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INAUGURAL ADDRESS Gentlemen of the Congress of the Confederate States of America Friends and Fellow Citizens OUR present condition achieved in a manner unprecedented in the history of nations illustrates the American idea that governments rest upon the consent of the governed and that it is the right of the people to alter and abolish governments whenever they become destructive to the ends for which they were established The declared compact of the Union from which we have withdrawn was to establish justice insure domestic tranquillity provide for the common defence promote the general welfare and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity and when in the judgment of the sovereign States now composing this Confederacy it has been perverted from the purposes for which it was ordained and ceased to answer the ends for which it was established a peaceful appeal to the ballot-box declared that so far as they were concerned the government created by that compact should cease to exist In this they merely asserted the right which the Declaration of Independence of 1776 defined to be inalienable Of the time and occasion of this exercise they as sovereigns were the final judges each for himself The impartial enlightened verdict of mankind will vindicate the rectitude of our conduct and He who knows the hearts of men will judge of the sincerity with which we labored to preserve the government of our fathers in its spirit The right solemnly proclaimed at the birth of the States and which has been affirmed and reaffirmed in the bills of rights of the States subsequently admitted into the Union of 1789 undeniably recognizes in the people the power to resume the authority delegated for the purposes of government Thus the sovereign States here represented proceeded to form this Confederacy and it is by the abuse of language that their act has been denominated revolution They formed
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