Removal of Confederate statues and flags?

Recusant

Ad Honorem
Sep 2009
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Sector N after curfew
Text of the letter from Special Prosecutor Dana. It can be found here in the fifth reply in the comments section.

To Attorney General W.M. Evarts on August 24, 1868

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“Sir,

“While preparing with yourself, before you assumed your present post, to perform the honorable duty the President had assigned to us, of conducting the trial of Jefferson Davis, you know how much my mind was moved, from the first, by doubts of the expediency of trying him at all. The reasons which prevented my presenting those doubts no longer exist, and they have so ripened into conviction that I feel it my duty to lay them before you in form, as you now hold a post of official responsibly for the proceeding.

“After the most serious reflection, I cannot see any good reason why the Government should make a question whether the late civil war was treason, and whether Jefferson Davis took any part in it, and submit those questions to the decision of a petit jury of the vicinage of Richmond at nisi prius [“court of original jurisdiction”].

“As the Constitution in terms settles the fact that our republic is a state against which treason may be committed, the only constitutional question attending the late war was whether a levying of war against the United States which would otherwise be treason, is relieved of that character by the fact that it took the form of secession from the Union by state authority. In other words the legal issue was, whether secession by a State is a right, making an act legal and obligatory upon the nation which would otherwise have been treason.

“This issue I suppose to have been settled by the action of every department of the Government, by the action of the people itself, and by those events which are definitive in the affairs of men.

“The Supreme Court in the Prize Causes held, by happily a unanimous opinion, that acts of the States, whether secession ordinances, or in whatever form cast, could not be brought into the cases, as justifications for the war, and had no legal effect on the character of the war, or on the political status of territory or persons or property, and that the line of enemy’s territory was a question of fact, depending upon the line of bayonets of an actual war. The rule in the Prize Causes has been steadily followed in the Supreme Court since, and in the Circuit Courts, without an intimation of a doubt. That the law making and executive departments have treated this secession and war as treason, is matter of history, as well as is the action of the people in the highest sanction of war.

“It cannot be doubted that the Circuit Court at the trial will instruct the jury, in conformity with these decisions, that the late attempt to establish and sustain by war an independent empire within the United States was treason. The only question of fact submitted to the Jury will be whether Jefferson Davis took any part in the war. As it is one of the great facts of history that he was its head, civil and military, why should we desire to make a question of it and refer its decision to a jury, with power to find in the negative or affirmative, or to disagree? It is not an appropriate question for the decision of a jury; certainly it is not a fact which a Government should, without great cause, give a jury a chance to ignore.

“We know that these indictments are to be tried in what was for five years enemy’s territory, which is not yet restored to the exercise of all its political functions, and where the fires are not extinct. We know that it only requires one dissentient juror to defeat the Government and give Jefferson Davis and his favorers a triumph. Now, is not such a result one which we must include in our calculation of possibilities? Whatever modes may be legally adopted to draw a jury, or to purge it, and whatever the influence of the court or of counsel, we know that a favorer of treason may get upon the jury. But that is not necessary. A fear of personal violence or social ostracism may be enough to induce one man to withhold his assent from the verdict, especially as be need not come forward personally, nor give a reason, even in the jury-room.

“This possible result would be most humiliating to the Government and people of this country, and none the less so from the fact that it would be absurd. The Government would be stopped in its judicial course because it could neither assume nor judicially determine that Jefferson Davis took part in the late civil war. Such a result would also bring into doubt the adequacy of our penal system to deal with such cases as this.

“If it were important to secure a verdict as a means of punishing the defendant, the question would present itself differently. But it would be beneath the dignity of the Government and of the issue, to inflict upon him a minor punishment; and, as to a sentence of death, I am sure that, after this lapse of time and after all that has occurred in the interval, the people of the United States would not desire to see it enforced.

“In fine, after the fullest consideration, it seems to me that, by pursuing the trial, the Government can get only a re-affirmation by a Circuit Court at nisi prius of a rule of public law settled for this country in every way in which such a matter can be settled, only giving to a jury drawn from the region of the rebellion a chance to disregard the law when announced. It gives that jury a like opportunity to ignore the fact that Jefferson Davis took any part in the late civil war. And one man upon the jury can secure these results. The risks of such absurd and discreditable issues of a great state trial are assumed for the sake of a verdict which, if obtained, will settle nothing in law or national practice not now settled, and nothing in fact not now history, while no judgment rendered thereon do we think will be ever executed.

“Besides these reasons, and perhaps because of them, I think that the public interest in the trial has ceased among the most earnest and loyal citizens.

“If your views and those of the President should be in favor of proceeding with the trial, I am confident that I can do my duty as counsel, to the utmost of my ability and with all zeal. For my doubts are not what the verdict ought to be. On the contrary, I should feel all the more strongly, if the trial is begun, the importance of a victory to the Government, and the necessity of putting forth all powers and using all lawful means to secure it. Still, I feel it my duty to say that if the President should judge otherwise, my position in the cause is at his disposal.”
 
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Recusant

Ad Honorem
Sep 2009
2,624
Sector N after curfew
However, the absence of RI from the Convention mostly surely casts doubt on the legitimacy of SOMETHING. The "law of the land" said all 13 States had to approve any action.
I assume you're referring to Article XIII of the Articles of Confederation. Indeed, Article XIII also requires that alterations to the Articles of Confederation be made by the Congress and agreed by the state legislatures. The people who wanted to scrap the Articles did pull a fast one, in that the initial justification for what has become known as the Constitutional Convention was that it was being convened to consider alteration to the existing document. Once history hinged though, and that agenda had been put aside in favor of drafting a new document, the members of the convention got to work in hammering out something that would work.

You've been making arguments based on your interpretation of the Constitution throughout this thread. Are you now going to claim that the Constitution is an illegitimate document?

This did not happen, as you admit. Something was broken. There is a lack of continuity. Would that be, because the other States "seceded" from the Union and were acting in their sovereign capacity; or were they "states in rebellion"? The Constitutional Convention was without portfolio - in terms of a "national" authorization. They were just "States."
I disagree that there is a lack of continuity. Representatives from the entire nation aside from Rhode Island participated; the union was never dissolved nor was that ever the intention of the Constitutional Convention.

This problem was noted by Elbridge Gerry who sarcastically asked, if 9 States can break the old union, whether as few as 6 could break the next one.
I've read Elbridge Gerry's pamphlet denouncing the Constitution, but didn't find that particular bit of rhetoric. Can you cite a source? In the pamphlet he claimed that the provision for adopting the Constitution on the basis of nine ratifying conventions "may be a means of involving the whole country in blood." He also claimed that the Constitution was "a consolidated fabrick of aristocratick tyranny." The pamphlet is full of simillarly overblown polemical inaccuracies; his claim that it would "break the old union" is in the same vein and has no basis in fact.

There's a key problem. The perpetuity of the "perpetual" union was disrupted. White v Texas is based on wrong "facts." And might I add, the Supreme Court is relying on the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union to rule that secession is unconstitutional. You have to live the irony of that; and the even grander irony all the States of the perpetual union seceded from the perpetual union, starting a mere 6 years after the completion of its creation.

It's not hard to see some folks want to stay or the 'northern side' of 1790 to find "credible sources" for secession arguments.
Perhaps if you'd presented a convincing case to support the assertion that states that ratified the Constitution were in fact seceding from the union, I would agree that I had to "live with the irony of that." What I do find ironic is that your argument is entirely based on your own interpretation of the text of the Constitution, which is of course much further "north" of 1790 than Marshall's, for instance.

It's not drawn from text of the Constitution. The States did not delegate their taxing authority. Does it occur to you if these federal powers were so obvious, someone would have noticed them in the document written down somewhere?
Marshall refers to the Constitution throughout his decision. You may dispute his interpretation, but the claim that he doesn't draw from the text of the Constitution seems frivolous.

As both are, in substance, the same government, then it only makes sense that both are confederations or neither is a confederation.
It will not surprise you then when I say that neither is a confederation. I believe the Confederacy chose that name because they aspired to revert to something along the lines of the Articles of Confederation, and they copied the Constitution as a matter of expediency. They knew that the Articles of Confederation were deeply flawed but being in the midst of attempting to violently extricate themselves from the union, they didn't have the time to hammer out a revision of the Articles that would serve their purposes.

Rhetorical flourish, you say?

I have stated, my case is the actual text of the Constitution and other relevant documents. I am wondering if you consider it rhetorical flourish that I capitalize "States." That is actually legal style, as "State" and "state" don't have the same legal definition. I note, the Constitution says "States," and speaks in the future tense. An essential element of your argument is that the Constitution to some degree turned the States into states; and created a single United State. And as long as your "credible" sources of opinions crafted after 1790, rather than the Constitution itself, the ultimate credible source....

Though, I am not unaware of the issue. I recognize how much rhetorical flourish has gone into defaming the "confederacy," and "secession," and that it is somewhat inconvenient for certain political viewpoints to admit both side were "confederacies" and all the original 13 states "seceded" during the original "constitution" - or perhaps recognizing that there were eight "Presidents" before George Washington. Am I wrong to sense that arguments resting on post-1790 opinions involve some degree of whitewash of the pre-Constitution history?
I have no interest in defaming the Confederacy nor their effort to secede. I joined the discussion because of an interest in constitutional interpretation.

Please cite your source on the legal definitions of "State" vs. "state." I ask because this source seems to disagree with your claim:

"New students of the Constitution often see one more thing that raises eyebrows: the use of capital letters in the original text. Some have even gone so far as to say that capitalized words in the original Constitution have some sort of special significance above and beyond the non-capitalized words. This is only true in that most of the non-standard capitalization is done to nouns. Again, this was an issue of style, and is similar to the way German capitalizes nouns — they are simply capitalized, and that's all. The words "People" and "State" have the exact same significance and meaning as "people" and "state". Many modern transcriptions of the Constitution remove this extra capitalization without changing the meaning of the document."
 
Feb 2013
4,282
Coastal Florida
I assume you're referring to Article XIII of the Articles of Confederation. Indeed, Article XIII also requires that alterations to the Articles of Confederation be made by the Congress and agreed by the state legislatures. The people who wanted to scrap the Articles did pull a fast one, in that the initial justification for what has become known as the Constitutional Convention was that it was being convened to consider alteration to the existing document. Once history hinged though, and that agenda had been put aside in favor of drafting a new document, the members of the convention got to work in hammering out something that would work.
I'm not so sure I'd characterize it as pulling a fast one. The desire for amending the Articles arose most immediately out of the perceived need to empower the federal government to regulate commerce and compel the states to meet their collective financial obligations. However, discussions about the need for revision and its scope took place in the years prior to the Convention. Many of those calling for revision signaled that they believed major changes were necessary. Although, they were hesitant to openly go into specifics. While the Congress settled on asking for a mere revision, they were well aware that many of those who would become delegates were contemplating something much more substantial.

During the Convention, a delegate would occasionally stop to ask whether they had authority to propose such radical changes but the Convention didn't explicitly dwell on this very much. Rather than starting the convention by asking how far they could go, they immediately launched into an examination of the Virginia Plan on the very first day of substantive debate. This question was essentially resolved by implication in debates over collateral issues, such as whether the people or state governments were the appropriate authority to ratify the Constitution. The limit of their authority was explicitly questioned early on but these concerns were essentially brushed aside as the Convention proceeded to pass a resolution affirming their intention to create "a national government...consisting of a supreme Legislative, Judiciary, and Executive." A watered-down alternate resolution calling for the creation of merely "a more effective government" (as opposed to a supreme government) was offered but defeated. Considering this was only the 2nd day of substantive debate, it seems clear the majority of the Convention came into it prepared to fundamentally remake the government. The votes are recorded in Madison's Journal (Farrand's Records, v. 1, p. 35) but a fuller account of the debate is found in McHenry's notes (Farrand's Records, v. 1, pp. 41-44).
 
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Recusant

Ad Honorem
Sep 2009
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Sector N after curfew
Congress had defined the purpose of the convention rather explicitly.

"That it be recommended to the States composing the Union that a convention of representatives from the said States respectively be held at on for the purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation and perpetual Union between the United States of America and reporting to the United States in Congress assembled and to the States respectively such alterations and amendments of the said Articles of Confederation as the representatives met in such convention shall judge proper and necessary to render them adequate to the preservation and support of the Union . . .

"Resolved that in the opinion of Congress it is expedient that on the second Monday in May next a Convention of delegates who shall have been appointed by the several states be held at Philadelphia for the sole and express purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation and reporting to Congress and the several legislatures such alterations and provisions therein as shall when agreed to in Congress and confirmed by the states render the federal constitution adequate to the exigencies of Government & the preservation of the Union."​

While the overall objectives ( a document "adequate to the exigencies of Government & the preservation of the Union") were achieved, the means certainly went beyond the purported mandate of the convention.
 
Feb 2013
4,282
Coastal Florida
Congress had defined the purpose of the convention rather explicitly.

"That it be recommended to the States composing the Union that a convention of representatives from the said States respectively be held at on for the purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation and perpetual Union between the United States of America and reporting to the United States in Congress assembled and to the States respectively such alterations and amendments of the said Articles of Confederation as the representatives met in such convention shall judge proper and necessary to render them adequate to the preservation and support of the Union . . .​
"Resolved that in the opinion of Congress it is expedient that on the second Monday in May next a Convention of delegates who shall have been appointed by the several states be held at Philadelphia for the sole and express purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation and reporting to Congress and the several legislatures such alterations and provisions therein as shall when agreed to in Congress and confirmed by the states render the federal constitution adequate to the exigencies of Government & the preservation of the Union."​

While the overall objectives ( a document "adequate to the exigencies of Government & the preservation of the Union") were achieved, the means certainly went beyond the purported mandate of the convention.
I don't disagree. I merely pointed out that the aims of many of the people pushing for the Convention were much broader and this was known to the Congress beforehand. In fact, the Congress first considered a version of this proposal featuring a much broader mandate, which you can also read from your source:
"That it be recommended to the States composing the Union that a convention of representatives from the said States respectively be held at on for the purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation and perpetual Union between the United States of America and reporting to the United States in Congress assembled and to the States respectively such alterations and amendments of the said Articles of Confederation as the representatives met in such convention shall judge proper and necessary to render them adequate to the preservation and support of the Union "
This Congressional action was also taken in response to the report they received from the 1786 Annapolis Convention, a link to which is also found in your source. Here, the delegates clearly indicated that they thought major changes were necessary which would reach "far into the general System of the federal government":
In this persuasion, your Commissioners submit an opinion, that the Idea of extending the powers of their Deputies, to other objects, than those of Commerce, which has been adopted by the State of New Jersey, was an improvement on the original plan, and will deserve to be incorporated into that of a future Convention; they are the more naturally led to this conclusion, as in the course of their reflections on the subject, they have been induced to think, that the power of regulating trade is of such comprehensive extent, and will enter so far into the general System of the federal government, that to give it efficacy, and to obviate questions and doubts concerning its precise nature and limits, may require a correspondent adjustment of other parts of the Federal System.

That there are important defects in the system of the Federal Government is acknowledged by the Acts of all those States, which have concurred in the present Meeting; That the defects, upon a closer examination, may be found greater and more numerous, than even these acts imply, is at least so far probable, from the embarrassments which characterize the present State of our national affairs, foreign and domestic, as may reasonably be supposed to merit a deliberate and candid discussion, in some mode, which will unite the Sentiments and Council's of all the States. In the choice of the mode, your Commissioners are of opinion, that a Convention of Deputies from the different States, for the special and sole purpose of entering into this investigation, and digesting a plan for supplying such defects as may be discovered to exist, will be entitled to a preference from considerations, which will occur, without being particularized.

Your Commissioners decline an enumeration of those national circumstances on which their opinion respecting the propriety of a future Convention, with more enlarged powers, is founded; as it would be an useless intrusion of facts and observations, most of which have been frequently the subject of public discussion, and none of which can have escaped the penetration of those to whom they would in this instance be addressed. They are however of a nature so serious, as, in the view of your Commissioners to render the situation of the United States delicate and critical, calling for an exertion of the united virtue and wisdom of all the members of the Confederacy.
To say they pulled a fast one seems to imply they tricked the Congress into thinking that only relatively minor amendments were being contemplated when, in fact, they had already indicated they had something much more substantial in mind.
 
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Code Blue

Ad Honorem
Feb 2015
3,796
Caribbean
I assume you're referring to Article XIII of the Articles of Confederation. Indeed, Article XIII also requires that alterations to the Articles of Confederation be made by the Congress and agreed by the state legislatures. The people who wanted to scrap the Articles did pull a fast one, in that the initial justification for what has become known as the Constitutional Convention was that it was being convened to consider alteration to the existing document. Once history hinged though, and that agenda had been put aside in favor of drafting a new document, the members of the convention got to work in hammering out something that would work.

You've been making arguments based on your interpretation of the Constitution throughout this thread. Are you now going to claim that the Constitution is an illegitimate document?
Perhaps if you'd presented a convincing case to support the assertion that states that ratified the Constitution were in fact seceding from the union, I would agree that I had to "live with the irony of that." What I do find ironic is that your argument is entirely based on your own interpretation of the text of the Constitution, which is of course much further "north" of 1790 than Marshall's, for instance.
I am not sure what you mean by “own interpretation.” In some phrasings that type of language seems to imply interpretation means misinterpretation. Rather, I believe I am merely stating a fact that when New Hampshire became the 9th ratifier, the Constitution went into effect for those 9 States because that is what Article VII says – and that there were 4 States whose last similar act was to ratify the AoC. That's 4 States who could have done what Lincoln did, deemed the other 9 in rebellion.

IMO, it is less a broken process because the Convention was no authorized by 13 States, but more because the draft Constitution was never present to the national legislature, the United States in Congress, and was never acted upon by that body pursuant to - shall we say - the supreme law of the land.

I have stated clearly, I am willing to entertain any hypothesis explaining this mess you have to offer. It seems clear fact to me that at some point, there are two unions, each with its own member states, organic law, national legislature, and president. That's what the documents indicate, and they indicate nothing else. The exact difference this and 1861 is your burden to explain to the jury, because there is no possible version of the story I can imagine that impedes my argument about 1861, what the Constitution states and the lack of law forbidding so-called "secession.".

And as to interpretation of the Constitution, I have let the framers speak through their documents. For example, Article I Section 8 is the list of delegated powers is not my "own interpretation." It is on its face an exhaustive or definitive list and that was affirmed by Madison when he said these powers defined or "definite." The exhaustive and definitive nature of the list, and was also affirmed by Constitution and the States one by one.

The US Constitution (1787)
“Amendment Ten: The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution [Article 1, Section 8], nor prohibited by it to the States [Article 1, Section 10], are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."
New Hampshire 1788
“That it be Explicitly declared that all Powers not expressly and particularly Delegated by the aforesaid Constitution are reserved to the several States to be, by them Exercised.”
Massachusetts 1788
“That it be explicitly declared that all Powers not expressly delegated by the aforesaid Constitution are reserved to the several States to be by them exercised.”
Rhode Island 1790
“That the rights of the States respectively, to nominate and appoint all State Officers, and every other power, jurisdiction and right, which is not by the said constitution clearly delegated to the Congress of the United States or to the departments of government thereof, remain to the people of the several states, or their respective State Governments to whom they may have granted the same; “
North Carolina 1789
“THAT each state in the union shall, respectively, retain every power, jurisdiction and right, which is not by this constitution delegated to the Congress of the United States, or to the departments of the Federal Government.”

If there is a another delegated power, one by which each “free State,” as they are called in Amd 2 that makes them un-free States, that is what YOU would have to show a jury. You do understand that I am opposing insistence there are other delegated power and that by reference the McCulogh and Prize cases you are affirming that. I find it interesting that when others made luxurious claims about unwritten powers or “implied” permanent surrender of freedom, and “subjugation,” you found no (mis)interpretation even though such claims were accompanied by no citations. You never wrote those are only mere interpretations.

IMO, in this post and elsewhere, I have presented a “convincing case.” There were 13 States ca 1787-1790 that were convinced they could secede lawfully,and after that plenty of people who were convinced it could happen again, and at least 11 states in 1861 that were convinced (and maybe Maryland and Kentucky). There were Norther newspaper men that editorialized on the rightfulness of secession. And all these people managed to get convinced without me.

I also wonder about your assessment of my earlier claim that politicians by their nature lie, cheat, and steal. You raised no objection. I wonder what you think happens to the nature of such people once you dress them in a black robe. IMO, the only thing that changes is the garb. I would certainly never deny the fact that on a date certain a given individual expressed an opinion, but I don't surrender to either Mr. Taney or Mr. Marshall my own judgement that is means is. I do recognize that others are willing to make that surrender all the time, and some do it sometimes due to political ideology. As I am sure you know, among the powers not delegated, is the one that makes the courts a judicial oligarchy. The Supreme Court is only supreme over the inferior courts
 
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Code Blue

Ad Honorem
Feb 2015
3,796
Caribbean
Marshall refers to the Constitution throughout his decision. You may dispute his interpretation, but the claim that he doesn't draw from the text of the Constitution seems frivolous.
Frivilous? :)
Which clause of the Constitution prohibits a State from taxing entities doing business within its borders? They retain all power, not expressly prohibited. Right? So,, in which clause is this prohibition expressed?

FWIW, as I understanding semantics, one can argue that 1 +1 = 3 is "drawn from" the rules of arithmetic.
 
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Code Blue

Ad Honorem
Feb 2015
3,796
Caribbean
Please cite your source on the legal definitions of "State" vs. "state." I ask because this source seems to disagree with your claim:

"New students of the Constitution often see one more thing that raises eyebrows: the use of capital letters in the original text. Some have even gone so far as to say that capitalized words in the original Constitution have some sort of special significance above and beyond the non-capitalized words. This is only true in that most of the non-standard capitalization is done to nouns. Again, this was an issue of style, and is similar to the way German capitalizes nouns — they are simply capitalized, and that's all. The words "People" and "State" have the exact same significance and meaning as "people" and "state". Many modern transcriptions of the Constitution remove this extra capitalization without changing the meaning of the document."
Of course, the ultimate source would be the manual of style referenced by the committee of style at the convention, or any rules of style they made for themselves. I don't have that. And nothing like that is referenced by your "source," which is simply making a naked claim.
I relied on Black's 6
A State [with a capital S] is "single people permanently occupying a fixed territory bound together by common-law habits and custom into one body politic exercising, though the medium of an organized government. [note that "the people" express through their State government] independent sovereignty and control over all persons and things within its boundaries, capable of making war and peace and entering into international relations with other communities."

Later, if defines a state [without a capital S] is "a body politic or society of men."

Also, look at the language of the Lee Resolution, July 2, 1776:
“Resolved, That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved.”
They will declare themselves States with a capital S equal to the capital-S State of Britain

In any case, whether you agree with my interpretation of the style of the Constitution, the point remains the same. Others are arguing the Constitution created a loss or downgrade of status for the States to more like what the Constitution calls "territory." The capital letter contrast was just another way of expressing the same idea.

Capitalization matters in law. I don't know why anyone would think it doesn't. For example, try to open a bank account in the name of Recusant and they will only open one in the name of RECUSANT. (Remember what your boy Marshall said about "intangible" property existing only in the contemplation of law? I know you are not going to believe that is exactly what the latter is).

We can continue on with the Constitutional status of the States without further reference to capitalization, fascinating though that topic might be.
 
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Feb 2013
4,282
Coastal Florida
I hesitate to wade back into this debate, but...

I am not sure what you mean by “own interpretation.” In some phrasings that type of language seems to imply interpretation means misinterpretation. Rather, I believe I am merely stating a fact that when New Hampshire became the 9th ratifier, the Constitution went into effect for those 9 States because that is what Article VII says – and that there were 4 States whose last similar act was to ratify the AoC. That's 4 States who could have done what Lincoln did, deemed the other 9 in rebellion.
You're the only person who seems to think the Constitution and Articles of Confederation are the same in this regard... It appears to me that the common belief at the time was that the states were free to go their own way under the Articles because the states weren't complying with it anyway. Nobody was arguing that the states were irrevocably bound together under the Articles. This is where the criticism of it being like a treaty came from...just such a break-up is actually what everyone was afraid of at the time and a primary reason they cited to justify the need for the Constitution.

IMO, it is less a broken process because the Convention was no authorized by 13 States, but more because the draft Constitution was never present to the national legislature, the United States in Congress, and was never acted upon by that body pursuant to - shall we say - the supreme law of the land.
This is a bit of a mess but it looks like you're claiming the Constitution was never presented to or acted upon by the Continental Congress. If so, that's complete nonsense. It was received by them and they forwarded it to the states for further action (Journals of the Continental Congress, Volume 33, p. 549).

And as to interpretation of the Constitution, I have let the framers speak through their documents. For example, Article I Section 8 is the list of delegated powers is not my "own interpretation." It is on its face an exhaustive or definitive list and that was affirmed by Madison when he said these powers defined or "definite." The exhaustive and definitive nature of the list, and was also affirmed by Constitution and the States one by one.

The US Constitution (1787)
“Amendment Ten: The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution [Article 1, Section 8], nor prohibited by it to the States [Article 1, Section 10], are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."
New Hampshire 1788
“That it be Explicitly declared that all Powers not expressly and particularly Delegated by the aforesaid Constitution are reserved to the several States to be, by them Exercised.”
Massachusetts 1788
“That it be explicitly declared that all Powers not expressly delegated by the aforesaid Constitution are reserved to the several States to be by them exercised.”
Rhode Island 1790
“That the rights of the States respectively, to nominate and appoint all State Officers, and every other power, jurisdiction and right, which is not by the said constitution clearly delegated to the Congress of the United States or to the departments of government thereof, remain to the people of the several states, or their respective State Governments to whom they may have granted the same; “
North Carolina 1789
“THAT each state in the union shall, respectively, retain every power, jurisdiction and right, which is not by this constitution delegated to the Congress of the United States, or to the departments of the Federal Government.”
This is also a bit of a mess but it looks like a claim you're citing documents of the framers to show how they interpreted the Constitution. The problem is the cited documents don't demonstrate that at all. This is either a gross misunderstanding or an outrageous misrepresentation on your part. First of all, the 10th amendment didn't become part of the Constitution until 1792 and it wasn't even composed until the latter part of 1789. Additionally, the date of the statement attributed to "North Carolina" is from 1788, not 1789. The statements of New Hampshire, Massachusetts and North Carolina aren't even "interpretations" of anything. They are suggested constitutional amendments which accompanied their states' respective ratifications in 1788 (or non-ratification in the case of North Carolina). The statement of Rhode Island is an assertion of its own conception of rights it believed were retained by states and the people...this was not agreed to by the other states and is also not necessarily synonymous in meaning with the 10th amendment, so its immaterial to the Constitution.
 
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