Yesterday's excursion into Law made reminded of another legal issue involving the American Civil War: did the 11 southern states have a constitutional right or power to withdraw from the Union?
This post is not meant to be an authoritative examination of the constitutional issues surrounding the question. The U.S. Supreme Court answered it in 1869 in Texas v White:
"The Union of the States never was a purely artificial and arbitrary relation. It began among the Colonies, and grew out of common origin, mutual sympathies, kindred principles, similar interests, and geographical relations. It was confirmed and strengthened by the necessities of war, and received definite form and character and sanction from the Articles of Confederation. By these, the Union was solemnly declared to 'be perpetual.' And when these Articles were found to be inadequate to the exigencies of the country, the Constitution was ordained 'to form a more perfect Union.' It is difficult to convey the idea of indissoluble unity more clearly than by these words. What can be indissoluble if a perpetual Union, made more perfect, is not?"
It also contains this ringing statement: "The Constitution, in all its provisions, looks to an indestructible Union composed of indestructible States."
I do trust that those who espouse the errant view that secession is permissible under the U.S. Constitution nonetheless agree that it was a bad idea in 1860 and remains so.
In reading a book on the Vicksburg campaign not long ago, a flaw in the Confederate theory was presented. It mentioned how an area of Mississippi seceded from the State rather than secede from the Union. The Confederacy's response? Suppression of this "rebellion." The old "Do as I say, not as I do."
Since one classic argument of lawyers to prove the errancy of their opponents is to show inconsistency in either interpretation or application of a legal doctrine, that sure appears to be open for use here.
At any rate, the question has been settled, more than six hundred thousand lives later.