Howell Cobb’s Address to the People of Georgia, December 6th 1860


Does the election of Lincoln to the Presidency, in the usual and constitutional mode, justify the Southern States in dissolving the Union?


The constitutional rights and guarantees claimed by the Southern States are briefly:


1.         That the Constitution of the United States recognizes the institution of slavery as it exists in the fifteen Southern States.


2.         That the citizens of the South have the right to go with their slave property into the common territories of the Union, and are entitled to the protection for both their persons and property from the General Government during its territorial condition.


3.         That by the plain letter of the Constitution the owner of a slave is entitled to reclaim his property in any state into which the slave may escape, and that both the General and State governments are bound by the Constitution to the enforcement of this provision.


The antagonism between these recognized rights and the doctrines and principles of the Black Republican party is plain, direct and irreconcilable. The one or the other must give away.


On the 4th day of March 1861 the Federal Government will pass into the hands of the Abolitionists.


I entertain no doubt either of your right or duty to secede from the Union.