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[366] English historian of the time: ‘Twice the Republicans were asked simply to execute the existing law and sustain in the future that exclusive constitutional right of the States over their internal affairs and that equality in the common Territories which scarcely admitted of rational dispute, and twice the party pronounced against the least that the South could safely or honorably accept.’

At length, on April 15, 1861, the newly inaugurated President, transcending the authority vested in him by the Constitution, which he had just sworn to support, issued a proclamation calling for 75,000 men to coerce the States which had withdrawn from the Union.

This call for troops destroyed the last lingering hope of peace. It left no doubt as to the purpose of the party in power. It meant a war of invasion and subjugation. It left the South no choice but between cowardly surrender of rights held sacred and manly resistance to the invading foe. Between these alternatives she was not slow to choose. States which had been hesitating on the ground of expediency, and hoping for a peaceable adjustment of issues, wheeled into line with the States which had already seceded.

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April 15th, 1861 AD (1)
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