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The War of Southern Aggression

This is a discussion on The War of Southern Aggression within the Education forums, part of the US Discussion category; “The War of Northern Aggression” is a popular phrase among Confederate apologists, referring to the supposed outrageous aggression shown by the Union to bring the ...


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Old 03-22-2010, 08:49 PM
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The War of Southern Aggression

“The War of Northern Aggression” is a popular phrase among Confederate apologists, referring to the supposed outrageous aggression shown by the Union to bring the otherwise peaceful Confederate States back under its rule. But how true is it?

I have dealt at length in previous essays about the motivations of the Slave Power and with the constitutional issues of secession itself. Here, I will concentrate on what the states of the Deep South did in the decades leading up to the Civil War and their part in bringing war upon the United States.

The Nullification Crisis and John C. Calhoun

On November 24, 1832 a so-called Nullification Convention of South Carolina passed the Ordinance of Nullification, unilaterally declaring the federal tariffs of 1828 and 1832 unconstitutional and void within the boundaries of the state. Concurrently, Governor Robert Hayne began military preparations to resist federal enforcement, raising a volunteer minuteman army of 2,000 cavalry and 25,000 infantry. The famous Force Bill authorizing military action against South Carolina was passed by Congress in February 1833, but a compromise tariff acceptable to South Carolina was also passed at the same time, prompting the withdrawal of the Ordinance and defusing the military crisis. Although violence did not result, South Carolina's willingness to use force to resolve internal political disputes was well established.

One of Nullification's chief architects was John C. Calhoun, a leading South Carolina politician and Andrew Jackson's vice president. The split with Jackson over nullification prompted Calhoun's resignation and run for the Senate in 1832, but his long career of political blackmail against Northern interests and particularly abolitionists extended back even into his days as a loyal vice president. In 1826, when confronted with the prospect of recognition of the independence of Haiti (which had recently undergone a revolution against French colonialism led by free blacks and the island's slaves), Calhoun had dire warnings for his government. To Secretary of the Navy Samuel Southard, he wrote:

Quote:
It is a delicate subject, and would in the present tone of feelings to the South lead to great mischief. It is not so much recognition simply as what must follow it. We must send and receive ministers, and what would be our social relations to a Black minister in Washington? Must he be received or excluded from our dinners, our dances and our parties, and must his daughters and sons participate in the society of our daughters and sons? … Small as these considerations appear to be they involve the peace and perhaps the union of our nation.
The implicit threat achieved the hoped-for result: The United States did not recognize Haiti until 1862, with the Civil War in full swing and its agitation of the Deep South long past relevant. Nor was this the last time Calhoun would use the tactic of predicting the destruction of the Union as a result of a proposed policy to thwart its implementation. On March 4, 1850, less than a month before his death, Calhoun prepared a speech for the Senate floor which was read by Senator James Mason of Alabama, due to Calhoun's failing health leaving him unable to speak. In it, he extensively laid the blame for Southern discontent directly at the feet of the North, speaking in broad terms of the sections as wholes and warning of disunion should the North not agree to Southern demands. In his conclusion, he stated:

Quote:
The North has only to will [the preservation of the Union] to accomplish it—to do justice by conceding to the South an equal right in the acquired Territory [California], and to do her duty by causing the stipulations relative to fugitive slaves to be faithfully fulfilled—to cease the agitation of the slave question, and to provide for the insertion of a provision in the Constitution, by an amendment, which will restore to the South in substance the power which she possessed in protecting herself. ... But will the North agree to do this? It is for her to answer this question. But, I will say, she cannot refuse, if she has half the love of the Union which she professes to have... At all events, the responsibility of saving the Union rests on the North, and not the South.
The speech was a rhetorical masterpiece, methodically (and intentionally) laying the North and South at odds with each other, alleging a crisis, and then laying all responsibility for solving it upon the North. Calhoun sent a copy of the speech to Henry W. Conner, accompanied by this letter:

Quote:
My speech, of which a copy will be enclosed to you by the mail, which takes this, was read today in the Senate. My friends think it among my most successful efforts, & that it made a profound impression. I, trust, that our friends in Charleston will give it a wide circulation. You will see, that I have made up the issue between North & South. If we flinch we are gone; but, if we stand fast on it, we shall triumph, either by compelling the North to yield to our terms or declaring our Indepen[den]ce of them. Truly, J.C.C.
By this, if by nothing else he wrote, it is clear that Calhoun was intentionally engaging in political brinksmanship, aggressively gambling with the Union itself to achieve his political goal of spreading what he saw as the positive good of slavery. The “equal right” in California he referred to in his speech was the right to hold slaves, which he conflated with the rights of the Southern section in general as a rhetorical device; the point of contention was whether or not California should be admitted to the Union as a free state without a counterpart slave state to keep representation in the Senate equal. Far from the typical picture of a reluctant South seceding as a last resort to escape Northern oppression, Calhoun was quite willing and even eager to destroy the Union for political gain.

Threats and Violence: California, Preston Brooks, and the House (Divided)

Such tactics and sentiments were hardly unique to Calhoun, and not all those who agreed with him were so subtle. On the issue of California, Congressman Albert Brown of Mississippi said on the House floor:

Quote:
The southern States ... will devise means for vindicating their rights. I do not know what these means will be, but I know what they may be ... They may be to carry slaves into all of southern California, as the property of sovereign States, and there hold them, as we have a right to do; and if molested, defend them ... We ask you to give us our rights by non-intervention; if you refuse, I am for taking them by armed occupation.
In response to Calhoun's speech, James Hammond, a fellow South Carolinian planter and slaveholder, wrote to the Senator two days later, saying:

Quote:
Our only safety is in equality of power. We must divide the territories so as forever to retain that equality in the Senate at least … I would infinitely prefer disunion to any thing the least short of this … If the North will not consent to this I think we should not have another word to say, but kick them out of the Capitol & set it on fire.
Of course, California was admitted and none of these things came to pass, but not for lack of concessions to the Slave Power. As part of the compromise for the admission of California (the aptly named Compromise of 1850) the remaining former Mexican territories (Utah and New Mexico) enacted slave codes, the infamous Fugitive Slave Act was strengthened (barring free states from requiring trials for alleged escaped slaves and requiring the assistance of their law enforcement in capturing fugitives, removing much of the nothern states' right to self-government), and California even sent one pro-slavery Senator to Washington to maintain “balance” in the Senate despite such views not representing the state's population.

These tactics of threatening disunion and war if this or that policy was not acceded to by the free states continued throughout the 1850s. During the presidential race of 1856, the candidacy of Republican John C. Frémont was vehemently opposed in the South for his party's anti-slavery views, leading Senator James Mason of Virginia to write to Jefferson Davis, who would later become the president of the Confederate States and was then the Secretary of War under Franklin Pierce:

Quote:
I have a letter from [Virginia Governor Henry] WISE, of the 27th, full of spirit. He says the Governments of North Carolina, South Carolina, and Louisiana, have already agreed to rendezvous at Raleigh, and others will—this in your most private ear. He says, further, that he had officially requested you to exchange with Virginia, on fair terms of difference, percussion for flint muskets. I don't know the usage or power of the Department in such cases, but if it can be done, even by liberal construction, I hope you will accede. … Virginia probably has more arms than the other Southern States, and would divide in case of need. In a letter yesterday to a Committee in South Carolina. I gave it as my judgment, in the event of FREMONT's election, the South should not pause, but proceed at once to "immediate, absolute, and eternal separation."
Senator Mason directly requested the Secretary of War to arm the southern states for war against the United States, a full four years before any actual secession, based on the possibility of a Republican president. This did not come to pass, of course, because Frémont lost the election (in no small part due to the specter of the threat of war), but even the asking is telling.

But that's child's play compared to the election of the Speaker of the House in 1859. In that year, a Republican representative from Ohio by the name of John Sherman was a candidate for the Speaker's gavel. That he was a Republican was bad enough for the delegations of the slave states, but the real rub was that Sherman had endorsed Hinton Helper's controversial (in the South) book, The Impending Crisis of the South: How to Meet It, in which Helper, a virulently racist North Carolinian, argued against slavery on the basis that it destroyed property values and otherwise retarded the economy of the South, to the detriment of non-slaveholding whites. Nevermind that Sherman had withdrawn his endorsement after learning the full extent of Helper's views, or that Helper was not a morally-motivated abolitionist; he was an abolitionist nonetheless, and no one who had ever endorsed his book would be Speaker if the Congressional delegation of South Carolina had anything to say about it.

As it happens, they had quite a bit to say, and every word scathingly treasonous, even by secessionist standards. Because they did not propose secession, peaceful or otherwise, should Sherman win the seat; rather they were prepared to initiate a bloody coup on the House floor. Representative William Porcher Miles of South Carolina was prepared to do anything to prevent Sherman's taking of the Speakership, and asked Governor William Gist of South Carolina whether the legislature there would support the Congressional delegation's plotting. In response, on December 20, 1859 (one year to the day before South Carolina's secession) Gist posted a letter to Miles. While he cautioned against rashly provoking the free states, advising that a bloodless revolution would be preferable, he placed the matter in Miles' judgment, saying:

Quote:
While I advise against the ejection of Sherman if elected, I do not wish to be understood as not desiring the war to begin at Washington; but as I would prefer it should begin in sudden heat & with good provocation rather than a deliberate determination to perform an act of violence which might prejudice us in the eyes of the world. … If however, you upon consideration decide to make the issue of fire in Washington, write or telegraph me, & I will have a Regiment in or near Washington in the shortest possible time.
To be clear, this wasn't a matter of national slavery policy, or even of lasting legislation at all; the government of South Carolina was prepared to use military force to influence the internal political workings of the federal Congress over what amounted to personal dislike of the candidate for an action the candidate had since disavowed. Once again, this crisis was defused by the free state delegations acceding to Southern demands; Sherman was withdrawn from consideration as a candidate for Speaker.

Even when not threatening violence and rebellion, Calhoun's mode of threatening secession and disunion continued to be popular with slave state politicians throughout the 1850s. The Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854, nullifying the Missouri Compromise by permitting the slavery question to be determined by popular sovereignty (and setting the stage for Bleeding Kansas, in which opposing sides attempting to gain a majority of the electorate simply by killing the other side's voters), was passed under such threats, and when popular sovereignty failed to deliver a slave state in Kansas, threats of secession were again made if the pro-slavery Lecompton Constitution was not accepted as the governing document of a new state of Kansas. “If Kansas is driven out of the Union for being a slave state, can any slave state remain in it with honor?” asked Senator Hammond of South Carolina (who, readers will no doubt recall, advocated burning down the Capitol if California was not made a slave state). These threats prompted President Buchanan to urge acceptance of the Lecompton document, saying that if he did not, the slave states would “secede from the Union or take up arms against us.” In the end, the Lecompton document was rejected and sent back for a new referendum, which failed; Kansas would not become a state, slave or free, for quite some time yet, removing the immediate crisis.

But no account of 1850s slave state aggression would be complete without mentioning Preston Brooks, representative of South Carolina, and his armed assault against Senator Charles Sumner on the Senate floor on May 22, 1856. Senator Sumner had in the preceding days given a speech denouncing the slaughter in the Kansas territory over the slavery issue, and had scathing words for Senator Andrew Butler, a relative of Brooks. In response, Brooks, along with two companions, walked into the Senate chamber, briefly addressed Sumner, and then commenced beating him with a heavy cane, cudgeling the Senator until he broke his bolted down Senate desk from the floor, rendered Sumner unconscious, and continued beating the unfortunate Senator until he broke his cane.

The incident was instantly infamous. Brooks was roundly censured by the House, but nearly unanimously reelected by his constituents. He received new canes from all over the South, including one bearing the inscription “Use Knock-Down Arguments” and another saying “Hit Him Again.”

The Crisis Comes: 1860-61

By the close of the 1850s, the long string of Southern aggressions had long since begun to wear thin on the patience of the free states, and especially the Republican Party. Abraham Lincoln, by now a candidate for President, said in an address to the Cooper Institute in New York, intended to be read by Southerners:

Quote:
But you will not abide the election of a Republican president! In that supposed event, you say, you will destroy the Union; and then, you say, the great crime of having destroyed it will be upon us! That is cool. A highwayman holds a pistol to my ear, and mutters through his teeth, "Stand and deliver, or I shall kill you, and then you will be a murderer!"
Of course, Lincoln's candidacy was successful. This was the first time anyone since Andrew Jackson who had shown any backbone in standing up to their threats had taken high office. The Deep South's secessions were swift. South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas all seceded before Lincoln even took office. I have extensively covered their stated reasons for doing so elsewhere, but preemptive secession (and accompanying seizure of federal property, notably forts and armories) is not a passive act, to put it mildly. On January 11, 1861, the day of Alabama's secession, Lincoln wrote to a Republican congressman who proposed an emergency compromise to forestall and reverse the secessions:

Quote:
We have just carried an election on principles fairly stated to the people. Now we are told in advance, the government shall be broken up, unless we surrender to those we have beaten, before we take the offices. In this they are either attempting to play upon us or they are in dead earnest. Either way, if we surrender, it is the end of us and of the government. They will repeat the experiment upon us ad libitum. A year will not pass till we shall have to take Cuba as a condition upon which they will stay in the Union.
Compromise at this stage was impossible. Lincoln saw, with more clarity than his predecessor, that the South would never cease holding threats over the heads of the free states until the question was solved. “The tug has to come, and better now than later,” he wrote in December, 1860. All that remained now was the tug itself.

That came at Fort Sumter. The fort was a federal installation, manned by federal troops, which the state of South Carolina had by statute voluntarily surrendered all claim to in 1836. In short, it was thoroughly the property of the United States, even if one is so generous as to presume the legitimacy of secession through the means used by South Carolina. As every high school student in the United States knows, South Carolinian forces fired on Fort Sumter from the batteries of Fort Johnson, Fort Moultrie, and Cummings Point starting at 4:30 am on April 12, 1861.

This was, of course, the ultimate aggression of the South: Southern partisans bombarded and captured a manned United States military fortification, touching off a war that killed more Americans than any other war in history, almost as many as all other American wars combined.

Conclusion

The American Civil War was thoroughly of Southern construction. Between the administrations of Jackson and Lincoln, the federal government and free states had bent over backwards at every threat of the slaveholding South to prevent disunion; every single threat of secession and war was met with compromise and backing down. The so-called War of Northern Aggression is a fictional construct by the defenders of the fictional country known as the Confederate States of America, a thorough distortion of well-documented historical fact.

Author's Note: This essay's title, “The War of Southern Aggression,” is shared by an essay by James M. McPherson, a fact I discovered while conducting research for this article. Dr. McPherson's work is extremely well-written, and I recommend it to anyone with an interest in this subject. His book of essays containing his work by this title may be found on Google Books here, but I recommend purchasing the book, as I did after discovering it. No infringement is intended.
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Old 05-31-2010, 12:21 AM
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Well, since the Civil War seems to be a more popular topic of conversation lately, maybe this needs to be back up top. Guests cannot see images in the messages. Please register to forum by clicking here to see images. So I'm not simply bumping without adding content, here's one of the previous essays I referenced at the beginning of the OP, which I include because of the multiple disingenuous attempts lately to say I claim the Union went to war against slavery, rather than the Confederacy going to war for it. This was from another board some time ago. Note: I refer to the Confederate States as the "Slave Power" because that was the name given to it, and before it the political power of Southern slaveholders, by the abolitionist movement, and I will continue to refer to it as such until I no longer hear the American Civil War referred to as the "War of Northern Aggression."

Names and identifying links have been removed to protect the guilty. All content following this paragraph is copied from the post I made.

This post stems from [subject]'s recent blog entry, [redacted]. I am not here to argue about Abraham Lincoln's behavior in office; my objection stems from the implicit and explicit positions taken in some of the comments following the original post, to wit, that not only was Lincoln imperfect, but the Confederate States, hereinafter referred to as the Slave Power, its far more accurate nom de guerre of the period, were in the right to behave as they did.

Nothing could be further from the historical truth. Having had this discussion before, I know that this is the point where Confederate apologists will start accusing me of being brainwashed by the history of the victors, so let me squelch that now: My argument is based solely on primary-source documents of the Civil War, not historical accounts written after the fact.

To specify, my argument is this: That the Slave Power had absolutely no interest in states' rights as a principle, but rather used it as a fig leaf to cover their true interest, the perpetuation of chattel slavery. That the Union was not at war to end slavery affects this not at all; the political tides of the Union were moving in such a way that the end of slavery was inevitable, and this is primarily why the states of the Slave Power seceded.

To prove this assertion, I shall quote from certain documents produced by some of the Confederate states, the appropriately named Declarations of the Causes of Secession. I will start with Mississippi. The remainder of the documents may be found at the links I provide, so that all necessary context is available.
A Declaration of the Immediate Causes which Induce and Justify the Secession of the State of Mississippi from the Federal Union.

In the momentous step which our State has taken of dissolving its connection with the government of which we so long formed a part, it is but just that we should declare the prominent reasons which have induced our course.

Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery-- the greatest material interest of the world. Its labor supplies the product which constitutes by far the largest and most important portions of commerce of the earth. These products are peculiar to the climate verging on the tropical regions, and by an imperious law of nature, none but the black race can bear exposure to the tropical sun. These products have become necessities of the world, and a blow at slavery is a blow at commerce and civilization. That blow has been long aimed at the institution, and was at the point of reaching its consummation. There was no choice left us but submission to the mandates of abolition, or a dissolution of the Union, whose principles had been subverted to work out our ruin.
The remainder of the document lists specific grievances, most of which are directly related to slavery. None of them have anything to do with state sovereignty except insofar as the issue affects slavery, and in fact, rails against states' rights in one case where it is inconvenient to slavery, to wit:
Quote: Originally Posted by Same source
It has nullified the Fugitive Slave Law in almost every free State in the Union, and has utterly broken the compact which our fathers pledged their faith to maintain.
Yet according to popular Confederate doctrine, nullification is a right of the states. I suppose it only counts when it's used in furtherance of slavery.

The rest of the whole damning document may be read at the reference link at the top of the first quote box. Now on to the Declaration of Causes for the state of Georgia, where we get our first glimpse of Lincoln's role in the secessionists' motives. The Georgia legislature was apparently fond of giant walls-o'-text with no paragraphs, making it harder to extract discrete quotes since the document is poorly organized, but the link is provided and I will extract the relevant parts as best I can.
The people of Georgia having dissolved their political connection with the Government of the United States of America, present to their confederates and the world the causes which have led to the separation. For the last ten years we have had numerous and serious causes of complaint against our non-slave-holding confederate States with reference to the subject of African slavery. They have endeavored to weaken our security, to disturb our domestic peace and tranquility, and persistently refused to comply with their express constitutional obligations to us in reference to that property, and by the use of their power in the Federal Government have striven to deprive us of an equal enjoyment of the common Territories of the Republic.
Well, they certainly got right to the point. You'll find that that's a theme in these documents. Now, I promised Lincoln's role, and now I give it to you. Keep in mind that this was published before Lincoln's inauguration, during the end of the Buchanan administration.
Quote:
A brief history of the rise, progress, and policy of anti-slavery and the political organization into whose hands the administration of the Federal Government has been committed will fully justify the pronounced verdict of the people of Georgia. The party of Lincoln, called the Republican party, under its present name and organization, is of recent origin. It is admitted to be an anti-slavery party. While it attracts to itself by its creed the scattered advocates of exploded political heresies, of condemned theories in political economy, the advocates of commercial restrictions, of protection, of special privileges, of waste and corruption in the administration of Government, anti-slavery is its mission and its purpose. By anti-slavery it is made a power in the state.
You'll have to forgive me if I don't take their rantings about waste and corruption completely at face value, since it serves their purposes to trash the Republican Party at this juncture, but note that even with all that, their primary complaint is that Lincoln and the Republicans oppose slavery. The rest of the document is, as I said, a one-paragraph wall of text, so I will not quote the remainder, but anyone who cares to read it will find that the complaints continue in the vain of railing about restrictions against slavery.

Now for Texas. There are several interesting things to be found in this one. Unique among the states that declared their causes, they do not jump straight into slavery and list some other complaints, but it is clear that slavery is the driving force.
Quote: Originally Posted by Texas: Declaration of the Causes of Secession
Texas abandoned her separate national existence and consented to become one of the Confederated Union to promote her welfare, insure domestic tranquility and secure more substantially the blessings of peace and liberty to her people. She was received into the confederacy with her own constitution, under the guarantee of the federal constitution and the compact of annexation, that she should enjoy these blessings. She was received as a commonwealth holding, maintaining and protecting the institution known as negro slavery-- the servitude of the African to the white race within her limits-- a relation that had existed from the first settlement of her wilderness by the white race, and which her people intended should exist in all future time.
The section in blue highlights a direct admission by Texas that it surrendered its separate national character, something commonly disputed by neo-Confederates. This issue did not specifically come up in the LiveJournal comments that sparked this thread, but I thought I might as well head it off at the pass as long as I was already quoting this document. As before, the red highlights references to slavery as a complaint. Moving on.
Quote:
The controlling majority of the Federal Government, under various pretences and disguises, has so administered the same as to exclude the citizens of the Southern States, unless under odious and unconstitutional restrictions, from all the immense territory owned in common by all the States on the Pacific Ocean, for the avowed purpose of acquiring sufficient power in the common government to use it as a means of destroying the institutions of Texas and her sister slaveholding States.
I quote this paragraph mainly to point out that it is a bald-faced lie, as the territories were under Federal administration, not any sort of joint administration by the state governments. Here's an interesting tidbit, which has little to do with slavery, but does highlight just how little the Confederates respected the republican form of government, despite taking on it's trappings:
Quote:
By consolidating their strength, they have placed the slave-holding States in a hopeless minority in the federal congress,
This is a complaint? That's kind of what the majority does in a republic; if you want to get your way all the time, form a dictatorship. Moving on, at the end of the document the Texan legislature was kind enough to explicitly outline their views for posterity, to wit:
Quote:
In view of these and many other facts, it is meet that our own views should be distinctly proclaimed.

We hold as undeniable truths that the governments of the various States, and of the confederacy itself, were established exclusively by the white race, for themselves and their posterity; that the African race had no agency in their establishment; that they were rightfully held and regarded as an inferior and dependent race, and in that condition only could their existence in this country be rendered beneficial or tolerable.

That in this free government all white men are and of right ought to be entitled to equal civil and political rights; that the servitude of the African race, as existing in these States, is mutually beneficial to both bond and free, and is abundantly authorized and justified by the experience of mankind, and the revealed will of the Almighty Creator, as recognized by all Christian nations; while the destruction of the existing relations between the two races, as advocated by our sectional enemies, would bring inevitable calamities upon both and desolation upon the fifteen slave-holding states.
Ouch. That one's got to sting. Particularly as a number of the "African race," as they so delicately put it, did in fact fight and die in the American Revolution to establish this country, which in my book would give them considerable agency in its establishment, if generational ties to the Revolutionaries actually mattered, which they don't. And I daresay they went straight through slavery and into heresy at the end there.

And now, last but hardly least, we come to South Carolina, the state that, as usual, started all the trouble. They didn't get straight to the point at all, engaging in a long and largely inaccurate history lesson before getting down to business in their Declaration. But when they did get to the point, oh boy did they get to it.
The Constitution of the United States, in its fourth Article, provides as follows: "No person held to service or labor in one State, under the laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in consequence of any law or regulation therein, be discharged from such service or labor, but shall be delivered up, on claim of the party to whom such service or labor may be due."

This stipulation was so material to the compact, that without it that compact would not have been made.
The greater number of the contracting parties held slaves, and they had previously evinced their estimate of the value of such a stipulation by making it a condition in the Ordinance for the government of the territory ceded by Virginia, which now composes the States north of the Ohio River.
All. About. Slavery.

I think we've heard enough, but there's one last thing on the founding subject, and unlike the Declarations, I shall quote it in full. That is a speech by Alexander Stephens, member of Georgia's secession convention (where he opposed secession) and Vice President of the Slave Power. The speech is commonly known as the Cornerstone Address.
Quote: Originally Posted by Alexander H. Stephens: Cornerstone Address
March 21, 1861
We are in the midst of one of the greatest epochs in our history. The last ninety days will mark one of the most memorable eras in the history of modern civilization.

... we are passing through one of the greatest revolutions in the annals of the world-seven States have, within the last three months, thrown off an old Government and formed a new. This revolution has been signally marked, up to this time, by the fact of its having been accomplished without the loss of a single drop of blood. This new Constitution, or form of government, constitutes the subject to which your attention will be partly invited.

In reference to it, I make this first general remark: It amply secures all our ancient rights, franchises, and privileges. All the great principles of Magna Chartal are retained in it. No citizen is deprived of life, liberty, or property, but by the judgment of his peers, under the laws of the land. The great principle of religious liberty, which was the honor and pride of the old Constitution, is still maintained and secured. All the essentials of the old Constitution, which have endeared it to the hearts of the American people, have been preserved and perpetuated.... So, taking the whole new Constitution, I have no hesitancy in giving it as my judgment, that it is decidedly better than the old. [Applause.] Allow me briefly to allude to some of these improvements. The question of building up class interests, or fostering one branch of industry to the prejudice of another, under the exercise of the revenue power, which gave us so much trouble under the old Constitution, is put at rest forever under the new. We allow the imposition of no duty with a view of giving advantage to one class of persons, in any trade or business, over those of another. All, under our system, stand upon the same broad principles of perfect equality. Honest labor and enterprise are left free and unrestricted in whatever pursuit they may be engaged in ....

But not to be tedious in enumerating the numerous changes for the better, allow me to allude to one other-though last, not least: the new Constitution has put at rest forever all the agitating questions relating to our peculiar institutions-African slavery as it exists among us-the proper status of the negro in our form of civilization. This was the immediate cause of the late rupture and present revolution. Jefferson, in his forecast, had anticipated this, as the "rock upon which the old Union would split." He was right. What was conjecture with him, is now a realized fact. But whether he fully comprehended the great truth upon which that rock stood and stands, may be doubted. The prevailing ideas entertained by him and most of the leading statesmen at the time of the formation of the old Constitution were, that the enslavement of the African was in violation of the laws of nature; that it was wrong in principle, socially, morally and politically. It was an evil they knew not well how to deal with; but the general opinion of the men of that day was, that, somehow or other, in the order of Providence, the institution would be evanescent and pass away. This idea, though not incorporated in the Constitution, was the prevailing idea at the time. The Constitution, it is true, secured every essential guarantee to the institution while it should last, and hence no argument can be justly used against the constitutional guarantees thus secured, because of the common sentiment of the day. Those ideas, however, were fundamentally wrong. They rested upon the assumption of the equality of races. This was an error. It was a sandy foundation, and the idea of a Government built upon it-when the "storm came and the wind blew, it fell."

Our new Government is founded upon exactly the opposite ideas; its foundations are laid, its cornerstone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery, subordination to the superior race, is his natural and moral condition. This, our new Government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth.
This truth has been slow in the process of its development, like all other truths in the various departments of science. It is so even amongst us. Many who hear me, perhaps, can recollect well that this truth was not generally admitted, even within their day. The errors of the past generation still clung to many as late as twenty years ago. Those at the North who still cling to these errors with a zeal above knowledge, we justly denominate fanatics. All fanaticism springs from an aberration of the mind; from a defect in reasoning. It is a species of insanity. One of the most striking characteristics of insanity, in many instances, is, forming correct conclusions from fancied or erroneous premises; so with the anti-slavery fanatics: their conclusions are right if their premises are. They assume that the negro is equal, and hence conclude that he is entitled to equal privileges and rights, with the white man.... I recollect once of having heard a gentleman from one of the Northern States, of great power and ability, announce in the House of Representatives, with imposing effect, that we of the South would be compelled, ultimately, to yield upon this subject of slavery; that it was as impossible to war successfully against a principle in politics, as it was in physics or mechanics. That the principle would ultimately prevail. That we, in maintaining slavery as it exists with us, were warring against a principle-a principle founded in nature, the principle of the equality of man. The reply I made to him was, that upon his own grounds we should succeed, and that he and his associates in their crusade against our institutions would ultimately fail. The truth announced, that it was as impossible to war successfully against a principle in politics as well as in physics and mechanics, I admitted, but told him it was he and those acting with him who were warring against a principle. They were attempting to make things equal which the Creator had made unequal.

In the conflict thus far, success has been on our side, complete throughout the length and breadth of the Confederate States. It is upon this, as I have stated, our social fabric is firmly planted; and I cannot permit myself to doubt the ultimate success of a full recognition of this principle throughout the civilized and enlightened world.

As I have stated, the truth of this principle may be slow in development, as all truths are, and ever have been, in the various branches of science. It was so with the principles announced by Galileo-it was so with Adam Smith and his principles of political economy. It was so with Harvey, and his theory of the circulation of the blood. It is stated that not a single one of the medical profession, living at the time of the announcement of the truths made by him, admitted them. Now, they are universally acknowledged. May we not therefore look with confidence to the ultimate universal acknowledgment of the truths upon which our system rests? It is the first Government ever instituted upon principles in strict conformity to nature, and the ordination of Providence, in furnishing the materials of human society. Many Governments have been founded upon the principles of certain classes; but the classes thus enslaved, were of the same race, and in violation of the laws of nature. Our system commits no such violation of nature's laws. The negro by nature, or by the curse against Canaan, [note: A reference to Genesis, 9:20-27, which was used as a justification for slavery] is fitted for that condition which he occupies in our system. The architect, in the construction of buildings, lays the foundation with the proper material-the granite-then comes the brick or the marble. The substratum of our society is made of the material fitted by nature for it, and by experience we know that it is the best, not only for the superior but for the inferior race, that it should be so. It is, indeed, in conformity with the Creator. It is not for us to inquire into the wisdom of His ordinances or to question them. For His own purposes He has made one race to differ from another, as He has made "one star to differ from another in glory."

The great objects of humanity are best attained, when conformed to his laws and degrees, in the formation of Governments as well as in all things else. Our Confederacy is founded upon principles in strict conformity with these laws. This stone which was rejected by the first builders "is become the chief stone of the corner" in our new edifice.
So, we continue to establish that the foundation of the Slave Power was in fact slavery; the name attached to it by the abolitionists was not idle political trash talk. Not only that, but apparently I'm insane to believe that the color of a person's skin does not make him inherently superior or inferior. Guests cannot see images in the messages. Please register to forum by clicking here to see images. Also, note: More heresy.

And just to put the final nail in the coffin, we go to the Confederate Constitution, of which Stephens was speaking in the above address.
No bill of attainder, ex post facto law, or law denying or impairing the right of property in negro slaves shall be passed.
Oh, and just for fun, from the constitution's preamble:
Quote:
We, the people of the Confederate States, each State acting in its sovereign and independent character, in order to form a permanent federal government, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity -- invoking the favor and guidance of Almighty God-- do ordain and establish this Constitution for the Confederate States of America.
"Permanent federal government." So they weren't any happier about secession from the Slave Power than the Union was about secession from itself. Guests cannot see images in the messages. Please register to forum by clicking here to see images. Which was amply demonstrated by Confederate treatment of the Unionists of eastern Tennessee, who wished to rejoin the Union; namely, eastern Tennessee was put down and occupied by military force, and pro-Union inhabitants conscripted into the Confederate armies, but that's peripheral to the point.

Which brings me around to the other part of my assertion; not only did I claim that slavery was a primary motivator, but that the Slave Power did not value states' rights. I touched on this slightly above in some of the other quotes, but the one thing that most lays this to rest is the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850. This law effectively removed the northern states' rights to regulate the enforcement of the law within their own borders, superseding and repealing at the federal level the personal liberty laws of the free states, which did such terrible things as requiring that those seeking fugitive slaves produce evidence that their captives were fugitives, and affording those accused of being fugitives from slavery the right to a jury trial. The Fugitive Slave Act, pushed by slave state delegations to Congress, ran roughshod over the rights of the free states because those rights were inconvenient to slavery. If states' rights were such a near and dear principle as is often claimed in the modern day, this would never have happened. The full text for the Act.

I believe I have thoroughly established evidence for my assertion. Since there are apparently some here inclined to dispute it, I await their replies.
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Old 05-31-2010, 01:13 AM
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The roots of nullification go much deeper than just John C. Calhoun, to the days of Jefferson and Madison and the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions of 1798.

And if the south was such a nuisance to the north it would seem like good policy to simply wish them well and let them go, rather than waging a war to force them to stay.
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Old 05-31-2010, 01:56 AM
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The roots of nullification go much deeper than just John C. Calhoun, to the days of Jefferson and Madison and the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions of 1798.

And if the south was such a nuisance to the north it would seem like good policy to simply wish them well and let them go, rather than waging a war to force them to stay.
The South saw to it no peaceful resolution would occur. Lincoln REFUSED to act as the South rebelled, wanting to wait for the Congress to act. The South would have none of that resorting to armed rebellion, FORCING Lincoln to raise an Army in defense of the loyal States.
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Old 05-31-2010, 03:24 AM
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The roots of nullification go much deeper than just John C. Calhoun, to the days of Jefferson and Madison and the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions of 1798.

And if the south was such a nuisance to the north it would seem like good policy to simply wish them well and let them go, rather than waging a war to force them to stay.
The South saw to it no peaceful resolution would occur. Lincoln REFUSED to act as the South rebelled, wanting to wait for the Congress to act. The South would have none of that resorting to armed rebellion, FORCING Lincoln to raise an Army in defense of the loyal States.
Right, the south saw to it that no peaceful resolution would occur. Because they didn't try to settle the issue peacefully by sending delegates to meet with Lincoln that Lincoln refused to meet with, right?
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Old 05-31-2010, 05:19 AM
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The roots of nullification go much deeper than just John C. Calhoun, to the days of Jefferson and Madison and the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions of 1798.

And if the south was such a nuisance to the north it would seem like good policy to simply wish them well and let them go, rather than waging a war to force them to stay.
The South saw to it no peaceful resolution would occur. Lincoln REFUSED to act as the South rebelled, wanting to wait for the Congress to act. The South would have none of that resorting to armed rebellion, FORCING Lincoln to raise an Army in defense of the loyal States.
Right, the south saw to it that no peaceful resolution would occur. Because they didn't try to settle the issue peacefully by sending delegates to meet with Lincoln that Lincoln refused to meet with, right?
Who fired the first shot? Who forced the issue? Who was screaming for blood? Who raised armies while the other side did not?
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Old 05-31-2010, 05:37 AM
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The South saw to it no peaceful resolution would occur. Lincoln REFUSED to act as the South rebelled, wanting to wait for the Congress to act. The South would have none of that resorting to armed rebellion, FORCING Lincoln to raise an Army in defense of the loyal States.
Right, the south saw to it that no peaceful resolution would occur. Because they didn't try to settle the issue peacefully by sending delegates to meet with Lincoln that Lincoln refused to meet with, right?
Who fired the first shot? Who forced the issue? Who was screaming for blood? Who raised armies while the other side did not?
Who ignored the peaceful delegates and belligerently forced the other side to fire because they fully intended to wage a war that was up to that point not politically popular?
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Old 05-31-2010, 05:48 AM
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We've been here before Kevin.

The South fired the first shots even before Lincoln was President.
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Old 05-31-2010, 05:55 AM
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We've been here before Kevin.

The South fired the first shots even before Lincoln was President.
Yes, in another act of belligerence by Lincoln's predecessor, at least he had the sense not to escalate the situation. This prior incident also shows that Lincoln knew what the consequences of his actions would be, and still went ahead and tried to resupply Fort Sumter. He knew the south would attack, and he knew he could use that to get public opinion on his side for a war with the south.
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Old 05-31-2010, 06:29 AM
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Kevin - it was OUR Fort. It belonged to the Federal Government.

South Carolina had no more right to its possession than Kentucky does to Fort Knox
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Old 05-31-2010, 06:30 AM
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The debate about history that will not die.

Why not?

Because some people revise history to make it a debate.

Waste of time trying to convice those who believe lies, folks.

Read your history.
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Old 05-31-2010, 06:46 AM
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I was just wondering... If the South had of won the Civil War, would there be a requirement for all eating establishments to have grits on the menu? Might not be such a bad thing - just saying.
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Old 05-31-2010, 07:33 AM
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I was just wondering... If the South had of won the Civil War, would there be a requirement for all eating establishments to have grits on the menu? Might not be such a bad thing - just saying.
The North won.

Is scapple and baked beans for breakfast on every menu?
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Old 05-31-2010, 10:44 AM
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Kevin - it was OUR Fort. It belonged to the Federal Government.

South Carolina had no more right to its possession than Kentucky does to Fort Knox
And the Colonies had no more right to anything than South Carolina did to Fort Sumter.
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Old 05-31-2010, 10:52 AM
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The South saw to it no peaceful resolution would occur. Lincoln REFUSED to act as the South rebelled, wanting to wait for the Congress to act. The South would have none of that resorting to armed rebellion, FORCING Lincoln to raise an Army in defense of the loyal States.
Right, the south saw to it that no peaceful resolution would occur. Because they didn't try to settle the issue peacefully by sending delegates to meet with Lincoln that Lincoln refused to meet with, right?
Who fired the first shot? Who forced the issue? Who was screaming for blood? Who raised armies while the other side did not?

you?
tea baggers?
conservative right wingers?
conservative militia?
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