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Lincoln had a Constitutional duty to perserve the Union! - Abraham Lincoln - The Participants of the War - Mikitary & Civilian - Civil War Interactive Discussion Board
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 Posted: Fri Apr 13th, 2012 07:17 am
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Article 2-section 8 of the Constitution states:

Before he enter on the execution of his office, he shall take the following oath or affirmation:-"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of the President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, perserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."

What exactly then is The United States Constitution, so that a president can "perserve, protect and defend" it?

Or more importantly, where in the Constitution does it explain what the scope, purpose, and intent of the Constitution itself is??

For that, we turn to the Preamble of the Constitution.

It is STRESSED, that the Preamble does not grant power, but shows only scope, purpose, and intent of the Constitution.

The Preable states: "We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union..."; such that, the Constitution defines itself as being a "Union".

By applied meaning of the Preamble, President Lincoln had a Constitutional duty to perserve the "Union" as stated by the executive powers of the Presidential Oath (Article 2-section 8).



 Posted: Fri Apr 13th, 2012 11:19 am
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Oh good grief. Don't start this debate again, it leads to nothing but angry posts. All reasonable people know that is how Lincoln saw things. Secessionists, on the other hand, emphasized different parts of the Constitution. Its impossible to say who was "right" because this issue was left very vague (partly by design) by the founding fathers.

Mark



 Posted: Fri Apr 13th, 2012 11:28 am
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ebg-

  As you say, the Preamble does not grant power. All it does is state the intent of the PEOPLE to form a Union.

  The only powers granted to the president can be found in Article II of the Constitution. And, by the way, there is no: "Article II, Section 8."

  Apparently, by: "Preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution" you imply that somehow that gives the president the power to ensure that no state ever leaves the Union. But the Constitution does not state that. It is only your interpretation, which many others do not share.

  The Constitution set up an ingenious system in which power was shared by the three branches, and two branches were able to: "Check" the third if any branch tried to exceed its authority.

  Nowhere in the Constitution does it state that the Union formed by the PEOPLE is permanent, and that the federal government has the authority to force the states that created it to remain part of it. In order to get the PEOPLE in the various states to ratify the new Constitution, it became necessary to add the Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments, to it. They were designed to limit the power of the federal government in order to protect the rights of the PEOPLE.

  The Bill of Rights stated what the government could not do, and retained the powers not given to the federal government to the states and the people. Nowhere is that more clear than in the Tenth Amendment:

  "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."

  Nowhere in the Constitution does it say that states may not leave the Union, therefore in 1860, they had the power to do so. (This was changed by the USSC decision:"Texas v. White" in 1869). The President has the powers granted to him in Article II. Nowhere in Article II does it say: "The President will make war on any state that tries to leave the Union." Your contention that the Preamble to the Constitution somehow gives him that power is absurd.

 



 Posted: Fri Apr 13th, 2012 11:32 am
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Mark, I agree what you say, but no one said Constitutional debate always has a right or wrong side. Two different correct interpretations of the Constitution can be opposite viewpoints.

The question really then becomes "What viewpoint benefits the United States the most?"

Last edited on Fri Apr 13th, 2012 12:29 pm by ebg



 Posted: Fri Apr 13th, 2012 11:45 am
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ebg-

  Ah, I see. So by this it seems you mean that the President can disregard the Constitution if, in his viewpoint, that would: "Benefit the United States the most."

  It is precisely this kind of interpretation that the Founding Fathers feared, which is why they set up a system of shared power among the branches to keep any from exceeding their authority.

 



 Posted: Fri Apr 13th, 2012 12:07 pm
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Texas Defender wrote:
ebg-

  As you say, the Preamble does not grant power. All it does is state the intent of the PEOPLE to form a Union.

  The only powers granted to the president can be found in Article II of the Constitution. And, by the way, there is no: "Article II, Section 8."

  Apparently, by: "Preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution" you imply that somehow that gives the president the power to ensure that no state ever leaves the Union. But the Constitution does not state that. It is only your interpretation, which many others do not share.

  The Constitution set up an ingenious system in which power was shared by the three branches, and two branches were able to: "Check" the third if any branch tried to exceed its authority.

  Nowhere in the Constitution does it state that the Union formed by the PEOPLE is permanent, and that the federal government has the authority to force the states that created it to remain part of it. In order to get the PEOPLE in the various states to ratify the new Constitution, it became necessary to add the Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments, to it. They were designed to limit the power of the federal government in order to protect the rights of the PEOPLE.

  The Bill of Rights stated what the government could not do, and retained the powers not given to the federal government to the states and the people. Nowhere is that more clear than in the Tenth Amendment:

  "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."

  Nowhere in the Constitution does it say that states may not leave the Union, therefore in 1860, they had the power to do so. (This was changed by the USSC decision:"Texas v. White" in 1869). The President has the powers granted to him in Article II. Nowhere in Article II does it say: "The President will make war on any state that tries to leave the Union." Your contention that the Preamble to the Constitution somehow gives him that power is absurd.

 


Well, If you can point me to the correct article where the President's Oath is, I be very grateful. However, you don't deny that the President's Oath is in the Constitution, do you?

As far as Constitutional judicial prudence, basically there are two types: "what is written", and "what is meant." Both are subject to interpretation.

If you restrict Lincoln's judicial prudence to "what is written", you must also restrict his opponent to the same restriction...such as "We the People."

Would that, "We the People.." being written words of the Constitution include the slaves???

Are we to demand that President Lincoln "follow the Letter of the Law", while his opponent is not required???

The agruement for "States Rights" always begins with "where is it written", but is not asked for when it comes to the first words of the Constitution of "We The (How did you ephasize that?)PEOPLE."

Last edited on Fri Apr 13th, 2012 12:53 pm by ebg



 Posted: Fri Apr 13th, 2012 12:11 pm
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Texas Defender wrote:
ebg-

  Ah, I see. So by this it seems you mean that the President can disregard the Constitution if, in his viewpoint, that would: "Benefit the United States the most."

  It is precisely this kind of interpretation that the Founding Fathers feared, which is why they set up a system of shared power among the branches to keep any from exceeding their authority.

 


But you argued before about checks and balances. Didn't the United States Congress also sided with the excutive branch during the Civil War?



 Posted: Fri Apr 13th, 2012 01:24 pm
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ebg-

  For your information, the Presidential Oath appears in Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution. You might benefit from reading the document.

  I'm not sure who you are referring to in your convoluted response as: "Lincoln's opponent." But in 1861, Mr. Lincoln found the Constitution to be a hindrance to him, so he acted outside of it.

  Obviously, when the Constitution was written, :"We the People" did not include the slaves. They were considered to be property, not people. You may well be offended by this, but history is about the way things were, not the way you think that they should have been.

  As for the U.S. Congress during the Civil War, they allowed Mr. Lincoln to usurp their Constitutional power to suspend the Writ of Habeas Corpus from 1861-1863. When the Judicial Branch in the person of Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger Taney objected to this, his orders were ignored. You may well study the case of ex parte Merryman, among others.

  Since the Legislative Branch did not act in concert with the Judicial, there was no check made to the excesses of the Executive. That fact in no way means that Mr. Lincoln's actions conformed to the Constitution.

  You will not find many, if any, on this board who subscribe to your: "Interpretation" that the Preamble to the Constitution somehow gives the President additional powers, or at least some moral justification for assuming additional powers, not specifically granted to him in Article II of that document.

Last edited on Fri Apr 13th, 2012 01:55 pm by Texas Defender



 Posted: Fri Apr 13th, 2012 05:25 pm
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Texas Defender wrote:
ebg-

  For your information, the Presidential Oath appears in Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution. You might benefit from reading the document.

  I'm not sure who you are referring to in your convoluted response as: "Lincoln's opponent." But in 1861, Mr. Lincoln found the Constitution to be a hindrance to him, so he acted outside of it.

  Obviously, when the Constitution was written, :"We the People" did not include the slaves. They were considered to be property, not people. You may well be offended by this, but history is about the way things were, not the way you think that they should have been.

  As for the U.S. Congress during the Civil War, they allowed Mr. Lincoln to usurp their Constitutional power to suspend the Writ of Habeas Corpus from 1861-1863. When the Judicial Branch in the person of Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger Taney objected to this, his orders were ignored. You may well study the case of ex parte Merryman, among others.

  Since the Legislative Branch did not act in concert with the Judicial, there was no check made to the excesses of the Executive. That fact in no way means that Mr. Lincoln's actions conformed to the Constitution.

  You will not find many, if any, on this board who subscribe to your: "Interpretation" that the Preamble to the Constitution somehow gives the President additional powers, or at least some moral justification for assuming additional powers, not specifically granted to him in Article II of that document.


Texas Defender-

The following is a responds to your four points:

1.)Well, your right. Article 2-section 1-paragraph 8 contains the President's Oath. Thanks!

2.) His opponent being the Southern Secessionists. Lincoln did act within the Constitution by the power granted to him by Article 2- section 1-paragraph 8 to perserve the Constitution. Again, the Preample does not grant power, it only shows scope, intent, and purpose of the Constitution.

3.) Typical agrument for seccession. Demanding that President Lincoln Abid by "the letter of the Law" as to "where exactly is it written that a state can't leave the Union"; BUT THEN, takes the liberty as to the the meaning of "We The People" by words like "obviously". Strict interpretation of the constition for Mr. Lincoln, but liberal interpretation of the Constitution for seccesionist. Obviously, Abolistist thought that slaves were People when the constitution was written. What other groups thought that slaves were people when the constitution was written? Or, do their opinion not count for the sake of the seccessionist agrument??

4.)The Judicial Branch of the United States of the America DOES NOT HAVE THE POWER OF WRIT!!!!!
the Judicial Branch only has the power of review!! That means that they can't supercede the decision of a lower court, but only can supercede the opinion of a lower court. The Judicial Branch has no power to give orders. That's why Mr. Lincoln doesn't have to obey any "orders" given by Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger Taney. Didn't you just argued that the checks and balances of the Constitution ensures that no one branch abuses their power. That includes the Judicial Branch overstepping their boundries. It is within the constitutional right of both the congress and the President's office to interprete the "law of the land" in opposition to that of the Judicial branch. Doesn't happen often, but it has happened-just like the example you give. Or do you think the Constitution gives the Judicial Branch authorty over both Congress and the President???

Last edited on Fri Apr 13th, 2012 06:29 pm by ebg



 Posted: Fri Apr 13th, 2012 06:47 pm
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ebg-

  It has become apparent to me that I am wasting my breath trying to explain the Constitution and separation of powers to you, but I'll make one final response, in this case to your: "Four points."

1) When you start your treatise on the Constitution with an error- in this case not knowing that there are only four sections in Article II of the Constitution, it damages the credibility of whatever you say afterwards. If you are careless with some facts, it shows a tendency to be careless with all.

2) You admit that the Preamble to the Constitution does not confer powers to the President, but then you somehow imply that the words: "In order to form a more perfect Union" mean that the Union must be permanent and the President must enforce this permanence. There is nothing in the Constitution to support this contention. That would make about as much sense as religious zealots claiming that the U.S. was officially a Christian country because in Article VII of the Constitution, it gives the date as: "The Year of Our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty-seven." (Also expressed as: "AD.") To call that a stretch is a gross understatement.

3) Either the Constitution gives the President the power to do something, or it does not. For example, the President does not have the authority to suspend the Writ of Habeas Corpus. Only the Congress does. It isn't a matter of a strict or a liberal interpretation of the Constitution. The President simply is not granted that power.

  As for the slaves, they weren't granted the status of: "People" in the Constitution. Obviously, that was changed later. But in 1787, that is the way it was under the Constitution. It didn't matter what abolitionists or anyone else thought about that. It was simply a statement of fact.

4) It is obvious that you don't understand the powers granted to the Judicial Branch, and haven't read ex parte Merryman. So, I am providing a link that will explain it to you.

Habeas corpus

  In the ex parte Merryman case, John Merryman was illegally arrested by the military authorities. Chief Justice Roger Taney most certainly had the authority to ORDER that Merryman be brought to court under a writ of habeas corpus and have the authorities show cause why he was arrested.

  When the authorities refused to comply, the Chief Justice issued a WRIT of attachment and sent a U.S. marshal to enforce it. The marshal was turned away, so Taney ordered that Merryman be released, explaining that the Executive Branch was assuming powers not granted to it by the Constitution. Of course the Judicial Branch had no army, so Taney couldn't enforce his order. But he certainly had the authority to issue it.

  The Judicial Branch DOES have power that it can exercise over the Congess and the President in certain situations. Obviously, it can judge legislative acts to be unconstitutional. It can also judge executive actions to be unconstitutional through the power of judicial review. It is the Judicial Branch that interprets the Constitution, the: "Law of the land." The Congress and the President do not have the authority to : "Over rule" or: "Nullify" the Supreme Court if they don't like the Court's decision that certain legislation or executive actions are unconstitutional. The Supreme Court is the FINAL authority on that question.



 Posted: Fri Apr 13th, 2012 06:49 pm
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Texas Defender wrote:
ebg-

  It has become apparent to me that I am wasting my breath trying to explain the Constitution and separation of powers to you, but I'll make one final response, in this case to your: "Four points."

1) When you start your treatise on the Constitution with an error- in this case not knowing that there are only four sections in Article II of the Constitution, it damages the credibility of whatever you say afterwards. If you are careless with some facts, it shows a tendency to be careless with all.

2) You admit that the Preamble to the Constitution does not confer powers to the President, but then you somehow imply that the words: "In order to form a more perfect Union" mean that the Union must be permanent and the President must enforce this permanence. There is nothing in the Constitution to support this contention. That would make about as much sense as religious zealots claiming that the U.S. was officially a Christian country because in Article VII of the Constitution, it gives the date as: "The Year of Our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty-seven." (Also expressed as: "AD.") To call that a stretch is a gross understatement.

3) Either the Constitution gives the President the power to do something, or it does not. For example, the President does not have the authority to suspend the Writ of Habeas Corpus. Only the Congress does. It isn't a matter of a strict or a liberal interpretation of the Constitution. The President simply is not granted that power.

  As for the slaves, they weren't granted the status of: "People" in the Constitution. Obviously, that was changed later. But in 1787, that is the way it was under the Constitution. It didn't matter what abolitionists or anyone else thought about that. It was simply a statement of fact.

4) It is obvious that you don't understand the powers granted to the Judicial Branch, and haven't read ex parte Merryman. So, I am providing a link that will explain it to you.

Habeas corpus

  In the ex parte Merryman case, John Merryman was illegally arrested by the military authorities. Chief Justice Roger Taney most certainly had the authority to ORDER that Merryman be brought to court under a writ of habeas corpus and have the authorities show cause why he was arrested.

  When the authorities refused to comply, the Chief Justice issued a WRIT of attachment and sent a U.S. marshal to enforce it. The marshal was turned away, so Taney ordered that Merryman be released, explaining that the Executive Branch was assuming powers not granted to it by the Constitution. Of course the Judicial Branch had no army, so Taney couldn't enforce his order. But he certainly had the authority to issue it.

  The Judicial Branch DOES have power that it can exercise over the Congess and the President in certain situations. Obviously, it can judge legislative acts to be unconstitutional. It can also judge executive actions to be unconstitutional through the power of judicial review. It is the Judicial Branch that interprets the Constitution, the: "Law of the land." The Congress and the President do not have the authority to : "Over rule" or: "Nullify" the Supreme Court if they don't like the Court's decision that certain legislation or executive actions are unconstitutional. The Supreme Court is the FINAL authority on that question.


So you think the Judicial Branch has final authority over the interpretation of the Law, even though they don't have the power of writ? Your mistaking the power of review with the abiliy to make rulings. A court's ruling is the power to reward or punish!!! Like sending you to Jail, or rewarding compensation. The Supreme Court only issues opinions.

Being that the Supreme Court is usually the deciding vote of a constitutional dispute between executive branch and Congress, it is poorly assumed that the Supreme Court has Authoritive Power over the Congress & the President as to the final interpretation of the Law. All branches have equal rights of interpretation being all branches are equal in power. Sorry, but majority rules upon issue of "the law of the land" within the three branch system of the U.S. goverment.

P.S. The preamble has to have some meaning, such that the executive office of the President has to have the ability to act upon it...or the preample just becomes a bunch of pretty words.

Last edited on Fri Apr 13th, 2012 07:42 pm by ebg



 Posted: Fri Apr 13th, 2012 09:03 pm
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ebg-

  Your last posting only confirmed to me my fear that I was wasting my time trying to explain the Constitution and separation of powers to you.

  Even at my advanced age, it is difficult for me to imagine that citizens of this country could be so ill-informed that they don't understand the functions of the Judicial Branch in general, and the Supreme Court in particular. Obviously, there is something about the:"SUPREME" in Supreme Court that you don't understand.

  Supreme Court decisions are RULINGS, not simply: "Opinions." To help you grasp this concept, I'm providing a link to a site that explains the role of the Supreme Court to school children.

Role of the Supreme Court | Scholastic.com

  Since I have no confidence that you will read it before firing off another posting, I'll quote the first few lines of it:

  "The Supreme Court has a special role to play in the United States system of government. The Constitution gives it the power to check, if necessary, the actions of the President and Congress. It can tell the President that his actions are not allowed by the Constitution. It can tell Congress that a law it passed violated the U.S. Constitution and is, therefore, no longer a law. It can also tell the government of a state that one of its laws breaks a rule in the Constitution. The Supreme Court is the FINAL (my emphasis) judge in all cases involving laws of Congress, and the highest law of all: The Constitution."

  There is no such thing as: "Majority rule" among the branches when it comes to interpretation of the Constitution.

  As for the Preamble, it is the introduction that says what the larger document is about. That is all it is. It does not make laws or confer powers, but you seem to want to make it more than it is. As usual, you show nothing to substantiate such a position except for your: "Interpretation."

  This is my final response to you regarding what you have posted on this thread. I see no benefit in continuing to try to explain the Constitution and the functions of the branches of the government to one who shows such a profound lack of understanding of these subjects.



 Posted: Fri Apr 13th, 2012 09:13 pm
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all this crap on a Friday.  Y'all have a good weekend!!  =+++



 Posted: Fri Apr 13th, 2012 10:34 pm
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Texas Defender wrote:
ebg-

  Your last posting only confirmed to me my fear that I was wasting my time trying to explain the Constitution and separation of powers to you.

  Even at my advanced age, it is difficult for me to imagine that citizens of this country could be so ill-informed that they don't understand the functions of the Judicial Branch in general, and the Supreme Court in particular. Obviously, there is something about the:"SUPREME" in Supreme Court that you don't understand.

  Supreme Court decisions are RULINGS, not simply: "Opinions." To help you grasp this concept, I'm providing a link to a site that explains the role of the Supreme Court to school children.

Role of the Supreme Court | Scholastic.com

  Since I have no confidence that you will read it before firing off another posting, I'll quote the first few lines of it:

  "The Supreme Court has a special role to play in the United States system of government. The Constitution gives it the power to check, if necessary, the actions of the President and Congress. It can tell the President that his actions are not allowed by the Constitution. It can tell Congress that a law it passed violated the U.S. Constitution and is, therefore, no longer a law. It can also tell the government of a state that one of its laws breaks a rule in the Constitution. The Supreme Court is the FINAL (my emphasis) judge in all cases involving laws of Congress, and the highest law of all: The Constitution."

  There is no such thing as: "Majority rule" among the branches when it comes to interpretation of the Constitution.

  As for the Preamble, it is the introduction that says what the larger document is about. That is all it is. It does not make laws or confer powers, but you seem to want to make it more than it is. As usual, you show nothing to substantiate such a position except for your: "Interpretation."

  This is my final response to you regarding what you have posted on this thread. I see no benefit in continuing to try to explain the Constitution and the functions of the branches of the government to one who shows such a profound lack of understanding of these subjects.


So the Preamble is the introduction of what the larger document is about, or in other words ...the scope, purpose, and intent of the constitution document?????

The Supreme Court power of judicial review is dependentant upon the willingness of either the Congress or the President to enforce the opinion of the court. It is the power of either the legislation branch or executive branch that gives validity to the Supreme court's judicial review. The judicial branch by itself is always the weakest branch.

The power of enforcement allocated to Congress and to the President's office is the sole mechinism that allows those two branches to be equal with the Judical branch.
Can you imagine if the Supreme Court had the power to enforce? They would be the authoritive branch!

Without the ability to enforce, the power of the Judicial branch is keeped in balance & check by the other two branches. The Supreme Court doesn't have the power of writ because that would enable the Justices of the court to dictate political policy to congress & the President.

And that is exactly what the Civil War Supreme court judges tried to do. The judges were Southern Sympathizers that tried to overstep the boundries of the Supreme Court through writs. Lincoln just laughed at such a ridiculous attempt to circumnavigate around constitution powers by the Sourhtern Sympathizers of the Supreme court. Congress knew what those justices were doing was unconstitutional because the Supreme court has no power to enforce a writ. Congress had no choice but to side with Lincoln.



 Posted: Fri Apr 13th, 2012 11:47 pm
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a

Anybody been to the catfish restaurant in Crump, Tennessee?  Im going to Shiloh next month and have heard of this place.



 Posted: Sat Apr 14th, 2012 09:28 am
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Who was president when Texas seceded? If we argue about the president having to defend the Constitution and thus the union of the states then we have to look at the first wave of session and when every single state in that wave left.

As we have argued in other threads the Southern states were not the only states to consider secedeing, they were the only ones to do so. It's not until after the war does it appear to become unconstitutional to secede.



 Posted: Sat Apr 14th, 2012 04:16 pm
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Last edited on Sat Apr 14th, 2012 07:46 pm by ebg



 Posted: Sat Apr 14th, 2012 04:16 pm
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Hellcat wrote:
Who was president when Texas seceded? If we argue about the president having to defend the Constitution and thus the union of the states then we have to look at the first wave of session and when every single state in that wave left.

As we have argued in other threads the Southern states were not the only states to consider secedeing, they were the only ones to do so. It's not until after the war does it appear to become unconstitutional to secede.


HELLCAT-

President Buchanan was the 15th President and was before Lincoln. South Carolina was the first to try to secede from the Union in 1860 during his administration

James Buchanan also took the President's Oath which duty bound him to perserve the constitution.

Looking at the the Preamble which is the introduction of what the larger document is about, or in other words ...the scope, purpose, and intent of the constitution document....James Buchanan duty was to perserve the Union (the scope of the preamble) as empowered to him by the President's Oath (Article 2-section 1-paragraph 8).

Did James Buchanan execute his office faithfully when South Carolina tryed to leave the Union? We have to give him the benifit of the doubt that he did. I myself do not know if he did something or not? Could he have done anything anyway because of the short time he had in office before the Lincoln administration?

It is is a misconception, that because the federal goverment got stronger in it's power after the civil war, that secession is unconstitutional? The civil war didn't solve the question of the constitutionality of secession. The civil war is the example that if a state tries to leave the Union under arms...its going to fail.

As I said before, two different views opposite to each other can still both have correct interpretation of constitutional law.

Secessionists interpret the 10th admendment has being "the right to succeed!"

On the other hand, Lincoln had to execute his Oath of Office to perserve the Union (the scope of the preamble) as empowered to him by Article 2-section 1-paragraph 8.

The question becomes "which one will benifit the United States the most?" or most importantly, "which one ensures the soverienty of the United States?"



 Posted: Sat Apr 14th, 2012 04:36 pm
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Old Blu
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Where does the Constitution say secession was illegal?



 Posted: Sat Apr 14th, 2012 04:55 pm
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ebg
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Old Blu wrote:
Where does the Constitution say secession was illegal?


Well, that's like saying "where does it say that it is??"



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