In honor of Confederate Heritage Month, I thought I’d print part of a publication called “A Confederate Catechism” by Lyon Gardiner Tyler. (Third edition, Nov. 21, 1929).
A Confederate Catechism
What was the cause of secession in 1861?
It was the fact that the Union consisted from the first of two jarring nations having different interests, which were brought to the breaking point in 1861 by the intemperate agitation in the North against everything Southern.
The breaking point was nearly reached in 1785 when the North sought to stop the development of the South by giving the Mississippi River to Spain, in 1801 when it attempted the immoral act of turning the presidential ticket upside down ad making Aaron Burr President, and in 1833 when it imposed upon the South a high protective tariff for the benefit of Northern manufacturers.
The breaking point was finally reached in 1861, when after unmitigated abuse of the South, a strictly Northern president was elected by strictly Northern votes upon a platform which repudiated the decision of the Supreme Court of the United States authorizing Southerners to carry their slaves into the territories.
This decision gave no material advantage to slavery, as none of the remaining territorial domain was in any way fit for agriculture, but the Southerners resented the attitude of Lincoln and his party as a challenge to their constitutional rights and as a determination on the part of the North to govern the Union thereafter by virtue of a more numerical majority.
The literature of those times shows that such mutual and mortal hatred existed as, in the language of Jefferson, “to render separation preferable to eternal discord.” The choice was between remaining in such a Union of hate, or seceding. There was no real peace, and the South seceded because it wanted peace and not strife or war.