What Was the Confederate Cause?
An Open Link Test
It is often said that the Southern states seceded before the American Civil War in order to protect "States' Rights"; that
the fundamental cause and raison d'etre of the Confederacy and its supporters was the protection of such "States' Rights".
The following quiz may help in demonstrating what the "Lost Cause" was really about.
This is a multiple choice, open link test. Cheating is encouraged.
- In his farewell address to the United States Senate on January 21, 1861,
Jefferson Davis (then U.S. Senator from Mississippi, and later first and only President of the Confederate States of America) complained that Mississippi
"has heard proclaimed the theory that __________________________________, and this made the basis of an attack upon ____________________; and the sacred Declaration
of Independence has been invoked to maintain the position of _________________________." Which option correctly fills in the blanks?
- "all Americans are members of one nation...states' rights...the supremacy of the federal government"
- "the authority of government comes from the people, not from Almighty God...Christian civilization...Deism, or even of outright Atheism"
- "no man was born booted and spurred to ride over the rest of mankind...the institution of
royalty in Mississippi...republicanism as the only acceptable form of government"
- "all men are created free and equal...her social institutions...the equality of the races"
- According to the "Cornerstone Speech" given by
Confederate Vice President Alexander Stephens in Savannah on March 12, 1861, the "cornerstone" of the new Confederate
- states' rights
- really sweet iced tea
- In the Declaration of the Immediate Causes
Which Induce and Justify the Secession of South Carolina from the Federal Union, the South Carolinians complain that
"[t]hose States have assumed the right of deciding upon the propriety of our domestic institutions...they have denounced as sinful
the institution of _________".
- property qualifications for voting
- gay marriage
- In the Declaration of the Immediate Causes Which Induce and Justify the Secession of South Carolina from the Federal Union, the South Carolinians also complain
that some Northern states had granted citizenship to "persons who, by the supreme law of the land, are incapable of becoming citizens; and their votes have been used to
inaugurate a new policy, hostile to the South, and destructive of its beliefs and safety." This reference to persons "incapable of becoming citizens" is
a reference to:
- the women's suffrage movement.
- the failure of other states to maintain property qualifications for voting.
- the Supreme Court decision Dred Scott v. Sandford, which declared that a "free negro of the African race...is not a 'citizen' within the meaning of the
Constitution of the United States" and that no state law could make free blacks citizens of the United States or give them rights under the U.S. Constitution.
- the New York State Legislature's granting of honorary New York citizenship to Queen Victoria.
- The Declaration of the Immediate Causes which
Induce and Justify the Secession of the State of Mississippi from the Federal Union says that "Our position is thoroughly
identified with the institution of _______".
- college football
- In its declaration of secession, Georgia
accuses Abraham Lincoln's Republican Party of being an "admitted _______ party".
- The Declaration of the Causes which Impel the
State of Texas to Secede from the Federal Union proclaims as an "undeniable truth" that:
- all men are created equal
- Texas has the right to secede
- barbeque sauce should be hot and spicy
- all white men are created equal, and black people should be slaves
- In addition to the Declaration of the Immediate
Causes Which Induce and Justify the Secession of South Carolina from the Federal Union, South Carolina also produced a
document called the Address of the people of South Carolina,
assembled in Convention, to the people of the ________ States of the United States.
- Although not published at the time, Florida also drafted a declaration of causes regarding its
secession. Fill in the blanks from the following passage from that document:
"By the agency of a large proportion of the members from the _______________ States books have been published and circulated amongst us the direct tendency and avowed
purpose of which is to excite __________________ with all their attendant horrors."
- northern...sectional conflict and civil war
- northern...imperialism and foreign war
- socialist...insurrection and class warfare
- non-slaveholding...insurrection and servile war
- Article I, Section 9, Paragraph 4 of the Constitution of
the Confederate States of America prohibits bills of attainder, ex post facto laws, and laws denying or impairing the right of:
- armed revolution against the government
- property in negro slaves
- Article IV, Section 3, Paragraph 3 of the Confederate
Constitution states that in any new territories acquired by the Confederacy the Territorial government must protect:
- freedom of religion
- the institution of marriage
- the right to make moonshine
- the institution of negro slavery
- When some of the Cherokee people who were forcibly relocated to what is now Oklahoma in the infamous "Trail of Tears" sided
with the Confederacy, they produced the Declaration by
the People of the Cherokee Nation of the Causes Which Have Impelled Them to Unite Their Fortunes With Those of the Confederate
States of America, which complained that "[t]he war now raging is a war of Northern cupidity and fanaticism _________".
- against the rights of Indians
- for white supremacy
- for American imperialism
- against the institution of African servitude
- In a resolution printed by the Florida legislature before
the war, a letter from the Governor to the Alabama
Legislature, an editorial
in the October 11, 1860, edition of the South Carolina newspaper The Charleston Mercury,
the address of Louisiana's
commissioner to the Texas Secession Convention, and the Ordinance of
Secession adopted by the Confederate Territory of Arizona, Southerners refer to the Republicans as "____ Republicans".
- During the war, two governments claimed to represent Kentucky; a Unionist government loyal to the United States, and a secessionist government which sought to unite
Kentucky with the Confederacy. On October 4, 1862, Richard Hawes, the second Confederate Governor of Kentucky, delivered an
Inaugural Address of the Provisional Governor of Kentucky. Fill in the blank from a passage from that
"The enemies of the great right of self-government, are still attempting to deceive you by the logical chicanery of sworn obedience to the Federal and State Government.
You now know, where they would lead you. They would have you to devote your estates, your persons, and your lives, to the _________ dictatorship of Abraham Lincoln, and
the subjugation of the Southern States."
- Both the Georgia declaration of secession
and a January 7, 1861, message from the Governor to the
Tennessee Assembly accuse the Republican Party of promoting:
- higher taxes
- the equality of the black and white races
- In each of these passages from the following Ordinances of Secession,
correctly fill in the blank:
"And as it is the desire and purpose of the people of Alabama to meet the _____________ States of the South, who may approve such purpose, in order to frame
a provisional as well as permanent Government upon the principles of the Constitution of the United States...."
"...The recent developments in Federal affairs make it evident that the power of the Federal Government is sought to be made a weapon with which to strike down the
interests and property of the people of Texas, and her sister _____________ States, instead of permitting it to be, as was intended, our shield against outrage and
"The people of Virginia in their ratification of the Constitution of the United States of America, adopted by them in convention on the twenty-fifth day of June,
in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty-eight, having declared that the powers granted under said Constitution were derived from the people of
the United States and might be resumed whensoever the same should be perverted to their injury and oppression, and the Federal Government having perverted said powers
not only to the injury of the people of Virginia, but to the oppression of the Southern _____________ States...."
- In an address to the people people of the Confederate States, the
Confederate Congress asserts that "[t]he Republican party was founded to destroy _______ and the equality of the States...."
- the Constitution
- States' rights
- In his message to the Confederate Congress on April 29, 1861, Confederate
President Jefferson Davis argued that "As soon, how ever, as the Northern States that ____________________________ within their limits had reached a number sufficient
to give their representation a controlling voice in the Congress, a persistent and organized system of hostile measures against the rights of ____________________ in
the Southern States was inaugurated and gradually extended....Fanatical organizations, supplied with money by voluntary subscriptions, were assiduously engaged in
- were economically dependant upon the factories located....farmers and tillers of the soil....a campaign to wreck the economy of the South with burdensome and
- established socialistic institutions....property owners....exciting amongst the working-men of the South a spirit of class-warfare and anarchistic revolution
- prohibited African slavery....the owners of slaves....exciting amongst the slaves a spirit of discontent and revolt
- had disestablished the Christian church....Christian believers....waging war upon the principles of the Christian religion
- In his "Thanksgiving Sermon" on November 29, 1860, New Orleans Presbyterian minister Benjamin Palmer
argued that which of the following was the "providential trust" which God had given to the Southern people?
- "to uphold the values of family, faith, and freedom"
- "to defend the Constitution and the Union of equal and sovereign states which it has established"
- "to bring about the conversion of the Jews to the worship of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ"
- "to conserve and to perpetuate the institution of domestic slavery as now existing"
- "I know that some contemptible demagogues have attempted to deceive them by appealing to their prejudices, and asking them what interest they have in maintaining
the rights of the wealthy ___________. They cannot be deceived in this way." -- From an
letter to the people of Georgia from Georgia Governor Joseph Brown, Dec. 7, 1860.
To whom was Governor Brown referring to when he said "them" and "they", and what
word went in the blank?
- Georgians who owned no land; "landowner"
- Georgians who owned no corporate stocks; "stockholder"
- Georgians who did not collect stamps; "stamp collector"
- Georgians who owned no slaves; "slaveholder"
- John C. Calhoun, the great antebellum Senator from South Carolina, is widely considered one of the foremost proponents of states' rights before the
Civil War. What did Calhoun refer to as "instead of an evil, a good--a positive good" in a famous
speech he delivered on February 6, 1837 on the floor of the U.S. Senate?
- states' rights
- property qualifications for voting
- smoking opium
- Before the outbreak of the Civil War itself, there were several years of sporadic clashes in what came to be known as "Bleeding Kansas". Rival groups sought to settle
the state; Northerners, notably from New England, versus Southerners, many from across the border from neighboring Missouri.
In this 1856 pamphlet The voice of Kansas; let the South respond,
members of the pro-Southern "Law and Order Party" (including several prominent Missourians) argued that the violence in Kansas was the result of a clash between which two
- "industrialists" from the North and "the yeoman farmers of the 'law and order party'" from the South
- "centralists" from the North and the "the upholders of states' rights of the 'law and order party'" from the South
- "protectionists" from the North and "the free-trade element of the 'law and order party'" from the South
- "abolitionists" from the North and "the pro-slavery element of the 'law and order party'" from the South
- Fill in the blanks from this passage from the message of North Carolina Governor Zebulon
B. Vance to the General Assembly, May 17, 1864:
"I presume that no honorable man or patriot could think of any thing less than independence. Less would be subjugation, ruinous and dishonorable. Nobody at the
North thinks of reconstruction, simply because it is impossible. With a Constitution torn into shreds, with _________________, with our property confiscated and
ourselves and our children reduced to beggary, __________ put in possession of our lands, and invested with equal rights, social and political, and a great gulf yawning
between the North and South, filled with the blood of our murdered sons, and its waves laden with the debris of our ruined homes, how can there be any
reconstruction with the authors of these evils, or how can it be desirable if it were possible?"
- states' rights destroyed...Northern carpet-baggers
- suffrage for women...uppity women
- slavery abolished...our slaves
- the Declaration of Independence nullified...foppish British aristocrats
- Democratic Congressman Clement Vallandigham of Ohio was a leader of the so-called "Copperheads" who opposed the war and favored peace with the Confederacy. Correctly
identify the passage from a speech Vallandigham delivered in the U.S.
House of Representatives on January 14, 1863, denouncing the Lincoln Administration and its waging of war against the Confederate States.
- But economics is the cause of the war. Why? Because the South obstinately and wickedly refused to choke off the foreign trade upon which it depended for its
livelihood at the demand of the industrialists of the North. Then, sir, it was the tariff, which caused disunion and war. Free trade is only the subject, but the tariff
the cause of this civil war. It was the persistent and determined agitation in the northern States for a so-called "protective tariff", to protect Northern industry
at the expense of Southern prosperity, nay, of Southern subsistence...that forced a collision of arms at last....
- But culture is the cause of the war. Why? Because the culture of the South--its manners and morals, its religion, even its very language--have grown utterly different
from those of the North. Between the sections of the former Union imperceptibly has grown up a great gulf of custom, language, and religion, which can never be bridged,
and certainly not by force of arms. Rather than allow our Southron cousins to go their own way in peace, the fanatics of centralizing so-called "nationalism" sought to
enforce an artificial and unwarranted uniformity of thought and custom on all sections of the old Union, and in so doing...forced a collision of arms at last....
- But power is the cause of the war. Why? Not because the South obstinately and wickedly refused to restrict or abolish slavery at the demand of the
philosophers and philanthropists of the North and West. It was not abolition, sir, not the purpose to abolish or interfere with and hem in slavery,
which caused disunion and war. Political power, not the emancipation of the Negro, is the cause of this civil war. It was the desire of the King--I beg pardon, sir,
of the President--to unchecked dominance over every section of the Union, North and West and South...that forced a collision of arms at last....
- But slavery is the cause of the war. Why? Because the South obstinately and wickedly refused to restrict or abolish it at the demand of the
philosophers or fanatics and demagogues of the North and West. Then, sir, it was abolition, the purpose to abolish or interfere with and hem in slavery,
which caused disunion and war. Slavery is only the subject, but Abolition the cause of this civil war. It was the persistent and determined agitation in the free
States of the question of abolishing slavery in the South, because of the alleged "irrepressible conflict" between the forms of labor in the two sections...that
forced a collision of arms at last....
- Fill in the blank from this passage from Arkansas Governor Henry Massey Rector's message to the state's
"The ____________________ is the vital point of the whole controversy between the North and the South....":
- question of states' rights
- question of tariffs
- superior pulchritude of Southern womanhood
- extension of slavery
- In his message to the Congress of the Confederate States of America of January 14, 1863, Confederate President
Jefferson Davis referred to an action of the Union government as "crowning proof of the true nature of the designs of the party which elevated to power the present occupant of the Presidential chair at Washington, and which sought
to conceal its purposes by every variety of artful device" and threatened to "deliver to the several State authorities all commissioned officers of the United States that may hereafter be captured by our forces in any of the States
embraced in the proclamation" for criminal prosecution.
What "proclamation" by the Lincoln administration was Jefferson Davis referring to as "the most execrable measure recorded in the history of guilty man" and what crime was he threatening to have Union officers prosecuted for?
- the proclamation by President Lincoln that Confederate prisoners of war would face summary execution in retaliation for conditions at the Confederate prisoner-of-war camp in Andersonville; first-degree murder
- the proclamation that the United States would begin recognizing gay marriage; conspiracy to commit sodomy
- the proclamation that the Union Army would begin using "dumdum" bullets in combat; mayhem
- the Emancipation Proclamation; exciting servile insurrection
- In his speech on March 12, 1861 Confederate Vice President Alexander Stephens compared which of
the following principles embodied in the Confederate Constitution to the principles of physics discovered by Galileo, the economic ideas of Adam Smith, and William
Harvey's theory of the circulation of the blood?
- The line-item veto given to the President of Confederate States.
- That the President of the Confederate States was limited to a single six-year term.
- That the Confederate Constitution, unlike the Constitution of the United States, acknowledged "Almighty God" in its preamble.
- "[T]hat the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery -- subordination to the superior race -- is his natural and normal condition".
If you've answered the above questions honestly, you should have a pretty good idea of what it was that the Southern
states were willing to destroy the Union for, and if necessary go to war, in order to preserve.
E-mail the author
Michael E. Buckner's home page.