Reply To: Professor McClanahan & Article I Section 10


Besides Prof. McClanahan’s logical assertion, one might also contend that states retain the right to secede because they retained all powers they had not either delegated to the Federal Government or been denied by the Constitution. Numerous Federalists said during the ratification campaign that this was to be the test for state power under the Constitution.

Alternatively, and I think more significantly, one could argue that states retained the right to secede because Federalists said they would during the ratification campaign. I call your attention specifically to George Nicholas’s explanation of the significance of ratification in the Virginia Ratification Convention, which I describe in detail in JAMES MADISON AND THE MAKING OF AMERICA, as well as in VIRGINIA’S AMERICAN REVOLUTION.