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.
Jessica: In my on going study of the War of Northern Aggression, I have come across an article about the Morrill Tariff. This tariff was an important bill passed by Congress in May of 1860 to raise the tariff from 15% to 37% with increases to 47% within three years. I wonder why we never hear of this bill?
Out here on the West Coast, you’d be hard pressed to find someone who thought the Civil War wasn’t about ending slavery. The Los Angeles Times had an article discussing Confederate History Month and Confederate Memorial Day. http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-southern-pride29-2009mar29,0,2829655.story
My favorite quote in the article is the last one by Georgia State Rep. Tyrone Broooks: “The Confederacy lost, and the majority of American people will not accept these ideas about a renegade group of folks who decided they would overthrow the U.S. government.” It was my favorite quote because if you replace American with English and U.S. government with British government, that pretty much summed up the American Revolution which took place only 80 years before and is looked at in a very different light.
That’s interesting, John. I saw that same article and was so struck by the remarks of the Georgia rep that I am planning to do a post about it. It’s true what you say about the American Revolution, however since the Confederates never tried in any way, shape or form to “overthrow” the government of the United States, the rep’s remarks are pretty ridiculous. It’s sad that a public servant would be that ignorant about American history.