Legal Justification of the South in Secession

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Legal Justification of Secession
Arguing the Case for Southern Secession

Southern Secession and the US Constitution, What caused the South to Secede? Why did the Southern States Secede? US United States Supreme Court Secession Decision, Debate, Decisions, Debates, Ruling, Rulings, What is Secession Definition in History

A Study of Southern Secession
Secession of the South History

Sectionalism and Secession
Sectionalism and Southern Secession.jpg
Sectionalism and Southern Secession

Legal Justification of the South in Secession
BY HON. J. L. M. CURRY, LL. D.
Confederate Military History, Volume 1

THE Southern States have shared the fate of all conquered peoples. The conquerors write their history. Power in the ascendant not only makes laws, but controls public opinion. This precedent should make the late Confederates the more anxious to keep before the public the facts of their history, that impartial writers may weigh and properly estimate them in making up the verdict of an unbiased posterity. Besides, as they have been the objects of persistent misrepresentation, and authentic records have been perverted to their prejudice, their descendants are liable to receive and hold opinions hostile and derogatory to their fathers.
       In this series of volumes, pertaining to the history of the Confederate States, all concerned wish to disclaim in advance any wish or purpose to reverse the arbitrament of war, to repeal the late amendments to the Constitution, to revive African slavery, or secession as a State right or remedy; or to organize any party, or cultivate an opinion, which, directly or indirectly, shall inculcate disloyalty to the Union, or affect the allegiance of citizens to the Federal government. Let it be stated, once for all, that this argument as to the right of the South to be protected in property in slaves and the exclusive right of a State to be the final judge of the powers of the general government and to apply suitable remedies, is based on the Constitution and the rights of the States as they existed in 1860. The amendments made, since that year, in Federal and State constitutions, put an entirely new and different phase on the subjects discussed, for these changes have expurgated slavery and secession from our institutions. Our sole object is to present the Southern side of the controversy as it existed in 1860 and to vindicate it from accusations and aspersions which are based on ignorance and injustice. As the South is habitually condemned and held criminal for seeking to perpetuate a great wrong, it is well to inquire and investigate who was responsible for the state of things which precipitated and prolonged the crisis of 1860-1865. If the act of secession cannot be justified the Southern people will be stigmatized as a brave and rash people deluded by bad men who attempted in an illegal and wicked manner to overthrow the Union. Painfully are we conscious of the disadvantages in any effort to vindicate the motives and principles and conduct of the Southern States and secure a rehearing and re-adjudication of a suit which seems to have been settled adversely by the tribunal of public opinion. We have a right to ask of our fellow citizens and of the world a patient and fair hearing while we present anew the grounds of our action. We challenge the closest scrutiny of facts and arguments, and if they cannot be disproved and refuted, justice and honesty demand a modification or reversal of the adverse judgment. Few writers seem to comprehend the underlying idea of secession, or the reasons for the establishment of the Southern Confederacy. Swayed by passion or political and sectional animosity, they ignore the primary facts in our origin as a government, the true principles of the Constitution, the flagrant nullifications of the Northern States; and, when they philosophize, conclusions are drawn from false premises and hence injustice is done. Too often, in the endeavor to narrate the deeds of and since the war, prejudiced and vicious statements as to character and motives have been accepted and acted on as verifiable or undeniable facts.
       In deciding upon the rightness or wrongness of secession, in passing judgment upon the Confederate States, it is essential to proper conclusions that the condition of affairs in 1860 be understood and that clear and accurate notions be had of the nature and character of the Federal government and of the rights of the States under the constitutional compact. And here, at the threshold, one is confronted by dogmas which are substituted for principles, by preconceived opinions which are claimed to be historical verities, and by sentimentality which closes the avenues to the mind against logic and demonstration. To a student of our political and constitutional history it is strange how stubborn historical facts are quietly set aside and inferences and assumptions are used as postulates for huge governmental theories. These errors are studiously perpetuated, for in prescribed courses of reading in civics and history are books full of grossest misstatements teaching sectional opinions and latitudinous theories, while works which present opposite and sounder views are vigorously excluded. State rights is perhaps the best term, although not precise or definite in its signification, for suggesting the view of the Constitution and of Federal powers, as held by the Southern States. During the administration of General Washington, those who were in favor of protecting the reserved rights of the States against threatened or possible encroachment of the delegated powers assumed the name of the Republican party, but were often called the State Rights party.(*) There is no ultimate nor authoritative appeal

(*) "In the great historic debate in the Senate in 1830, Robert Y. Hayne, of South Carolina, said that they assumed the name of Democratic Republicans in 1812. True to their political faith they have always been in favor of limitations of power, they have insisted that all powers. not delegated to the Federal government are reserved, and have been constantly struggling to preserve the fights of the States and to prevent them from being drawn into the vortex and swallowed up by one great consolidated government. As confirmatory of the statement that the South has been misrepresented and villified through ignorance, it may be said that, while school boys are familiar with Webster's eloquent periods, few writers and politicians have read the more logical and unanswerable argument of Hayne."

for determining the political differences between the North and South except the Constitution, but some preliminary inquiries, answers to which will be suggestive and argumentative, may aid in understanding and interpreting that instrument.
       Our Constitution is not a mere temporary expedient. It exists in full force until changed by an explicit and authentic act, as prescribed by the instrument, and in its essential features is for all time, for it contains the fundamental principles of all good government, of all free representative institutions. Among these requisites, unalterable by changing conditions of society, are individual liberty, freedom of labor, of human development, rights of conscience, equality of the States, distribution of political powers into independent executive, legislative and judicial departments, and a careful restriction of those powers to public uses only, the healthy action of concurrent majorities, a careful safe-guarding that the power which makes the laws and the power which applies them shall not be in the same hands, and local self-government. The people are ultimately the source of all political power, and the powers delegated are in trust, alterable or terminable only in a legitimate and prescribed manner. Changes cannot be made to conform to a supposed moral sense, or to new environments, neither by the "fierce democracy," nor by the action of a department, nor by a combination of all departments.
       To obtain a correct comprehension of the dignity and power of the States it is well to consider them as they emerged from their colonial condition, having waged a tedious and successful war against the mother country, having achieved separate independence and established a new form of government, a federal union of concurrent majorities, under a written constitution. The American colonies have not had sufficient importance ascribed to them for their agency in achieving civil and religious liberty; and, with their rights and powers as separate governments, as the potential forerunners of our constitutional, representative, federal republic. The institutions founded in this western world, in the essential elements o law and freedom, were far in advance of contemporary transatlantic institutions. The relations they sustained to one another and to the controlling English government, their large measure of local administration, must be clearly comprehended to do them justice for what they wrought out and to understand what character and power they preserved as States in the government of their creation under the Federal constitution. Their precise political condition prior to the Revolution cannot be obscured. The colonies were separate in the regulation of domestic concerns, in home affairs, but sustained a common relation to the British empire. The colonists were fellow subjects, owed allegiance to the same crown, had all the rights, privileges and liabilities of every other British subject.(*) The inhabitants of one colony owed no obedience to the laws, were not under the jurisdiction of any other colony; were under no civil obligation to bear arms or pay taxes, or in any wise to contribute to the support or defense of another, and were wholly distinct and separate from all others in political functions, in political rights, and in political duties. In so far as all the colonists were one people and had common rights, it was the result of their mutual relation to the same sovereign, of common dependence on the same head, and not any result of a relation between themselves.

(*) Some of these principles are ably discussed by the Hon. Thomas F Bayard in an address, 7th of November, 1895, before the Edinburgh Philosophical Institution, the same paper which excited the partisan ire of the House of Representatives in 1896.

There was neither alliance nor confederacy between the colonies.
       When hostilities between Great Britain and the colonies became imminent, because of adverse imperial legislation and the unlimited claim of the right of taxation, and united effort was obvious and imperative, to relieve themselves from the burdens and injustice of the laws and the claims of a distant government, the colonies, each acting for itself, and not conjointly with any other, sent deputies to a general congress, and when the body assembled each colony had a single vote, and on all questions of general concern they asserted and retained their equality. The Congresses of 1774, 1775 and 1776 were occasional and not permanent bodies, claimed no sovereign authority, had no true governmental powers, and seldom assumed to go beyond deliberation, advice and recommendation. When under stress of war and the danger of or impossibility of delay they acted as a de facto government, their acts were valid, had the force and effect of law only by subsequent confirmation or tacit acquiescence. The common oppressions and dangers were strong incentives to concert of action and to assent and submission to what was done for resistance to a common enemy. There never was any pretense of authority to act on individuals, and in all acts reference was had to the colonies, and never to the people, individually or as a nation.
       Virginia made a declaration on the 12th of June, 1776, renouncing her colonial dependence on Great Britain and separating herself forever from that kingdom. On the 29th of June, in the same year, she performed the highest function of independent sovereignty by adopting and ordaining a constitution, prescribing an oath of fealty and allegiance for all who might hold office under her authority, and that remained as the organic law of the Old Dominion until 1829.
       The Declaration of Independence, subsequently on the 4th of July, was an act of Congress declaring absolution of the colonies from allegiance to the crown and government of Great Britain and that they were "free and independent States." The Congress which made this Declaration was appointed by the colonies in their separate and distinct capacity. They voted on its adoption in their separate character, each giving one vote by all its own representatives who acted in strict obedience to specific instructions from their respective colonies, and the members signed the Declaration in that way. The members had authority to act in the name of their own colony and not of any other, and were representatives only of the colony which appointed them. Judge Story, in his "Commentaries on the Constitution," reasons upon this instrument as having the effect of making the colonies "one people," merging their existence as separate communities into one nation. The Declaration of Independence is often quoted as an authoritative political document defining political rights and duties, as on a parity with the Constitution, and as binding parties and people and courts and States by its utterances. The platform of the Republican party in 1856 and 1860 affirms the principles of this Declaration to be essential to the preservation of our republican institutions, the Constitution and the rights of the States, when, in truth and in fact, its main and almost its sole object was to declare and justify the separation from, and the independence of, the British crown. In no sense was the paper or the act intended as a bill of rights, or to enunciate the fundamental principles of a republic, or to define the status of the colonies, except in their relation to the mother country. No true American will underrate the significance or the importance of the act of separation from a foreign empire, or hold otherwise than with the highest respect the reasons which our fathers gave in vindication of their momentous and courageous action. Refusing to be subject to the authority of the crown and the parliament was a heroic undertaking dictated by the loftiest patriotism and a genuine love of liberty. Putting into the minds and hearts of our ancestors more far reaching and prescient purposes than they possessed will not magnify their virtues nor enhance their merit. They met the issues presented with the sagacity of statesmen and were not guilty of the folly of propagandism of the French revolutionists, a few years later. The colonies being distinct and separate communities, with sovereignty vested in the British crown, when the tie which bound them to that sovereignty was severed, upon each colony respectively was devolved that sovereignty and each emerged from provincial dependence into an independent and sovereign State. A conclusive proof of the relation of the colonies to one another and to the revolutionary government is to be found in the recommendation in 1776 for the passing of laws for the punishment of treason, and it was declared that the crime should be considered as committed against the colonies individually and not against them all as united together. The joint expression of separate wills in reference to continued union with England expressed no opinion and suggested no action on the subject of a common government, or of forming a closer union. It completed the severance of the rapidly disuniting ties which bound to the government across the seas. Some of the colonies, prior to the 4th of July, had declared their independence and established State constitutions, and now all, by a more public and stronger and more effective affirmation, united in doing what had by some been separately resolved upon. Ceasing to be dependent communities involved no change in relations with one another beyond what was necessarily incident to separation from the parent country. The supremacy which had previously existed in Great Britain, separately over each colony and not jointly over all, having ceased, each became a free and independent State, taking to herself what applied to and over herself. The Declaration of Independence is not a form of government, not an enumeration of popular rights, not a compact between States, but was recognized in its fullest demands, when, in 1782, Great Britain acknowledged New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New York, South Carolina, Georgia and the other colonies to be "free, sovereign and independent States."
       Stress is laid on the revolutionary government and on the Declaration of Independence by those who are anxious to establish the theory of a national or consolidated government, reducing the States to mere dependencies upon central power. As has been shown, the contention, derived from those sources, is without legal or historical foundation; but the temporary government, largely for war purposes, was superseded by the Articles of Confederation, which, because of the reluctance of the States to delegate their powers, did not become obligatory until 1781, as their ratification by all the States was a condition precedent to their having any binding force. These articles, in explicit terms, incapable of misinterpretation, declare that "each State retains its sovereignty, freedom and independence and every power, jurisdiction and right, which is not by this confederation expressly delegated to the United States in Congress assembled." There can be no mistake here as to the reservation of entire freedom, entire independence, entire sovereignty. These were retained without qualification or limitation, and the use of the word "retains" is the clearest assertion that these unsurrendered prerogatives were possessed under the previous government.
      This historical review was not necessary except argumentatively as throwing light on the real facts, and as raising the strong presumption, to be rebutted only by irrefragable proof, that a state once sovereign has not voluntarily surrendered that ultimate supreme power of self-government or self-existence. While in a colonial condition the people of the several States were in no proper political sense a nation, or "one people;" by the declaration and the treaty of peace each State became a complete sovereignty within its own limits; the revolutionary government was a government of the States as such through Congress as the common agent, and by the Articles of Confederation each state expressly reserved its entire sovereignty and independence. In all this succession of history there was no trend to consolidation and the most conspicuous; feature was the jealous retention by the States of their separate sovereignty.

Recommended Reading: One Nation, Indivisible? A Study of Secession and the Constitution. Description: Is secession legal under the United States Constitution? "One Nation, Indivisible?" takes a fresh look at this old question by evaluating the key arguments of such anti-secession men as Daniel Webster and Abraham Lincoln, in light of reason, historical fact, the language of the Constitution, and the words of America's Founding Fathers. Modern anti-secession arguments are also examined, as are the questions of why Americans are becoming interested in secession once again, whether secession can be avoided, and how an American state might peacefully secede from the Union. Continued below…

"The federal government's growth of power at the expense of individuals and natural human communities has been the trend so long now that it has seemed inevitable. But thoughtful people of late have been rediscovering the true decentralist origins of the United States. Robert Hawes states the case beautifully for the forgotten decentralist tradition - which may be our only hope for the preservation of freedom."

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Recommended Reading: When in the Course of Human Events: Arguing the Case for Southern Secession. Review: As a historian, I have learned that the heart of any great work in history lies in the ample and accurate use of primary sources, and primary sources are the great strength of this work. While countless tomes have debated the perceived moral sides of the Civil War and the motivations of the various actors, this work investigates the motives of the primary players in the era and in their own words and writings. This gives the work an excellent realism and accuracy. The author, Charles Adams, has earned a reputation as one of the leading economic historians in the field, particularly in the area of taxes. He utilizes this background to investigate the American Civil War, and comes to some very striking conclusions, many that defy the politically-correct history of today. His thesis postulates that the Civil War had its primary cause not in slavery or state's rights, but rather in cold, hard economic concerns. Continued below...

He shows that the North used its supremacy in Congress to push through massive tariffs to fund the government, and that these tariffs fell much harder on the export-dependent South than upon the insular north. In fact, the total revenue from the "Compromise" Tariffs on the 1830s and 40s amounted to $107.5 million, of which $90 million came from the South. The majority of the revenue, moreover, was spent on projects “far from the South.” According to Adams, this disparity finally pushed the South to seek its own independence. Supporting this conclusion is the fact that the South enacted extremely low tariffs throughout the war, whereas the north enacted the Morrill Tariff of 1861, which enacted tariffs as high as 50 percent on some goods. Adams also chronicles the oft-overlooked excesses of the Lincoln Administration, and compares them to the actions of Julius Caesar. Using the letters and reports of the times, he tells how Lincoln suspended habeas corpus, trod roughshod over the Constitution, jailed thousands of U.S. citizens who dared disagree with him and even wrote a warrant for the arrest of the Chief Justice of the United States. Adams also ably uses the viewpoints of British and other Europeans to describe different contemporary views on the struggle. These provide excellent outside insight. On the whole, readers will find the book a superb and scholarly analysis, providing fresh insights into the motivations and causes of the defining war in American history. AWARDED 5 STARS by americancivilwarhistory.org

 
Recommended Reading: Lincoln President-Elect: Abraham Lincoln and the Great Secession Winter 1860-1861 (Hardcover) (Simon & Schuster) (October 21, 2008). Reviews: "This detailed and gripping narrative of Lincoln's thoughts and actions during the four months between his election and inauguration -- perhaps more important than any four months of his actual presidency -- is another tour de force by one of our foremost Lincoln scholars. Bristling with new information and key insights, it enriches our understanding of this most fateful time in American history."-- James M. McPherson, author of Tried by War: Abraham Lincoln as Commander in Chief. Continued below…

"Lincoln President-Elect is Harold Holzer's best and most controversial book. Many historians, myself included, have depicted Lincoln in the months between his election and inauguration as weak and indecisive. Holzer, carefully studying the record, argues that Lincoln was a strong-minded, highly principled, and shrewd president-elect."-- David Herbert Donald, author of Lincoln

"This is a stunningly original work that casts completely new light on the most turbulent and critical presidential transition in American history. Holzer's superb narrative skill, along with his abundant use of colorful details, creates an atmosphere of such immediacy that the reader feels transported back to "the Great Secession Winter" as an eye-witness to Lincoln's gifted leadership during this dramatic period. This groundbreaking book will take its place with the most valuable and indispensable works in the Lincoln canon."-- Doris Kearns Goodwin, author of Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln

"No one has a finer intuitive understanding of Abraham Lincoln than Harold Holzer. In this fascinating book, he throws a searchlight on a crucial and surprisingly underexamined episode of Lincoln's life to show us the essential elements of Lincoln's political and moral greatness."-- Michael Beschloss, author of Presidential Courage: Brave Leaders and How They Changed America, 1789-1989

 

Recommended Reading: Secession Debated: Georgia's Showdown in 1860. Review: The critical northern antebellum debate matched the rhetorical skills of Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas in an historic argument over the future of slavery in a westward-expanding America. Two years later, an equally historic oratorical showdown between secessionists and Unionists in Georgia generated as much popular interest south of the Mason-Dixon line, and perhaps had an even more profound immediate effect on the future of the United States. Continued below...

With Abraham Lincoln's "Black Republican" triumph in the presidential election of 1860, the United States witnessed ardent secessionist sentiment in the South. But Unionists were equally zealous and while South Carolina--a bastion of Disunionism since 1832--seemed certain to secede; the other fourteen slave states were far from decided. In the deep South, the road to disunion depended much on the actions of Georgia, a veritable microcosm of the divided South and geographically in the middle of the Cotton South. If Georgia went for the Union, secessionist South Carolina could be isolated. So in November of 1860, all the eyes of Dixie turned to tiny Milledgeville, pre-war capital of Georgia, for a legislative confrontation that would help chart the course toward civil war. In Secession Debated, William W. Freehling and Craig M. Simpson have for the first time collected the seven surviving speeches and public letters of this greatest of southern debates over disunion, providing today's reader with a unique window into a moment of American crisis. Introducing the debate and debaters in compelling fashion, the editors help bring to life a sleepy Southern town suddenly alive with importance as a divided legislature met to decide the fate of Georgia, and by extension, that of the nation. We hear myriad voices, among them the energetic and self-righteous Governor Joseph E. Brown who, while a slaveholder and secessionist, was somewhat suspect as a native North Georgian; Alexander H. Stephens, the eloquent Unionist whose "calm dispassionate approach" ultimately backfired; and fiery secessionist Robert Toombs who, impatient with Brown's indecisiveness and the caution of the Unionists, shouted to legislators: "Give me the sword! but if you do not place it in my hands, before God! I will take it." The secessionists' Henry Benning and Thomas R. R. Cobb as well as the Unionists Benjamin Hill and Herschel Johnson also speak to us across the years, most with eloquence, all with the patriotic, passionate conviction that defined an era. In the end, the legislature adopted a convention bill which decreed a popular vote on the issue in early January 1861. The election results were close, mirroring the intense debate of two months before: 51% of Georgians favored immediate secession, a slim margin which the propaganda-conscious Brown later inflated to 58%. On January 19th the Georgia Convention sanctioned secession in a 166-130 vote, and the imminent Confederacy had its Southern hinge. Secession Debated is a colorful and gripping tale told in the words of the actual participants, one which sheds new light on one of the great and hitherto neglected verbal showdowns in American history. It is essential to a full understanding of the origins of the War Between the States.

 

Recommended Reading: Lincoln and Chief Justice Taney: Slavery, Secession, and the President's War Powers, by James F. Simon (Simon & Schuster). Publishers Weekly: This surprisingly taut and gripping book by NYU law professor Simon (What Kind of Nation) examines the limits of presidential prerogative during the Civil War. Lincoln and Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger Taney saw eye to eye on certain matters; both, for example, disliked slavery. But beginning in 1857, when Lincoln criticized Taney's decision in the Dred Scott case, the pair began to spar. They diverged further once Lincoln became president when Taney insisted that secession was constitutional and preferable to bloodshed, and blamed the Civil War on Lincoln. In 1861, Taney argued that Lincoln's suspension of habeas corpus was illegal. This holding was, Simon argues, "a clarion call for the president to respect the civil liberties of American citizens." Continued below...

In an 1862 group of cases, Taney joined a minority opinion that Lincoln lacked the authority to order the seizure of Southern ships. Had Taney had the chance, suggests Simon, he would have declared the Emancipation Proclamation unconstitutional; he and Lincoln agreed that the Constitution left slavery up to individual states, but Lincoln argued that the president's war powers trumped states' rights. Simon's focus on Lincoln and Taney makes for a dramatic, charged narrative—and the focus on presidential war powers makes this historical study extremely timely.

 

Recommended Reading: Lincoln and the Decision for War: The Northern Response to Secession (Civil War America) (Hardcover). Review: When Abraham Lincoln's election in 1860 prompted several Southern states to secede, the North was sharply divided over how to respond. In this groundbreaking book, the first major study in over 50 years of how the North handled the secession crisis, McClintock follows the decision-making process from bitter partisan rancor to consensus. From small towns to big cities and from state capitals to Washington, D.C., McClintock highlights individuals both powerful and obscure to demonstrate the ways ordinary citizens, party activists, state officials, and national leaders interacted to influence the Northern response to what was essentially a political crisis. Continued below...

He argues that although Northerners' reactions to Southern secession were understood and expressed through partisan newspapers and officials, the decision fell into the hands of an ever-smaller handful of people until finally it was Abraham Lincoln alone who would choose whether the future of the American republic was to be determined through peace or a sword.

 

Recommended Reading: A Constitutional History of Secession (Hardcover). Review: The Constitutional History of Secession is the history of the legal practice of secession in the Anglo-American world. The learned jurist John Remington Graham is possessed of a profound expertise on American, British and Canadian constitutional law. He has written a compelling defense of the right of secession. Secession, the right of self-determination, and the principle of "rule by consent of the governed" were among the foremost principles animating the American War for Independence of Seventeen-Seventy-Six. Yet the consolidationist sophists malign and deny these tried and true principles of free government. Graham, however, traces British and American constitutional history and developments with great clarity and buoys the case for secession. He offers an amazing exposition of seventeenth century British constitutional developments, which culminated in the Glorious Revolution of 1688 in which the Crown peacefully passed from James II to William and Mary without armed conflict. Continued below…

The accession of William of Orange to the throne was met with popular support, as the usurpations of William II were not amenable to the populace. This so called revolution set a standard for peaceful political separation, and it was exactly what the American Continental Congress sought from Great Britain. Likewise, peaceful separation was what the southern states that formed the Southern Confederacy wanted when those eleven states formally separated from the United States. Secession does not have to mean war and violence, but war was thrust upon American colonials and southern confederates when their previous government refused to acknowledge their right of self-determination. As the Declaration of Independence proclaims, "...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." As Confederate President Jefferson Davis proclaimed, "All we ask is to be left alone." The Glorious Revolution forms the foundation of Graham's treatise as he advances his thesis and makes the case for secession. As Donald Livingston proclaims in the preface, "The central focus of this work will be revolution, not as an armed overthrow of an established government, but as a rational and orderly process, specifically allowed by fundamental law."

In making the case for secession, Graham substantiates the compact nature of the Union as well, which correspondingly legitimizes interposition, nullification, and secession. Two early constitutional commentaries including St. George Tucker's View of the Constitution of the United States (1801) and Pennsylvania Federalist William Rawle's A View of the Constitution (1829) both affirm a right of secession.

John Remington Graham further traces American constitutional developments, and in doing so he substantiates the compact nature of the Union, and makes a profound case for the Constitution as a compact, which in effect legitimizes the right of secession. He further explains all of these episodes in constitutional history with amazing detail and clarity:

**The Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions which were in continuity with the colonial-revolutionary tradition of State remonstrance, protest, interposition and nullification of unconstitutional acts of central government authorities.

**The Hartford Convention and the anti-war, anti-embargo northern secessionist movement which emerged after the unwelcomed War of 1812 with the British.

**The Webster-Hayne Debates on the nature of the Union is explained in detail. Likewise, Daniel Webster's case of foot-in-mouth disease is made manifest as Hayne hearkens back to his deeds at the Hartford Convention.

**The Missouri Compromise and constitutional question of slavery and the sectional strife over the spread of slavery into the territories is explained.

**The secession of the eleven southern states from the Union and the circumstances leading to their separation are explained in detail. Likewise, the birth of the Southern Confederacy and the north's violent refusal to accept their separation is painstakingly documented.

**The unlawful and violent conquest of the South, the unconstitutional political repression in north and south, the illegal suspension of the writ of habeas corpus throughout the whole nation and the oppressive Reconstruction Acts are explained with amazing clarity and detail.

**Graham fast forwards to the twentieth-century. In our time, Quebec has asserted the legal right of secession as a viable political alternative if its relationship with the central government of the Canadian Confederation does not prove to be more mutually-beneficial and less detrimental to the interests of Quebec's citizenry in coming years. With a distinctive francophone culture and nearly half of the populace voting for secession in the last popular referendum, we may well witness the peaceful separation of Quebec from Canada in our lifetime.

All things considered, John Remington Graham has done a remarkable job at making the case for secession and has made a lasting contribution to constitutional scholarship. His book is well-documented and awash in powerful quotations from British and American statesmen. There is a preponderance of evidence in the Anglo-American constitutional heritage which makes secession a lawful exercise. Likewise, he is very logical in tracing the deducible nature of State sovereignty. Graham in final application points out that self-determination as expressed in an act of secession emanates from the right of people themselves to self-government. Essentially by presenting the secession of the American colonies and the Southern Confederacy in its proper historical and legal context, Graham has made a valuable contribution to understanding the Anglo-American political tradition. John Graham who presently served as an expert advisor on British constitutional law to the amicus curiae (i.e. friend of the court) for Quebec in the secession state decided in 1998. As Jefferson astutely opined, "Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient Causes..." Thus, secession is never to be approached lightly, and the act of secession negates the value, benefits and security of the Union.

* * * * * * * * * * *
"Whenever government becomes destructive of these ends (i.e. life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness), it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute a new government." -Declaration of Independence of the American Colonies, July 4, 1776

"Sovereignty is the highest degree of political power, and the establishment of a form of government, the highest proof which can be given of its existence. The states could have not reserved any rights by articles of their union, if they had not been sovereign, because they could have no rights, unless they flowed from that source. In the creation of the federal government, the states exercised the highest act of sovereignty, and they may, if they please, repeat the proof of their sovereignty, by its annihilation. But the union possesses no innate sovereignty, like the states; it was not self-constituted; it is conventional, and of course subordinate to the sovereignties by which it was formed." -John Taylor of Caroline, New Views of the Constitution, Nov. 19, 1823

"I saw in State Rights the only availing check upon the absolutism of the sovereign will, and secession filled me with hope, not as the destruction but as the redemption of Democracy. The institutions of your Republic have not exercised on the old world the salutary and liberating influence which ought to have belonged to them, by reason of those defects and abuses of principle which the Confederate Constitution was expressly and wisely calculated to remedy. I believed that the example of that great Reform would have blessed all the races of mankind by establishing true freedom purged of the native dangers and disorders of Republics. Therefore I deemed that you were fighting the battles of our liberty, our progress, and our civilization; and I mourn for the stake which was lost at Richmond more deeply than I rejoice over that which was saved at Waterloo." -Lord Acton in a letter to Robert E. Lee, Nov. 4, 1866.

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