khbynum
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Could the Civil War have been avoided?

Fri Feb 28, 2014 11:52 pm

While I'm at it, here's another hypothetical question. What decisions/events/political figures could have prevented the war? Short or long term?

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Ol' Choctaw
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Sat Mar 01, 2014 10:05 am

Good thread! Good question. I will get back to this as soon as I get a little time.

khbynum
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Sat Mar 01, 2014 6:38 pm

Just to get the discussion started, I'm thinking James Buchanan. While dithering around waiting for Lincoln to take over, he had the authority to evacuate Ft. Sumter and Ft. Pickens and had been asked to do so by the Confederates. No attack on Ft. Sumter, no casus belli for Lincoln to deal with.

By the way, "Days of Defiance" by Maury Klein is a very readable treatment of the immediate period leading up to the Civil War.

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GraniteStater
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Sat Mar 01, 2014 7:42 pm

I'm going to say one thing and one thing only.

Obeying the law and not having a temper tantrum because you don't like the results of an election would have prevented it.

It is indeed that simple, gentlemen.

The facts are that SC had passed an illegal ordinance before the incoming Administration had taken office. The facts are that six other states had passed similar illegal ordinances.

No law, Federal or state, that is repugnant to the US Constitution is valid - it is prima facie null and void (Marbury vs. Madison).

When Lincoln took his oath of office, seven states of the Union were defying lawful Federal authority and had openly asserted their willingness to continue this defiance by force of arms.

Since this is a History thread, permit me to point out that the 'solution' posited above would have been an abjuration of Buchanan's oath of office - to "preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States," as well as an abnegation of his duty to see that "the laws be faithfully executed."

Read the First Inaugural Address. Read it. Read the Articles of Confederation, wherein all agreed to a perpetual Union. Read the Preamble of the Constitution, wherein the six great objects of the instrument, the very purposes for which it was established, are set out: the first one is a "more perfect Union."

The Constitution of the United States is not a contract, nor a compact between polities who had been exercising powers as completely sovereign states. As Lincoln asked, "When was South Carolina ever a sovereign State outside of this Union?" The several States do, indeed, retain all powers not granted to the Federal government by the Constitution, but the grant of power to the Federal government was granted by the sovereign people of this nation, a nation conceived in the matrix of the Union, a Union which antedates the nation itself, the Articles, and the Constitution. Indeed, George Washington took lawful command of the Continental Army under the authority of the Second Continental Congress, which was the lawful instrument of this Union before the Union, and the good people thereof, had declared themselves to be a nation, a nation conceived in liberty and whose nationhood is predicated upon the principles enounced by Jefferson in the Declaration. As Jackson said during the Nullification Crisis, when SC had tried this nonsense once before and declared it would not enforce Federal law and hinder its execution: "The United States is not a league. It is a government."

Jackson threatened to enter SC with troops, enforce Federal law at the point of a bayonet and hang those who defied lawful Federal authority. He would have been entirely justified in so doing.

Gentlemen, you may trot out any and all documents and essays and whatever you wish, but you cannot escape the facts of history, as Lincoln so succintly and dispositively demonstrated in his first Inaugural Address and which I have recapitulated here.

The Union created the nation; the nation created the Articles and the Confederation, the nation replaced that instrument with a new one, the Constitution. The people of this nation, all of them, are the source of sovereignty and lawful authority. No polity, no hamlet, town, village, city, county, nor any state may, on its own accord, declare that it is no longer part of this Union nor refuse to obey and abide by the laws enacted by the Congress of the United States.

When one feels that a law is unconstitutional, one may go to court. If one doesn't like the decision, one may appeal. If the court of final appeal renders a judgment not to your liking, you have a political process available to, in the course of time, correct a perceived injustice either through elections and appointments or by the amending of the US Constitution.

There is no appeal from ballots to bullets.

There is one, and only one, set of circumstances, by which any just man could possibly advocate armed resistance to Federal authority and that is an unmistakable attempt to establish a tyranny and overthrow Constitutional order and the rule of law.

The facile manner in which some, to this day, contemplate the 'rectitude' of sedition and the defiance and overthrow of lawful authority demonstrates nothing but the shallowness of such thinking and an utter unacquaintance with the rule of law.

E Pluribus Unum
[color="#AFEEEE"]"Liberty and Union, now and forever, one and inseparable!"[/color]
-Daniel Webster

[color="#FFA07A"]"C'mon, boys, we got the damn Yankees on the run!"[/color]
-General Joseph Wheeler, US Army, serving at Santiago in 1898

RULES
(A) When in doubt, agree with Ace.
(B) Pull my reins up sharply when needed, for I am a spirited thoroughbred and forget to turn at the post sometimes.


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khbynum
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Sat Mar 01, 2014 7:52 pm

Then "God Save the Queen", because we wouldn't exist as a nation and there would have been no Civil War. Works for me.

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GraniteStater
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Sat Mar 01, 2014 8:03 pm

You don't understand the Declaration, then.

We were not rebels against the Crown; we were not traitors. The Crown & its ministers & Parliament had abjured their lawful authority to exercise any jurisdiction over the people of the several colonies.

Government, said Jefferson, is here for one thing - to secure the rights of individuals. Great Britain, by "a long train of usurpations and abuses," had forfeited any and all lawful powers over us. Jefferson lists and specifies those usurpations and abuses.

George Washington did not commit treason.

Jefferson Davis did.

There is no justification of any kind for what the Southern states did in 1860-61, before Fort Sumter. Hundreds of thousands lost their lives because some would not abide by the results of an election.

No sir, no sir, no. What they did was despicable. And to found the entire movement on the highly questionable proposition that one man may enslave another is hubris before the very altar of the Almighty.
[color="#AFEEEE"]"Liberty and Union, now and forever, one and inseparable!"[/color]

-Daniel Webster



[color="#FFA07A"]"C'mon, boys, we got the damn Yankees on the run!"[/color]

-General Joseph Wheeler, US Army, serving at Santiago in 1898



RULES

(A) When in doubt, agree with Ace.

(B) Pull my reins up sharply when needed, for I am a spirited thoroughbred and forget to turn at the post sometimes.





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khbynum
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Sat Mar 01, 2014 8:39 pm

One man's revolution is another man's treason. The Confederacy regarded ownership of human beings as a right, and wrote it into their constitution. "And when our rights were threatened, the cry rose near and far...". Despicable? Yes, slavery was and is. Willingness to fight for what you regard as your rights is another question entirely. I've never understood (accepting the principle that all men have an obligation to obey the law if they wish to obtain the benefits of the existing social organization) how the Civil War was different from the American Revolution, other than that the winners write the histories. I've read the Constitution and don't recall a prohibition of secession, though it can be inferred if you look hard enough. I also don't recall a prohibition of slavery, which would have solved the problem from the beginning. That, however, is another question altogether. As for those hundreds of thousands of lives, might they just as easily be laid at Abraham Lincoln's intransigence?

At any rate, the question was not "did the South have a right to secede" but how could the war have been avoided given the actual historical circumstances.

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GraniteStater
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Sat Mar 01, 2014 9:06 pm

There's a thing called justice.

Read the history of the English Civil War, the War for Independence, and the American Civil War.

The Roundheads and the Second Continental Congress were in the right. The South was not.

Your self-confessed lack of understanding, if I may use the term (I didn't use the phrase in my replies) veers very close to moral relativism, which I, personally, abjure and abhor.

Charles I was executed for treason, for raising his standard at Nottingham and making war upon "the good people of this realm." He got what he deserved - he couldn't be trusted in anything, Cromwell was for mercy until the royal essohbee demonstrated his lack of fidelity to any and all agreements beyond all doubt.

Read the Declaration. The colonists were fighting for, at first, their ancient liberties - then expanded the concept, as Jefferson so eloquently expressed it. George III was no longer fit to be a "prince of a civilized people" - among other things, he had scorned the Olive Branch Petition and declared us outlaws and beyond his mercy.

The South made war upon the US (that's treason) and caused the spilling of rivers of blood and the wholesale destruction of treasure. For no good reason at all, other than an apprehension about what an incoming Administration might do. All to continue holding other men in slavery and bondage.

"...for one of the worst causes and with the least excuse."

Grant was kind - I see it as no cause whatsoever. And there is no excuse whatsoever.

Not behaving like spoiled children could definitely have prevented it.

whoa, whoa - Lincoln "intransigent"?????????

...man, oh man, you're not even doing the homework - read the First Inaugural Address.
[color="#AFEEEE"]"Liberty and Union, now and forever, one and inseparable!"[/color]

-Daniel Webster



[color="#FFA07A"]"C'mon, boys, we got the damn Yankees on the run!"[/color]

-General Joseph Wheeler, US Army, serving at Santiago in 1898



RULES

(A) When in doubt, agree with Ace.

(B) Pull my reins up sharply when needed, for I am a spirited thoroughbred and forget to turn at the post sometimes.





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khbynum
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Sat Mar 01, 2014 9:59 pm

Lincoln was a consummate politician. He never did anything without sticking his finger in the air to see if public opinion would let him get away with it. So yes, intransigent. He could have said, well you attacked Ft. Sumter but nobody was killed (one soldier accidentally after the battle was over), so let's just calm down and talk about this. Let's see if we can't find a way out of this short of war. No, he calls up 75,000 volunteers and makes it plain that war is the only solution. The end result was 600,000 dead and the devastation of half the country. Bearing in mind the forum injunction not to let these discussions get into politics, I think anything, even the temporary continuation of slavery, was preferable to that.

You accuse me of moral relativism. The opposite is moral certainty that entertains no debate and no question. That leads to tyranny.

If no one else wants to post to this thread, I'll leave it at that. I didn't start it to swap arseholes with GraniteStater.

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GraniteStater
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Sat Mar 01, 2014 10:41 pm

I am not swapping anything.

Lincoln was a consummate politician and statesman who knew how to play his cards, like any politician should.

But he was also a man of deep moral principles. He was a moderate on the slavery issue - it is very well known that his only concrete proposal was to not let it be extended, particularly to the Territories of the time.

You started a thread with a certain subject. There is, in my considered opinion, after years and years of reading and much contemplation, one good answer, the only answer, really.

I'd bet dollars for donuts you've never read the First Inaugural. He had taken an oath, a most solemn oath, to "preserve, protect and defend" the Constitution. He addresses this very point in the First Inaugural.

The Southerners were committing sedition, armed sedition, in March of 1861. It may or may not have met a technical legal standard of treason (defined in the Constitution), but it was as close as you can get without bloodshed. Federal courts were closed, Federal installations seized, much like Putin's thugs right now.

All because of what someone might do - much like Brutus in 44 BC. Because they couldn't abide by the law and accept an electoral result.

He implores, nay, begs the South to return to their senses in the First Inaugural.

And then they fired on the flag of the United States.

And your considered course of action is to negotiate? You imply that Lincoln was responsible?

The paucity of these attempted justifications, not just here, for I have encountered them before, is truly astonishing. 'Ludicrous' springs to mind.

Go ahead, keep trying to justify sedition and treason, all to retain that most noble of institutions that one found in the South 150 years ago.
[color="#AFEEEE"]"Liberty and Union, now and forever, one and inseparable!"[/color]

-Daniel Webster



[color="#FFA07A"]"C'mon, boys, we got the damn Yankees on the run!"[/color]

-General Joseph Wheeler, US Army, serving at Santiago in 1898



RULES

(A) When in doubt, agree with Ace.

(B) Pull my reins up sharply when needed, for I am a spirited thoroughbred and forget to turn at the post sometimes.





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FENRIS
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Sat Mar 01, 2014 10:49 pm

Blablabla .... vae victis. The winner is always the right hahaha !
[color="#FF8C00"][/color]Eylau 1807

"Rendez-vous, général, votre témérité vous a emporté trop loin ; vous êtes dans nos dernières lignes." (un russe)

" Regardez un peu ces figures-là si elles veulent se rendre !" (Lepic)[color="#FF8C00"][/color][I]
[/I]

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GraniteStater
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Sat Mar 01, 2014 11:06 pm

It does seem that way, 'tis true.

But it's not that way.

Moral and legal rights and justice have very often been squashed, repressed, driven into the wilderness and threatened with annihilation.

Evil, yes, evil, has looked like the strong horse in many instances - but free men still live and men know what justice is, everyone knows it in his heart, even when he acts in the wrong deliberately. Evil has yet to triumph in this world - it has never extinguished the Right, the True and the Beautiful.

"Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My words shall never pass away."
[color="#AFEEEE"]"Liberty and Union, now and forever, one and inseparable!"[/color]

-Daniel Webster



[color="#FFA07A"]"C'mon, boys, we got the damn Yankees on the run!"[/color]

-General Joseph Wheeler, US Army, serving at Santiago in 1898



RULES

(A) When in doubt, agree with Ace.

(B) Pull my reins up sharply when needed, for I am a spirited thoroughbred and forget to turn at the post sometimes.





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khbynum
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Sat Mar 01, 2014 11:08 pm

I wouldn't believe this if I hadn't precipitated it myself. My sister-in-law was right about arguing on the internet. You guys win. It's really not worth wading through the bulls**t to try to carry on an intelligent discussion. I won't start any more threads, but I will post as I please within the limits imposed by the moderators. I hope every forum member reads this thread, just so they know what they're dealing with. Have a nice ... never mind, don't.

Hahaha! AGEod Guard of Honor, eh FENRIS? I wonder what the rear echelon looks like.

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FENRIS
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Sun Mar 02, 2014 1:34 am

khbynum wrote:I wouldn't believe this if I hadn't precipitated it myself. My sister-in-law was right about arguing on the internet. You guys win. It's really not worth wading through the bulls**t to try to carry on an intelligent discussion. I won't start any more threads, but I will post as I please within the limits imposed by the moderators. I hope every forum member reads this thread, just so they know what they're dealing with. Have a nice ... never mind, don't.

Hahaha! AGEod Guard of Honor, eh FENRIS? I wonder what the rear echelon looks like.


Not true the fact that the winner always write the history ?

Where is your sense of humor jejeje....
[color="#FF8C00"][/color]Eylau 1807

"Rendez-vous, général, votre témérité vous a emporté trop loin ; vous êtes dans nos dernières lignes." (un russe)

" Regardez un peu ces figures-là si elles veulent se rendre !" (Lepic)[color="#FF8C00"][/color][I]
[/I]

khbynum
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Sun Mar 02, 2014 5:29 am

Enough. I have always believed that all people have the right to self-determination. Of their form of government, of their social order and of their fate. I believe that if they cannot achieve that right by any other means, they have in the end the right to resort to arms. That is, quite simply and without the wall of words GraniteStater so loves, the bottom line. That is what the Confederacy did. Were they legally or morally justified? History says no, but they voted to secede from a Union they felt no longer gave them that right. I think we all agree that slavery is evil. That was not the question I posed, and I'd really like to hear from someone besides GraniteStater and FENRIS. I am not going to be intimidated off this forum, no matter what the post count of those who disagree with me.

When I was in junior high, in Hawaii, a teacher asked us what the cause of the Civil War was. I, like everyone else, said slavery. No, he said, the cause was the election of Abraham Lincoln. I didn't understand then, but after a lifetime of studying that war, I do. Mr. Tanaka, you were right. Lincoln could have prevented the war simply by not pursuing it and letting calmer heads prevail. Don't tell me about Presidential duties. Unique times require unique solutions. Lincoln didn't hesitate to bend the law when it suited his needs. Moral relativism? It's called politics. And don't ever accuse me of not doing my "homework". I'm not the one who says I don't have to cite sources, I know it's true.

What would I have done? Let them go, it's not worth fighting over. We'll work it out later and slavery will die out for economic reasons. Any Black readers will be pissed at that, I respect your opinion, but 600,000 dead to fight a war that didn't need to be fought?

I've had my fill of internet know-it-alls. I'll bet everyone on this forum is smart, well educated, accomplished in many areas outside their vocation and feels no need to tell anyone about it. I'd really like to hear from someone besides GraniteStater. This is the history subforum, so it's not about the game.

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GraniteStater
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Sun Mar 02, 2014 6:38 am

When you start a thread on a forum that discusses history and posit a question for discussion, you must be able to consider that the clear evidence of facts can sometimes lead to conclusions that sober consideration cannot gainsay to any substantive or meaningful degree.

You cannot escape that without the institution of slavery, in the particular form it took in the United States (for there are significant aspects of chattel slavery in the US), there would almost entirely probably have been no war in the form that it took.

You would like to entertain the notion that somehow, the war could have been avoided, yet states of this Union be allowed to leave, anytime they wished, whenever they had a grievance.

I have taken the time to show you that a very, very great man, in the course of some half-dozen paragraphs, informed his listeners of the central and essential and correct construction of the genesis of the American Union, its transformation into a nation, the agreements reached that embodied this central understanding, and their application to the crisis of the very hour in which he spoke. In a a mere handful of paragraphs. This alone should convince anyone with an appreciation of the English language of the immense intelligence and perspicacity of our 16th President, not to mention his astounding ability to cast these perceptions so succinctly and clearly.

When one reads nothing else - nothing else - but the speech Mr. Lincoln gave at his first inauguration, it is almost assuredly beyond question that his views, therein expressed, were, and are, the only correct and true understanding of what makes us a nation, why we are a nation, its nature, and the Union from which it was formed.

I would assert with no hesitation that you are unfamiliar with his address. Until you do become acquainted with it, and make a mature and reasoned attempt to refute the grounds upon which Lincoln laid his arguments - an historical refutation, bear in mind, demonstrating, beyond almost any reasonable doubt, that Lincoln had his facts wrong, drew incorrect conclusions, or misunderstood the constitution of this Union and nation, then, sir, you have not done the work you need to do to show that Lincoln was wrong, started a war, was guilty of a profound misjudgment, or was simply mistaken in his understandings.

Until then, I, or any serious student of history, cannot take your assertions seriously.

P. S.- Mr. Tanaka was wrong.

P. P .S. - if you can tell me why I used 'constitution' without an initial capital and the sense thereof, it would be a start towards convincing me that you aren't just another collector of Dixie cups.

P.P.P.S. - never forget that Abraham Lincoln gave his life for the preservation of this, as he described it, the "last best hope of mankind."
[color="#AFEEEE"]"Liberty and Union, now and forever, one and inseparable!"[/color]

-Daniel Webster



[color="#FFA07A"]"C'mon, boys, we got the damn Yankees on the run!"[/color]

-General Joseph Wheeler, US Army, serving at Santiago in 1898



RULES

(A) When in doubt, agree with Ace.

(B) Pull my reins up sharply when needed, for I am a spirited thoroughbred and forget to turn at the post sometimes.





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Durk
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Sun Mar 02, 2014 6:46 am

Ditto GraniteStater - without slavery, no Great Civil War. Period.

Kind of simple really.

I know I am a Unionist, but still - if slavery never existed what would motivate such a clash?

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GraniteStater
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Sun Mar 02, 2014 7:03 am

And from a son of the great State of New Hampshire:

"When my eyes shall be turned to behold for the last time the sun in heaven, may I not see him shining on the broken and dishonored fragments of a once glorious Union; on States dissevered, discordant, belligerent; on a land rent with civil feuds, or drenched, it may be, in fraternal blood! Let their last feeble and lingering glance rather behold the gorgeous ensign of the republic, now known and honored throughout the earth, still full high advanced, its arms and trophies streaming in their original lustre, not a stripe erased or polluted, not a single star obscured, bearing for its motto, no such miserable interrogatory as "What is all this worth?" nor those other words of delusion and folly, "Liberty first and Union afterwards"; but everywhere, spread all over in characters of living light, blazing on all its ample folds, as they float over the sea and over the land, and in every wind under the whole heavens, that other sentiment, dear to every true American heart, - Liberty and Union, now and forever, one and inseparable!"

Senator Daniel Webster, 1830
[color="#AFEEEE"]"Liberty and Union, now and forever, one and inseparable!"[/color]

-Daniel Webster



[color="#FFA07A"]"C'mon, boys, we got the damn Yankees on the run!"[/color]

-General Joseph Wheeler, US Army, serving at Santiago in 1898



RULES

(A) When in doubt, agree with Ace.

(B) Pull my reins up sharply when needed, for I am a spirited thoroughbred and forget to turn at the post sometimes.





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GraniteStater
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Sun Mar 02, 2014 7:14 am

Durk wrote:Ditto GraniteStater - without slavery, no Great Civil War. Period.

Kind of simple really.

I know I am a Unionist, but still - if slavery never existed what would motivate such a clash?


Having lived in Cheyenne briefly, it is most heartening to receive support from a son of the Equality State.

Its gracious people reminded me of New Hampshire - and you know that's very high praise from me.
[color="#AFEEEE"]"Liberty and Union, now and forever, one and inseparable!"[/color]

-Daniel Webster



[color="#FFA07A"]"C'mon, boys, we got the damn Yankees on the run!"[/color]

-General Joseph Wheeler, US Army, serving at Santiago in 1898



RULES

(A) When in doubt, agree with Ace.

(B) Pull my reins up sharply when needed, for I am a spirited thoroughbred and forget to turn at the post sometimes.





Image

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GraniteStater
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Sun Mar 02, 2014 7:28 am

And this, in this context, is worth taking the time to read:

4 March 1861, in the City of Washington

Fellow-citizens of the United States: In compliance with a custom as old as the government itself, I appear before you to address you briefly, and to take in your presence the oath prescribed by the Constitution of the United States to be taken by the President "before he enters on the execution of his office."

I do not consider it necessary at present for me to discuss those matters of administration about which there is no special anxiety or excitement.

Apprehension seems to exist among the people of the Southern States that by the accession of a Republican administration their property and their peace and personal security are to be endangered. There has never been any reasonable cause for such apprehension. Indeed, the most ample evidence to the contrary has all the while existed and been open to their inspection. It is found in nearly all the published speeches of him who now addresses you. I do but quote from one of those speeches when I declare that "I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so." Those who nominated and elected me did so with full knowledge that I had made this and many similar declarations, and had never recanted them. And, more than this, they placed in the platform for my acceptance, and as a law to themselves and to me, the clear and emphatic resolution which I now read:

Resolved, That the maintenance inviolate of the rights of the States, and especially the right of each State to order and control its own domestic institutions according to its own judgment exclusively, is essential to that balance of power on which the perfection and endurance of our political fabric depend, and we denounce the lawless invasion by armed force of the soil of any State or Territory, no matter under what pretext, as among the gravest of crimes.

I now reiterate these sentiments; and, in doing so, I only press upon the public attention the most conclusive evidence of which the case is susceptible, that the property, peace, and security of no section are to be in any wise endangered by the now incoming administration. I add, too, that all the protection which, consistently with the Constitution and the laws, can be given, will be cheerfully given to all the States when lawfully demanded, for whatever cause—as cheerfully to one section as to another.

There is much controversy about the delivering up of fugitives from service or labor. The clause I now read is as plainly written in the Constitution as any other of its provisions:

No person held to service or labor in one State, under the laws thereof, escaping into another, shall in consequence of any law or regulation therein be discharged from such service or labor, but shall be delivered up on claim of the party to whom such service or labor may be due.

It is scarcely questioned that this provision was intended by those who made it for the reclaiming of what we call fugitive slaves; and the intention of the lawgiver is the law. All members of Congress swear their support to the whole Constitution—to this provision as much as to any other. To the proposition, then, that slaves whose cases come within the terms of this clause "shall be delivered up," their oaths are unanimous. Now, if they would make the effort in good temper, could they not with nearly equal unanimity frame and pass a law by means of which to keep good that unanimous oath?

There is some difference of opinion whether this clause should be enforced by national or by State authority; but surely that difference is not a very material one. If the slave is to be surrendered, it can be of but little consequence to him or to others by which authority it is done. And should anyone in any case be content that his oath shall go unkept on a merely unsubstantial controversy as to how it shall be kept?

Again, in any law upon this subject, ought not all the safeguards of liberty known in civilized and humane jurisprudence to be introduced, so that a free man be not, in any case, surrendered as a slave? And might it not be well at the same time to provide by law for the enforcement of that clause in the Constitution which guarantees that "the citizen of each State shall be entitled to all privileges and immunities of citizens in the several States."

I take the official oath to-day with no mental reservations, and with no purpose to construe the Constitution or laws by any hypercritical rules. And while I do not choose now to specify particular acts of Congress as proper to be enforced, I do suggest that it will be much safer for all, both in official and private stations, to conform to and abide by all those acts which stand unrepealed, than to violate any of them, trusting to find impunity in having them held to be unconstitutional.

It is seventy-two years since the first inauguration of a President under our National Constitution. During that period fifteen different and greatly distinguished citizens have, in succession, administered the executive branch of the government. They have conducted it through many perils, and generally with great success. Yet, with all this scope of precedent, I now enter upon the same task for the brief constitutional term of four years under great and peculiar difficulty. A disruption of the Federal Union, heretofore only menaced, is now formidably attempted.

I hold that, in contemplation of universal law and of the Constitution, the Union of these States is perpetual. Perpetuity is implied, if not expressed, in the fundamental law of all national governments. It is safe to assert that no government proper ever had a provision in its organic law for its own termination. Continue to execute all the express provisions of our National Constitution, and the Union will endure forever—it being impossible to destroy it except by some action not provided for in the instrument itself.

Again, if the United States be not a government proper, but an association of States in the nature of contract merely, can it, as a contract, be peaceably unmade by less than all the parties who made it? One party to a contract may violate it—break it, so to speak; but does it not require all to lawfully rescind it?

Descending from these general principles, we find the proposition that, in legal contemplation the Union is perpetual confirmed by the history of the Union itself. The Union is much older than the Constitution. It was formed, in fact, by the Articles of Association in 1774. It was matured and continued by the Declaration of Independence in 1776. It was further matured, and the faith of all the then thirteen States expressly plighted and engaged that it should be perpetual, by the Articles of Confederation in 1778. And, finally, in 1787 one of the declared objects for ordaining and establishing the Constitution was "to form a more perfect Union."

But if the destruction of the Union by one or by a part only of the States be lawfully possible, the Union is less perfect than before the Constitution, having lost the vital element of perpetuity.

It follows from these views that no State upon its own mere motion can lawfully get out of the Union; that resolves and ordinances to that effect are legally void; and that acts of violence, within any State or States, against the authority of the United States, are insurrectionary or revolutionary, according to circumstances.

I therefore consider that, in view of the Constitution and the laws, the Union is unbroken; and to the extent of my ability I shall take care, as the Constitution itself expressly enjoins upon me, that the laws of the Union be faithfully executed in all the States. Doing this I deem to be only a simple duty on my part; and I shall perform it so far as practicable, unless my rightful masters, the American people, shall withhold the requisite means, or in some authoritative manner direct the contrary. I trust this will not be regarded as a menace, but only as the declared purpose of the Union that it will constitutionally defend and maintain itself.

In doing this there needs to be no bloodshed or violence; and there shall be none, unless it be forced upon the national authority. The power confided to me will be used to hold, occupy, and possess the property and places belonging to the government, and to collect the duties and imposts; but beyond what may be necessary for these objects, there will be no invasion, no using of force against or among the people anywhere. Where hostility to the United States, in any interior locality, shall be so great and universal as to prevent competent resident citizens from holding the Federal offices, there will be no attempt to force obnoxious strangers among the people for that object. While the strict legal right may exist in the government to enforce the exercise of these offices, the attempt to do so would be so irritating, and so nearly impracticable withal, that I deem it better to forego for the time the uses of such offices.

The mails, unless repelled, will continue to be furnished in all parts of the Union. So far as possible, the people everywhere shall have that sense of perfect security which is most favorable to calm thought and reflection. The course here indicated will be followed unless current events and experience shall show a modification or change to be proper, and in every case and exigency my best discretion will be exercised according to circumstances actually existing, and with a view and a hope of a peaceful solution of the national troubles and the restoration of fraternal sympathies and affections.

That there are persons in one section or another who seek to destroy the Union at all events, and are glad of any pretext to do it, I will neither affirm nor deny; but if there be such, I need address no word to them. To those, however, who really love the Union may I not speak?

Before entering upon so grave a matter as the destruction of our national fabric, with all its benefits, its memories, and its hopes, would it not be wise to ascertain precisely why we do it? Will you hazard so desperate a step while there is any possibility that any portion of the ills you fly from have no real existence? Will you, while the certain ills you fly to are greater than all the real ones you fly from—will you risk the commission of so fearful a mistake?

All profess to be content in the Union if all constitutional rights can be maintained. Is it true, then, that any right, plainly written in the Constitution, has been denied? I think not. Happily the human mind is so constituted that no party can reach to the audacity of doing this. Think, if you can, of a single instance in which a plainly written provision of the Constitution has ever been denied. If by the mere force of numbers a majority should deprive a minority of any clearly written constitutional right, it might, in a moral point of view, justify revolution—certainly would if such a right were a vital one. But such is not our case. All the vital rights of minorities and of individuals are so plainly assured to them by affirmations and negations, guarantees and prohibitions, in the Constitution, that controversies never arise concerning them. But no organic law can ever be framed with a provision specifically applicable to every question which may occur in practical administration. No foresight can anticipate, nor any document of reasonable length contain, express provisions for all possible questions. Shall fugitives from labor be surrendered by national or by State authority? The Constitution does not expressly say. May Congress prohibit slavery in the Territories? The Constitution does not expressly say. Must Congress protect slavery in the Territories? The Constitution does not expressly say.

From questions of this class spring all our constitutional controversies, and we divide upon them into majorities and minorities. If the minority will not acquiesce, the majority must, or the government must cease. There is no other alternative; for continuing the government is acquiescence on one side or the other.

If a minority in such case will secede rather than acquiesce, they make a precedent which in turn will divide and ruin them; for a minority of their own will secede from them whenever a majority refuses to be controlled by such minority. For instance, why may not any portion of a new confederacy a year or two hence arbitrarily secede again, precisely as portions of the present Union now claim to secede from it? All who cherish disunion sentiments are now being educated to the exact temper of doing this.

Is there such perfect identity of interests among the States to compose a new Union, as to produce harmony only, and prevent renewed secession?

Plainly, the central idea of secession is the essence of anarchy. A majority held in restraint by constitutional checks and limitations, and always changing easily with deliberate changes of popular opinions and sentiments, is the only true sovereign of a free people. Whoever rejects it does, of necessity, fly to anarchy or to despotism. Unanimity is impossible; the rule of a minority, as a permanent arrangement, is wholly inadmissible; so that, rejecting the majority principle, anarchy or despotism in some form is all that is left.

I do not forget the position, assumed by some, that constitutional questions are to be decided by the Supreme Court; nor do I deny that such decisions must be binding, in any case, upon the parties to a suit, as to the object of that suit, while they are also entitled to very high respect and consideration in all parallel cases by all other departments of the government. And while it is obviously possible that such decision may be erroneous in any given case, still the evil effect following it, being limited to that particular case, with the chance that it may be overruled and never become a precedent for other cases, can better be borne than could the evils of a different practice. At the same time, the candid citizen must confess that if the policy of the government, upon vital questions affecting the whole people, is to be irrevocably fixed by decisions of the Supreme Court, the instant they are made, in ordinary litigation between parties in personal actions, the people will have ceased to be their own rulers, having to that extent practically resigned their government into the hands of that eminent tribunal. Nor is there in this view any assault upon the court or the judges. It is a duty from which they may not shrink to decide cases properly brought before them, and it is no fault of theirs if others seek to turn their decisions to political purposes.

One section of our country believes slavery is right, and ought to be extended, while the other believes it is wrong, and ought not to be extended. This is the only substantial dispute. The fugitive-slave clause of the Constitution, and the law for the suppression of the foreign slave-trade, are each as well enforced, perhaps, as any law can ever be in a community where the moral sense of the people imperfectly supports the law itself. The great body of the people abide by the dry legal obligation in both cases, and a few break over in each. This, I think, cannot be perfectly cured; and it would be worse in both cases after the separation of the sections than before. The foreign slave-trade, now imperfectly suppressed, would be ultimately revived, without restriction, in one section, while fugitive slaves, now only partially surrendered, would not be surrendered at all by the other.

Physically speaking, we cannot separate. We cannot remove our respective sections from each other, nor build an impassable wall between them. A husband and wife may be divorced, and go out of the presence and beyond the reach of each other; but the different parts of our country cannot do this. They cannot but remain face to face, and intercourse, either amicable or hostile, must continue between them. Is it possible, then, to make that intercourse more advantageous or more satisfactory after separation than before? Can aliens make treaties easier than friends can make laws? Can treaties be more faithfully enforced between aliens than laws can among friends? Suppose you go to war, you cannot fight always; and when, after much loss on both sides, and no gain on either, you cease fighting, the identical old questions as to terms of intercourse are again upon you.

This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it, or their revolutionary right to dismember or overthrow it. I cannot be ignorant of the fact that many worthy and patriotic citizens are desirous of having the National Constitution amended. While I make no recommendation of amendments, I fully recognize the rightful authority of the people over the whole subject, to be exercised in either of the modes prescribed in the instrument itself; and I should, under existing circumstances, favor rather than oppose a fair opportunity being afforded the people to act upon it. I will venture to add that to me the convention mode seems preferable, in that it allows amendments to originate with the people themselves, instead of only permitting them to take or reject propositions originated by others not especially chosen for the purpose, and which might not be precisely such as they would wish to either accept or refuse. I understand a proposed amendment to the Constitution—which amendment, however, I have not seen—has passed Congress, to the effect that the Federal Government shall never interfere with the domestic institutions of the States, including that of persons held to service. To avoid misconstruction of what I have said, I depart from my purpose not to speak of particular amendments so far as to say that, holding such a provision to now be implied constitutional law, I have no objection to its being made express and irrevocable.

The chief magistrate derives all his authority from the people, and they have conferred none upon him to fix terms for the separation of the States. The people themselves can do this also if they choose; but the executive, as such, has nothing to do with it. His duty is to administer the present government, as it came to his hands, and to transmit it, unimpaired by him, to his successor.

Why should there not be a patient confidence in the ultimate justice of the people? Is there any better or equal hope in the world? In our present differences is either party without faith of being in the right? If the Almighty Ruler of Nations, with his eternal truth and justice, be on your side of the North, or on yours of the South, that truth and that justice will surely prevail by the judgment of this great tribunal of the American people.

By the frame of the government under which we live, this same people have wisely given their public servants but little power for mischief; and have, with equal wisdom, provided for the return of that little to their own hands at very short intervals. While the people retain their virtue and vigilance, no administration, by any extreme of wickedness or folly, can very seriously injure the government in the short space of four years.

My countrymen, one and all, think calmly and well upon this whole subject. Nothing valuable can be lost by taking time. If there be an object to hurry any of you in hot haste to a step which you would never take deliberately, that object will be frustrated by taking time; but no good object can be frustrated by it. Such of you as are now dissatisfied, still have the old Constitution unimpaired, and, on the sensitive point, the laws of your own framing under it; while the new administration will have no immediate power, if it would, to change either. If it were admitted that you who are dissatisfied hold the right side in the dispute, there still is no single good reason for precipitate action. Intelligence, patriotism, Christianity, and a firm reliance on Him who has never yet forsaken this favored land, are still competent to adjust in the best way all our present difficulty.

In your hands, my dissatisfied fellow-countrymen, and not in mine, is the momentous issue of civil war. The government will not assail you. You can have no conflict without being yourselves the aggressors. You have no oath registered in heaven to destroy the government, while I shall have the most solemn one to "preserve, protect, and defend it."

I am loath to close. We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battle-field and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.

The First Inaugural Address of Abraham Lincoln

**********

[color="#40E0D0"]He was a very, very, very great man and very, very few can match him in moral humility, intelligence, and the nicest sense of principles.[/color]
[color="#AFEEEE"]"Liberty and Union, now and forever, one and inseparable!"[/color]

-Daniel Webster



[color="#FFA07A"]"C'mon, boys, we got the damn Yankees on the run!"[/color]

-General Joseph Wheeler, US Army, serving at Santiago in 1898



RULES

(A) When in doubt, agree with Ace.

(B) Pull my reins up sharply when needed, for I am a spirited thoroughbred and forget to turn at the post sometimes.





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Ace
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Sun Mar 02, 2014 7:42 am

Not being a US citizen, originally I didn't wish to comment on the debate which has turned into a political one. But, as someone looking from the outside, I wish I could express my opinions in two short lines:

1) Slavery was an abomination, and had to and would have been abolished in any case, sooner or later. So in this sense the South was fighting for the wrong cause.
2) Self determination of people and states is important. The right of people to form their own government is important. It is the core of democracy. I live in country that recently got its independence after fighting it out in a war that lasted 4 years. So, in a way, I can understand the need of people to form their own government and laws. In this light, they were fighting for the good thing. But there is always a catch 22. There should be no law that imposes dominance of one race over another. So this is a complex matter.

What I wanted to say, I think the thread was started how the war could have been avoided, not did the Union had the right to escalate the war, nor did the Confederates had the right to fire at FtSumter. So, gentlemen, I am curious whether the war could have been avoided and matters solved peacefully? I know the rift between states on the issue of slavery has plagued the nation for 20 years before the war. They tried to settle it through politics, but they could not. Could have they tried it a little more?

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GraniteStater
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Sun Mar 02, 2014 8:10 am

So, gentlemen, I am curious whether the war could have been avoided and matters solved peacefully?


Yup, sure could've. See Lincoln's remarks above.

Shelby Foote, in Ken Burns's documetary, The Civil War, again (paraphrase):

"We Americans like to think of ourselves as an uncompromising people who take stands. The real genius of the American experiment, though, is based on compromise. Our whole system of government is based on a compromise [he is referring, specifically, to what is sometimes called the Great Compromise, where one chamber is based on population and favors the larger States, and the other chamber has an equal suffrage among the States, protecting the smaller States - I note this for our friends who may not be intimate with our system].

This ability to compromise broke down in 1860. It was our great crossroads, and it was a hell of a crossroads."
[color="#AFEEEE"]"Liberty and Union, now and forever, one and inseparable!"[/color]

-Daniel Webster



[color="#FFA07A"]"C'mon, boys, we got the damn Yankees on the run!"[/color]

-General Joseph Wheeler, US Army, serving at Santiago in 1898



RULES

(A) When in doubt, agree with Ace.

(B) Pull my reins up sharply when needed, for I am a spirited thoroughbred and forget to turn at the post sometimes.





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Ol' Choctaw
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Sun Mar 02, 2014 10:16 am

There were a lot of ways the war could have been avoided and slavery ended. It did not take a war anyplace else to do it.

Slavery was legal in every state of the US at one point. Several states banned it, did they not?

Compromise may have broken down in one Congress but that is not to say means could not be found to reach an answer. A plebiscite on the issue nationally and paying compensation would have likely had that result.

In a democratic government if you reach an impasse you don’t start killing people who disagree. You start looking for a different way.

Now since so many want to cast blame one way or the other, there is plenty of that to go around.

Lincoln took office during a constitutional crises. The crises was mostly due to his party’s more radical elements shooting off their mouths and calling for a sectional war against the south and slave holding states. Just like today it turned into a political propaganda war.

South Carolina was the main instigator. They had sparked a constitutional crises some years earlier by threatening secession, over tariffs.

Now since it was as the north says they saw it, about illegally leaving the Union, you might think they would have gone to court before taking up arms to settle the dispute.

Well, did they do that? No!

Did they initiate a serious effort at a political solution? A few of the states did but the Federal Government was pretty disinterested.

Now, GraniteStater likes to point out the rule of law and that it was illegal but the fact is it didn’t go to court until 1869. You might think they would have checked in with the court before deciding on the issue.

There is also the moral issue of whether people of some states should force the people of other states to be a part of the union by force of arms. A union they claim you can join freely but can never leave.

This doesn’t mean that the south gets off free of blame, cause they have been blamed for the whole mess for 150 years. Most people know what they did. Just no one looks at the other side of the coin.

Now, Ft Sumter was not the first time shots had been fired. They had fired on ships trying to bring supplies and men to the place before. It was part of the dispute as to who owned what. Could or should Union troops stay in a state that said take your toys and go home, or not. Just when they did it then no one called it a war.

It seems to me both sides should have gotten a legal ruling before they started shooting, but you know, politicians tend to act like six year old boys. When they stop calling names they like to start swinging fists.

Aren’t we lucky to have such enlightened leaders?

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GraniteStater
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Sun Mar 02, 2014 10:57 am

The crises was mostly due to his party’s more radical elements shooting off their mouths and calling for a sectional war against the south and slave holding states.


No. Sorry, the facts do not bear you out here.

Short & simple - Abraham Lincoln was elected President of the US in November, 1860. He was scheduled to take office in March, 1861.

In December, 1860, SC passed an unconstitutional, illegal ordinance, which purported to sever the State's connections with the United States.

'Why' does not matter - not one whit. There was no unmistakable effort to impose anything on SC, or any other State in this Union. Read that address above - I am serious, sir, read it. If you know anything at all about the matter, you should know that Lincoln was a moderate, who expounded and averred his views in the address so kindly posted above.

People 'shooting their mouths off' in public is no justification for sedition, unlawful measures passed by legislative bodies to effect a severance of the Union, to destroy the United States as a national government, and the taking up and use of arms to interfere with the lawful exercise of Federal powers.

And seven states had done these things before Lincoln was even sworn in. Furthermore, they had joined together in a criminal conspiracy to erect another government on the soil of the United States.

There is no appeal from ballots to bullets, except for one, and only one set of circumstances that is not inconceivable, but would be so extraordinary as to almost defy belief.

THERE IS NO APPEAL FROM BALLOTS TO BULLETS.

PERIOD.

And anyone, anyone, my wife, my child, my pastor, my plumber, my lawyer, who asserts that there is such an appeal under almost any set of circumstances you care to illustrate is LAWLESS and a mortal threat to civilized settling of disputes in a constitutional republic of free men and women who enjoy an ordered liberty under law.

Anyone who cannot see that is blind and entirely ignorant of what the rule of law means - indeed, sir, any such person is the one advocating the mailed fist and the law of the jungle.

For if you have not law, you have NOTHING.

Childish, juvenile twaddle of the worst kind, the very worst, for it cost hundreds of thousands of people their lives and set the South back economically so far, it did not match its production of 1860 until the 1920s.

How any intelligent person with a grasp of this nation's Founding and the principles and agreements expounded by the Founding could assert that a State may cease to acknowledge the laws of the United States, merely because it doesn't like who was elected President is beyond me.

You're an intelligent man, sir. Try to grasp what Lincoln was saying.
[color="#AFEEEE"]"Liberty and Union, now and forever, one and inseparable!"[/color]

-Daniel Webster



[color="#FFA07A"]"C'mon, boys, we got the damn Yankees on the run!"[/color]

-General Joseph Wheeler, US Army, serving at Santiago in 1898



RULES

(A) When in doubt, agree with Ace.

(B) Pull my reins up sharply when needed, for I am a spirited thoroughbred and forget to turn at the post sometimes.





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GraniteStater
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Sun Mar 02, 2014 11:27 am

And as far as courts go, there is no case. It was not incumbent upon the Federal judiciary to settle the question of whether a State can DEFY the lawful authority of the Federal government, nor upon the Department of Justice to prove the same point by a suit.

No State can defy Federal law, refuse to enforce it, hinder the operations of Federal agents, seize Federal property in any way, most certainly with a rifle, or cease to acknowledge the supremacy of the Federal government in its lawful conduct of the powers granted to it by the all the people of this nation.

And if you want a plain prohibition: "No State shall enter into any alliance, treaty or confederation." - Article I, U. S. Constitution.

Which is the SUPREME LAW OF THIS LAND.

To say that you can leave the Union and then do these things is criminal sedition and any and all attempts to defy the US government by brandishing arms is[color="#FF0000"] TREASON[/color].
[color="#AFEEEE"]"Liberty and Union, now and forever, one and inseparable!"[/color]

-Daniel Webster



[color="#FFA07A"]"C'mon, boys, we got the damn Yankees on the run!"[/color]

-General Joseph Wheeler, US Army, serving at Santiago in 1898



RULES

(A) When in doubt, agree with Ace.

(B) Pull my reins up sharply when needed, for I am a spirited thoroughbred and forget to turn at the post sometimes.





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Ol' Choctaw
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Sun Mar 02, 2014 2:53 pm

You should remember to treat history in the context of the times.

There had been moves for various states to secede from quite early on. First in New England, iirc.

We are exploring history. We have to know all the ins and outs that made people act and think as they did. Not judge them with hindsight and opinions made popular after the war or from political speeches justifying one side vs. another.

Buchanan was upset too. It happened on his watch. Did he start shooting when people came to expel Federal troops?

There were many causes for the war. Quit a bit of it was pure sectionalism.

Also, remember that the view of the Federal and State government roles were reversed after the war.

People were loyal to states first and the country afterwards. The states banded together for mutual protection. From outside forces and from one another.

Taking the post war history as written by the victors does not provide understanding of what lead people to engage in such a bloody conflict

Your hind sight does not provide that.

My view is that two wrongs don’t make a right. The standard view only shows one side, and even that is scrubbed clean of most of the abuses.

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GraniteStater
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Sun Mar 02, 2014 5:25 pm

There weren't two wrongs. We're not exploring history. The record is clear beyond a shadow of a doubt.

Lincoln was elected. SC defied and abrogated the laws of the US & employed force to do so. Six other States had joined her in this unconstitutional & illegal usurpation of lawful authority by 4 March 1861. On 12 April 1861, this cabal fired on a Federal military installation and the flag of the United States. Four other States, instead of supporting the Federal government and adhering to the most solemn oaths and obligations, joined this combination in a war upon the national government and the good people of the United States of America.

Eleven states decided to kill their fellow citizens rather than abide by an electoral result.

There are few things in human affairs that are more despicable and dishonorable, especially if one considers this to be the "noblest experiment in self-government ever attempted."

All to retain a perceived "right" to enslave their fellow men.

On 17 March 1976 I took an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States. I was discharged from active duty with the regular armed forces of this nation. I served in the National Guard and have had no military obligation for decades.

I, however, still feel that I do have an obligation, for the oath I took has no language about its termination. I consider myself to be bound by that oath and I will go to my last day supporting and defending the Constitution of the United States.

Honi soit qui mal y pense.
[color="#AFEEEE"]"Liberty and Union, now and forever, one and inseparable!"[/color]

-Daniel Webster



[color="#FFA07A"]"C'mon, boys, we got the damn Yankees on the run!"[/color]

-General Joseph Wheeler, US Army, serving at Santiago in 1898



RULES

(A) When in doubt, agree with Ace.

(B) Pull my reins up sharply when needed, for I am a spirited thoroughbred and forget to turn at the post sometimes.





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GraniteStater
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Sun Mar 02, 2014 6:51 pm

In a much more charitable vein, I would like to close by saying that Grant, Lee, Longstreet, Lincoln before he was taken from us, and other well known leaders who had served on both sides, knew the importance of forgiveness and the need to bind up the nation's wounds.

Grant set the example at Appomattox; Lee, by his absolute refusal to countenance the continuance of the conflict through guerrilla warfare or further resistance to Federal authority.

Years and years ago, when I was a young boy, there was TV special on the Civil War. John Wayne hosted. At the very end, he asked a question and answered it: "When was the Civil War over? Soon, I hope."

Amen.
[color="#AFEEEE"]"Liberty and Union, now and forever, one and inseparable!"[/color]

-Daniel Webster



[color="#FFA07A"]"C'mon, boys, we got the damn Yankees on the run!"[/color]

-General Joseph Wheeler, US Army, serving at Santiago in 1898



RULES

(A) When in doubt, agree with Ace.

(B) Pull my reins up sharply when needed, for I am a spirited thoroughbred and forget to turn at the post sometimes.





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pgr
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Sun Mar 02, 2014 7:49 pm

khbynum wrote:While I'm at it, here's another hypothetical question. What decisions/events/political figures could have prevented the war? Short or long term?


None in my view. Lincoln's assessment that a house divided cannot stand, and the house would either become all free or all slave. The republic was able to maintain a rough compromise until the Mexican War, but the future of the territories to the west ruptured the ability to continue the process.

By 1850, the two sides dug their heels over the extension of slavery. The Republicans of course made the exclusion of slavery from the territories the center of their party. But Southerners were equally focused on extending slavery across all the new territories. Thus, you had the conflicts in bloody Kansas, the Ostand Manifesto calling for the annexation of Cuba as a slave state. Finally, the South got the Dred Scott Decision, that declared that congress had no power to restrict slavery in federal territories and that the Fifth Amendment barred any law that would deprive a slaveholder of his property, such as his slaves, upon the incidence of migration into free territory. Essentially, the Supreme Court mandated that slave owner rights had to be respected everywhere in the United States.

By 1860, where is the room for compromise? The South had received everything possible to protect slavery: constitutional guarantees, fugitive slave laws, and a Supreme Court decision protecting their propriety everywhere in the United States. Even the "Anti-Slavery" Lincoln always stated in the campaign he had no authority or interest in interfering with slavery where it already existed. And despite all of this, the South splits from the Union because they were unhappy with the election result.

Say what you will about self-determination, every government has the obligation to enforce its laws over its territory. Secession is an act of rebellion against the central authority, and Lincoln was obligated to resist if the Federal Government was going to survive (otherwise he is Gorbachev presiding over a state that no longer exists).

Let's assume that Lincoln ceded to Southern aggression to get by force of arms what they couldn't by the vote, would that have avoided war? I doubt it. What would he do when the South presses its claims on Kentucky and Missouri that have dueling Pro-Anti slavery governments? Do New Mexico, Arizona, and Southern California go to the South or the North? How does the South react to the continuing flood of run away slaves going to the North, and Northern abolitionists like John Brown supporting slave revolt in the South? How does the North (along with France and Britain) react to a CSA that attempts to annex Cuba and Mexico, ans certain fire-eaters pushed for? Any one of these issues could have led to war.

Finally, even after the shooting started, there were attempts at a negotiated settlement. However, the North would only accept the preservation of the Union and the South would only accept independence. And it's not just Lincoln or Davis that controlled things, these were the positions of both governments, and congresses. Had Lincoln simply acquiesced to Southern demands his Republican congress would have impeached him. (Look what they did to Andrew Johnson).

19th century America was defined by Manifest Destiny and the creation of a continental empire. The Civil War decided if that space would be slave or free, and it is a conflict that had to be resolved, and since both sides were willing to wage war over the issue, conflict was inevitable IMO.

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Calvin809
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Sun Mar 02, 2014 8:13 pm

I think some of the founding fathers before the constitution was even accepted predicted that the U.S. Constitution the way it was written would lead to a civil war. Read the Antifederalist Papers. They were right about a lot of what they predicted would occur under the Constitution.

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