Tuesday, February 27, 2018

"The River of Blood" Battlefield

In the Trump National Golf Club in Virginia, Donald Trump added  a flagpole along the river complete with a plaque commemorating the "River of Blood," The club, now known as Trump National Golf Course, is located at 20391 Lowes Island Blvd., Potomac Falls, Virginia. On the course is a plaque in honor of a Civil War battle. The plaque reads as follows:
Many great American soldiers, both of the North and South, died at this spot, “The Rapids”, on the Potomac River. The casualties were so great that the water would turn red and thus became known as “The River of Blood.” 
It is my great honor to have preserved this important portion of the Potomac River!  – Donald John Trump.

"The River of Blood"
The first thing that you notice about the plaque is the battle that "occurred" here is not specified. Next the date of battle is not mentioned. Most Civil War monuments contain a description of the engagement including officers and units involved.  This should raise some concern about its authenticity.  The title "The River of Blood" suggests a large engagement with many casualties. The closest battlefield is northwest of the golf course at Ball's Bluff.

Battle of Ball's Bluff

The Battle of Ball's Bluff took place on October 21, 1861. It is known as the engagement where Edward Dickerson was killed. Baker was a colonel in the Union Army, a US Senator from Oregon, and close friend of President Lincoln. Colonel Baker's force consisted of 1,720 men. Opposing Baker was Nathan G. Evans's 1,709 Confederates. The battle resulted in 921-1,002 Union casualties and the Confederate losses were only 155 (36 killed, 117 wounded, and 2 captured. The Union lost 223 killed, 226 wounded, and 533 captured. Baker was in command of the Third Brigade composed of four infantry regiments from California. Colonel Evans led the Seventh Brigade composed of three Mississippi regiments and one Virginia regiment.

After the battle many Federals, including some of the wounded, were drowned. Bodies floated downriver to Washington and even as far as Mt. Vernon in the days following the battle. These bodies might have turned the river red.

The Historical Record

Unfortunately, according to local historians there was no battle at this site or within eleven miles of the plaque. Actually, the distance between Leesburg (near the Ball's Bluff battlefield site) and Potomac Falls (near the Trump National Golf Club) is 11.6 miles.

In a phone interview with The New York Times, Mr. Trump described himself  as "a big history fan." Reporters from the Times told Trump that many local historians said there was no Civil War battle within 11 miles of the plaque. 

Trump countered with, "That was a prime site for river crossings." "So, if people are crossing the river, and you happen to be in a civil war, I would say that people were shot - a lot of them."
People crossed there, so surely, if there was a war, people were shot while crossing. It just makes sense.

Then Mr. Trump questioned the authority of local historians who called his plaque "a fiction."  Mr. Trump asked "How would they know that?" "Were they there?"

Mr. Trump challenged the historians with claims that "numerous historians" had told him that the golf club site was known as the "River of Blood." Regrettably, he said he did not remember their names. Then he said he had not spoken with the historians but "my people"  had talked to them. He refused to identify any of his people who might remember the historians' names.

The plaque and Mr. Trump's responses to The New York Times demonstrate a complete lack of scholarship. He does not name the battle, state the date, describe the combatants and their officers, and fails to identify his "numerous historians."

Neither the Civil War Trust or National Park Service websites mentions the supposed battlefield.  

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Why Virginia Seceded

After P. G. T. Beauregard's Confederate forces captured Fort Sumter, President Lincoln called for 75,000 troops to put down the rebellion. For Robert E. Lee, there was little choice. In his resignation letter to General Winfield Scott, Lee wrote: "Save in defense of my native state. I never desire again to draw my sword."
Virginia's Articles 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 the 17th day of April, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-one, and in the eighty-fifth year of the Commonwealth of Virginia. 
JNO. L. EUBANK, Secretary of Convention
This Secession Ordinance is brief and to the point. It mentions both states' rights and slavery. Slavery is the cause and rights defines Virginia's "legal" ability to secede.

Ordinance of Secession
Date of Secession
South Carolina
2/1/1861 2/23/1861 
4/17/1861 5/23/1861
5/7/1861 6/8/1861
North Carolina

After reviewing the secession documents for each state, the term slave appears 87 times compared with rights that appears 20. It is also interesting that those states that seceded prior to the attack on Fort Sumter, the term slaves appears 86 times compared with the term rights that appears 13 times. Therefore, by their own words the seceding states cited threats to slavery as the reason they left the Union.

Comments on Secession

"If the Cotton States wish to form an independent nation, they have a clear moral right to do so." --- Horace Greeley, New York Tribune, February 23, 1861

"Politically, the Southern leaders have for a long time formed their association with the least intelligent, the least advanced classes in the Free states, and these Southern leaders are those our Catholic population have followed with the most alacrity. This fact proves, on the one hand, that the South represents the lowest order of civilization in the Country, and that Catholics are more easily engaged in supporting it than in supporting the superior civilization represented by the Northern sates." --- Orestes A. Brownson, "Catholic Schools and Education," Brownson's Quarterly Review, January, 1862

"Secession is nothing but revolution." --- Robert E. Lee quoted by Lloyd Lewis in Sherman, Fighting Prophet, 1932

"But I can anticipate no greater calamity for the country than a dissolution of the Union. It would be an accumulation of all the evils we complain of, and I am willing to sacrifice everything but honor for its preservation." --- Robert E. Lee letter to his son Custis, January 23, 1861 

"I must say that I am one of those dull creatures that cannot see the good of secession." --- Robert E. Lee quoted by CS colonel John S. Mosby in The Memoirs of Colonel John S. Mosby, 1917 

"The recognition of such a doctrine [of session] is fatal to the existence of any government of the Union: it is death --- its is national suicide."

"I see in the permanent overthrow of the Union, the utter ruin of the South and the complete prostration of all their interests." --- Robert J. Walker, Former US Senator from Mississippi in speech at the Union Meeting in Union Square, New York City, April 20, 1861

"The South had $2,000,000,000 invested in Slaves. It was very natural that they should desire to protect, and not lose this amount of property. Their action in this effort, resulted in War" --- Sterling Cockrill, Alabama Planter, in letter to President Andrew Johnson, September 18, 1865

"Secession is to be justified upon the basis that the States are sovereign." --- Jefferson Davis in resignation speech, January 21, 1861

"But not to be tedious in enumerating the numerous changes for the better, allow me to allude to one other -- though last, not least. The new constitution has put at rest,forever, all the agitating questions relating to our peculiar institution -- African slavery as it exists amongst us -- the proper status of the negro in our form of civilization. This was the immediate cause of the late rupture and present revolution." --- Alexander Stephens in Cornerstone Speech,  Savannah; Georgia, March 21, 1861

(Source: John D. Wright, The Oxford Dictionary of Civil War Quotations ___________________________________________________

Other Opinions of the Cause of the Civil War

Causes of the Civil War | HistoryNet - www.historynet.com/causes-of-the-civil-war

Causes Of The Civil War | History Detectives | PBS -

Civil War Facts | Civil War Trust - https://www.civilwar.org/learn/articles/civil-war-facts

Causes of the Civil War a North Georgia Perspective - 

Causes The Civil War culminated 80 years of sectional tension - 

Causes of the Civil War - Civil War Journeys - 
Causes of the Civil War - A Southern Perspective

What Caused the Civil War | Pew Research


Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Why Texas Seceded?

Slavery in Texas began long before it was a Republic and State. In 1825, there were 443 slaves in Texas. That number ballooned to 5,000 in 1836. The slave population kept growing to reach 11, 323 in 1840, 58,161 in 1850, and 182,566 in 1860.

In 1860 almost twenty-five percent of all white families in Texas owned at least one slave. Texas ranked tenth in total slave population and ninth on plantations along the Gulf Coast and in the East Texas river valleys, where they cultivated cotton, corn, and some sugar. Fifty percent of the slaves worked either alone or in groups of fewer than twenty on small farms ranging from the Nueces to the Red River, and from the Louisiana border to the edge of the western settlements of San Antonio, Austin, Waco, and Fort Worth.
Although most slaves lived in rural areas, more than 1,000 were in Galveston and Houston by 1860, with several hundred in other large towns. Unlike in most southern cities, the number of urban slaves in Texas grew throughout the 1850s. Most worked as house servants or on farms on the edges of towns, but others served as cooks and waiters in hotels, as teamsters or boatmen, or as coachmen and skilled artisans, such as blacksmiths, carpenters, and barbers.
Many communities adopted laws forbidding slaves from having liquor or weapons, from selling agricultural products, hiring their own time, or being hired by free blacks. In rural areas, counties often set up patrols to enforce restrictions on slaves' traveling without passes from planter owners. Urban slaves often had greater freedoms and opportunity. Unlike most southern states, Texas did not explicitly ban education of slaves, but most slave owners did not allow the practice. In 1865, 95% of the slaves were illiterate.
In 1860, mass hysteria ensued after a series of fires erupted throughout the state. Planters had hundreds of slaves arrested and questioned forcefully. Several confessed to a plot by white abolitionists to avenge John Brown's execution by burning food supplies and poisoning slaveowners. Up to 80 slaves and 37 whites may have been executed because of the supposed plot.
In this blog entry, I examine the reasons Texas seceded. The mentions of states' rights and slavery are highlighted.
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, 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 States to promote her welfare, insure domestic tranquility [sic] 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 [sic] 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 pretences [sic] 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 slave-holding 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 refused reimbursement therefor [sic], thus rendering our condition more insecure and harassing [sic] 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 [of] 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 of the federal constitution, and laws passed in pursuance thereof; thereby annulling a material provision of the compact, designed by its framers to perpetuate amity between the members of the confederacy and to secure the rights of the slave-holdings 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 the unnatural feeling of hostility to these Southern States and their beneficent and patriarchal system of African slavery, proclaiming the debasing doctrine of the 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 the Divine Law. They demand the abolition of negro [sic] slavery throughout the confederacy, the recognition of political equality between the white and the 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 offences, 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 [sic] 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; 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 the 2nd day of Feby [February], in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-one and of the independence of Texas the twenty-fifth.
The document contains twenty-two references to slavery compared to four for states' rights. The Texas and South Carolina articles are the most extensive declarations of causes and both reveal that slavery was the major reason.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Why South Carolina Seceded

In last week's blog, I presented quotes from Abraham Lincoln and Alexander Stephens about causes of the Civil War. In this post, I examine the Articles of Secession or Causes of Secession for South Carolina. The phrases associated with states' rights are highlighted. The phrases associated with slavery are highlighted.

Declaration of the Immediate Causes Which Induce and Justify the Secession of South Carolina from the Federal Union 

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 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 24, 1860  
The article mentions the term "states' rights" or its equivalent five times.  In most cases, the phrase was used to justify/explain South Carolina's right to secede. There are nineteen references to "slavery" or its equivalent as the reason why the state wanted to secede.

In the next blog, I will examine the articles or causes of secession in Texas. 

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Slavery or States' Rights

The debate continues on the causes of the Civil War. The Lincoln Administration wanted to save the Union. 
My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that. 
 However, Lincoln opposed slavery and its extension to the Western territories.

The Confederacy struggles with several issues: Did the Southern States secede to maintain and extend slavery, because their states' rights were ignored by the North, and/or because the North raised an army to attack the South after Fort Sumter. 

Alexander Stephens, the vice president of the Confederacy, said in his cornerstone speech that "disagreements over the enslavement of Africans" was the "immediate cause" of secession.

The new [Confederate] Constitution has put at rest forever all the agitating questions relating to our peculiar institutions — African slavery as it exists among us—the proper status of the negro in our form of civilization. This was the immediate cause of the late rupture and present revolution. Jefferson, in his forecast, had anticipated this, as the "rock upon which the old Union would split." He was right. What was conjecture with him, is now a realized fact. But whether he fully comprehended the great truth upon which that rock stood and stands, may be doubted. The prevailing ideas entertained by him and most of the leading statesmen at the time of the formation of the old Constitution were, that the enslavement of the African was in violation of the laws of nature; that it was wrong in principle, socially, morally and politically. It was an evil they knew not well how to deal with; but the general opinion of the men of that day was, that, somehow or other, in the order of Providence, the institution would be evanescent and pass away... Those ideas, however, were fundamentally wrong. They rested upon the assumption of the equality of races. This was an error. It was a sandy foundation, and the idea of a Government built upon it—when the "storm came and the wind blew, it fell.
The question about states' rights being the cause should ask, "What state right were the Southern States trying to protect?" The obvious answer is the preservation of slavery in their state.

In the next blog, I will examine the articles or causes of secession in three states: South Carolina, Texas, and Virginia.