Did any northerners welcome secession as an end to battles over balance in the Senate?


Apr 5, 2021
Throughout the first half of the 19th century, (as I understand it) US politics was dominated by the struggle for control of the Senate between the "free" and "slave" states. For example, Missouri compromise. So I wonder, were there any voices in the north who said "Good -- the southern states want to secede, let them secede and be done with it." And after the war, were there any who said "It would have been better to let them secede."?

thomas aagaard

1st Lieutenant
Nov 19, 2013
As I argue in another topic.
If the south had gone to congress and said "we want to leave". Lets find a political deal for us to do so in peace.
(where the leaving stated paid for federal installations within their borders, for their share of the national debt and so on)
Then I think a number of free states would have supported it... for the reason you mention.

But they did not try to do so within the constitution. They did it outside... by force.


Jul 28, 2015
New York City
Although the idea was bandied about, until the secession crisis of 1860-61, secession as a viable alternative was actually not seen as a serious option. The one exception was during the nullification crisis in 1832 when South Carolina refused to abide by a Congressional import tariff, but that crisis was defused by President Jackson's forceful response and a compromise that partially satisfied all parties. The real problem developed after the United States acquired the southwest territories as a result of the Mexican War, thereby setting the stage for those who would expand slavery to those areas, and those who would not. The Compromise of 1850 tentatively put the lid on that dispute, but a series of events during the 1850's seriously eroded the ability to forge further compromises between the sections. During the CW, the "peace" faction of the Democratic Party would have been willing to negotiate a separation with the Confederacy; in contrast the "war" faction would have been willing to accede to southern demands on slavery in order to preserve the federal Union.


First Sergeant
Dec 5, 2019
You mean something like "good riddance to bad rubbish"? I shouldn't think so because it would: 1. undo one of the basic reasons for altering from a confederacy to the current govt. in the 18th Century and 2. would set the precedent of any displeased state (for whatever dumb or good reason) from going its own way--perhaps putting some of the remaining states at risk of peril.

When Massachusetts and Maine divorced, Massachusetts was happy to see Maine off its back BUT it (MA) insisted on a plebiscite in Maine first. It was a mutual decision made with legal stipulations.

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