"If any state in the Union will declare that it prefers separation...
to a continuance in union... I have no hesitation in saying,
'let us separate.' "
by:
Thomas Jefferson
(1743-1826), US Founding Father, drafted the Declaration of Independence, 3rd US President
Source:
letter to W. Crawford, June 20, 1816
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Reader comments about this quote:
WOW!!! originating foundational intent, not degraded by power mongers and/or unconstitutional war lords. No state has ever given up its sovereignty to unitedly associate with other states in an extended representation. The federal government was to be a representative of the several States (not an omnipotent overlord).
 -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    Old "Honest Abe" evidently didn't believe this, and we lost over 600,000 men in the unCivil War. Read "Lincoln Unmasked" to get another view of the man who fought to centralize govrnment power in Washington.
     -- jim k, austin     
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    Folks across this nation are saying to Texas, "Go ahead and get out of the union, we want you to go!" I wonder what the feds would think of this?
     -- cal, lewisville, tx     
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    Cuba in effect left its relationship with the US and stole billions of dollars of American property and we hate them for it. Most of Texas is probably owned by the DuPonts, Rockefellows etcetera. What shall be done with all of this stolen property? Maybe Texas can join with Cuba and be communists. Jefferson was a motor mouth. Brownsville Texas was founded by Stillman who later founded the First National Bank of New York which is now known as City Bank or Citi. Texas is and was nothing without the easterners. Those who died at the Alamo were not Texans they were from Kentucky, Tennessee and Indiana etc. I give it a thumps down because it has to many periods in it, I wonder what the entire passage really says. I will check it out.
     -- Waffler, Smith     
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    "I regret that I am to die in the belief that the useless sacrifice of themselves by the generation of 1776, to acquire self-government and happiniess to their country, is to be thrown awaw by the unwise and unworthy passions of their sons, and that my only consolation is to be, that I live not to weep over it. If they would but dispassionately weigh the blessings they will throw away, against an abstract principle more likely to be effected by union than by secession, they would pause before they would perpetuate this act of suicide on themselves, and of treason against the hopes of the world. To yourself, as the faithful advocate of the union, I tender the offering of my high esteem and respect." Thomas Jefferson ltr to John Holmes 22 April 1820. While Tom is not here to weep over the comments of you all as stated above I weep in his place because of y'all daily. If Texas leaves, I suggest we ship all the people to the Sahara and fill the state up again with Unionists as we did the first time in 1848. As far as the Civil War the lives were not wasted anymore than were the lives in 1776, the Civil War redeemed those lives and Union which they set in motion. If we have to do it a third time, so be it. The sacrifices of the generation of 1776 and 1861 shall not have been in vain, and the hope of the world shall not be extinguished by the likes of the comments posted above. To take Jefferson out of context and twist his words and his life to fit your own twisted perverted opinions, Mike shame on you, shame, shame, shame on you.
     -- Waffler, Smith     
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    PPSS: The way to reconcile these two quotes of Jefferson is to conclude that in the first he meant let the unwise people go (ship them out or whatever) because in the second quote he obviously is not for secession, he if for disunion. I agree for thsoe who individuals who do not want to be in the Union let'em go. As for the provines or states, no way!
     -- Waffler, Smith     
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    Good Lord Waffler, that is some of the most "twisted" thinking I have ever witnessed.
     -- J Carlton, Calgary     
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    How so J. The quote and the coments on it attempt to say that Jefferson was for disunion or secession. His quote from 1820 attests to his abiding belief and faith in the Union. What is twisted in your opinion?
     -- Waffler, Smith     
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    I think Waffler doth protest too much. I find it amazing that he so often proposes the 'shipping off' of folks who don't like what an oppressive government does -- very Stalinistic of you. Whenever Waffler says 'we' he means 'I' and expects it to be a right to tell others. Typical arrogance of social planners. They treat people like animals who must be herded and corralled, rather than acknowledging the reason and conscience of individuals to choose their own way.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    Archer is correct above I meant to say "If the nation (instead of we) has to fight another civil war to redeem the sacrifice made in 1861 and in 1776 and to stop Old Thomas Jefferson from turning over in his grave becasue of this secess crowd currently investing our nation I say (repeat I say) bring it on.
     -- Waffler, Smith     
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    Waffler Smith, you actually think that the states united on the basis of unconditional submission to the federal government? There's certainly no document to this effect. You simply don't know what you're talking about.
     -- Brad Anderson, Los Angeles, CA     
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    I understand this to mean rather than shed the blood of those who were once our friends, neighbors and countrymen, the allowance of seccation was with the idea in mind that the union, in time, would be able to discuss the differences that led to succesion in the first place and hopefully things could be worked out. Even if not, the succesionists were still our neigbors and the prospect of fixing things between the 2 sides would always be open as it would not be if the blood of our neighbors was shed.
     -- Anon     
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    "But the indissoluble link of union between the people of the several States of this confederated nation is, after all, not in the RIGHT, but in the HEART. If the day should ever come (may Heaven avert it !) when the affections of the people of these States shall be alienated from each other, when the fraternal spirit shall give way to cold indifference, or collision of interests shall fester into hatred, the bonds of political association - will not long hold together parties no longer attracted by the magnetism of conciliated interests and kindly sympathies ; and far better will it be for the people of the disunited States to part in friendship with each other than to be held together by constraint. Then will be the time for reverting to the precedents which occurred at the formation and adoption of the Constitution, to form again a more perfect Union, by dissolving that which could no longer bind, and to leave the separated parts to be reunited by the law of political gravitation to the center." John Quincy Adams.
     -- Anon     
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    "The States are nations." Daniel Webster and "If the Union was formed by accession of States then the Union may be dissolved by the secession of States" Ibid
     -- Anon     
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    Deo Vindice
     -- Tyler, Louisiana     
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    We can choose whether or not we want the federal to representative us.When they step over the limitations of being our agent then they have oversteped the Constitution. The Constitution is silent on secession but Jefferson wasn't. I wonder if we are even a compact since we are prohibited by the Constitution from forming one with other states. The states have their own independent government but it is the people that are invested with sovereignty by God. The North is responsible for the war between the States and primarily by protestant ministers and abolutionists. Lincoln was bound and determined that the government would be centralized.He could have done this without starting a war. The Southern States have every right to secede when unrepresented by their agent.
     -- Bruce Barron, Lenoir.NC     
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    Jefferson and Madison were the authors of the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions of 1798 which held that "where powers were assumed by the national government which had not been granted by the states, nullification is the rightful remedy," and that every state has a right to "nullify of its own authority all assumptions of power by others. . ." Nullification of unconstitutional federal actions was a means of effectively seceding.The founders understood that democracy would inevitably evolve into a system of legalized plunder unless the plundered were given numerous escape routes and constitutional protections such as the separation of powers, the Bill of Rights, election of senators by state legislators, the electoral college, no income taxation, most governmental functions performed at the state levels, and other constitutional limitations on the powers of the central government. The most important protection was the right of secession. The so-called "civil war" did not strip our sovereign states of the right of secession, it simply proved that a larger, more industrial Nation is capable of subduing a smaller agricultural one. The demographics have changed, & the "red states" are certainly in a better position to assert their rights at present.
     -- TexasSooner, Occupied, CSA     
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    There is nothing in the constitution to prevent secession of any state. That is the reason that Jefferson Davis was never tried for treason and after two years was released from custody. The powers that be were afraid if a conviction was appealed that the Supreme Court would overturn it, based on the constitution, thereby proving that secession was permissable.
     -- Ed Lee, Prince George, Va     
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