Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 25.djvu/361

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ment ? If they were, then it would he treason in us to honor their ineium A ; vindicate their principle-;, and praise- their deeds. They were not rebels, and the world will yet know it, and accord to them their meed as patriots.

For what did the South contend? Time would not suffice, nor would it he appropriate to give in detail the causes that led up to the war, nor to discuss the various issues that arose, which produced hittter feeling and stirred up sectional animosities. I assert that the South fought lor the preservation of individual liberty and a right of local self-government, which we honestly believed were endangered by the usurpation of power by the Federal Government, and a ten- dency to centralization and the ultimate destruction of the autonomy of the States.

The germ of free institutions is in the personal consciousness of the individual man, that he is born into the world as a creature of God, with responsibility to Him for the proper use of his God-given powers, and that to work out his personal destiny upon this personal accountability, he needs to be free from the constraints with which despotism would bind his body, mind, heart, and conscience.

RIGHT OF SELF-GOVERNMENT.

When the man has this idea planted in his soul, it becomes a moral force which dreads treason ' to the Almighty Sovereign more than all the threats of human authority, and makes resistance to tyrants obedience to God. The personal right of the man to his liberty is asserted from his deepest self-consciousness against the government that would abridge or destroy it. The great battle that was fought by our fathers at the formation of the Federal Constitu- tion in 1787 was for the protection of this right of self-government, and in opposition to the centralization of power in the Federal head. They believed that centralization of power in the general government would show itself in a too great tendency to control, regulate and direct the industry and enterprise of the individual man. They believed that such a centralization of power would build up a pater- nal government, the patria potestas of ancient despotism, and merg- ing the man into the mass and directing the destiny of all, would sacrifice the interest of the toiling, home-staying citizen to the grasp and greed of the few fawning parasites, who crowd the lobby and swarm the corridors of legislative bodies. They believed that pater- nity in government would beget class Jegislation, which instead of