The Impending Crisis The ap instructional strategies discussed below for Chapter 13 of American


Excerpt from Letter from Persifor Smith, 1847



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Excerpt from Letter from Persifor Smith, 1847. (Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, Document GLC5128 at http://www.gilderlehrman.org/search/display_results.php?id=GLC5128. Permission granted.)

“Think of our astonishing campaign, with 8800 bayonets we came down the mountain and first saw this much vaunted valley. Near 300 miles from all our resources, in the midst of a population of eight millions of people, every valley a fortress accessible only through passes which nature seems to have constructed purposely to exclude the approach of a stranger… This people have been conceived in sin & born in iniquity for ages the millions have been degraded by oppression and the few corrupted by unbridled power. Their whole moral character is debased, they have no self respect & are therefore incapable of self government; having no test within, they are guilty of any vice they think they can screen from punishment, and now all being alike base they naturally encourage each other's degradation. The best people in the country look on any reform as hopeless without the restraint & example of others and so actually seek to prolong the war with the view of benefiting by the example we give them even as conquerors. The immense crowd of office holders civil as well as military who have hitherto lived on the revenues & exactions of the government, are struggling to perpetuate the abuses by which they exist, and now then their very nationality is at stake the Congress which was to have met...is not yet a quorum. If two weeks more go by without the government being organized I do not think a peace can be made for years, and I believe indeed that they will cease to exist except as little quarrelsome, disorderly States.... Don't let any of my letter get into the paper.”




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