Mandeville, LA – Noah Millman posts at the American Conservative Magazine in part:
“If the secessionist cause is to be justified in the Declaration’s terms, it must make one of two claims. Either there are no “political bands” of note to dissolve – the Union is a mere compact among sovereign entities, that any party may depart from at will. Or, if those bands are granted to exist, the election of Abraham Lincoln, whose party was committed to preventing the spread of slavery and to maximally restricting the entanglement of the free states and territories in the operation of that institution, was itself a sufficient threat to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” in the Southern states, and the culmination of a sufficiently extensive train of “abuses” and “usurpations” as to justify the dissolution of those bands.”
Some in the posts comment section wax on about the wonders of General Sherman and his lethal march and the snactity of the “Union” that Lincoln forcefully attempted to hold together. Blogger/commenter Siarlys Jenkins opines that:
“There is nothing in the constitution prohibiting secession? There are provisions taking certain powers into the hands of congress and denying them to the states. Every state either ratified these articles, or accepted them as a condition of being admitted to statehood. In the face of these articles, a provision authorizing a process for secession would be necessary to render it legal…
LEGALLY though, the states have rights UNDER THE CONSTITUTION, which do include all police powers previously possessed, insofar as they are not reserved to congress, or to the people, or prohibited to the states, by a provision of the constitution. And General Sherman made an interesting point as he marched across Georgia. ALL the people of the United States have the right, under the constitution, to move to or across the land of ANY state. Generally that does not mean as a military force, but secession denies, e.g., to people in Maine, the right to move to or across Tennessee, and to people in Louisiana the right to settle in Illinois”
My response posted to amconmag.com: Some gentlemen fancy themselves both historians AND jurists in this string, nether have any more gravitas in answering the query than does John Doe, American Citizen. Mr Millman does not even provide us a head-fake in the direction that the Constitution is a legal compact, an agreement that according to the instrument’s Fifth Article tells us how it gains it’s powers and how they may be altered.
Employing Article V, the VA Legislature resolved in Dec of 1788 that unless Congress pass and submit a Bill of Rights (chiefly written by VA’s George Mason) to the several States for ratification, that a number of those states would pursue their own convention to do so.
We know these Amendments were then passed by the 1st Congress and then ratified. Chief among them is Amendment X “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.
The plain language of the Constitution indicates that the general government was not granted the power to compel or enforce membership in the union. The Lincolnite will cite the “rebellions & insurrections” clause which again, as understood when ratified is nothing more than a grant of power exercised at the REQUEST of a state suffering an attack on its [r]epublican form of government.