by Charles T. Pace (from his book SOUTHERN INDEPENDENCE: Why War?) and Diane Rufino, November 9, 2021
John Randolph of Roanoke, Virginia, might be America’s most interesting personality, and is surely one of its wisest and noblest characters. A Southern farmer and perfect aristocrat, he is exceeded by no one in honesty, courage, and devotion to principle. In the US Congress during the years 1799-1829, he continually fought to stop the selfish growth of the government. He lost that fight. But his prediction of the evil result of un-chained government has come to pass: loss of freedom, prosperity, security, and peace.
John Randolph called the War of 1812 “the Iliad of our woes.” In Congress in 1816, he spoke on the tariff legislation demanded by Northern interests:
“What you are after is a system of bounties to manufacturers in order to encourage them to do what, if it is advantageous to do at all, they will do anyway. You are giving a subsidy, a gift, to men to carry out their customary business for their own profit. Your tariff means that government is to give a premium to the manufacturers out of the earnings of the hardworking, hard-pressed farmer. You are injuring our most valuable industry – agriculture. You are about to destroy the industry, agriculture, that brings to these shores more foreign capital by far than all the (Northern) manufactures combined.
The question is: Should a farmer be taxed to pay money to a man in Massachusetts who operates a shoe factory or a cotton mill? We can buy cheaper and better products from Europe. It is not fair to lay a duty on the farmer to encourage manufactures. All we shall get from that is worse goods at a higher price. And the farmer will be paying for everybody’s goods. Anybody in the North who buys a pair of shoes will have the Southern farmer subsidizing his purchase.
Why does not the government give a bounty to make flour or run a grist mill? We have plenty of them down here in the South. It makes just as much sense. Why should the farmer pay a man more than it is worth to buy clothes made in the North from the farmer’s cotton when, if he can sell his cotton to Europe, he can get the money to buy the clothes from Europe – clothes that are better and cheaper.
The people of this country have enough burdens without taking on their backs the support of the Northern mill owners. As it is now, five-sixths of the foreign income is brought to this country by the exports of the South, Two-thirds of the taxes paid in this country are paid by the South. We must not sacrifice one part of our country in order to enrich the other. What claim does the North have to be supported by the earnings of others? In the late war [of 1812], the farmers bore the whole brunt of the war, paid the taxes that supported it, remained poor, and fought in the army. The farmers paid the taxes, the farmers did the fighting. The North started the war because England prohibited their shipping. Then when the war started, the North ran from the fight, threatened to secede, and enriched themselves selling to the army.
The man of commerce is a citizen of no place, or any place. The farmer has his property, his lands, his all, his household goods to defend, and is like the meek drudge, the ox, who does the labor and plows the ground and then for his reward gets the blighted blades, the moldy straw, and the mildewed shocks of corn for this ration. And the man of commerce, the commercial speculator, lives in riches, rides in coaches, and rests in palaces. Even without the aid of what Congress gives him, the city money man will beat the farmer every time. Even without Congress’ intervention on the other side, the farmer is no match for the money man. Alert, vigilant, enterprising, and active, the commercial men are collected in masses, come together at a moment’s notice to enforce their interest. Do but ring the fire-bell in Philadelphia or Boston and you can assemble all the town’s money men in fifteen minutes. Nay, for that matter, they are already assembled; they are always on Wall Street. Shylock meets his friends there every day. They compare notes, lay plans; they have in trick and intelligence what the farmer can never possess. The ox cannot play the fox or the tiger. A farmer cannot skim into a coffee house and shave a note with one hand while with the other sign a petition to Congress to relieve him of his burdens by picking the pockets of those whose labors have fed and enriched him, and whose valor has defended him. The farmer, the patient drudges of the other orders of society, will either be left alone, unhurt by taxes and tariff, or be forced to pay for the prosperity of the manufacturers and be squeezed by the Northern hand grasping for power.”
As predicted, the Northern commercial interest used their growing majority in Congress to enact measures increasingly parasitizing Southern agriculture. Abolition was merely the philosophy of a few Northern Jacobin, Humanist zealots, idle intellectuals. The Northern people were indifferent to it. The politicians saw that the Northern wish to keep Negroes out of the North could be used to overcome the opposition. The Northern politicians introduced “slavery” into every subject of dispute with the South in order to distract attention from the real issue – money. It is a perfect illustration of Chancellor Oxenstierne’s axiom and lament: “Government is the conduct of public affairs for the private interest. It is with so little wisdom that the world is governed.” The Abolitionists provided the politicians with a “red herring,” a vicious and dishonest stratagem that destroyed the body of the South and the heart and soul of the country.
The South was being increasingly separated from its market. Forced away from trade with Europe, the products of which were rendered too costly by the “protective” tariff on imports, the South was forced to buy the more expensive, lower-quality Northern products. The North was selling its manufactured products in a protected and subsidized market; they could set their own prices. The South had to sell in the open world market. Norther prices rose while Southern prices fell.
The united States were comprised of a commercial-manufacturing North and a smaller, weaker, agricultural South. The two regions were split into two parties, representing those antagonistic interests. Five-sixths of the money supporting the central (federal) government was paid by the South through a protective tariff. The smaller South paid the tax but the more populous North controlled the Congress and spent the tax to benefit Northern businesses. The North won twice. The South paid the tariff that prohibited European manufactures from competing with Northern manufactures. The money thus gathered was disbursed by the Northern money men in Northern projects to benefit Northern businesses.
In 1824, the Northern majority in Congress doubled the tariff, to 37%. Randolph told Congress that the Colonies had seceded from England for tax reasons which were merely a trifle compared to the harm the North was inflicting on the South. He said the south could not stay in the union under such abuse. Nobody, not one person, rose in response to deny the right of a state to leave the union – to secede from the union. Twenty-four years later, Lincoln affirmed that right. Randolph spoke in 1824:
“If, under the power you have taken to regulate trade, you prevent us from exporting, if you draw the last drop of blood from our veins, the last shilling from our pockets, you have ruined us. What good has the Constitution done us? Its checks and balances have not protected us. A fig for the Constitution. A piece of paper will not protect us from knaves. You ask us to lie down and be shorn. I am surprised that the votaries (persons such as priests and nuns) of humanity – persons who cannot sleep, so great is their distress of mind at the very existence of Negro slavery – should press so avidly a measure whose effect will be to aggravate the misery of slave and master. What can be more pitiable than a man who has every desire to clothe his Negroes comfortably but is absolutely prohibited from doing so by Congress? I hope that none of those who wish to raise the price of the slave’s, or the master’s, blanket or his wool suit will ever travel through the South and see the nakedness of the land because we cannot export, and the equal nakedness of the cultivators of that land. The profits of slave and master are hardly existent now. The words of Patrick Henry, begging Virginia to remain free, not to join the federal union, ring in my ears. ‘They may liberate your slaves. Congress possesses that power and will exercise it.’ Now, the first step toward this event, so devoutly wished by any, is to pass such laws as may yet still further impoverish the masters. You are soon then to see the case where the slave will not run away from his master, but the master shall run away from him,”
John Randolph would die in 1833.
In 1828, Senator Thomas H. Benton of Missouri spoke these words from the floor of the Senate chamber:
“I feel for the sad changes in the South. Before the revolution, it was the seat of wealth, as well as hospitality. Only the hospitality remains. Wealth has fled the South and settled in the North. The South, in just four of its staples, has since the Revolution, exported eight hundred million dollars, while the North has exported almost nothing. That would indicate wealth unparalleled. Now, the South is short of money. The frugal habits of the people are pushed to self-denial. Under federal legislation, the exports of the South have been the basis of the federal revenue. Virginia, the two Carolinas, and Georgia defray three-fourths of the annual expense of supporting the federal government. Of this great sum annually furnished by them, nothing, or next to nothing, is returned to them. That expenditure flows in the opposite direction – it flows northward, in one direction only, uninterrupted, in a perennial stream. This is the reason why wealth disappears from the South and rises in the North. Federal legislation does all this. It does it by eternally taking, plundering, from the South and returning nothing to it, Every new tariff increases the force of this action, It is federal legislation that has ruined the South.”
In their greed for money, the Northern states, holding a majority in Congress, with their money men as representatives, hijacked the government for northern interests, at the great expense of the South.
In 1828, Congress raised the tariff to 50%. South Carolina threatened to leave the Union, The only issue was the tariff. In fact, the “tariff of abominations” would become such a hotbed issue that it led to the famous “Nullification Crisis of 1832,” whereby South Carolina passed an ordinance of nullification, refusing to collect the tariff and send it to DC. South Carolina was attacked because of money, not slavery. Their opponent was the great slaveholder, President Andrew Jackson, who had Congress pass a Force Bill so that he could send federal forces into South Carolina to collect the tariff money.
It is dishonest, and has always been dishonest, to confound the tariff issue with the completely unrelated issue of slavery.
John C. Calhoun, speaking for South Carolina in 1835, said:
“A deep Constitutional question lies at the bottom of the controversy. The real question is: Has the government a right to impose burdens on the capital and industry of one portion of the country, not with a view to revenue, but to benefit another? The federal government has, by express provision of the Constitution, the right to lay duties on imports. The state never denied or resisted this right, nor even thought of so doing. The government has, however, not been contented with exercising this power as she had a right to do but has gone beyond it, hy laying imposts, not for revenue alone, but for protection. This the state considers as an unconstitutional exercise of power, highly injurious and oppressive to her and the other staple states, and has, accordingly, met it with the most determined resistance. I do not intend to enter, at this time, into the argument as to the unconstitutionality of the protective system, It is not necessary. It is sufficient that the power is nowhere granted (in the Constitution), and that, from the journals of the Convention which formed the Constitution, it would seem that it was refused. In support of the journals, I might cite the statement of Luther Martin, to show that the Convention so far from conferring the power on the federal government, left to the States the right to impose duties on imports, with the express view for enabling the several States to protect their own manufactures. Notwithstanding this, Congress has assumed, without any warrant (grant of authority) from the Constitution, the right of exercising this most important power, and has so exercised it as to impose a ruinous burden on the labor and capital of the State of South Carolina, by which her resources are exhausted, the enjoyments of her citizens curtailed, the means of education contracted and all her interests essentially and injuriously affected.
We have been jeeringly told that she is a small state; that her population does not exceed half a million of souls, and that more than one half are not of the European race. The facts are so. I know she can never be a great state, and that the only distinction to which she can aspire must be based on the moral and intellectual acquirements of her sons. To the development of these much of her attention has been directed; but this restrictive system, which has so unjustly exacted the proceeds of her labor to be bestowed on other sections, has so impaired the resources of the State, that, if not speedily arrested, it will dry up the means of education and with it, deprive her of the only source through which she can aspire to distinction.
The people of the State believe that the Union is a union of States and not of individuals; that it was formed by the States and that the citizens of the several States were bound to it through the acts of their several States; that each State ratified the Constitution for itse3lf; and that it was only by such ratification by a State that any obligation was imposed upon the citizens; thus believing, it is the opinion of the people of Carolina that it belongs to the State which has imposed the obligation to declare, in the last resort, the extend of this obligation, so far as her citizens are concerned, and this upon the plain principles which exist in all analogous cases of compact between sovereign bodies, On this principle, the people of the State, acting in their sovereign capacity in convention, precisely as they adopted their own and the federal Constitution, have declared by the ordinance, that the acts of Congress which imposed duties under the authority to lay imposts, are acts, not for revenue, as intended by the Constitution, but for their own. And they have declared by the ordinance that the acts of Congress which imposed duties under the authority to lay imports, are acts, not for revenue, as intended by the Constitution, but for protection, and are therefore null and void.”
Calhoun, in 1835, in understanding the State remedies as Thomas Jefferson and James Madison understood them and as they wrote about in detail, characterized the high protective tariff as an unconstitutional act of Congress, without force of law and therefore asserted South Carolina’s right to ignore it and not enforce it.
The South was responsible for all of the exports, as well as the means of bringing money to our shores. The North derived its income from the tariff that forced the South to buy their manufactured goods and from finance and merchant marine that depended on the Southern produce that was exported to the world. The South was indispensable to Northern businessmen. Lincoln was their loyal agent, always serving their desire for power and profit.
The “revenue” tariff was converted into a “protective” tax on imports to subsidize Northern commerce at the expense of the wealth and economy of the South. This was what the great economist Ludwig von Mises called “intervention” – intrusion by government into what should be private human action (ie, a free market system), Advanced intervention is called “socialism” or “communism.” “Intervention in the market” means government invasion of privacy and is always done to benefit one group at the expense of others, and is always counter-productive. All human action and interaction is injured or destroyed when government gets involved. Most
violent wounds, many deaths, and all loss of freedom and prosperity result from the selfish acts of rulers. That is why the South died and why the American Republic died. Aside from the two great conflicts of the twentieth century, is the cause of wars. The American tariff story is a classical demonstration that majorities, unless restrained by law or restrained by honor, decency, and ethics, will abuse minorities. Government, unless restrained, will always abuse its power.
As I will explain below, it was not the “extension of slavery” that moved Lincoln to make war in 1861. It was the loss of profit by wealthy, demanding, and ambitious Northern interests when the Southern states left the union. It threatened to become even more disastrous if a vast free-trade Confederate States of America (the Confederacy) “were allowed” to flourish in North America. While the decision to separate from a tyrannical government is an inalienable sovereign right belonging to every State (as stated in the Declaration of Independence, itself being a secessionist document, declaring the American states absolved from their political and government ties to Great Britain), Abraham Lincoln believed he alone was the government official to make that decision. A government of sovereign States was transformed by Lincoln’s war to prevent Southern independence into a government of bullied and subjugated States.
Talking to Captain Hillyar of the British Navy in 1861, the Confederate Navy hero Raphael Semmes said:
“The North used the machinery of government, in which it had majority power, to enrich the North and despoil the South. The Northern States imposed the tariff which reduced the South to a dependent colonial condition like the Roman provinces. The only difference being that the North falsely claimed to be operating under the law. Slavery had nothing to do with the war for the hypocritical Yankees care nothing for the Negroes. The slavery issue is only a by-play, a device to cover Northern grasp for empire – for power. The North only began the slavery agitation when it began to rob the South by raising the tariff. The slavery issue was only a diversion (a red herring). It was no more than an implement used by a robber to rob the South. Finally, realizing the North would never treat us fairly, the South withdrew from the union. We merely want to be independent. We are fighting for our independence because the North does not want to lose their milk cow and has attacked us, to forcibly hold us to pay their bills.” [** This paragraph ends the section taken from Charles T. Pace’s book SOUTHERN INDEPENDENCE: WHY WAR?]
Indeed, the Southern States, one by one, made the decision to leave the American Union. There would be eleven Southern states in total that seceded and thereby forming a new union of states – The Confederate States of America (ie, “The Confederacy”). They would secede in two waves, each wave having a compelling reason to do so. South Carolina would be the first state to leave the historic union known as the “united States of America.”
South Carolina seceded almost immediately after the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States. (He was not included on the ballot in any of the Southern states). She seceded on December 20, 1860. Mississippi followed on January 9, 1981, then Florida on January 10, then Alabama on January 11, Georgia on January 19, Louisiana on January 26, and Texas on February 1. Clearly, these 7 Southern states could not and would not tolerate being in the Union subject to the laws and policies and whims of a government devoted solely to the interests and for the benefit of the Northern states and that’s why they seceded before Lincoln took office.
Lincoln was inaugurated on March 4, 1861, and a few days later, on March 11, the 7 seceding Southern states adopted a constitution (“The Constitution of the Confederate States”) and officially formed a new union, the Confederate States of America. During the morning of April 11, Lincoln’s scheme to trick the South into initiating hostilities was realized when South Carolina opened fire on Fort Sumter, commanded by Union Major Robert Anderson and his troops, and the fort surrendered. On April 15, Lincoln sent telegrams to the remaining Southern states, calling them to supply 75,000 troops to put down the “rebellion.” With the attack on the South and the demand for troops, an additional 4 states decided to secede and join the Confederacy – Virginia on April 17, Arkansas on May 6, North Carolina on May 20, and Tennessee on June 8.
South Carolina. South Carolina has a distinguished history in pushing back against what she believed to be the arbitrary and unconstitutional actions of Congress in enacting the protective tariffs of 1828 and 1832. The Nullification Crisis of 1832 was the result of South Carolina standing up to the federal government in declaring the tariff to be an abuse of power, an unconstitutional exercise of power, and therefore, she refused to enforce it in her state. She would not collect the tariff duties and turn them over to the government. Her passion for and commitment to the principles of limited and constitutional government prompted her to once again to assume her sovereign right to defy the federal government, which at the time of Lincoln’s election, had been serving no purpose at all to South Carolina (or to the other Southern states) except to plunder her wealth. On December 20, in convention, her delegates adopted the “Declaration of the Immediate Causes Which Induce and Justify the Secession of South Carolina from the Federal Union” which read:
The people of the State of South Carolina, in Convention assembled, on the 26th day of April, A.D., 1852, declared that the frequent violations of the Constitution of the United States, by the Federal Government, and its encroachments upon the reserved rights of the States, fully justified this State in then withdrawing from the Federal Union; but in deference to the opinions and wishes of the other slaveholding States, she forbore at that time to exercise this right. Since that time, these encroachments have continued to increase, and further forbearance ceases to be a virtue.
And now the State of South Carolina having resumed her separate and equal place among nations, deems it due to herself, to the remaining United States of America, and to the nations of the world, that she should declare the immediate causes which have led to this act.
In the year 1765, that portion of the British Empire embracing Great Britain, undertook to make laws for the government of that portion composed of the thirteen American Colonies. A struggle for the right of self-government ensued, which resulted, on the 4th of July, 1776, in a Declaration, by the Colonies, “that they are, and of right ought to be, FREE AND INDEPENDENT STATES; and that, as free and independent States, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent States may of right do.”
They further solemnly declared that whenever any “form of government becomes destructive of the ends for which it was established, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute a new government.” Deeming the Government of Great Britain to have become destructive of these ends, they declared that the Colonies “are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved.”
In pursuance of this Declaration of Independence, each of the thirteen States proceeded to exercise its separate sovereignty; adopted for itself a Constitution, and appointed officers for the administration of government in all its departments– Legislative, Executive and Judicial. For purposes of defense, they united their arms and their counsels; and, in 1778, they entered into a League known as the Articles of Confederation, whereby they agreed to entrust the administration of their external relations to a common agent, known as the Congress of the United States, expressly declaring, in the first Article “that each State retains its sovereignty, freedom and independence, and every power, jurisdiction and right which is not, by this Confederation, expressly delegated to the United States in Congress assembled.”
Under this Confederation the war of the Revolution was carried on, and on the 3rd of September, 1783, the contest ended, and a definite Treaty was signed by Great Britain, in which she acknowledged the independence of the Colonies in the following terms: “ARTICLE 1– His Britannic Majesty acknowledges the said United States, viz: New Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia, to be FREE, SOVEREIGN AND INDEPENDENT STATES; that he treats with them as such; and for himself, his heirs and successors, relinquishes all claims to the government, propriety and territorial rights of the same and every part thereof.”
Thus were established the two great principles asserted by the Colonies, namely: the right of a State to govern itself; and the right of a people to abolish a Government when it becomes destructive of the ends for which it was instituted. And concurrent with the establishment of these principles, was the fact, that each Colony became and was recognized by the mother Country a FREE, SOVEREIGN AND INDEPENDENT STATE.
In 1787, Deputies were appointed by the States to revise the Articles of Confederation, and on 17th September, 1787, these Deputies recommended for the adoption of the States, the Articles of Union, known as the Constitution of the United States.
The parties to whom this Constitution was submitted, were the several sovereign States; they were to agree or disagree, and when nine of them agreed the compact was to take effect among those concurring; and the General Government, as the common agent, was then invested with their authority.
If only nine of the thirteen States had concurred, the other four would have remained as they then were– separate, sovereign States, independent of any of the provisions of the Constitution. In fact, two of the States did not accede to the Constitution until long after it had gone into operation among the other eleven; and during that interval, they each exercised the functions of an independent nation.
By this Constitution, certain duties were imposed upon the several States, and the exercise of certain of their powers was restrained, which necessarily implied their continued existence as sovereign States. But to remove all doubt, an amendment was added, which declared that the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States, respectively, or to the people. On the 23d May , 1788, South Carolina, by a Convention of her People, passed an Ordinance assenting to this Constitution, and afterwards altered her own Constitution, to conform herself to the obligations she had undertaken.
Thus was established, by compact between the States, a Government with definite objects and powers, limited to the express words of the grant. This limitation left the whole remaining mass of power subject to the clause reserving it to the States or to the people, and rendered unnecessary any specification of reserved rights.
We hold that the Government thus established is subject to the two great principles asserted in the Declaration of Independence; and we hold further, that the mode of its formation subjects it to a third fundamental principle, namely: the law of compact. We maintain that in every compact between two or more parties, the obligation is mutual; that the failure of one of the contracting parties to perform a material part of the agreement, entirely releases the obligation of the other; and that where no arbiter is provided, each party is remitted to his own judgment to determine the fact of failure, with all its consequences.
In the present case, that fact is established with certainty. We assert that fourteen of the States have deliberately refused, for years past, to fulfill their constitutional obligations, and we refer to their own Statutes for the proof.
The Constitution of the United States, in its fourth Article, provides as follows: “No person held to service or labor in one State, under the laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in consequence of any law or regulation therein, be discharged from such service or labor, but shall be delivered up, on claim of the party to whom such service or labor may be due.”
This stipulation was so material to the compact, that without it that compact would not have been made. The greater number of the contracting parties held slaves, and they had previously evinced their estimate of the value of such a stipulation by making it a condition in the Ordinance for the government of the territory ceded by Virginia, which now composes the States north of the Ohio River.
The same article of the Constitution stipulates also for rendition by the several States of fugitives from justice from the other States.
The General Government, as the common agent, passed laws to carry into effect these stipulations of the States. For many years these laws were executed. But an increasing hostility on the part of the non-slaveholding States to the institution of slavery, has led to a disregard of their obligations, and the laws of the General Government have ceased to effect the objects of the Constitution. The States of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin and Iowa, have enacted laws which either nullify the Acts of Congress or render useless any attempt to execute them. In many of these States the fugitive is discharged from service or labor claimed, and in none of them has the State Government complied with the stipulation made in the Constitution. The State of New Jersey, at an early day, passed a law in conformity with her constitutional obligation; but the current of anti-slavery feeling has led her more recently to enact laws which render inoperative the remedies provided by her own law and by the laws of Congress. In the State of New York even the right of transit for a slave has been denied by her tribunals; and the States of Ohio and Iowa have refused to surrender to justice fugitives charged with murder, and with inciting servile insurrection in the State of Virginia. Thus the constituted compact has been deliberately broken and disregarded by the non-slaveholding States, and the consequence follows that South Carolina is released from her obligation.
The ends for which the Constitution was framed are declared by itself to be “to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.”
These ends it endeavored to accomplish by a Federal Government, in which each State was recognized as an equal, and had separate control over its own institutions. The right of property in slaves was recognized by giving to free persons distinct political rights, by giving them the right to represent, and burthening them with direct taxes for three-fifths of their slaves; by authorizing the importation of slaves for twenty years; and by stipulating for the rendition of fugitives from labor.
We affirm that these ends for which this Government was instituted have been defeated, and the Government itself has been made destructive of them by the action of the non-slaveholding States. Those States have assume the right of deciding upon the propriety of our domestic institutions; and have denied the rights of property established in fifteen of the States and recognized by the Constitution; they have denounced as sinful the institution of slavery; they have permitted open establishment among them of societies, whose avowed object is to disturb the peace and to eloign the property of the citizens of other States. They have encouraged and assisted thousands of our slaves to leave their homes; and those who remain, have been incited by emissaries, books and pictures to servile insurrection.
For twenty-five years this agitation has been steadily increasing, until it has now secured to its aid the power of the common Government. Observing the *forms* [emphasis in the original] of the Constitution, a sectional party has found within that Article establishing the Executive Department, the means of subverting the Constitution itself. A geographical line has been drawn across the Union, and all the States north of that line have united in the election of a man to the high office of President of the United States, whose opinions and purposes are hostile to slavery. He is to be entrusted with the administration of the common Government, because he has declared that “Government cannot endure permanently half slave, half free,” and that the public mind must rest in the belief that slavery is in the course of ultimate extinction.
This sectional combination for the submersion of the Constitution, has been aided in some of the States by elevating to citizenship, persons who, by the supreme law of the land, are incapable of becoming citizens; and their votes have been used to inaugurate a new policy, hostile to the South, and destructive of its beliefs and safety.
On the 4th day of March next, this party will take possession of the Government. It has announced that the South shall be excluded from the common territory, that the judicial tribunals shall be made sectional, and that a war must be waged against slavery until it shall cease throughout the United States.
The guaranties of the Constitution will then no longer exist; the equal rights of the States will be lost. The slaveholding States will no longer have the power of self-government, or self-protection, and the Federal Government will have become their enemy.
Sectional interest and animosity will deepen the irritation, and all hope of remedy is rendered vain,
by the fact that public opinion at the North has invested a great political error with the sanction of more erroneous religious belief.
We, therefore, the People of South Carolina, by our delegates in Convention assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, have solemnly declared that the Union heretofore existing between this State and the other States of North America, is dissolved, and that the State of South Carolina has resumed her position among the nations of the world, as a separate and independent State; with full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent States may of right do.
Adopted December 20, 1860
Mississippi. Mississippi seceded on January 9, 1861 with the adoption of the following Ordinance of Secession:
In the momentous step which our State has taken of dissolving its connection with the government of which we so long formed a part, it is but just that we should declare the prominent reasons which have induced our course.
Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery– the greatest material interest of the world. Its labor supplies the product which constitutes by far the largest and most important portions of commerce of the earth. These products are peculiar to the climate verging on the tropical regions, and by an imperious law of nature, none but the black race can bear exposure to the tropical sun. These products have become necessities of the world, and a blow at slavery is a blow at commerce and civilization. That blow has been long aimed at the institution, and was at the point of reaching its consummation. There was no choice left us but submission to the mandates of abolition, or a dissolution of the Union, whose principles had been subverted to work out our ruin. That we do not overstate the dangers to our institution, a reference to a few facts will sufficiently prove.
The hostility to this institution commenced before the adoption of the Constitution, and was manifested in the well-known Ordinance of 1787, in regard to the Northwestern Territory.
The feeling increased, until, in 1819-20, it deprived the South of more than half the vast territory acquired from France.
The same hostility dismembered Texas and seized upon all the territory acquired from Mexico.
It has grown until it denies the right of property in slaves, and refuses protection to that right on the high seas, in the Territories, and wherever the government of the United States had jurisdiction.
It refuses the admission of new slave States into the Union, and seeks to extinguish it by confining it within its present limits, denying the power of expansion.
It tramples the original equality of the South under foot.
It has nullified the Fugitive Slave Law in almost every free State in the Union, and has utterly broken the compact which our fathers pledged their faith to maintain.
It advocates negro equality, socially and politically, and promotes insurrection and incendiarism in our midst.
It has enlisted its press, its pulpit and its schools against us, until the whole popular mind of the North is excited and inflamed with prejudice.
It has made combinations and formed associations to carry out its schemes of emancipation in the States and wherever else slavery exists.
It seeks not to elevate or to support the slave, but to destroy his present condition without providing a better.
It has invaded a State and invested with the honors of martyrdom the wretch whose purpose was to apply flames to our dwellings, and the weapons of destruction to our lives.
It has broken every compact into which it has entered for our security.
It has given indubitable evidence of its design to ruin our agriculture, to prostrate our industrial pursuits and to destroy our social system.
It knows no relenting or hesitation in its purposes; it stops not in its march of aggression, and leaves us no room to hope for cessation or for pause.
It has recently obtained control of the Government, by the prosecution of its unhallowed schemes, and destroyed the last expectation of living together in friendship and brotherhood.
Utter subjugation awaits us in the Union, if we should consent longer to remain in it. It is not a matter of choice, but of necessity. We must either submit to degradation, and to the loss of property worth four billions of money, or we must secede from the Union framed by our fathers, to secure this as well as every other species of property. For far less cause than this, our fathers separated from the Crown of England.
Our decision is made. We follow their footsteps. We embrace the alternative of separation; and for the reasons here stated, we resolve to maintain our rights with the full consciousness of the justice of our course, and the undoubting belief of our ability to maintain it.
Florida. Florida followed suit, seceding from the Union on January 10, with her “Declaration of Causes”:
The people of the State of Florida assembled in Convention having declared the separation of the state from the confederacy of the United States of America and resumed all the powers granted to the Government of that Confederacy, it is due to ourselves to our – late – confederates and to the civilized world that we should set forth the causes which have forced us to adopt this extreme measure fraught as it is with consequences the most momentous. We have not acted in haste or in passion but with the utmost deliberation and from what we regard as immeasurable necessity.
An incursion has been instigated and actually perpetuated into a sister State the inevitable consequences of which were murder rapine and crimes even more horrible. The felon chief of that murderous band has been canonized as a heroic martyr by public meetings by the press and pulpit of all of the Northern States – others of the party have been demanded by the Governor of the State they invaded and their surrender refused by the Governors of two States of the Confederacy, demanded not as fugitives from service but as fugitives from justice charged with treason and murder.
Laws clearly constitutional and as decided to be by the Federal Judiciary as well as by the Courts of all the non slaveholding States where the question has been presented for adjudication have been by counter legislation rendered inoperative, laws without the power to pass which none will deny that the Constitution would not have been adopted.
The nullification of these laws by the Legislatures of two thirds of the non-slaveholding States important as it is in itself is additionally as is furnishing evidence of an open disregard of constitutional obligation, and of the rights and interests of the slaveholding States and of a deep and inveterate hostility to the people of these States.
The Congressional halls where the members should meet with fraternal feelings, a just regard for the interests of all the States there represented and respect for the feelings of all its members has been prostituted to the daily denunciation and vituperation of the slave holding States as sanctioning oppression robbery and all villainies, thus subjecting the members from these States to the degradation of gross and constantly repeated insults, and compelling the exclusion from our public press of the debates of our national Legislature or the circulation of the most incendiary matter.
By the agency of a large proportion of the members from the non slaveholding States books have been published and circulated amongst us the direct tendency and avowed purpose of which is to excite insurrection and servile war with all their attendant horrors. A President has recently been elected, an obscure and illiterate man without experience in public affairs or any general reputation mainly if not exclusively on account of a settled and often proclaimed hostility to our institutions and a fixed purpose to abolish them. It is denied that it is the purpose of the party soon to enter into the possession of the powers of the Federal Government to abolish slavery by any direct legislative act. This has never been charged by any one. But it has been announced by all the leading men and presses of the party that the ultimate accomplishment of this result is its settled purpose and great central principle. That no more slave States shall be admitted into the confederacy and that the slaves from their rapid increase (the highest evidence of the humanity of their owners will become value less. Nothing is more certain than this and at no distant day. What must be the condition of the slaves themselves when their number becomes so large that their labor will be of no value to their owners. Their natural tendency every where shown where the race has existed to idleness vagrancy and crime increased by an inability to procure subsistence. Can any thing be more impudently false than the pretense that this state of things is to be brought about from considerations of humanity to the slaves.
It is in so many words saying to you we will not burn you at the stake but we will torture you to death by a slow fire we will not confiscate your property and consign you to a residence and equality with the african but that destiny certainly awaits your children – and you must quietly submit or we will force you to submission – men who can hesitate to resist such aggressions are slaves already and deserve their destiny. The members of the Republican party has denied that the party will oppose the admission of any new state where slavery shall be tolerated. But on the contrary they declare that on this point they will make no concession or compromise. It is manifest that they will not because to do so would be the dissolution of the party.
Additional territory is generally only acquired by conquest or purchase. In either case the slaveholding States contribute at least this equal proportion of men or money – we think much more than an equal proportion. The revenues of the General Government are almost entirely derived from duties on importations. It is time that the northern consumer pays his proportion of these duties, but the North as a section receiving back in the increased prices of the rival articles which it manufactures nearly or quite as much as the imposts which it pays thus in effect paying nothing or very little for the support of the government. As to the sacrifice of lives which recent acquisitions have caused how small is the proportion of Northern blood shed or laurels won in the Mexican war.
Last and not least it has been proclaimed that the election of a President is an authoritative approval of all the principles avowed by the person elected and by the party convention which nominated him. Although that election is made by little more than one third of the votes given. But however large the majority may have been to recognize such a principle is to announce a revolution in the government and to substitute an aggregate popular majority for the written constitution without which no single state would have voted its adoption not forming in truth a federal union but a consolidated despotism that worst of despotisms that of an unrestricted sectional and hostile majority, we do not intend to be misunderstood, we do not controvert the right of a majority to govern within the grant of powers in the Constitution.
The representative principle is a sufficient security only where the interest of the representative and the Constituent are identical with the variety of climate productions and employment of labor and capital which exist in the different sections of the American Confederacy creating interests not only diverse but antagonistic.
The majority section may legislate imperiously and ruinously to the interests of the minority section not only without injury but to great benefit and advantage of their own section. In proof of this we need only refer to the fishing bounties, the monopoly of the coast navigation which is possessed almost exclusively by the Northern States and in one word the bounties to every employment of northern labor and capital such a government must in the nature of things and the universal principles of human nature and human conduct very soon lead as it has done to a grinding and degrading despotism.
It is in no weak and imaginary fear of the consequences but that we regard them as certain and inevitable that we are prompted by every consideration of duty and honor and of policy to meet the issue now instead of leaving it to those who are to come after us who will be less able to vindicate their rights and honor, nor is it without the sincerest sorrow that we are about to separate from that noble band of patriots in the nonslaveholding states who have faithfully vindicated our Constitutional rights that we have been impelled by every consideration which should have influence with honorable men to declare our separation from the confederacy of the United States of America trusting for the maintenance of that declaration to the virtue courage and patriotism of our people and to that God who guided our fathers through similar trials and dangers.
Alabama. Alabama seceded the following day, on January 11, with a simple statement declaring her withdrawal from the federal union:
An Ordinance to dissolve the union between the State of Alabama and the other States united under the compact styled “The Constitution of the United States of America”
Whereas, the election of Abraham Lincoln and Hannibal Hamlin to the offices of president and vice-president of the United States of America, by a sectional party, avowedly hostile to the domestic institutions and to the peace and security of the people of the State of Alabama, preceded by many and dangerous infractions of the constitution of the United States by many of the States and people of the Northern section, is a political wrong of so insulting and menacing a character as to justify the people of the State of Alabama in the adoption of prompt and decided measures for their future peace and security, therefore:
Be it declared and ordained by the people of the State of Alabama, in Convention assembled, That the State of Alabama now withdraws, and is hereby withdrawn from the Union known as “the United States of America,” and henceforth ceases to be one of said United States, and is, and of right ought to be a Sovereign and Independent State.
Sec 2. Be it further declared and ordained by the people of the State of Alabama in Convention assembled, That all powers over the Territory of said State, and over the people thereof, heretofore delegated to the Government of the United States of America, be and they are hereby withdrawn from said Government, and are hereby resumed and vested in the people of the State of Alabama…….
Georgia. Georgia seceded a little over a week later, on January 19, with her Ordinance of Secession:
The people of Georgia having dissolved their political connection with the Government of the United States of America, present to their confederates and the world the causes which have led to the separation. For the last ten years we have had numerous and serious causes of complaint against our non-slave-holding confederate States with reference to the subject of African slavery. They have endeavored to weaken our security, to disturb our domestic peace and tranquility, and persistently refused to comply with their express constitutional obligations to us in reference to that property, and by the use of their power in the Federal Government have striven to deprive us of an equal enjoyment of the common Territories of the Republic. This hostile policy of our confederates has been pursued with every circumstance of aggravation which could arouse the passions and excite the hatred of our people, and has placed the two sections of the Union for many years past in the condition of virtual civil war. Our people, still attached to the Union from habit and national traditions, and averse to change, hoped that time, reason, and argument would bring, if not redress, at least exemption from further insults, injuries, and dangers. Recent events have fully dissipated all such hopes and demonstrated the necessity of separation.
Our Northern confederates, after a full and calm hearing of all the facts, after a fair warning of our purpose not to submit to the rule of the authors of all these wrongs and injuries, have by a large majority committed the Government of the United States into their hands. The people of Georgia, after an equally full and fair and deliberate hearing of the case, have declared with equal firmness that they shall not rule over them. A brief history of the rise, progress, and policy of anti-slavery and the political organization into whose hands the administration of the Federal Government has been committed will fully justify the pronounced verdict of the people of Georgia. The party of Lincoln, called the Republican party, under its present name and organization, is of recent origin. It is admitted to be an anti-slavery party. While it attracts to itself by its creed the scattered advocates of exploded political heresies, of condemned theories in political economy, the advocates of commercial restrictions, of protection, of special privileges, of waste and corruption in the administration of Government, anti-slavery is its mission and its purpose. By anti-slavery it is made a power in the state. The question of slavery was the great difficulty in the way of the formation of the Constitution.
While the subordination and the political and social inequality of the African race was fully conceded by all, it was plainly apparent that slavery would soon disappear from what are now the non-slave-holding States of the original thirteen. The opposition to slavery was then, as now, general in those States and the Constitution was made with direct reference to that fact. But a distinct abolition party was not formed in the United States for more than half a century after the Government went into operation. The main reason was that the North, even if united, could not control both branches of the Legislature during any portion of that time. Therefore such an organization must have resulted either in utter failure or in the total overthrow of the Government. The material prosperity of the North was greatly dependent on the Federal Government; that of the South not at all. In the first years of the Republic the navigating, commercial, and manufacturing interests of the North began to seek profit and aggrandizement at the expense of the agricultural interests. Even the owners of fishing smacks sought and obtained bounties for pursuing their own business (which yet continue), and $500,000 is now paid them annually out of the Treasury. The navigating interests begged for protection against foreign shipbuilders and against competition in the coasting trade.
Congress granted both requests, and by prohibitory acts gave an absolute monopoly of this business to each of their interests, which they enjoy without diminution to this day. Not content with these great and unjust advantages, they have sought to throw the legitimate burden of their business as much as possible upon the public; they have succeeded in throwing the cost of light-houses, buoys, and the maintenance of their seamen upon the Treasury, and the Government now pays above $2,000,000 annually for the support of these objects. Theses interests, in connection with the commercial and manufacturing classes, have also succeeded, by means of subventions to mail steamers and the reduction in postage, in relieving their business from the payment of about $7,000,000 annually, throwing it upon the public Treasury under the name of postal deficiency.
The manufacturing interests entered into the same struggle early, and has clamored steadily for Government bounties and special favors. This interest was confined mainly to the Eastern and Middle non-slave-holding States. Wielding these great States it held great power and influence, and its demands were in full proportion to its power. The manufacturers and miners wisely based their demands upon special facts and reasons rather than upon general principles, and thereby mollified much of the opposition of the opposing interest. They pleaded in their favor the infancy of their business in this country, the scarcity of labor and capital, the hostile legislation of other countries toward them, the great necessity of their fabrics in the time of war, and the necessity of high duties to pay the debt incurred in our war for independence. These reasons prevailed, and they received for many years enormous bounties by the general acquiescence of the whole country.
But when these reasons ceased they were no less clamorous for Government protection, but their clamors were less heeded– the country had put the principle of protection upon trial and condemned it. After having enjoyed protection to the extent of from 15 to 200 per cent. upon their entire business for above thirty years, the act of 1846 was passed. It avoided sudden change, but the principle was settled, and free trade, low duties, and economy in public expenditures was the verdict of the American people. The South and the Northwestern States sustained this policy. There was but small hope of its reversal; upon the direct issue, none at all.
All these classes saw this and felt it and cast about for new allies. The anti-slavery sentiment of the North offered the best chance for success. An anti-slavery party must necessarily look to the North alone for support, but a united North was now strong enough to control the Government in all of its departments, and a sectional party was therefore determined upon. Time and issues upon slavery were necessary to its completion and final triumph. The feeling of anti-slavery, which it was well known was very general among the people of the North, had been long dormant or passive; it needed only a question to arouse it into aggressive activity. This question was before us. We had acquired a large territory by successful war with Mexico; Congress had to govern it; how, in relation to slavery, was the question then demanding solution. This state of facts gave form and shape to the anti-slavery sentiment throughout the North and the conflict began. Northern anti-slavery men of all parties asserted the right to exclude slavery from the territory by Congressional legislation and demanded the prompt and efficient exercise of this power to that end. This insulting and unconstitutional demand was met with great moderation and firmness by the South. We had shed our blood and paid our money for its acquisition; we demanded a division of it on the line of the Missouri restriction or an equal participation in the whole of it. These propositions were refused, the agitation became general, and the public danger was great. The case of the South was impregnable. The price of the acquisition was the blood and treasure of both sections– of all, and, therefore, it belonged to all upon the principles of equity and justice.
The Constitution delegated no power to Congress to excluded either party from its free enjoyment; therefore our right was good under the Constitution. Our rights were further fortified by the practice of the Government from the beginning. Slavery was forbidden in the country northwest of the Ohio River by what is called the ordinance of 1787. That ordinance was adopted under the old confederation and by the assent of Virginia, who owned and ceded the country, and therefore this case must stand on its own special circumstances. The Government of the United States claimed territory by virtue of the treaty of 1783 with Great Britain, acquired territory by cession from Georgia and North Carolina, by treaty from France, and by treaty from Spain. These acquisitions largely exceeded the original limits of the Republic. In all of these acquisitions the policy of the Government was uniform. It opened them to the settlement of all the citizens of all the States of the Union. They emigrated thither with their property of every kind (including slaves). All were equally protected by public authority in their persons and property until the inhabitants became sufficiently numerous and otherwise capable of bearing the burdens and performing the duties of self-government, when they were admitted into the Union upon equal terms with the other States, with whatever republican constitution they might adopt for themselves.
Under this equally just and beneficent policy law and order, stability and progress, peace and prosperity marked every step of the progress of these new communities until they entered as great and prosperous commonwealths into the sisterhood of American States. In 1820 the North endeavored to overturn this wise and successful policy and demanded that the State of Missouri should not be admitted into the Union unless she first prohibited slavery within her limits by her constitution. After a bitter and protracted struggle the North was defeated in her special object, but her policy and position led to the adoption of a section in the law for the admission of Missouri, prohibiting slavery in all that portion of the territory acquired from France lying North of 36 [degrees] 30 [minutes] north latitude and outside of Missouri. The venerable Madison at the time of its adoption declared it unconstitutional. Mr. Jefferson condemned the restriction and foresaw its consequences and predicted that it would result in the dissolution of the Union. His prediction is now history. The North demanded the application of the principle of prohibition of slavery to all of the territory acquired from Mexico and all other parts of the public domain then and in all future time. It was the announcement of her purpose to appropriate to herself all the public domain then owned and thereafter to be acquired by the United States. The claim itself was less arrogant and insulting than the reason with which she supported it. That reason was her fixed purpose to limit, restrain, and finally abolish slavery in the States where it exists. The South with great unanimity declared her purpose to resist the principle of prohibition to the last extremity. This particular question, in connection with a series of questions affecting the same subject, was finally disposed of by the defeat of prohibitory legislation.
The Presidential election of 1852 resulted in the total overthrow of the advocates of restriction and their party friends. Immediately after this result the anti-slavery portion of the defeated party resolved to unite all the elements in the North opposed to slavery an to stake their future political fortunes upon their hostility to slavery everywhere. This is the party two whom the people of the North have committed the Government. They raised their standard in 1856 and were barely defeated. They entered the Presidential contest again in 1860 and succeeded.
The prohibition of slavery in the Territories, hostility to it everywhere, the equality of the black and white races, disregard of all constitutional guarantees in its favor, were boldly proclaimed by its leaders and applauded by its followers.
With these principles on their banners and these utterances on their lips the majority of the people of the North demand that we shall receive them as our rulers.
The prohibition of slavery in the Territories is the cardinal principle of this organization.
For forty years this question has been considered and debated in the halls of Congress, before the people, by the press, and before the tribunals of justice. The majority of the people of the North in 1860 decided it in their own favor. We refuse to submit to that judgment, and in vindication of our refusal we offer the Constitution of our country and point to the total absence of any express power to exclude us. We offer the practice of our Government for the first thirty years of its existence in complete refutation of the position that any such power is either necessary or proper to the execution of any other power in relation to the Territories. We offer the judgment of a large minority of the people of the North, amounting to more than one-third, who united with the unanimous voice of the South against this usurpation; and, finally, we offer the judgment of the Supreme Court of the United States, the highest judicial tribunal of our country, in our favor. This evidence ought to be conclusive that we have never surrendered this right. The conduct of our adversaries admonishes us that if we had surrendered it, it is time to resume it.
The faithless conduct of our adversaries is not confined to such acts as might aggrandize themselves or their section of the Union. They are content if they can only injure us. The Constitution declares that persons charged with crimes in one State and fleeing to another shall be delivered up on the demand of the executive authority of the State from which they may flee, to be tried in the jurisdiction where the crime was committed. It would appear difficult to employ language freer from ambiguity, yet for above twenty years the non-slave-holding States generally have wholly refused to deliver up to us persons charged with crimes affecting slave property. Our confederates, with punic faith, shield and give sanctuary to all criminals who seek to deprive us of this property or who use it to destroy us. This clause of the Constitution has no other sanction than their good faith; that is withheld from us; we are remediless in the Union; out of it we are remitted to the laws of nations.
A similar provision of the Constitution requires them to surrender fugitives from labor. This provision and the one last referred to were our main inducements for confederating with the Northern States. Without them it is historically true that we would have rejected the Constitution. In the fourth year of the Republic Congress passed a law to give full vigor and efficiency to this important provision. This act depended to a considerable degree upon the local magistrates in the several States for its efficiency. The non-slave-holding States generally repealed all laws intended to aid the execution of that act, and imposed penalties upon those citizens whose loyalty to the Constitution and their oaths might induce them to discharge their duty. Congress then passed the act of 1850, providing for the complete execution of this duty by Federal officers. This law, which their own bad faith rendered absolutely indispensable for the protection of constitutional rights, was instantly met with ferocious revilings and all conceivable modes of hostility.
The Supreme Court unanimously, and their own local courts with equal unanimity (with the single and temporary exception of the supreme court of Wisconsin), sustained its constitutionality in all of its provisions. Yet it stands to-day a dead letter for all practicable purposes in every non-slave-holding State in the Union. We have their covenants, we have their oaths to keep and observe it, but the unfortunate claimant, even accompanied by a Federal officer with the mandate of the highest judicial authority in his hands, is everywhere met with fraud, with force, and with legislative enactments to elude, to resist, and defeat him. Claimants are murdered with impunity; officers of the law are beaten by frantic mobs instigated by inflammatory appeals from persons holding the highest public employment in these States and supported by legislation in conflict with the clearest provisions of the Constitution, and even the ordinary principles of humanity. In several of our confederate States a citizen cannot travel the highway with his servant who may voluntarily accompany him, without being declared by law a felon and being subjected to infamous punishments. It is difficult to perceive how we could suffer more by the hostility than by the fraternity of such brethren.
The public law of civilized nations requires every State to restrain its citizens or subjects from committing acts injurious to the peace and security of any other State and from attempting to excite insurrection, or to lessen the security, or to disturb the tranquility of their neighbors, and our Constitution wisely gives Congress the power to punish all offenses against the laws of nations.
These are sound and just principles which have received the approbation of just men in all countries and all centuries; but they are wholly disregarded by the people of the Northern States, and the Federal Government is impotent to maintain them. For twenty years past the abolitionists and their allies in the Northern States have been engaged in constant efforts to subvert our institutions and to excite insurrection and servile war among us. They have sent emissaries among us for the accomplishment of these purposes. Some of these efforts have received the public sanction of a majority of the leading men of the Republican party in the national councils, the same men who are now proposed as our rulers. These efforts have in one instance led to the actual invasion of one of the slave-holding States, and those of the murderers and incendiaries who escaped public justice by flight have found fraternal protection among our Northern confederates.
These are the same men who say the Union shall be preserved.
Such are the opinions and such are the practices of the Republican party, who have been called by their own votes to administer the Federal Government under the Constitution of the United States. We know their treachery; we know the shallow pretenses under which they daily disregard its plainest obligations. If we submit to them it will be our fault and not theirs. The people of Georgia have ever been willing to stand by this bargain, this contract; they have never sought to evade any of its obligations; they have never hitherto sought to establish any new government; they have struggled to maintain the ancient right of themselves and the human race through and by that Constitution. But they know the value of parchment rights in treacherous hands, and therefore they refuse to commit their own to the rulers whom the North offers us. Why? Because by their declared principles and policy they have outlawed $3,000,000,000 of our property in the common territories of the Union; put it under the ban of the Republic in the States where it exists and out of the protection of Federal law everywhere; because they give sanctuary to thieves and incendiaries who assail it to the whole extent of their power, in spite of their most solemn obligations and covenants; because their avowed purpose is to subvert our society and subject us not only to the loss of our property but the destruction of ourselves, our wives, and our children, and the desolation of our homes, our altars, and our firesides. To avoid these evils we resume the powers which our fathers delegated to the Government of the United States, and henceforth will seek new safeguards for our liberty, equality, security, and tranquility.
Approved, Tuesday, January 29, 1861
Louisiana and Texas
Louisiana seceded on January 26 with a simple statement that she dissolves her association with the federal union and thereby resumes all her sovereign rights. Texas seceded a few days later, on February 1. In her ordinance of secession, unlike the other Southern states, she emphasized her right to support slavery. (See Texas’ Ordinance of Secession in the Addendum section).
As mentioned earlier, there were two waves of secession, separated by the events at Fort Sumter (April 11) and then Lincoln’s demand for troops to wage war on the South to force the seceding states back into the Union. Texas was the last state to secede in the first wave. The second wave, beginning on April 17, began when Virginia decided to secede.
Virginia. When the Southern states began to secede, Virginia found herself in a difficult position. She was important and strategic for two major reasons: first, Virginia played an especially prominent and distinguished role in early American history and, second, for her geographical, and hence, strategic location. She was not only sandwiched geographically but also economically, socially, and culturally between the North and the South. For these reasons, Virginians were truly torn over the decision of whether or not to secede. Ultimately, Virginia decided to break her ties with the Union but it wasn’t until the North took military action against the South at Fort Sumter and then immediately demanded that the state provide troops to suppress the southern “rebellion.” Virginia believed that the federal government was acting unconstitutionally and had become too coercive. Her delegates voted in convention, on April 17, to secede and adopted the following Ordinance of Secession:
The people of Virginia, in their ratification of the Constitution of the United States of America, adopted by them in Convention on the twenty-fifth day of June, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty-eight, having declared that the powers granted under the said Constitution were derived from the people of the United States, and might be resumed whensoever the same should be perverted to their injury and oppression; and the Federal Government, having perverted said powers, not only to the injury of the people of Virginia, but to the oppression of the Southern Slaveholding States.
Now, therefore, we, the people of Virginia, do declare and ordain that the ordinance adopted by the people of this State in Convention, on the twenty-fifth day of June, eighty-eight, whereby the Constitution of the United States of America was ratified, and all acts of the General Assembly of this State, ratifying or adopting amendments to said Constitution, are hereby repealed and abrogated; that the Union between the State of Virginia and the other States under the Constitution aforesaid, is hereby dissolved, and that the State of Virginia is in the full possession and exercise of all the rights of sovereignty which belong and appertain to a free and independent State. And they do further declare that the said Constitution of the United States of America is no longer binding on any of the citizens of this State.
This ordinance shall take effect and be an act of this day when ratified by a majority of the votes of the people of this State, cast at a poll to be taken thereon on the fourth Thursday in May next, in pursuance of a schedule to be hereafter enacted.
Done in Convention, in the city of Richmond, on April 17, 1861.
Arkansas. Arkansas resisted the secession movement and in convention, voted against leaving the Union. But pro-South sentiment was strong. The prevailing opinion in early 1861, however, was that Arkansas should secede if the federal government made war on the Confederate States. When Lincoln tricked South Carolina to fire on the Union installment at Fort Sumter, which sits in her harbor at Charleston, and then when he asked Arkansas to provide a regiment of troops to take up arms against her fellow Southern states to force them back into the Union, Arkansas’ Governor Rector refused. He called another convention and on May 6, the delegates voted to secede from the union, adopting the following Ordinance of Secession:
To dissolve the union now existing between the State of Arkansas and the other states united with her under the compact entitled “The constitution of the United States of America”.
Whereas, In addition to the well-founded causes of complaint set forth by this convention, in resolutions adopted on the 11th March, A. D. 1861, against the sectional party now in power at Washington City, headed by Abraham Lincoln, he has, in the face of resolutions passed by this convention, pledging the State of Arkansas to resist to the last extremity any attempt on the part of such power to coerce any state that had seceded from the old Union, proclaimed to the world that war should be waged against such states, until they should be compelled to submit to their rule, and large forces to accomplish this, have by this same power been called out, and are now being marshalled to carry out this inhuman design, and to longer submit to such rule or remain in the old Union of the United States, would be disgraceful and ruinous to the State of Arkansas.
Therefore, we the people of the State of Arkansas, in convention assembled, do hereby declare and ordain, and it is hereby declared and ordained, that the “ordinance and acceptance of compact,” passed and approved by the General Assembly of the State of Arkansas, on the 18th day of October, A. D., 1836, whereby it was by said General Assembly ordained that, by virtue of the authority vested in said General Assembly, by the provisions of the ordinance adopted by the convention of delegates assembled at Little Rock, for the purpose of forming a constitution and system of government for said state, the propositions set forth in “an act supplementary to an act entitled an act for the admission of the State of Arkansas into the Union, and to provide for the due execution of the laws of the United States within the same, and for other purposes, were freely accepted, ratified and irrevocably confirmed articles of compact and union between the State of Arkansas and the United States,” and all other laws and every other law and ordinance, whereby the State of Arkansas became a member of the Federal Union, be, and the same are hereby in all respects and for every purpose herewith consistent, repealed, abrogated and fully set aside; and the union now subsisting between the State of Arkansas and the other states, under the name of the United States of America, is hereby forever dissolved.
And we do further hereby declare and ordain, that the State of Arkansas hereby resumes to herself all rights and powers heretofore delegated to the government of the United States of America—that her citizens are absolved from all allegiance to said government of the United States, and that she is in full possession and exercise of all the rights and sovereignty which appertain to a free and independent state.
We do further ordain and declare, that all rights acquired and vested under the constitution of the United States of America, or of any act or acts of Congress, or treaty, or under any law of this state, and not incompatible with this ordinance, shall remain in full force and effect, in no wise altered or impaired, and have the same effect as if this ordinance had not been passed.
Adopted on May 6, 1861
North Carolina. The actions of North Carolina in 1861 continued her long stand for state sovereignty and liberty. At the time, the election of Abraham Lincoln meant two things, which he promised in his campaign – the highest protective tariff on the South, which would cripple its economy, and a stop to the spread of slavery into the western territories (and therefore into any new state to the Union), which would further allow the government to legislate away the rights and interests of the South. The government, as it had been doing for decades, would continue to act as the agent for the North only. Acting in convention, and even knowing what to expect from Lincoln, North Carolina refused to secede. She wanted to remain loyal to the Union. And then Fort Sumter happened. President Lincoln, through his Secretary of War, sent a telegram to the Governor of NC, John Ellis, and demanded the state provide 75,000 troops. Governor Ellis responded in clear terms: “You will get no troops from North Carolina.” Another convention was called and in a unanimous decision, the delegates voted to secede. North Carolina seceded NOT because of slavery but because she believed that the “common government” should not be used first to plunder the wealth of the South in order to benefit the North and did NOT have the right to force one state to take up arms against a fellow state. For those beliefs, NOT slavery, North Carolina finally decided to separate from the Union. Her Ordinance of Secession was simple and succinct:
An Ordinance to dissolve the union between the State of North Carolina and the other States united with her, under the compact of government entitled “The Constitution of the United States.”
We, the people of the State of North Carolina in convention assembled, do declare and ordain, and it is hereby declared and ordained, that the ordinance adopted by the State of North Carolina in the convention of 1789, whereby the Constitution of the United States was ratified and adopted, and also all acts and parts of acts of the General Assembly ratifying and adopting amendments to the said Constitution, are hereby repealed, rescinded, and abrogated.
We do further declare and ordain, that the union now subsisting between the State of North Carolina and the other States, under the title of the United States of America, is hereby dissolved, and that the State of North Carolina is in full possession and exercise of all those rights of sovereignty which belong and appertain to a free and independent State.
Done in convention at the city of Raleigh, this day of May 20, 1861.
Tennessee. Tennessee was the final Southern state to leave the Union. Her declaration of secession, titled “Declaration of Independence and Ordinance Dissolving the Federal Relations Between the State of Tennessee and the United States of America,” read:
First. We, the people of the State of Tennessee, waiving any expression of opinion as to the abstract doctrine of secession, but asserting the right, as a free and independent people, to alter, reform, or abolish our form of government in such manner as we think proper, do ordain and declare that all the laws and ordinances by which the State of Tennessee became a member of the Federal Union of the United States of America are hereby abrogated and annulled, and that all the rights, functions, and powers which by any of said laws and ordinances were conveyed to the Government of the United States, and to absolve ourselves from all the obligations, restraints, and duties incurred thereto; and do hereby henceforth become a free, sovereign, and independent State.
Second. We furthermore declare and ordain that article 10, sections 1 and 2, of the constitution of the State of Tennessee, which requires members of the General Assembly and all officers, civil and military, to take an oath to support the Constitution of the United States be, and the same are hereby, abrogated and annulled, and all parts of the constitution of the State of Tennessee making citizenship of the United States a qualification for office and recognizing the Constitution of the United States as the supreme law of this State are in like manner abrogated and annulled.
Third. We furthermore ordain and declare that all rights acquired and vested under the Constitution of the United States, or under any act of Congress passed in pursuance thereof, or under any laws of this State, and not incompatible with this ordinance, shall remain in force and have the same effect as if this ordinance had not been passed.
[Sent by the legislature as a referendum on May 6, 1861 and was approved by the voters by a vote of 104,471 to 47,183 on June 8, 1861]
The border states – Delaware, Maryland, Tennessee, Missouri, and the western half of the state of Virginia – were states that shared a border with the North and also a border with the Confederacy. They were slave states that did not – or were not allowed to – secede from the Union. (Note that the Emancipation Proclamation did not apply to these states, nor to any state belonging to the federal union). Delaware remained neutral during the years 1861-65, but their loyalties were divided. The western half of Virginia wanted to remain loyal to the Union and for that reason, it asked to secede from the state of Virginia and to apply for statehood as an independent state. The “great” president who waged war on the South because he claimed that there was no right to secession, gladly endorsed secession when it benefitted his cause. And so West Virginia was created and joined the Union in June 30, 1863.
Maryland, Kentucky, and Missouri were prevented from seceding when Lincoln ordered federal troops to control them. Maryland never decided to secede, although, like Delaware, there were clearly divided loyalties. But Kentucky and Missouri did. (Their Ordinances of Secession are listed in the Addendum section). However, because those states were under the control of federal troops, they could not follow through with their intentions and were forced to remain in the Union.
The tragedy of the mid-1800’s, leading up to the war to prevent southern independence (taught in history classes as the “civil war”) was the ambition of politicians and businessmen who put their interests above the rightful role of the “common government” that was gifted to us by our Founding Fathers. Their greed and their disrespect and abuse of their southern counterparts, the farmers and men of agriculture, led to the greatest conflict in American history – north against south, brother fighting brother, families against families, implementation of “total warfare” (targeting civilians) strategy, property and farm animal annihilation, adoption of a “scorched earth” policy, and the needless death of close to 700,000 young Americans. In the end, Lincoln pursued his war with full vigor, like the good tyrant he was, and won. He forever changed the nature of our government in DC – from one of limited responsibilities with the States able to exercise their sovereign powers to one of concentrated powers, with the States being subjugated and powerless. Lincoln waging war to “save the Union” was like a man who beats his wife to save their marriage. Let history judge our 16th president correctly, as it should.
Resources & References:
Charles T. Pace, John Randolph, SOUTHERN INDEPENDENCE: Why War?, Shotwell Publishing LLC, 2015; pp. 78-87
“Secession Ordinances of the 13 Confederate States,” Digital History – https://www.digitalhistory.uh.edu/disp_textbook.cfm?smtID=3&psid=3953
Arkansas Ordinance of Secession – https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Arkansas_Ordinance_of_Secession
“The Declaration of Causes of Seceding States,” Civil War, Primary Sources – https://www.battlefields.org/learn/primary-sources/declaration-causes-seceding-states
“President Lincoln’s 75,000 Volunteers,” Wikipedia – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/President_Lincoln%27s_75,000_volunteers
Florida’s Declaration of Causes – http://www.civilwarcauses.org/florida-dec.htm
Alabama’s Ordinance of Secession – https://ehistory.osu.edu/exhibitions/Regimental/alabama/confederate/secession
ADDENDUM I: Ordinances and Declarations of Secession Adopted by Missouri and Kentucky, and other States
Maryland did NOT decide to secede.
Strategically, Lincoln had to send federal (union) troops into Maryland because Union troops had to go through the state to reach the nation’s capital in Washington DC. Had Maryland joined the Confederacy, Washington would have been surrounded. Maryland’s state legislature rejected secession in the spring of 1861, at the same time refusing to re-open its rail links with the North. It requested that Union troops be removed from the state, but Lincoln refused. The state legislature did not want to secede, but it also did not want to aid in killing her southern neighbors in order to force them back into the Union. Maryland wished for neutrality.
But Lincoln’s treatment of the state was nothing short of tyrannical. To protect the national capital, Lincoln suspended habeas corpus and imprisoned persons without charges or trials. Among those imprisoned without the right of habeas corpus was a sitting U.S. congressman as well the mayor, police chief, entire Board of Police, and the city council of Baltimore. US Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger Taney, acting in his capacity as a circuit judge (the custom at the time), ruled on June 4, 1861, in Ex parte Merryman that Lincoln’s suspension of habeas corpus was unconstitutional, but the president ignored the ruling in order to meet a so-called national emergency. On September 17, 1861, the day the legislature reconvened, federal troops arrested 27 state legislators (one-third of the Maryland General Assembly), without charging them. They were held temporarily at Fort McHenry, and later released when Maryland was secured for the Union. Because a large part of the legislature was now imprisoned, the session was cancelled and representatives did not consider any additional anti-war measures.
Remember how Jefferson described and characterized the actions of the King of Great Britain: “The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States.”
The song “Maryland, My Maryland” was written to attack Lincoln’s action in blocking pro-Confederate elements. Maryland contributed troops to both the Union (60,000) and the Confederate (25,000) armies.
As the Declaration articulates: “A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.”
MISSOURI’S ORDINANCE OF SECESSION
An act declaring the political ties heretofore existing between the State of Missouri and the United States of America dissolved.
Whereas the Government of the United States, in the possession and under the control of a sectional party, has wantonly violated the compact originally made between said Government and the State of Missouri, by invading with hostile armies the soil of the State, attacking and making prisoners the militia while legally assembled under the State laws, forcibly occupying the State capitol, and attempting through the instrumentality of domestic traitors to usurp the State government, seizing and destroying private property, and murdering with fiendish malignity peaceable citizens, men, women, and children, together with other acts of atrocity, indicating a deep-settled hostility toward the people of Missouri and their institutions; and
Whereas the present Administration of the Government of the United States has utterly ignored the Constitution, subverted the Government as constructed and intended by its makers, and established a despotic and arbitrary power instead thereof: Now, therefore,
Be it enacted by the general assembly of the State of Missouri, That all political ties of every character new existing between the Government of the United States of America and the people and government of the State of Missouri are hereby dissolved, and the State of Missouri, resuming the sovereignty granted by compact to the said United States upon admission of said State into the Federal Union, does again take its place as a free and independent republic amongst the nations of the earth.
This act to take effect and be in force from and after its passage.
Approved, October 31, 1861. [This act was passed by a rump legislature called into session in Neosho, Mo., by Gov. C.F. Jackson (who had been removed from office by the State Convention)]
KENTUCKY’S ORDINANCE OF SECESSION
Whereas, the Federal Constitution, which created the Government of the United States, was declared by the framers thereof to be the supreme law of the land, and was intended to limit and did expressly limit the powers of said Government to certain general specified purposes, and did expressly reserve to the States and people all other powers whatever, and the President and Congress have treated this supreme law of the Union with contempt and usurped to themselves the power to interfere with the rights and liberties of the States and the people against the expressed provisions of the Constitution, and have thus substituted for the highest forms of national liberty and constitutional government a central despotism founded upon the ignorant prejudices of the masses of Northern society, and instead of giving protection with the Constitution to the people of fifteen States of this Union have turned loose upon them the unrestrained and raging passions of mobs and fanatics, and because we now seek to hold our liberties, our property, our homes, and our families under the protection of the reserved powers of the States, have blockaded our ports, invaded our soil, and waged war upon our people for the purpose of subjugating us to their will; and
Whereas, our honor and our duty to posterity demand that we shall not relinquish our own liberty and shall not abandon the right of our descendants and the world to the inestimable blessings of constitutional government: Therefore,
Be it ordained, that we do hereby forever sever our connection with the Government of the United States, and in the name of the people we do hereby declare Kentucky to be a free and independent State, clothed with all power to fix her own destiny and to secure her own rights and liberties.
And whereas, the majority of the Legislature of Kentucky have violated their most solemn pledges made before the election, and deceived and betrayed the people; have abandoned the position of neutrality assumed by themselves and the people, and invited into the State the organized armies of Lincoln; have abdicated the Government in favor of a military despotism which they have placed around themselves, but cannot control, and have abandoned the duty of shielding the citizen with their protection; have thrown upon our people and the State the horrors and ravages of war, instead of attempting to preserve the peace, and have voted men and money for the war waged by the North for the destruction of our constitutional rights; have violated the expressed words of the constitution by borrowing five millions of money for the support of the war without a vote of the people; have permitted the arrest and imprisonment of our citizens, and transferred the constitutional prerogatives of the Executive to a military commission of partisans; have seen the writ of habeas corpus suspended without an effort for its preservation, and permitted our people to be driven in exile from their homes; have subjected our property to confiscation and our persons to confinement in the penitentiary as felons, because we may choose to take part in a cause for civil liberty and constitutional government against a sectional majority waging war against the people and institutions of fifteen independent States of the old Federal Union, and have done all these things deliberately against the warnings and vetoes of the Governor and the solemn remonstrances of the minority in the Senate and House of Representatives: Therefore,
Be it further ordained, that the unconstitutional edicts of a factious majority of a Legislature thus false to their pledges, their honor, and their interests are not law, and that such a government is unworthy of the support of a brave and free people, and that we do therefore declare that the people are thereby absolved from all allegiance to said government, and that they have a right to establish any government which to them may seem best adapted to the preservation of their rights and liberties.
[Adopted on November 20, 1861, by a “Convention of the People of Kentucky”]
TEXAS’ ORDINANCE OF SECESSION
A Declaration of the Causes which Impel the State of Texas to Secede from the Federal Union.
The government of the United States, by certain joint resolutions, bearing date the 1st day of March, in the year A.D. 1845, proposed to the Republic of Texas, then *a free, sovereign and independent nation* [emphasis in the original], the annexation of the latter to the former, as one of the co-equal states thereof,
The people of Texas, by deputies in convention assembled, on the fourth day of July of the same year, assented to and accepted said proposals and formed a constitution for the proposed State, upon which on the 29th day of December in the same year, said State was formally admitted into the Confederated Union.
Texas abandoned her separate national existence and consented to become one of the Confederated Union to promote her welfare, insure domestic tranquility and secure more substantially the blessings of peace and liberty to her people. She was received into the confederacy with her own constitution, under the guarantee of the federal constitution and the compact of annexation, that she should enjoy these blessings. She was received as a commonwealth holding, maintaining and protecting the institution known as negro slavery– the servitude of the African to the white race within her limits– a relation that had existed from the first settlement of her wilderness by the white race, and which her people intended should exist in all future time. Her institutions and geographical position established the strongest ties between her and other slave-holding States of the confederacy. Those ties have been strengthened by association. But what has been the course of the government of the United States, and of the people and authorities of the non-slave-holding States, since our connection with them?
The controlling majority of the Federal Government, under various pretenses and disguises, has so administered the same as to exclude the citizens of the Southern States, unless under odious and unconstitutional restrictions, from all the immense territory owned in common by all the States on the Pacific Ocean, for the avowed purpose of acquiring sufficient power in the common government to use it as a means of destroying the institutions of Texas and her sister slaveholding States.
By the disloyalty of the Northern States and their citizens and the imbecility of the Federal Government, infamous combinations of incendiaries and outlaws have been permitted in those States and the common territory of Kansas to trample upon the federal laws, to war upon the lives and property of Southern citizens in that territory, and finally, by violence and mob law, to usurp the possession of the same as exclusively the property of the Northern States.
The Federal Government, while but partially under the control of these our unnatural and sectional enemies, has for years almost entirely failed to protect the lives and property of the people of Texas against the Indian savages on our border, and more recently against the murderous forays of banditti from the neighboring territory of Mexico; and when our State government has expended large amounts for such purpose, the Federal Government has refuse reimbursement therefor, thus rendering our condition more insecure and harassing than it was during the existence of the Republic of Texas.
These and other wrongs we have patiently borne in the vain hope that a returning sense of justice and humanity would induce a different course of administration.
When we advert to the course of individual non-slave-holding States, and that a majority of their citizens, our grievances assume far greater magnitude.
The States of Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin, Michigan and Iowa, by solemn legislative enactments, have deliberately, directly or indirectly violated the 3rd clause of the 2nd section of the 4th article [the fugitive slave clause] of the federal constitution, and laws passed in pursuance thereof; thereby annulling a material provision of the compact, designed by its framers to perpetuate the amity between the members of the confederacy and to secure the rights of the slave-holding States in their domestic institutions– a provision founded in justice and wisdom, and without the enforcement of which the compact fails to accomplish the object of its creation. Some of those States have imposed high fines and degrading penalties upon any of their citizens or officers who may carry out in good faith that provision of the compact, or the federal laws enacted in accordance therewith.
In all the non-slave-holding States, in violation of that good faith and comity which should exist between entirely distinct nations, the people have formed themselves into a great sectional party, now strong enough in numbers to control the affairs of each of those States, based upon an unnatural feeling of hostility to these Southern States and their beneficent and patriarchal system of African slavery, proclaiming the debasing doctrine of equality of all men, irrespective of race or color– a doctrine at war with nature, in opposition to the experience of mankind, and in violation of the plainest revelations of Divine Law. They demand the abolition of negro slavery throughout the confederacy, the recognition of political equality between the white and negro races, and avow their determination to press on their crusade against us, so long as a negro slave remains in these States.
For years past this abolition organization has been actively sowing the seeds of discord through the Union and has rendered the federal congress the arena for spreading firebrands and hatred between the slave-holding and non-slave-holding States.
By consolidating their strength, they have placed the slave-holding States in a hopeless minority in the federal congress and rendered representation of no avail in protecting Southern rights against their exactions and encroachments. They have proclaimed, and at the ballot box sustained, the revolutionary doctrine that there is a ‘higher law’ than the constitution and laws of our Federal Union, and virtually that they will disregard their oaths and trample upon our rights.
They have for years past encouraged and sustained lawless organizations to steal our slaves and prevent their recapture and have repeatedly murdered Southern citizens while lawfully seeking their rendition.
They have invaded Southern soil and murdered unoffending citizens, and through the press their leading men and a fanatical pulpit have bestowed praise upon the actors and assassins in these crimes, while the governors of several of their States have refused to deliver parties implicated and indicted for participation in such offenses, upon the legal demands of the States aggrieved.
They have, through the mails and hired emissaries, sent seditious pamphlets and papers among us to stir up servile insurrection and bring blood and carnage to our firesides.
They have sent hired emissaries among us to burn our towns and distribute arms and poison to our slaves for the same purpose.
They have impoverished the slave-holding States by unequal and partial legislation, thereby enriching themselves by draining our substance.
They have refused to vote appropriations for protecting Texas against ruthless savages, for the sole reason that she is a slave-holding State.
And, finally, by the combined sectional vote of the seventeen non-slave-holding States, they have elected as president and vice-president of the whole confederacy two men whose chief claims to such high positions are their approval of these long-continued wrongs, and their pledges to continue them to the final consummation of these schemes for the ruin of the slave-holding States.
In view of these and many other facts, it is meet that our own views should be distinctly proclaimed.
We hold as undeniable truths that the governments of the various States, and of the confederacy itself, were established exclusively by the white race, for themselves and their posterity; that the African race had no agency in their establishment; that they were rightfully held and regarded as an inferior and dependent race, and in that condition only could their existence in this country be rendered beneficial or tolerable.
That in this free government *all white men are and of right ought to be entitled to equal civil and political rights* [emphasis in the original]; that the servitude of the African race, as existing in these States, is mutually beneficial to both bond and free, and is abundantly authorized and justified by the experience of mankind, and the revealed will of the Almighty Creator, as recognized by all Christian nations; while the destruction of the existing relations between the two races, as advocated by our sectional enemies, would bring inevitable calamities upon both and desolation upon the fifteen slave-holding states.
By the secession of six of the slave-holding States, and the certainty that others will speedily do likewise, Texas has no alternative but to remain in an isolated connection with the North, or unite her destinies with the South.
For these and other reasons, solemnly asserting that the federal constitution has been violated and virtually abrogated by the several States named, seeing that the federal government is now passing under the control of our enemies to be diverted from the exalted objects of its creation to those of oppression and wrong, and realizing that our own State can no longer look for protection, but to God and her own sons– We the delegates of the people of Texas, in Convention assembled, have passed an ordinance dissolving all political connection with the government of the United States of America and the people thereof and confidently appeal to the intelligence and patriotism of the freemen of Texas to ratify the same at the ballot box, on the 23rd day of the present month.
Adopted in Convention on February 2, 1861.
ADDENDUM II: Lincoln’s Declaration Calling for Troops to Suppress the “Rebellion”
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:
WHEREAS the laws of the United States have been, for some time past, and now are opposed, and the execution thereof obstructed, in the States of South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas, by combinations too powerful to be suppressed by the ordinary course of judicial proceedings, or by the powers vested in the marshals by law.
Now, therefore, I, ABRAHAM LINCOLN, President of the United States, in virtue of the power in me vested by the Constitution and the laws, have thought fit to call forth, and hereby do call forth, the militia of the several States of the Union, to the aggregate number of seventy-five thousand, in order to suppress said combinations, and to cause the laws to be duly executed.
The details for this object will be immediately communicated to the State authorities through the War Department.
I appeal to all loyal citizens to favor, facilitate, and aid this effort to maintain the honor, the integrity, and the existence of our National Union, and the perpetuity of popular government; and to redress wrongs already long enough endured. I deem it proper to say that the first service assigned to the forces hereby called forth will probably be to repossess the forts, places, and property which have been seized from the Union; and in every event, the utmost care will be observed, consistently with the objects aforesaid, to avoid any devastation, any destruction of, or interference with, property, or any disturbance of peaceful citizens in any part of the country.
And I hereby command the persons composing the combinations aforesaid to disperse and retire peaceably to their respective abodes within twenty days from this date.
Deeming that the present condition of public affairs presents an extraordinary occasion, I do hereby, in virtue of the power in me vested by the Constitution, convene both Houses of Congress. Senators and Representatives are therefore summoned to assemble at their respective chambers, at twelve o’clock, noon, on Thursdays the fourth day of July next, then and there to consider and determine such measures as, in their wisdom, the public safety and interest may seem to demand.
By the President:ABRAHAM LINCOLN
Secretary of State WILLIAM H. SEWARD