All the States of the Union were “free” in 1860, with some having ended the African labor system inherited from the British. The irony of the late antebellum hatred directed at the American South is that Northern slave ships, captained by the fathers and grandfathers of a great many Northern industrialists and political leaders profited handsomely in the transatlantic slave trade which populated the South with Africans; and no Southern leaders were to be found calling for the young Northern mill workers laboring 16 hours a day in unhealthy conditions to rise up and kill the wealthy mill owner. It is noteworthy that no abolitionist leader or group presented a peaceful and practical solution to this African slavery — only war to the knife.
Bernhard Thuersam, www.Circa1865.org
Millard Fillmore’s Prophesy
“[Daniel] Webster laid down, in immortal speeches, that the Union is not a compact between States, but a fundamental law no longer subject to their choice, and that each State is bound up with the rest by chords that cannot be legally severed. Thenceforward the opinion of Webster prevailed among American jurists.
The right of redress was taken away from the South, and the Northern Republicans, taking advantage of their constitutional victory, entered upon those violent courses which ended in making the Union intolerable to those who were opposed to them.
At that time the abolitionists commenced their crusade, which was directed as much against the Union, which they denounced as an “agreement with hell and a covenant with death,” as against slavery itself. It became a settled doctrine among them that the North and the South could not continue together, and they made the public familiar with the idea of dissolution [of the Union].
“The Union,” said Mr. Horace Greeley, editor of The [New York] Tribune, “is not worth supporting in connection with the South.”
But the stronger part of the Republicans resolved to make themselves master of the central government, for the purpose of coercing the South to submit to their political opinions. The Lieutenant-Governor of Massachusetts confessed that “the object to be accomplished was this, for the free States to take possession of the government.”
The spirit in which they meant to exercise it is expressed with the characteristic force and candor of American language by the representative of the same State in Congress: “When we shall have elected a President, as we will . . . and after we have exterminated a few more [Southern-friendly statesmen] from the North, then if the [Southerners Senators] shall not give way, we will grind it between the upper and nether millstones of our power.”
A pamphlet, which was widely circulated and was read in Congress, contains the following sentence: “Teach the slaves to burn their masters’ buildings, to kill their cattle and hogs, to conceal and destroy farming utensils, to abandon labor in seed time and harvest, and let the crops perish.”
Mr. [Salmon P.] Chase said, in 1859: I do not wish to have the slave emancipated because I love him, but because I hate his master.” A Senator from Ohio said very truly: “There is no union now between the North and the South, no two nations on earth entertain feelings of more bitter rancor towards each other than these two nations of the Republic.”
In this state of public feeling and political division, the candidate of Abolitionists and Republicans was elected President. Four years before, a former President, Mr. Fillmore, prophesied the catastrophe that would ensue:
“We see a political party presenting candidates for the Presidency and Vice-Presidency, selected for the first time from the Free States alone, with the avowed purpose of electing these candidates by suffrages from one part of the Union only, to rule over the whole United States. Can it be possible that those who are engaged in such a measure can have seriously reflected on the consequences which must inevitably follow in case of success?
Can they have the madness or the folly to believe that our Southern brethren would submit to be governed by such a Chief Magistrate?”
(The Civil War in America: Its Place in History; Selected Writings of Lord Acton, Volume I, Essays in the History of Liberty, J. Rufus Fears, editor, Liberty Fund, 1985, excerpts pp. 275-276)