Monday, March 4, 2013
“To treat, as Lincoln did, the peoples of entire states who had engaged in deliberate and legal acts of self-government as common criminals and as “domestic foes” aroused deep emotions of resentment and injustice that could be felt only by an American who had received with his mother’s milk the principle, framed in the Declaration of Independence, of the self-government of independent moral and political societies.
As the case of Robert E. Lee makes clear, this feeling of resentment had nothing to do with slavery, an institution he thought was on its way to oblivion. It was this deeply felt American resentment that enabled the entire South, 85 percent of whom did not own slaves, to mobilize and to make spectacular sacrifices to keep out an invading army, the government of which was intent on destroying, and did destroy, the corporate liberty of their political societies.
It was this sense of state honor that Hamilton had in mind when he said in the Federalist that THE CENTRAL GOVERNMENT COULD NEVER MAKE WAR ON AN AMERICAN STATE, and which he again asserted before the New York State convention:
“To coerce a state would be one of the maddest projects ever devised. No state would ever suffer itself to be used as the instrument of coercing another.” One cannot imagine the great Virginians of his time disagreeing.” Donald Livingston