You are here

Sovereign and Independent

Topic: 
Organizations: 
Places: 

On this date we honor the declared independence of thirteen States. It also marks a turning point in a failed rebellion. The Confederate States of America was formed with the same political ideals as the United States from which they seceded.

The CSA had no unified declaration. They each acted in the spirit of the original, as evidenced by the concise preamble to the Confederate Constitution:

We, the people of the Confederate States, each State acting in its sovereign and independent character, in order to form a permanent federal government, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity invoking the favor and guidance of Almighty God do ordain and establish this Constitution for the Confederate States of America.

Remember, Lincoln did not invade Dixie to free the slaves, but to enforce his notion of Union:

In his First Inaugural Address, Lincoln declared, "I hold that in contemplation of universal law and of the Constitution the Union of these States is perpetual. Perpetuity is implied, if not expressed, in the fundamental law of all national governments," arguing further that the purpose of the United States Constitution was "to form a more perfect union" than the Articles of Confederation which were explicitly perpetual, and thus the Constitution too was perpetual. He asked rhetorically that even were the Constitution a simple contract, would it not require the agreement of all parties to rescind it?

Also in his inaugural address, in a final attempt to unite the Union and prevent the looming war, Lincoln supported the pending Corwin Amendment to the Constitution, which had passed Congress. It explicitly protected slavery in those states in which it already existed, and was designed to appeal not to the Confederacy but to the critical border states.

The CSA, first child of rebellion we are celebrating, was mortally wounded on July 4th, 1863. The day after General Lee’s second invasion of the North was decisively rebuffed—a crippling blow itself—the Confederacy was split in two by the fall of Vicksburg. Lincoln’s armies would go on to stamp out the torch of liberty wherever it burned in the south.

Today we celebrate our sovereign and independent character. History suggests we cannot keep that ideal too close to heart.