Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Documenting the Confederacy, Part 3: Documenting Secession: Mississippi

Third flag of the CSA, the "Blood-Stained Banner" made it clear (as the
"Stainless Banner" did not) that it wasn't a white flag request to negotiate.
Only used for a few months in 1865.

AN ORDINANCE to dissolve the union between the State of Mississippi and other States united with her under the compact entitled "The Constitution of the United States of America."
The people of the State of Mississippi, in convention assembled, do ordain and declare, and it is hereby ordained and declared, as follows, to wit:
Section 1. That all the laws and ordinances by which the said State of Mississippi became a member of the Federal Union of the United States of America be, and the same are hereby, repealed, and that all obligations on the part of the said State or the people thereof to observe the same be withdrawn, and that the said State doth hereby resume all the rights, functions, and powers which by any of said laws or ordinances were conveyed to the Government of the said United States, and is absolved from all the obligations, restraints, and duties incurred to the said Federal Union, and shall from henceforth be a free, sovereign, and independent State.
Sec. 2. That so much of the first section of the seventh article of the constitution of this State as requires members of the Legislature and all officers, executive and judicial, to take an oath or affirmation to support the Constitution of the United States be, and the same is hereby, abrogated and annulled.
Sec. 3. That all rights acquired and vested under the Constitution of the United States, or under any act of Congress passed, or treaty made, in pursuance thereof, or under any law of this State, and not incompatible with this ordinance, shall remain in force and have the same effect as if this ordinance had not been passed.
Sec. 4. That the people of the State of Mississippi hereby consent to form a federal union with such of the States as may have seceded or may secede from the Union of the United States of America, upon the basis of the present Constitution of the said United States, except such parts thereof as embrace other portions than such seceding States.
Thus ordained and declared in convention the 9th day of January, in the year of our Lord 1861.
Source: Official Records, Ser. IV, vol. 1, p. 42.
From "Ordinances of Secession" at

Mississippi declared its secession from the Union on 9 January 1861.  It's worth noting that Abraham Lincoln had not even been on the ballot in Mississippi, which voted nearly 60% for the Southern Democrat John Breckinridge, 36% for John Bell of the Constitutional Union Party, and Northern Democrat Steven A. Douglas received less than 5% of the vote.  Jefferson Davis, elected to the US Senate from Mississippi, said in his final speech to the Senate:
She [Mississippi] has heard proclaimed the theory that all men are created free and equal, and this made the basis of an attack upon her social institutions; and the sacred Declaration of Independence has been invoked to maintain the position of the equality of the races.*
"A Declaration of the Immediate Causes which Induce and Justify the Secession of the State of Mississippi from the Federal Union" begins:
In the momentous step which our State has taken of dissolving its connection with the government of which we so long formed a part, it is but just that we should declare the prominent reasons which have induced our course. 
Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery-- the greatest material interest of the world.
and continues:
... by an imperious law of nature, none but the black race can bear exposure to the tropical sun.
It has grown until it denies the right of property in slaves, and refuses protection to that right on the high seas, in the Territories, and wherever the government of the United States had jurisdiction. ... 
It advocates negro equality, socially and politically, and promotes insurrection and incendiarism in our midst. 
Utter subjugation awaits us in the Union, if we should consent longer to remain in it. It is not a matter of choice, but of necessity. We must either submit to degradation, and to the loss of property worth four billions of money, or
Mississippi leads directly with "it's about slavery!" and follows up with "OMG!  Equality for Negros!" and "It's going to cost of billions of dollars".

Again, Mississippi wanted to deny northern states the right to abolish slavery within their own territory.  That's for anyone who thinks "States' Rights" had anything to do with secession.

* Apparently the Declaration of Independence's "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness" didn't actually mean that men were created equal and that among their Rights was Liberty.  The only explanation is that the people of Mississippi either 1) couldn't read English; or 2) didn't consider black people actual people.

Part 2: Documenting Secession: South Carolina
Part 4: Documenting Secession: Florida