A peculiar notion

nospam-seesignature at ceddec.com nospam-seesignature at ceddec.com
Wed Aug 13 08:58:25 PDT 1997

On Tue, 12 Aug 1997, Michael Froomkin - U.Miami School of Law wrote:

> On Tue, 12 Aug 1997, Steve Schear wrote:
> > So, if the people (legal voters in the states which planned to withdraw)
> No, "the people" is the people of the united states as a whole.  The
> federalist papers deals with this somewhere, where they explain that of
> course the voting had to be organized state by state, because that tracked
> the reality of how everything was organized, but nonetheless it was
> intended to be a national pleblecite to produce a national government.

Someone should tell the U.K. - I don't remember "A plebecite among all
members of a political collective is necessary to sever a single member" 
as being one of the self-evident truths in the Declaration of
Independence.  After all, the parliment said they really did represent the
colonies, so their votes count, and anything that happened in Philadelphia
should have no legal force.

Jefferson suggested a new convention every 20 years with the argument that
you cannot morally bind a new generation to an old structure - they
probably would not change it much, but personal assent gives moral
authority.  Even the abolitionists considered it tyranny when the
constitution gave legal force to the fugitive slave laws.

What do you do when a piece of paper is used to justify continuing
usurpations - and that same paper created the body of an earlier document
which was the spirit of liberty and declared the ephemeral English law and
its executive no longer in force because of such usurpations?  When the
spirit leaves a body, that body is called a corpse.  And the Constitution
is a dead letter if the spirit of the Declaration is missing.  When legal
authorities crawl over it looking for loopholes to impose more federal
power, it is not merely dead, but an undead vampire seeking to devour the
spirit of liberty.  The constitution, and the law in general is alive and
in robust health only when it is acting to preserve and increase liberty.

It would have been interesting to see what would have happened if someone
actually put the issue of secession to a vote - many northerners wanted
the south to leave.  But the chances of Lincoln and the Congress calling
such a vote were less than that of King George III calling a similar vote
on our earlier situation. 

Eventually every state ratified the constitution, though they had to
threaten Rhode Island.  It would have been more interesting if a few the
larger states didn't ratify and held out after the "required" number were

If the southern states "didn't do it right", what is the right way to
seceed from the united states?  And can it be done when the leadership is
acting as tyrants?

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