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Georgia, Vice-President of the Confederacy. The Stars and Stripes were now cast aside, and the “Stars and Bars ” I took their place.
315. Why the South seceded ; Seizure of National Property; the Star of the West fired on. – What took these seven states - soon to be followed by four more — out of the Union? The answer is, it was first their conviction that slavery would thrive better by being separated from the influence of the North ; and, secondly, it was their belief in “State Rights, upheld by South Carolina as far back as Jackson's presidency. According to that idea, any state was justified in separating itself from the United States whenever it became convinced that it was for its interest to withdraw.
In this act of secession many of the people of the South took no direct part, - a large number being, in fact, utterly opposed to it, — but the political leaders were fully determined on separation. Their aim was to establish a great slave-holding republic, or nationality, of which they should be head.3
Congress as a representative of the Whigs from 1843 to 1859. He afterward joined the Democrats. He at first opposed secession, and said that it was “the height of madness, folly, and wickedness"; but when Georgia seceded, he decided that it was his duty to stand by his state. After the Civil War he again entered Congress, and in 1882 he was elected governor of Georgia. He was a man who had the entire respect of those who knew him.
1 The “Stars and Bars," as the Confederate flag was popularly called, to distinguish it from the “Stars and Stripes," consisted of a blue union (the upper, inner corner of a flag is called the union), containing at first seven, and later eleven, white stars, — representing the number of the Confederate states, - arranged in a circle. The body of the flag was made up of three very broad horizontal stripes, or “bars,” the middle one white, the two others red. See page 286.
2 See Paragraph 269.
8 Alexander Stephens, Vice-President of the Confederacy, said, in a speech at Savannah, March 21, 1861, “The prevailing idea entertained by him (Jefferson] and most of the leading statesmen at the time of the formation of the old Constitution [the Constitution of the United States) was that the enslavement of the African was in violation of the laws of nature; that it was wrong in principle socially, morally, and politically. ... Our new government (the Southern Confederacy) is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its corner-stone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery - subordination to the superior race - - is his natural and normal condition.” — MCPHERSON'S Political History of the Rebellion, page 103.
SUMMARY FROM WASHINGTON TO BUCHANAN.
President Buchanan made no attempt to prevent the states from seceding ; part of his cabinet were Southern men, who were in full sympathy with the Southern leaders, and the President did not see how to act.
The seceded states seized the forts, arsenals, and other national property within their limits, so far as they could do so. Fort Sumter, commanded by Major Anderson of the United States army, in Charleston Harbor, was one of the few where the “Stars and Stripes” remained flying. President Buchanan had made an effort to send men and supplies to Major Anderson by the merchant steamer Star of the West (January 9, 1861); but the people of Charleston fired upon the steamer, and compelled her to
All eyes were now turned toward Abraham Lincoln. The great question was, What will he do when he becomes President?
316. General Summary from Washington to Buchanan (1789–1861). — Looking back to the presidency of Washington, we see that over seventy years had elapsed since the formation of the Union. We then had a population of less than four millions ; in 1861 at the outbreak of secession we had eight times that number, and much more than eight times the wealth possessed by us in 1789. Thus, from a small and poor nation, we had grown to be great and prosperous.
In 1789 our western boundary was the Mississippi, and there seemed no prospect that we should extend beyond it. In 1861 it was the Pacific. Our original eight hundred thousand square miles had increased to over three millions; and the original thirteen states had added to themselves twenty-one more, besides immense territories.
In 1789 New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Charleston, and New Orleans —six in all — were our only cities, and they
were so small that they were hardly worthy of the name. By 1861 most of these places (especially those at the North) had grown enormously in population and wealth, and we had added to them many flourishing cities like Brooklyn, Detroit, Milwaukee, Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis, St. Louis, Cincinnati, and San Francisco, all, but the last, bound to each other by railroads, and all connected by lines of telegraph.
But between 1789 and 1861 there was this sad difference : Washington had found and left us a united people ; Buchanan, a divided people. Seven of our states had left us; four more would go. For many years we had been brothers; now we were fast becoming enemies. Only let the word be spoken, and our swords would leap from their scabbards, and we would fly at each other's throats. What had brought about this deplorable change? Time. Time had strengthened Slavery at the South and Freedom at the North. It was no longer possible for both to dwell together in peace under the same flag. Either the Union must be dissolved, or those who loved the Union must fight to save it and to make it wholly free. If that could be done, then lasting peace would be restored; for then the North and the South — no longer separated by slavery — would again become one great, prosperous, and united people.
1 The eastern part of what is now Minneapolis was incorporated as a city, under the name of St. Anthony, in 1860. The west side, named Minneapolis, was incorporated as a city in 1867; in 1872 the two were united under that name,
“ Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth upon this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. ... We here highly resolve ... that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom; and that government of the people, by the people, and for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”. PRESIDENT LINCOLN'S Address at Gettysburg, November 19, 1863.
THE CIVIL WAR (APRIL, 1861, TO APRIL, 1865).
317. Lincoln's Administration (Sixteenth President, Two Terms, 1861-April 14, 1865); the President's Arrival at Washington; his Speech; his Intentions toward the Seceded States. President Lincoln's friends believed that it would not be safe for him to make the last part of his journey to Washington publicly; and he therefore reached the national capital secretly by a special night train.
At his inauguration (March 4, 1861) he said: “I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in
1 Abraham Lincoln (see Paragraph 313, note 2) was elected President by the Republican party (Hannibal Hamlin, of Maine, Vice-President), in 1860, over Breckinridge and Douglas, the two candidates of the Northern and the Southern Democrats, and Bell, the candidate of the “Constitutional Union" party. He was again elected by the Republicans, in 1864 (Andrew Johnson, of Tennessee, Vice-President), over General George B. McClellan, the Democratic candidate. President Lincoln was assassinated April 14, 1865, one month and ten days after entering upon his second administration. Vice-President Johnson then became President for the remainder of the term. President Lincoln, on first entering office, chose William H. Seward, Secretary of State; Salmon P. Chase, Secretary of the Treasury; Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy; and Simon Cameron, Secretary of War; succeeded January 15, 1862, by Edwin M. Stanton. During the Civil War they rendered services of inestimable value to the President and to the nation.
the states where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so; and I have no inclination to do so." But the President also declared in the same speech that he held the Union to be perpetual, and that he should do his utmost to keep the oath he had just taken "to preserve, protect, and defend it."1 He furthermore declared that the government had no intention of beginning war against the seceded states, but would only use its power to re-take the forts and other national property which had been seized by the Confederacy.
At this time the general feeling throughout the Northern States was a strong desire for peace, and a willingness to assure the Southern States that their right? to hold slaves should not be interfered with.
FIRST YEAR OF THE WAR, APRIL, 1861, TO APRIL, 1862.
ноо 1. |
318. Major Anderson's Condition at Fort Sumter; the First Gun of the War; Surrender of the Fort. — Major Ander
now sent message to
the Mt. Pleasant
President, stating that he could not long continue to hold Fort Sumter
unless provisions FORT SUMTER
were sent to him. His entire garrison, aside from
some laborers, con3
sisted of eightyMORRIS ISLAND
five, officers and men ;
STAR OF THE WEST
the Confederate force in
Map of Charleston Harbor.
1 See the President's oath of office on page 192, note 3. 2 That is, their legal right under the Constitution,