History Project I: INSTRUCTIONS 1. Students will be familiar with much of the material in this essay assignment from class discussions and assignments from Unit III. Feel free to reference discussion

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History Project I:


1. Students will be familiar with much of the material in this essay assignment from class discussions and assignments from Unit III. Feel free to reference discussion material throughout the course. Students should consider their essay to be comprehensive of the entire course when arguing their thesis

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2. Read Peter McCandless, “The Political Evolution of John Bachman: From New York Yankee to South Carolina Secessionist,” The South Carolina Historical Magazine, 108 (Jan. 2007): 6-31.

3. Read Documents 1 – 5.

4. While you are working on this project, consider the following questions:

History Project I: INSTRUCTIONS 1. Students will be familiar with much of the material in this essay assignment from class discussions and assignments from Unit III. Feel free to reference discussion
1 Course Final INSTRUCTIONS 1. Students will be familiar with much of the material in this essay assignment from class discussions and assignments from Unit III . Feel free to reference discussion material throughout the course. Students should consider their essay to be comprehensive of the entire course when arguing their thesis 2. Read Peter McCandless , “The Political Evolution of John Bachman: From New York Yankee to South Carolina Secessionist ,” The South Carolina Historical Magazine, 108 (Jan. 2007): 6 -31 . 3. Read Documents 1 – 5. 4. While you are working on this project, consider the following questions: a. On what grounds does Daniel Webster (Document 1) oppose the ability of a state to nullify federal laws, also known as the Doctrine of Nullification? What justifications does South Carolina (Document 2) employ to defend their decision to nullify federal laws? W hose arguments regarding the concept of nullification are most persuasive to you and why? b. The previous response paper dealt with the creation of a nation, its constitution, and early evolution. What inconsistencies does Frederick Douglass (Document 3) id entify with the founding principles of the nation and the current status of people of African descent within it? c. How does Alexander Stephens (Document 4) define the Confederacy and why does he believe secession is justified and necessary? How does Presiden t Lincoln (Document 5) frame the Civil War and effort to restore the Union as a moral imperative? d. How is the story of John Bachman reflected in the following documents? As part of your response, provide a case or issue (political, economic, social, or cult ural) within the United States since the Civil War where you could imagine a scenario in which nullification could play out . R eflect upon both the positive and negative consequences of such action. The path to the American Civil War was long and arduous. The “peculiar institution” known as slavery was present at the creation of the republic and steeped into the very fabric of the Constitution through the Three Fifths Clause. This intimacy translated into every question about slavery’s role and future in th is country into discussions and quarrels over the fundamental nature of our government and the meanings of liberty and democracy. These documents trace the philosophical trails of political, economic, social, and cultural sectionalism that ultimately erupt ed into full scale civil war. DOCUMENT 1 Daniel Webster on Liberty and Union (1830) [excerpt] 2 Responding to South Carolina Senator Robert Hayne’s argument that states had the power to protect their liberties by resisting federal laws they deemed unconstitu tional, Massachusetts Senator Daniel Webster defended the supremacy of the Union over individual states. Although Webster did not plan his speech beforehand, it is generally considered one of the greatest speeches ever delivered on the floor of the US Sena te. … I say, the right of a state to annul a law of Congress cannot be maintained but on the ground of the inalienable right of man to resist oppression; that is to say, upon the ground of revolution. I admit that there is an ultimate violent remedy, above the Constitution and in defiance of the Constitution, which may be resorted to when a revolution is to be justified. But I do not admit that, under the Constitution and in conformity with it, there is any mode in which a state government, as a member of t he Union, can interfere and stop the progress of the general government, by force of her own laws, under any circumstance whatever… This absurdity (for it seems no less) arises from a misconception as to the origin of this government and its true characte r. It is, sir, the people’s Constitution, the people’s government, made for the people, made by the people, and answerable to the people. The people of the United States have declared that this Constitution shall be the supreme law. We must either admit th e proposition or dispute their authority. The states are, unquestionably, sovereign, so far as their sovereignty is not affected by this supreme law. But the state legislatures, as political bodies, however sovereign, are yet not sovereign over the people. So far as the people have given power to the general government, so far the grant is unquestionably good, and the government holds of the people and not of the state governments. We are all agents of the same supreme power, the people. The general govern ment and the state governments derive their authority from the same source. Neither can, in relation to the other, be called primary, though one is definite and restricted, and the other general and residuary. The national government possesses those powers , which it can be shown the people have conferred on it, and no more. All the rest belongs to the state governments, or to the people themselves. So far as the people have restrained state sovereignty, by the expression of their will, in the Constitution o f the United States, so far, it must be admitted, state sovereignty is effectually controlled…. I must now beg to ask, sir, whence is this supposed right of the states derived? Where do they find the power to interfere with the laws of the Union? Sir, the opinion which the honorable gentleman maintains is a notion founded in a total misapprehension, in my judgment, of the origin of this government, and of the foundation on which it stands. I hold it to be a popular government, erected by the people; tho se who administer it, responsible to the people; and itself capable of being amended and modified, just as the people may choose it should be. It is as popular, just as truly emanating from the people, as the state governments. It is created for one purpos e; the state governments for another. It has its own powers; they have theirs. There is no more authority with them to arrest the operation of a law of Congress than with Congress to arrest the operation of their laws. 3 We are here to administer a Constitu tion emanating immediately from the people, and trusted by them to our administration. It is not the creature of the state governments…. This government, sir, is the independent offspring of the popular will. It is not the creature of state legislatures ; nay, more, if the whole truth must be told, the people brought it into existence, established it, and have hitherto supported it for the very purpose, among others, of imposing certain salutary restraints on state sovereignties. The states cannot now mak e war; they cannot contract alliances they cannot make, each for itself, separate regulations of commerce; they cannot lay imposts; they cannot coin money. If this Constitution, Sir, be the creature of state legislatures, it must be admitted that it has ob tained a strange control over the volitions of its creators. The people, then, sir, erected this government. They gave it a Constitution, and in that Constitution they have enumerated the powers which they bestow on it. They have made it a limited governm ent. They have defined its authority. They have restrained it to the exercise of such powers as are granted; and all others, they declare, are reserved to the states or the people. But, sir, they have not stopped here. If they had, they would have accompli shed but half their work. No definition can be so clear as to avoid possibility of doubt; no limitation so precise as to exclude all uncertainty. Who, then, shall construe this grant of the people? Who shall interpret their will, where it may be supposed t hey have left it doubtful? With whom do they repose this ultimate right of deciding on the powers of the government? Sir, they have settled all this in the fullest manner. They have left it with the government itself, in its appropriate branches…. The Con stitution has itself pointed out, ordained, and established that authority. How has it accomplished this great and essential end? By declaring, sir, that “the Constitution, and the laws of the United States made in pursuance thereof, shall be the supreme l aw of the land, anything in the constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding.” This, sir, was the first great step. By this, the supremacy of the Constitution and laws of the United States is declared. The people so will it. No state law is to be valid which comes in conflict with the Constitution, or any law of the United States passed in pursuance of it. But who shall decide this question of interference? To whom lies the last appeal? This, sir, the Constitution itself decides also, by declaring, “that the judicial power shall extend to all cases arising under the Constitution and laws of the United States.” These two provisions cover the whole ground. They are, in truth, the keystone of the arch! With these it is a government; withou t them it is a confederation. In pursuance of these clear and express provisions, Congress established, at its very first session, in the judicial act, a mode for carrying them into full effect, and for bringing all questions of constitutional power to the final decision of the Supreme Court. It then, sir, became a government. It then had the means of self -protection; and but for this, it would, in all probability, have been now among things which are past…. 4 Sir, I deny this power of state legislatures alt ogether. It cannot stand the test of examination. Gentlemen may say that, in an extreme case, a state government might protect the people from intolerable oppression. Sir, in such a case, the people might protect themselves, without the aid of the state go vernments. Such a case warrants revolution. It must make, when it comes, a law for itself. A nullifying act of a state legislature cannot alter the case, nor make resistance any more lawful…. The people have preserved this, their own chosen Constitution, for forty years and have seen their happiness, prosperity, and renown grow with its growth, and strengthen with its strength. They are now, generally, strongly attached to it. Overthrown by direct assault, it cannot be; evaded, undermined, nu llified it will not be if we, and those who shall succeed us here, as agents and representatives of the people, shall conscientiously and vigilantly discharge the two great branches of our public trust, faithfully to preserve and wisely to administer it… . I have not allowed myself, sir, to look beyond the Union, to see what might he hidden in the dark recess behind. I have not coolly weighed the chances of preserving liberty when the bonds that unite us together shall be broken asunder. I have not accust omed myself to hang over the precipice of disunion, to see whether, with my short sight, I can fathom the depth of the abyss below; nor could I regard him as a safe counselor in the affairs in this government whose thoughts should be mainly bent on conside ring, not how the Union may be best preserved but how tolerable might be the condition of the people when it should be broken up and destroyed. While the Union lasts, we have high, exciting, gratifying prospects spread out before us, for us and our childre n. Beyond that I seek not to penetrate the veil. God grant that in my day, at least, that curtain may not rise! God grant that on my vision never may be opened what lies behind! When my eyes shall be turned to behold for the last time the sun in heaven, m ay I not see him shining on the broken and dishonored fragments of a once glorious Union; on states dissevered, discordant, belligerent; on a land rent with civil feuds, or drenched, it may be, in fraternal blood! Let their last feeble and lingering glance rather behold the gorgeous ensign of the republic, now known and honored throughout the earth, still full high advanced, its arms and trophies streaming in their original luster, not a stripe erased or polluted, nor a single star obscured, bearing for its motto, no such miserable interrogatory as “What is all this worth?” nor those other words of delusion and folly, “Liberty first and Union afterwards”; but everywhere, spread all over in characters of living light, blazing on all its ample folds, as they f loat over the sea and over the land, and in every wind under the whole heavens, that other sentiment, dear to every true American heart -Liberty and Union, now and forever, one and inseparable! DOCUMENT 2 South Carolina’s Ordinance of Nullification (1832) 5 In direct response to President Andrew Jackson and the Tariff of 1832, South Carolina held a special convention on November 24, 1832 that resulted in the following document. This ordinance represents South Carolina’s official position on the power of a sta te government to nullify federal laws it deemed unconstitutional. An ordinance to nullify certain acts of the Congress of the United States, purporting to be laws laying duties and imposts on the importation of foreign commodities. Whereas the Congress o f the United States by various acts, purporting to be acts laying duties and imposts on foreign imports, but in reality intended for the protection of domestic manufactures and the giving of bounties to classes and individuals engaged in particular employm ents, at the expense and to the injury and oppression of other classes and individuals, and by wholly exempting from taxation certain foreign commodities, such as are not produced or manufactured in the United States, to afford a pretext for imposing highe r and excessive duties on articles similar to those intended to be protected, bath exceeded its just powers under the constitution, which confers on it no authority to afford such protection, and bath violated the true meaning and intent of the constitutio n, which provides for equality in imposing the burdens of taxation upon the several States and portions of the confederacy: And whereas the said Congress, exceeding its just power to impose taxes and collect revenue for the purpose of effecting and accompl ishing the specific objects and purposes which the constitution of the United States authorizes it to effect and accomplish, hath raised and collected unnecessary revenue for objects unauthorized by the constitution. We, therefore, the people of the State of South Carolina, in convention assembled, do declare and ordain and it is hereby declared and ordained, that the several acts and parts of acts of the Congress of the United States, purporting to be laws for the imposing of duties and imposts on the importation of foreign commodities, and now having actual operation and effect within the United States, and, more especially, an act entitled “An act in alteration of the several acts imposing duties on imports,” approved on the nineteenth day of May, o ne thousand eight hundred and twenty – eight and also an act entitled “An act to alter and amend the several acts imposing duties on imports,” approved on the fourteenth day of July, one thousand eight hundred and thirty -two, are unauthorized by the constit ution of the United States, and violate the true meaning and intent thereof and are null, void, and no law, nor binding upon this State, its officers or citizens; and all promises, contracts, and obligations, made or entered into, or to be made or entered into, with purpose to secure the duties imposed by said acts, and all judicial proceedings which shall be hereafter had in affirmance thereof, are and shall be held utterly null and void. And it is further ordained, that it shall not be lawful for any of the constituted authorities, whether of this State or of the United States, to enforce the payment of duties imposed by the said acts within the limits of this State; but it shall be the duty of the legislature to adopt such measures and pass such acts as may be necessary to give full effect to this ordinance, and to prevent the enforcement and arrest the operation of the said acts and parts of acts of the Congress of the United States within the limits of this State, from and after the first day of Februar y next, 6 and the duties of all other constituted authorities, and of all persons residing or being within the limits of this State, and they are hereby required and enjoined to obey and give effect to this ordinance, and such acts and measures of the legisl ature as may be passed or adopted in obedience thereto. And it is further ordained, that in no case of law or equity, decided in the courts of this State, wherein shall be drawn in question the authority of this ordinance, or the validity of such act or acts of the legislature as may be passed for the purpose of giving effect thereto, or the validity of the aforesaid acts of Congress, imposing duties, shall any appeal be taken or allowed to the Supreme Court of the United States, nor shall any copy of the record be permitted or allowed for that purpose; and if any such appeal shall be attempted to be taken, the courts of this State shall proceed to execute and enforce their judgments according to the laws and usages of the State, without reference to such attempted appeal, and the person or persons attempting to take such appeal may be dealt with as for a contempt of the court. And it is further ordained, that all persons now holding any office of honor, profit, or trust, civil or military, under this Sta te (members of the legislature excepted), shall, within such time, and in such manner as the legislature shall prescribe, take an oath well and truly to obey, execute, and enforce this ordinance, and such act or acts of the legislature as may be passed in pursuance thereof, according to the true intent and meaning of the same, and on the neglect or omission of any such person or persons so to do, his or their office or offices shall be forthwith vacated, and shall be filled up as if such person or persons w ere dead or had resigned; and no person hereafter elected to any office of honor, profit, or trust, civil or military (members of the legislature excepted), shall, until the legislature shall otherwise provide and direct, enter on the execution of his offi ce, or be he any respect competent to discharge the duties thereof until he shall, in like manner, have taken a similar oath; and no juror shall be impaneled in any of the courts of this State, in any cause in which shall be in question this ordinance, or any act of the legislature passed in pursuance thereof, unless he shall first, in addition to the usual oath, have taken an oath that he will well and truly obey, execute, and enforce this ordinance, and such act or acts of the legislature as may be passed to carry the same into operation and effect, according to the true intent and meaning thereof. And we, the people of South Carolina, to the end that it may be fully understood by the government of the United States, and the people of the co -States, that we are determined to maintain this our ordinance and declaration, at every hazard, do further declare that we will not submit to the application of force on the part of the federal government, to reduce this State to obedience, but that we will consider th e passage, by Congress, of any act authorizing the employment of a military or naval force against the State of South Carolina, her constitutional authorities or citizens; or any act abolishing or closing the ports of this State, or any of them, or otherwi se obstructing the free ingress and egress of vessels to and from the said ports, or any other act on the part of the federal government, to coerce the State, shut up her ports, destroy or harass her commerce or to enforce the acts hereby declared to be nu ll and void, otherwise than 7 through the civil tribunals of the country, as inconsistent with the longer continuance of South Carolina in the Union; and that the people of this State will henceforth hold themselves absolved from all further obligation to ma intain or preserve their political connection with the people of the other States; and will forthwith proceed to organize a separate government, and do all other acts and things which sovereign and independent States may of right do. Done in convention at Columbia, the twenty -fourth day of November, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and thirty -two, and in the fifty -seventh year of the Declaration of the Independence of the United States of America. DOCUMENT 3 “The Meaning of the Fourth of July for the Negro” (1852) Former slave Frederick Douglass spent much of the 1850s traveling on speaking tours throughout the North championing the cause of abolitionism. Enslaved in Maryland, Douglass escaped slavery in 1838 after several failed attempts. Once free, Douglass became a social reformer, orator, and noted abolitionist. People who read his published work and heard Douglass speak were often shocked that he was a former slave, as many believed slaves lacked the basic intellect needed to deliver t houghtful arguments on slavery. Delivered on July 5, 1852 in Rochester, New York. Fellow Citizens, I am not wanting in respect for the fathers of this republic. The signers of the Declaration of Independence were brave men. They were great men, too -great enough to give frame to a great age. It does not often happen to a nation to raise, at one time, such a number of truly great men. The point from which I am compelled to view them is not, certainly, the most favorable; and yet I cannot contemplate their gr eat deeds with less than admiration. They were statesmen, patriots and heroes, and for the good they did, and the principles they contended for, I will unite with you to honor their memory…. …Fellow -citizens, pardon me, allow me to ask, why am I calle d upon to speak here to -day? What have I, or those I represent, to do with your national independence? Are the great principles of political freedom and of natural justice, embodied in that Declaration of Independence, extended to us? and am I, therefore, called upon to bring our humble offering to the national altar, and to confess the benefits and express devout gratitude for the blessings resulting from your independence to us? Would to God, both for your sakes and ours, that an affirmative answer could be truthfully returned to these questions! Then would my task be light, and my burden easy and delightful. For who is there so cold, that a nation’s sympathy could not warm him? Who so obdurate and dead to the claims of gratitude, that would not thankfull y acknowledge such priceless benefits? Who so stolid and selfish, that would not give his voice to swell the hallelujahs of a nation’s jubilee, when the chains of servitude had been torn from his limbs? I am not that man. In a case like that, the dumb migh t eloquently speak, and the “lame man leap as an hart.” 8 But such is not the state of the case. I say it with a sad sense of the disparity between us. I am not included within the pale of glorious anniversary! Your high independence only reveals the immeas urable distance between us. The blessings in which you, this day, rejoice, are not enjoyed in common. The rich inheritance of justice, liberty, prosperity and independence, bequeathed by your fathers, is shared by you, not by me. The sunlight that brought light and healing to you, has brought stripes and death to me. This Fourth July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn. To drag a man in fetters into the grand illuminated temple of liberty, and call upon him to join you in joyous anthems, were inhuman mockery and sacrilegious irony. Do you mean, citizens, to mock me, by asking me to speak to -day? If so, there is a parallel to your conduct. And let me warn you that it is dangerous to copy the example of a nation whose crimes, towering up to heave n, were thrown down by the breath of the Almighty, burying that nation in irrevocable ruin! I can to -day take up the plaintive lament of a peeled and woe -smitten people! “By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down. Yea! we wept when we remembered Zion. W e hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof. For there, they that carried us away captive, required of us a song; and they who wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion. How can we sing the Lord’s song in a stran ge land? If I forget thee, 0 Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning. If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth.” Fellow -citizens, above your national, tumultuous joy, I hear the mournful wail of millions! whose chains, heavy and grievous yesterday, are, to -day, rendered more intolerable by the jubilee shouts that reach them. If I do forget, if I do not faithfully remember those bleeding children of sorrow this day, “may my right hand forget her cunning, and may m y tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth!” To forget them, to pass lightly over their wrongs, and to chime in with the popular theme, would be treason most scandalous and shocking, and would make me a reproach before God and the world. My subject, then, fel low citizens, is American slavery. I shall see this day and its popular characteristics from the slave’s point of view. Standing there identified with the American bondman, making his wrongs mine, I do not hesitate to declare, with all my soul, that the ch aracter and conduct of this nation never looked blacker to me than on this 4th of July! Whether we turn to the declarations of the past, or to the professions of the present, the conduct of the nation seems equally hideous and revolting. America.is false t o the past, false to the present, and solemnly binds herself to be false to the future. Standing with God and the crushed and bleeding slave on this occasion, I will, in the name of humanity which is outraged, in the name of liberty which is fettered, in t he name of the constitution and the Bible which are disregarded and trampled upon, dare to call in question and to denounce, with all the emphasis I can command, everything that serves to perpetuate slavery Ñ the great sin and shame of America! “I will not equivocate; I will not excuse”; I will use the severest language I can command; and yet not one word shall escape me that any man, whose judgment is not blinded by prejudice, or who is not at heart a slaveholder, shall not confess to be right and just. 9 But I fancy I hear some one of my audience say, “It is just in this circumstance that you and your brother abolitionists fail to make a favorable impression on the public mind. Would you argue more, an denounce less; would you persuade more, and rebuke less ; your cause would be much more likely to succeed.” But, I submit, where all is plain there is nothing to be argued. What point in the anti -slavery creed would you have me argue? On what branch of the subject do the people of this country need light? Must I undertake to prove that the slave is a man? That point is conceded already. Nobody doubts it. The slaveholders themselves acknowledge it in the enactment of laws for their government. They acknowledge it when they punish disobedience on the part of the slave. There are seventy -two crimes in the State of Virginia which, if committed by a black man (no matter how ignorant he be), subject him to the punishment of death; while only two of the same crimes will subject a white man to the like punishment. What is this but the acknowledgment that the slave is a moral, intellectual, and responsible being? The manhood of the slave is conceded. It is admitted in the fact that Southern statute books are covered with enactments forbidding, under severe fines and penal ties, the teaching of the slave to read or to write. When you can point to any such laws in reference to the beasts of the field, then I may consent to argue the manhood of the slave. When the dogs in your streets, when the fowls of the air, when the cattl e on your hills, when the fish of the sea, and the reptiles that crawl, shall be unable to distinguish the slave from a brute, then will I argue with you that the slave is a man! For the present, it is enough to affirm the equal manhood of the Negro race. Is it not astonishing that, while we are ploughing, planting, and reaping, using all kinds of mechanical tools, erecting houses, constructing bridges, building ships, working in metals of brass, iron, copper, silver and gold; that, while we are reading, w riting and ciphering, acting as clerks, merchants and secretaries, having among us lawyers, doctors, ministers, poets, authors, editors, orators and teachers; that, while we are engaged in all manner of enterprises common to other men, digging gold in Cali fornia, capturing the whale in the Pacific, feeding sheep and cattle on the hill -side, living, moving, acting, thinking, planning, living in families as husbands, wives and children, and, above all, confessing and worshipping the Christian’s God, and looki ng hopefully for life and immortality beyond the grave, we are called upon to prove that we are men! Would you have me argue that man is entitled to liberty? that he is the rightful owner of his own body? You have already declared it. Must I argue the wro ngfulness of slavery? Is that a question for Republicans? Is it to be settled by the rules of logic and argumentation, as a matter beset with great difficulty, involving a doubtful application of the principle of justice, hard to be understood? How should I look to -day, in the presence of Americans, dividing, and subdividing a discourse, to show that men have a natural right to freedom? speaking of it relatively and positively, negatively and affirmatively. To do so, would be to make myself ridiculous, and to offer an insult to your understanding. There is not a man beneath the canopy of heaven that does not know that slavery is wrong for him. 10 What, am I to argue that it is wrong to make men brutes, to rob them of their liberty, to work them without wages, to keep them ignorant of their relations to their fellow men, to beat them with sticks, to flay their flesh with the lash, to load their limbs with irons, to hunt them with dogs, to sell them at auction, to sunder their families, to knock out their teeth, to burn their flesh, to starve them into obedience and submission to their masters? Must I argue that a system thus marked with blood, and stained with pollution, is wrong? No! I will not. I have better employment for my time and strength than such argumen ts would imply. What, then, remains to be argued? Is it that slavery is not divine; that God did not establish it; that our doctors of divinity are mistaken? There is blasphemy in the thought. That which is inhuman, cannot be divine! Who can reason on suc h a proposition? They that can, may; I cannot. The time for such argument is passed. At a time like this, scorching irony, not convincing argument, is needed. O! had I the ability, and could reach the nation’s ear, I would, to -day, pour out a fiery stream of biting ridicule, blasting reproach, withering sarcasm, and stern rebuke. For it is not light that is needed, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake. The feeling of the nation must be qui ckened; the conscience of the nation must be roused; the propriety of the nation must be startled; the hypocrisy of the nation must be exposed; and its crimes against God and man must be proclaimed and denounced. What, to the American slave, is your 4th o f July? I answer; a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim. To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swe lling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciation of tyrants, brass fronted impudence; your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all your religious para de and solemnity, are, to Him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy — a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages. There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices more shocking and bloody than are the p eople of the United States, at this very hour. Go where you may, search where you will, roam through all the monarchies and despotisms of the Old World, travel through South America, search out every abuse, and when you have found the last, lay your facts by the side of the everyday practices of this nation, and you will say with me, that, for revolting barbarity and shameless hypocrisy, America reigns without a rival…. …Allow me to say, in conclusion, notwithstanding the dark picture I have this day presented, of the state of the nation, I do not despair of this country. There are forces in operation which must inevitably work the downfall of slavery. 11 “The arm of the Lord is not shortened,” and the doom of slavery is certain. I, therefore, leave off where I began, with hope. While drawing encouragement from “the Declaration of Independence,” the great principles it contains, and the genius of American Institutions, my spirit is also cheered by the obvious tendencies of the age. Nations do not now sta nd in the same relation to each other that they did ages ago. No nation can now shut itself up from the surrounding world and trot round in the same old path of its fathers without interference. The time was when such could be done. Long established custom s of hurtful character could formerly fence themselves in, and do their evil work with social impunity. Knowledge was then confined and enjoyed by the privileged few, and the multitude walked on in mental darkness. But a change has now come over the affair s of mankind. Walled cities and empires have become unfashionable. The arm of commerce has borne away the gates of the strong city. Intelligence is penetrating the darkest corners of the globe. It makes its pathway over and under the sea, as well as on the earth. Wind, steam, and lightning are its chartered agents. Oceans no longer divide, but link nations together. From Boston to London is now a holiday excursion. Space is comparatively annihilated. Thoughts expressed on one side of the Atlantic are distin ctly heard on the other…. DOCUMENT 4 “Cornerstone Speech” (1861) Shortly after being elected as Vice President of the Confederate States of America or Confederacy, Alexander Hamilton Stephens returned to his home state of Georgia where he delivered what be came known as the “Cornerstone Speech” in Savannah, Georgia on March 21, 1861. Savannah, Georgia, as reported in the Savannah Republican At half past seven o’clock on Thursday evening, the largest audience ever assembled at the Athenaeum was in the house, waiting most impatiently for the appearance of the orator of the evening, Hon. A. H. Stephens, Vice -President of the Confederate States of America. … MR. STEPHENS rose and spoke as follows: … … We are passing through one of the greatest revolutions in the annals of the world. Seven States have within the last three months thrown off an old government and formed a new. This revolution has been signally marked, up to this time, by the fact of its having been accomplished without the loss of a single d rop of blood. [Applause.] This new constitution, or form of government, constitutes the subject to which your attention will be partly invited. In reference to it, I make this first general remark. It amply secures all our ancient rights, franchises, and liberties. All the great principles of Magna Charta are retained in it. No citizen is deprived of life, liberty, or property, but by the judgment of his peers under the laws of the land. The great principle of religious liberty, which was the honor and pri de of the old constitution, is still maintained and secured. All the essentials of the old constitution, which 12 have endeared it to the hearts of the American people, have been preserved and perpetuated. … So, taking the whole new constitution, I have no he sitancy in giving it as my judgment that it is decidedly better than the old. [Applause.] .…But not to be tedious in enumerating the numerous changes for the better, allow me to allude to one other — though last, not least. The new constitution has put at rest, forever, all the agitating questions relating to our peculiar institution — African slavery as it exists amongst us — the proper status of the negro in our form of civilization. This was the immediate cause of the late rupture and present revolutio n. Jefferson in his forecast, had anticipated this, as the “rock upon which the old Union would split.” He was right. What was conjecture with him, is now a realized fact. But whether he fully comprehended the great truth upon which that rock stood and sta nds, may be doubted. The prevailing ideas entertained by him and most of the leading statesmen at the time of the formation of the old constitution, were that the enslavement of the African was in violation of the laws of nature; that it was wrong in princ iple, socially, morally, and politically. It was an evil they knew not well how to deal with, but the general opinion of the men of that day was that, somehow or other in the order of Providence, the institution would be evanescent and pass away. This idea , though not incorporated in the constitution, was the prevailing idea at that time. The constitution, it is true, secured every essential guarantee to the institution while it should last, and hence no argument can be justly urged against the constitution al guarantees thus secured, because of the common sentiment of the day. Those ideas, however, were fundamentally wrong. They rested upon the assumption of the equality of races. This was an error. It was a sandy foundation, and the government built upon it fell when the “storm came and the wind blew.” Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its cornerstone rests upon the great truth, that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery — subordination t o the superior race — is his natural and normal condition. [Applause.] This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth. This truth has been slow in the process of its deve lopment, like all other truths in the various departments of science. It has been so even amongst us. Many who hear me, perhaps, can recollect well, that this truth was not generally admitted, even within their day. The errors of the past generation still clung to many as late as twenty years ago. Those at the North, who still cling to these errors, with a zeal above knowledge, we justly denominate fanatics. All fanaticism springs from an aberration of the mind — from a defect in reasoning. It is a species of insanity. One of the most striking characteristics of insanity, in many instances, is forming correct conclusions from fancied or erroneous premises; so with the anti -slavery fanatics; their conclusions are right if their premises were. They assume that the negro is equal, and hence conclude that he is entitled to equal privileges and rights with the white man. If their premises were correct, their conclusions would be logical and just — but their premise being wrong, their whole argument fails. I recoll ect once of having heard a gentleman from one of the northern States, of great power and ability, announce in the House of Representatives, with 13 imposing effect, that we of the South would be compelled, ultimately, to yield upon this subject of slavery, th at it was as impossible to war successfully against a principle in politics, as it was in physics or mechanics. That the principle would ultimately prevail. That we, in maintaining slavery as it exists with us, were warring against a principle, a principle founded in nature, the principle of the equality of men. The reply I made to him was, that upon his own grounds, we should, ultimately, succeed, and that he and his associates, in this crusade against our institutions, would ultimately fail. The truth ann ounced, that it was as impossible to war successfully against a principle in politics as it was in physics and mechanics, I admitted; but told him that it was he, and those acting with him, who were warring against a principle. They were attempting to make things equal which the Creator had made unequal. In the conflict thus far, success has been on our side, complete throughout the length and breadth of the Confederate States. It is upon this, as I have stated, our social fabric is firmly planted; and I c annot permit myself to doubt the ultimate success of a full recognition of this principle throughout the civilized and enlightened world. As I have stated, the truth of this principle may be slow in development, as all truths are and ever have been, in th e various branches of science. It was so with the principles announced by Galileo — it was so with Adam Smith and his principles of political economy. It was so with Harvey, and his theory of the circulation of the blood. It is stated that not a single one of the medical profession, living at the time of the announcement of the truths made by him, admitted them. Now, they are universally acknowledged. May we not, therefore, look with confidence to the ultimate universal acknowledgment of the truths upon whi ch our system rests? It is the first government ever instituted upon the principles in strict conformity to nature, and the ordination of Providence, in furnishing the materials of human society. Many governments have been founded upon the principle of the subordination and serfdom of certain classes of the same race; such were and are in violation of the laws of nature. Our system commits no such violation of nature’s laws. With us, all of the white race, however high or low, rich or poor, are equal in the eye of the law. Not so with the negro. Subordination is his place. He, by nature, or by the curse against Canaan, is fitted for that condition which he occupies in our system. The architect, in the construction of buildings, lays the foundation with the p roper material — the granite; then comes the brick or the marble. The substratum of our society is made of the material fitted by nature for it, and by experience we know that it is best, not only for the superior, but for the inferior race, that it should be so. It is, indeed, in conformity with the ordinance of the Creator. It is not for us to inquire into the wisdom of his ordinances, or to question them. For his own purposes, he has made one race to differ from another, as he has made “one star to diffe r from another star in glory.” The great objects of humanity are best attained when there is conformity to his laws and decrees, in the formation of governments as well as in all things else. Our confederacy is founded upon principles in strict conformity with these laws. This stone which was rejected by the first builders “is become the chief of the corner” — the real “corner -stone” — in our new edifice. [Applause.] 14 I have been asked, what of the future? It has been apprehended by some that we would have arrayed against us the civilized world. I care not who or how many they may be against us, when we stand upon the eternal principles of truth, if we are true to ourselves and the principles for which we contend, we are obliged to, and must triumph. [Imme nse applause.] Thousands of people who begin to understand these truths are not yet completely out of the shell; they do not see them in their length and breadth. We hear much of the civilization and christianization of the barbarous tribes of Africa. In my judgment, those ends will never be attained, but by first teaching them the lesson taught to Adam, that “in the sweat of his brow he should eat his bread,” [applause,] and teaching them to work, and feed, and clothe themselves. … But to return to the question of the future. What is to be the result of this revolution? … Our growth, by accessions from other States, will depend greatly upon whether we present to the world, as I trust we shall, a better government than that to which neighboring State s belong. If we do this, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Arkansas cannot hesitate long; neither can Virginia, Kentucky, and Missouri. They will necessarily gravitate to us by an imperious law. We made ample provision in our constitution for the admission of other States; it is more guarded, and wisely so, I think, than the old constitution on the same subject, but not too guarded to receive them as fast as it may be proper. Looking to the distant future, and, perhaps, not very far distant either, it is not b eyond the range of possibility, and even probability, that all the great States of the north -west will gravitate this way, as well as Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri, Arkansas, etc. Should they do so, our doors are wide enough to receive them, but not until they are ready to assimilate with us in principle. The process of disintegration in the old Union may be expected to go on with almost absolute certainty if we pursue the right course. We are now the nucleus of a growing power which, if we are true to ou rselves, our destiny, and high mission, will become the controlling power on this continent. To what extent accessions will go on in the process of time, or where it will end, the future will determine. So far as it concerns States of the old Union, this p rocess will be upon no such principles of reconstruction as now spoken of, but upon reorganization and new assimilation. [Loud applause.] Such are some of the glimpses of the future as I catch them. … As to whether we shall have war with our late confede rates, or whether all matters of differences between us shall be amicably settled, I can only say that the prospect for a peaceful adjustment is better, so far as I am informed, than it has been. The prospect of war is, at least, not so threatening as it has been. The idea of coercion, shadowed forth in President Lincoln’s inaugural, seems not to be followed up thus far so vigorously as was 15 expected. Fort Sumter, it is believed, will soon be evacuated. What course will be pursued toward Fort Pickens, and t he other forts on the gulf, is not so well understood. It is to be greatly desired that all of them should be surrendered. Our object is peace, not only with the North, but with the world. All matters relating to the public property, public liabilities of the Union when we were members of it, we are ready and willing to adjust and settle upon the principles of right, equity, and good faith. War can be of no more benefit to the North than to us. Whether the intention of evacuating Fort Sumter is to be receiv ed as an evidence of a desire for a peaceful solution of our difficulties with the United States, or the result of necessity, I will not undertake to say. I would fain hope the former. Rumors are afloat, however, that it is the result of necessity. All I c an say to you, therefore, on that point is, keep your armor bright and your powder dry. … DOCUMENT 5 Gettysburg Address (1863) On November 19, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln consecrated the battlefield at Gettysburg with arguably one of the greatest (and shortest) speeches in American History. Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth, on this continent, a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived, and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting -place for those who here gave t heir lives, that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate — we cannot hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have con secrated it far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they here gave the last full measure of devotion — tha t we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
History Project I: INSTRUCTIONS 1. Students will be familiar with much of the material in this essay assignment from class discussions and assignments from Unit III. Feel free to reference discussion
The Political Evolution of John Bachman: From New York Yankee to South Carolina Secessionist Author(syf 3 H W H U 0 F & D Q G O H V s Source: The South Carolina Historical Magazine, Vol. 108, No. 1 (Jan., 2007yf S S 1 Published by: South Carolina Historical Society Stable URL: https://www.jstor.org/stable/27570860 Accessed: 07-09-2019 16:19 UTC REFERENCES Linked references are available on JSTOR for this article: https://www.jstor.org/stable/27570860?seq=1&cid=pdf-reference#references_tab_contents You may need to log in to JSTOR to access the linked references. JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms of scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact [email protected]. Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at https://about.jstor.org/terms South Carolina Historical Society is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to The South Carolina Historical Magazine This content downloaded from on Sat, 07 Sep 2019 16:19:56 UTC All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms THE POLITICAL EVOLUTION OF JOHN BACHMAN: FROM NEW YORK YANKEE TO SOUTH CAROLINA SECESSIONIST Peter McCandless* ON THE EVENING OF DECEMBER 20, 1860, DELEGATES TO THE South Carolina Secession Convention and about three thousand spectators crammed Institute Hall in Charleston to sign the Ordinance of Secession. An elderly Lutheran clergyman delivered the opening prayer, an odd choice perhaps in a state in which Lutherans were a small minority, numbering only five thousand communicants in 1860. He bowed his head, raised his hands, and beseeched God’s blessing on a cause he declared was forced on a reluctant people by “fanaticism, injustice, and oppression/’ He appealed to God for peace; for victory, if war came; and for “prosperity to our Southern land.”1 The clergyman, John Bachman, is perhaps best known today for his work as a naturalist, notably his collaboration with John James Audubon on The Quadrupeds of North America (1849-1854yf + H Z D V D O V R D O H D G L Q J I L J X U e of the Lutheran church in South Carolina and the South. Bachman’s work as a naturalist has been richly examined by Lester Stephens and Jay Shuler. His clerical career is the subject of a dissertation by Raymond Bost.2 All three discuss?Stephens most extensively?Bachman’s defense of slavery and his decision in 1860 to support secession. But in none of the works is his political outlook and evolution the main focus. Claude Henry Neuffer, who wrote an admiring biography of Bachman, called the conven tion’s choice of Bachman to give the prayer “a genuine tribute to an esteemed citizen and a high compliment to his unquestioned loyalty to * Peter McCandless is Distinguished Professor of History at the College of Charleston. 1 The Christopher Happoldt Journal, His European Tour with the Rev. John Bachman (June-December, 1838yf H G L W H G Z L W K S U H I D F H D Q G E L R J U D S K L H V E & O D X G H + H Q U 1 H X I I H r (Charleston, S.C.: Charleston Museum, 1960yf – R X U Q D O R I W K H & R Q Y H Q W L R Q R I W K e People of South Carolina, Held in 1860-61 (Charleston, 1861yf $ + L V W R U R I W K e Lutheran Church in South Carolina (Columbia, S.C.: South Carolina Synod of the Lutheran Church in America, 1971yf . 2 See Jay Shuler, Had I the Wings: The Friendship of Bachman and Audubon (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1995yf / H V W H U ‘ 6 W H S K H Q V 6 F L H Q F H 5 D F H D Q G 5 H O L J L R Q L n the American South: John Bachman and the Charleston Circle of Naturalists, 1815-1895 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2006yf 5 D P R Q G 0 % R V W 7 K e Reverend John Bachman and the Development of Southern Lutheranism” (Ph.D. diss., Duke University, 1963yf 6 H H D O V R W K H H [ W H Q V L Y H E L R J U D S K R I % D F K P D Q E y Claude Henry Neuffer in Happoldt Journal. The South Carolina Historical Magazine Volume 108, No. 1 (January 2007yf This content downloaded from on Sat, 07 Sep 2019 16:19:56 UTC All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms POLITICAL EVOLUTION OF JOHN BACHMAN 7 South Carolina/’3 It was indeed quite an honor for a man born in a village in the Hudson Valley of New York in 1790, who did not come to South Carolina until he was twenty-five years old. As a transplanted northern clergyman who defended slavery and supported secession, Bachman was hardly unique. Moreover, most of his educated southern clerical colleagues, whatever their origins, did the same, especially in the Deep South.4 Yet the question inevitably arises, by what process did Yankee-born Bachman become a prominent supporter of south ern secession? Bachman, like most people, held multiple loyalties, to his family, community, church, state, region, and nation. These loyalties can coexist harmoniously, but if they come into conflict, which will prevail depends on a variety of circumstances and calculations.5 Jay Shuler argues that Bachman was forced to support secession in 1860: “Committed to the Union and loyal to the South and the institution of slavery, Bachman faced an excruciating choice: should he support the southern states?or the Union? There was never really any question which choice Bachman must finally make. . . . After the election of Abraham Lincoln, in 1860, with secession a foregone conclusion, Bachman was at last forced to choose the South.”6 Was Bachman forced to choose secession in 1860? What does “forced” mean in this context? To say he was forced somehow robs him of human agency and responsibility, and it implies coercion and intimidation. The evidence does not support the conclusion that Bachman was forced in that sense. Yet Shuler was right in part. Bachman7s choice of secession was not forced upon him in 1860, but it was predictable. Bachman’s road to secession was paved with the bricks of earlier choices he had made: to make South Carolina his home and to accept and defend its institutions and outlook. 3 Happoldt Journal, 102. 4 Other northern clergymen who became proslavery leaders included Moses Ashley Curtis, Elisha Mitchell, and Thomas Smyth. See Michael O’Brien, Conjectures of Order: Intellectual Life and the American South, 1810-1860 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2004yf / D U U ( 7 L V H 3 U R V O D Y H U $ + L V W R U R I W K H ‘ H I H Q V e of Slavery in America, 1701-1840 (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1987yf , 158. On the southern clergy’s advocacy of slavery and secession, see Mitchell Snay, Gospel of Disunion: Religion and Separatism in the Antebellum South (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1993yf – D P H V 2 ) D U P H U – U 7 K H 0 H W D S K V L F D O & R Q I H d eracy: James Henley Thornwell and the Synthesis of Southern Values (Macon, Ga.: Mercer University Press, 1986yf ( O L ] D E H W K ) R [ * H Q R Y H V H D Q G ( X J H Q H * H Q R Y H V H 7 K H 0 L Q G R f the Master Class: History and Faith in the Southern Slaveholders’ Worldview (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005yf . 5 On the issue of loyalties in relation to secession and Unionism, see Thomas G Dyer, Secret Yankees: The Union Circle in Confederate Atlanta (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1999yf . 6 Shuler, Had I the Wings. See also Stephens, Science, 217. This content downloaded from on Sat, 07 Sep 2019 16:19:56 UTC All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms 8 THE SOUTH CAROLINA HISTORICAL MAGAZINE After he moved to Charleston in 1815, Bachman quickly became assimilated to the city and state. Before long he began to refer to the local inhabitants as “my people.” By the late 1830s, he was publicly defending them against abolitionist attacks. By the early 1850s, he was declaring that if his people chose to leave the Union, he would go with them. Then who, exactly, was choosing his secession in 1860, Bachman or his people? Was he a leader or a follower? It is not easy to decide. His political views in 1860 were in large part the product of decades of living in a milieu in which support of slavery was essential to anyone who laid claim to leadership and active opposition could compromise one’s physical and economic well being. They were shared by most of his neighbors and clerical peers. But Bachman was not a coward, nor was he an intellectual lightweight who would automatically follow others. He was a strong and intelligent personality, not easily swayed by popular prejudices or arguments not based on empirical evidence. Nor was he afraid of controversy, as his spirited defense of the unity of the human race and his fiery denunciation in 1843 of P. T. Barnum’s fraudulent “Feejee Mermaid” showed.7 Bachman7 s self-proclaimed motto as a naturalist was “Nature, Truth, and No Humbug,77 and he normally observed it in his scientific writings. In one of his essays, he humorously proclaimed his devotion to logical argu ment based on sound evidence: “In regard to personal attacks, we are preparing to discipline our feelings in unison with those of an old clergy man, of whom we have somewhere read an account. [He was reasoning with a young man who]… lost his temper, and for lack of argument spat in his face_The old man coolly wiped his face [and remarked], ‘Young man that was a digression?now for the argument.7 “8 Bachman7s claim that disciplining one’s feelings was essential to effec tive argument was surely sincere. As a naturalist, Bachman held firm to his insistence on calm, logical arguments supported by empirical evidence. When his writings engaged issues of religion, politics, social institutions, race, and slavery, however, he sometimes abandoned his usual high stan dards of proof and adopted arguments weak in logic and evidence. At times he resembled the young man in his story, using increasingly intemperate and even scurrilous language to describe the motives and reasoning of his opponents. Bachman strongly defended the individual’s right to freedom of thought and expression. Freedom of inquiry, he once said, was liable to 7 On the mermaid controversy, see Lester D. Stephens, “The Mermaid Hoax: Indications of Scientific Thought of Charleston, South Carolina, in the 1840s,” Proceedings of the South Carolina Historical Association (1983yf . H Q Q H W K 6 . Greenberg, “The Nose, the Lie, and the Duel in the Antebellum South,” American Historical Review 95 (1990yf . 8 John Bachman, Continuation of the Review of “Not?s and Gliddons Types of Mankind” (Charleston, 1855yf . This content downloaded from on Sat, 07 Sep 2019 16:19:56 UTC All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms POLITICAL EVOLUTION OF JOHN BACHMAN 9 abuse, but was far less dangerous than its opposite: “the slavery of the human mind.”9 But he also defended a social order that effectively prohib ited free discussion of slavery. If he saw the inconsistency, he never ac knowledged it. Bachman’s defenses of slavery and sectionalism probably had several motivations. His economic self-interest as a slaveholder cannot be over looked, but this was probably of minor importance, as he only held a few household slaves. He may have felt pressure to support slavery and seces sion as a clergyman. Especially after the upsurge of immediate abolitionism among northern clergy in the 1830s, many slaveholders suspected the clergy of harboring secret antislavery impulses. Mitchell Snay argues that the southern clergy had no choice but to defend slavery once abolitionists attacked it on religious grounds: “The assumed complicity of religion with abolitionism forced Southern clergymen to disavow any connection with the movement.”10 Bachman did exactly that, but whether he felt pressured to do so or acted solely out of conviction is unclear. What one can say is that Bachman, like many southern clergymen, seemed genuinely outraged by abolitionist claims that slavery was a sin and anti-Christian. This was not only an attack on his state and region, but on the morality of those, like himself and his family and friends, who owned slaves. In championing the southern cause, Bachman may also have been influenced by the history of his church. Much like the Confederacy, the Lutheran church originated in a local rebellion against the encroachments of central authorities. The princes who supported Martin Luther alleged that their rights were threatened by high-handed imperial and papal interfer ence in their local affairs. The Peace of Augsburg of 1555, the religious settlement between Catholics and Protestants in the Holy Roman Empire, was based on the principle of cuius regio, eius religio (whose region, his religionyf , W D O O R Z H G W K H S U L Q F H R I H D F K V W D W H W R G H W H U P L Q H W K H U H O L J L R Q R I K L s people.11 Bachman was a fervent defender of the Lutheran Revolt and may have seen parallels in the South’s struggle for states’ rights. In 1848 he suggested that the liberal revolutions then occurring in Europe were in spired in part by the example of Luther and his supporters: Is not the mind insensibly led to inquire how far these exhibitions of moral courage, in the investigations and declarations of religious truth, may not 9 John Bachman, The Design and Duties of the Christian Ministry (Baltimore, 1848yf , 22. 10 Snay, Gospel of Disunion, 34-37; Farmer, The Metaphysical Confederacy, 215. 11 Patrick Collins, The Reformation: A History (New York: Modern Library, 2004yf ; Lewis W. Spitz, The Protestant Reformation, 1557-1559 (New York: Harper and Row, 1985yf 5 R O D Q + % D L Q W R Q + H U H , 6 W D Q G $ / L I H R I 0 D U W L Q / X W K H U 1 D V K Y L O O H $ E L Q J G R n Press, 1990yf . This content downloaded from on Sat, 07 Sep 2019 16:19:56 UTC All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms 10 THE SOUTH CAROLINA HISTORICAL MAGAZINE have contributed to give an impulse to that spirit of free inquiry into the theory of government which is now convulsing the continent of Europe, … breaking asunder… the long chains of despotism, and asserting in the face of heaven the right of nations to self-government?12 Bachman’s personal circumstances, social milieu, profession, and intellec tual outlook all made his support for slavery and secession highly likely. It is safe to assume that had Bachman decided to remain in New York in 1815, his opinions and actions in 1860 would have been different?if he had lived that long. Choosing South Carolina Of course, there was an element of historical contingency in Bachman’s decision to move to South Carolina in the first place. He would probably not have gone there had he not been suffering from tuberculosis. A warm climate and sea air were common prescriptions for consumption, as the disease was then commonly known, and Charleston promised both, as well as the opportunity to share in the intellectual life of one of America’s most cultured cities. The prospect of having only one church to serve (instead of three as in New Yorkyf D O V R P X V W K D Y H E H H Q D O O X U L Q J % D F K P D Q Z D V D V V X U H d a warm personal welcome in Charleston, as well, and not just because of the city’s legendary hospitality. St. John’s Lutheran Church had been without a pastor for several years, and its congregation was extremely eager to fill the vacant pulpit.14 The vestry’s concern for their new pastor’s well being was evident from the first. They advised him to come in December, the “most favorable season for a journey to Charleston.” This was a euphemistic way of saying that the fever season would have subsided by then, and he would have six or seven months to become “seasoned” to the climate before the risk from yellow fever or malaria returned.15 After his arrival, the president of the congregation took him to his house and treated him “as an honored guest.”16 The young clergyman bonded quickly to his congregation and 12 John Bachman, A Sermon on the Doctrines and Discipline of the Evangelical Lutheran Church (Charleston, 1837yf 6 H H D O V R % D F K P D Q $ ‘ H I H Q V H R I / X W K H U D Q d the Protestant Reformation against the Charges of John Bellinger, M.D. and Others (Charleston, 1853yf % D F K P D Q ‘ H V L J Q D Q G ‘ X W L H V . 13 Philip M. Mayer to B. A. Markley, Sept. 30,1814, St. John’s Lutheran Church Files, Charleston, S.C (hereinafter cited as SJLCyf W S H V F U L S W L Q 6 K X O H U & R O O H F W L R Q ; Catherine Bachman, John Bachman (Charleston, 1888yf . 14 Bachman, John Bachman, 26; Philip Mayer to Vestry, Sept. 30, 1814, SJLC, typescript in Shuler Collection; Shuler, Had I the Wings, 34-35; Stephens, Science, 6. 15 Vestry and Wardens to John Bachman, Oct. 14, 1814, SJLC, typescript in Shuler Collection. 16 Bachman, John Bachman, 27. This content downloaded from on Sat, 07 Sep 2019 16:19:56 UTC All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms POLITICAL EVOLUTION OF JOHN BACHMAN 11 Charleston’s small, but growing, German community. He was almost immediately involved in planning a new church building for St. John’s, which was opened in 1818. Shortly after he arrived in Charleston, the German Friendly Society asked him to deliver the sermon at its annual anniversary meeting and then invited him to join. He became a member in April 1815 and was soon a recognized leader of the local German commu nity.17 When a yellow fever epidemic broke out during Bachman’s first sum mer in Charleston, the vestry urged him to leave until the danger passed. As a newcomer, he was highly vulnerable to the virulent disease locals called “Stranger’s Fever.” Bachman initially refused to leave and insisted on caring for the victims. But during the summer, he received a letter stating that his father was seriously ill, and he left for New York. While at home, his old New York congregations pleaded with him to return to them, but he declined. He assured a worried leader of St. John’s that “though my native spot is dear to me, yet nothing would induce me to remain.” Charleston, he declared, was now his home “and unless its inhabitants treat me with greater neglect than they have heretofore done, they will have to keep me for life.” Soon he cemented another bond to the community. A few months after his return from New York, in January 1816, he married Harriet Martin, the granddaughter of a previous pastor of St. John’s, with whom he had fourteen children. Two years after Harriet’s death in 1846, he married her sister Maria.18 Bachman’s warm reception in Charleston was followed by continuing good relations with his congregation and vestry. In a sermon preached in 1858, he declared that the vestry had always “anticipated my every wish and want. I have spent a long life of anxious labor and of pleasant duty among you… and so may it be until this connection is severed by the hand of death.”19 Although Bachman lived a long life (1790-1874yf K H Z D V D O O W R R I D P L O L D r with death. During his sixty years in Charleston, yellow fever was a regular visitor, cholera epidemics struck several times, and malaria was both endemic in the surrounding lowcountry and occasionally epidemic in the city. Bachman suffered from various life-threatening ailments, including 17 Lutheran Church in South Carolina, 164-65; Michael E. Bell, “‘Hurrah fur dies Susse, dies Sonnige Leben7: The Anomaly of Charleston, South Carolina’s Antebel lum German-America7′ (Ph.D. diss., University of South Carolina, 1996yf ; George J. Gongaware, The History of the German Friendly Society of Charleston, South Carolina,1766-1916 (Richmond: Garett and Massie, 1935yf , 173-75. 18 Bachman, John Bachman, 31-36 (quotation on pp. 34-35yf 6 W H S K H Q V 6 F L H Q F H , 56, 217. 19 John Bachman, A Discourse Delivered on the Forty-Third Anniversary of his Ministry in Charleston (Charleston, 1858yf . This content downloaded from on Sat, 07 Sep 2019 16:19:56 UTC All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms 12 THE SOUTH CAROLINA HISTORICAL MAGAZINE recurrent tuberculosis, cholera, malaria, and perhaps yellow fever.20 His family was devastated by disease. Five of his fourteen children died in infancy. Three of his daughters died from tuberculosis in their twenties, possibly contracted from their father. Both of his wives, the sisters Harriet and Maria Martin, also died of tuberculosis.21 Bachman’s sufferings and family losses must have been mitigated to some extent by the solicitousness his congregation and friends showed for him and his family. When he became dangerously ill on a visit to New York in the summer of 1827, his Charleston friends were intensely anxious about his condition. His student and temporary replacement, John G. Schwartz, wrote him on his recovery: “To every member of your congregation your illness has been an affliction, and your recovery a blessing. I think I could die easy and happy, if I had such a congregation weeping for me, and praying for my welfare.”22 In 1838 his health had deteriorated to the point that his doctors urged him to take a long sea voyage and rest, a common prescription for consumption. The vestry willingly granted him six months’ leave to travel to Europe. On his return, his health was improved, but clearly not restored. The vestry appointed an assistant pastor to aid him and urged him to take a leave during the summer of 1839.23 There is little reason to doubt that Bachman felt a compelling sense of loyalty to people who had given him such proofs of their devotion. In turn, he worked hard to earn and retain their esteem. Bachman’s periodic health crises were probably related to his strenuous work ethic and stern sense of duty to his congregation and his community. Frequent epidemics of yellow fever and cholera, added to endemic malaria, ensured that Bachman was kept busy ministering to the sick. Nor was he content merely to serve as a parish clergyman. In addition to his renowned work as a naturalist, he was a leading figure in organizing and advancing the Lutheran church in South Carolina and the South. He played a key role in the development and work of the South Carolina Synod, of which he served as president from 1824 to 1834 and during several other years. He also helped to establish and oversee the state’s Lutheran Seminary in Lexington, opened inl831.24 Bachman’s argument for a local seminary illustrates the extent to which he had assimilated to the southern environment and outlook by the late 20 Bachman, Discourse, 12; Bachman, John Bachman, 31-35,62-64,139-42,161-65, 177, 200, 353. 21 Stephens, Science, 14; Shuler, Had I the Wings, 40. 22 Bachman, John Bachman, 62, 64 (quotation is on p. 64yf . 23 Stephens, Science, 32-33; Bost, “John Bachman,” 355-56; Bachman, John Bachman, 162-66,177. 24 Bachman, John Bachman, 31-32, 41-43, 161, 200-01; Lutheran Church in South Carolina, 163-75. This content downloaded from on Sat, 07 Sep 2019 16:19:56 UTC All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms POLITICAL EVOLUTION OF JOHN BACHMAN 13 1820s. He told the South Carolina Synod meeting in 1829 that the differences between the sections necessitated training local men for the ministry: “From the nature of our climate and domestic institutions, it is not probable that missionary aid can be obtained from our northern Synods.”25 In a discussion of the creation of the seminary some thirty years later, he recalled that Lutherans in the South could not rely on “emigrants from abroad” to build up the church.26 What did Bachman mean by “the nature of our climate and domestic institutions?” Why were there not more “emigrants from abroad?” Harriet Bachman neatly summed up the reasons in a letter to her husband in 1827, when she lamented the “the two evils which our unfortunate country is doomed to have, the yellow fever and the Negroes.”27 In effect, Bachman predicted that few European or northern-trained ministers would be attracted to South Carolina because of its unhealthy reputation and its slave majority. These things had not deterred Bachman from coming to the state in 1815. But in 1829, he claimed that they would deter others. This may have been partly because yellow fever epidemics had become more fre quent and violent in the interim. But something else had changed, too. Anti slavery sentiment was growing in the North. Bachman’s sensitivity to this change is evident in his argument for a seminary, as well as his defense of slavery. Choosing Slavery Despite his northern origins, Bachman does not seem to have ever questioned slavery, at least publicly. In part, this may have been because it was part of his world from birth. His father, a prosperous farmer, owned several slaves. Slavery was still legal in New York when he left for South Carolina in 1814, and he took one of the family slaves, Lydia, with him.28 In addition to Lydia, Bachman acquired several slaves through his marriage to Harriet Martin.29 Perhaps Bachman was shocked by the plantation labor system and the sheer number of slaves he found in the Carolina lowcountry, but he never said so. Probably he already sincerely believed that slavery was part of the natural order, as he would later argue. One can only speculate about whether he would have continued to think this way had he stayed in New York. As a slaveholding southern clergyman, it was inevitable that Bachman would have to confront slavery as a moral and ultimately a political issue 25 Happoldt Journal, 15-16. 26 Bachman, Discourse, 9. 27 Harriet Bachman to John Bachman, Aug. 8,1827, Bachman Papers, Charleston Museum, cited in Bost, “John Bachman/’ 379. 28 Bachman, John Bachman, 10,17, 26, 356. 29 Shuler, Had I the Wings, 40; Stephens, Science, 15. This content downloaded from on Sat, 07 Sep 2019 16:19:56 UTC All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms 14 THE SOUTH CAROLINA HISTORICAL MAGAZINE once the abolitionist movement began to gain momentum. The debate over slavery divided Lutherans, as it divided other Protestant churches, and Bachman found himself involved in dispute with his northern Lutheran colleagues.30 He stood with the vast majority of southern clergymen, Lutheran and non-Lutheran, in choosing to defend slavery.31 Clerical condemnations of slavery were rare in the antebellum South, especially after the rise of immediate abolitionism in the 1830s, and they were virtually non-existent in South Carolina. One reason is that in South Carolina blacks were a majority of the population, and in some lowcountry parishes, more than 80 percent of the inhabitants were black. Slavery was not only the main source of labor on the rice and cotton plantations, most whites considered it essential to the social order. Abolition, most Carolinians agreed, would lead to black domination, massacre, pillage, and rape, a view given credence in their eyes by the alleged Denmark Vesey conspiracy in 1822 and Nat Turner’s rebellion in 1830.32 This outlook helps explain the rather hysterical reaction of Carolinians when abolitionists decided to take their campaign into the heart of the South in 1835. On July 29, a large shipment of abolitionist pamphlets arrived at the Charleston post office, many addressed to clergymen. The white elite reacted furiously. With the approval of the city’s postmaster, they pre vented the delivery of the offending pamphlets, and then burned them. For good measure, the state legislature made teaching blacks to read and write a crime.33 The South Carolina Lutheran Synod, in which Bachman had great influence, also reacted strongly against the abolitionist “invasion.” At its 1835 meeting, the synod approved a series of resolutions against abolition. The first declared abolitionists “enemies of our beloved country.” The second prohibited correspondence with abolitionists and the possession of abolitionist publications. The third urged the pastors “never to countenance such doctrines.7734 In effect, the Lutheran clergy had voted to declare aboli tion treason. They also had agreed to censor themselves and restrict their freedom of inquiry and opinion. The synod’s action was not unusual. All over South Carolina and the South, religious organizations passed similar resolutions. Mitchell Snay refers to this reaction as “the first step toward 30 Bost, “John Bachman,” Summary and 380. 31 Douglas C. Stange, “Our Duty to Preach the Gospel to the Negroes: Southern Lutherans and American Negroes,” Concordia Historical Institute Quarterly 42 (1969yf : 176. 32 Snay, Gospel of Disunion, 70-73. 33 Walter J. Fraser, Charleston! Charleston! The History of a Southern City (Colum bia: University of South Carolina Press, 1989yf * H R U J H 5 R J H U V & K D U O H V W R Q L n the Age of the Pinckneys (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1969yf % R V W , “John Bachman,” 404-05; Snay, Gospel of Disunion, 19-20. 34 Stange, “Our Duty to Preach,” 177. This content downloaded from on Sat, 07 Sep 2019 16:19:56 UTC All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms POLITICAL EVOLUTION OF JOHN BACHMAN 15 secession” for many clergymen. It may have been for John Bachman, as well.35 In 1837 Bachman’s dispute with the abolitionists became highly per sonal. A northern Lutheran minister accused him and other slave-owners of “cruelty and luxury.” Bachman took the accusation as an insult: “I have lately been held up in bold relief as ‘one who luxuriated from the sweat and blood of the slave.’ ” Bachman apparently believed he was being accused of profiting from slavery in the mode of a planter. He declared that the slaves in his household were merely “domestics” inherited by his wife, and they were “her private property.” He did not mention the family slave he had brought from New York. He also appealed to the judgment of his commu nity: “My people, at least, will neither accuse me of idleness, nor luxury/’36 Bachman’s angry reaction and his reference to “my people” indicate his growing identification with his social milieu. His people would never insult him in this way; but northerners did, and he was ceasing to view them as “his people.” The reaction of southern clergymen to the abolitionist offensive went beyond denunciations of abolitionism. Abolitionist clergymen had branded slavery as un-Christian and sinful. Southern clergy responded by seeking to sanctify slavery, to show that it was justified by Scripture and was a Christian and moral institution. To demonstrate this, ministers declared that their churches must do more to affect the salvation and moral improve ment of the slaves. Like many of his clerical colleagues in the South, Bachman advocated a patriarchal and paternalistic form of slavery aimed at civilizing and Christianizing the slaves.37 By 1835 he had been engaged in this work for nearly two decades. A special conference of the Lutheran churches in South Carolina declared in 1816 that it was the duty of the clergy to preach the Gospel to the black population. Bachman immediately re quested and received the permission of the vestry to admit blacks to services at St. John’s, though segregated in the gallery. In the following years, he also aided the efforts of several black men to prepare for the ministry. One of them, Daniel Payne, a free black, often came to Bachman’s house, discussed zoology with him, and studied his collections.38 Bachman took the “minis try to the Negroes” seriously. He attracted more blacks to his church than any other southern Lutheran minister during the antebellum era. In 1835, of fifty-four blacks baptized as Lutherans in South Carolina, he was respon sible for forty-four. In 1860 his black congregation was the largest among 35 Snay, Gospel of Disunion, 19-20, 34-38, 44-46, 49 (quotationyf . 36 Bachman, John Bachman, 358. 37 Snay, Gospel of Disunion , 70-100. 38 Stange, “Our Duty to Preach,” 174-75; Bernard E. Powers, Black Charlestonians: A Social History, 1822-1865 (Fayetteville: University of Arkansas Press, 1994yf . This content downloaded from on Sat, 07 Sep 2019 16:19:56 UTC All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms 16 THE SOUTH CAROLINA HISTORICAL MAGAZINE Lutheran churches in the South, numbering almost two hundred communi cants, and St. John’s Sunday school for blacks enrolled 150 students.39 Bachman also publicly defended the benefits of slavery. In 1857 he was to write what Raymond Bost called “probably the most extensive defense of slavery to come from the pen of a Lutheran clergyman in the South.” The South Carolina Synod requested him to write a reply to the antislavery resolutions of the Middle Conference of Lutherans at Pittsburgh. His cri tique of religious abolitionism at this time largely repeated the main ele ments of the proslavery argument that had been elaborated during the previous three decades.40 Much of it was also contained in a work he wrote seven years before. Ironically, it was one of his most important and re spected scientific works, The Doctrine of the Unity of the Human Race (1850yf . Bachman wrote The Unity after he became involved in a bitter contro versy with advocates of polygenism, or pluralism: the idea that there was not one human species, but multiple species, each having a separate origin. As both minister and scientist, he opposed the idea of separately created races. Like most antebellum southern clergymen, he argued that the scrip tural account of human origins in Genesis was correct and that only one human species existed. Negroes, Caucasians, and Mongolians were merely varieties that had a common ancestry in Adam and Eve. Polygenesis, most southern clerics agreed, must be combated as a threat to biblical truth.41 But in The Unity, Bachman sought to demonstrate this truth through scientific evidence alone. Like many clergymen-naturalists of his day, Bachman argued that the “two books” of Nature and Scripture could not contradict one another when properly interpreted. If the evidence from Nature seemed to contradict Scripture, then one or the other was being interpreted incor rectly. Advocates of this view believed that investigators of Nature who relied on Baconian induction and avoided speculative deductive theory would reach conclusions in accord with Revelation.42 39 Bachman, Discourse, 8; Bachman, John Bachman, 354-55; Happoldt Journal, 35 36; Stange, “Our Duty to Preach,” 174-75. 40 Bost, “John Bachman,” 417-25, details Bachman’s reply to the Middle Confer ence. The conference’s resolutions and Bachman’s reply appeared in The Missionary 2 (1857yf . 41 Reginald Horsman, Josiah Nott of Mobile: Southerner, Physician, and Racial Theorist (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1987yf 7 K H E H V t discussion of Bachman’s role in the controversy over the unity of the human race is in Stephens, Science, chapters 9 and 10. On the southern clergy’s concern about scientific attacks on Genesis, see E. Brooks Holifield, “Science and Theology in the Old South,” in Ronald L. Numbers and Todd L. Savitt, eds., Science and Medicine in the Old South (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1989yf . 42 Snay, Gospel of Disunion, 75; Walter H. Conser, God and the Natural World: Religion and Science in Antebellum America (Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1993yf ) D U P H U 7 K H 0 H W D S K V L F D O & R Q I H G H U D F – D P H V $ . This content downloaded from on Sat, 07 Sep 2019 16:19:56 UTC All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms POLITICAL EVOLUTION OF JOHN BACHMAN 17 Drawing on his vast knowledge of zoology, anatomy, and physiology, Bachman showed both that the varieties of humans were more similar to each other than the varieties of other mammalian species and that varieties of all kinds were the result of adaptations to different environments. He demolished the pluralist claim that human hybrids, the offspring of parents of two human races, were infertile and that racial mixing would lead to the extinction of the human race. He ridiculed the claim of polygenists that Negro hair was not human hair, but a kind of wool, and suggested that the many Caucasians with curly hair would be upset to learn that this “was enough to transform them into an inferior species.” He chided polygenists for being unable to agree on the number of separately created human species. Their estimates varied from five to one hundred. Finally, he accused them of being unscientific. Unable to explain the origins of human varia tions, they embraced the idea of multiple separate creations, and thus a series of miracles not testable by scientific evidence.43 Anyone presented with the foregoing arguments might expect Bachman to declare for racial equality. But at the very beginning of The Unity, he announced that human unity did not mean human equality. Nature, he declared, “has stamped on the African race the permanent marks of inferi ority.”44 Bachman reiterated the “permanent inferiority” of the Negro race throughout the book. Negroes would retain their current characteristics “until the end of time, because they have now attained to the constitution, feature, and color best adapted to their climate.” He argued that climate, “the peculiar miasma of [sub-Saharan] Africa,” was one of the causes “that have produced inferior and peculiar races in that country.” Only a major climatic change in Africa, he suggested, could change the racial characteris tics of the population, and then only after “generations and centuries” and “admixture with the existing races.”45 In fact, one reason Bachman attacked polygenesis was that he believed it could weaken the proslavery position and undermine much stronger Biblical arguments for black slavery. He warned Fuller, Chaplain to the Confederacy: Basil Manly and Baptist Life in the Old South (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2000yf . 43 Bachman, Unity, 22-39,127,136,146-49,199 (quotation on p. 37yf – R K Q % D F K P D Q , An Examination of Professor Agassiz’s Sketch of the Natural Provinces of the Animal World (Charleston, 1855yf % D F K P D Q $ Q ( [ D P L Q D W L R Q R I W K H & K D U D F W H U L V W L F V R I W K H * H Q H U D D Q d Species as Applicable to the Doctrine of the Unity of the Human Race (Charleston, 1855yf ; William Stanton, The Leopard’s Spots: Scientific Attitudes towards Race in America, 1815 59 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1960yf . 44 Bachman, Unity, 8. 45 Bachman, Unity, 208. Bachman was equally confident that he came from a superior race: “I rejoice that I have come from excellent stock; for good pure blood shows itself in men, as well as in animals, and thus far I prize it.” See Bachman, John Bachman, 9. This content downloaded from on Sat, 07 Sep 2019 16:19:56 UTC All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms 18 THE SOUTH CAROLINA HISTORICAL MAGAZINE the pluralists: “The advocates of a plurality of races should especially be on their guard lest the enemies of our domestic institutions should have room to accuse them of prejudice and selfishness, in desiring to degrade their servants below the level of those creatures of God to whom a revelation has been given, and for whose salvation a Saviour died, as an excuse for retaining them in servitude.”46 In contrast to his evidence for human unity, Bachman’s evidence for black inferiority was neither original nor well supported by facts. He derived most of it from proslavery arguments others had articulated over the previous decades. One of these arguments?which had some basis in fact?was that Negroes were immune to the fevers of the southern subtrop ics. But Bachman took this argument well beyond the evidence. Because they originated in tropical Africa, Bachman held, blacks were naturally adapted to the warm, moist climate of the South, especially the coastal lowcountry. They did not need to be acclimated, because they were “consti tutionally at home” in areas “adapted to the cultivation of indigo, cotton, and rice, where a similar exposure would prove fatal to the life of a white man.” He added?incorrectly?that Negroes in the lowcountry enjoyed better health than those in the upcountry.47 The idea that blacks were constitutionally (or naturallyyf P R U H V X L W H d than whites to labor in the southern climate went back to colonial days.48 Moreover, since at least the early nineteenth century, southern doctors had been arguing that blacks were immune, or virtually immune, to specific diseases such as malaria and yellow fever. In 1825 Charleston’s Dr. Thomas Simons stated it as a simple fact: In [the South Carolina lowcountry], intersected with immense bodies of swamp lands, and reserves of water kept back for the culture of rice, all who are exposed to the miasma, arising from these sources, are victims of 46 Bachman, Unity, 8. 47 Bachman, Unity, 209. On the extremely high mortality rates of blacks on lowcountry rice plantations, see William Dusinberre, Them Dark Days: Slavery in the American Rice Swamps (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2004yf ; Jeffrey R. Young, “Ideology and Death on a Savannah River Rice Plantation, 1833 1867: Paternalism amidst a ‘Good Supply of Disease and Pain,'” Journal of Southern History 59 (1993yf 5 L F K D U G 6 W H F N H O 6 O D Y H 0 R U W D O L W $ Q D O V L V R I ( Y L G H Q F e from Plantation Records,” Social Science History 3 (1979yf 3 H W H U + : R R G % O D F k Majority: Negroes in Colonial South Carolina from 1670 through the Stono Rebellion (New York: Knopf, 1974yf F K D S W H U . 48 Clarence ver Steeg, ed., A True and Historical Narrative of the Colony of Georgia by Pat. Tailfer and Others (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1960yf ; Alexander Hewatt, An Historical Account of the Rise and Progress of South Carolina and Georgia, 2 vols. (London, 1779yf 5 R E H U W / % U X Q K R X V H H G ‘ D Y L G 5 D P V D 9 1815: Selections from His Writings (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society, 1965yf – R K Q ‘ U D W R Q $ 9 L H Z R I 6 R X W K & D U R O L Q D & K D U O H V W R Q f, 146-47,160. This content downloaded from on Sat, 07 Sep 2019 16:19:56 UTC All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms POLITICAL EVOLUTION OF JOHN BACHMAN 19 remittent and intermittent fevers, and their sequelae diseased liver and spleen_It is somewhat singular that this state of things is confined to the white population. While the white man is seen shivering with ague, his countenance cadaverous and his temper splenetic, the black, is fat, plump and glossy, in the full enjoyment of health and vigor.”49 In 1826 another Charleston physician, Philip Tidyman, claimed that blacks suffered little from yellow fever and “intermittent and remittent bilious fevers” in swampy terrain “extremely inimical to the white inhabitants.” In a passage that Bachman seems to have borrowed almost exactly, Tidyman claimed that the slaves “on large rice plantations and other places in the vicinity of stagnant water, generally enjoy through the hot months as good health as they would do if placed in the mountains.”50 To Bachman, the alleged difference in racial immunities was no acci dent. It was part of God’s benevolent plan: “We see in it evidences of design?we regard it as a merciful provision of the Creator in imparting to the human constitution the tendency to produce varieties adapted to every climate.”51 Bachman believed in Aristotle’s idea of “natural slaves”; that is, that some men are born to be slaves. Everything existed for a purpose, and the purpose of African Negroes was to be slaves. Bachman once argued elsewhere that it was the misfortune of American Indians that Europeans had not enslaved them. (In fact, Europeans did enslave Native Americans in some places, including South Carolina.yf 6 O D Y H U K H F O D L P H G Z R X O G K D Y e taught them the value of labor and improved their morals, strength, intel lect, and manliness.52 Bachman incorporated other elements of the proslavery argument into his discussion of the African “variety.” He declared that blacks in the South had benefited from slavery. They were living better lives than they would have been in Africa, because their masters instructed them in Christian faith and morals: if “we give them the consolations and hopes of a future life, then we are their benefactors.”53 Bachman also declared that southern slavery was more successful than northern emancipation in improving the Negro. Northern philanthropists mistakenly believed that they could improve blacks by freeing them. Such misguided efforts produced the “degraded” free Negroes of the northern cities, a lazy, drunken, and diseased class. White southerners better understood the “peculiarities of the African char 49 Thomas Y. Simons, “Case of the Derangement of the Spleen and Liver,” Carolina Journal of Medicine and Science and Agriculture 1 (1825yf . 50 Philip Tidyman, “A Sketch of the Most Remarkable Diseases of the Negroes of the Southern States,” Philadelphia Journal of the Medical and Physical Sciences 12 (1826yf T X R W D W L R Q f, 318. 51 Bachman, Unity, 209. 52 Magnolia, or Southern Appalachian, n.s., 2 (1843yf . 53 Bachman, Unity, 209-10. This content downloaded from on Sat, 07 Sep 2019 16:19:56 UTC All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms 20 THE SOUTH CAROLINA HISTORICAL MAGAZINE acter,” because their slaves “are a portion of our household” and “have been the nurses of our mothers and wives, and are the playmates of our children.” Southern masters also accepted that they had a responsibility to promote the slaves7 “usefulness and comfort” and furnish them with the knowledge needed for salvation. The proportion of Christians Negroes in the South, Bachman claimed, was at least three times greater than in the North. He offered no evidence for this sweeping claim beyond “personal knowl edge.”54 Bachman claimed that his argument for the inferiority of the African race was based on many years’ observation of Negroes.55 It is more likely that his opinions were formed by many years of living among people anxious to justify their ownership of slaves. One can see this in a letter from his wife, Maria, in 1851, when the couple was in Detroit: “All the servants that waited on us at breakfast were colored men?very genteel niggers it is true, but I should like to ask their white brethren how it is, that, while they are so clamorous for equality we never find any of them elevated to higher status than barbers and waiters; the truth of the matter is, they must find their level.”56 Was Maria echoing Bachman here, or was it the other way around? It is more likely that the racial ideas of Bachman and his wife were the product of their common social milieu. But Bachman presented his “facts” about slavery and race as if they were as valid as his “facts” about birds or mammals. Bachman used another questionable, if familiar, argument to defend the South, one that dated back to the American Revolution. He claimed that white southerners were not responsible for bringing slaves to America; the British (and northern merchantsyf Z H U H & K D U O H V W R Q S O D Q W H U + H Q U / D X U H Q s had blamed the British for slavery in 1776 to justify the Revolution?and possibly to salve his own conscience. Laurens had been the biggest slave trader in colonial America.57 Soon thereafter, in the Declaration of Indepen dence, Thomas Jefferson blamed George III for bringing Africans to America. Whatever one thinks of Laurens and Jefferson’s use of this argument, there was a curious illogic in Bachman’s?for if slavery was natural and a positive good, as he and many antebellum southerners claimed, then why blame the slave traders, wherever they came from? Were they not part of the benevo lent design? In The Unity of the Human Race, Bachman declared that he was searching for “truth alone.” He told his readers that he would demonstrate the truth 54 Bachman, Unity, 210-11. 55 Bachman, Unity, 212. 56 Maria M. Bachman to My Dear Girls, June 18, 1851, typescript in Shuler Collection. 57 Joseph P. Kelly, “Henry Laurens: The Southern Man of Conscience in His tory,” South Carolina Historical Magazine 107 (2006yf . This content downloaded from on Sat, 07 Sep 2019 16:19:56 UTC All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms POLITICAL EVOLUTION OF JOHN BACHMAN 21 of human unity using evidence “entirely from nature, without any reference to the authorities contained in Scripture.”58 In most of the book that is exactly what he did, and the scientific evidence he employed showed him to be one of the finest naturalists of his time. But he showed his clerical hand at times. He. could not resist mentioning one of the biblical stories that clerical defenders of slavery cited frequently, Noah’s curse of Ham and his son Canaan, who they alleged to be the progenitor of the Negro race: “Canaan, the son of Ham… is still everywhere ‘the servant of servants.’ “59 After emancipation, Bachman continued to hold the same views. Whites and blacks, he wrote, could not coexist peacefully unless the law placed the black man “in the situation for which God intended him?[asl the inferior of the white man.”60 Besides bringing up the biblical story of Ham, Bachman also assumed a miracle, if only one. God had created all the existing species as fully formed adults, and no new species had developed: “The creation of the first human pair, as well as that of all living plants and animals, it must be admitted by all who are not atheists, was a miraculous work of God.” At that point, he claimed, miracles ceased. Variations of the original species (such as Cauca sians and Negroesyf K D G G H Y H O R S H G Q D W X U D O O D V W K H U H V X O W R I D G D S W D W L R Q W o different environments.61 In insisting on this one miracle, Bachman commit ted the same error he accused the pluralists of: relying on a scientifically untestable argument. In The Unity and other works he wrote to combat poly genesis, Bachman used arguments that came close to stating the theory of natural selection before Darwin published The Origin of Species. But it is difficult to see how Bachman could have taken such a step, even if he contemplated it. It would have required him to drop his literal belief in the creation story of Genesis, and defending that was one of his main reasons for attacking poly genesis.62 Bachman may not have advocated a theory of natural selection, but his arguments about racial inferiority were a crude form of what later became 58 Bachman, Unity, 8. 59 Bachman, Unity, 292; Snay, Gospel of Disunion, 26-27. For a discussion of proslavery thought and the story of Ham, see Thomas Virgil Peterson, Ham and Japheth: The Mythic Worlds of Whites in the Antebellum South (Metuchen, N.J.: Scare crow Press, 1978yf . 60 Charleston Daily News, Sept. 14,1865, Sept., 15,1868, cited in Joel Williamson, After Slavery: The Negro in South Carolina during Reconstruction, 1861-1877 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1965yf . 61 Bachman, Unity, 37 (quoteyf . 62 Bachman, Unity, 9; Farmer, The Metaphysical Confederacy, 101; Shuler, Had I the Wings, 216. According to Ronald L. Numbers and Lester Stephens, Bachman “condemned Lamarckian evolution but apparently remained silent about Darwin’s theory.” Ronald L. Numbers, ed., Darwinism Comes to America (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1998yf . This content downloaded from on Sat, 07 Sep 2019 16:19:56 UTC All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms 22 THE SOUTH CAROLINA HISTORICAL MAGAZINE known as Social Darwinism. He was a rigorous thinker when he stuck to evidence from the natural world, where his opponents could seldom match his combination of encyclopedic knowledge and logical rigor.63 When he tried to justify the human institution of slavery, however, he left the world of facts and logic and entered one dominated by the idealistic and biased arguments of the slave interest. His devotion to his motto of “nature, truth, and no humbug” unfortunately did not apply to his defense of the peculiar institution. His description of the “natural character” of blacks reflected the interests and prejudices of the slave-owning class he belonged to.64 Josiah Nott, one of his pluralist opponents, shrewdly pointed out that in practical terms, there was little difference between Bachman’s position and his. Both agreed that black inferiority was real and permanent; the only difference was whether Negroes were to be considered a “separately cre ated species” or merely a “permanent variety” of one species. Nott was right: for blacks, at least, it could make little difference whether whites saw them as one or the other. Either way, slaves they were, and slaves they must remain. In a few years, Nott and Bachman would stand united in favor of secession as the only means to preserve the “natural77 institution of sla very.65 Bachman7s defense of monogenesis undoubtedly required courage. Antebellum southern clergymen, as mentioned before, were often sus pected of harboring secret abolitionist tendencies.66 Although some polygenists were antislavery, their racialist arguments appealed to many slaveholders. When pluralist Samuel G. Morton died in 1851, Dr. Robert Wilson Gibbes, a prominent South Carolina naturalist and physician, wrote a memorial for the Charleston Medical Journal in which he declared that southerners “should consider him as our benefactor, for aiding most mate rially in giving to the negro his true position as an inferior race.”67 Moreover, Bachman was alone among the Charleston circle of naturalists in opposing polygenesis. The faculty of the Medical College of South Carolina did not support him either. For some years after 1851, he was alone among Ameri can scientists in openly opposing the plurality of races. Many of the local supporters of polygenesis were part of Bachman’s intellectual circle, and opposing their views must have caused him some anguish, as it brought him some ridicule.68 It is true that some Charlestonians may have been 63 Stanton, Leopard’s Spots, 126. 64 Bachman, Unity, 8,158, 209; Stanton, Leopard’s Spots, 143; Stephens, Science, 214; Farmer, The Metaphysical Confederacy, 217; Snay, Gospel of Disunion, 67-70, 99. 65 Stanton, Leopard’s Spots, 158; Stephens, Science, 217; Horsman, Josiah Nott. 66 Snay, Gospel of Disunion, 35-38. 67 Robert Wilson Gibbes, “Death of Samuel George Morton, M.D.,” Charleston Medical Journal 6 (1851yf F L W H G L Q 6 W D Q W R Q / H R S D U G V 6 S R W V 2 % U L H Q , Conjectures of Order, 248. 68 Stephens, Science, 198. This content downloaded from on Sat, 07 Sep 2019 16:19:56 UTC All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms POLITICAL EVOLUTION OF JOHN BACHMAN 23 bothered by Bachman’s combative style more than by his argument. A member of the circle, Frederick Augustus Porcher, recalled that there “was so much acrimony in [Bachman’sl writings [about polygenesisl that I knew not how to reconcile so much bitterness with the apparent genial disposition of the man.” Porcher suggested slyly that Bachman’s ill-temper on this occasion was related to his occupation. Clergymen, he noted, were habitu ated to a dictatorial style. Used to preaching to a silent audience, they did not know how to deal with opposition.69 But Bachman’s main antagonists in the pluralist debate were not local. With one exception, they were not even southern. Samuel G. Morton was a Philadelphia scientist; Louis Agassiz, a Swiss-born Harvard professor; and George Gliddon, an Englishman. Only Josiah Nott lived in the South and owned slaves. Perhaps more important, some of the poly genis ts were not orthodox Christians, or perhaps not even Christians at all. Nott and Gliddon took great delight in bashing Christian doctrine and the clergy. In letters Nott often referred to his clerical opponents as “skunks.” He called Bachman “the old skunk” and “the old hyena.”70 The anti-Christian views of Nott and Gliddon ensured that Bachman’s attack on the polygenists would not leave him isolated. It enhanced his standing in the eyes of devout southerners, clerical and lay, who saw polygenesis as a danger to scriptural literalism. Another Charleston minister, the Presbyterian Thomas Smyth, also wrote a book against polygenesis in 1850, using arguments from Scripture, reason, and science.71 Had Bachman’s racial unity argument been anathema to slave-owners in South Carolina, it is unlikely that their leaders would have chosen him to deliver the prayer when they signed the Ordinance of Secession. Yet the controversy over polygenesis coincided with Bachman’s first expressions of secessionist sentiment. Perhaps he felt the need at this time to make his loyalties to his state and section absolutely clear. But other developments were pushing him in the same direction. Choosing Secession Bachman never expressed any anti-Unionist sentiments before 1850. He was certainly a Unionist at the time of the Nullification Crisis of the 1830s, which fractured South Carolina’s elite. Two of his friends at the time, James 69 Samuel G. Stoney, ed., “Memoirs of Frederick Augustus Porcher,” South Carolina Historical Magazine 47 (1946yf 2 % U L H Q & R Q M H F W X U H V R I 2 U G H U . 70 John Bachman, A Notice of the “Types of Mankind” (Charleston, 1854yf ; Horsman, Josiah Nott, 114-22,172-75,199-200; Stanton, Leopard’s Spots, 144,172-73; Stephens, Science, 165,173,198; Bost, “John Bachman,” 438; Shuler, Had I the Wings, 212; William Sumner Jenkins, Proslavery Thought in the Old South (Gloucester, Mass.: Peter Smith, 1960yf . 71 Snay, Gospel of Disunion, 54-67; Horsman, Josiah Nott, 114-22; Stephens, Science, 214; Stanton, Leopard’s Spots, 194; Jenkins, Proslavery Thought, 253. This content downloaded from on Sat, 07 Sep 2019 16:19:56 UTC All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms 24 THE SOUTH CAROLINA HISTORICAL MAGAZINE Louis Petigru and Joel R. Poinsett, were Unionist leaders.72 His former Pennsylvania mentor, Rev. Philip Meyer, told him that nullification was “treasonous.” Bachman probably agreed. Yet he resisted pressure to declare his views publicly. His discomfort with the situation shows in a letter to John James Audubon: “Oh, what an enjoyment it would be for me to escape, just for one week, from the hydra-headed ‘Nullification,7 and sit by your side and talk of birds!”73 Bachman was irritated with the politicians for interrupting his beloved work as a naturalist! At the height of the crisis, South Carolina’s governor declared a day of fasting, prayer, and humiliation. Some ministers preached sermons on nullification, but Bachman refused. He told one of his students, “I will not disgrace my pulpit by preaching a political sermon.”74 Most South Carolina clergymen agreed; they refused to be drawn into what they saw as a purely political battle. As we have seen, many of the same men, including Bachman, publicly defended slavery after 1835, but they argued that their justification was religious and moral, not political. They had to counter what they saw as the abolitionists’ distortions of Christian doctrine and southern Chris tianity and demonstrate the biblical foundations of slavery.75 Bachman clearly agreed with their distinction between the purely political nullifica tion and the religious and moral issue of abolitionism, as his strong reaction to antislavery in the mid 1830s indicates. But his dislike for the abolitionists did not transform him into a political anti-Unionist for more than a decade. In 1851 Bachman declared that he would support South Carolina if it seceded from the Union. Several developments may explain the timing. As we have seen, he was then in the midst of the polygenist controversy, which had strained relations with some of his local intellectual circle, and he may have felt the need to make a strong show of loyalty to his community. The pressure to do so was increased by the sharpening of sectional tensions over the admission of California to the Union as a free state and the first secession crisis in South Carolina. It may also be significant that Bachman’s strongest remaining tie to the North was broken in 1851 with the death of his best friend and in-law, John James Audubon. About this time, Bachman drew increasingly close to another friend, Edmund Ruf fin of Virginia, one of the South’s most outspoken advocates of slavery and secession. Among other things, Ruffin campaigned for a re opening of the African slave trade, which had been illegal since 1808. Yet Ruffin did not find Bachman’s argument for the unity of the races politically suspect. He recorded in his diary that he had read Bachman’s Doctrine of the 72 Happoldt Journal, 48. 73 Bachman, John Bachman, 109. 74 Bachman, John Bachman, 75-76; Happoldt Journal, 48. 75 Snay, Gospel of Disunion, 44-45. This content downloaded from on Sat, 07 Sep 2019 16:19:56 UTC All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms POLITICAL EVOLUTION OF JOHN BACHMAN 25 Unity of the Human Race twice and that it was “a very strong argument for the unity of the human race in its origin.”76 David F. Allmendinger contends that Bachman moderated Ruf fin’s views on race and prevented him from embracing polygenesis. But Allmendinger also notes that in the late 1850s, Ruffin “dragged out divinity, biology, and geography to explain racial inferiority,” arguing that “God had designed blacks to be inferior in intel lect, but to possess ability to endure the heat and miasmatic air of tropical climates.” What Allmendinger does not say is that all these arguments are laid out in Bachman’s Unity of the Human Race, a book that supposedly moderated Ruffin’s ideas on race.77 Bachman and Ruffin first met in 1840 as a result of a mutual interest in agricultural improvement. In 1843 the South Carolina legislature appointed Ruffin to undertake an agricultural survey of the state. To Ruffin, agricul tural innovation was essential to the continuation of slavery, and he viewed South Carolina with its large slave majority as the perfect test of his thesis.78 Bachman was convinced that agricultural reform was essential to South Carolina’s economic prosperity, although he was critical of the legislature’s approach to the survey. An article he published on the subject in 1843 also indicates that Bachman was beginning to see himself as a South Carolina patriot. True, he criticized South Carolina for its failure to adopt principles of scientific agriculture.79 But Bachman assured his readers that his criti cisms were constructive and affectionate. He was moved by a “deep and unmingled regret, that the State of my early choice, whose institutions I love; with whose prosperity my best interests are associated, and for which my most fervent aspirations ascend, should, by a neglect of her agricultural interests, have permitted her neighboring States, possessing fewer natural resources, to outstrip her in the race of improvement.”80 Bachman described South Carolina as if it were a beleaguered nation surrounded by hostile forces: “With so many enemies preying on the vitals of her prosperity? under a system of husbandry that is yearly rendering her soil more sterile? confining herself to the culture of cotton, which has greatly fallen in price, and of which more is grown than the world can consume … how long will 76 The Diary of Edmund Ruffin, ed. William K Scarborough, 2 vols. (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1972yf . 77 David F. Allmendinger, Jr., Ruffin: Family and Reform in the Old South (New York: Oxford University Press, 1990yf . 78 William M. Mathew, ed., Agriculture, Geology, and Society in Antebellum South Carolina: The Private Diary of Edmund Ruffin, 1843 (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1992yf [ L L L [ L Y . 79 John Bachman, An Inquiry into the Nature and Benefits of an Agricultural Survey of the State of South Carolina (Charleston, 1843yf . 80 Bachman, Agricultural Survey, 42-43. This content downloaded from on Sat, 07 Sep 2019 16:19:56 UTC All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms 26 THE SOUTH CAROLINA HISTORICAL MAGAZINE it be before South Carolina will become wholly impoverished?”81 Here, Bachman seems to have been adopting the siege mentality that became increasingly common among the South Carolina elite during the antebel lum decades. During his frequent trips to Charleston, Ruffin always called on Bachman. He occasionally attended services at St. John’s and often dined and stayed at the Bachman home.82 Bachman’s close friendship with Ruffin was an indication of his increasing political radicalism. But did the relationship draw Bachman towards secession, or did Bachman and Ruffin become drawn to one another because they shared a common outlook? Either way, around 1850 Bachman’s political perspective shifted from Unionist to secessionist. At first, Bachman spoke of secession as something he hoped could be avoided, but that might be inevitable. In August 1851, Bachman traveled to Washington to plead the southern case with the politicians. He unexpect edly received attention from many northern Congressmen and an audience with President Millard Fillmore. He told the president that the federal government only had to follow “the letter of the constitution,” if it hoped to pacify the South. In a letter written a few days later, Bachman told Henry Summer of Newberry that the best course for the South at the moment was to fight for its rights within the Constitution, but he was not sure if such a strategy would be possible much longer. He declared that he was opposed to secession by South Carolina alone. Southerners should be patient, unify, and agitate for their rights. But, he added, “if we do not receive justice in the Union, we can secure it out of it.”83 A week later, Bachman wrote Victor Audubon that if secession hap pened, and he seemed to think it increasingly likely, he would support it: “I am growing every day less attached to the Union as it now exists, and if South Carolina declares for secession, I will, for weal or woe, go with her.” The onus of secession, if it came, would be on the North: “If… New York and Massachusetts [keep sending men like William Seward and Charles Sumnerl to Washington to read abolition petitions and abuse and insult the institutions, the morals, and [the] religion of the South, then it is high time to look out for ourselves.” He did not believe that the Union would last many more years. As for himself: “If we are not to live as equals in the Union I would rather preserve my independence with a crust of bread and be out of it. … At present we are under the tyranny of an interested and an unscrupulous majority, and have no security for the future.” Then, reveal 81 Bachman, Agricultural Survey, 41. 82 Mathew, Private Diary of Edmund Ruffin, 1843, xiii-xiv, 15,73,75-76,82,84,93, 300; Ruffin, Diary, 1: 64-66, 71, 425, 496, 512, 514, 562, 575. 83 Bachman to Henry Summer, Sept. 6,1851, Bachman Papers, South Caroliniana Library, University of South Carolina, Columbia. This content downloaded from on Sat, 07 Sep 2019 16:19:56 UTC All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms POLITICAL EVOLUTION OF JOHN BACHMAN 27 ing how far he had strayed from the path of Christian meekness and national sentiment, he told Victor that South Carolina did not fear the abolitionists coming there, “for if they do we hang them.” What Carolinians feared more, he claimed, was the abolitionist petitions to Congress and the pamphlets they sent by mail. By keeping the slavery issue under heated discussion, abolitionists raised false hopes of freedom and encouraged slave insurrec tion. The failure of northerners to stifle these abolitionist tactics, he argued, deprived Unionists like himself “of all arguments to soothe the irritated feelings of the South.” Bachman viewed South Carolina as a potential martyr to be sacrificed for southern redemption. The only reasonable federal response to secession, he declared, would be to let South Carolina go, but starve her into submission by restricting her trade: “We would be starved and ruined but the Government would be sure to do justice to the neighboring states and enter into some permanent arrangement to give security to the property of the South.”84 Victor Audubon replied that he was shocked by “the real and deep rooted angry feeling in the State of South Carolina.” He urged Bachman to use his influence and talents to convince his fellow Carolinians of the folly of secession: “You are in a position to influence many?you have a clear view of the unutterable horrors that would result from a dissolution of our Union?and I think that your talents and the name you have acquired, alike demand of you to do all you can to avert so great a calamity.” Audubon prophesied that war against the Union, successful or not, would “convert the South into a desert waste.”85 Enthusiasm for secession in South Carolina cooled temporarily after 1852, when it became evident that other slave states were unwilling to support a southern confederacy. But the emergence of the Republican Party, “Bleeding Kansas,” and the fugitive slave issue in the mid 1850s reignited the movement. At the time of the presidential election of 1856, Bachman regaled Ruffin with the youthful misdeeds of the Republican candidate, John C. Fremont, who had attended the College of Charleston, where Bachman served as a trustee and professor of natural history. According to Bachman, Fremont was a swindler who engaged in various “rascally acts.” Fremont certainly had a reputation of being a ladies’ man while at the college, and he often skipped classes. He was expelled from the college for insubordination, but nevertheless was awarded his degree by the Board of Trustees a few years later. Bachman welcomed Fremont’s defeat, but was deeply upset by how close he came to winning: “What a character does it 84 John Bachman to Victor Audubon, Sept. 11, 1851, typescript in Shuler Collection; Stephens, Science, 214; Happoldt Journal, 48. 85 Victor Audubon to John Bachman, Sept. 18, 1851, typescript in Shuler Collection. This content downloaded from on Sat, 07 Sep 2019 16:19:56 UTC All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms 28 THE SOUTH CAROLINA HISTORICAL MAGAZINE give his supporters, that notwithstanding the exposure of all these acts, this man barely missed being elected President of the United States!”86 In January 1857, Bachman informed Victor Audubon: “I think the days of [the] Union are nearly numbered. The black republicans are rising into power? when they do, the South will walk out of the Union … [and] I shall sink or swim in the Southern ship.”87 A few weeks later, he wrote that the operators of the underground railroads were thieves and cowards, “stealing our property is considered an act of heroism?in spite of the constitution and the laws of the land.” In a subsequent letter, he wrote of those involved in the railroad: “Glorious patriots?keep the dogs?we do not want them.”88 In 1858 Bachman publicly announced what amounted to his personal secession from the North. In a sermon, he told his congregation that he identified completely with the South, and no longer recognized any “other home but this. The house of my youth has become the house of the stranger.”89 After John Brown’s raid on Harper’s Ferry in 1859, Bachman decided that secession of the whole South was inevitable?not only to preserve slavery, but to prevent an imminent slave insurrection. He pre dicted that the Republicans would win the upcoming election. They would then abolish slavery, and the result would be the tyranny of the black majority. After Brown’s raid, Bachman began to goad the arch-secessionist Ruffin into doing more to prod Virginia into secession: “We look with longing and hopeful eyes toward our sister Virginia. . . . You have a fair specimen of northern sentiments in the tender mercies of Old Brown. Are you waiting for something more of the same sort? You will have it before long.” He warned Ruffin that the abolitionists would shortly have their “feet upon our necks and their daggers in our throats.”90 When the Republicans nominated Abraham Lincoln instead of the expected William Seward in 1860, Bachman wrote Ruffin that Lincoln was the more “dangerous of the two.”91 A few days before, Bachman had warned Ruffin that the Republicans might try “to lull us to sleep a little while longer by putting an ass into the presidential chair,” where Seward could “lead him or drive him.” Either way, Bachman was sure there would be a Republican in the White House in 1861. Again he prodded Ruffin to take 86 Ruffin, Diary, 1:66. 87 Bachman to Victor Audubon, Jan. 30, 1857, Bachman Papers, Charleston Museum, typescript in Shuler Collection; Bachman to Victor Audubon, March 9, 1857, Bachman Papers, typescript in Shuler Collection. Also in Happoldt Journal, 99. 88 Bachman to Victor Audubon, Jan. 30 and March 9,1857, typescripts in Shuler Collection. 89 Bachman, Discourse, 12-13. 90 Bachman to Edmund Ruffin, Jan. 18,1860, quoted in Stephen Channing, Crisis of Fear: Secession in South Carolina (New York: W. W. Norton and Co., 1974yf . 91 Bachman to Edmund Ruffin, May 28,1860, quoted in Channing, Crisis of Fear, 231. This content downloaded from on Sat, 07 Sep 2019 16:19:56 UTC All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms POLITICAL EVOLUTION OF JOHN BACHMAN 29 action: “Will Old Virginia nestle under the wing of that black buzzard? Will it swallow black republicanism, tariff, nigger and all?”92 A few days after Lincoln’s victory, Bachman preached a sermon in support of secession: “If our rights had been protected in the Union, we would not desire a political change. . . . Our fore-fathers in Convention entered into a solemn compact for mutual defence and protection. On the part of the majority, these pledges have been violated, and a higher law than the Constitution substituted. . . . our cause is just and righteous.”93 Bachman’s wife, Maria, recorded that by a “singular coincidence” the cadets from The Citadel appeared in the gallery to hear the sermon, which she thought “quite appropriate to them particularly/’ Later that day, Bachman told a friend, “I have done the saddest act of my life. I have preached a sermon against the Union, and upholding the secession movement of our people. … I love the union, but I must go with my people.”94 A few days later, Bachman stood with Edmund Ruffin at the ceremony where the state’s new Palmetto Flag was raised.95 A month later, South Carolina formally seceded from the Union, and Bachman delivered his prayer for the success of the new nation. Ruffin was pleased that this task had been given to “my old friend Dr. Bachman, who is a great man, as well as one of the best of all the good men whom I have known.” The following Sunday, Ruffin attended the service at St. John’s and noted that Bachman omitted “the heretofore regular and formal prayer for the president… and Congress.”96 In 1851 Bachman had predicted that a civil war would end in disaster for South Carolina: “Should South Carolina secede she will entail on herself long years of poverty & misery.”97 But in 1861, he was supremely confident of a southern triumph: “I have not the slightest apprehension of Lincoln’s hordes attacking Charleston,” he told Henry Summer. “They cannot come into our harbour with large vessels and the small ones would fare badly if the attempt was made. They will not attempt it.” A land assault would be equally futile. “They cannot stand before our boys? If they come to James or Johns Island we are ready to meet them. They cannot conquer us.”98 Bachman was correct in one thing: Union forces never “conquered” Charles 92 Bachman to Edmund Ruffin, May 23, 1860, quoted in Betty L. Mitchell, Edmund Ruffin: A Biography (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1981yf . 93 Bachman, John Bachman, 361-62; The Courier (Charleston, S.Cyf ) H E ; Happoldt Journal, 101-02. 94 The Courier, Feb. 25,1874, obituary of John Bachman; Bachman, John Bachman, 358. 95 Ruffin, Diary, 497. 96 Ruffin, Diary, 512, 514. 97 Bachman to Victor Audubon, Sept. 11,1851, typescript in Shuler Collection. 98 Bachman to Major Henry Summer, Nov. 12, 1861, Bachman Papers, South Caroliniana Library, cited in Happoldt Journal, 105. This content downloaded from on Sat, 07 Sep 2019 16:19:56 UTC All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms 30 THE SOUTH CAROLINA HISTORICAL MAGAZINE ton. The Confederates evacuated it. But his 1851 prediction had been more prescient about the ultimate results of secession for South Carolina. The Civil War greatly increased Bachman’s hostility towards his former homeland and his northern Lutheran colleagues. His message and rhetoric became increasingly harsh and hyperbolic. In a sermon of 1861, he com pared northerners to the Edomites in the Bible, who robbed the Israelites of slaves they held “by the authority of God.” He called the Union a “ruthless, godless foe,” a “vindictive” enemy whose “cruelty and abominations” rivaled Roman tyrants.99 The Southern Lutheran, which Bachman edited, referred to northerners as “nasal twanging abolition-bred rats.”100 During the war, he routinely called Yankees “barbarians,” a tremendous irony considering his origins.101 In 1862, at his suggestion, southern Lutherans broke with their northern brethren and formed the General Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in the Confederate States of America.102 The bitterness of the division is indicated by an article one of his northern colleagues wrote just after the war. In July 1865, an article in a northern Lutheran periodical accused Bachman of denying communion to a dying Union soldier, who received it from a Catholic priest instead, and openly gloating over “the barbarities inflicted on our prisoners.” The author of the article claimed that his source was “one of the most eminent citizens of Charleston.” Bachman replied indignantly that the charges were false and malicious. He predicted that the “eminent citizen” would turn out to be “an unprincipled, time-serving demagogue?a spy, a political turncoat, a def amer of the reputation of others, to obtain notoriety, power, and money? not many degrees removed from a drunkard?a man without credit or character, and who never had either.”103 He went on to detail the sufferings of his friends, family, and himself at the hands of Union soldiers when Sherman’s army marched through South Carolina in February 1865, which included theft, arson, and the beating and torture of both whites and blacks to reveal the location of valuables. Bachman himself was badly beaten. He described the soldiers involved as “libidinous, beastly, barbarians,” whose deeds “scarcely had an equal in the ages of heathen barbarity.”104 How did the Yankee John Bachman come to this point? Was he forced to choose secession and the train of horrors and hatreds it produced? Or did 99 Charleston Daily Courier, June 13,1861, March 25 and 27,1862. 100 Stange, “Our Duty to Preach,” 180. 101 Bachman to Edmund Ruffin, Nov. 15, 1864, SJLC, typescript in Shuler Collection. 102 Stange, “Our Duty to Preach,” 181. 103 John Bachman, Vindication of Rev. Dr. John Bachman in Answer to Rev. E. W. Hutter (Published by a Personal Friend, 1868yf T X R W D W L R Q V D U H I U R P S S D Q d 15. 104 Bachman, Vindication, 8-14. This content downloaded from on Sat, 07 Sep 2019 16:19:56 UTC All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms POLITICAL EVOLUTION OF JOHN BACHMAN 31 he choose secession because he had become so assimilated to southern institutions and attitudes that he could not perceive their shortcomings? He once wrote, “I believe I am too good-natured, ?doing what my friends wish, though not always sure that I am doing right.”105 Did he reluctantly follow his friends?”his people”?into disaster in 1860? Or did he help lead them, convinced as he declared, that secession was just and that it was the only way to preserve their rights to property in slaves? Perhaps it was a bit of both?that he was both leader and led. In an article on the “Carolina Ideal World,” William H. Longton argues that “slavery dictated the requirements for Southern world views and even those who dissented from specific theoretical suggestions rarely questioned the essential, ideological struc ture within which their dissent was contained, because slavery was its irreducible first principle.”106 Bachman fits this description. Once he became assimilated to the South Carolina world, it was almost inevitable that he would choose to support secession. 105 Bachman, Designs and Duties, 3. 106 William Henry Longton, “The Carolina Ideal World: Natural Science and Social Thought in Ante Bellum South Carolina,” Civil War History 20 (1974yf . 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