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Is Secession Treason?

• By Brion McClanahan

Was the act of secession in 1860-61 treason? This is one of the more important and lasting questions of the War. If so, then the lenient treatment of Confederate officers, political figures, and even the soldiers themselves following the War was a great gesture of magnanimity by a conquering foe never seen in the annals of Western Civilization. If not, then the entire War was an illegal and unconstitutional invasion of a foreign government with the express objective of maintaining a political community by force, an act that represented the antithesis of the American belief in self-government regardless of Abraham Lincoln's professed admiration for government "of the people, by the people, and for the people."

Until recently, the modern academy has not given the topic much scholarly attention. Post war discussions of secession and treason were best addressed in what is now classified as "Lost Cause Mythology."

1 Comments in Response to

Comment by Ed Price
Entered on:

This whole question is irrelevant. In secession, where is the corpus delicti? The 9th Amendment guarantees our personal secession - because all rights that we ever had, even before Government came about, are still there. Government has no authority, by its own writings, to limit any of our rights, but we have to demand our rights in the right way, as a man/woman. The 10th Amendment bars the Federal Government to go outside of its own Constitution regarding the States and the people. The Supremacy Clause does nothing other than uphold the Constitution, which grants freedom to the people and the States in the 9th and 10 Amendments. Don't secede. Vacate. Because vacating is essentially written in through the 9th and 10th Amendments.

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