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pressure of the upper and nether mill-stones which had so ground to pieces our commerce, a prosperity set in which drowned the sporadic discontent of the previous twenty years. The fears of the eastern states no longer loomed so high and were as imaginary in fact, and had as slight a basis, as were, in the beginning of the era of discord, those of the South. Could slavery have been otherwise preserved, the extreme decentralizing ideas of the South would have disappeared with equal ease, and Stephens's causa causans-"the different and directly opposite views as to the nature of the Government of the United States, and where, under our system, ultimate sovereign power or paramount authority properly resides," would have had no more intensity of meaning in 1860 than today.
Divergence of constitutional views, like most questions of government, follow the lines of selfinterest; Jefferson's qualms gave way before the great prize of Louisiana; one part of the South was ready in 1832 to go to war on account of a protective tariff; another, Louisiana, was at the same time demanding protection for her special industry. The South thus simply shared in our general human nature, and fought, not for a pure abstraction, as Davis and Stephens, led by Calhoun, would have it, but for the supposed self-interest which its view of the Constitution protected. Its section, its society, could not continue to develop in the Union under
the northern reading of the document, and the irrepressible and certain nationalization, so different from its own tendencies, to which the North as a whole was steadily moving.
Slavery drove the South into opposition to the broad, liberal movement of the age. The French Revolution; the destruction of feudalism by Napoleon; the later popular movements throughout Europe and South America; the liberalizing of Great Britain; the nationalistic ideas of which we have the results in the German empire and the kingdom of Italy, and the strong nationalistic feeling developing in the northern part of the Union itself had but little reflex action in the South because of slavery and the South's consequent segregation and tendency to a feudalistic nationalization.
As pointed out by one, himself a distinguished son of the South, "In 1789 the states were the creators of the Federal Government; in 1861 the Federal Government was the creator of a large majority of the states. In 1789 the Federal Government had derived all the powers delegated to it by the Constitution from the states; in 1861 a majority of the states derived all their powers and attributes as states from Congress under the Constitution. In 1789 the people of the United States were citizens of states originally sovereign and independent; in 1861 a vast majority of the people of the United States were citizens of states that were originally mere dependencies of the Federal Gov
ernment, which was the author and giver of their political being.
These words of a southern orator convey a serious truth. The conditions of settlement were instigators of national feeling, as well as the tendencies of the century and the general conditions of American life. The immigrant, the traveller abroad, the commercial world, the great merchant fleet of the country, the army and navy, knew no state. But the South, except for its representatives in the military and naval services, was outside the pale of these influences; it had no merchant marine; its only travellers were from among the very few who owned slaves; it clung necessarily, through slavery, to agriculture, and lived the secluded and separate life of the husbandman; and when attacked by abolitionism it bent all its energies to the preservation of the only life it knew. It was not touched, except in a remote way, by the wonderful industrial change which came over the world with steam; its spirit not being commercial, it did not strive to link itself with the great West, as did New York, Boston, Philadelphia, and Baltimore. Its harbors were few and mostly shallow, and though of depth sufficient for the ships of the period, its distance from Europe was so much greater when the steamship began to be the carrier and took a direct route, independent of trade-winds and Gulf Stream, that this distance became an im
1 Lamar, quoted by Curry, Southern States, 187.
portant element in the change from busy to deserted ports.
The impulses working in the North and West, liberal, industrial, and national, were thus unfelt in the South, which planted and gathered in 1860 much as it did in 1820. Its illiteracy was very great, its reading public small. There was less movement between North and South than between the southern East and West, and the sections grew in painful ignorance of each other; an ignorance which increased as intercourse diminished through the sensitiveness of slavery. There was left but one kinship-that of blood. All other bonds disappeared in the gulf of economic interest, the outcome of its special form of labor, the preservation of which became an obsession. Under the circumstances there was but one step finally for the South to take—to set up a nationality of its own. It was impossible for it to remain under a polity almost as divergent from its sympathies as the Russian autocracy of that period was from the United States of to-day.
THE SLAVE-HOLDING SOUTH
LAVERY followed the natural law of every
vice or disease-of moving towards health or towards dissolution. To denounce it now seems, in the words of a distinguished historian, "like trampling on a grave"1; the system is in the limbo of the inquisition and of witchcraft; a generation has sufficed to still much of the passion and hush the arguments which fifty years ago possessed the minds of the great majority of the South and many` of the North. They can now only serve to illustrate the extraordinary psychologic aberrations to which the best of men are prone and teach the charity which all of us are so unapt to extend to the opinions of our fellow-man. Its study leads to the feeling that in this instance the mantle of charity cannot be too broad; it needs to be stretched over both North and South. For all slave-owners were not vicious; all anti-slavery men were not enemies or wishers of evil to the South. Nor were all slaves under the incessant application of 1 Goldwin Smith, United States, 221.