Who was Turner anyway?

Who was Turner anyway?

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A Turner Bugler, 2004

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The People to Abraham Lincoln.


November and December 1864

From The Missouri Democrat, Monday, November 14, 1864.


There is no mistaking the verdict of the people last Tuesday. They did infinitely more than re-elect Mr. Lincoln. They proclaimed radical war against the rebellion—against not only the trunk and branches, but the roots of the full crime? The Union sentiment of the country is hearty and intense. The strong and great soul of the nation is all in it. Not opinion, however unanimous and clear; not self-interest, however potent, but rapt devotion to country, has just spoken at the ballot-box. The mighty spirit of the great people engaged in a terrible and terribly protracted war, can make no subtly false distinction. It can tolerate no special pleadings. It deals, and will deal, only with the naked fact as it stands plain to view, despite all the clouds of sophistry that bad men can raise around it.

Slavery made the war.  It made it, not as a thinking and accountable personality, but as, in the nature of things, the efficient cause.  Its guilt—so to speak—consists not in causing war, but in making atrocious war, and the war is atrocious solely because slavery made it in its own behalf, itself being a crime.  If slavery be right, the rebellion is right.  All the wickedness of the rebellion it takes from slavery.  Yet the wickedness of slavery appears in the rebellion, which is a terrible and truthful illustration of that wickedness.  Justice never could appeal from the ballot-box to the sword.  But, on the absurd supposition that she was forced so to appeal, then would popular government be a failure, and her appeal would be just.  If the rebellion is right, it must so be because slavery is right and the rule of the people wrong.  The identity of the Union cause with popular government, with the life of the Republic, and with the spirit of liberty, is perfect.  The identity of the rebellion with armed hostility to popular government, with mortal enmity to the life of the Republic, and with the spirit of slavery, is as perfect.  The popular intelligence and instinct has grasped the fact, forced upon its attention in a thousand modes, and has refused to accept any false interpretation or be diverted by any ingenious disguising of the fact.  The fact is that slavery is substantially the rebellion and the rebellion slavery.  They are one.  The reason has come from nothing except slavery, and was always latent in it.

The argument has all been heard.  The decision is in.  Abraham Lincoln is commissioned, even if he were not before, to execute the rebellion root and branch.  At Baltimore the people declared this the duty to be done.  In his response he avowed his readiness to perform the duty.  It is now laid upon him.  He had need be of stern stuff to stand unshrinkingly up to the very task he has invited.  Will he shrink from it?  We pray that he may not.  The people have chosen him in the faith that he will not.  They demand that he do not.