A Plea For Saving the Union
Whilst President-elect Lincoln and his fanatic Jacobins plotted the overthrow of the Constitution and did nothing to avert the crisis in late 1860, there were those who tried valiantly to save the Union. Though Senator Jefferson Davis laid the crisis at the feet of Congress to find a constitutional remedy, and the Peace Conference chaired by former President Tyler was instituted to find a compromise, no solution was possible with the revolutionary Republicans fixated on war, confiscation of Southern lands, and the subjugation of Southern Americans.
Bernhard Thuersam, Executive Director
Cape Fear Historical Institute
Post Office Box 328
Wilmington, NC 28402
A Plea For Saving the Union:
"Our fathers formed a Government for a Union of friendly States; (that) Union of friendly States has changed its character, and sectional hostility has been substituted for the fraternity in which the Government was founded.
But I call upon all men who have in their hearts a love for the Union, and whose service is not merely of the lip, to look the question calmly but fully in the face…How, then have we to provide a remedy? By strengthening this Government? By instituting physical force to overawe the States, to coerce the people?…..No, sir; I would have this Union severed into thirty-three fragments sooner than have that great evil befall constitutional liberty and representative government.
Our government is an agency of delegated and strictly limited powers. Its Founders did not look to its preservation by force; but the chain they wove to bind these States together was one of love and mutual good offices. The remedy for these (sectional) evils is to be found in the patriotism and affection of the people, if it exists; and if it does not exist, if is far better , instead of attempting to preserve a forced and therefore fruitless Union, that we should peacefully part and each pursue his separate course.“
Senator Jefferson Davis, Speech to the US Congress, Congressional Globe, December 10, 1860