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 Posted: Wed Jun 6th, 2007 12:13 am
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ole
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What were the motivating factors that caused Northern politicians to escalate the crisis to a state of war and sacrifice the unheard-of casualties to keep the Southern States in a politcal union they no longer desired ?  Why did they not let the Confederacy go its own way, and form a less-binding political relationship to the benefit of both ?

You might be overstating things a bit when you state"...caused Northern politicians to escalate the crisis to a state of war...." In my reading, Northern politicians were falling all over themselves during 1859-60 to appease the deep South. They were working closely with Southern politicians on the Morrill Tariff (they also saw the need of regaining the funds misspent by the Buchanan Administration); they were on the verge of passing the first 13th Amendment (which guaranteed was an amendment forbidding Congress from passing emancipation laws or further amending the constitution to nullify this one); plus quite a few other, smaller cookies tossed South.

"Why did they not let the Confederacy go its own way, and ......."? I suspect you are somewhat glad that this nation was not split as the Confederacy had intended. Lincoln and a majority of Northern congressmen saw the loss of Union as more than shattering the intentions of the Declaration and the Constitution, they saw it as a great experiment that would eventually free the entire world from monarchies.

It is frequently argued that secession took nothing away from the Union, that two similar Unions would have been as good as one. Can't quite buy that argument, but it's worth discussing.

Sounds a bit high-falutin, but a great many Northerners did believe that democracy would eventually benefit the world, even the guys in the trenches. Even so, it is likely the South could have gotten away with secession -- at least long enough to prepare itself better for the war that would have to come -- but for the firing on the flag.

Some influential Americans and quite possibly a majority of northern voters, might have overlooked the takeover of arsenals and forts and such because those things belonged to all the people and, rather than fight over them, they could have them. But firing on the flag was steppin' on the Blue Suede Shoes.

Psychologically, you don't back a person in a corner he can't get out of because he will fight to get out. Similarly, you don't kick a guy in the butt -- he will get even. And both pertain to firing on the flag. The symbolism of the flag is complex and not explained in a sentence or two. It would be a mistake to assume that the Northerners held the flag in no less esteem than we do.

Will let this go for now, General, but it could be an exciting and enliven the board for a few weeks. Thanks for introducing it.

Ole


 

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