Called the Declaration of Independence, it was a blow for freedom, a call to war, and the founding of a new empire.Kind of fun to hold the debate and see how people argue the issue, but the fact is we got away with it, and made it de facto legal.
It was also totally illegitimate and illegal.
At least, that was what lawyers from the UK argued during a debate at Philadelphia's Ben Franklin Hall.
The event, presented by the Temple American Inn of Court in conjunction with Gray's Inn, London, pitted British barristers against American lawyers to determine whether or not the American colonists had legal grounds to declare secession.
For American lawyers, the answer is simple: "The English had used their own Declaration of Rights to depose James II and these acts were deemed completely lawful and justified," they say in their summary.
To the British, however, secession isn't the legal or proper tool by which to settle internal disputes. "What if Texas decided today it wanted to secede from the Union? Lincoln made the case against secession and he was right," they argue in their brief.
A vote at the end of the debate reaffirmed the legality of Jefferson and company's insurrection, and the American experiment survived to see another day.
Thursday, October 20, 2011
Is The Declaration of Independence Legal?
Funny, the Brits don't think so...