Can a US state secede?

Code Blue

Ad Honorem
Feb 2015
4,514
Caribbean
If the federal government starts intolerably oppressing the state, not under any other circumstance.
Nice to hear from you Mr. Maki. When you make claims to me on this subject, I would appreciate you cite your source, or I am likely to think it is just a personal opinion.

I hope you are not delving back into one of those three private letters by Madison in 1830s. They are contradictory, confusing and do not say what you posted here. Example, there is one that says "abuse" of the compact, and does not say who must be engaging in such abuse. You say, "intolerably oppressing" a state, and that it must be the "federal government." I don't think you have correctly paraphrased any of the three letters, no less all of them combined. And as you know, what is written in official documents far outweighs private letters. Madison is on the record about the right of a state to resume its delegated powers in his official documents.

On the US founding documents, please read every world, carefully. People died for the creation of these words.
 
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Maki

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
3,965
Republika Srpska
Nice to hear from you Mr. Maki. When you make claims to me on this subject, either cite your source or identify them as personal opinions.
"Do in the name and in behalf of the People of Virginia declare and make known that the powers granted under the Constitution being derived from the People of the United States may be resumed by them whensoever the same shall be perverted to their injury or oppression "

I hope you are not delving back into one of those three letters by Madison in 1830s.
Oh, those letters that clarify Madison's thoughts on secession but do not agree with your position so you ignore them?
 

Code Blue

Ad Honorem
Feb 2015
4,514
Caribbean
There is no such right. The constitution makes no provision for states leaving the union. It DOES state that any act affecting the entire union must be voted on and passed by a supermajority of states. Leaving the Union fundamentally changes the United States.
The Constitution makes no provision for states - at all. It makes prohibitions for states. Leaving the union, as you put it, is not prohibited.

Moreover- territories were never states. They were Granted statehood by the federal government. If the federal government is the grantor of statehood- then the federal government must also have the authority to rescind that status.
I Don't mean to be disrespectful, but you made this up, or got this from someone who did.

Starting with the fourteenth state, all states joined the union on "equal footing" with the other states in all respects. The equal footing doctrine is in the NW Ordinance and all the acts by which new states were admitted. The states are, by law, equal. (They would be anyway. The Constitution provides no basis to discriminate).

The States did not delegate power to the federal government.
Says you.

Look in the Constitution for the verb delegated. It's in a sentence that makes it clear who is the delegator. Also, both Article VII and the fact that all the representatives at the Philadelphia Convention were representatives of States should tell you who is the author of the document.

Additionally, The South did NOT
While I find your opinions entertaining, please note, I have said nothing about "the South."

Mr. Sculpt.
I have replied to several claims that seem the product of nothing but your fancy. Please try to cite actual clauses. I can't do this, again.

I would suggest you try to find the word, "delegated," in the Constitution so you can know who did the delegating. That would be a start.
 
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Code Blue

Ad Honorem
Feb 2015
4,514
Caribbean
Oh, those letters that clarify Madison's thoughts on secession but do not agree with your position so you ignore them?
Maki,
I do not have a position. Mr. Madison does, official ones. I am not "ignoring" the letters. I know them well. I think I just demonstrated that.

Why are you ignoring the law?

Mr. Madison was one, who by ratifying it, put the right to resume delegated powers (a secession clause) in the Virginia Ratification Ordinance. This clause expressly makes secession legal.
 
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Maki

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
3,965
Republika Srpska
And exactly how do the letters contradict the Ordinance?

What does the Ordinance say:
"Do in the name and in behalf of the People of Virginia declare and make known that the powers granted under the Constitution being derived from the People of the United States may be resumed by them whensoever the same shall be perverted to their injury or oppression "
So, the Ordinance says that the state can secede ONLY if the federal government starts misusing its power and that misuse starts damaging the people of the state, in this case Virginia.



What do his letters say:
"A rightful secession requires the consent of the others, or an abuse of the compact absolving the seceding party from the obligations imposed by it."
So, this letter states that a state can secede only if all other states agree or if the federal government starts misusing its power.

"But this dodges the blow by confounding the claim to secede at will, with the right of seceding from intolerable oppression. The former answers itself, being a violation, without cause, of a faith solemnly pledged. The latter is another name only for revolution, about which there is no theoretic controversy."
This letter says that a state cannot secede at will, but only if it is intolerably oppressed by the federal government of course. So, according to this letter, the state can only secede if the federal government starts misusing its power.

Contradiction where?
 
Jun 2017
734
maine
How many common authors, signer and contributors one comes up with depends on what one counts and with what purpose.

I'll kill two birds with one stone.

Example: Benjamin Franklin
He is on the committee of five that draft the Declaration. That same year, he is on he is on a committee of six to draft the Pennsylvania Constitution -where they include the same State has right to alter, abolish from the Declaration. in 87, Franklin is a delegate to the Constitutional Convention, where they do not repudiate this right. Further, given that this right is in the Pennsylvania Constitution, I doubt the delegates would have the legal authority to sign it away - not that they would anyhow. The Pennsylvania delegation cannot surrender the right to secede that is reserved in their Constitution.

Madison, Mason, Randolph, Blair and Wythe
These five were both at the Constitutional Convention and the Virginia Ratification Convention. The Virginia Ordinance includes a clause declaring their right to resume the powers being delegated (a so-called secession clause), which dovetails with Tenth Amendment from the Constitution, (and the recommended version of the Tenth sent in by the Virginia Convention). You see that? These same men in part authored Constitution, added the Tenth Amendment, and the secession clause. They have to believe state secession is legal, because they made it expressly legal.

Hamilton and Jay
Basically, the same as above. And Jay authored the NY Constitution, too.

In other words, all three authors of the Federalist Papers, expressed a right to resume delegated powers (a secession clause) in the same law that established the Constitution in their State. They have to believe state secession is legal, they made it expressly legal.

---
In general, not specific to this thread topic, the work is consistent from state to state because they working together and borrowing. John Adams working papers show a draft Massachusetts Constitution on the top half each page and on the bottom he footnotes where he took something from the Declaration, the Magna Carta, someone else's Constitution, etc.

Another place to find striking consistency is the lists of suggested amendments. Not only do the have the same substance, but sometimes multiple states have the exact same wording.
---

Back on topic, the reason I got onto common authors is to show that the arguments that would attempt to drive a wedge between the documents, to claim rights declared in the Declaration did not carry forward are ill-founded. And specifically now have added, that the "reserved" right to resume delegated powers (so-called state secession) is not a figment of imagination. The right is expressed (reserved) in three state ratification documents.

I hope this answers some of your questions.
What questions? In any case, I only mentioned signers--not all those other criteria.
 

Code Blue

Ad Honorem
Feb 2015
4,514
Caribbean
Maki,
I didn't say the letters contradict the ordinance. I said they contradict each other and explained the contradiction. I also said they are insignificant..

And I am not sure what your point is. Are you arguing that the Virginia Ordinance retains the right of unilateral secession:
- only under certain circumstances, (oppression, abuse) and
- you are the judge of circumstances?
Sounds like it.

I am going to try to walk you through this step by step, and it shows why you should believe the Declaration is the Founders opinions of self-evident truth and paragraph 4 that States are "nations," under the "Law of Nations," because they never deviate from paragraph 4.

The Declaration claims that the "States" (meaning nations) are now operating by the "Law of Nations." They can enter and break treaties, at will, for:
"safety and happiness."

From the NY Ratification Ordinance:
"That the Powers of Government may be reassumed by the People, whensoever it shall become necessary to their Happiness..."

From the Ratification of Hew Hampshire
"That the powers of government may be reassumed by the people, whensoever it shall become necessary to their happiness:"

(Mr, Duncaness, please note above with respect to my comment about common authors. Two States with the exact same language).

Madison Fed 43 explains how 9 States can leave the confederacy just by ratifying a new agreement:: (By seceding? lol)
"On what principle the Confederation, which stands in the solemn form of a compact among the States, can be superseded without the unanimous consent of the parties to it?

The answer, cities the principles of the Declaration.
"...the transcendent law of nature and of nature's God, which declares that the safety and happiness of society are the objects at which all political institutions aim, and to which all such institutions must be sacrificed."

Also from Fed 43, applying the Law of Nations to the States on their exit:
"A compact between independent sovereigns, founded on ordinary acts of legislative authority, can pretend to no higher validity than a league or treaty between the parties. It is an established doctrine on the subject of treaties, that all the articles are mutually conditions of each other; that a breach of any one article is a breach of the whole treaty; and that a breach, committed by either of the parties, absolves the others, and authorizes them, if they please, to pronounce the compact violated and void."

And from Madison's Notes of the Convention, again the Law of Nations, on exiting the Articles of Confederation without 13 votes
"What is the doctrine resulting from these conventions? Clearly, according to the Expositors of the law of Nations, that a breach of any one article, by any one party, leaves all the other parties at liberty, to consider the whole convention as dissolved,:"
 

Chlodio

Forum Staff
Aug 2016
4,996
Dispargum
Interesting how many founding states asserted a right to secede. I don't think it's possible to separate rights from obligations. The national union is a collective that gives certain benefits to its member states but also extracts certain obligations from the states. How many founding states acknowledged an obligation to the national collective? While many states asserted a right of secession, did any of them deny the right of other states to secede? Was the question ever asked, 'If a member state wants to leave the union, can the other states claim the seceding state owes them an obligation?' It's the underlying premise of every contract - life is not possible without some degree of predictability and control of the future. If a party to a contract can terminate the contract at will, there's no point to having a contract at all.

Edit: What I'm saying is that all of these claims to a right of secession are failing to consider the other side of the arguement - what does a state do when the federal government refuses to acknowledge a right of secesion? These claimed rights of secession are unworkable short of armed revolution.
 
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Maki

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
3,965
Republika Srpska
And I am not sure what your point is. Are you arguing that the Virginia Ordinance retains the right of unilateral secession:
- only under certain circumstances, (oppression, abuse)
I am not arguing, that is what the text says.

- you are the judge of circumstances?
I am not the judge of anything, but let's have some fun: do you think the South was oppressed in 1861? Oppressed enough to warrant and justify secession?