Lesser Known Historical Excerpts Relevant to The War for Southern Independence

Author: Eric Patterson

Below are but a few excerpts from history that reveal that the war between the United States of America and the Confederate States of America was not a battle of good versus evil, or even a true civil war. The facts reveal the shallow, one-sided, sound-bite "history" and stereotypes of the Antebellum South, the War, the Union, and the Confederacy that most of us have been taught. We are all familiar with the War between the North and South as told through Northern eyes and texts. My objective is to challenge what are usually accepted as the causes of Southern secession and of the War that followed by offering alternative insights based on excerpts of neglected American history.

The South did not intend to take control of the United States government, but to peacefully form their own sovereign nation. They had no more intention of conquering Washington than the patriots of 1776 had in conquering London. This was, in fact, a war between two nations and cultures, the South having declared her independence from the North just as the thirteen American Colonies had done from England, and Texas had done from Mexico. The right of a State to secede from the Union had been widely assumed, though untested, in both the North and South, from the time the Constitution was written and ratified, until South Carolina took that bold step on December 20, 1860. Drawing heavily on the American Revolution and the Declaration of Independence one people declared their independence, and another determined to use all necessary measures to forcefully restore the former Union. Under the cover of war and through bullets and bayonets, the relationship between the States and the Federal government would be radically changed. The term "union," having once been understood to mean voluntary cooperation for the mutual benefit of each State, had taken on the notion of indivisible–held together by force, and at all costs. It became clear that "government of the people, for the people,

[and] by the people" as well as the noble idea of "the consent of the governed" was now defined by those who wielded the greater military force, relegating the defeated peoples to the status of "rebels" and traitors. In short, a declaration of independence became laudable only if those desiring independence win in their struggle – a philosophy of "might makes right." Finally, the victors write the prevailing history.

We must look into history to find the true roots of that tragic War. Care must be taken to draw a distinction between the causes of the secession of the Southern States, and the reasons why war broke out between the North and South. History reveals the likelihood of a great conflict between the North and South–two distinct peoples and cultures. Many of the differences between the North and South coalesced in the issues of sectional political struggles for power in Congress, Federal encroachment on the rights reserved and retained by the States, differing regional economic interests, regional cultural differences, the moral question of slavery, and the regional effects of federal tariffs. It all came to a head as political power shifted in Congress and then in the Presidency. The South, feeling her back was against the wall, declared herself to be an independent nation, just as the Founding Fathers had done as they broke away from England, and the Texans had done when they broke away from Mexico.

Unfortunately, the topic of slavery has served as a red herring to distract from the more fundamental reasons for the conflict between the North and South that led to secession. To understand the role of slavery in this conflict, one must ask why it was an issue, both for the North and the South. But first, because we are so far removed from that time in history, it is also important to remember that the institution of slavery had widely acknowledged constitutional protection, being an issue for each State, North and South, to deal with as it’s citizens saw fit. A basic principle in understanding the people and events of history is to interpret them within their historical context. In historical context, prior to the Thirteenth Amendment, slaves were held in legally binding servitude. While such a notion is shocking to modern ears, it was the law and sentiment of the land with a strong constitutional argument. Abraham Lincoln openly shared these sentiments.

Most modern observers cannot–or will not–see beyond the issue of slavery to the many foundational issues of the growing division between North and South, many of which had simmered from before the birth of the Nation. Though a growing point of contention, slavery was but one of the differentiating factors between the agrarian economy and culture of the South, and the increasingly industrial economy and culture of the North. Slavery, in and of itself, was not the reason for Southern secession nor the cause of the War for Southern Independence. The citizens of the Northern States were not willing to fight and die to end slavery, nor did they do so. Lincoln himself had made this clear. The abolitionist’s voice at the national level was still a small political minority. Besides, the voices of Northern racial prejudice and white laborers who feared the loss of jobs through an influx of emancipated slaves rang in the ears of Northern politicians.

The mostly one crop economy of the South was itself a slave to slavery, for mechanization had not yet embraced the growing of cotton. The terms "Cotton States" and "Slave States" encompassed Southern interests in general, whether economic, political, or cultural. To control slavery through national politics was perceived by the South as a threat to her economic interests, her influence in national politics on a wide range of other issues vital to her agrarian foundations, an assault on the Constitution, and a threat to historic States’ rights.

For one thing, limiting slavery to the existing Southern States, while the United States continued to spread West and the population growth in the North outpaced that of the South, would reduce Southern political influence in many areas of unique concern to her to a hopeless minority position. Yet, by favoring the protection of slavery where it currently existed, the Republicans could cloud partisan and sectional debate by claiming not to be an enemy of the South. But the Republicans did not have to end slavery in the South. All they had to do was contain it where it was in order to stifle Southern political and economic power as Congressional representation from the West and North grew in strength.

No doubt, their were those few in the North did not want to see slavery spread for moral reasons. However, this would not move beyond a minority position until Lincoln used abolition as political a tactic midway through the war. Yet the real reason for the opposition to the spread, not only of slavery, but even of free black settlers to the frontier was to reserve these lands for white settlers.

It was these threats to the South through the institution of slavery that were among the many contributing factors leading to the secession of the first seven Southern States, but to simplistically raise up slavery as the reason both distorts and obscures the truth. After all, the North shared in keeping slavery viable by her growing appetite for Southern cotton and tobacco, and by providing direct financing for slave ownership.

The opposing sides in debates over tariffs followed this same division, as did other issues of a sectional nature as Northern industrial influence in national politics grew. The Southern Democrats had long been a thorn in the side of Northern industrial interests by fighting import tariffs–tariffs that protected the Northern industrial economy from foreign competition. To reduce Southern influence in national politics would mean smoother sailing for protectionist trade legislation. But, at the same time, those same tariffs collected at Southern ports were the major source for all Federal revenue–most of which was spent on the burgeoning industrial infrastructure of the North. This last point would figure prominently in shaping Northern opinion and sentiments over Southern secession.

Had the South threatened the roots of Northern economics and culture from a position of superior political strength, the North would have reacted similarly. Indeed, this scenario had been played out in the Nation’s past on numerous occasions. Political and economic grievances such as these were not new, for New England had voiced similar ones at various times throughout American history, threatening secession herself multiple times.

Finally, history records that the secession of the remaining Southern States of the Confederacy was precipitated by Federal aggression mobilized against the first seven States that had already seceded.

The major companion question to the one regarding slavery that must be answered is, "Why did Lincoln deem it worth ‘preserving’ the Union at the cost of over 600,000 lives and the near total destruction of the Southern economy and infrastructure–which would take over 100 years to recover; by what legal or moral grounds did he do this?" In the months just prior to Lincoln’s decision to march on the South, the voice of Northern merchants and financiers grew more desperate at the prospect of entering into a trade and tariff war with the South. With the high import tariffs of the North and the low tariffs of the South, foreign manufactured goods would naturally enter through the South. It was also feared that the Southern market for Northern manufactured goods would shrivel, if not dry up. On this issue, the agrarian South had nothing to lose and everything to gain, while Northern merchants, financiers, and the Federal coffer stood only to lose. The South did not need the North for their economic well being nearly as much as the growth and prosperity of the North depended on the South’s continued membership in the Union. Surely it is not hard to believe that economics was a major factor in both the secession of the Southern States and the ultimate cry from the North for war once the economic realities settled in. And surely it is not unrealistic to think that the combined outcry of powerful Northern capitalists was heeded by Lincoln and the Republicans, especially with the threat of economic catastrophe should the South be permitted to remain out of the Union. In short, the North feared it could not survive in the competitive arena of free trade.

While slavery was legal in the Confederate States of America for 4 years (1861-1865), slavery was legal in the United States of America for 89 years (1776-1865). But, does the existence, practice and acceptance of slavery in 1776 America nullify the honor and valor associated with the spilling of Patriot blood in the struggle for independence from our mother country? Likewise, does the existence, practice and acceptance of slavery in 1830’s Texas strip the honor and valor from those Texans who died at Goliad and at the Alamo as they fought for independence from Mexico? Did the words and sentiments expressed in the Declaration of Independence no longer apply to people in the several States of the United States once the Constitution was ratified? Are these struggles for independence any less legitimate because political unions were torn apart? Nor should the South be judged any differently for its own struggle for independence in 1861-65. As economist, professor, author, and columnist Walter E. Williams wrote in his December 2, 1998, article The Civil War Wasn’t About Slavery, "the only good coming from the War Between the States was the abolition of slavery."

Should you find the preceding analysis too alien to what you were taught and had always believed, at least read and consider the following chronology of lesser known excerpts of American history related to the long standing tension between the North and South. Be open to the possibility that politics, competing philosophies of government, and money might have been much greater factors in both Southern secession and the war cry of the North than are commonly acknowledged, and that the insistence of the unconditional and immediate abolition of slavery was a minority position in the North.

According to the Declaration of Independence, political unions are not sacrosanct. Truly precious is liberty and government instituted by the people that remains under the consent of the people.

"When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect of the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation […] That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to altar or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness" (The Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776).

"The Declaration was the outcome of prolonged discussion, and of hopelessness in resisting arbitrary measures, while in union with the mother country. When no other course was compatible with self-respect, the pressure of liberty compelled the tearing asunder of the ties of allegiance and union, and Virginia and Massachusetts went hand in hand in leading the rupture" (JLMC p. 33).

The members of the Second Continental Congress were not members of a governing body, but were delegates and ambassadors sent by governors and legislatures of the thirteen States–independent States that tenaciously asserted and guarded their respective sovereignty (WEW p. 232; JLMC p. 64-65, 68-82).

John Adams, Massachusetts delegate to the Second Continental Congress, wrote to his wife of the stark differences between the two peoples of the Northern and Southern colonies, and that the proposed union could not be held together "without the utmost caution on both sides" (JRK p. 24).

The sovereignty and independence, not of one nation, but of each of the individual thirteen States was recognized by King George III after the "Articles of the proposed Treaty" of peace were signed between England and "Commissioners of the United States of America" in Paris on November 30, 1782. As stipulated by Benjamin Franklin in the preamble of the treaty with England, and in cooperation with France, formal independence from and peace with England for each of the thirteen individually recognized States was finalized as peace was made between France and England. This definitive "Treaty of Peace" between England and "the United States of America" was signed on September 3, 1783. The entire transaction for peace was referred to as the "Peace of Paris" (WEW p. 212-13; SEM p. 266-67; JLMC p. 35). Article I of both documents contain these words:

"His Britannic Majesty acknowledges the said United States, viz. New Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, [Delaware,] Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia, to be free sovereign and independent States; that he treats with them as such; and for himself, his heirs and successors, relinquishes all claims to the government, propriety, and territorial rights of the same, and every part thereof."

Given their history of inter-colonial rivalries, many observers doubted that any compact between the newly independent thirteen States would last. "Josiah Tucker, dean of Gloucester, who was one of the leading economic and political authorities of Great Britain, said, ‘The mutual antipathies and clashing interests of the Americans […] their difference of governments, habitudes, and manners, indicate that they will have no centre of union and no common interest. They never can be united into one compact empire under any species of government whatever’" (WEW p. 213).

Alexander Hamilton, a staunch Federalist strongly opposed to democracy, and even a republican form of government, lobbied during the Constitutional Convention of 1787 for a government patterned after the European monarchies. He proposed that the government of the United States consist of a president and senate who were to be elected by electors, with the members of the senate serving for life, and a lower house consisting of persons elected by popular vote for a three year term. He also proposed that the governors of the States be appointed by the federal administration and that the president or congress have veto power over the State legislatures (WEW p. 234-35, 294). In summary, the Hamiltonians, or Federalists, distrusted the individual State governments’ for judicious self-government, and argued for a strong central government with a corresponding decrease of States’ rights (WEW p. 267; SEM p. 328-29; MLD p. 62-63, 69-70).

Thomas Jefferson, a Democratic-Republican and staunch advocate of democracy, and believing that the Union was a group of sovereign States that had carefully delegated specific powers to an administrative agent, stated his view of States’ rights within the Union as follows, "My plan would be to make the states one as to everything connected with foreign nations, and several as to everything purely domestic" (WEW p. 294). In summary, the Jeffersonians, or Antifederalists, considered the United States as a league of sovereign States that had delegated a few of the States’ inherent and inalienable powers to a federal authority, that Government was regulating force imposed upon the people from without, and that there should be as little of it as possible (WEW p. 267; SEM p. 328-29; JLMC p. 93).

The Antifederalists of the Pennsylvania delegation to the Constitutional Convention opposed ratification saying that "the powers vested in Congress by this constitution, must necessarily annihilate and absorb the legislative, executive, and judicial powers of the several states and produce from their ruins one consolidated government, which from the nature of things will be an iron-handed despotism" of the central government (MLD p. 123).

On October 25, 1787, George Clinton, Governor of New York, himself quite sectional in his sentiments and exhibiting hostility toward the Southern States, wrote as "Cato" in Antifederalist No. 14 in The New York Journal. Here, he states his trepidation over forming a union whose federal government is granted so much power over States with such dissimilar interests. He fears that such a diverse union can, ultimately, only be held together by force, and at the cost of liberty. He even warns of the necessity of a standing army to enforce collection of federal revenues from the States–a fear that would become a reality as sectional battles over tariffs became increasingly contentious during the 1800’s.

"[…] whoever seriously considers the immense extent of territory comprehended within the limits of the United States, together with the variety of its climates, productions, and commerce, the difference of extent, and number of inhabitants in all; the dissimilitude of interest, morals, and politics, in almost every one, will receive it as an intuitive truth, that a consolidated republican form of government therein, can never form a perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquillity, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to you and your posterity, for to these objects it must be directed. This unkindred legislature therefore, composed of interests opposite and dissimilar in their nature, will in its exercise, emphatically be like a house divided against itself.

"[…] Will this consolidated republic, if established, in its exercise beget such confidence and compliance, among the citizens of these states, as to do without the aid of a standing army? I deny that it will. The malcontents in each state, who will not be a few, nor the least important, will be exciting factions against it. The fear of a dismemberment of some of its parts, and the necessity to enforce the execution of revenue laws (a fruitful source of oppression) on the extremes and in the other districts of the government, will incidentally and necessarily require a permanent force, to be kept on foot. Will not political security, and even the opinion of it, be extinguished? Can mildness and moderation exist in a government where the primary incident in its exercise must be force?

"[…] Is it, therefore, from certainty like this, reasonable to believe, that inhabitants of Georgia, or New Hampshire, will have the same obligations towards you as your own, and preside over your lives, liberties, and property, with the same care and attachment? Intuitive reason answers in the negative…." (Antifederalist No. 14)

The ratification of the new Constitution, beginning on November 6, 1787, and ending May 29, 1790, took place within State conventions. It was not submitted to the collective people of a nation. It was the will of the citizens of each individual State that was sought. Inherent in this process was the possibility that the citizens of a State might choose not to enter into the proposed constitutional confederacy. The proposed Union would come into being after nine states ratified the new Constitution, with or without the remaining States. (JLMC p. 77, 98).

During the ratification process of the proposed constitution, George Mason, in a letter to the Virginia Ratification Convention dated June 4, 1788, warned of the inevitable tension in the union of States of "so extensive a country, embracing so many climates, and containing inhabitants so very different in manners, habits, and customs" under a national government (JRK p. 24; PBK ch. 8, doc. 37).

The June 26, 1788, Virginia Act of Ratification of the United States Constitution contained clarifying language stating that the people of Virginia reserved the right to recall the powers they delegated to the newly formed federal government if "the same shall be perverted to their injury or oppression, and that every power not granted thereby remains with them and at their will" (JRK p. 189; GLD p. 65; JLMC p. 81; CA p. 15). Clearly, recalling the powers they had delegated would cause the State to revert back to their pre-ratification status, not by permission of the other States, but by her own will.

As with Virginia, prior to ratifying the U.S. Constitution, the States of New York and Rhode Island reserved the right to recall the powers they were delegating to the new federal government by stating that "the powers of government may be reassumed by the people whenever it shall become necessary to their happiness" (GLD p. 65-66; JLMC p. 77).

Dissenting States would not ratify the Constitution without the assurance that a bill of rights to the Constitution, declaring the privileges inviolably retained by the people of the States and limiting the reach of the Federal government, would be put through in the first session of the new Congress (WEW p. 247; MLD p. 58).

The Federalist position argued against a bill of rights in the new Constitution; stating that it was "unnecessary" since sufficient restraint upon the government already exists within the body of the Constitution, being understood by the prominent phrase "WE THE PEOPLE", and also because of inherited respect for British common-law. They also surmised that a specific list of rights would provide a rationale for the national government to violate other rights not listed. The Federalist were especially opposed to a declaration of rights which exclusively placed limits on the national government, while not similarly addressing the State governments (Alexander Hamilton, Federalist Papers, Number 84; MLD p. 58-60).

As typified in New York’s ratification document, the Antifederalist position argued that a bill of rights was a "legal weapon to keep the national government within its specified sphere of constitutional trust […] in the event of a constitutional contest between itself [a State] and the national government" (MLD p. 61). This document reads in part:

"That the sovereignty, freedom, and independency of the several states shall be retained, and every power, jurisdiction, and right which is not by this constitution expressly delegated to the United States in Congress assembled."

Raphael Semmes in his 1869 work, Memoirs of Service Afloat, writes of the nervousness of the States toward the proposed new government in relation to the retained powers of the States (JRK p. 206).

Prior to ratifying the new constitution, the State of Massachusetts insisted "that it be explicitly declared, that all powers not delegated by the aforesaid Constitution are reserved to the several States, to be by them exercised."

Pennsylvania likewise insisted that the new constitution be amended to include language guaranteeing that "[a]ll the rights of sovereignty which are not, by the said Constitution, expressly and plainly vested in the Congress, shall be deemed to remain with, and shall be exercised by the several states in the Union."

The Ninth and Tenth Amendments to the Constitution addressed the basic Antifederalist distrust of a central government to not usurp the reserved rights of the States (MLD p. 5; JRK p. 177-78, 206).

James Madison, "the father of the Constitution," expressed his view of the proposed new government and the sovereign status of the States as they ratified the new constitution when he stated,

"In order to ascertain the real character of the government, it may be considered in relation to the foundation on which it is to be established; to the sources from which its ordinary powers are to be drawn; to the operation of those powers; to the extent of them; and to the authority by which future changes in the government are to be introduced.

"On examining the first relation, it appears, on one hand, that the Constitution is to be founded on the assent and ratification of the people of America, given by deputies elected for the special purpose; but, on the other, that this assent and ratification is to be given by the people, not as individuals composing one entire nation, but as composing the distinct and independent States to which they respectively belong. It is to be the assent and ratification of the several States, derived from the supreme authority in each State, the authority of the people themselves. The act, therefore, establishing the Constitution, will not be a NATIONAL, but a FEDERAL act.

"That it will be a federal and not a national act, as these terms are understood by the objectors; the act of the people, as forming so many independent States, not as forming one aggregate nation […] Each State, in ratifying the Constitution, is considered as a sovereign body, independent of all others, and only to be bound by its voluntary act" (James Madison, Federalist Papers, Number 39).

American slave ships flew the Stars and Stripes (not the flags of the Confederate States of America) (JRK p. 69-70).

The slave trade had early roots in New England, going back as early as 1640. The sailing ship Desire, sailing from Salem, Massachusetts, is designated as the first slave ship outfitted in America (JRK p. 66).

In 1750, Newport, Rhode Island’s fleet of slaving ships numbered one hundred and seventy (FWS p. 28).

West Indian molasses provided the basis of the New England slave trade. The molasses was used in the making of rum by New England distillers. New England based slave ships would then take on a cargo of rum to be used in trading for African slaves (JRK p. 66-67). According to the research of author Francis W. Springer:

"[A]s early as the 1750’s there were 63 distilleries in Massachusetts and 30 in Rhode Island busy converting molasses into rum for the [slave] trade. When an import duty was levied on molasses, it was never collected because it was claimed that it would ruin the slave trade, throw 5,000 men out of work and cause 700 ships to rot" (FWS p. 42; also JRK p. 67).

According to author Daniel P. Mannix in his book, Black Cargoes, the colony of Rhode Island registered a protest to the English Board of Trade in 1763 over the tax on molasses claiming it would greatly harm her slave trade, a mainstay of her economy (JRK p. 67).

The July, 1916 issue of the Hartford Current summarized the operation of the New England slave trade and its contribution to slavery in the South:

"Northern rum had much to do with the extension of slavery in the South. Many people in this state [Connecticut] as well as in Boston, made snug fortunes for themselves by sending rum to Africa to be exchanged for slaves and then selling the slaves to the planters of Southern states" (SCV p. 14).

According to the Boston News Letter, at least twenty-three thousand blacks were brought from Africa to Massachusetts between 1755 and 1766 (FWS p. 28).

The gradual reduction of slavery in the North was due in large part to the growth in the number of white laborers (JRK p. 54). According to author Lorenzo Johnson Green, in his 1966 book The Negro in Colonial New England 1620-1776, John Adams insisted that the abolition of slavery in Massachusetts was due to the protest of competing white laborers rather than for ethical or moral reasons. Adams stated,

"Argument might have some weight in the abolition of slavery in Massachusetts, but the real cause was the multiplication of labouring white people, who would no longer suffer the rich to employ these sable rivals so much to their injury. The common people would not suffer the labor, by which alone they could obtain a subsistence, to be done by slaves. If the gentlemen had been permitted by law to hold slaves, the common white people would have put the slaves to death, and their masters too perhaps" (JRK p. 84; SCV p. 13).

George H. Moore, in his 1866 book Notes on the History of Slavery in Massachusetts, documents that in 1788 Massachusetts, having instituted a process of gradual emancipation of its slaves, passed a law stating that blacks, mulattos, and Indians who came into the State and remained two months would be publicly whipped (JRK p. 76).

In 1799 New York declared that children born to slaves after July 4, 1799 were to be free. In order to recoup the loss in value of their slave holdings, New York slave owners shipped their slaves South to be sold at auction (CA p. 133).

In 1798 and 1799, the legislatures of Virginia, inspired by James Madison, and Kentucky, inspired by Thomas Jefferson, asserting their belief that they had the sovereign right to nullify any illegal or harmful acts of the Federal government, declared that both the Alien and Sedition Acts, passed by the Federalist controlled Congress, were unconstitutional and would not be enforced in their States (WEW p. 289; SEM p. 354; JRK p. 164-65; MLD p. 22).

The Virginia Resolution declared in part that "the powers of the Federal Government" are the result of a compact "to which the States are parties." As such, the States are "duty bound to interpose for arresting the progress" of "deliberate, palpable, and dangerous exercise of other powers not granted by said compact" to the Federal Government (JLMC p. 106).

The Kentucky Resolution, drawn up by Jefferson, warned that allowing the Federal Government to be the judge of the extent of its own power stops "nothing short of despotism since those who administer the Government and not the Constitution would be the measure of their powers; that the several States who formed the instrument, being sovereign and independent, have the unquestionable right to judge of the infraction; and that a nullification by those sovereignties of all unauthorized acts done under color of that instrument is the rightful remedy" (JLMC p. 106-07).

It was widely proposed by New England Federalists that the New England States secede from the Union should Jefferson be elected president in the election of 1800. The Federalist newspaper, the Columbian Centinel, warned, "Tremble then in case of Jefferson’s election, all ye holders of public funds, for your ruin is at hand." Federalist John Adams, having lost his reelection bid, was so disgusted at the outcome of the election that he refused to welcome Jefferson or attend his inauguration (WEW p. 290, 292).

In 1804, New Jersey adopted a mode of gradual emancipation of slaves that was to take effect in 1827. Slaves born before 1804 were to remain slaves for life. These remaining slaves were referred to as "colored apprentices for life." Children of slaves born after July 4, 1804, were "free," but had to remain as servants of their masters. Females had to labor in this way until age 21, and males until age 25. In 1850 there were 236 slaves for life in New Jersey. The 1860 United States census officially enumerated 18 slaves in New Jersey.

The method of gradual emancipation used in the North respected "property" rights of the Northern slave holders, many of whom sold their slaves South and recouped their investment–an investment that wasn’t especially profitable in the North, anyway (JRK p. 75; GKW).

New England Federalists, already enraged over the Louisiana Purchase, feared that their influence in the affairs of government would be further diminished as western and southern territories applied for admission into the Union. Josiah Quincy of Massachusetts, in a speech to the House of Representatives, spoke of Western "Representatives and Senators from the Red River and Missouri pouring themselves upon this and the other floor, managing the concerns of a seaboard fifteen hundred miles at least from their residence" (WEW p. 308, 333). During debate in Congress on Jan. 14, 1811 over the admission of Louisiana as a state, Josiah Quincy declared,

"If this bill passes, it is my deliberate opinion that it is virtually a dissolution of the Union; that it will free the States from their moral obligation; and as it will be the right of all, so it will be duty of some, definitely to prepare for a separation–amicably if they can, violently if they must" (WEW p. 331; GLD p. 28; SDC p. 28).

American ship owners and merchants, especially in New England, were very much against United States participation in the War of 1812. New England Federalists organized political and economic opposition to the United States war effort. New England merchants and privateers carried on illicit and profitable commerce with British merchant ships and conducted business with the British army in Canada in defiance of the United States embargo against trade with England (GLD p. 33; WEW p. 329-33; MLD p. 8). A few of the more outspoken members of the Federalist party even advocated a separate peace between New England and Great Britain (GLD p. 32). The governors of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut, exercised their sovereign States’ rights by refusing President Madison’s call for their State militias to aid in the war effort against the British (WEW p. 327; JLMC p. 114-15).

New England newspapers boldly advocated secession during the War of 1812, arguing that "the Federal constitution is nothing more than a treaty between independent sovereignties […] and that any state had a right to withdraw" (WEW p. 333).

The January 13, 1813, edition of the Boston Centinel editorialized approvingly on secession as the imminent remedy for New England’s perceived inadequate voice in the governing of the United States by stating,

"The sentiment is hourly extending, and, in these northern states, will soon be universal, that we are in no better condition with respect to the south, than that of a conquered people […] We must be no longer deafened by senseless clamours about a separation of the states […] Should the present administration, with their adherents in the southern states, still persist in the prosecution of this wicked and ruinous war–in unconstitutionally creating new states in the mud of Louisiana (the inhabitants of which country are as ignorant of republicanism as the alligators of the swamps) and in opposition to the commercial rights and privileges of New England, much as we deprecate a separation of the union, we deem it an evil much less to be dreaded that a co-operation with them in these nefarious projects" (GLD p. 30-31).

On February, 14 1814, with the United States still at war with England, both houses of the Massachusetts State Legislature passed a resolution that read, "The question of New England’s withdrawal from the Union is not a question of power or of right to separate, but only a question of time and expediency." On October 8, 1814, a committee of the Massachusetts legislature called for a December 15th convention of New England States in Hartford, Connecticut for the purpose of considering the secession of the Eastern States from the Union and the creation of a New England confederacy (SEM p. 383; WEW p. 331-33; SDC p. 28).

The September 10, 1814, edition of the Boston Centinel opined,

"I have, for many years, considered the Union of the Northern and Southern States as not essential to the safety, and very much opposed to the interests, of both sections. The extent of territory is too large to be harmoniously governed by the same representative body […] The commercial and non-commercial states have views and interests so different, that I conceive it to be impossible that they ever can be satisfied with the same laws […] each section will be better satisfied to govern itself: and each is large and populous enough for its own protection […]" (GLD p. 31).

The December 15, 1814, edition of the Boston Centinel argued,

"By a commercial treaty with England, which shall provide for the admission [into the New England republic] of such states as may wish to come into it, and which shall prohibit England from making a treaty with the South and West, our commerce will be secured to us, our standing in the nation raised to its proper level; and New England’s feelings will no longer be sported with or her interests violated" (GLD p. 32; GE p. 112).

The Missouri Compromise of 1820, limiting slavery to South of the 36°30′ parallel, while couched in terms of slavery, was really a political compromise over a balance of Congressional power between the industrial North and agrarian South. It was not concerned with the plight of slaves. Balance was maintained with the new free State of Maine offsetting the new slave State of Missouri. This debate served to reinforce the sectional consciousness between North and South (WEW p. 352-54).

Thomas Jefferson, now in private life, was greatly alarmed by the Missouri Compromise. He considered it ill-conceived and suicidal to the Union.

In a letter to Mark Langhorn Hill, U.S. Representative from Massachusetts, on April 5, 1820, he wrote, "I congratulate you on the sleep of the Missouri question–I wish I could say on its death; but of this I dispair! The idea of a geographical line once suggested, will brood in the minds of all those who prefer the gratification of their ungovernable passions to the peace and Union of the country!" (SDC p. 46).

On April 22, 1820, Jefferson wrote to John Holmes, U.S. Representative from Maine, that this compromise "like a fire bell in the night, awakened, and filled me with terror. I considered it at once as the death knell of the union! It is hushed, indeed, for the moment, but this is a reprieve only, not a final sentence. A geographical line, coinciding with a marked principle moral and political, once conceived and held up to the angry passions of men will never be obliterated, and every irritation will make it deeper and deeper! I can say with conscious truth that there is not a man in earth who would sacrifice more than I would, to relieve us from this heavy reproach [of slavery] in any practical way. The cession of that kind of property, for so it is misnamed, is a bagatelle, which would not cost me a second thought. A general emancipation and expatriation could be effected, and gradually, and with due sacrifices, I think it might be. But, as it is, we have the wolf by the ears, and we can neither hold him nor safely let him go! Justice is in the one scale and self preservation in the other […]" (SDC p. 46).

Thomas Jefferson saw a scheme of defeated Federalists behind the Missouri Compromise, using it as a means back into power. He asserted that they were attempting to fan the flames of passion over slavery and capitalize on the deepening North-South geographical consciousness that the Compromise fueled in order to win back the Presidency.

On September 20, 1820, he wrote to William Pinckney, Senator from Maryland: "the Missouri question is a mere party trick. The leaders of Federalism, defeated in the schemes of obtaining power, by rallying partizans [sic] to the principle of monarchism–a principle of personal, not if local division, have changed their tack […] They are taking advantage of the virtuous people, to affect a division of parties, by a geographical line. They expect that this will insure them on local principles, the majority they could never obtain on principles of federalism; but they are still putting their shoulder to the wrong wheel–they are wasting jeremiads on the evils of slavery, as if we were advocates for it" (SDC p. 46).

On December 29, 1820, Jefferson wrote to General Lafayette: "The boisterous sea of liberty, indeed, is never without a wave, and that from Missouri is now rolling toward us, but we shall ride over it as we have all others. It is not a moral question, but one merely of power. It’s object is to raise a geographical principle for the choice of a President, and the noise will be kept up till that is effected" (SDC p. 47).

On August 17, 1821 Jefferson wrote to General Henry Dearborn: "I rejoice with you that the State of Missouri is at length a member of our Union. Whether the question it excited is dead, or only sleepeth, I do not know. I see only that it has given resurrection to the Hartford Convention men. They have had the address by playing on the honest feelings of our former friends to seduce them from their kindred spirits, and to borrow their weight into the Federal scale. Desperate of regaining power under political distinctions they have adroitly wriggled into its seat again in the ascendency [sic], from which their sins have hurled them" (SDC p. 47).

The South produced nothing that benefited from protectionist tariffs, while at the same time Northern industrialists lobbied for tariffs to protect their domestic interests from foreign competition (WEW p. 513). The divisive sectionalizing effect of tariffs became clear after the passage of the Tariff Act of 1816. To the people of the South, inexpensive imported finished goods were welcome, and they resented the idea of paying higher prices in order to benefit New England manufacturing interests. Tariffs were boosted even higher in 1824 (WEW p. 364-65; BBM p. 3).

Not satisfied with the 1824 tariff rates, protectionist interests sought a further increase in tariffs. With the presidential election of 1828 approaching, political maneuvering by both protectionists and free-traders went awry resulting in tariffs being raised to unprecedented new heights under the Tariff Act of 1828. Under this "Tariff of Abominations", as John C. Calhoun of South Carolina called it, a roar of protests arose from the agrarian South (WEW 365-68).

The famous Senate debate between Daniel Webster and Robert Y. Hayne in January of 1830 epitomized the continuing Federalist vs. Antifederalist–or nationalistic vs. States’ rights–battle of interpreting the Constitutional authority of the Federal government. Hayne, speaking first, emphasized the understanding that the citizens who gathered to create a federal government were representing the interests of the citizens of their respective States. In rebuttal, Webster minimized the fact that these founding citizen’s first concern was to the welfare of their own State and, instead, emphasized their coming together en masse. By de-emphasizing the State as a political entity, Webster attempted to minimize the relationship between a State and its citizens and sought to build up the importance of the Federal government over that of the States. While the issue was still not resolved, the nationalists inched their way forward while the States’ rights advocates seemed to lose some influence, thus placing the South even more on the defensive (WEW p. 389-92; JLMC p. 108).

With it being largely unprofitable, especially with the large influx of immigrants, slavery had long been on the decline in the North (JRK p. 79-80). This was commonly accomplished through gradual or conditional emancipation. Abolitionists, however, insisted that slavery be abolished immediately, even though it was still a more integral and vital part of the Southern economy. In January of 1831 the famous Boston abolitionist, William Lloyd Garrison, urged immediate emancipation of slaves with no compensation to the slave owners. Failing this, he advocated secession of the Northern States from the Union.

Labor union leaders sought his attention regarding the slavery-like conditions of Massachusetts cotton mill workers who worked much longer hours that did slaves, and whose meager pay kept them in living conditions worse than those of slaves. Garrison, bitterly opposed to labor unions, was not interested. In the first issue of his newspaper the Liberator Garrison lashed out against union organizers for trying to "inflame the minds of our working classes against the more opulent and to persuade them that they are contemned and oppressed by a wealthy aristocracy" (WEW p. 414-15).

In November of 1832, South Carolina exercised the belief in States’ rights by passing an Ordinance of Nullification in response to the new federal tariff law of 1832, itself a revision of the 1828 "Tariff of Abominations." The federal tariff law of 1832 was declared "null, void and no law, not binding upon this state, its officers or citizens." It was further stated that should the Federal government attempt to enforce the tariff act, the people of South Carolina would be absolved from their political connection to the United States. President Jackson threatened to send in troops to force South Carolina to collect the new tariff. Jackson finally proposed a compromise tariff, while South Carolina wasn’t able to muster support from other Southern States. In an 1833 retrospective statement to a friend, Jackson accused South Carolina of trying to form a Southern Confederacy (WEW p. 393-94; MLD p. 19, 31).

In 1845, John Quincy Adams and other Northern Congressmen declared that the controversial proposed annexation of Texas would be just grounds for dissolution of the Union. The Legislature of Massachusetts, along with other New England States, declared they were under no obligation to recognize the annexation. The joint Standing Committee on Federal Relations of the Massachusetts Legislature stated in part:

"When Massachusetts is asked to violate the fundamental provisions of that Constitution as well known as her own, she unhesitatingly throws herself back on her rights as an independent State. She cannot forget that she had an independent existence and a constitution before the Union was formed" (JLMC p. 129).

Of the $107.5 million in import tariffs collected on goods entering the United States during the 1830s and 1840s, $90 million or approximately 83% was collected from Southern ports of entry. In 1860, about 87% of total tariff revenue was collected in Southern ports (CA p. 27).

On January 20, 1848, Illinois Congressman Abraham Lincoln affirmed the spirit of the Declaration of Independence in a portion of a speech before Congress.

"Any people anywhere, being inclined and having the power, have the right to rise up and shake off the existing government, and form a new one that suits them better. This is a most valuable, a most sacred right – a right which we hope and believe is to liberate the world. Nor is this a right confined to cases in which the whole people of an existing government may choose to exercise it. Any portion of such people, that can, may revolutionize, and make their own of so much of the territory as they inhabit" Congressional Globe, Volume XIX, page 94 (GLD p. 67; SDC p. 87; BBM p. 296).

In light of the famous 1850 Congressional oratories of Senators John C. Calhoun, William H. Seward and others over the admission of California into the Union and the slave status of the territories of New Mexico and Utah, it became evident that the famous and unresolved Federalist versus Antifederalist debate over the nature of American federalism that began during the writing and ratification of the United States Constitution was among the core issues of the South’s War for Independence. By now, a North-South division within the Congress of the United States had taken place, a division which took place between Northern Republicans and Southern Democrats. John C. Calhoun argued for Southern self-determination, and contended that the Northern States were using the national government to aggressively move against slavery and Southern commercial prosperity through protectionist policies that favored Northern interests (MLD p. 9). The resulting Compromise of 1850, while seeking to stave off a secessionist movement by Southern States, actually agitated pro-slavery and anti-slavery factions by having the effect of nullifying the Missouri Compromise of 1820 and introducing the explosive Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 (WEW p. 455-59).

In 1852 Mrs. Harriet Beecher Stowe’s book, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, was published. Writing from abolitionist stereotypes, Mrs. Stowe had never been to the South and had no first-hand knowledge of slavery. Nonetheless, her book filled the imaginations of Northerners with evil white Southerners reveling in beating their thousand-dollar slaves (WEW p. 466).

Seen as a threat to white laborers, blacks were widely disenfranchised in Northern States, especially during the 1850s and 60s. It was not until after the War that these so-called "black codes" showed up in the South. Free blacks not only had restrictions placed on opportunities to earn a living, but also upon opportunities for education, for the privilege to vote, and even whether they could legally reside in a given State (JRK p. 55-57, 77; CA p. 130; BBM p. 170-72).

In 1851, the Indiana constitution was changed to state that "no negro or mulatto shall come into or settle in the state […]" (JRK p. 55; BBM p. 171).

1853 Illinois law prevented "the immigration of free negroes into this State." In 1862 the citizens of Illinois amended their State constitution to say that "No Negro or mulatto shall immigrate or settle in this state […]" (JRK p. 55, 77; CA p. 130; BBM p. 171).

Oregon’s constitution, adopted on November 9, 1857, stated that "[n]o free negroe or mulatto, not residing in this state at the time of the adoption of this constitution, shall come, reside or be within this state […]" (JRK p. 55; BBM p. 172).

New Jersey and Massachusetts had also placed similar restrictions on blacks (JRK p. 55).

In a chain of events that began on March 11, 1854, with the rescue by Sherman M. Booth of fugitive slave, Joshua Glover, from imprisonment under the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, the State of Wisconsin declared this Federal law and a similar one of 1793 to be unconstitutional. In words reminiscent to those of 1798 Kentucky and Virginia over the Alien and Sedition Acts, Wisconsin declared that the assumed authority of the Federal Judiciary in this case and the Fugitive Slave Act to be "void and of no force" within her boundaries. Wisconsin was asserting its States’ rights–that is, state sovereignty–one of which was nullification.

Booth was arrested and confined by a Federal Marshal. On May 27, 1854 Judge A. D. Smith of the Wisconsin Supreme Court agreed with Mr. Booth’s contention that the Fugitive Act was unconstitutional. The full Wisconsin Supreme Court affirmed Judge Smith’s ruling on July 19, 1854. The State court ordered Booth released (SDC p. 74-75).

During a message to the Wisconsin legislature in 1858 Republican Governor Alexander W. Randal denounced the encroachment of the Federal Government upon the reserved rights and sovereignty of the States, as typified in the enforcement of the Federal Fugitive Slave Laws.

"The tendency of the action of the Federal Government has been for many years, aided by the Federal Courts, to centralization, and to an absorption of a large share of the sovereignty of the States. It has trspassed [sic] upon the reserved rights of the States and the people–assuming a jurisdiction over them in their exercise of power undeligated. The Federal Government, so far as there is any sovereignty under our form of Government, is sovereign and independent in the exercise of its delegated powers, and the States are sovereign and independent in the exercise of their reserved powers. The safety of the States in the exercise of these powers, in defense of the lives and properties and liberties of the people, demands a fair, deliberate opposition and resistance to any attempt at usurpation or aggression by the Federal Government, its Courts, its officers, or agents upon the reserved rights of the States or its people" (SDC p. 83; SEM p.601).

The United States Supreme Court reversed the Wisconsin Supreme Court on March 7, 1859.

On March 19, 1859, the Republican controlled Wisconsin Legislature passed a joint resolution in support of the Wisconsin Supreme Court that stated in part,

"Whereas, The Supreme Court of the United States as assumed appellate jurisdiction, in the matter of the application of Sherman M. Booth, for a writ of habeas corpus […]
And Whereas, Such assumption of power and authority by the Supreme Court of the United States to become the final arbiter of the liberty of the citizen, and to override and nullify the judgments of the State Courts […]
Resolved, the Senate concurring, That we regard the action of the Supreme Court of the United States in assuming jurisdiction in the case before mentioned, as arbitrary act of power unauthorized by the Constitution and virtually superceding [sic] the benefit of the writ of habeas corpus, and prostrating the rights and liberties of the people, at the foot of unlimited power.
Resolved, That this usurpation of jurisdiction by the Federal Judiciary, in the said case, and without process, is an act of undeligated power, and therefore, without authority, void and of no force.
Resolved, That the Government framed by the Constitution of the United States, was not made the exclusive or final judge of the extent of the powers delegated to itself […]
Resolved,[…] that the General Government is the exclusive judge of the extent of the powers delegated to it, stop nothing short of despotism, since the discretion of those who administer the Government, and not the Constitution, would be the measure of their powers–that the several states which formed that instrument, being sovereign and independent, have the unquestionable right to judge of its infraction, and that a positive defiance of those sovereignties, of all unauthorized acts, done, or attempted to be done, under color of that instrument, is the rightful remedy" (SDC p. 84).

Taking advantage of the furvor over slavery in the territories, the Republican Party was organized in 1854 at Jackson, Michigan by gathering together the Whig remnant, Know-Nothings, Free-Soilers and abolitionists. However, behind the scenes, party organizers were more intent in controlling the national government, "obtain federal subsidies for railroads and steamship lines, and have their own way with the currency, the public lands and the tariff" (WEW p. 466-67).

Speaking on October 16, 1854 in Peoria, Illinois, Lincoln acknowledged the difficulty facing white society of the day in abolishing slavery. He also voiced what he saw as the likely solution over time – gradual emancipation and then sending blacks in the United States to Liberia, Africa.

"When Southern people tell us that they are no more responsible for the origin of slavery than we are, I acknowledge the fact. When it is said that the institution exists and that it is very difficult to get rid of it in any satisfactory way, I can understand and appreciate the saying […] If all earthly power were given me, I should not know what to do as to the existing institution. My first impulse would be to free all the slaves, and send them to Liberia–their native land […] We cannot make them equals. It does seem to me that systems of gradual emancipation might be adopted; but for their tardiness in this I will not undertake to judge our brethren of the South" (BBM p. 184).

While some in the North decried slavery, Northern industrial demand, Northern and European consumer demand, and Northern financiers kept slavery viable in the South. The English received over 80% of exported American cotton and employed about four hundred thousand workers in their cotton mills (WEW p. 526).

Unlike most leading politicians of the day, some abolitionists were unwilling to compromise on the issue of slavery, even to the point of dissolving the Union. In 1856 abolitionist Garrison proclaimed,

"This Union is a lie! The American Union is an imposition–a covenant with death, and an agreement with hell! […] I am for its overthrow! […] Up with the flag of disunion, that we may have a free and glorious Republic of our own; and when the hour shall come, the hour will have arrived that shall witness the overthrow of slavery" (SDC p. 56, 100).

Where the abolitionist speeches, sermons and editorials left off, fanatical abolitionist, John Brown, picked up. He didn’t hesitate to spill the blood of slave holders and others as necessary to do his part in eradicating slavery.

On May 24, 1856, Brown led a raid on Pottawatomie, Kansas in which five unarmed men were dragged from their beds at night and murdered because of their pro-slavery views (WEW p. 476; SEM p. 601).

Brown sought to form a republic of fugitive slaves in the Appalachians from which war would be waged against those States in which slavery was still legal (WEW p. 501; SEM p. 601). On October 16, 1859, Brown led his invasion into Virginia to seize the United States arsenal at Harpers Ferry. As part of his plan, he would distribute the captured arms to the many blacks whom Brown thought would eagerly join in the uprising. To his bewilderment, no blacks came to his side. Even the few slaves he came in contact with at a nearby plantation would have nothing to do with him. Ironically, the first man killed in the raid was a free black man who was shot while running away after Brown’s men had ordered him to stop. Brown was captured by a detachment of United States troops under the command of Colonel Robert E. Lee on October 17. He was tried for treason, murder, and conspiracy with slaves to rebel and found guilty. He was hanged on December 2, 1859. Abolitionists now had a martyr, and Southern fears were ignited. (WEW p. 501-02; SEM p. 602, 605).

The South held its breath as it awaited Northern opinion over John Brown’s execution. While most Northern opinion was against Brown, a few prominent voices began to raise him up as a saintly martyr.

Ralph Waldo Emerson fueled Southern fears as he wrote, "That new saint, than whom nothing purer or more brave was ever led by love of men into conflict and death […] will make the gallows glorious like the cross" (SEM p. 602).

Some Northern newspapers also contributed to the mounting North-South tension after Brown’s execution. The Fort Atchison, Wisconsin Standard was typical of the outbreak of Northern abolitionist sympathy of Brown.

"John Brown Dead–The first act in the tragedy has been performed. The great State of Virginia has played the hangman’s part, and is crowned with its bloody honors […] No mercy was expected for the victim of southern vengeance. But the end is not yet […] A wall of bayonets may guard the hideous bastile of cruelty and wrong, but cannot obstruct the march of the free legions that will spring forth from their slumber, and make the earth tremble beneath their tread.
"Now may God help the right! and give us tongues of fire, and hands that shall never weary, to wage an eternal crusade against the diabolical sin of slavery.
"Peaceful be the sleep of the murdered Brown, and glorious his awakening" (SDC p. 65).

In 1857, New Englanders held a convention at the industrial city of Worcester, Massachusetts to determine whether they should secede from the Southern States in direct response to the lowering of protectionist trade tariffs pushed by Southern Democrats in Congress (WEW p. 514). Northern bankers and manufacturing interests blamed the panic of 1857 and its lower prices on the Southern opposition to these tariffs. Southern opposition votes also defeated attempts to obtain Federal subsidies for improving transportation and communications that would further benefit Northern industry and commerce (SEM p. 602-03).

During the fourth Lincoln-Douglas debate on September 18, 1858, in Charleston, Illinois, Abraham Lincoln emphatically stated his view of the role blacks in American society.

"I am not, nor ever have been in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races; that I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters of the free negroes, or jurors, or qualifying them to hold office, or having them marry with white people. I will say in addition that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which, I suppose, will forever forbid the two races living together upon terms of social and political equality; and inasmuch as they cannot so live, that while they do remain together, there must be the position of the superiors and the inferiors; and that I, as much as any other man, am in favor of the superior position assigned to the white man" (WEW p. 500; JRK p. 27; MLR p. 113).

Union General William Tecumseh Sherman, believing that slavery was necessary and that the black man must be subject to the white man, wrote in December of 1859, "I would not if I could abolish or modify slavery" (WEW p. 519).

Judging from its May 18, 1860, convention in Chicago, the Republican party was a Northern party. The convention platform advocated no slavery in the territories of the United States, but stressed a noninterference policy regarding slavery in the States where it already existed. The platform also advocated a protectionist tariff (WEW p. 505; SEM p. 602).

Lincoln’s election on November 6, 1860, was made possible by a North-South split in the Democratic party, and was solely along a sectional dividing line between the North and South. He received little if any of the popular vote south of Virginia, and only 2000 votes in Virginia. He received only 40 percent of the popular vote nationwide (WEW p. 506-10). His election was considered by many to have been an accident, even among those who served in his own administration (WEW p. 522).

On November 26, 1860, Horace Greeley of the New York Tribune wrote,

"If the cotton states unitedly and earnestly wish to withdraw peacefully from the Union, we think they should and would be allowed to do so. Any attempt to compel them by force to remain, would be contrary to the principles enunciated in the immortal Declaration of Independence–contrary to the fundamental ideas on which human liberty is based" (SDC p. 86).

While many Northern editorials were advocating a peaceful and calm attitude should any Southern States decide to secede, others in the North were thinking ahead to the possible negative consequences to federal subsidies to the Northern industrial infrastructure, to trade, and to commerce. After all, over 80% of federal tariff revenue was generated in Southern ports and the Northern shipping was highly dependent on both Southern and foreign trade. One such expression of concern came from the December 10, 1860 Chicago Daily Times.

"In one single blow our foreign commerce must be reduced to less than one-half what it now is. Our coastwide trade would pass into other hands. One-half of our shipping would lie idle at our wharves. We should lose our trade with the South, with all of its immense profits. Our manufactories would be in utter ruins. Let the South adopt the free-trade system, or that of a tariff for revenue, and these results would likely follow"(CA p. 23, 27).

Horace Greeley, expressing the majority of Northern sentiment at the time, stated in the December 17, 1860 New York Tribune,

"If it [the Declaration of Independence] justified the secession from the British Empire of three millions of colonists in 1776, we do not see why it would not justify the secession of five millions of Southerners from the Federal Union in 1861" (GE p. 164, SDC p. 87; BBM p. 297).

Republicans having won the congressional elections of 1858, Lincoln’s election in 1860 "placed Northern interests in control of the national government (MLD p. 34), their nationalism and the Southern commitment to state sovereignty crystallized" (MLD p. 8). Feeling that the economic, political, and sovereign interests of the States of the South were in danger, a conference of South Carolina state leaders in October of 1860 decided to secede from the Union if Lincoln were elected President (WEW p. 511). To these States, the reserved sovereign right of secession was the only peaceable escape from a central government that had become the judge of its own authority (MLD p. 52). On December 20, 1860, prior to Lincoln’s swearing in, the state convention declared South Carolina to be out of the Union (WEW p. 511).

Robert Barnwell Rhett of South Carolina, on the day of his State’s secession from the Union, cited Wisconsin State Supreme Court Judge Smith in the Booth case as precedent for State action in response to wrongs committed by the Federal Government.

"Sir, the North threaten to fight us back into the Union, after we shall have taken our stand for Southern Independence. They now deny the right of a State to judge of its own grievances and to apply its own remedies, notwithstanding for years, many Northern States, Wisconsin in particular, have asserted this right for themselves. I want no better license for our action to-day than the decision of Judge Smith in the Rescue cases of Wisconsin" (SDC p. 85).

Once the consequences of secession of the Southern States to Federal revenue became clear, some Northern editorials were less gracious toward the South. The December 21, 1860, issue of the Philadelphia Press prophesied the nature of the actions that the North would shortly take in preserving her economic interests.

"The government cannot well avoid collecting the federal revenues at all Southern ports, even after the passage of secession ordinances; and if this duty is discharged, any State which assumes a rebellious attitude will still be obliged to contribute revenue to support the Federal Government or have her commerce entirely destroyed" (CA p. 24).

In December, 1860 the Chicago Tribune stated,

"Not a few of the republican journals of the interior are working themselves up to the belief, which they are endeavoring to impress upon their readers, that the seceded States, be they few or many, will be whipped back in the Union […] but the drift of opinion seems to be that, if peaceable secession is possible, the retiring States will be assisted to go, that this needless and bitter controversy may be brought to an end. If the Union is to be dissolved, a bloodless separation is by all means to be coveted. Do not let us make that impossible" (SDC p. 101).

In a speech before the Senate on December 25, 1860, Senator Stephan A. Douglas voiced his political convictions regarding the motives of the more radical Republicans:

"The fact can no longer be disguised that many of the Republican Senators desire war and disunion, under the pretext of saving the Union. They wish to get rid of the Southern States, in order to have a majority in the Senate to confirm the appointments, and many of them think they can hold a permanent Republican majority in the Northern States, but not in the whole Union; for partisan reasons they are anxious to dissolve the Union, if it can be done without holding them responsible before the people" (SDC p. 53).

Along with their position within the Union, the Southern States were turning their backs on what they perceived as the deterioration of American constitutional federalism as originally set in place by the Founding Fathers (MLD p. 1-5). Author Marshall L. DeRosa summarizes the issue.

"But by 1861, the political divisions between North and South regarding constitutional exegesis were so entrenched that the Constitution ceased to be the instrument of a ‘more perfect union’ and rather served as the vehicle for dissension and separation […] Northerners insisted upon a model of federalism consisting of a national community of individuals, with sovereignty being a national phenomenon–that is, nationalism–whereas Southerners adhered to a model consisting of a community of states, with the citizens in their respective states functioning as the repositories of sovereignty and thereby controlling the bulwarks of their social and economic interests–that is, state sovereignty" (MLD p. 8-9).

The January 15, 1861, Philadelphia Press clarified that losing the South as a source of Federal revenue, and not the secession of the Southern States as such, was their real concern. The Southern States could not be forced to collect revenue for Washington without Northern military occupation of the forts located in Southern ports.

"It is the enforcement of the revenue laws, not the coercion of the State that is the question of the hour. If those laws cannot be enforced, the Union is clearly gone; if they can, it is safe" (CA p. 24).

In a speech before the House of Representatives on January 15, 1861, John H. Reagan of Texas expressed the persistent frustration of the South concerning the imbalance of the source of collected Federal revenue. In doing so, he also highlighted those things which were to be the primary purpose for which the North would go to war to protect.

"You are not content with the vast millions of tribute we pay you annually under the operation of our revenue laws, our navigation laws, your fishing bounties, and by making your people our manufacturers, our merchants, our shippers. You are not satisfied with the vast tribute we pay you to build up your great cities, your railroads, your canals. You are not satisfied with the millions of tribute we have been paying you on account of the balance of exchange which you hold against us. You are not satisfied that we of the South are almost reduced to the condition of overseers of northern capitalists. You are not satisfied with all this; but you must wage a relentless crusade against our rights and institutions" (CA p. 80-81).

Secretary of State William Seward, during a Cabinet meeting in the first month of the Lincoln administration, stated,

"The attempt to reinforce Sumter will provoke an attack and involve war. The very preparation for such an expedition will precipitate war at that point. I oppose beginning war at that point. I would advise against the expedition to Charleston. I would at once, at every cost, prepare for war at Pensacola and Texas. I would instruct Major Anderson to retire from Sumter" (GE p. 160).

Governor Letcher of Virginia, while an advocate of the legal right of a State to secede from the Union, spoke against the secession movement precipitated by South Carolina (BBM p. 248-49). The Virginia Assembly called for a convention in the City of Washington on February 4, 1861, of as many States "as are willing to unite with Virginia in an earnest effort to adjust the present unhappy controversies" (BBM p. 250).

The Virginia Assembly called for a State convention to debate the course of action that the State should take in the current secession crisis. At the same time, Virginia voters cast ballots in a general election on February 4, 1861 to register their opinion. By a vote of 100,536 to 45,161 the voters of Virginia declared their rejection of secession, and that the findings of the State convention would be subject to voter approval. The Convention opened on February 13, 1861. The main question that concerned the delegates was the attitude that the new Federal administration would have toward the seceded States. (BBM p. 256-59)

As recorded in the Congressional Globe on February 11, 1861, the United States House of Representatives passed a resolution with unanimous Republican support that stated in part:

"Resolved, that neither the Federal Government, nor the people, or Governments of non-slave holding States, have a purpose or a Constitutional right to legislate upon, or interfere with slavery in any of the States of the Union" (SDC p. 150).

Commercial interests in the North were greatly disturbed over the secession of the Southern States, fearing great financial harm to Northern shipping from the lower import tariffs at Southern ports. An editorial in the February 19, 1861, Manchester, New Hampshire Union Democrat voiced the common concerns of Northern shipping interests.

"The Southern Confederacy will not employ our ships or buy our goods. What is our shipping without it? Literally nothing. The transportation of cotton and its fabrics employs more ships than all other trade. It is very clear that the South gains by this process, and we lose. No–we MUST NOT let the South go!" (JRK p. 52)

On February 23, 1861, Horace Greeley wrote in the New York Tribune:

"We have repeatedly said and we once more insist that the great principle embodied by Jefferson in the Declaration of American Independence that governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed is sound and just; and that if the Slave States, the Cotton States, or the Gulf States only, choose to form an independent nation they have a clear moral right to do so" (BBM p. 297).

In an attempt to keep Southern States from leaving the Union, a thirteenth amendment to the Constitution, very different from the current one, was whittled out of the Crittenden Compromise by both Republicans and Democrats, with Lincoln’s approval and even his signature. It was approved by Congress on February 28, 1861, and submitted to the States for ratification on March 2, 1861. It declared:

"No amendment shall be made to the Constitution which will authorize or give to Congress the power to abolish or interfere, within any State, with the domestic institutions thereof, including that of persons held to labor orservice by the laws of said State."

The States of Maryland and Ohio ratified it before the War broke out (WEW p. 520-21; SEM p. 609; CA p. 128).

On March 2, 1861, Congress passed the Morrill Tariff, and with it the highest tariffs in American history. With this one act, Congress further alienated the South, and aggravated Northern fears of foreign goods abandoning Northern ports for lower tariffs in the South. Now, with this high tariff on goods imported into the United States, and the announced intentions of a low tariff in the Southern States that had seceded, the secession of the Southern States took on a new and threatening look to Northern industrial interests. By the close of March, 1861, a growing panic over the future of Federal revenues was echoed in newspaper editorials throughout most of the North. The press had largely turned from "let the South go in peace" to a call to war to preserve economic prosperity (CA p. 23, 63-70, 81). The March 2, 1861, New York Evening Post , in an editorial entitled What Shall Be Done for a Revenue, opined,

"That either the revenue from duties must be collected in the ports of the rebel states, or the port must be closed to importations from abroad, is generally admitted. If neither of these things be done, our revenue laws are substantially repealed; the sources which supply our treasury will be dried up; we shall have no money to carry on the government; the nation will become bankrupt before the next crop of corn is ripe. There will be nothing to furnish means of subsistence to the army; nothing to keep our navy afloat; nothing to pay the salaries of public officers; the present order of things must come to a dead stop" (CA p. 24).

On March 4, 1861, Lincoln reiterated his support of the constitutional protection afforded to slavery in his first inaugural address.

"I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the states where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so" (PMA p. 215; BBM p. 6).

He then went on to assure the Nation of his support of the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850.

"There is much controversy about the delivering up of fugitives from service or labor. The clause I now read is as plainly written in the Constitution as any other of its provisions:

"’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.’

"It is scarcely questioned that this provision was intended by those who made it, for the reclaiming of what we call fugitive slaves; and the intention of the lawgiver is the law" (PMA p. 215-16).

In his March 4, 1861, inaugural address, Lincoln placed the seceded States on notice; that he was willing to resort to bloodshed to nullify the secession of the Southern States, to repossess former U.S. federal properties in the South, and to collect import tariffs from Southern ports (BBM p. 264).

"I shall take care, as the Constitution itself expressly enjoins upon me, that the laws of the Union be faithfully executed in all the states. Doing this I deem to be only a simple duty on my part; and I shall perform it, so far as practicable, unless my rightful masters, the American people, shall withhold the requisite means, or, in some authoritative manner, direct to the contrary. I trust this will not be regarded as a menace, but only as the declared purpose of the Union that it will constitutionally defend, and maintain itself.

"In doing this there needs to be no bloodshed or violence; and there shall be none, unless it be forced upon the national authority. The power confided in me, will be used to hold, occupy, and possess the property, and places belonging to the government, and to collect the duties and imposts; but beyond what may be necessary for these objects, there will be no invasion […]" (PMA p. 218-19; SEM p.610).

By the time of his inauguration, Lincoln had formulated his argument against the legality of secession. Ignoring the roots of his own country, his argument was that the Union predated the States, was unbroken beginning with the Articles of Association in 1774 and, therefore, secession was impossible (Lincoln’s First Inaugural Address; PMA p. 117; FWS p. 135). Among the criticisms of Lincoln’s position are:

That he overlooks the fact that the colonies had declared themselves "Free and Independent States" in their Declaration of Independence from England in 1776–a fact acknowledged by England as well (GLD p. 71).

He ignores his own earlier affirmation of the precepts of human liberty and the consent of the governed spelled out in the Declaration of Independence (FWS p. 135, Congressional Globe, Volume XIX, page 94; GLD p. 67; SDC p. 87; BBM p. 296).

His view was contrary to the fact that the Union would come into existence only after nine of the thirteen States ratified the Constitution. Clearly, the States that did not immediately ratify the Constitution did not blink out of existence once it was ratified by the requisite nine States. Instead, they maintained their independent status under their own duly instituted State constitutions until such time as they too voluntarily ratified the new Constitution. The States were offering to one another the opportunity to enter into a new voluntary covenant, one that was to replace the previous relationship under the Articles of Confederation (GLD p. 69-71).

That he overlooks the fact that some of the States had reserved the right to recall the powers they had delegated to the federal government prior to their entrance into the Union (FWS p. 135).

Finally, one may wonder at how the millions of citizens in the States that seceded were denied their opportunity to peacefully determine their own destiny. The duly elected governments of the States had now become subservient to the will of the Federal Government, effectively nullifying much of the original intent of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. Lincoln had indicted the population of the South for treason for doing nothing more than what the patriots of 1776 had done. (FWS p. 136).

President Buchanan had declared that he could find no constitutional authority for using force against any State that seceded. However, contrary to the views he held as a Congressman in 1848, President Lincoln declared, in effect, "I have taken an oath to uphold the Constitution, which means, in my opinion, a union of the states. I shall do anything in my power to sustain the Constitution and the union, regardless of the constitutional aspect of what I do" (WEW p. 525).

Rumor and speculation as to Lincoln’s intentions toward the South led the March 6, 1861, edition of the New York Herald to write,

"We have no doubt Mr. Lincoln wants the Cabinet at Montgomery to take the initiative by capturing the two forts in its waters, for it would give him the opportunity of throwing upon the Southern Confederacy the responsibility of commencing hostilities. But the country and posterity will hold him just as responsible as if he struck the first blow […]" (GLD p. 95).

On March 8, 1861, George W. Brent, a delegate to the Virginia State Convention to debate the direction of the State, spoke words that were representative of that body.

"Recognizing as I have always done, the right of a state to secede, to judge of the violation of its rights and to appeal to its own mode for redress, could not uphold the Federal Government in any attempt to coerce the seceding states to bring them back into the Union" (BBM p. 265-67).

Lincoln sought to influence the Virginia Convention to adjourn without making a decision of secession, and without his assurance that he would not attempt to coerce the seceded States back into the Union (BBM p. 270).

In the Constitution of the Confederate States of America, its framers sought to eliminate ambiguities that gave rise to the grievances that led to the secession of the Southern States, at the core of which was the centralization of government to the detriment of the States. The issue of States’ rights as a major cause of the secession of the Southern States becomes clear in the issue of the Confederate States Supreme Court. Although Article III of the C.S. Constitution, adopted on March 11, 1861, establishes the Supreme Court, federal encroachment upon States’ rights fostered by rulings of the U.S. Supreme Court were still fresh in the minds of the C.S. Congress. Author Marshall L. DeRosa relates,

"In response to a bill introduced in the C.S.A. Senate to organize the Supreme Court, William Yancey of Alabama remarked in no uncertain terms that ‘when we decide that the state courts are of inferior dignity to this Court, we have sapped the main pillars of this Confederacy.’"

As a result of this mindset, the actual establishment of the C.S. Supreme Court never took place (MLD p.75-77).

Consistent with the South’s persistent objection to protectionist trade tariffs, the C.S. Constitution explicitly forbade them (WEW p. 513; MLD p. 94; SF p. 42).

"The Congress shall have power–
1. To lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises, for revenue necessary to pay the debts, provide for the common defense, and carry on the Government of the Confederate States; but no bounties shall be granted from the Treasury; nor shall any duties or taxes on importations from foreign nations be laid to promote or foster any branch of industry; and all duties, imposts, and excises shall be uniform throughout the Confederate States:" (emphasis added)(Article 1, Section 8, clause 1, Confederate States Constitution; MLD p. 139)

As slavery was legal under the United States Constitution, so it was in the Confederate States. Under the C.S. Constitution, slavery was explicitly recognized as an institution of the States, whereas in the U.S. Constitution the issue of slavery in general was intentionally vague. As in the United States, the federal government of the Confederate States was prohibited from interfering with slavery within the States. The States of the Confederacy, however, were not constitutionally required to recognize or continue the practice of slavery within their own borders. In fact, several proposals to require that each State continue to recognize slavery were not adopted during the Constitutional Convention. The consensus, as voiced by Senator Albert G. Brown of Mississippi, was that "each State is sovereign within its own limits; and that each for itself can abolish or establish slavery for itself" (MLD p. 68-71).

The C.S. Constitution did not explicitly provide for the right of secession because it was assumed to be an act of sovereignty that the States had not delegated or otherwise abdicated. After all, they had just exercised this ultimate remedy themselves. In the preamble to the C.S. Constitution, using the words "each State acting in its own sovereign and independent character," the framers implicitly allowed for secession by emphasizing the understanding of each State’s sovereign nature (MLD p. 53; SF p. 42).

On March 12, 1861, three Confederate commissioners, who had come to Washington seeking negotiations toward a peaceable separation and offer payment for apportioned public debt and seized federal property, addressed Secretary of State William Seward with an official letter of intent. Having open the lower Mississippi River to the free flow of commerce, the Confederate government expected reciprocal gestures from Lincoln, including the evacuation of Fort Sumter (SF p. 45). Seward, speaking only through Supreme Court Justice John A. Campbell, assured the Confederate commissioners that the Union troops in Fort Sumter in Charleston and Fort Pickens in Pensacola would be evacuated in three days (WEW p. 522; SF p. 45-46).

In reply to Lincoln’s March 15, 1861, inquiry as to the advisability of provisioning Fort Sumter, Secretary of State William Seward wrote,

"If it were possible to peaceably provision Fort Sumter, of course, I should answer that it would be unwise and inhuman not to attempt it. But the facts of the case are known to be that the attempt must be made with the employment of military and marine force which would provoke combat and probably initiate a civil war which the Government of the United States would be committed to maintain, through all changes, to some definite conclusion." (CA p. 45; BBM p. 285)

On March 18, 1861, the Philadelphia Press demanded in part:

"Blockade Southern Ports. With no protective tariff, European goods will under-price Northern goods in Southern markets. Cotton for Northern mills will be charged an export tax. This will cripple the clothing industries and make British mills prosper. Finally, the great inland waterways, the Mississippi, the Missouri, and the Ohio Rivers will be subject to Southern tolls" (CA p. 65).

On March 22-23, 1861, the economics editor of the New York Times reversed his position and now advocated, "At once shut down every Southern port, destroy its commerce and bring utter ruin on the Confederate States" (CA p. 65).

Concern over the alarming reduction in Government and commercial revenue due to the loss Southern ports of entry highlight a powerful motivating force in regaining the South. The New York Times made the following points on March 30, 1861:

The predicament in which both the Government and the commerce of the country are placed, through the non-enforcement of our revenue laws, is now thoroughly understood […] If the manufacturer at Manchester [England] can send his goods into the Western States through New Orleans at less cost than through New York, he is a fool for not availing himself of his advantage […] If the importations of the country are made through Southern ports, its exports will go through the same channel. The produce of the West, instead of coming to our own ports by the millions of tons, to be transported abroad by the same ships through which we received our importations, will seek other routes and other outlets. With the loss of our foreign trade, what is to become of our public works, conducted at the cost of many hundred millions of dollars, to turn into our harbor the products of the interior? They share in the common ruin. So do our manufacturers […] Once at New Orleans, goods may be distributed over the whole country duty free […] We were divided and confused till our pockets were touched (JRK p. 51-52).

On April 1, 1861, Justice Campbell returned to find out from Seward why Sumter had not been evacuated as he had told the Southern envoys it would be. Seward now told the shocked Campbell, "I am satisfied the government will not undertake to supply Fort Sumter without giving notice to Governor Pickens [of South Carolina]." As Campbell relayed this latest development, the Southern envoys saw that the this likely spelled trouble. In their report back to the Confederate government in Montgomery they said, "The war wing presses on the President; he vibrates to that side… Their form of notice to us may be that of a coward, who gives it when he strikes" (SF 46-47).

The April 5, 1861, New York Tribune reported,

"Many rumors are in circulation to-day. They appear to have originated from movements on the part of the United States troops, the reasons for which have not been communicated to the reporters at Washington as freely as the late Administration was in the habit of imparting Cabinet secrets. There can be no doubt that serious movements are on foot" (SDC p. 51).

On April 6, having ordered back in March an armed navel expedition to be ready to sail if needed, Lincoln ordered the ships to sail for Fort Sumter (SF p. 47; FWS p. 78).

On April 8, 1861, the United States Government informed the authorities at Charleston, South Carolina by messenger that they desired to send an unarmed supply ship to Fort Sumter, backed by force if needed. United States military vessels were reported off Charleston by April 10. Ignoring attempts to negotiate, Lincoln had backed the Confederacy into a corner. Feeling that Washington had not acted in good faith over Sumter, and fearing that the nearby Federal fleet would also enter the harbor, they signaled their intent to fire upon the supply ship should it enter the harbor, but the United States sent the ship anyway. In response to the presence of the ship, the Southern military in Charleston prepared to attack the Fort, having anticipated the use of force by the Federal fleet to send military reinforcements. On April 12, after a demand for surrender made to commanding officer Major Anderson was denied, Fort Sumter was fired upon. An article in the April 15, 1861, New York Tribune reported that "[t]he armed ships which accompanied the supplies took no part in the contest" (SDC p. 51-52; FWS p. 78; SF p. 47).

Not one man was killed on either side during the Southern bombardment of Fort Sumter. After surrendering, Major Anderson dined as a guest with Confederate commander General Beauregard (WEW p. 524).

While the attention of the South was on Fort Sumter, the Federal fleet succeeded in reinforcing Fort Pickens in Pensacola with men and supplies. It became clear that the entire episode at Charleston had been a diversion from the Federal intent to reinforce Fort Pickens. This plan had the additional benefit of provoking the South into firing the first shot and a inciting war fervor in the North, thus providing Lincoln with the political and popular cover he needed in order to use force against the South (SDC p. 50-51; WEW p. 524). The April 15 New York Post reported,

"Gen. Scott has been averse to the attempt to reinforce Fort Sumter. He saw that it would cost men and vessels which the Government could not spare just now […] He saw that the two keys of the position were Fort Pickens, in the Gulf, and Washington, the Capital. His plans, based on these facts, were at once laid […] Every hour the traitors spent before Sumter gave them more surely into the hands of the master. To make assurance doubly sure, he pretended to leave Fort Pickens in the lurch […] The Government said not a word–only asked of the traitors the opportunity to send its own garrison a needed supply of food. They refused, fearing the arrival of the Federal fleet […] Scarce had they begun [their attack], when they saw with evident terror, ships hovering about the harbor’s mouth; […] but no ships came in to Anderson’s help […] The position of affairs is this–Charleston is blockaded–Fort Pickens is reinforced by troops, which the traitors foolishly believed were destined for Sumter […] The traitors have, without the slightest cause, opened the war […]" (SDC p. 52-53).

Lincoln biographer, J. G. Holland, explained in his 1865 work, Life of Lincoln, why Lincoln did not call for armed force to suppress the secession of Southern States before the fall of Fort Sumter.

"Up to the fall of Sumter, Mr. Lincoln had no basis for action in the public feeling. If he had raised an army, that would have been an act of hostility, that would have been coercion. A thousand Northern presses would have pounced down on him as a provoker of war. After the fall of Sumter was the time to act" (GE p. 167).

On April 13, 1861, Lincoln called for 75,000 troops to be raised from State militias to march on those States which had seceded. Up until this time, the citizens of the border States had voted to remain in the Union. Practically overnight, Lincoln triggered a change of sentiments in the border States. In response to the Secretary of War regarding Virginia’s quota of troops, Governor Letcher replied,

"I have only to say that the militia of Virginia will not be furnished to the powers at Washington for any such use or purpose as they have in view. Your object is to subjugate the Southern States and the requisition made upon me for such a object–an object in my judgment not within the purview of the constitution or the act of 1795, will not be complied with. You have chosen to inaugurate civil war; having done so we will meet you in a spirit as determined as the Administration has exhibited toward the South."

In response to this action of the President, the Virginia Convention adopted an ordinance of secession on April 17, 1861, and sent it to the people of Virginia for ratification by a special vote set for April 23. (BBM p. 279-82; SF p. 51-52). The secession of Virginia was closely followed by Arkansas, Tennessee, and North Carolina (WEW p. 512; CA p. 29, 38; FWS p. 82-83; SEM p. 611-12).

While largely Southern in sentiment, Kentucky and Missouri were divided, but did not secede. But Governor Magoffin responded to Lincoln’s call to arms, "Kentucky will furnish no troops for the wicked purpose of subduing her sister Southern states." Likewise, Governor Jackson of Missouri replied, "Your requisition is illegal, unconstitutional, revolutionary, inhuman, diabolical, and cannot be complied with" (CA p. 38; SF p. 53). In both states, however, secession conventions were held and each sent representatives to the Confederate Congress. (This accounts for the twelfth and thirteenth stars on the well-known Confederate battle flag.)

By defining the secession of the Southern States from the Union as a "rebellion," Lincoln was able to justify mustering an army to quell the "insurrection" under the Act of Congress of 1795 which limited the use of the specially called militia to thirty days after the beginning of the next session of Congress. Lincoln delayed calling Congress into special session for at least two and a half months, thus prolonging his use of the militia against the South before he had to obtain congressional approval for his actions. By this time, Lincoln had set the machine of war into motion, and Congress was left to do little other than to appropriate funding for Lincoln’s plans (GLD p. 109-11; WEW p. 525; CA p. 41, 44, 121-22). This effectively preempted what Lincoln referred to in his inaugural address as the ability of the American people to "withhold the requisite means, or, in some authoritative manner" prevent his using force against the seceded States.

The great majority of Confederate soldiers owned no slaves. The 1860 United States census revealed that about 25% of white Southern families, or about 6% of the total white Southern population held slaves (WEW p. 529; JRK p. 83, 86).

The loyalty of free black Southerners and even slaves toward the Southern cause was counted on in some parts of the South. Along with their white counterparts, there were free blacks who were anxious to prove their bravery and patriotism against the invading Yankees (ELJ p. 219). Even though the use of black volunteers in the Confederate Army did not officially take place until the closing three months of the War (ELJ p. 246), black volunteers were often employed in state militias and local home guard units throughout the War (ELJ p. 219; CKB p. 8-10). These black Confederates were often awarded state pensions after the war based on their service to the Confederacy. Historian Ervin L. Jordan documents that in 1928 the State of Virginia awarded pensions to "black males who served on military details or performed guard duty on behalf of the Confederacy" (ELJ p. 226).

In June of 1861, Tennessee became the first State in the Confederacy to authorize the use of free black soldiers. Black soldiers between the ages of fifteen and fifty were paid $18 per month and received the same rations and clothing as white soldiers. By September of 1861 two regiments of black soldiers were in Memphis (ELJ p. 218-19).

On July 4, 1861, before a special session of what was left of the Congress, Lincoln rationalized his actions against the South as he said, "These measures, whether strictly legal or not, were ventured upon under what appeared to be a popular demand and public necessity, trusting then as now that Congress would readily ratify them" (GLD p, 111).

The legislature of Maryland was to convene on September 17, 1861. Beginning on the night of September 12, under orders of Secretary of War Simon Cameron, Major General Banks arrested all members of the legislature who were suspected of having Southern sympathies. These and other influential citizens were seized and imprisoned in Fort McHenry (CA p. 41). There were no charges against them of having committed overt acts of disloyalty or treason. They "appealed to Chief Justice [Roger Brooke] Taney who decided that they were held illegally, but they were not released. In this action of President Lincoln’s a most dangerous precedent was created. Through the acquiescence of Congress, then in session, the president had become a dictator" (WEW p. 525-26).

In November of 1861, elections were held in Maryland. Occupying soldiers of the Union Army voted in these elections, even though they were not citizens of Maryland. Soldiers were also stationed at the polls with bayonets affixed to their rifles. It was a foregone conclusion that only Union sympathizers would be elected. "The elections were a fraud, and finally the democratic system of government in Maryland breathed its last breath" (CA p. 41).

In 1861, John Hughes, Archbishop of New York, warned the U.S. War Department that his flock was "willing to fight to the death for the support of the constitution, the government, and the laws of the country, [but not] for the abolition of slavery" (SEM p. 666).

English author Charles Dickens, an avid student of the forces behind America’s War of 1861, and an opponent of slavery, made the following observation in an article entitled "American Disunion" in the December 21, 1861, issue of his London periodical, All the Year Round:

"The struggle between North and South has been of long duration. The South having the lead in the federation had fought some hard political battles to retain it… But in the last presidential election, which was a trial of strength between South and North, the South considering itself subject to the North within the federation, carried out its frequent threat and desire of secession" (CA p. 88).

Dickens biographer, Peter Ackroyd, reiterated Dickens’ view on the popular opinion regarding slavery and the war:

"The Northern onslaught upon slavery was no more than a piece of specious humbug designed to conceal its desire for economic control of the Southern states" (CA p. 89).

In his December 28, 1861, follow-up article, "The Morrill Tariff", in his periodical All the Year Round, Dickens summarized his observations of the harmful effects of protectionist tariffs on the Southern economy being at the root of the North-South conflict:

"If it be not slavery, where lies the partition of the interests that has led at last to actual separation of the Southern from the Northern States? […] Every year, for some years back, this or that Southern state had declared that it would submit to this extortion only while it had not the strength for resistance. With the election of Lincoln and an exclusive Northern party taking over the federal government, the time for withdrawal had arrived […] The conflict is between semi-independent communities [in which] every feeling and interest [in the South] calls for political partition, and every pocket interest [in the North] calls for union […] [T]he quarrel between the North and South is, as it stands, solely a fiscal quarrel" (CA p. 90-91).

Union soldiers from New York on patrol out of Newport News, Virginia on December 22, 1861, were attacked by local Confederate forces near Newport Bridge. The attacking Confederate force was made up of cavalry and 700 armed blacks. Local Confederate fighting units were often formed during times of Union raids, and then were disbanded until needed again (ELJ p. 222).

Anthony Trollope, a British citizen traveling throughout the North and South early in the War observed, "The South is seceding from the North because the two are not homogeneous. They have different instincts, different appetites, different morals, and a different culture" (JRK p. 23).

In a message to Congress on March 6, 1862, Lincoln proposed compensation to the owners of slaves in any state–including those in the South–that would emancipate its slaves. This would have been consistent with how many of the slaves were freed in Northern States. Both Lincoln’s Cabinet and Congress rejected the proposal (WEW p. 543). However, Congress did pass an act abolishing slavery in the District of Columbia. Lincoln signed the act on April 16, 1862. Owners were compensated up to $300 apiece for their liberated slaves (WEW p. 544; SDC p. 175).

To the surprise of many Yankee soldiers, many Southern blacks were not slaves. Knowing of the South only through stereotypes and often thinking that all Southern blacks were slaves, Yankee soldiers sometimes accused free blacks of hiding their masters, especially if the person’s home were nicely furnished. During such encounters, the Yankees would often steal the free black person’s food and belongings, and even destroy their homes (JRK p. 133-34).

The loyalty of Southern blacks in the presence of Yankee soldiers was varied. Some slaves went over to the Union troops, while others remained loyal to their white families (JRK p. 133-34). Rarely, though, did Southern blacks give Yankee soldiers their complete trust (ELJ p. 143).

Union soldiers reporting on the June, 1862 battle of Seven Pines claimed that two black Confederate regiments proved themselves ruthless opponents, showing no mercy to either dead or wounded Yankee soldiers (ELJ p. 223).

The wife of Union general Ulysses S. Grant, a slave owner herself, kept her slaves until the close of the War (WEW p. 518, 543).

In a letter dated August 22, 1862, to New York Tribune editor Horace Greeley, Lincoln said,

"My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that. What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union" (GE p. 218; SCV p. 5-6).

On August 25, 1862, Lincoln wrote a letter to Horace Greeley of the New York Tribune in which he again stated,

"If I could save the Union without freeing any slave, I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves, I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone; I would also do that" (WEW p. 508).

During the battle of Antietam in September of 1862 fully armed black Confederate soldiers were observed as an integral part of Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia (ELJ p. 223).

On September 24, 1862, Lincoln, having especially suffered the criticism of the Northern Democrats or "Copperheads" since he commenced hostilities against the South, suspended the writ of habeas corpus (the right to a speedy and public trial), a right guaranteed in the Sixth Amendment of the Constitution. A Copperhead was a Northern Democrat who was critical of Lincoln’s war policies and his war against the South.

An estimated 20,000 to 38,000 political prisoners were incarcerated by Lincoln’s Provost Marshals, some of whom were sentenced before military tribunals, while others received no trial at all, never having known the charges against them (WEW p. 525; GLD p. 115-16; GE p. 7; CA p. 57).

Through the power of the military, Lincoln had newspapers shut down for coming out in direct opposition to his war time policies, or even if they merely raised questions. Ultimately over three hundred newspapers were closed. After enough public outrage, Lincoln simply had unfavorable newspaper editors imprisoned, leaving their positions to be filled by those who would support his policies (CA p.45-46, 58).

In December of 1862, Lincoln sought to alleviate the fears that emancipated slaves would come into the North and compete for the labor of white workers by assuring Congress that each State can "decide for itself whether to receive them" (JRK p. 55; BBM p. 173).

With the war losing its popularity in the North in 1862, the people of the North were not so willing to send their husbands and sons to die in "Mr. Lincoln’s war" to restore the Union, let alone for the emancipation of slaves (WEW p. 544).

It was not until well into the War that Lincoln began to link abolition of slavery with the War itself. He began to use the issue of slavery as a political tool to give the War a moral cause to help bolster Northern support, distance England and France from the South, solidify his support with the growing abolitionist movement, and possibly foster a slave revolt in the South. Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation of January 1, 1863, issued under his war powers, declared only slaves in those States that seceded to be free. Those still enslaved in Northern or otherwise Union States (Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri) were not freed by Lincoln’s proclamation since he knew he could not legally deprive United States citizens of their "property." Exemptions from Lincoln’s proclamation included "the parishes of St. Bernard, Plaquemines, Jefferson, St. Johns, St. Charles, St. James, Ascension, Assumption, Terrebonne, Lafourche, St. Mary, St. Martin, and Orleans, including the city of New Orleans […] the forty-eight counties designated as West Virginia, and also the counties of Berkeley, Accomac, Northampton, Elizabeth City, York, Princess Ann, and Norfolk, including the cities of Norfolk and Portsmouth," much of Tennessee, the South Carolina coast, and any other areas of the Southern States under Union control. Not one slave was actually freed through Lincoln’s proclamation (WEW p. 545; SEM p. 654; ELJ p. 255; PMA p. 264-66).

Therefore, contrary to popular belief, Lincoln did not "free the slaves." Emancipation of the slaves throughout the North and South was due to the ratification of the current Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution by both the Northern and Southern States. Only in this way could an acknowledged internal matter of the States be constitutionally dealt with at the federal level–that is, with the States delegating authority that had been previously reserved by them. Constitutionally, this was not a matter for Lincoln and the Executive branch of the federal government.

During Congressional debate on January 8, 1863, Thadeous Stevens of Pennsylvania declared on the floor of Congress that the States of the Confederacy were a "belligerent nation" and no longer in the Union. As such, they were no longer entitled to the protections of the U. S. Constitution. Therefore, the taxes he proposed as Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee were to be levied upon "conquered provinces, just as all nations levy them upon provinces and nations they conquer." He went on to say that he would "as a necessary war measure, take every particle of property, real and personal, life-estate and reversion, of every disloyal man, and sell it for the benefit of the nation in carrying on this war." Stevens further stated that "this war must be carried on upon principle wholly independent of it [the Constitution]" and that the United States "must treat those States now outside of the Union as conquered provinces and settle them with new men, and drive the present rebels as exiles from this country […] They have such determination, energy, and endurance, that nothing but actual extermination or exile or starvation will ever induce them to surrender to this Government" (GLD p. 151; The Congressional Globe, January 8, 1863, p. 239-40, 243).

The Conscription Act of March 3, 1863, forced Northern men into service through a military draft. The draft was biased against the poor in that a man could pay $300 to commute his service for a particular draft. A man could also find a permanent substitute to serve in his place through a three year enlistment. Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation and the bringing in of black workers to break a dock workers’ strike brought Irish immigrants in New York City to the boiling point. The first drawing of names for the draft in the working-class quarters on July 13, 1863, sparked four days of riots in New York City. Blacks, having been blamed for the loss of jobs and the reason for the existence of the draft, were indiscriminately killed or beaten (SEM p. 666).

Northern States and cities were often officially and harshly rebuked by the Lincoln administration for not making their quota of recruits. Within the Confederacy, the Conscription Act of 1862 was enacted under the watchful eyes of the States. Within the Confederacy, federal legislation had to pass the muster of the high courts of the States. This oversight was exercised by these State high court judges who reserved the right to intercede on behalf of their citizens concerning actions of the federal government. Judge Moore of Texas, aware that conscription could be a tool of oppression in the hands of the federal government, concluded that "a necessity exists today, and the law is therefore constitutional, if tomorrow that necessity should cease, its continuance would be as clearly unconstitutional" (MLD p. 114-15). In practice, the Confederate States federal government recognized the preeminence of the sovereignty of a State in disputes where State and federal jurisdiction are in contest (MLD p.76).

On May 16, 1863, a convention of Democrats gathered in Albany, New York to protest the military arrest of Clement Laird Vallandigham, Ohio Democrat Congressman and candidate for governor of Ohio, along with many other such military arrests of civilians, and the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus. According to findings of the military trial, he was found guilty of accusing Lincoln "and his minions" of rejecting a chance at peace with the South "the day before the battle of Fredericksburg" because "the men in power are attempting to establish a despotism in this country, more cruel and more oppressive than ever existed before." As reported in The American Annual Cyclopedia and Register of Important Events of the Year 1863, Lincoln answered the criticism of the Democrats by letter on June 12, 1863. It reads in Part:

"Ours is a case of rebellion […] and the provision of the Constitution that ‘the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended unless when in case of rebellion or invasion the public safety may require it,’ is the provision which specially applies to our present case. This provision plainly attests the understanding of those who made the Constitution that ordinary courts of justice are inadequate to ‘cases of rebellion’–attests their purpose that, in such cases, men may be held in custody whom the courts, acting on ordinary rules, would discharge […] and its suspension is allowed by the Constitution on purpose that men may be arrested and held who cannot be proved to be guilty of defined crime […] arrests are made, not so much for what has been done, as for what probably would be done […] The man who stands by and says nothing when the peril of his Government is discussed cannot be misunderstood. If not hindered, he is sure to help the enemy; much more if he talks ambiguously–talks for his country with ‘but,’ and ‘ifs,’ and ‘ands’" (GLD p. 119; GE p. 209-13; SDC p. 201-03).

In answer to Lincoln’s letter of reply, the Democrats harshly criticized his usurpation of power in a letter dated June 30, 1863. It reads in part:

"You seem aware that the constitution of the United States, which you have sworn to protect and defend, contains the following guarantees, to which we again ask your attention [recitation of the first four Amendments to the Constitution] […] You are also, no doubt, aware that, on the adoption of the constitution, these invaluable provisions were proposed by the jealous caution of the states, and were inserted as amendments for a perpetual assurance of liberty against the encroachments of power […] The fact has already passed into history that the sacred rights and immunities […] have not been preserved to the people during your administration. In violation of the first of them, the freedom of the press has been denied. In repeated instances newspapers have been suppressed in the loyal states, because they criticized, as constitutionally they might, those fatal errors of policy which have characterized the conduct of public affairs since your advent to power. In violation of the second of them, hundreds, and we believe thousands, of men have been seized and immured in prisons and bastiles, not only without warrant upon probable cause, but without any warrant, and for no other cause that a constitutional exercise of freedom of speech […] For all these acts you avow yourself ultimately responsible […] These repeated and continued invasions of constitutional liberty and private right have occasioned profound anxiety in the public mind. The apprehension and alarm which they are calculated to produce have been greatly enhanced by your attempt to justify them, because in that attempt you assume to yourself a rightful authority possessed by no constitutional monarch on earth […] [B]elieving as we do, that your forbearance is not the tenure by which liberty is enjoyed in this country, we propose to challenge the grounds on which your claim of supreme power is based. While yielding to you as a constitutional magistrate […] we cannot accord to you the despotic power you claim […] [Y]our meaning is, that, while the rights of the citizens are protected by this constitution in time of peace, they are suspended or lost in time of war, when invasion or rebellion exists […] You claim to have found […] within the constitution, a principle or germ of arbitrary power, which, in time of war, expands at once into an absolute sovereignty, wielded by one man; so that liberty perishes, or is dependent on his will, his discretion, or his caprice […] An act of Congress approved by you on the 3d of March, 1863, authorized the President to suspend it [the writ of habeas corpus] during the present rebellion. That the suspension is a legislative, and not an executive act, has been held in every judicial decision ever made in this country, and we think it cannot be delegated to any other branch of the government" (SDC p. 204-06).

It was clear that total subjugation of the South and her independent spirit was the goal of the Union Army. Major General William T. Sherman, while in Vicksburg on January 31, 1864, wrote the following to a subordinate.

"The Government of the United States has […] any and all rights which they choose to enforce in war to take their lives, their homes, their lands, their everything […] war is simply power unrestrained by constitution […] To the persistent secessionist, why, death is mercy, and the quicker he or she is disposed of the better […]" (JRK p. 288).

In a letter to Major General Halleck on July 14, 1864, General Grant stated his intention to strip Virginia clean:

"If the enemy has left Maryland, as I suppose he has, he should have upon his heels veterans, militiamen, men on horseback, and everything that can be got to follow to eat out Virginia clear and clean as they go, so that the crows flying over it will have to carry their provender with them" (MLR p. 76).

In a letter dated December 18, 1864, Chief of Staff, Major General W.H. Halleck, instructed General W.T. Sherman to utterly spoil the city of Charleston:

"Should you capture Charleston, I hope that by some accident the place may by destroyed; and if a little salt should be sown upon the site, it may prevent the growth of future crops of nullification and secession" (MLR p. 76).

In his reply to General Halleck, General Sherman wrote on December 24, 1864:

"I will bear in mind your hint as to Charleston, and I do not think ‘salt’ will be necessary. When I move, the Fifteenth Corps will be on the right of the right wing, and their position will bring them into Charleston first; and if you have watched the history of this corps, you will have remarked that it generally does its work pretty well. The truth is, the whole army is burning with an insatiable desire to wreak vengeance upon South Carolina. I almost tremble at her fate, but feel that she deserves all that seems to be in store for her. We must make old and young, rich and poor, feel the hard hand of war as well as their organized armies" (MLR p. 77).

In May, 1865, Confederate POWs held at Point Lookout, Maryland were being released if they took oaths of allegiance to the United States. A lone black Confederate soldier refused the oath, remaining "unreconstructed and unreconstructable." Historian Ervin L. Jordan laments the denial of the existence and role of black Confederates, and their being consigned to the obscurity shared by those blacks who served in the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812 (ELJ p. 251).



BBM Virginia’s Attitude Toward Slavery and Secession, Second Edition by Beverley B. Munford, 1910. Reprinted by Crown Rights Publishing, Dahlonega, Georgia, 2001. (A look at the many contributing factors in the secession of the Southern States and of the War that followed.)

CA When in the Course of Human Events by Charles Adams, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., Lanham, Ma., 2000. (A look at the case for Southern secession and the execution of the war by the North.)

CKB Black ConfederatesCompiled and Edited by Charles Kelly Barrow, J. H. Segars, and R. B. Rosenburg, Pelican Publishing Co., 2001, Originally published as Forgotten Confederates 1995. (A fascinating compilation of first-hand accounts, newspaper articles, photographs, and letters documenting service to the Confederacy by blacks in military and non-military capacities.)

ELJ Black Confederates and Afro-Yankees in Civil War Virginia by Ervin L. Jordan, Jr., The University Press of Virginia, 1995. (A fascinating work documenting the lives of and roles of blacks in "Civil War" Virginia.)

FWS War for What? by Francis W. Springer, Nippert Publishing, Springfield, TN, Second Printing 1997. (A history of slavery in North America.)

GE Facts and Falsehoods Concerning the War on the South 1861-1865 by George Edmonds, Science Hall Lamb, 1904. Reprinted by Crown Rights Publishing, Wiggins, Miss., 2000. (A compelling view of the politics of the War for Southern Independence.)

GKW New Jersey Slavery and the Law, Gary K. Wolinetz, Rutgers Law Review, 50 (Summer 1998): 2227 ff

GLD America’s Caesar – Abraham Lincoln and the Birth of a Modern Empire by Greg Loren Durand, Second Edition, 2000. (A very revealing inquiry into Lincoln’s role in radically altering the original relationship and roles of the Federal government versus that of the States during the War for Southern Independence.)

JLMC The Southern States of the American Union by J.L.M. Curry, G. P. Putnam’s Sons, New York, 1895. Reprinted by Crown Rights Publishing, Wiggins, Miss., 1999. (Traces the origins of the spirit of liberty expressed in the Declaration of Independence, and in the South’s secession from the Northern States of the American Union.)

JRK The South Was Right! by James Ronald Kennedy and Walter Donald Kennedy, 1998. (A fascinating and well footnoted look into little known facts critical in understanding the War for Southern Independence.)

MLD The Confederate Constitution of 1861 by Marshall L. DeRosa, University of Missouri Press, 1991. (A good look at the intentions of the C.S.A by looking at their own Constitution and the few, but significant differences between it and its U.S. counterpart.)

MLR Truths of History by Mildred Lewis Rutherford, Athens, Georgia, 1920. Reprinted by Southern Lion Books, Inc., Atlanta, Ga., 1998. (One Southerner’s blunt perspective of the War in historical and cultural context.)

PBK The Founder’s Constitution, edited by Philip B. Kurland and Ralph Lerner, the University of Chicago Press, 1986. (A collection of documents from the early 1600s to 1830 that shed light on the philosophies behind our American form of government.)

PMA By These Words by Paul M. Angle, Rand McNally & Co., 1954. (Text of selected documents of American history.)

SCV The Gray Book Published by Gray Book Committee S.C.V., The Sons of Confederate Veterans. Reprinted by Crown Rights Publishing, Wiggins, Miss., 2000. (A defense in response to "attacks upon the history, people and institutions of this Southern section of our united country.")

SDC The Logic of History by Stephen D. Carpenter, S. D. Carpenter, Publisher, Madison, Wis., 1864. Reprinted by Crown Rights Publishing, Wiggins, Miss., 2000. (A collection of news accounts and analysis pertaining to the War.)

SEM The Oxford History of the American People by Samual Eliot Morison, Oxford University Press, New York, 1965. (A useful reference, but with a strong central government and "pro-union" bias. Also somewhat colored by the social atmosphere of the 1960s.)

SF The Civil War, A Narrative – Fort Sumter to Perryville by Shelby Foote, Vintage Books, New York, 1986 (A standard of the history of the War.)

WEW A New American History by W. E. Woodward, Farrar & Rinehart, Inc., On Murry Hill, New York, 1936. (Excellent. Balanced, with more attention to detail than many works and quite interesting to read.)

Originally Published at: http://www.civil-war.net/docs/lesser_known_historical_excerpts.htm