They do, of course, and need not vote on the question for it to be resolved in favor of the power being recognized. It’s OK; everyone is so horribly frightened by the prospect that anyone might think they actually believe in this power, that you can rest assured that no significant group of people is actually going to exercise it.
Wisconsin is not going to secede from the union.
This, despite the fact that at the Sixth Congressional Republican Caucus in the northeastern part of the state, delegates in April passed a resolution reaffirming Wisconsin’s right to secede from the union should it choose to do so. The measure passed through the GOP convention’s Resolution Committee last week, and is set to be voted on (up or down) at the Republican State Convention this weekend.
But since the measure passed the caucus, Wisconsin Republicans of even the most Tea Party-ish, states’ rights variety have been quickly distancing themselves from it.
“This has been totally blown out of proportion,” said Michael Murphy, vice chairman of the 4th District Republican Party and a former chairman of the Republican Liberty Caucus, a Ron Paul-affiliated outlet. “This is one sentence in one resolution out of 23 that were passed, it is one tag line out of a larger resolution discussing state sovereignty. At no point are we going to the convention and debate that we want to secede from the union, even though some paint that as the case.”
I have received no small measure of joy lately in discussing the right to secession, in part because the thought offers some no doubt illusory possibility of escape from the horrible situation we find ourselves in . . . and in part from knowing that my position will tweak the very sort of non-thinkers who like to argue by labeling rather than reasoning and thinking. (NE-O-CON-FED-ER-ATE!) Anyway, if the right to secede seems doubtful to you, now is as good a time as any to address it. I will turn over the microphone to that well-known Neoconfederate racist, Walter Williams:
Thomas Jefferson in his First Inaugural Address said, “If there be any among us who would wish to dissolve this Union, or to change its republican form, let them stand undisturbed as monuments of the safety with which error of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left to combat it.” Fifteen years later, after the New England Federalists attempted to secede, Jefferson said, “If any state in the Union will declare that it prefers separation … to a continuance in the union …. I have no hesitation in saying, ‘Let us separate.’”
At Virginia’s ratification convention, the delegates said, “The powers granted under the Constitution being derived from the People of the United States may be resumed by them whensoever the same shall be perverted to their injury or oppression.” In Federalist Paper 39, James Madison, the father of the Constitution, cleared up what “the people” meant, saying the proposed Constitution would be subject to ratification by the people, “not as individuals composing one entire nation, but as composing the distinct and independent States to which they respectively belong.” In a word, states were sovereign; the federal government was a creation, an agent, a servant of the states.
On the eve of the War of 1861, even unionist politicians saw secession as a right of states. Maryland Rep. Jacob M. Kunkel said, “Any attempt to preserve the Union between the States of this Confederacy by force would be impractical, and destructive of republican liberty.” The northern Democratic and Republican parties favored allowing the South to secede in peace.
Just about every major Northern newspaper editorialized in favor of the South’s right to secede. New York Tribune (Feb. 5, 1860): “If tyranny and despotism justified the Revolution of 1776, then we do not see why it would not justify the secession of Five Millions of Southrons from the Federal Union in 1861.” Detroit Free Press (Feb. 19, 1861): “An attempt to subjugate the seceded States, even if successful could produce nothing but evil — evil unmitigated in character and appalling in content.” The New York Times (March 21, 1861): “There is growing sentiment throughout the North in favor of letting the Gulf States go.” [Thomas] DiLorenzo cites other editorials expressing identical sentiments.
Don’t be so scared of asserting rights that the Founding Fathers understood were rights that belonged to the people. Even if the Labelers want to use it to call you “fringe.” The Founding Fathers were “fringe” too. But they were right.