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By Timothy N. Baldwin, JD.
February 15, 2010

(Continued) Anti-Secessionist Argument #2: The US Constitution Is Not a Federal Compact of States/Bodies-Politic, but Is an Independent Government Formed by One People/Body-Politic, Without Regard to State Powers.

Perhaps one of the best sources to determine whether the states voluntarily assented to a federal compact or whether the whole people created a perpetual federal government at the exclusion of the state’s right to secede is the states’ ratification documents themselves. “[T]he publication of the Proceedings and Debates of the states must, at least, be useful [to determine] what the states really intended to grant to the general government.” Elliot, Elliot’s Debates, Preface to the First Edition, vol. 1, iv. Let us see what just a few of the states declared to the world they were doing:

States’ Ratification Declarations


“We, the Deputies of the People of Delaware State…have approved, assented to, ratified, and confirmed, and by these presents do…fully, freely, and entirely approve of, assent to, ratify and confirm, the said Constitution.” Stephens, 207-208 (emphasis added). Here it is clear: the state of Delaware assented to the Constitution.


“In the Name of the People of Pennsylvania. Be it known unto all men, that we, the Delegates of the people of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania…have assented to and ratified…the foregoing Constitution for the United States of America.” Stephens, 209 (emphasis added. Note: the constitution was ratified for the states.)


“In the name of the People of the State of Connecticut. We, the Delegates of the people of said State…pursuant to an Act of the Legislature…have assented to, and ratified, and by these presents do assent to, ratify and adopt the Constitution…FOR the United States of America.” Stephens, 227-228 (emphasis added).

Roger Sherman of Connecticut--one of the five in the committee in Congress that drafted the Declaration of Independence and the only person to sign all four great state papers of the U.S.: the Continental Association, the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution--understood the ratification of the constitution to be a federal compact, assented to by sovereign states, such that the state legislatures retained all powers to resist federal tyranny through nullification and secession. Sherman says:

“But, says the honorable objector, if Congress levies money, they must legislate. I admit it. Two legislative powers, says he, cannot legislate on the same subject in the same place. I (Roger Williams) ask, why can they not? It is not enough to say they cannot. I wish for some reason [to] grant that both [State and Federal] cannot legislate upon the same object at the same time, and carry into effect laws which are contrary to each other…It is vain to say they cannot exist, whey actually have done it…I am for coercion by law—that coercion which acts only upon delinquent individuals. This Constitution does not attempt to coerce Sovereign bodies, States, in their political capacity.” Stephens, 229-231 (emphasis added by author).


If states may not nullify, resist or in any way contradict the federal government except as through the US S CT or alternatively through three-fourths of the states, then Sherman (who undoubtedly was very familiar with all of the U.S. freedom documents) advocated a very erroneous and even fraudulent proposition to his people, that the Constitution did not allow the federal government to coerce sovereign bodies of States in their political capacity. And if he was so ignorant, how much more incredible would be any of the founders’ position on the matter, such that there would be no certainty whatsoever even to what the definition of the word “is” is. But if the states can nullify, then they can do so based upon the limitations placed upon the federal government and upon the retained sovereignty of the states. Upon that same basis, secession is with their right.


“Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The Convention having impartially discussed, and fully considered, the Constitution for the United States of America…[and] of entering into an explicit and solemn compact with each other, by assenting to and ratifying a new Constitution, in order to form a more perfect union…do, in the name and in behalf of the people of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, assent to and ratify the said Constitution for the United States of America.”
Stephens, 233 (emphasis added).

Is there any mistake here? Massachusetts expressly declared to the world that they were forming a federal compact by their voluntary assent FOR the United States.


Perhaps you need more confirmation. If so, you would like to know that the people of Virginia expressly stated in their ratification document that:

“[T]he powers granted under the Constitution, being derived from the people of the United States, may be resumed by them, whensoever the same shall be perverted to their injury or oppression, and that every power not granted thereby remains with them, and at their will; that, therefore, no right, of any denomination, can be cancelled, abridged, restrained, or modified by the Congress, by the Senate or House of Representatives, acting in any capacity, by the President, or any department or officer of the United States.” Stephens, 254-255 (emphasis added).

With that understanding, Virginia did “assent to and ratify the Constitution.” Stephens, 255. Virginia simply expressed the political understanding of what the US Constitution was: a federal compact assented to by sovereign states, which had the power to recall all powers granted to the federal government under that compact, when those people deemed their union to be destructive to the ends of government. Notice as well that they could recall those powers “at their will,” meaning at any time, with or without any other state’s consent.

To deny this right, authority and power of a state to unmake the constitution that it alone formed for its body-politic is one of the most egregious and unconscionable acts that could be done against a state. In truth, “[s]overeignty is, doubtless, the most precious [right of a state].” Vattel, 289.

I could expound the remaining states’ ratification documents, but the truth has already been revealed and would continue to be so by referring to the other ratification documents: the constitution was a federal compact formed by the assent of sovereign states. What is obvious as well in all of the states’ ratification documents is that they were acting as a State on behalf of the State. They were not acting as one body-politic with the other states. The US Constitution confirms this by requiring only 9 of the 13 states to ratify.

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If “one nation” existed, why did Congress allow four of the states to abandon the union at that time? After all, the Articles of Confederation expressly stated it was “perpetual,” yet four states were allowed to secede by not rejoining the union? This contradicts the assertion (made by Lincoln and other unionists) that the states were never sovereign or independent. This is pure nonsense. Indeed, the remaining four states could act as they desired independently of all other states, because each state acted for itself as a sovereign state. For part five click below.

Click here for part -----> 1, 2, 3, 4, 5,

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Related Article:

1- A Dissenting Opinion on "Secession"

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Timothy Baldwin is an attorney from Pensacola, FL, who received his bachelor of arts degree at the University of West Florida and who graduated from Cumberland School of Law at Samford University in Birmingham, AL. After having received his Juris Doctorate degree from Cumberland School of Law, Baldwin became a Felony Prosecutor in the 1st District of Florida. In 2006, he started his own law practice, where he created specialized legal services entirely for property management companies.

Like his father, Chuck Baldwin, Timothy Baldwin is an astute writer of cutting-edge political articles, which he posts on his website, Baldwin is also the author of the soon-to-be-released book entitled, Freedom For A Change, in which Baldwin expounds the fundamental principles of freedom believed by America’s forefathers and gives inspiring and intelligent application of those principles to our current political and cultural standing.

Baldwin is involved in important state sovereignty movement issues, including being co-counsel in the federal litigation in Montana involving the Firearms Freedom Act, the likes of which is undoubtedly a pivotal and essential ingredient to restoring freedom and federalism in the states of America. Baldwin is also a member of freedom organizations, such as The Oath-Keepers, and believes that the times require all freedom-loving Americans to educate, invigorate and activate the principles of freedom within the States of America for ourselves and our posterity.

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Perhaps one of the best sources to determine whether the states voluntarily assented to a federal compact or whether the whole people created a perpetual federal government at the exclusion of the state’s right to secede is the states’ ratification documents themselves.








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