May 12, 2006

Georgia Declaration of Causes of the Secession

Georgia placed before the world the reasons to secede from the United States of America on January 29, 1861.

The declaration placed on record two categorical statements. The first statement declared that they serious and numerous complain against their non slave holding confederate States with reference to the subject of African slavery. In the second statement they stated that "they (non-slave-holding States)have endeavoured to weaken our security, to disturb our domestic peace and tranquility, and persistently refused to comply with their express constitutional obligations to us in reference to that property, and by the use of their power in the Federal government have striven to deprive us of an equal enjoyment of the common territories of the Republic.

The declaration emphasized that they had put for long with the insults, injuries and dangers perpetrated by the North States on the South state because they had regard for their national sentiments. It also emphasized that they had persuaded them to desist from continuing such activities. They had also told clearly that a sectional party (Republican Party) should not be entrusted with the government of the country. The resolution accused that the Republic party which had been called as Lincoln party by the resolution was a party of exploded political heresies, of condemned theories in political economy, and advocate to commercial restrictions, of protection, of special privileges, of waste and corruption in administration of government and anti-slavery was its only mission.

The declaration tried to remind that the question of slavery was taken care of during the very inception of the constitution. The acceptance of the constitution was invariably related to recognizing slavery within the body of the constitution. After that was settled, the constitution worked for the benefit of the whole nation for nearly a half century and never was that question brought to realm of contentious issue during that period.

The declaration emphasized that since the inception of the constitution, it was the North which had been receiving undue protection for its material growth. The nation had conceded to their demands for special protection at the expense of the agricultural interests of the rest of nation. The navigating, commercial and manufacturing interests of North had been allowed to seek special privileges. It was the treasury of the Federal government which had been paying for material benefit of the North states at the expense of overall benefit of the whole nation. The beneficiaries of accommodating Federal government was Eastern and Middle non-slave-holding states. The Federal government had condescended to their demands because their economic activities were in its infancy, there was scarcity of labour and capital, the other countries were hostile to them, they had provided material goods during the time of war and need money to pay their debts which they had incurred during the war of independence. Therefore, they were being compensated during that period.

The declaration observed that by 1846, the special privileges doled out to them were withdrawn after the debate in which the whole nation participated. As per the basic spirit and nature of the American nation, the special privileges were then stopped to them. It was replaced by the principle of free trade, low duties and economy in public expenditure. The change was smooth and it worked well for the benefit of the whole nation.

However, after that, a section took up of the issue of anti-slavery only to regain the earlier benefits. They tried to revive the anti-slavery sentiment of the North. The section got the chance when Mexico was acquired. The resolution reminded that Mexico was acquired with blood and money of South. However, when the North tried to use Congressional Legislation to curb the slavery in that region, the South met with great moderation though it was an insult to them.

The declaration also reminded that through the ordinance of 1787, the right over property of South was secured by the constitution. It also recorded that Virginia had parted with her territory only when it was given constitutional guarantee that South would be allowed to retain their property right over slaves. Before Missouri compromise, the North States again tried to damage their property right over slaves. By 1852, the anti-slavery group lost all their political significance. It was then, the Lincoln party again organized itself. In 1860, the Lincoln party had won the election by exploiting the antislavery sentiment and it was unacceptable to Georgia.

It was lamented in the declaration, that constitutional had secured their property, the Supreme Court had passed judgements in favour of that right, the nation had debated the issue for forty years and given verdict in favour of equal enjoyment of their property right but in 1860, the North Sates were about to deny that right. Not only that, the North States had also tried to raise rebellion in South states. They had tried to destroy the peace of the South States and the Federal government had failed to secure them peace and justice.

Finally the deceleration placed on the record that why they were not ready to accept the government in the hands of the Republic party. Giving the reason, the placed on record that because by their declared principles and policy they have outlawed $3000000000 of our property in the common territories of the Union; put it under the bad of the Republic in the States where it exists and out of the protection of Federal law everywhere; because they give sanctuary to thieves and incendiaries who assail it to the whole extent of their power, in site of their most solemn obligations and covenants; because their avowed porpoise is to subvert our society and subject us not only to the loss of our property but the destruction of ourselves, our wives, and our children, and the desolation of our homes, our altars and our fireside.

Summary Observations:
  • The Georgia declared that "they (non-slave-holding States) have endeavoured to weaken our security, to disturb our domestic peace and tranquility, and persistently refused to comply with their express constitutional obligations to us in reference to that property, and by the use of their power in the Federal government have striven to deprive us of an equal enjoyment of the common territories of the Republic."

  • The North States had unduly used the Federal Treasury during the earlier years of the Union for the material benefit. It was allowed then because, South was not dependent on the Federal support for its material progress whereas it was needed by North. However, that material support was ended by 1846.

  • The North States harmed their material gains when it forced the South to adopt the Missouri Compromise and again when Mexico was taken over.

  • A group of wrong political notions, had tried to exploit dormant sentiment of North state only for gaining the political power. North wanted to regain the material support of the treasury and harm the South by denying it freedom to use the constitutional right, it had allowed that political group, then known as Republican Party.

The South States had been suffering insult and harm to them for long. Therefore, when Republican party, which had made anti-slavery an issue only to gain power, Georgia had separated itself to regain liberty, equality, security and tranquility.

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