A Theory of Secession
Cambridge University Press, Sep 5, 2005 - Philosophy
First published in 2005, A Theory of Secession: The Case for Political Self-Determination offers an unapologetic defense of the right to secede. Christopher Heath Wellman argues that any group has a moral right to secede as long as its political divorce will leave it and the remainder state in a position to perform the requisite political functions. He explains that there is nothing contradictory about valuing legitimate states, while permitting their division. Once political states are recognized as valuable because of the functions that they are uniquely suited to perform, it becomes apparent that the territorial boundaries of existing states might permissably be redrawn as long as neither the process, nor the result of this reconfiguration, interrupts the production of the crucial political benefits. Thus, if one values self-determination, then one has good reason to conclude that people have a right to determine their political boundaries.
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Page 63 - The constitution provides, and all the states have accepted the provision, that " the United States shall guarantee to every state in this Union a republican form of government." But, if a state may lawfully go out of the Union, having done so, it may also discard the republican form of government...
Page 82 - My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave, I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves, I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone, I would also do that.
Page 61 - I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so; and I have no inclination to do so.
Page 66 - The nation purchased with money the countries out of which several of these States were formed ; is it just that they shall go off without leave and without refunding ? The nation paid very large sums (in the aggregate, I believe, nearly a hundred millions) to relieve Florida of the aboriginal tribes ; is it just that she shall now be off without consent, or without...
Page 64 - Again : if the United States be not a government proper, but an association of States in the nature of a contract merely, can it, as a contract, be peaceably unmade by less than all the parties who made it...
Page 66 - What is now combated is the position that secession is consistent with the Constitution — is lawful and peaceful. It is not contended that there is any express law for it, and nothing should ever be implied as law which leads to unjust or absurd consequences. The nation purchased •with money the countries out of which several of these States were formed. Is it just that they shall go off without leave and without refunding?
Page 63 - Our adversaries have adopted some declarations of independence, in which, unlike the good old one penned by Jefferson, they omit the words "All men are created equal." Why? They have adopted a temporary national constitution, in the preamble of which, unlike our good old one signed by Washington, they omit "We, the people," and substitute "We, the deputies of the sovereign and independent States.
Page 63 - This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it, or their revolutionary right to dismember or overthrow it.
Page 62 - Union, it is presumed the whole class of seceder politicians would at once deny the power, and denounce the act as the greatest outrage upon State rights. But suppose that precisely the same act, instead of being called "driving the one out...
Page 66 - Is it just that she shall now be off without consent or without making any return? The nation is now in debt for money applied to the benefit of these so-called seceding States in common with the rest. Is it just either that creditors shall go unpaid or the remaining States pay the whole? A part of the present national debt was contracted to pay the old debts of Texas. Is it just that she shall leave and pay no part of this herself?