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Is there a difference between Perpetual and Posterity?

  1. My Esoteric profile image88
    My Esotericposted 3 years ago

    The Articles of Confederation states that "[T]he Articles of this Confederation shall be inviolably observed by every State, and the Union shall be perpetual; nor shall any alteration at any time hereafter be made in any of them; unless such alteration be agreed to in a Congress of the United States, and be afterwards confirmed by the legislatures of every State."

    The Preamble to the Constitution says that "In order to form a more perfect Union ... to ourselves and our Posterity ..."

    Merriam Websters defines Posterity as "all future generations"

    My CFO and I do not see eye-to-eye on this.  I believe the word Posterity and Perpetual are intended to mean the same thing with the result being States cannot secede on their own, while he maintains Posterity is not forever and therefore States can leave whenever they feel like it (and presumably any lower level political entity)

    1. profile image0
      mbuggiehposted 3 years ago in reply to this

      Perpetual means unending; something that goes on and on presumably forever; unchanging; endless. The word perpetual as an adjective.

      Posterity are future generations---things or people. The word posterity is a noun.

      That said, anything said in the Articles of Confederation is a footnote in US history; a moot point. The Articles of Confederation were discarded in favor of the US Constitution which, when ratified, became the new and "supreme" law of the United States.

      Nothing written or implied by the Articles of Confederation mattered after 1790 (when the Constitution was ratified) or in the present. The Articles of Confederation was, so to speak, junked.

      The Constitution was ratified and was accepted as the only legal framework for government of the US. There is NO residual operation or mechanism of the Articles of Confederation in effect after 1790 or today. None.

      And no, the states cannot leave the union "whenever they feel like it." We had a civil war that determined that secession was not legal.

    2. GA Anderson profile image83
      GA Andersonposted 3 years ago in reply to this

      I am constantly reminded how appropriate your username is to your topics. smile

      I side with you on this one, but then I am still left with the question mbuggieh posed. Since the point being discussed is irrelevant, is this just a semantics conversation you and your CFO were having? (business must be running smoothly)


      1. My Esoteric profile image88
        My Esotericposted 3 years ago in reply to this

        The reason I bring it up is that it is, like income tax, a point of contention with many Conservatives, especially those who focus on self-determination (which was raised in another Forum regarding Ukraine and the right of the eastern side to break-away), Liberty, Rights of Man and all of that.

        The fact is, the Civil War did not settle it; the Supreme Court did shortly thereafter in Texas v White (1869).  Theoretically then, the Court could reverse itself if it wanted to which is why I think my question is relevant; it is not a settled issue in the minds of many Americans even though the Court has said so, or, in the case of income tax, we have a Constitutional Amendment.

        Interestingly, I stumbled across this when Goggling for the name of the court case, http://www.theamericanconservative.com/ … on-legal/; it presents a pretty good analysis for a Conservative website :-); I saved it.

        1. GA Anderson profile image83
          GA Andersonposted 3 years ago in reply to this

          Your link did not work for me - it lead to a 404 Not Found error. But I searched until I found it.

          Interesting article. It may not be, as you say, and by certain interpretations - depending on which could be deemed the ruling one - a settled issue.

          This one gave me the most pause, and will require some more thought; The Constitution became our governing foundation when ratified by  nine states - not all thirteen. Sooooo.... could the argument be made that the Articles conferred a right to secession on the four states that had not ratified the Constitution until after it was put into effect by the first nine states? Hmmm...

          Thanks for the link. Now I have to qualify my support of mbuggieh's reply until I give it some more thought.


          1. My Esoteric profile image88
            My Esotericposted 3 years ago in reply to this

            It does give one pause, but my view is that ultimately all States did ratify the Constitution and therefore agreed to the compact.  Nevertheless, it does add a "shade of gray" as it were.

            I do agree with the article that Scalia was out to lunch in his reasoning, just as he was on his 2nd Amendment ruling creating a new interpretation that self-defense was in the its scope.  He didn't need to do that, the verbiage is broad enough to find the D.C. law under review unconstitutional on its face.  (Do I think self-defense is a good reason to own a gun, absolutely, it is just that the Amendment doesn't say that).

            Personally, I don't like the reasoning of either 5 Justices in the majority or the 3 in minority on the succession thing.  The majority said, in part, "...  And when these Articles [which had overtly established a perpetual union] were found to be inadequate to the exigencies of the country, the Constitution was ordained 'to form a more perfect Union.' It is difficult to convey the idea of indissoluble unity more clearly than by these words. What can be indissoluble if a perpetual Union, made more perfect, is not?"

            Well, my CFO friend says the word "perpetual" doesn't necessarily transfer from the Articles, and it wouldn't take a lot to convince me he is right.  But, and this is what I feel Chief Justice Chase missed in his opinion, the word "Posterity" does pick up where "perpetual" left off; both are unending.  The difference is that "perpetual" is state-centric and "Posterity" is People-centric.

    3. Shyron E Shenko profile image86
      Shyron E Shenkoposted 3 years ago in reply to this

      To me Perpetual : continual, without stopping, or in motion.  Posterity : I have often heard the phrase 'leave that for posterity' or 'that is for posterity'  (i.e. for future descendants)

      1. My Esoteric profile image88
        My Esotericposted 3 years ago in reply to this

        And in terms of our Constitution, is there a substantial difference of intent between the two phrases?

  2. psycheskinner profile image80
    psycheskinnerposted 3 years ago

    Posterity is just a statement about those in the future who will contemplate what you did.  It does not specify exactly when.

    Regardless, it was clearly written so that states cannot leave the union  at will. The exact meaning of 'posterity' has no bearing on that.

    1. My Esoteric profile image88
      My Esotericposted 3 years ago in reply to this

      I am not sure how you get from "... ourselves and our posterity ...", which is the completion of a set of duties, to Posterity simply being a contemplative statement about the future, @/psycheskinner?