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‘To-day no impartial student of our constitutional history can doubt for a moment that each State ratified the form of government submitted in the firm belief that at any time it could withdraw there-from.’

With our quondam enemies thus telling the world that we had the right to do what we tried to do, and only asked to be let alone, and when we know that when we did go to war, we only went to repel a ruthless invasion of our homes and firesides, our case could not be made stronger. And we have the right, therefore, to insist that our children shall be told the truth about it, and we should be content with nothing less.

Dr. Jones in his history says:

‘The seceding States not only had a perfect right to withdraw from the union, but they had amply sufficient cause for doing so, and that the war made upon them by the North was utterly unjustifiable, oppressive and cruel, and that the South could honorably have pursued no other course than to resist force with force, and make her great struggle for constitutional freedom.’

Is there any doubt in the mind of any Southerner that this is the truth? If not, then let it be so told to our children. We suffered and did and dared enough to entitle us to have this done, and that we were unsuccessful makes it the more important that it should be done. A successful cause will take care of itself; an unsuccessful one must rest only on its inherent merits, and if it can't do this, then those who supported it were rebels and traitors. We feel, then, that we can't do better than to repeat here what we said in our report of 1900, on the importance of the trust committed to our hands. We then said:

Appomattox was not a judicial forum; it was only a battlefield, a test of physical force, where the starving remnant of the Army of Northern Virginia, “wearied with victory,” surrendered to “overwhelming numbers and resources.” We make no appeal from that judgment on the issue of force. But when we see the victors in that contest, meeting year by year, and using the superior means at their command to publish to the world that they were right and that we were wrong in that contest, saying that we were ‘rebels’ and ‘traitors’ in defending our homes and firesides against their cruel invasion, that we had no legal right to withdraw from the Union, when we only asked to be let alone, and that we brought on that ’

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William E. Jones (1)
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1900 AD (1)
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