The American Civil War, day by day - Page 5 - Politics Forum.org | PoFo

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#14970966
Potemkin wrote:In other words, they were asking the United States to unconditionally surrender before a shot had been fired, and to hand over all Federal property in the Southern states. Who would agree to this? :eh:
:


I don’t see this as provocative or unreasonable considering Buchanan’s views on State autonomy and the number of people who were in favor of peaceful secession. They were negotiating for the peaceful transfer of property with a President who they had reason to believe might go along with it.
#14970967
Potemkin wrote:More of Buchanan's mealy-mouthed prevarication and appeasement. It was much too late for that. What was needed now was clarity, on both sides. The South Carolina congressmen were being very clear with the President, but it seems Buchanan wasn't being very clear with them.

To be fair, at this point Buchanan is a lame duck president, with only three months left in office. One can argue that he should have summoned Lincoln to Washington so they could jointly work out a policy from the start, but there’s a good reason why the Constitution had such a long delay between the election and the inauguration—Lincoln & co. are busy getting all their ducks in a row for the new government. As well, if Lincoln comes to Washington I’d say there’s a good chance Buchanan’s Cabinet falls apart all at once instead of in slow motion.

Finally! It took him long enough. :roll:

Hey, it’s only been a month, for some politicians that’s almost breakneck speed! :D
#14970972
One Degree wrote:I don’t see this as provocative or unreasonable considering Buchanan’s views on State autonomy and the number of people who were in favor of peaceful secession. They were negotiating for the peaceful transfer of property with a President who they had reason to believe might go along with it.

Good point. Which is yet another reason why Buchanan is regarded as a sub-par president. His policies and his rhetoric didn't appease the South, but only encouraged it. The South got a false impression of what they could get away with, which encouraged them to be increasingly reckless.
#14971252
December 11, Tuesday

At Fort Moultrie Major Don Carlos Buell, sent by the War Department to Charleston, prepares for Major Anderson a memorandum of verbal instruction given Buell by Secretary of War Floyd. Floyd pointed out that he had refrained from sending reinforcements in order to avoid a collision and that he felt South Carolina would not attempt to seize the forts. Anderson is not to take up any position which could be construed as hostile in attitude, but he is to hold possession of the forts and, if attacked, defend his position. He is authorized to put his command into any fort in order to increase his power of resistance if attacked or threatened with attack. A tour of the forts and Charleston convince Buell that Fort Sumter will be seized. Furthermore, Moultrie will be taken unless Sumter is occupied. There apparently is talk of transferring Anderson’s command from Fort Moultrie to Fort Sumter.

President-elect Lincoln writes Congressman Kellogg, as he has others, to “Entertain no proposition for a compromise in regard to the extension of slavery. The instant you do, they have us under again....” He adds, “You know I think the fugitive slave clause of the constitution ought to be enforced—to put it on the mildest form, ought not to be resisted.”
#14971552
December 12, Wednesday

Secretary of State Lewis Cass of Michigan resigns because the President refused to reinforce the Charleston forts. Now two Cabinet members have quit, but they are of opposite viewpoints. The resignation upsets Buchanan as Cass still has considerable political influence, and Buchanan feels the Secretary has shifted his opinion since the message to Congress.

In Springfield Lincoln is holding conferences in regard to his Cabinet appointments—this day with Francis P. Blair, Jr., of St. Louis, a powerful political figure.

In Washington some twenty-three bills and resolutions purporting to solve the crisis are submitted to the House Committee of Thirty-Three, which is seeking some plan of compromise. Eventually there will be thirty or forty plans, including some calling for dual Presidents, and for splitting the country into districts.
#14971859
December 13, Thursday

Seven senators and twenty-three representatives from the South issue a manifesto which urges secession and the organization of a Southern Confederacy.

President-elect Lincoln continues to write letters advising against compromise of any sort on slavery extension.
#14971865
I wonder if the Southern states would have succeeded if they seceded separately without the idea of a confederation? The latter seems to be the threat that could not be ignored to national security.
#14971871
One Degree wrote:I wonder if the Southern states would have succeeded if they seceded separately without the idea of a confederation?

There was no chance of that, I think. By this time the various states had generations of history as a united nation, most of them no history before that nation like the original colonies have. Combine that with the Union to the north, and any secession would be inextricably linked to forming a new nation of their own.
#14971885
One Degree wrote:I wonder if the Southern states would have succeeded if they seceded separately without the idea of a confederation? The latter seems to be the threat that could not be ignored to national security.

The North would just have reconquered them piecemeal. The South were at least sensible enough to know that the North would likely fight to save the Union. If they wanted to keep their newly declared independence, then they would have to fight for it. Given that fact, unifying into their own new 'nation' was their only realistic option. This means, of course, that regional autonomy or states' rights was not a central issue of the Civil War - the Confederacy trampled on the principle of states' rights just as enthusiastically as the Union did.
#14971890
Potemkin wrote:The North would just have reconquered them piecemeal. The South were at least sensible enough to know that the North would likely fight to save the Union. If they wanted to keep their newly declared independence, then they would have to fight for it. Given that fact, unifying into their own new 'nation' was their only realistic option. This means, of course, that regional autonomy or states' rights was not a central issue of the Civil War - the Confederacy trampled on the principle of states' rights just as enthusiastically as the Union did.


I will grant some credibility to this, but you can’t simply ignore they chose a ‘confederation’ and say they were just as much against state’s rights.
#14971910
One Degree wrote:I will grant some credibility to this, but you can’t simply ignore they chose a ‘confederation’ and say they were just as much against state’s rights.

Between the slave power and states' rights there was no necessary connection. The slave power, when in control, was a centralizing influence, and all the most considerable encroachments on states' rights were its acts. The acquisition and admission of Louisiana; the Embargo; the War of 1812; the annexation of Texas "by joint resolution" [rather than treaty]; the war with Mexico, declared by the mere announcement of President Polk; the Fugitive Slave Law; the Dred Scott decision—all triumphs of the slave power—did far more than either tariffs or internal improvements, which in their origin were also southern measures, to destroy the very memory of states' rights as they existed in 1789. Whenever a question arose of extending or protecting slavery, the slaveholders became friends of centralized power, and used that dangerous weapon with a kind of frenzy. Slavery in fact required centralization in order to maintain and protect itself, but it required to control the centralized machine; it needed despotic principles of government, but it needed them exclusively for its own use. Thus, in truth, states' rights were the protection of the free states, and as a matter of fact, during the domination of the slave power, Massachusetts appealed to this protecting principle as often and almost as loudly as South Carolina.

States Rights; Civil War
#14971915
Potemkin wrote:States Rights; Civil War


You are quoting the Northern argument from your source. The fact that slave holders (5% of the population) pursued their goals over state’s rights at times is not surprising or an argument that the other 95% did not care about state’s rights or that slave owners didn’t. You must admit there had to be a reason why they chose “Confederate States of America”. To choose such a name and claim state’s rights was not a major issue defies explanation.
The fact slavery was the major issue for some is not proof it was the major issue for all. I can’t think of any reason to even argue such other than to demonize the losers. It has worked exceptionally well. It is demanded we believe all Southerners were morally bankrupt.
The simple fact this defies what we know about humans doesn’t seem to matter.
#14972200
December 14, Friday

The Georgia legislature issues a call to South Carolina, Alabama, Florida, and Mississippi for delegates to be appointed to a convention to consider a Southern Confederacy.
#14972492
December 15, Saturday

President-elect Lincoln writes a confidential letter to Congressman John A. Gilmer of North Carolina in which he again expresses his reasons for not making any new statements, as they might be misinterpreted. He says further, “I never have been, am not now, and probably never shall be, in a mood of harassing the people, either North or South.” But he is inflexible on the question of slavery extension in the territories: “You think slavery is right and ought to be extended; we think it is wrong and ought to be restricted. For this, neither has any occasion to be angry with the other.”
#14973051
December 17, Monday

In the Baptist church of Columbia, South Carolina, the state capital, the Convention of the People of South Carolina gathers. President D. F. Jamison of Barnwell states, “It is no less than our fixed determination to throw off a Government to which we have been accustomed, and to provide new safeguards for our future security. If anything has been decided by the elections which sent us here, it is, that South Carolina must dissolve her connection with the [Federal] Confederacy as speedily as possible.” Proceeding to list grievances, Jamison goes on, “Let us be no longer duped by paper securities. Written Constitutions are worthless, unless they are written, at the same time, in the hearts, and founded on the interests of the people; and as there is no common bond of sympathy or interest between the North and South, all efforts to preserve this Union will not only be fruitless, but fatal to the less numerous section.” In the evening a resolution states “That it is the opinion of this Convention that the State of South Carolina should forthwith secede from the Federal Union, known as the United States of America.” Another resolution calls for a committee to draft such an ordinance. The question on secession passes 159 to nothing, and, in effect, South Carolina is out of the Union. However, the convention adjourns to Charleston due to the prevalence of smallpox at Columbia.

In Washington, President Buchanan, faced with dissolution of his Cabinet, names Attorney General Jeremiah S. Black of Pennsylvania as Secretary of State to replace resigned Lewis Cass.
#14973428
December 18, Tuesday

Reconvening in Charleston, the South Carolina Convention meets in Institute Hall, with committee work taking most of the day.

At Raleigh, North Carolina, commissioners from Alabama and Mississippi arrive to discuss the situation and the state senate passes a bill to arm the state.

In Washington the Senate passes a resolution that a special committee of thirteen members “inquire into the present condition of the country, and report by bill or otherwise.” Senator John J. Crittenden of Kentucky, basically a strong unionist, presents his “Crittenden Compromise.” Referred to the new Committee of Thirteen, the Compromise proposes several amendments to the Constitution: 1. Slavery should be prohibited in all territories north of 36˚ 30’, the old Missouri Compromise line, and slavery should not be interfered with by Congress south of that line. When admitted as a state, a territory should be admitted with or without slavery as the state constitution provides. 2. Congress cannot abolish slavery in places under its exclusive jurisdiction. 3. Congress cannot abolish slavery within the District of Columbia so long as it exists in nearby states or without consent of the inhabitants or without just compensation. 4. Congress has no power to prohibit or hinder transportation of slaves from one state to another. 5. Congress should have power to provide that the United States pay to the owner full value of fugitive slaves when officers are prevented from arresting the fugitives. 6. No future amendment should affect the five preceding articles, nor the sections of the Constitution permitting slavery, and no amendment should be made which would give Congress power to abolish or interfere with slavery in states where state laws permit it. Crittenden feels revival of the Missouri Compromise line, probably the main feature of the plan, will prevent any expansion at all, while, on the other hand, the Republicans cannot accept any slavery expansion in the territories and the South cannot accept limitation.
#14973678
December 19, Wednesday

At Charleston various motions and resolutions and speeches are made at the South Carolina Convention. Leaders of the state are also declaring that no more Federal soldiers should be sent to the harbor forts.

A representative from Mississippi is making speeches in Baltimore, Maryland, outlining the intentions of the states which propose to secede.
#14974031
December 20, Thursday

“We, the People of the State of South Carolina, in Convention assembled, do declare and ordain, and it is hereby declared and ordained, That the Ordinance adopted by us in Convention on the twenty-third day of May, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty-eight, whereby the Constitution of the United States of America was ratified, and also all Acts, and parts of Acts, of the General Assembly of this State, ratifying amendments of the said Constitution are hereby repealed; and that the union now subsisting between South Carolina and other States, under the name of ‘The United States of America’ is hereby dissolved.” By vote of 169 to nothing the convention has severed the ties of Union and the act so long spoken of is done.

In the evening the formal signing takes place in Institute Hall, while Charleston goes wild with joy and expectation. It is a warm, bright, cloudless day; the streets had been filled from afternoon on. Placards announce the news, church bells ring, cannons roar, the governor and public officials appear. However, Judge James Louis Petigru, a highly respected pro-Union citizen of Charleston, speaks out: “I tell you there is a fire; they have this day set a blazing torch to the temple of constitutional liberty, and, please God, we shall have no more peace forever.” But Edmund Ruffin, a Virginia secessionist present, writes that when everyone had signed and South Carolina was proclaimed “to be a free and independent country, the cheers of the whole assembly continued for some minutes, while every man waved or threw up his hat, & every lady waved her handkerchief.... In the streets there had been going on popular demonstrations of joy, from early in the afternoon. Some military companies paraded, salutes were fired, & as night came on, bonfires, made of barrels of rosin, were lighted in the principal streets, rockets discharged, & innumerable crackers fired by the boys.... I hear the distant sounds of rejoicing, with music of a military band, as if there was no thought of ceasing.—” Another observer says, “The whole heart of the people had spoken.”

Swiftly the news spreads elsewhere. President Buchanan is attending a wedding reception in Washington when South Carolina Congressman Laurence Keitt comes in, crying, “Thank God! Oh, thank God!” Told the news quietly, the President looks stunned, falls back, and grasps the arm of his chair. Buchanan leaves at once.

At Springfield President-elect Lincoln receives the news of secession calmly.

Earlier in the day President Buchanan has named prominent Washington attorney and Democratic leader Edwin M. Stanton, originally from Ohio, Attorney General to succeed J.S. Black, who had become Secretary of State. It is the first major role for Stanton, a man whose name is to become both famous and infamous in the years to come. In the Senate Vice-President Breckinridge names the Committee of Thirteen to look into the condition of the country. It includes Senators Jefferson Davis of Mississippi and Robert Toombs of Georgia, Stephen A. Douglas of Illinois, William H. Seward of New York, and Ben Wade of Ohio. Thus many shades of opinion from secessionist to Radical are included.
#14974426
December 21, Friday

The news is common now as the telegraph clicks out the message and the people and press react. In much of the deep South public meetings approve the secession of South Carolina, while in the North there is incredulous resentment that the expected has really happened. Others wonder—what next?

In Washington the four South Carolina congressmen formally withdraw from the House of Representatives, their letter being presented on Monday, Dec. 24.

In Springfield Mr. Lincoln writes Democratic leader Francis P. Blair, Sr., that “According to my present view if the forts [at Charleston] shall be given up before the inaugeration [sic], the General [Scott] must retake them afterwards.” He writes similarly to Congressman Elihu B. Washburne.
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