Pickering in 1805: “I will rather anticipate a new confederacv,rnexempt from the corrupt and corrupting influence and oppressionrnof the aristocratic Democrats of the South.”rnBy a twist of fate, Jefferson’s rival, Alexander Hamilton, whornhad made Jefferson President in 1801 by persuading his allies tornabandon Aaron Burr in the Mouse of Representatives in the tiernelection of 1800, probablv saved the Union. Federalists hadrnconspired with Burr in 1804 to support him for governor, if Burrrnwould lead New York into a New England Confederacv. Butrnthe rcvilemcnt of Burr bv Hamilton, as venal, corrupt, dictatorial,rnand dangerous, persuaded New Yorkers, by 7,000 votes, tornreject him. Burr challenged Hamilton to a duel and killed him.rnRevulsion at the death of the patriot-statesman aborted thernFederalists’ plot.rnIn anticipation of John C. Calhoun’s nullification, Massachusetts’rnlegislature in 1807 denounced Jefferson’s embargo,rndemanded that Congress repeal it, and declared the EnforcementrnAct “not legally binding.” Many merchants ignored thernlaw; and the New England authorities looked the other wav. Atrnthe Hartford Convention of 1814, New Englanders, enraged bvrnMadison’s war with England when the Mother Country was inrna death struggle against the dictator Napoleon, and by the interruptionrnof their trade, threatened to secede and reassociaternwith Great Britain.rnIn 1852 South Carolina “nullified” a tariff law it believed wasrnbleeding the South to death and asserted a right to secede. Inrn1843, when Tyler was driving for annexation of Texas, a vast territoryrnthat might be broken into fie states, tilting the politicalrnbalance of power in faor of the slave states, John QuincvrnAdams thundered that the annexation of Texas would justifyrnNorthern secession. And, in 1848, a freshman congressmanrncritic of the Mexican War spoke of the inherent right of statesrnto secede:rnAny people anywhere, being inclined and having thernpower, have the right to rise up, and shake off the existingrngovernment, and form a new one that suits them better.rnThis is a most valuable,—a most sacred right—a right,rnwhich we hope and believe, is to liberate the world. Norrnis this right confined to cases in which the whole peoplernof an existing go”crnment, ma choose to exercise it.rnAny portion of such people, that can, may revolutionize,rnand make their own, of so much of the territory as theyrninhabit. . . . It is a qualit’ of revolutions not to go by oldrnlines, or old laws; but to break up both, and make newrnThese are the words of Abraham Lincoln, Januar 12, 1848.rnWhy Did the South Secede?rnIf Lincoln did not threaten slavery, why, then, did the DeeprnSouth secede? Answer: bv 1861, America had become two nationsrnand two peoples. The South had e’olved into a separaterncivilization and wished to be a separate countr}’. While moderatesrnlike Lee wanted to remain in the Union, Southern militantsrnhad concluded that, with the election of Lincoln, thernNorth had won the great struggle for control of the nationalrndestiny.rnThe South had given the Union most of her Presidents, herrnSupreme Court Justices, her Speakers of the House. But, thernSouth would never again determine the nation’s direction.rnThis first Republican president had not receied a single electoralrn’ote in a Southern state; in ten Southern states he had notrnrecei’ed a single vote. Lincoln owed the South nothing; but hernowed everything to her enemies, to the admirers of John Brown,rnto the Northern industrialists who had Lincoln’s commitmentrnto a protective tariff that the South believed threatened itsrnruin.rnAfter decades of a troubled unhappv marriage, for the DeeprnSouth Lincoln’s election was the final blow. They had decided,rnirrevocablv, on di orcc. Thus, six weeks after Lincoln’s election,rnDecember 20, 1860, South Carolina seceded. Bv Februaryrn1, a month before Lincohi’s Inauguration, South Carolinarnhad been followed out of the Union bv Georgia, Florida, Alabama,rnMississippi, Louisiana, and Texas. In these states, federalrnforts, post offices, customs houses, and military posts hadrnbeen occupied. Federal employees and troops had been sentrnpacking. Yet, by the day of Lincoln’s Inauguration, fourrnmonths after his election, there was no war. Why not?rnBecause President James Buchanan did not believe the federalrngovernment had the right to use military force to compelrnstates to remain within the Union. If the Union was not voluntar,rnit was not a true Union. To our 15th President, coercionrnwas unconstitutional. As Professor Woodrow Wilson wrote inrnDivision and Reunion, Buchanan “believed and declared thatrnsecession was illegal; but he agreed vith his Attorney Generalrntliat there was no constitutional means or warrant for coercingrna State to do her duty under the law. Such, indeed, for therntime, seemed to be the general opinion of the country.” MostrnNorthern newspapers agreed.rnAs early as November 13, 1860, the Daily Union in Bangor,rnMaine, defended the South’s right to secede, asserting that arntrue Union “depends for its continuance on the free consentrnand will of the sovereign people” of each state. “[W]hen thatrnconsent and will is withdrawn on either part, their Lhiion isrngone.” If military force is used, then a state can only be held “asrna subject province,” and can never be a “co-equal member ofrnthe American Union.”rnHorace Grcele- vrotc in the New York Daily Tribune, Decemberrn17, 1860, “the great principle embodied by Jefferson inrnthe Declaration is that governments derive their just powerrnfrom the consent of the governed.” If the Southern statesrnwished to depart, “they have a clear right to do so.” And, ifrntyrannical government justified the Revolution of 1776, “we dornnot see wh it would not justifx- the secession of Five Million ofrnSouthrons from the Federal Union in 1861.”rnMan Northerners and Abolitionists were delighted to seernthe Deep South states gone. Abolitionist editor William LloydrnGarrison had spoken for many when he wrote that the originalrnConstitution, protecting slavery, had been a “covenant withrnDeath” and an “agreement with Hell.” In April 1861, Greelevrnw rote that “nine out of ten of the people of the North were opposed”rnto using force to return South Carolina to the Union.rnGeneral Scott, hero of the Mexican War and Commander ofrnthe U.S. Army, said of the “wayward sisters . . . let them go inrnpeace.” Ironically, the “wayward sisters” were like fugitivernslaes. Thev were trving to break free of Father Abraham’srnhouse, but he would not let them go.rnAbsent Abraham Lincoln, there might have been no war.rnBut, without Lincoln, there might also be no United States toda-.rnUnlike Buchanan, the new President would accept war,rnraise an army of a million men, and fight the bloodiest strugglernever on the American continent, rather than let the South go.rn18/CHRONICLESrnrnrn