When completed this collection will include accurate transcriptions of many important and representative primary texts from nineteenth century American history, with special emphasis on those sources that shed light on sectional conflict and transformations in regional identity. Because of our location in South Carolina and the salient role of its natives in the era's history there will also be a number of materials relevant to South Carolina or South Carolinians. Almost all of the documents have been transcribed from originals by myself or by Furman students. The originals are in the public domain. These electronic versions may be copied freely as long as proper attribution is given. To maintain a balance between accuracy and quick production we have decided to post some documents before the final round of proofreading has taken place. Versions that have been reverse-order proofed against the original texts are indicated with a as they are re-posted. All un-starred documents should be used with the awareness that minor errors may exist in them.
Portions of this project have been funded through a stipend from the Mellon Foundation and grants from the Furman University Research and Professional Growth and Faculty Development Committees. For an interim description of these activities see the Mellon Foundation Advanced Course Development Report. Several of the longer documents have been indexed and can be searched for words, phrases, and other patterns. There is also an experimental frames version of this menu available.
Your comments and suggestions are appreciated. Please send e-mail to lloydDOTbenson @Furman.edu.
I have endeavored to set before you the exceeding sinfulness of slavery, and to point you to the example of those noble women who have been raised up in the church to effect great revolutions, and to suffer for the truth's sake. I have appealed to your sympathies as women, to your sense of duty as Christian women. I have attempted to vindicate the Abolitionists, to prove the entire safety of immediate Emancipation, and to plead the cause of the poor and oppressed.
Have the people of the territories of the United States no rights? I had supposed that the principle was universally conceded in this country, that all men have certain inherent and inalienable rights; and I have yet to learn upon what grounds the people of the Territories are to be excluded from the benefit of this principle.
The ruling parties of the country have now flung off all disguises, and have openly and shamelessly declared war upon the only saving principles known to nations. Their platforms, adopted at Baltimore, embrace the whole slave system, as worthy of their regard and support.
"Whereas, Several of the non-slaveholding States of this Confederacy have, by unfriendly aggressive legislation, nullified the Constitution framed and bequeathed to us by our fathers and in so doing, have virtually dissolved the Union; and whereas the abolition fanatics, assisted by the votes of free negroes, who according to the decision of the Supreme Court, are not citizens of the United States, and therefore have no right of suffrage, have succeeded in carrying in the late election every Northern State except New Jersey, and are about to elevate to the highest office in this government, men whose avowed purpose it is, and who are pledged to wage an irrepressible conflict with Southern rights and with that institution which is the foundation of Southern prosperity and Southern society..."
Give them the Presidency and its patronage; the millions of money it has to dispense; the control of the Post Office, &c. and in a few brief years the slave States bordering on the North will have to abandon slavery as the source to them of endless vexation and loss, through the interference of Abolition emmisaries, while no new States will be admitted but such as are free -- and then, by a vote of Congress, their great idea will be carried out -- universal emancipation will be declared.-- Then every negro in South Carolina, and in every other Southern States, will be his own master; nay, more than that, will be the equal of every one of you. If you are tame enough to submit, Abolition preachers will be at hand to consummate the marriage of your daughters to black husbands!
"South Carolina...will, most assuredly, secede separately and alone."
The Tariff is not the question which brought the people up to their present attitude. We are to give a summary of our causes to the world, but mainly to the other Southern States, whose co-action we wish, and we must not make a fight on the Tariff question.... Our people have come to this on the question of slavery. I am willing, in that address to rest it upon that question.
In the one Address we are speaking to those with whom we expect to confederate -- we are speaking to our sister Southern States. In the other we are speaking to the world at large, and informing them of the reasons which induced us to take the important steps we have adopted.
We affirm that these ends for which this Government was instituted have been defeated, and the Government itself has been made destructive of them by the action of the non-slaveholding States. Those States have assumed the right of deciding upon the propriety of our domestic institutions; and have denied the rights of property established in fifteen of the States and recognized by the Constitution; they have denounced as sinful the institution of slavery; they have permitted open establishment among them of societies, whose avowed object is to disturb the peace and to eloign the property of the citizens of other States. They have encouraged and assisted thousands of our slaves to leave their homes; and those who remain, have been incited by emissaries, books and pictures to servile insurrection.
Experience has proved that slaveholding States cannot be safe in subjection to non-slaveholding States. Indeed, no people can ever expect to preserve its rights and liberties, unless these be in its own custody. To plunder and oppress, where plunder and oppression can be practiced with impunity, seems to be the natural order of things. The fairest portions of the world elsewhere, have been turned into wildernesses, and the most civilized and prosperous communities have been impoverished and ruined by anti-slavery fanaticism.
"Therefore it is that the election of Mr. Lincoln cannot be regarded otherwise than a solemn declaration, on the part of a great majority of the Northern people, of hostility to the South, her property and her institutions -- nothing less than an open declaration of war -- for the triumph of this new theory of Government destroys the property of the South, lays waste her fields, and inaugurates all the horrors of a San Domingo servile insurrection, consigning her citizens to assassinations, and her wives and daughters to pollution and violation, to gratify the lust of half-civilized Africans."