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12 years ago @ Big Hollywood - The Civil War Accordin... · 1 reply · +1 points

They were bound by oath to support a document that didn't forbid what they were doing (and still doesn't). They were exercising a power reserved to the states by that very Constitution (10th Amendment). How can you violate it when you're doing something it allows you to do?

If the oath that the seceded office-holders took earlier was such that seceding violated it, why did Congress change that oath in April and July of 1861?

Support of the state legislators and governors for the formation and outcome of the secession conventions is not the same thing as state governments unilaterally seceding. They followed the process they did to be in compliance with the laws in effect at the time. The resignations of Southern senators and representatives; the secession of the states before forming or being admitted to the Confederacy, the secession conventions -- this was all done to be in compliance with existing law.

12 years ago @ Big Hollywood - The Civil War Accordin... · 0 replies · +1 points

After Mississippi seceded from the Union, Jefferson Davis, a US senator from that state, made a very public resignation speech on the senate floor. Other Southern senators and reps resigned, as well, thus nullifying their oath to uphold the Constitution.

If any individual office holders did not properly resign, were then elected as secession delegates and voted to secede, they might have individually violated their oath. But that would be a personal violation, not applicable to their entire state or the entire South.

The Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union were nullified by the adoption of the US Constitution, which does not include the phrase, "perpetual union." Elected officials took an oath to uphold a document that did not forbid secession, therefore allowed it.

12 years ago @ Big Hollywood - The Civil War Accordin... · 4 replies · +1 points

The state legislators did not secede, unilaterally or any other way. In most states, the people elected delegates to secession conventions and once those delegates voted to secede, elected officials -- local, state or federal -- were no longer bound by oath to uphold the US Constitution. (In some states, the people themselves, not elected delegates, voted directly on the issue of secession.)

The example of Congress demonstrates that the oath does not bind elected officials who no longer hold office. If it was permanent, only newly elected members would have to be sworn in each time Congress convenes. But they are all required to swear the oath each time, indicating that the oath incumbents took previously is no longer in effect.

12 years ago @ Big Hollywood - The Civil War Accordin... · 0 replies · +1 points

A collateral ancestor of mine was a delegate to the Georgia secession convention from Fannin County and he was a former U.S. Representative, but his term of office ended in 1855. I don't know if, or how many of, the delegates to the other state secession conventions simultaneously held office that had required them to take an oath to uphold the Constitution, at either the state or federal level, but I suspect not many. Southern politicians were well aware of the law.

As for federal office-holders and employees back then, there was an undertaking in D.C. after secession to re-write and beef up the oaths for people in government, which seems to indicate that the existing oaths weren't sufficient and that's why the reps of the seceded states felt they were violating no oath by leaving office . (Kind of like, if secession was illegal before the war, why did a prohibition of it have to be added to the Constitution after the war?)

In any case, it seems logical that federal legislators would no longer be bound by an oath to the US if their state -- the people they represent -- had voted directly, or through their secession delegates, to no longer be part of the union.

12 years ago @ Big Hollywood - The Civil War Accordin... · 7 replies · +1 points

State legislators? They take such an oath today. Years ago, I was a precinct delegate of my party and had to take the same oath that our Congresspersons take -- but I don't know if they had to back then.

In any case, in most (not all) of the states, secession was accomplished by conventions of delegates elected at the county level, not the state legislatures. In South Carolina, as an example, delegates to the convention included former federal and state officeholders, but I have not found anything indicating any delegates were current officeholders.

With only one or two exceptions, all the secession ordinances identify secession as an act of "we the people of [state], in convention assembled..." (The ordinances of secession were short legal documents dissolving the states' connection to the federal government; four states also issued declarations of causes of secession.)

12 years ago @ Big Hollywood - The Civil War Accordin... · 8 replies · +3 points

Sonofccn, Jim Crow laws grew out of Reconstruction, with its military dictatorship and mock governments in the state houses. While using newly freed blacks against Southern whites, the carpetbagger government put state governments so deeply in debt, it would take generations to get them out -- thereby guaranteeing poverty for a large portion of the region's people, black and white, while northerners enriched themselves on Southern cotton grown by poverty-stricken hands, and bought not just acres, but miles of Southern virgin timber for pennies. It all came down to money and profit. That's what it still comes down to.

Jim Crow laws, btw, originated in the north, before the war. They just weren't called that.

12 years ago @ Big Hollywood - The Civil War Accordin... · 0 replies · +1 points

The other states of the CSA followed by (1) their date of secession from the USA and (1) the dates they were admitted to the CSA.
Texas, (2/1/61 - 3/2/61)
Virginia (4/17/61 - 5/7/61)
Arkansas (5/6/61 - 5/18/61)
North Carolina ( 5/20/61 - 5/21/61)
Tennessee (6/8/61 - 7/2/61)
Missouri (10/31/61 - 11/28/61)
Kentucky (11/20/61 - 12/10/61)

12 years ago @ Big Hollywood - The Civil War Accordin... · 10 replies · +1 points

There was nothing in the Supreme Law of the Land at that time that forbade secession itself. Constitutional prohibitions such as the ones you cite ("No State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation...") apply only to states within the USA. No state of the USA entered into the Confederacy; they all seceded from the USA first, days or weeks before creating or being admitted to the Confederacy.

Put another way, none of the states in the Confederacy engaged in any Constitutionally prohibited acts while they were still states of the USA. The act of secession does not automatically create a confederation between seceded states. Those are two different acts, and they occurred on different dates.

The provisional Constitution of the Confederate States of America took effect on February 4, 1861. The parties to that compact (and their dates of secession from the USA) were:
South Carolina (12/20/1860)
Mississippi (1/9/61)
Florida (1/10/61)
Alabama (1/11/62)
Georgia (1/19/61)
Louisiana (1/26/61)

12 years ago @ Big Hollywood - The Civil War Accordin... · 0 replies · -3 points

If the north had a claim of moral superiority over the South because some of its states abolished slavery when it became unprofitable, that moral authority was obliterated by northern industry's accumulation of wealth processing slave-grown cotton in its textile mills and its maritime interests' accumulation of wealth shipping slave-grown cotton to Europe.

It was obliterated by the military invasion of the Southern states, the barbarity with which the Union Army made war and the economic enslavement of the Southern people, black and white, for generations after the war, with purposely created poverty.

The claim of U.S. moral superiority was obliterated by the U.S. government's official policy of genocide of the Plains Indians; by herding native Americans onto reservations in conditions worse than slavery; by the internment of Japanese Americans in WWII; by the Tuskegee Syphilis experiments; by the CIA's torture and murder in Central America; by Abu Ghraib..

By comparison to this, the Confederacy doesn't look so bad. Slavery or not, Southerners of the era were no worse than anyone else -- certainly no worse than the people who came South and made barbaric war on thiem.

12 years ago @ Big Hollywood - The Civil War Accordin... · 14 replies · +3 points

In the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson established that people are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, and that governments are instituted to secure those rights. One right he specifically identifies is the right of the people to alter or abolish their government and create another that suits them better. This right both pre-exists and transcends the U.S. Constitution. How grotesque, then, that the only time Americans have attempted to exercise this right, the government that was supposed to secure it for them made brutal war on them instead.