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|Texas Defender wrote:
Making distinctions between the rights of states and the citizens that lived in them is kind of a nebulous area, though we in Texas consider ourselves to be a special case because Texas was a republic before it became a state. Some would maintain that the treaty made in 1845 still applies.
As to other southern states, we could discuss colonial land grants in the 17th and 18th centuries (London Co Grant, Carolina Grant, Georgia Grant, etc.). But by 1787 you had a situation where southern states claimed areas west of their boundaries. For example, most of the area that became Kentucky was claimed by Virginia. The area that became Tennessee was claimed by North Carolina. South Carolina claimed a strip of land that became the northern most sections of Alabama and Mississippi. Georgia claimed a larger portion of what is now Alabama and Mississippi, basically in the central areas of those future states. Georgia also claimed a section further south, that claim being disputed by Spain. The coastal areas of the two future states were part of Spanish Florida at that time.
The various states gave up their claims and ceded these lands to the newly formed federal government (Georgia being the last to do so in 1802). So if one is inclined to quibble, and gives any validity to the land claims of the various southern states, then it can be maintained that those lands: "Initially" belonged to those states and not to the federal government which was established after the states.
So in the end if your want to make distinctions between the various states that formed the CSA, then you can say that there were five categories. You had the four original states, the four that were formed from lands initially claimed by the preceding four states, and the three special cases, Texas (established as a republic before becoming a state), Florida ("bought" from Spain) and Louisiana (Bought from France after being taken from Spain- after being taken from France).
All of this aside, the majorities of citizens in the eleven states that seceded thought that they had rights under the US Constitution that had been violated by the federal government, so they chose to sever their ties with it. Those running the federal government at that time chose to maintain that the eleven states hadn't in reality left the Union. (While overlooking inconsistencies such as allowing some counties of Virginia to: "Secede" from that state, and declaring a naval blockade against part of their "Own" country). The question of legality of secession wasn't settled in the court system until the 1869 Supreme Court decision Texas v. White, which declared that Texas had never really left the Union because it wasn't legal for states to do so.
TEXAS V. WHITE | The Handbook of Texas Online| Texas State Historical Association (TSHA)
You describe the situation well.
A key factor is that new states inherit the rights and privileges of the old states - new states are equal members of the Union.
Hence, if Georgia thinks they may secede, than so can Arkansas. If it's illegal for Virginia, the same for Tennessee...