Jeff Davis on Secession


Confederate President Jefferson Davis, Message to the Confederate Congress (April 29, 1861)

"It was by the delegates chosen by the several States . . . that the Constitution of the United States was framed in 1787 and submitted to the several States for ratification. . . . [These] States endeavored in every possible form to exclude the idea that the separate and independent sovereignty of each State was merged into one common government and nation, and . . . to impress on the Constitution its true character-that of a compact between independent States.

" . . . Amendments were added to the Constitution placing beyond any pretense of doubt the reservation by the States of all their sovereign rights and powers not expressly delegated to the United States by the Constitution.

"Strange, indeed. . . . [the Constitution has] proved unavailing to prevent the rise and growth in the Northern States of a political school which has persistently claimed that the government thus formed was not a compact between States, but was in effect a national government, set up above and over the States.