No Bowing to Tyranny


Many Southerners surrendered not only their arms to the victorious enemy, but also the principles of the Founders they fought four years to uphold against those who would revolutionize our form of government. In North Carolina Governor Locke Craig’s address at the unveiling of the Zebulon Vance statue in Washington City, he spoke of the great wartime governor who would not bow to the new Caesar.

Bernhard Thuersam, Executive Director
Cape Fear Historical Institute
Post Office Box 328
Wilmington, NC 28402
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No Bowing to Tyranny:

"While mastering he difficulties of politics and harmonizing contending factions, he did not forget the needs of the soldiers, nor the people, nor the destitute families of the deserters. His ships defied the blockade and brought into our ports from England rifles, munitions, clothing, shoes and blankets for the Army, necessities and comforts for all of the homes of the rich and poor. Our soldiers were better provided for than any in the South. He is known to history as "The great war governor."

After the carnage of battle, after the wreck and desolation of war, the night of reconstruction set in. North Carolina’s wounds had healed, but her heart was bleeding. All the beasts of prey came forth to plunder and to devour. Darkness and desolation prevailed. There were many who thought that we should seek admission to the Union in humility and contrition, that we should accept the new order, that we should join the dominant party with its dogmas of social and political equality, that we should submit to the disenfranchisement of the foremost and the bravest, and not cry aloud against the control of elections by Federal soldiers.

Many of these men were strong men. They thought that further contention with a victorious party was hopeless, and would be disastrous. But there were those who stood for the integrity of the State as a member of the Union, who did not surrender their ideals…who knew that the policies of reconstruction were impossible, except to our shame and ruin. Vance was the leader, the voice of these, the inspiration of a State that was crushed. In a speech in Raleigh at the beginning of this era of chaos, referring to the men who were advocating the policies that in his opinion would bring ruin to the State, humiliation to the people and threaten the overthrow of our civilization, after pouring upon them his ridicule and invective, as with the blast of a tempest he said:

"It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for them in North Carolina."

He made good the prophesy."

(Statue of Zebulon Baird Vance, Proceedings in Statuary Hall of the United States Capitol, Sixty-Fourth Congress, 1917)