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S/O south seceding - this is probably a dumb question, but...


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When the founders of this country wrote the Consitution and it was ratified by the states, they allowed slavery to exist. They made a provision for the slave trade to end after so many years (25?), but they did not make a provision to eliminate slavery altogether. That necessarily means that slavery was Consitutional. Why didn't the folks who wanted it outlawed go through the means provided by the Constitution to do away with it? I mean, why didn't they do it lawfully by either amending the Constitution or passing a law that did away with the institution?

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The 13th amendment to the US Constitution abolished slavery.

 

Amendment 13 - Slavery Abolished. Ratified 12/6/1865. History

1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

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Yes, but that was after a war that was supposedly fought to end slavery. Why was a war fought when they could just have amended the Consitution?

 

I think the simplest answer is that slavery was only one issue among many which fell under the category of "states' rights" and was one of the most visible and volatile.

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The southern states started seceding as soon as Lincoln was elected. SC seceded on Dec. 20, 1860 long before Lincoln even became president in March, 1861. They didn't give the abolishionists any time to try to amend the constitution, they immediately seceded.

 

They had decades to try to amend the Constitution. I mean, why didn't they go through the process all the preceding decades?

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The southern states would have blocked any attempt to amend the constitution and the abolishionists didn't have the votes. In fact, they didn't have the votes in 1860 either. Lincoln wasn't an abolishionist, but he was anti-slavery enough for SC (and the rest of the confederate states) to secede. As an interesting aside, the Emancipation proclamation didn't free slaves in Union states in part because Lincoln was afraid Maryland would secede and Washington, D.C. would surrounded by hostile territory.

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The southern states would have blocked any attempt to amend the constitution and the abolishionists didn't have the votes. In fact, they didn't have the votes in 1860 either. Lincoln wasn't an abolishionist, but he was anti-slavery enough for SC (and the rest of the confederate states) to secede. As an interesting aside, the Emancipation proclamation didn't free slaves in Union states in part because Lincoln was afraid Maryland would secede and Washington, D.C. would surrounded by hostile territory.

 

Ahh, now this makes sense. We recently read about William Wilberforce and how he ended the slave trade and slave ownership in Parliament, so I always wondered why it wasn't done that way here. The slave owners were compensated monetarily (not sure how they figured exactly how much to pay them) in England - I wonder why that wasn't considered an option here. Or was it?

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It is my understanding that the Govt was uneasy about outright slavery abolishment for economic concerns more than human rights concerns. For example, the South was responsible for major cotton exports to Britain and the Federal Govt was worried that angering the South could result in a conflict with Britain that they were not prepared for. Economic concerns for both the North and the South were the driving forces for avoiding abolishment. After the Civil War, the govt. was able to take advantage of their winning position and at that point slavery abolishment became part of the reconstruction plan.

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My understanding is that the abolitionists didn't have enough support to amend the constitution when Lincoln was elected, however he was sympathetic to their cause so there was a better chance with him as president. That is part of why SC seceded before he was inaugurated. There were other issues as well though.

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The southern states depended on slave labor to produce their major crops (cotton was basically impossible to produce without slave/starvation wage labor) and the US didn't have enough people to drive wages down enough to provide cheap agricultural labor. England's industries didn't need slaves, they could rely on a stock of native displaced workers that had been thrown off their land by the enclosure movement. There were very few slaves in England, they were in the British overseas colonies in the Caribbean, so Wilberforce didn't have to answer the question of what to do with freed slaves who would be living alongside their former masters.

 

All in all, getting slavery abolished in England was a much easier task than getting it abolished in the United States. It also became an easier task in Brazil after the destruction of the American Civil War.

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The southern states depended on slave labor to produce their major crops (cotton was basically impossible to produce without slave/starvation wage labor) and the US didn't have enough people to drive wages down enough to provide cheap agricultural labor. England's industries didn't need slaves, they could rely on a stock of native displaced workers that had been thrown off their land by the enclosure movement. There were very few slaves in England, they were in the British overseas colonies in the Caribbean, so Wilberforce didn't have to answer the question of what to do with freed slaves who would be living alongside their former masters.

 

All in all, getting slavery abolished in England was a much easier task than getting it abolished in the United States. It also became an easier task in Brazil after the destruction of the American Civil War.

 

Thanks, this makes sense too. I guess they really were two entirely different things.

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And Lincoln, as well as many others, didn't really feel that slaves could be free and equal in the new union. Lincoln was instrumental in assisting repatriation to Liberia.....

 

http://www.ihr.org/jhr/v13/v13n5p-4_Morgan.html

 

http://www.historycooperative.org/journals/jala/14.2/vorenberg.html

 

A book that we really like about the resettlement to Liberia (which began before the Civil War, about 1847, I believe) is:

 

This Our Dark Country: The American Settlers of Liberia, Catherine Reef

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There are lots of good books on Lincoln. I'll throw out Gore Vidal's Lincoln:

 

http://www.amazon.com/Lincoln-American-Chronicle-Gore-Vidal/dp/0375708766/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1295665338&sr=8-1

 

This is a very good read and you'll learn lots about Lincoln and the Civil War. It's definitely not hagiography.

 

Another good read that's non-fiction is Doris Kearns Goodwin's Team of Rivals:

 

http://www.amazon.com/Team-Rivals-Political-Abraham-Lincoln/dp/0743270754/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1295665445&sr=1-1

 

This is just such a fascinating topic!

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There are lots of good books on Lincoln. I'll throw out Gore Vidal's Lincoln:

 

http://www.amazon.com/Lincoln-American-Chronicle-Gore-Vidal/dp/0375708766/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1295665338&sr=8-1

 

This is a very good read and you'll learn lots about Lincoln and the Civil War. It's definitely not hagiography.

 

Another good read that's non-fiction is Doris Kearns Goodwin's Team of Rivals:

 

http://www.amazon.com/Team-Rivals-Political-Abraham-Lincoln/dp/0743270754/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1295665445&sr=1-1

 

This is just such a fascinating topic!

 

Yes, it fascinates me too. I'm going to go check if my library has these. Thanks!

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And Lincoln, as well as many others, didn't really feel that slaves could be free and equal in the new union. Lincoln was instrumental in assisting repatriation to Liberia.....

 

http://www.ihr.org/jhr/v13/v13n5p-4_Morgan.html

 

http://www.historycooperative.org/journals/jala/14.2/vorenberg.html

 

A book that we really like about the resettlement to Liberia (which began before the Civil War, about 1847, I believe) is:

 

This Our Dark Country: The American Settlers of Liberia, Catherine Reef

 

Thanks - off to do some reading. :)

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Even though importation of slaves into the U.S. was banned as of January 1, 1808, this wasn't really considered problematic because those in the business felt that they could easily overcome this by "breeding" the slaves already in the country. Please understand that this is a part of slavery that I didn't know about until the first time I visited the Freedom Musuem in Cincinnati, which is dedicated to slavery issues. It simply makes me sick to think of it. They have on display there a huge metal cage (pen) that was used for "breeding". As if they were livestock.... ugh.....

 

While few southerners actually owned slaves - only about 25%, and almost 90% of those owned fewer than 20 - those large plantations that kept the majority were the power brokers of their day. They were locked into a dance for cotton with Great Britain. Their entire economy was basically driven by cotton sales to the British Empire, which was undergoing the industrial revolution at the time with cloth manufacturing booming. The Brits were their lenders, advancing them goods and money for crops, at interest. It was a "company store" situation for the rich and famous. They owed their souls to Britain and could not break out of the cycle. Ever more cotton was required each year to keep up with what they owed for their imports, etc. They had to produce in order to survive.

 

The development of the cotton gin actually only created a need for more slaves to help with the other aspects of processing cotton, since it could pick seeds like 50 workers...... The gin didn't do everything. It just picked seeds.....

 

The majority of the establishment of British business supported the south and those who lived in the south felt certain that they would come to their aid in various ways once agressions in the US came to a boiling point. They even attempted an ill-omened embargo in an attempt to hurry them along. They didn't know that Britain had been using bumper crops for the past few years to warehouse about a year's supply of cotton..... They were dropped like a hot potato.....

 

Here's one site I found that talks about the economics of the war, I'm not sure what it details. We have a set of books at home that talk about this, but I'm not sure where to look in them for an excerpt!

 

http://www.historycentral.com/CivilWar/AMERICA/Economics.html

 

Oh! I found this and it talks about it:

 

http://www.civilwarhome.com/kingcotton.htm

 

And here's an interesting Libertarian viewpoint on the Civil War:

 

"The rallying call in the North at the beginning of the war was "preserve the Union," not "free the slaves." Although certainly a contentious political issue and detested by abolitionists, in 1861 slavery nevertheless was not a major public issue. Protestant Americans in the North were more concerned about the growing number of Catholic immigrants than they were about slavery. In his First Inaugural Address, given five weeks before the war began, Lincoln reassured slaveholders that he would continue to enforce the Fugitive Slave Act."

 

http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig2/miller1.html

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The book Team of Rivals provides great insight into the complexities of this question. It was very readable & insightful.

 

It's been a few months since I read it, and my brain is full of holes that let all important info drain out quickly. . . I am completely confident that I have made errors/omissions/etc below. . .

 

But one vital insight I recall is that the conflict over EXPANDING slavery to new western states was the kicker. The slave states were dying . . . white pop'ns were declining (slave populations still growing) whereas the free states were thriving/growing. The Missouri compromise had held for many years, that new northern states would not have slavery, but southern ones could. The imminent statehood of several new northern states was going to tip the N-S / free/slave state balance of power in the gov't. A coalition of slave states & their apologists/supporters pushed for the rejection of the Missouri compromise & made progress towards that. Lincoln & other anti-slavery leaders felt it was unconsionable to allow slavery to GROW by allowing it in the new states. The slavery proponents knew that if they didn't maintain a balance of power between slave & nonslave states by allowing slavery into more of the new states. . .

 

Also, to varying degrees, the non-slave states were becoming more and more resistent to following the increasingly aggressive slavery-protecting laws that their constituents had passed through congress (prior to Lincoln's election). The Fugitive Slave Act required not only police/gov't agents in free states to cooperate with capturing & returning slaves, but required EVERY citizen of every state to do so, going so far as requiring them to participate in searches/captures. Many citizens and statesmen rejected this infringement on those citizens own freedom & their religious/moral/human rights.

 

So, upon Lincoln's election, the slave states soon seceded, to reject the very thing you are mentioning: the proper & legal process of the gov't, over-time, through the slow restraint of slavery to those states where it already was established but not allowing it to grow to new territories. . . ending slavery.

 

It was the south that seceded & rejected the due process of the constitutional government.

Edited by StephanieZ
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The book Team of Rivals provides great insight into the complexities of this question. It was very readable & insightful.

 

It's been a few months since I read it, and my brain is full of holes that let all important info drain out quickly. . . I am completely confident that I have made errors/omissions/etc below. . .

 

But one vital insight I recall is that the conflict over EXPANDING slavery to new western states was the kicker. The slave states were dying . . . white pop'ns were declining (slave populations still growing) whereas the free states were thriving/growing. The Missouri compromise had held for many years, that new northern states would not have slavery, but southern ones could. The imminent statehood of several new northern states was going to tip the N-S / free/slave state balance of power in the gov't. A coalition of slave states & their apologists/supporters pushed for the rejection of the Missouri compromise & made progress towards that. Lincoln & other anti-slavery leaders felt it was unconsionable to allow slavery to GROW by allowing it in the new states. The slavery proponents knew that if they didn't maintain a balance of power between slave & nonslave states by allowing slavery into more of the new states. . .

 

Also, to varying degrees, the non-slave states were becoming more and more resistent to following the increasingly aggressive slavery-protecting laws that their constituents had passed through congress (prior to Lincoln's election). The Fugitive Slave Act required not only police/gov't agents in free states to cooperate with capturing & returning slaves, but required EVERY citizen of every state to do so, going so far as requiring them to participate in searches/captures. Many citizens and statesmen rejected this infringement on those citizens own freedom & their religious/moral/human rights.

 

So, upon Lincoln's election, the slave states soon seceded, to reject the very thing you are mentioning: the proper & legal process of the gov't, over-time, through the slow restraint of slavery to those states where it already was established but not allowing it to grow to new territories. . . ending slavery.

 

It was the south that seceded & rejected the due process of the constitutional government.

 

Just so everyone knows - I in no way think slavery is ok, not now, not then. I'm just trying to figure out the mindset of the people at the time.

 

I"m not sure I see how seceding is rejecting due process. Although I do see more clearly now the idea of expanding slavery as being a huge issue - not so much keeping slavery where it already existed.

 

When the states adopted the Constitution it was with the understanding that they were voluntarily joining a union that they could just as easily decide to unjoin (pretty sure that's not a word, lol.) So then, why didn't Lincoln just let the seceding states go? Why so much bloodshed when he could just as easily have said, adios, see ya', good luck with that? I've never understood the rallying cry of Save the Union. Why? Who cares? What's so important about all the states being in a union that it was worth all those men dying?

 

I can understand folks fighting to end slavery, but that didn't seem to be the biggest issue at the start of the war. It didn't seem to be any part of the beginning of the war - it became an issue later. So what was it at the start of the whole thing that incited such a response from Lincoln? Seems like he kind of overreacted and then later on, in a sly political kind of way, latched on to the abolitionist's fervor and was able to gain support from folks in the north by telling them the war was about helping the poor mistreated slaves. Wasn't that rather deceptive?

 

Again, I'm glad that the slaves were freed. I'm glad we do not have slavery any longer. I wish the founders had addressed the issue from the very beginning. It boggles my mind that they could spend so much time going over a document about men's freedom and skip over an entire population. Makes me nuts actually.

 

We have the movie "A More Perfect Union" which shows these guys actually discussing this issue and IIRC the reason they didn't abolish slavery then was because the southern states wouldn't have signed the Constitution. What I don't understand is why they cared so much. So the south doesn't sign - let them go. Why was it so important then and in the 1860s?

Edited by Kathleen in VA
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Just so everyone knows - I in no way think slavery is ok, not now, not then. I'm just trying to figure out the mindset of the people at the time.

 

I"m not sure I see how seceding is rejecting due process. Although I do see more clearly now the idea of expanding slavery as being a huge issue - not so much keeping slavery where it already existed.

 

When the states adopted the Constitution it was with the understanding that they were voluntarily joining a union that they could just as easily decide to unjoin (pretty sure that's not a word, lol.) So then, why didn't Lincoln just let the seceding states go? Why so much bloodshed when he could just as easily have said, adios, see ya', good luck with that? I've never understood the rallying cry of Save the Union. Why? Who cares? What's so important about all the states being in a union that it was worth all those men dying?

 

I can understand folks fighting to end slavery, but that didn't seem to be the biggest issue at the start of the war. It didn't seem to be any part of the beginning of the war - it became an issue later. So what was it at the start of the whole thing that incited such a response from Lincoln? Seems like he kind of overreacted and then later on, in a sly political kind of way, latched on to the abolitionist's fervor and was able to gain support from folks in the north by telling them the war was about helping the poor mistreated slaves. Wasn't that rather deceptive?

 

Again, I'm glad that the slaves were freed. I'm glad we do not have slavery any longer. I wish the founders had addressed the issue from the very beginning. It boggles my mind that they could spend so much time going over a document about men's freedom and skip over an entire population. Makes me nuts actually.

 

We have the movie "A More Perfect Union" which shows these guys actually discussing this isse and IIRC the reason they didn't abolish slavery then was because the southern states wouldn't have signed the Constitution. What I don't understand is why they cared so much. So the south doesn't sign - let them go. Why was it so important then and in the 1860s?

 

Because they needed what the South had in terms of natural resources.

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Because they needed what the South had in terms of natural resources.

 

So you're saying the North fought over money, not slavery? Thousands of men died because the North needed cotton? OK, that's pretty infuriating. Why didn't they just let them go and treat them like a foreign country? It's not as if the cotton was just going to disappear into thin air - they could've established trade relations and still have gotten their stinkin' cotton. It just makes me so sad when I watch Ken Burns mini-series (we own it) and I see the disruption to personal lives, kids losing their dads, women losing their husbands, etc. and all because of MONEY?????? Geesh.

 

I realize I probably have a very simplistic view of this and it's all over now and they'd all be dead by now anyway, but still, it makes me sad. It still affects us today.

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I"m not sure I see how seceding is rejecting due process. Although I do see more clearly now the idea of expanding slavery as being a huge issue - not so much keeping slavery where it already existed.

 

A lot of it was over the Fugitive Slave Act, which required Northern states to return runaway slaves. Many states that did not support slavery did not enforce this and some Southern Secession documents this is listed as a primary reason for secession.

 

It wasn't about the Southern "State's Rights" but that the South wanted their property rights to extend to Free States.

 

Also, the admission of Kansas as a state was a huge source of contention. The south did not want more free states with representatives in Congress. "Bleeding Kansas" was some of the first shots of what would become the Civil War. Kansas was not admitted to the Union until after the Civil War began.

 

I can understand folks fighting to end slavery, but that didn't seem to be the biggest issue at the start of the war. It didn't seem to be any part of the beginning of the war - it became an issue later. So what was it at the start of the whole thing that incited such a response from Lincoln? Seems like he kind of overreacted and then later on, in a sly political kind of way, latched on to the abolitionist's fervor and was able to gain support from folks in the north by telling them the war was about helping the poor mistreated slaves. Wasn't that rather deceptive?

 

 

Some of it was about slavery but it wasn't the issue in all areas, in some areas it was "the issue." IMO it depends what soldier you were talking about at the time. I know some of my relatives joined because of and in opposition to Quantrill's Raid, which was about slavery. Just as soldiers now all have different reasons for fighting a war the Civil War soldiers also had different reasons.

 

We have the movie "A More Perfect Union" which shows these guys actually discussing this isse and IIRC the reason they didn't abolish slavery then was because the southern states wouldn't have signed the Constitution. What I don't understand is why they cared so much. So the south doesn't sign - let them go. Why was it so important then and in the 1860s?

 

It would have been more difficult to fight a war with England without the South at that particular time.

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What war? The Revolutionary War was over at that time. Do you mean in case they had to fight another war?

 

Yes, I was referring to the Revolution

 

This site lists some information regarding South Carolina and the Revolution. According to the site over 130 battles were fought in SC.

 

http://www.sciway.net/hist/periods/revolwar.html

 

The Confederates attacked Fort Sumter in South Carolina. Lincoln asked for volunteers to recover "Federal property." More states seceeded and the North blockaded the ports.

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When the states adopted the Constitution it was with the understanding that they were voluntarily joining a union that they could just as easily decide to unjoin (pretty sure that's not a word, lol.) So then, why didn't Lincoln just let the seceding states go? Why so much bloodshed when he could just as easily have said, adios, see ya', good luck with that? I've never understood the rallying cry of Save the Union. Why? Who cares? What's so important about all the states being in a union that it was worth all those men dying?

 

You do understand that the first shots were fired by the CSA and were fired upon and captured a US military post? Lincoln's first act was to ask for a group of volunteers from each state to recapture the military post in question. We didn't just let it go because there is no way the CSA was going to just let it go. The CSA wanted the fight. The US fought for the same reason we didn't just let the Taliban abide in Afghanistan (half a world away) after 9/11.

 

I can understand folks fighting to end slavery, but that didn't seem to be the biggest issue at the start of the war. It didn't seem to be any part of the beginning of the war - it became an issue later. So what was it at the start of the whole thing that incited such a response from Lincoln? Seems like he kind of overreacted and then later on, in a sly political kind of way, latched on to the abolitionist's fervor and was able to gain support from folks in the north by telling them the war was about helping the poor mistreated slaves. Wasn't that rather deceptive?

 

I think this is sort of a misleading statement about Lincoln. Lincoln never latched on to any abolitionist fervor. He was anti-slavery from a *personal* perspective. However, he understood that from a political standpoint things take time and he intended to do what was necessary to keep the union whole. Ending slavery in the South was considered punishment for secession. It was never a real rallying cry for the union army. The one group for whom it somewhat became a factor? Returning union soldiers and sailors who fought with and/or were helped by freed slaves during the war.

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A lot of it was over the Fugitive Slave Act, which required Northern states to return runaway slaves. Many states that did not support slavery did not enforce this and some Southern Secession documents this is listed as a primary reason for secession.

 

It wasn't about the Southern "State's Rights" but that the South wanted their property rights to extend to Free States.

 

So why didn't Congress just repeal the Fugitive Slave Act? Wouldn't that have solved that problem? Also, if the North had let the South go, then the North wouldn't have to do anything about runaway slaves.

 

Also, the admission of Kansas as a state was a huge source of contention. The south did not want more free states with representatives in Congress. "Bleeding Kansas" was some of the first shots of what would become the Civil War. Kansas was not admitted to the Union until after the Civil War began.

 

I understand how they would feel that way as far as the balance of power goes given their dispostion at the time, but if the North let the south go they could admit any number of free states without any argument. Wouldn't that have been better than engaging in warfare?

 

Some of it was about slavery but it wasn't the issue in all areas, in some areas it was "the issue." IMO it depends what soldier you were talking about at the time. I know some of my relatives joined because of and in opposition to Quantrill's Raid, which was about slavery. Just as soldiers now all have different reasons for fighting a war the Civil War soldiers also had different reasons.

 

This I get because I know it's that way now as well. But if Lincoln hadn't called for troops in the first place and just let the South go then that would have been the end of that right? I mean, there weren't that many people in the North who would have cared enough about slavery to initiate a conflict over it if Lincoln had just let them go. Or am I missing something?

 

It would have been more difficult to fight a war with England without the South at that particular time.

 

 

I am seriously confused about why Lincoln just didn't l let the South go. He could have saved so many lives. He could have just treated the CSA as another country and continued to do business with them. Was human life that cheap to him? I do not get it at all.

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You do understand that the first shots were fired by the CSA and were fired upon and captured a US military post? Lincoln's first act was to ask for a group of volunteers from each state to recapture the military post in question. We didn't just let it go because there is no way the CSA was going to just let it go. The CSA wanted the fight.

 

 

You do understand that that unnamed "post" you refer to was Ft Sumter in SOUTH CAROLINA. If South carolina left the Union it was reasonable to expect that the Union would leave Charleston Harbor rather than maintain a fort that could deny access of S. Carolina's major port. To fire on a fort that was to receive resupplies and that stood (in the Carolinian view) on Carolinian land is a little different than say the first shots at Pearl.

 

The CSA would have let it go. Once Union military forces were evacuated from the Southern States there would have been no war. What reference are you using to indicate that the CSA would have fought AFTER the evacuation of Union military posts in the South?

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You do understand that the first shots were fired by the CSA and were fired upon and captured a US military post? Lincoln's first act was to ask for a group of volunteers from each state to recapture the military post in question. We didn't just let it go because there is no way the CSA was going to just let it go. The CSA wanted the fight. The US fought for the same reason we didn't just let the Taliban abide in Afghanistan (half a world away) after 9/11.

 

I don't see how you can compare Ft. Sumter and 9/11. No one died in the conflict at Ft. Sumter. The land the fort was on was in Southern territory. Again, if Lincoln had just pulled out his troops from the fort, the whole thing would have just fizzled out.

 

 

 

I think this is sort of a misleading statement about Lincoln. Lincoln never latched on to any abolitionist fervor. He was anti-slavery from a *personal* perspective. However, he understood that from a political standpoint things take time and he intended to do what was necessary to keep the union whole. Ending slavery in the South was considered punishment for secession. It was never a real rallying cry for the union army. The one group for whom it somewhat became a factor? Returning union soldiers and sailors who fought with and/or were helped by freed slaves during the war.

 

I've always heard he didn't care one way or the other. I've read quotes of him saying he had no interest in doing away with slavery.

 

My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that. What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union; and what I forbear, I forbear because I do not believe it would help to save the Union. I shall do less whenever I shall believe what I am doing hurts the cause, and I shall do more whenever I shall believe doing more will help the cause.

 

How is ending slavery a punishment for the South? If the South considered itself no longer in the Union why would anything Lincoln proclaim have any effect until after the war? I mean, we could make all kinds of proclamations about anything we like for any number of foreign countries, but what effect do they have until we actually control that country?

 

I'm not trying to be contentious - although it might appear that way - I just think Lincoln could have been more of a peacemaker and made more of an effort to avoid war. He's the one that seemed itching to fight and to me, it seems like it was about money not helping slaves.

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I am seriously confused about why Lincoln just didn't l let the South go. He could have saved so many lives. He could have just treated the CSA as another country and continued to do business with them. Was human life that cheap to him? I do not get it at all.

 

Money. If the South were allowed to secede, the North would have had a very porous border through which imported goods could be purchased (illegally) fairly easily at prices that would have undercut Northern factories. The South also had raw materials Northern factories needed. A tariff would need to be paid on goods brought in from another country which would raise the price of the goods significantly. The South tended to purchase more imported goods from Europe than the North. Those goods were subject to tariffs that the North would lose if the South was allowed to seceded.

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Yes, I was referring to the Revolution

 

This site lists some information regarding South Carolina and the Revolution. According to the site over 130 battles were fought in SC.

 

http://www.sciway.net/hist/periods/revolwar.html

 

The Confederates attacked Fort Sumter in South Carolina. Lincoln asked for volunteers to recover "Federal property." More states seceeded and the North blockaded the ports.

 

I'm missing something here. It seems like you are talking about two different wars here. When the Constitution was being drafted the RW had already been fought. There was no need to worry about the South becoming part of the union for the purpose of fighting England then - the war was over.

 

You know, the two generals who commanded either side in the Ft. Sumter conflict were actually friends who knew each other from West Point. They were very civil in their dealings over the surrender/non-surrender of the Fort and if the Union general had just gathered his men and left the Fort, which was on SC property btw, then that would have solved that problem.

 

I'm not saying that Lincoln couldn't have made a case for standing his ground since it was a union fort after all - I'm just wondering what was so stinking important about that fort that he had to enter a war over it. IMO, he could have backed off and saved a lot of lives in the process. He seemed determine to enter a conflict when he clearly did not have to - he could have been much more diplomatic about the whole thing.

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You do understand that that unnamed "post" you refer to was Ft Sumter in SOUTH CAROLINA. If South carolina left the Union it was reasonable to expect that the Union would leave Charleston Harbor rather than maintain a fort that could deny access of S. Carolina's major port. To fire on a fort that was to receive resupplies and that stood (in the Carolinian view) on Carolinian land is a little different than say the first shots at Pearl.

 

The CSA would have let it go. Once Union military forces were evacuated from the Southern States there would have been no war. What reference are you using to indicate that the CSA would have fought AFTER the evacuation of Union military posts in the South?

 

If a state seceeded now then the forts in those states would still be owned by the US.

 

If they then chose to attack said fort-on-federal-property there is NO WAY that we wouldn't retaliate.

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I'm missing something here. It seems like you are talking about two different wars here. When the Constitution was being drafted the RW had already been fought. There was no need to worry about the South becoming part of the union for the purpose of fighting England then - the war was over.

 

You know, the two generals who commanded either side in the Ft. Sumter conflict were actually friends who knew each other from West Point. They were very civil in their dealings over the surrender/non-surrender of the Fort and if the Union general had just gathered his men and left the Fort, which was on SC property btw, then that would have solved that problem.

 

I'm not saying that Lincoln couldn't have made a case for standing his ground since it was a union fort after all - I'm just wondering what was so stinking important about that fort that he had to enter a war over it. IMO, he could have backed off and saved a lot of lives in the process. He seemed determine to enter a conflict when he clearly did not have to - he could have been much more diplomatic about the whole thing.

 

I did mention two different wars.

 

US Forts are F-E-D-E-R-A-L property, not state. They attacked FEDERAL property.

 

The Revolution is applicable when discussing South Carolina because South Carolina *only* joined the colonies because slavery was included in the constitution. The South Carolina secession documents discuss that.

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You do understand that that unnamed "post" you refer to was Ft Sumter in SOUTH CAROLINA. If South carolina left the Union it was reasonable to expect that the Union would leave Charleston Harbor rather than maintain a fort that could deny access of S. Carolina's major port. To fire on a fort that was to receive resupplies and that stood (in the Carolinian view) on Carolinian land is a little different than say the first shots at Pearl.

 

So, we should not have military bases in countries or places outside the United States? It was federal property. Hawaii wasn't a state when we were fired upon at Pearl Harbor. Why didn't we just let Hawaii go to the Japanese? This is a rhetorical question, I know why. I also understand there were reason the US didn't just let Ft. Sumter go.

 

The CSA would have let it go. Once Union military forces were evacuated from the Southern States there would have been no war. What reference are you using to indicate that the CSA would have fought AFTER the evacuation of Union military posts in the South?

 

Logical fallacy. You cannot prove a negative. What source are you using to prove that they would have?

 

I've always heard he didn't care one way or the other. I've read quotes of him saying he had no interest in doing away with slavery.

 

My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that. What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union; and what I forbear, I forbear because I do not believe it would help to save the Union. I shall do less whenever I shall believe what I am doing hurts the cause, and I shall do more whenever I shall believe doing more will help the cause.

 

In that SAME letter he also said "I have here stated my purpose according to my view of official duty; and I intend no modification of my oft-expressed personal wish that all men every where could be free."

 

How is ending slavery a punishment for the South? If the South considered itself no longer in the Union why would anything Lincoln proclaim have any effect until after the war? I mean, we could make all kinds of proclamations about anything we like for any number of foreign countries, but what effect do they have until we actually control that country?

 

Because the union expected to win the war, which they did.

 

Money. If the South were allowed to secede, the North would have had a very porous border through which imported goods could be purchased (illegally) fairly easily at prices that would have undercut Northern factories. The South also had raw materials Northern factories needed. A tariff would need to be paid on goods brought in from another country which would raise the price of the goods significantly. The South tended to purchase more imported goods from Europe than the North. Those goods were subject to tariffs that the North would lose if the South was allowed to seceded.

 

Also true, there is never only one reason or cause for any war.

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If a state seceeded now then the forts in those states would still be owned by the US.

 

If they then chose to attack said fort-on-federal-property there is NO WAY that we wouldn't retaliate.

 

It wasn't as if the Confederate troops just gathered together and said, "Let's go attack Ft. Sumter!" They asked the federal troops to leave calmly and quietly - the fort was on their land after all. All the Union had to do was leave when they were asked to. The CSA gave them lots of time to decide and Lincoln should have just said, "Ok, guys, just let them have their land/fort." He could easily have pre-empted any kind of attack.

 

I'm thinking of this purely from a "let's try to approach this whole thing from a non-warfare point of view." Why didn't Lincoln try harder to avoid war? What was one silly little fort - it wasn't like the CSA raided the place and killed soldiers ruthlessly. If that had been the case, then I would definitely understand the need for retaliation. It wasn't like that. at. all.

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If a state seceeded now then the forts in those states would still be owned by the US.

 

If they then chose to attack said fort-on-federal-property there is NO WAY that we wouldn't retaliate.

 

I did not say that we would not retaliate, I said that the Carolinian view was certainly understandable.

 

Members of Lincoln's own cabinet supported withdrawal from Sumter.

 

The battle at Sumter and Lincoln's calling up troops arguably hastened the secession of Virginia which until that point had a sizeable pro-Union sentiment.

 

The idea that the CSA WANTED war is laughable (actually the poster said that they "wanted the fight"). They WANTED independence and would fight for it but I see no evidence that they WANTED war if the Union withdrew from the Southern States.

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It wasn't as if the Confederate troops just gathered together and said, "Let's go attack Ft. Sumter!" They asked the federal troops to leave calmly and quietly - the fort was on their land after all. All the Union had to do was leave when they were asked to. The CSA gave them lots of time to decide and Lincoln should have just said, "Ok, guys, just let them have their land/fort." He could easily have pre-empted any kind of attack.

 

I'm thinking of this purely from a "let's try to approach this whole thing from a non-warfare point of view." Why didn't Lincoln try harder to avoid war? What was one silly little fort - it wasn't like the CSA raided the place and killed soldiers ruthlessly. If that had been the case, then I would definitely understand the need for retaliation. It wasn't like that. at. all.

 

I really don't understand where you are coming from. Why couldn't the south have waited to see what was going to happen rather than seceding? Why did the south pick a fight it could not win? Why do you see it as Lincoln's duty to avoid bloodshed rather than to preserve the union? Why do you think it was it Lincoln's duty not to protect the United States when it was attacked?

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I did not say that we would not retaliate, I said that the Carolinian view was certainly understandable.

 

Members of Lincoln's own cabinet supported withdrawal from Sumter.

 

The battle at Sumter and Lincoln's calling up troops arguably hastened the secession of Virginia which until that point had a sizeable pro-Union sentiment.

 

The idea that the CSA WANTED war is laughable (actually the poster said that they "wanted the fight"). They WANTED independence and would fight for it but I see no evidence that they WANTED war if the Union withdrew from the Southern States.

 

The Union owned the fort. You know as well as I do in the same situation today that the same precise thing would happen.

 

It doesn't mean anything that some of his cabinet disagreed, Lincoln set up his cabinet to be like that. We all know this. I am sure some of his cabinet would argue with one another about the color of the sky or the best type of cheese for a sandwich.

 

If you do not want war then your first action should not be to attack.

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Mrs. Mungo - did they really expect at that time to win? I'm not completely familiar with the timeline. I have read (sorry - no sources - just my feeble brain) that one of the reasons Lincoln emancipated the slaves in the south was to rally the troops because he was unsure the North would win unless they had some kind of moral reason to fight - not just saving the Union. You seem to be more well-versed on this topic than I am. Can you help me understand this particular part of the war? (How/why the Emancipation Proclamation was written and affected the outcome of the war)

 

Again, I'm just thinking of this from the view of trying to save lives and avoid a bloody conflict. That's really all I'm thinking about.

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I did not say that we would not retaliate, I said that the Carolinian view was certainly understandable.

 

Members of Lincoln's own cabinet supported withdrawal from Sumter.

 

The battle at Sumter and Lincoln's calling up troops arguably hastened the secession of Virginia which until that point had a sizeable pro-Union sentiment.

 

The idea that the CSA WANTED war is laughable (actually the poster said that they "wanted the fight"). They WANTED independence and would fight for it but I see no evidence that they WANTED war if the Union withdrew from the Southern States.

 

There was a very romantic viewpoint of warfare at the time. Southerners STILL tout the "nobility" of the south and CSA generals.

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The Union owned the fort. You know as well as I do in the same situation today that the same precise thing would happen.

 

It doesn't mean anything that some of his cabinet disagreed, Lincoln set up his cabinet to be like that. We all know this. I am sure some of his cabinet would argue with one another about the color of the sky or the best type of cheese for a sandwich.

 

If you do not want war then your first action should not be to attack.

 

Their first action was not to attack - it was to politely request that the troops leave the fort which was on SC land. The Union refused. They did not have to refuse. They are the ones who seemed to want a fight.

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I did mention two different wars.

 

US Forts are F-E-D-E-R-A-L property, not state. They attacked FEDERAL property.

 

The Revolution is applicable when discussing South Carolina because South Carolina *only* joined the colonies because slavery was included in the constitution. The South Carolina secession documents discuss that.

 

Yeah, I get that the fort was F-E-D-E-R-A-L property - geesh. I still think it wasn't worth entering a war over. The CSA did not want to attack the fort. The Union troops could have just left T-O A-V-O-I-D A W-A-R.

 

What I'm wondering is why they didn't choose the less violent alternative of just packing up and leaving. It would have ended the whole ding-dong thing right then and there. There would have been no war and all those poor soldiers on BOTH sides could have been saved. The question is not did Lincoln have a right to maintain the Union occupation of the fort. The question is why did he think it was so important that it was worth thousands of men's lives.

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There was a very romantic viewpoint of warfare at the time. Southerners STILL tout the "nobility" of the south and CSA generals.

 

That still offers no evidence to your assertion that the CSA wanted war.

 

By the way....yes even if we agree that they were on the wrong side, even if we are thankful that the North won there was a great deal of "nobility" in many of the Southerners (NOT ALL, but many). The courage thay showed, the love of nation (as they saw it), the honor that they demonstrated (look to Beauregard's treatment of Anderson after the surrender at Sumter) was in its way noble. To deny that would be a little tawdry and be a denial of history.

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That still offers no evidence to your assertion that the CSA wanted war.

 

By the way....yes even if we agree that they were on the wrong side, even if we are thankful that the North won there was a great deal of "nobility" in many of the Southerners (NOT ALL, but many). The courage thay showed, the love of nation (as they saw it), the honor that they demonstrated (look to Beauregard's treatment of Anderson after the surrender at Sumter) was in its way noble. To deny that would be a little tawdry and be a denial of history.

 

I have to agree with this.

 

I do know that Lee did not want to fight. The only reason he chose to go with the CSA was because he was defending his homeland. He felt compelled to fight for Virginia, not necessarily the CSA. Back then the states felt more like little countries than a small part of one big country. Before the war the country was referred to as "These United States;" afterwards it was "The United States."

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I guess my question is: why not read some books on this yourself instead of trying to tease answers out of people here? Lincoln believed it was his duty to preserve the United States. He believed it was worth preserving.

 

I think that the OP has demonstrated a fair knowlege of the war, this is a discussion board is it not? Searching for other opinions is a means to strengthen one's understanding. Why should she not ask a question here?

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I guess my question is: why not read some books on this yourself instead of trying to tease answers out of people here? Lincoln believed it was his duty to preserve the United States. He believed it was worth preserving.

 

I have read a LOT of books on this topic and it still confuses me why the "preservation of the Union" was an issue worth shedding so much blood over. To me, it seems like there were a lot of alternatives to war. I've wondering this for many, many years and have sought out the answers a lot of places. I was just thinking maybe someone here (there are a lot of very smart women on these boards) may have something more to offer. What exactly does preserving the Union mean, anyway. I mean, I know what it means literally - I just can't figure out why it so important it was worth a war over. It sounds like a finely crafted ambiguous phrase designed to conceal the real reason Lincoln felt compelled to spill so much blood for. I still don't get WHY???? There were so many other ways he could have handled the disagreement which would have avoided out-and-out war.

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