Liberty and Union
"Liberty and Union, now and forever, one and inseparable!" With this formula, fashioned in his reply to Senator Robert Y. Hayne in 1830, Daniel Webster met the challenge of the South Carolina nullifiers, and in prospect the secessionists as well, that liberty and the Union were separable and liberty more dear. President Andrew Jackson readily agreed, and in the decades to follow, Stephen A. Douglas, Abraham Lincoln, and William Henry Seward, among other leaders, gave equally strong support to this position. All rejected the notion that the Union was only a means for the ends of freemen, an entity easily dissolvable. In one sense, they tended to regard the Union as an absolute, an end in itself, for the growth of economic, social, and political relations since the Revolution had forged seemingly irreversible bonds of national unity.1 In another sense, however, they took the Union to be an absolute precisely because it was an invaluable means, a framework of order within which freemen could pursue happiness in their several ways. Controversy during the National Period, as a consequence, focused less upon the issue of liberty versus the Union than upon the kind of freedom that gave meaning to the Union. It involved at last a profound debate over the true nature of the national idea of freedom--and with
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Publication information: Book title: Space, Time, and Freedom:The Quest for Nationality and the Irrepressible Conflict, 1815-1861. Contributors: Major L. Wilson - Author. Publisher: Greenwood Press. Place of publication: Westport, CT. Publication year: 1974. Page number: 3.
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