posted by Jimmy1880
Could someone with knowledge on this please answer this question. The United states of America is a country made up of states who are united, right,
what in the way of law would stop a state pulling out of the union? [The US Army] Could a state claim independence? [No] Similar to the
devolution of the United Kingdom where Scotland could be pulling out of their 300 year old union with England. [I’m unfamiliar with the Scotland
matter.] Thanks, this subject has intrigued me a lot recently. [Edited by Don W]
United States History 101.
Each of the original 13 colonies were independent. Each had its own charter or grant from the English. The first permanent English settlement was at
Jamestown, Virginia, in 1609. The money crop was tobacco. (Cotton replaced tobacco as the south's money crop after Eli Whitney invented the cotton
gin in the 1780s.)
Slaves were sold to the colonists in 1619, by Dutch ship captains. The southern tobacco growing colonies were Georgia, South
Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia and Maryland. Slaves however, were owned in every colony but in much fewer numbers and were mostly engaged in
household chores and light manufacturing. Life as a slave in the south on a tobacco farm was harsh, demanding and life shortening.
The southern colonies passed many laws intended to destroy the culture of the slaves. It was a crime to teach a slave to read or write. Slaves could
not congregate except for church services on Sunday and those were often monitored by the slave owners or his overseers. Slaves owned nothing, not
even the clothes on their backs. They had no civil rights. They could not testify in court against a white person. They could not bring criminal
charges when they were raped, beaten or otherwise abused by their owners. Their children were not their own, and were often sold to others.
In several instances slaves who had escaped and been captured, were beaten to death, and the other slaves were compelled to witness the beating. In
still other instances, slaves who had escaped serval times would have the front half of his right foot chopped off by an ax. Again, the other slaves
of every age were forced to be witnesses. Brutality was the rule of slave masters. Life expectancy of slaves was short. I cannot think of anything
good about slavery as practiced in the southern colonies.
The Revolutionary War began in April, 1775, at Lexington, Concord and Bunker Hill, in Massachusetts. The Declaration of Independence was signed on
July 4, 1776, in Philadelphia, then the largest city in the colonies. The last battle of the war was at Yorktown, Virginia, in 1781. I like to
remind by fellow Americans that half the soldiers at Yorktown on our side were French. And the French fleet had overpowered the mighty British Navy
which had sailed to rescue Lord Cornwallis. The French had loaned us money, sent us arms and supplies, without which, I believe the Revolution would
have failed. The Treaty of Paris of 1783 ended the war.
Flashback. In 1775, the 13 colonies meeting in Philadelphia had composed the Articles of Confederation under which the Continental Army of Gen. George
Washington was finally victorious. The Articles had many glaring deficiencies. It had no power to tax. Instead, it had to call on the colonies to
send money, supplies, and soldiers. Which the colonies ignored more often than not. It had no single executive. When in session it made all executive
decisions. When out of session, a committee of 1 man from each colony, 13 men, made executive decisions, on a majority vote basis. The unicameral
legislative body set colonial delegation size by the population of the colony, but in the voting process, each state had 1 vote, regardless of
population. By 1787, the weaknesses of the Articles were insurmountable and urgent changes were needed to save the Revolution.
A second convention was held in Philadelphia - it was also centrally located - in 1787. The new Constitution of the United States was circulated and
by its terms, 9 states had to ratify before it became effective but only between the ratifying states. No state was forced in. It was not majority
rule. It was every state for itself. Oh, the name, United States of America, was assigned by the 1775 Articles. The first election under the new
document was held, late, in 1789. It had been planned for 1788. The second presidential election was in 1792. On track. Only 10 states voted in the
first election .
By the second election, the last 3 original states had signed on and Vermont and Kentucky had been added, making 15 states. To gain an appreciation of
what the founding fathers (FFs) one need only read the Preamble to the Constitution. “We the people of the United States, to form a more perfect
union . . “
Further, there is no provision in the Constitution for any state (colony) to exit or opt out of the newly formed Union. In 1791, the new government
imposed a tax on whiskey. Many farmers relied on converting their corn crops into whiskey because it was easier to ship, stored well, and had a
constant demand. George Washington, then sitting as president, led an army into the backwoods of Pennsylvania to enforce the tax collectors. Another
more dramatic episode occurred later, when perhaps the issue of secession was more relevant than my first example.
Andrew Jackson was the first non-founding father to be elected president, in 1828. John C. Calhoun, a prominent senator from South Carolina, became
angered over the taxing of imports on which South Carolina was especially dependant. (Personal income tax was not allowed until 1913.) Calhoun led the
South Carolina delegation to Congress in threatening to secede from the Union if the tax was not repealed. President Jackson - he carried 2 bullets in
him from duels and had killed one man in a duel - warned John Calhoun and his associate that if they tried to secede, he would personably lead the US
Army to Charleston and hang each of them by the neck till dead! That ended talk of secession until 1860.
The greatest possible rejection of the theory of secession is of course, our own War of the Rebellion, popularly called the Civil War. Before it ended
11 states joined the Confederation States of America, the CSA. A dastardly band of traders in human flesh, who fought their best to save and to
extend the most disgusting institution know to humankind, slavery. 620,000 died on both sides. The Civil War stands as a terrible example of how to
win the war but to lose the peace. Hooliganism and thuggery prevailed in the South, in such terrorist organizations as the Ku Klux Klan. These
unreconstructed whites took back the south from law and order, especially after the 1876 presidential election.
Between 1876 and 1964, more than 3.000 black men were lynched. That is hung by the neck until strangled to death. More than 15,000 black men were so
severely beaten they never recovered their health. Over the years of terror, more than 50,000 burn-outs were perpetrated on poor blacks as terrorism
reigned in the American south. To heap insult upon injury, this reign of terror was legalized in 1896 by the US Supreme Court in a case called
Plessey v. Ferguson. Separate but equal. This ensconced Jim Crow in the law. Until 1954 when the Earl Warren Supreme Court overruled that case in the
famous Brown v. Topeka Board of Education case. And racism is alive and well in America in 2007.
No, Jimmy1880, secession was not an option to the Founding Fathers. Then or now. Or ever.
[edit on 1/18/2007 by donwhite]