Apostles of Separation, Southern Secession Commissioners, and Causes of Civil War

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In Apostles of Disunion, Southern Secession Commissioners and the Causes of the Civil war, Charles B. Dew explains the reasons why the South wanted to secede and points out what caused the civil war. Dew inserted a series of speeches and letters into the Apostles of Disunion. The Apostles of Disunion were men that provided us with information behind the secession of the lower south. But the question still remains, what caused the Civil War and How did the Apostles of Disunion Contribute to the Outbreak of the war? According to Charles B. Dew, Apostles of Disunion were scared that a war would follow northern attempts to abolish slavery in the south. They feared a perceived attack on the whites form the south with racial superiority which would be saved only through secessions from the republican north (Dew, 78). The Apostles of Disunions contributed to the outbreak of the civil war by persuading other states to secede. Since they had a lot of information.

The commissioners included in their speech reasons why they wanted to secede. They made sure to point out the various amount of out rages committed from the North to the South even before President Lincoln was elected. Charles B. Dew use letters and speeches of secession advocates such as James L. Orr, which helps us understand more in depth why things happened. (Dew, 65) An important speech that stood out to me in this reading would be Henry L. Benning, he was a born in Georgia, a judge and a lawyer so must have had high credibility. He was said to have owned ninety slaves in 1860. (Dew, 64) Benning claimed that “Lincolns election was a death sentence for the institution of slavery.” (Dew, 65) In his speech he gave a clear understanding of his stance, he claimed “the Black Republican Party of the north” then, “the North is against slavery” as he brought up the Missouri Compromise. (Dew, 65)

Since Benning had a great background, he had high credibility and was very persuasive in encouraging the state to secede. They called his speeches “pure gold of logic” and “common sense.” Lastly, in his speech he mentioned that if they did not secede, they would have “black governors, black legislature, black juries, black everything, he claimed black will take a majority” (Dew, 66) When he said that he was greeted with laughter. The south took it as a joke, as if that would never happen. His speech was well understandable that even people that lived in the south that did not have high education were going to be able to understand it. The South was faced with fear of equality with blacks, they were scared of losing their own rights because the North and the new Upcoming President which was referred to was “Black Republican.” Abraham Lincoln was referred as a “Black Republican” because he wanted to protect the union.

The south took that as a threat and did not vote for him in the election. Charles B. Dew uses evidence of antebellum secessionist ideas to contradict those theories and claims that the electoral success of Abraham Lincoln as a republican president was used as a threat to southern economy based on slavery. (Dew, 56) The south wanted independence, so they wanted to gain it by succeeding from the union. Seceding was a big part of the commissioner’s speeches. Secession was not about preserving slavery but justify some of the commitments to state rights. According to Dew’s analysis the secession movement in the Pre-Civil war south, southern advocates of secession from the union believed separation from the north was the only way to effectively maintain white superiority in southern society (Dew, 55).

Charles B. Dew analysis of the south before the Civil War provides a great argument that southerners seceded because they feared that republicans and free blacks in the north would promote the idea that slavery is morally wrong and make slavery illegal. Such changes to southern society as the abolition of slavery threatened to damage the deeply embedded race based social constructions within the culture of slaveholding states (Dew, 24). But, Slavery was not a main cause of secession and that sates rights and constitutional issues caused the civil war. The civil war was caused by northern violation of the southern liberties and series of acts of northern aggression. (Dew, 9) Charles B. Dew concluded that irrational fears of three imminent horrors “racial equality, race war, and miscegenation”. The white race was in mortal danger, a clash of two civilizations, and commissioners preached a gospel of salvation by secession. He located the texts or detailed summaries of forty-one speeches or letters by various commissioners. The American Civil war was caused by northern violation or southern civil liberties and northern aggression and the apostles of Disunion contributed to the outbreak by persuading other states to succeed.


Cite this paper

Apostles of Separation, Southern Secession Commissioners, and Causes of Civil War. (2022, May 19). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/apostles-of-separation-southern-secession-commissioners-and-causes-of-civil-war/



How did the Confederate states justify secession?
The Confederate states justified secession by claiming that the federal government was violating the Constitution and that the states had the right to nullify federal laws.
How long is the apostles of disunion?
There is no definitive answer, as the apostles of disunion were a loosely organized group with no formal structure or membership requirements. However, they were active for several years during the mid-19th century in the United States.
What did the secession commissioners do?
The secession commissioners were tasked with creating and signing a declaration of secession for their respective state.
What is the central thesis of Apostles of Disunion?
“Apostles of Disunion: Southern Secession Commissioners and the Causes of the Civil War” (University Press of Virginia) is a provocative argument about the war–that slavery and race were “absolutely critical factors at the heart of our great national crisis.”
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