20 April, 2011

Historical Precedent for Secession

One must be fair to the South in all of this; they were not the first to agitate for secession. Actually, New England had done so as far back as the War of 1812. Now, when the Federal government is creating trade embargoes left and right and going to war with a foreign nation that many states don't even consider much of a threat, there's a little more basis for the claim that that government is overstepping its legal bounds than there is for the claim that a government is overstepping its bounds merely by the legal election of a moderately anti-slavery president. Be that as it may, it's interesting to note that the Founders who were alive back then were vehemently against this proposal. They thought it a "foolish bid by petty minds who put selfish and regional interests over national good." Not a comment about the legality of secession, of course, but interesting to note that these men who were actually involved in the formation of the country were not ready to jump on board with a secession program that was much more justifiable (for all the claims about the Southern economy, notice that the North's economy was the one being harmed in this squabble) than that which would occur half a century later.

1 comment:

Greg Piv said...

They don't mention the legality, true, but I think that they would have. I also think that the New England movement was a great deal smaller (how much, I don't know) than the Southern movement.

Another thing is that the NE-secession-rabble-rousers were, while the States were engaged in a conflict with a foreign enemy (Britain), insidiously pursuing treasonous activity for the purpose of aiding and abetting the enemy of the States. This might have been the thing with which the Founders had a problem. Seeing also that Thomas Jefferson was a solid supporter of France throughout his presidency, one can see which side he'd be on.