My seventh Civil War Sampler block is Strength in Union:
This one is extremely straight-forward in the choice of color and pattern. It’s all very patriotic with red, white (light), and blue and tiny stars in each fabric.
There’s really not much more to tell on this one. The stories from Barbara Brackman in the book (can’t find this one on her blog?) discuss earlier secession threats (I legit just typed “threads” the first time- ah quilting) prior to the Civil War.
One such threat came as early as the 1780s, regarding the ill-fated Articles of Confederation, which gave a bit too much power to the individual states. Like, seriously, guys, are we gonna be one nation or not? I remember being assigned this long, dry book about the Philadelphia Convention as the last reading assignment for the term, in one undergrad class…and weirdly really enjoying it. Like, OK we’re not leaving here until we sort this thing out, should we just scrap the old one and start again? yes? yes? OK latch the windows, let’s do this thing… Aww yes.
During the War of 1812 (basically the LAST last battle of the American Revolution, England’s last hurrah before they REALLY gave up), there were those who thought maybe the United States shouldn’t stay united.
In the early 1830s, there was the Nullification Crisis, which again boiled down to individual states looking out for themselves and finding ways to “nullify” federal laws that harmed their own interests.
The three above are mentioned in Brackman’s book. There’s only so much room in the book, of course, but a few other things that come to mind where everybody had to do some crazy “dancing” to try to placate many individual states (or regions), with “battle lines” drawn basically North/South, included the Missouri Compromise (1820), the (failed) Wilmot Proviso (1846), and the Compromise of 1850/ Fugitive Slave Law (1850). These were all mostly about slavery, and the ones that passed tended to “keep things even” as to slave states vs. free states, particularly in the Legislative Branch. (This was very important to everyone at the time, as they failed to deal one-and-for-all with the issue of slavery—until the Civil War.)
One last thought on this…reminds me of Abraham Lincoln’s 1858 speech “A House Divided” :
“A house divided against itself cannot stand.” I believe this government cannot endure, permanently half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved—I do not expect the house to fall—but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing, or all the other.
That first line is evidently a paraphrase from the Bible, Gospel of Mark 3:25, in which Jesus says: “If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.”