Important, overlooked quote

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Fri Sep 2 16:06:22 UTC 2011

Obviously there are a million important quotations that haven't made it into
YBQ, but the following is so historically significant that I was amazed not
to find it in either YBQ or the 16th ed. of Bartlett's.

What makes it significant is that it was uttered by an important American
politician in a position to know exactly what he was talking about:

1861 Alexander H. Stephens, Vice-President of the Confederate States of
America, speech in Savannah, Ga., March 21, in Marion Mills Miller, ed.,
_Great Debates in American History_  (N.Y.: Current Literature) V 290:

 “Our new government…rests upon the great truth that the negro is not equal
to the white man; that slavery, subordination to the superior race, is his
natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first in the
history of the world based upon this great physical, philosophical and moral
truth. This truth has been slow in the process of its development, like all
other truths in the various departments of science. It is so, even among us.
Many who hear me, perhaps, can recollect well that this truth was not
generally admitted, even within their day."

So Veep Stephens boldly refutes the, er, belief that Secession and the Civil
War weren't "about slavery."  Seems pretty important to me.


"If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the truth."

The American Dialect Society -

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