Skip to comments.The Real Lincoln
Posted on 03/26/2002 10:38:41 PM PST by kattracks
Do states have a right of secession? That question was settled through the costly War of 1861. In his recently published book, "The Real Lincoln," Thomas DiLorenzo marshals abundant unambiguous evidence that virtually every political leader of the time and earlier believed that states had a right of secession.
Let's look at a few quotations. Thomas Jefferson in his First Inaugural Address said, "If there be any among us who would wish to dissolve this Union, or to change its republican form, let them stand undisturbed as monuments of the safety with which error of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left to combat it." Fifteen years later, after the New England Federalists attempted to secede, Jefferson said, "If any state in the Union will declare that it prefers separation ... to a continuance in the union ... I have no hesitation in saying, Let us separate.'"
At Virginia's ratification convention, the delegates said, "The powers granted under the Constitution being derived from the People of the United States may be resumed by them whensoever the same shall be perverted to their injury or oppression." In Federalist Paper 39, James Madison, the father of the Constitution, cleared up what "the people" meant, saying the proposed Constitution would be subject to ratification by the people, "not as individuals composing one entire nation, but as composing the distinct and independent States to which they respectively belong." In a word, states were sovereign; the federal government was a creation, an agent, a servant of the states.
On the eve of the War of 1861, even unionist politicians saw secession as a right of states. Maryland Rep. Jacob M. Kunkel said, "Any attempt to preserve the Union between the States of this Confederacy by force would be impractical, and destructive of republican liberty." The northern Democratic and Republican parties favored allowing the South to secede in peace.
Just about every major Northern newspaper editorialized in favor of the South's right to secede. New York Tribune (Feb. 5, 1860): "If tyranny and despotism justified the Revolution of 1776, then we do not see why it would not justify the secession of Five Millions of Southrons from the Federal Union in 1861." Detroit Free Press (Feb. 19, 1861): "An attempt to subjugate the seceded States, even if successful could produce nothing but evil -- evil unmitigated in character and appalling in content." The New York Times (March 21, 1861): "There is growing sentiment throughout the North in favor of letting the Gulf States go." DiLorenzo cites other editorials expressing identical sentiments.
Americans celebrate Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, but H.L. Mencken correctly evaluated the speech, "It is poetry not logic; beauty, not sense." Lincoln said that the soldiers sacrificed their lives "to the cause of self-determination -- government of the people, by the people, for the people should not perish from the earth." Mencken says: "It is difficult to imagine anything more untrue. The Union soldiers in the battle actually fought against self-determination; it was the Confederates who fought for the right of people to govern themselves."
In Federalist Paper 45, Madison guaranteed: "The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite." The South seceded because of Washington's encroachment on that vision. Today, it's worse. Turn Madison's vision on its head, and you have today's America.
DiLorenzo does a yeoman's job in documenting Lincoln's ruthlessness and hypocrisy, and how historians have covered it up. The Framers had a deathly fear of federal government abuse. They saw state sovereignty as a protection. That's why they gave us the Ninth and 10th Amendments. They saw secession as the ultimate protection against Washington tyranny.
COPYRIGHT 2002 CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC.
Contact Walter Williams | Read his biography
©2002 Creators Syndicate, Inc.
After the war there were 17 black Republicans elected to Congress, the Democrats got around to it in the 1930's I understand.
I'm not sure you can use Maryland politicians as a guide to the beliefs of northern political leaders. The first suspension of habeas corpus by Lincoln was for the imprisonment of Maryland secessionists.
Lincoln's argument was that secession based on protecting slavery was illegitimate. In his view, secession and revolt have to be legitimate and moral - for example, because of taxation without representation, or billeting of troops in homes without compensation.
Okay, I'll say this one more timeREAD THE BOOK!!
It's out in the stores, it's quite documented, and it reinforces past research that it was NOT, I repeat NOT over slavery!! Makes you question how slavery was ended throughout the Western Hemisphere peacefully everywhere else EXCEPT the US. The only other place there was a war, supposedly over slavery, there was a political motive, and slavery was used as an excuse there as well
The south abided by the Constitution, the North abused it.
Great article, and it speaks volumes of the truth. Even though the Yankees will say its all lies, the truth is like a light ... it cannot be hidden, nor can it be extinguished. And as far as the slavery issue went, it was legal back then, the Yankees went to war to preserve the Union, or not to let the Southern States secede ... they didn't really care about slaves. Observe the treatment blacks received up North, and you'll understand.
Wanna bet on which one shows up first?
10 Nov 1860 from the _Albany (New York) Atlas and Argus_ " . . .We sympathize with and justify the South" because "their rights have been invaded to the extreme limit possible within the forms of the Constitution." If the South wanted to secede, the editors wrote, "we would applaud them and with them God-Speed."
The _Chicago Daily Times and Herald_ declared, eleven days later, that "like it or not, the cotton States will secede." The government will not then "go to pieces," but Southerners will be allowed to regain their "sense of independence and honor."
On Nov 24, 1860, the _Concord (New Hampshire) Democratic Standard_ complained of "fanatics and demagogues of the North" who "waged war on the institutions of the South" and appealed for "concession of the just rights of our Southern brethren."
Two days later, the _New York Journal of Commerce_ condemned the "meddlesome spirit" of people of the North who wanted to "seek to regulate and control" people in "other communities."
On 13 November 1860, the _Bangor (Maine) Daily Union_ defended southern secessionists by explaining that the Union "depends for its continuance on the free consent and will of the sovereign people" of each state, and "when that consent and will is withdrawn on either part, their Union is gone." If military force is used, then a state can only be held "as a subject province," and can never be "a co-equal member of the American Union."
On the same day, the _Brooklyn Daily Eagle_ clearly explained that "any violation of the constitution by the general government, deliberately persisted in would relieve the state or states injured by such violation from all legal and moral obligations to remain in the union or yield obedience to the federal government." And while the editors saw "no real cause for secession on the part of the South, should any states attempt it there is nothing to be done but let them go."
The _Cincinnati Daily Commercial_ echoed similar sentiments by advocating that the southern states be allowed to "work out their salvation or destruction in their own way" rather than "to attempt, through forcible coercion, to save them in spite of themselves."
The _Davenport (Iowa) Democrat and News_ on 17 November 1860, editorialized against secession, but in its editorial it noted that it was apparently in the minority in the North, where most of the "leading and most influential papers of the Union" believe "that any State of the Union has a right to secede."
The _Providence (Rhode Island) Evening Press_ wrote on that same day that sovereignty "necessarily includes what we call the "right of secession" and that 'this right must be maintained" unless we would establish "colossal despotism" against which the founding fathers "uttered their solemn warnings."
The _Cincinnati Daily Press_ repeated this sentiment on 21 November 1860: "We believe that the right of any member of this Confederacy to dissolve its political relations with the others and assume an independent position is *absolute* -- that, in other words, if South Carolina wants to go out of the Union, she has the right to do so, and no party or power may justly say her nay."
The _New York Daily Tribune_ made the same point on 17 December 1860, adding that if tyranny and despotism justified the American Revolution in 1776, then "we do not see why it would not justify the secession of Five Millions of Southrons from the Federal Union in 1861."
Once South Carolina seceded on 20 December 1860, dozens of northern editorialists viewed it as a confirmation of the principle of sovereignty and self-government, while others, like the _Indianapolis Daily Journal_ said "thank God that we have had a good riddance of bad rubbish."
The _Kenosha (Wisconsin) Democrat wrote on 11 January 1861, that secession was "the very germ of liberty" and declared that "the right of secession inheres to the people of every sovereign state."
The _New York Journal of Commerce_ reminded its readers on 12 January 1861, that by opposing secession, northerners would be changing the nature of government "from a voluntary one, in which the people are sovereigns, to a despotism where one part of the people are slaves. Such is the logical deduction from the policy of the advocates of force."
The _Washington (D.C.) Constitution_ concurred, stating that the use of force against South Carolina would be "the extreme of wickedness and the acme of folly." It further opined the desire "that all the Southern states will secede."
On 5 February 1861, the _New York Tribune_ characterized Lincoln's latest speech as "the arguments of a tyrant -- force, compulsion and power." "Nine out of ten of the people of the North," the paper surmised, were opposed to forcing South Carolina to remain in the Union.
"We ought to let them go," said the _Greenfield (Massachusetts) Gazette and Courier_, once additional southern states began to follow South Carolina's lead.
The _Detroit Free Press_ declared on 19 February 1861, that "an attempt to subjugate the seceded states, even if successful, could produce nothing but evil -- evil unmitigated in character and appalling in extent."
The _New York Daily Tribune_ argued once again that "the great principle embodied by Jefferson in the Declaration . . .Is that governments derive their just power from the consent of the governed." Therefore, if the southern states want to secede, "they have a clear right to do so."
On March 21, 1861, the _New York Times_ intoned "that there is a growing sentiment throughout the North in favor of letting the Gulf States go."
"The people are recognizing the government of the Confederates," the _Cincinnati Daily Commercial_ wrote on 23 March 1861, and "there is room for several flourishing nations on this continent; the sun will shine brightly and the rivers run as clear . . .when we acknowledge the Southern Confederacy as before."
"Public opinion in the North," said the _Hartford (Connecticut) Daily Courant_ on 12 April 1861, "seems to be gradually settling down in favor of the recognition of the New Confederacy by the Federal Government." The thought of a "bloody and protracted civil war . . .Is abhorrent to all." (Howard Cecil Perkins, _Northern Editorials on Secession_ (Gloucester, AHA, 1964)
"He who will not reason, is a bigot;
he who cannot, is a fool;
and he who dares not, is a slave."
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