Page:Confederate Military History - 1899 - Volume 7.djvu/33

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CHAPTER II.

 

SECESSION AND ITS CAUSES—THE SLAVERY QUESTION —ALABAMA'S DECLARATION PRIOR TO THE NOMINATION OP LINCOLN—THE CHARLESTON CONVENTION—RESULT OP THE ELECTION—HOPE OP PEACEABLE SECESSION— EXPRESSIONS OP ADAMS AND WEBSTER—GREELEY OPPOSED TO COERCION.

THREE decades and a half of years, the life of a generation, have passed since the close of the military career of the actors in that long and sanguinary struggle, the war of the Confederacy. Few comparatively are left of the hosts who fought under Lee and Jackson, the Johnstons and Bragg. Still, many of those from Alabama are yet living and hold positions of trust and honor, continuing to serve the State for which they fought. To form any idea of the motives which then actuated them and the causes which precipitated the war, we must cast aside our environments of to-day, and looking backward find a point where we can stand face to face with the issues that confronted the statesmen of 1860.

The prosperity of the South depended very largely upon the labor which constituted a great part of its wealth, most of which had been imported from Africa in New England ships and sold by New Englanders to people of the South. The Constitution of the United States guaranteed that all the power of the government should be exercised to protect and secure the people in the use and enjoyment of this property, but for more than a third of a century this valued constitutional right had been assailed by a party in the North that had gradually gathered to itself strength and power, one encroachment and violation of law following another.

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