Jefferson Davis Identifies the Traitors
It could be said that today’s "higher law" theory is one that tells those who have, because of their hard work and thrift, accumulated property—that they have a "patriotic duty" to share this with those who refuse to engage in hard work and thrift. The Founders never contemplated such nonsense, and only a treasonable disregard for the Constitution would allow it.
Bernhard Thuersam, Executive Director
Cape Fear Historical Institute
Post Office Box 328
Wilmington, NC 28402
Jefferson Davis Identifies the Traitors:
"It was against Seward and his followers that the South directed its "higher law" attack in the later fifties. On October 19, 1858, Jefferson Davis delivered a stirring address in New York City upon this subject, and in the course of his daring denunciation of the advocates of this theory, he declared:
"You have among you politicians of a philosophical turn, who preach a higher morality; a system of which they are the discoverers…They say, it is true the Constitution dictates this, and the Bible inculcates that; but there is a higher law than those, and they call upon you to obey that higher law of which they are the inspired givers. Men who are traitors to the compact of their fathers—men who have perjured the oaths they have themselves taken…these are the moral law-givers who proclaim a higher law than the Bible, the Constitution, and the laws of the land…These higher law preachers should be tarred and feathered, and whipped by those they have thus instigated….The man who…preaches treason to the Constitution and the dictates of all human society, is a fit object for a Lynch law that would be higher than any he could urge."
The South As A Conscious Minority, Jesse T. Carpenter, New York University, 1930, pp. 159-160)