- A legal right.
- Possessed by states.
- Created by virtue of a law or constitution.
- Those who invoke exercising a legal right of “secession” claim to be following positive, man-made law.
- A natural right.
- Possessed by individual human beings.
- Inherent and always present in human nature—rooted in the primordial principle that all men are created equal—regardless of laws or constitutions.
- Those who invoke exercising the natural right of revolution openly admit they are violating positive, man-made law.
The American Revolution was the latter.
Every American revolutionary knew that shooting at the King’s soldiers was a gross violation of English law.
They broke the positive, man-made laws of England, preferring to obey the precepts of the natural law. Whatever might be made of later “secession” movements in American history, the Revolution was no secession from England. It could not be. English law recognized no such legal right of secession for English colonies.