The U.S. Constitution declares that “treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort” (Article 3, Section 3). Whether it stands for slavery or just treason, I have never understood why any Confederate flag should have a public place in this country, or why any citizen would display it.

But, inspired by Charlie Verrill, the subject of a recent story on his New Gloucester farm stand and a Confederate battle flag, I searched online to find out why 13 states seceded in 1860 and 1861. They all published documents, at the time, explaining why they seceded. All stated that slavery or a “domestic institution” or the “property rights” of their citizens were the reasons they declared that they were leaving the Union and banding together with the other slave-holding states.

Alexander Stephens, the Confederacy’s vice president and a drafter of the Confederacy’s constitution, declared in March 1861 that the Confederate government’s “foundations are laid, its cornerstone rests upon … slavery.”

John McCurry