A geographical line has been drawn across the Union, and all the States north of that line have united in the election of a man to the high office of President of theUnited States, whose opinions and purposes are hostile to slavery. He is to beentrusted with the administration of the common Government, because he hasdeclared that that "Government cannot endure permanently half slave, half free,"and that the public mind must rest in the belief that slavery is in the course of ultimate extinction.And Mississippi¶s declaration blatantly states that:Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery-- the greatestmaterial interest of the world.As if the states¶ secession articles were not clear enough, Alexander Stephens, the Confederacy¶sVice President, said in his Cornerstone Address that slavery was ³the immediate cause of the laterupture and present revolution´. Later, in his memoirs, he would write that ³slavery was withoutdoubt the occasion of secession´. There you have it: one of the highest-ranking leaders of theConfederacy says in the plainest English possible that the South seceded over slavery!Some revisionists claim that Robert E. Lee, one of the Confederacy¶s most famous and mostromanticized military leaders, was opposed to slavery. It is true that Lee admitted that slaverywas an evil institution, but he argued not that it should be abolished but rather that it was a
evil. From an 1856 letter to his wife:In this enlightened age, there are few I believe, but what will acknowledge, thatslavery as an institution, is a moral & political evil in any Country. It is useless toexpatiate on its disadvantages. I think it however a greater evil to the white manthan to the black race, & while my feelings are strongly enlisted in behalf of thelatter, my sympathies are more strong for the former. The blacks areimmeasurably better off here than in Africa, morally, socially & physically. The painful discipline they are undergoing, is necessary for their instruction as a race,& I hope will prepare & lead them to better things. How long their subjugationmay be necessary is known & ordered by a wise Merciful Providence. Not only that, but at one point Lee actually inherited sixty-three slaves from his father-in-law.When three of them tried to escape, Lee ordered that they be stripped to the waist and lashed between twenty and fifty times, with their wounded backs being washed with brine afterwards.Such behavior not only contradicts the popular image of Lee as an opponent of slavery, but alsothe idea that he was an unusually noble character. He was in truth every bit as vicious as anyother slaveholder.