Secessionists argued something called the “compact theory” which stated that when the constitution was made up it gave each state the right to leave the union whenever it wanted to. This was due to the constitution saying that each state is independent to do what it wants. The secessionists argued that this gave them the right to leave the Union. Lincoln says that this is countered by other parts of the constitution, such as the part that says “to form a more perfect Union. Another retort used by Lincoln is the saying “a government of the people, for the people, by the people”, which would mean according to Lincoln that a majority of the people in the country would have to agree to the dissolution of the union in order for it to be legal.
When Lincoln said that in order for the secessionists to constitutionally leave the union all of the states would have to agree on letting them leave. The north would have to allow the south to leave which they would never do. Some secessionists argued that a majority of the state had to agree to secede, not a majority of the union. If they were right then when Lincoln got elected South Carolina would be able to leave. Lincoln said otherwise. He said that a majority of the union would have to agree on letting certain states leave the union.
He also invoked the fourth amendment of the constitution to say that not only is what secessionists are doing unconstitutional because the northern voters didn’t vote for secession, but also because the secessionists got votes from the southern states for secession in unfair, coercive, etcetera ways.