“And now you tender us the inhuman alternative of unconditional submission to Republican rule on abolition principles, and ultimately to free negro equality and a government of mongrels or a war of races on the one hand, and on the other secession and a bloody and desolating civil war, waged in an attempt by the Federal Government to reduce us to submission to these wrongs. It was the misfortune of Mexico and Central and South America, that they attempted to establish governments of mongrels, to enfranchise Indians and free negroes with all the rights of freemen, and invest them, so far as their numbers go, with the control of those governments. It was a failure there; it would be a failure here. It has given them an uninterrupted reign of revolutions and anarchy there; it would do the same thing here. Our own Government succeeded because none but the white race, who were capable of self-government, were enfranchised with the rights of freemen. The irrepressible conflict propounded by abolitionism has produced now its legitimate fruits– disunion. Free negro equality, which is its ultimate object, would make us re-enact the scenes of revolution and anarchy we have so long witnessed and deplored in the American governments to the south of us.
We do not intend that you shall reduce us to such a condition. But I can tell you what your folly and injustice will compel us to do. It will compel us to be free from your domination, and more self-reliant than we have been. It will compel us to assert and maintain our separate independence. It will compel us to manufacture for ourselves, to build up our own commerce, our own great cities, our own railroads and canals; and to use the tribute money we now pay you for these things for the support of a government which will be friendly to all our interests, hostile to none of them.”
John H. Reagan was with President Jefferson Davis to the end and both were captured in Georgia at the end of the war. He was later reelected to Congress after Reconstruction and spearheaded federal regulation of railroads and helped create the Interstate Commerce Commission.