White House Responds to Petitions for Secession
On November 7, 2012, some folks in Louisiana petitioned the White House to peaceably withdraw their state from the Union, followed by many more states.
The White House has responded, and, as anticipated, the answer is basically, “No.”
However, we do well to remember our history and that the federal government has no constitutional authority to prevent Louisiana or any other sovereign state for that matter, from seceding and forming their own, new government.
In other words, the feds have no say in the matter from a constitutional perspective. They certainly have power to say no, but they have no God-given authority to usurp the right of the people guaranteed by the Constitution. There is, after all a difference between power and authority.
If Louisiana, or any other state does not secede, it is because they have chosen not to for whatever reason. It’s up to the individual, sovereign states to decide. What troubles me in this regard is that people think they need permission from the federal government to secede. Truly sad. Slaves, meet your master!
Here’s part of the WH response:
In a nation of 300 million people — each with their own set of deeply-held beliefs — democracy can be noisy and controversial. And that’s a good thing. Free and open debate is what makes this country work, and many people around the world risk their lives every day for the liberties we often take for granted.
But as much as we value a healthy debate, we don’t let that debate tear us apart.
Where Jon Carson, director of the White House’s Office of Public Engagement gets it wrong in his official response is when he says this:
They [the founding fathers] enshrined in that document [the Constitution] the right to change our national government through the power of the ballot — a right that generations of Americans have fought to secure for all. But they did not provide a right to walk away from it.
This is complete, unadulterated ignorance and the result of believing the lie of the Lincoln cult so pervasive in government education. The right to secede from the Union and form a new government is not limited to the ballot box.
The people’s right to abolish destructive government and institute a new government upon whatever principles they so choose can be found in:
Declaration of Independence “That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness”
James Madison’s Introduction to the Bill of Rights “That the people have an indubitable, unalienable, and indefeasible right to reform or change their Government, whenever it be found adverse or inadequate to the purposes of its institution”
In my own commonwealth, we have this:
- Virginia Declaration of Rights, Section II “That all power is vested in, and consequently derived from, the people; that magistrates are their trustees and servants, and at all times amenable to them”
- Virginia Declaration of rights, Section III “whenever any government shall be found inadequate or contrary to these purposes, a majority of the community hath an indubitable, unalienable, and indefeasible right to reform, alter or abolish it, in such manner as shall be judged most conducive to the public weal”
What were the founding father’s intent on this matter? Here are some selected quotes from Thomas Jefferson:
- "What country can preserve its liberties if its rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to facts, pardon and pacify them." –Thomas Jefferson to William Stephens Smith, 1787. ME 6:373, Papers 12:356
- "The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions, that I wish it to be always kept alive. It will often be exercised when wrong, but better so than not to be exercised at all. I like a little rebellion now and then. It is like a storm in the atmosphere." –Thomas Jefferson to Abigail Adams, 1787.
- "Whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends [i.e., securing inherent and inalienable rights, with powers derived from the consent of the governed], it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness." –Thomas Jefferson: Declaration of Independence, 1776. ME 1:29, Papers 1:315
- "We think experience has proved it safer for the mass of individuals composing the society to reserve to themselves personally the exercise of all rightful powers to which they are competent and to delegate those to which they are not competent to deputies named and removable for unfaithful conduct by themselves immediately." –Thomas Jefferson to Pierre Samuel Dupont de Nemours, 1816. ME 14:487.
Now then, it’s up to the sovereign states of this country to decide what they shall do. That is the wish of the founding fathers, the intent of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.
You can read the full White House response here.