“The constitution merely changed the form of government of the union declared ‘perpetual’ by the Articles.”
Huh? No it didn’t. It replaced the Articles wholly, and illegally at that. Yeah, okay, so preamble says “a more perfect union,” but not I notice a more perfect perpetual union. If it wanted to remain perpetual, why didn’t it say so? What other phantom passages from the Articles are incorporated by the Constitution without it saying so? You and I know that the union that was supposed to be perpetual was specifically the union as outlined by the Articles.
This other union, the one we live in now, was not envisioned by the states when they agreed to the Articles. I know it was a new union because they had to agree again. Why go through the process of ratification if the states had sacrificed their sovereignty to the Articles and it was perpetual? Becuase for a new government to supercede the Articles the states had to agree, because they were still sovereign. In the exact same manner, they could agree to another new union different from the one according to the Constitution if they saw fit, because they are still sovereign.
To think they could shuck off one constitution, the Articles—and use their sovereignty to do so—and not another, the Constitution, is bonkers. I suppose you’ll say it was different than a seperate state or a group of states that isn’t all the states forming a new union because it’s all the states together as a union that’s the perpetual thing. You can organize them, shuffle them back and forth, make left right and up down, and change the form of government all you want, so long as they’re all still one union? That’s bunk. Know why? Because you resorted to asking the states’ permission on the pretext that they are sovereign. And you still call them sovereign. If by their sovereign power they can change the form of government of the union, then they can choose to be independent or link up with any number of states within or without the union.
The states came before the union. The union did not make the states. This whole idea that the union is the thing, that it is forever, and that the states can mold it any way they want but can’t escape it is Lincolnian nonsense. It is after the fact rationalization because you’ve lived within the union all your life, think it’s natural, and can’t imagine the states without it. But they didn’t have to link up, didn’t have to seek independence together, and don’t have to stay united. That they did is an accident of history. It does not have to stay that way.
By the way, even if the Articles said they were for a perpetual union, it still says, and it also says in the Constition, that the states are sovereign, no? The Articles created a confederation of sovereign states, as I understand it. What does it mean to be sovereign except that the states reserve the right to leave the union? You can’t be sovereign if you’ve given up your sovereignty. That makes no sense.
“Conditional ratification (the ability to rescind a ratification) was widely discussed at the state ratification conventions for the Constitution. The most direct comment came from the letter Madison wrote to Hamilton on the occasion of the NY state convention where the antis had Hamilton momentarily stymied. The constitution had already been written.”
I don’t really understand your point here. But let me say, conditional ratification wouldn’t have to be written into the Constitution. The tenth amendment didn’t have to be written, either, but it makes clear that all powers not granted to the federal government by the Constitution are reserved by the states or the people. The Constitution therefor did not have to tell the states they still had the right to leave after ratification.
Ratification was de jure conditional, even if that wasn’t made explicit. It didn’t have to be explicit. You have the Constitution backwards.
You keep referencing Madison, and I’ll just assume you’re right about him. What about the scores of people then and later, Northern, Souther, and Western, who explicitly asserted or acted as if they believed in retained sovereignty and the right of secession? Do they not count?
“The Revolution was against the Royal government within which there was no representation and which our people had never given its consent and were not treated as ‘Englishmen’”
So? What is the point, here? You’re talking about the reasons for seperation, whereas I thought the argument was over its legality. Much rides on your point about consent, though not so much as you seem to think. So they never gave consent. I’m not sure it matters, since the colonies can be seen as creations of the crown instead of the states as creators of the union. But nevermind, what does it mean to consent? Consent once and that’s it? You can never take it back? Does that represent sovereignty to you?
The colonies revolted as corporate agents of the people against their having been denied the rights of Englishmen. They can do so again against the U.S. under the Constitution, for denying the people their rights or for any old reason. That’s what sovereignty actually means.
“You are advocating a revolution against a government which is of our own making and within which we have representation”
So? Governments properly formed and constituted can become destructive of the ends of liberty. Anywa, the states are still sovereign. They can secede for good or bad reasons; it doesn’t matter. I don’t recall the Declaration declaring:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Unless at some time in the past they agreed to it, and they have representation of some sort. Then they’re screwed and have to stick with whatever government.”
Pretending as if onloy the War for Indepence was justified and the states revolting against anything else out of bounds is ex post rationalizing and cherry-picking. Your argument is the exact same anyone arguing for the colonial system or the Articles of Confederation as perpetual.
“It is silly to believe that anyone today could come up with something better without a massive restriction of the number of people who could vote.”
So? I still fail to see your point. Could you form a coherent argument, please? So it’d be silly, or undemocratic, or whatever. What does that have to do with its legality? What does that have to do with, if it’s illegal, being different than the illegal revolution or usurpation of the Articles?
“Had the Union been split by the RAT Rebellion of 1861 you would probably be speaking German and saluting Hitlers successor”
There is no basis for this in fact or whimsy. If the nazis couldn’t invade across the Channel, certainly they couldn’t across the Atlantic. Whence this notion that the U.S. was in any direct danger from nazi Germany? I don’t get it. Must be because people cling to the illusion that we only fight wars of existential self-defense.
“Had the Union been split by the RAT Rebellion of 1861 you would probably be speaking German and saluting Hitlers successor. There was nothing good or principled about the Souths stupidity, it was an IGnoble Cause from start to finish.”
Are we talking about the legality of secession as such, or beating up on the South? Let me join in: damn rebel redneck hillbilly racist human rights abusing jerkfaces. That being said, they had every right to leave the union.
But over here if you even talk about it you are threatened with Civil War.
>>It replaced the Articles wholly, and illegally at that.<<
Not illegal at all.
Congress called the Annapolis and Constitutional Conventions.
The delegates to Philadelphia determined the Articles of Confederation could not be improved (they were right) and drafted a form of government that met the needs of the Union.
Said delegates submitted the Constitution to Congress. The Confederation Congress of the United States did not have to pass the Constitution to the States. It did.
The legislatures of the States did not have to arrange for popular elections of delegates to State ratifying conventions. They did.
The States held special conventions of the people’s delegates. They did not have to ratify, but they did.
Our beloved Constitution is perfectly legal.
>>Why go through the process of ratification if the states had sacrificed their sovereignty to the Articles and it was perpetual?<<
The States sacrificed no sovereignty under the Confederation. That was the problem.
There was a sea change regarding sovereignty between 1776 and 1787. Whereas the original State constitutions had largely been ratified by State legislatures, by 1787 most had been revised and ratified by conventions of the people.
The Articles of Confederation were not dumped solely because the states lost interest in it after the war. In short order we came to regard real sovereignty as actually residing in the people and not state legislatures. A less Federal and more democratic real government under the Constitution better reflected American concepts of sovereignty.
1- the Constitutional Convention was not only completely legal but the actual document incorporates whole sections of the Articles. Had the States believed the CC exceeded its authority they were free not to ratify the document.
2- the Articles called for a perpetual Union. The Constitution declared its goal was “a more perfect Union”. Since a more perfect Union could not be less perpetual than the aforesaid perpetual Union there was no need to mention perpetuity in the new document. It was implied by logic.
3- The States sacrificed very little sovereignty to the Congress under the Articles which was the reason the first government essentially dissolved after the Revolution. That was why the CC was called and the constitution removed most of the real aspects of sovereignty from the state governments.
4- Congress or two-thirds of the state legislatures can call a Convention at any time and discuss secession or expulsion or any damn thing they wish and it would be legal and constitutional. Unfortunately it would be taken over by Dumbasses and a disaster would result.
5- SOME of the Thirteen original states preceded the Union. However, all the other states were the creation of the Congress. Some of them occupied land bought by the federal government, some occupied land conquered by the federal military. However, even the original thirteen were occupied by people who believed themselves to be ONE People, the American people.
6- had the states not “linked up” they would have been conquered piece-meal by one of the empires which surrounded us. Washington and Hamilton and the greatest of our leaders, Lincoln included, understood this. They all understood that our Union was our strength. We can look at the penny ante nations across the world and see the weakness of small states in world politics which are unavoidable.
7- Actually the Constitution says nothing about states being “sovereign” and, in point of fact, they gave up most of the most important aspects of sovereignty: foreign policy, having state laws be paramount, monetary policy, exclusion from establishing pacts without Congressional approval, even the way their militias are regulated. Any idea of state sovereignty, esp. after the 17th amendment, is nothing more than a convenient fiction or a pretense.
8- Congress did not give states a choice other than “Yes” we ratify the constitution or “No” we reject the constitution. They NEVER had the choice “Yes, we ratify but...yada, yada, yada.” Only in some people’s fertile imagination did that option exist not in reality.
9- No, the people who attempted to use extra-political mans to defend slavery don’t count. Only those who use constitutional means count politically. There was no “tyranny” the South tried to escape. IT was the tyranny. There was no principle involved any more than there was with the earlier planning and actions of New England. In both cases it was economic conflicts not real principle. And Jefferson had done far more damage to NE with his embargo than Lincoln ever contemplated prior to the Wah.
10- Perhaps you need to brush up on your WWII history. Germany was not able to defeat Britain because of the massive military support Roosevelt provided. Without that it was finished. Had this been two or more nations rather than the UNITED States of America that support is problematic at best and non-existent at worst. Only the most short-sighted could believe its power would be anything but much less if divided.
11- I was born and raised in the South and love its people so I am in no way “beating up” on them. But don’t try and tell me that the ordinary Southerner had any control of what those states did. They did not but suffered from the control by the planter elites who controlled events and, BTW, along with their slaveholder friendly northern allies in the big cities, had controlled the federal government for all but short periods prior to the Wah.