Below we present the Mississippi Causes of Secession, which
is in effect their declaration of independence from the United States. It presents
Mississippi's grievances with the United States.
A Declaration of the Immediate Causes which Induce
and Justify the Secession of the State of Mississippi from the Federal Union.
Seceding Mississippi Congressional Delegation,
Including Jefferson Davis. January 9, 1861
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. Its labor supplies the product which constitutes by far the
largest and most important portions of commerce of the earth. These products
are peculiar to the climate verging on the tropical regions, and by an imperious
law of nature, none but the black race can bear exposure to the tropical sun.
These products have become necessities of the world, and a blow at slavery is
a blow at commerce and civilization. That blow has been long aimed at the institution,
and was at the point of reaching its consummation. There was no choice left
us but submission to the mandates of abolition, or a dissolution of the Union,
whose principles had been subverted to work out our ruin.
That we do not overstate the dangers to our institution, a reference to a few
facts will sufficiently prove.
The hostility to this institution commenced before the adoption of the Constitution,
and was manifested in the well-known
Ordinance of 1787, in regard to the Northwestern
The feeling increased, until, in 1819-20, it deprived the South of more than
half the vast territory acquired from France.
The same hostility dismembered Texas and seized upon all the territory acquired
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 refuses the admission of new slave States into the Union, and seeks to extinguish
it by confining it within its present limits, denying the power of expansion.
It tramples the original equality of the South under foot.
It has nullified the
Fugitive Slave Law in almost every free State in the Union,
and has utterly broken the compact which our fathers pledged their faith to
It advocates negro equality, socially and politically, and promotes insurrection
and incendiarism in our midst.
It has enlisted its press, its pulpit and its schools against us, until the
whole popular mind of the North is excited and inflamed with prejudice.
It has made combinations and formed associations to carry out its schemes of
emancipation in the States and wherever else slavery exists.
It seeks not to elevate or to support the slave, but to destroy his present
condition without providing a better.
It has invaded a State, and invested with the honors of martyrdom the wretch
whose purpose was to apply flames to our dwellings, and the weapons of destruction
to our lives.
It has broken every compact into which it has entered for our security.
It has given indubitable evidence of its design to ruin our agriculture, to
prostrate our industrial pursuits and to destroy our social system.
It knows no relenting or hesitation in its purposes; it stops not in its march
of aggression, and leaves us no room to hope for cessation or for pause.
It has recently obtained control of the Government, by the prosecution of its
unhallowed schemes, and destroyed the last expectation of living together in
friendship and brotherhood.
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
we must secede from the Union framed by our fathers, to secure this as well
as every other species of property. For far less cause than this, our fathers
separated from the Crown of England.
Our decision is made. We follow their footsteps. We embrace the alternative
of separation; and for the reasons here stated, we resolve to maintain our rights
with the full consciousness of the justice of our course, and the undoubting
belief of our ability to maintain it.