Review: A Constitutional History of Secession

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Give me Liberty or Give me Death–Time to Demand Restoration of the Constitution, November 10, 2008

John Remington Graham

Published in 2002, this book summarizes all the reasons the individual US states may today freely contemplate secession from the United STATES of America. The author has special authority apart from his scholarship–he was among those who served as counselors to the high court of Canada that decided in 1998, irrevocably, that Quebec has the right to secede.

Two things about this book really impressed me apart from its obvious value in confronting our present reckless, arrogant, and more often than not criminal central government: first, slavery was on the way OUT in the South, and everyone knew it then; and second, the North used slavery as a strategic deception, a form of public deception acutely similar to the 935 lies Dick Cheney orchestrated on Weapons of Mass Destruction, to violate the Constitution multiple times over, and ultimately ruin the South for the benefit of Northern capitalists and the European banks behind them. Given that the Democratic Party is nothing more than a lighter version of the Republican Party–both criminally corrupt, this book is relevant NOW.

The introduction is by David Livingston, whose Wikipedia page is worth reading and opens with: “Livingston has developed some renown as a constitutional scholar and is an expositor of the compact nature of the Union, with its concomitant doctrines of corporate resistance, nullification, and secession. The doctrine coincides with federalism, states’ rights, the principle of subsidiarity. His political philosophy embodies the decentralizing themes echoed by Europeans such as Althusius, David Hume, and John Acton and Americans such as Thomas Jefferson, Spencer Roane, Abel Parker Upshur, Robert Hayne and John Calhoun, which holds the community as the basic unit of political society.”

The author makes the point early on that secession is about RESTORING the rule of law, and that it is a uniquely peaceful form of revolution, a rational and orderly process with antecedents in the “Glorious Revolution” and the accession of William and Mary.

The constitution right of secession is based in natural law and was THE animating principle of American constitutional thought until 1860, when Northern bankers were directed by the Rothchilds and Morgan banking families in Europe to create a war.

The author’s research is deep and compelling. The States delegated LIMITED powers to the federal government (which they explicitly refused to call a “national” government), and at no time did they surrender their individual sovereignty, many of them sovereign from England well before the Declaration of Independence.

1775: Continental Congress authority was derived from the States, not the people.

1778: Articles of Confederation, “Every State retains its sovereignty, freedom, and independence.” Further on, Union is perpetual UNLESS–and later of course, by compact of the States, this version was dissolved.

Citing James Madison: a breach of any article by any party leaves all other parties at liberty to consider the whole dissolved.

George Mason of Virginia is highlighted as true patriotic and intellectual hero who was responsible for the clause that specified that all powers not expressly DELEGATED to the federal government were reserved for the States.

The author demystifies the confusion between the Union created by the States and the Union confirmed by the People. While each State still retained its own sovereignty, the Constitution, unlike the Articles of Confederation, was confirmed by a Convention of People in each state, and thus achieved a new status as a republic in form–this does NOT, however, remove the sovereign rights of each STATE.

In discussing the nullification crisis the author illuminates the distinction between the States’ sovereignty power–the power to make and unmake Constitutions–and the day to day powers DELEGATED to the federal government, hence not to be interfered with absent a need to nullify, or in extremis, to secede.

1798: Nullification is a precursor to selection. This matters today as the federal government seeks to place CEILINGS on State control of corporations and pollution. Such mandates can be nullified by the States if their leaders rediscover their heritage. Virginia and Kentucky passes resolutions specifying that the federal government was created for SPECIAL (i.e. limited) purposes and was not the exclusive and final judge of its own powers, which are derived from the States.

Stephen Douglas, although a servant of the financial powers, rose to great heights after Lincoln’s “election” (the author says Lincoln’s election was so rigged he did not bother to campaign), and proposed a withdrawal from forts in the south so as to avoid sparking a war. Lincoln refused. Similarly, General Winfield Scott advised Lincoln to let Fort Sumter go, and Lincoln instead ordered the provocative reinforcement of Fort Sumter.

The author is at pains to document that neither Congress nor the Executive may declare war on a member State; on four separate occasions the Founding Father explicitly denied this power to Congress.

The author suggests, and documents, that General George Brinton McClellan was not the incompetent that Secretary of War Stanton sought to libel and slander, but rather very respected by the South to the point that he could have won with minimal bloodshed, and reunited the Union rather than destroy the Southern half.

Costs of Lincoln’s impeachable decision to war with the south are itemized by the author as including dictatorship, bankruptcy, enslavement of the white population and looting of the south, and conscription on a scale that made death on a massive scale inevitable.

In creating its new Confederacy, the South demonstrated its moral superiority and good intentions by forbidding the future importation of slaves; repeating the fugitive slave demands on the North, recognizing all Indian tribes in its western territories as sovereign unto themselves, and rejecting Alexander Hamilton’s imperial pretensions for centralized government.

I have many other notes that I have posted at my primary website. In the comment below I provide a short link, and nine quotes from the book that would not fit here within the 1000 word limit.

On our present crisis in America:

Obama – The Postmodern Coup
The Bush Tragedy
Vice: Dick Cheney and the Hijacking of the American Presidency
Breach of Trust: How Washington Turns Outsiders Into Insiders
Running on Empty: How the Democratic and Republican Parties Are Bankrupting Our Future and What Americans Can Do About It

On secession:

Secession: How Vermont and All the Other States Can Save Themselves from the Empire
Is Secession Treason?
One Nation, Indivisible? A Study of Secession and the Constitution

Details of my patriotic position can be found in:
Election 2008: Lipstick on the Pig (Substance of Governance; Legitimate Grievances; Candidates on the Issues; Balanced Budget 101; Call to Arms: Fund We Not Them; Annotated Bibliography)

My shared vision for the future:
Collective Intelligence: Creating a Prosperous World at Peace

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