|View single post by MildMan|
|Posted: Sat Dec 8th, 2012 03:46 pm||
Just Testing Ideas
Thoughtful comments! Thanks for the dialog.
Your comment. "Do you think that the US Constitution would ever have been ratified if there had been a clause that said: "The people in the various states that have created the US Government hereby give up the power to ever leave it?"
Marriages, unions and partnerships begin with the expectation that they are permanent, till “death do us part”. Only a few plan the dirty business of separation upfront. Still associations do break-up, but the expectation is that they do so in an orderly way. No one expects that they can just unilaterally leave a marriage or a business partnership. Breaking a union requires agreement of both parties or imposition of law on both parties.
I do not agree that the South would never have been able to leave. It appears that the belief in “states rights” lead many southern leaders not to want to ask, they actually preferred a belligerent departure. If only cooler heads had prevailed.
I live in the north and that is the history I research. There is no evidence that most northerners felt so strongly about taking away slavery in the south that they were willing to fight for it. A majority in the north may have been against slavery and may have agreed with a prohibition of expansion of slavery, but they consistently wanted to leave slavery alone where the constitution allowed it. There was no need for the south to act hastily, a slow deliberate political and legislative war by the south would have worn down the north without firing a bullet.
At least we agree on Ft Sumpter (though not the spelling). What on earth were they thinking? Jefferson Davis, and others who forced his hand, made the poorest possible political decision. I have read many local newspaper accounts on the attack and the following outrage. It galvanized the public as Pearl Harbor did in WWII. Northerners were only chanting, “save the union” after US property was fired on by fellow citizens. Yes they were called “traitors’ in the press.
My reading of contemporaneous newspapers strongly influences my views on secession. Davis visited Maine in 1858 and was lauded as a statesman. He was even given an honorary degree at Bowdoin College, home of Lawence Chamberlain and Harriet B. Stowe! His arguments on the slavery question were described in the newspapers as thoughtful and convincing. And yet, at least partly because of the social pressure to enlist to save the union after Sumpter, Maine ended up contributing the largest percentage of its men to the war effort.
Your point about the date secession was made illegal is interesting. I’ll read Texas vs White. My understanding is that the Supreme Court interprets laws and does not make them. So this would mean that secession was always illegal and that’s what the court found in 1869, it was illegal in 1861. If southern leaders wanted to determine the secession issue peacefully, they could have done so and the issue would have been decided in the court much sooner than 1869. Perhaps there would have been a different Supreme Court decision in 1861. In any case, the south could have worn down the north in legislative battles and forced a change in the laws. My reading of newspaper accounts of antebellum political conflicts leads me to believe that most northerners would have said, “let em go!”