Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Documenting the Confederacy, Part 3: Documenting Secession: Mississippi

Third flag of the CSA, the "Blood-Stained Banner" made it clear (as the
"Stainless Banner" did not) that it wasn't a white flag request to negotiate.
Only used for a few months in 1865.

AN ORDINANCE to dissolve the union between the State of Mississippi and other States united with her under the compact entitled "The Constitution of the United States of America."
The people of the State of Mississippi, in convention assembled, do ordain and declare, and it is hereby ordained and declared, as follows, to wit:
Section 1. That all the laws and ordinances by which the said State of Mississippi became a member of the Federal Union of the United States of America be, and the same are hereby, repealed, and that all obligations on the part of the said State or the people thereof to observe the same be withdrawn, and that the said State doth hereby resume all the rights, functions, and powers which by any of said laws or ordinances were conveyed to the Government of the said United States, and is absolved from all the obligations, restraints, and duties incurred to the said Federal Union, and shall from henceforth be a free, sovereign, and independent State.
Sec. 2. That so much of the first section of the seventh article of the constitution of this State as requires members of the Legislature and all officers, executive and judicial, to take an oath or affirmation to support the Constitution of the United States be, and the same is hereby, abrogated and annulled.
Sec. 3. That all rights acquired and vested under the Constitution of the United States, or under any act of Congress passed, or treaty made, in pursuance thereof, or under any law of this State, and not incompatible with this ordinance, shall remain in force and have the same effect as if this ordinance had not been passed.
Sec. 4. That the people of the State of Mississippi hereby consent to form a federal union with such of the States as may have seceded or may secede from the Union of the United States of America, upon the basis of the present Constitution of the said United States, except such parts thereof as embrace other portions than such seceding States.
Thus ordained and declared in convention the 9th day of January, in the year of our Lord 1861.
Source: Official Records, Ser. IV, vol. 1, p. 42.
From "Ordinances of Secession" at constitution.org

Mississippi declared its secession from the Union on 9 January 1861.  It's worth noting that Abraham Lincoln had not even been on the ballot in Mississippi, which voted nearly 60% for the Southern Democrat John Breckinridge, 36% for John Bell of the Constitutional Union Party, and Northern Democrat Steven A. Douglas received less than 5% of the vote.  Jefferson Davis, elected to the US Senate from Mississippi, said in his final speech to the Senate:
She [Mississippi] has heard proclaimed the theory that all men are created free and equal, and this made the basis of an attack upon her social institutions; and the sacred Declaration of Independence has been invoked to maintain the position of the equality of the races.
"A Declaration of the Immediate Causes which Induce and Justify the Secession of the State of Mississippi from the Federal Union" begins:
In the momentous step which our State has taken of dissolving its connection with the government of which we so long formed a part, it is but just that we should declare the prominent reasons which have induced our course. 
Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery-- the greatest material interest of the world. ...
and continues:
... by an imperious law of nature, none but the black race can bear exposure to the tropical sun.... 
... 
It has grown until it denies the right of property in slaves, and refuses protection to that right on the high seas, in the Territories, and wherever the government of the United States had jurisdiction. 
... 
It advocates negro equality, socially and politically, and promotes insurrection and incendiarism in our midst. 
... 
Utter subjugation awaits us in the Union, if we should consent longer to remain in it. It is not a matter of choice, but of necessity. We must either submit to degradation, and to the loss of property worth four billions of money, or ...
Mississippi leads directly with "it's about slavery!" and follows up with "OMG!  Equality for Negros!" and "It's going to cost of billions of dollars".

Again, Mississippi wanted to deny northern states the right to abolish slavery within their own territory.  That's for anyone who thinks "States' Rights" had anything to do with secession.

Part 2: Documenting Secession: South Carolina
Part 4: Documenting Secession: Florida
There's more...

Documenting the Confederacy, Part 2: Documenting Secession: South Carolina

AN ORDINANCE to dissolve the union between the State of South Carolina and other States united with her under the compact entitled "The Constitution of the United States of America."
We, the people of the State of South Carolina, in convention assembled, do declare and ordain, and it is hereby declared and ordained, That the ordinance adopted by us in convention on the twenty-third day of May, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty-eight, whereby the Constitution of the United States of America was ratified, and also all acts and parts of acts of the General Assembly of this State ratifying amendments of the said Constitution, are hereby repealed; and that the union now subsisting between South Carolina and other States, under the name of the "United States of America," is hereby dissolved.
Done at Charleston the twentieth day of December, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty.
Source: Official Records, Ser. IV, vol. 1, p. 1.
From "Ordinances of Secession" at constitution.org 

According to Wikipedia, "An official secession convention met in South Carolina following the November 1860 election of Abraham Lincoln".  The convention issued the above "ordinance of secession" on 20 December, 1860, and ordered seven members to draft a separate statement, which was adopted by the convention on Christmas Eve as "The Declaration of the Immediate Causes Which Induce and Justify the Secession of South Carolina from the Federal Union" (hereinafter "The Declaration").
...an increasing hostility on the part of the non-slaveholding States to the institution of slavery, has led to a disregard of their obligations, and the laws of the General Government have ceased to effect the objects of the Constitution. ... The State of New Jersey, at an early day, passed a law in conformity with her constitutional obligation; but the current of anti-slavery feeling has led her more recently to enact laws which render inoperative the remedies provided by her own law and by the laws of Congress. In the State of New York even the right of transit for a slave has been denied by her tribunals; (emphasis mine)
Regardless of questions of Constitutionality, South Carolina's Declaration makes it quite clear that slavery is the reason for their secession.

Part 1: The Confederate States of America and Treason
Part 3: Documenting Secession: Mississippi
There's more...

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Documenting the Confederacy, Part 1: The Confederate States of America and Treason

Second flag of the CSA, the "Stainless Banner", incorporating the
battle flag of Lee's Army of Northern Virginia on a field of white
to represent "the heaven-ordained supremacy of the white man
over the inferior or colored race"

The states of the Confederacy (the "CSA") declared their secession from the United States (the "Union") in a collection of documents which are called the Ordinances of Secession.  Several of the CSA also issued "Declarations of Causes" which provide supplementary information.

For those who haven't kept track, the eleven states of the CSA were: South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, Virginia, Arkansas, Tennessee, and North Carolina.  They formed a self-proclaimed nation in 1861 after the election of Republican Abraham Lincoln and fought the Union until 1865, when they were defeated.  The last four states listed (Virginia, Arkansas, Tennessee, and North Carolina) did not declare their secession until after the attack of Fort Sumter by the other seven secessionist states.

No foreign government ever officially recognized the CSA as an independent country.  According to US precedent (notably SCOTUS Texas v. White), unilateral secession is an impossibility because the Constitution creates an "indestructible" union: the Articles of Confederation call the Union "perpetual" and the US Constitution created a "more perfect union".
[Salmon P.] Chase, [Chief Justice], ruled in favor of Texas on the ground that the Confederate state government in Texas had no legal existence on the basis that the secession of Texas from the United States was illegal. The critical finding underpinning the ruling that Texas could not secede from the United States was that, following its admission to the United States in 1845, Texas had become part of "an indestructible Union, composed of indestructible states." In practical terms, this meant that Texas has never seceded from the United States. (Pavkovic & Radan, 2007, p 222)
 Precedent leaves open the possibility of successful rebellion (as the CSA did not achieve) or an Act of Congress permitting secession.

Legalistically speaking, so far as the United States and the rest of the world is concerned, the CSA never existed as an independent nation.  Had they succeeded, they would have.  Because the CSA never legally existed, the taking up of arms against the Union met the definition of treason in 18 US Code 2381:
Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere, is guilty of treason...
During the war, President Lincoln had issued a number of pardons for treason and rebellion.  President Johnson chose not to have wholesale trials of 3/4 million soldiers who served in the Confederate Army.  Instead, he issued a series of general pardons, with a large number of exceptions. In a final act on Christmas Day, 1968, President Johnson declared:
unconditionally, and without reservation, ... a full pardon and amnesty for the offence of treason against the United States, or of adhering to their enemies during the late civil war, with restoration of all rights, privileges, and immunities under the Constitution and the laws ...
Meaning that that vast bulk of Confederate participants in the Civil War were granted a pardon for Treason.

Why is that significant?  One word: Burdick.  OK, three words: Burdick v. US.

Burdick is a 1915 SCOTUS decision that clearly establishes an individual is allowed to reject a pardon.  As a result, the state cannot compel testimony covered by the 5th Amendment by offering a pardon -- the defendant must accept the pardon.  In accepting a pardon, however, one confesses guilt of the crime pardoned:
This brings us to the differences between legislative immunity and a pardon. They are substantial. The latter carries an imputation of guilt; acceptance a confession of it.
Thus, any member of the Confederacy (in particular any member of the Confederate Army or Navy) who accepted their pardon and was not tried for treason confessed to the crime of treason against the Union.

One specific person of note, however, attempted to confess and was denied for 110 years, then accepted retroactively.  General Robert E. Lee, specifically covered by exception to the general pardon because he resigned his commission in the US Army to serve in the Confederate Army, and because his rank was above that of Colonel in the Confederate Army, made application to President Johnson on 13 June 1865:
Being excluded from the provisions of amnesty & pardon contained in the proclamation of the 29th Ulto; I hereby apply for the benefits, & full restoration of all rights & privileges extended to those included in its terms. I graduated at the Mil. Academy at West Point in June 1829. Resigned from the U.S. Army April '61. Was a General in the Confederate Army, & included in the surrender of the Army of N. Va. 9 April '65.
Lee signed an Amnesty Oath on 2 October 1865, complying fully with Johnson's general pardon proclamation.  But Lee was never pardoned while alive, and President Ford signed a joint congressional resolution making the pardon effecting 13 June 1965.

And thus, 110 years after the end of the Civil War and 105 years after his death, General Robert E. Lee confessed to treason against the United States.

Part 0: Introduction
Part 2: Documenting Secession: South Carolina

(Edit 2017.08.16: removed double quotation marks; fixed white background; replaced "Articles" of Secession with "Ordinances" of Secession; added 's' to Article(s) of Confederation)
There's more...

Documenting the Confederacy, Part 0: Introduction

First flag of the Confederate States of America (CSA)
Found on the intarwebs, used without permission.

I found a blog a while back that was systematically going through a collection of documents about the Confederacy and pulling out the proof that secession was about slavery.  I've since lost that blog, can't find it, and think perhaps it has slipped down the memory hole.

So I'm going to start doing that.  I'll be periodically posting a link to each of the traitor state's document describing their reasons for leaving the Union and selecting pull quotes that describe their reasons.  By doing so, I will be documenting, in their own words, that slavery was a significant reason for secession.  It will provide a library of responses to "the Civil War wasn't about slavery, it was about ...".

There will be an opportunity to discuss the meaning of the Confederate flag, as well.

In the end, I hope to create, if not a definitive resource, a sufficient one.

Part 1: The Confederate States of America and Treason
There's more...

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Maintaining Sacred Space at Arlington


Watch a member of "The Old Guard" get a bayonet through his foot while changing the guard at the Tomb of the Unknowns.  Here's the story.  There's a grimace, and there's blood showing on his boot.  And that's it.

What discipline.

What dedication.

What an amazing thing that we, as Americans, receive such performance -- freely given! -- from a young man dedicated to our defense.

How disturbing that many of us don't deserve it -- and have no idea how to return even the most basic respect to troops like that.

Here's a comment I wrote last year on Facebook after a visit to Arlington National Cemetery.  It was made on the Facebook announcement of this post about Colin Kaepernick on Stonekettle Station by Jim Wright:

I visited Arlington National Cemetery (ANC) recently. Within a few feet of entering the gate, I heard young men (high school students, I would guess) skirmishing and tussling behind me, and I asked them (rather sharply, I'm afraid) to settle down and quiet down and remember that this was a cemetery not a locker room, and that it was as close to hallowed ground as our system allowed us to create. They shut up, and one muttered an apology.

Ten minutes later, leaving the Info Center, as Roosevelt Drive turned off and the road became Eisenhower Drive, I saw a cassion approaching, with full honor guard marching behind it. I got off the road, to the left of the sidewalk, and waited, attentive (not at attention -- I'm not a veteran, and I know the difference) and removed my hat as it approached. I got a nod from the NCOIC of the detail, which amazed me, until I turned to watch the cassion pass, and saw that there were a half dozen people IN THE ROAD with their cell phone cameras up, plus a couple of dozen more on the sidewalk and blocking Roosevelt going up the hill. Every last one had a cell phone up, most of them had hats on, and, as I said, a half dozen were standing in the road in front of the cassion. Before it had to stop, the docents got them out of the way and told the crowd that filming, especially from the road, was disrespectful (at least that's what I assume they said, because the phones came down) and reminded them to remove their hats.

I couldn't believe it. They had to almost physically remove one kid from the road. And they never did get his baseball cap off him.

At Arlington.

I agree with Jim (like that matters -- he's way more entitled to talk about this than I am) that we arent Romans, or Spartans, or even Watusi (thank you, Bill Murray), but these people buried here, they or their family went when we said "go", and they came back (if they came back) burdened with what we had them do in our names.

And we should damn well have the common decency to remove our hats, get the hell out of the way of their bodies, and have some goddamned RESPECT for them at their final resting place.

And since we're going to honor them, let's do so by remembering the ideals for which they fought, which include everyone's right to protest injustice.

Even NFL players.
I don't know what we need to do to make it clear to (especially young) Americans just how special a place Arlington National Cemetery is.  But I think we need to figure that out.
There's more...