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Did Lincoln Provoke the WAR? - Abraham Lincoln - The Participants of the War - Mikitary & Civilian - Civil War Interactive Discussion Board
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 Posted: Tue Aug 26th, 2008 01:44 pm
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5fish
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There is a debate on this board about if the south was provoked or not by Abe Lincoln into insurrection, secession, war and firing the first shots.

I ague:

Abe Lincoln did provoke the southern leaders into committing following acts of insurrection, secession and war.

A background to this argument.

Our nation had two earlier acts of insurrection before 1860. There was the Whiskey rebellion 1790's and the Nullification crisis 1832 in both the president at that time acted forcefully and made it clear that any acts of insurrection were illegal and they would use military force to end the insurrection. Neither insurrection lasted and both presidents Washington and Jackson made it clear an insurrection is illegal and set the present that the union must be preserved.

Now lets move the 1859 the Southern leaders see a weak waffling president in Buchanan and the fires of insurrection are lighted. In 1860, Southern leaders see a country lawyer from IL. become president and again they believe they have a weak president to contended with and the fires of insurrection explored.

President Lincoln reinforces this view(of weakness) with his first inaugural address where he tries to appease the leaders of the insurrection. This act appeasement reinforced Southern leaders view he was weak and fueled the fires of the insurrection that will lead to war.

I argue again:

Abe Lincolns act of appeasement(show of weakness) to leaders of the insurrection only provoked the leaders to increase their demands and set our nation toward civil war.

If only Lincoln had followed the precedents set by Washington and Jackson and forcefully rejected the insurrection demands and show resolve the war might never had happen.

It was Lincoln's appeasement to the Southern slavers, like England's appeasement to Hitler, fueled the Civil war as it fueled WWII.

Appeasement was the true provokator of the Civil War!!



 Posted: Tue Aug 26th, 2008 03:10 pm
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Texas Defender
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  Mr. Lincoln did provoke the southerners into war, but not in the way you describe.

  First of all, he did not instigate secession by anything he did, but simply by being elected. Seven states seceded before his inauguration. It can be argued that others like VA were provoked to go out after his inauguration, but this was due to Mr. Lincoln's aggressive actions, not his weakness.

  As I've said before, the : "fires of insurrection" were ignited long before anyone ever heard of Mr. Lincoln. The lid was kept on the pot all along by compromises between north and south. The expansion of the country and the south seeing itself being surrounded led to the end of possible compromises and to the war.

  If your theory that it took a weak president to inspire secession was correct, then the southerners would have seceded long before 1860, as there were many weak presidents before then. You yourself said earlier that presidents of the 1850s were weak appeasers. If that was what it took, then there would have been no reason to delay secession. That argument defeats itself.

  The situation in the country in 1794 ( a protest over a tax) or in 1832 (a dispute over what level of authority was the final authority when it came to laws) was far different from 1860. If the country had remained the original 13 colonies, and the Constitution never changed, then there would have been no war.

  To compare the southerners to Hitler is truly absurd. Hitler was into attacking and conquering sovereign nations. You quoted Mr. Lincoln's first inaugural address. Here is something from that of Mr. Davis: "We propose no invasion of the north, no attack on them, and only ask to be left alone." The southerners were not trying to conquer the north, only to leave it.

  You like to : "ague" a lot, but your portrayal of Mr. Lincoln as weak is in itself very weak. The southerners saw him as someone  who would NOT compromise, as someone they could not deal with. Rightly or wrongly, they felt that his election forced their hand.



 Posted: Tue Aug 26th, 2008 08:07 pm
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5fish
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Defender,

Lincoln look like to the insurrection leaders as another weak person as President. The insurrection leaders had eight years of waffling Presidents that had always appeased them. By the time Lincoln came to office, they had been given their cake with compromise after compromise that almost always favor them. Now they just didn't want their cake but eat it as well...

Lincoln this country lawyer in his inauguration speech of appeasement only play to the insurrection leaders belief they were dealing with a weak person as President. His inauguration speech just fanned the flames of insurrection instead of dosing the flames of rebellion.

If Lincoln in his inauguration speech had denounced the insurrection as illegal and that whatever force was needed to end the insurrection and preserve the union. That he would not allow our Forefathers dream be squished by self seeking Slave Lords. if he had invoke the image of Washington and Jackson and how they resolved the issue of insurrection. I bet many of the insurrection leaders would have had second thoughts about seceding from the union.

Lincoln tried appeasement first with the insurrection leaders but in the end he had to use the fist of justice to bring the insurrection to a awful close....The same way the world had to use the fist of justice on Hitler....

 

 

 

    



 Posted: Tue Aug 26th, 2008 08:24 pm
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HankC
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5fish wrote:
Now lets move the 1859 the Southern leaders see a weak waffling president in Buchanan and the fires of insurrection are lighted. In 1860, Southern leaders see a country lawyer from IL. become president and again they believe they have a weak president to contended with and the fires of insurrection explored.

President Lincoln reinforces this view(of weakness) with his first inaugural address where he tries to appease the leaders of the insurrection. This act appeasement reinforced Southern leaders view he was weak and fueled the fires of the insurrection that will lead to war.

I argue again:

Abe Lincolns act of appeasement(show of weakness) to leaders of the insurrection only provoked the leaders to increase their demands and set our nation toward civil war.

If only Lincoln had followed the precedents set by Washington and Jackson and forcefully rejected the insurrection demands and show resolve the war might never had happen.


I don't follow your thread of logic here. A 'weak' president lead the south to secede?
 
So a 'strong' president would have kept them in the union.
 
Hence, every previous president must have been strong...
 
 
HankC



 Posted: Tue Aug 26th, 2008 08:29 pm
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Lawrence63
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Also, what constitutes a "strong" or "weak" president? Is a strong president one who usurps the rest of the country into staying together? Is a weak president one who attempts to use compromise to keep the country together? Who's to say?



 Posted: Tue Aug 26th, 2008 08:39 pm
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5 fish-

  Once again you have it exactly backwards. I repeat that seven states went out BEFORE Mr. Lincoln's so-called: "appeasement" inaugural address.

  Mr. Lincoln DID say all along that he would not allow secession. He could not have been clearer on that point and he never wavered from it. His position on that issue was already known.

  Your idea that a more threatening inaugural address by Mr. Lincoln would have frightened the seven states that had already seceded to return to the fold and intimidated the other four not to secede has no credibility whatever. It is sheer fantasy.

Last edited on Tue Aug 26th, 2008 08:41 pm by Texas Defender



 Posted: Tue Aug 26th, 2008 10:20 pm
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5fish
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Defender,

I know that seven state had secede by the time of Lincoln's appeasement speech but if he had shown them the stick as Washington, Jackson and Taylor had before him. I would bet many of those insurrection or succession would have been in name only.

Remember, those leaders of secession thought they were dealing with another Buchanan and Lincoln's speech just fed their belief. A fiery speech about the preservation of the union would have dispelled their faults opinion that Lincoln was weak and could be pushed around. I think Lincoln should have threaten that all insurrection leaders with the rope.

Once those insurrection leaders knew their heads were in the balance many would of cowed to Lincoln's desire...The dice were not cast until after Lincolns appeasement speech. It all comes down to his speech....

 

 

 

 

  



 Posted: Tue Aug 26th, 2008 10:40 pm
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Texas Defender
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5fish-

  Thats total hogwash and shows a complete lack of understanding of those in the south who were determined to go their own way. But by the time that Mr. Lincoln was inaugurated, seven states had made their decision and the die was cast. (They did so because they did NOT see Mr. Lincoln as another Buchanan.). No speeches were going to change it. They were NOT going back.

  Some of the southerners might have thought that those in the north had no stomach to fight a war to force them to stay. Others might have thought that the war would end quickly with the southerners prevailing. In this they were mistaken, as history has shown.

  In their minds, however, they were the ones being pushed around. They felt , rightly or wrongly, that they had been treated unfairly for many years. They would fight if they had to to gain their independence. And fight they did.

 



 Posted: Tue Aug 26th, 2008 11:24 pm
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5fish
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Hogwash!! You must really think the people behind the insurrection were noble like our founding Fathers. They were not inciting an insurrection not because of some noble ideals but to protect their wealth form slavery.

They do you think Jackson and Taylor were able to back them down with the stick when they were Presidents. It was those appeasing 1850's presidents that nurture the insurrection with appeasement. Its like a child if you do not give a child limits they become out of control.

If Lincoln had set the limits in his inauguration speech those so called noble Slave Lords would have understood their were limits and soon have gotten in line. I believe these leaders of the insurrection were just children gone wild not noble indidviduals.

In the end most lost their wealth because of their behavior......Out of control children soon or later do get punish and limits set for them...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



 Posted: Wed Aug 27th, 2008 12:08 am
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Wrap10
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Texas Defender wrote:  The southerners saw him as someone  who would NOT compromise, as someone they could not deal with. Rightly or wrongly, they felt that his election forced their hand.
I think that about sums it up, from the southern point of view at the time. The irony is that they could have compromised with Lincoln, or negotiated with him, however you want to phrase it. But those negotiations would have involved barring slavery from the territories, and placing it back on the road to eventual extinction. That was Lincoln's line-in-the-sand, the point beyond which he was not willing to go. And the South, collectively speaking, simply wasn't going to agree to that concession.

As for Lincoln's inaugural speech having a major impact on the course of the seceded states, I just don't see how. Nor do I know offhand of any historians who have put forth that argument. Even assuming for the sake of argument that he assumes a much more menacing stance toward the seceded states, how is that going to give them pause?

Lincoln's stature in American history fairly well towers above all other presidents with only one or two exceptions. But that's today. In March of 1861, Abraham Lincoln was not an American legend crossing into myth. His reputation was not that of a Washington or a Jackson. He was, by and large, an unknown quantity to most of the country, save for his reputation as anti-slavery. Which, given that he was a Republican, went without saying. Any candidate they put forth in 1860 was going to be anti-slavery.

But Lincoln had no military hero's reputation to back up a strongly worded speech in the manner of Washington or Jackson. In fact, he had virtually no reputation at all at this time, and no one could be sure how he would handle the crisis unfolding. Many folks assumed that Seward would be the power behind the throne, including Seward himself. Until Lincoln set him straight. On top of everything else, the scope of the "internal uprising" he faced was far greater than anything Washington or Jackson ever had to deal with.

I think a fair bit of Lincoln's speech was also aimed at the vital border states, which at this time numbered eight. When the tidal wave of secession first swept across the South, it hit a seawall when it reached the Upper South and border state region. Lincoln wanted to keep it that way. Then, once emotions cooled down a bit and everyone had had a chance to take a deep breath, they could see about trying to undo the secession declarations that had already been issued.

That's not how it worked out and the odds of it happening that way I don't think were ever very good. But I think Lincoln realized the situation was bad enough as it was. He was hoping to pull the country back from the brink rather than take a running sprint toward it.

But you also sense that he tried to strike a balance between conciliation and strength. His lyrical reference on the one hand to those mystic cords of memory that bound the country together as only a shared heritage can do, and closing with his timeless appeal to those better angels of our nature. And on the other hand, his insistence that secession was not legal, and that the government would 'hold, occupy, and possess' all of its property, a clear reference to Fort Sumter. As I think one historian later said, or maybe it was someone at the time, the speech did have a "clank of lead in it." Meaning that it wasn't all sweetness and roses.

Lincoln clearly did not wish to fight. He also was clearly willing to do so if he felt he had to. But Lincoln, in his speech, foreshadowing Neville Chamberlain dealing with Hitler? No, I just don't see it. Had Lincoln truly wished to "appease" the South, he would have agreed to a compromise that allowed slavery in the territories, something he had the chance to do and flatly refused. He also would have voluntarily evacuated Fort Sumter, and possibly taken other actions along a similar line. He did none of these things, because while he was indeed willing and eager to negotiate, and avoid war, he was not willing to write a blank check. There were limits beyond which he simply would not go.

For anyone who would like to read his speech, here's a link, along with some interesting background information -

http://showcase.netins.net/web/creative/lincoln/speeches/1inaug.htm

Perry



 Posted: Wed Aug 27th, 2008 12:15 am
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 5 fish-   

   Slavery was no more evil in 1860 than it was in 1787, when the Founding Fathers set about writing the Constitution. The entire country began with the north and the south compromising on the issue of slavery, because otherwise there would have been no Constitution.

  Those in the southern states who descended from the Founding Fathers were no less noble than their northern counterparts. Slavery was still legal in parts of the non-Confederate states until December of 1865. If the large scale planatation system had been feasible in the north, it would have been adopted there.

  You continually cite Jackson's threats during the Nullification Crisis. But that dispute was also settled by compromises, not your so-called: "Fist of justice." By 1861, the federal government had more than just a legal dispute with SC to deal with. It had pent up anger built up over generations.

  The southerners were not children as you see them. Nor were they the villainous cowards that you imagine them to be. I repeat again that by 1861, they were ready to fight if they had to. They could have backed down, but they didn't.

  Before Ft. Sumter, there was considerable sentiment in the north to let them leave peacefully. After that, Mr. Lincoln was able to rouse public opinion in the north to raise an army and fight a war. If the southerners were willing to fight the twenty millions of the north, they were not to be cowed by Mr. Lincoln's speeches. The fact that they fought is proof that your intimidation theory is false.

  From what I've seen of your bitter invective on this and other threads ("slim balls" (SIC), "slave lords", "flesh dealers", and a number of others), you obviously have a burning hatred for the people of the southern states in 1861, of which only a small percentage were slaveholders. They fought to preserve their way of life as they saw it.

  You seem quite upset to discover that others here do not believe as you do. You repeat the same things over and over again, apparently expecting a different result. In my view, the petulant child here is you.

Last edited on Wed Aug 27th, 2008 07:37 am by Texas Defender



 Posted: Wed Aug 27th, 2008 02:09 pm
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5fish
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Defender,

Have you read the opening accounts of the governors with their secret letters asking each other if they wanted to seceded. Not one of the original seven states that secede did it through a popular vote because they knew in an election the chance of the people voting for secession was poor. Secession was in truth a power play by the oligarchy of wealth in the south. The Resurrection leaders seceded not about an injustice by for money and power.

I am form the south born and raised but I do not give my southern forefathers a pass on slavery. What I know is the slave loving south knew slavery was an affront to moral truth. I will not give a pass to forefathers that knowingly treated or supported this inhuman treatment of a fellow man.  

I will admit I am taken back after the confederacy fired the first shoots at Ft Sumter and Lincoln calls not the troops more states secede over that action. United States was attacked and you run over to the bad guys side instead of fighting for one's country. the action by those southern states after Ft. Sumter has always puzzled me.

I like good banter that why I repeat yourself for within good banter truth will emerge like in Warp10 post. Many do believe Lincoln was aiming his speech at the border states. It may have been the right tone to take for a hard military line may not have worked for a lawyer from the back woods. I admit the Presidents that drew lines in the sand with secession were X-Generals.

Lincoln may have know that the south had to fire the first shoot before he could bring the fist of Justice down upon the insurrection. President Davis gave Lincoln a gift when he order the attack on Ft. Sumter. It rally the north against secession and allowed him use the military option with full support of the north.

I have Ramble long enough....

 

 

 



 Posted: Thu Mar 13th, 2014 12:30 am
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Forgive me, but this is an interesting if somewhat tenuous postulation. If Lincoln indeed vacillated, precipitated war, you must then agree Southern brothers were more than willing to take advantage. By my reckoning the previous summary of a president-elect's predicament prior to conflagration is a bullseye, and should be considered with an open mind. Lincoln was soft-spoken, but no appeaser. If pushed he would fight, old Kentucky backbone: to thine own self be true.

Despite a modern propensity to expound on motivation, I don't see a warmonger, opportunistic chameleon, power-hungry tyrant, provocateur, outlaw. Call me a fool, propaganda's victim, I still believe he was an ambitious frontier lawyer, a bit of a bumpkin, who worked exceptionally hard to raise station, and by his own brand of wit, wisdom and political fortitude ascended to the presidency in its darkest hour. A keen politician, staunch patriot, he was no soft-handed oaf, did not rise through chicanery or nepotism -- expressed his conviction for the nation, stood by it.

I still figure the most amazing tribute to Lincoln is his election; moreso, the second time. Was the majority wayward, duped? Can one conceive of a Lincoln-like candidate in the modern era? The 19th Century was about words spoken, positions taken, compromises made and unmade, a willingness to back it up. I still feel many may concede he held the high-ground -- rather, I know I do. Conflict is often unproductive, yet as evidenced by an old post, and for most, tragically by the war itself, given enough time we might consider it can be.

Vociferous debate bares nuggets on both sides of the stream. With your indulgence I cannot subscribe to the view of nova-constitutionalists, whom given hindsight so vigorously slander his presidency -- the irony is too much. Just as Washington he most assuredly deserved to step down with grace when his service was done, but destiny demanded otherwise. I am not a mythologist, not even an American if line be drawn, yet there is no doubt in my mind ... he does indeed belong to the ages.

I remain your obedient servant.



 Posted: Thu Mar 13th, 2014 05:31 am
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Texas Defender
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wondering-

   I myself am wondering what you mean by your term: "Nova-constitutionalists." I've never seen that term before. Could you possibly have meant: "Nouveau constitutionalists, as in those who have recently become constitutionalists? And what is a constitutionalist- someone who believes in adherence to the Constitution?

   You blame: "Nova-constitutionalists" for: "Slandering" Mr. Lincoln's presidency, but in order to be slander, the offending spoken words must be untrue. (Libel in the case of written words). Please provide us with some examples of how Mr. Lincoln has been slandered, or in the case of this forum, libeled. I know that personally I would appreciate having any factual errors that I have written about Mr. Lincoln pointed out.



 Posted: Tue Mar 25th, 2014 09:22 pm
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My eternal detriment: why write memos, quote speeches, list books, crack dictionaries, draft charts, drop names, spin articles, debate buffed Shintoists? I confess my bemusement is still the order and number of cow-pies dropped afield, beyond the commons. 'Tis true everyman deserves line and verse, though some rage in warrens not for lawyers or preachers, much less soldiers and historians. Firebrands find nothing beyond a jerking knee, need not seek, have tintypes and flags, you see?

Deserters be damned and bayonets fixed, this board goes way back, and Defender, aye, maybe dander gets up on occasion but I read between the lines. A lantern you carry on edge of yon dark wood, enviable knowledge, a willingness to share sage contention, without whom grudge or inflammation I am afeared is admiration for President Lincoln, beyond, an indefatigability to keep the 7th alive -- a Saint Crispin of this forum. By my oath so frail, sir, I meant no disrespect, you have my utmost.

Any sailor worth his salt a line sooner or later tows, though inevitably each must for himself deem which breeze is fair, what course true. I confess I am rebellious, marooned with cause, quick to distill and smoke atop a castaway's works, no glad-hand or backslap for this speech. Shall one drink the hemlock? Nay sir, as Lincoln, ride her to the hilt? Or Hamlet even, take ye arms against that sea of troubles, and by opposing end them?

As I profer naught ere satisfaction, given pistols at dawn, I throw my fire, have faith you cannot begrudge a glass raised to the 16th President of the United States, nor sanction my censure for a shot at his critics. I gamble you too much patriot, aye, constitutionalist, knowing full well liberty is cornerstone and bedrock of the charter, still worth defending. Many a sound bet have I lost, good sir, yet as always remain humbly at your service.

no·va
noun
Astronomy
a star that suddenly becomes thousands of times brighter and then gradually fades to its original intensity.
Origin:
1680–90; Neo-Latin: noun use of feminine of Latin novus
Related forms
1. also called Nova Salmon. a Pacific salmon cured in the style of Nova Scotia salmon.
2. ( lowercase ) (loosely) any smoked salmon.



 Posted: Tue Mar 25th, 2014 10:34 pm
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wondering-

   I read all of that to say that you are unable or unwilling to provide any examples of Mr. Lincoln being: "Vigorously slandered" (Or in this case, libeled) here. That is your prerogative. But if you choose to cause: "Inflammation" here, you should be able to substantiate what you say beyond throwing out: "Line and verse," or: "Smoke," as you aptly mentioned.

  You call me: "Constitutionalist," and I do not shrink from the label. I have a reverence for the U.S. Constitution. I consider it, while not being perfect, to be one of the most outstanding documents ever produced by human beings. I am quite aware of the definition of the term: "Nova," though I fail to see how it applies to the Constitution, whether as an astronomical term or relating to a type of fish.

  As for my views on Mr. Lincoln, I have made many posititve statements about him, as well as many negative ones. They are clearly written on this forum for all to review. We can all have our own opinions, but I believe that my many postings have clearly differentiated between opinions and facts. I am quite satisfied that the many items I have  presented as facts about Mr. Lincoln are accurate, and no contravening evidence has been presented to refute any of them.



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