Josiah Quincy III
the Democratic party, created in 1792 as a Southern reaction to
Northern control of the federal government, was so successful that every
major political party since has been a reaction to it. The Federalists
of New England, once unseated in 1800, reacted by formulating plans to
secede from the union.
Bernhard Thuersam, Chairman
North Carolina War Between the States Sesquicentennial Commission
"Unsurpassed Valor, Courage and Devotion to Liberty"
"The Official Website of the North Carolina WBTS Sesquicentennial"
Secession Doctrine Taught by New Englanders
final political phenomenon to arise out of the North-South competition
of the 1790s was the doctrine of Secession. It represented the death
rattle of the Federalist party.
pivotal year was 1800 when the Democratic leaders [Thomas] Jefferson
and [Aaron] Burr succeeded in putting together a coalition of the
have-nots of the country – the agriculturalists of the South and the
proletarians of the Northern cities. They won control of the nation.
They took the Senate with eighteen seats to fourteen Federalist, and the
House with sixty-nine seats to thirty-six Federalist.
took the presidency by an equally comfortable margin, although the
quirks of the Electoral College arrangement caused Jefferson and his
vice presidential candidate Burr to receive an equal number of electoral
votes for President. The Federalist party survived another sixteen
years, although it would never again won control the House, Senate, or
did not take defeat well. Barely three years after the Democratic rout,
Northern Federalists began arguing for the secession of the New England
States from the Union. It would be their sullen tom-tom call, a
summons to defect, until they passed from the national scene in 1816.
was nothing understated about their secessionist position. It was
widespread, and if it could not be done peaceably, they said, it should
be done violently.
to one of the many secessionists, Josiah Quincy III, scion of the New
England Quincy’s, future mayor of Boston and future president of Harvard
University. In 1811 he was a thirty-eight year-old congressman standing
opposed to the admission of Louisiana as a State.
is my deliberate opinion,” he said, “that if this bill passes, the
bonds of this union are virtually dissolved, that the States which
compose it are free from their moral obligations, and that as it will be
the right of all, so it will be the duty of some to prepare,
definitely, for a separation; amicably if they can; violently if they
man who listened carefully that year was a freshman congressman from
South Carolina. He was John C. Calhoun, who had been taught the
secessionist doctrine in the law schools of New England, who had
listened to it in the Congress, and who would one day carry it back down
South . . .
it is an unfair strike that history has identified the South with
secession when in fact the earliest and clearest argument against it
were proposed by Jefferson and Madison [, both Southerners]. The
creators of secession doctrine, and the teachers of it from 1800 to
1817, were New England Federalists.”
(The Natural Superiority of Southern Politicians, A Revisionist History, David Leon Chandler, Doubleday, 1977, pp. 115-116)