View single post by JG6789
 Posted: Sat Feb 23rd, 2013 11:57 pm
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Joined: Mon Apr 23rd, 2012
Posts: 71

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MildMan wrote: And to respond to your question…

The South Carolina secession document makes a number of assertions. I found most compelling its recount of revolutionary period history, rather than the expression of a long list of grievances that it makes later.

1) The Declaration of Independence declared the colonies “free and independent states”
2) The D of I states that when "form of government becomes destructive of the ends for which it was established, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute a new government."
3) The peace treaty with Great Britain declared that the colonies are “free, sovereign and independent states.”
4) The constitution was agreed to by Separate sovereign states, and had not all the states agreed to the constitution they would have remained sovereign states


I think that this first portion of South Carolina’s declaration that outlines the history of the American Revolution and the Articles of Confederation is an exercise in sophistry.  Whatever relationship existed among the states under the Continental Congress and the Articles of Confederation was rendered moot by the adoption of the constitution of 1787.   The authors of the South Carolina’s declaration of causes seem to concede this point when they write:

“If only nine of the thirteen States had concurred, the other four would have remained as they then were-- separate, sovereign States, independent of any of the provisions of the Constitution. In fact, two of the States did not accede to the Constitution until long after it had gone into operation among the other eleven; and during that interval, they each exercised the functions of an independent nation.”

The implication, of course, is that once these states ratified the constitution they ceased to be sovereign states.  This was, in fact, something that the delegates to the constitutional convention discussed at the time.  James Madison’s argument, the argument of all of the Federalists—who ultimately prevailed, of course—was that the states are not sovereign, but rather, “they are only political societies…the states never possessed the essential rights of sovereignty.  These were always vested in Congress.”  Ratification of the constitution strongly suggests acceptance of this argument.


Last edited on Sun Feb 24th, 2013 12:18 am by JG6789

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