|View single post by Texas Defender|
|Posted: Wed Aug 20th, 2008 09:52 pm||
The elements leading to the Civil War were in place long before the 1850s. As time passed and the country grew, differences between the sections continued to increase.
To blame the presidents of the 1850s for the Civil war is very simplistic. The issue of the time was whether slavery would be allowed to expand to the territories or not. As the southerners saw it, if it was restricted, and only free states admitted in the future, then the south would be continually outvoted and their system endangered.
I'm not sure how President Fillmore: "appeased southern interests." You didn't give specifics of what he should have done or not done.
The idea of: "popular sovereignty" is that the people living in a territory should be allowed to decide issues for themselves. Obviously, this is inoperable if thousands of outsiders migrate in and begin making war on each other. But you don't state what President Pierce should or should not have done.
In the case of President Buchanan, I seriously doubt that he was involved in a conspiracy with the Chief Justice to decide the Dred Scott decision a certain way.
Some historians think that President Buchanan pressured Justice Robert Grier to vote with the majority, but that is not certain. Chief Justice Taney is not implicated in that if it took place.
Roger Taney made his decision as a result of how he viewed the original language of the Constitution. That document clearly gave no rights to slaves and left them in an inferior legal position.
Many Supreme Court decisions have been made that offend our 21st century sensibilities. For example, there was Plessy vs. Ferguson in 1896. It promised : "separate but equal " status for the races. That didn't work then either because the majority of citizens in that time had a different view of the world than most have now.
You talk about the weak presidents of the 1850s :"emboldening the secessionist movement." It is unclear to me what you expected them to do.
Men on both sides of the debate labored for decades to try to prevent the Civil War that eventually took place. The measures you cite and some much earlier such as the Missouri Compromise of 1820 managed to put off the eventual conflict but could never solve the differences between the sides.
You don't tell us what the presidents of the 1850s should have done. You seem to believe that if they had been better leaders, then there would have been no Civil war. I seriously doubt that.
The war began because the democrats split their party in 1860 and allowed Mr. Lincoln to be elected. Mr. Lincoln opposed the expansion of slavery to the territories, which was not acceptable to the southerners.
Mr. Lincoln himself said that he did not wish to eliminate slavery where it existed as he did not have the authority or inclination to do so. If this had been satisfactory to those in the south, then the institution of slavery where it was already established would have continued. (Presumably, that would have made Mr. Lincoln an : "appeaser" in your view). But the southerners were not satisfied by these assurances and the secession movement went forward.
You apparently wanted these (non-southern) presidents to somehow: "Draw a line in the sand" to stop the threat of secession. You don't explain how that should have been done.
You cite previous presidents who you think drew a line in the sand. Presumably, you are referring to President Jackson and the Nullification Crisis.
By 1860, South Carolina was no longer standing alone. The issue of the day was the proposed expansion of slavery into the territories. This left the two sides in direct opposition. The point was reached where the conflict could no longer be put off by compromises.
If there had been no compromise measures during the decades prior to the Civil War, the only difference in all probability would have been in the dates that the war started. Men of good faith on both sides did their best to prevent the conflict, but eventually it could no longer be put off.
The idea that the presidents of the 1850s could somehow have prevented the Civil War has no credibility. Better men than they were had tried for many years to solve the dispute, but in the end it could only be decided by force of arms.
Last edited on Wed Aug 20th, 2008 10:24 pm by Texas Defender