“…the difference (was) between martyrdom and suicide.”

https://i0.wp.com/etc.usf.edu/clipart/12700/12795/stephens_12795_lg.gif?resize=174%2C221Free North Carolina

The United States Constitution defines treason as waging war against a State or adhering to its enemies, and protects each State from invasion. Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence frames the American republic as one that can change its constituent member States, should the will of the people of any State desire it.  All this was turned upside down by a political party which had seized unlimited power through Lincoln. After the war, Radical Republican strategy for political hegemony was to register all Southern black males using the infamous Union and Loyal Leagues as whips, and disenfranchise white voters who defended their country, the Confederate States.   

Bernhard Thuersam, Chairman

North Carolina War Between the States Sesquicentennial Commission


“The Official Website of the North Carolina WBTS Sesquicentennial”

Constitutional Liberty Quivered in its Death Throes:

“With only a woebegone corporal’s guard of Democrats to oppose them, the Republicans proceeded to enact their own reconstruction program for the South. Embodied in a series of bills passed from March 1867, to February 1868, congressional Reconstruction mandated a series of requirements before a State could be readmitted to the Union.

The “unreconstructed” South – all the States but Tennessee – was divided into five military districts, each commanded by a general supported with troops. The [President Andrew] Johnson State governments were abolished, and under the supervision of the district commanders the States were required to register all adult males and all eligible whites not falling under the office-exclusion ban of the proposed Fourteenth Amendment. These voters would elect a constitutional convention, which in turn had to write a new State constitution with provision for black suffrage.  The legislature thus elected then had to ratify the Fourteenth Amendment…[and] Only then could a State apply for readmission to the Union.

{Stephen’s said], “Our political doom is inevitable….we might just as well stand still and take what comes”…..[Benjamin] Hill and anyone else could do as they pleased as far as Stephens was concerned. He had lost all hope. Constitutional liberty quivered in its death throes. The South’s inevitable ruin must eventually spread north.  Neither accepting nor rejecting the congressional plan would make any difference. The difference between the two, he said, was akin “to the difference between martyrdom and suicide.”  Like Caesar, he said, he would wrap himself in his mantle and take the fatal blows without protest.

The two races could not possibly coexist peacefully in the South, Stephens said, much less cooperate politically. He never wanted to take part in public affairs again under such conditions. “We are fast abandoning the teutonic systems on which our institutions are based and are rushing fast into the Asian system of empire.”

Stephens could not register to vote for the State constitutional convention…[though] he required every black on his property to register. “Bye and bye,” he told a New York Times reporter, “they will come and ask me how to vote. What can I tell them but to go with their race?”

Everything in Georgia was wretched, he told the Philadelphia Enquirer in February, 1868.

“Incendiaries, the offscouring of the earth,” had moved in to stir up strife. If blacks got control of the State, whites would abandon it, he predicted. He couldn’t really blame the poor credulous blacks, though. They had been victimized by “political emissaries,” “reckless partisans,” “a class of insane politicians like Thad. Stevens,”

“Madness reigns,” he said. “We are about to destroy freedom, to build up a [Republican] party and a government that will devour us.” The blacks had been completely demoralized by registration, he told another reporter. Most showed little interest in working to prepare next season’s crops. Under such conditions, race war was inevitable.”

(Alexander H. Stephens of Georgia, A Biography, Thomas E. Schott, LSU Press, 1988, pp. 472-476)


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