Sunday, October 7, 2012
Valerie Protopapas Sends Her Last Response to Dr. Guelzo
Re: Lincoln and the "central idea of America"
This is my last response to you because I know your kind and nothing provided to you would satisfy. You would say that words were taken out of context or misreported etc. etc. ad nausea.
But let me at least address one point. You say that there was no constitutional mechanism for withdrawing from the Union. That is just plain nonsense! How about the New England states and the Hartford Convention during the War of 1812? What were they doing? Playing tiddly-winks?! Of course there was! And, in fact, the right of secession was the majority opinion of lawyers and constitutional scholars until after the War of Secession. It was taught by Rawles in West Point. Indeed, Robert E. Lee stated that his opinion on the constitutionality of secession was based upon Rawles' teachings. Then there were the three States - Virginia, Rhode Island and New York - that put secession provisions in their ratification documents to assure that if the need arose, they could leave the Union. Unlike the Articles of Confederation, there was no declaration in the Constitution of an "indissoluble union." When years later, Fitz Hugh Lee asked why if secession were not constitutional, the Constitution did not say so, he was told that had the Constitution forbidden secession nobody would have signed it! The Constitution was a contract and, in fact, it was already null and void when many states in the North violated that contract by their own behavior. The federal government simply added to the legal reasons for the Southern States to secede. Remember, Virginia and North Carolina only seceded when Lincoln demanded troops from those states in order to wage unconstitutional and treasonous war upon those states that had already seceded! As you know, once one side has violated a contract, that contract is no longer in effect for the other side.
You cannot take the "definition" of the legality and constitutionality of secession from post-war writings or from Lincoln's topsy-turvy findings that the federal government created the states and not vice versa. Well, I shouldn't say that you cannot, because obviously you have. However, I will say that you will never convince people who go back to the original source that your definition works.
Oh, yes, and as for the Union commanders ordered to return slaves which you seem to think I made up out of whole cloth:
On August 30, 1861 John C Fremont declared martial law in Missouri and freed slaves of Missouri Confederates. On September 11th, 1861 Lincoln ordered Fremont to rescind his order freeing some slaves in Missouri and issues a new order conforming to the Confiscation Act passed by Congress. On May 9th 1862 General David Hunter [US] freed the slaves in South Carolina, Georgia and Florida. On May 19th Lincoln rescinded Hunter's emancipation of the slaves in his department and used the opportunity to call for a gradual emancipation. On July 17, 1862 Lincoln wrote a letter to the Congressmen from the border states, warning them of his upcoming Emancipation Proclamation. In it he stated, "I do not speak of emancipation at once, but of a decision at once to emancipate gradually."