By Thomas DiLorenzo
November 30, 2017
–Jefferson Davis, First Inaugural Address, Montgomery, Alabama, February 1861.
–Abraham Lincoln, First Inaugural Address, March 4, 1861.
“There can be no cause to doubt that the courage and patriotism of the people of the Confederate States will be found equal to any measure of defence which may be required for their security. Devoted to agricultural pursuits, their chief interest is the export of a commodity required in every manufacturing country. Our policy is peace, and the freest trade our necessities will permit. It is alike our interest, and that of all those to whom we would sell and from whom we would buy, that there should be the fewest practicable restrictions upon interchange of commodities. There can be but little rivalry between us and any manufacturing or navigating community, such as the Northwestern States of the American Union.”
Abraham Lincoln’s first inaugural address was arguably the strongest defense of Southern slavery ever made by an American politician. He began by saying that in “nearly all the published speeches” he had made he declared that “I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists.” I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so.” He next quoted the Republican Party Platform of 1860, which he fully endorsed, that proclaimed that “the maintenance inviolate of the rights of the States, and especially the right of each State to order and control its own domestic institutions . . . is essential to that balance of power on which the perfection and endurance of our political fabric depend . . .” (emphasis added). “Domestic institutions” meant slavery.