OUR CONFEDERATE SOLDIERS: WHY AND FOR WHAT THEY FOUGHT AND FELL
(An Address given at the Alabama Division United Daughters of the Confederacy Confederate
Memorial Day Celebration in Montgomery, Alabama April 27, 2015)
What happened between 1861-1865 was not a civil war. Classically, a civil war is when two
opposing factions within the same country are fighting for the control of the government. The
South wanted its independence, not control of the government in Washington or control of the
northern states. No reasonable person believes the Confederacy once established was going to
invade the north and try to rule a united nation from Washington. It was no civil war in which
our ancestors fought and fell.
There is no provision in the United States Constitution to compel a state to remain in a
union it voluntarily joined. There is no provision in the Constitution giving the federal
government the power to militarily coerce a state to remain in the Union. Both James Madison
who drafted the Constitution and Andrew Hamilton who favored a stronger central government
said the Constitution left the federal government, in Madison’s words, “unclothed with any
powers of coercion over the States“. In the Convention Madison said, “the use of force against a
State would be a declaration of war and be considered by the party attacked as a dissolution of all
previous compacts. “ Hamilton stated, “To coerce a State would be one of the maddest projects
ever devised.” Interestingly, a proposal was made at the Constitutional Convention to give such
a power to the national government, but was rejected by every other state delegation. That is
why when after the war President Jefferson Davis was imprisoned that the Chief Justice of the
United States Supreme Court advised the federal government, “if you bring these leaders to trial,
it will condemn the north, for by the Constitution, secession is not rebellion”. And they were
The South was right about constitutional government in 1861 and it is still right today.
That was the principle upon which our ancestors stood and fought and that is the principle for
which more than 250,000 southerners were willing to give their lives: for the just causes of
constitutional liberty and government and for southern independence..
The leftist elist press, the poverty pimps down the street, and those who worship the pagan
deity political correctness do not get to define our history. It is not their prerogative to
determine why we honor our Confederate ancestors or celebrate Confederate Memorial Days.
We honor Confederate soldiers because we understand not only how they fell but why and for
what they fell.
The Declaration of Independence which our forefathers used to justify their secession of
the 13 colonies from England clearly states: “ “…it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish
it (government) and institute new government…organizing its powers in such form as to them
seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.” The Southern states had as much moral,
legal and constitutional justification in instituting a government suitable to them as the colonies
did in 1776. If Lincoln really believed his high sounding words at Gettysburg about
“government of, for and by the people”, how could he oppose the Southern states having a
government of, for and by the southern people?
How do we rightly remember our ancestors? To remember the fallen- continue to fight, we
carry their dreams and we finish what they start. Today we are continuing their fight for
limited, lawful constitutional government. We again have a would be tyrant from Illinois in the
White House who like Lincoln believes he rules by divine fiat, is answerable to no one, can ignore
the Constitution and the Congress, can make laws with his pen, and can coerce states and
individuals to submit to his dictatorial whims.
Our ancestors did not run. They did not retreat in the face of an invading army of more
than 2 million destroyers of life and property, Neither should those of us run today who love our
heritage and our families. We should remain committed to Christian principles as the
foundation of our struggle against tyranny. We should answer every attack on our heritage in
the press, movies and on television with letters and public outrage. We should observe all of our
Confederate holidays and birthdays by flying our flags, having parades and public gatherings
such as this. We should never be ashamed of our southern heritage, but we should be ashamed
of those who are.
The South was right in 1861. We are right today. The constitutional cause for which our
ancestors fought was just and righteous. Issues settled at the end of a gun barrel will never be
settled in people’s hearts. We should have the courage to stand against tyranny, as our
Confederate ancestors did.
Long live the righteous and constitutional cause for which our ancestors fought and fell.
Long live those who will defend truth and our southern heritage. God will vindicate. God save