Monday, February 18, 2008

Kosovo Versus the Confederacy

With the debate on the separation resolution in Kosovo, it occurs to me share something that President Grant wrote in his memoirs. The United States fought a Civil War when southern states sought to secede from the Union; the northern states won and continued the Union.

Grant wrote that in 1776, probably no one in North America would have thought that colonies did not have the right not to join the Union. He thought their claim to the right to secede would have been reduced in 1789 when the Constitution was written. But Grant wrote that the war with Mexico and the subsequent purchase of a huge tract of land clearly established the right of the Union to maintain itself against states that sought to secede. The cost in money and blood was high, and the northern states had, according to Grant, the right to demand that the area joined to the Union as a result stay part of the Union (they would have joined the southern states).

He did not address the Louisiana Purchase, which also might have been seen as a joint undertaking of all the original states, creating a larger Union.

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