when the fraternal spirit shall give way to cold indifference, or collision of interest shall fester into hatred, the bands of political association will not long hold together parties no longer attracted by the magnetism of conciliated interests and kindly sympathies; and far better will it be for the people of the disunited States to part in friendship from each other, than to be held together by constraint. Then will be the time for reverting to the precedents which occurred at the formation and adoption of the Constitution, to form again a more perfect union, by dissolving that which could no longer bind, and to leave the separated parts to be reunited by the law of political gravitation to the centre.These high authorities in the North made no impression on the Southern people. Southern secession was the bitter fruit of South Carolina nullification. Nullification did not spring from the slavery question. It originated exclusively from hostility to a protective tariff. In the belief of the people of South Carolina, the tariff laws afforded extravagant and unconstitutional protection to domestic manufactures, greatly to their injury. They were convinced that the high import duties exacted from them enhanced unjustly the price of the articles they consumed, and at the same time depreciated the value of the cotton and other articles which they produced and exported; and that all their losses were so many forced contributions to enrich Northern manufacturers at their expense. In this belief the people of the State were nearly unanimous; but they were almost equally divided as to whether nullification was an appropriate and constitutional remedy. Nullification assumes that each State has the rightful power to absolve itself from obedience to any particular law of Congress which it may deem oppressive, and to resist its execution by force; and yet in regard to all other laws to remain a constituent member of the Union. Thus in each State, though still under the same General Government, a different code might be in force, varying with every degree of latitude. This would produce ‘confusion worse confounded.’ Even secession can be sustained by much more plausible arguments than such a paradox. Mr. John C. Calhoun was the acknowledged leader of the
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.