Those Of My Readers Who May Be Desirous Of Examining
This Matter For Themselves, Are Referred To The Articles Of
Confederation And The Constitution Of The United States.
alone is clear enough on the subject, but is strengthened by the
former in proving that under the latter no State could possess the
legal power of seceding.
But they who created the Constitution, who framed the clauses, and
gave to this terribly important work what wisdom they possessed, did
not presume to think that it could be final. The mode of altering
the Constitution is arranged in the Constitution. Such alterations
must be proposed either by two-thirds of both the houses of the
general Congress, or by the legislatures of two-thirds of the
States; and must, when so proposed, be ratified by the legislatures
of three-fourths of the States, (Article V.) There can, I think, be
no doubt that any alteration so carried would be valid - even though
that alteration should go to the extent of excluding one or any
number of States from the Union. Any division so made would be made
in accordance with the Constitution.
South Carolina and the Southern States no doubt felt that they would
not succeed in obtaining secession in this way, and therefore they
sought to obtain the separation which they wanted by revolution - by
revolution and rebellion, as Naples has lately succeeded in her
attempt to change her political status; as Hungary is looking to do;
as Poland has been seeking to do any time since her subjection; as
the revolted colonies of Great Britain succeeded in doing in 1776,
whereby they created this great nation which is now undergoing all
the sorrows of a civil war.
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