A wonderful book in my library and see the hardback is $550 now.
President James Buchanan disagreed with secession as the
prerogative of a State, but admitted that he as president held no
authority to levy war to stop it — and his attorney general concurred.
Both were well-aware of Article III, Section 3 of the Constitution:
“Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying was
against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid
and Comfort.” Buchanan could not use military force against a State
without committing treason.
“The States of the deep South dissolved their connection with the
voluntary union of the United States with marked legality at the
beginning of 1861. For a quarter of a year no one knew that there was to
be a war. Then Lincoln (unauthorized by the Constitution) called for
troops; and the upper South, led by Virginia, seceded.
The point is, Lincoln could have chosen to let the South go in peace
on the grounds that a just government depends on the consent of the
governed, and the Southern States had withdrawn that consent.
But, said the North, the majority do consent, since there are more
people in the North. Even if most of the people in the South do not
consent, we in the North are the majority of the whole nation. Thus, the
rights of a minority, although a minority of millions, mean nothing.
This is precisely what [Alexis] de Tocqueville warned against: the
tyranny of the majority. And Lord Acton was deeply convinced that the
principle of States’ rights was the best limitation upon the tyranny of
the majority that had ever been devised.
Thus Lee did represent the cause of freedom, and Lord Acton broke his
heart over Lee’s surrender because the principle of States’ rights was
finally and forever denied.
The America of today is the America that won that immense triumph in
the war – the triumph of unlimited, equalitarian democracy. And its
leaders have blurred the distinction between freedom and equality to the
point where many people use those words as virtually interchangeable
(The Glittering Illusion: English Sympathy for the Southern
Confederacy, Sheldon Vanauken, Regnery Gateway, 1989, excerpt pg. 142)