North Carolinians Resist Federal Tyranny
The passage below demonstrates the resolve of North Carolinians who were taught by leaders such as Nathaniel Macon. As eminent Tarheel Dr. Clyde Wilson has written about Macon: "By the end of his life, Macon had realised that the cause of republicanism was lost at the federal level, and also that the North was determined to exploit and rule the South. After he read Andrew Jackson’s proclamation against South Carolina, Macon told friends that it was too late for nullification. The Constitution was dead. The only recourse was secession—there was nothing left but for the South to get out from under the "Union" and govern itself. Thirty years later, in the spring of 1861, the North Carolina convention met to unanimously ratify secession. Nathaniel Macon’s son-in-law, Weldon N. Edwards, was in the president’s chair."
Bernhard Thuersam, Executive Director
Cape Fear Historical Institute
Post Office Box 328
Wilmington, NC 28402
North Carolinians Resist Federal Tyranny:
On December 12, the (North Carolina) Senate attempted to amend a resolution which had been introduced on December 10 to declare the Assembly’s judgment that the federal government had no right to coerce a seceding State. (O)n January 10 (1860), Bedford Brown of Caswell County, member of the joint select Committee on Federal Relations….reported the resolution as follows:
1. Resolved, that in the judgment of the General Assembly the Federal Government has no right to coerce a seceding State, and South Carolina and Florida, acting in their sovereign characters, through conventions, having seceded from the present Union, the federal authorities have (no) power under the Constitution to make war upon and subjugate these States, or any other States which hereafter adopt like action.
2. Resolved, that it will be the duty of the constituted authorities of North Carolina to resist by force the passage of federal troops through her territory to coerce and subjugate a seceding Southern State, and that North Carolina ought to resist any attempt at coercion, whether by land or sea, by all means of her power.
"We are in the midst of war and revolution. North Carolina would have stood by the Union," Jonathan Worth wrote on May 30 (1861), "but for the conduct of the national administration which for folly and simplicity exceeds anything in modern history, as North Carolina is strictly a unit for resistance and everywhere is heard the sound of drum and fife….I feel that we can not be conquered."
On December 7, he concluded: "This State is a unit against the Lincoln Government. It is one great military camp. Some ten thousand troops are in the field. The old Union men are as determined as the original secessionists. The State is totally alienated from the Lincoln Government and will fight to extermination before they will be reunited with the North."
(North Carolina in 1861, James H. Boykin, Bookman Associates, 1961, pp. 178-196)