Codex Per·Fidem - On Secession

On Secession

“Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes”
-United States Declaration of Independencce

One day while cruising the Internet (I prefer cruising rather than surfing) I happened upon the website for the Republic of Texas organization. For those of you who may not know, the Republic of Texas organization is a secessionist group who believes that Texas was illegally invaded during the Civil War and forced back into Union. Since Texas’ re-admittance into the Union was illegal, then legally Texas is still an independent republic. I will refer to this group as the Republic of Texas organization in this essay to distinguish it from the sovereign nation that existed from 1836 to 1845, The Republic of Texas. This group seeks to reestablish Texas independence. Though groups like this are not considered in the mainstream of Texas politics, Texans still have a special place in their hearts for them. Many native born Texans believe that Texas can and probably should secede from the Union. The problem with the Republic of Texas organization is that they are wrong. Texas and the rest of the South seceded from the Union illegally. Therefore the Union had every right to suppress this rebellion.

Why do I say the secession was illegal? Because secession should be done by treaty, since secession will result in the creation of a new Nation. This is the only way such an act could be legal. The governor of the seceding State (or whoever the people of that state choose) would negotiate a treaty of secession with the President of the United States. When the two sides agree on the treaty, it would then have to be ratified by the Senate of the United States and the Legislature of the State. The Southern States did not do this. They simply issued proclamations of secession. Therefore, their secession was illegal. It was, in fact, a rebellion.

The Texian Party proposes in its platform that the Congress of the United States should propose and the States should ratify an amendment to the United States Constitution which shall clarify the right of States to secede from the Union and require that such secession should be done by a treaty between the seceding State and the United States. This is what is required by Common Law and the Law of Nations. Two sovereign powers enter into agreements by treaty, not by one power demanding that the other power yield. The Republic of Texas joined the Union in 1845 by treaty. This was a treaty that the vast majority of the citizens of the Republic wanted, was negotiated by the Presidents of the two nations, and ratified by the Congress of the United States and a convention of delegates elected by the People of the Republic of Texas. Therefore, Texas’ admission into the Union in 1845 was legal. However, despite the warnings of Governor Sam Houston, the State of Texas adopted an ordinance of secession and declared herself independent of the United States in 1861. This was in violation of the precedent established by the Treaty of Annexation and of the Law of Nations. Therefore, I cannot agree that Texas was illegally forced back into the Union. Legally, Texas never left the Union.

I do agree that the Government of the United States committed atrocities against Texas and other Southern States during reconstruction. For example, after the Southern States were reunited with their Northern brethren, they adopted new constitutions. However, the radicals in Congress (and I hate to admit that these radicals were Republicans, but they were) declared the new State constitutions invalid and set about placing the South under military rule. The administrators of these military districts then adopted new State constitutions and the States were given their rights back. These reconstruction constitutions were not in line with the political culture of the States. Texas was forced to live under her reconstruction constitution for three years before a new constitution was adopted. This is the constitution we live under now. South Carolina suffered for eight years, Florida suffered for nine years. This, and other continuing efforts of the Federal Government to usurp States Rights are rightfully resented by Southern Patriots today. In fact, you could make the argument that Texas has more reasons to want to secede today than she did in 1861. But this is not an article about why Texas should secede. Once again I have gone off on a tangent.

The conclusion is that Texas legally joined the Union in 1845, then seceded illegally in 1861 and her rebellion was legally suppressed by the Union. If Texans decide that Texas should secede, then Texas should negotiate a treaty with the President of the United States. I would also like to point out that if Texas does attempt to secede, but the treaty is not ratified by the Senate, then this can be corrected rather easily. Texas, unlike the other States in the Union, has the right to divide herself into four more states, for a total of five. This would give Texas ten Senators instead of the two we have now. Those eight new votes might be able to tip the vote in Texas’ favor. This can be done without Federal approval.

It is necessary to also point out that the Texas Heritage Party is often referred to as the Texian Party. We do not call our party “Texian” because we believe as the Republic of Texas organization that Texas should be an independent Republic. We use the term “Texian” to emphasize our commitment to preserving Texas heritage and history.


© Copyright 2004, Jason E. Heath
All rights reserved