[Rushtalk] Happy Death-by-Government Day!

Paf Dvorak notmyname at thatswaytoomuch.info
Fri Jun 14 09:42:07 MDT 2013

At 02:55 AM 6/14/2013 -0700, Tom Matiska wrote:

>--- On Thu, 6/13/13, John A. Quayle <blueoval57 at verizon.net> wrote:
>       Actually, Tom......it was about State's Rights, not slavery!
>The right of states to allow slavery, the right to expand slavery 
>westward to new states, , and the right of states to secede over 
>slavery pretty much covers all the state's rights discussions of the era.

And your point of view is that states don't have the right to 
separate from the feds for any reason. But the right of succession 
was a HUGE point when the constitution was drafted and it was 
supposed to be conceded that states would have that right. It's why 
we fought a war over it. While slavery was the issue, the southern 
slaveholding states succeeded legally.

 From Wikipedia: 

The Declaration of the Immediate Causes Which Induce and Justify the 
Secession of South Carolina from the Federal Union was a proclamation 
issued on December 24, 1860, by the government of South Carolina to 
explain its reasons for seceding from the United States. It followed 
the brief Ordinance of Secession that had been issued on December 20. 
The declaration is a product of a convention organized by the state's 
government in the month following the election of Abraham Lincoln as 
U.S. President, where it was drafted in a committee headed by 
Christopher Memminger.

"The seceding South Carolina delegation" (Harper's Weekly, December 22, 1860)
Further information: Origins of the American Civil War and History of 
South Carolina

An official secession convention met in South Carolina following the 
November 1860 election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United 
States.[1] On December 20, 1860, the convention issued an ordinance 
of secession announcing the state's withdrawal from the union.[2] The 
ordinance was brief, containing no explanation of the reasoning 
behind the delegates' decision:

     We, the People of the State of South Carolina, in Convention 
assembled do declare and ordain, and it is hereby declared and 
ordained, That the Ordinance adopted by us in Convention, on the 
twenty-third day of May in the year of our Lord One Thousand Seven 
hundred and eight eight, whereby the Constitution of the United State 
of America was ratified, and also all Acts and parts of Acts of the 
General Assembly of this State, ratifying amendment of the said 
Constitution, are here by repealed; and that the union now subsisting 
between South Carolina and other States, under the name of "The 
United States of America," is hereby dissolved.[3]

The convention had previously agreed to draft a separate statement 
that would summarize their justification and gave that task to a 
committee of seven members comprising Christopher G. Memminger 
(considered the primary author[4]), F. H. Wardlaw, R. W. Barnwell, J. 
P. Richardson, B. H. Rutledge, J. E. Jenkins, and P. E. Duncan.[5] 
The document they produced, the Declaration of the Immediate Causes 
Which Induce and Justify the Secession of South Carolina from the 
Federal Union, was adopted by the convention on December 24.[4]


The opening portion of the declaration outlines the historical 
background of South Carolina and offers a legal justification for its 
secession. It asserts that the right of states to secede is implicit 
in the Constitution and this right was explicitly reaffirmed by South 
Carolina in 1852. The declaration states that the agreement between 
South Carolina and the United States is subject to the law of 
compact, which creates obligations on both parties and which revokes 
the agreement if either party fails to uphold its obligations.

The next section asserts that the government of the United States and 
of states within that government had failed to uphold their 
obligations to South Carolina. The specific issue stated was the 
refusal of some states to enforce the Fugitive Slave Act and clauses 
in the US Constitution protecting slavery and the federal 
government's perceived role in attempting to abolish slavery.

The next section states that while these problems have existed for 
twenty-five years, the situation had recently become unacceptable due 
to the election of a President (this was Abraham Lincoln although he 
is not mentioned by name) who was planning to outlaw slavery.

The final section concludes with a statement that South Carolina had 
therefore seceded from the United States.


While later claims have been made that the decision to secede was 
prompted by other issues such as tariffs, these issues were not 
mentioned in the declaration. The primary focus of the declaration is 
the perceived violation of the Constitution by northern states in not 
extraditing escaped slaves (as the Constitution required in Article 
IV Section 2) and actively working to abolish slavery (which they saw 
as Constitutionally guaranteed and protected). The main thrust of the 
argument was that since the Constitution, being a contract, had been 
violated by some parties (the northern abolitionist states), the 
other parties (the southern slave-holding states) were no longer bound by it.

The declaration does not make a simple declaration of states' rights. 
It asserts that South Carolina was a sovereign state that had 
delegated only particular powers to the federal government by means 
of the US Constitution. It furthermore protests other states' failure 
to uphold their obligations under the Constitution. The declaration 
emphasizes that the Constitution explicitly requires states to 
deliver "person(s) held in service or labor" back to their state of origin.

The declaration was the second of three documents to be officially 
issued by the South Carolina Secession Convention. The first was the 
Ordinance of Secession itself. The third was "The Address of the 
people of South Carolina, assembled in Convention, to the people of 
the Slaveholding States of the United States", written by Robert 
Barnwell Rhett, which called on other slave holding states to secede 
and join in forming a new nation. The convention resolved to print 
15,000 copies of these three documents and distribute them to various 

The declaration was seen as analogous to the Declaration of 
Independence. Georgia, Mississippi, and Texas offered similar 
declarations when they seceded following South Carolina's example. 
The 1776 Declaration of Independence states:

     ...Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just 
powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any Form of 
Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the 
people to alter or abolish it, and to institute new Government...[7]


     (see the link above)

So Tom, as a lawyer, did the federal government violate the contract, 
or not? Was there possibly a better way to modify the contract other 
than fighting a war? Was the war fought because the north wanted the 
cotton and other goods that the south created and the money that the 
subject, er, citizens could have, in the future, sent to the feds?

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Paf Dvorak

<http://thatswaytoomuch.info/>notmyname at thatswaytoomuch.info  
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