March 21, 1861 in Savannah, Stephens, the then Vice President of the Confederacy, drew applause when he proclaimed that "our new government" was founded on slavery, "its foundations are laid, its corner-stone rests upon the great truth, that the [N]egro is not equal to the white man; that slavery - submission to the superior race - is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth."
The editors at the Charleston Mercury agreed. They had anticipated the threat that a Republican victory would pose when in early November they warned South Carolinians and the entire South that "[t]he issue before the country is the extinction of slavery." "No man of common sense, who has observed the progress of events, and is not prepared to surrender the institution," they charged, "can doubt that the time for action has come-now or never."