Chuck Baldwin (2021)
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    Secession or Declaration of Independence? Part 1 of 5

    Published: Thursday, April 15, 2010

    Dr. Edwin Vieira has released his (presumably) final responses (“Thoughts On ‘A Concurring Opinion’”) to my responding articles (“A Concurring Opinion For Secession”) to his original articles (“A Dissenting Opinion On Secession”). While I was hesitant to respond at all to Vieira’s articles, and as I shall forego directly responding to what I believe are incorrect insinuations, commentaries and conclusions, I must observe and highlight a very important matter relative to a state’s right and duty to free itself from tyranny. For in truth, Vieira admits to the precise conclusion that a State does have a natural right to separate itself from a political tie.[1]

    As Vieira recognizes in his articles, there may be circumstances that justify (expressing the notion of right) a state (i.e. body-politic) from separating itself from the U.S. Constitution and thus, the union itself. The ground for this justification, Vieira says, does not come from the U.S. Constitution, but rather, comes from the principles[2] as delineated in the Declaration of Independence.[3]

    Specifically put, the Declaration of Independence appeals not to a constitution for a basis, or a justification, of secession–even though a constitution existed at that time–but to the Supreme Judge of the world and to the natural laws God created. Given the supreme nature of this right of secession, a different body-politic at a different time in human affairs has the same inherent right as did the colonies in 1776. Vieira observes,

    “‘Secession’ as most ‘secessionists’ define that term cannot be justified under the Constitution. It can be justified in principle under the Declaration of Independence, but only when the conditions precedent required by the Declaration of Independence obtain. And even then it can be justified in practice only if a “seceding” State is fully prepared, before she “secedes”, to deal with all of the political, economic, and social consequences of her action.”[4]

    Despite Vieira’s conclusion that the U.S. Constitution does not allow a state to unilaterally secede,[5] his statement admits that a State would be justified, that is, would have the right, to declare independence (i.e. separate, withdraw, secede, disassociate, sever, etc.) when the circumstances are present. Of course, these circumstances can only be determined and executed by the separating state, just as the Declaration of Independence demonstrates.

    In truth, any person who believes in the fundamental concepts of God-given or natural freedom, liberty and rights must acknowledge that the States’ and union’s political existence was birthed in the rights expressed in the Declaration of Independence, which admits the right of bodies-politic to throw off a government that is deemed to be destructive to the ends for which governments exists, a “perpetual” union or government notwithstanding.[6]

    As a consequence of this unilateral right of separation and independence, it naturally follows that a declaration of independence is subject to no human court or appeal.[7] Rather, that body-politic declares independence by “appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of [their] intentions.”[8] This appeal to the Supreme Judge of the world rests in the philosophical and moral conclusion that no man or group of men; no government or group of governments; no political association or group of political associations have the right or power to violate the Laws of Nature relative to the essential purposes of society and government,[9] such that where “government becomes destructive to 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.”[10]

    To this end, only the applicable body-politic can effect their own happiness; and indeed, it is their duty and obligation to provide as such. This duty to procure one’s own happiness is self-responsibility and –accountability. When grievances exist within a state, the body-politic has the obligation to ensure the remedy. Indeed, if proving the mere truth and justice of a claim for freedom were sufficient, and reason provided the force of justice, there would be little tyranny in the world, but history proves that a tyrannical power is deaf to the appeal of truth and reason. Consequently, these bodies-politic are answerable only to themselves and to God when it comes to matters of union and separation for freedom’s sake.

    Despite Vieira’s statement that the purposes a body-politic’s entering into a political union are inconsequential relative to its right to withdraw from that union, the opposite is true: the PURPOSE of its entering a political association, union, treaty or forming a government is most crucial to its remaining therein. On the most basic level, purpose is the most essential and fundamental motion and drive for a body-politic to form government or enter into unions.

    Constitutions are created for a purpose. Governments are established for a purpose. Men are created by God for a purpose. Laws are created by God and man for a purpose. Men enter into society for a purpose. Everything in existence is for a purpose. To remove purpose from the equation of constitutional and philosophical analysis is to create a mindless and enslaving union and government system.[11] Purpose most certainly matters and is critical in the analysis of separation verses union.

    When the purpose of a particular union is destroyed, the union has a most absurd existence–an existence which history proves is founded mostly upon the force by tyrants or the people’s fear of them, and not upon the bonds of friendship and loyalty.[12] To perpetuate the absurdity is doubly absurd. Thus, there may be a time in the course of human events where that body-politic declares, after “reflection and choice,”[13] that it is “necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another,”[14] because the purpose of its remaining in that political association no longer exists.

    Moreover, the purpose for entering a union may in fact be the same purpose for its separating from a union: that is, to secure life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. If the body-politic be praised for entering a union to secure freedom, based upon certain purposes, its posterity will sing its praises for separating from a union where remaining in the union is detrimental to those purposes.

    Read parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.

    [1] Note: I disagree with Vieira concerning when a State’s natural right would be invoked, particularly in Vieira’s description of what constitutes “tyranny.” See articles 4 and 5 in this series for further discussion.

    [2] “[P]rinciples will rule the future as they have ruled the past.” Terrence McSwiney, Principles of Freedom, (New York, NY, E.P. Dutton & Co., 1921), 92.

    [3] Note: Vieira applies the “principles of the Declaration of Independence” differently than this author, as Vieira concludes that as long as the government has “good faith,” then no tyranny exists. This author disagrees. For further discussion, see article 5 of 5.

    [4] Dr. Edwin Vieira, “Thoughts on Part Twelve of ‘A Concurring Opinion’,” NewsWithViews (April 8, 2010), found at (Emphasis added). I disagree with Vieira concerning the “conditions” placed upon a state to practically declare independence; namely: “only if” the state is “fully prepared” “before” secession, etc. The Declaration of Independence made no such remarks of condition, nor was this the case in 1776 when the colonies declared independence. Additionally, who makes the determination of whether or not the state meets all these conditions? The federal government? Three-fourths of the states? The U.S. Supreme Court? If the answer is, the seceding state, then it is superfluous to add any conditions on secession when the sole judge for determining if those conditions have been met rests with the seceding state. See Also, “No nation is willing to renounce her liberty: she will rather break off all commerce with those states that should attempt to infringe upon it.” Emer De Vattel, The Law of Nations, (Indianapolis, IN, Liberty Fund, 2008), 74.

    [5] Compare, “Secession…is perfectly defensible on the principles of the constitution.” Christopher Wyvill, The Secession From Parliament Vindicated, 2nd edition, (York, L. Lund, Little-Stonegate, 1799), 14.

    [6] “They may quit a society which seems to have dissolved itself in order to unite again under another form.” Emer De Vattel, The Law of Nations, (Indianapolis, IN, Liberty Fund, 2008), 95.

    [7] “[I]t belongs to the nation [or state] alone to judge and determine [disputes regarding fundamental laws, the public administration, or the rights of the different powers of which it is composed] conformably to its political constitution.” Emer De Vattel, The Law of Nations, (Indianapolis, IN, Liberty Fund, 2008), 96.

    [8] Declaration of Independence

    [9] “Happiness…is the great end of the law of nature. [It is the duty of a body-politic] to seek…their own perfection.” Emer De Vattel, The Law of Nations, (Indianapolis, IN, Liberty Fund, 2008), 145. “Society is established with the view of procuring…the necessaries, conveniences, and even pleasures of life, and, in general, every thing necessary to their happiness,–of enabling each individual peaceably to enjoy his own property, and to obtain justice with safety and certainty,–and, finally, of defending themselves in a body against all external violence.” Ibid., at 126. “It is evident that men form a political society, and submit to laws, solely for their own advantage and safety.” Ibid., at 97.

    [10] Declaration of Independence

    [11] “Let us leave a hatred of the sciences to the despotic tyrants of the east: they are afraid of having their people instructed, because they chuse to rule over slaves. Emer De Vattel, The Law of Nations, (Indianapolis, IN, Liberty Fund, 2008), 145.

    [12] “[T]hose who lay the first foundations, as it were, of states, are most of them united to one another in mutual benevolence.” Samuel Pufendorf, Two Books of the Elements of Universal Jurisprudence, Book 2, Observation 3 (Indianapolis, IN, Liberty Fund, 2009), 320 (emphasis added). See Also, “Nothing but a genuine bond of brotherhood can so unite men.” Terrence McSwiney, Principles of Freedom, (New York, NY, E.P. Dutton & Co., 1921), 44 (emphasis added).

    [13] “[We are called upon to decide whether] societies of men are really capable or not of establishing good government from reflection and choice, or whether they are forever destined to depend for their political constitutions on accident and force.” Alexander Hamilton, Federalist Paper 1 (emphasis added).

    [14] Declaration of Independence


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