Expecting Unending Federal Interference
 
From: bernhard1848@att.net
 
After long consideration, the Confederate Congress authorized the enlistment of black regiments in March 1865 to assist in the war effort. Though Northern States had already been using black slaves for military labor and substitutes for white troops, the South’s action emulated Virginia’s Royal Governor Lord Dunmore’s 1775 emancipation proclamation which freed black slaves who flocked to the colors. Southern leaders like Jefferson Davis resisted the use of black troops thinking it best for them to remain on the farms to feed the armies, and not be used as cannon-fodder.
 
Bernhard Thuersam, Director
Cape Fear Historical Institute
www.cfhi.net  
 
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Expecting Unending Federal Interference:
 
“[“Samuel “Sunset”]….Cox concluded once again that the purpose of the war was being perverted; the Union soldiers had been deceived, for “they never went into a crusade for abolition.” He pronounced [The Freedman’s Bureau] bill “sweeping and revolutionary” in its effect since “it begins a policy for this Federal Government of limited and express powers, so latitudinarian that the whole system is changed” into a centralized, unitary government, operating “by edict and bayonet, by sham election and juggling proclamation.” [He said] The way to peace was to “restore the Union through compromise” not by “military governors for rebellious provinces.” 
 
As reports reached Washington that Southerners were freeing their slaves for use in the army, it was clear that the end of slavery would not be a bar to negotiations for a restored Union. So on January 21, 1865, as [Sunset] Cox recorded later, “I fully intended…to cast my vote for the amendment.” He had explained his position at length several weeks earlier.
 
Conceding the power to amend the Constitution to abolish slavery…Cox preferred to leave the question “to the States individually.” He had urged a policy of non-intervention by the government in the slave question ever since “I first came to this Congress.” Slavery “is to me the most repugnant of all human institutions,” but the principle of “self-government” by the States over their own affairs “was even more precious than the end of human bondage,” for, if the federal government could intervene in this matter, then federal interference could be expected  in all domestic matters.
 
Most important of all, however, was the Union. If peace with Union could be achieved “by the abolition of slavery, I would vote for it.” But if abolition “is an obstacle in the way of restoring the Union,” as Cox felt it was at the moment…then he would vote against it.”
 
(“Sunset” Cox, Irrepressible Democrat, David Lindsey, Wayne State University Press, 1959, pp. 91-94)