Saturday, October 3, 2015

Lincoln's First Inaugural Address: A Masterpiece of Political Shysterism

First to set the table a bit. My commentary will be red. Sometimes I write as if I'm talking directly to Lincoln. Sometimes not. I've tried to limit out of my comments things that happen after the point in time where he gave this speech. So issues like Fort Sumter, for example, don't get mentioned. I'm trying to view it as I would have viewed it then, as if it were just happening. The general purpose behind this analysis is that I'm writing a book which deals with political issues and politicians who are masters of spin. This one seems to me to be a prime example. History has recorded well enough what he actually did. Please keep in mind that these are only my notes and are not intended to be a formally written commentary.

People who know me and have read other posts of mine about Lincoln know that I really don't like him. I have a uniform standard for rating presidents based on if the follow the Constitution or not. Based on that, and taking all excuses off the table, I think he's the worst president we've ever had and the country is still suffering from what he did.

While this will not be viewed by most as being directly related to current issues it is a fine example of the deceptive techniques still used in modern times. Obama could have given this speech.

As of 1860, two thirds of the federal revenue came from taxes taken from the South through protectionist tariffs, which benefited the North's internal improvements programs, while doing little for the South. Other resources back this opinion and I leave it to the honest researcher to do his own homework. I'd advise the reader to seek the opinions of economists on this point rather than historians. Lincoln, by his own frequently expressed testimony and history, was for high protectionist tariffs and internal improvements (modernly known as corporate welfare) programs. He made his own personal fortune through being the legal representation for big railroad companies who benefited from such policies. While the term "lobbyist" hadn't been coined yet, for all intents and purposes that's what he was for the railroad companies of the day.

A magician, same as a crafty politician, has a principle of operation he uses in creating his magic. While continuously drawing the audience's attention to his right hand he works behind the scenes to create his illusions with his left hand which he very carefully doesn't call your attention to. This tactic is also use quite frequently in politics. In this address Lincoln mentioned slavery 16 times in various forms and discussed it at some length. Taxes (as duties and imposts) were only mentioned briefly once. State's Rights (modernly called Social Issues) were mentioned twice. It becomes obvious, given the principle that the best policy is to attack where the enemy is weak, where Lincoln wanted the public's attention to be as well as where he didn't want it to be. I'll call this the "look over here" principle.

It is also a well known propaganda tactic that if you tell a lie surrounded by truths, that through twisted logic related to the truths, the lie will be accepted as if it were true. Then by repeating that lie over and over again it tends to be viewed as if it were the truth of its own accord. Then by framing other lies surrounded by the first as if it were true, other lies can be accepted based on the first. Gradually an entire framework can be built and believed, based on lies. The public, not being aware of the lies as such, acts on them as if true. This method of political discourse is as old as time.

With the above points explained and assumed we then proceed to Lincoln's First Inaugural Address.

Fellow-Citizens of the United States:
In compliance with a custom as old as the Government itself, I appear before you to address you briefly and to take in your presence the oath prescribed by the Constitution of the United States to be taken by the President "before he enters on the execution of this office."

I do not consider it necessary at present for me to discuss those matters of administration about which there is no special anxiety or excitement.

Apprehension seems to exist among the people of the southern States that by the accession of a Republican Administration their property and their peace and personal security are to be endangered. There has never been any reasonable cause for such apprehension. Indeed, the most ample evidence to the contrary has all the while existed and been open to their inspection. It is found in nearly all the published speeches of him who now addresses you. I do but quote from one of those speeches when I declare that—I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so. This is a lie depending on which speech he quoted. Of course he didn't quote his speech of October 16th, 1854 where he said the following: "When the white man governs himself, and also governs another man, that is more than self-government—that is despotism. If the Negro is a man, why then my ancient faith teaches me that “all men are created equal;” and that there can be no moral right in connection with one man's making a slave of another." He also gave no indication how much support he had from abolitionists due to this and other comments like it. Purpose or not, he did interfere with slavery, directly and indirectly through federal legislation he supported. "Look over here." He's putting attention on his right hand. Let's see what he does with the left one. Regarding his lawful right to end slavery he is correct. This is not meant to be a statement that is in support of slavery. Slavery is pretty unequivocally a bad thing. It's just a question of whose authority it is to end it, relative to the lack of truthfulness of Lincoln's comments. Per the Tenth Amendment only the States have the power to end slavery.

Those who nominated and elected me did so with full knowledge that I had made this and many similar declarations and had never recanted them; No sir. You only contradict them. and more than this, they placed in the platform for my acceptance, and as a law to themselves and to me, the clear and emphatic resolution which I now read:

Resolved, That the maintenance inviolate of the rights of the States, and especially the right of each State to order and control its own domestic institutions according to its own judgment exclusively, is essential to that balance of power on which the perfection and endurance of our political fabric depend; and we denounce the lawless invasion by armed force of the soil of any State or Territory, no matter what pretext, as among the gravest of crimes. "Look over here." See what he is saying? "I'm not coming after you. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain." And the invasion of any State by the federal government would be the gravest of crimes.

I now reiterate these sentiments, and in doing so I only press upon the public attention the most conclusive evidence of which the case is susceptible that the property, peace, and security of no section are to be in any wise endangered by the now incoming Administration. I add, too, that all the protection which, consistently with the Constitution and the laws, can be given will be cheerfully given to all the States when lawfully demanded, for whatever cause—as cheerfully to one section as to another. "Look over here." Repeat the lie. "I'm not coming after you. Trust me. Don't worry about it."

There is much controversy about the delivering up of fugitives from service or labor. The clause I now read is as plainly written in the Constitution as any other of its provisions:
No person held to service or labor in one State, under the laws thereof, escaping into another, shall in consequence of any law or regulation therein be discharged from such service or labor, but shall be delivered up on claim of the party to whom such service or labor may be due. "Look over here." Pay special attention to the issue of slavery! Ignore any others.

It is scarcely questioned that this provision was intended by those who made it for the reclaiming of what we call fugitive slaves; and the intention of the lawgiver is the law. All members of Congress swear their support to the whole Constitution—to this provision as much as to any other. To the proposition, then, that slaves whose cases come within the terms of this clause "shall be delivered up" their oaths are unanimous. Now, if they would make the effort in good temper, could they not with nearly equal unanimity frame and pass a law by means of which to keep good that unanimous oath? Has there been some sort of problem with this? Certainly there was the Fugitive Slave Act (actually there were two of them) but it was your supporters who opposed them and wouldn't follow them. There was no problem with the Fugitive Slave Act as per the Constitution. The problem was all of the other deals that had to be made and stuck to it to get it passed. The conclusion that comes to mind here is that you have put this in your speech to try and sound like you are being reasonable as an act of appeasement. "Look over here. I'm not coming after you. I have no intent on your property or peace. In spite of the fact that I mention it over and over and over and over..."

There is some difference of opinion whether this clause should be enforced by national or by State authority, but surely that difference is not a very material one. Truth. If the slave is to be surrendered, it can be of but little consequence to him or to others by which authority it is done. Truth, although strictly speaking, irrelevant and emotionally based. And should anyone in any case be content that his oath shall go unkept on a merely unsubstantial controversy as to how it shall be kept? Unsubstantial? There are states who refused to comply with the Constitution, Article Four or the Fugitive slave act. "Look over here."

Again: In any law upon this subject ought not all the safeguards of liberty known in civilized and humane jurisprudence to be introduced, so that a free man be not in any case surrendered as a slave? True. And might it not be well at the same time to provide by law for the enforcement of that clause in the Constitution which guarantees that "the citizens of each State shall be entitled to all privileges and immunities of citizens in the several States"? Was this a problem? Granted some free people of color were taken as slaves but how is that relevant to this speech? And there were laws regarding this issue. And again slavery is mentioned as if it were the only issue. "Look over here."

I take the official oath to-day with no mental reservations and with no purpose to construe the Constitution or laws by any hypercritical rules; and while I do not choose now to specify particular acts of Congress as proper to be enforced, I do suggest that it will be much safer for all, both in official and private stations, to conform to and abide by all those acts which stand unrepealed than to violate any of them trusting to find impunity in having them held to be unconstitutional. Okay. There is a problem here. A REALLY big one. You are about to take an oath to protect and defend the Constitution. That means you shouldn't follow or enforce any unconstitutional laws. That's the definition of your job. To do otherwise is a dishonorable shirking of your duty as president. But it's worse than that. You are saying it is better for all of us to follow unconstitutional laws blindly as well. You are telling the American people to just passively comply with anything the majority of congress and yourself might pass and sign into law, Constitutional or otherwise, just because we will be safer if we do what you say. This I cannot abide. It is the threat of unjust laws being enforced which defines tyranny itself. And you sir, have just threatened the American people.

It is seventy-two years since the first inauguration of a President under our National Constitution. During that period fifteen different and greatly distinguished citizens have in succession administered the executive branch of the Government. They have conducted it through many perils, and generally with great success. Yet, with all this scope of precedent, I now enter upon the same task for the brief constitutional term of four years under great and peculiar difficulty. A disruption of the Federal Union, heretofore only menaced, is now formidably attempted. True.

I hold that in contemplation of universal law and of the Constitution the Union of these States is perpetual. Here is the big lie. Perpetuity is implied, if not expressed, in the fundamental law of all national governments. Based on what exactly? Certainly not the Declaration of Independence. Thus is it made for yourself the basis that you intend to rule by laws that you in your own imagination imply? I find that very truly astounding for someone, who is about to swear the oath to protect and defend the Constitution, to say. It's a wonder you didn't choke to death on the words. It is safe to assert that no government proper ever had a provision in its organic law for its own termination. Termination? Who's talking about terminating the Union? Nobody! Ending the Union is not the same thing as leaving it. This is the twist of logic. The subtle switching of one thing for another as if they were the same thing, the magician's trick, the straw man argument on which everything that follows is based. Continue to execute all the express provisions of our National Constitution, and the Union will endure forever, it being impossible to destroy it except by some action not provided for in the instrument itself. Where then, Mr. President, is the authority in the instrument itself to prevent a state from leaving? That, in your own words, not even outside of the current paragraph, is "implied perpetuity." Perpetuity through use of force on those who wish to leave is the action you speak of that would destroy us, which is not in the instrument itself.

Again: If the United States be not a government proper, but an association of States in the nature of contract merely, can it, as a contract, be peaceably unmade by less than all the parties who made it? Once again a lie is repeated as if true. Nobody is unmaking anything. That said there is a difference between the United States, being the voluntary union of Ohio, Texas, Vermont, etc., and the Federal Government of the United States which represents them collectively. Lincoln uses the two interchangeably, which they of course are not. And if you pay careful attention you may notice he does it deliberately and deceptively. Again the trick of swapping one thing for another as if they are the same thing. One party to a contract may violate it-break it, so to speak-but does it not require all to lawfully rescind it? I would be astonished to find that you ran your own legal practice in that manner. That said, a contract can be lawfully rescinded by the offended party if the violator of the contract refuses to comply with it. This releases the offended party from counter suit from the violator for not holding up his end of the bargain.

Descending from these general principles, we find the proposition that in legal contemplation the Union is perpetual confirmed by the history of the Union itself. False. The Union is much older than the Constitution. False. It was formed, in fact, by the Articles of Association in 1774. Alright. In the immediate preceding paragraph you say that the Union is not an association of states. Here you sight the founding document for the current country (not government) as the Articles of Association of 1774. Irony abounds. It was matured and continued by the Declaration of Independence in 1776. Which includes the phrase about just powers being drawn from the consent of the governed but more importantly establishes that a group of people can in fact depart and declare independence from a parent country and that it is their right under God to do so. Furthermore, and more importantly, when the Revolution was ended England granted independence to each individual colony as a separate entity. It was further matured, and the faith of all the then thirteen States expressly plighted and engaged that it should be perpetual, by the Articles of Confederation in 1778. This document is the only founding document that mentions anything about a perpetual union. Notice it is not the first or last in the sequence of founding documents. But it is the first to establish a formal government as distinct from Great Britain. And guess what? It only lasted nine years before its successor was written and thirteen years before everybody vacated that document for the new one! And above all it is most important to understand, that document was vacated. No president since has sworn to faithfully protect and defend the Articles of Confederation. And finally, in 1787, one of the declared objects for ordaining and establishing the Constitution was "to form a more perfect Union." Notice the absence of the word "perpetual" before "Union." There was a reason why the word perpetual was in the Articles but not in the Constitution. They were at war when the Articles were written and they didn't want any of the colonies to arbitrarily go weak and desert them. As of the writing of the Constitution their freedom had been won and they wanted to exercise it free of any overseeing authority. It is by careful omission of this fact that Lincoln makes his rather bogus case. Furthermore, that the country is more perfect with all of us together under central power without the freedom to leave is an assumption that you can't verify without some method of checking alternative realities. Captain Kirk had the technology to do that...sometimes. You sir, don't.

But if destruction of the Union by one or by a part only of the States be lawfully possible, the Union is less perfect than before the Constitution, having lost the vital element of perpetuity. Okay. Regarding the "vital element of perpetuity" being lost, would the vital element of perpetuity (that is nowhere in the Constitution that you are about to swear to) be senior to the vital element of freedom? And does the assumption of perpetuity under the force of arms rank higher than freedom in terms of a more perfect Union in your mind sir? And again I point out that nobody was talking about the destruction of the Union. Only several States declaring independence from it. To assume that several States leaving would destroy the Union is a straw man argument. History has had this happen many times. England is still there. Russia is still there. Germany is still there. Mexico is still there. Spain is still there. Italy is still there. Egypt is still there. The United States would still be there too, although like the rest, it would be somewhat smaller.

It follows from these views that no State upon its own mere motion can lawfully get out of the Union; that resolves and ordinances to that effect are legally void, and that acts of violence within any State or States against the authority of the United States are insurrectionary or revolutionary, according to circumstances. The operative phrase is, "It follows from these views." And they are just that. Your views. Not Constitutional law. Not international law. And your views are most inconsistent with the principles of freedom and the Declaration of Independence which established our separation from England, and the right of the people to be ruled by the consent of the governed. Your opinion, in short, is not law, especially when based on straw man arguments and false suppositions. But more than that, this is a promise, contrary to the statements at the beginning of the speech, that you intend to do what you just swore you would not do. You are going to invade the South and take their money that you think they owe you, that the North is relying on to run the federal government. If they resist—you know they will—you will use it as a justification to kill them, destroy their property, confiscate their money and possessions. "according to the circumstances."

I therefore consider that in view of the Constitution and the laws (According to your bogus interpretation of them, because you've quoted no actual law or clause within the Constitution that implies perpetuity by force. And once again, it is your view.) the Union is unbroken, and to the extent of my ability, I shall take care, as the Constitution itself expressly enjoins upon me, that the laws of the Union be faithfully executed in all the States. Doing this I deem to be only a simple duty on my part, and I shall perform it so far as practicable unless my rightful masters, the American people, shall withhold the requisite means or in some authoritative manner direct the contrary. I trust this will not be regarded as a menace, but only as the declared purpose of the Union that it will constitutionally defend and maintain itself. Again, based on your "view" you are going to use your personal opinion to wage war with anybody who does not comply with your wishes. Completely forgotten is the principle of freedom and voluntary association under which this country was founded.

In doing this there needs to be no bloodshed or violence, and there shall be none unless it be forced upon the national authority. Given the statements so far, it is obvious you intend to provoke it. The power confided to me will be used to hold, occupy, and possess the property and places belonging to the Government and to collect the duties and imposts; I rest my case. Follow the money! It is little known that Lincoln owned quite a bit of land out west at this time. This land somehow, by extraordinary coincidence is in the direct path proposed for the Transcontinental Railroad. What kind of coincidence is this? That a lobbyist/trial lawyer, who represented the biggest of railroad companies at the time, should happen to own land where a railroad whose existence could depend on the federal government getting the tax money from the South? Not only did Lincoln have some presidential power to lose over the people of the South by their secession but he had a great deal of real estate to dispose of, no doubt, at premium prices. but beyond what may be necessary for these objects, Which I will cleverly and deceptively provoke. there will be no invasion, no using of force against or among the people anywhere. Unless you decide otherwise and until you comply with my "views." Where hostility to the United States in any interior locality shall be so great and universal as to prevent competent resident citizens from holding the Federal offices, there will be no attempt to force obnoxious strangers among the people for that object. While the strict legal right may exist in the Government to enforce the exercise of these offices, the attempt to do so would be so irritating and so nearly impracticable withal that I deem it better to forego for the time the uses of such offices. In other words, you are powerless to do anything about it that does not involve the direct and frontal assault on the Southern States. But you can't do that and still look like the good guy, can you?

The mails, unless repelled, will continue to be furnished in all parts of the Union. So far as possible the people everywhere shall have that sense of perfect security which is most favorable to calm thought and reflection. The course here indicated will be followed unless current events and experience shall show a modification or change to be proper, and in every case and exigency my best discretion will be exercised, according to circumstances actually existing and with a view and a hope of a peaceful solution of the national troubles and the restoration of fraternal sympathies and affections. And maybe you'll be more consistent at these duties than you have been in this speech. (Okay, that comment is kind of puerile but I get pretty of angry when someone pisses on the Constitution like this.)

That there are persons in one section or another who seek to destroy the Union at all events and are glad of any pretext to do it I will neither affirm nor deny; You mean other than those alluded to in your statements above? And again, who is trying to destroy the Union? Again the deceptive change of one thing for another as if they are the same thing. but if there be such, I need address no word to them. To those, however, who really love the Union may I not speak? It is your speech sir.

Before entering upon so grave a matter as the destruction of our national fabric, with all its benefits, its memories, and its hopes, would it not be wise to ascertain precisely why we do it? Again, who is talking about destroying the United States? Will you hazard so desperate a step while there is any possibility that any portion of the ills you fly from have no real existence? Will you, while the certain ills you fly to are greater than all the real ones you fly from, will you risk the commission of so fearful a mistake? The ghost of Jefferson Davis lies screaming in agony within my breast. The South did everything humanly possible except to succumb in abject apathy to avoid secession. You are still ignoring the real issues of the South. This speech confirms it and attempts to distract away from them.

All profess to be content in the Union if all constitutional rights can be maintained. Is it true, then, that any right plainly written in the Constitution has been denied? Yes. Protectionist tariffs and unequal distribution of federal funding are denials of several parts of the Constitution. But it's not all about rights. Enumerated rights are only a small part of the Constitution. I think not. Happily, the human mind is so constituted that no party can reach to the audacity of doing this. Think, if you can, of a single instance in which a plainly written provision of the Constitution has ever been denied. Oh my God. You mean besides the uneven distribution of taxes? I can't believe he even asked this. By the Tenth Amendment the federal government had no authority to do anything whatsoever about slavery. Any law that attempted to use federal power is such a violation. There are others like the Alien and Sedition Act that don't apply to the contemporary issues. If by the mere force of numbers a majority should deprive a minority of any clearly written constitutional right, it might in a moral point of view justify revolution; certainly would if such right were a vital one. You mean like the Constitutional right of even distribution of public funds? But such is not our case. Lie. All the vital rights of minorities and of individuals are so plainly assured to them by affirmations and negations, guaranties and prohibitions, in the Constitution that controversies never arise concerning them. Bah! You've got to be kidding! You mentioned several controversies regarding them above! You're limiting the discussion exclusively to the subject of rights is to take three quarters of the reasons why the South wishes to secede off the table of discussion. You can't really convince me at this point that you believe this argument to be valid. But no organic law can ever be framed with a provision specifically applicable to every question which may occur in practical administration. True, but that is not an excuse for you to just make up laws out of your own personal views to fill in the voids. No foresight can anticipate nor any document of reasonable length contain express provisions for all possible questions. Again. Shall fugitives from labor be surrendered by national or by State authority? The Constitution does not expressly say. True, although because of its mention in the Constitution it could be a federal power. May Congress prohibit slavery in the Territories? The Constitution does not expressly say. False; the Tenth Amendment denies them that power. Must Congress protect slavery in the Territories? The Constitution does not expressly say. False; the Tenth Amendment.

From questions of this class spring all our constitutional controversies, False. Not only false but really, really, really deceptively false. And he has to know it. and we divide upon them into majorities and minorities. If the minority will not acquiesce, the majority must, or the Government must cease. False. This is the reason for the States as sovereign entities and why the Tenth Amendment allows them to hold their opinions as a minority State without federal approval. The government of this country was set up so the States could be free to exercise their own choices and the federal government serves them only in their common interests. If you hold that there is only one authority, that of the federal government ruling over the States that belief is false per the Constitution. If you hold that the States are individual entities, sovereign in their own rights, then there is no contradiction. That you assume the former, Mr. President, tells me that you don't understand the Constitutional authority of the federal government and you seek to rule over the States rather than serve them as their president. There is no other alternative, Yes there is. Follow the Constitution. for continuing the Government is acquiescence on one side or the other. And again you deceptively swap the government for the country as if they are the same thing. They aren't. If a minority in such case will secede rather than acquiesce, they make a precedent which in turn will divide and ruin them, for a minority of their own will secede from them whenever a majority refuses to be controlled by such minority. There is no historical precedent for this that I can think of. There aren't a dozen Portugals. Ireland seems pretty unified. Texas didn't fragment when you supported it seceding from Mexico. For instance, why may not any portion of a new confederacy a year or two hence arbitrarily secede again, precisely as portions of the present Union now claim to secede from it? And even if they did it is their right to associate or disassociate. Even then where in the Constitution is your written authority to do anything about it? All who cherish disunion sentiments are now being educated to the exact temper of doing this.

Is there such perfect identity of interests among the States to compose a new union as to produce harmony only and prevent renewed secession? There isn't perfect enough identity of interests among any two individual people to prevent this. That does not give you the authority to use force to do any damned thing you want about it though.

Plainly the central idea of secession is the essence of anarchy. Said the British Parliament on the receipt of the Declaration of Independence. A majority held in restraint by constitutional checks and limitations, and always changing easily with deliberate changes of popular opinions and sentiments, is the only true sovereign of a free people. Whoever rejects it does of necessity fly to anarchy or to despotism. Unanimity is impossible. The rule of a minority, as a permanent arrangement, is wholly inadmissible; so that, rejecting the majority principle, anarchy or despotism in some form is all that is left. Okay. These last statements prove his mind. If the people or States don't see things the way he does he will use despotism to enforce it on them. He has rejected State sovereignty for national sovereignty. And he's going to do his best to protect them from their despotism by being their despot. If this were a country of one supreme power over all other powers he would be correct. But this country isn't one of those.

I do not forget the position assumed by some that constitutional questions are to be decided by the Supreme Court, nor do I deny that such decisions must be binding in any case upon the parties to a suit as to the object of that suit, while they are also entitled to very high respect and consideration in all parallel cases by all other departments of the Government. And while it is obviously possible that such decision may be erroneous in any given case, still the evil effect following it, being limited to that particular case, with the chance that it may be overruled and never become a precedent for other cases, can better be borne than could the evils of a different practice. With the understanding that Supreme Court decisions don't make law I agree with him on this. At the same time, the candid citizen must confess that if the policy of the Government upon vital questions affecting the whole people is to be irrevocably fixed by decisions of the Supreme Court, the instant they are made in ordinary litigation between parties in personal actions the people will have ceased to be their own rulers, having to that extent practically resigned their Government into the hands of that eminent tribunal. Absolute truth. Nor is there in this view any assault upon the court or the judges. It is a duty from which they may not shrink to decide cases properly brought before them, and it is no fault of theirs if others seek to turn their decisions to political purposes. True. Although they themselves seek to turn their decisions to political purposes. They aren't angels you know.

One section of our country believes slavery is right and ought to be extended, while the other believes it is wrong and ought not to be extended. A gross oversimplification, enough to misrepresent the positions of many people. Either way the federal government has no authority in the matter. The only reason it is an issue at all is because they got involved in something that was none of their business, assuming that we were to follow the Constitution. And again, "Look over here!" This is the only substantial dispute. False. Not even close Because it is the only one YOU are talking about with any significance does not mean it is the only substantial dispute. Follow the money. The fugitive-slave clause of the Constitution and the law for the suppression of the foreign slave trade are each as well enforced, perhaps, as any law can ever be in a community where the moral sense of the people imperfectly supports the law itself. The great body of the people abide by the dry legal obligation in both cases, and a few break over in each. This, I think, can not be perfectly cured, and it would be worse in both cases after the separation of the sections than before. The foreign slave trade, now imperfectly suppressed, would be ultimately revived without restriction in one section, False. The Confederate States banned the foreign slave trade in their Constitution at the outset. While it is true the Confederate Constitution wasn't signed until several days after this speech that they would have restarted the foreign slave trade is either a delusional assumption or a deliberate lie, according to the information Lincoln had available at the time. But more than that the southern states were the first to ban the trade when it went into effect in the US Constitution. The first being Georgia. More than that, as a colony, Virginia sent hundreds of petitions to England asking the trade to be banned. Those documents are available to be viewed to this day. while fugitive slaves, now only partially surrendered, would not be surrendered at all by the other. True. But only if the Union refused to extradite them. Is this a statement of intent?

Physically speaking, we can not separate. We can not remove our respective sections from each other nor build an impassable wall between them. A husband and wife may be divorced and go out of the presence and beyond the reach of each other, but the different parts of our country can not do this. They can not but remain face to face, and intercourse, either amicable or hostile, must continue between them. Is it possible, then, to make that intercourse more advantageous or more satisfactory after separation than before? Can aliens make treaties easier than friends can make laws? Can treaties be more faithfully enforced between aliens than laws can among friends? Suppose you go to war, you can not fight always; and when, after much loss on both sides and no gain on either, you cease fighting, the identical old questions, as to terms of intercourse, are again upon you. Portugal from Spain. Texas from Mexico. Ireland from England. Norway from Sweden. Panama from Columbia.

This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing Government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it or their revolutionary right to dismember or overthrow it. Ahem. But apparently according to your previous statements you don't support the right of independence from it, leaving it to prosper or fail on its own? I can not be ignorant of the fact that many worthy and patriotic citizens are desirous of having the National Constitution amended. While I make no recommendation of amendments, I fully recognize the rightful authority of the people over the whole subject, to be exercised in either of the modes prescribed in the instrument itself; and I should, under existing circumstances, favor rather than oppose a fair opportunity being afforded the people to act upon it. I will venture to add that to me the convention mode seems preferable, in that it allows amendments to originate with the people themselves, instead of only permitting them to take or reject propositions originated by others, not especially chosen for the purpose, and which might not be precisely such as they would wish to either accept or refuse. I understand a proposed amendment to the Constitution—which amendment, however, I have not seen—has passed Congress, to the effect that the Federal Government shall never interfere with the domestic institutions of the States, including that of persons held to service. To avoid misconstruction of what I have said, I depart from my purpose not to speak of particular amendments so far as to say that, holding such a provision to now be implied constitutional law, I have no objection to its being made express and irrevocable. You offer this to the South on the false premise that they are seceding due only to slavery. You haven't followed the money nor have you confessed your own conflict of interest in it. The South rejected this reason because it is a straw man issue. It is not either the cause or the main issue. Because your statements are proven to be so false there is no reason to believe that you would follow the Corwin Amendment either.

The Chief Magistrate derives all his authority from the people, False. This is a representative republic not a democracy. and they have referred none upon him to fix terms for the separation of the States. Hmmm...take that as your first clue that they have the right to leave the Union whenever they damn well want to. The people themselves can do this if also they choose, but the Executive as such has nothing to do with it. True. His duty is to administer the present Government as it came to his hands and to transmit it unimpaired by him to his successor. But again he swaps the Government of the United States for the States themselves. One is not the other. They are not interchangeable. Why does he insist on using them that way?

Why should there not be a patient confidence in the ultimate justice of the people? Is there any better or equal hope in the world? In our present differences, is either party without faith of being in the right? If the Almighty Ruler of Nations, with His eternal truth and justice, be on your side of the North, or on yours of the south, that truth and that justice will surely prevail by the judgment of this great tribunal of the American people. With Union guns as opposed to the principles of freedom, just to make sure it doesn't go the wrong way.

By the frame of the Government under which we live this same people have wisely given their public servants but little power for mischief, and have with equal wisdom provided for the return of that little to their own hands at very short intervals. While the people retain their virtue and vigilance no Administration by any extreme of wickedness or folly can very seriously injure the Government in the short space of four years. Unfortunately I'm not commenting on events that happened after this point in time.

My countrymen, one and all, think calmly and well upon this whole subject. Nothing valuable can be lost by taking time. If there be an object to hurry any of you in hot haste to a step which you would never take deliberately, that object will be frustrated by taking time; but no good object can be frustrated by it. Such of you as are now dissatisfied still have the old Constitution unimpaired, False. and, on the sensitive point, the laws of your own framing under it; while the new Administration will have no immediate power, if it would, to change either. If it were admitted that you who are dissatisfied hold the right side in the dispute, there still is no single good reason for precipitate action. These issues are not new. The South waited and worked patiently for decades for the resolution of these issues. Your attempt to infer that these issues are new is another straw man argument. Given the counts in congress of North and South there is no chance that the North is going to give in and recognize they are screwing the South in every possible way. Intelligence, patriotism, Christianity, and a firm reliance on Him who has never yet forsaken this favored land are still competent to adjust in the best way all our present difficulty. Should He fail we still have enough industry and population to sustain a bigger and better army than yours.

In your hands, my dissatisfied fellow-countrymen, and not in mine, is the momentous issue of civil war. Technically it is not civil war by definition. That's when someone takes over the central government of a country for the purpose of ruling over that country. The correct term would be revolution, just like the Colonies from England. There is no intent on the part of the South to rule over the North. It's not even being talked about. The Government will not assail you. As long as you give us your money as indicated above according to the wishes of the North which holds the majority in Congress and likely will until the end of time. You can have no conflict without being yourselves the aggressors. As long as you give us your money. You have no oath registered in heaven to destroy the Government, while I shall have the most solemn one to "preserve, protect, and defend it." Again, nobody is talking about destroying the government of the United States or the United States, or even taking it over. Why do you keep saying this? And again you've swapped the Government for the United States.

I am loath to close. We are not enemies, but friends. With friends like you why have enemies? We must not be enemies. And as long as you give us your money we won't be. Though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection. Then why not let us leave in friendship rather than threatening to take our money and territory by force? The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.

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