Mandeville, LA – In a post I wrote earlier this week we discussed the fact the not only were the Southern States correct in their assertion of the Constitution as a Compact but nearly the entire PLANET agreed with them-save for that violent, tyrannical mob in New England. My post made its way onto the pages of The Imaginative Conservative website. In the comments that resulted, it was asserted that I didn’t know what I was talking about and that the VA Founding Fathers NEVER intended for that glorious state to ever be able to leave the union once admitted through ratification. Here is my response to one Andrew Seely citing the VA ratifying Convention as source.
Mr. Seely, you are reading things into the Virginian’s transcribed words that distort their obvious intent. To imply the Virginians would place “demands” on their own “instrument of ratification” which would then hinder the exercise of an power that is expressed is ridiculous. The difference between “rebellion” and “secession” is profound as the former is an Act of defiance against a government a party still claims loyalty to while the latter is an Act that separates the legal and political “bands which have connected them with another”. Secession is drawn from the Latin “secedere” meaning “to withdraw”, which practically speaking is a passive act.
Secondly, the record of the VA ratifying convention clearly shows EXACTLY what was meant by “resume those powers perverted”. On 24 June, 1788, Madison’s lead henchman, George Nicholas addressed the convention following Patrick Henry’s demand that amendments should be obtained before ratification saying:
“Mr. NICHOLAS contended that the language of the proposed ratification would secure every thing which gentlemen desired, as it declared that all powers vested in the Constitution were derived from the people, and might be resumed by them whensoever they should be perverted to their injury and oppression; and that every power not granted thereby remained at their will. No danger whatever could arise; for, says he, these expressions will become a part of the contract. The Constitution cannot be binding on Virginia, but with these conditions. If thirteen individuals are about to make a contract, and one agrees to it, but at the same time declares that he understands its meaning, signification, and intent, to be, (what the words of the contract plainly and obviously denote,) that it is not to be construed so as to impose any supplementary condition upon him, and that he is to be exonerated from it whensoever any such imposition shall be attempted, — I ask whether, in this case, these conditions, on which he has assented to it, would not be binding on the other twelve? In like manner these conditions will be binding on Congress. They can exercise no power that is not expressly granted them.”
What else could this statement possibly mean!? If we take a look at the Resolution of the VA Convention of 1861, we will find the precise meaning if it be in doubt.
“The people of Virginia in their ratification of the Constitution of the United States of America, adopted by them in convention on the twenty-fifth day of June, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty-eight, having declared that the powers granted under said Constitition were derived from the people of the United States and might be resumed whensoever the same should be perverted to their injury and oppression, and the Federal Government having perverted said powers not only to the injury of the people of Virginia, but to the oppression of the Southern slave-holding States:
Now, therefore, we, the people of Virginia, do declare and ordain, That the ordinance adopted by the people of this State in convention on the twenty-fifth day of June, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty-eight, whereby the Constitution of the United States of America was ratified, and all acts of the General Assembly of this State ratifying and adopting amendments to said Constitution, are hereby repealed and abrogated; that the union between the State of Virginia and the other States under the Constitution aforesaid is hereby dissolved, and that the State of Virginia is in the full possession and exercise of all the rights of sovereignty which belong and appertain to a free and independent State.
And they do further declare, That said Constitution of the United States of America is no longer binding on any of the citizens of this State.
When both acts are viewed in sequence it is clear that the intent of the ratification instrument passed by the Founding Fathers of Virginia in 1788 was meant, by design, to make legal the act of those Fathers’ grandchildren in 1861 or in 2013.