Sunday, May 6, 2012


The South's Defenders Monument,
Lake Charles, Louisiana (Photo by Author)
The Richmond Daily Dispatch
May 6, 1862
Constitutional Liberty Takes Refuge in the South.
" O, ye that love mankind ! ye that dare oppose not only tyranny but the tyrant, stand forth! Every spot of the Old World is overrun with oppression. Freedom hath been hunted round the globe. Asia and Africa have long expelled her. Europe regards her like a stranger, and England hath given her warning to depart. O, America, receive the fugitive, and prepare in time an asylum for mankind." --The Crisis, 1776.

           The illustrious fugitive has no longer a home in the Northern States of America. Constitutional liberty has departed from that inhospitable region, and seeks her last resting place upon the generous soil of the South. She comes as a fugitive. It is here alone that she finds a home and a country, with the children of Washington and Jefferson, the home of Marion and Sumter and Greene.
           She has been expelled from the North.-- She could no longer dwell where the Higher Law proscribed the Constitution, the Bible, and God himself; where public virtue had sickened, languished and died; where honor, truth, faith, those plants of tender growth, had been eradicated from an ungenerous soil; where disinterestedness of aim and motive had become a sentiment unknown; where all education and language was cant, and indirection was the universal principle of conduct; where honesty for honesty's sake was a stranger in all public and in all private affairs; where the Government had degenerated into a job, the people into a mob, the ballot-box into a juggle.
          Constitutional liberty can have no existence where the popular mind is perverted from truth and justice, the popular heart set upon folly and vice, and all the forms of morality, religion and government turned to purposes of secret peculation and outward fanaticism and proscription.
          It is with the South alone that the hopes of freedom now rest. It is here alone that republican liberty can be administered in purity and with success, secure alike from the strong arm of usurpation and the insurgent madness of the mob.
          The war may continue as long as the Revolution; armies, numerous as the French armies of Napoleon, may be raised and kept in the field for long periods; dictatorships may be declared, and may exist for years together; but the end of the war will witness, at the South, the same exhibition with which Washington astonished the world, put all history to shame, and enthroned his name supreme in the realms of fame.-- There is no man in the South, capable of attaining to elevated command, who has not the heart of Washington in his bosom, and who, at the conclusion of peace, will not gladly, of his own free will and choice, in the same lofty spirit of disinterestedness, and with the same burning emotions of patriotism, render back his sword to the authorities who gave it.
          True, there may be Arnolds in the South, as there has been born a Scott; but the sentiment of honor and independence, our very atmosphere, is such, that men of this nature, by moral necessity, inevitably sink to low positions, or go off altogether, in times of great exigency. From the very organization of Southern society; from the training of the Southern mind; from the social and political sentiments ever dominant in the Southern character, usurpation by any of her own sons is the most impossible of all sources of danger to her liberties.
           There is even less danger from the other direction. With us a mob is an anomaly. We cannot run upon the evils of a pure democracy. We can have no pure democracy. Society cannot be turned bottom up by the upheaving of the masses. The slaves have no voice at the ballot-box.
          Man's capacity for self-government will yet be vindicated. We shall fight the good fight. We shall conquer a peace. We shall establish constitutional liberty in purer forms and administer her rites in fairer temples than she has yet known. It is for her sake that we have come our from the old Union. It is for her sake that we have severed our connection with those who dishonored and repudiated her.

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