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The American Civil War Timeline- 150th Anniversary

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The 1860 Democratic Convention, Part One

Despite everything that had happened in the past two years, this convention was still America's best hope of averting disunion and civil war. If the Democrats could find a way to unify behind a single candidate, they could still defeat the Republicans, and perhaps work out some accomodation on the future of slavery.

Pretty much. They had legitimate power at their feet. It wasn't going to be easy and they would have to work within the confines of the system that they always worked within and legitimized when they got the concessions they wanted. But in the end, the deep south simply was unwilling to keep doing it. Had the convention stayed together and nominated one candidate they would have beaten Lincoln and taken the White House.

And a candidate could have emerged fairly easily. It probably wouldn't have been Douglas because in any deal like this there has to be a sacrifice and it would have been him at the top of the ticket. But they could have formed some team to win the election and steer policy for the next 4 years. I doubt the northern leaders wouldhave accpted Breckenridge at the top of the ticket the way the southern ones did, but I'm willing to bet that they could have stolen John Bell from the Constitution Party, with Breckenridge or Dickenson as VP, or really thinking out of the box, giving Andrew Johnson the VP nomination, but if this team was formed, there would have been a guarantee that the leaders of the firebrand deep south would monopolize the cabinet. I'm thinknig Breckenridge would be better as Sec. War, You stick Douglas in as Poastmaster General to get him out of the Senate but make it look like a 'bi-partisan' cabinet for the north, get a northern dem for Sec. State who can temper the fire of the deep south in diplomatic settings, and probably get one more northern dem for Sec. Navy. Other then that, grab Jefferson Davis and the rest of the deep south leaders and put them in cabinet spots.

It could have worked. :goodposting:

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The 1860 Democratic Convention, Part One

Despite everything that had happened in the past two years, this convention was still America's best hope of averting disunion and civil war. If the Democrats could find a way to unify behind a single candidate, they could still defeat the Republicans, and perhaps work out some accomodation on the future of slavery.

Pretty much. They had legitimate power at their feet. It wasn't going to be easy and they would have to work within the confines of the system that they always worked within and legitimized when they got the concessions they wanted. But in the end, the deep south simply was unwilling to keep doing it. Had the convention stayed together and nominated one candidate they would have beaten Lincoln and taken the White House.

And a candidate could have emerged fairly easily. It probably wouldn't have been Douglas because in any deal like this there has to be a sacrifice and it would have been him at the top of the ticket. But they could have formed some team to win the election and steer policy for the next 4 years. I doubt the northern leaders wouldhave accpted Breckenridge at the top of the ticket the way the southern ones did, but I'm willing to bet that they could have stolen John Bell from the Constitution Party, with Breckenridge or Dickenson as VP, or really thinking out of the box, giving Andrew Johnson the VP nomination, but if this team was formed, there would have been a guarantee that the leaders of the firebrand deep south would monopolize the cabinet. I'm thinknig Breckenridge would be better as Sec. War, You stick Douglas in as Poastmaster General to get him out of the Senate but make it look like a 'bi-partisan' cabinet for the north, get a northern dem for Sec. State who can temper the fire of the deep south in diplomatic settings, and probably get one more northern dem for Sec. Navy. Other then that, grab Jefferson Davis and the rest of the deep south leaders and put them in cabinet spots.

It could have worked. ;)

1860 election results

Lincoln received just under 40% of the popular vote but he got more than 50% in nearly all the states he won. The states he received electoral votes from with less than 50% were California, Oregon and New Jersey. (NJ split their EC votes 4-3) Lincoln had enough electoral votes without those states.

There doesn't seem to be a possible combination that would gain votes in the states Lincoln won. A more "pro-slavery" candidate than Douglas probably would have resulted in some of the Douglas voters switching to Lincoln.

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Thanks for the link. As it is today, there are a few states that make up a huge chunk of the EC.

The 5 largest in the North were New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana and Massachusetts. Adding up to 111

The 5 largest in the South were Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky, North Carolina and Georgia. Adding up to 59

With 303 total votes the North, with just those 5 states, was already 73% there.

Of course these type of numbers, in the EC, the senate and the house, was a large reason Southerners were so concerned.

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Thanks for the link. As it is today, there are a few states that make up a huge chunk of the EC.

The 5 largest in the North were New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana and Massachusetts. Adding up to 111

The 5 largest in the South were Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky, North Carolina and Georgia. Adding up to 59

With 303 total votes the North, with just those 5 states, was already 73% there.

Of course these type of numbers, in the EC, the senate and the house, was a large reason Southerners were so concerned.

But the election is very different if there is one dem nominee. There is a good argument that Illinois and or Indiana may have flipped if Lincoln had to face a well run complete democratic party. Some more money for Douglas in New York could have swung the needed 35,000 or so votes there to not allow Lincoln a majority. New York's ballot was a mess with all the Dems and Constitution guys kinda fused and meshed together. If Douglas could have had a unified party behind him in New York, he could have pulled that state out. Without New York, Lincoln loses the majority in the electoral college and the vote would move to the House of Representatives. [b[That would have been an entertaining process for history to review. And that's just if one state moves. You give Douglas all of the deep south, and with it you ahve to accept that the Constitution Party doesn't get hte support it had, and he has 123 EC votes, with NY you give him the win without needing the House.

I know the raw numbers don't simply add up to a perfect change in the EC, but the dynamics of the election play a major role in that. I think it's rather clear that if the south just backed Douglas with the full dem ticket they would have beaten Lincoln.

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Thanks for the link. As it is today, there are a few states that make up a huge chunk of the EC.

The 5 largest in the North were New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana and Massachusetts. Adding up to 111

The 5 largest in the South were Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky, North Carolina and Georgia. Adding up to 59

With 303 total votes the North, with just those 5 states, was already 73% there.

Of course these type of numbers, in the EC, the senate and the house, was a large reason Southerners were so concerned.

But the election is very different if there is one dem nominee. There is a good argument that Illinois and or Indiana may have flipped if Lincoln had to face a well run complete democratic party. Some more money for Douglas in New York could have swung the needed 35,000 or so votes there to not allow Lincoln a majority. New York's ballot was a mess with all the Dems and Constitution guys kinda fused and meshed together. If Douglas could have had a unified party behind him in New York, he could have pulled that state out. Without New York, Lincoln loses the majority in the electoral college and the vote would move to the House of Representatives. [b[That would have been an entertaining process for history to review. And that's just if one state moves. You give Douglas all of the deep south, and with it you ahve to accept that the Constitution Party doesn't get hte support it had, and he has 123 EC votes, with NY you give him the win without needing the House.

I know the raw numbers don't simply add up to a perfect change in the EC, but the dynamics of the election play a major role in that. I think it's rather clear that if the south just backed Douglas with the full dem ticket they would have beaten Lincoln.

Can you tell more about the New York election, Y23? According to that website link, neither Breckenridge nor Bell received any votes in NY. Instead it looks like a two-man race b/w Lincoln and Douglass, with Lincoln winning by 50,000 votes.

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Looking at the numbers some more, it looks like a unified Democratic party would have needed to win IL, IN, MD, and OR to win the election. Lincoln still won > 50% of the votes in both IL and IN. I'm wondering if Douglas would have been the only potential Dem candidate to have a chance at beating Lincoln in those states, or if there was any candidate acceptable to the South that could have won outside of the South?

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Thanks for the link. As it is today, there are a few states that make up a huge chunk of the EC.

The 5 largest in the North were New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana and Massachusetts. Adding up to 111

The 5 largest in the South were Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky, North Carolina and Georgia. Adding up to 59

With 303 total votes the North, with just those 5 states, was already 73% there.

Of course these type of numbers, in the EC, the senate and the house, was a large reason Southerners were so concerned.

But the election is very different if there is one dem nominee. There is a good argument that Illinois and or Indiana may have flipped if Lincoln had to face a well run complete democratic party. Some more money for Douglas in New York could have swung the needed 35,000 or so votes there to not allow Lincoln a majority. New York's ballot was a mess with all the Dems and Constitution guys kinda fused and meshed together. If Douglas could have had a unified party behind him in New York, he could have pulled that state out. Without New York, Lincoln loses the majority in the electoral college and the vote would move to the House of Representatives. [b[That would have been an entertaining process for history to review. And that's just if one state moves. You give Douglas all of the deep south, and with it you ahve to accept that the Constitution Party doesn't get hte support it had, and he has 123 EC votes, with NY you give him the win without needing the House.

I know the raw numbers don't simply add up to a perfect change in the EC, but the dynamics of the election play a major role in that. I think it's rather clear that if the south just backed Douglas with the full dem ticket they would have beaten Lincoln.

Can you tell more about the New York election, Y23? According to that website link, neither Breckenridge nor Bell received any votes in NY. Instead it looks like a two-man race b/w Lincoln and Douglass, with Lincoln winning by 50,000 votes.
Republicans swept the state by about 50,000 votes, Lincoln included. The New York ballot was Lincoln vs. all together basically. So a vote for Lincoln was a vote for Lincoln and a vote for Bell/Douglas/Breckenridge was a vote for Douglas. There was also a battle in New York in the Republican party because many of the party bosses didn't support Lincoln. In fact the state wasn't exaclty clearly anti-slavery. Business leaders were afraid that Lincoln's election would mean possible war or at the very least hurt business. Many people were opposed to slavery in practice but didn't really care about what happened in the south. If the dems united behind Douglas who wasn't calling for all out war the way Breckenridge did, there is a very very good chance that New York moves into Douglas' column.

And even better review of all this is that if there was a unified democratic ticket and the Constitution party went along with it, Lincoln could have (if everything else remained the same) won the EC but lost the popular vote by a lot. That would have been just as interesting as the other scenarios mentioned.

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We're going to take a very long look at this election, starting with a continuation of the narration of the Democratic Convention. (Hopefully a little later today.) I believe it is the most interesting (and perhaps most important) Presidential election in American history. The characters alone are fascinating to study. I already mentioned some of them in my first post on this subject: the scheming, ambitious Rhett and Yancey, both desiring to be the new president of a Confederacy, ( I haven't even gotten to Toombs yet, probably the only man in politics who could match Stephen Douglas in heavy drinking), the brave and honorable Andrew Stephens, working so desperately to save the Union that summer. When we get to the Republicans, we will run into Chase, Seward, (both men who could have given Yancey and Rhett a run for their money in terms of ambition) his loutish supporter Boss Tweed, and perhaps the slimiest man in mid 19th century American politics, Simon Cameron. During discussion of the election cycle we also get to take a good look at probably the most inept president in American history, James Buchanan.

Edited by timschochet

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We're going to take a very long look at this election, starting with a continuation of the narration of the Democratic Convention. (Hopefully a little later today.) I believe it is the most interesting (and perhaps most important) Presidential election in American history. The characters alone are fascinating to study. I already mentioned some of them in my first post on this subject: the scheming, ambitious Rhett and Yancey, both desiring to be the new president of a Confederacy, ( I haven't even gotten to Toombs yet, probably the only man in politics who could match Stephen Douglas in heavy drinking), the brave and honorable Andrew Stephens, working so desperately to save the Union that summer. When we get to the Republicans, we will run into Chase, Seward, (both men who could have given Yancey and Rhett a run for their money in terms of ambition) his loutish supporter Boss Tweed, and perhaps the slimiest man in mid 19th century American politics, Simon Cameron. During discussion of the election cycle we also get to take a good look at probably the most inept president in American history, James Buchanan.

It's probably easy to declare it the most important given the events surrounding it. Washington's really doesn't count since he was pretty much annointed. I think Adam's election in 1797 is up there though simply because we saw the transfer of power for the first time under the Constitution and it went smoothly. And the following one of Adams v. Jefferson again is up there as well for what was at stake. I'm not so sure any other election in the 19th century comes close to either of these three.In the 20th, we had FDR's initial election, thought I don't think it is nearly as important; JFK's in 1960; Reagan in 80 I don't think belongs; I guess you can mention Bush v. Gore in 2000 simply because of what it turned into; and I'm sure some will mention 2009 given the election of the first black President.So, yeah, I think it's definately top 3, along with the two Adams v. Jefferson elections. I don't think the country was anywhere near imploding upon itself like it could have during any of those three elections.

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The 1860 Democratic Convention, Continued

The Alabama Democratic convention had taken the first step toward disunion in January 1860 by instructing its delegates to walk out of the National Convention at Charleston if the party refused to adopt a platform pledging a federal slave code for the territories. Other lower-South Democratic organizations followed. In February, Jefferson Davis presented the substance of southern demands to the Senate in resolutions affirming that neither Congress nor a territorial legislature could "impair the constitutional right of any citizen of the United States to take his slave property into the common territories...It is the duty of the federal government there to afford, for that as for other species of property, the needful protection." The Senate Democratic caucus, dominated by southerners, endorsed the resolutions and thereby threw down the gauntlet to Douglas at Charleston.

In the fevered atmosphere of 1860, Charleston was the worst possible place for the convention. Douglas delegates felt like aliens in a hostile land. Fire-eating orators held forth outdoors each evening. Inside the convention hall, northerners had a 3/5ths majority because delegates were apportioned in the same way as electoral votes rather than by party strength. Douglas's supporters were as determined to block a slave-code plank as southerners were to adopt one. Thus there was an impasse: the South would not yield it's position, and the northerners were unwilling to commit political suicide.

The crisis came with the report of the platform committee, in which each state had one vote. California and Oregon joined the slave states to provide a majority of 17 to 16 for a slave-code plank similar to the Jefferson Davis resolutions. The minority report reaffirmed the 1856 platform endorsing popular sovereignity and added a pledge to obey a Supreme Court decision on the powers of a territorial legislature. This was not good enough for the southerners. They accepted the axiom of the Freeport Doctrine that a Court decision would not enforce itself. Slave property needed federal protection, said the committee chairman, a North Carolinian, so that when the United States acquired Cuba, Mexico, and Central America (all of which was endorsed by Democrats, both northern and southern) any slaveholder could take his property there with perfect security.

Now William Yancey saw his chance for immortality and a way to best Rhett and all the other pretenders to the secessionist throne. As the head of the Alabama delegation, he manuevered so as to give the keynote speech for the majority report. The galleries rang with cheers when Yancey launched into his peroration, addressed to the northern delegates:

We are in a position to ask you to yield. What right of yours, gentlemen of the North, have we of the South ever invaded? Ours are the institutions which are at stake; ours is th propery that is to be destroyed; ours is the honor at stake.

To Yancey's great gratification, and to the grumbling of Rhett and his supporters, this speech made headlines all throughout the United States, and William Lowndes Yancey was almost universally accepted as the new Calhoun, the spokesman for "Southern Rights". This motto was was on everyone's lips. (Outside the convention hall, however, supporters of Yancey from Alabama were harrassed by what they called "local ruffians" who apparently wanted to remind them just which city and state were in charge of this movement.)

The third famous secessionist spokesman, Robert Toombs of Georgia, who had made such a stirring speech in the Senate, missed his chance at glory at the convention because he was so drunk he was unable to leave his hotel room.

It's interesting to note that at this time Jefferson Davis, while extremely prominent and in support, after Harper's Ferry, of a firm stance against the North, was not considered a secessionist leader. He was firmly for southern rights but his stance was too conservative, too lacking in fire for the angry crowd who made up the bulk of the Southern convention Democrats. Certainly the men from South Carolina had contempt for him; they considered most Mississipians to be barbaric. Others believed that once the Confederacy was created, Davis would lead the armies against the North. He was, after all, a military hero.

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The 1860 Democratic Convention, Continued

The Alabama Democratic convention had taken the first step toward disunion in January 1860 by instructing its delegates to walk out of the National Convention at Charleston if the party refused to adopt a platform pledging a federal slave code for the territories. Other lower-South Democratic organizations followed. In February, Jefferson Davis presented the substance of southern demands to the Senate in resolutions affirming that neither Congress nor a territorial legislature could "impair the constitutional right of any citizen of the United States to take his slave property into the common territories...It is the duty of the federal government there to afford, for that as for other species of property, the needful protection." The Senate Democratic caucus, dominated by southerners, endorsed the resolutions and thereby threw down the gauntlet to Douglas at Charleston.

In the fevered atmosphere of 1860, Charleston was the worst possible place for the convention. Douglas delegates felt like aliens in a hostile land. Fire-eating orators held forth outdoors each evening. Inside the convention hall, northerners had a 3/5ths majority because delegates were apportioned in the same way as electoral votes rather than by party strength. Douglas's supporters were as determined to block a slave-code plank as southerners were to adopt one. Thus there was an impasse: the South would not yield it's position, and the northerners were unwilling to commit political suicide.

The crisis came with the report of the platform committee, in which each state had one vote. California and Oregon joined the slave states to provide a majority of 17 to 16 for a slave-code plank similar to the Jefferson Davis resolutions. The minority report reaffirmed the 1856 platform endorsing popular sovereignity and added a pledge to obey a Supreme Court decision on the powers of a territorial legislature. This was not good enough for the southerners. They accepted the axiom of the Freeport Doctrine that a Court decision would not enforce itself. Slave property needed federal protection, said the committee chairman, a North Carolinian, so that when the United States acquired Cuba, Mexico, and Central America (all of which was endorsed by Democrats, both northern and southern) any slaveholder could take his property there with perfect security.

Now William Yancey saw his chance for immortality and a way to best Rhett and all the other pretenders to the secessionist throne. As the head of the Alabama delegation, he manuevered so as to give the keynote speech for the majority report. The galleries rang with cheers when Yancey launched into his peroration, addressed to the northern delegates:

We are in a position to ask you to yield. What right of yours, gentlemen of the North, have we of the South ever invaded? Ours are the institutions which are at stake; ours is th propery that is to be destroyed; ours is the honor at stake.

To Yancey's great gratification, and to the grumbling of Rhett and his supporters, this speech made headlines all throughout the United States, and William Lowndes Yancey was almost universally accepted as the new Calhoun, the spokesman for "Southern Rights". This motto was was on everyone's lips. (Outside the convention hall, however, supporters of Yancey from Alabama were harrassed by what they called "local ruffians" who apparently wanted to remind them just which city and state were in charge of this movement.)

The third famous secessionist spokesman, Robert Toombs of Georgia, who had made such a stirring speech in the Senate, missed his chance at glory at the convention because he was so drunk he was unable to leave his hotel room.

It's interesting to note that at this time Jefferson Davis, while extremely prominent and in support, after Harper's Ferry, of a firm stance against the North, was not considered a secessionist leader. He was firmly for southern rights but his stance was too conservative, too lacking in fire for the angry crowd who made up the bulk of the Southern convention Democrats. Certainly the men from South Carolina had contempt for him; they considered most Mississipians to be barbaric. Others believed that once the Confederacy was created, Davis would lead the armies against the North. He was, after all, a military hero.

And we are starting to see what was probably the plan of some leaders all along - break up the party and force an armed conflict to resolve the matter.

By 1860 the south had managed to lead federal legislation to compromise after compromise. Their puppet on the Supreme Court gave them what little legitimate backing he could and the battle over the territories wasn't going great. The writing was on the wall - this is very true. The southern way of doing things was coming to an end. It's entirely likely that many of the deep south leaders saw this and figured the only way to force action in defens of their position was to make sure someone so repulsive to their policy choices won the election - Lincoln fit that bill nicely they thought.

If you look through the way everything was playing out you have to come away with a pretty solid conclusion - the deep south that broke off and nominated Breckenridge knew he was never going to win. They also had to know that a divided party would cripple their ability to challenge the Republicans the way they needed to to win. If you give the deep southern leaders any measure of political ability and foresight - whcih you have to - then a very good argument can be made that by 1860 they saw enough writing on the wall to come to the disasterous conclusion - force conflict because this legalism way of going about it was only making them lose ground slowly.

What better way to force that conflict then to make sure the Republicans won the election?

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And we are starting to see what was probably the plan of some leaders all along - break up the party and force an armed conflict to resolve the matter.

By 1860 the south had managed to lead federal legislation to compromise after compromise. Their puppet on the Supreme Court gave them what little legitimate backing he could and the battle over the territories wasn't going great. The writing was on the wall - this is very true. The southern way of doing things was coming to an end. It's entirely likely that many of the deep south leaders saw this and figured the only way to force action in defens of their position was to make sure someone so repulsive to their policy choices won the election - Lincoln fit that bill nicely they thought.

If you look through the way everything was playing out you have to come away with a pretty solid conclusion - the deep south that broke off and nominated Breckenridge knew he was never going to win. They also had to know that a divided party would cripple their ability to challenge the Republicans the way they needed to to win. If you give the deep southern leaders any measure of political ability and foresight - whcih you have to - then a very good argument can be made that by 1860 they saw enough writing on the wall to come to the disasterous conclusion - force conflict because this legalism way of going about it was only making them lose ground slowly.

What better way to force that conflict then to make sure the Republicans won the election?

Not Lincoln- Seward. The deep South politicians expected the Republicans to nominate Seward. So did the press and general public. (So did Seward himself.)

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And we are starting to see what was probably the plan of some leaders all along - break up the party and force an armed conflict to resolve the matter.

By 1860 the south had managed to lead federal legislation to compromise after compromise. Their puppet on the Supreme Court gave them what little legitimate backing he could and the battle over the territories wasn't going great. The writing was on the wall - this is very true. The southern way of doing things was coming to an end. It's entirely likely that many of the deep south leaders saw this and figured the only way to force action in defens of their position was to make sure someone so repulsive to their policy choices won the election - Lincoln fit that bill nicely they thought.

If you look through the way everything was playing out you have to come away with a pretty solid conclusion - the deep south that broke off and nominated Breckenridge knew he was never going to win. They also had to know that a divided party would cripple their ability to challenge the Republicans the way they needed to to win. If you give the deep southern leaders any measure of political ability and foresight - whcih you have to - then a very good argument can be made that by 1860 they saw enough writing on the wall to come to the disasterous conclusion - force conflict because this legalism way of going about it was only making them lose ground slowly.

What better way to force that conflict then to make sure the Republicans won the election?

Not Lincoln- Seward. The deep South politicians expected the Republicans to nominate Seward. So did the press and general public. (So did Seward himself.)
True. Everything else still holds though.

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Tim, you're slacking on your duties here with your off-the-wall stuff in other threads. We get it, you read a lot, jump to every conclusion imaginable in politics, and have an opinion everything. Cool. We're good. Now get back here and facilitate like you said you would.

:thumbup:

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The 1860 Democratic Convention, concluded

After the eloquence of Yancey, the replies of northern delegates sounded futile, indeed almost funereal. "We cannot recede from popular sovereignity without personal dishonor," said a Douglas Democrat from Ohio, "never never never so help us God." And they did not. After two days of bitter wrangling, Douglas men pushed through their platform, whereupon 50 delegates from the lower South marched out. Led by Yancey and Toombs, they left Institute Hall as the crowd cheered wildly. Inside the Convention, the Northerners who considered themselves in a hostile land were eager to leave. And never to return. "I do not give a damn what the South does," one said. "They can all go to Hell for all I care." But most southern bolters aimed to seek readmission at Baltimore, where the convention would be resumed. If readmitted, the bolters intended to insist again on a slave-code platform and if defeated walk out again, this time with the promise of most upper-South delegates to join them. This is exactly what happened, and the result was the Democratic party divided in two.

Left to themselves in Baltimore, the remaining Northern Democrats (along with a few anguished Southerners like Alexander Stephens) nominated Stephen A. Douglas as their candidates. But in their hearts, they were depressed and bitter; they knew that the election of a Republican was almost assured.

Meanwhile the bolters quickly organized their own convention and nominated John C. Breckinridge of Kentucky (the current vice-president) for president on a slave-code platform. It is important to recognize that none of the fire-eaters ever really considered Beckinridge to be their leader; they were counting on him to lose the general election, so that they could secede. Breckinridge's name never came up for consideration as the new president of the Confederacy: to men like Yancey, Toombs, and Rhett, he was a tool to be used, a means to unite the South against both Douglas and the Republicans.

With the division of the Democrats, the Republicans were assured of at least a excellent chance of election. But who would the candidate be?

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Tim, you're slacking on your duties here with your off-the-wall stuff in other threads. We get it, you read a lot, jump to every conclusion imaginable in politics, and have an opinion everything. Cool. We're good. Now get back here and facilitate like you said you would.:)

Fascist.

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Tim, you're slacking on your duties here with your off-the-wall stuff in other threads. We get it, you read a lot, jump to every conclusion imaginable in politics, and have an opinion everything. Cool. We're good. Now get back here and facilitate like you said you would.:thumbup:

Are you going to be finishing up your sixth book of 2010 by Friday? Huh? Well? What's the holdup? :bookworm:

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The 1860 Democratic Convention, concluded

Led by Yancey and Toombs, they left Institute Hall as the crowd cheered wildly.

Later that year South Carolina Institute Hall would be where South Carolina's Ordinance of Secession was signed. A year later the building burned down in the great fire of Charleston.

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The 1860 Republican Convention Part One

The basic problem confronting the Republican party in 1860 was the need to carry nearly all of the free states in order to win. Expecting to lose California, Oregon, and perhaps New Jersey, they must capture Pennsylvania and either Indiana or Illinois among the states they had lost in 1856 to achieve an electoral majority. William H. Seward's weakness in these lower-North states formed a growing cloud on the horizon of his anticipated nomination. To carry these states, a Republican ha to attract support from many of the Fillmore votes of 1856. Seward's long record of hostility to nativism would undercut this effort. More important, his "Higher Law" and "Irrepressible Conflict" speeches had given him a radical reputation that daunted old Whig conservatives. Despite Seward's repudiation of John Brown and his ideals, some Harper's Ferry mud clung to his coattails. In addition, years of internecine Whig warfare in New York had earned Seward numerous enemies, amnog them Horace Greeley. A Seward nomination might also rob Republicans of the issue of corruption that scandals in the Buchanan administration had given them the opportunity to exploit. The bad smell of innocent franchise grants by the New York legislature that could be traced to Seward's political manager Thurlow Weed tainted his candidate's repute. The rowdy, hard-drinking claque of gallery supporters that the Seward delegation brought to Chicago did nothing to improve the New Yorker's image.

Coming into the convention with a large lead based on strength in upper-North states, Seward hoped for a first ballot nomination. But Republicans were sure to win those states no matter whom they nominated. Pragmatists from all regions and politicians from the doubtful states combined in a stop-Seward movement. They had plenty of potential alternative candidates: favorite sons from Vermont and New Jersey, and four men with state or regional backing whose aspirations went beyond favorite-son status: Salmon P. Chase of Ohio, Simon Cameron of Pennsylvania, Edward Bates of Missouri, and Abraham Lincoln of Illinois.

But Chase shared Seward's handicap of a radical reputation and did not command unanimous support from even his own state. Cameron's notoriety as a spoilsman who had been in turn a Democrat, a Know-Nothing, and had flirted with Whiggery, militated against his candidacy among delegates concerned that the party must have no taint of opportunism. Bates seemed for a time Seward's strongest challenger because Greeley and influential Blair family backed him in the hope that he might carry even a few border states as well as the lower North. But the colorless 67 year old Missourian had beeb a slaveholder, a Know Nothing, and in 1856 he had supported Fillmore. He therefore alienated too many constituencies whose support was essential- especially German Protestants. The belief that a Republican might carry a border state was fanciful, and Bates wound up with delegate support mainly from marginal states where Republican prospects were bleak or hopeless: Missouri, Maryland, Delaware, and Oregon.

This left Lincoln. By the time the convention's opening gavel came down on May 16, Lincoln had emerged from a position as the darkest of horses to that of Seward's main rival.

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wat?

Nothing on the Wigwam?

Here is a good article from the May 24, 1860 New York Times. Its a nice contemporaneous recap of the events, including the role of New York Tribune editor Horace Greeley.

The main work of the Convention was the defeat of Gov. Seward; that was the only specific and distinct object towards which its conscious efforts were directed. The nomination which it finally made was purely an accident, decided far more by the shouts and applause of the vast concourse which dominated the Convention, than by any direct labors of the delegates. The great point aimed at was Mr. Seward's defeat; and in that endeavor, Mr. Greeley labored harder and did tenfold more, than the whole family of Blairs, together with all the Gubernatoria cadidates, to whom he modestly hands over the honors of the effective campaign.

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Happy Birthday Marse Robert!

Two days later, Happy Birthday Stonewall!I had a friend whose birthday was January 20th. He made sure everyone knew that he was sandwiched between Lee and Stonewall.

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Happy Birthday Marse Robert!

Two days later, Happy Birthday Stonewall!

I had a friend whose birthday was January 20th. He made sure everyone knew that he was sandwiched between Lee and Stonewall.

hehe

Old Blue Light is my favorite general to study - I'm partial to Robertson - especially the Valley Campaign (Tanner's classic is highly reccommended) .

Also, anything by Robert Krick (Cedar Mountain, Port Republic, The Smoothbore Volley that Doomed the Confederacy) is an outstanding supplement as well.

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The 1860 Republican Convention Part One

The basic problem confronting the Republican party in 1860 was the need to carry nearly all of the free states in order to win. Expecting to lose California, Oregon, and perhaps New Jersey, they must capture Pennsylvania and either Indiana or Illinois among the states they had lost in 1856 to achieve an electoral majority. William H. Seward's weakness in these lower-North states formed a growing cloud on the horizon of his anticipated nomination. To carry these states, a Republican ha to attract support from many of the Fillmore votes of 1856. Seward's long record of hostility to nativism would undercut this effort. More important, his "Higher Law" and "Irrepressible Conflict" speeches had given him a radical reputation that daunted old Whig conservatives. Despite Seward's repudiation of John Brown and his ideals, some Harper's Ferry mud clung to his coattails. In addition, years of internecine Whig warfare in New York had earned Seward numerous enemies, amnog them Horace Greeley. A Seward nomination might also rob Republicans of the issue of corruption that scandals in the Buchanan administration had given them the opportunity to exploit. The bad smell of innocent franchise grants by the New York legislature that could be traced to Seward's political manager Thurlow Weed tainted his candidate's repute. The rowdy, hard-drinking claque of gallery supporters that the Seward delegation brought to Chicago did nothing to improve the New Yorker's image.

Coming into the convention with a large lead based on strength in upper-North states, Seward hoped for a first ballot nomination. But Republicans were sure to win those states no matter whom they nominated. Pragmatists from all regions and politicians from the doubtful states combined in a stop-Seward movement. They had plenty of potential alternative candidates: favorite sons from Vermont and New Jersey, and four men with state or regional backing whose aspirations went beyond favorite-son status: Salmon P. Chase of Ohio, Simon Cameron of Pennsylvania, Edward Bates of Missouri, and Abraham Lincoln of Illinois.

But Chase shared Seward's handicap of a radical reputation and did not command unanimous support from even his own state. Cameron's notoriety as a spoilsman who had been in turn a Democrat, a Know-Nothing, and had flirted with Whiggery, militated against his candidacy among delegates concerned that the party must have no taint of opportunism. Bates seemed for a time Seward's strongest challenger because Greeley and influential Blair family backed him in the hope that he might carry even a few border states as well as the lower North. But the colorless 67 year old Missourian had beeb a slaveholder, a Know Nothing, and in 1856 he had supported Fillmore. He therefore alienated too many constituencies whose support was essential- especially German Protestants. The belief that a Republican might carry a border state was fanciful, and Bates wound up with delegate support mainly from marginal states where Republican prospects were bleak or hopeless: Missouri, Maryland, Delaware, and Oregon.

This left Lincoln. By the time the convention's opening gavel came down on May 16, Lincoln had emerged from a position as the darkest of horses to that of Seward's main rival.

Horace Greeley was the very worst form of what we hate in journalism today. He used his newspaper solely to advance his own political ideals and the cost of pretty much everything else. He was willing on top of that to stab anyone in the back he had to in order to get what he wanted. He screwed Seward, Grant and just about everyone else that got in his way. His newspaper and editorials had nothing to do with news and had everything to do with Horace's world view and demand that everyone follow.

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The 1860 Republican Convention Part One

The basic problem confronting the Republican party in 1860 was the need to carry nearly all of the free states in order to win. Expecting to lose California, Oregon, and perhaps New Jersey, they must capture Pennsylvania and either Indiana or Illinois among the states they had lost in 1856 to achieve an electoral majority. William H. Seward's weakness in these lower-North states formed a growing cloud on the horizon of his anticipated nomination. To carry these states, a Republican ha to attract support from many of the Fillmore votes of 1856. Seward's long record of hostility to nativism would undercut this effort. More important, his "Higher Law" and "Irrepressible Conflict" speeches had given him a radical reputation that daunted old Whig conservatives. Despite Seward's repudiation of John Brown and his ideals, some Harper's Ferry mud clung to his coattails. In addition, years of internecine Whig warfare in New York had earned Seward numerous enemies, amnog them Horace Greeley. A Seward nomination might also rob Republicans of the issue of corruption that scandals in the Buchanan administration had given them the opportunity to exploit. The bad smell of innocent franchise grants by the New York legislature that could be traced to Seward's political manager Thurlow Weed tainted his candidate's repute. The rowdy, hard-drinking claque of gallery supporters that the Seward delegation brought to Chicago did nothing to improve the New Yorker's image.

Coming into the convention with a large lead based on strength in upper-North states, Seward hoped for a first ballot nomination. But Republicans were sure to win those states no matter whom they nominated. Pragmatists from all regions and politicians from the doubtful states combined in a stop-Seward movement. They had plenty of potential alternative candidates: favorite sons from Vermont and New Jersey, and four men with state or regional backing whose aspirations went beyond favorite-son status: Salmon P. Chase of Ohio, Simon Cameron of Pennsylvania, Edward Bates of Missouri, and Abraham Lincoln of Illinois.

But Chase shared Seward's handicap of a radical reputation and did not command unanimous support from even his own state. Cameron's notoriety as a spoilsman who had been in turn a Democrat, a Know-Nothing, and had flirted with Whiggery, militated against his candidacy among delegates concerned that the party must have no taint of opportunism. Bates seemed for a time Seward's strongest challenger because Greeley and influential Blair family backed him in the hope that he might carry even a few border states as well as the lower North. But the colorless 67 year old Missourian had beeb a slaveholder, a Know Nothing, and in 1856 he had supported Fillmore. He therefore alienated too many constituencies whose support was essential- especially German Protestants. The belief that a Republican might carry a border state was fanciful, and Bates wound up with delegate support mainly from marginal states where Republican prospects were bleak or hopeless: Missouri, Maryland, Delaware, and Oregon.

This left Lincoln. By the time the convention's opening gavel came down on May 16, Lincoln had emerged from a position as the darkest of horses to that of Seward's main rival.

Horace Greeley was the very worst form of what we hate in journalism today. He used his newspaper solely to advance his own political ideals and the cost of pretty much everything else. He was willing on top of that to stab anyone in the back he had to in order to get what he wanted. He screwed Seward, Grant and just about everyone else that got in his way. His newspaper and editorials had nothing to do with news and had everything to do with Horace's world view and demand that everyone follow.
Whenever I am near City Hall, I make a special point to walk by this so I can spit on it.

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SCV proposes Secession Monument

A group seeking to commemorate the 170 South Carolinians who signed the ordinance of secession nearly 150 years ago wants to place a monument to recognize the historic event on the grounds at Patriots Point.

The Sons of Confederate Veterans' South Carolina division is proposing to install an 11 1/2-foot-tall stone memorial as the centerpiece of a 40-foot by 40-foot landscaped plaza at the state-owned tourist attraction.

Designed by Pelion artist Ron Clamp, the rectangular structure would be made from blue Georgia granite and would measure 5 feet wide on each side. It would be lighted and surrounded with benches for visitors.

The group said Tuesday that it would take care of all the up-front costs and set up an endowment fund to cover future maintenance expenses. It asked that the Patriots Point Development Authority pay the electricity bill and have its security personnel include the proposed addition in their rounds to deter vandalism.

Representatives from the group pitched the idea to the authority this week, saying few public monuments exist recognizing the secession convention held in Columbia and

Charleston on Dec. 17 and Dec. 20, 1860, helping ignite the Civil War.

The name of each of the signers and the wording of the secession document would be among the text and images engraved on each side of the monument.

Albert Jackson, chairman of the Sons of Confederate Veterans' monument committee, called the secession debate and the subsequent unanimous approval of the ordinance "a significant action" for South Carolina. Most people are not aware of the history behind it, he said.

Jeff Antley, who is in charge of finding a location for the memorial, said organizers want to put the monument at Patriots Points but that they need a firm commitment for a site before they raise the rest of the money for the estimated $160,000 project.

"We believe it belongs out here," Antley said, noting that the waterfront visitor attraction is now a key "gateway to Fort Sumter," where the first shots of the war between the states were fired in April 1861.

Ideally, the Sons of Confederate Veterans would like to have the project completed in time for the 150th anniversary of the secession convention in December.

Members of the Patriots Point board said they were impressed with the design and the presentation, but they took no action this week, saying they need more time to consider the request. They plan to revisit the proposal and possibly take a vote at their February meeting.

Board Chairman John Hagerty said Patriots Point is just starting to update its land-use plan, which could delay any land commitment decisions.

The signing monument falls within the scope of Patriots Point's mission, said Bill Craver, the board's attorney.

"It works if you all would want to do it," he said.

Patriots Point was approached by another group at the same meeting about building a counterpart to the Statue of Liberty.

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SCV proposes Secession Monument

A group seeking to commemorate the 170 South Carolinians who signed the ordinance of secession nearly 150 years ago wants to place a monument to recognize the historic event on the grounds at Patriots Point.

Patriots Point was approached by another group at the same meeting about building a counterpart to the Statue of Liberty.

Very cool. Hope they get to do it.

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The 1860 Republican Convention, Continued

Party leaders gradually recognized that Lincoln had most of the strengths and few of the weaknesses of an ideal candidate. He had a reputation as a moderate.

This preference towards moderation has always been prevalent in American politics. Lincoln was selected here over the more outspoken Seward and Chase because he was thought to be a more respectable, conservative choice. Later on we will see how Jefferson Davis prevailed over the more well-known fire-eaters at Montgomery for the same reason that Lincoln was chosen: respectability and moderation. Time and again, from our beginnings to the present day, Americans almost never choose extremists, always preferring those who would seem more middle of the road.

However, we should not rely on this fact to misunderstand Abraham Lincoln. A legend has grown out of this convention that he was the reluctant candidate, and nominated because he was reluctant, and became president reluctantly. Lincoln himself was aware of this legend and didn't mind it, and because we exalt this man above nearly all other figures in American history (only Washington and Martin Luther King probably come close) this legend has continued to this present day. I was just looking over one of my daughter's short books about Abraham Lincoln, and while it doesn't call him reluctant in so many words, every phrase is made out to sound like that's exactly what he was:

Lincoln allowed to have his name thrown in to the hat for President at the urging of his friends and supporters. Privately he questioned if he was up to the task...

This almost certainly isn't true. In fact, Abraham Lincoln was a very ambitious man, eager to be POTUS. There is nothing wrong with this. Great men are naturally ambitious, and usually highly confident of their own abilities. That's one reason they are great. To paraphase Churchill, modesty is not a virtue among the able. Lincoln was not an unknown factor in national politics before 1860. His contest with Douglas had won wide attention, as had his Cooper-Union speech. Of humble origins, Lincoln personified the free-labor ideology of equal opportunity and upward mobility. He had been born in a log cabin. In a stroke of political genius, one of Lincoln's managers exhibited a pair of weatherbeaten fence rails that Lincoln had supposedly split 30 years earlier. From then on, Lincoln became The Railsplitter, a symbol of frontier, hard work, honesty.

Finally, the selection of Chicago as the convention site incalculably strengthened Lincoln's candidacy. The fasted growing part of the country, Illinois and the Old Northwest believed its time had come. Huge, enthusiastic crowds composed mostly of Illinoisans turned up at the large hall built for the convention and nicknamed the "Wigwam." Counterfeit tickets enabled thousands of leather-lunged Lincoln men to pack the galleries.

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The 1860 Republican Convention, Concluded

Lincoln had given an injunction from Springfield to his lieutenants at the convention: make no contracts that will bind me. But politics don't work that way, and cabinet posts and other patronage plums were promised to delegates from Indiana, to Cameron from Pennsylvania (Lincoln would come to greatly regret this) and to the Blairs. How important these pledges were in winning votes is debatable- after all, Weed could make similar promises on behalf of Seward. The belief that Lincoln could carry the lower North and Seward could not was the most powerful Lincoln weapon. And delegates from other states were influenced by the action of Indiana and Pennsylvania because they knew that the party must capture them to win.

Tension grew in the Wigwam as each succeeding ballot brought the needed majority closer to Lincoln. As the third ballot began, suspense stretched nerves to the breaking point. 6 more New England votes switched to Lincoln, along with 8 from New Jersey, 9 from Maryland, 4 more from his native Kentucky. When another 15 Chase votes from Ohio went to Lincoln, the rafters literally shook with reverberation. Amid a sudden silence the Ohio chairman leaped onto his chair and announced the change of 4 more votes to Lincoln, with this, as a journalist from the New York Timeswrote:

There was a rush of a great wind in the van of a storm- and in another breath, the storm was there...thousands cheering with the energy of insanity.

None of the 40,000 people in and around the Wigwam ever forget that moment. Alll except the diehard Seward delegates were convinced that they had selected the strongest candidate. Few could know that they had also chosen the best man for the grim task that lay ahead. (Some of the more prominent men there, like Seward and Cameron, were openly contemptuous of Lincoln, whom they considered a buffoon. They would demonstrate this contempt later, and be very surprised by the results of their actions.) To balance the ticket the convention nominated for vice-president Hannibal Hamlin of Maine, a former Democrat and one of Lincoln's earliest supporters in New England but also a friend of Seward.

The Republican platform was one of the most effective documents of its kind in American history. While abating none of the antislavery convictions expressed in the 1856 platform, it softened the language slightly and denounced John Brown's raid as "the gravest of crimes." Gladly accepting the issues handed to Republicans by the opposition, the platform pledged support for a homestead act, rivers and harbors improvements, and federal aid for construction of a transcontinental railroad. There was a tariff plank for Pennsylvanians and oldtime Whigs. To southern disunionists, the platform issued a warning against "contemplated treason, which it is the imperative duty of an indignant people sternly to rebuke and forever silence."

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The Election of 1860 Part One

The excitement and optimism at Chicago carried over into the Republican campaign. This young party was very youthful. First time voters flocked to the Republican standard. Thousands of them enrolled in "Wide-Awake" clubs and marched in huge parades carrying torches and singing songs.

Like the mythical phoenix, the Whig party kept rising from its own ashes. This time it did so in the guise of the Constitutional Union party. These conservatives decided that the best way to avoid the calamity of disunion was to take no stand at all on the issues that divided the North and the South. Instead of a plaform, therefore, they adopted a pious resolution pledging to recognize no political principle "other than the Constitution." The convention nominated wealthy slaveholder John Bell of Tennessee for president and venerable Cotton Whig Edward Everett of Massachusetts for VP. Few members of this "old man's party" were under 60. Most Northern (and Southern) voters rejected the idea of sweeping the issue of slavery under the rug: all sides seemed to agree that the time had come to confront the issue head on.

The election of 1860 was unique in the history of American politics. The campaign resolved itself into two separate contests: Lincoln vs. Douglas in the North; Breckinridge vs. Bell in the South. Republicans did not even have a ticket in 10 southen states, where their speakers would have been greeted with a coat of tar and feathers- or worse- had they dared to appear. In the remaining 5 slave states- all in the upper South- Lincoln received 4% of the popular votes, mostly from antislavery Germans in St. Louis. Breckinridge fared a little better in the North, where he won 5% of the popular votes, enough to deny California and Oregon to Douglas. Lincoln carried these states by a plurality and all other free states except New Jersey by a majority of the popular vote.

This was accomplished through hard work. Stephen Douglas remained a formidable opponent. He campaigned in every state he could, arguing that he was the one "national candidate", the only man who could save the union. In campaigning for himself, Douglas broke the time-honored tradition that those running for President did not campaign. Lincoln, for instance, gave no speeches himself; nor would he until his inauguration several months later. His campaign managers spoke for him.

It must also be said that Douglas, or the people that ran his campaign, made it one or race. Flyers were sent out depicting Lincoln kissing a baboon, with the message- "Do you want negroes (the n word also used) to marry your daughters? Vote for Abe the Ape if you do." The New York Herald, supporting Douglas, predeicted that if Lincoln were elected "hundreds of thousands of fugitive slaves will emigrate to join their friends in the Republican party and be placed side by side in competition with white men."

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The 1860 Republican Convention, Concluded

Again, decent synopsis of the convention. I think it's pretty clear to anyone that has studied it and Lincoln that Lincoln very much wanted the nomination and worked about as hard as he could through his surrogates to get it. The problem a alot of the times in reviewing the political ambitions of many of our leaders prior to 1860 is that they still stuck to the mantra of you don't actually run for the office you want. Aaron Burr was ridiculed for looking like he was doing it in 1800 and not much really changed until Douglas did it against Lincoln and then Ulysses Grant's elections pretty much ended the practice.

The great overriding story of the 1860 Republican convention though is how so much of it became a window into the soul and story of Abraham Lincoln.

It was a convention housed in Chicago because the west was the fasting growing area of the country and the base power ofthe new Republican party could be grabbed there out of the ashes of the old Whigs. Lincoln rose to prominance due in large part to the actual ability to get his name and talents int he press because of the fact that the west was becoming so important and so much focus was given to it and its leaders.

Lincoln entered the convention not considered a serious candidate by the serious powers that be but his skills and ability to work through the political system and his ability to connect with the people brought a ground swelling of support that the Seward and Chase aspects of the party didn't count on very well. Throughout Lincoln's entire Presidency this same story repeated itself. All to often his allies, enemies, supporters, well wishers and very else in between initiall thought he wasn't up to the task, was smaller then the office, wasn't educated enough to lead, wasn't a good enough leader or speaker to connect and didn't have any ability to be the President the country needed. He proved them wrong at every single turn.

In fact, like the convention where people finally began to see his potential and fall in line with him, so too did many of his rivals. Seward became an unapologetic Lincoln man moreso then anyone could have fathomed. In fact, almost all of his political rival sin the north did in some respects.

Just about every serious contender for the office of President at that convention was chosen by Lincoln to be in his cabinet. It was an ability to interact with dissention, work with debate and lead through crisis and disagreement that was the stepping stone to his ability to weild the pwoer of the federal government to win the war. It was a show of a desire for political unity above petty party squabbling to ensure the goal of the greater cause is met. It was a tremendous act of political statesmanship and frankly, audacity, to suggest that you could put together a cabinet full of your very rivals and actually win them over and succeed. In that he was a far great President then John Adams ever was.

Everything about Lincoln in that convention is just amazing to see as you see it play out over and over and over again in his admiinstration. Right down to the most sppoky aspect of the whole thing.

The convention was three days long with the organization taking day 1 and the entertainment taking day 2 with the votes to be done on the final day. The high point of the entertainment was a play put on the center stage of a bigger theatre hall down the street from the convention hall for the delgates. The play was called, Our American Cousin.

5 years later, it was that same play that Abraham Lincoln was watching in the Ford's Theatre when John Wilkes Booth took from us perhaps the greatest man our country ever produced.

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The Election of 1860 Part One

It must also be said that Douglas, or the people that ran his campaign, made it one or race. Flyers were sent out depicting Lincoln kissing a baboon, with the message- "Do you want negroes (the n word also used) to marry your daughters? Vote for Abe the Ape if you do." The New York Herald, supporting Douglas, predeicted that if Lincoln were elected "hundreds of thousands of fugitive slaves will emigrate to join their friends in the Republican party and be placed side by side in competition with white men."

Much of the campaign around the country was like this or worse for the most part. It is, to continue one of my usual refrains when talking about contemporary politics, just more proof at how "bad" politics and negative campaigning was in our history and how we are actually probably nicer about the whole thing these days.

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The Election of 1860, Continued

The Buchanan administration handed Republicans another issue: corruption. This was surely the most corrupt administration prior to the Civil War and possibly the most corrupt in American history. Graft and bribery in government contracts, the civil service, the military. Public funds siphoned, bribing judges to naturalize citizens so that they could vote for Democrats, kickbacks galore, the list went on and on. The worst was Secretary of War John Floyd, who sold government property for much less than its real value to a consortium headed by cronies. After being caught raiding an Indian trust fund, Floyd cloaked himself in secessionism and, prior to his forced resignation, attempted to transfer 125 cannon to a Missisippi arsenal AFTER that state had left the Union. Floyd fled down down South before the U.S. Marshals could catch him, and for a while the Condederates treated him like a hero- however, Jefferson Davis wisely did not let him near the treasury.

Republicans made big capital out of these scandals. To be sure, Buchanan was not running for re-election, and most northern Democrats had already repudiated his administration. But some Douglas Democrats had also been caught with their hands in the till, and the whole party was tarnished by the image of corruption.

Meanwhile, some of the more idealistic abolitionists were very skeptical of the Republicans. They had good reason: when party orators described slavery, especially in the lower North, they often took pains to describe Republicanism as the true "White Man's Party." Exclusion of slavery from the territories, they insisted, meant exclusion of black competition with white settlers. This caused several abolitionists to denounce the Republicans as no better than the Democrats. William Lloyd Garrison believed that "the Republican party means to do nothing, can do nothing, for the abolition of slavery in the slave states." He called Lincoln "the Slave Hound of Illinois" because he refused to advocate repeal of the Fugitive Slave Act.

In fact, Lincoln wrote to many friends (he did not give speeches at this time) and had these friends say on his behalf that, if elected, he had no intent to interfere with slavery in the South in any way." Obviously, these statements were designed to hopefully alleviate tension in the South, and later he repeated them in an attempt to keep the border states in the Union (this would have mixed results, as we shall see.) But there is no evidence that he did not mean it at this time in history.

Most abolitionists, however, did support the Republican party, which only proves the age old rule of American politics: in the final analysis, no matter how much they threaten to leave a political party, extreme partisans usually go along with the moderates when it's time to vote. "Lincoln's election will indicate growth in the right direction," wrote Frederick Douglass. "It will be hailed as an antislavery triumph."

The problem was, southerners believed this too.

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The 1860 Election, continued

A relentless, dogged, free-soil border ruffian

A vulgar mobocrat and a hater of the South

An illiterate partisan

A white man who wishes he was Black

A beast, an Ape escaped from the Illinois zoo

These were some of the kinder words used by southern partisans to describe Abraham Lincoln during the summer of 1860. As the election neared, the increasing liklihood that a solid North would elect him president brewed a volatile mixture of hysteria, despondency, and elation in the South. Whites feared the coming of new John Browns encouraged by triumphant Black Republicans; unionists like Andrew Stephens despaired of the future; secessionists like Yancey and Rhett relished the prospect of southern independence. Even the weather that summer became part of the political climate; a severe drought and prolonged heat wave withered southern crops and drove nerves beyond the point of endurance.

Stories of slave uprisings that followed the visits of mysterious Yankee strangers, reports of arson and rapes and poisoning by slaves crowded the southern press. Somehow these horrors never seemed to happen in one's own neighborhood. Almost all of these stories turned out to be false, despite the fact that there was a very real whispering among many slaves about a white man named "Linkum" who might bring about the "Jubilee." But the vast majority of Southerners beleived the threat of uprisings was very real. On the eve of the election, a Mississippian observed that "the minds of the people are aroused to a pitch of excitement unparalled in the history of our country." However irrational these fears- the response was real- vigilante lynch law that made the John Brown scare of the previous winter look like a Sunday School picnic. "It is better for us to hang 99 innocent (but suspicious) men than let one guilty man pass," wrote a Texan, "for the guilty one endangers the peace of society."

The mass hysteria caused even southern unionists to warn Yankees that a Republican victory meant disunion. The newspapers were full of the threat. Rhett in the Charleston Mercury seemed that summer to speak for the entire South when he wrote:

Let the consequences be what they may- whether the Potomac is crimsoned in human blood, and Pennsylvania Avenue is paved ten fathoms deep with mangled bodies. The South will never submit to such humiliation and dedegration as the inauguration of Abraham Lincoln.

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The Election of 1860, continued

As a general rule, Republicans refused to take the warnings of secession to heart. They had heard them so many times before, in 1850, 1852, and 1856. It was a ploy to bully Northerners into not voting for free soil candidates. "Call their bluff!" cried an Illinois editor. "Nobody's afraid of them; nobody can be bought." Even Lincoln agreed. He wrote privately, "I do not expect any formidable effort to break the Union. The people of the South have too much sense to attempt the ruin of the government."

Some historians believe that the Republican failure, in the summer of 1860, to take southerners at their word was a "cardinal error." But it's difficult to see exactly what the Republicans could have done to allay the fears of the South short of dissolving their party and proclaiming slavery a positive good. As the Virginia Legislature put it in a resolution, "The very existence of such a party is an offense to the entire South." A New Orleans editor regarded every northern vote cast for Lincoln as "a deliberate, cold blooded insult and outrage to southern honor." It was not so much what Republicans might do as what they stood for that angered southerners.

Lincoln rejected pleas from conservatives that he issue a statement to mollify the South. He wrote to a friend in October:

What is it that I could which would quiet alarm? Is it that no interference by the government, with slaves or slavery within the states, is intended? I have said this so often already, that a repetition of it is but mockery, bearing an appearance of weakness. I would have been willing to repeat these statements if there were no danger of encouraging bold bad man who are eager for something new upon which to base new misrepresentations- men who would like to frighten me, or, at least, to fix upoin me the character of timidity and cowardice. They would seize upon almost any letter I could write, as being an awful coming down.

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The Election of 1860, concluded

Times of grave crisis often turn good men into great men, and this is the case with Stephen A. Douglas, who had his finest hour in the fall of 1860. At risk to his deteriorating health and to his life, he ventured south, into North Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, and Alabama, to warn these states of the consequences of secession. Douglas was a man who could work with those that supported slavery, and find compromises; but he was not a man who would allow, if he could help it, disunion. He told booing and jeering crowds:

I would hang every man higher than Haman who would attempt to break up the Union by resistance to the laws. I hold that the election of any man on earth by the American people, according to the Constitution, is no justification for breaking up this government.

By this time Douglas had already accepted the fact that he would lose, and he was bravely trying to save the Union. He was ignored, laughed at, sometimes attacked. In the end he returned to Washington, a beaten and exhausted man.

As Yankee23fan pointed out earlier, Lincoln won a plurality of Northern votes, but only 40% of the entire popular vote. When the news reached Charleston by telegraph of Lincoln's victory, there was a celebration. People poured into the streets, speaking about independence. A special convention was called in Charleston for the middle of December to discuss "the continuance of the relationship between the state of South Carolina and the United States of America".

Everyone knew what was coming next.

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The next topic I am going to narrate here is the secession of South Carolina from the Union. In some ways, we have discussing this topic from the beginning of the thread, and that's because it is one of the most important subjects that this thread is going to cover. As I narrate the events of the secession, here are the questions I wish to focus on:

1. Does a state have the legal right to secede from the Union, or was this an act of rebellion?

2. Whether a state has the right to secede or not, does the Federal Government have the right to invade that state with federal troops, kill citizens, destroy private property, and occupy the state? Or is this a just police action in response to rebellion?

3. Were the men who voted to secede from the Union traitors and/or criminals, subject to the punishment that treason usually warrants- (meaning death.)? Or are they heroes? Can they be both traitors AND heroes?

4. Were the common men and women of South Carolina, who did NOT participate in the vote to secede, but who nontheless after secession fought in the American Civil War on the side of the Confederacy, heroes? Traitors? Both?

All opinions welcome.

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The next topic I am going to narrate here is the secession of South Carolina from the Union. In some ways, we have discussing this topic from the beginning of the thread, and that's because it is one of the most important subjects that this thread is going to cover. As I narrate the events of the secession, here are the questions I wish to focus on:1. Does a state have the legal right to secede from the Union, or was this an act of rebellion? 2. Whether a state has the right to secede or not, does the Federal Government have the right to invade that state with federal troops, kill citizens, destroy private property, and occupy the state? Or is this a just police action in response to rebellion?3. Were the men who voted to secede from the Union traitors and/or criminals, subject to the punishment that treason usually warrants- (meaning death.)? Or are they heroes? Can they be both traitors AND heroes?4. Were the common men and women of South Carolina, who did NOT participate in the vote to secede, but who nontheless after secession fought in the American Civil War on the side of the Confederacy, heroes? Traitors? Both?All opinions welcome.

I sense being bogged down.....

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The next topic I am going to narrate here is the secession of South Carolina from the Union. In some ways, we have discussing this topic from the beginning of the thread, and that's because it is one of the most important subjects that this thread is going to cover. As I narrate the events of the secession, here are the questions I wish to focus on:1. Does a state have the legal right to secede from the Union, or was this an act of rebellion? 2. Whether a state has the right to secede or not, does the Federal Government have the right to invade that state with federal troops, kill citizens, destroy private property, and occupy the state? Or is this a just police action in response to rebellion?3. Were the men who voted to secede from the Union traitors and/or criminals, subject to the punishment that treason usually warrants- (meaning death.)? Or are they heroes? Can they be both traitors AND heroes?4. Were the common men and women of South Carolina, who did NOT participate in the vote to secede, but who nontheless after secession fought in the American Civil War on the side of the Confederacy, heroes? Traitors? Both?All opinions welcome.

I sense being bogged down.....
Nah, we're going to get to the battles very shortly. But I think it's worth it to spend a little more time on this. Here are my own opinions:1. A state does not have the right to secede.2. The federal government has the right to put down a secession or rebellion, including the invasion of the South which took place in the Civil War.3. The men who voted to secede in South Carolina were not traitors or criminals, but they were misguided.4. The common men and women of South Carolina were not traitors or misguided; in fighting for the Confederacy, they acted as patriots, and many of them were heroes.If this seems contradictory, that's because it is. But I'm prepared to argue it over the next few days.

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The next topic I am going to narrate here is the secession of South Carolina from the Union. In some ways, we have discussing this topic from the beginning of the thread, and that's because it is one of the most important subjects that this thread is going to cover. As I narrate the events of the secession, here are the questions I wish to focus on:

1. Does a state have the legal right to secede from the Union, or was this an act of rebellion?

2. Whether a state has the right to secede or not, does the Federal Government have the right to invade that state with federal troops, kill citizens, destroy private property, and occupy the state? Or is this a just police action in response to rebellion?

3. Were the men who voted to secede from the Union traitors and/or criminals, subject to the punishment that treason usually warrants- (meaning death.)? Or are they heroes? Can they be both traitors AND heroes?

4. Were the common men and women of South Carolina, who did NOT participate in the vote to secede, but who nontheless after secession fought in the American Civil War on the side of the Confederacy, heroes? Traitors? Both?

All opinions welcome.

I sense being bogged down.....
Nah, we're going to get to the battles very shortly. But I think it's worth it to spend a little more time on this. Here are my own opinions:

1. A state does not have the right to secede.

2. The federal government has the right to put down a secession or rebellion, including the invasion of the South which took place in the Civil War.

3. The men who voted to secede in South Carolina were not traitors or criminals, but they were misguided.

4. The common men and women of South Carolina were not traitors or misguided; in fighting for the Confederacy, they acted as patriots, and many of them were heroes.

If this seems contradictory, that's because it is. But I'm prepared to argue it over the next few days.

Have fun...I'm going to fire up the boilers to the Star of the West...just lemme know when you want her to get under way.

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A special convention was called in Charleston for the middle of December to discuss "the continuance of the relationship between the state of South Carolina and the United States of America".

Actually this meeting was called for and opened in Columbia on December 17th. But, due to an outbreak of smallpox in Columbia, it was moved to Charleston. Edited by Mjolnirs

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The idea of whether the states were bound to the union because of the Constitution has often intrigued me.

When the Declaration of Independence was voted on in the Continental Congress, everyone worked until unanimity was achieved in the vote, lest no colony be removed from its motherland by force.

Likewise, the Articles of Confederation required unanimous approval for any changes to the Articles.

But with ratification of the Constitution, it would go into effect once 9 of the then 13 states approved its adoption. That was achieved before Virginia and New York had weighed in, the two largest states and closest in voting. If those states weren't presented with a fait accompli, would their vote have come out different? If those states had voted against ratification, would they have been forced to join the union anyway?

Modern international law provides for cessation only when a) there is a preexisting historical reference of independence (i.e. before joining the union or federation, the territory had been an independent state), and b) the territory's populace is predominantly distinct from the rest of teh country from which they are separating. I suppose one could make the argument that the large presence of slaves in the South created that distinct populace that was different from the rest of the Northern states, but I'd have a hard time buying that argument when the portion of the populace that made the people distinct had no rights other than to be held as property by others. But of course, modern international law wouldn't have allowed the American revolution either. So applying it is an interesting but useless intellectual exercise.

Regardless, the Constitution itself refers to the union as "perpetual", which implies permanence. To rid oneself of its authority, I would maintain that the same procedures that were used to enter the agreement must be used to dissolve the agreement. I.e. they would need agreement of at least 70% of the states at the time to allow a state to leave the union. Anything less than that would be an illegal act. Or, in other words, an act of rebellion.

Such an act could be made legal after the fact. All revolutions are ex post legal. If the South had succeeded in repelling the North's attempts at maintaining the Union, then they would be a de facto new country.

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Here are my own opinions:

1. A state does not have the right to secede.

2. The federal government has the right to put down a secession or rebellion, including the invasion of the South which took place in the Civil War.

3. The men who voted to secede in South Carolina were not traitors or criminals, but they were misguided.

4. The common men and women of South Carolina were not traitors or misguided; in fighting for the Confederacy, they acted as patriots, and many of them were heroes.

If this seems contradictory, that's because it is. But I'm prepared to argue it over the next few days.

Ya think? The attempt to secede was an illegal act of rebellion, but those involved in it, no matter in what manner, were NEITHER criminals nor traitors?

Sorry, but if a state has no right to secede, then any attempt to do so is an act of rebellion and those who participate in it are therefore rebels, a.k.a. traitors.

Traitor - one who commits treason.

Treason - an act of disloyalty or treachery to one's country or its government. Treason is any attempt to overthrow the government or impair the well-being of a state to which one owes allegiance; the crime of giving aid or comfort to the enemies of one's government.

Edited by Orange Crush

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Explaining my views one by one:

A state does not have the right to secede.

First, let's separate this from Yankee's argument that winning the Civil War would have given states the "right" to succeed. In practical terms this is correct, but you're basically saying that "might makes right", and that's not what I am attempting to solve here. The question is: under the laws of the United States that existed in 1860, and which were recognized as legitimate by all parties, did a state have the legal right to secede?

Let's start with two statements that I believe to be fact:

1. There is nothing in the Constitution that allows for a state to secede.

2. There is nothing in the Constitution that disallows a state to secede.

However, the Constitution does apply rights to states and rights to the federal government. This very fact was used by southerners to argue that states are separate entities having voluntarily decided to join a Union- therefore, it was argued, they have the right to decide to dissolve the Union. As Yankee pointed out earlier, one problem with this argument is that several states (like Texas) were absorbed into the Union after it was formed. Therefore, even if you accepted this argument, it would not apply to Texas, unless you granted rights to a state which existed before that state became a state. However, South Carolina was one of the original colonies. Therefore, you could make this argument on behalf of South Carolina.

As I see it, it is true that South Carolina voluntarily chose to become part of the Union. However, once it did so, this decision became perpetual. The analogy that comes to mind is this one: suppose I owned a small company that was profitable, and a larger company wanted to purchase my company. As part of the purchase agreement, I would continue to run the smaller company, and it would be autonomous; I would not have to have my day to day decisions approved by the purchasing company. (This happens all the time in business.) Now suppose some years passed, and the purchasing company got more and more involved with my day to day decisions, thus violating the spirit of the original agreement. What would my options be? I could sue the larger company on my own behalf for a financial award. I could sue the larger company to force them to agree to the spirit of the original agreement. But I could NOT gain back sole ownership of the company I sold to them, unless such a term was stated in the original agreement.

Using this analogy, once a state has agreed to be part of the Union, it cannot then leave the Union of its own accord. Therefore, secession is illegal.

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Here are my own opinions:

1. A state does not have the right to secede.

2. The federal government has the right to put down a secession or rebellion, including the invasion of the South which took place in the Civil War.

3. The men who voted to secede in South Carolina were not traitors or criminals, but they were misguided.

4. The common men and women of South Carolina were not traitors or misguided; in fighting for the Confederacy, they acted as patriots, and many of them were heroes.

If this seems contradictory, that's because it is. But I'm prepared to argue it over the next few days.

Ya think? The attempt to secede was an illegal act of rebellion, but those involved in it, no matter in what manner, were NEITHER criminals nor traitors?

Sorry, but if a state has no right to secede, then any attempt to do so is an act of rebellion and those who participate in it are therefore rebels, a.k.a. traitors.

Traitor - one who commits treason.

Treason - an act of disloyalty or treachery to one's country or its government. Treason is any attempt to overthrow the government or impair the well-being of a state to which one owes allegiance; the crime of giving aid or comfort to the enemies of one's government.

I am going to try to demonstrate why the bolded in not so in the case of the Confederacy; but first I have to get past the argument that Secession is not legal.

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Its interesting to read through contemporaneous NY Times articles from October, November and December 1860 (available onlin). They seemed confident that the disunion talk was limited to South Carolina, and didn't think the other states would follow them out if they deced to secede. In Virginia, disunion talk had reached its peak just after the John Brown raid on Harpers Ferry, but had subsided to a lets-wait-and-see what the new President does.

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The federal government has the right to put down a secession or rebellion, including the invasion of the South which took place in the Civil War.

If one accepts that secession is illegal (and I do) then this becomes pretty clear. Obviously, it is the responsibility of the government to prevent crime from happening. The issue becomes cloudier if an entire state or region is in rebellion. There are limits to how the government should act in such circumstances. As we saw in our lifetimes at Waco and Ruby Ridge, the government in attempting to enforce the law can become intrusive and overbearing.

This is a difficult issue to tackle. There will be many events we will chronicle in the Civil War where it will be easy to say that the Federal Government went too far, especially during Sherman's march through Georgia towards the end of the war. But in general, the North did have the right to invade and put down the rebellion.

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The men who voted to secede in South Carolina were not traitors or criminals, but they were misguided.

I have already established that I believe it was illegal to secede. Putting aside the issue of traitors for a moment, I realize that it will seem illogical to many that I do not regard the decision to secede as criminal. The reason for this is pretty simple: at the time of the secession of South Carolina, no law regarding this one way or the other had been established. The South Carolinians believed they had the right to secede. IMO, they were wrong about this, but since it had not been established legally that this is so, they are therefore not criminals for doing so. On the other hand, if a state today were to decide to secede from the Union, the men and women who made that decision would be criminals, because the law and precedent has been established.

Now the issue of traitor, which is more complicated. Let's take BobbyLayne's definition of traitor. I don't know where he got it, but it seems pretty accurate:

Traitor - one who commits treason.

Treason - an act of disloyalty or treachery to one's country or its government. Treason is any attempt to overthrow the government or impair the well-being of a state to which one owes allegiance; the crime of giving aid or comfort to the enemies of one's government.

I am going to break this down into parts based on the definition provided of treason:

Was the secession of 1860 an act of disloyalty or treachery to the government of the United States?

South Carolina's decision to secede was a unanimous one. Other southern states were not unanimous, but it's vital to realize, for the purposes of this discussion, that those who objected to secession in the South did so on practical grounds- the South could not survive on it's own, could not win a war against the Yankees, etc. There was NO prominent person in the South, at least that I am aware of, who said publicly, "We shouldn't do this because it is treason." If there had been, my position on this question might be somewhat altered. Because these men believed they were acting within their legal rights, I don't see how we can interpret their actions as disloyal or treacherous. I think a certain level of self-awareness needs to present in order to accuse one of these actions.

Was there any attempt to overthrow the United States Government by the secessionists of 1860?

The answer is no. And even during the war that followed, had the Confederates been sucessful in occupying Washington, every piece of evidence we have states their object would have been to force a peace, after which they would have left the capital alone.

Did the secessionists of 1860 attempt to impair the well-being of the government to which they owed allegiance?

For me this is the hardest one to answer, because the Confederates did fire on Fort Sumter, and therefore it cannot be argued that they fought a purely defensive struggle. But again I have to fall back on my opinion that these men, while misguided, had no knowing desire to harm the United States. As we shall see, they did attempt to solve Sumter peacefully first.

Did the secessionists of 1860 give aid and comfort to the enemies of the United States?

If England had joined the struggle on the side of the Confederates, then this likely would have been the case. But it didn't happen, so we don't have to concern ourselves with it.

My conclusion: these men were not traitors. They were not criminals. They were misguided, but only in such a way as history reveals it. In their own minds, they believed they were justified, and they did not act dishonorably.

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Explaining my views one by one:

A state does not have the right to secede.

First, let's separate this from Yankee's argument that winning the Civil War would have given states the "right" to succeed. In practical terms this is correct, but you're basically saying that "might makes right", and that's not what I am attempting to solve here. The question is: under the laws of the United States that existed in 1860, and which were recognized as legitimate by all parties, did a state have the legal right to secede?

Let's start with two statements that I believe to be fact:

1. There is nothing in the Constitution that allows for a state to secede.

2. There is nothing in the Constitution that disallows a state to secede.

I disagree with your #2. I know there are posters such as Christo and others who have tried to argue that since the explicit phrase is not there - i.e., No state shall have the right or ability of secession from this Union.... - that by default it is not an enumerated power and the act would therefore fall under the 10th Amendment at best leaving such power to thestates to decide for themselves. I can understand the grasp of logic to that argument but it doesn't take into account the body of the Constitution and the means to get there.

Initially, you have to realize that this country - the United States of America - in current form actually began under the Constitution, but there were two other legitimate "countries" before it. By that, I mean we had three separate and distinct organizational methods of this country, with the current third being one that has perpetuated. The first, of course, was the unified front - such as it was - in revolution by the seating of the Congress. At that time, the original colonies were legal entities of the British crown. When they demanded and then fought for independence they were still property of the crown until the very moment that the Treaty of Paris was signed.

Throughout that time the "country" was indeed a collection of independent "nations" (the states) working together for a common good. Althogh you have to use the term working together very losely. It's actually amazing that the Congress held it together long enough to win the war.Had a state at any time during that revolution pulled out of the agreement to reassert its loyalty to the crown it would have had the "legal" ability to do so. But once the Treaty of Paris was executed and ratified by its members, the colonies were free independent states with some minor contral patchwork understanding. That understanding, however, broke down immediately.

The states all considered themsevles independent nations and refused to honor certain respective parts of the treaty. There was no central federal power to control them, and little desire by the states to allow it to be born. Enter the Articles of Confederation. To be sure, the AoC were adopted in 1781, but the ToP wasn't executed until 1783. While the states did work within some confins as the AoC demanded all that document was for those 2-3 years was more proof of the criminals actions of the traitors in the colonies who were rebelling against the crown. It can not be called the legitimate governmental document of this country until the Treaty of PAris was ratified.

After the ToP was ratified, the AoC became the law of the land - weak as it was. The ToP took so long to ratify by our leaders because the Congress lacked any authority to demand the presence of the necessary quorom to sign the thing. The "central government" had to taxing power. It had to request every from the states such that, at most, it was basically an oversight committee that had recommendation power, but not enforcement power. The states were a loose confederation of some sort - call them independent nations if you will, but they weren't quite that either. They had a history of about 30 years of working together to begin with so they weren't entirely autonomous, but they weren't one and the sum of parts either.

Doing anything in a central manner was useless. Individual states went out of their way to make individual treaty and policy with foreign countries and even other states. There was basically no enforceable central or unifying authority. And the result was pretty much disasterous.

Enter the Constitution. With all that as backdrop, certain key provisions were made part of this new government with a central legislature. The Congress would have taxing authority. The Congress would speak with one national voice in matters of war. No state shall confederate with another or a foreign power. Only Congress can coin money. Only Congres has the supreme legislative power. Only Congress had the power to ensure that a republican fom of government existed in the states. Only the President was in overall command of the entire military. And on and on and on. And to assuage the fears of some that the central government would become a monster, the Senate was created as the political arm of the individual states. (I won't go into a 17th amendment diatribe here.)

Once ratified it became perpetual and the supreme law of the land. Sure, the AoC said it was perpetual as well, but the manner in which the AoC was modified by enacted the Constitution was a legitimate method whereas making armed insurrection wasn't. And yes I know there is an argument that says the Constitution was an illegal document because of the terms of the AoC but it certainly didn't matter by 1860 as the states had ratified the Constitution by then in one way or another.

Specifically because there was no central powerul Congress the Constitution was made. Specifically to stop states enterting into treaties with each other and foreign powers the Constitution was made. Specifically so that there was a supreme law was the Constitution made. Those reasons are important. And it became the supreme law of the land. There was no law higher then it. Any act in contrevention of the Constitution is illegal. It's illegal because it is in violation of the Constitution. Just as the revolution (which can certainly be dubbed a British civil war between the Crown(north) and colonies(south)) was a criminal endeavor and the AoC upon ratification was a tratiors pack, so too was the war made by the south a criminal endeavor and their confedeartion plan a traitors pact.

There is no value or merit to the argument that the states did not violate the Constitution because they left first and then made war. There is no legal basis to make that distinction. Once a member of the coutnry under the Constitution, the state was bound by the Constitution. Any act made in contrevention of the Congress and the supreme law was illegal. And the PResident is charged with enforcing that law. In this case, enforcment took the mantle of raising an army to deflect a massive rebellion.

But even though the above is correct in a legal sense and a Constitutional sense, it still doesn't matter. If the southern states truly believed what they were fighting for was anything more then a simple disagreement about policy and an inability to act with any true honor in governmental affairs, they didn't then need any legal justification. They were honorable criminals just as the revolutionaries were to the British crown. That is what is so maddening about the supporters of the south in the history books and talks here. They didn't need any legitimate argument under the Constitution to do what they did if they beleived it was the right thing to do. There was a higher more important "law" to adhere to. There was a foreign government enforcing unjust law no different then the crown to the colonies in 1776. Frnakly, staying under that banner is more legitimate and easily defended then trying to twist obvious words and intent of the Constitution to legitimize something that would make the Constitution as worthless as the AoC.

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The federal government has the right to put down a secession or rebellion, including the invasion of the South which took place in the Civil War.

If one accepts that secession is illegal (and I do) then this becomes pretty clear. Obviously, it is the responsibility of the government to prevent crime from happening. The issue becomes cloudier if an entire state or region is in rebellion. There are limits to how the government should act in such circumstances. As we saw in our lifetimes at Waco and Ruby Ridge, the government in attempting to enforce the law can become intrusive and overbearing.

This is a difficult issue to tackle. There will be many events we will chronicle in the Civil War where it will be easy to say that the Federal Government went too far, especially during Sherman's march through Georgia towards the end of the war. But in general, the North did have the right to invade and put down the rebellion.

Of course it does. Article I Section 8: To provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the Union, suppress insurrections, and repel invasions;

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