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Compromise and Peace: The Road Not Taken

Discussion in 'Civil War History - Secession and Politics' started by Mike Griffith, Dec 11, 2016.

  1. brass napoleon

    brass napoleon Colonel Retired Moderator Member of the Year

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    Absolutely. Lincoln was adamant and inflexible on that issue. He would not compromise on the issue of extending slavery into the territories. He was willing to risk disunion and civil war for that principle, and had been quite clear on that issue even before his election.

    "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."


    - Abraham Lincoln, February 27, 1860

    Source: http://showcase.netins.net/web/creative/lincoln/speeches/cooper.htm
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2017

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  3. Andersonh1

    Andersonh1 2nd Lieutenant

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    There's some good information in that link, and it does tell us a lot about Toomb's mindset. The thoughts and opinions of all the principle figures in that committee would be useful to know.
     
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  4. unionblue

    unionblue Brev. Brig. Gen'l Member of the Year

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    From the book, The Road To Disunion, Volume II: Secessionists Triumphant, 1854-1861, by William W. Freehling, chapter 28, pg. 471:

    "...Jefferson Davis told the committee that he would settle for slavery's protection in ALL U.S. territories. Robert M. T. Hunter would settle for Davis's uncompromising "ALL," plus a constitutional amendment prohibiting a federal "local appointment" without "the assent of a majority of the Senators from each section" (that, trumpeted the Virginia senator, would prevent "the abuse of patronage...so much feared from Lincoln"), plus another amendment that established two presidents, one northern, one southern, each with a veto on all legislation. Robert Toombs would settle for Davis's ALL plus a constitutional amendment decreeing that a majority of each section's representatives in each hall of Congress must approve all slavery legislation..."

    Where is the compromise from these men?

    THERE WASN'T ANY COMPROMISE.

    Andersonh1,

    I point the blame for failure to compromise on the men above, Lincoln winning a free and fair election based on a platform of keeping slavery out of the federal territories.

    Davis, Toombs and Hunter did their absolute best to deny the election to Lincoln and the Republican party by making such demands as I list above.

    This entire thread is a fraud, a smoke screen designed to cloud the slaveholders determination to have their own way to keep and expand slavery and to hide the fact secession was a done deal that no compromise was going to halt.

    Unionblue
     
  5. Andersonh1

    Andersonh1 2nd Lieutenant

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    Have you read other authors to compare with Freehling's? How does his version compare with other accounts of the same events?
     
  6. unionblue

    unionblue Brev. Brig. Gen'l Member of the Year

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    Andersonh1,

    And do you have any comments on what is presented by Freehling? Do not the demands of Davis and Toombs and Hunter cause you any pause at all? Or do you doubt such demands were ever presented to the committee of thirteen?

    I am in the process of looking at other accounts but fair is fair, don't you think? Let's clear this table first before we order more, shall we?

    Unionblue
     
  7. Andersonh1

    Andersonh1 2nd Lieutenant

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    The apparent contradiction between Davis being willing to accept Crittenden's proposal and the more hardline amendments that he and the others offered is what has me curious. I'd like to see that resolved, and there are a number of possible explanations. It could be nothing but political games, designed to make the Republicans look like the unreasonable ones. It could be that Davis wanted to up the ante after the Republicans rejected Crittenden and offer a stronger action in hopes of making them reassess Crittenden (and that's where the timeline of events comes in ... was Crittenden's proposal the first to be voted on by the committee, and did the other proposals come after it was voted down?). With Douglas and Crittenden believing that Davis was sincere in his support, how does that square with the more hardline amendment Davis offered? Did they misjudge him?

    If someone could find the minutes of the committee's meeting so we could see in what order the various "compromises" were offered and voted on, I think that would be helpful. What gives me pause, as you asked, is trying to resolve all the pieces of the puzzle here. A way to explain the contradictions to my satisfaction is what I"m looking for.

    I don't assume it was all a deception because my reading of Davis is that he would rather find a compromise to stay in the Union if that possibility still existed, while I think Toombs was ready to go, but could have been persuaded to stay.
     
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  8. unionblue

    unionblue Brev. Brig. Gen'l Member of the Year

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    Andersonh1,

    A reasonable request concerning the minutes of the committee's meeting and for your desire to resolve the contradictions you feel you have encountered.

    Let's hope we can find the minutes and a resolution.

    Unionblue
     
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  9. Mike Griffith

    Mike Griffith Corporal

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    I am not here to provide a free copying and pasting service and to do other people's homework for them. I have given you the sources and advised you and others that they are available online. I have also quoted some of Rhodes' statements about Davis and Toombs being willing to support the Crittenden plan if a majority of the Republicans would.

    As for Freehling, if he disputes what I've said about Davis and Toombs and the Crittenden plan, then he is repeating a nineteenth-century Republican myth that later historians, such as eminent ones like Rhodes and Nevins, debunked.

    I will try to get around to copying and pasting Rhodes' entire discussion on this subject, since his is one of the most thorough around, but I do not understand why you simply cannot go read the discussion yourself. Here is a link to Rhodes' book: https://archive.org/details/historyofuniteds04rhod .

    And, you know, it's interesting that you did not quote Frehling or even give page numbers. You just gave the title of his book and apparently expect me to take your word for what he says. Do you see the irony in that? Anyway, I will read what Frehling says, just because I like to read all sides, but I very seriously doubt that he refutes the evidence that Rhodes, Nevins, Randall, Donald, Avery, Milton, etc., etc., present on the subject.
     
  10. Copperhead-mi

    Copperhead-mi 1st Lieutenant Trivia Game Winner

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    Re: Davis' and Toombs' compromise from Albert D. Kirwan's biography, John J. Crittenden - The Struggle for the Union, pg 381,:
    "As a practical matter, the committee had agreed at the outset that unless a majority of Republicans as well as a majority of Democrats on the committee agreed to any proposal, it should be considered rejected. In other words, three Republicans or four Democrats could negate any proposal even though all other members of the committee approved. The numerous parts of Crittenden's proposal were voted on separately. No part got fewer than six votes; most got eight. Toombs and Davis had stated that they would accept Crittenden's plan if the Republicans would, but the four Republicans voted against most parts, including the main one, restoration of the Missouri line. Davis and Toombs thereupon also voted against it. Toombs at the time stated that although he himself was not satisfied with the proposal, he knew his state would be, and he would therefore vote for it provided the Republicans would. Davis professed his entire satisfaction with the proposal."26

    Footnote 26 Senate Reports, 36 Cong., 2 Sess., No. 288 (hereinafter, Journal of the Committee of Thirteen), 2-18; Congressional Globe, 36 Cong., 2 Sess., 270, 1390, Appendix, 41; Cox, Three Decades, 77-78, 114-15.

    I can't seem to find the Senate Reports for the 36th Congress. Maybe someone with better Google search skills than mine, can find it.
     
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  11. Mike Griffith

    Mike Griffith Corporal

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    Then you have a very curious definition of "compromise." The Crittenden plan would have taken the South from having all the territories open for slaveholder travel and settlement, thanks to the Dred Scott decision, to only having one-fourth of them open for those things. That's a compromise by any rational defintion.

    The Crittenden plan would have set up a compensated emancipation plan paid for by Congress, something that the Fire-Eaters screamed against. That was most certainly a compromise by any rational definition of the word, since, as Fire-Eaters pointed out, it would make slaveholders far less likely to care about trying to recover runaways and make them far less likely to care about trying to sue the Northern county or state that had accepted runaways.

    The Crittenden plan would have removed the financial incentive for federal fugitive slave court commissioners to rule in favor of slaveholders, an incentive that Southern politicians had enjoyed in previous years. That was a compromise by any rational standard.
     
  12. The Confederate

    The Confederate Sergeant

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    No offense, but every single time you're asked for proofs, you just dodge giving reading assignments, it's about time that you give some proofs.
     
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  13. Mike Griffith

    Mike Griffith Corporal

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    Incorrect. The first, and key vote, came in the Committee of Thirteen, when only SC had seceded. I already covered the timeline in a previous post, but this thread has been needlessly split so many times that you might have missed it.
     
  14. Mike Griffith

    Mike Griffith Corporal

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    What? I have repeatedly said that Davis and Toombs stated that they would support the Crittenden plan if a majority of the Republicans would. I've also explained, and quoted Rhodes on, why this was a reasonable position. Try reading my replies before you hit the Post Reply button.

    And, just a point of logic, Davis and Toombs were not asking the Republicans to say they would vote for it first. When you say, "We will support this if a majority of you will," you are not asking them to commit to it first. Rather, you are the first one to express a willingness to support the plan and are merely placing a reasonable condition on your support so that the plan will have the best chance of success in the full Congress.

    By the way, did the Republicans ever give any conditions upon which they would support Crittenden's plan? No. How about Douglas's plan? No again. How about the Border State plan? No.

    It was Davis and Toombs who took the first step in support of the Crittenden plan and in such a way as to ensure that it would have maximum support in the full Congress and in the country, since obviously any such plan would need to have bipartisan Congressional support and not be a plan that only passed on a partisan basis.
     
  15. Mike Griffith

    Mike Griffith Corporal

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    No offense, but I get the impression you have no interest in reading readily available online sources. And when I have provided extensive and sourced quotes, you have largely ignored them.
     
  16. brass napoleon

    brass napoleon Colonel Retired Moderator Member of the Year

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    I'm not going to waste any more of my valuable time on this. If Davis and Toombs supported it and believed it was so important, then they should have come out publicly and supported it unconditionally. Anything else is just political shenanigans. Period. Done.
     
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  17. O' Be Joyful

    O' Be Joyful Corporal

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    I have found the link to the National Archives that mention it but that is the extent of my search skills.

    18.29 The Senate created several select committees to deal with issues and events relating to slavery, the Civil War, and the postwar South. There are records for several of these committees, including the select committee to investigate the invasion and seizure of the U.S. arsenal at Harpers Ferry, VA (36A-E16), the special committee of 13 that was established in response to President James Buchanan's message of December 1860 regarding the sectional strife (36A-H20), the select committee on a bill to confiscate the property and free the slaves of rebels (37A-H18), and the select committee on slavery and freedmen (38A-H20).
    https://www.archives.gov/legislative/guide/senate/chapter-18-1847-1921.html
     
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  18. The Confederate

    The Confederate Sergeant

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    No offense, but I get the impression that you don't have any proof of what you're claiming, and you dodge by giving reading assignments that don't prove anything you're claiming.
     
  19. unionblue

    unionblue Brev. Brig. Gen'l Member of the Year

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    Again, you have missed my previous post in which I give chapter and page numbers instead of making others read through page after page of 'reading assignments.'
     
  20. ivanj05

    ivanj05 First Sergeant

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    When you make an affirmative claim, it's up to you to provide specific evidence to support it. What you're doing is making claims and then challenging everyone else to prove it for you. We frown on that in these parts.
     
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  21. Copperhead-mi

    Copperhead-mi 1st Lieutenant Trivia Game Winner

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    Can you provide a quote with its source for your comment on compensated emancipation? I can not find any proposals in the Crittenden plan or proposed compromises in regards to that. The original Plan called for Congress to amend the fugitive slave law to remove certain clauses that offended Northerners, so I imagine the financial incentive to the commissioners you noted above is probably one of the clauses that would be discussed but there is nothing in the original Plan nor the proposed compromise that indicates that compensated emancipation was discussed, let alone, agreed to. The Committee of Thirty-three urged modification of the personal-liberty laws, admission of New Mexico as a slave state, and modification of the Missouri Compromise line which were endorsed "in principle" on December 13, 1860, but I find nothing about compensated emancipation.
     
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