Sunday, April 11, 2010

In Honor of Confederate History Month

Thanks to Professor Balkin for posting these excerpts (i) from Confederate Vice President Alexander Stephens explaining the reasons for secession, (ii) from the State of Mississippi proclamation of secession, (iii) from the State of South Carolina proclamation of secession and (iv) from the State of Texas proclamation of secession. (link in title above)

It is important to understand what they're really talking about when we're talking about things like "states rights" and the "tenth amendment" and "freedom and deficits for me but not for thee."

There are a great many excellent pull quotes here -- includng Stephens explanation about the errors of Jefferson and the generation that thought that slavery was a necessary evil, as opposed to the Confederate generation that understood the slavery was a manifestation of God's will.

But I think I'll go with the Texas quote:

"In all the non-slave-holding States ... the people have formed themselves into a great sectional party ... based upon an unnatural feeling of hostility to these Southern States and their beneficent and patriarchal system of African slavery, proclaiming the debasing doctrine of equality of all men, irrespective of race or color-- a doctrine at war with nature, in opposition to the experience of mankind, and in violation of the plainest revelations of Divine Law. They demand the abolition of negro slavery throughout the confederacy, the recognition of political equality between the white and negro races, and avow their determination to press on their crusade against us, so long as a negro slave remains in these States.

. . . .

"We hold as undeniable truths that the governments of the various States, and of the confederacy itself, were established exclusively by the white race, for themselves and their posterity; that the African race had no agency in their establishment; that they were rightfully held and regarded as an inferior and dependent race, and in that condition only could their existence in this country be rendered beneficial or tolerable.

"That in this free government all white men are and of right ought to be entitled to equal civil and political rights; that the servitude of the African race, as existing in these States, is mutually beneficial to both bond and free, and is abundantly authorized and justified by the experience of mankind, and the revealed will of the Almighty Creator."