A few days ago I became involved in a discussion about the legality or constitutionality of secession. I have long believed that the secession one or more states from our federal union was and is lawful under the United States Constitution. I wrote about this issue a number of years back that article is here: The Constitution and Secession
The discussion I'm presently involved in is at the history section of Christian Forums.
Before the War Between the States (some folks call it the Civil War) New England, which was the section most hostile to Southern secession, had a long history of secessionist movements. This has been brought up in the discussion and here are some of the points made on that issue:
John Quincy Adams speaking before the Historical Society of New York in April (I think) 1839:
In 1842 we find that John Quincy Adams presented a secession petition in the U.S. Congress for some of his fellow Massachusetts citizens:
Here are the resolutions of 1844 that were the approved by the Mass. Legislature and signed by the governor:
This is a fluid discussion and so in response to the other guy in the discussion, I next turn to the Articles of Confederation. The Articles formed the first version of the United States, but confederated government formed by the Articles weas soon replaced by the U.S. Constitution, which formed a wholly new form of government and created a wholly new version of the United States. The U.S. under the Articles was short lived though it claimed to be a perpetual union. I start by quoting the preamble to the Articles:
Articles of Confederation and perpetual Union between the States of New Hampshire, Massachusetts bay, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia.
Notice that the Articles proclaimed a perpetual union, but in less than seven years this perpetual union was dissolved by those same states when nine of the thirteen ratified the new Constitution of the United States.Remember what Article VII of Constitution says? It says, "The Ratification of the Conventions of nine States, shall be sufficient for the Establishment of this Constitution between the States so ratifying the Same." So according to the Constitution when nine states ratified the Constitution they would cease to be part of the "perpetual Union between the States" under the Articles of Confederation and would form a new Union under the Constitution. As I mention in the earlier posts, North Carolina and Rhode Island did not immediately ratify the Constitution and were not part of the Unites States when the New U.S. came into being under the new Constitution. All the other states had seceded from the U.S. under the Articles and formed a new U.S. under the Constitution.