Chat with us, powered by LiveChat Secession of the State of Mississippi from the Federal Union Assignment | Abc Paper
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After the Civil War, many southern veterans and politicians created the “Lost Cause,” a movement devoted to perpetuating a specific set of memories about the South, slavery, and the Confederate war effort. Some ex-Confederate politicians and military officers wrote histories and memoirs of the recently ended war and groups like the United Confederate Veterans, United Daughters of the Confederacy, and Sons of Confederate Veterans raised funds to erect memorials to Confederate veterans and to the Confederacy in general. The “Lost Cause” typically entailed holding to a certain set of beliefs about the Old South (pre-Civil War) and the Confederacy including:1. Secession, not slavery, caused the Civil War, and states’ rights the cause of secession.2. African Americans were “faithful slaves,” loyal to their masters and the Confederate cause and unprepared for the responsibilities of freedom.3. The Confederacy was defeated militarily only because of the Union’s overwhelming advantages in men and resources.4. Confederate soldiers were heroic and saintly.5. The most heroic and saintly of all Confederates, perhaps of all Americans, was Robert E. Lee.6. Southern women were loyal to the Confederate cause and sanctified by the sacrifice of their loved ones.*TakenFrom: https://www.encyclopediavirginia.org/Lost_Cause_The#start_entryWe do not have the time to fully investigate the historical accuracy (or inaccuracy) of each of the tenets of the Lost Cause, but for this assignment we will look at what is probably the most debated aspect of the movement: the reason for the secession of eleven southern states. Was slavery the issue that drove the southern states to secede from the Union or was it something else? Fortunately for historians, there are a number of primary sources that provide a solid answer to this kind of question; and, fortunately for you all, you only have to read a couple of them.First, you will read Mississippi’s “Declaration of Causes,” a statement passed by the state’s government to explain why they were seceding from the Union. Second, you will read Confederate Vice-President Alexander Stephens’ “Cornerstone Speech,” which he delivered to the first meeting of the Confederate Congress in March 1861. After reading these two pieces (attached below), answer the following questions with at least 250 words. Then, as usual, respond to a classmates’ posting. Your response should be more than a simple, “I agree.”Do you think the state of Mississippi and Alexander Stephens see slavery as either a “necessary evil” as some slave-owners in the early days of our nation viewed it (meaning, that while many recognized it as evil, it was something white slave owners tolerated because they did not see a way to successfully wean themselves off of relying on slave labor) or as a “positive good” (meaning, believing that slavery was thoroughly good for all involved — slaves and slave owners alike) as later pro-slavery advocates like John Calhoun viewed it?Why did Mississippi feel that it was better off seceding from the Union?In his address, Stephens contrasts the founding of the Confederate nation with that of the United States. What is his opinion of Jefferson’s view of slavery and liberty as found in the Declaration of Independence? Explain.
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Mississippi
A Declaration of the Immediate Causes which Induce and Justify the Secession of the
State of Mississippi from the Federal Union.
In the momentous step which our State has taken of dissolving its connection with the
government of which we so long formed a part, it is but just that we should declare the
prominent reasons which have induced our course.
Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery– the greatest
material interest of the world. Its labor supplies the product which constitutes by far the
largest and most important portions of commerce of the earth. These products are
peculiar to the climate verging on the tropical regions, and by an imperious law of
nature, none but the black race can bear exposure to the tropical sun. These products
have become necessities of the world, and a blow at slavery is a blow at commerce and
civilization. That blow has been long aimed at the institution, and was at the point of
reaching its consummation. There was no choice left us but submission to the mandates
of abolition, or a dissolution of the Union, whose principles had been subverted to work
out our ruin. That we do not overstate the dangers to our institution, a reference to a few
facts will sufficiently prove.
The hostility to this institution commenced before the adoption of the Constitution, and
was manifested in the well-known Ordinance of 1787, in regard to the Northwestern
Territory.
The feeling increased, until, in 1819-20, it deprived the South of more than half the vast
territory acquired from France.
The same hostility dismembered Texas and seized upon all the territory acquired from
Mexico.
It has grown until it denies the right of property in slaves, and refuses protection to that
right on the high seas, in the Territories, and wherever the government of the United
States had jurisdiction.
It refuses the admission of new slave States into the Union, and seeks to extinguish it by
confining it within its present limits, denying the power of expansion.
It tramples the original equality of the South under foot.
It has nullified the Fugitive Slave Law in almost every free State in the Union, and has
utterly broken the compact which our fathers pledged their faith to maintain.
It advocates negro equality, socially and politically, and promotes insurrection and
incendiarism in our midst.
It has enlisted its press, its pulpit and its schools against us, until the whole popular
mind of the North is excited and inflamed with prejudice.
It has made combinations and formed associations to carry out its schemes of
emancipation in the States and wherever else slavery exists.
It seeks not to elevate or to support the slave, but to destroy his present condition
without providing a better.
It has invaded a State, and invested with the honors of martyrdom the wretch whose
purpose was to apply flames to our dwellings, and the weapons of destruction to our
lives.
It has broken every compact into which it has entered for our security.
It has given indubitable evidence of its design to ruin our agriculture, to prostrate our
industrial pursuits and to destroy our social system.
It knows no relenting or hesitation in its purposes; it stops not in its march of
aggression, and leaves us no room to hope for cessation or for pause.
It has recently obtained control of the Government, by the prosecution of its unhallowed
schemes, and destroyed the last expectation of living together in friendship and
brotherhood.
Utter subjugation awaits us in the Union, if we should consent longer to remain in it. It
is not a matter of choice, but of necessity. We must either submit to degradation, and to
the loss of property worth four billions of money, or we must secede from the Union
framed by our fathers, to secure this as well as every other species of property. For far
less cause than this, our fathers separated from the Crown of England.
Our decision is made. We follow their footsteps. We embrace the alternative of
separation; and for the reasons here stated, we resolve to maintain our rights with the
full consciousness of the justice of our course, and the undoubting belief of our ability to
maintain it.
Alexander Stephens’ “Cornerstone Speech”
March 12, 1861
The new constitution has put at rest, forever, all the agitating questions relating to our
peculiar institution African slavery as it exists amongst us the proper status of the negro
in our form of civilization. This was the immediate cause of the late rupture and present
revolution. Jefferson in his forecast, had anticipated this, as the “rock upon which the
old Union would split.” He was right. What was conjecture with him, is now a realized
fact. But whether he fully comprehended the great truth upon which that rock stood and
stands, may be doubted. The prevailing ideas entertained by him and most of the
leading statesmen at the time of the formation of the old constitution, were that the
enslavement of the African was in violation of the laws of nature; that it was wrong in
principle, socially, morally, and politically. It was an evil they knew not well how to deal
with, but the general opinion of the men of that day was that, somehow or other in the
order of Providence, the institution would be evanescent and pass away. This idea,
though not incorporated in the constitution, was the prevailing idea at that time. The
constitution, it is true, secured every essential guarantee to the institution while it
should last, and hence no argument can be justly urged against the constitutional
guarantees thus secured, because of the common sentiment of the day. Those ideas,
however, were fundamentally wrong. They rested upon the assumption of the equality of
races. This was an error. It was a sandy foundation, and the government built upon it
fell when the “storm came and the wind blew.”
Our new government 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. This,
our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great
physical, philosophical, and moral truth. This truth has been slow in the process of its
development, like all other truths in the various departments of science. It has been so
even amongst us. Many who hear me, perhaps, can recollect well, that this truth was not
generally admitted, even within their day. The errors of the past generation still clung to
many as late as twenty years ago. Those at the North, who still cling to these errors, with
a zeal above knowledge, we justly denominate fanatics. All fanaticism springs from an
aberration of the mind from a defect in reasoning. It is a species of insanity. One of the
most striking characteristics of insanity, in many instances, is forming correct
conclusions from fancied or erroneous premises; so with the anti-slavery fanatics. Their
conclusions are right if their premises were. They assume that the negro is equal, and
hence conclude that he is entitled to equal privileges and rights with the white man. If
their premises were correct, their conclusions would be logical and just but their
premise being wrong, their whole argument fails. I recollect once of having heard a
gentleman from one of the northern States, of great power and ability, announce in the
House of Representatives, with imposing effect, that we of the South would be
compelled, ultimately, to yield upon this subject of slavery, that it was as impossible to
war successfully against a principle in politics, as it was in physics or mechanics. That
the principle would ultimately prevail. That we, in maintaining slavery as it exists with
us, were warring against a principle, a principle founded in nature, the principle of the
equality of men. The reply I made to him was, that upon his own grounds, we should,
ultimately, succeed, and that he and his associates, in this crusade against our
institutions, would ultimately fail. The truth announced, that it was as impossible to war
successfully against a principle in politics as it was in physics and mechanics, I
admitted; but told him that it was he, and those acting with him, who were warring
against a principle. They were attempting to make things equal which the Creator had
made unequal.

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