Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Lesser-Known Historical excerpts Relevant To The War For Southern Independence

From The CSA Partisan:

Lesser Known Historical Excerpts Relevant to The War for Southern Independence

(a.k.a. The American Civil War)

Eric Patterson

Below are but a few excerpts from history that reveal that the war between the United States of America and the Confederate States of America was not a battle of good versus evil, or even a true civil war. The South did not intend to take control of the United States government, but to peacefully form their own sovereign nation. The facts reveal the shallow, one-sided, sound-bite "history" and stereotypes of the Antebellum South, the Confederacy, and the War that most of us have been taught. It was, in fact, a war between two nations, the South having declared her independence from the North just as the thirteen American Colonies had done from England, and Texas did from Mexico. The right of a State to secede from the Union had been widely assumed, though untested, in both the North and South, from the time the Constitution was written and ratified, until South Carolina took that bold step on December 20, 1860.

We must look into history to find the true roots of that tragic War. Care must be taken to draw a distinction between the causes of the secession of the Southern States, and the reasons why war broke out between the North and South. History reveals the likelihood of a great conflict between the North and South – two distinct peoples and cultures. Many of the differences between the North and South coalesced in the issues of sectional political struggles for power in Congress, Federal encroachment on the rights reserved and retained by the States, differing regional economic interests, regional cultural differences, the moral dilemma of slavery, and the regional effects of federal tariffs. It all came to a head as political power shifted in Congress and then in the Presidency. The South, feeling her back was against the wall, declared herself to be an independent nation, just as the Founding Fathers had done as they broke away from England, and the Texans had done when they broke away from Mexico.

Unfortunately, the topic of slavery has served as a red herring to distract from the fundamental reasons for the conflict between the North and South that led to secession and war. Slavery, in and of itself, was not the reason for secession nor the cause of the War for Southern Independence. Though a major point of contention, slavery was but one of the differentiating factors between the agrarian economy and culture of the South, and the increasingly industrial economy and culture of the North. The citizens of the northern States were not willing to fight and die to end slavery, nor did they do so. Historically and constitutionally each State had widely and historically acknowledged sole jurisdiction within its own borders over slavery and other issues reserved by them as guaranteed by the Ninth and Tenth Amendments to the Constitution. While slavery was legal in the Confederate States of America for 4 years (1861-1865), slavery was legal in the United States of America for 89 years (1776-1865). In historical context, until their freedom was codified in the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution, slaves were legally held to be little more than property and did not enjoy the status of citizen, whether North or South. But as economist, professor, author, and columnist Walter E. Williams wrote in his article What Led to the Civil War?, "the only good coming from the War Between the States was the abolition of slavery."

Yet, does the existence, practice and acceptance of slavery in 1776 America nullify the honor and valor associated with the spilling of Patriot blood in the struggle for independence from our mother country? Likewise, does the existence, practice and acceptance of slavery in 1830's Texas strip the honor and valor from those Texans who died at Goliad and at the Alamo as they fought for independence from Mexico? Did the words and sentiments expressed in the Declaration of Independence no longer apply to people in the several States of the United States once the Constitution was ratified? Are these struggles for independence any less legitimate because political unions were torn apart? Nor should the South be judged any differently for its own struggle for independence in 1861-65.

Note: I am gradually integrating the source references into this document using the initials of the author's name to point to their work.

According to the Declaration of Independence, political unions are not sacrosanct. Truly precious is liberty and government instituted by the people that remains under the consent of the people.

"When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them, a decent respect of the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation... That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to altar or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness" (The Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776).

"The Declaration was the outcome of prolonged discussion, and of hopelessness in resisting arbitrary measures, while in union with the mother country. When no other course was compatible with self-respect, the pressure of liberty compelled the tearing asunder of the ties of allegiance and union, and Virginia and Massachusetts went hand in hand in leading the rupture" (JLMC p. 33).

The members of the Second Continental Congress were not members of a governing body, but were delegates and ambassadors sent by governors and legislatures of the thirteen States, independent States that tenaciously asserted and guarded their respective sovereignty (WEW p. 232; JLMC p. 64-65, 68-82).

John Adams, Massachusetts delegate to the Second Continental Congress, wrote to his wife of the stark differences between the two peoples of the Northern and Southern colonies, and that the proposed union could not be held together "without the utmost caution on both sides" (JRK p. 24).

The sovereignty of each of the individual thirteen States was recognized by King George III after the "Articles of the proposed Treaty" of peace were signed between England and "Commissioners of the United States of America" in Paris on November 30, 1782. As stipulated by Benjamin Franklin in the preamble of the treaty with England, and in cooperation with France, formal independence from and peace with England for each of the thirteen individually recognized States was finalized as peace was made between France and England. This definitive "Treaty of Peace" between England and "the United States of America" was signed on September 3, 1783. The entire transaction for peace was referred to as the "Peace of Paris" (WEW p. 212-13; SEM p. 266-67). Article I of both documents contain these words:

"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"

Given their history of inter-colonial rivalries, many observers doubted that any compact between the newly independent thirteen States would last. "Josiah Tucker, dean of Gloucester, who was one of the leading economic and political authorities of Great Britain, said, 'The mutual antipathies and clashing interests of the Americans... their difference of governments, habitudes, and manners, indicate that they will have no centre of union and no common interest. They never can be united into one compact empire under any species of government whatever'" (WEW p. 213).

Alexander Hamilton, a staunch Federalist strongly opposed to democracy, and even a republican form of government, lobbied during the Constitutional Convention of 1787 for a government patterned after the European monarchies. He proposed that the government of the United States consist of a president and senate who were to be elected by electors, with the members of the senate serving for life, and a lower house consisting of persons elected by popular vote for a three year term. He also proposed that the governors of the States be appointed by the federal administration and that the president or congress have veto power over the State legislatures (WEW p. 234-35, 294). In summary, the Hamiltonians, or Federalists, distrusted the individual State governments' for judicious self-government, and argued for a strong central government with a corresponding decrease of States' rights (WEW p. 267; SEM p. 328-29; MLD p. 62-63, 69-70).

Thomas Jefferson, a Democratic-Republican and staunch advocate of democracy, and believing that the Union was a group of sovereign States that had carefully delegated specific powers to an administrative agent, stated his view of States' rights within the Union as follows, "My plan would be to make the states one as to everything connected with foreign nations, and several as to everything purely domestic" (WEW p. 294). In summary, the Jeffersonians, or Antifederalists, considered the United States as a league of sovereign States that had delegated a few of the States' inherent and inalienable powers to a federal authority, that Government was regulating force imposed upon the people from without, and that there should be as little of it as possible (WEW p. 267; SEM p. 328-29).

The Antifederalists of the Pennsylvania delegation to the Constitutional Convention opposed ratification saying that "the powers vested in Congress by this constitution, must necessarily annihilate and absorb the legislative, executive, and judicial powers of the several States" resulting in "iron-handed despotism" of the central government (MLD p. 123).

During the ratification process of the proposed constitution, George Mason, in a letter to the Virginia Ratification Convention dated June 4, 1788, warned of the inevitable tension in the union of States of "so extensive a country, embracing so many climates, and containing inhabitants so very different in manners, habits, and customs" under a National Government (JRK p. 24; PBK ch. 8, doc. 37).

The June 26, 1788 Virginia Act of Ratification of the United States Constitution contained clarifying language stating that the people of Virginia reserved the right to recall the powers they delegated to the newly formed federal government if "the same shall be perverted to their injury or oppression, and that every power not granted thereby remains with them and at their will" (JRK p. 189; GLD p. 65).

Prior to ratifying the U.S. Constitution, the States of New York and Rhode Island reserved the right to recall the powers they were delegating to the new federal government by stating that "the powers of government may be reassumed by the people whenever it shall become necessary to their happiness" (GLD p. 65-66).

Dissenting States would not ratify the Constitution without the assurance that a Bill of Rights to the Constitution, declaring the privileges inviolably retained by the people of the States and limiting the reach of the Federal government, would be put through in the first session of the new Congress (WEW p. 247; MLD p. 58).

The Federalist position argued against a bill of rights in the new Constitution, stating that it was "unnecessary" since sufficient restraint upon the government already exists within the body of the Constitution, being understood by the prominent phrase "WE THE PEOPLE" and inherited respect for British common-law. They also surmised that a specific list of rights would provide a rationale for the national government to violate other rights not listed. The Federalist were especially opposed to a declaration of rights which exclusively placed limits on the national government, while not similarly addressing the State governments (Alexander Hamilton, Federalist Papers, Number 84; MLD p. 58-60).

As typified in New York State's ratification document, the Antifederalist position argued that a bill of rights was a "legal weapon to keep the national government within its specified sphere of constitutional trust... in the event of a constitutional contest between [a State] and the national government" (MLD p. 61). This document reads in part,

"That the sovereignty, freedom, and independency of the several states shall be retained, and every power, jurisdiction, and right which is not by this constitution expressly delegated to the United States in Congress assembled."

Raphael Semmes in his 1869 work, Memoirs of Service Afloat, writes of the nevousness of the States toward the proposed new government in relation to the retained powers of the States (JRK p. 206).

Prior to ratifying the new constitution, the State of Massachusetts insisted "that it be explicitly declared, that all powers not delegated by the aforesaid Constitution are reserved to the several States, to be by them exercised."

Pennsylvania likewise insisted that the new constitution be amended to include language guaranteeing that "All the rights of sovereignty which are not, by the said Constitution, expressly and plainly vested in the Congress, shall be deemed to remain with, and shall be exercised by the several states in the Union."

The Ninth and Tenth Amendments to the Constitution addressed the basic Antifederalist distrust of a central government to not usurp the reserved rights of the States (MLD p. 5; JRK p. 206).

James Madison, "the father of the Constitution", expressed his view of the proposed new government and the sovereign status of the States as they ratified the new constitution when he stated,

"In order to ascertain the real character of the government, it may be considered in relation to the foundation on which it is to be established; to the sources from which its ordinary powers are to be drawn; to the operation of those powers; to the extent of them; and to the authority by which future changes in the government are to be introduced.

On examining the first relation, it appears, on one hand, that the Constitution is to be founded on the assent and ratification of the people of America, given by deputies elected for the special purpose; but, on the other, that this assent and ratification is to be given by the people, not as individuals composing one entire nation, but as composing the distinct and independent States to which they respectively belong. It is to be the assent and ratification of the several States, derived from the supreme authority in each State, the authority of the people themselves. The act, therefore, establishing the Constitution, will not be a NATIONAL, but a FEDERAL act.

That it will be a federal and not a national act, as these terms are understood by the objectors; the act of the people, as forming so many independent States, not as forming one aggregate nation... Each State, in ratifying the Constitution, is considered as a sovereign body, independent of all others, and only to be bound by its voluntary act" (James Madison, Federalist Papers, Number 39).

According to author Lorenzo Johnson Green, in his 1966 book The Negro in Colonial New England 1620-1776, John Adams insisted that the abolition of slavery in Massachusetts was due to the protest of competing white laborers rather than for ethical or moral reasons.

"Argument might have some weight in the abolition of slavery in Massachusetts, but the real cause was the multiplication of labouring white people, who would no longer suffer the rich to employ these sable rivals so much to their injury. The common people would not suffer the labor, by which alone they could obtain a subsistence, to be done by slaves. If the gentlemen had been permitted by law to hold slaves, the common white people would have put the slaves to death, and their masters too perhaps" (JRK p. 84).

In 1798, the legislatures of Kentucky, inspired by Thomas Jefferson, and Virginia, inspired by James Madison, asserting their belief that they had the sovereign right to nullify any illegal or harmful acts of the Federal government, declared that both the Alien and Sedition Acts, passed by the Federalist controlled Congress, were unconstitutional and would not be enforced in their States (WEW p. 289; SEM p. 354; JRK p. 164-65; MLD p. 22).

It was widely proposed by New England Federalists that the New England States secede from the Union should Jefferson be elected president in the election of 1800. The Federalist newspaper, the Columbian Centinel, warned, "Tremble then in case of Jefferson's election, all ye holders of public funds, for your ruin is at hand." Federalist John Adams, having lost his reelection bid, was so disgusted at the outcome of the election, he refused to welcome Jefferson or attend his inauguration (WEW p. 290, 292).

In 1804, New Jersey adopted a mode of gradual emancipation of slaves that was to take effect in 1827. Slaves born before 1804 were to remain slaves for life. These remaining slaves were referred to as "colored apprentices for life." Children of slaves born after July 4, 1804 were "free," but had to remain as servants of their masters. Females had to labor in this way until age 21, and males until age 25. The 1860 United States census still enumerated 18 slaves in New Jersey (JRK p. 75; GKW).

American slave ships flew the Stars and Stripes (not the flags of the Confederate States of America).

New England Federalists, already enraged over the Louisiana Purchase, feared that their influence in the affairs of government would be further diminished as western and southern territories applied for admission into the Union (WEW p. 308, 333). During debate in Congress on Jan. 14, 1811 over the admission of Louisiana as a state, Josiah Quincy of Massachusetts declared, "If this bill passes, it is my deliberate opinion that it is virtually a dissolution of the Union; that it will free the States from their moral obligation; and as it will be the right of all, so it will be duty of some, definitely to prepare for a separation–amicably if they can, violently if they must" (WEW p. 331; GLD p. 28).

American shipowners and merchants, especially in New England, were very much against United States participation in the War of 1812. New England Federalists organized political and economic opposition to the United States war effort. New England merchants and privateers carried on illicit and profitable commerce with British merchant ships and conducted business with the British army in Canada in defiance if the United States embargo against trade with England (GLD p. 33; WEW p. 329-33; MLD p. 8). A few of the more outspoken members of the Federalist party even advocated a separate peace between New England and Great Britain (GLD p. 32). The governors of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut, exercised their sovereign States' rights by refusing President Madison's call for their State militias to aid in the war effort against the British (WEW p. 327).

New England newspapers boldly advocated secession during the War of 1812, arguing that "the Federal constitution is nothing more than a treaty between independent sovereignties... and that any state had a right to withdraw" (WEW p. 333).

The January 13, 1813 edition of the Boston Centinal editorialized approvingly on secession as the imminent remedy for New England's perceived inadequate voice in the governing of the United States by stating, "The sentiment is hourly extending, and, in these northern states, will soon be universal, that we are in no better condition with respect to the south, than that of a conquered people... We must be no longer deafened by senseless clamours about a separation of the states... Should the present administration, with their adherents in the southern states, still persist in the prosecution of this wicked and ruinous war–in unconstitutionally creating new states in the mud of Louisiana (the inhabitants of which country are as ignorant of republicanism as the alligators of the swamps) and in opposition to the commercial rights and privileges of New England, much as we deprecate a separation of the union, we deem it an evil much less to be dreaded that a co-operation with them in these nefarious projects" (GLD p. 30-31).

On February, 14 1814, with the United States still at war with England, both houses of the Massachusetts State Legislature passed a resolution that read, "The question of New England's withdrawal from the Union is not a question of power or of right to separate, but only a question of time and expediency." On October 8, 1814, a committee of the Massachusetts legislature called for a December 15th convention of New England States in Hartford, Connecticut for the purpose of considering the secession of the Eastern States from the Union and the creation of a New England confederacy (SEM p. 383; WEW p. 331-33).

The September 10, 1814 edition of the Boston Centinel opined, "... the Union of the Northern and Southern States is not essential to the safety, and very much opposed to the interests, of both sections. The extent of territory is too large to be harmoniously governed by the same representative body... The commercial and non-commercial states have views and interests so different, that I conceive it to be impossible that they ever can be satisfied with the same laws... each section will be better satisfied to govern itself: and each is large and populous enough for its own protection..." (GLD p. 31).

The December 15, 1814 edition of the Boston Centinel opined on "a commercial treaty with England, which shall provide for the admission [into the New England republic] of such states as may wish to come into it, and which shall prohibit England from making a treaty with the South and West, our commerce will be secured to us, our standing in the nation raised to its proper level; and New England's feelings will no longer be sported with or her interests violated" (GLD p. 32; GE p. 112).

The Missouri Compromise of 1820, limiting slavery to South of the 36°30' parallel, while couched in terms of slavery, was really a political compromise over a balance of Congressional power between the industrial North and agrarian South. It was not concerned with the plight of slaves. Balance was maintained with the new free State of Maine offsetting the new slave State of Missouri. This debate served to reinforce the sectional consciousness between North and South (WEW p. 352-53).

Thomas Jefferson, now in private life, was greatly alarmed by the Missouri Compromise. He considered it ill-conceived and suicidal to the Union.

In a letter to Mark Langhorn Hill, U.S. Representative from Massachusetts, on April 5, 1820 he wrote, "I congratulate you on the sleep of the Missouri question–I wish I could say on its death; but of this I dispair! The idea of a geographical line once suggested, will brood in the minds of all those who prefer the gratification of their ungovernable passions to the peace and Union of the country!" (SDC p. 46).

On April 22, 1820 Jefferson wrote to John Holmes, U.S. Representative from Maine, that this compromise "like a fire bell in the night, awakened, and filled me with terror. I considered it at once the [death] knell of the union! It is hushed, indeed, for the moment, but this is a reprieve only, not a final sentence. A geographical line, coinciding with a marked principle moral and political, once conceived and held up to the angry passions of men will never be obliterated, and every irritation will make it deeper and deeper! I can say with conscious truth that there is not a man in earth who would sacrifice more than I would, to relieve us from this heavy reproach [of slavery] in any practical way. The cession of that kind of property, for so it is misnamed, is a bagatelle, which would not cost me a second thought. A general emancipation and expatriation could be effected, and gradually, and with due sacrifices, I think it might be. But, as it is, we have the wolf by the ears, and we can neither hold him nor safely let him go! Justice is in the one scale and self preservation in the other..." (SDC p. 46).

Thomas Jefferson saw a scheme of defeated Federalists behind the Missouri Compromise, using it as a means back into power. He asserted that they were attempting to fan the flames of passion over slavery and capitalize on the deepening North-South geographical consciousness that the Compromise fueled in order to win back the Presidency.

On September 20, 1820 he wrote to William Pinckney, Senator from Maryland: "the Missouri question is a mere party trick. The leaders of Federalism, defeated in the schemes of obtaining power, by rallying partizans to the principle of monarchism–a principle of personal, not if local division, have changed their tack... They are taking advantage of the virtuous people, to affect a division of parties, by a geographical line. They expect that this will insure them on local principles, the majority they could never obtain on principles of federalism; but they are still putting their shoulder to the wrong wheel–they are wasting jeremaids(sic) on the evils of slavery, as if we were advocates for it" (SDC p. 46).

On December 29, 1820 Jefferson wrote to General Lafayette: "The boisterous sea of liberty, indeed, is never without a wave, and that from Missouri is now rolling toward us, but we shall ride over it as we have all others. It is not a moral question, but one merely of power. It's object is to raise a geographical principle for the choice of a President, and the noise will be kept up till that is effected" (SDC p. 47).

On August 17, 1821 Jefferson wrote to General Henry Dearborn: "I rejoice with you that the State of Missouri is at length a member of our Union. Whether the question it excited is dead, or only sleepeth, I do not know. I see only that it has given resurrection to the Hartford Convention men. They have had the address by playing on the honest feelings of our former friends to seduce them from their kindred spirits, and to borrow their weight into the Federal scale. Desperate of regaining power under political distinctions they have adroitly wriggled into its seat again in the ascendency, from which their sins have hurled them" (SDC p. 47).

The famous Senate debate between Daniel Webster and Robert Y. Hayne in January of 1830 epitomized the continuing Federalist vs. Antifederalist, or nationalistic vs. States' rights, battle of interpreting the Constitutional authority of the Federal government. Hayne, speaking first, emphasized the understanding that the citizens who gathered to create a federal government were representing the interests of the citizens of their respective States. In rebuttal, Webster minimized the fact that these founding citizen's first concern was to the welfare of their own State and, instead, emphasized their coming together en masse. By de-emphasizing the State as a political entity, Webster attempted to minimize the relationship between a State and its citizens and sought to build up the importance of the Federal government over that of the States. While the issue was still not resolved, the nationalists inched their way forward while the States' rights advocates seemed to lose some influence, thus placing the South even more on the defensive (WEW p. 389-92).

The industrial North, no longer needing such labor, was still in the process of weaning itself of slavery before the War. Abolitionists insisted that the South do so overnight, even though it was still a more integral and vital part of the Southern economy. In January of 1831 the famous Boston abolitionist, William Lloyd Garrison, urged immediate emancipation of slaves with no compensation to the slave owners. Failing this, he advocated secession by the Northern States from the Union. Labor union leaders sought his attention regarding the slavery-like conditions of Massachusetts cotton mill workers who worked much longer hours that did slaves, and whose meager pay kept them in living conditions worse than those of slaves. Garrison, bitterly opposed to labor unions, was not interested. In the first issue of his newspaper the Liberator Garrison lashed out against union organizers for trying to "inflame the minds of our working classes against the more opulent and to persuade them that they are contemned and oppressed by a wealthy aristocracy" (WEW p. 414-15).

Unlike most leading politicians of the day, some abolitionists were unwilling to compromise on the issue of slavery to the point of disolving the Union. Abolitionist Garrison proclaimed, "This Union is a lie! The American Union is an imposition–a covenant with death, and an agreement with hell!... I am for its overthrow!... Up with the flag of disunion, that we may have a free and glorious Republic of our own; and when the hour shall come, the hour will have arrived that shall witness the overthrow of slavery" (SDC p. 100).

In 1832 South Carolina exercised the belief in States' rights by passing an Ordinance of Nullification in response to the new federal tariff law of 1832. The federal tariff law of 1832 was declared "null, void and no law, not binding upon this state, its officers or citizens." It was further stated that should the Federal government attempt to enforce the tariff act, the people of South Carolina would be absolved from their political connection to the United States. President Jackson threatened to send in troops to force South Carolina to collect the new tariff. Jackson finally backed a compromise tariff, while South Carolina wasn't able to muster support from other Southern States. In an 1833 retrospective statement to a friend, Jackson accused South Carolina of trying to form a Southern Confederacy (WEW p. 393-94).

On January 20, 1848 Illinois Congressman Abraham Lincoln affirmed the spirit of the Declaration of Independence during a portion of a speech to Congress.

"Any people anywhere, being inclined and having the power, have the right to rise up and shake off the existing government, and form a new one that suits them better. This is a most valuable, a most sacred right – a right which we hope and believe is to liberate the world. Nor is this a right confined to cases in which the whole people of an existing government may choose to exercise it. Any portion of such people, that can, may revolutionize, and make their own of so much of the territory as they inhabit." Congressional Globe, Volume XIX, page 94 (GLD p. 67; SDC p. 87).

In light of the famous 1850 Congressional oratories of Senators John C. Calhoun, William H. Seward and others over the admission of California into the Union and the slave status of the territories of New Mexico and Utah, it became evident that the famous and unresolved Federalist versus Antifederalist debate over the nature of American federalism that began during the writing and ratification of the United States Constitution was among the core issues of the South's War for Independence. By now, a North-South division within the Congress of the United States had taken place, a division which took place between Northern Rebublicans and Southern Democrats. John C Calhoun argued for Southern self-determination, and contended that the Northern States were using the national government to aggresively move against slavery and Southern commercial prosperity through protectionist policies that favored Northern interests (MLD p. 9). The resulting Compromise of 1850, while seeking to stave off a secessionist movement by Southern States, actually agitated pro-slavery and anti-slavery factions by having the effect of nullifying the Missouri Compromise of 1820 and introducing the explosive Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 (WEW p. 455-59).

In a chain of events that began on March 11, 1854 with the rescue by Sherman M. Booth of fugitive slave, Joshua Glover, from imprisonment under the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, the State of Wisconsin declared this Federal law and a similar one of 1793 to be unconstitutional. In words reminiscent to those of 1798 Kentucky and Virginia over the Alien and Sedition Acts, Wisconsin declared that the assumed authority of the Federal Judiciary in this case and the Fugitive Slave Act to be "void and of no force" within her boundaries. Wisconsin was asserting its States' rights–that is, state sovereignty, one of which was nullification.

Booth was arrested and confined by a Federal Marshal. On May 27, 1854 Judge A. D. Smith of the Wisconsin Supreme Court agreed with Mr. Booth's contention that the Fugitive Act was unconstitutional. The full Wisconsin Supreme Court affirmed Judge Smith's ruling on July 19, 1854. The State court ordered Booth released (SDC p. 74-75).

During a message to the Wisconsin legislature in 1858 Republican Governor Alexander W. Randal denounced the encroachment of the Federal Government upon the reserved rights and sovereignty of the States, as typified in the enforcement of the Federal Fugitive Slave Laws.

"The tendency of the action of the Federal Government has been for many years, aided by the Federal Courts, to centralization, and to an absorption of a large share of the sovereignty of the States. It has trspassed (sic) upon the reserved rights of the States and the people – assuming a jurisdiction over them in their exercise of power undeligated. The Federal Government, so far as there is any sovereignty under our form of Government, is sovereign and independent in the exercise of its delegated powers, and the States are sovereign and independent in the exercise of their reserved powers. The safety of the States in the exercise of these powers, in defense of the lives and properties and liberties of the people, demands a fair, deliberate opposition and resistance to any attempt at usurpation or aggression by the Federal Government, its Courts, its officers, or agents upon the reserved rights of the States or its people" (SDC p. 83).

The United States Supreme Court reversed the Wisconsin Supreme Court on March 7, 1859.

On March 19, 1859 the Republican controled Wisconsin Legislature passed a joint resolution in support of the Wisconsin Supreme Court that stated in part,

"Whereas, The Supreme Court of the United States as assumed appellate jurisdiction, in the matter of the application of Sherman M. Booth, for a writ of habeas corpus...

And Whereas, Such assumption of power and authority by the Supreme Court of the United States to become the final arbitor of the liberty of the citizen, and to override and nullify [the] judgements of the State Courts...

Resolved, the Senate concurring, That we regard the action of the Supreme Court of the United States in assuming jurisdiction in the case before mentioned, as arbitrary act of power unauthorized by the Constitution and virtually superceding the benefit of the writ of habeas corpus, and prostrating the rights and liberties of the people, at the foot of unlimited power.

Resolved, That this userpation of jurisdiction by the Federal Judiciary, in the said case, and without process, is an act of undeligated power, and therefore, without authority, void and of no force.

Resolved, That the Government framed by the Constitution of the United States, was not made the exclusive or final judge of the extent of the powers delegated to itself...

Resolved,... that the General Government is the exclusive judge of the extent of the powers delegated to it, stop nothing short of despotism, since the discretion of those who administer the Government, and not the Constitution, would be the measure of their powers – that the several states which formed that instrument, being sovereign and independent, have the unquestionable right to judge of its infraction, and that a positive defiance of those sovereignties, of all unauthorized acts, done, or attempted to be done, under color of that instrument, is the rightful remedy" (SDC p. 84).

While some in the North decried slavery, Northern industrial demand, Northern and European consumer demand, and Northern financiers kept slavery viable in the South. The English received over 80% of exported American cotton and employed about four hundred thousand workers in their cotton mills (WEW p. 526).

In 1857 New Englanders held a convention at the industrial city of Worcester, Massachusetts to determine whether they should secede from the Southern States in direct response to the lowering of protectionist trade tariffs pushed by Democrats in Congress.

During the fourth Lincoln-Douglas debate on September 18, 1858, in Charleston, Illinois, Abraham Lincoln emphatically stated his view of the role blacks in American society.

"I am not, nor ever have been in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races; that I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters of the free negroes, or jurors, or qualifying them to hold office, or having them marry with white people. I will say in addition that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which, I suppose, will forever forbid the two races living together upon terms of social and political equality; and inasmuch as they cannot so live, that while they do remain together, there must be the position of the superiors and the inferiors; and that I, as much as any other man, am in favor of the superior position assigned to the white man" (WEW p. 500).

Union general William Tecumseh Sherman wrote in 1858, "I would not if I could abolish or modify slavery."

The Republican presidential platform of 1860 advocated no slavery in the territories of the United States, but stressed a noninterference policy regarding slavery in the States where it already existed (WEW p. 505; SEM p. 602).

The election of 1860 "placed Northern interests in control of the national government, their nationalism and the Southern commitment to state sovereignty crystallized" (MLD p. 8). Feeling that the economic, political, and sovereign interests of the States of the South were in danger, a conference of South Carolina state leaders in October of 1860 decided to secede from the Union if Lincoln were elected President (WEW p. 511). To these States, the reserved sovereign right of secession was the only peaceable choice between the two alternatives of submission to a central government that had become the judge of its own authority, or being forced to remain in the Union under coercion by this same central government (MLD p. 52). On December 20, 1860, prior to Lincoln's swearing in, the state convention declared South Carolina to be out of the Union (WEW p. 511).

Along with their position within the Union, the Southern States were turning their backs on what they perceived as the deterioration of American constitutional federalism as originally set in place by the Founding Fathers (MLD p. 1-5). Author Marshall L. DeRosa summarizes the issue.

"But by 1861, the political divisions between North and South regarding constitutional exegesis were so entrenched that the Constitution ceased to be the instrument of a 'more perfect union' and rather served as the vehicle for dissension and separation... Northerners insisted upon a model of federalism consisting of a national community of individuals, with sovereignty being a national phenomenon–that is, nationalism–whereas Southerners adhered to a model consisting of a community of states, with the citizens in their respective states functioning as the repositories of sovereignty and thereby controlling the bulwarks of their social and economic interests–that is, state sovereignty" (MLD p. 8-9).

Robert Barnwell Rhett of South Carolina, on the day of his State's secession from the Union, cited Wisconsin State Supreme Court Judge Smith in the Booth case as precedent for State action in response to wrongs committed by the Federal Government.

"Sir, the North threaten to fight us back into the Union, after we shall have taken our stand for Southern Independence. They now deny the right of a State to judge of its own grievances and to apply its own remedies, notwithstanding for years, many Northern States, Wisconsin in particular, have asserted this right for themselves. I want no better license for our action to-day than the decision of Judge Smith in the Rescue cases of Wisconsin" (SDC p. 85).

On November 26, 1860 Horace Greeley of the New York Tribune wrote, "If the cotton states unitedly and earnestly wish to withdraw peacefully from the Union, we think they should and would be allowed to do so. Any attempt to compel them by force to remain, would be contrary to the principles enunciated in the immortal Declaration of Independence–contrary to the fundamental ideas on which human liberty is based" (SDC p. 86).

In December, 1860 the Chicago Tribune stated, "Not a few of the republican journals of the interior are working themselves up to the belief, which they are endeavoring to impress upon their readers, that the seceded States, be they few or many, will be whipped back in the Union... but the drift of opinion seems to be that, if peaceable secession is possible, the retiring States will be assisted to go, that this needless and bitter controversy may be brought to an end. If the Union is to be dissolved, a bloodless separation is by all means to be coveted. Do not let us make that impossible" (SDC p. 101).

Horace Greeley, expressing the majority of Northern sentiment at the time, stated in the December 17, 1860 New York Tribune, "If the Declaration of Independence justified the secession from the British Empire of 3,000,000 of colonists in 1776, we do not see why it would not justify the secession of 5,000,000 of Southerners from the Federal Union in 1860" (GE p. 164).

In Lincoln's first inaugural address, he said, "I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the states where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so" (PMA p. 215).

Secretary of State William Seward, during a Cabinet meeting in the first month of the Lincoln administration, stated that "[t]he attempt to reinforce Sumter will provoke an attack and involve war. The very preparation for such an expedition will precipitate war at that point. I oppose beginning war at that point. I would advise against the expedition to Charleston. I would at once, at every cost, prepare for war at Pensacola and Texas. I would instruct Major Anderson to retire from Sumter" (GE p. 160).

Lincoln biographer, J. G. Holland, explained in his 1865 work, Life of Lincoln, why Lincoln did not call for armed force to suppress the secession of Southern States before the fall of Fort Sumter.

"Up to the fall of Sumter, Mr. Lincoln had no basis for action in the public feeling. If he had raised an army, that would have been an act of hostility, that would have been coercion. A thousand Northern presses would have pounced down on him as a provoker of war. After the fall of Sumter was the time to act" (GE p. 167).

President Buchanan had declared that he could find no constitutional authority for using force against any State that seceded. However, contrary to the views he held as a Congressman in 1848, President Lincoln declared, in effect, "I have taken an oath to uphold the Constitution, which means, in my opinion, a union of the states. I shall do anything in my power to sustain the Constitution and the union, regardless of the constitutional aspect of what I do" (WEW p. 525).

The great majority of Confederate soldiers owned no slaves. The 1860 United States census revealed that about 25% of white Southern families, or about 6% of the total white Southern population held slaves (WEW p. 529; JRK p. 83, 86).

As recorded in the Congressional Globe, on February 11, 1861 the United States House of Representatives passed a resolution with unanimous Republican support that stated in part, "Resolved, that neither the Federal Government, nor the people, or Governments of non-slave holding States, have a purpose or a Constitutional right to legislate upon, or interfere with slavery in any of the States of the Union" (SDC p. 150).

Commercial interests in the North were greatly disturbed over the secession of the Southern States, fearing great financial harm to Northern shipping from the lower import tariffs at Southern ports. An editorial in the February 19, 1861 Manchester, New Hampshire Union Democrat voiced the common concerns of Northern shipping interests.

"The Southern Confederacy will not employ our ships or buy our goods. What is our shipping without it? Literally nothing. The transportation of cotton and its fabrics employs more ships than all other trade. It is very clear that the South gains by this process, and we lose. No–we MUST NOT let the South go!" (JRK p. 52)

In an attempt to keep Southern States from leaving the Union, a thirteenth amendment to the Constitution, very different from the current one, was whittled out of the Crittenden Compromise by both Republicans and Democrats. It was approved by Congress on February 28, 1861 and submitted to the States for ratification on March 2, 1861. It declared in part that "no amendment shall be made to the Constitution which would abolish or interfere with slavery wherever it is already established." The States of Maryland and Ohio ratified it before the War broke out (WEW p. 520-21).

Rumor and speculation as to Lincoln's intentions toward the South led the March 6, 1861 edition of the New York Herald to write, "We have no doubt Mr. Lincoln wants the Cabinet at Montgomery to take the initiative by capturing the two forts in its waters, for it would give him the opportunity of throwing upon the Southern Confederacy the responsibility of commencing hostilities. But the country and posterity will hold him just as responsible as if he struck the first blow..." (GLD p. 95).

In the Constitution of the Confederate States of America, its framers sought to eliminate ambiguities that gave rise to the grievances that led to the secession of the Southern States, at the core of which was the centralization of government to the detriment of the states. The issue of States' rights as a major cause of the secession of the Southern States becomes clear in the issue of the Confederate States Supreme Court. Although Article III of the C.S. Constitution, adopted on March 11, 1861, establishes the Supreme Court, federal encroachment upon States' rights fostered by rulings of the U.S. Supreme Court were still fresh in the minds of the C.S. Congress. Author Marshall L. DeRosa relates, "In response to a bill introduced in the C.S.A. Senate to organize the Supreme Court, William Yancey of Alabama remarked in no uncertain terms that 'when we decide that the state courts are of inferior dignity to this Court, we have sapped the main pillars of this Confederacy.'" As a result of this mindset, the actual establishment of the C.S. Supreme Court never took place (MLD p.75-77).

As slavery was legal in the United States, so it was in the Confederate States. Under the C.S. Constitution, slavery was explicitly recognized as an institution of the States, whereas in the U.S. Constitution the issue of slavery in general was intentionally vague. As in the United States, the federal government of the Confederate States was prohibited from interfering with slavery within the States. The States of the Confederacy, however, were not constitutionally required to recognize or continue the practice of slavery within their own borders. In fact, several proposals to require that each State continue to recognize slavery were not adopted during the Constitutional Convention. The consensus, as voiced by Senator Albert G. Brown of Mississippi, was that "each State is sovereign within its own limits; and that each for itself can abolish or establish slavery for itself" (MLD p. 68-71).

The C.S. Constitution did not explicitly provide for the right of secession because it was assumed that secession was an act of sovereignty that the States had not delegated or otherwise abdicated. In the preamble to the C.S. Constitution, using the words "each State acting in its own sovereign and independent character," the framers implicitly allowed for secession by emphasizing the understanding of each State's sovereign nature (MLD p. 53).

On March 12, 1861 three Confederate commissioners, who had come to Washington seeking negotiations toward a peaceable separation and offer payment for apportioned public debt and seized federal property, addressed Secretary of State William Seward with an official letter of intent. Seward, speaking only through Supreme Court Justice John A. Campbell, assured the Confederate commissioners that the Union troops in Fort Sumter in Charleston and Fort Pickens in Pensacola would not be sent supplies without due notification and led them to expect that the forts would be evacuated in a few days. As the commissioners were departing for home, they learned that an expedition of supplies and military reinforcement was being made ready to depart the port of New York (WEW p. 522).

The April 5, 1861 New York Tribune reported, "Many rumors are in circulation to-day. They appear to have originated from movements on the part of the United States troops, the reasons for which have not been communicated to the reporters at Washington as freely as the late Administration was in the habit of imparting Cabinet secrets. There can be no doubt that serious movements are on foot" (SDC p. 51).

The authorities at Charleston were informed that an unarmed supply ship was to be sent to Fort Sumter. Fearing that the Federal fleet would enter the harbor, they signaled their intent to fire upon the ship should it enter the harbor, but the United States sent the ship anyway. The ship was reported off Charleston on April 10, 1861. In response to the presence of the ship, the Southern military in Charleston prepared to attack the Fort, anticipating the use of force by the Federal fleet to send reinforcements to the fort (SDC p. 51).

An article in the April 15, 1861 New York Tribune mentioned that "[t]he armed ships which accompanied the supplies took no part in the contest" (SDC p. 52).

While the attention of the South was on Fort Sumter, the Federal fleet succeeded in reinforcing Fort Pickens in Pensacola with men and supplies. This plan had the additional result of provoking and inducing the South into firing on Fort Sumter. The April 15 New York Post reported,

"...Gen. Scott has been averse to the attempt to reinforce Fort Sumter. He saw that it would cost men and vessels which the Government could not spare just now... He saw that the two keys of the position were Fort Pickens, in the Gulf, and Washington, the Capital. His plans, based on these facts, were at once laid... Every hour the traitors spent before Sumter gave them more surely into the hands of the master. To make assurance doubly sure, he pretended to leave Fort Pickens in the lurch... The Government said not a word–only asked of the traitors the opportunity to send its own garrison a needed supply of food... Scarce had they begun their attack [on the Fort], when they saw with evident terror, ships hovering about the harbor's mouth;... but no ships came in to Anderson's help... The position of affairs is this–Charleston is blockaded–Fort Pickens is reinforced by troops, which the traitors foolishly believed were destined for Sumter... The traitors have, without the slightest cause, opened the war..." (SDC p. 52-53).

By defining the secession of the Southern States from the Union as a "rebellion", Lincoln was able to justify mustering an army to quell the "insurrection" under the Act of Congress of 1795 which limited the use of the specially called militia to thirty days after the beginning of the next session of Congress. Lincoln delayed calling Congress into special session for at least two and a half months, thus prolonging his use of the militia against the South before he had to gain their approval for his actions (GLD p. 109-11; WEW p. 525).

The loyalty of free blacks and even slaves toward the Southern cause was counted on in some parts of the South. Along with their white counterparts, there were free blacks who were anxious to prove their bravery and patriotism against the invading Yankees (ELJ p. 219). Even though the use of black volunteers in the Confederate Army did not officially take place until the closing three months of the War (ELJ p. 246), black volunteers were often employed in state and local militias throughout the War (ELJ p. 219). These black Confederates were often awarded state pensions after the war based on their service to the Confederacy. Historian Ervin L Jordan documents that in 1928 the State of Virginia awarded pensions to "black males who served on military details or performed guard duty on behalf of the Confederacy" (ELJ p. 226).

In June of 1861 Tennessee became the first State in the Confederacy to authorize the use of free black soldiers. Black soldiers between the ages of fifteen and fifty were paid $18 per month and received that same rations and clothing as white soldiers. By September of 1861 two regiments of black soldiers were in Memphis (ELJ p. 218-19).

On July 4, 1861 before a special session of what was left of the Congress, Lincoln rationalized his actions against the South as he said, "These measures, whether strictly legal or not, were ventured upon under what appeared to be a popular demand and public necessity, trusting then as now that Congress would readily ratify them" (GLD p, 111).

"The legislature of Maryland was to convene on September 17, 1861. The military commander of the district was instructed by the secretary of war to arrest all members who were suspected of disloyalty. Many of them were seized and imprisoned, although there was no charge against them of having committed overt acts of disloyalty or treason. They appealed to Chief Justice [Roger B.] Taney who decided that they were held illegally, but they were not released. In this action of President Lincoln's a most dangerous precedent was created. Through the acquiescence of Congress, then in session, the president had become a dictator.

The reason for the incarceration of certain members of the Maryland legislature was the fear of the administration that the state might secede and join the Confederacy. On the face of the record that would appear to be a most unfortunate contingency, for in case of the secession of Maryland the capital city of the federal government would have been surrounded by the seceded states. But, on the other hand, it could not have had any practical effect, as the state of Maryland was held by Union troops as tightly as if it had been conquered territory" (WEW p. 525-26).

In 1861 John Hughes, Archbishop of New York, warned the U.S. War Department that his flock was "willing to fight to the death for the support of the constitution, the government, and the laws of the country, [but not] for the abolition of slavery" (SEM p. 666).

Union soldiers from New York on patrol out of Newport News, Virginia on December 22, 1861 were attacked by local Confederate forces near Newport Bridge. The attacking Confederate force was made up of cavalry and 700 armed blacks. Local Confederate fighting units were often formed during times of Union raids, and then were disbanded until needed again (ELJ p. 222).

Slavery was still in the process of losing favor in the North when war broke out, with it still being legal in some States, illegal in most, and still being phased out in others. With mixture of free and slave States, as well as States that implemented gradual or conditional emancipation, the Union hadn't even freed all of the slaves within its own boarders throughout the War.

Anthony Trollope, a British citizen traveling throughout the North and South early in the War observed, "The South is seceding from the North because the two are not homogeneous. They have different instincts, different appetites, different morals, and a different culture."

In a message to Congress on March 6, 1862, Lincoln proposed compensation to the owners of slaves in any state–including those in the South–that would emancipate its slaves. This would have been consistent with how many of the slaves were freed in Northern States. Both Lincoln's Cabinet and Congress rejected the proposal (WEW p. 543). However, Congress did pass an act abolishing slavery in the District of Columbia. Lincoln signed the act on April 16, 1862. Slave owners were paid up to $300 apiece for their liberated slaves (WEW p. 544).

To the surprise of many Yankee soldiers, many Southern blacks were not slaves. Knowing of the South only through stereotypes and often thinking that all Southern blacks were slaves, Yankee soldiers sometimes accused free blacks of hiding their masters, especially if the person's home were nicely furnished. During such encounters, the Yankees would often steal the free black's food and belongings, and even destroy their homes (JRK p. 134).

The loyalty of Southern blacks in the presence of Yankee soldiers was varied. Some slaves went over to the Union troops, while others remained loyal to their white families (JRK p. 133-34). Rarely, though, did Southern blacks give Yankee soldiers their complete trust (ELJ p. 143).

Union soldiers reporting on the June 1862 battle of Seven Pines claimed that two black Confederate regiments proved themselves ruthless opponents, showing no mercy to either dead or wounded Yankee soldiers (ELJ p. 223).

The wife of Union general Ulysses S. Grant, a slave owner herself, kept her slaves until the close of the War (WEW p. 518, 543).

In August 25, 1862 Lincoln wrote a letter to Horace Greeley of the New York Tribune in which he stated in part, "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" (WEW p. 508).

During the battle of Antietam in September of 1862 fully armed black Confederate soldiers were observed as an integral part of Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia (ELJ p. 223).

On September 24, 1862 Lincoln, having especially suffered the criticism of the Northern Democrats or "Copperheads" since he commenced hostilities against the South, suspended the writ of habeas corpus (the right to a speedy and public trial), a right guaranteed in the Sixth Amendment of the Constitution. A Copperhead was a Northern Democrat who was critical of Lincoln's war policies and his war against the South. An estimated 38,000 political prisoners were incarcerated by Lincoln's Provost Marshals, some of whom were sentenced before military tribunals, while others received no trial at all, never having known the charges against them (WEW p. 525; GLD p. 115-16; GE p. 7).

In an 1862 letter to New York Tribune editor Horace Greeley, Lincoln said, "My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or destroy slavery."

In December of 1862, Lincoln sought to alleviate the fears that emancipated slaves would come into the North and compete for the labor of white workers by assuring Congress that each State can "decide for itself whether to receive them" (JRK p. 55).

In 1862 the citizens of Illinois amended their State Constitution to say that "No Negro or mulatto shall immigrate or settle in this state" (JRK p. 55).

With the war losing its popularity in the North in 1862, the people of the North were not so willing to send their husbands and sons to die in "Mr. Lincoln's war" to restore the Union, let alone for the emancipation of slaves (WEW p. 544).

It was not until well into the War that Lincoln began to link abolition of slavery with the War itself. He began to use the issue of slavery as a political tool to give the War a moral cause to help bolster Northern support, distance England and France from the South, solidify his support with the growing abolitionist movement, and possibly foster a slave revolt in the South. Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation of January 1, 1863, issued under his war powers, declared only slaves in those States that seceded to be free. Those still enslaved in Northern or otherwise Union States (Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri) were not freed by Lincoln's proclamation since he knew he could not legally deprive United States citizens of their "property." Exemptions from Lincoln's proclamation included "the parishes of St. Bernard, Plaquemines, Jefferson, St. Johns, St. Charles, St. James, Ascension, Assumption, Terrebonne, Lafourche, St. Mary, St. Martin, and Orleans, including the city of New Orleans... the forty-eight counties designated as West Virginia, and also the counties of Berkeley, Accomac, Northampton, Elizabeth City, York, Princess Ann, and Norfolk, including the cities of Norfolk and Portsmouth," much of Tennessee, the South Carolina coast, and any other areas of the Southern States under Union control. Not one slave was actually freed through Lincoln's Proclamaion (WEW p. 545; SEM p. 654; ELJ p. 255; PMA p. 264-66).

Therefore, contrary to popular belief, Lincoln did not "free the slaves." Emancipation of the slaves throughout the North and South was due to the ratification of the current Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution by both the Northern and Southern States. Only in this way could an acknowledged internal matter of the States be constitutionally dealt with at the federal level, that is, with the States delegating authority that had been previously reserved by them. Constitutionally, this was not a matter for Lincoln and the Executive branch of the federal government.

During Congressional debate on January 8, 1863 Thadeous Stevens of Pennsylvania declared on the floor of Congress that the States of the Confederacy were a "belligerent nation" and no longer in the Union. As such, they were no longer entitled to the protections of the U. S. Constitution. Therefore, the taxes he proposed as Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee were to be levied upon "conquered provinces, just as all nations levy them upon provinces and nations they conquer." He went on to say that he would "as a necessary war measure, take every particle of property, real and personal, life-estate and reversion, of every disloyal man, and sell it for the benefit of of the nation in carrying on this war." Stevens further stated that "this war must be carried on upon principle wholly independent of [the Constitution]" and that the United States "must treat those States now outside of the Union as conquered provinces and settle them with new men, and drive the present rebels as exiles from this country... They have such determination, energy, and endurance, that nothing but actual extermination or exile or starvation will ever induce them to surrender to this Government" (GLD p. 151; The Congressional Globe, January 8, 1863, p. 239-40, 243).

The Conscription Act of March 3, 1863 forced Northern men into service through a military draft. The draft was biased against the poor in that a man could pay $300 to commute his service for a particular draft. A man could also find a permanent substitute to serve in his place through a three year enlistment. Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation and the bringing in of black workers to break a dock workers' strike brought Irish-Americans in New York City to the boiling point. The first drawing of names for the draft in the working-class quarters on July 13, 1863 sparked four days of riots in New York City. Blacks, having been blamed for the loss of jobs and the reason for the existence of the draft, were indiscriminately killed or beaten (SEM p. 666).

Northern States and cities were often officially and harshly rebuked by the Lincoln administration for not making their quota of recruits. Within the Confederacy, the Conscription Act of 1862 was enacted under the watchful eyes of the States. Within the Confederacy, federal legislation had to pass the muster of the high courts of the States. This oversight was exercised by these State high court judges who reserved the right to intercede on behalf of their citizens concerning actions of the federal government. Judge Moore of Texas, aware that conscription could be a tool of oppression in the hands of the federal government, concluded that "a necessity exists today, and the law is therefore constitutional, if tomorrow that necessity should cease, its continuance would be as clearly unconstitutional" (MLD p. 114-15). In practice, the Confederate States federal government recognized the preeminence of the sovereignty of a State in disputes where State and federal jurisdiction are in contest (MLD p.76).

On May 16, 1863 a convention of Democrats gathered in Albany, New York to protest the military arrest of Clement Laird Vallandigham, Ohio Democrat Congressman and candidate for governor of Ohio, along with many other such military arrests of civilians, and the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus. According to findings of the military trial, he was found guilty of accusing Lincoln "and his minions" of rejecting a chance at peace with the South "the day before the battle of Fredericksburg" because "the men in power are attempting to establish a despotism in this country, more cruel and more oppressive than ever existed before." As reported in The American Annual Cyclopedia and Register of Important Events of the Year 1863, Lincoln answered the criticism of the Democrats by letter on June 12, 1863.

"... Ours is a case of rebellion... and the provision of the Constitution that 'the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended unless when in case of rebellion or invasion the public safety may require it,' is the provision which specially applies to our present case. This provision plainly attests the understanding of those who made the Constitution that ordinary courts of justice are inadequate to 'cases of rebellion'–attests their purpose that, in such cases, men may be held in custody whom the courts, acting on ordinary rules, would discharge... and its suspension is allowed by the Constitution on purpose that men may be arrested and held who cannot be proved to be guilty of defined crime... arrests are made, not so much for what has been done, as for what probably would be done... The man who stands by and says nothing when the peril of his Government is discussed cannot be misunderstood. If not hindered, he is sure to help the enemy; much more if he talks ambiguously–talks for his country with 'but,' and 'ifs,' and 'ands'" (GLD p. 119; GE p. 209-13; SDC p. 201-03).

In answer to Lincoln's letter of reply, the Democrats harshly criticized his usurpation of power in a letter dated June 30, 1863.

"... You seem aware that the constitution of the United States, which you have sworn to protect and defend, contains the following guarantees, to which we again ask your attention [recitation of the first four Amendments to the Constitution]... You are also, no doubt, aware that, on the adoption of the constitution, these invaluable provisions were proposed by the jealous caution of the states, and were inserted as amendments for a perpetual assurance of liberty against the encroachments of power... The fact has already passed into history that the sacred rights and immunities... have not been preserved to the people during your administration. In violation of the first of them, the freedom of the press has been denied. In repeated instances newspapers have been suppressed in the loyal states, because they criticized, as constitutionally they might, those fatal errors of policy which have characterized the conduct of public affairs since your advent to power. In violation of the second of them, hundreds, and we believe thousands, of men have been seized and immured in prisons and bastiles, not only without warrant upon probable cause, but without any warrant, and for no other cause that a constitutional exercise of freedom of speech... For all these acts you avow yourself ultimately responsible... These repeated and continued invasions of constitutional liberty and private right have occasioned profound anxiety in the public mind. The apprehension and alarm which they are calculated to produce have been greatly enhanced by your attempt to justify them, because in that attempt you assume to yourself a rightful authority possessed by no constitutional monarch on earth... [B]elieving as we do, that your forbearance is not the tenure by which liberty is enjoyed in this country, we propose to challenge the grounds on which your claim of supreme power is based. While yielding to you as a constitutional magistrate... we cannot accord to you the despotic power you claim... your meaning is, that, while the rights of the citizens are protected by this constitution in time of peace, they are suspended or lost in time of war, when invasion or rebellion exists... You claim to have found... within the constitution, a principle or germ of arbitrary power, which, in time of war, expands at once into an absolute sovereignty, wielded by one man; so that liberty perishes, or is dependent on his will, his discretion, or his caprice... An act of Congress approved by you on the 3d of March, 1863, authorized the President to suspend [the writ of habeas corpus] during the present rebellion. That the suspension is a legislative, and not an executive act, has been held in every judicial decision ever made in this country, and we think it cannot be delegated to any other branch of the government" (SDC p. 204-06).

In May, 1865 Confederate POWs held at Point Lookout, Maryland were being released if they took oaths of allegiance to the United States. A lone black Confederate soldier refused the oath, remaining "unreconstructed and unreconstructable." Historian Ervin L. Jordan laments the denial of the existence and role of black Confederates, and their being consigned to the obscurity shared by those blacks who served in the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812 (ELJ p. 251).



A New American History by W. E. Woodward, 1936, Farrar & Rinehart, Inc., On Murry Hill, New York (Excellent. Balanced, with more attention to detail than many works and quite interesting to read.)

The Confederate Constitution of 1861 by Marshall L. DeRosa, 1991 (A good look at the intentions of the C.S.A by looking at their own Constitution and the few, but significant differences between it and its U.S. counterpart.)

The South Was Right! by James Ronald Kennedy and Walter Donald Kennedy, 1998 (A fascinating and well footnoted look into little known facts critical in understanding the War for Southern Independence.)

The Logic of History by Stephen D. Carpenter, 1864, S. D. Carpenter, Publisher, Madison, Wis. (Reprinted by Crown Rights Publishing, Wiggins, Miss., 2000) (A collection of news accounts and analysis pertaining to the War.)

Black Confederates and Afro-Yankees in Civil War Virginia by Ervin L. Jordan, Jr., 1995, The University Press of Virginia (A facinating work documenting the lives of and roles of blacks in "Civil War" Virginia)

America's Caesar - Abraham Lincoln and the Birth of a Modern Empire by Greg Loren Durand, Second Edition, 2000 (A very revealing inquiry into Lincoln's role in radically altering the original relationship and roles of the Federal government versus that of the States during the War for Southern Independence.)

The Southern States of the American Union by J.L.M. Curry, 1895, G. P. Putnam's Sons, New York (Reprinted by Crown Rights Publishing, Wiggins, Miss., 1999) (Traces the origins of the spirit of liberty expressed in the Declaration of Independence, and in the South's secession from the Northen States of the American Union.)

Facts and Falsehoods Concerning the War on the South 1861-1865 by George Edmonds,1904, Science Hall Lamb (Reprinted by Crown Rights Publishing, Wiggins, Miss., 2000) (A compeling view of the politics of the War for Southern Independence)

The Founder's Constitution, edited by Philip B. Kurland and Ralph Lerner, 1986, the University of Chicago Press (a collection of documents from the early 1600s to 1830 that shed light on the philosophies behind our American form of government)

The Oxford History of the American People by Samual Eliot Morison, 1965, Oxford University Press, New York (A useful reference, but with a "central government" and Northern bias. Also somewhat colored by the social atmosphere of the 1960s.)

By These Words by Paul M. Angle, 1954, Rand McNally & Co. (Text of selected documents of American history.)

New Jersey Slavery and the Law, Gary K. Wolinetz, Rutgers Law Review, 50 (Summer 1998): 2227 ff

Last updated on August 2, 2001

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