Alfred Iverson’s Farewell Speech

Adam Goodheart, in his most recent post to Disunion, features the farewell speech of Alfred Iverson, U.S. Senator from Georgia, 150 years ago today (January 28, 1861).  Iverson was resigning his seat and spoke rather emotionally as he addressed the Senate for the last time.  His mood produced one of those moments of unintentional candor, as he admitted what really was behind the South’s departure from the Union.  Responding to the eleven hour efforts to keep the nation together, Iverson stated, “I may safely say, however, that nothing will satisfy [the seceding states], or bring them back, short of a full and explicit recognition of the guarantee of the safety of their institution of domestic slavery and the protection of the constitutional rights for which in the Union they have so long been contending, and a denial of which, by their Northern confederates, has forced them into their present attitude of separate independence.”

About Donald R. Shaffer

Donald R. Shaffer is the author of _After the Glory: The Struggles of Black Civil War Veterans_ (Kansas, 2004), which won the Peter Seaborg Award for Civil War Scholarship in 2005. More recently he published (with Elizabeth Regosin), _Voices of Emancipation: Understanding Slavery, the Civil War, and Reconstruction through the U.S. Pension Bureau Files_ (2008). Dr. Shaffer teaches online exclusively (i.e., a virtual professor). He lives in Arizona and can be contacted at
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