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and to secure the blessings of liberty for ourselves and our posterity; and when in the judgment of the sovereign States now comprising this Confederacy it had been perverted from the purposes for which it was ordained, and had ceased to answer the ends for which it was established, an appeal to the ballot-box declared that so far as they were concerned the government created by that compact should cease to exist. In this they merely asserted a right which the Declaration of Independence of 1776 defined to be inalienable. Of the time and occasion for its exercise, they, as sovereign, were the final judges each for itself. The impartial and enlightened verdict of mankind will vindicate the rectitude of our conduct, and He who knows the hearts of men will judge the sincerity with which we have labored to preserve the government of our fathers, in its spirit and in those rights inherent in it, which were solemnly proclaimed at the birth of the States, and which have been affirmed and
eclare the cause which impelled them to the separation. This amendment was introduced by a Pennsylvanian (Lunt, p. 358), and passed unanimously by the convention. (Ibid). To what did this look but secession and separation? Did it not argue the consciousness of a purpose to drive the South to those extremities? What else could the South do but separate, if possible, from the majority which ruled the government, and were animated by such feelings? Mr. Webster, the great apostle of Union in 1851, had said: I do not hesitate to say and repeat, that if the Northern States refuse wilfully or deliberately to carry into effect that part of the constitution which respects the restoration of fugitive slaves, the South would no longer be bound to keep the compact. A bargain broken on one side is broken on all sides. (Lunt, p. 321). Had not the precise case occurred? Had not the North deliberately and persistently refused to carry into effect that part of the constitution? Was the South b
present constitution. This instrument itself was in a great measure the production of one of her sons, who has been justly styled the father of the constitution. The government created by it was put into operation with her Washington, the father of his country, at its head; her Jefferson, the author of the Declaration of Independence, in his cabinet; her Madison, the great advocate of the constitution, in the legislative hall. Under the leading of Virginia statesmen the Revolution of 1798 was brought about, Louisiana was acquired, and the second war of independence was waged. Throughout the whole progress of the republic she has never infringed on the rights of any State, or asked or received an exclusive benefit. On the contrary, she has been the first to vindicate the equality of all the States, the smallest as well as the greatest. But claiming no exclusive benefit for her efforts and sacrifices in the common cause, she had a right to look for feelings of fraternit
who was so denounced when he left the Federal party, on account of its disunion tendencies, and joined the Democratic under Mr. Jefferson, became the old man eloquent when he fanned the smouldering spark of sectional division with the burning breath of hate and anger which was yet to burst out in flames and consume the house with the fire whose initial spark he consented to bear and apply to the family dwelling, ever nursing the fire until the building was fairly ablaze. And what was now, in 1860, the worth of the reliance which kept the South quiet in 1790, because it relied upon the virtue of Congress that it would exercise no unconstitutional authority? In regard to the right to recapture fugitive slaves, it was at that time obviously a dead better. The free States had violated that obligation by their personal liberty statutes, which were consonant with the general spirit of their people. The abolition party, which denounced the constitution as a covenant with death and an agre
sed to surrender to justice persons charged with participation in the John Brown raid --see note, p. 320. At the era of secession the constitution had not only ceased to be a palladium for these rights of secession, but was hardly recognized to be binding at all. If, then, this instrument was to be relied upon by the slave States to protect them, it was only in the event that they could arm themselves with enough political power to enforce its provisions. So obvious had this become by 1819-20, when the State of Missouri was struggling for admission as a slave State, that the slave States at that time solemnly asserted their right to settle the unoccupied and unappropriated territory of the United States with their slave property, under the protection of its laws — a right which was as vehemently denied by the free States. So bitter and fierce was this contest, that its agitations shook the very foundations of American society. It was settled for a time by a compromise excluding s
e the final judges each for itself. The impartial and enlightened verdict of mankind will vindicate the rectitude of our conduct, and He who knows the hearts of men will judge the sincerity with which we have labored to preserve the government of our fathers, in its spirit and in those rights inherent in it, which were solemnly proclaimed at the birth of the States, and which have been affirmed and re-affirmed in the Bills of Rights of the several States. When they entered into the Union of 1789, it was with the undeniable recognition of the power of the people to resume the authority delegated for the purposes of that government, whenever, in their opinion, its functions were perverted and its ends defeated. By virtue of this authority, the time and occasion requiring them to exercise it having arrived, the sovereign States here represented have seceded from that Union, and it is a gross abuse of language to denominate the act rebellion or revolution. They have formed a new allian
sume the house with the fire whose initial spark he consented to bear and apply to the family dwelling, ever nursing the fire until the building was fairly ablaze. And what was now, in 1860, the worth of the reliance which kept the South quiet in 1790, because it relied upon the virtue of Congress that it would exercise no unconstitutional authority? In regard to the right to recapture fugitive slaves, it was at that time obviously a dead better. The free States had violated that obligation berence. Resolutions were adopted by this body, composed of able and eminent men from the different States, very similar to Mr. Crittenden's, which met with no better success. Under these circumstances what were the slaveholding States to do? In 1790 they kept quiet, because they relied upon the virtue of Congress that they would do nothing without constitutional authority. Was such a faith any longer rational? Had not the conduct of the free States proved that the guarantees of the constitu
Robert M. T. Hunter (search for this): chapter 1.1
Origin of the late war. By Honorable R. M. T. Hunter, of Virginia. The late civil war which raged in the United States has been very generally attributed to the abolition of slavery as its cause. When we consider how deeply the institutions of southern society and the operations of southern industry were founded in slavery, we must admit that this was cause enough to have produced such a result. But great and wide as was that cause in its far-reaching effects, a close study of the history of the times will bring us to the conclusion that it was the fear of a mischief far more extensive and deeper even than this which drove cool and reflecting minds in the South to believe that it was better to make the death struggle at once than submit tamely to what was inevitable, unless its coming could be averted by force. Men, too old to be driven blindly by passion; women, whose gentle and kindly instincts were deeply impressed by the horrors of war, and young men, with fortune and posi
western ordinance, left the growing superiority of that section not even doubtful. But the acquisition of Louisiana made another order of growth in political power possible as between the two sections. The bare possibility of such a result kindled a violent opposition in some portions of the non-slaveholding section. In New England it was particularly angry, and there sprung up for the first time in the history of our government audible threats of separation. The land hunger of the Anglo-Saxon race, as Theodore Parker calls it, soon quieted the opposition to the acquisition of territory, but a far more bitter strife arose as to the equal rights of the two sections to settle the vacant territory of the Union and grow possibly part passu in power. So fierce was the strife, and so loud its tumult, that for the first time it broke upon Mr. Jefferson's ear like a fire bell in the night. The contest between the two sections over the limitations in the constitution upon the governing p
Theodore Parker (search for this): chapter 1.1
eft the growing superiority of that section not even doubtful. But the acquisition of Louisiana made another order of growth in political power possible as between the two sections. The bare possibility of such a result kindled a violent opposition in some portions of the non-slaveholding section. In New England it was particularly angry, and there sprung up for the first time in the history of our government audible threats of separation. The land hunger of the Anglo-Saxon race, as Theodore Parker calls it, soon quieted the opposition to the acquisition of territory, but a far more bitter strife arose as to the equal rights of the two sections to settle the vacant territory of the Union and grow possibly part passu in power. So fierce was the strife, and so loud its tumult, that for the first time it broke upon Mr. Jefferson's ear like a fire bell in the night. The contest between the two sections over the limitations in the constitution upon the governing party under it began
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