Did the South fight for the overthrow of the United States Government? A Confederate Catechism Day FOUR
is Confederate History and Heritage Month in the Old Dominion, as well
as in many states across the South. As part of the celebration, and in
an effort to educate the citizens of the Commonwealth, we will present a
Q&A each day, from a Confederate Catechism, by Lyon Gardiner Tyler,
1853-1935; the son of President, John Tyler, who also was a member of
the Confederate congress. He was a professor
of literature at the College of William and Mary, and served as
President of the College of William and Mary from 1888 until 1919.
6. Did the South fight for slavery or the extension of slavery?
No; for had Lincoln not sent armies to the South, that country would have done no fighting at all.
7. Did the South fight for the overthrow of the United States Government?
No; the South fought to establish its own government. Secession did not
destroy the Union, but merely reduced its territorial extent. The United
States existed when there were only thirteen States, and it would have
existed when there were twenty States left. The charge brought by
Lincoln that the aim of the Southerners was to overthrow the government
was no more true than if King George III had said that the secession of
the American colonies from Great Britain had in view the destruction of
the British Government. The government of Great Britain was not
destroyed by the success of the American States in 1783. Nor would the
government of the United States have been destroyed if the Southern
States had succeeded in repelling the attacks of the North in 1861-
1865. Had the North refrained from conquest, its example would have been
felt by Germany and there would have been no World War costing millions
of lives. A group of Northern States in 1861-65 assumed the
imperialistic attitude of Great Britain in 1776 and Germany in 1914, and
substituted the armed fist for the American principle of
self-government. Universal peace will never ensue till the principle of
self- government, which requires no armies to maintain it, is recognized
throughout the world.