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The American Civil War Timeline- 150th Anniversary


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I got the part about the abolitionist movement from Wiki:

Well, there you go. :(

The startup sound for my pc here at work is a copy of the University of Mississippi band playing Dixie.

Every year I attend the Washington Light Infantry banquet with my father-in-law. At the beginning of the banquet part of the Citadel band is there and they play the song for each branch of the military and those that served in that branch stand. After all of the branches are played they then play Dixie and everyone stands and cheers.

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We now have an index of posts, thanks to BobbyLayne: The Mexican American War The Wilmot Proviso The Southern Perspective Northern perspectives The Compromise of 1850 The Fugitive Slave Act Uncle Tom'

I took a detour to the Battery after work yesterday and took some pictures for this thread. Fort Sumter pictures from the Battery

Yes, yes.....I'm sure this is the direction we're heading.

Not to derail, but the Lincoln-Douglas debates are fascinating to me. In terms of the impact of these debates on the country, did the average citizen know of them? Were transcripts published in newspapers in Boston or Atlanta?

Today, there could be a historic and meaningful debate on the biggest social issue of the time in a New Mexico senate race, but very few people would hear about it, and most would probably not even be able to tell you who the two candidates for office were. Was political interest/awareness just higher back then?

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Not to derail, but the Lincoln-Douglas debates are fascinating to me. In terms of the impact of these debates on the country, did the average citizen know of them? Were transcripts published in newspapers in Boston or Atlanta? Today, there could be a historic and meaningful debate on the biggest social issue of the time in a New Mexico senate race, but very few people would hear about it, and most would probably not even be able to tell you who the two candidates for office were. Was political interest/awareness just higher back then?

Coverage from local papers in the area was important and many papers sent people to take down word for word what was said. Once the Chicago papers printed them the papers around the country would reprint them. Democratic newspapers edited Douglas' to make him look good while epublican ones did the same for Lincoln. After the election, Lincoln gathered all the texts, edited them into one book and published it throughout the country. It was a wildly popular "book".
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Was political interest/awareness just higher back then?

Yes and no. I've said it a few times but I am willing to bet - and there have been some studies to back this up - that if you took the actual total population of men and women, black and white from 1789 through today and charted voting patterns you would see that the same 30-49% voting pattern we see today save for a few relatively important and outlying elections. Voting numbers look higher in days gone by because only white men could vote and they voted a lot so it looked like the entire polity was more active, but account for the women and blacks that didn't vote and the total population vs. total votes counted number looks a lot like today.But having said that, there is a very different medium for delivering political thoughts today then there was in 1860. In 1860 there was no radio or TV and the only way to hear a politician was go to a speech or read a newspaper. Newspapers and political "pamphletes" were important tools. We also were still living off of the methods of the founders who wrote pamphlete anfter pamphlete and newspaper story after newspaper story about each and every topic. In fact Stephen Douglas was one of the very few first politicians to actually openly campaign for President. Even up until Lincoln's time the thought of actively campaigning for President was not through of well.Given that most ideas had to spread via the written word, the voting public was probably more literate. Political speeches and debates were events and the speakers knew that and so they just took longer then they would today. Families would bring picnic baskets to political debates and speeches and spend the whole day there - sometimes it was the only time the family didn't work on the farm the whole day.
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Ok yankee.I will address this when I have time, but don't fool yourself. Well, it might be too late for that.

Yeah, that's what I figured. Stick to philosophy. You aren't very good at this when there are actual answers.ETA: How's the bar going by the way? Haven't heard any updates on that in awhile....
Actual answers, that is ####### hilarious.
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Ok yankee.I will address this when I have time, but don't fool yourself. Well, it might be too late for that.

Yeah, that's what I figured. Stick to philosophy. You aren't very good at this when there are actual answers.ETA: How's the bar going by the way? Haven't heard any updates on that in awhile....
Actual answers, that is ####### hilarious.
Yes, yes you are.
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Bump. I'll continue the John Brown narrative tonight. But anyone have thoughts about the use of violence to achieve political aims?

It's been a necessary means to an end in many many countries, for millions of people, the whole time of humanity.
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Bump. I'll continue the John Brown narrative tonight. But anyone have thoughts about the use of violence to achieve political aims?

It's been a necessary means to an end in many many countries, for millions of people, the whole time of humanity.
Thanks. I should have said: within the United States of America.
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Bump. I'll continue the John Brown narrative tonight. But anyone have thoughts about the use of violence to achieve political aims?

It's been a necessary means to an end in many many countries, for millions of people, the whole time of humanity.
Thanks. I should have said: within the United States of America.
Same thing. The country was formed through revolution. After the diplomatic attempt to make a lasting peace after that revolution failed we fought another war. Domestic policy around the most explosive issue in our history led to a civil war which ultimately changed policy in a way that it was unavailable to the leaders prior. The making of war overseas and the defense of our political allies created the most explosive growth of wealth in this nation's history and made us the world superpower. The domestic unrest of the civil rights era did also include a non-violent factor, but it was the violence that ultimately challenged legislation every bit as much as the bus boycott type fighting.Violence and war are political tools to achieve ends. Gross abuse of violent power is just a pornographic exercise of totalitarianism. But the utilization of violence to achieve political ends is very much a neccesity in human history - as unfortunate as it sounds - and until we change or grow as a species, chances are it will continue to be. Even in this country.
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Bump. I'll continue the John Brown narrative tonight. But anyone have thoughts about the use of violence to achieve political aims?

It's been a necessary means to an end in many many countries, for millions of people, the whole time of humanity.
Thanks. I should have said: within the United States of America.
Same thing. The country was formed through revolution. After the diplomatic attempt to make a lasting peace after that revolution failed we fought another war. Domestic policy around the most explosive issue in our history led to a civil war which ultimately changed policy in a way that it was unavailable to the leaders prior. The making of war overseas and the defense of our political allies created the most explosive growth of wealth in this nation's history and made us the world superpower. The domestic unrest of the civil rights era did also include a non-violent factor, but it was the violence that ultimately challenged legislation every bit as much as the bus boycott type fighting.Violence and war are political tools to achieve ends. Gross abuse of violent power is just a pornographic exercise of totalitarianism. But the utilization of violence to achieve political ends is very much a neccesity in human history - as unfortunate as it sounds - and until we change or grow as a species, chances are it will continue to be. Even in this country.
interesting. 1. So if you had been the judge of the John Brown trial, you would have sentenced him to hanging?2. Do you think an argument can be made for the 9/11 terrorists that their action was the only way to bring about their desired result (a pullout of American troops from Saudi Arabia)?
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interesting. 1. So if you had been the judge of the John Brown trial, you would have sentenced him to hanging?

Yes. He was a criminal and if the punishmen for the crimes he was found guilty of was death, then as the judge I am required to carry out the sentence imposed by the crime.

2. Do you think an argument can be made for the 9/11 terrorists that their action was the only way to bring about their desired result (a pullout of American troops from Saudi Arabia)?

I have no doubt that they believed they were furthering a desired political result by their actions. Whether or not it was the only way is not so easily answered.
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Harper's Ferry, Continued

A group of six men, all of means and standing within the abolitionist community, backed John Brown's scheme to invade the South. Known as the "Secret Six", they were comprised of Gerrit Smith, a wealthy New York landowner and philanthropist; Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Trancendental clergyman and writer; Theodore Parker, leading intellectual light of Unitarianism; Samuel Gridley Howe, a physician of international repute for his work on the blind and the deaf; George L. Stearn's a prosperous manufacturer, and Franklin B. Sanborn, a young educator and a protege of Ralph Waldo Emerson. The cause that bonded these men was their support of free-state activists in Kansas, and their opposition to the Fugitive Slave Act. They considered John Brown the ideal leader of the slaves in their strike for freedom. This grim, hatchet-faced old warrior impressed these descendents of Puritans as "a high minded unselfish Covenanter," a "Cromwellian Ironside introduced into the 19th century for a special purpose."

In late 1858 Brown revealed to The Secret Six his plans for an invasion of the southern Appalachians. With varying degrees of enthusiam or skepticism they agreed to support him. Stearns diverted funds intended for Kansas to the purchase of guns and pikes to arm the slaves that Brown expected to flock to his standard. Under an assumed name Brown rented a farm in Maryland across the Potomac River from Harper's Valley, Virginia. He planned to seize the U.S. armory and arsenal there and distribute its arms to the slaves as they joined up with him. Brown's shock troops for this purpose ultimately consisted of 5 black men and 17 whites, including 3 of his sons. This was a pitifully small "army" to invade slave territory and attack U.S. property.

Brown did try to attract more black recruits. In particular he urged his old friend Frederick Douglass to join him as a sort of liaison officer to the slaves. Brown met Douglass secretly in an old quarry near Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, in August 1859. "Come with me, Douglass," he said. "I want you for a special purpose. When I strike, the bees will begin to swarm, and I shall want you help hive them." But Douglass refused. He was convinced that Brown had embarked on a suicidal mission, "an attack on the federal government" that "would array the whole country against us." Harper's Ferry was a "perfect steel-trap", said Douglass. Situated on a peninsula formed by the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers, surrounded on all sides by commanding heights, it was indefensible against a counterattack. "You will never get out alive," Douglass warned Brown. The old warrior could not conceal his disappointment at Douglass's refusal. Other black recruits on whom Brown had relied also failed to show up.

As summer turned to fall and additional recruits did not arrive, Brown decided to go with what he had. A sort of fatalism stole over him. He wrote a "Vindication of the Invasion" in the past tense as if it had already failed. When he finally moved, in mid-October, he did so without previous notice to the slaves he expected to join him, and without rations, without having scouted any escape routes from Harper's Ferry, with no apparent idea of what to do after capturing the armory buildings. It was almost as if he knew that failure with its ensuing martyrdom would do more to achieve his ultimate goal than any "success" could have done.

In any event, that was how matters turned out.

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Harper's Ferry, Continued

Leaving 3 men to guard his base, Brown led the other 18 into Harper's Ferry after dark on October 16. They quickly captured the armory complex defended by a single watchman. Brown sent a patrol into the countryside to pass the word among slaves and bring in several hostages, including a great grandnephew of George Washington. Having done this much, Brown sat down to wait- presumably for those black bees to swarm. But the only slaves to come in were a few brought by the patrol. Ironically, the first casualty was a free Negro baggagemaster at the railroad who was killed by Brown's bridge guard in the dark when he walked out on the trestle looking for the night watchman. Brown stopped the eastbound midnight train and held it for several hours, but then uaccountably let it proceed- to spread the alarm.

By midmorning on October 17, residents of Harper's Ferry were sniping at Brown's men while Virginia and Maryland militia converged on the town. During the afternoon 8 of Brown's men (including two of his sons) and 3 townsmen were killed while 7 of the raiders escaped (2 of them were later captured.) Brown retreated with his survivors and prisoners to the thick-walled fire-engine house, where he made a stand. During the night a company of U.S. marines arrived, commanded by two calvary officers, Colonel Robert E. Lee and Lieutenant J.E.B. Stuart. After the militia had declined the honor of storming the engine house, Lee sent in the marines. They attacked with battering rams and bayonets, not firing a shot in order to avoid risk to the hostages. With the loss of one man the marines killed two raiders and captured the others including Brown, who was wounded by an officer's dress sword. Less than 36 hours after it started, John Brown's strange effort to free the slaves was over.

But the repercussions resounded for years. Passions ran high in Virginia, where mobs clamored for Brown's blood. To forestall a lynching the state of Virginia hastily indicted, tried, and convicted Brown of treason, murder, and fomenting inssurection. (More on this upcoming.) The judge sentenced him to hang one month later, on December 2. The other 6 captured raiders also received swift trials; 4 of them (including 2 blacks) were hanged on December 16 and the remaining 2 on March 16, 1860. The matter of Brown's northern supporters provoked great interest. Brown had left behind at the Maryland farmhouse a carptetbag full of documents and letters, some of them revealing his relationship with the Secret 6. Of those gentlemen, Parker was in Europe dying of tuberculosis, and Higginson stood firm in Boston, making no apology for his role and defying anyone to arrest him. But the other 4 beat an abject retreat. Stearns, Howe, and Sanborn fled for Canada, while Gerrit Smith suffered a breakdown and was confined for several weeks in the Utica insane asylum.

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One year after the Harper's Ferry raid, Chicago pastor William Weston Patton penned the words to his version of John Brown's Body. Set to the music of a camp meeting song called "Say, Brothers, Will You Meet Us", it became a favorite Union marching song.

It was published a few months later in the Chicago Tribune, and became wildly popular throughout the North in the early years of the American Civil War.

Old John Brown's body lies moldering in the grave,

While weep the sons of bondage whom he ventured all to save;

But tho he lost his life while struggling for the slave,

His soul is marching on.

(Chorus)

Glory, glory, hallelujah! Glory, glory, hallelujah!

Glory, glory, hallelujah! his soul's marching on!

John Brown was a hero, undaunted, true and brave,

And Kansas knows his valor when he fought her rights to save;

Now, tho the grass grows green above his grave,

His soul is marching on.

(Chorus)

He captured Harper's Ferry, with his nineteen men so few,

And frightened "Old Virginny" till she trembled thru and thru;

They hung him for a traitor, they themselves the traitor crew,

But his soul is marching on.

(Chorus)

John Brown was John the Baptist of the Christ we are to see,

Christ who of the bondmen shall the Liberator be,

And soon thruout the Sunny South the slaves shall all be free,

For his soul is marching on.

(Chorus)

The conflict that he heralded he looks from heaven to view,

On the army of the Union with its flag red, white and blue.

And heaven shall ring with anthems o'er the deed they mean to do,

For his soul is marching on.

(Chorus)

Ye soldiers of Freedom, then strike, while strike ye may,

The death blow of oppression in a better time and way,

For the dawn of old John Brown has brightened into day,

And his soul is marching on.

Though this coarse and irreverent version continued to be sung with great gusto Union troops, some civilians found it offensive. Another version (one of many written during the war) has survived to become more well known to the general public. Julia Ward Howe entitled her lyrics The Battle Hymn of the Republic.
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Harper's Ferry, Continued

Reaction in the South to Brown's raid brought to the surface a paradox that lay at the heart of slavery: On the one hand, many whites lived in fear of slave insurrections. The memory of Nat Turner's murderous revolt was still very real. On the other, southern whites insisted that slaves were well treated and cheerful in their bondage. The news of Harper's Ferry sent an initial wave of shock and rage through the South, especially when newspapers reported that among the papers found in Brown's carpetbag were maps of 7 southern states designating additional targets. The attitude can be compared to American reaction in the days following 9-11: shock followed by a sense of unity among southerners that had never existed before, along with a conviction for the first time among the strong majority that the fire-eaters were not as extremist in their attitudes toward the North as had previously been considered. For several weeks wild rumors circulated of black uprisings and of armed abolitionists marching from the North to aid them. By the time of Brown's execution, however, cooler heads had prevailed, for the moment. Many in the south uttered a sigh of relief. Not only had the rumors proved false, but southerners also gradually realized that not a single slave had voluntarily joined Brown. The South's professed belief in the slaves' tranquility had been proved right after all! It was only a few Yankee fanatics who wanted to stir up trouble.

This calm was the second reaction to Harper's Ferry, quickly following the first reaction, and had it lasted, it is very likely American history would have changed dramatically. Southern moderates like Alexander Stephens would have carried the day in the upcoming Democratic convention in Charleston, because southerners would have realized, as Yankee23fan has pointed out, that their best hope for the continuance of their way of life was the continued alliance with Northern Democrats, however strained that alliance might have become. Stephen Douglas would have been nominated and become President, and both the abolitionists and fire-eaters, both of whom apparently wanted the crisis, would have been stymied, at least in 1860.

But this was not to be, because of the Northern reaction to Harper's Ferry. This reaction, which began as confused but soon changed, as we shall see, into a presentation of John Brown as a hero and a martyr, would cause Southern opinion to evolve into a third phase of unreasoning fury which would last throughout 1860. This third attitude of southerners, based upon the belief that "the entire North is against us," would push the fire-eaters into the position of prominence they wanted. It would force a rejection of Stephens and moderation and turn the Charleston convention into a circus in which there was no hope of reconciliation with the North.

Edited by timschochet
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Harper's Ferry, Continued

The first northern response was a kind of baffled reproach. The Worcester Spy, an antislavery paper in Higginson's home town, characterized the raid as "one of the rashest and maddest enterprises ever." To William Lloyd Garrison the raid, "though disinterested and well intended," seemed "misguided, wild, and apparently insane." But such opinions soon changed into a perception of Brown as a martyr to a noble cause. His behavior during and after his trial had much to do with this transformation. In testimony, letters, interviews, and above all in his closing speech to the court he exhibited a dignity and fortitude that impressed even Virginia's Governor Henry Wise and the fire-eater Edmund Ruffin. Throughout the trial Brown insisted that his object had not been to incite insurrection but only to free slaves and arm them in self-defense. This was disingenuous, to say the least. In southern eyes, it was also a distinction without a difference. In his closing speech prior to sentencing, Brown rose to a surpassing eloquence that has echoed down the years:

I deny everything but what I have all along admitted of a design on my part to free slaves...Had I interfered in the manner which I admit...in behalf of the rich, the powerful, the intelligent, the so-called great...every man in this Court would have deemed it an act worthy of reward rather than punishment.

This Court acknowledges, too, as I suppose, the validity of the law of God. I see a book kissed, which I suppose to be the Bible, or at least the New Testament, which teaches me that all things whatsoever I would that men should do to me, I should do even so to them. It teaches me, further, to remember them that in bonds as bound with them. I endeavored to act up to that instruction...Now, if it is deemed necessary that I should forfeit my life for the furtherance of the ends of justice, and mingle any blood furhter with the blood of my children and with the blood of millions in this slave country whose rights are disregarded by wicked, cruel, and unjust enactments, I say, let it be done.

These words moved Theodore Parker to pronounce Brown "not only a martry...but also a SAINT." They inspired Ralph Waldo Emerson to prophesy that the old warrior would "make the gallows as glorious as the cross." Brown understood his martyr role, and cultivated it. "I have been whipped as the saying is," he wrote his wife, "but I am sure I can recover all the lost capital occasioned by that disaster, by only hanging a few moments by the neck; and I feel quite determined to make the utmost possible out of a defeat." Like Christ, to whom Brown unashamedly compared himself, he would accomplish in death the salvation of the poor he had failed while living to save. Brown spurned all schemes to cheat the hangman's rope by pleading insanity. "I am worth inconceivably more to hang," he told his brother, "than for any other purpose."

Extraordinary events took place in many northern communities on the day of Brown's execution. Church bells tolled; minute guns fired solemn salutes; ministers preached sermons of commemoration; thousands bowed in silent reverence for the martyr to liberty. "I have seen nothing like it," wrote Charles Eliot Norton of Harvard. A clergyman in Roxbury, Mass., declared that Brown had made the word Treason "holy in the American language"; young William Dean Howells said that "Brown has become an idea, a thousand times purer and better than loftier than the Republican idea." And, as Gigantomachia has already posted, Henry David Thoreau, champion of the pacifist ideas of civil disobedience that would eventually influence Gandhi and Martin Luther King, called John Brown "a crucified hero."

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Harper's Ferry, Concluded

Not all Northerners attempted to canonize Brown. The Northern Democrats, taking their cue from Douglas, condemned his actions. But this was ignored by angry southerners, who were enraged by men like Horace Greeley, who, even as he called Brown a "madman", praised his "grandeur and nobiltiy." What southerners saw was that millions of Yankees seemed to approve of a murderer who had tried to set the slaves at their throats. This perception provoked a paroxysm of anger more intense than the original reaction to the raid. The North "has sanctioned and applauded theft, murder, treason," cried De Bow's Review. Could the South afford any longer "to live under a government, the majority of whose citizens regard John Brown as a martyr and a Christian hero?" asked a Baltimore newspaper. No! echoed from every corner of the South. "The Harper's Ferry invasion has advanced the cause of disunion more than any event that has happened since the formation of the government," agreed two rival Richmond newspapers. "Thousands of men who a month ago scoffed at the idea of a dissolution of the Union now hold the opinion that its days are numbere." One prominent North Carolinian wrote:

I have always been a fervid Union man, but I confess the endorsement of the Harper's Valley outrage has shaken my fidelity and I am willing to take the chances of every possible evil that may arise from disunion, sooner than submit any longer to Northern insolence.

Abraham Lincoln, now considering the possibility of being the Republican candidate for president, also condemned Brown, stating: "Even though I agree that slavery is wrong, that cannot excuse violence, bloodshed, and treason." (This response, as compared to Seward's more tepid condemnation, would play a role in the nomination process, as we shall see.) But these moderate words were too little, too late for the South, which considered them meaningless. "We regard every man," declared an Atlanta newspaper, "who does not boldly declare that he believes African slavery to be a social, moral, and political blessing to be an enemy of the South." As far as Douglas and the Democrats, De Bow's Review scornfully asked, "Why have not the conservative men of the North frowned upon the infamous Black Republican party? They have forebone to crush it, till it now overrides almost everything at the North." On the Senate Floor Robert Toombs of Georgia warned that the South would "never permit this Federal government to pass into the traitorous hands of the Black Republican party." "Defend yourselves!" Toombs thundered to the southern people. "The enemy is at your door, wait not to meet him at your heathstone, meet him at your doorsill, and drive him from the temple of liberty, or pull down its pillars and involve him in a common ruin!"

John Brown's ghost stalked the South as the election year of 1860 opened. Several historians have compared the region's mood to the "Great Fear" that seized the French countryside in the summer of 1789 when peasants believed that the "King's brigands are coming" to slaughter them. Keyed up to the highest pitch of tension, many slaveholders and yeomen alike were ready for way to defend hearth and home against those Black Republcian brigands. Thousands joined military companies; state legislatures appropriated funds for the purchase of arms. Every barn or cotton gin that burned down sparked new rumors of slave insurrections and abolitionist invaders. Every Yankee in the South became persona non grata. Some of them received a coat of tar and feathers and a ride out of town on the rail. A few were lynched.

The citizens of Boggy Swamp, South Carolina, tan two northern tutors out of the idistrict. "Nothing definite is known of their abolitionist or insurrectionary sentiments," commented a local newspaper, "but being from the North, and therefore, necessarily imbued with doctrines hostile to our institutions, their presence in this section has been obnoxious." THe northern born president of an Alabama college had to flee for his life. In Kentucky a mob drove 39 people associated with an antislavery church and school in Berea out of the state. 32 representatives in the South of New York and Boston firms arrived in Washington reporting "indignation so great against Northerners that they were compelled to return and abandon their business."

In this climate of fear and hostility, Democrats prepared for their national convention at Charleston, South Carolina in April, 1860.

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We have now reached 1860. Here are the events I am planning to cover:

The Democratic Convention

The Republican Convention

The 3rd and 4th party candidates

The campaign for President

The election of Abraham Lincoln

The secession of South Carolina

The legality of secession

The secession of the other Deep South states

The forming of the Confederacy

The selection of Jefferson Davis as Confederate President

A short bio of Jefferson Davis

Buchanan's reaction to the Confederacy

Then in early 1861:

Prelude to Fort Sumter

First shots fired

Lincoln's inaugural

A look at Lincoln's cabinet

A look at Davis's cabinet

Fort Sumter

Northern reaction to Fort Sumter

Southern reaction to Lincoln's call for troops

The secession of Virginia

The Upper South

The Confederacy moves to Richmond

Obviously, a lot to cover. When we have finished with all this, the American Civil War will have begun.

Edited by timschochet
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Because Charleston is the home of so many of the key events we are about to narrate, I pmed Mjolnirs and asked him to provide some background to this city and the buildings that were used, etc. This is something I hope to do for many of the places covered in the narrative.

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On the theme I just mentioned:

Harper's Ferry, West Virginia, is now a United States National Historical Park which consists of 4,000 acres. You can visit the firehouse, now called "John Brown's fort", where he held his famous raid and where Robert E. Lee and JEB Stuart led the marines that captured him.

John Brown is buried at the John Brown Farm and Gravesite, located in North Elba, New York, just outside of Lake Placid, which is a U.S. National Historic Landmark with the original farmhouse intact.

If anyone has visited either of these places, please let us know whether they are worth seeing.

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On the theme I just mentioned:

Harper's Ferry, West Virginia, is now a United States National Historical Park which consists of 4,000 acres. You can visit the firehouse, now called "John Brown's fort", where he held his famous raid and where Robert E. Lee and JEB Stuart led the marines that captured him.

John Brown is buried at the John Brown Farm and Gravesite, located in North Elba, New York, just outside of Lake Placid, which is a U.S. National Historic Landmark with the original farmhouse intact.

If anyone has visited either of these places, please let us know whether they are worth seeing.

Good to know. If I ever get up that way, I'll piss on his grave. It's what the psycho killer deserves.
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On the theme I just mentioned:

Harper's Ferry, West Virginia, is now a United States National Historical Park which consists of 4,000 acres. You can visit the firehouse, now called "John Brown's fort", where he held his famous raid and where Robert E. Lee and JEB Stuart led the marines that captured him.

John Brown is buried at the John Brown Farm and Gravesite, located in North Elba, New York, just outside of Lake Placid, which is a U.S. National Historic Landmark with the original farmhouse intact.

If anyone has visited either of these places, please let us know whether they are worth seeing.

Good to know. If I ever get up that way, I'll piss on his grave. It's what the psycho killer deserves.
This is certainly one way of looking at John Brown.

Brown remains a polarizing figure, even today, because of the uncomfortable questions he raised, some of which I discussed with Yankee23fan earlier. It should be noted that African-American literature and poetry tends to revere John Brown's memory, and would take great offense to Shaft's characterization, however correct it may be.

John Brown made expert use of his trial, transforming himself forever afterwards among many from a criminal into a hero. I don't want to turn this thread into a political discussion, but I have to say I wish the Obama Administration had studied a little bit of this history before agreeing to public, civil trials for the 9/11 terrorists. If they and their lawyers are smart, they will emulate Brown and become martyrs to the Muslim world, which will make our task of trying to eliminate terrorism that much more difficult.

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Ok yankee.I will address this when I have time, but don't fool yourself. Well, it might be too late for that.

Yeah, that's what I figured. Stick to philosophy. You aren't very good at this when there are actual answers.ETA: How's the bar going by the way? Haven't heard any updates on that in awhile....
Actual answers, that is ####### hilarious.
Yes, yes you are.
Limited to personal shots on me uh Yankee.Figures.
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Bump. I'll continue the John Brown narrative tonight. But anyone have thoughts about the use of violence to achieve political aims?

It's been a necessary means to an end in many many countries, for millions of people, the whole time of humanity.
Thanks. I should have said: within the United States of America.
All options remain open to those that desire political change. Those options that are considered immoral or illegal are termed such by the power that is not willing to change, hence, yes.
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All options remain open to those that desire political change. Those options that are considered immoral or illegal are termed such by the power that is not willing to change, hence, yes.

In a civilized society, why can't we simply declare the deliberate murder of innocent people to be immoral under any circumstances?
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All options remain open to those that desire political change. Those options that are considered immoral or illegal are termed such by the power that is not willing to change, hence, yes.

In a civilized society, why can't we simply declare the deliberate murder of innocent people to be immoral under any circumstances?
First of all, what it means to be "innocent" in an unjust society is a matter of debate. I personally agree with the claim that the only place for a just person in an unjust society is jail. That being said, the naive claim that a civilized society is somehow above revolution is absurd. Slave owners considered themselves uber civilized, in fact, it was their civilization that justified owning other humans in the first place. It also justified destroying Native American culture and forcing Native children off the reservations into "civilized" schools so as to civilize them; something that occurred for almost 100 years AFTER emancipation.

So lets not make sweeping blanket statements that support the same :shrug: Yankee is spewing; ok.

Edited by Gigantomachia
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All options remain open to those that desire political change. Those options that are considered immoral or illegal are termed such by the power that is not willing to change, hence, yes.

In a civilized society, why can't we simply declare the deliberate murder of innocent people to be immoral under any circumstances?
First of all, what it means to be "innocent" in an unjust society is a matter of debate. I personally agree with the claim that the only place for a just person in an unjust society is jail. That being said, the naive claim that a civilized society is somehow above revolution is absurd. Slave owners considered themselves uber civilized, in fact, it was their civilization that justified owning other humans in the first place. It also justified destroying Native American culture and forcing Native children off the reservations into "civilized" schools so as to civilize them; something that occurred for almost 100 years AFTER emancipation.

So lets not make sweeping blanket statements that support the same :lol: Yankee is spewing; ok.

Agree, though I think you are simplifying Yankee's remarks. As I understand him, Yankee is stating that, in a civilized society, the law must trump morality. When I put him in the role of John Brown's judge, he was very careful not to comment on the morality of Brown's actions, but only stated that as a judge, his duty was to carry out the law.

I, on the other hand, am willing to comment on the morality of John Brown. I think there are very few areas of morality that are black and white, but this is one of them. In Kansas, Brown captured four innocent men and split their heads open. He did this in order to spread terror among his enemies. IMO, the cause he was attempting to serve is irrelevant. If we make that cause relevant, we then justify the actions of the Weathermen in the late 1960's, Timothy McVeigh, the 9/11 bombers. We cannot exist as a civilized society and do so. I do not claim that we are above revolution, nor that violence doesn't have it's part to play in achieving social justice, nor that violence, even the killing of innocents, is inevitable in some circumstances. But when you deliberatelytarget innocents, that's when for me at least you cross the line into immorality.

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On the theme I just mentioned:

Harper's Ferry, West Virginia, is now a United States National Historical Park which consists of 4,000 acres. You can visit the firehouse, now called "John Brown's fort", where he held his famous raid and where Robert E. Lee and JEB Stuart led the marines that captured him.

John Brown is buried at the John Brown Farm and Gravesite, located in North Elba, New York, just outside of Lake Placid, which is a U.S. National Historic Landmark with the original farmhouse intact.

If anyone has visited either of these places, please let us know whether they are worth seeing.

Was up that way a few years ago. Lake Placid is a nice Adirondack town to spend a weekend in, anytime of the year. I wouldn't go there just for Brown's farm/grave, but it's a decent afternoon if you're interested in the Civil War. Edited by jwb
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All options remain open to those that desire political change. Those options that are considered immoral or illegal are termed such by the power that is not willing to change, hence, yes.

In a civilized society, why can't we simply declare the deliberate murder of innocent people to be immoral under any circumstances?
First of all, what it means to be "innocent" in an unjust society is a matter of debate. I personally agree with the claim that the only place for a just person in an unjust society is jail. That being said, the naive claim that a civilized society is somehow above revolution is absurd. Slave owners considered themselves uber civilized, in fact, it was their civilization that justified owning other humans in the first place. It also justified destroying Native American culture and forcing Native children off the reservations into "civilized" schools so as to civilize them; something that occurred for almost 100 years AFTER emancipation.

So lets not make sweeping blanket statements that support the same :( Yankee is spewing; ok.

Agree, though I think you are simplifying Yankee's remarks. As I understand him, Yankee is stating that, in a civilized society, the law must trump morality. When I put him in the role of John Brown's judge, he was very careful not to comment on the morality of Brown's actions, but only stated that as a judge, his duty was to carry out the law.

I, on the other hand, am willing to comment on the morality of John Brown. I think there are very few areas of morality that are black and white, but this is one of them. In Kansas, Brown captured four innocent men and split their heads open. He did this in order to spread terror among his enemies. IMO, the cause he was attempting to serve is irrelevant. If we make that cause relevant, we then justify the actions of the Weathermen in the late 1960's, Timothy McVeigh, the 9/11 bombers. We cannot exist as a civilized society and do so. I do not claim that we are above revolution, nor that violence doesn't have it's part to play in achieving social justice, nor that violence, even the killing of innocents, is inevitable in some circumstances. But when you deliberatelytarget innocents, that's when for me at least you cross the line into immorality.

I hear you tim, but again, the term innocents is begging a larger question; can you be part of a society that is unjust and still be considered innocent? I know it is easy to claim that someone minding their own business is "innocent", but would you be willing to grant that same statues to one that knows his/her government is doing "immoral" acts but does nothing to stop the government?

As to the case of Brown the people you are claiming to be innocent were supporters of slavery, is that really what innocent means? Can you really sit there and say a person can be innocent of something when they support an immoral act as such? Even if they did not own slaves, supporting slave owners seems to be the exact same thing IMO, and hence, not only was Brown justified, he was morally obligated to kill them.

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[i hear you tim, but again, the term innocents is begging a larger question; can you be part of a society that is unjust and still be considered innocent? I know it is easy to claim that someone minding their own business is "innocent", but would you be willing to grant that same statues to one that knows his/her government is doing "immoral" acts but does nothing to stop the government? As to the case of Brown the people you are claiming to be innocent were supporters of slavery, is that really what innocent means? Can you really sit there and say a person can be innocent of something when they support an immoral act as such? Even if they did not own slaves, supporting slave owners seems to be the exact same thing IMO, and hence, not only was Brown justified, he was morally obligated to kill them.

No. While I respect that you believe this, I can't accept the morality of it myself. You are not guilty of a crime simply because you believe it's acceptable for others to commit that crime. Proslavery people were for the most part raised under this system, and they were raised to believe that it was just. They were not dishonorable people in general simply because they either owned slaves or condoned others who did. They did not deserve to die. If Brown believes he is morally obligated to kill him, that does not negate the fact that he is a murderer. They are innocent, just as the 9/11 victims were innocent, despite the fact that they, as Americans "condoned" U.S. actions in the Middle East. I'm sure your argument will be made by the lawyers for the terrorists who are about to be tried, but hopefully it will fail.
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As to the case of Brown the people you are claiming to be innocent were supporters of slavery, is that really what innocent means? Can you really sit there and say a person can be innocent of something when they support an immoral act as such? Even if they did not own slaves, supporting slave owners seems to be the exact same thing IMO, and hence, not only was Brown justified, he was morally obligated to kill them.

You are applying preset day morality here rather than mid 19th century morality. Slavery was the law in half the land and was being decided upon in other areas. Not all of the population considered slavery immoral. If you apply the standards of the day, those people were innocent.
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I, on the other hand, am willing to comment on the morality of John Brown. I think there are very few areas of morality that are black and white, but this is one of them. In Kansas, Brown captured four innocent men and split their heads open. He did this in order to spread terror among his enemies. IMO, the cause he was attempting to serve is irrelevant. If we make that cause relevant, we then justify the actions of the Weathermen in the late 1960's, Timothy McVeigh, the 9/11 bombers. We cannot exist as a civilized society and do so. I do not claim that we are above revolution, nor that violence doesn't have it's part to play in achieving social justice, nor that violence, even the killing of innocents, is inevitable in some circumstances. But when you deliberatelytarget innocents, that's when for me at least you cross the line into immorality.

There are some historians that believe his primary motive was survival.

Biographer Louis A. DeCaro Jr. further shows that Brown's beloved father, Owen, had died on May 8, 1856 and correspondence indicates that John Brown and his family received word of his death around the same time. The emotional darkness of the hour was intensified by the real concerns that Brown had for the welfare of his sons and the free state settlers in their vicinity, especially since the sacking of Lawrence seems to have signaled an all-out campaign of violence by pro-slavery forces. Brown conducted surveillance on encamped "ruffians" in his vicinity and learned that his family was marked for attack, and furthermore was given reliable information as to pro-slavery neighbors who had aligned and supported these forces. The pro-slavery men did not necessarily own any slaves, although the Doyles (three of the victims) were slave hunters prior to settling in Kansas. According to Salmon Brown, when the Doyles were seized, Mahala Doyle acknowledged that her husband's "devilment" had brought down this attack to their doorstep – further signifying that the Browns' attack was probably grounded in real concern for their own survival.

If he had reason to believe that these guys were planning on killing him and his family does that give him the moral right to "do unto others before they do unto you"? It's not like the authorities were going to protect him.
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As to the case of Brown the people you are claiming to be innocent were supporters of slavery, is that really what innocent means? Can you really sit there and say a person can be innocent of something when they support an immoral act as such? Even if they did not own slaves, supporting slave owners seems to be the exact same thing IMO, and hence, not only was Brown justified, he was morally obligated to kill them.

You are applying preset day morality here rather than mid 19th century morality. Slavery was the law in half the land and was being decided upon in other areas. Not all of the population considered slavery immoral. If you apply the standards of the day, those people were innocent.
This is true, but even if it were not true, there's a bigger problem with GG's statement. Right now there is genocide going on in Darfur. There are some Americans who believe that we shouldn't do anything about it. There are probably even a few Americans who support the genocide, for whatever reason. Should we kill them? According to GG, we have the moral right to do so. The Sudanese government is causing the genocide. It is doing this with the support, or at least the complicity of the Sudanese people. Does this give us the right to enter Sudanese villages and start gunning down people, left and right? According to GG, the answer apparently is yes.
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I, on the other hand, am willing to comment on the morality of John Brown. I think there are very few areas of morality that are black and white, but this is one of them. In Kansas, Brown captured four innocent men and split their heads open. He did this in order to spread terror among his enemies. IMO, the cause he was attempting to serve is irrelevant. If we make that cause relevant, we then justify the actions of the Weathermen in the late 1960's, Timothy McVeigh, the 9/11 bombers. We cannot exist as a civilized society and do so. I do not claim that we are above revolution, nor that violence doesn't have it's part to play in achieving social justice, nor that violence, even the killing of innocents, is inevitable in some circumstances. But when you deliberatelytarget innocents, that's when for me at least you cross the line into immorality.

There are some historians that believe his primary motive was survival.

Biographer Louis A. DeCaro Jr. further shows that Brown's beloved father, Owen, had died on May 8, 1856 and correspondence indicates that John Brown and his family received word of his death around the same time. The emotional darkness of the hour was intensified by the real concerns that Brown had for the welfare of his sons and the free state settlers in their vicinity, especially since the sacking of Lawrence seems to have signaled an all-out campaign of violence by pro-slavery forces. Brown conducted surveillance on encamped "ruffians" in his vicinity and learned that his family was marked for attack, and furthermore was given reliable information as to pro-slavery neighbors who had aligned and supported these forces. The pro-slavery men did not necessarily own any slaves, although the Doyles (three of the victims) were slave hunters prior to settling in Kansas. According to Salmon Brown, when the Doyles were seized, Mahala Doyle acknowledged that her husband's "devilment" had brought down this attack to their doorstep – further signifying that the Browns' attack was probably grounded in real concern for their own survival.

If he had reason to believe that these guys were planning on killing him and his family does that give him the moral right to "do unto others before they do unto you"? It's not like the authorities were going to protect him.
This is not part of the history I've been using, nor, I suspect, is it a generally accepted rationale for Brown's actions. If it's true, obviously it changes things. But it doesn't change the nature of my argument with GG, who is defending Brown's actions under the premise that I laid down earlier.
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[i hear you tim, but again, the term innocents is begging a larger question; can you be part of a society that is unjust and still be considered innocent? I know it is easy to claim that someone minding their own business is "innocent", but would you be willing to grant that same statues to one that knows his/her government is doing "immoral" acts but does nothing to stop the government? As to the case of Brown the people you are claiming to be innocent were supporters of slavery, is that really what innocent means? Can you really sit there and say a person can be innocent of something when they support an immoral act as such? Even if they did not own slaves, supporting slave owners seems to be the exact same thing IMO, and hence, not only was Brown justified, he was morally obligated to kill them.

No. While I respect that you believe this, I can't accept the morality of it myself. You are not guilty of a crime simply because you believe it's acceptable for others to commit that crime. Proslavery people were for the most part raised under this system, and they were raised to believe that it was just. They were not dishonorable people in general simply because they either owned slaves or condoned others who did. They did not deserve to die. If Brown believes he is morally obligated to kill him, that does not negate the fact that he is a murderer. They are innocent, just as the 9/11 victims were innocent, despite the fact that they, as Americans "condoned" U.S. actions in the Middle East. I'm sure your argument will be made by the lawyers for the terrorists who are about to be tried, but hopefully it will fail.
What we have are different accounts of morality, which was always obvious, the question remains; how do we KNOW who has the proper account?
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As to the case of Brown the people you are claiming to be innocent were supporters of slavery, is that really what innocent means? Can you really sit there and say a person can be innocent of something when they support an immoral act as such? Even if they did not own slaves, supporting slave owners seems to be the exact same thing IMO, and hence, not only was Brown justified, he was morally obligated to kill them.

You are applying preset day morality here rather than mid 19th century morality. Slavery was the law in half the land and was being decided upon in other areas. Not all of the population considered slavery immoral. If you apply the standards of the day, those people were innocent.
This is true, but even if it were not true, there's a bigger problem with GG's statement. Right now there is genocide going on in Darfur. There are some Americans who believe that we shouldn't do anything about it. There are probably even a few Americans who support the genocide, for whatever reason. Should we kill them? According to GG, we have the moral right to do so. The Sudanese government is causing the genocide. It is doing this with the support, or at least the complicity of the Sudanese people. Does this give us the right to enter Sudanese villages and start gunning down people, left and right? According to GG, the answer apparently is yes.
First of all, "gunning down people" does not equal killing those that support genocide, so be very careful with how you word your claims, especially when you apply them to my arguments.Second, do not forget that all I am arguing is what follows IF you believe something can be moral vs. immoral. Insofar as you accept that fact I do not see how you don't have a duty to fight against what you deem immoral at every turn, even if that means killing. Lastly, I am one who does not see any evidence to support the claim of morality one way or the other, thus, Brown was justified in his actions just as the state was justified in killing Brown. But then it boils down to power and who is in control, which is basically all I am ever arguing whether the likes of Yankee and others understand that or not. Edited by Gigantomachia
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[What we have are different accounts of morality, which was always obvious, the question remains; how do we KNOW who has the proper account?

Well, in a way, GG, this is my whole point. We can't know, unless we start with certain absolutes and go from there. Earlier you mentioned the fact that native Americans were subject to genocide in the United States, especially during the 19th century. I think we can both agree that this was wrong, don't you? We can also state, unequivocally, that child molestation is wrong. So is rape. So is murder of innocent people. So is slavery. I find ethics confusing. I think you can make a reasonable argument to justify almost any kind of unethical behavior, and most of what we hear from society as "right and wrong" is BS. All the people who are so self-righteous over Tiger Woods, for example- that sort of thing infuriates me. But I also believe that there are certain absolutes. I have trouble elucidating what is "good" behavior. I don't know if anything is objectively "good" behavior. But I do know that the items I listed above are objectively "bad".
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[What we have are different accounts of morality, which was always obvious, the question remains; how do we KNOW who has the proper account?

Well, in a way, GG, this is my whole point. We can't know, unless we start with certain absolutes and go from there. Earlier you mentioned the fact that native Americans were subject to genocide in the United States, especially during the 19th century. I think we can both agree that this was wrong, don't you? We can also state, unequivocally, that child molestation is wrong. So is rape. So is murder of innocent people. So is slavery. I find ethics confusing. I think you can make a reasonable argument to justify almost any kind of unethical behavior, and most of what we hear from society as "right and wrong" is BS. All the people who are so self-righteous over Tiger Woods, for example- that sort of thing infuriates me. But I also believe that there are certain absolutes. I have trouble elucidating what is "good" behavior. I don't know if anything is objectively "good" behavior. But I do know that the items I listed above are objectively "bad".
Since the question of ethics is what I consider my area of research I think I can speak to this. First, all ethics really means is how we account for our actions. In that setting there are no right and wrong answers. On the other hand, as part of a community we have some responsibility to account for our actions insofar as without the community we could not exist as such. Now if you can live independent of community assistance--though this is much tougher than it might sound--then I see no way to level any need against you to account for your actions, however, if you even feed from the crumbs of the table of the children you are part of the community as such. Second, the community can come to agreements about what is right and wrong according to the warrants produced and accepted by said community. Now in time this will beg the question of whether one can ever revolt against a community, which is a very interesting philosophical question, but much too large to just say yes or no. Third, while many attempt to argue for innate moral principles, both in religious contexts and scientific/evolutionary contexts, I find the evidence in both areas to be lacking big time. All claims for innate morals must ground them in how we act, but when the measure how "normal" individuals act, they are always looking at mature adults within whom the tendencies are then said to be innate. I argue by that point in development the habits of community morality are so deeply ingrained that is becomes impossible to separate out cultural norms from innate principles. That is to say, I see no compelling reason to assume there are universal moral principles as such. Furthermore, it appears that the evidence from cognitive development models of the brain actually suggest a fluidity we are just beginning to get our heads around, so to speak. Edited by Gigantomachia
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We have now reached 1860. Here are the events I am planning to cover:The Democratic ConventionThe Republican ConventionThe 3rd and 4th party candidatesThe campaign for PresidentThe election of Abraham LincolnThe secession of South CarolinaThe legality of secessionThe secession of the other Deep South statesThe forming of the ConfederacyThe selection of Jefferson Davis as Confederate PresidentA short bio of Jefferson DavisBuchanan's reaction to the ConfederacyThen in early 1861:Prelude to Fort SumterFirst shots firedLincoln's inauguralA look at Lincoln's cabinetA look at Davis's cabinetFort SumterNorthern reaction to Fort SumterSouthern reaction to Lincoln's call for troopsThe secession of VirginiaThe Upper SouthThe Confederacy moves to RichmondObviously, a lot to cover. When we have finished with all this, the American Civil War will have begun.

As a prelude to the Charleston convention (April 1860), we should discuss the Cooper Union speech (February).
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By public request...

Lincoln's Cooper Union Speech

In October 1859 Abraham Lincoln accepted an invitation to lecture at Henry Ward Beecher's church in Brooklyn, New York, and chose a political topic which required months of painstaking research. His law partner William Herndon observed, "No former effort in the line of speech-making had cost Lincoln so much time and thought as this one," a remarkable comment considering the previous year's debates with Stephen Douglas.

The carefully crafted speech examined the views of the 39 signers of the Constitution. Lincoln noted that at least 21 of them -- a majority -- believed Congress should control slavery in the territories, not allow it to expand. Thus, the Republican stance of the time was not revolutionary, but similar to the Founding Fathers, and should not alarm Southerners (radicals had threatened to secede if a Republican was elected President).

When Lincoln arrived in New York, the Young Men's Republican Union had assumed sponsorship of the speech and moved its location to the Cooper Institute. The Union's board included members such as Horace Greeley and William Cullen Bryant, who opposed William Seward for the Republican Presidential nomination. Lincoln, as an unannounced presidential aspirant, attracted a capacity crowd of 1,500 curious New Yorkers.

An eyewitness that evening said, "When Lincoln rose to speak, I was greatly disappointed. He was tall, tall, - oh, how tall! and so angular and awkward that I had, for an instant, a feeling of pity for so ungainly a man." However, once Lincoln warmed up, "his face lighted up as with an inward fire; the whole man was transfigured. I forgot his clothes, his personal appearance, and his individual peculiarities. Presently, forgetting myself, I was on my feet like the rest, yelling like a wild Indian, cheering this wonderful man."

Herndon, who knew the speech but was not present, said it was "devoid of all rhetorical imagry." Rather, "it was constructed with a view to accuracy of statement, simplicity of language, and unity of thought. In some respects like a lawyer's brief, it was logical, temperate in tone, powerful - irresistibly driving conviction home to men's reasons and their souls."

The speech electrified Lincoln's hearers and gained him important political support in Seward's home territory. Said a New York writer, "No man ever before made such an impression on his first appeal to a New York audience." After being printed by New York newspapers, the speech was widely circulated as campaign literature.

Easily one of Lincoln's best efforts, it revealed his singular mastery of ideas and issues in a way that justified loyal support. Here we can see him pursuing facts, forming them into meaningful patterns, pressing relentlessly toward his conclusion.

With a deft touch, Lincoln exposed the roots of sectional strife and the inconsistent positions of Senator Stephen Douglas and Chief Justice Roger Taney. He urged fellow Republicans not to capitulate to Southern demands to recognize slavery as being right, but to "stand by our duty, fearlessly and effectively."

Mr. President and fellow citizens of New York: -

The facts with which I shall deal this evening are mainly old and familiar; nor is there anything new in the general use I shall make of them. If there shall be any novelty, it will be in the mode of presenting the facts, and the inferences and observations following that presentation.

In his speech last autumn, at Columbus, Ohio, as reported in "The New-York Times," Senator Douglas said:

"Our fathers, when they framed the Government under which we live, understood this question just as well, and even better, than we do now."

I fully indorse this, and I adopt it as a text for this discourse. I so adopt it because it furnishes a precise and an agreed starting point for a discussion between Republicans and that wing of the Democracy headed by Senator Douglas. It simply leaves the inquiry: "What was the understanding those fathers had of the question mentioned?"

What is the frame of government under which we live?

The answer must be: "The Constitution of the United States." That Constitution consists of the original, framed in 1787, (and under which the present government first went into operation,) and twelve subsequently framed amendments, the first ten of which were framed in 1789.

Who were our fathers that framed the Constitution? I suppose the "thirty-nine" who signed the original instrument may be fairly called our fathers who framed that part of the present Government. It is almost exactly true to say they framed it, and it is altogether true to say they fairly represented the opinion and sentiment of the whole nation at that time. Their names, being familiar to nearly all, and accessible to quite all, need not now be repeated.

I take these "thirty-nine," for the present, as being "our fathers who framed the Government under which we live."

What is the question which, according to the text, those fathers understood "just as well, and even better than we do now?"

It is this: Does the proper division of local from federal authority, or anything in the Constitution, forbid our Federal Government to control as to slavery in our Federal Territories?

Upon this, Senator Douglas holds the affirmative, and Republicans the negative. This affirmation and denial form an issue; and this issue - this question - is precisely what the text declares our fathers understood "better than we."

Let us now inquire whether the "thirty-nine," or any of them, ever acted upon this question; and if they did, how they acted upon it - how they expressed that better understanding?

In 1784, three years before the Constitution - the United States then owning the Northwestern Territory, and no other, the Congress of the Confederation had before them the question of prohibiting slavery in that Territory; and four of the "thirty-nine" who afterward framed the Constitution, were in that Congress, and voted on that question. Of these, Roger Sherman, Thomas Mifflin, and Hugh Williamson voted for the prohibition, thus showing that, in their understanding, no line dividing local from federal authority, nor anything else, properly forbade the Federal Government to control as to slavery in federal territory. The other of the four - James M'Henry - voted against the prohibition, showing that, for some cause, he thought it improper to vote for it.

In 1787, still before the Constitution, but while the Convention was in session framing it, and while the Northwestern Territory still was the only territory owned by the United States, the same question of prohibiting slavery in the territory again came before the Congress of the Confederation; and two more of the "thirty-nine" who afterward signed the Constitution, were in that Congress, and voted on the question. They were William Blount and William Few; and they both voted for the prohibition - thus showing that, in their understanding, no line dividing local from federal authority, nor anything else, properly forbids the Federal Government to control as to slavery in Federal territory. This time the prohibition became a law, being part of what is now well known as the Ordinance of '87.

The question of federal control of slavery in the territories, seems not to have been directly before the Convention which framed the original Constitution; and hence it is not recorded that the "thirty-nine," or any of them, while engaged on that instrument, expressed any opinion on that precise question.

In 1789, by the first Congress which sat under the Constitution, an act was passed to enforce the Ordinance of '87, including the prohibition of slavery in the Northwestern Territory. The bill for this act was reported by one of the "thirty-nine," Thomas Fitzsimmons, then a member of the House of Representatives from Pennsylvania. It went through all its stages without a word of opposition, and finally passed both branches without yeas and nays, which is equivalent to a unanimous passage. In this Congress there were sixteen of the thirty-nine fathers who framed the original Constitution. They were John Langdon, Nicholas Gilman, Wm. S. Johnson, Roger Sherman, Robert Morris, Thos. Fitzsimmons, William Few, Abraham Baldwin, Rufus King, William Paterson, George Clymer, Richard Bassett, George Read, Pierce Butler, Daniel Carroll, James Madison.

This shows that, in their understanding, no line dividing local from federal authority, nor anything in the Constitution, properly forbade Congress to prohibit slavery in the federal territory; else both their fidelity to correct principle, and their oath to support the Constitution, would have constrained them to oppose the prohibition.

Again, George Washington, another of the "thirty-nine," was then President of the United States, and, as such approved and signed the bill; thus completing its validity as a law, and thus showing that, in his understanding, no line dividing local from federal authority, nor anything in the Constitution, forbade the Federal Government, to control as to slavery in federal territory.

No great while after the adoption of the original Constitution, North Carolina ceded to the Federal Government the country now constituting the State of Tennessee; and a few years later Georgia ceded that which now constitutes the States of Mississippi and Alabama. In both deeds of cession it was made a condition by the ceding States that the Federal Government should not prohibit slavery in the ceded territory. Besides this, slavery was then actually in the ceded country. Under these circumstances, Congress, on taking charge of these countries, did not absolutely prohibit slavery within them. But they did interfere with it - take control of it - even there, to a certain extent. In 1798, Congress organized the Territory of Mississippi. In the act of organization, they prohibited the bringing of slaves into the Territory, from any place without the United States, by fine, and giving freedom to slaves so bought. This act passed both branches of Congress without yeas and nays. In that Congress were three of the "thirty-nine" who framed the original Constitution. They were John Langdon, George Read and Abraham Baldwin. They all, probably, voted for it. Certainly they would have placed their opposition to it upon record, if, in their understanding, any line dividing local from federal authority, or anything in the Constitution, properly forbade the Federal Government to control as to slavery in federal territory.

In 1803, the Federal Government purchased the Louisiana country. Our former territorial acquisitions came from certain of our own States; but this Louisiana country was acquired from a foreign nation. In 1804, Congress gave a territorial organization to that part of it which now constitutes the State of Louisiana. New Orleans, lying within that part, was an old and comparatively large city. There were other considerable towns and settlements, and slavery was extensively and thoroughly intermingled with the people. Congress did not, in the Territorial Act, prohibit slavery; but they did interfere with it - take control of it - in a more marked and extensive way than they did in the case of Mississippi. The substance of the provision therein made, in relation to slaves, was:

First. That no slave should be imported into the territory from foreign parts.

Second. That no slave should be carried into it who had been imported into the United States since the first day of May, 1798.

Third. That no slave should be carried into it, except by the owner, and for his own use as a settler; the penalty in all the cases being a fine upon the violator of the law, and freedom to the slave.

This act also was passed without yeas and nays. In the Congress which passed it, there were two of the "thirty-nine." They were Abraham Baldwin and Jonathan Dayton. As stated in the case of Mississippi, it is probable they both voted for it. They would not have allowed it to pass without recording their opposition to it, if, in their understanding, it violated either the line properly dividing local from federal authority, or any provision of the Constitution.

In 1819-20, came and passed the Missouri question. Many votes were taken, by yeas and nays, in both branches of Congress, upon the various phases of the general question. Two of the "thirty-nine" - Rufus King and Charles Pinckney - were members of that Congress. Mr. King steadily voted for slavery prohibition and against all compromises, while Mr. Pinckney as steadily voted against slavery prohibition and against all compromises. By this, Mr. King showed that, in his understanding, no line dividing local from federal authority, nor anything in the Constitution, was violated by Congress prohibiting slavery in federal territory; while Mr. Pinckney, by his votes, showed that, in his understanding, there was some sufficient reason for opposing such prohibition in that case.

The cases I have mentioned are the only acts of the "thirty-nine," or of any of them, upon the direct issue, which I have been able to discover.

To enumerate the persons who thus acted, as being four in 1784, two in 1787, seventeen in 1789, three in 1798, two in 1804, and two in 1819-20 - there would be thirty of them. But this would be counting John Langdon, Roger Sherman, William Few, Rufus King, and George Read each twice, and Abraham Baldwin, three times. The true number of those of the "thirty-nine" whom I have shown to have acted upon the question, which, by the text, they understood better than we, is twenty-three, leaving sixteen not shown to have acted upon it in any way.

Here, then, we have twenty-three out of our thirty-nine fathers "who framed the government under which we live," who have, upon their official responsibility and their corporal oaths, acted upon the very question which the text affirms they "understood just as well, and even better than we do now;" and twenty-one of them - a clear majority of the whole "thirty-nine" - so acting upon it as to make them guilty of gross political impropriety and willful perjury, if, in their understanding, any proper division between local and federal authority, or anything in the Constitution they had made themselves, and sworn to support, forbade the Federal Government to control as to slavery in the federal territories. Thus the twenty-one acted; and, as actions speak louder than words, so actions, under such responsibility, speak still louder.

Two of the twenty-three voted against Congressional prohibition of slavery in the federal territories, in the instances in which they acted upon the question. But for what reasons they so voted is not known. They may have done so because they thought a proper division of local from federal authority, or some provision or principle of the Constitution, stood in the way; or they may, without any such question, have voted against the prohibition, on what appeared to them to be sufficient grounds of expediency. No one who has sworn to support the Constitution can conscientiously vote for what he understands to be an unconstitutional measure, however expedient he may think it; but one may and ought to vote against a measure which he deems constitutional, if, at the same time, he deems it inexpedient. It, therefore, would be unsafe to set down even the two who voted against the prohibition, as having done so because, in their understanding, any proper division of local from federal authority, or anything in the Constitution, forbade the Federal Government to control as to slavery in federal territory.

The remaining sixteen of the "thirty-nine," so far as I have discovered, have left no record of their understanding upon the direct question of federal control of slavery in the federal territories. But there is much reason to believe that their understanding upon that question would not have appeared different from that of their twenty-three compeers, had it been manifested at all.

For the purpose of adhering rigidly to the text, I have purposely omitted whatever understanding may have been manifested by any person, however distinguished, other than the thirty-nine fathers who framed the original Constitution; and, for the same reason, I have also omitted whatever understanding may have been manifested by any of the "thirty-nine" even, on any other phase of the general question of slavery. If we should look into their acts and declarations on those other phases, as the foreign slave trade, and the morality and policy of slavery generally, it would appear to us that on the direct question of federal control of slavery in federal territories, the sixteen, if they had acted at all, would probably have acted just as the twenty-three did. Among that sixteen were several of the most noted anti-slavery men of those times - as Dr. Franklin, Alexander Hamilton and Gouverneur Morris - while there was not one now known to have been otherwise, unless it may be John Rutledge, of South Carolina.

The sum of the whole is, that of our thirty-nine fathers who framed the original Constitution, twenty-one - a clear majority of the whole - certainly understood that no proper division of local from federal authority, nor any part of the Constitution, forbade the Federal Government to control slavery in the federal territories; while all the rest probably had the same understanding. Such, unquestionably, was the understanding of our fathers who framed the original Constitution; and the text affirms that they understood the question "better than we."

But, so far, I have been considering the understanding of the question manifested by the framers of the original Constitution. In and by the original instrument, a mode was provided for amending it; and, as I have already stated, the present frame of "the Government under which we live" consists of that original, and twelve amendatory articles framed and adopted since. Those who now insist that federal control of slavery in federal territories violates the Constitution, point us to the provisions which they suppose it thus violates; and, as I understand, that all fix upon provisions in these amendatory articles, and not in the original instrument. The Supreme Court, in the Dred Scott case, plant themselves upon the fifth amendment, which provides that no person shall be deprived of "life, liberty or property without due process of law;" while Senator Douglas and his peculiar adherents plant themselves upon the tenth amendment, providing that "the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution" "are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

Now, it so happens that these amendments were framed by the first Congress which sat under the Constitution - the identical Congress which passed the act already mentioned, enforcing the prohibition of slavery in the Northwestern Territory. Not only was it the same Congress, but they were the identical, same individual men who, at the same session, and at the same time within the session, had under consideration, and in progress toward maturity, these Constitutional amendments, and this act prohibiting slavery in all the territory the nation then owned. The Constitutional amendments were introduced before, and passed after the act enforcing the Ordinance of '87; so that, during the whole pendency of the act to enforce the Ordinance, the Constitutional amendments were also pending.

The seventy-six members of that Congress, including sixteen of the framers of the original Constitution, as before stated, were pre- eminently our fathers who framed that part of "the Government under which we live," which is now claimed as forbidding the Federal Government to control slavery in the federal territories.

Is it not a little presumptuous in any one at this day to affirm that the two things which that Congress deliberately framed, and carried to maturity at the same time, are absolutely inconsistent with each other? And does not such affirmation become impudently absurd when coupled with the other affirmation from the same mouth, that those who did the two things, alleged to be inconsistent, understood whether they really were inconsistent better than we - better than he who affirms that they are inconsistent?

It is surely safe to assume that the thirty-nine framers of the original Constitution, and the seventy-six members of the Congress which framed the amendments thereto, taken together, do certainly include those who may be fairly called "our fathers who framed the Government under which we live." And so assuming, I defy any man to show that any one of them ever, in his whole life, declared that, in his understanding, any proper division of local from federal authority, or any part of the Constitution, forbade the Federal Government to control as to slavery in the federal territories. I go a step further. I defy any one to show that any living man in the whole world ever did, prior to the beginning of the present century, (and I might almost say prior to the beginning of the last half of the present century,) declare that, in his understanding, any proper division of local from federal authority, or any part of the Constitution, forbade the Federal Government to control as to slavery in the federal territories. To those who now so declare, I give, not only "our fathers who framed the Government under which we live," but with them all other living men within the century in which it was framed, among whom to search, and they shall not be able to find the evidence of a single man agreeing with them.

Now, and here, let me guard a little against being misunderstood. I do not mean to say we are bound to follow implicitly in whatever our fathers did. To do so, would be to discard all the lights of current experience - to reject all progress - all improvement. What I do say is, that if we would supplant the opinions and policy of our fathers in any case, we should do so upon evidence so conclusive, and argument so clear, that even their great authority, fairly considered and weighed, cannot stand; and most surely not in a case whereof we ourselves declare they understood the question better than we.

If any man at this day sincerely believes that a proper division of local from federal authority, or any part of the Constitution, forbids the Federal Government to control as to slavery in the federal territories, he is right to say so, and to enforce his position by all truthful evidence and fair argument which he can. But he has no right to mislead others, who have less access to history, and less leisure to study it, into the false belief that "our fathers who framed the Government under which we live" were of the same opinion - thus substituting falsehood and deception for truthful evidence and fair argument. If any man at this day sincerely believes "our fathers who framed the Government under which we live," used and applied principles, in other cases, which ought to have led them to understand that a proper division of local from federal authority or some part of the Constitution, forbids the Federal Government to control as to slavery in the federal territories, he is right to say so. But he should, at the same time, brave the responsibility of declaring that, in his opinion, he understands their principles better than they did themselves; and especially should he not shirk that responsibility by asserting that they "understood the question just as well, and even better, than we do now."

But enough! Let all who believe that "our fathers, who framed the Government under which we live, understood this question just as well, and even better, than we do now," speak as they spoke, and act as they acted upon it. This is all Republicans ask - all Republicans desire - in relation to slavery. As those fathers marked it, so let it be again marked, as an evil not to be extended, but to be tolerated and protected only because of and so far as its actual presence among us makes that toleration and protection a necessity. Let all the guarantees those fathers gave it, be, not grudgingly, but fully and fairly, maintained. For this Republicans contend, and with this, so far as I know or believe, they will be content.

And now, if they would listen - as I suppose they will not - I would address a few words to the Southern people.

I would say to them: - You consider yourselves a reasonable and a just people; and I consider that in the general qualities of reason and justice you are not inferior to any other people. Still, when you speak of us Republicans, you do so only to denounce us a reptiles, or, at the best, as no better than outlaws. You will grant a hearing to pirates or murderers, but nothing like it to "Black Republicans." In all your contentions with one another, each of you deems an unconditional condemnation of "Black Republicanism" as the first thing to be attended to. Indeed, such condemnation of us seems to be an indispensable prerequisite - license, so to speak - among you to be admitted or permitted to speak at all. Now, can you, or not, be prevailed upon to pause and to consider whether this is quite just to us, or even to yourselves? Bring forward your charges and specifications, and then be patient long enough to hear us deny or justify.

You say we are sectional. We deny it. That makes an issue; and the burden of proof is upon you. You produce your proof; and what is it? Why, that our party has no existence in your section - gets no votes in your section. The fact is substantially true; but does it prove the issue? If it does, then in case we should, without change of principle, begin to get votes in your section, we should thereby cease to be sectional. You cannot escape this conclusion; and yet, are you willing to abide by it? If you are, you will probably soon find that we have ceased to be sectional, for we shall get votes in your section this very year. You will then begin to discover, as the truth plainly is, that your proof does not touch the issue. The fact that we get no votes in your section, is a fact of your making, and not of ours. And if there be fault in that fact, that fault is primarily yours, and remains until you show that we repel you by some wrong principle or practice. If we do repel you by any wrong principle or practice, the fault is ours; but this brings you to where you ought to have started - to a discussion of the right or wrong of our principle. If our principle, put in practice, would wrong your section for the benefit of ours, or for any other object, then our principle, and we with it, are sectional, and are justly opposed and denounced as such. Meet us, then, on the question of whether our principle, put in practice, would wrong your section; and so meet it as if it were possible that something may be said on our side. Do you accept the challenge? No! Then you really believe that the principle which "our fathers who framed the Government under which we live" thought so clearly right as to adopt it, and indorse it again and again, upon their official oaths, is in fact so clearly wrong as to demand your condemnation without a moment's consideration.

Some of you delight to flaunt in our faces the warning against sectional parties given by Washington in his Farewell Address. Less than eight years before Washington gave that warning, he had, as President of the United States, approved and signed an act of Congress, enforcing the prohibition of slavery in the Northwestern Territory, which act embodied the policy of the Government upon that subject up to and at the very moment he penned that warning; and about one year after he penned it, he wrote LaFayette that he considered that prohibition a wise measure, expressing in the same connection his hope that we should at some time have a confederacy of free States.

Bearing this in mind, and seeing that sectionalism has since arisen upon this same subject, is that warning a weapon in your hands against us, or in our hands against you? Could Washington himself speak, would he cast the blame of that sectionalism upon us, who sustain his policy, or upon you who repudiate it? We respect that warning of Washington, and we commend it to you, together with his example pointing to the right application of it.

But you say you are conservative - eminently conservative - while we are revolutionary, destructive, or something of the sort. What is conservatism? Is it not adherence to the old and tried, against the new and untried? We stick to, contend for, the identical old policy on the point in controversy which was adopted by "our fathers who framed the Government under which we live;" while you with one accord reject, and scout, and spit upon that old policy, and insist upon substituting something new. True, you disagree among yourselves as to what that substitute shall be. You are divided on new propositions and plans, but you are unanimous in rejecting and denouncing the old policy of the fathers. Some of you are for reviving the foreign slave trade; some for a Congressional Slave-Code for the Territories; some for Congress forbidding the Territories to prohibit Slavery within their limits; some for maintaining Slavery in the Territories through the judiciary; some for the "gur-reat pur-rinciple" that "if one man would enslave another, no third man should object," fantastically called "Popular Sovereignty;" but never a man among you is in favor of federal prohibition of slavery in federal territories, according to the practice of "our fathers who framed the Government under which we live." Not one of all your various plans can show a precedent or an advocate in the century within which our Government originated. Consider, then, whether your claim of conservatism for yourselves, and your charge or destructiveness against us, are based on the most clear and stable foundations.

Again, you say we have made the slavery question more prominent than it formerly was. We deny it. We admit that it is more prominent, but we deny that we made it so. It was not we, but you, who discarded the old policy of the fathers. We resisted, and still resist, your innovation; and thence comes the greater prominence of the question. Would you have that question reduced to its former proportions? Go back to that old policy. What has been will be again, under the same conditions. If you would have the peace of the old times, readopt the precepts and policy of the old times.

You charge that we stir up insurrections among your slaves. We deny it; and what is your proof? Harper's Ferry! John Brown!! John Brown was no Republican; and you have failed to implicate a single Republican in his Harper's Ferry enterprise. If any member of our party is guilty in that matter, you know it or you do not know it. If you do know it, you are inexcusable for not designating the man and proving the fact. If you do not know it, you are inexcusable for asserting it, and especially for persisting in the assertion after you have tried and failed to make the proof. You need to be told that persisting in a charge which one does not know to be true, is simply malicious slander.

Some of you admit that no Republican designedly aided or encouraged the Harper's Ferry affair, but still insist that our doctrines and declarations necessarily lead to such results. We do not believe it. We know we hold to no doctrine, and make no declaration, which were not held to and made by "our fathers who framed the Government under which we live." You never dealt fairly by us in relation to this affair. When it occurred, some important State elections were near at hand, and you were in evident glee with the belief that, by charging the blame upon us, you could get an advantage of us in those elections. The elections came, and your expectations were not quite fulfilled. Every Republican man knew that, as to himself at least, your charge was a slander, and he was not much inclined by it to cast his vote in your favor. Republican doctrines and declarations are accompanied with a continual protest against any interference whatever with your slaves, or with you about your slaves. Surely, this does not encourage them to revolt. True, we do, in common with "our fathers, who framed the Government under which we live," declare our belief that slavery is wrong; but the slaves do not hear us declare even this. For anything we say or do, the slaves would scarcely know there is a Republican party. I believe they would not, in fact, generally know it but for your misrepresentations of us, in their hearing. In your political contests among yourselves, each faction charges the other with sympathy with Black Republicanism; and then, to give point to the charge, defines Black Republicanism to simply be insurrection, blood and thunder among the slaves.

Slave insurrections are no more common now than they were before the Republican party was organized. What induced the Southampton insurrection, twenty-eight years ago, in which, at least three times as many lives were lost as at Harper's Ferry? You can scarcely stretch your very elastic fancy to the conclusion that Southampton was "got up by Black Republicanism." In the present state of things in the United States, I do not think a general, or even a very extensive slave insurrection is possible. The indispensable concert of action cannot be attained. The slaves have no means of rapid communication; nor can incendiary freemen, black or white, supply it. The explosive materials are everywhere in parcels; but there neither are, nor can be supplied, the indispensable connecting trains.

Much is said by Southern people about the affection of slaves for their masters and mistresses; and a part of it, at least, is true. A plot for an uprising could scarcely be devised and communicated to twenty individuals before some one of them, to save the life of a favorite master or mistress, would divulge it. This is the rule; and the slave revolution in Hayti was not an exception to it, but a case occurring under peculiar circumstances. The gunpowder plot of British history, though not connected with slaves, was more in point. In that case, only about twenty were admitted to the secret; and yet one of them, in his anxiety to save a friend, betrayed the plot to that friend, and, by consequence, averted the calamity. Occasional poisonings from the kitchen, and open or stealthy assassinations in the field, and local revolts extending to a score or so, will continue to occur as the natural results of slavery; but no general insurrection of slaves, as I think, can happen in this country for a long time. Whoever much fears, or much hopes for such an event, will be alike disappointed.

In the language of Mr. Jefferson, uttered many years ago, "It is still in our power to direct the process of emancipation, and deportation, peaceably, and in such slow degrees, as that the evil will wear off insensibly; and their places be, pari passu, filled up by free white laborers. If, on the contrary, it is left to force itself on, human nature must shudder at the prospect held up."

Mr. Jefferson did not mean to say, nor do I, that the power of emancipation is in the Federal Government. He spoke of Virginia; and, as to the power of emancipation, I speak of the slaveholding States only. The Federal Government, however, as we insist, has the power of restraining the extension of the institution - the power to insure that a slave insurrection shall never occur on any American soil which is now free from slavery.

John Brown's effort was peculiar. It was not a slave insurrection. It was an attempt by white men to get up a revolt among slaves, in which the slaves refused to participate. In fact, it was so absurd that the slaves, with all their ignorance, saw plainly enough it could not succeed. That affair, in its philosophy, corresponds with the many attempts, related in history, at the assassination of kings and emperors. An enthusiast broods over the oppression of a people till he fancies himself commissioned by Heaven to liberate them. He ventures the attempt, which ends in little else than his own execution. Orsini's attempt on Louis Napoleon, and John Brown's attempt at Harper's Ferry were, in their philosophy, precisely the same. The eagerness to cast blame on old England in the one case, and on New England in the other, does not disprove the sameness of the two things.

And how much would it avail you, if you could, by the use of John Brown, Helper's Book, and the like, break up the Republican organization? Human action can be modified to some extent, but human nature cannot be changed. There is a judgment and a feeling against slavery in this nation, which cast at least a million and a half of votes. You cannot destroy that judgment and feeling - that sentiment - by breaking up the political organization which rallies around it. You can scarcely scatter and disperse an army which has been formed into order in the face of your heaviest fire; but if you could, how much would you gain by forcing the sentiment which created it out of the peaceful channel of the ballot-box, into some other channel? What would that other channel probably be? Would the number of John Browns be lessened or enlarged by the operation?

But you will break up the Union rather than submit to a denial of your Constitutional rights.

That has a somewhat reckless sound; but it would be palliated, if not fully justified, were we proposing, by the mere force of numbers, to deprive you of some right, plainly written down in the Constitution. But we are proposing no such thing.

When you make these declarations, you have a specific and well-understood allusion to an assumed Constitutional right of yours, to take slaves into the federal territories, and to hold them there as property. But no such right is specifically written in the Constitution. That instrument is literally silent about any such right. We, on the contrary, deny that such a right has any existence in the Constitution, even by implication.

Your purpose, then, plainly stated, is that you will destroy the Government, unless you be allowed to construe and enforce the Constitution as you please, on all points in dispute between you and us. You will rule or ruin in all events.

This, plainly stated, is your language. Perhaps you will say the Supreme Court has decided the disputed Constitutional question in your favor. Not quite so. But waiving the lawyer's distinction between dictum and decision, the Court have decided the question for you in a sort of way. The Court have substantially said, it is your Constitutional right to take slaves into the federal territories, and to hold them there as property. When I say the decision was made in a sort of way, I mean it was made in a divided Court, by a bare majority of the Judges, and they not quite agreeing with one another in the reasons for making it; that it is so made as that its avowed supporters disagree with one another about its meaning, and that it was mainly based upon a mistaken statement of fact - the statement in the opinion that "the right of property in a slave is distinctly and expressly affirmed in the Constitution."

An inspection of the Constitution will show that the right of property in a slave is not "distinctly and expressly affirmed" in it. Bear in mind, the Judges do not pledge their judicial opinion that such right is impliedly affirmed in the Constitution; but they pledge their veracity that it is "distinctly and expressly" affirmed there - "distinctly," that is, not mingled with anything else - "expressly," that is, in words meaning just that, without the aid of any inference, and susceptible of no other meaning.

If they had only pledged their judicial opinion that such right is affirmed in the instrument by implication, it would be open to others to show that neither the word "slave" nor "slavery" is to be found in the Constitution, nor the word "property" even, in any connection with language alluding to the things slave, or slavery; and that wherever in that instrument the slave is alluded to, he is called a "person;" - and wherever his master's legal right in relation to him is alluded to, it is spoken of as "service or labor which may be due," - as a debt payable in service or labor. Also, it would be open to show, by contemporaneous history, that this mode of alluding to slaves and slavery, instead of speaking of them, was employed on purpose to exclude from the Constitution the idea that there could be property in man.

To show all this, is easy and certain.

When this obvious mistake of the Judges shall be brought to their notice, is it not reasonable to expect that they will withdraw the mistaken statement, and reconsider the conclusion based upon it?

And then it is to be remembered that "our fathers, who framed the Government under which we live" - the men who made the Constitution - decided this same Constitutional question in our favor, long ago - decided it without division among themselves, when making the decision; without division among themselves about the meaning of it after it was made, and, so far as any evidence is left, without basing it upon any mistaken statement of facts.

Under all these circumstances, do you really feel yourselves justified to break up this Government unless such a court decision as yours is, shall be at once submitted to as a conclusive and final rule of political action? But you will not abide the election of a Republican president! In that supposed event, you say, you will destroy the Union; and then, you say, the great crime of having destroyed it will be upon us! That is cool. A highwayman holds a pistol to my ear, and mutters through his teeth, "Stand and deliver, or I shall kill you, and then you will be a murderer!"

To be sure, what the robber demanded of me - my money - was my own; and I had a clear right to keep it; but it was no more my own than my vote is my own; and the threat of death to me, to extort my money, and the threat of destruction to the Union, to extort my vote, can scarcely be distinguished in principle.

A few words now to Republicans. It is exceedingly desirable that all parts of this great Confederacy shall be at peace, and in harmony, one with another. Let us Republicans do our part to have it so. Even though much provoked, let us do nothing through passion and ill temper. Even though the southern people will not so much as listen to us, let us calmly consider their demands, and yield to them if, in our deliberate view of our duty, we possibly can. Judging by all they say and do, and by the subject and nature of their controversy with us, let us determine, if we can, what will satisfy them.

Will they be satisfied if the Territories be unconditionally surrendered to them? We know they will not. In all their present complaints against us, the Territories are scarcely mentioned. Invasions and insurrections are the rage now. Will it satisfy them, if, in the future, we have nothing to do with invasions and insurrections? We know it will not. We so know, because we know we never had anything to do with invasions and insurrections; and yet this total abstaining does not exempt us from the charge and the denunciation.

The question recurs, what will satisfy them? Simply this: We must not only let them alone, but we must somehow, convince them that we do let them alone. This, we know by experience, is no easy task. We have been so trying to convince them from the very beginning of our organization, but with no success. In all our platforms and speeches we have constantly protested our purpose to let them alone; but this has had no tendency to convince them. Alike unavailing to convince them, is the fact that they have never detected a man of us in any attempt to disturb them.

These natural, and apparently adequate means all failing, what will convince them? This, and this only: cease to call slavery wrong, and join them in calling it right. And this must be done thoroughly - done in acts as well as in words. Silence will not be tolerated - we must place ourselves avowedly with them. Senator Douglas' new sedition law must be enacted and enforced, suppressing all declarations that slavery is wrong, whether made in politics, in presses, in pulpits, or in private. We must arrest and return their fugitive slaves with greedy pleasure. We must pull down our Free State constitutions. The whole atmosphere must be disinfected from all taint of opposition to slavery, before they will cease to believe that all their troubles proceed from us.

I am quite aware they do not state their case precisely in this way. Most of them would probably say to us, "Let us alone, do nothing to us, and say what you please about slavery." But we do let them alone - have never disturbed them - so that, after all, it is what we say, which dissatisfies them. They will continue to accuse us of doing, until we cease saying.

I am also aware they have not, as yet, in terms, demanded the overthrow of our Free-State Constitutions. Yet those Constitutions declare the wrong of slavery, with more solemn emphasis, than do all other sayings against it; and when all these other sayings shall have been silenced, the overthrow of these Constitutions will be demanded, and nothing be left to resist the demand. It is nothing to the contrary, that they do not demand the whole of this just now. Demanding what they do, and for the reason they do, they can voluntarily stop nowhere short of this consummation. Holding, as they do, that slavery is morally right, and socially elevating, they cannot cease to demand a full national recognition of it, as a legal right, and a social blessing.

Nor can we justifiably withhold this, on any ground save our conviction that slavery is wrong. If slavery is right, all words, acts, laws, and constitutions against it, are themselves wrong, and should be silenced, and swept away. If it is right, we cannot justly object to its nationality - its universality; if it is wrong, they cannot justly insist upon its extension - its enlargement. All they ask, we could readily grant, if we thought slavery right; all we ask, they could as readily grant, if they thought it wrong. Their thinking it right, and our thinking it wrong, is the precise fact upon which depends the whole controversy. Thinking it right, as they do, they are not to blame for desiring its full recognition, as being right; but, thinking it wrong, as we do, can we yield to them? Can we cast our votes with their view, and against our own? In view of our moral, social, and political responsibilities, can we do this?

Wrong as we think slavery is, we can yet afford to let it alone where it is, because that much is due to the necessity arising from its actual presence in the nation; but can we, while our votes will prevent it, allow it to spread into the National Territories, and to overrun us here in these Free States? If our sense of duty forbids this, then let us stand by our duty, fearlessly and effectively. Let us be diverted by none of those sophistical contrivances wherewith we are so industriously plied and belabored - contrivances such as groping for some middle ground between the right and the wrong, vain as the search for a man who should be neither a living man nor a dead man - such as a policy of "don't care" on a question about which all true men do care - such as Union appeals beseeching true Union men to yield to Disunionists, reversing the divine rule, and calling, not the sinners, but the righteous to repentance - such as invocations to Washington, imploring men to unsay what Washington said, and undo what Washington did.

Neither let us be slandered from our duty by false accusations against us, nor frightened from it by menaces of destruction to the Government nor of dungeons to ourselves. LET US HAVE FAITH THAT RIGHT MAKES MIGHT, AND IN THAT FAITH, LET US, TO THE END, DARE TO DO OUR DUTY AS WE UNDERSTAND IT.

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The New York Tribune hailed the Cooper-Union speech as "one of the most happiest and most convincing political arguments ever made in this City ... No man ever made such an impression on his first appeal to a New-York audience."

Republicans were excited by this man, and several from this point forward mentioned him as a possible candidate for the presidency. However, Seward remained the strong favorite, and it's important to realize that, at this point, when southerners thought of the possibility of a Republican POTUS, it was the much more famous Seward whom they thought would be the man. But Cooper-Union was the moment when Lincoln's own star began to rise.

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Good gravy, that's a lot of reading for later.

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Good gravy, that's a lot of reading for later.

Or watch the video

I watched the Cooper Union speech re-enacted by Actor Sam Wasterston (Jack McCoy on Law & Order, also portrayed Lincoln in a made for t.v. movie in the late 80s) in May, 2004. It was pretty cool.

The C-SPAN video is 86:28 long; the speech begins around 16:15 and concludes at 83:55.

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This terrific book on the speech is now available on kindle:

"Lincoln at Cooper Union: The Speech That Made Abraham Lincoln President" by Harold Holzer

I haven't read it, but I watched a lecture from Yale University on the election of 1860 from a Professor Blight (it's on Youtube) and he says Holzer's book is interesting but overstates the case.
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This terrific book on the speech is now available on kindle:

"Lincoln at Cooper Union: The Speech That Made Abraham Lincoln President" by Harold Holzer

I haven't read it, but I watched a lecture from Yale University on the election of 1860 from a Professor Blight (it's on Youtube) and he says Holzer's book is interesting but overstates the case.
David Blight offering a critique of Harold Holzer is akin to listening to Trent Dilfer explain what Tony Romo is doing wrong.
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This terrific book on the speech is now available on kindle:

"Lincoln at Cooper Union: The Speech That Made Abraham Lincoln President" by Harold Holzer

I haven't read it, but I watched a lecture from Yale University on the election of 1860 from a Professor Blight (it's on Youtube) and he says Holzer's book is interesting but overstates the case.
David Blight offering a critique of Harold Holzer is akin to listening to Trent Dilfer explain what Tony Romo is doing wrong.
Can you expand on this? I enjoyed the lecture. (Then again, I enjoy listening to Trent Dilfer.)
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