|View single post by MildMan|
|Posted: Thu Jan 3rd, 2013 12:53 am||
Just Testing Ideas
Let me make one more try at a coherent discussion.
I can’t argue with a belief that secession was legal in 1861, you are entitled to believe whatever you wish. I am willing to discuss facts, and the only facts in this discussion were brought up by you ( thank-you). I am referring to the Texas vs. White Supreme Court Decision in 1869.
That decision was held that unilateral secession was illegal in the constitution, and that the sale of bonds in 1861 was not affected by secession because Texas had always remained a state in the union, it did not and could not unilaterally secede.
Perhaps you are thinking that since the decision was in 1869 there was no law against secession in 1861. That is wrong. The Supreme Court interprets existing law; it does not create entirely new laws.
Even if one believes an act is lawful, it may not be. For example, it’s always a good idea to ask before one trespasses. If one thought that secession might be illegal, it is better to ask before acting; secession in particular had been debated for many years. Do you recall that New England contemplated secession in 1815 as part of the “Hartford Convention"? Ironically NE perceived that they were being dominated by southern interests! The South Carolina secession document makes a long argument for for the legality of secession. Why? It needed to make persuasive argument in defense of the legaility of its action - because its legality was not universally accepted. Making an argument, however, does not mean the argument correct.
Here is a current or recent example: the individual mandate of the new healthcare law, the requirement that everyone carry Insurance. I, and many others believed emphatically that this was illegal under the constitution. Many states decided to sue to force the Supreme Court to rule, and the SC found the law/mandate valid, but in making this finding they didn’t create a new law.
Here is a stretch, but imagine this. Suppose individual states decided not to sue, but unilaterally not to enforce the health care mandate/law, then fired at federal agencies in their states that where charged with enforcing it? This more or less is what southern states did.
My reading of the Texas vs White case is that "unilateral" secession ( note the quotations) was found to be unconstitutional. There was no decision on whether secession could be negotiated between willing parties in a political process. That has always been my point, cooler heads and smarter politicians would have chosen negotiation over war.
You also say that Lincon’s election, and his opposition to secession was the cause of the war. Please remember that the successful southern effort to split the democratic party lead to the election of a candidate (Lincoln) with only 39.8% of the popular vote. I agree that Lincoln was above all for preservation of the Union. And I agree that Lincoln took every action, legal or no, to prevent disunion. However, In 1861 Lincoln was an unproven president, who many were skeptical of, and whose presidency was opposed by 60.1% of voters! The south, not voters or congress, gave him the “war powers” he used so skillfully, by starting the war! At least we agree that Sumter was a bad political move. It would have been far better for the south to let an inept Lincoln stumble into attempting to occupy the south. You are correct that war may have been inevitable - but a guerrilla war would be one the south could have won.
I have been worn out with this discussion, and I accept part of the blame for its toxicity. So I am done, unless you have specific “facts” that you invite me to comment on. Perhaps we can conduct our next discussion with more courtesy. I am willing to try if you are.
Your obedient servant,
Last edited on Thu Jan 3rd, 2013 01:32 am by MildMan