previous next

[154] wield its powers for the destruction of the institutions of the Southern states. The facts already related in these pages furnish ample proofs of the justice and accuracy of this conviction.

The time was now close at hand when the mask was to be thrown off and, at a single dash of the pen, four hundred millions of our property was to be annihilated, the whole social fabric of the Southern states disrupted, all branches of industry disarranged, good order destroyed, and a flood of evils many times greater than the loss of property inflicted upon the people of the South, thus consummating the series of aggressions which had been inflicted for more than thirty years. All constitutional protections were to be withdrawn, and the powers of a common government, created for common and equal protection to the interests of all, were to be arrayed for the destruction of our institutions. The President of the United States says: ‘This is not the end. The pressure in this direction is still upon me, and is increasing.’ How easy it would have been for the Northern people, by a simple, honest obedience to the provisions of the Constitution, to have avoided the commission of all these crimes and horrors! For the law which demands obedience to itself guarantees in return life and safety. It is not necessary to ask again where the President of the United States or the Congress found authority for their usurpations. But it should be remembered that, if the necessity which they pleaded was an argument to justify their violations of all the provisions of the Constitution, the existence of such a necessity on their part was a sufficient argument to justify our withdrawal from union with them. If necessity on their part justified a violation of the Constitution, necessity on our part justified secession from them. If the preservation of the existence of the Union by coercion of the states was an argument to justify these violent usurpations by the United States government, it was still more forcibly an argument to justify our separation and resistance to invasion; we were struggling for our natural rights, but the government of the United States has no natural rights.

How can a people who glory in a Declaration of Independence which broke the slumbers of a world declare that men united in defense of liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness are ‘traitors’? Is it henceforth to be a dictum of humanity that man may no more take up arms in defense of rights, liberty, and property? Shall it never again in the course of human events become lawful ‘for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them’? Is the highwayman,

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
United States (United States) (3)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: