Lincoln’s Election, Southern Secession: 1860 to April 1861

Lincoln’s Journey, Davis’ Speech

How did Davis conclude? What was the reaction?

Davis’ face broke into a warm smile as he drew to his conclusion. “It is joyous in the midst of perilous times,” he said, “to look around upon a people united in heart, where one purpose of high resolve animates and actuates the whole; where the sacrifices to be made are not weighed in the balance against honor and right and liberty and equality.” There was no mistaking his sincerity, even though we today might question his use of the word “equality.”

The speech was well received in Montgomery, but it drew mixed reviews in other parts of the new Confederacy. Many fire-eaters, particularly in South Carolina, felt that Davis had not gone far enough, and quite a few other Southerners, especially in the mountain sections of Georgia and Alabama, felt he had gone too far. What has to be admitted—then and today—is that Davis did very well, considering he had only learned of his election one week earlier.


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