If I may, without reigniting a debate (and I mean it, I implore all, I beseech all), I hope to describe the fundamental principle involved in the absolute repugnance of the very idea of secession from the Union - this is meant to inform our fellow posters who may not be familiar with the Founding.
In the kingdom of Great Britain, the Crown is the sovereign. Sovereignty and thus, authority, inheres in, and flows from, the Crown. When Charles II was invited back in 1660, he was greeted with a resolution proclaimed by the Parliament - that this realm, as of ancient days, be ruled by King and Commons. If I understand the British constitution rightly, the Crown is sovereign, but the Commons is the body that makes and determines the law. The law - not just Acts of Parliament (the laws) but law. I'm treading lightly here, for I am certainly no expert on these matters, but if one wishes to understand the Founding, one necessarily must attempt to understand the English Civil War and its import and meaning. To illustrate - AFAIK, Queen Elizabeth II may sit if she wishes when 'God Save the Queen' is played. When the air is concluded, she may rise and say, 'Thank you.'
The Crown is sovereign in the ancient realm and has been since Duke William assumed it in 1066, if not before, through the Anglo-Saxon houses.
In the United States, sovereignty and all lawful authority inhere in, and flow from, the People. All of the People. When the US established its independence and the recognition thereof by HM Government, New Hampshire did not achieve 1/13 of that independence or sovereignty. The United States, the nation, achieved it.
In the UK, if you are doing Very Bad Things in your house, the officer compels you to "Open, in the name of the Queen!" In the US, it's "Open, in the name of the law!"
The People of this nation, the People of the United States, ordained and established a Constitution, an instrument whose effect was actualized on 21 June 1788. The ratification by the States was incidental; the States were instrumentalities to conduct that ratification by the People and to make the point clear, those ratifications were not performed by the legislatures of the several States, but by conventions elected solely and specifically for that purpose: We, the People.
We, the People are the sovereigns, all sovereignty and lawful authority inhere in and flow from, the People of the United States. The President rises when the National Anthem is played.
The very notion of secession is a repugnance of the gravest kind to the sovereignty of the People of the United States. It is not a Constitutional issue, really, it is a defiance of the worst sort, an evil, that denies the sovereignty of the United States and the lawful authority it may exercise: it is a spear thrust into the breast of We, the People.
One last fine point: the United States is a nation. The United States of America is a country. When you assume the uniform of its service, the lapels have 'US' displayed, not 'USA'. The United States as a nation, its nationhood, is a set of principles, the most fundamental being that the only lawful basis for a government is the securing of the rights of individuals. States, states of any kind, do not have rights - they only have powers. Individuals have rights, inalienable rights and We, the People may change our form of government any time we wish.
To strike at Federal authority in this nation is to strike not at the instrumentality chosen by We, the People, not really - although that is a real and valid consequence of the assault; it is to strike at the sovereignty of the United States, and We, the People.
The very idea of secession is a repugnance of the gravest kind. It does not exist as a fit subject of contemplation under the authority and jurisdiction of the United States.
No State ever seceded. No State was ever, for one second, outside of, or alienated from, this Union and nation. The unlawful acts performed were a perversion and attempted destruction of South Carolina's lawful place and status as a State of the Union. Several States were out of their proper relationship with the Constitution - but the nation, and the Union, remained one.
God save the United States
E Pluribus Unum
[color="#AFEEEE"]"Liberty and Union, now and forever, one and inseparable!"[/color]
[color="#FFA07A"]"C'mon, boys, we got the damn Yankees on the run!"[/color]
-General Joseph Wheeler, US Army, serving at Santiago in 1898
(A) When in doubt, agree with Ace.
(B) Pull my reins up sharply when needed, for I am a spirited thoroughbred and forget to turn at the post sometimes.