This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
 declared that this doctrine was the cause of the war, and was, of course, the object of their most intense hate. It was the immediate cause of hostilities in the form in which they were opened, and unless the South had believed in the right of secession as an essential element of State sovereignty, it is most likely that war would not have ensued between the States. It would have been a war between the people, and we should have had anarchy within the States. If the same number of men that were engaged in the war of 1861 had fought with the same vigor, under partizan leadership and organization, and not under the State organizations, anarchy would have reigned throughout the country. The abolishment of slavery would have resulted in the abolishment of State Governments; in the destruction of the Union beyond all the power of restoration; and the final overthow of Republican Government on this continent. The people of the United States must abandon the idea that war is to be a remedy for any abuse or usurpation, or they must recognize the doctrine that it is best, whether right or wrong, constitutional or unconstitutional, if war must come, that it should be between States as organizations, and not under control of partisan leaders merely. For one half of a century Mexico has furnished us with a sad historical proof of this proposition. The Southern States in a nervous solicitude to satisfy the people of the North that they intended to remain forever at peace, cut themselves off, by constitutional provisions, from all access to the means of making war or of defending themselves by lawful measures as organized bodies. If they fight again, it must be with halters around their necks. They have given their pledges, and delivered their hostages to keep the peace. The Northern States have accepted them, but they have given nothing in return to bind them to like conditions. They are free, and have proved themselves wisely diligent to preserve their State Constitutions and the Federal Constitution free from any provisions that may hamper their future action. The historian who may hereafter consider this peculiar condition of the States will be astonished to find that a great war, fought, as is claimed, to destroy the treasonable doctrine of secession, should have closed without any apparent impression being left upon the Constitution relating to that subject, while the abolition of slavery, which was claimed not to have been the purpose of the war, but a mere incident of the hostilities-a necessary war measure — was provided for in three solemn amendments. It is for the North to answer on this question. The South was as ready to place a quietus upon this question as the North was to demand it. But it was not demanded. Those who hereafter quarrel with the doctrine of
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.