|View single post by MildMan|
|Posted: Sun Dec 9th, 2012 02:53 am||
Just Testing Ideas
|Interesting. Thanks for your informative response Texas Defender.
Perhaps secession’s legality was decided in 1867 by the supreme court, but that does not mean it was legal in 1861. The example you give of the 19th amendment supports my point. This was a new law in 1919. So only in 1919 did alcohol become illegal. No one would argue that slavery was illegal (where states allowed it) in 1861, but when the 13th amendment was passed in 1865, it became illegal. The laws on which the 1867 decision was based were in existence long before 1867 – no new laws suddenly made secession illegal. And the SC decision said that the states had never seceded – sure sounds like they were looking back.
Legal or not, I don’t think southern leadership was interested in either a legal or amicable divorce anyway. And as for the commission sent to negotiate the transfer of forts – Lincoln said he had no authority to act on this. If he is sworn to preserve and protect the union, how could he justify negotiating its destruction? Seems like a good point.
As for Lincoln being against secession and your point that he dictated Northern Policy, I have two points.
Some southern states seceded months before Lincoln was inaugurated. And each secession document justified the action based perceived threats to slavery. I have read extensively about Northern opinions on slavery in newspapers, the prevailing opinion was that it was protected in the constitution, end of discussion. There was no immediate threat to slavery due to a Lincoln administration. Therefore there was no need for the south to act hastily.
Lincoln’s acts largely followed public opinion and he rarely was ahead of what the public would allow. He had no mandate to eliminate slavery, so he would not act until public perceptions changed. He was quite clever in the way he acted within his power and within what the public would accept, i.e. emancipation as a war measure. However, If you read soldiers letters, it is apparent that most union soldiers saw through this and did not want to fight to end slavery. Ft Sumter gave Lincoln public support for a war to preserve the union. Southern leadership, by firing on Ft Sumter, gave him the public support he needed.
My points remain.
1. Southern leadership misread northern public opinion on slavery, most northerners were content with leaving it alone. There was no immediate threat to the institution.
2. Southern leadership unnecessarily and hastily started a war and gave northern citizens a reason to fight.
3. Southern leadership had more machismo than smarts. Instead of maneuvering to make it apparent that the union would never be effective and amicable( making the north so miserable that they would allow a peaceful separation) they acted unilaterally and declared a divorce and then started a war over some useless property.