The justification of southern secession.
Maurice S.
Wed Aug 07 2019

On December 20th, 1860 the Southern States seceded from the United States to form the Confederate States of America. Some people look at the Confederacy as having a long history of racism, classism, and racial discrimination of black people and that they had no right to secede from the union. Some of these claims may be true, but the claim that the south had no right to secede is not only false but dismissive of why they decided to secede from the union in the first place. 

Let’s talk about the United States. They have always been linked with slavery, so has the south, but so has pretty much every other country in the world. We can talk about Romans, who enslaved mostly those that were not Romans. Then there the Spartans, who enslaved the helots. There was also slavery in japan until 1872 (including indentured servitude, by women prostitutes). I could go on a tangent of other examples, but I digress. I am not saying that the south is excused from the bad things they did, but at least give them equal hate across the board and not just cherry-pick the south.

A lot of people also look at the south, so they can justify their preconceived notions that America is a racist country and in need of change.

Now I want to show you why the bad things the south did is nothing compared to what the north did, not only to the south but the whole United States as a whole. Let’s talk about the fugitive slave Act of 1793, which gave local governments the power to enforce article four, section two and clause three of the United States constitution, which was signed by George Washington himself. The north did not like this, so they created laws called “personal liberty laws,” which were just pro abolitionist laws. The first state to enact these laws was Connecticut, which gave runaway slaves the right to a trial by jury, upon appeal. Then Vermont and New York created the right of trial by jury and provided them with attorneys. 

In 1842, the Supreme Court ruled that enforcement of the Fugitive Slave Act was a federal function, so some northern states made it illegal for state authorities to help in the return of fugitive slaves. After this, in 1850, Congress passed the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850. As a reaction to this most northern states strengthened their “personal liberty laws.” The south did nothing to provoke the north, but yet the north created laws to provoke the south. 

Ten years would go by before the breaking point between the south and the north deteriorated to the point of disrepair. On November 6, when Lincoln became president of the United States, it was at that moment that the south knew, if they stayed in the union it was only a matter of time before the Republican party of Lincoln and the north would change the constitution to fit their moral agendas. because of this, one month after this, on December 20th, 1860, South Carolina would draft its letter of secession, and more southern states would follow suit in this “radical” movement.

Now some would say “Sure it was justified for them to feel miss treated by the north, but that does not give them the right to secede from the union.” To that I would say, no and here is my reason. Nowhere in the constitution does it state that once you enter the union then you must stay in the union. Here is what it does say about how states are admitted into the union. “ New States may be admitted by the Congress into this Union; but no new State shall be formed or erected within the Jurisdiction of any other State; nor any State be formed by the Junction of two or more States, or Parts of States, without the Consent of the Legislatures of the States concerned as well as of the Congress.” So Congress has the sole power to create and establish new states, but not the power to keep a state in the union. 

Now let’s look at the tenth amendment. “ The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” So the south had every right to secede from the union, under these terms. Now let’s talk about the cost of the war. An estimated 620,000 died in the civil war. That is a lot of American lives lost for slavery. After the war ended the most difficult part was rebuilding the war-stricken south. Since slavery was 60% of their economy. The south would never fully recover from the war, because of this.   

Sometimes I think what would have happened if the north had just waited a few more decades because slavery would have ended it was only a matter of time. A few mechanical cotton harvesters were made from 1850 to 1948, but it wasn’t until 1960 when the hour of producing cotton went from 125 hours to 25 hours. These machines would have made slavery obsolete because the profit of a harvester would have been more profitable then any slave would be. Now In conclusion I am not saying that the north was the only reason for the war, but they played a major role in the war, whether they want to admit it or not. I will not lie that southern and northern tensions had been brewing for many years before 1850, who is to say maybe the civil war was just unavoidable and that slavery was just the last nail in the coffin. 

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