previous next

Contemporary Northern opinions of secession.

Recall the contemporary opinions of Northern publicists and leading journals. The New York Herald considered coercion out of the question. On the 9th of November, 1860, the New York Tribune, Horace Greeley being the editor, said:

If the cotton States shall decide that they can do better out of the Union than in it, we insist on letting them go in peace. The right to secede may be a revolutionary one, but it exists nevertheless, and we do not see how one party can have the right to do what another party has a right to prevent. We must ever resist the asserted right of any State to remain in the Union and nullify or defy the laws thereof; to withdraw from the Union is quite another matter.

This was precisely the creed of Jefferson Davis.

Again, on the 17th day of December, after the secession of South Carolina, that journal said: [148]

If the Declaration of Independence justified the secession from the British empire of three millions of colonists in 1776, we do not see why it would not justify the secession of five millions of Southerners from the Federal Union in 1861. If we are mistaken on the point, why does not some one attempt to show wherein and why?

And yet again, on the 23d of February, after Mr. Davis had been inaugurated as President at Montgomery, it said:

We have repeatedly said, and we once more insist, that the great principle embodied by Jefferson in the Declaration of American Independence, that governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, is sound and just, and that if the slave States, the cotton States, or the Gulf States only choose to form an independent nation they have a clear moral right to do so.

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.
South Carolina (South Carolina, United States) (1)
Montgomery (Alabama, United States) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Jefferson Davis (2)
Horace Greeley (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
1861 AD (1)
November 9th, 1860 AD (1)
1776 AD (1)
December 17th (1)
February 23rd (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: