Deep-Seated Hostility to the South
William Lowndes Yancey of Alabama frequently pointed out the relentless pressure from Northern States for trade advantages at the expense of the rest of the country. Yancey referred to the North as “free” States though he knew they were former slave-trading States; and he correctly noted that the abolition of slavery would create more voters in the South, which pressed the Northern victor in 1865 to promptly enroll Southern blacks into the infamous Union League and promote racial hatred. See www.1898wilmington.com for more on the Union League.
Bernhard Thuersam, Director
Cape Fear Historical Institute
Deep-Seated Hostility to the South:
“Yancey now saw the dangers…divined in the combination of tariff increases, repeal of the Gag Rule, and especially the exclusion of Texas. “I can see in this a deeply seated hostility to the South – a disposition to circumscribe it – to surround it with people and institutions hostile to it,” he began [his letter to Northerners]. The Missouri Compromise, he reminded New Yorkers, gave the free States the bulk of western territories enough to make twenty-six new States, according to his calculations.
Once the Union admitted Florida as a slave State, Yancey pointed out that slaveholders had nowhere else to turn. And yet, the Texas annexation – with the possibility of dividing that region into five slave States – “frighten[s] Northern men out of their wits about the enormous preponderance which annexation will bring to the South!”
So, he concluded, while Maine pressed her lumber interests in Congress, western States called for federal internal improvements, Pennsylvania and New England sought advantage for their industry and New York for commerce, “the South but urges annexation as a protection against assailants! Do you not see the difference?”
[Yancey] asserted that Northerners would cut their own throats by harming the peculiar institution. It was the produce of slave labor, not free labor, Yancey claimed, that resulted in the commercial prosperity of New York. [And] Yancey correctly noted that the Constitution’s three-fifths provision that many Northerners blamed for increasing Southern political power actually limited representation. If Northerners forced the end of slavery, African Americans in the South would suddenly count as five-fifths…for determining representation in Congress.”
(William Lowndes Yancey, The Coming of the Civil War, Eric H. Walther, UNC Press, 2006, pp. 81-82)