Saturday, March 3, 2012

The Voice of Kentucky?

Johnson's 1862 map of Kentucky, courtesy wikimedia (cropped for this blog)
 
This story, published March 1, 1862 by the Covington Journal offers some insight into the mindsets of some of Kentucky's  politicians, but the following years would show that these leaders did indeed have a fairly good grasp on what their constituents believed and wanted. Kentucky and many of her citizens strongly opposed such "radical" propositions as mentioned here.  (The phrase "set her face like flint" in the first paragraph below is from the Bible and means "to be strongly determined.")

The Voice of Kentucky
If we do not mistake the indications of popular sentiment, Kentucky will set her face like flint against all such revolutionary schemes as that of Sumner, which proposes to divest certain Southern States of all attributes of sovereignty and throw them back into a territorial condition, and that of Trumbull, provides for freeing all the slaves of which rebels." (note: that is how the paragraph ends. It does not look like anything else was printed at the end of that line. Substituting "providing" for "provides" may match the writer's intent.)

"In the Senate of Kentucky, Tuesday, Feb. 25, Thornton F. Marshall (Union) offered a series of resolutions, from which we extract the following:
Resolved, That it is the deliberate opinion of Kentucky that the only hope for the restoration of the National Union is upon that great charter of our freedom, the Constitution of the United States. It cannot be accomplished in any other mode. The original State organizations, with all their just rights and powers under the federal compact, must be preserved. Hence, Kentucky deplores and condemns, in this great struggle for constitutional liberty all attempts to abolish or alter, in the least respect, the relative position of any of the States toward each other, or the Federal Government; and especially does she condemn, in unqualified terms, any effort to reduce any of the States to a colonial or territorial condition."

Mr. Dehaven (Union) offered the following: 

"Resolved, that we regard all propositions and schemes for abolishing the State governments, reducing them to territories, or holding them as conquered provinces as unwarranted assumptions of power and utterly subversive of the very form, spirit and genius of republican institutions."

In the House, Mr. Wolfe (Union), offered the following: 

"Resolved by the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, That the effort now being made to divert this war from its original purpose as proclaimed by the President and Congress of the United States several months ago - the maintenance of the Federal Constitution and the preservation of the Union's integrity - and to turn it into for the emancipation of slaves and the subjugation  of the Southern States, or their return to a territorial condition is an effort against the Union; against the Constitution; against justice; and against humanity, and should be promptly frowned upon by all the friends of Democratic Institutions. It is unworthy of loyal citizens, and can find support only in the sectional fanatics who have no love for the Union or desire for its restoration, and whose highest patriotism is an unnatural and unrighteous hatred of the citizens of Sister states. "
These resolutions were referred. We cannot doubt that they will, in substance, receive the sanction of both branches of the Legislature. 

----
"Sumner's scheme" was his proposal that the states that had seceded from the Union and fought in the war against the Union had committed "state suicide," forfeiting any rights or privileges they previously held, and should be treated as any American territory, under Congress' guidance.

The mention of Trumbull is due to his late 1861 introduction of a bill to emancipate slaves and confiscate property of Confederates and their supporters.

In the final two resolutions, note that  Wolfe refers to "democratic institutions" while Mr. Dehaven had used the term "republican institutions." Is this a bit of an identity crisis among these two men as to their nation's form of government, or are/were the terms interchangeable enough - at least in general, public understanding - to be used as virtual synonyms?

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