What arch-Federalist Alexander Hamilton thought was merely a bad dream and impossible, achieved reality with the sixteenth person to occupy the Oval Office. Lincoln converted the republic into a government which made “war and carnage the only means of supporting itself – a government that can exist only by the sword.” Those States which enabled Lincoln to gain a plurality victory as president willingly provided the troops who marched into other States intent upon subjugation. Hamilton and his contemporaries never imagined a future president ruling with dictatorial powers and an army of two million under his command.
Bernhard Thuersam, www.Circa1865.org
Hamilton’s Nation at War with Itself
“Remember, this is the arch-Federalist speaking, the man whose name is associated more than any other in the Constitutional Convention with the authority of the federal government. He paints a picture of the country without this [coercive] power, and of a State refusing a federal requisition:
“It has been observed, to coerce the States is one of the maddest projects that was ever devised. A failure of compliance will never be confined to a single State. This being the case, can we suppose it wise to hazard a civil war?
Suppose Massachusetts, or any large State, should refuse, and Congress should attempt to compel them, would they not have influence to procure assistance, especially from those States which are in the same situation as themselves? What picture does this idea present to our view? A complying State at war with a non-complying State; Congress marching the troops of one State into the bosom of another; this State collecting auxiliaries, and forming, perhaps, a majority against the federal head.
Here is a nation at war with itself. Can any reasonable man be well-disposed towards a government which makes war and carnage the only means of supporting itself – a government than can exist only by the sword.
Every such war must involve the innocent with the guilty. This single consideration should be sufficient to dispose every peaceable citizen against such a government. But can we believe one State will ever suffer itself to be used as an instrument of coercion? The thing is a dream; it is impossible.”
(The Legality of Secession, excerpt, www.etymonline.com)