From: Howard and Judy White –
Date: Fri, Oct 8, 2010
Subject: The Puzzle About Slavery Talk in the State Secession Documents
Cc: HK Edgerton –

H. K. Edgerton sent me your email expressing concern that the State Secession Documents referred to slavery in considerable detail.  You asked why, if slavery was not a major reason for State Secession, was it used so much as a justification of that act?

We need to understand what was the State Secession process.  It was the reversal of the State Ratification process.  South Carolina and Georgia and eleven other independent States had created the Federal Government, each voting to itself join.  South Carolina, the first to secede, voted to unjoin.  This was based on the legal argument that many States to the north had ceased being brotherly toward South Carolina.  What were examples of hatred?  The most evident examples dealth with slavery, which was clearly a State-governed issue.  So the constitutional lawyers who wrote the South Carolina State secession document, drew from the slavery issue as they listed the greviences that justified Secession.
Secession was a recognized right.
We know that, prior to Lincoln taking office, Republicans had sworn to uphold slavery in the southern States and to never take action to modify the practice.  So we know that an announced and official threat to interfere with slavery was not a basis for State Secession, because that threat had not yet surfaced as official dogma.
The runaway slavery issue was a good legal example of the failure of the northern States to honor the Federal laws at the expense of the southern States, an that was mentioned extensively in the Secession document.
I could go on and on, but you should have a feel for the issue by now.  The Secession Documents were legal and were designed to show a breach of faith on the part of Republicans and the northern States people.  Much higher taxes on imports, sure to become law and promised in the 1860 Republican Platforn, was not raised to unbearable levels until after the first 7 States had seceded.  The others seceded because they refused to launch military attacks against sister States.  Maryland, Kentucky and Missouri would have seceded if the Lincoln Administration had failed in its militant subjugation of there State governments.
Follow the timing of events to understand them.
Howard Ray White