The Constitution–Compact or Unitary Compulsion?
by Al Benson Jr.
Awhile back, someone that I think must have been a student, contacted me. He informed me that he was studying the topic of secession and asked me a question regarding that subject. He wanted to know–can a state secede from the Union without the agreement of the other states, or "parties to the compact," as he expressed it. His terminology was interesting (and correct), as most folks don’t refer to the Constitution as a compact anymore, and mostly haven’t since the conclusion of the military aspect of the War of Northern Aggression.
Most people in earlier days, especially in the South, did indeed, view the Constitution as a compact, by which sovereign states gathered and delegated (not surrendered) a portion of their power to a federal governing body. The federal government was, in a sense, supposed to be a delegate for the several states, given only certain things by them to do that were more difficult for them to handle individually.
I contacted the writer back, after consulting with a friend of mine who is much more of a constitutional authority than I am, and informed him that, yes, states could individually secede from the compact. They had, after all, entered it as individual states, one at a time, and not all together as some sort of conglomerate. The states that entered the compact did so without permisson from other states, and so could secede the same way. And it is quite clear from some of the ratification language that the states felt it their right to secede if the new federal Union did not work according to plan. The delegates for the state of Virginia, in their ratification statement, expressed clearly the right of secession when they wrote: "We the delegates of the people of Virginia, duly elected…do, in the name and behalf of the people of Virginia, declare and make known, that the powers granted under the Constitution, being derived from the people of the United States, may be resumed by them, whenever the same shall be perverted to their injury or oppression." That’s pretty straighforward.
New York’s ratification statement said much the same: "That the powers of government may be resumed by the people, whensover it shall become necessary to their happiness; that every power, jurisdiction, and right, which is not, by the said Constitution, delegated to the Congress of the United States, or the departments thereof, remains to the people of the several states, or to their respective State governments, to whom they have granted the same."
You can see, by the very nature of the wording of these ratification ordinances, that these people were signing on to a whole different concept of "Union" that we, unfortunately, operate under in our benighted day. And, in spite of the election-time rhetoric of our current crop of CFR dominated politicians and other office-seeking liars, what exactly is the nature of today’s "Union?" I contend that our sell-out elected officials have, since the conclusion of the War of Northern Aggression, embraced the classic Abraham Lincoln view of the Union. Lincoln’s view, you see, was quite different from that of the founders of the country–about 180 degrees different–closer to the views of Marx than to those of Jefferson. To say the least, Lincoln’s view of the Union was "unusual." According to Webb Garrison, author of The Lincoln No One Knows Lincoln continually insisted "that the Union existed before the Constitution was framed and adopted. "The Union is much older than the Constitution" he held…According to Lincoln’s line of thought, the Constitution was secondary to the Union because it succeeded it in time. And, though the Constitution should be respected and followed, "a little bending of it" was more than justified if that was what was needed to preserve the Union. One can, honestly, only view this as sort of an 1860s version of "the end justifies the means." In Lincoln’s twisted thinking, the pre-Constitutional Union was eternal, so that no Southern state could secede–they only thought they could! It’s interesting that, prior to 1860, some of the New England states had threatened secession on at least three different occasion, but that seems to have been all right. That doesn’t seem to have bothered Lincoln. It was only wrong if the South, which paid the lion’s share of the tariffs for the whole country, did it. (A slight double standard here?) Alexander H. Stephens, vice-president of the Confederate States of America noted of Lincoln that: "The Union, with him, in sentiment rose to the sublimity of a religious mysticism." Again, author Webb Garrison informed us of Lincoln that: "By the end of 1864, the identification between himself and the Union became so complete that he was the Union."
Considering what we have undergone in this country since 1865, with the resultant apotheosis of Abraham Lincoln, we might be tempted to ask–in Lincoln’s mind was the Union "god" and was he (Lincoln) the Union? Lincoln lovers won’t like that question but it should be considered in the ongoing public forum regarding Saint Abraham.
Where did Lincoln get his concept of the Union as "eternal?" Only Almighty God is eternal. All else will pass away in time and history. In fact, if America does not turn from her present ungodly direction, the least she can expect from the Almighty may be the reduction to the status of some third world entity. And, if our "union" is eternal, then it must have existed long before the first Europeans came here, some of them before Columbus. Maybe someone should have told the Indians! And if for some reason, God is please to phase out the United States at some future point, then, according to Lincoln’s lights, the "Union" will still exist.
In spite of the protestations of his adoring apologists, it is thanks to Mr. Lincoln that our system of government started to move far, far away from the original intent of the Founders. No one born after 1865 has ever lived under the original system of government the founders bequeathed to us. We have all existed under a socialistic, alien creation, birthed by the likes of Henry Clay and Abraham Lincoln, and carried to even further excesses by FDR, Bill Clinton, and the present administration under George II. Our founders would not begin to recognize the abomination that we exist under today. What the dumbed-down American populace today calls "freedom" they would have labeled as the rankest form of slavery.
The Constitution was not perfect to begin with. Many anti-federalists like Patrick Henry found notable problems with it and their arguments, even today, are worth noting. But for all of that, and for the Constitution being, at best, a mixed bag, it was still a compact between the states and not a document that forced obedience upon the states as being only vassals of an all-.powerful American Union–the kind envisioned by Abraham Lincoln.
Copyright © 2006-2008 Al Benson, Jr.
On The Web: http://www.albensonjr.com/theconstitution.shtml