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by Alec Kohut

After the disgusting display of a Confederate battle flag outside the White House during a rally hosted by Ted Cruz and Sarah Palin (neither of which at the time, nor since have condemned the act), there is always a discussion about the true meaning of the Stars ‘n Bars.

And without fail there will be those who claim that slavery was not the cause of the Civil War and instead make the argument that it was other issues, with tariffs being the most popular at this time.

So to the the ridiculous, and completely false idea that the Civil War was not about slavery, I present the Declaration of the Immediate Causes Which Induce and Justify the Secession of South Carolina from the Federal Union, in its entirety.

This document gives the reasons why South Carolina, in their own words, at the time of secession, why they felt the need to leave the United States of America.

After reading this document, there can be no doubt as to the reason for secession and the Civil War.

Enjoy

[Copied by Justin Sanders from J.A. May & J.R. Faunt, South Carolina Secedes (U. of S. Car. Pr, 1960), pp. 76-81.]

Declaration of the Immediate Causes Which Induce and Justify the Secession of South Carolina from the Federal Union

The people of the State of South Carolina, in Convention assembled, on the 26th day of April, A.D., 1852, declared that the frequent violations of the Constitution of the United States, by the Federal Government, and its encroachments upon the reserved rights of the States, fully justified this State in then withdrawing from the Federal Union; but in deference to the opinions and wishes of the other slaveholding States, she forbore at that time to exercise this right. Since that time, these encroachments have continued to increase, and further forbearance ceases to be a virtue.

And now the State of South Carolina having resumed her separate and equal place among nations, deems it due to herself, to the remaining United States of America, and to the nations of the world, that she should declare the immediate causes which have led to this act.

In the year 1765, that portion of the British Empire embracing Great Britain, undertook to make laws for the government of that portion composed of the thirteen American Colonies. A struggle for the right of self-government ensued, which resulted, on the 4th of July, 1776, in a Declaration, by the Colonies, "that they are, and of right ought to be, FREE AND INDEPENDENT STATES; and that, as free and independent States, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent States may of right do."

They further solemnly declared that whenever any "form of government becomes destructive of the ends for which it was established, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute a new government." Deeming the Government of Great Britain to have become destructive of these ends, they declared that the Colonies "are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved."

In pursuance of this Declaration of Independence, each of the thirteen States proceeded to exercise its separate sovereignty; adopted for itself a Constitution, and appointed officers for the administration of government in all its departments-- Legislative, Executive and Judicial. For purposes of defense, they united their arms and their counsels; and, in 1778, they entered into a League known as the Articles of Confederation, whereby they agreed to entrust the administration of their external relations to a common agent, known as the Congress of the United States, expressly declaring, in the first Article "that each State retains its sovereignty, freedom and independence, and every power, jurisdiction and right which is not, by this Confederation, expressly delegated to the United States in Congress assembled."
Under this Confederation the war of the Revolution was carried on, and on the 3rd of September, 1783, the contest ended, and a definite Treaty was signed by Great Britain, in which she acknowledged the independence of the Colonies in the following terms: "ARTICLE 1-- 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."

Thus were established the two great principles asserted by the Colonies, namely: the right of a State to govern itself; and the right of a people to abolish a Government when it becomes destructive of the ends for which it was instituted. And concurrent with the establishment of these principles, was the fact, that each Colony became and was recognized by the mother Country a FREE, SOVEREIGN AND INDEPENDENT STATE.

In 1787, Deputies were appointed by the States to revise the Articles of Confederation, and on 17th September, 1787, these Deputies recommended for the adoption of the States, the Articles of Union, known as the Constitution of the United States.

The parties to whom this Constitution was submitted, were the several sovereign States; they were to agree or disagree, and when nine of them agreed the compact was to take effect among those concurring; and the General Government, as the common agent, was then invested with their authority.

If only nine of the thirteen States had concurred, the other four would have remained as they then were-- separate, sovereign States, independent of any of the provisions of the Constitution. In fact, two of the States did not accede to the Constitution until long after it had gone into operation among the other eleven; and during that interval, they each exercised the functions of an independent nation.

By this Constitution, certain duties were imposed upon the several States, and the exercise of certain of their powers was restrained, which necessarily implied their continued existence as sovereign States. But to remove all doubt, an amendment was added, which declared that the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States, respectively, or to the people. On the 23d May , 1788, South Carolina, by a Convention of her People, passed an Ordinance assenting to this Constitution, and afterwards altered her own Constitution, to conform herself to the obligations she had undertaken.

Thus was established, by compact between the States, a Government with definite objects and powers, limited to the express words of the grant. This limitation left the whole remaining mass of power subject to the clause reserving it to the States or to the people, and rendered unnecessary any specification of reserved rights.

We hold that the Government thus established is subject to the two great principles asserted in the Declaration of Independence; and we hold further, that the mode of its formation subjects it to a third fundamental principle, namely: the law of compact. We maintain that in every compact between two or more parties, the obligation is mutual; that the failure of one of the contracting parties to perform a material part of the agreement, entirely releases the obligation of the other; and that where no arbiter is provided, each party is remitted to his own judgment to determine the fact of failure, with all its consequences.

In the present case, that fact is established with certainty. We assert that fourteen of the States have deliberately refused, for years past, to fulfill their constitutional obligations, and we refer to their own Statutes for the proof.

The Constitution of the United States, in its fourth Article, provides as follows: "No person held to service or labor in one State, under the laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in consequence of any law or regulation therein, be discharged from such service or labor, but shall be delivered up, on claim of the party to whom such service or labor may be due."

This stipulation was so material to the compact, that without it that compact would not have been made. The greater number of the contracting parties held slaves, and they had previously evinced their estimate of the value of such a stipulation by making it a condition in the Ordinance for the government of the territory ceded by Virginia, which now composes the States north of the Ohio River.

The same article of the Constitution stipulates also for rendition by the several States of fugitives from justice from the other States.

The General Government, as the common agent, passed laws to carry into effect these stipulations of the States. For many years these laws were executed. But an increasing hostility on the part of the non-slaveholding States to the institution of slavery, has led to a disregard of their obligations, and the laws of the General Government have ceased to effect the objects of the Constitution. The States of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin and Iowa, have enacted laws which either nullify the Acts of Congress or render useless any attempt to execute them. In many of these States the fugitive is discharged from service or labor claimed, and in none of them has the State Government complied with the stipulation made in the Constitution. The State of New Jersey, at an early day, passed a law in conformity with her constitutional obligation; but the current of anti-slavery feeling has led her more recently to enact laws which render inoperative the remedies provided by her own law and by the laws of Congress. In the State of New York even the right of transit for a slave has been denied by her tribunals; and the States of Ohio and Iowa have refused to surrender to justice fugitives charged with murder, and with inciting servile insurrection in the State of Virginia. Thus the constituted compact has been deliberately broken and disregarded by the non-slaveholding States, and the consequence follows that South Carolina is released from her obligation.

The ends for which the Constitution was framed are declared by itself to be "to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity."

These ends it endeavored to accomplish by a Federal Government, in which each State was recognized as an equal, and had separate control over its own institutions. The right of property in slaves was recognized by giving to free persons distinct political rights, by giving them the right to represent, and burthening them with direct taxes for three-fifths of their slaves; by authorizing the importation of slaves for twenty years; and by stipulating for the rendition of fugitives from labor.
We affirm that these ends for which this Government was instituted have been defeated, and the Government itself has been made destructive of them by the action of the non-slaveholding States. Those States have assume the right of deciding upon the propriety of our domestic institutions; and have denied the rights of property established in fifteen of the States and recognized by the Constitution; they have denounced as sinful the institution of slavery; they have permitted open establishment among them of societies, whose avowed object is to disturb the peace and to eloign the property of the citizens of other States. They have encouraged and assisted thousands of our slaves to leave their homes; and those who remain, have been incited by emissaries, books and pictures to servile insurrection.

For twenty-five years this agitation has been steadily increasing, until it has now secured to its aid the power of the common Government. Observing the forms [emphasis in the original] of the Constitution, a sectional party has found within that Article establishing the Executive Department, the means of subverting the Constitution itself. A geographical line has been drawn across the Union, and all the States north of that line have united in the election of a man to the high office of President of the United States, whose opinions and purposes are hostile to slavery. He is to be entrusted with the administration of the common Government, because he has declared that that "Government cannot endure permanently half slave, half free," and that the public mind must rest in the belief that slavery is in the course of ultimate extinction.

This sectional combination for the submersion of the Constitution, has been aided in some of the States by elevating to citizenship, persons who, by the supreme law of the land, are incapable of becoming citizens; and their votes have been used to inaugurate a new policy, hostile to the South, and destructive of its beliefs and safety.

On the 4th day of March next, this party will take possession of the Government. It has announced that the South shall be excluded from the common territory, that the judicial tribunals shall be made sectional, and that a war must be waged against slavery until it shall cease throughout the United States.

The guaranties of the Constitution will then no longer exist; the equal rights of the States will be lost. The slaveholding States will no longer have the power of self-government, or self-protection, and the Federal Government will have become their enemy.

Sectional interest and animosity will deepen the irritation, and all hope of remedy is rendered vain, by the fact that public opinion at the North has invested a great political error with the sanction of more erroneous religious belief.

We, therefore, the People of South Carolina, by our delegates in Convention assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, have solemnly declared that the Union heretofore existing between this State and the other States of North America, is dissolved, and that the State of South Carolina has resumed her position among the nations of the world, as a separate and independent State; with full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent States may of right do.

Adopted December 24, 1860
[Committee signatures]

Originally posted to Politics and A Beer on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 02:10 PM PDT.

Also republished by History for Kossacks.

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Comment Preferences

  •  It always makes me chuckle when I hear (12+ / 0-)

    admirers of the Lost Cause extol the virtues of the Gray Ghost, battalion commander John Mosby.

    Like Longstreet, he made no buts about the cause of the war, nor of the South's defeat signalling the death of that cause.

    "Why not talk about witchcraft if slavery was not the cause of the war?  I always understood that we went to war on account of the thing we quarreled with the North about.  I never heard of any other cause of quarrel than slavery."

    I live under the bridge to the 21st Century.

    by Crashing Vor on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 02:26:50 PM PDT

  •  If I Recall... (13+ / 0-)

    Several of the traitorous states used this as a template, but several others were a little less direct.

    But yes - the Civil Was was all about slavery.

    And the political turmoil of the 1960's?  It was about Civil Rights.

    And now we have the tea-party right after a black man is elected president.

    But we liberals are the racists...

  •  Not only that... (7+ / 0-)

    ...but the well-documented wish of the fire eaters to create an immense slave empire out of the western half of North America, the Caribbean, Mexico, Central America, and South America.

    I'm not joking.  Want to creep yourself out, read up on the Knights of the Golden Circle.

    The Union soldiers who died during the Civil War rescued not only the present generation of the enslaved in the South, they saved uncounted millions from a life of slavery.

    Praise Lincoln forever for having the fortitude to see the war through to the end.

    Join Essa in a revolt against the gods.

    by rbird on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 03:18:13 PM PDT

  •  Also, notice specifically Paras. 17 & 18. (6+ / 0-)

    In which South Carolina specifically comes out against states rights:

    The same article of the Constitution stipulates also for rendition by the several States of fugitives from justice from the other States.

    The General Government, as the common agent, passed laws to carry into effect these stipulations of the States. For many years these laws were executed. But an increasing hostility on the part of the non-slaveholding States to the institution of slavery, has led to a disregard of their obligations, and the laws of the General Government have ceased to effect the objects of the Constitution. The States of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin and Iowa, have enacted laws which either nullify the Acts of Congress or render useless any attempt to execute them. In many of these States the fugitive is discharged from service or labor claimed, and in none of them has the State Government complied with the stipulation made in the Constitution. The State of New Jersey, at an early day, passed a law in conformity with her constitutional obligation; but the current of anti-slavery feeling has led her more recently to enact laws which render inoperative the remedies provided by her own law and by the laws of Congress. In the State of New York even the right of transit for a slave has been denied by her tribunals; and the States of Ohio and Iowa have refused to surrender to justice fugitives charged with murder, and with inciting servile insurrection in the State of Virginia. Thus the constituted compact has been deliberately broken and disregarded by the non-slaveholding States, and the consequence follows that South Carolina is released from her obligation.

  •  Absolutely amazing read (6+ / 0-)

    What's even more amazing about this is that they more specifically dissolved the Union and went to war because the handful of slaves who were lucky enough to escape and survive the journey north of the Ohio, were not returned to their "rightful owners".
    What a bunch of douche bags without even an ounce of human decency.  
    Oh, and those bullying States above the geographic line went and elected a man to high office that doesn't like slavery.  Boo hoo.  The whole country voted, not just the northern states.  You lost the fairly held election.  Get over it.
    The idea of democracy is that majority rules, but I guess today's Tea Party doesn't get that concept, either.

  •  Slavery was THE ONLY cause of the Civil War (5+ / 0-)

    Anybody who asserts otherwise is an ignoramus.

  •  As far as the Confederate Flag (7+ / 0-)

    and it's execrable display on all sorts of secessionist or racist occasions, I stand by my comment from Monday this week:

    If you want to escalate (6+ / 0-)

    the symbol clash, you can do a couple of things.
    First, try publicly burning the Confederate Flag!

    1st Amendment.

    Free Speech.

    A rag that does NOT symbolize a nation, province or political entity.

    You DO need to be wary of air pollution regulations, however.

    Second, for something historical:

    My Dad went through a phase when he was fascinated with the Great Pyramid in Egypt. He knew it was a pet project of his, something like my devotion to the Civil War.

          One day he came to me with a clipping, saying, "I know you like stuff about the Civil War. How about this?"

    After the Civil War ended the soldiers and officers got on with their lives. One group of former Union officers decided to take a foreign tour: The great sights of Europe, Ancient Rome, etc.
         They also came to see the Pyramids. Stomped around on them all day. When evening came they set up camp nearby to spend the night. As they all took off their boots to retire for the night their guide saw something fall out.
        "Looks like a piece of your boot lining fell out," he said.
        The guy picked it up and said, "Thanks" as he went to slip it back in. He showed the guide it was a cut out piece of a Confederate battle flag. He used it as a sole liner so that every step he took on the tour he was stepping on the Confederate flag.

    .....so if you want to play rough....

    Shalom.

    "God has given wine to gladden the hearts of people." Psalm 104:15

    by WineRev on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 06:19:44 PM PDT

  •  Slavery and its product cotton, with imperialist (0+ / 0-)

    intentions aimed southward, not at Kansas, etc. The South was closer to Cuba, West Indies, Brazil, Central America. The price of slaves was in a bubble, causing poor whites to reconsider abolition, rich whites to consider importation, the North was a nuisance. The attorneys worked out the unconvincing legalities herein inventing at least 20 transparent lies, readily dismissed by a Sumner. The fugitive clause did not say slaves and was not a convention deal breaker, not even debated as pertaining to slaves. The sovereignty of states was suppressed in the Constitution for a national government whose sovereigns were the people not the states, the revolution of 1787-9 that Madison led. Dred Scott was  self-destruction by judicial caprice.

    The truth is not in this document but in Stephens' Cornerstone speech where the South parts ways with the Declaration of Independence. Stephens said that it is a self- evident truth that all people are not created equal, some therefore have the right to dominate others. This is the natural law of a police state. This is still, in many ways, our national charter after the readmission of the anti-democratic rebel states, not only for Jim Crow neoslavery, but for the launching of tropical imperialism and the normalcy of a corrupt gilded age, still unabated. Such gross immorality and inequality violate the founding  New England egalitarianism and Virginia democracy that was unified in the administration of Washington. For the plutocratic judiciary, under Chase and thereafter, governing as the supreme branch, Dred Scott remains the model, Brown v. Board being the exception that proves the rule.  

  •  Of course it was about slavery. (4+ / 0-)

    When I took my test for getting my license to teach history in MA the essay question was to describe what else caused the Civil War.  I rejected the premise and explained why.  Yes, I did pass and earn my license.

    To anyone who doubts I simply ask can you imagine secession over something as mundane as tariffs, or different economies.  I for one cannot.  There is no way in my mind a Civil War would have happened absent slavery.

  •  All people had to know, without slave labor (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Politics and A Beer, retLT

    South Carolina and the south, would have been dirt poor. And without counting slaves as a percentage of a human to justify having enough constituents to qualify, the south wouldn't have had as much representation in congress either. Slavery meant EVERYTHING TO THE SOUTH. If that wasn't the case, there wouldn't have been any other reason for secession, or to fight, because they would have needed the north in order to help them survive.

    Last thing, the many attempts to allow slaveholders to venture into free states to capture "fugitives from LABOR", was also due to keeping slaves, because the transAtlantic kidnapping had been outlawed, so they had to mate more slaves like cattle, and capture the escaped ones.

    Finally, After i submitted my DNA via Ancestry.com. i noticed what i suspected all along. Out of the 1000s of African Americans i share DNA with, there are 1000s of slaveholders in it to. They had a good lives, sexual live for close to 300 years. So that also goes along with the reasons to go to war to continue holding slaves. Rape, child molestation was massive.

  •  One drop rule as argued by congress (0+ / 0-)

    The one-drop rule is a historical colloquial term in the United States for the social classification as Negro of individuals with any African ancestry; meaning any person with "one drop of Negro blood" was considered black. The principle of "invisible blackness" was an example of hypodescent, the automatic assignment of children of a mixed union between different socioeconomic or ethnic groups to the group with the lower status.[1]

    Although racial segregation was adopted legally by southern states of the former Confederacy in the late 19th century, legislators resisted defining race by law. In 1895 in South Carolina during discussion, George D. Tillman said,

        "...It is a scientific fact that there is not one full-blooded Caucasian on the floor of this convention. Every member has in him a certain mixture of… colored blood...It would be a cruel injustice and the source of endless litigation, of scandal, horror, feud, and bloodshed to undertake to annul or forbid marriage for a remote, perhaps obsolete trace of Negro blood. The doors would be open to scandal, malice, and greed..."[2]

    The one-drop rule was not adopted as law until the 20th century: first in Tennessee in 1910 and in Virginia under the Racial Integrity Act of 1924 (following the passage of similar laws in several other states).

    Before and during slavery, interracial relationships formed. In the antebellum years, free people of mixed race (free people of color) were considered legally white if individuals had up to one-eighth or one-quarter African ancestry (depending on the state).[3]:68 Most mixed-race people were absorbed into the majority culture based simply on appearance, associations and carrying out community responsibilities. These and community acceptance were the more important factors if a person's racial status were questioned, not his or her documented ancestry. Because of the social mobility of antebellum society in frontier areas, many people did not have documentation about their ancestors.

    Based on DNA and historical evidence, Thomas Jefferson is widely believed to have fathered four surviving mixed-race children with his slave Sally Hemings, who was three-quarters white by ancestry.[quote 1] Her children were born into slavery but, as they were seven-eighths European in ancestry, they were legally white under Virginia law of the time.[4] Jefferson allowed the two oldest to escape in 1822 (freeing them legally would have been a public action which he avoided); the two youngest he freed in his 1826 will. Three of the four entered white society as adults, and all their descendants identified as white.[4]

  •  So slavery served a lot of purposes and gives (2+ / 0-)

    another reason for the civil war.  FREE SEX on a massive scale for centuries. In a sick way, the slaveholders saw many slaves as part of their families. But the "inferior" black sheep part. The civil war ended that sick relationship.

  •  Thanx for Effectively Refuting Revisionist History (3+ / 0-)

        I do occasionally hear this contrarian argument from intellectual dilettantes that "the Civil War wasn't really about slavery." Or, "Lincoln didn't fight the Civil War to free the slaves."

         I don't hear it so much from Southern Republican Neo-Confederate White Supremacist types, because I don't really know very many Southern Republican Neo-Confederate White Supremacist types.  I actually tend to hear it from people on the liberal end of the spectrum, and it annoys me to no end.  I suppose low-information liberals tend to believe that such thinking fits in with the idea that liberals are supposed to be skeptical about history, always challenging the "establishment" view.

         I suppose the starting point for the argument is that the Civil War didn't start until after the South attempted to secede, and Lincoln didn't make the Emancipation Proclamation until after the war started, therefore freeing the slaves was the effect and not the cause.  

         But it's a silly argument, like knocking a glass off a table and saying, "No, I didn't break it.  The FLOOR broke it.  The last time I touched that glass, it was in perfect shape."  

         It's true that Lincoln's primary objective in the Civil War was not to free the slaves but to prevent secession, but the fact is that the South seceded because they wanted to preserve the institution of slavery, and they saw Lincoln's election  as the beginning of the end of their political power to do so.  If not for that single issue, there would have been no secession, and no war.   Yes, the Civil War was about slavery.  

         

  •  Indeed (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Politics and A Beer

    I recall some buffoon telling me the war was about the Morill tariff. Oh, the one that was not even adopted until 10 weeks after South Carolina seceded. Just for fun (I have a strange idea of fun), I looked at all eleven secession documents. Only Georgia -- which had by far the longest and most detailed document -- even so much as mentioned the tariff. All of them mentioned slavery prominently if not exclusively.

    Nor do I have much sympathy for the tariff argument. The northern states didn't secede during the 20 preceding years when the Southerners were enjoying their low tariff and winning every political battle (1850 Compromise, Kansas-Nebraska Act, Dred Scott, etc.).

    But some things don't change. They lost an election and thought something they didn't like might get passed, so they flipped out and tried to sabotage the entire nation.

    “Republicans...think American standard of living is a fine thing--so long as it doesn't spread to all the people. And they admire of Government of the United States so much that they would like to buy it.” Harry S. Truman

    by fenway49 on Mon Oct 21, 2013 at 11:12:14 AM PDT

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