Secession Commissioners Speeches and letters

Secession Commissioners Speeches and letters



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The Apostles of Disunion provides an impressive conclusion to the discussion of the South’s slave-based drive as the main drive to the secession and the civil war. The book provides the readers with the opportunity to understand fully the conviction of the Southern states position on slavery and racism. It has been frequently mentioned that secession, slavery, and racism were the triple issues that confederates advanced and neo-confederates been advancing. The book served as an important examination of the work of secession commissioners that were sent from the deepest Southern areas of the country to the other slave states in the late period of 1860 to early periods of 1861. This paper shall analyze how secession commissioners speeches and letters and to establish their unhindered motivation for secession from the arguments fronted by the commissioners from the South.

Slavery and Racism

 The commissioners were given the task of putting a spirited defense of secession and thereafter urging their fellow whites in the southern areas to follow them out of the Union. The author effectively noted that the historians in trying to unearth the feelings and interests behind the split seldom inspected the speech of the commissioners, and in fact, they are hardly recognized by historians, and in some cases dismissed as insignificant to the historical processes. The book contains letters and speeches from the men that number 41 out of the 52 men that worked as commissioners.

Dew (10) remarks that the secessionists on their accord talked overtly about slavery more than the present day pro-confederates seem willing to discuss. The books make it clear the relevance of the topic to even present issues over the persistence use of the Confederate flag in very many southern states, and the perplexing Virginia’s Confederate history month. The commissioners seemed to have been campaigning on virtually the same message throughout, and the message was all about the president and the Republicans were abolitionists. Their sole goal was bounded on the establishment of racial equality and the promotion of a mixture, yet their stand was bounded on a country of white people that stood against the erosion of the white culture.  

Further the threat from their opponents were manifested in three grey areas; racial mixture, racial equality and race war. The writers from Mississippi authored the Declaration of Immediate Causes that asserted that the Northern areas campaign on the platform of Negro equality, and they promoted both social and political insurrection and incendiaries in them (Dew 13). The commissioner Leroy Pope Walker from Alabama argued that the Republican rule would hinder the south through their properties, liberties, and the purity of their daughters (Dew 79).  This means that the major theme discussed in the book from the speeches of the commissioners is racism, and the manner in which the southerners were not shy in propagating as their major agenda. Possibly, the best way the writer provides the evidence of the vice is the rough racism that is separated the pleas of the commissioners.

An open-minded critic of the speeches would immediately know that the perpetuation of slavery and white racial purity was the basic principles on the Confederacy was built up on.  Stephen Hale from Alabama penned a letter asserting that the victory for the Republicans could only be compared to an open declaration of war, and victory for the latter injures the property of the South, and their fields, and fosters the horrors of a San Domingo servile insurrection…, and satisfying the lust of the Negros (Dew 54). The latter from Hale is perhaps the best interpretation of secessionist arguments on slavery and race, an opinion that is shared by the author.

Prior and Post War

The book lays bare different comments made by the men before and after the civil war, and the ones that perhaps stand as important are the ones made by Davis, Stephens, Preston, and amongst others. Dew shows expressly that the former Confederates established the tales of the South’s rights causation when they penned down the Lost Cause book. Slavery and racism were the main arguments fronted the independence and nationalism of the south both during and before the war. After the end of the war, they campaigned on a different platform and Stephen vivid speech on March 1861, in which he pointed out that the conflict, was all about a fight between people who were pro-federacy, and the opponents who preferred a centralized government, and slavery was just a slavery merely became a collateral (Dew 16). Further, Preston commenting after the war described Confederacy as a noble defense of the real constitutional freedoms, and that it was far better than his personal description of Republican canting fanatics pushing for abolition and amalgamation (Dew 75).


Historians would point out that indeed the speeches and letters of the commissioners that vehemently argued for secession is the best place to validate their argument for split being clearly based on slavery and racism. Commissioners fought  president Lincoln on the platform of inequality, open racism, and slavery, which did change after the war, and painted the pro-federation as a group that stood for amalgamation and abolition. Their position on slavery and racism would latter change after their defeat, though their earlier speeches and letters have remained to this day as a constant reminder to their demands in the past.

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