Lincoln’s Destruction of the Union


Lincoln’s proclamation of 15 April 1861 was an act of a dictator, claiming that his actions against a fictitious insurrection were ventured upon by alleged popular demand and public necessity. With no consent of Congress, the elected representatives of the people, he seized absolute power and suspended the ancient writ of habeas corpus on his own.

Bernhard Thuersam, Chairman
North Carolina War Between the States Sesquicentennial Commission
"The Official Website of the North Carolina WBTS Sesquicentennial"


Lincoln’s Destruction of the Union:

“It has been said that the cause of the South was the worst that any people ever fought for. To those who measure national greatness by the acre, and know no national welfare that does not bear the stamp of the mint, the cause was bad, but not so in the eyes of the children of that holy covenant between the power of the State and the liberty of the people, the first lines of which were written at Runnymede, whose leaves are stained with the blood of countless martyrs, and to which the hand of Washington set the blood-red seal at Yorktown.  To them the cause was one for which it was an honor to fight and a glory to die.

It is true that

[Mr. Lincoln’s war] abolished slavery and removed the only serious cause of dissension between the people of the North and South, but….the overthrow of slavery was an accident of the war, and not its object.

The object was the restoration of the cotton States to the Union, or, in the language of the proclamation, “to maintain the integrity and existence of our national Union and the perpetuity of popular government, and to avenge wrongs already long enough endured.”  The last mentioned object, it must be owned, was accomplished, whatever and however great the wrongs to be avenged may have been.  It did restore the cotton States to the Union, but it restored only the land and wretched inhabitants of it.

Instead of maintaining the honor, integrity, and the existence of our national Union, it destroyed that Union, in all but a territorial sense, more effectually than secession, by substituting conquered provinces for free States, and repeating in America the shameful history of Russia and Poland.

Instead of maintaining the perpetuity of popular government, it established a military government; instead of enforcing the laws of the Union, it established over nearly half the Union military and martial law.

In fact, arbitrary power and force have proved themselves failures as agencies in establishing and maintaining the true principles of American government. The wave of arbitrary power, with the public and private corruption that always attend it, swept on for many dreary years after the war, until it began to lap against the foundations of the independence of the Northern States.  They then found that to hold the South in subjection to governments imposed upon it by Federal bayonets would endanger their own liberties, and the advancing wave broke upon the good sense and patriotism of the Northern people.

Then began the work of restoring the Union by means of justice, good-will, conciliation, and fraternal kindness, and they have done their work well. But the great mass of the Southern people believed, and still believe, that the same agencies would have done the same blessed work in 1861, before a dark river of blood and tears was made to flow between the people of the North and South.”

(Oration of Colonel Charles Marshall, Southern Historical Society Papers, Vol. XVII, R.A. Brock, editor, 1889, pp. 237-238)