Lincoln Has No Right to a Soldier in Fort Sumter


The right of Americans to change their government with the consent of the governed is enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, and even the abolitionists of the 1850’s admitted the right of the South to
depart the fraternal union and govern itself.  But war would come after a newly-elected sectional president did nothing to peacefully settle national differences, and seized control of the military.

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


Lincoln Has No Right to a Soldier in Fort Sumter:

“The house of every man is his castle, and he may defend it to the death against all aggressors. When a hostile hand is raised to strike a blow, he who is assaulted need not wait until the blow falls, but on the instant may protect himself as best he can. And where constitutional rights of a people are in jeopardy, a kindred right of self-defense belongs to them. Although revolutionary in its character, it is not the less a right.

Wendell Phillips, abolitionist as he was, in a speech made at New Bedford on the 9th of April, 1861, three days before the bombardment of Fort Sumter, fully recognized this right. He said:

“Here are a series of States girding the Gulf, who think that their peculiar institutions require that they should have a separate government. They have a right to decide that question without appealing to you or me. A large body of the people, sufficient to make a nation, have come to the conclusion that they will have a government of a certain form. Who denies them the right?

Standing with the principles of ’76 behind us, who can deny them the right? What is a matter of a few millions of dollars or a few forts?  It is a mere drop in the bucket of the great national question. It is theirs as much as ours. I maintain, on the principles of ’76, that Abraham Lincoln has no right to a soldier in Fort Sumter.”

Neither were the Southern men of ’61 fighting for money. And they too were deeply embittered, not against a mother country, but against a brother country. The Northern people had published invectives of the most exasperating character broadcast against the South in their speeches, sermons, newspapers and books.  The abolitionists had proceeded from words to deeds and were unwearied in tampering with the slaves and carrying them off.  The Southern people…could get no security that the provisions of the Constitution would be kept either in letter or in spirit, and this they demanded as their right.

Devotion to their State first of all, a conviction of that paramount obligation – in case of any conflict of allegiance – was due not to the Union but to the State, has been part of the political creed of very many in the South ever since the adoption of the Constitution.

(Baltimore and the 19th of April, 1861, George William Brown, Johns Hopkins Press, 2001, pp. 26-28)