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A Constitutional History of Secession Hardcover – October 31, 2002


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Pelican Publishing (October 31, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1589800664
  • ISBN-13: 978-1589800663
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,249,646 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

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He is also the author of High Finance and the Conquest of the Old South, published by Pelican.

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He is also the author of High Finance and the Conquest of the Old South, published by Pelican.


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4.4 out of 5 stars
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A must read for all students of law and history.
David N. Weber
Written by a brilliant lawyer and constitutional scholar (John Remington Graham), this book is incredibly well researched and thought provoking.
Michael B. Flaherty
If one rejects secession, one must also reject the Declaration of Independence.
D. Thomas

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

79 of 91 people found the following review helpful By Robert A. Johnson on February 9, 2004
Format: Hardcover
"..when the work of the lie is done, the lie will rot, the truth is great and will prevail, when none cares whether it prevails or not..." - Coventry Patmor circa 1850's.
I have ordered copies of A Constitutional History of Secession by John Remington Graham, a member of the Minnesota bar, for my sons, some friends, and the library of the high school that my sons attended. This with the hope of overcoming, with at least some, the kernel of what I believe to be Patmor's correct characterization of lie v. truth in regards to too much of our history - in this case truth as set forth in that book.
That any State had a Constitutional right to secede is undeniable, the author makes that case airtight. From the dust cover, where Professor Clyde Wilson, University of South Carolina was quoted, "Had I the power, I would require every professor of history, political science, and law in America to read Graham's work. Nowhere is there a truer and more thorough treatment of the origins and nature of freedom and self-government. This work is essential for those who would like to recover those great blessings."
If you are interested in the statesmanship of Chief Justice Taney after his dreadful opinion in the Dred Scott case; if you are interested in why the author believes Lincoln's predecessor's speech "...should be carved in stone of a conspicuous monument for the guidance of every leader who might in the future guide the destiny of a federal Union..."; if you are interested in the how and why of Stanton's undermining of McClellan "... the image given by the common lot of civil war historians, preposterous in the light of the facts, is that McCellan ..."; if you are interested in why "...
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87 of 101 people found the following review helpful By David N. Weber on March 19, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I found this book by accident. After I started reading I could not put it down! John Graham has written the most comprehensive study on the late War Between the States. He brings to light the causes of war, little know facts about the people who conducted the war to the conduct carried out by Stanton through his insane generals. After reading this book everyone will know that the United States was destroyed by the war and through the illegeal acts of President Abraham Lincoln. History, law, truth and justice were only part of the things lost during the war. The 600,000 men, untold numbers of civilians and the 8 billion dollars spent to destroy the south were a waste that can all be attributed to Lincoln. What a price was paid for the government we have today! A must read for all students of law and history. I would give ten stars if I could!
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By D. Thomas on September 13, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
J.R. Graham has written an excellent book giving history and legal perspectives. Other reviews have made excellent observations of the content.

One reviewer erroneously commented that the book was factually flawed in that the Constitution prohibits secession. That is, of course, untrue. The section he refers to has to do with the admission of new states and a new state cannot be formed of other states without the consent of Congress. It doesn't take a book to understand the legitimacy of secession. After all, that's what the Declaration of Independence was about. If one rejects secession, one must also reject the Declaration of Independence.

The most serious flaw in the book regarded race and citizenship - a topic not really the focus of the book anyway. The author cites a judges opinion that non-whites that were free were citizens and the author generalizes this to all states. In fact, only a few states recognized non-whites as citizens. And because all privileges of citizenship had to be recognized throughout the United States, these non-white citizens could not properly be called US citizens until a new class of citizenship was created by the 14th Amendment. The author imagines that citizenship existed without voting rights (after all, white women could not vote either.) However, voting was always something required to indicate membership in the "sovereignty" and it could be established with certain qualifications - age, sex, etc. But could you imagine the possibility of prohibiting all whites from participating in government? It is clear that voting has a great bearing on the concept of citizenship.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Michael B. Flaherty on July 30, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Written by a brilliant lawyer and constitutional scholar (John Remington Graham), this book is incredibly well researched and thought provoking. There is something in this book for everyone. The historical scholar will find it amazingly thought provoking. Those with a less significant background will reflect and marvel on what was learned. The theme is the evolution of natural law as it applies to the natural and legal right of nullification and secession. Or, to put another way, the right to secede and it's firm foundation in natural law.

The book starts where students of this subject would expect, The Magna Carta of 1215 A.D.. A thorough and relatively concise foundation is built there. British common law evolves from there as ancient law and statutes are detailed in a chronological and compelling fashion. Of course, Blackstone is a primary force, and the Glorious revolution is perhaps the crowning achievement of this evolutionary period of British law and they are described well. There are many interesting subplots in the chapter, which keeps it from being too dry and legal for those not accustomed to such, thus it flows well. .

Graham then proceeds to the Colonial period and founding of the U.S., where he chronicles irrefutable evidence of the founders actions, documentation, and intentions. All of which conclude that nullification and secession were to be given rights used whenever deemed necessary by "free and independent states". Principles firmly embedded in natural law and not to be questioned. He cites many examples of words and deeds that support this. Graham provides extraordinary insight in this section.
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