Secession- Is it Legal or Practical?


Congressional Painting

America has a long history of secession. We seceded from Britain. The South attempted to secede from the United States. Did you know, several states resolved to secede from the new country even before there was an established federal government? The last post, Echoes of Succession, discussed the roots of secession. Several key issues remain the same in each incident. The first point included a group of people not feeling fairly represented by the government. The second points to the infringement and abuse of government power toward the people. Finally, the last point of contention is the movement away from the fundamental principles of the constitution. This post will answer the following questions using these key points as a springboard. Do we as individual states have a right to secede from the United States and would it be practical to do so?

The framers of the Constitution avoided addressing two key issues while writing and debating the course of our country. The issue of slavery and the provisions for secession were deliberately avoided. The founding fathers knew the addressing of these issues would mean the death of the Constitution. Leaving us no clear way to resolve slavery and secession, resulted in a four-year battle that affected every American from that time forward.

There are two theories when it comes to the question of the legality of secession. Those who hold the sovereign states belief and others who argue the United States is one country. Sovereign state supporters point to the Constitution to support their argument of legal secession. It is interesting to know, the Constitution does not use the phrase, sovereign states, anywhere in the document. The implications of sovereignty and states’ rights originated with the original 13 colonies. The colonies seceded from Britain as a separate states united by this one cause. They gathered their arms, volunteers and beliefs to secede from England. The mentality of separate sovereign states is clear. People of this new nation did not refer to themselves as Americans. They were still Virginians, South Carolinians and Pennsylvanians. The belief that your state was your country rings true from the conception of this country.

The second theory believes the separation of state will be the demise of the country as a whole. The North leading up to the Civil War vehemently argued this side of the story. Lincoln was a staunch believer in the county as one, with a powerful central government. During his first inaugural address, he clearly stated his legal position: (www.historynet/secession)

“No State, upon its own mere motion, can lawfully get out of the Union, that resolves and ordinances to that effect are legally void, and that acts of violence, within any State or States, against the authority of the United States, are insurrectionary or revolutionary, according to circumstances.”

Lincoln clearly believed that if he allowed the south to secede from the Union, it would lead to the destruction of the country as a whole. He rejected any notion of sovereignty of states. Yet, he allowed the secession of West Virginia because it benefited the Union. The final argument against secession became a verbal war of interpreting what “was meant” by articles and words within the Constitution. It all circles back to the fact there was no clear provisions to secession. If states want to secede from the Union, they must address the issues with the federal government.

The last civil war did not dispel the success or failure of secession. It was declared a rebellion, which then resulted in violence without the chance for a peaceful resolution. Nothing was solved by the last Civil war, the south returned to the Union under duress that is still seen today. If Texas succeeds in its petition to White House, it is my hope this issue is resolved without acts of war. The Civil War proved violence does not solve anything. The country suffered greatly during the Reconstruction period. Our country cannot afford to take a step back. Today we need to forgo violence and listen to each other. Our forefathers spent months arguing and compromising to create the best government model known in history. It took patience, compromise and perseverance.

The practicality of secession is possible. Texas is on the cusp of creating history for our nation. In order for them to succeed, it will take everything this country has to quiet their opinions and bigotry to listen and peacefully come up with solutions. This is no longer a fight for the freedom of one race, but it is a fight for the quality of life for the human race. History writes another chapter every day. What will the next chapter of the United States read?

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13 thoughts on “Secession- Is it Legal or Practical?

  1. Pingback: Will the United States divide by secession? « Insanity is Just a State of Mind

  2. Okay, we all know I’m blond so could easily be wrong… LOL. But I was under the impression that Secession is and always has been legal according to the Constitution, even when the Southern States tried it before the Civil War, but that doesn’t mean it’s a practical solution. Ellyn, you know I’ve said before (but you would know more than me about this) but Lincoln had no problem walking right over the Constitution and doing away with Habeas corpus for years and imprisoning Northerns as well as anyone else who disagreed with his political view. I know that not everyone agrees with me, but I can easily see this Administration do the same thing, especially since they funded (in the Health Care Act) his own American (homeland) militia so therefore I personally think it would do no good and only cause more problems. Their goal (in my opinion) is to try to divide the country into the haves and have nots already. Way too many people believe that already but don’t look past their nose cuz they just want the free stuff.. I (Personally) think we need to strive to try to pull this country back together instead of helping to tear it apart. I know many people are angry because they thought the election was stolen not only this time, but last time…. however, what’s done is done and we have to deal with it. I feel our voices would be of better service by trying to educated others on the facts, than having them only go for empty promises. If they don’t fix the “Fiscal Cliff”, I’ve read that Disability payments will cease in about 4 years. I don’t understand by the President is out “campaigning” again instead of in Washington trying to help negotiate this agenda. I just don’t want any more empty promises like we will cut it in 4 years, but we need more money right now, via taxes etc.
    I love your blogs Ellyn…. 😀

  3. Reblogged this on berry556 and commented:
    I found this to be a very thought provoking post . Perhaps you might also !

  4. Reblogged this on Keli has a Blog and commented:
    My friend Ellyn always writes a fantastic blog… and this issue has been a concern of mine lately… so I cheated and just re-blogged her great thoughts! 😀

  5. Yet another good blog…. I’ve had this situation on my mind as well, as I’m sure you probably knew already…LOL. I would like to re-blog this for a few days if you don’t mind… 😀

    • Thank you for re-blogging this one. I struggled with this for days. I hope it simply gets people thinking without feeling the need to gather arms and fight those who have a different opinion about what is happening. There is such a thing as agree to disagree.

  6. Secession will be considered sedition . Civil disobedience will lead to civil war . The Federal government will use all of its power to keep that power . There will be military boots marching in every State that would try to secede . The blood bath would be horrendous . It would be in my opinion naive to believe otherwise .
    Many people no longer believe this country is a Union of any kind . This country is being purposely being divided by those that claim to want to unite us . The current talk of secession is little more than protest . It will amount to little more than talk . The Government has not been held accountable for it’s disregard for the Constitution in the past and that will not change . The course that this country is currently on has little to do with Constitutional rights and all to do with Federal power .
    Remember freedom isn’t free . The founding fathers of this country made a few statements about keeping a democratic republic . I am sure you know that well .
    I guess your post caught my attention . I hope you don’t mind me sharing my opinion . Thanks ! :).

    • Thank you for your opinion. I appreciate you taking time to respectfully voice your thoughts. I have a hard time making the logical leap from secession to sedition.
      Sedition was enacted during World War I, as a guideline to deal with other countries during the war.
      Secession is the belief that in our case a group of people disagree with the governments handling of our country. The colonies believed they were joining a “club” where opinions and ideas mattered. The rules have changed. It is those states belief they can peacefully leave. If you joined a club and they infringing on your life, wouldn’t you want to leave?
      Our country is being torn apart by issues that have nothing to do with the agenda. We the people have a voice. We have this freedom no other country has. If we do not start using our voice in a positive effective manner we are endanger of losing it forever.

      • I was thinking in terms of the definition of sedition , not the sedition Act of WWll . I know that we currently enjoy freedoms that no other country does . I don’t know what you see as an agenda or whose agenda you are talking about .
        I do know we all should tolerate the freedom of speech especially when it offends us .
        Otherwise there will be no free speech for anyone . We will all be tripping over the lines that we want to draw . Thanks again !

      • You have made some excellent points. I value our way of life here. I believe the US has many freedoms no one else has, and for that I am thankful. I am only asking questions, I want people to start thinking and not take what they hear on the radio as gospel truth. We have seen biases in the media and I believe this is very dangerous for those who blindly follow without asking why. Always question and ask why. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

      • I agree with your response here 100% , I enjoy a reasonable exchange of ideas . Thank you ! I will look for more interesting posts from you . Happy blogging !

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