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If the South won the Civil War, what do you think would have happened to Lincoln?

Discussion in '"What if..." Discussions' started by Zeeboe, Nov 7, 2010.

  1. Zeeboe

    Zeeboe Private

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    There have been so many books and discussions about what life would be like if the Confederates won the War between the States, but rarely do people discuss what would have become of Mr. Lincoln.

    To avoid answers such as it being impossible for the Confederacy to win or that it would all depend on certain events, I'll attempt to make the fantasia clearer and fill in those gaps. (This alternate history time-line is partially based off one of the last chapters from the book "The Glittering Illusion: English Sympathy for the Southern Confederacy" by Sheldon Vanauken where the C.S.A. wins the war through British intervention.)

    Let's say that England recognizes the Confederacy as it's own country in December of 1862 which leads to the United States declaring war on England.

    Union Forces in New Orleans, Louisiana are defeated by the British Army and are forced to retreat and The Army of Northern Virginia is reinforced by British brigades during the battle of Gettysburg. Together, they cut the U.S. Army in two which leads to General Meade's surrender which happens ironically on the 4th of July.

    Confederate and British forces ride into Washington D.C., Maryland unopposed and the United States Government (at the new capital in Portland, Maine) finally answer the cry for peace and end the war.

    Now to also avoid a discussion of what would happen to the U.S.A. - Let's also say that the Confederacy has no plans to annex the Union into the C.S.A. and despite what they consider to be war crimes, the Confederacy...in an attempt to ease the tensions...do not try to find President Lincoln (like in the mocumentary film "The Confederate States of America") and force him to stand trail. The soldiers just turn around and go home. Maryland joins the Confederacy since so many people there in the first place were pro-southern, and The District of Columbia becomes The District of Dixie, the C.S.A. becomes apart of the British Empire, General Robert E. Lee becomes Lord Arlington, and slavery soon ends peacefully in the late 1870's.

    Which now leads to the current question - It is now 1863 and the Union has been defeated. Would Mr. Lincoln be able to continue his term as President? Would he be blamed for the loss? Would he be reelected in 1865? Would he continue to live in the U.S.A? What would he do after his Presidential term was over?


    My answer - I think a lot of people would be calling for him to step down as President, but not being a quitter....he would finish out his term as President, but would not run for reelection. I think there would have been a lot of angry families out there that felt their men and boys died for nothing. I think he would face many death threats while trying to live in the United States and be blamed for not only losing the war by some people, but for causing the war by others.....so he would retire to Canada and would write his memoirs a few years after the war in an attempt to tell his side of the story.

    There would be no Gettysburg Address, President Lincoln's likeness would not appear on the penny, stamps, the five dollar bill or Mount Rushmore. He would not have a holiday in his honor and there would be no monumental for him at the new capital in Portland, Maine, and there would be no street names, schools, or cities named after him and his picture would not appear in American History classes.

    I think he would be forgotten by the mainstream and the casual person. All the great things he said and did would be obsolete. He would forever be seen and remembered the same way some people remember King George III. He'd also be seen as one of the worst Presidents of the U.S and would be remembered and blamed by historians and history buffs as the "tyrant" who divided what was once a great nation and lost "The War for Southern Independence".

    Thankfully, this never happened.

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  3. brass napoleon

    brass napoleon Major Retired Moderator

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    I agree with the blue and disagree with the red. I'll accept the black for the sake of argument. :smile:
  4. matthew mckeon

    matthew mckeon Brigadier General Moderator

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    If the war had been lost in 1863, I doubt Lincoln would have been reelected. As far as revenge pursued beyond not winning office, or being remembered as George III, or his memory being wiped out, Stalin style, that's wishful thinking by League of the South types, and more than a little childish.

    As far as South then joining the British Empire, why would a group that fought for hard for independence immmediately cede its independence? Especially to join a empire hostile to its most cherished institution, chattel slavery? As far as peacefully abolishing slavery, the South had to be stripped of slavery as the point of the bayonet, and then after nearly a century of apartheid, Jim Crow was stomped out by federal action and federal troops.

    The whole post strikes me as a wet dream by the League of the South.
  5. Zeeboe

    Zeeboe Private

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    I promise I am not a neo-reb. This opinion was based on how history looks at other people who lost wars.

    I also believe the reason why the C.S.A. would maybe join the British Empire is because England was a good customer for the South's cotton and I doubt the C.S.A. could survive on it's own and would need the income from England. On the British point of view - A lot of people in England at that time had a lot of sympathy for the South. Especially after the Trent Affair and there were also issues between the U.S.A. and England in regards of Canada as well so the tension was there.

    I also think it would make England feel a bit better. - The U.S.A. belonged to them, then there was a war in which England lost and then not less then one hundred years later, the South comes back to the British Empire, things go back to the way they were before and England becomes powerful again. Many English then and now blame King George III for messing things up with the U.S.A and feel if he did not raise taxes, the United States would still be apart of England. So I think England would welcome the C.S.A. into their empire. A small price the South would have to pay for it's freedom.

    I believe England would respect the C.S.A.'s rights and not ever tax them or want to ever go to war with them, but would expect things to be a 50/50 deal.

    I think there was a highly realistic chance of that happening. I believe because Lincoln made slavery an issue, that is what caused England to stay out of the war because they did not want to be seen as a pro-slavery country and perhaps they felt there would be no strong support and did not want to ask their men to die for a cause that did not personally affect the working-class men.
  6. O'Bruadair

    O'Bruadair Corporal

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    "maybe join the British Empire"

    Not even within the realm of logic. The Southern people would have never willingly traded the domination of one central government for another (especially a British one). They went to war for independence.

    We are very good customers to the Chinese today. Think they want to join our empire?

    As far as slavery ending, now that is logical. Also I am sure the British would have put pressure on the CSA to end slavery as soon as possible had the South gained its independence with their help.
  7. brass napoleon

    brass napoleon Major Retired Moderator

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    The small price the South would pay for it's freedom was... the loss of it's freedom? :shrug:

    Lincoln made slavery an issue? Perhaps you haven't read these:
    http://sunsite.utk.edu/civil-war/reasons.html
  8. brass napoleon

    brass napoleon Major Retired Moderator

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    And the slaveholding politicians would have resisted the "meddling Limeys" just like they did the "meddling Yankees". The protection and extension of slavery was their whole reason for seceding in the first place (see the document posted above).
  9. Zeeboe

    Zeeboe Private

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    The Chinese does not need to join us because they make enough money to survive on their own. One of the questions of the South being it's own nation was could it survive on it's own? It seems joining another country's empire would answer that. Especially if that country would respect your civil rights and keep your income high. I don't believe England would actually be telling the South how to live They would just be very close allies, but on paper, the C.S.A. would be apart of England.

    In regards of Lincoln and slavery - I cannot click that link at the moment, but yes, plenty of quotes and actions make it clear that Lincoln did make slavery an issue which is why he allowed black men to join the Union Army.

    EDIT: I have read plenty that make it clear that the reason why the South left was because Lincoln was anti-slavery.

    Remember - One of the reasons why England did not help the C.S.A. was over the issue of slavery which is why this never happened. This is a "What if" type of chat and according to some sources, the C.S.A. did offer to end slavery if England would help them.

    But time is an enemy right now, so I must depart for now.
  10. brass napoleon

    brass napoleon Major Retired Moderator

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    Well, get back to me when you can click that link. I'd like to know if after reading those documents you still feel the CSA would offer to end slavery for England.
  11. Elennsar

    Elennsar Lt. Colonel

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    While I want to discuss this reasonably, things like this get in the way, so I may come off less politely (No offense is intended, but sometimes the little jerk in my brain has more sway than he should):

    If the CSA became part of the British Empire, its rights would be that of British subjects. It would be no more tax free than any other part.

    Being part of the British empire wouldn't be like being part of the UN. It would be, as Brass has said, securing their freedom by giving it up.
  12. Nathanb1

    Nathanb1 Brigadier General Moderator Forum Host

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    Slavery was a major issue long before Lincoln showed up. Dred Scott, the Missouri Compromise.....we could go on and on.

    Even in a what-if, it's helpful if there's some basis for opinions besides wishful thinking. Show me some support for some of these propositions, and they might make sense. However, I don't really think that can be done.
  13. sf46

    sf46 Corporal

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    My view would be that Lincoln may have finished out his term, but surely not re-elected.

    As for the South, I don't think they would have willingly become British subjects; trading partners and allies, maybe.

    Slavery I think, would have died out on its own by 1900 or before.
  14. swampfox

    swampfox Cadet

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    probably what happened to Davis after the war.
  15. Nathanb1

    Nathanb1 Brigadier General Moderator Forum Host

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    What? Can you explain? (I'm probably being really dense)
  16. Nathanb1

    Nathanb1 Brigadier General Moderator Forum Host

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    I was...you mean retirement, then being sort of a minor celebrity and writing his memoirs?
  17. swampfox

    swampfox Cadet

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    Imprisonment maybe, I highly doubt he would be shot or hanged.
  18. Elennsar

    Elennsar Lt. Colonel

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    Why would Lincoln have been imprisoned, and by who?
  19. swampfox

    swampfox Cadet

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    Well they tried to charge Davis with traitor charges. I'm guessing the Confederate government. But then again, if there was just a truce, the Confederates wouldn't have captured him. If the Confederates had total control of the nation, as the Union did, they could. However, that would have been unlikely. Let's say the Confederates won, it wouldn't be an overwhelming victory
  20. Elennsar

    Elennsar Lt. Colonel

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    Yeah. The most the Confederacy could expect to achieve would be forcing the Union to stop, and maybe influencing the fate of the border states - anything beyond that is beyond what if into outright fantasy.
  21. Nathanb1

    Nathanb1 Brigadier General Moderator Forum Host

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    I think considering the close calls he had, he was more likely to be killed than captured (don't forget the incident when he was riding over to the Soldiers Home)....but that has nothing, really, to do with the end of the war.

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