Wednesday, October 24, 2012

This Curse Upon Our Nation

This Curse Upon Our Nation
Joshua R. Giddings was outspoken against the Mexican War, but later silent on a president outraging the Constitution and exercising usurped powers to do so.  The Confederate States, an American republic formed with the consent of the governed, was at peace with the United States when Giddings government provoked a war of aggression and conquest. His government was undergoing a revolution, his words below were not unlike Southern Unionists in early 1861.
Bernhard Thuersam, Chairman
North Carolina War Between the States Sesquicentennial Commission
"The Official Website of the North Carolina WBTS Sesquicentennial"
This Curse Upon Our Nation:
“Joshua Giddings, a strongly abolitionist antiwar Whig from Ohio who had earned a reputation as a leading reformer in the House [of Representatives], made the most telling speech against the [Mexican] war.
“I regard it as having been put forth to divert public attention from the outrage committed by the President upon our own Constitution, and the exercise of usurped powers, of which he had been guilty in ordering our army to invade a country with which we are at peace, and of provoking and bringing on this war….It is a war of aggression and conquest. Its prosecution will be but an increase of our national guilt.  The death of every victim who falls during its progress, will add to the already fearful responsibility of those, who, from ambitious motives, have brought this curse upon our nation….But, Sir, I regard this war as but one scene in the drama now being enacted by this administration.  Our government is undergoing a revolution no less marked than was that of France in 1792.
As yet, it has not been characterized by that amount of bloodshed and cruelty which distinguished the change of government in France. When the Executive and Congress openly and avowedly took upon themselves….the total overthrow of and subversion of the Constitution, and that too, by the aid of northern votes, my confidence in the stability of our institutions was shaken, destroyed. I had hoped….to save the Union form final overthrow, but that hope has been torn from me.”
(Conquest and Conscience in the 1840s, Robert Sobel, Thomas Crowell Company, 1971, pp. 253-254)