Thornwell had a mission in the penning of this essay. It was written to lift the morale of Southern soldiers and citizens during a very trying time in 1862. The essay had extensive circulation among the soldiers. There is a preface and a brief biographical sketch of Thornwell by H. Rondel Rumburg.
“If they (the North) prevail, the whole character of the Government will be changed, and instead of a federal republic, the common agent of sovereign and independent States, we shall have a central despotism, with the notion of States forever abolished, deriving its power from the will, and shaping its policy according to the wishes, of a numerical majority of the people; we shall have, in other words, a supreme, irresponsible democracy. The government does not now recognize itself as an ordinance of God, and when all the check and balances of the Constitution are gone, we may easily figure to ourselves the career and the destiny of the godless monster of democratic absolutism. The progress of regulated liberty on this continent will be arrested, anarchy will soon succeed, and the end will be a military despotism, which preserves order by the sacrifice of the last vestige of liberty.”
“They (Confederates) are now fighting the battle of despotism. they have put the Constitution under their feet; they have annulled its most sacred provisions; The future fortunes of our children, and of this continent, would then be determined by a tyranny which has no parallel in history.” ~ Excerpt from the book.