A Southern heritage organization that has argued for an investigation of “injustices” committed by Union troops against the South during the Civil War now says the offhand dismissal by the White House of secession petitions filed by residents of all 50 states may actually help the movement.
“I think that this is going to rejuvenate and give it more life, and obviously we need to fan the flames and give it more oxygen,” said Michael Hill, president of the League of the South, which has numerous chapters across the United States.
The issue arose immediately after Barack Obama’s re-election in November. It got started with a petition on the White House website from Louisianans anxious to properly withdraw their state from the union.
In just days, residents of all 50 states had launched such petitions, gathering hundreds of thousands of signatures.
The petitions were ignored by the White House until just days ago, when Jon Carson, director of the White House Office of Public Engagement, said no.
“As much as we value a healthy debate,” he wrote, “we don’t let that debate tear us apart.”
WND was the first news outlet in the nation to report when a Louisiana man began a petition on the White House’s “We the People” website, asking permission for his state to peacefully secede.
The Louisiana petition quoted from the Declaration of Independence: “‘Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it, and institute new Government.’”
According to the guidelines of the “We the People” website, when a petition reaches 25,000 signatures, the White House has pledged to put the petition in a queue for response.
Louisiana’s petition quickly reached that threshold and was followed by similar petitions from all 50 states, several of which also topped the 25,000 mark.
“Our founding fathers established the Constitution of the United States ‘in order to form a more perfect union’ through the hard and frustrating but necessary work of self-government,” the White House said. “They enshrined in that document the right to change our national government through the power of the ballot – a right that generations of Americans have fought to secure for all. But they did not provide a right to walk away from it.
“As President Abraham Lincoln explained in his first inaugural address in 1861, ‘in contemplation of universal law and of the Constitution the Union of these States is perpetual,’” the response continued. “In the years that followed, more than 600,000 Americans died in a long and bloody civil war that vindicated the principle that the Constitution establishes a permanent union between the States. And shortly after the Civil War ended, the Supreme Court confirmed that ‘[t]he Constitution, in all its provisions, looks to an indestructible Union composed of indestructible States.’”
Now, in the wake of the White House statement, Hill told WND, “I was quite delighted to the response they gave.”
He said that’s because he believes the federal government continues to propagate the proposition that consolidated government is necessary.
“The League of the South and our allies have argued this proposition [of the federal government] for years now, and it is the same old excuse for consolidated government that we have seen since the 1830s, and it didn’t ring true then … and it doesn’t ring true now,” he said.
Hill said the “left” hasn’t read the Constitution closely.
It was not until the 1830s that philosophical presuppositions against secession emerged, he said.
“You had hacks in the 1830s that started to propose the notion that the federal government preceded the states. … This is a lie that holds no water,” he said.
He added that the current political establishment believes “that we are stuck in this [union] in perpetuity.”
But he said that concept in is conflict with the basic idea of freedom.
“Free men cannot be free unless they can decide their own futures,” he said.
The League also notes the Obama administration’s actions recently on guns and amnesty for illegal aliens.
“As a southern nationalist, I think that the whole Second Amendment issue can be dealt with in the short term by states rights, meaning nullification,” he said.
In that scenario, states simply refuse to acknowledge or enforce a federal mandate. In some states, there already are plans under consideration, including penalties for federal agents who might try to enforce a federal mandate that has been repudiated by the state.
“But in the longer term it can be dealt with very effectively by secession and southern independence,” Hill said. “If we were our own country we would not have to be subject to draconian gun laws being forced down our throats by the likes of Chuck Schumer, Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein.”
He predicts that if the federal government begins imposing federal bans on weapons, many states will consider “nullifying these gun laws, executive orders or court decisions that infringe upon our rights.”
Hill also noted that lawful authority has limitations and that the people should not be fearful of government authority.
“Those in positions of power who exceed the limits of lawful authority ought to be made to live in mortal fear of their transgressions. This is the foundation of a free and healthy society,” he said.
The group also stated the organization will not comply with Obama gun confiscation plans.
“The League of the South, the premier Southern nationalist organization, will not comply with any diminution of our God-given right to keep and bear the sort of arms a free people need to remain free. This means ‘assault weapons’ and high-capacity magazines. Moreover, we will view any attempt to deprive the Southern people of these tools as a criminal act by a criminal regime.”
It was a decade ago when the organization said it wanted an investigation of what the Union troops did to private property in the South during the Civil War.
The group at that time said, “The private property of non-combatants was ravaged, burned, stolen and destroyed as a deliberate policy of an unconstitutional war of invasion, conquest and occupation.”
The constitutionality of secession’s has been debated since long before Abraham Lincoln’s time. It’s continued to be an issue even since the Texas v. White Supreme Court decision cited in the White House response.
WND columnists Walter E. Williams and Alan Keyes have both argued secession is constitutional. A column by Williams cites historical evidence from both the Founding Fathers and the Civil War era. Keyes’ argues God-given rights cannot be trumped by man-made law, Supreme Court decisions or civil war.