Friday, April 17, 2009

Rick Perry – An Honest Grasp of The Constitution and Secession

First Flag of the Republic of Texas -

Several Media Outlets have questioned Gov. Rick Perry’s recent secession statement at one of the Tax Day Tea Party’s he attended on Tuesday. A columnist for the Fort Worth Star Telegram decided to check on the Governor’s grasp of History, so he went to Texas A&M’s history department (Perry’s alma mater) to get the “scoop” from a Texas Historian. Apparently, this Texas Professor believes that Texas has no right, nor any other state to leave the Union. Perhaps Mr. Kennedy, the columnist should have done further research.

An excellent treatment of the history of Texas, from their role as an Independent Republic, to a Confederate State to their readmission to the Congress of the United States can be found here at the Texas State Library Association. An excerpt follows:

When the war ended in April 1865, Texas was still considered to be in revolt (the last battle of the Civil War was fought on Texas soil after the surrender at Appomattox). Although a state of peace was declared as existing between the United States and the other Southern States on April 2, 1866, President Andrew Johnson did not issue a similar proclamation of peace between the U.S. and Texas until August 20, 1866, even though the Constitutional Convention of 1866 had approved on March 15, 1866 an ordinance to nullify the actions of the Secession Convention
Southern States remained under military government until their legislatures adopted the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments to the United States Constitution. Their readmission to full national status varied from state to state (Georgia was readmitted twice).
In April 1869, the U.S. Congress passed an Act authorizing voters of Virginia, Mississippi and Texas to vote on their new state constitutions and to elect state officers and Members of Congress. Three months later, President U.S. Grant signed a proclamation submitting the Texas Constitution to the voters of the state.
Texans voted on a revised state constitution in November 1869 and elected a state government. Once convened, the legislature voted to ratify the 14th and 15th amendments to the U.S. Constitution (the 13th amendment having already been fully ratified) and elected two U.S. Senators, thereby completing the requirements for reinstatement. President Grant signed the act to readmit Texas to Congressional representation on March 30, 1870, and this federal act was promulgated throughout Texas by a general order issued by General Reynolds on April 16, 1870.
No requirement exists -- either in the Reconstruction Acts governing the rebel states or in the document readmitting Texas to full statehood -- for the governor of Texas to sign a document reaffirming Texas' position as a state within the United States republic. The only ongoing requirement of Texas government was that no constitutional revision should deny the vote or school rights to any citizen of the United States.
A thorough check of the volumes of federal statutes for the entire period of Reconstruction (1865-1870) and through 1872 revealed no other legislation requiring further proof of submission to the U.S. government on the part of Texas or any other of the "rebel states."

Additionally, one would refer to the Constitution of the United States, which does not deny a States option to secede (Findlaw – on Democrats in “Blue States” that wanted to secede after the 2004 election)
Historically speaking and in line with the Constitution Rick Perry has more than a leg to stand upon. The arguments against secession are not based in the Constitution –in fact, both Jefferson and Madison believed the Constitution to be an agreement between sovereign States. The Civil War, and Lincoln, brought the concept of “Succession as Unpatriotic” to the forefront - however, Lincoln in doing so, also played “fast and loose" with the Constitution - there simply was no legal basis, from one document that governs all states, to argue against secession.

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