Article IV

Sponsored by Powhatan Troop, Sons of Confederate Veterans

                             “Crittenden-Johnson Proposal”

    If we were to accept the revisionist version of our history, taught to school children today, we would believe that the Union Army crossed Virginia’s borders riding white horses with a Bible in one hand and the Emancipation Proclamation in the other. In reality, the essential reason northern armies invaded Virginia was to force the state, and her people, back into the Union. This fact is apparent in the “Crittenden-Johnson Resolution” of 1861 – Named for Senators John Crittenden (whose two sons would become generals on opposite sides of the war), and Andrew Johnson (later U. S. President).
       The Resolution was passed, by both houses of the U. S. Congress, on July 25, 1861 (The war broke out on April 12, 1861). The joint resolution (S. No. 50) proposed amendments to the U. S. Constitution that would  “do equal justice to all sections, and thereby restore to all the people that peace and goodwill which ought to prevail between all the citizens of the United States.” It’s purpose was to dissuade other slave states from seceding, to get those seceding states back into the Union, and to peacefully end the conflict by establishing that the war was being fought (by the U.S.) not for “overthrowing or interfering with the rights or established institutions of those States”, but to “defend and maintain the supremacy of the Constitution and to preserve the Union.”
       These proposed U. S. Constitutional Amendments would have solidified and strengthened national laws regulating slavery –  (Article 1) “In all territory south of said line (36 degrees 30 minutes) slavery of the African race is hereby recognized as existing and shall not be interfered with by Congress, but shall be protected as property…” (2) “Congress shall have no power to abolish slavery…” (3) “Congress shall have no power to abolish slavery within the District of Columbia, so long as it exists… in Maryland & Virginia…” (4) Congress shall have no power to prohibit or hinder the transportation of slaves from one State to another…” (5) “…the United States shall pay… the full  value… for the recovery of his fugitive slave..” Congress would even be forbidden to write future amendments affecting these articles. The Proposal sanctioned, and denied repeal of, existing ‘fugitive slave laws’, nullified any State laws conflicting with existing fugitive slave laws, and admitted new slave States into the Union if their constitutions permitted. Thus, the North offered all seceding States an Olive branch back into the Union… with slavery intact… if they would accept the caveat. However, as one can surmise from the South’s apparent rejection of the offer, slavery was not the primary divider between the two warring sections. The South’s stand on all issues of secession meant the eventual failure of this proposed solution to the conflict.
Articles I, II, & III
Article V