|View single post by Texas Defender|
|Posted: Sun Dec 9th, 2012 06:35 am||
First, I assume by your continued references to: "1867" that you really mean the 1869 USSC decision Texas v. White. At that time, the justices did indeed declare that the actions taken by the legislatures of the various states that seceded in 1860 and 1861 were invalid.
However, in 1860 and 1861 when the actions were actually taken, there was no law or USSC decision that prohibited secession. There was no law or decision prohibiting secession in 1865. Only in 1869 was there one. And even then the US Constitution says that the US Government cannot go back and punish anyone for the act of secession because that would constitute an ex post facto law.
Contrary to your expressed opinion, CSA leaders would have preferred to gain their independence without having to fight a war for it. There was nothing to be gained by fighting a war if they didn't have to. They were never intending to take over the US Government, only to leave it. As Jefferson Davis said in 1861: "We seek no conquest. We ask only to be left alone."
It is true that some states seceded after Mr. Lincoln was elected, but before he took office. Some prominent southerners warned before the election that if Mr. Lincoln was elected, secession by various states would be the result. Mr. Lincoln was widely perceived as being hostile to southern interests.
I would contest your statement that all secession documents justified secession based on the threat to slavery. On the following link you can find the Kentucky Secession Ordinance. It gives a listing of perceived offenses by the Federal and state governments just as the Declaration of Independence did against the British Government. Slavery is not mentioned, except perhaps in the reference to: "Our property."
Ordinances of Secession
This document was passed by the Russellville Convention. While Kentucky never actually seceded, two separate governments were established and fought a civil war within a civil war. The secessionists in Kentucky certainly considered that they had seceded.
There was more to the decision by the southerners to secede than just slavery. Sectional differences had existed since the founding of the Republic. Over time these differences became greater as the north industrialized and the country expanded to the west. Various compromises had delayed the split a number of times, such as in 1820 and 1850. But by 1860, the differences were so profound that the remedy of compromise could no longer be used.
As I said previously, southern political power within the US Government was on the decline, and this had reached a point where most (though not nearly all) southerners believed that they would be better off leaving than staying. They considered that they had the right to leave, and so they did.
What the southern leadership misread about the northern people was that they would be willing to fight a war to prevent the southern states from leaving. What the northern people misread was that the southerners were really prepared to secede, and to fight a war to gain their independence if necessary. Secession had been threatened before but never followed through on. The northern people did not take seriously the warning that the election of Mr. Lincoln would lead to secession.
We remain in agreement that the attack on Ft. Sumter was a stupid decision by those on the ground in SC. It provided the spark that Mr. Lincoln needed and fervently wished for. A much better decision would have been to allow Major Anderson to leave on 15 April as he had told the Confederates that he would have had to do. But even if there had been no attack on Ft. Sumter, Mr. Lincoln would still have proceeded to raise an army to fight a war to reassert federal authority in the states that had seceded.
We continue to disagree on the idea that the southerners would ever have been allowed to leave peacefully. Quite simply, the election of Mr. Lincoln made the war inevitable. He was willing to fight a war rather than allow secession. For their part, the southerners were willing to fight a war to achieve their independence. Since neither side would back down, the dispute could only be resolved by armed conflict.
Last edited on Sun Dec 9th, 2012 06:48 am by Texas Defender