….Lerner hails from Massachusetts, and her comments about Lincoln and secession sparked some debate in the press about her political views. Everyone considers her a partisan hack and nothing in her correspondence suggests otherwise, but these statements should have led to a more thoughtful discussion about the current nature of the American “union.” Instead they were treated by the mainstream press as throwaway remarks, little more than quaint examples of an eccentric political mind. The Drudge Report headlined her remarks and some neoconservative blogs defended Lincoln and called Lerner a quack for her blatant misunderstanding of the “slave regime” of the South. After all, if Lincoln and his self-righteous Republican allies had never bloodied the South, we still may have slavery in America!
In reality these comments represent a strain of neglected antebellum Northern American political thought. You see, it was the North, not the South, that first advocated secession. In 1794, two members of the Philadelphia Convention of 1787–Oliver Ellsworth of CT and Rufus King of MA–cornered John Taylor of Caroline in a Capitol cloak room to press the case for secession. It was apparent, they said, that a Union of such discordant peoples would not benefit either section. Better to part in peace then to be perpetually at political (and eventually physical) war. This was only six years after the Constitution was ratified.
Northerners continued to press the issue into the 1840s. In 1801, several Federalists threatened secession over Thomas Jefferson’s election. James A. Bayard of Delaware, who cast the tie-breaking vote to place Jefferson in the executive office with a blank ballot, privately wrote that he did so to prevent such a move. Just two years later, the “Essex Junto” led by former Secretary of State Timothy Pickering wanted out after the acquisition of Louisiana by the Jefferson administration. All of those future farmers would upset the balance of power in the Congress and render the North a permanent political minority.
During the War of 1812, the North again dusted off secession as a possible remedy to oppose “Mr. Madison’s War.” The war disproportionately affected Northern shipping interests. This moved many Northerners, among them the Daniel Webster, to suggest that a separation would be the preferable course to an unjust bondage with States that held widely differing views of…………….MORE!!!!!!!!!!!!