previous next


[283] tion of war against fifteen of the States of the Union and against the Federal compact upon which they stood. It was an appeal to one portion of the country, and that the most powerful portion, to know no rest until they had destroyed the other. It had no other reason of existence than to slit the North from the South by one clean cut, and then to mass the former against the latter. It had one memorable predecessor in the convention of Northern States (from which every Southern State was excluded), which met at Harrisburg in 1828 to frame the tariff known to history as ‘The Bill of Abominations.’ The ‘abominations’ of that bill had been driven from the field in demoralized route and disorder. By their own intrinsic force they could make no further stand. Only on the back of this new agitation could they again ride into power. The States which could no longer be banded under the invocation of an imaginary interest were at last and permanently banded under the banner of a real enmity.1 This opinion may be reinforced by that of a cool, dispassionate, Free-Soil Democrat—the ablest Northern statesman of his time and surpassed by none of any time. It was the opinion of Samuel J. Tilden that if the Republican party should be successful the Federal government in the Southern States ‘would cease to be self-government, and would become a government by one people over another distinct people—a thing impossible with our race except as a consequence of successful war, and even then incompatible with our democratic institutions.’2

This was what the statesmen of the South foresaw and looked courageously in the face. The success of the party ranged against them meant the government of the South by the North and for the North—the relation of victor and victim. Lincoln was the representative of opinions and interests confined to one-half of the country and pledged to an irrepressible conflict with the other. The tariff which sprang from the first throes of the convulsion gave audible warning, that one of the spoils which belonged to the victor was the taxing power of the government, to be used to throw the

1 ‘The republican party is a conspiracy under the forms, but in violation of the spirit of the Constitution of the United States, to exclude the citizens of the slave-holding States from all share in the government of the country, and to compel them to adapt their institutions to the opinions of the free States.’—Speech of Judge William Duer at Oswego, August 6, 1860.

2 Article of James C. Carter, in the Atlantic Monthly for October, 1882.

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.
Oswego (New York, 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.
Samuel J. Tilden (1)
Lincoln (1)
William Duer (1)
James C. Carter (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.
October, 1882 AD (1)
August 6th, 1860 AD (1)
1828 AD (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: