you give them for their right to secede from Great Britain? Do you think a dependent colony has more of a right to secede from a monarchy than an independent, sovereign state has in a federal compact? If they had any justification for secession at all, it was the rights each body-politic possessed under the “Laws of Nature and Nature’s God.” It was not based upon any sort of union status, the Crown, Parliament, the English courts or the other colonies’ consent. Indeed, the colonies were more legally bound to their supposed superior sovereign than the states ever were or are to each other under the Articles of Confederation and the US Constitution. Yet, each colony declared its right to secede and become an independent nation, not even having an expressed legal right under the crown of Great Britain.

    As of July 4, 1776, states have had more than a natural power to declare independence. They have actual sovereignty paid for by a bloody seven year war and solemnly declared by the Declaration of Independence, their state constitutions and union ratification declarations, the Treaty of Paris, the Articles of Confederation and US Constitution. Still, some would have the states to become more dependent on the federal government than the colonies ever were to Great Britain, depriving them of the most fundamental power of any sovereign body-politic: to make and unmake constitutions. How foolish and dangerous is that proposition.

    I believe it is appropriate upon the end of these articles to allow the late Woodrow Wilson to give you his thoughts about secession. I use Wilson not because he was a states’ rights guy, or because he was sympathetic to the true understanding of the union’s formation at all. Rather, I use Wilson because he is known for his utter depreciation of states’ rights and his preference for a national form of government, as his administration clearly proved. Indeed, Wilson held true to what he believed during his administration, regardless of what the actual intention of the ratifiers and drafters of the US Constitution actually was. Wilson states in his book, Division and Reunion (1918):

    “It may…be doubted whether [the federal government constituted one nation created by the whole people, independent of the sovereign states as parties to a compact] was the doctrine upon which the Union had been founded. It seems impossible to deny that the argument [that the union was created by sovereign states through assent to a federal compact] contained much more nearly the sentiment of 1787-89.

    “There are no indications that [the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions of 1789] were considered treasonable at the time they were passed; they do not even seem to have shocked the public sense of constitutional duty. Indeed, the doctrine that the States had individually become sovereign bodies when they emerged from their condition of subjection to Great Britain as colonies, and that they had not lost their individual sovereignty by entering the Union, was a doctrine accepted almost without question, even the courts, for quite thirty years after the formation of the government.

    “Those who worked the theory out to its logical consequence described the sovereignty of the federal government as merely an emanation from the sovereignty of the States. Even those public men who loved the Union most, yielded theoretical assent to the opinion that a State might legally withdraw from the government at her option, and had only practical and patriotic objections to urge.” Woodrow Wilson, Disunion and Reunion, 1829-1909, Ed. Albert Hart, (Longman’s, Green and Co., (Chicago, IL, 1918), 45-46 (emphasis added).

    Of all of the Presidents in America to argue that the states did not have the right to secede, one would think that Woodrow Wilson would be among the top. But this is not true. Wilson recognized the true historical facts proving that the union was in fact formed by sovereign states through assent to a federal compact. Wilson acknowledged that the most studied and knowledgeable men on the matter never denied the states’ right to secede, but only argued on the matter of pragmatics. He at least had the character to admit this much and to admit that he simply did not care, because of his preference for a national form of government. Today, we have too many people hiding behind unsustainable arguments, pretense and trickery, who act as if they care about what the true intentions of the people of the states were at that time.

    Secession is about self-preservation, self-defense, perpetuating the principles of freedom held sacred by the overwhelming majority of our founding generation and forefathers before. As a citizen of your state, it is your duty to yourself, to your posterity and to God to study this matter, to become familiar with the issues, facts and philosophy relevant thereto and to take a stand one way or the other. At the end of the day, freedom is protected not by the U.S. Supreme Court, Congress, the President or even three-fourths of the states. It is protected by each individual passionate about these immutable laws of God, which have formed the principles of our country from its inception.


    Tim Baldwin :: 1117 Views ::Article Rating
    Print Friendly and PDF

    © Copyright 1996-2017,
    All Rights Reserved

    PO Box 10
    Kila, MT 59920