This law, which their own bad faith rendered absolutely indispensible for the protection of constitutional rights, was instantly met with ferocious revilings and all conceivable modes of hostility. The Supreme Court unanimously, and their own local courts with equal unanimity with the single and temporary exception of the supreme court of Wisconsin , sustained its constitutionality in all of its provisions.
Yet it stands to-day a dead letter for all practicable purposes in every non-slave-holding State in the Union. We have their convenants, we have their oaths to keep and observe it, but the unfortunate claimant, even accompanied by a Federal officer with the mandate of the highest judicial authority in his hands, is everywhere met with fraud, with force, and with legislative enactments to elude, to resist, and defeat him.
Claimants are murdered with impunity; officers of the law are beaten by frantic mobs instigated by inflammatory appeals from persons holding the highest public employment in these States, and supported by legislation in conflict with the clearest provisions of the Constitution, and even the ordinary principles of humanity. In several of our confederate States a citizen cannot travel the highway with his servant who may voluntarily accompany him, without being declared by law a felon and being subjected to infamous punishments.
It is difficult to perceive how we could suffer more by the hostility than by the fraternity of such brethren. The public law of civilized nations requires every State to restrain its citizens or subjects from committing acts injurious to the peace and security of any other State and from attempting to excite insurrection, or to lessen the security, or to disturb the tranquillity of their neighbors, and our Constitution wisely gives Congress the power to punish all offenses against the laws of nations.
These are sound and just principles which have received the approbation of just men in all countries and all centuries; but they are wholly disregarded by the people of the Northern States, and the Federal Government is impotent to maintain them.
For twenty years past the abolitionists and their allies in the Northern States have been engaged in constant efforts to subvert our institutions and to excite insurrection and servile war among us.
They have sent emissaries among us for the accomplishment of these purposes. Some of these efforts have received the public sanction of a majority of the leading men of the Republican party in the national councils, the same men who are now proposed as our rulers. These efforts have in one instance led to the actual invasion of one of the slave-holding States, and those of the murderers and incendiaries who escaped public justice by flight have found fraternal protection among our Northern confederates.
Such are the opinions and such are the practices of the Republican party, who have been called by their own votes to administer the Federal Government under the Constitution of the United States. We know their treachery; we know the shallow pretenses under which they daily disregard its plainest obligations. If we submit to them it will be our fault and not theirs.
The people of Georgia have ever been willing to stand by this bargain, this contract; they have never sought to evade any of its obligations; they have never hitherto sought to establish any new government; they have struggled to maintain the ancient right of themselves and the human race through and by that Constitution.
But they know the value of parchment rights in treacherous hands, and therefore they refuse to commit their own to the rulers whom the North offers us. To avoid these evils we resume the powers which our fathers delegated to the Government of the United States, and henceforth will seek new safeguards for our liberty, equality, security, and tranquillity. In the momentous step which our State has taken of dissolving its connection with the government of which we so long formed a part, it is but just that we should declare the prominent reasons which have induced our course.
Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery-- the greatest material interest of the world. Its labor supplies the product which constitutes by far the largest and most important portions of commerce of the earth. These products are peculiar to the climate verging on the tropical regions, and by an imperious law of nature, none but the black race can bear exposure to the tropical sun.
These products have become necessities of the world, and a blow at slavery is a blow at commerce and civilization. That blow has been long aimed at the institution, and was at the point of reaching its consummation. There was no choice left us but submission to the mandates of abolition, or a dissolution of the Union, whose principles had been subverted to work out our ruin.
That we do not overstate the dangers to our institution, a reference to a few facts will sufficiently prove. The hostility to this institution commenced before the adoption of the Constitution, and was manifested in the well-known Ordinance of , in regard to the Northwestern Territory. The feeling increased, until, in , it deprived the South of more than half the vast territory acquired from France.
It has grown until it denies the right of property in slaves, and refuses protection to that right on the high seas, in the Territories, and wherever the government of the United States had jurisdiction. It refuses the admission of new slave States into the Union, and seeks to extinguish it by confining it within its present limits, denying the power of expansion.
It has nullified the Fugitive Slave Law in almost every free State in the Union, and has utterly broken the compact which our fathers pledged their faith to maintain. It advocates negro equality, socially and politically, and promotes insurrection and incendiarism in our midst.
It has enlisted its press, its pulpit and its schools against us, until the whole popular mind of the North is excited and inflamed with prejudice. It has made combinations and formed associations to carry out its schemes of emancipation in the States and wherever else slavery exists.
It seeks not to elevate or to support the slave, but to destroy his present condition without providing a better. It has invaded a State, and invested with the honors of martyrdom the wretch whose purpose was to apply flames to our dwellings, and the weapons of destruction to our lives. It has given indubitable evidence of its design to ruin our agriculture, to prostrate our industrial pursuits and to destroy our social system.
It knows no relenting or hesitation in its purposes; it stops not in its march of aggression, and leaves us no room to hope for cessation or for pause. It has recently obtained control of the Government, by the prosecution of its unhallowed schemes, and destroyed the last expectation of living together in friendship and brotherhood. Utter subjugation awaits us in the Union, if we should consent longer to remain in it. It is not a matter of choice, but of necessity.
We must either submit to degradation, and to the loss of property worth four billions of money, or we must secede from the Union framed by our fathers, to secure this as well as every other species of property.
For far less cause than this, our fathers separated from the Crown of England. Our decision is made. We follow their footsteps. We embrace the alternative of separation; and for the reasons here stated, we resolve to maintain our rights with the full consciousness of the justice of our course, and the undoubting belief of our ability to maintain it. Since that time, these encroachments have continued to increase, and further forbearance ceases to be a virtue.
And now the State of South Carolina having resumed her separate and equal place among nations, deems it due to herself, to the remaining United States of America, and to the nations of the world, that she should declare the immediate causes which have led to this act. In the year , that portion of the British Empire embracing Great Britain, undertook to make laws for the government of that portion composed of the thirteen American Colonies. They further solemnly declared that whenever any "form of government becomes destructive of the ends for which it was established, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute a new government.
In pursuance of this Declaration of Independence, each of the thirteen States proceeded to exercise its separate sovereignty; adopted for itself a Constitution, and appointed officers for the administration of government in all its departments-- Legislative, Executive and Judicial.
For purposes of defense, they united their arms and their counsels; and, in , they entered into a League known as the Articles of Confederation, whereby they agreed to entrust the administration of their external relations to a common agent, known as the Congress of the United States, expressly declaring, in the first Article "that each State retains its sovereignty, freedom and independence, and every power, jurisdiction and right which is not, by this Confederation, expressly delegated to the United States in Congress assembled.
Under this Confederation the war of the Revolution was carried on, and on the 3rd of September, , the contest ended, and a definite Treaty was signed by Great Britain, in which she acknowledged the independence of the Colonies in the following terms: Thus were established the two great principles asserted by the Colonies, namely: In , Deputies were appointed by the States to revise the Articles of Confederation, and on 17th September, , these Deputies recommended for the adoption of the States, the Articles of Union, known as the Constitution of the United States.
The parties to whom this Constitution was submitted, were the several sovereign States; they were to agree or disagree, and when nine of them agreed the compact was to take effect among those concurring; and the General Government, as the common agent, was then invested with their authority. If only nine of the thirteen States had concurred, the other four would have remained as they then were-- separate, sovereign States, independent of any of the provisions of the Constitution.
In fact, two of the States did not accede to the Constitution until long after it had gone into operation among the other eleven; and during that interval, they each exercised the functions of an independent nation. By this Constitution, certain duties were imposed upon the several States, and the exercise of certain of their powers was restrained, which necessarily implied their continued existence as sovereign States.
But to remove all doubt, an amendment was added, which declared that the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States, respectively, or to the people. On the 23d May , , South Carolina, by a Convention of her People, passed an Ordinance assenting to this Constitution, and afterwards altered her own Constitution, to conform herself to the obligations she had undertaken.
Thus was established, by compact between the States, a Government with definite objects and powers, limited to the express words of the grant. This limitation left the whole remaining mass of power subject to the clause reserving it to the States or to the people, and rendered unnecessary any specification of reserved rights. We hold that the Government thus established is subject to the two great principles asserted in the Declaration of Independence; and we hold further, that the mode of its formation subjects it to a third fundamental principle, namely: We maintain that in every compact between two or more parties, the obligation is mutual; that the failure of one of the contracting parties to perform a material part of the agreement, entirely releases the obligation of the other; and that where no arbiter is provided, each party is remitted to his own judgment to determine the fact of failure, with all its consequences.
In the present case, that fact is established with certainty. We assert that fourteen of the States have deliberately refused, for years past, to fulfill their constitutional obligations, and we refer to their own Statutes for the proof. The Constitution of the United States, in its fourth Article, provides as follows: This stipulation was so material to the compact, that without it that compact would not have been made.
The greater number of the contracting parties held slaves, and they had previously evinced their estimate of the value of such a stipulation by making it a condition in the Ordinance for the government of the territory ceded by Virginia, which now composes the States north of the Ohio River. The same article of the Constitution stipulates also for rendition by the several States of fugitives from justice from the other States. The General Government, as the common agent, passed laws to carry into effect these stipulations of the States.
For many years these laws were executed. But an increasing hostility on the part of the non-slaveholding States to the institution of slavery, has led to a disregard of their obligations, and the laws of the General Government have ceased to effect the objects of the Constitution. In many of these States the fugitive is discharged from service or labor claimed, and in none of them has the State Government complied with the stipulation made in the Constitution.
The State of New Jersey, at an early day, passed a law in conformity with her constitutional obligation; but the current of anti-slavery feeling has led her more recently to enact laws which render inoperative the remedies provided by her own law and by the laws of Congress.
In the State of New York even the right of transit for a slave has been denied by her tribunals; and the States of Ohio and Iowa have refused to surrender to justice fugitives charged with murder, and with inciting servile insurrection in the State of Virginia.
Thus the constituted compact has been deliberately broken and disregarded by the non-slaveholding States, and the consequence follows that South Carolina is released from her obligation. The ends for which the Constitution was framed are declared by itself to be "to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.
In order to do that he u. As for a dependent country, one of their most desired goals was of course, to become a self-dependent ruling country. However, to achieve this goal is not as easy as to say it.
This is something that the majority of the citizens in the country have to agree upon and the congress has to be in favor of this too. When all of these are accomplished, then, a document would have to be drafted and printe. The Declaration of Independence is the founding document of the American Revolution, the Continental Congress adopted on July 4th, , and proclaimed the secession of 13 North American colonies from the U.
The people own the government, not the other way around. In fact, Thomas Jefferson, who was the lead author of the Declaration, said the following: When the government fears the people, there is liberty. A disruption in this balance of power pushes a country towards a tyrannical state.
The Declaration also answers the philosophical question of what to do with a destructive government, or one that has either overstepped its bounds or not fulfilling its purpose. The document states that people have a right, not just a privilege, to alter or all-out abolish the government, provided that the reason for doing so is not "light and transient. Rights are inherent, and cannot be taken away.
Yet this right to overthrow destructive governments was thought so important the Founders stated it to be not only a right, but also a duty, of the people. In other words, the decision of whether or not to overthrow a destructive government is, in the Founders' minds, not even a decision at all. The answer is simple: Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government.
The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world. Following the Preamble is the Indictment. This section is primarily the list of grievances that have led the colonists to "dissolve the political bands which have connected them" to the British Crown.
I have included the opening of this section to the right, but the full list is too long. The opening serves to connect the ideas expressed in the Preamble to the tangible obstacles the colonists were facing at the time. After initially establishing that the principles of self-governance and liberty for all apply to their current situation, the Founders accuse the King of Britain to be the persecutor, and proceed to list out all the grievances they have against the King.
There are a total of 27 of these grievances, which should tell you how aggravated the colonists really were with Britain. It wasn't just one thing that pushed the conflict this far; it was a "long train of abuses. Declaring independence was more of a last resort for the Founders than anything else.
In fact, some of those at the convention wanted to delay independence even longer. Yet, as the Founders outlined in the Preamble, a situation such as theirs leaves no choice to the oppressed but to declare independence. The abuses had ceased to be "light and transient. Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us.
We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence.
They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends. The Denunciation follows the Indictment, and is basically a restatement of the fact that the Founders had been very patient with Britain. In other words, the Denunciation reinforces the idea that declaring independence was not the ideal situation for either party, but Britain had left them no choice.
We see in this section that the Founders had petitioned Britain, warned and informed Britain of how oppressive the King was being, and appealed to just the simple decency and humanity of Britain. Yet Britain was constantly silent or, "deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity" , and thus the Founders and the rest of the colonists have no choice but to declare independence.
This section really shows how the Founders didn't exactly want to leave the rule of Britain. The whole section has a rather sad tone, implying this isn't what either party really wants. It is, however, the lesser of all evils, and thus is the course of action taken. All blame is pushed on the King. The colonies and Founders had tried to resolve the issue without disbanding the government structure, yet that didn't work.
The only action left is to, as said earlier in the Declaration, "provide new guards for their future security.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do.
And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor. The Conclusion is the final portion of the Declaration of Independence, and states simply what has been developed throughout the whole document: This section may be short and simple on the surface, but there's a lot in here. First is the important distinction that this Declaration does not actually form the United States of America as we know it today.
In fact, this Declaration simply makes each colony its own country, and each colony thus has the right to levy war, contract alliances, and do all other things nations do, and do so separately of the other states. Lastly in here is the ending. The Founders, as tangible backing to the power and implementation of the Declaration, "pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.
Think for a minute about the gravity of that statement. The Founders were so adamant about this Declaration, and had so much respect and dignity, that they gave every last thing they had to the cause. I can't see anyone doing that today. This powerful statement shows us the kind of people the Founders really were, and how everyone today should strive to have the same dedication and moral values as they did.
This concludes my analysis of the Declaration of Independence.
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