“ if we recognize the right of secession in one case, we give our assent to it in all cases; and if the few States upon the Gulf
now are to separate themselves from us, and erect a barrier across the mouth of that great river of which the Ohio
is a tributary, how long will it be before New York may come to the conclusion that she may set up for herself, and levy taxes upon every dollar's worth of goods imported and consumed in the Northwest
, and taxes upon every bushel of wheat, and every pound of pork, or beef, or other productions that may be sent from the Northwest
to the Atlantic
in search of a market. * * * The proposition now, is, to separate these United States
into little petty confederacies.
First, divide them into two; and then, when either party gets beaten in the next election, sub-divide again; (laughter, and never;) then, whenever one gets beaten again, another sub-division; and then, when you beat on Governor
's election, the discomfited will rebel again, and so it will go on. And if this new system of resistance by the sword and bayonet, to the results of the ballot box, shall prevail here in this country of ours, the history of the United States
is already written in the history of Mexico
It is a curious fact, a startling fact, and one that no American citizen should ever misapprehend — that from the day that Mexico
separated from Spain
, down to this hour, no President
of hers elected by the people has ever been inaugurated and served his term of office.
In every single case, from 1820 down to 1861, either the defeated candidate has seized possession of the office by military force, or has turned out the successful man before his term expired.
What is more significant?
is now a bye-word for every man to scoff at. No man would deem himself treated as a gentleman, who was represented as a Mexican.
Why? Because he cannot maintain his government founded upon the great principles of self-government and constitutional liberty — because he won't abide by the ballot-box — because he is not willing to redress grievances inside of the constitution, and in obedience to its provisions, instead of seizing the bayonet and the sword to resist the constituted authorities.
It is not a question of union or disunion.
It is a question of order; of the stability of the government; of the peace of communities
.” --Stephen A. Douglas, at Wheeling, April 20