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A Virginia Newspaper Rallies to the Secessionist Cause

The Republican Vindicator was (despite its name) a Democratic newspaper in Augusta County, Virginia that generally supported the cause of secession from the Union. In this editorial published on January 4, 1861, the paper's editors respond to the election of President Abraham Lincoln and vowed to resist northern tyranny at any cost.

It is no difficult task to trace the recent result of the Presidential election to the human agencies that brought it about. But why it should have entered into the hearts of men to plot the destruction of the most perfect system of government the world has ever seen, is past finite comprehension, and is one of those unfathomable mysteries which the more confound us as we approach their investigation. There can be no rational motive given as an excuse for the action of men, that is pregnant with such untold disaster and misery, not only to the present generation of our country, but to the generations yet unborn, and to the cause of human freedom, religious and political throughout the world. Were we alone to realize the blighting and destructive influences of the dissolution of the Union of these States—a Union hallowed by so many glorious associations, cemented by such sacred ties, and baptized in the blood of our fathers—then we might with some palliating excuse assume the responsibility of so tremendous an undertaking. But this is not the case. We are acting for posterity.

Many of us believing that the government has failed to accomplish that good designed and contemplated by its founders, are unwilling that a living libel upon their wisdom, patriotism and philanthropy, shall longer exist. . . . Instead of the equality of all, the tyranny of numbers is substituted. Instead of sovereign State independence and State responsibility, the people of other States assume to say what we shall do, and regulate our system of morals as well as our domestic institutions. . . . determined upon the point that they are right and every body else is wrong, they are daily seeking by all the devices of the hypocrite, the bully and the incendiary to force their views upon an unwilling people, regardless of consequences.

These causes have brought the Southern people to the investigation of the fact, whether or not the legacy bequeathed by our revolutionary fathers is being faithfully administered—whether its designs are being studied and its ends encompassed—that poster ity may receive it from us as we received it from them.

. . . . Things are rapidly drifting to a focus. The reasonable demands of the South that the North should retrace their hostile steps, give assurance of future fidelity to the national compact, and cease their aggressions, have been met with insulting sneer and taunting defiance. They dream little of the volcano over which they are sporting. If the North by such means expect to intimidate the South then they are fearfully deluded. What heretofore has been deemed conservatism in Virginia, is being aroused to stern and relentless indignation. If the North expect co-operation, then they are mistaken. The South will be as one man in defense of her honor, her rights, her sovereignty and her equality. . . .

We commence the seventeenth volume of the Vindicator and the year 1861, with a dark and portentous cloud lowering over our political horizon, but whatever may betide, through civil war may rage and the country be drenched in blood, with Virginia and the South our destiny is cast, and with the same zeal and energy we have in the past endeavored to uphold the flag of the National Democratic party, will we rally to the support of Virginia and the South. Where Virginia leads there will we follow to victory or to death. With her glorious motto, "sic semper tyrannis," streaming in the breeze, we will join in resisting an oppression more odious than that of George the Third, and crushing out a despotic fanaticism as repulsive as the Spanish Inquisition.

Source | The (Virginia) Republican Vindicator, 4 January 1861, 2, c.2, vol. 17, from The Valley of the Shadow: Two Communities in the American Civil War Virgina Center for Digital History,
Creator | The (Virginia) Republican Vindicator
Item Type | Newspaper/Magazine
Cite This document | The (Virginia) Republican Vindicator, “A Virginia Newspaper Rallies to the Secessionist Cause,” SHEC: Resources for Teachers, accessed April 19, 2021,

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