The Instigator
Crescendo
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
TN05
Con (against)
Winning
23 Points

The Confederate States of America was a Legitimate State

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 5 votes the winner is...
TN05
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/17/2014 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,256 times Debate No: 54920
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (4)
Votes (5)

 

Crescendo

Pro

First Round is For Acceptance. Burden of Proof is on both Pro and Con. Pro has the burden of proving that the CSA was a legitimate state, while Con has the burden of proving that the CSA was not a legitimate state.

-First Round is for Acceptance

-No new arguments are to be presented in Round 5; only rebuttals and perhaps a summary of one's contentions

-Forfeiting is not allowed

Definition of Legitimate:
"Real, accepted, or official"

I look forward to a fun yet thought-provoking debate.
TN05

Con

I accept this debate and my opponent's definitions.
Debate Round No. 1
Crescendo

Pro

1. There were enough Pro-Secession politicians to allow the South to Secede. And all of these politicians were elected by the people of the Southern States, meaning that enough Southerners were in favor of secession for it to happen. Most Southerners were in favor of slavery, and the forming of a new Southern nation which protected slavery was probably very popular in the South.
Therefore, it was legitimate to the people who lived in the CSA (Confederate States of America).

2. The Union did not take action against secession. Sure, there was the Civil War. But the Civil War was not caused directly by secession. It started as a result of the Battle of Fort Sumter from April 12"14, 1861.
http://en.wikipedia.org...
The CSA was formed on February 4, 1861.
http://en.wikipedia.org...
This means the Confederate existed for slightly over 2 months before the Civil War began, and it likely would've continued to exist had the South not fired on Fort Sumter. That means that in a way, the North did not consider secession itself reason enough for war; the attack on a Union military base was. By this logic, the North unwittingly acknowledged the South's right to secede.

3. If secession is illegitimate because a nation is breaking away from another nation without the consent of the larger nation, then America's independence from Great Britain is also illegitimate, and we should all be speaking in British accents while only residing on the Eastern part of the United States. The difference here is that the North won.

4. The Tenth Amendment of the Constitution says: "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."
http://www.britannica.com...
Seceession was not mentioned in the Constitution (as far as I know, anyway). Therefore, the right to secede was delegated to the states by the Tenth Amendment. The South's secession was indeed legitimate!

5. Human Rights Abuses does not make a state illegitimate. Nazi Germany, as horrid as it was, was a legitimate state. As was the Japanese Empire (also guilty of horrid human rights abuses). As is the United States, which has invaded various Middle Eastern governments and brought instability to the region. So, even though the South seceded because it liked slavery, this did not make it an illegitimate state. Also, there were at that time countless other nations where slavery was legal and a part of everyday life. Heck, the United Arab Emirates did not outlaw slavery until 1963!
http://en.wikipedia.org...

I look forward to my opponent stating his case to why the South did not have a right to secede.
TN05

Con

I'd like to thank my opponent for proposing this topic. Before I get into rebuttals, I will establish my own case.

There are a multitude of reasons why the Confederate States of America (CSA) was not a legitimate state. First and foremost, the CSA fails to qualify as a legitimate state as no other country in the world recognized it as such,[1] which immediately makes it fail under the accepted definition of "legitimate". Simply put, no other country in the world recognized the CSA as a legitimate state because it did not qualify as one. This alone is sufficient to refute my opponent's resolution, but it would be so boring to leave it at that, so I will note many other reasons the CSA did not qualify as a legitimate state.

First off, the secession of states was completely invalid. Aside from the vast number of court rulings rejecting secession,[2] the fact of the matter is the secession of southern states ran completely contrary to the ideals of the founding fathers. President John Adams said that "Only repeated, multiplied oppressions placing it beyond all doubt that their rulers had formed settled plans to deprive them of their liberties, could warrant the concerted resistance of the people against their government".[3] Did the south face oppression from the north? The fact of the matter on this is they did not. Instead, the secession was the result of the south losing an election. Prior to the 1860 election, the heavily Democratic southern states collectively threw a tantrum. They were not content to have their nominee be Stephen Douglas, a moderate pro-slavery Democrat who favored letting the states and territories decide on slavery and was handily favored to win the election. Instead, they demanded their Democratic candidate be pro-slavery to the point of codifying the right to own slaves in federal law and mandating slavery be legal in western territories.[4] The pro-slavery wing left the party and fielded their own candidate, John Breckinridge. The presence of John Bell, another pro-slavery candidate, split the vote three ways, leading Abraham Lincoln to win with only 40% of the vote.[5] What this establishes is that, clearly, the southern states were not fearing federal control and demanding states rights - to the contrary, they were angry because they couldn't force their opinion on the northern states. More revealing is the fact that the confederate constitution was basically a direct copy of the US Constitution with minor grammar tweaks. In fact, many state rights ("the freedom of states to grant voting rights to non-citizens, the freedom of states to outlaw slavery within their borders, and the freedom of states to trade freely with each other") were actually removed in the Confederate constitution.[6] The common misconception that the CSA was formed due to states rights is thus utterly bogus.

The second factor is, of course, the war. Was the CSA truly an independent, legitimate state, or a region under control by rebels? I'd say the latter is the case. Why? The CSA did not comply with international law. How? Let's look at the facts. In April of 1861, the confederates attacked Fort Sumter, a USA fort in South Carolina. This was the first act of war from either side and the beginning of the Civil War.[7] We have two different scenarios here:

A) If secession was legal, the CSA attacked a sovereign power, which is an act of war by any definition of the word.
B) If secession was illegal, the CSA waged rebellion against government, which is treason by any definition of the word.

Either of these are unacceptable. Regardless of what your opinion on the right of the CSA to US forts is, the fact of the matter is that the Fort was built by the USA, with US money, and belonged to them. They were under no obligation to give up taxpayer-funded land to an illegitimate state - which they, along with the rest of the world, refused to recognize.

Additionally, the CSA control over their claimed land was sporadic at best. At the start of the war they controlled 73% of claimed land, but by the end that whittled to about 34%.[8] The CSA did not have a consistent control over its land, because it was not a stable, legitimate state and wasn't capable of supporting its actions militarily.

Now, on to rebuttals.

To the first point, my opponent argues that the CSA was a legitimate state because southern politicians supported it. This is silly - aside from the fact that secession isn't legal, the fact of the matter is there were numerous regions in the South that rejected CSA control, including West Virginia and Jones County, Mississippi.[9] More importantly, the CSA government was basically a military dictatorship not only exploiting slaves, but also exploiting the poor. Military service was compulsory, unless you owned 20 or more slaves. The rich slaveholders may have been the ones demanding and bankrolling secession, but they weren't willing to fight for it.

Next, my opponent argues the formation of the CSA was not contested. This is even sillier - the USA didn't do anything upon the 'formation' of the CSA because they, along with the rest of the world, didn't recognize it's formation.[10] The USA had no intention of attacking their own territory, so naturally they were waiting for things to cool down, but unfortunately the CSA attacked first.

Third, my opponent argues that if secession is illegal, the US is still part of the UK. This is an utterly bizarre argument - secession most certainly was not legal in the Revolutionary War, yes. The only reason the break-away recognized was because the US won the war. The same thing applies to the CSA - secession was not legal, and if they had won the war they would have been recognized. One thing to note here is that the US at least had recognition and support from foreign powers like France - the CSA had no foreign support. No foreign support means the CSA was not legitimate.

Next, my opponent makes the typical tenth amendment argument. I find this argument absurd - of course secession is not mentioned in the federal constitution, because a federation cannot secede from itself. Numerous judges agree with me that unilateral secession is not legal. More importantly, the sole fact something isn't mentioned in the Constitution doesn't immediately make it a state power. Why? Rights are reserved to the states or the people. The right to self-government is the right of the people, not the states, and thus is a power reserved to the people. I would argue the right to secession is in the people, not the states. Thomas Jefferson wrote that "Prudence…will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient Causes".[12] Clearly, the view of the writers of the Constitution is that secession is not uniformly legal or illegal, but that secession should be judged on a case-by-case basis. By doing that, we can clearly see that the secession of southern states was not justified and, by looking at international recognition, we can realize the rest of the world agreed.

Finally, my opponent argues human rights abuses do not make a state illegitimate. This is true. However, Japan and Germany were already established, existing states with full diplomatic recognition. The Confederate States were a new, unrecognized state build entirely around the permanent protection of barbaric human rights abuses. The CSA is no more legitimate of a state than any random insurrection of hard-line, radical Islamists in some Middle-Eastern country.

References:
1. http://history.state.gov...
2. https://en.wikipedia.org...
3. https://en.wikipedia.org...
4. http://www.encyclopediavirginia.org...
5. http://www.encyclopediavirginia.org...
6. http://www.filibustercartoons.com...
7. https://en.wikipedia.org...
8. https://en.wikipedia.org...
9. http://mshistorynow.mdah.state.ms.us...
10. https://en.wikipedia.org...
11. https://en.wikipedia.org...
12. http://www.libertarianism.org...
Debate Round No. 2
Crescendo

Pro

Crescendo forfeited this round.
TN05

Con

Vote Con!
Debate Round No. 3
Crescendo

Pro

I forfeit. Victory goes to Con.
TN05

Con

Vote con!
Debate Round No. 4
Crescendo

Pro

Crescendo forfeited this round.
TN05

Con

Vote con!
Debate Round No. 5
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by TN05 3 years ago
TN05
Good luck! I hope this is a good debate, I really enjoy debating this sort of Civil War topic.
Posted by Crescendo 3 years ago
Crescendo
Dang. I had a large case for my position thought up in my mind yesterday, but I've forgotten a lot of it. Regardless, I'll still do the best I can.
Posted by bettabreeder 3 years ago
bettabreeder
secession was legal till the end of the war
Posted by Martley 3 years ago
Martley
Lincoln and the Repubs purposefully went back on forth on this to suit there needs. Both pro and con will find plenty of evidence to point to.
5 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Vote Placed by FuzzyCatPotato 3 years ago
FuzzyCatPotato
CrescendoTN05Tied
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Total points awarded:06 
Reasons for voting decision: GG. FF, refuted.
Vote Placed by Raymond_Reddington 3 years ago
Raymond_Reddington
CrescendoTN05Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: ff and concession
Vote Placed by numberwang 3 years ago
numberwang
CrescendoTN05Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: FF by pro
Vote Placed by lannan13 3 years ago
lannan13
CrescendoTN05Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: Forfeiture. Note to both debaters, Wikipeadia is not a valid source. If you do use Wikipeadia then use the links at the bottom of the page.
Vote Placed by bladerunner060 3 years ago
bladerunner060
CrescendoTN05Tied
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: Conduct for the forfeit. Arguments for the concession. The others weren't worth points. An easy one to score. Further, though, I'd like to note that it was unfair of Pro to try to argue for a shared BoP. The assertion "The CSA was a legitimate state" clearly has a burden on it, and it should be up to Pro to establish that it's so. And Con demolished Pro's arguments. I'd go point by point, but it's hardly necessary considering the concession. As always, though, happy to explain this RFD.