Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Documenting the Confederacy, Part 4: Documenting Secession: Florida

We, the people of the State of Florida in Convention assembled, do solemnly ordain, publish and declare: That the State of Florida hereby withdraws herself from the Confederacy of States existing under the name of the United States of America, and from the existing Government of said States: and that all political connection between her and the Government of said States ought to be and the same is hereby totally annulled, and said union of States dissolved: and the State of Florida is hereby declared a Sovereign and Independent Nation: and that all ordinances heretofore adopted in so far as they create or recognize said Union, are rescinded: and all laws or parts of laws in force in this State, in so far as they recognize or assent to said Union be and they are hereby repealed.
Florida Ordinance of Secession, adopted 10 January 1861

Florida's Declaration of Causes remained unpublished, and is undated.  It was authorized on 21 January, 1861 but the committee was discharged on 1 March without the document being accepted.

Unlike the other states, Florida puts States' Rights (actually, their denial of rights of other States) right at the top.  They deny the ability of either individual States or the Union to make their own laws regarding slavery:
…The nullification of these laws by the Legislatures of two thirds of the non slaveholding States important as it is in itself is additionally as is furnishing evidence of an open disregard of constitutional obligation, and of the rights and interests of the slaveholding States and of a deep and inveterate hostility to the people of these States.…
Elements dealing with slavery include:
…It is denied that it is the purpose of the party soon to enter into the possession of the powers of the Federal Government to abolish slavery by any direct legislative act. This has never been charged by any one. But it has been announced by all the leading men and presses of the party that the ultimate accomplishment of this result [...to abolish slavery...] is its settled purpose and great central principle. That no more slave States shall be admitted into the confederacy and that the slaves from their rapid increase (the highest evidence of the humanity of their owners will become value less.
And they jump directly into racism, proclaiming immediately that slaves (i.e. Africans) are idle, vagrants, and criminals, and that considerations of humanity should not be extended to slaves (clearly indicating that they are not humane to their slaves):
...Their natural tendency every where shown where the race has existed to idleness vagrancy and crime increased by an inability to procure subsistence. Can any thing be more impudently false than the pretense that this state of things is to be brought about from considerations of humanity to the slaves.…
And that (OMG!) they might possibly to required to live with and be legally equal to "the african")
...we will not confiscate your property and consign you to a residence and equality with the african but that destiny certainly awaits your children…
Finally, they raise a new issue: that the North isn't paying its fair share.  Ironic, when you consider that, in 2014, Florida received between $4 and $5 from the federal government for every $1 in taxes they send and gets almost exactly 1/3 of its general funding from the federal government.
...It is time that the northern consumer pays his proportion of these duties, but the North as a section receiving back in the increased prices of the rival articles which it manufactures nearly or quite as much as the imposts which it pays thus in effect paying nothing or very little for the support of the government....
Collectively, Florida's arguments against the Union are more expansive than some other traitor states, but slavery, racism, economic opportunism, and opposition to states' rights fit in well with the rest.