At What Point During the Antebellum Did Compromise Become Impossible?

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gem

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At What Point During the Antebellum Did Compromise Become Impossible?
 

MattL

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When South Carolina fired on Fort Sumter. The intentions and message was clear at that point, no compromise, no further diplomatic efforts, the new President had basically a month after inauguration and that was the only compromise considered.

Before that, if we're talking while the States were still in the Union, then South Carolina's secession. That made it clear they weren't interested in staying in the union, basically gave it a month and a half after Lincoln's election and compromise was clearly not a priority.

We should be clear that before Lincoln's election there were some State officials and leaders that made it clear, if Lincoln would be elected they were out. So from that standpoint maybe upon that general attitude being decided. At that point compromise was impossible since the Election process wasn't going to be suddenly altered because of some threats someone might not like the outcome.

Following that line I'd guess we could lead to the forming of the US Constitution. In forming the rules for electing a President that were validly followed during Lincoln's election which resulted in secession (an act of non-compromise). I guess from that point compromise was impossible without reinventing the US Constitution.
 
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BlueandGrayl

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Fort Sumter. Of course, it could have easily happened in the January--September pre-Compromise of 1850 period had Texas militia been fired upon by U.S. military garrison in their quest to claim portions of New Mexico and thus the other Southern states join in leading to secession, disunion, and eventually civil war.
 
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Mortari

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Sumter make sense. I guess one could say that when Lincoln won the election that ended any chance of compromise (short of that compromise being that Lincoln had to step down).

I'm not sure I could see a compromise once the Dems split with Breckenridge and Douglas. 57 attempts at a vote by state delegates to try to get Douglas enough to win the Dem nomination ended in failure, and once they had split, nobody was able to bring them back together (Though Jefferson Davis did try knowing a split vote of their party would not win).

At that point when the Democratic party was no longer the party of the South and their power had split, I think the path was made.
 
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jackt62

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Compromise was basically played out once Lincoln and the Republican party won the election in November 1860. That event was the last straw as far as the southern "fire eaters" were concerned. Nothing short of the Republican party's repudiation of its own existence could have satisfied the secessionists.
 
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I would say when Lincoln called for volunteers to "Suppress the rebellion". That was seen as a war declaration and caused the last southern states to secede.
But Davis' one month earlier call for 100,000 men for the Confederate army wasn't an act of war while Lincoln's was especially following the Confederacy's launching of thousands of artillery rounds on a contested U.S. fort with U.S. soldiers?
 
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TomV71

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But Davis' one month earlier call for 100,000 men for the Confederate army wasn't an act of war while Lincoln's was especially following the Confederacy's launching of thousands of artillery rounds on a contested U.S. fort with U.S. soldiers?
Davis' call was for defence, while Lincoln's call was for invading the southern states. I think there is a big difference there.
As for Fort Sumter, South Carolina considered that fort their property after they seceded. if that was rightfully, can be debated but it's a reason for the firing.
 
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Davis' call was for defence, while Lincoln's call was for invading the southern states. I think there is a big difference there.
As for Fort Sumter, South Carolina considered that fort their property after they seceded. if that was rightfully, can be debated but it's a reason for the firing.
I don't intend to take this thread off topic to another of the hundreds of Ft. Sumter threads on this site but I just fail to understand logic such as yours or the logic of those who claim the Ft. Sumter bombardment was no big deal or an act of war because it was "bloodless." I won't respond any further on this thread to any Ft. Sumter related post so it does not deteriorate to another Ft. Sumter thread.
 

jgoodguy

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Davis' call was for defence, while Lincoln's call was for invading the southern states. I think there is a big difference there.
As for Fort Sumter, South Carolina considered that fort their property after they seceded. if that was rightfully, can be debated but it's a reason for the firing.
In short, instead of court or Congress -- peaceful ways to resolve the political conflict the CSA chose combat.
 
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jgoodguy

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I don't intend to take this thread off topic to another of the hundreds of Ft. Sumter threads on this site but I just fail to understand logic such as yours or the logic of those who claim the Ft. Sumter bombardment was no big deal or an act of war because it was "bloodless." I won't respond any further on this thread to any Ft. Sumter related post so it does not deteriorate to another Ft. Sumter thread.
It is not the fact of a jurisdiction/sovereignty dispute that is significant, it is that the South chose war as the way to resolve the dispute claiming the right to be the judge, jury, lawyers and everything of all disputes and not letting the US have any say in such a dispute.
 

Joshism

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I would say Lincoln's election. The South had promised to leave in response and made good on that threat. I think most in the north were still open to compromise until Sumter, but the South was not.

Election of any of the three non-Republican presidential candidates averts secession, at least in 1860.
 

jgoodguy

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1860 Democratic convention in Charlestown. The Busting of the convention by Southern revolutionaries insured Lincoln's election and that there would be no united Democratic party representing the South.

There are several points in the 1850s where Southerners bet on political initiatives or court decisions that would protect slavery. 1850 compromise, Dred Scott, Kansas Nebraska and Lemmon v New York. The Southern objective was slavery national and that became the uncompromising principal-victory over the northern antislavery movement or secession. I'd suggest that compromise ran out in the 1850s. This is one of my so much for Southern States Rights argument. The Northern States were for the local rule concerning slavery that slavery was local. The protosecessionists were slavery nationalists, slavery was national. To a great extent, the South placed all it political bets on domination and failed, the only option after that was secession to them.
 
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Carronade

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I would say Lincoln's election. The South had promised to leave in response and made good on that threat. I think most in the north were still open to compromise until Sumter, but the South was not.

Election of any of the three non-Republican presidential candidates averts secession, at least in 1860.
I would put it a bit earlier, when nine slave states refused to allow Lincoln or Republican electors even to be on the ballot.

In a democracy, if even a tiny minority of people want to vote for a particular candidate, they have the right to do so. It may not affect the outcome, particularly in an electoral college system, but they have the right to have their votes recorded - and to be free from retaliation for supporting the non-approved candidate.

Compromise is the essence of democracy. In almost every vote, somebody loses and has to accept the result anyway. The southern states put the rest of the country on notice that they would not accept the results of the democratic process unless it suited them.
 

matthew mckeon

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After the Compromise of 1850. Since Calhoun framed the debate as "give us what we want, or we will secede" at least one historian labeled it the "Appeasement of 1850." I don't know if I agree with that, however. After that, one side or the other would win a point, but neither was compromising with the other.
 

jgoodguy

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After the Compromise of 1850. Since Calhoun framed the debate as "give us what we want, or we will secede" at least one historian labeled it the "Appeasement of 1850." I don't know if I agree with that, however. After that, one side or the other would win a point, but neither was compromising with the other.
I agree 1850s are where we reached the no compromise point.
 
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Lost Cause

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Would also agree with others concerning Lincoln’s election. Lincoln is quoted in Jan 1861:

“I will suffer death before I will consent or will advise my friends to consent to any concession or compromise which looks like buying the privilege of taking possession of this government to which we have a constitutional right; because, whatever I might think of the merit of the various propositions before Congress, I should regard any concession in the face of menace the destruction of the government itself, and a consent on all hands that our systems shall be brought down to a level with the existing disorganized state of affairs in Mexico. But this thing will hereafter be as it is now, in the hands of the people; and if they desire to call a Convention to remove any grievances complained of, or to give new guarantees for the permanence of vested rights, it is not mine to oppose.”

http://www.abrahamlincolnsclassroom.org/abraham-lincoln-in-depth/abraham-lincoln-and-secession/
 
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