-- Political Quotations on Secession

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aphillbilly

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"My arm was extended upward pleading for peace and the Union of our Fathers. When my hand came down, it fell slowly and sadly by the side of a Secessionist."

North Carolina’s Zebulon Vance reaction, while giving a speech in an attempt to keep North Carolina in the Union, receives a telegram informing him of Lincoln’s demand for troops and a blockade of Southern ports.
 

thea_447

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Although this man was not an American, I believe his quotations should be inserted here:

In the war's aftermath:

Englishman Sir John Dahlberg, also known as Lord Acton, whose most famous quote is, "Absolute power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely" wrote Lee after the northern victory. Dahlberg was one of, if not the most erudite political philosophers of his time. In his letter asking for Lee's opinion of the result of the war he wrote:

".....The institutions of your Republic have not exercised on the old world the salutary and liberating influence which ought to have belonged to them, by reason of those defects and abuses of principle which the Confederate Constitution was expressly and wisely calculated to remedy. Therefore I deemed that you were fighting the battles of our liberty, our progress, and our civilization; and I mourn for the stake which was lost at Richmond more deeply than I rejoice over that which was saved at Waterloo."

Lee replied: "I yet believe that the maintenance of the rights and authority reserved to the states and to the people, essential to safeguard ..the continuance of a free government. whereas the consolidation of the states into one vast republic, sure to be aggressive abroad and despotic at home, will be the certain precursor of that ruin which has overwhelmed all those that have preceded it... The South has contended only for the supremacy of the Constitution, and the just administration of the laws made in pursuance to it."

Later Dahlberg wrote an analysis of the war in which he said:

"The North has used the doctrines of Democracy to destroy self-government. The South applied the principle of conditional federation to cure the evils and to correct the errors of a false interpretation of Democracy...[and the inevitable result of an unfettered federal government will be] the initiative in administration; the function of universal guardian and paymaster;
the resources of coercion, intimidation, and corruption; the habit of preferring the public interest of the moment to the established law; .............. a public creditor; a prodigious budget these things will remain to the future government of the Federal Union, and will make it approximate more closely to the imperial than to the republican type of democracy."

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(Message edited by johan_steele on March 23, 2004)
 

unionblue

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"When any one State in the American Union refuses obedience to the Confederation by which they have bound themselves, the rest have a natural right to compel obedience."

Thomas Jefferson, Writings, Vol. XVII

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"Will you suffer yourself to be spit upon in this way? Are you submissionists to the dictation of South Carolina...are you to be called cowards because you do not follow the crazy lead of that crazy state?"

Herald, Wilmington, North Carolina, to anti-secessionist North Carolinians early in 1861.

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unionblue

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"The day we seceded the star of our glory set."

New Orleans gentleman, in reply to boasts about the grandeur of the new Confederacy, reported in the diary of G., a pro-Union woman from New Orleans, April 20, 1861.

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unionblue

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"This step, secession, once taken, can never be recalled. We and our posterity shall see our lovely South desolated by the demon of war."

Alexander Stephens, future Vice-President of the Confederacy, January 18, 1861.

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"Disunion will be her ruin--for if there is war--it will surely be in the South and the whole land desolated and laid in waste and slavery will certainly go if the Union is dissolved."

Johanna Underwood, Kentucky.

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"The traitor deserves hemp, and South Carolina is a traitor."

Reverend George Junkin, president of Washington College (later Washington and Lee) in Lexington, Virginia, on the secession of South Carolina, 1860.

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thea_447

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"Every clause of Jefferson's tremendous indictment of King George in 1775 was true of Lincoln in 1861-1865." --John Tyler Gardner in The Confederate Catechism, Section 10, Pg. 5

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thea_447

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"In one single blow our foreign commerce must be reduced to less than one-half what it is now. Our coastwise trade would pass into other hands. One-half of our shipping would lie idle at our wharves. We should lose our trade with the South, with all of its immense profits. Our manufactories would be in utter ruins. Let the South adopt the free-trade system, or that of a tariff for revenue, and these results would likely follow." --Chicago Times Daily, Dec. 10, 1860
 
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thea_447

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"In the contingency that consultation shall not produce concert, what then? Shall we, too, like the delaying States, linger in the portals of the government? Shall we remain and all be slaves? Shall we wait to bear our share of the common dishonor? God forbid! Let us act for ourselves. I have good reason to believe the action of any State will be peaceable, will not be resisted under the probable future administration of public affairs. I believe there not be power to direct a gun against a sovereign State. Certainly there will be no will to do so during the present administration. If the action of the State be resisted, bloodshed will appeal to blood throbbing in Southern hearts. Our brethren from every Southern State will flock to defend a sister State threatened by mercenary bayonets. To do one's duty is the highest aim in life." --William L. Yancey
 
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thea_447

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"When certain sovereign and independent states form a union with limited powers for some general purpose, and any one or more of them, in the progress of time, suffer unjust and oppressive grievances for which there is no redress but in a withdrawal from the association, is such withdrawal an insurrection? If so, then of what advantage is a compact of union to states? Within the Union are oppressions and grievances, the attempt to go out brings war and subjugation. The ambitious and aggressive states obtain possession of the central authority which, having grown strong in the lapse of time, asserts its entire sovereignty over the states. Whichever of them denies it and seeks to retire is declared to be guilty of insurrection, its citizens are stigmatized as "rebels", as if they revolted against a master, and a war of subjugation is begun. If this action is once tolerated, where will it end? Where is constitutional liberty? What strength is there in bills of rights-in limitation of power? What new hope for mankind is to be found in written constitutions, what remedy which did not exist under kings or emperors? If the doctrines thus announced by the government of the United States are conceded, then look through either end of the political telescope, and one sees only an empire, and the once famous Declaration of Independence trodden in the dust of as a "glittering generality," and the compact of the union denounced as a "flaunting lie"." --President Jefferson Davis
 
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thea_447

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"To expect to hold fifteen States in the Union by force is preposterous. The idea of a civil war, accompanied a it would be, by a servile insurrection, is too monstrous to be entertained for a moment." --Edward Everett, who ran on the Constitutional Union Party ticket in 1860 with John Bell.
 

thea_447

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"I have no idea that the Union can be maintained or restored by force. Nor do I believe in the value of a Union which can only be kept together by dint of a military force." -- United States Senator James Alfred Pearce of Maryland
 
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thea_447

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"Any attempt to preserve the Union between the States of this Confederacy by force would be impracticable, and destructive of republican liberty." --Maryland Congressman Jacob M. Kunkel (Nearly all the wealthy and influential citizens of Baltimore favored peaceable secession, as did four of Maryland's former governors.)
 

thea_447

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"We sympathize with and justify the South because their rights have been invaded to the extreme." If they wish to secede, "we would wish them God-Speed."--Albany Atlas and Argus
 
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