Wednesday, January 19, 2011

150-Years-Ago -- South Carolina and the North

An illustrated cover for sheet music celebrating the
 South Carolina state convention
 on December 20, 1860, where an ordinance of secession
was passed unanimously, thereby severing the state's
 ties with the Union. (Library of Congress)
 The Charleston Mercury
Saturday, January 19, 1861

     The Government of the United States is now the Government of the Northern States. Four Southern States [South Carolina Dec. 20, Mississippi Jan. 9, Florida Jan. 10, Alabama Jan. 11] have already, by virtue of their highest authority, withdrawn themselves from that Government. The eight Cotton States have all virtually done the same. The Southern Middle States may well be considered at this time as but neutrals. They have not yet definitely joined the Southern movement. They have no part in the attitude of the North, and no power in Congress.The whole problem resolves itself into the power and will of the North, versus the power and capacity of the South to resist. A geographical line divides the sections, and the South has resigned the Government into the hands of the North.
     The United States is the Northern States.
     Every man and every people have their own position to make and to define. The South has been kicked out the the Union, because they failed to maintain their dignity within the Union. With eyes wide open to the reiterated wrongs put upon them -- the bold denial of their rights -- the open infraction of their Constitution -- they have, year after year and decade after decade, submitted, and protested, protested and submitted, to deliberate robbery, outrage and insult.
     Such a course, amongst men, at once results in the forfeiture of all respect, esteem and consideration. It is the surest way to court indignity and oppression.
     This is equally true amongst peoples. The North has lost all respect whatsoever for the South -- all consideration of her rights -- all conception of her rights -- all consideration of her dignity -- all regard for her honor. We had become, in their minds, but the merest provincials -- menials to be cuffed into obedience to their orders, and whipped into compliance with their wills. The South has but reaped the natural fruits of its own weak, vacillating, timorous conduct. For the first time it has undertaken to assert its unquestionable rights and its dignity.
     But the North is naturally astonished -- it is indignant. "What! that its colonists should thus rebel -- to dare assert any rights contrary to their wills! Put them to the sword -- down with the rebels!" We of the South have sedulously made them our masters, and it now remains for us to unmake them. Of course the transition is not easy. They cannot naturally realize it, nor, of course, are they willing to yield to it. Force and power alone can decide the issue. . . .

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