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In Their Own Words

November 16, 1850

Southern Rights Stated

Over a decade before Georgia’s secession, there was talk of Georgia withdrawing from the Union. In response to Congress’ passage of an act two months earlier admitting California as a new state (in which slavery would be prohibited), the Southern Rights Association at Mercer University adopted a resolution stating:

Resolved: That we recognize no such State de jure as California, and hence, that her admission into the Union as such, with a Constitution, prohibiting slavery, was a gross fraud upon Southern rights, and a palpable violation of the Constitution, which expressly limits the power of Congress to the admission of States… .

Resolved, That in the present state of public sentiment at the North, we can find no evidence of future security; on the contrary, we have the most convincing proofs of a decided and permanent hostility to our rights, which, if not arrested, will continue to increase until slavery in the States is abolished or the Union destroyed… .

Resolved, That we would demand of the people of the North such acts and such practical assurances of good faith as will convince us we may remain in the Union without further molestation, and that without such assurance we would dissolve the Union which is used as a instrument to oppress us.”

Source: Spencer B. King, Jr., Georgia Voices: A Documentary History to 1872 (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1966, reprinted 1974), p. 262-263.