Blockade Proclamation

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tmh10

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By The President of the United States of America

A Proclamation

Whereas an insurrection against the Government of the United States has broken out in the States of South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Florida. Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas, and the laws of the United States for the collection of the revenue cannot be effectually executed therein conformably to that provision of the Constitution which requires duties to be uniform throughout the United States;
And whereas a combination of persons, engaged in such insurrection, have threatened to grant pretended letters of marque to authorize the bearers thereof to commit assaults on the lives, vessels, and property of good citizens of the country lawfully engaged in commerce on the high seas and in waters of the United States;

And whereas an Executive proclamation has been already issued requiring the persons engaged in these disorderly proceedings to desist therefrom, calling out a militia force for the purpose of repressing the same, and convening Congress in extraordinary session to deliberate and determine thereon:

Now, therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, with a view to the same purposes before mentioned, and to the protection of the public peace and the lives and property of quiet and orderly citizens pursuing their lawful occupations, until Congress shall have assembled and deliberated on the said unlawful proceedings, or until the same shall have ceased, have further deemed it advisable to set on foot a blockade of the ports within the States aforesaid, in pursuance of the laws of the United States and of the law of nations in such case provided. For this purpose a competent force will be posted so as to prevent entrance and exit of vessels from the ports aforesaid. If, therefore, with a view to violate such blockade, a vessel shall approach, or shall attempt to leave either of the said ports, she will be duly warned by the commander of one of the blockading vessels, who will indorse on her register the fact and date of such warning, and if the same vessel shall again attempt to enter or leave the blockaded port she will be captured and sent to the nearest convenient port for such proceedings against her and her cargo as prize as may be deemed advisable.

And I hereby proclaim and declare that if any person under the pretended authority of the said States, or under any other pretense, shall molest a vessel of the United States, or the persons or cargo on board of her, such persons will be held amenable to the laws of the United States for the prevention and punishment of piracy.

In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.
Done at the city of Washington this nineteenth day of April, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-one, and of the Independence of the United States the eighty-fifth.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN
By the President:

WILLIAM H. SEWARD,
Secretary of State.



By The President of the United States of America

A Proclamation


Whereas, for the reasons assigned in my proclamation of the 19th instant, a blockade of the ports of the States of South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas was ordered to be established;

And whereas since that date public property of the United States has been seized, the collection of the revenue obstructed, and duly commissioned officers of the United States while engaged in executing the orders of their superiors have been arrested and held in custody as prisoners, or have been impeded in the discharge of their official duties without due legal process by persons claiming to act under authorities of the States of Virginia and North Carolina:

An efficient blockade of the ports of those States will also be established.

In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.
Done at the city of Washington this twenty-seventh day of April, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-one, and of the Independence of the United States the eighty-fifth.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN.
By the President:


WILLIAM H. SEWARD,
Secretary of State

Source: "The Official Records of the War of the Rebellion"
 

JPK Huson 1863

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Thanks for this! I have to look around, because I saved an article from a New York City newspaper about this, from the era. It's a terrible week to find the time- have 1 bazillion things too many going on, but it's a great article. It hadn't occured to me that The Blockade was controversial in the north- it's one of those things as an amateur I just have taken for granted, you know? I saved this article because someone was pointing out disadvantages- hope I can find the thing.
 

Battalion

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Where in the Constitution and laws of the United States is the Prsident given authority to establish a blockade?
 
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georgew

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Where in the Constitution and laws of the United States is authorized - or for that matter forbidden - any specific strategy or tactic?
oddly enough, the declaration of a blockade may have rebounded on the administration. There were many claims both domestic and abroad that a formal declaration of a blockade constituted a de facto recognition of the Confederacy as a separate nation. There was apparently no earlier precedent under existing international law to cover this particular contingency because of the "federal" structure of the US government. After the war, there were many questions in the north as to why prominent Confederates were not tried for treason. Apparently, the US Supreme Court concluded that in fact there was no pre-war legal basis for preventing individual states from leaving the Union. The issue of serving in military organizations based upon states was not finally resolved until the 1950s when at least one southern state guard was "nationalized" during civil rights strife.
 
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Mark F. Jenkins

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This is a common misapprehension. The pros and cons of "blockade" versus "port closure" were debated extensively in Lincoln's cabinet, and it was fully understood that "blockade" would grant de facto belligerent status to the Confederacy. But in the end, it came down to what Britain could live with. Britain would not cooperate with a "port closure" as that was administered under domestic law, and Britain, not being part of the US, had no reason to comply except voluntarily-- and that would be materially aiding the Union rather than remaining neutral. The administration was extremely reluctant to give the slightest shade of legitimacy to the Confederacy, but in this case the realities of international relations forced their decision.
 

Complicity

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oddly enough, the declaration of a blockade may have rebounded on the administration. There were many claims both domestic and abroad that a formal declaration of a blockade constituted a de facto recognition of the Confederacy as a separate nation.
You make a good point.

The applicable treaty was the Declaration of Paris in 1856 that was a component of the treaty ending the Crimean War.

Neither the United States nor the Confederate States were signatories, but Lincoln and Seward either by accident or plan ended-up basing their blockade on it. The reason the USA did not sign was because we wanted to be able to use privateers which were outlawed by the treaty. When the Confederacy started using privateers, the Yankee's pretended privateering was illegal and conveniently "forgot" the USA never signed the Declaration for the very reason that we wanted the freedom to use privateers. But that's another story, and a good one. Nonetheless, you will soon witness a host of the usual suspects start posting creative fabrications excusing and rationalizing the Yankee viewpoint. Sit tight, it is a wonderfully humors show.

Notwithstanding the remarks of the forum host, you are correct that there were consequences. Most importantly it prompted the Queen's Declaration of Neutrality. Owing to her declaration, the Confederacy was permitted to legally buy munitions from neutrals (e.g. Britain). Confederate warships were also given the right to resupply at neutral ports of which Britain had many around the World. This enabled commerce cruisers like C.S.S. Alabama to hunt the seven seas in search of victims.

The blockade proclamation as posted does not provide a date. However, it is important to understand that within a short time Lincoln added Virginia and North Carolina to the list, even though they had not seceded. Although there's not a Saint's chance at a political convention that such action was legal, you will soon find the usual suspects also responding with all sorts of fictions about why Lincoln was on the side of the law.

Its a characteristic of Yankee revisionist history...The future is more predictable than the past.
 
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Mark F. Jenkins

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Nonetheless, you will soon witness a host of the usual suspects start posting creative fabrications excusing and rationalizing the Yankee viewpoint. Sit tight, it is a wonderfully humors show.

Notwithstanding the remarks of the forum host, you are correct that there were consequences.
Although there's not a Saint's chance at a political convention that such action was legal, you will soon find the usual suspects also responding with all sorts of fictions about why Lincoln was on the side of the law.

Its a characteristic of Yankee revisionist history...The future is more predictable than the past.
Snide remarks and snark make for very poor scholarly debate.

Regardless, the flip side of the blockade was the internationally-recognized right to stop and search shipping under any flag.

The U.S. had a reasonable expectation that Britain would enforce her 1819 Foreign Enlistment Act to prevent military vessels and expeditions being fitted out in her territory; the failure to do so was the primary grounds for awarding the postwar Alabama claims to the U.S.
 
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oddly enough, the declaration of a blockade may have rebounded on the administration. There were many claims both domestic and abroad that a formal declaration of a blockade constituted a de facto recognition of the Confederacy as a separate nation. There was apparently no earlier precedent under existing international law to cover this particular contingency because of the "federal" structure of the US government. After the war, there were many questions in the north as to why prominent Confederates were not tried for treason. Apparently, the US Supreme Court concluded that in fact there was no pre-war legal basis for preventing individual states from leaving the Union. The issue of serving in military organizations based upon states was not finally resolved until the 1950s when at least one southern state guard was "nationalized" during civil rights strife.
Both you and the follow up post by Complicity are wrong as to recognition of the Confederacy as a separate nation. The USSC said differently in the 1863 Prize decision.
As to your contention that there were no antebellum legal basis against unilateral secession, there were cases as early as 1810 whose rulings were most certainly applicable had it been a secession case that made its way before the Court. The legal right of unilateral secession was based on the belief that the states retained total sovereignty and the Union was a compact of these sovereign states. The Marshall led Supreme Court posited as early as 1810 in Fletcher v. Peck that a state did not retain its sovereignty as it did not enter the Union on its own...it needed the consent of the other states to become part of the Union. Conversely, if a state wanted to leave the Union, it must have the consent of the other states that form the Union. In the Court's opinion Chief Justice Marshall wrote that "Georgia cannot be viewed as a single, unconnected, sovereign power, on whose legislature no other restrictions are imposed than may be found in its own constitution. She is a part of a large empire; she is a member of the American union; and that union has a constitution the supremacy of which all acknowledge, and which imposes limits to the legislatures of the several states, which none claim a right to pass."

In the 1819 case of McCullock vs. Maryland before the Marshall Court, the Chief Justice once again opined that a state gave up its sovereignty to act unilaterally once it entered the Union:
"[t]he assent of the States in their sovereign capacity is implied in calling a convention, and thus submitting that instrument to the people. But the people were at perfect liberty to accept or reject it, and their act was final. It required not the affirmance, and could not be negatived, by the State Governments. The Constitution, when thus adopted, was of complete obligation, and bound the State sovereignties."

The Marshall Court indirectly addressed unilateral state action in the 1821 case of Cohens v. Virginia. The Chief Justice once again wrote tthe majority opinion and stated in part:
"It is very true that whenever hostility to the existing system shall become universal, it will be also irresistible. The people made the Constitution, and the people can unmake it. It is the creature of their will, and lives only by their will. But this supreme and irresistible power to make or to unmake resides only in the whole body of the people, not in any subdivision of them. The attempt of any of the parts to exercise it is usurpation and ought to be repelled by those to whom the people have delegated their power of repelling it.
The acknowledged inability of the government, then, to sustain itself against the public will and, by force or otherwise, to control the whole nation is no sound argument in support of its constitutional inability to preserve itself against a section of the Nation acting in opposition to the general will."

The Marshall led Supreme Court did not deny the right of a state to leave the Union...the Court just denied the right to be done so unilaterally.
 

Complicity

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Snide remarks and snark make for very poor scholarly debate.
You mean like recent posts of yours?*

There are two differences. First, I provided incremental information, which you purposely snipped in your reply. Second, my predictions proved accurate. In contrast, the cited posts of yours have no other purpose but to deliberately insult and provide no "scholarship" or incremental information whatsoever.

=====================

* Post 41 in "Morality of an Abolitionist"
Post 382 in "Why the North Fought"
 
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Complicity

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Both you and the follow up post by Complicity are wrong as to recognition of the Confederacy as a separate nation.
I made no such claim and I don't think georgew did either.

He used the term "defacto recognition" which is an obvious qualification since there is no other reason to use the qualifying adjective, "defacto". The Queen's Proclamation of Neutrality conferred belligerency status on the Confederate States. That is probably what georgew meant and it was certainly what I was responding to as evidenced by the information provided.

As to the rest of your comments about secession, post number 8 documents I was not responding to that topic.
 
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brass napoleon

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Although there's not a Saint's chance at a political convention that such action was legal, you will soon find the usual suspects also responding with all sorts of fictions about why Lincoln was on the side of the law.

Its a characteristic of Yankee revisionist history...The future is more predictable than the past.
Here's one of those "Yankee revisionist usual suspects":

When any one state in the American Union refuses obedience to the Confederation by which they have bound themselves, the rest have a natural right to compel them to obedience. Congress would probably exercise long patience before they would recur to force; but if the case ultimately required it, they would use that recurrence. Should this case ever arise, they will probably coerce by a naval force, as being more easy, less dangerous to liberty, and less likely to produce much bloodshed.

- Thomas Jefferson, January 24, 1786
Source: http://press-pubs.uchicago.edu/founders/documents/v1ch9s1.html
 

brass napoleon

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Correct. You fulfill my prediction.

You are addressing the matter of secession legality, which has nothing to do with my post.
Nice try. Read the link. It's not specifically about secession legality. It's about the general use of coercive force, and the acceptability of naval force. It's a clear indication that Jefferson believed the United States had the right to use naval coercive force against inobedient states. It 100% supports Lincoln's use of a blockade, no matter how much you try to deny it and ascribe it to "Yankee revisionists".

So who's the revisionist here anyway?
 
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jgoodguy

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oddly enough, the declaration of a blockade may have rebounded on the administration. There were many claims both domestic and abroad that a formal declaration of a blockade constituted a de facto recognition of the Confederacy as a separate nation. There was apparently no earlier precedent under existing international law to cover this particular contingency because of the "federal" structure of the US government. After the war, there were many questions in the north as to why prominent Confederates were not tried for treason. Apparently, the US Supreme Court concluded that in fact there was no pre-war legal basis for preventing individual states from leaving the Union. The issue of serving in military organizations based upon states was not finally resolved until the 1950s when at least one southern state guard was "nationalized" during civil rights strife.
I am interested in any evidence of this outside of the CSA. "There were many claims both domestic and abroad that a formal declaration of a blockade constituted a de facto recognition of the Confederacy as a separate nation. "

Also I'd be interested if you are familiar with the SCOTUS decision Texas v White which directly addressed the "legal basis for preventing individual states from leaving the Union. "\

No treason case was brought before the SCOTUS. President Andrew Johnson, a Southerner, issued a blanket pardon for ex Rebels, that precluded treason trials.
 

Mark F. Jenkins

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The blockade proclamation as posted does not provide a date. However, it is important to understand that within a short time Lincoln added Virginia and North Carolina to the list, even though they had not seceded.
Further item... if you check the time line, Virginia had seceded about ten days prior and was in the process of seizing Federal property within the state; and although North Carolina's secession convention had not yet met, it had been called for, and the state had already gone ahead and seized Fort Macon, ahead of "secession." The way the winds were blowing were quite clear.

In any case, it's very peculiar to expect that the Lincoln administration, which did not hold secession to be legal, would wait for it to become "official" to take action.
 

Mark F. Jenkins

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You mean like recent posts of yours?*

There are two differences. First, I provided incremental information, which you purposely snipped in your reply. Second, my predictions proved accurate. In contrast, the cited posts of yours have no other purpose but to deliberately insult and provide no "scholarship" or incremental information whatsoever.
I quote portions of a post I'm responding to. There's no point in copying entire posts when they're already out there for everyone to read; it's not like I'm going back and editing what you posted.

And if I read you correctly, your primary motivation for commenting on the blockade is because you didn't like something I posted in another area?
 
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matthew mckeon

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If we could keep on topic, and avoid commenting on the appalling character of the people we disagree with, I, for one, would be happy.

I understand when President Kennedy used the word "quarentine" instead of "blockade" during the Cuban Missile Crisis, he was trying to avoid using a term that meant going to war.
 

jgoodguy

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As moderator: Please do not engage in a tit for tat with an opponent over off topic issues, stick with evidence and argumentation.

Thank you.
 
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