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 Posted: Wed Nov 25th, 2009 01:36 pm
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19bama46
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Blue,

thanks for coming back to the topic.

If King George had read the DoI and asked himself the same questions and come to the conclusions that the colonists were "full of it" and that they had not proven any of their contentions and accusations, would it have made one whit of difference to the signers? I suspect it would not have because the signers of the DOI had fixed in their own minds the reasons for declaring independence ( seceeding from the crown?)

In the same way, the folks in the seceeding states, rightly or worongly (opinions vary!) had decided in their own minds that the bond was broken and they had the same rights of declaring their independence from Washington as their grandfathers had in declaring thier independence from London.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder!

 

Ed



 Posted: Wed Nov 25th, 2009 04:08 pm
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In the same way, the folks in the seceeding states, rightly or wrongly (opinions vary!) had decided in their own minds that the bond was broken and they had the same rights of declaring their independence from Washington as their grandfathers had in declaring thier independence from London.

I'd amend that to "some of the folks."  And the "same rights" were and could still be the natural rights of rebellion.

I'm of a mind that the Declaration had no force of Law. Apparently, Lincoln held it to be of greater importance than I. (He was a much deeper thinker and vastly better informed.)

In any case, Ed has tapped the essence of Southern justification for breaking away: the secesh had determined that their "oppression" justified dissolving the bonds.

With that observation, we can't go much further and remain on the topic of the DoI. State soverignty? The DoI declared independence of free, soverign and independent states yet, to a degree, the colonies agreed to a Continental Congress to monitor and coordinate the efforts of each state during the Rebellion.

When England caved, the "independent" colonies agreed to re-form with the Articles of Confederation. Finding that these were inadequate to ensure a national unity, the Constitution was created in which each state gave up a bit more of its soverignty.

And now I'm off topic and at a loss as to how to keep the discussion focused on the DoI. So I'll back out, hoping others can find a way.

Ole

 



 Posted: Wed Nov 25th, 2009 04:29 pm
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Ole,

I will agree with your ammendment to "some of the people" in the sense that, neither then nor now, do common citizens make those kinds of decisions.... You live in Illinois and know exactly what I mean by this...

In each state there is a small cadre of folks whose opinions matter just a mite more than others.. we call them the "power elite" or the movers and shakers" or "those A***oles" ... but they are really the ones who make those decisions... The DOI was signed by how many folks? and they got to the convention by what means??

Agreed?


 

 

Off topic.... do what any normal poster would do...hijack the thread...:D
 

Last edited on Wed Nov 25th, 2009 04:31 pm by 19bama46



 Posted: Wed Nov 25th, 2009 04:51 pm
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Agreed.

Ole



 Posted: Wed Nov 25th, 2009 08:41 pm
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19bama46 wrote: Blue,

thanks for coming back to the topic.

If King George had read the DoI and asked himself the same questions and come to the conclusions that the colonists were "full of it" and that they had not proven any of their contentions and accusations, would it have made one whit of difference to the signers? I suspect it would not have because the signers of the DOI had fixed in their own minds the reasons for declaring independence ( seceeding from the crown?)

In the same way, the folks in the seceeding states, rightly or worongly (opinions vary!) had decided in their own minds that the bond was broken and they had the same rights of declaring their independence from Washington as their grandfathers had in declaring thier independence from London.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder!

 

Ed


Ed,

And history is left for the late-comers! :)

This is the only tool by which we can view and judge the actions of those who seceded and for what reasons and if those reasons were justified.

Now, you have brought up the Declaration of Independence as an example in some manner as a reason for justification of Southern secession in 1861.

The delegates to the Congress felt they had to lay out the reasons for their wanting independence from England.  They did so.  If we are going to use this document as a guage for Southern secession, I say let's do so and compare, complaint by complaint, and see if the South measures up in justification with the original.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder goes only so far.

What rights were being denied the South?  In what way was its representation being restricted in the government?  What unfair taxes were being levied?  What State governments were overturned and replaced by the federal government?  What laws were enacted that were totally against the South?

When comparing the two rebellions and their causes against the DOI, how do they measure up?

Until our next post,

Unionblue



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 Posted: Thu Nov 26th, 2009 02:29 pm
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Blue,

first of all, lets take a look at the document we are discussing... I did not copy the long list of enumerated greviences as they are applicable to that time and place and  not to our discussion, at least I don't think they are... and they would take up a lot of bandwith...

 

In a little while, I will post specific answers (as best I can) to some of your questions and statement

Happy Thanksgiving!

Ed

 



IN CONGRESS, JULY 4, 1776



The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America



hen in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.


We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good

Last edited on Thu Nov 26th, 2009 02:30 pm by 19bama46



 Posted: Fri Nov 27th, 2009 05:55 am
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19bama46 wrote: Blue,

first of all, lets take a look at the document we are discussing... I did not copy the long list of enumerated greviences as they are applicable to that time and place and  not to our discussion, at least I don't think they are... and they would take up a lot of bandwith...

 

In a little while, I will post specific answers (as best I can) to some of your questions and statement

Happy Thanksgiving!

Ed



Ed,

Fine with me, but you might consider saving yourself some typing by simply posting the following website:

http://www.usconstitution.net/declar.html

It has the entire Declaration of Independence there for anyone who wants to view it.

Unless you want to go by one section/complaint at a time. :)

Have a happy and safe Thanksgiving!

Sincerely,

Unionblue



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 Posted: Fri Nov 27th, 2009 02:52 pm
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Blue,

I intended to get back to you yesterday, but alas, life interveined!

You aksed earlier what if any rights of the south had been trampled by the north to the extent that disunion could and should be claimed... (paraphrasd and summarized...accurately, I hope)

I am not sure I can asnswer the question because looking at the question from the position of hindsight here in the 21st century the reasons seem to us to be trivial and silly. Certainly there was an economic factor, there was a loss or the fear of loss of influence and power aas non slave states would be admitted to the union upsetting the balance of power.... This, I suspect, was a major fear. And of course, there is the whole issue of slavery. to go into all the aspects of this issue would take volumes and they are well known to all who read these words.

I maintain however that it is not for us to enumerate these greviences,  but rather it was sufficient that they knew, articulated or not, what they meant . The perception of a wrong can be just as powerful as the wrong itself...

In any event, they felt wronged, believed the bond was broken and pulled out. ..

Therre are many would say the DOI is/was a document written for that moment in time and its value to day is historical only. I am not among them. I look at the document and see a superbly crafted statement or series of statements that lay out the rights, duties, and responsibilities of a free people..here or elsewhere. I believe the document was just as valid in 1860 as it was in 1776 and its validity continues to this day and beyond.

Look if you will about what the DOI says about government, rights duties and responsibility.

That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

What could be clearer? Governments are formed to secure the rights of its citizens. Was the government of King George  securing th rights of the colonists, how about the government of the US in 1860...or more important today?... Opinions will vary won't they...whose opinion counts and whose does not??


 That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Here the DOI tells us what our rights are relative to our governemnt when we no longer believe the current government becomes destructive to the purposed under which it was founded. Notice there are no conditions or miminum  greviences laid out, but rather it is left to the people to decide for themselves when the threashold has been met and passed.

But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

Here we are told that when the threshold of tyrrany has been breached, it is our DUTY to throw off the governemnt and replace it. Once again the minimum number of greviences is not listed but is left to the people to come to that conclusion as best they can..

Were the secessionists right or wrong?  I would argue that their minds, according to their value structures and looking at things from their selifish interests, they acted justly. Looking at things from the comfort of my living room in the 21st century, it is easy to see that they acted incorrectly...

 

What about the future? Will this nation ever again struggle over this issue? What criteria would we use? Who would be to say if the decisions arrived at were ritht or wrong?

To me, this document is eternal...crafted by man, but holding eternal truths

 

Ed

Last edited on Fri Nov 27th, 2009 02:53 pm by 19bama46



 Posted: Sat Nov 28th, 2009 10:10 am
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19bama46 wrote: Blue,

I intended to get back to you yesterday, but alas, life interveined!
19bama46, I understand about life, no problem with waiting for you to deal with it, I assure you.You aksed earlier what if any rights of the south had been trampled by the north to the extent that disunion could and should be claimed... (paraphrasd and summarized...accurately, I hope)

I am not sure I can asnswer the question because looking at the question from the position of hindsight here in the 21st century the reasons seem to us to be trivial and silly. Certainly there was an economic factor, there was a loss or the fear of loss of influence and power aas non slave states would be admitted to the union upsetting the balance of power.... This, I suspect, was a major fear. And of course, there is the whole issue of slavery. to go into all the aspects of this issue would take volumes and they are well known to all who read these words.
That is exactly what I asked and you have summarized my question very well.  Now let me address the rest of your above paragraph, if I may.  Yes, we have the position of hindsight here in the 21st century with much of historical fact at our fingertips.  With that historical hindsight, I myself discount the economic factor, as I can find no real historical evidence to support it.  As to the loss of political power, I feel you may have something there, as the slave states were losing out to the greater population of the North and representation in the House of Representatives.  There may have been even more apprehension in the South with the issue of closing the federal territories to slavery, but I tend to lean towards the idea THE issue was slavery.
I maintain however that it is not for us to enumerate these greviences,  but rather it was sufficient that they knew, articulated or not, what they meant . The perception of a wrong can be just as powerful as the wrong itself...
And here is where I part company, sort-of-speak.  I think it is absolutely essential that we do list the greviences these men presented and examine them to see if there were any REAL wrongs vice perceptions of wrong.  The leadership of the South, in their State governments and in their representatives in the Congress and federal government, were not fools, stupid or without knowledge over the issues facing them at that time.  The only preception that I can find that these men had was a precption of a danger to slavery.  To my mind, they listed this danger, over and over again, at the expense of any other grevience or factor.  I see no "wrongful" perception made by the South and its leadership.  They decided what the issue was, how important it was to them, and then pronounced loud and clear for all to hear.
In any event, they felt wronged, believed the bond was broken and pulled out. ..
But were they justified in taking the course they did before they exhausted other, peaceful means?  In my own view, no, they were not, because they had not been wronged, either in perception or in reality.
Therre are many would say the DOI is/was a document written for that moment in time and its value to day is historical only. I am not among them. I look at the document and see a superbly crafted statement or series of statements that lay out the rights, duties, and responsibilities of a free people..here or elsewhere. I believe the document was just as valid in 1860 as it was in 1776 and its validity continues to this day and beyond.
I agree.
Look if you will about what the DOI says about government, rights duties and responsibility.

That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

What could be clearer? Governments are formed to secure the rights of its citizens. Was the government of King George  securing th rights of the colonists, how about the government of the US in 1860...or more important today?... Opinions will vary won't they...whose opinion counts and whose does not??
My problem in comparing the Revolution of 1776 with the Rebellion of 1861 is in the causes that made each come about.  Were the reasons the colonists of 1776 used in justifying their rebellion the same as those who rebelled in 1861?  In my view, when viewing the Declaration of Independence with the Declarations of Secession or Ordinances of Secession, there is no real comparison.  I agree that opinions will vary, but examing history and the reasons given for the two Rebellions offer clear differences, again, in my own opinion.
 That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Here the DOI tells us what our rights are relative to our governemnt when we no longer believe the current government becomes destructive to the purposed under which it was founded. Notice there are no conditions or miminum  greviences laid out, but rather it is left to the people to decide for themselves when the threashold has been met and passed.
Agreed.
But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

Here we are told that when the threshold of tyrrany has been breached, it is our DUTY to throw off the governemnt and replace it. Once again the minimum number of greviences is not listed but is left to the people to come to that conclusion as best they can..
Here again we must part company.  The Declaration was written with the intent of explaining WHY the American colonies were separating from England and the document included a number of greviences, even though as you point out no set number was listed.  The people, through their representatives, were listing the wrongs done to them to show the justification for the action they were taking.
Were the secessionists right or wrong?  I would argue that their minds, according to their value structures and looking at things from their selifish interests, they acted justly. Looking at things from the comfort of my living room in the 21st century, it is easy to see that they acted incorrectly...
Which in my view is what history is all about.  We learn from history, we look at the past in order to apply to the future, to avoid past mistakes if at all possible.  I believe it is entirely possible to look at the minds, the values, and the justifications of the secessionists and find them wrong, even from my 21st century computer keyboard.  I also feel that a majority of 19th century Americans, both in the North and South, found these men wrong and wanting in their reasons for rebellion.  History shows us that secession was debated and warned against many times before 1861 and we have the historical results of two rebellions to compare with one another.  I see major differences and justifications for each, some justifiable and some very much wanting.
What about the future? Will this nation ever again struggle over this issue? What criteria would we use? Who would be to say if the decisions arrived at were ritht or wrong?

To me, this document is eternal...crafted by man, but holding eternal truths
I contend, as you do, Ed, that the people of this country will have to decide if they ever feel justified in using the DOI for any future struggle over its principles and its spirit of intent.  And I also feel that history will be the judge, as it is now, if that struggle will be right or wrong.  I do agree with you that the document is eternal and is one of the most amazing documents ever created by man.

 

Ed


I enjoyed our exchange, Ed, and I am looking forward to discussing it more with you and our fellow forum members.


Until our next post.

Sincerely,

Unionblue

Last edited on Sat Nov 28th, 2009 10:12 am by Unionblue



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 Posted: Sat Nov 28th, 2009 06:07 pm
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Blue,

I understand that you believe the reasons why the south went out were not enumerated well enough or not severe enough to warrant that extreme a measure. In hindsight I tend to agree with you, but I am trying to place myself and to try to find a way to understand..

Maybe an analogy,

Two people are married.. the wife has been growin gmore and more resentful of her husband.. and for reasons she might not even be able to articulate decides to divorce her husband.

Is she required to provide a detailed series of reasons she wants out, or can she just leave.. walk out and go her own way... get a divorce on the grounds of unreconcible differences..

Now lets don't intertwine the war with the secession. They are two seperate events in my mind... but for the states to just walk out...



 Posted: Sat Nov 28th, 2009 07:49 pm
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Now lets don't intertwine the war with the secession. They are two seperate events in my mind... but for the states to just walk out...

I'll be very interested to read your take on how the two can be unmeshed.

Ole



 Posted: Sat Nov 28th, 2009 09:11 pm
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ole wrote: Now lets don't intertwine the war with the secession. They are two seperate events in my mind... but for the states to just walk out...

I'll be very interested to read your take on how the two can be unmeshed.

Ole


One was not certain to follow the other....

It COULD have ended peacefully!



 Posted: Sun Nov 29th, 2009 02:35 am
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19bama46 wrote: Blue,

I understand that you believe the reasons why the south went out were not enumerated well enough or not severe enough to warrant that extreme a measure. In hindsight I tend to agree with you, but I am trying to place myself and to try to find a way to understand..
Very admirable, Ed, if you can do it through 148 years of forced social and political separation.
Maybe an analogy,
OK.
Two people are married.. the wife has been growin gmore and more resentful of her husband.. and for reasons she might not even be able to articulate decides to divorce her husband.

Is she required to provide a detailed series of reasons she wants out, or can she just leave.. walk out and go her own way... get a divorce on the grounds of unreconcible differences..
I assume, Ed, by way of your analogy, the wife seeks a divorce, for whatever reasons, unarticulated or not, before a judge in a court of law?
Now lets don't intertwine the war with the secession. They are two seperate events in my mind... but for the states to just walk out...
Sorry, Ed, but I can't buy into that.  Secession and the war are all part of the same fuse that led to war.  The spark is slavery, the fuse is secession, which led to the war.  They are all intertwined, for without one of them missing from the equation/fuse, no war.  IMO.


Sincerely,

Unionblue



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 Posted: Sun Nov 29th, 2009 02:39 am
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19bama46 wrote: ole wrote: Now lets don't intertwine the war with the secession. They are two seperate events in my mind... but for the states to just walk out...

I'll be very interested to read your take on how the two can be unmeshed.

Ole


One was not certain to follow the other....

It COULD have ended peacefully!


Ed.

It COULD have ended peacefully if the South had only followed your above analogy.

It should have tried divorce in front of a judge by peaceful means first and then resorted to revolution only if all other attempts had failed.

Unlike the Revolution of 1776, the South offered no "Olive Branch" petition to the North, no attempt at redress through the political or legal process.

And I believe no attempt was tried because in their hearts and minds, the leaders of secession knew they had no moral, political, or legal ground to justify their attempt at rebellion.

Until our next post,

Unionblue



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 Posted: Sun Nov 29th, 2009 05:14 am
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Unionblue-

  I feel compelled to answer your last posting concerning the: "leaders of secession." They most certainly DID feel that they had grounds to leave the Union. They set forth their reasons in a number of places. One can be seen in Jefferson Davis' Inaugural Address:

Jefferson Davis's Inaugural Address

  You in the 21st Century might conclude that the reasons given are not sufficient justification for their actions, but they in the 19th Century thought that they were.
  You might not believe that the Constitution allowed them to secede from the Union, but they did. You might not see an analogy to the situation in 1776, but they did.


  After the process of secession was begun, an olive branch was offered by the Confederates to the US Government. In March of 1861, Jefferson Davis sent a peace commission to Washington to try to negotiate a peaceful separation. The offer was to pay for federal property on southern soil and even a portion of the national debt. On March 12, 1861, the three commissioners delivered a letter of intent to Secretery of State William Seward. He answered through then US Supreme Court Justice John A. Campbell and said that Union troops at Ft. Sumter in Charleston and Ft. Pickens in Pensacola would not be resupplied without prior notification. Believing that the forts would soon be evacuated, the commissioners headed for home. At this time, the US Government had already assembled supplies and reinforcements to be sent to the forts in direct contradiction to the Confederates' expectations.

On April 29, 1861, Jefferson Davis made the following statement:

  "We feel that our cause is just and holy; we protest solemnly in the face of mankind that we desire peace at any sacrifice save that of honor and independence. We ask no conquest, no aggrandizement, no concession of any kind from the States with which we were lately confederated; all we ask is to be let alone; that those who never had power over us shall not now attempt our subjugation by arms."

  Of course, by then it was too late. Ft. Sumter had been attacked, which was the event most desired by Abraham Lincoln. It allowed him to exploit public sentiment to raise an army to be used to hold the Union together at the point of a bayonet.

  Secession did not HAVE to lead to war. Before the attack on Ft. Sumter, there had been considerable sentiment to let the: "wayward sisters" go their own way. If there had been a different president inaugurated on March 4, 1861, history might have been very different. But the new president was Mr. Lincoln, and there was no way that he was ever going to accept secession. Since the Confederates were determined to leave the United States, and since Mr. Lincoln was determined to preserve the Union by any means necessary, war was therefore inevitable.

Last edited on Sun Nov 29th, 2009 05:56 am by Texas Defender



 Posted: Sun Nov 29th, 2009 04:48 pm
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Maybe not, TD. Maybe so.

Had Ft. Sumter been re-supplied, it would then have to re- and re- and re-supplied. Its situation was untenable. Lincoln more than alluded in his first inaugural, that the duties would be collected. That's a matter of revenue cutters intercepting direct shipping and collecting the duties. That was done in Virginia for a time, and could have been done for other ports.

Of course, that dog won't hunt, and here's where the maybe not comes in, but it would have left only seven secesh states, some of whom were luke-warm in their enthusiasm for breaking up the Union.

No shooting, no invading armies, no war ... and a much better possibility for European intervention.

Just a thought.

Ole



 Posted: Sun Nov 29th, 2009 05:06 pm
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ole-

  We're really deep into the hypotheticals now. Its hard to imagine those in South Carolina tolerating the federal presence at Ft. Sumter for an extended period of time.

  I believe that even if such a presence was tolerated, another incident in another place would have triggered hostilities. In my view, Mr. Lincoln would never have recognized the separation and needed an attack against federal property in order to justify raising an army. So, I can't envision an extended peace from either direction.

  As for the additional states, in such a most unlikely scenario we can only speculate on who might have seceded and when. Some states that didn't eventually secede might have done so in time (such as MD). We can't know.

  I believe that those who seceded thought that they were presented with the same kind of choice that the colonists had in 1776- which was to submit to the Crown or fight. They saw Mr. Lincoln as saying: "First submit to federal authority, and then we'll discuss your grievances." They felt that they had the right to leave, and they did.

  Since the Constitution does not mention secession, the question of whether or not they had that right will be argued ad infinitum.

Last edited on Sun Nov 29th, 2009 05:28 pm by Texas Defender



 Posted: Sun Nov 29th, 2009 08:56 pm
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Unionblue wrote: 19bama46 wrote: Blue,

I understand that you believe the reasons why the south went out were not enumerated well enough or not severe enough to warrant that extreme a measure. In hindsight I tend to agree with you, but I am trying to place myself and to try to find a way to understand..
Very admirable, Ed, if you can do it through 148 years of forced social and political separation.
Maybe an analogy,
OK.
Two people are married.. the wife has been growin gmore and more resentful of her husband.. and for reasons she might not even be able to articulate decides to divorce her husband.

Is she required to provide a detailed series of reasons she wants out, or can she just leave.. walk out and go her own way... get a divorce on the grounds of unreconcible differences..
I assume, Ed, by way of your analogy, the wife seeks a divorce, for whatever reasons, unarticulated or not, before a judge in a court of law?No Blue, the idea of a judge and a court of law is putting  a 21st century spin on things... she just walks out... lets pretend they not married, just voluntairly had come together to live. when it was over, she walked!
Now lets don't intertwine the war with the secession. They are two seperate events in my mind... but for the states to just walk out...
Sorry, Ed, but I can't buy into that.  Secession and the war are all part of the same fuse that led to war.  The spark is slavery, the fuse is secession, which led to the war.  They are all intertwined, for without one of them missing from the equation/fuse, no war.  IMO.
Blue, I am sorry, but we just have to agree to disagree on this issue.. they were seperate up until the firing on Sumpter... No Sumpter, no war..

Sincerely,

Unionblue
By the way, TD has done a much better job of explaining what I was trying to get at. Thanks TD
 

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 Posted: Mon Nov 30th, 2009 01:14 am
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Texas Defender wrote: Unionblue-

  I feel compelled to answer your last posting concerning the: "leaders of secession." They most certainly DID feel that they had grounds to leave the Union.
Texas Defender, first, thank you for your time and your post, I appreciate it.  Second, I agree the leaders of secession DID feel they had grounds to leave the Union.  My point is, were their reasons worthwhile?They set forth their reasons in a number of places. One can be seen in Jefferson Davis' Inaugural Address:

Jefferson Davis's Inaugural Address
Again, I agree that they put forth their reasons for separation as you state, "in a number of place," although I focused primarily on the Declarations and Ordinances of secession, I can accept Davis's Inaugural Address above as another source.  You in the 21st Century might conclude that the reasons given are not sufficient justification for their actions, but they in the 19th Century thought that they were.
  You might not believe that the Constitution allowed them to secede from the Union, but they did. You might not see an analogy to the situation in 1776, but they did.
I see nothing in your above paragraph to disagree with.  But I do wish to contend with the idea that somehow we in the 21st century are unable to judge those in the 19th century.  Unless somehow one of us has access to Professor Peabody's Wayback Machine, NONE of us are going to be able to draw conclusions about the differences between the Revolution of 1776 and the Rebellion of 1861.  I submit this is what history is for, to provide us with information and documents that give us insight of the times so that we may form judgements and learn lessons from the past.  While our knowledge may not be perfect, it does provide us with insight and the ability to compare both events in history.  You make mention of the fact the leaders of secession in 1861 believed the Constitution permitted secession or that they were following the spirit and intent of the DOI, but are they permitted to make such conclusions about 1776 and we are not about 1861?  Again, I suggest that this is the primary purpose of history, to look upon the past and draw conclusions and lessons from it, to the best of our present ability.After the process of secession was begun, an olive branch was offered by the Confederates to the US Government. In March of 1861, Jefferson Davis sent a peace commission to Washington to try to negotiate a peaceful separation. The offer was to pay for federal property on southern soil and even a portion of the national debt. On March 12, 1861, the three commissioners delivered a letter of intent to Secretery of State William Seward. He answered through then US Supreme Court Justice John A. Campbell and said that Union troops at Ft. Sumter in Charleston and Ft. Pickens in Pensacola would not be resupplied without prior notification. Believing that the forts would soon be evacuated, the commissioners headed for home. At this time, the US Government had already assembled supplies and reinforcements to be sent to the forts in direct contradiction to the Confederates' expectations.
Again, I see very little to disagree with in your above paragraph and I agree with the sequence of events that you describe.  I would however tend to downgrade the description that paying for the property that one has already acquired through the act of theft is not the same act as the Congress of 1776 offered the British crown.  But this is my own view of the matter and meant as no insult to your own description of the events above.On April 29, 1861, Jefferson Davis made the following statement:

  "We feel that our cause is just and holy; we protest solemnly in the face of mankind that we desire peace at any sacrifice save that of honor and independence. We ask no conquest, no aggrandizement, no concession of any kind from the States with which we were lately confederated; all we ask is to be let alone; that those who never had power over us shall not now attempt our subjugation by arms."

  Of course, by then it was too late. Ft. Sumter had been attacked, which was the event most desired by Abraham Lincoln. It allowed him to exploit public sentiment to raise an army to be used to hold the Union together at the point of a bayonet.
I agree with your reporting of Davis's words and the time they were spoken, but I also must agree that it was far too late, as anything would be after the firing on Ft. Sumter.  I would also suggest that BOTH Lincoln and Davis wanted the other to fire first so that either of them could exploit public sentiment, but Davis was the one who felt compelled to fire first, at the behest of most of the Confederate cabinet and leadership.  I fully share the sentiment that until that one act, there was a chance for the Confederacy to leave the Union peacefully.  Not a great chance, but a chance, but there was also mounting pressure to "do" something to stop the talk of rejoining the Union and to force other Southern states off the fence as it were, to "sprinkle blood" in the faces of the South and leave reconciliation far behind.  It is my own contention the bayonet was resorted to in order to hold the Confederacy together and to force its expansion.  If it was "too late" Davis and the Southern leadership must share in the blame for setting the time.Secession did not HAVE to lead to war. Before the attack on Ft. Sumter, there had been considerable sentiment to let the: "wayward sisters" go their own way. If there had been a different president inaugurated on March 4, 1861, history might have been very different. But the new president was Mr. Lincoln, and there was no way that he was ever going to accept secession. Since the Confederates were determined to leave the United States, and since Mr. Lincoln was determined to preserve the Union by any means necessary, war was therefore inevitable.
I too, agree that secession did not HAVE to lead to war and I also agree, as I have stated above, there was that considerable sentiment you speak of to let the South go.  But after Ft. Sumter and the firing on the "old flag" that sentiment vanished.  And I am afraid it would not have mattered to much on who was elected president or who was sworn in on March 4, as the break was a long time coming.  The South had threatened to secede over any attempt to interfere with slavery or if a president was elected that they did not favor (Republican mostly, but it could have been any other party if it threatened slavery in any way, shape, or form).                                                                                                       Secession could have been attempted in a peaceful and legal manner, but frankly, in my own opinion, the South knew it had no legal leg to stand on or that a majority of the public in the US was going to grant peaceful secession.  Chief Justice Taney had already decided that secession was found no where within the Constitution and had stated such in an unpublished, eight-page memorandum prepared sometime around late January 1861 for use in a court decision, if the issue would have ever come before him.  Taney supported slavery and argued that the Northern states were obliged to respect the institution, but then said, "The South contends that a state has a constitutional right to secede from the Union formed with her sister states.  In this I submit the South errs.  No power or right is constitutional but what can be exercised in a form or mode provided in the constitution for its exercise.  Secession is therefore not constitutional, but revolutionary; and is only morally competent, like war, upon failure of justice."  The South chose the method of secession and how it would be decided, not Lincoln, and did so by initiating trial-by-combat for reasons, in my own view, did not come close to the reasons of 1776.


Sincerely,

Unionblue

Last edited on Mon Nov 30th, 2009 01:20 am by Unionblue



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 Posted: Mon Nov 30th, 2009 01:32 am
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Texas Defender wrote: ole-

  We're really deep into the hypotheticals now. Its hard to imagine those in South Carolina tolerating the federal presence at Ft. Sumter for an extended period of time.
Really?  It seems very predictable, given SC's history of agitation over the tariff issue during the 1830s.  A very excitable state in hindsight, yes? I believe that even if such a presence was tolerated, another incident in another place would have triggered hostilities. In my view, Mr. Lincoln would never have recognized the separation and needed an attack against federal property in order to justify raising an army. So, I can't envision an extended peace from either direction.
Speculation, is it not, TD?  This is why I prefer to deal with established history and facts that we can verify.  We can imagine anything we like, but we are left with the history that actually ocurred.As for the additional states, in such a most unlikely scenario we can only speculate on who might have seceded and when. Some states that didn't eventually secede might have done so in time (such as MD). We can't know.
But we do know there was agitation and advice given to Davis to take action, to "sprinkle blood" in the faces of the South, so that additional states WOULD leave the Union and join a weak, seven-state Confederacy.  History tells us so. I believe that those who seceded thought that they were presented with the same kind of choice that the colonists had in 1776- which was to submit to the Crown or fight. They saw Mr. Lincoln as saying: "First submit to federal authority, and then we'll discuss your grievances." They felt that they had the right to leave, and they did.
And I know that there were differences between the Revolution of 1776 and the Rebellion of 1861 and that they were no where near in principle or action to one another.  What rights were being denied the South?  What representation in the federal government did it lack?  Which State governments were overthrown?  What State officials and legislatures were disbanded and in their place federal appointees placed?  What heavy taxes were being borne by the South?  As for their right to leave, we have already seen various attempts at secession, mainly in words, turned back time and time again by other Presidents, SOUTHERN Presidents, before 1861, and by threat of military force if need be.  We see a Southern Supreme Court Justice who favored the South and rendered the Dred Scott descion come out against the idea the secession was permitted by the Constitution.  If they felt they had a right to leave, history had already given lessons on that supposed right and it was denied before.  Since the Constitution does not mention secession, the question of whether or not they had that right will be argued ad infinitum.


I believe it has already been argued and the question has been resolved.

If it had been submitted with the idea of a peaceful solution it might have been different, but we both know that is pure speculation, as we are left with the historical results of unilateral secession.

Until our next post,

Unionblue



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