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Jefferson Davis Quotes

Here is a collection of Jefferson Davis quotes. These quotes focus heavily on secession, but there are other insights as well.

Please enjoy these Jefferson Davis quotes...

Jefferson Davis
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"Never be haughty to the humble or humble to the haughty."

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"I worked night and day for twelve years to prevent the war, but I could not. The North was mad and blind, would not let us govern ourselves, and so the war came." 

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"The withdrawal of a State from a league has no revolutionary or insurrectionary characteristic. The government of the State remains unchanged as to all internal affairs. It is only its external or confederate relations that are altered. To term this action of a Sovereign a 'rebellion' is a gross abuse of language." 

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"Secession belongs to a different class of remedies. It is to be justified upon the basis that the States are Sovereign. There was a time when none denied it. I hope the time may come again, when a better comprehension of the theory of our Government, and the inalienable rights of the people of the States, will prevent any one from denying that each State is a Sovereign, and thus may reclaim the grants which it has made to any agent whomsoever." 

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"Were it ever to be proposed again to enter into a Union with such a people, I could no more consent to do it than to trust myself in a den of thieves...There is indeed a difference between the two peoples. Let no man hug the delusion that there can be renewed association between them."

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"If the Confederacy falls, there should be written on its tombstone: DIED OF A THEORY."

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"One of the fruitful sources, as I hold it, of the errors which prevail in our country, is the theory that this is a government of one people; that the government of the United States was formed by a mass; and therefore it is taken that all are responsible for the institutions and policies of each. The government of the United States is a compact between the sovereign members who formed it; and if there be one feature common to all the colonies planted upon the shores of America, it was the steady assertion of, and uncompromising desire for, community independence."

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"Tradition usually rests upon something which men did know; history is often the manufacture of the mere liar."

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"A government, to afford the needful protection and exercise proper care for the welfare of a people, must have homogeneity in its constituents. It is this necessity which has divided the human race into separate nations, and finally has defeated the grandest efforts which conquerors have made to give unlimited extent to their domain."

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"Unfortunately, the opinion has gone forth that no politician dares to be the advocate of peace when the question of war is mooted. That will be an evil hour — the sand of our republic will be nearly run — when it shall be in the power of any demagogue, or fanatic, to raise a war-clamor, and control the legislation of the country. The evils of war must fall upon the people, and with them the war-feeling should originate. We, their representatives, are but a mirror to reflect the light, and never should become a torch to fire the pile."

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"Sir, it is true that republics have often been cradled in war, but more often they have met with a grave in that cradle. Peace is the interest, the policy, the nature of a popular Government. War may bring benefits to a few, but privation and loss are the lot of the many. An appeal to arms should be the last resort, and only by national rights or national honor can it be justified."

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"The time for compromise has now passed, and the South is determined to maintain her position, and make all who oppose her smell Southern powder and feel Southern steel."

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"Obstacles may retard, but they cannot long prevent the progress of a movement sanctified by its justice, and sustained by a virtuous people."

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"Nothing fills me with deeper sadness than to see a Southern man apologizing for the defense we made of our inheritance. Our cause was so just, so sacred, that had I known all that has come to pass, had I known what was to be inflicted upon me, all that my country was to suffer, all that our posterity was to endure, I would do it all over again."

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"We feel that our cause is just and holy; we protest solemnly in the face of mankind that we desire peace at any sacrifice save that of honour and independence; we ask no conquest, no aggrandizement, no concession of any kind from the States with which we were lately confederated; all we ask is to be let alone; that those who never held power over us shall not now attempt our subjugation by arms."

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"I love the Union and the Constitution, but I would rather leave the Union with the Constitution than remain in the Union without it."

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"Governments rest on the consent of the governed, and that it is the right of the people to alter or abolish them at will whenever they become destructive of the ends for which they were established."

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"Lay aside all rancor, all bitter sectional feeling, and to make your places in the ranks of those who will bring about a consummation devoutly to be wished—a reunited country."

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"The troops of other states have their reputation to gain, the sons of the Alamo have theirs to maintain."

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"Truth crushed to earth is truth still and like a seed will rise again."

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I hope you enjoyed this collection of Jefferson Davis quotes. As always, please feel free to share your favorite quotes in the comments below...

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