Post by Lawrence Watt-Evans Post by Kevrob
I expect, as MacKinlay Kantor wrote in his seminal 1960 essay in LOOK,
that the logic of the formation of the CSA would mean that, should Texas
decide to resume its independent status, it would be difficult for Richmond
to stop it.
Except that unlike the U.S. Constitution, the Confederate Constitution
explicitly forbade secession -- they didn't want to make the same
mistake the U.S. had.
Have you a cite for the appropriate clause? My understanding is that
the Confederate constitution* was silent on secession, as is the US
Constitution. The theory was that the documents' silence allowed
the "sovereign states" who formed the union, and by extension, the
Confederacy, to freely leave if they wanted.
There was an attempt to amend the Confederate constitution to explicitly
allow peaceful secession, but it went nowhere.
Along the same lines it was proposed that the new Constitution
explicitly recognize the right of secession, but the idea was dropped
after others suggested that “its inclusion would discredit the claim
that the right had been inherent under the old government.” Yearns,
supra note 5, at 29; see also Lee, supra note 5, at 101–02 (citing the
relevant portions of the Journal and arguing that the right to secede was
“implied in the specific phraseology of the Preamble,” which in what
seems to me a less than conclusive manner declared that the Constitution
was the work of “the people of the Confederate States, each State acting
in its sovereign and independent character,” Conf. Const. of Mar. 1861,
pmbl., reprinted in Statutes at Large, supra note 5, at 11)
[/quote] - Through the Looking Glass: The Confederate Constitution in
Congress: 1861-1865 by David P. Currie from THE VIRGINIA LAW REVIEW,
September 2004 Volume 90 Issue 5 P 1267, CONTAINED IN FOOTNOTE 39.
pdf OF ARTICLE @
PAGE 11 of the document.
Currie points out how little the CSA constitution was changed from that
of the USA, and in what ways.
The competing theory, re secession and the US Constitution, holds that
the USA has been a "perpetual union" since the Articles of Confederation,
which uses the phrase "Articles of Confederation and perpetual Union.."
right at its start.
And, since, under US Constitution, Article I, section 10, the rebel
states, who hadn't really left the union, were prohibited from starting
a rival one:
"1. No state shall enter into any treaty, alliance, or confederation;.."**
The facts on the ground circa 1861 said otherwise, and no matter what
the US constitution said, the secessionists could appeal to the "right
of revolution" formulated by Jefferson et al in the Declaration of
The preference was to seem to be seen upholding conservative principles,
and asserting a state power to leave the USA gave the rebels that fig leaf.
(Had it drummed into me as a history undergrad:
check the source documents.)
* http://avalon.law.yale.edu/19th_century/csa_csa.asp CSA Constitution
** http://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/art1.asp AofC of the USA.