The Right of Secession
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Lately there has been a lot of talk about secession. Even the Governor of Texas spoke of it, setting off a firestorm of controversy… particularly among the Status Quo that erroneously believes that the States do not have the right to secede.
Too many people mistakenly believe that “the ‘Civil War’ settled that matter”, when in reality, all the ‘Civil War’ did was prove that a tyrannical government with enough guns and manpower can oppress the rights of not only the people, but the States as well.
Some of you may be thinking… “what are you talking about? Secession is treason! It’s ILLEGAL!” If you are thinking that, you are absolutely wrong, as I shall demonstrate.
In 1776 the Colonies seceded from British rule with the Declaration of Independence. In that document, the “secessionists” made clear their right to do so.
From the Declaration of Independence:
“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.”
These secessionists then formed a new government… a confederation of independent States.
Note: The term State at this time, and in the mind of the Founder’s was interchangeable with “Country”. The definition of a State as a Country still holds true to this day.
From The Articles of Confederation:
ARTICLE I The Stile of this Confederacy shall be "The United States of America".
ARTICLE II Each state retains its sovereignty, freedom, and independence, and every power, jurisdiction, and right, which is not by this Confederation expressly delegated to the United States, in Congress assembled.
ARTICLE III The said States hereby severally enter into a firm league of friendship with each other, for their common defense, the security of their liberties, and their mutual and general welfare, binding themselves to assist each other, against all force offered to, or attacks made upon them, or any of them, on account of religion, sovereignty, trade, or any other pretense whatever.
Those who do NOT believe in the right of secession often speak of the phrase in ARTICLE XIII of the Articles of Confederation, which state:
“…the Articles of this Confederation shall be inviolably observed by every State, and the Union shall be perpetual…” and the title of the “Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union between the States of…”
However, this is because the detractors do not understand the meaning of a “perpetual contract”. A “perpetual contract” means that the contract has no end date and that the terms of that contract will continue in force until one or both sides breaks that contract and/or desire to end it. The meaning of the term “perpetual union” is that the States were to be held together in a union until such time as the contract is broken, or the States in question desired to break away from that union.
The principal players in the formation of the united States agrees with this… as the quotes below shall show.
“the people have an indubitable, unalienable, and indefeasible right to reform or change their Government, whenever it be found adverse or inadequate to the purposes of its institution.” – While introducing the Bill of Rights
“If there be any among us who would wish to dissolve this Union, or to change its republican form, let them stand undisturbed as monuments of the safety with which error of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left to combat it.” – First inaugural address
“If any state in the Union will declare that it prefers separation … to a continuance in the union …. I have no hesitation in saying, ‘Let us separate’.” – in response to New England Federalist desiring to secede
“[As to joining the union] the State governments would clearly retain all the rights of sovereignty which they before had, and which were not, by that act, EXCLUSIVELY delegated to the United States.” – Federalist 32
Though the new Constitution for the united States did not specifically speak on the matter of secession, it did specifically give the people and the State the right to do as they please while specifically limiting the power of the Federal Government.
James Madison, the author of the Constitution, says so plainly:
“The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite.” – Federalist 45
This theme is spelled out clearly in the Bill of Rights:
Ninth Amendment to the Constitution for the United States:
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
Tenth Amendment to the Constitution for the United States:
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.
No State would have ratified the Constitution had they believed that they were to be bound as a slave to the central government. To illustrate my point, and to further show the right of Secession… each and every State Constitution has wording in it similar to that which is found below.
Texas Constitution of 1845:
All political power is inherent in the people, and all free governments are founded on their authority, and instituted for their benefit and they have at all times the inalienable right to alter, reform or abolish their form of government, in such manner as they may think expedient; and, therefore, no government or authority can exist or exercise power within the State of Texas, without the consent of the people thereof previously given; nor after that consent be withdrawn.
It is with these words that the Republic of Texas joined the united States, and in 1861 they utilized their right and seceded, joining the Confederacy. After the end of the War for Southern Independence, when Texas was forcibly returned, at the end of a bayonet, back into the union, similar words remained in its new Constitution… the one that Texas adheres to today.
Texas Constitution of 1876 (current Texas Constitution):
Article 1, Section 2:
“All political power is inherent in the people and all free governments are founded on their authority, and instituted for their benefit. The faith of the people of Texas stands pledged to the preservation of a republican form of government, and, subject to this limitation only, they have at all times the inalienable right to alter, reform or abolish their government in such manner as they may think expedient.”
Furthermore, Texas stated in no uncertain terms that it is a Sovereign State, stating in the Constitution…
Texas Constitution of 1876 (current Texas Constitution):
Article 1, Section 1:
“Texas is a free and independent State, subject only to the Constitution of the United States; and the maintenance of our free institutions and the perpetuity of the Union depend upon the preservation of the right of local self-government unimpaired to all the States. ”
So, if Texas does decide to secede, it is not illegal, treasonous, or “crazy”… it is our God-Given Right!
Thomas Jefferson summed it up best:
“Rebellion to Tyrants is obedience to God.” – motto on Thomas Jefferson’s personal seal