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 SECESSION ORDINANCE.
AN ORDINANCE TO REPEAL THE RATIFICATION OF THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA BY THE STATE OF VIRGINIA, AND TO RESUME ALL THE RIGHTS AND POWERS GRANTED UNDER SAID CONSTITUTION.
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and all acts of the General Assembly of this State, ratifying or adopting amendments to said Constitution, are hereby repealed and abrogated; that the Union between the State of Virginia and the other States under the Constitution aforesaid, is hereby dissolved, and that the State of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.
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Ordinance of Secession
State
Date of Secession
Slaves
Rights
South Carolina
12/20/1860
19
5
Mississippi
1/9/1861
7
1
Florida
1/10/1861
0
0
Alabama
1/11/1861
1
1
Georgia
1/19/1861
35
2
Louisiana
1/26/1861
2
0
Texas
2/1/1861 2/23/1861 
22
4
Virginia
4/17/1861 5/23/1861
1
1
Arkansas
5/6/1861
0
3
Tennessee
5/7/1861 6/8/1861
0
2
North Carolina
5/20/1861
0
1
87
20

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.
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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 -
www.pbs.org/opb/historydetectives/feature/causes-of-the-civil-war/

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

Causes of the Civil War a North Georgia Perspective - 
www.aboutnorthgeorgia.com/ang/Causes_of_the_Civil_War

Causes The Civil War culminated 80 years of sectional tension - 
https://www.nps.gov/civilwar/causes.htm

Causes of the Civil War - Civil War Journeys - 
www.civil-war-journeys.org/causes_of_the_civil_war.htm
Causes of the Civil War - A Southern Perspective
blueandgraytrail.com/features/southerncauses.html

What Caused the Civil War | Pew Research
www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2011/05/18/what-caused-the-civil-war/

www.pbs.org/opb/historydetectives/feature/causes-of-the-civil-war

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