Battles for success in their cause, so may we, since we have the consciousness, in any event, that this is no war of our seeking.
We simply wish to govern ourselves as we please.
We simply stand where our revolutionary fathers stood in ‘76.
We stand upon the great fundamental principle announced on the 4th of July, 1776, and incorporated in the Declaration of Independence
--that great principle that announced that Governments derive their just power from the consent of the governed.
In the announcement of this principle, the delegation from Massachusetts
, and from Rhode Island
, and from Connecticut
, and from all the Northern States
, united with the delegates from the Old Dominion and from the Palmetto State
, and from Georgia
, the youngest and last of the Colonies, then not numbering more than fifty thousand of population — they united in this declaration of the delegates from all the States or Colonies, and for the maintenance of it they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor--Massachusetts
side by side with Georgia
, John Hancock at their head, and, strange to say, to-day, the people of Massachusetts
and the Northern States
are reversing the position of our fathers, and are demanding to rule, to govern, to coerce, to subjugate us against our consent.
We wish no quarrel with them.
After the establishment of the great principle, after the acknowledgment of it by Great Britain
, in the treaty of 1783, when each separate State was recognized as independent, we were not recognized by Great Britain
as a nationality, but the independence of each Colony or State was recognized by itself--Massachusetts
and Rhode Island
, and Connecticut
, each one by itself; each one was separate, sovereign, and independent.
They made a common cause to achieve individual and separate sovereign existence.
After the Revolutionary war they entered into a constitutional compact — that Constitution that we have ever adopted — that Constitution to the maintenance of which I have devoted so much of my life.
We entered into that Constitution with this people.
Almost from the beginning, a large party in the North
were against it; and as a Southern man, in passing, I may be excused for claiming, as I do, that the Constitution of the United States
was mainly the work of Southern hands.
It is true that the delegates from the Northern States
joined us in the Convention
of 1787 that made it; but the first programme, the outline of the Constitution
as we now have it, was proposed by the distinguished member from Carolina
, Mr. Pinckney
Another programme which was said to be the basis of the Constitution
, was introduced by Mr. Randolph
, of Virginia
The Northern men, with a few exceptions, did not favor that form of government.
The Constitution, therefore, reserving sovereignty to the people, constituting a limited government, with an executive bound by law, with State sovereignty maintained to its fullest extent, with a judiciary bound by fundamental law, with every officer, from the highest to the lowest, bound by law — this great bulwark of constitutional liberty was the work mainly of Southern hands.
is styled the father of it. Not a single pillar in the temple, not a single arch in this great building, was laid, or reared, or constructed, by Northern men.
They had able members in the Convention
I detract nothing from their merits.
They show forth as great lights in the Revolutionary war. I name but two--Franklin
; men of transcendent talents, men of genius; but neither of them contributed any thing to the formation of the Constitution
was for a different model of Government; he was against the form adopted, and actually quit the Convention
before it was made.
It is true that afterwards, when the Convention
was agreed upon and submitted to the people, he lent all the power of his gigantic intellect, and all the fervor of his pure and lofty patriotism, to the establishment of the Government
; but he differed in theory from the work that was done, and afterwards attempted to incorporate, by construction, many of his original ideas.
But what I claim before you as a Southern orator is, and I am proud of it, that the Constitution
that made the old United States
what they were, under which they prospered as no other nation ever has prospered, and under which they run the rapid and high career in national glory — this Constitution was the work of Southern hands mainly.
And during the time of our political existence, the administration of the Government
was mostly under Southern hands and Southern policy.
But, after it was adopted, reserving State rights, reserving State sovereignty, reserving popular sovereignty, upon the idea that all political power resides with the people and emanates from the people; that the high and the low, the rich and the poor, every man, whatever be his status in society; every citizen stands upon equality in the law. It was this grand principle of which we boasted.
These are the grand ideas of American Constitutional liberty, of which we are proud; these are the principles taught by our fathers to their sons, and they were the work mainly of Southern hands.
But soon after this Constitution was formed, a large party in the North
commenced, as I have said, by construction, to torture and twist the Constitution
from its proper and legitimate meaning, to gain power indirectly.
I have not time to go through the history of the country.
It is enough to say it ripened within the last few years, and came to maturity under the organization of that party now in power — that party which now has the destiny of the United States
in its hands — known as the Republican party. Seven States of the North
finally utterly repudiated the most important feature in