Posted by: Dr Churchill | July 10, 2014

240 years later the right to secede is still available to anyone who would have it…

There is nothing New under the Sun.

Today, Scotland, Catalonia, Greece, Pannonia, and even part of Belgium and Alsace-Lorraine, all want to secede from the European Union — same as the great big states of Texas and Florida want to escape from the United States of America.

Is this a purely historical or ideological confluence of events that lead parts of the nascent Unions to seek independence and devolution?

Of course the Union of the American states predates the European Union by a couple of centuries but the learnings have propelled the EU into a faster integration institutional building than the US experienced in it’s early years.

Of course Europe same as the American States had to go through the cathartic wars before the people could open up their eyes and see that War is the father of us all and best we get together if we want this errant father to stop beating upon us all too frequently and with bloody vengeance.

So we invest in history and see…

What can we learn from this?

Have we seen this play staged before this time in human history?

Methinks … Yes.

It’s times like these that we must take a referendum of People’s opinions on the matter with comprehensive polls run by an educated populace.

In order to add to the benefit of this population so that the decision will be truly democratic and well informed we best remember the outcome of similar secession movements of the past…

So let’s travel back to the time of the signing of the American Union coming into being having just been liberated from the British Crown in 1776.

A momentous event in human history.

Before Thomas Jefferson, the author of America’s July 4, 1776 Declaration of Secession from the British empire, became a lifelong advocate of both the voluntary UNION — a union of the free, independent, and sovereign states — and of the right of secession, he was a humanitarian advocate of liberal government and the right of association as a free formed homeland.

Jefferson was adamant on this. And this is what he said in his first inaugural address in 1801: “If there be any among us who would wish to dissolve this Union or to change its republican form, let them stand undisturbed as monuments of the safety with which error of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left to combat it.”

But what he said in his first inaugural address in 1801, pales by comparison to his powerful reply on a January 29, 1804 letter to Dr. Joseph Priestley, who had asked Jefferson his opinion of the New England secession movement that was gaining momentum. This is what the Great Jefferson wrote: “Whether we remain in one confederacy, or form into Atlantic and Mississippi confederacies, I believe not very important to the happiness of either part. Those of the western confederacy will be as much our children & descendants as those of the eastern . . . and did I now foresee a separation at some future day, yet should feel the duty & the desire to promote the western interests as zealously as the eastern, doing all the good for both portions of our future family…”

Jefferson offered the same opinion to John C. Breckinridge on August 12, 1803 when New Englanders were threatening secession after the Louisiana purchase. If there were a “separation,” he wrote, “God bless them both & keep them in the union if it be for their good, but separate them, if it be better.”

Everyone understood that the union of the states was voluntary and that, as Virginia, Rhode Island, and New York stated in their constitutional ratification documents, each state had a right to withdraw from the union at some future date if that union became harmful to its interests. So when New Englanders began plotting secession barely twenty years after the end of the American Revolution, their leader, Massachusetts Senator Timothy Pickering (who was also George Washington’s secretary of war and secretary of state) stated that “the principles of our Revolution point to the remedy – a separation.

That this can be accomplished without spilling one drop of blood, I have little doubt.”  This is corroborated from Henry Adams, in “Documents Relating to New-England Federalism, 1800-1815.” The New England plot to secede from the union culminated in the Hartford Secession Convention of 1814, where they ultimately decided to remain in the union and to try to dominate it politically instead.

They of course succeeded beyond their wildest dreams, beginning in April of 1865 up to the present day…

John Quincy Adams, the quintessential New England Yankee, echoed these Jeffersonian sentiments in an 1839 speech in which he said that if different states or groups of states came into irrepressible conflict, then that “will be the time for reverting to the precedents which occurred at the formation and adoption of the Constitution, to form again a more perfect union by dissolving that which could no longer bind, and to leave the separated parts to be reunited by the law of political gravitation…”

John Quincy Adams, spoke with these powerful words, written and recorded in: “The Jubilee of the Constitution, 1939, pp. 66-69.”

There is a long history of American newspapers endorsing the Jeffersonian secessionist tradition. The following are just a few examples.

The Bangor, Maine Daily Union once editorialized that the union of Maine with the other states “rests and depends for its continuance on the free consent and will of the sovereign people of each. When that consent and will is withdrawn on either part, their Union is gone, and no power exterior to the withdrawing [state] can ever restore it.” Moreover, a state can never be a true equal member of the American union if forced into it by military aggression, the Maine editors wrote.

“A war … is a thousand times worse evil than the loss of a State, or a dozen States” the Indianapolis Daily Journal once wrote. “The very freedom claimed by every individual citizen, precludes the idea of compulsory association, as individuals, as communities, or as States,” wrote the Kenosha, Wisconsin Democrat. “The very germ of liberty is the right of forming our own governments, enacting our own laws, and choosing or own political associates … The right of secession inheres to the people of every sovereign state.”

Using violence to force any state to remain in the union, once said the New York Journal of Commerce, would “change our government from a voluntary one, in which the people are sovereigns, to a despotism” where one part of the people are “slaves.” The Washington (D.C.) Constitution concurred, calling a coerced union held together at gunpoint (like the Soviet Union, for instance) “the extreme of wickedness and the acme of folly.”

“The great principle embodied by Jefferson in the Declaration of American Independence, that governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed,” the New York Daily Tribune once wrote, “is sound and just,” so that if any state wanted to secede peacefully from the union, it has “a clear moral right to do so.”

A union maintained by military force, would be “mad and Quixotic” as well as “tyrannical and unjust” and “worse than a mockery,” editorialized the Trenton (N.J.) True American.

Echoing Jefferson’s letter to John C. Breckinridge, the Cincinnati Daily Commercial once editorialized that “there is room for several flourishing nations on this continent; and the sun will shine brightly and the rivers run as clear” if one or more states were to peacefully secede.

All of these editorials were published in the first three months of 1861 and are published in Howard Cecil Perkins, “Northern Editorials on Secession” published in 1964 in Gloucester, Massachusetts.

These powerful ideas and words penned by the Great Thomas Jefferson himself and many other lesser men but equally vocal of the vaunted State Rights at the Foundation times —  illustrate how the truths penned by Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence are still alive with us in heart and mind and to a lesser extent in our daily reality of Life lived in the Commons.

Yours,

Dr Kroko

PS:

As times are growing more and more interesting we best consider that at the Founder’s time, all the states were considered to be free, independent, and sovereign in the same sense that England and France were.

Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, James Madison same as all the other framers of the Constitution believed, spoke, and acted, upon the inviolate principle that the Grand Union was voluntary.

They felt same as I do today that using economic despotism, colonialism, debt and trade subjugation, should never keep us together if we don’t want to be so.

I feel further same as they — and we are a goodly company on this — that never the Union should exercise it’s powers to cause poverty, malaise, famine, invasion, bloodshed, and mass murder, just to force a state to remain into the union.

I say this echoing Jefferson: “This would be a terrible abomination and a universal moral outrage; and that a free society is required to revere freedom of association”

Stand with me and our brothers and sisters in Scotland, Catalonia, Greece and elsewhere throughout Europe and declare that these ideas of Liberty, are still alive and well today in both Great Unions at different stages of their development.

Europe and America… travel the same path and that is a parallel victory over the inevitable flow towards impermanence, irrelevance of historic proportions, state failure, and culture collapse.


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