Perpetual Union–If you can bamboozle enough people–Part Two

by Al Benson Jr.

So Chase followed in the same vein that Lincoln had–the Union existed before the states and it was indestructible and irrevocable. And once you were in, you were still in, even if you seceded–in fact you really didn’t secede, you only thought you did. Of course, then, to get back into this “Union” you had never really been out of, you had to ratify certain amendments. At this point, the logic (and I use that term loosely) of the Yankee/Marxist absolutely defies description.

You have to wonder where these people got their notion of an “indestructible” Union. Did it have anything to do with what they were smoking? When the group assembled in Philadelphia in 1787 gave us the Constitution (when it was really beyond their instructions to do so) what they did, in effect, was to secede from the Articles of Confederation and give us a whole new government–one that did not use the words “perpetual union” and one that did not forbid secession, even though I have been informed that it really did.

When the New England states sent delegates to Hartford, Connecticut in 1814 to consider the secession of the New England states no one said anything. Admittedly, they ended up not seceding because the War of 1812 which had New England merchants so stirred up ended. However, they were strongly considering it, as they did two other times. In those days you didn’t take trips like that just to engage in political chit-chat. Yet no one complained. No one told the New Englanders that their secession was illegal or that the supremacy clause in the Constitution forbid them from ever seceding at any time unless all the other states were willing to let them go. The right of a state to secede was accepted. Remember the secession language in the New York and Virginia ratification ordinances? But some inform us that this was all meaningless, that once you were in you could never get out unless all the states were willing to let you go. You almost wonder if there was a slight double standard in operation here–it would have been okay if the New England states did it but not if the Southern states did it.

Contrary to Chase’s “indestructible Union” theory, Professor Donald W. Livingston has written in Secession, State & Liberty that “There was a time, however, when talk about secession was a part of American politics. Indeed, the very concept of secession and self-determination of peoples, in the form being discussed today, is largely an American invention. It is no exaggeration to say that the unique contribution of the eighteenth-century American Enlightenment is not federalism but the principle that a people, under certain conditions, have a moral right to secede from an established political authority and to govern themselves.” Livingston further wrote that: “The Constitution of the United States was founded as a federative compact between the states, marking out the authority of a central government, having enumerated powers delegated to it by sovereign states which reserved for themselves the vast domain of unenumerated powers. By an act of philosophical alchemy, the Lincoln tradition has transmuted this essentially federative document into a consolidated nationalist regime…In this version, the reserved powers of the states vanish, and the states themselves are transformed into resources for and administrative units of a nationalist political project…” That is exactly where we find ourselves today, thanks to the views of men like Lincoln and Chase, who, in a political sense, “Changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator…” (Romans 1).

The Southern states, and some Northern ones, always considered the Constitution to be a compact between sovereign states. Had it been understood by them as anything but that, it is highly doubtful that many of these states, a mere thirteen years after the end of our War for Independence, would have entangled themselves in the clutches of an indissoluble union from which they could never withdraw. The Declaration of Independence was, after all, a secession document.

The Kennedy Brothers, in their groundbreaking work The South Was Right stated, on page 162: “In her act of ratification, Virginia drew a protective shield around the sovereign community and declared that sovereignty is derived from the people…The states did not intend to establish a supreme judge to rule over them. Before entering into the proposed constitutional contract, the state of Virginia (along with several other states, both north and south) declared the legal right of the sovereign community (the people of the state) to recall any delegated power if it is used in an act of oppression or injury against the people. The fact that the other states accepted the Virginia Act of Ratification without question is reason enough to maintain the assertion that they were in agreement with Virginia.”

If the Constitution is looked to as a document that forms an “indestructible” Union, then the states that ratified it have been lied to–sold a bill of goods, bought a political “gold brick’ as it were–a brick made not of gold, but of iron–that iron to forge the chains of those states that may finally realize they have been lied to and so they want out!

Secession was not illegal, was not rebellion as the Northern politicians claimed, and, as author James Street said: “The South got a raw deal.” And the Lincoln/Chase concept of “perpetual Union” is what is taught in the government schools in this country–to make sure no one ever again concludes that secession might be the answer to the problems of an ever-expanding socialist regime in Washington.

8 thoughts on “Perpetual Union–If you can bamboozle enough people–Part Two

  1. There are a number of inaccuracies here. But, more importantly, there is a very basic misconception.

    The Union was (and is) perpetual because of the Constitution’s Preamble, Article VI, and Article VII. Article VII, in particular, holds the key:

    “The ratification of the conventions of nine states, shall be sufficient for the establishment of this Constitution between the states so ratifying the same.”

    The Founders in Philadelphia sent the Constitution to conventions organized in the states, not to the states themselves, because they did not want the new government to be a creature of the states, as the Articles of Confederation had been. These special ratifying conventions were composed of special delegates elected by the people of each state—by “We the People,” as the Preamble states. When nine states so ratified, the new government became vested with sovereignty. Once it possessed sovereignty, it became indissoluble.

    This does not mean the states stopped being sovereign; but it does mean their sovereignty was impaired, that they were sovereign members of a greater sovereign entity. Because a sovereign cannot be dismembered against its will, secession is illegal. This was certainly James Madison’s conception of the entire process, as his correspondence with Hamilton at the time, and with Daniel Webster years later, shows.

    Article VI reaffirms the supremacy of the federal Constitution over the states, but the act of ratification, outlined in Article VII, is enough.

    For a more complete description of this interpretation, see Akhil Read Amar, “The American Constitution: a Biography.”

  2. Mr Shelley makes a good argument for the Constitution being a usurpation of state sovereignty. I think he is correct when he says, ‘The Founders in Philadelphia sent the Constitution to conventions organized in the states, not to the states themselves, because they did not want the new government to be a creature of the states.’

    In the end though, it boils down to the power to enforce your desires; the North mustered that power in the 1860s and has maintained it ever since.

    • “In the end though, it boils down to the power to enforce your desires; the North mustered that power in the 1860s and has maintained it ever since.”

      But you make that sound like a bad thing. That’s how democracy works: majority rule, minority suck it up, until the next election. When the South rejected the results of a free and fair election and seceded, it wasn’t just Lincoln who said they couldn’t illegally leave the Union: millions of other Americans agreed, and were willing to use force to maintain democratic rule. In fact, three-quarters of all Americans–at minimum–agreed with Lincoln, and were willing to lay down their lives for this idea. So, the notion that Lincoln and Chase created some phantasm and tricked Americans into becoming despots doesn’t really hold water.

      • That’s the entire problem–in the end it amounts to who can force his will on everyone else and everyone else be damned. The Constitution was supposed to provide a republican form of govt., which means that there are rights guaranteed to both majority and minority and one should not be able to deny rights to the other. What you describe about majority have rights and losers just learn to suck it up is nothing more than pure democracy, something the founders did not care for. You and I will never agree on this issue.

      • Well, no–of course the minority has rights. I never said anything else. But in the case of 1860, that wasn’t an issue: South Carolina left because they didn’t like the results of the election, and the rest of the Deep South followed. There were no “rights” at stake.

    • Home schooling or private Christian education is the way to go, and home schooling usually works for those who can’t afford Christian schools. Home schooling is not nearly as difficult as the “progressives” claim it is and “socialization” is not a real issue. Our kids were home schooled for the last part of their education and they often had more socialization than they needed. What they didn’t have was the public school indoctrination and peer pressure.

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