This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
 United States was conducting hostilities consisted of the people within the limits of the Confederate States. Was it against them as individuals in an unorganized condition, or as organized political communities? In the former condition they might be a mob; in the latter condition they formed a state. By the actions of unorganized masses may arise insurrections, and by the actions of organized people or states, arise wars. The government of the United States adopted a fiction when it declared that the execution of the laws in certain states was impeded by ‘insurrection.’ The persons whom it designated as insurrectionists were the organized people of the states. The ballot boxes used at the elections were state boxes. The judges who presided at the elections were state functionaries. The returns of the elections were made to the state officers. The oaths of office of those elected were administerd by state authority. They assembled in the legislative chambers of the states. The results of their deliberations were directory to the state, judicial, and executive officers, and by them put in operation. Is it not evident that only by a fiction of speech can such proceedings be called an insurrection? Why, then, did an intelligent and powerful government like that of the United States so outrage the understanding of mankind as to adopt a fiction on which to base the authority and justification of its hostile action? The United States government is the result of a compact between the states—a written Constitution. It owes its existence simply to a delegation of certain powers by the respective states, which it is authorized to exercise for their common welfare. One of these powers is to ‘suppress insurrections’; there is no power delegated to subjugate states, the authors of its existence, or to make war on any of the states. If, then, without any delegated power or lawful authority for its proceedings, the government of the United States commenced a war upon some of the states of the Union, how could it expect to be justified before the world? It became the aggressor—the Attila of the American continent. Its action inflicted a wound on the principles of constitutional liberty, a crushing blow to the hopes that men had begun to repose in this latest effort for self-government, which its friends should never forgive nor ever forget. To palliate the enormity of such an offense, its authors resorted to vehement denial that their hostile action was a war upon the states, and persistently asserted the fiction that their immense armies and fleets were merely a police authority to put down insurrection. They hoped to conceal from the observation of the American people that the contest, on the part of the central government, was for
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.