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Slavery was the “Corner-Stone:” Civil War Primary Documents

OK class. Primary Sources time.  Here are three documents explaining the reasons behind Confederate secession and one notable speech by the vice president of the Confederacy, known as the “Corner-Stone” speech. They make clear what the war was about.

South Carolina Secession Declaration of Causes December 24, 1860

“But an increasing hostility on the part of the non-slaveholding States to the institution of slavery.

Georgia Secession January 29, 1861

“For the last ten years we have had numerous and serious causes of complaint against our non-slave-holding confederate States with reference to the subject of African slavery.”

Declaration of Causes; Texas Secession (February 2, 1861)

“that the servitude of the African race, as existing in these States, is mutually beneficial to both bond and free, and is abundantly authorized and justified by the experience of mankind, and the revealed will of the Almighty Creator”

Alexander Stephens, “The Corner-Stone Speech” March 24, 1861

“Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its corner- stone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition.”

–Alexander Stephens, Vice President of the Confederacy


The controversy over the removal of Confederate Monuments has provoked some fine journalism and opinion writing; Here are a few examples of history in the headlines:

The Largest Confederate Monument in America Can’t Be Taken Down 

University of Texas Removes Monuments

Confederate Statues are the easy part (New York Times Op-Ed)

Ten Major Army Bases Honor Confederate Generals

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