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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/5576/another-pro-secession-abolitionist/

Another Pro-Secession Abolitionist

September 6, 2006 by

When the Civil War came, many abolitionists, including William Lloyd Garrison, abandoned their traditional anti-war, anti-state stance to support the Northern cause, in the hope that a Union victory would bring a quicker end to slavery. One abolitionist who stuck to his anti-war position and defended Southern secession was Ezra Heywood; his critique of the Garrisonian position is now online here. Commentary here.

{ 11 comments }

Mark Brabson September 6, 2006 at 8:25 pm

At least a few people up north recognized the War of Northern Aggression for what it was. Hundreds of thousands of lives wasted in naked lust of mercantilism and power. And the draconian oppression called “reconstruction” that followed. Probably the most sordid portion of American History.

Stephan Kinsella September 6, 2006 at 9:52 pm

Roderick, are you saying Garrison actually changed his mind about the *constitutionality of secession* after the civil war started?

My understanding is he opposed the Constitution because he thought it protected slavery; and indeed he advocated Northern secession because of this–so he must have thought states had a right to secede.

P.M.Lawrence September 7, 2006 at 3:48 am

That’s far too US-centric. The Civil War had practically nothing to do with the abolition of slavery. If anything, it increased slavery when Cromwell sent so many captives to Barbados as slaves.

Billy Beck September 7, 2006 at 9:47 am

Garrison set fire to the Constitution on Framingham Green, Massachusetts, July 4, 1854, almost seven years before Fort Sumter.

“Thus perish all compromise with tyranny!”

If such a thing doesn’t necessarily imply secession, then I’d like to know what does.

Mark Brabson September 7, 2006 at 10:35 am

There are a couple of active seccessionist movements in the United States. The most notable one envisions a confederate union based on the Constitution of the Confederate States of America. While not particularly popular at the moment, a crisis at the Federal level could spur interest.

Roderick T. Long September 7, 2006 at 12:44 pm

To Stephan: I gather the view he came to was that states have a right (that is, a moral right — he wasn’t especially interested in constitutional rights) to secede in order to increase freedom, but no right to secede in order to protect slavery. But pinning down his precise views during that period is tricky.

To P. M. Lawrence: I didn’t know that Caesar and Pompey had anything to do with Barbados.

To Mark Brabson: Apart from explicitly protecting slavery (hopefully the movement you’re referring to drops that bit?), the Confederate Constitution is by and large a copy of the U.S. Constitution. Given that the U.S. Constitution has been unable to prevent the growth of centralised statism, it’s hard to see why we should get excited about a second iteration of it. I’d rather see states secede as individual nations — and then we could work on breaking the states down into independent counties ….

Mark Brabson September 7, 2006 at 2:30 pm

The several proposed Constitutions all explicitly forbid slavery and all provide explicitely for equal protection of the laws for all races.

The original Confederate Constitution and the revised proposals, all have clauses specifically designed to combat mercantilism. They are not perfect by any means, but better than the current U.S. Constitution.

I would like the U.S. returned to something similar to the Articles of Confederation. A free trade sphere if you will. One centralized entity to handle foreign relations on behalf of the states, control the nuclear weaponry and to have a small, defensive Army and Navy. Return to having a United States in Congress Assembled. Each state would have one vote.

As for breaking the states themselves down, that is definately a thought. Particularly California, which badly needs to be broken down into about four, five or six separate states. Florida could probably be split into two parts. Other states could probably stand to be divided.

Roderick T. Long September 7, 2006 at 4:23 pm

I definitely prefer the Articles of Confederation to either the U.S. Constitution or the C.S.A. Constitution.

If California were split into five or six states, or Florida into two, then while that would certainly be an improvement in terms of competition, each of those states would still be roughly in line with the size of most states around the world — which from a libertarian standpoint (even a minarchist one, assume) is still way too big. Look how centralised and control-freaky most nation-states that size already are. I’m not even talking about the really nastily oppressive states, just the mild-mannered ossified micromanaging bureaucracies like, well, France.

By contrast, imagine that the average state were no larger than Liechtenstein, Hong Kong, Monaco, or Andorra. The degree of competition among states would be so high then that it would be MUCH harder for individual governments to get away with too much control.

Mark Brabson September 8, 2006 at 11:40 am

I was able to split California into eight viable states. It was actually a fascinating bit of work using a spreadsheet and some mapping software. There has been a serious debate in California about breaking apart the state and I think it would be an excellent idea. The eight proposed states:

1. Cascade-consisting of Northern Counties, 2.8 Million people
2. California-consisting of Sacramento, Stockten and Modesto areas, 2.4 Million people
3. Cisco-consisting of San Francisco Bay area, 6.0 Million people
4. Sequoia-consisting of central western counties, 2.0 Million
5. Padre-consisting of central coastal counties, 2.5 Million
6. Angeles-consisting of Los Angeles county, almost 10.0 Million
7. Mojave-consisting of San Bernandino, Orange and Riverside counties, 6.6 Million
8. Diego-consisting of San Diego and Imperial counties, 3.0 Million

Nice thing is it gets those poor rural Californian’s out from under the thumb of those MoonBats in San Francisco and statists in Los Angeles.

I would move to Cascade if it came into being. :)

P.M.Lawrence September 9, 2006 at 2:22 am

It’s occurred to me that I should have put an irony alert on. I was making the point that it’s rather ridiculous for people to talk about “the” Civil War without specifying whose or which, and in particular it’s US-centric to assume that the default is the US one. So I gave another example of what you get if you don’t specify (as it happens, a much “purer” example since both sides were disagreeing about the nature of the state rather than one side fighting a war of independence).

Roderick T. Long September 12, 2006 at 6:12 pm

P.M., should I have put the irony alert on my response to you?

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