In a recent issue, the author of a letter to the editor claimed that “members of a Confederacy are, by definition, free to withdraw from it,” and cited the Federalist Papers.
James Madison, an author of the Federalist Papers and Constitution, wrote, “The essential difference between a free government and governments not free, is that the former is founded in compact, the parties to which are mutually and equally bound by it. Neither of them therefore can have a greater fight to break off from the bargain, than the other or others have to hold them to it. And certainly there is nothing in the Virginia resolutions of 1798, adverse to this principle, which is that of common sense and common justice. The fallacy which draws a different conclusion from them lies in confounding a single party, with the parties to the Constitutional compact of the United States. The latter having made the compact may do what they will with it. The former as one only of the parties, owes fidelity to it, till released by consent, or absolved by an intolerable abuse of the power created.”
Madison’s writing reveals the intent of the Constitution: Secession was (and is) treason.