Talking About Secession

Hearing the governor of Texas talk about his State seceeding from the Union came as a bit of a shock for me in these modern times.

Even worse, to hear Glen Beck attempt to justify States seceeding by stating that the Constitution “is not a suicide pact” left me wondering how far the Right would go in their opposition to the Obama Administration.

Let’s be honest: this isn’t about taxes or the increasing power of the Federal Government. This is about the fact that the President of the United States is a black man and there are a lot of people who don’t like it. In fact, some of them don’t like it so much that they’re talking about their State withdrawing from the Union.

Okay, here’s a history lesson for you: the American Civil War was fought from 1861 to 1865. It was started when eleven southern States withdrew from the Union after Abraham Lincoln was elected President. They didn’t like the fact that he opposed the expansion of slavery, so when they formed their own government – the Confederate States of America – they gave slavery special protections so that it could never be abolished by any State in the Confederacy.

Here are direct quotes from that document:

No bill of attainder, ex post facto law, or law denying or impairing the right of property in negro slaves shall be passed.”  (Article 1, Section 9, Subsection 4)

“The Confederate States may acquire new territory; and Congress shall have power to legislate and provide governments for the inhabitants of all territory belonging to the Confederate States, lying without the limits of the several Sates; and may permit them, at such times, and in such manner as it may by law provide, to form States to be admitted into the Confederacy. In all such territory the institution of negro slavery, as it now exists in the Confederate States, shall be recognized and protected by Congress and by the Territorial government; and the inhabitants of the several Confederate States and Territories shall have the right to take to such Territory any slaves lawfully held by them in any of the States or Territories of the Confederate States. (Article 4, Section 3, Subsection 3)

While many neoConfederates will tell you that the Civil War “was not about slavery”, I challenge anyone to find similar protections given to the institution of slavery in the Constitution of the United States.

While people can argue the point back and forth, the Truth is that the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that secession was Constitutionaly  illegal in the 1868 case of Texas versus White. Here are some quotes from that decision:

“When, therefore, Texas became one of the United States, she entered into an indissoluble relation. All the obligations of perpetual union, and all the guaranties of republican government in the Union, attached at once to the State. The act which consummated her admission into the Union was something more than a compact; it was the incorporation of a new member into the political body. And it was final. The union between Texas and the other States was as complete, as perpetual, and as indissoluble as the union between the original States. There was no place for reconsideration or revocation, except through revolution or through consent of the States.

Considered therefore as transactions under the Constitution, the ordinance of secession, adopted by the convention and ratified by a majority of the citizens of Texas, and all the acts of her legislature intended to give effect to that ordinance, were absolutely null. They were utterly without operation in law. The obligations of the State, as a member of the Union, and of every citizen of the State, as a citizen of the United States, remained perfect and unimpaired. It certainly follows that the State did not cease to be a State, nor her citizens to be citizens of the Union.”

For more background and understanding of Texas versus White, read the Wikipedia article on this case and the actual ruling itself sourced from Cornell University Law School Supreme Court collection.

Notice that when the Federal Government’s powers over the lives of the American People was increasing exponentially under the Administration of President George W. Bush, there was no talk of secession from the Left. Indeed, the Right was quick to condemn dissenting voices as treasonous. Ann Coulter has even described liberals as traitors in her book Treason.

I know that a lot of people – usually white people, almost never black people – like to romanticize the Confederacy as a “Lost Cause”. It’s easy to sympathize with the underdog and it makes us feel good sometimes. But, sometimes the underdog is wrong and the Confederacy was wrong. It took the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Americans on both sides to bring the war to its conclusion and it took decades to undo most of the damage that was done.

Let’s also disprove the myth of the “Solid South”, where everyone in the Confederacy was supposedly on the side of the Confederacy. If you can find a copy of it, I suggest you read a book titled “Lincoln’s Loyalists” by Richard Nelson Current which you can find on and it gives extensive details on the pro-Union population in much of the Confederacy and the men who donned the blue uniform to fight the Confederates.

Another book, only available for download from Amazon, is “Guerillas, Unionists& Violence On the Confederate Homefront” by W. Todd Groce.

If you take the time to read these books, rather than simply believe that everybody in the South loved the Confederacy, you will discover that there were strongly pro-Union areas in the Confederate States where men and women resisted the Confederate forces in ways ranging from draft resistance to public speaking and even taking up arms as Unionist guerillas, not to mention actually joining the Union Army.

While the current talk of secession is, hopefully, just empty air, I do feel that it is simply part of the trend I wrote about in previous blogs. The Right will do whatever they feel that they have to to hinder and embarass the Obama Administration over the remainder of his term. President Obama is three months into his term and already a State governor is talking about secession. Seems like Obama has more in common with Lincoln than he thought. Fortunately for Obama, Lincoln did all the hard work for him in stopping the last attempt at States’ secession, so it should be easier for him than it was for Lincoln.

I have to wonder if the Right realizes that by even mentioning and justifying the possibility of State secession, they are glorifying the worst case of treason against the United States that has ever happened. The Civil War killed more Americans than all the other wars this country has fought combined and entire sections of our country were devastated and anger over the war has lingered until the present day, though it is far less than it once was.

I wonder how the neoconservatives who try to justify secession can even look themselves in the mirror and still consider themselves to be patriotic.

Of course, these are the same people who wanted Sarah Palin to be our Vice President, even though her husband had been a member of the pro-secession Alaskan Independence Party.

I see a trend.



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One Response to “Talking About Secession”

  1. dejavous Says:

    I believe that this president and this congress are marxist in ideology and directly opposed to the intent of the constitution and the declaration of independence. When the government opposes these precepts and acts in a marxist manor then they are not what I swore to serve and uphold and as such should be fought in what ever manor deemed necessary to bring this country back onto the correct path. I do not sanction violence but should it come to that then I will make my choice as all americans will have to do. Anyone who advocates the direction that this administration is taking will be on the other side from me. If secession is what it takes to wake people up then so be it. Take capitalism and God out of my country and it ceases to be my country and I would no longer wish to live under and defend what is left.

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