When Examining The Roots Of The South’S Secession From

1647 WordsApr 11, 20177 Pages
When examining the roots of the South’s secession from the United States, it is difficult to single out one event or cause as the sole contributor. In reality, there were several factors that contributed to the staunch divide between the North and South. Among the most notable causes, alongside the issue of slavery, was the debate over principles like state sovereignty and majority rule. Overall, Abraham Lincoln and John C. Calhoun best encapsulate this particular argument. Calhoun, despite his death occurring over a decade before the Civil War, was one of the earliest and most prominent proponents of the South’s secession from the Union. As a Senator for South Carolina, Calhoun advocated the importance of each state’s sovereignty while…show more content…
In general, Calhoun believes that the Union is not the sole authority, and that each party to the contract, meaning states, has the ability to decide what is in their own best interest and what actions are within their authority. Furthermore, when there are instances of the General Government infringing upon states sovereignty or individual liberties, Calhoun argues that states then have the ability to secede from the Union. This concept is detailed further by Calhoun in the Fort Hill Address, stating that, “should the General Government and a State come into conflict, we have a higher remedy; the power which called the General Government into existence, which gave it all of its authority, and can enlarge, contract, or abolish its powers…”(Calhoun 9). Here, Calhoun claims that the states founded and established the Union, and, therefore, have the authority to leave the contract if it is no longer serves their interests. Overall, Calhoun believed that secession was not only a fundamental principle of our government and of state’s rights, but also as a necessary action for protecting the South. Along with the issue of secession, Calhoun also takes issue with the concept of majority rule. In Calhoun’s view, the problem with our government and the principle of majority rule is that during the emergence of two parties, a numerical majority is created where one part wins and the other becomes the minority. The problem is that when their interest’s conflict, a numerical

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