Page:Boissonnas, Un Vaincu, English, 1875.djvu/57

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leadership was legal. It should have been pacific. Whatever the consequences, the duty of the South was to submit to the President imposed by the majority, as in the past the North had submitted to Mr. Buchanan. The South thought otherwise. The Civil War was its fault. We would be inclined to say its crime if the complex wording of the constitution was not the great culprit. The constitution gave birth to such an exaggeration of federal ideas that most minds gradually came to consider that the real sovereignty belonged to each state.[1]

Anyhow, it is not our purpose to linger on this burning ground. We are simply telling the story of a life, but a life shattered by the fights we are going to witness . We will have said enough of the problem if our reader has understood that, besides the question of abolition, there were other problems, some of which were really difficult to solve. These could, manipulated by circumstances, give rise in people's souls to ardent and sincere patriotic feelings -- but local patriotism, alas, imperiling the common fatherland.

Besides, at the time we are speaking of in 1861, slavery did not hold in America, and in the preoccupation of the parties, the place that Europe was already giving it, and that

it was going to take gradually, as the fight went on.

  1. See Alexander H. Stephan′s The Constitutional View of the Late War.