the young men, ardent, impetuous, devoted to ideas, believed that disunion was the only possible relief from the Constant insults and aggressions of the North
, its oppression and its selfish power.
They were convinced that with the political power in the hands of a section and a party, the cardinal dogma of whose faith was, ‘He shall take who hath the power, and he shall keep who can!’
all the power of government would be directed toward the aggrandizement, the pecuniary aggrandizement, of those who wielded it, and that the minority in numbers and in wealth would become the serfs of the strongest, just as had been the case in all history.
They thought that wealth would flow from the many to the few; that capital would accumulate in sections and in classes, as it had done in the dead hands of religious corporations in England
before Henry VIII, and then dispersed and distributed by his revolutionary measures, and just as the feudal system all over Western Europe
had built up in the middle ages concentrated power of the barons, who owned all the land, reduced the people to vassalage and produced the French Revolution
and its horrors of blood and fire.
They believed that Northern society, directed by the same principles, without conscience, without sense of right or justice, would evolve the same conditions with the same consequences, and that the only salvation for Southern society was absolute and entire separation under a different government; that slavery furnished the only solution of self-government based on universal suffrage, and the only organization of labor and capital which had survived, or could survive the change of social conditions in ages of development and progress.
They were disunionists per se;
but they were few and scattered and exerted no influence on the public opinion.
Their enthusiasm, their earnest conviction, did impress themselves on the mass, and when the time came the fire of their ardor kindled the State
from mountain to ocean.