All The States Are Mine
Charles Hathaway Larrabee of Wisconsin
United States House of Representatives, December 17 1859

There is one sentiment which has been advanced here by gentlemen of the South, from which I will not omit this opportunity to make my dissent, and that is the right of a peaceful secession from the Union. I hold that there is no such right. It is the right of revolution - that I admit. But I will not admit that one State can go out of the Union, leaving the Union in existence. The moment one of those stars fall, they all fall. You cannot go out of the Union leaving an aggregation of States behind. In that case a provisional government must be immediately formed. We cannot exist under the Constitution unless every present American State is inside of and belongs to the Union. There is no such thing as an American State outside of the Union. As for myself, I confess that my highest allegiance, my warmest affections, are for the American Union. I love my own State perhaps as well as any American citizen loves his, but the interests of my own State are as nothing compared with the interests of all the States of this Union. Why, sir, when I make my boast, it is not that I am a citizen of Wisconsin, but that I am an American citizen. If I had a primary allegiance to any State in the Union, I should have to owe allegiance to five States, because, like most western boys, I have traveled North, South, East, and West, and I finally brought up in the best State of all. [Laughter.] I am a native of the Empire State; but I once had the honor of living neighbor to my friend in the State of Mississippi, [Mr. Davis.] I listened, when a boy, to the legal teachings of the honorable gentleman from Ohio, [Mr. Corwin.]


I have lived a portion of my time with these brave men from the State of Illinois; and yet, Mr. Clerk, I entertain no allegiance to either one of those States, or to the State which I, in part, represent here to-day, which shall in any event interfere with my allegiance to the whole American Confederacy. That is my position, and that is my sentiment. I tell you gentlemen who have been claiming all there is of affection for South Carolina and Georgia, that I will resist your claim. Those States are as much mine as yours; and it's a very pretty piece of selfishness in you to attempt to deprive me of my share. I will not contemplate the effects of disunion. Gentlemen have contemplated them upon this floor. Who that knows what human nature is, imagine that it has changed with the progress of intelligence, liberty, arts, or letters; and I tell you that, if you contemplate the peaceful separation of this Union, you are counting without your host. Men's passions are the same now they ever were, and it cannot be done.

If you want to see the "dark and bloody ground of Kentucky" stretched across this whole continent from east to west, then contemplate, or dare contemplate, the disruption of the American Union. You would see a strip of country between the northern and southern States, two hundred miles wide, the theater of conflict between the North and South, devastated and abandoned by every inhabitant who lives upon it. Provisional governments would be formed, one South, one West - and by the West I mean all the country watered by the Mississippi - and one Northern. I tell you, gentlemen from the New England States, very frankly, for I think it is true, that there is very little in common between the Northwest and yourselves, and in such a contingency as a disruption of the Union, we can hardly look for any unity of sentiment between us. I think we would not act together. We would then have three or four separate confederacies.

I said, gentlemen, I would not contemplate the effects of a disruption; but I ask you, men of the North and men of the South, if all the negroes that exist in the world are worthy, for one moment, to be weighed in the balance with the influences which this great Confederacy of white men are exercising upon the whole civilized world? With this people and this form of government rests the responsibility of the progress, throughout the world of letters, of art, of civilization and Christianity. I believe it from the bottom of my heart. You all know that the people, not only in this country, but in other countries, are contemplating us here.


The Congressional Globe, The Official Proceedings of Congress, Published by John C. Rives, Washington, D. C.
Thirty-Sixth Congress, 1st Session, New Series...No. 11, Tuesday, December 20, 1859, page 174