Did the Secessionists Want War?

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wausaubob

Major
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Location
Denver, CO
Neither side wanted the vast war with the revolutionary changes that followed. But when the US captured one of 11 Confederate state capitals at Nashville, TN, before a full year had elapsed, and the largest city and most lucrative port of the Confederacy at New Orleans, in short of 13 months from the start of the war, the Confederacy realized it was in fight for its existence.
The US, had it known what was ahead, would have simply held w. Virginia, the Virginia and North Carolina coasts, and the Mississippi River as far below Memphis as was easy to hold and moved on.
 

major bill

Colonel
Forum Host
Joined
Aug 25, 2012
I am not sure we can put all secessionist in one group or even most secessionist into a single group. I surmised that some secessionist wanted a war while other secessionist did not want a war. There were probably a group of secessionist who were willing to go to war to obtain as much as possible.

I will use the western Territories as an example. If a secessionist truly believed that slavery could only survive if it could expand then they might have understood that the only way for the Cofedercy to gain many of the western Territories was a war with the Union. I could see the Confederacy gaining the New Mexico Terrirory, but securing Caffornia, Cloorado, Oregon, and The Washington Territory would require a war. If not a war in 1861 then a war in the next decade.
 
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trice

Lt. Colonel
Joined
May 2, 2006
You completely misunderstood what I meant. I am not saying anything. The commissioners sent out by the seceding states had volumes to say on this subject.
The main rationale for starting the war in 1861 was a fear of demographic oblivion. At the present rate of reproduction, it was said, in as little as 30 years the slave population would double to 8,000,000. Alabama already had 7 slaves for every acre of tillable land in 1860. The white population of South Carolina would be as little as 5% & inevitably suffer the fate of the French on St Dominica. The South had to go to war immediately or the white race would sink into oblivion in the near future. It was a war to guarantee the superiority of the white race & it had to start now.
That is not my opinion, or anyone living's opinion, this is exactly what the people who put their lives, fortune & racial purity on the line in 1861 believed, period, end of story.
So you are saying that this quote shows that "the South" felt they had to go to war sooner rather than later -- but you object to my saying they wanted war more than peace. Your reason for objecting seems to be that it is not you saying it -- it is the South Carolina commissioner you are quoting.

This thread is on the topic "Did the secessionists want war?" So why are you posting his opinion? Are you saying "Yes, they did!" or "No, they didn't!" when you post it?
 

Red Baron

Private
Joined
Nov 12, 2019
Funny thing about that, Lincoln's entire rationale about "owning the South" was that he already did. You don't pay for things you own. The offer was a propaganda ploy to impress the Europeans. Davis wanted them to believe that the Southern government was peace loving & only acting in defense to their rights. That right, of course, had repeatedly been defined a the right to own other human beings without interference from the Federal Gov. Look it up, that is exactly what Davis' said. It is also much more interesting than the preposterous notion that Lincoln would even consider buying the South.
Man you don't know history, look it up... Jefferson Davis offered to pay Lincoln. NOT Lincoln paying Davis.
Wikipedia › wiki › Jefferson_Davis
Web results
Jefferson Davis - Wikipedia
 

Rhea Cole

First Sergeant
Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
So you are saying that this quote shows that "the South" felt they had to go to war sooner rather than later -- but you object to my saying they wanted war more than peace. Your reason for objecting seems to be that it is not you saying it -- it is the South Carolina commissioner you are quoting.

This thread is on the topic "Did the secessionists want war?" So why are you posting his opinion? Are you saying "Yes, they did!" or "No, they didn't!" when you post it?
I confess that I don't exactly follow your line of questioning. The commissioners, as a group, weren't expressing an opinion. They were representing the stated reasons that their states had seceded. Their intent was to induce other states to secede by the power of their argument. The theme that the South had to go to war at once or face racial oblivion was in every one of their speeches. Not acting immediately, seeking peace as you might put it, was condemned as nothing more than racial suicide. You should read what they wrote & said. They weren't kidding, go to war now or your wife & daughters were going to be raped in the near future. Going to war was the whole point of the exercise.
 
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unionblue

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Member of the Year
Joined
Feb 20, 2005
Location
Ocala, FL (as of December, 2015).
Man you don't know history, look it up... Jefferson Davis offered to pay Lincoln.

Jefferson Davis in conversation with Abraham Lincoln:

"Abe, look, don't want no trouble. Tell you what, I'll PAY you for all the stuff I stole! You know, the forts, the arsenals, the mint, the ships, the US soldiers I'm holding prisoner, everything! Whatta ya say?"


NOT Lincoln paying Davis.

It's what Davis was hoping for, that Lincoln WOULD pay him, by recognizing his rebellion as a sovereign nation. Lincoln wouldn't bite OR pay.

Wikipedia › wiki › Jefferson_Davis
Web results
Jefferson Davis - Wikipedia
History results: Actual History.
Battle Cry of Freedom, by James McPherson
The Union War &The Confederate War, by Gary W. Gallagher
Apostles Of Disunion, by Charles B. Dew
The Fire-Eaters, by Eric H. Walther
Why The War Came, by Gabor S. Boritt
The Causes Of The Civil War, by Kenneth M. Stampp
South Carolina Declaration of Secession
Georgia Declaration of Secession
Mississippi Declaration of Secession
Texas Declaration of Secession
and numerous other period documents and journals.

The paper trail is too long, too detailed, and just too available to ignore.

Unionblue
 

Rhea Cole

First Sergeant
Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
So you are saying that this quote shows that "the South" felt they had to go to war sooner rather than later -- but you object to my saying they wanted war more than peace. Your reason for objecting seems to be that it is not you saying it -- it is the South Carolina commissioner you are quoting.

This thread is on the topic "Did the secessionists want war?" So why are you posting his opinion? Are you saying "Yes, they did!" or "No, they didn't!" when you post it?
I really do trouble following this. Why would anybody care what I object to? This is about history, trying to understand what really happened. The commissioner's who spoke for the states that had seceded justified their state's action by stating clearly & unambiguously that if the slaveholding states did not go to war immediately, they would be overwhelmed by a race war later. That is what they said, I have no opinion, i just report what they believed to be true. That is what historians do.
 
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Rhea Cole

First Sergeant
Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
History results: Actual History.
Battle Cry of Freedom, by James McPherson
The Union War &The Confederate War, by Gary W. Gallagher
Apostles Of Disunion, by Charles B. Dew
The Fire-Eaters, by Eric H. Walther
Why The War Came, by Gabor S. Boritt
The Causes Of The Civil War, by Kenneth M. Stampp
South Carolina Declaration of Secession
Georgia Declaration of Secession
Mississippi Declaration of Secession
Texas Declaration of Secession
and numerous other period documents and journals.

The paper trail is too long, too detailed, and just too available to ignore.

Unionblue
You got me, I misspoke. The whole thing was, in reality a public relations ploy to impress the Europeans. Anyways, what the heck was Jefferson Davis going to pay for anting with? That would be the answer I would be interested in hearing about. The Confederate Government still owes my family for twenty mules & the requisition of six slaves for two weeks labor plus tools & rations. With interest, the debt has reached a tidy sum, albeit all parties to the transaction are long dead.
 

trice

Lt. Colonel
Joined
May 2, 2006
I confess that I don't exactly follow your line of questioning. The commissioners, as a group, weren't expressing an opinion. They were representing the stated reasons that their states had seceded. Their intent was to induce other states to secede by the power of their argument. The theme that the South had to go to war at once or face racial oblivion was in every one of their speeches. Not acting immediately, seeking peace as you might put it, was condemned as nothing more than racial suicide.
What in the world makes you think they were not expressing an opinion? You say yourself that they were not while also saying that they were expressing an opinion (that of their state) and attempting to convince other states to follow their state into secession. The logic of what you are stating contradicts itself. When you say "The theme that the South had to go to war at once or face racial oblivion was in every one of their speeches. Not acting immediately, seeking peace as you might put it, was condemned as nothing more than racial suicide." you are saying they were expressing an opinion.

You should read what they wrote & said. They weren't kidding, go to war now or your wife & daughters were going to be raped in the near future. Going to war was the whole point of the exercise.
As I have said repeatedly: IOW, they preferred war to peace.

Also, why do you assume I have not read what they said? I have been involved in discussions of the Civil War for a long time, a good part of it discussing the issues of secession. Think of it as perhaps 25 years of wide-ranging on-line discussions and assume I learned a bit from the many intelligent people (even those who disagreed with me :smile: ) I discussed these issues with over those years.
 

trice

Lt. Colonel
Joined
May 2, 2006
I really do trouble following this. Why would anybody care what I object to? This is about history, trying to understand what really happened. The commissioner's who spoke for the states that had seceded justified their state's action by stating clearly & unambiguously that if the slaveholding states did not go to war immediately, they would be overwhelmed by a race war later. That is what they said, I have no opinion, i just report what they believed to be true. That is what historians do.
Please note: This thread is on the topic "Did the secessionists want war?" If you are you posting on this thread, the base assumption is that you are talking about that topic, which generally breaks down to:
  • providing support for one side or the other of the question
  • providing data/evidence to further the discussion
  • asking questions to learn about the topic
My guess is you see yourself as falling into the middle of those three. You don't seem to want to take a position on the topic and do not even want to say that the evidence you present indicates they did want war.

BTW, historians do present opinions and take sides. They always have, whether it was in Roman times, or today, or any other time.
 
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Rhea Cole

First Sergeant
Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
The commissioners who were delegated to explain secession to the slave states that had not yet seceded were explicit. If the seceding states did not go to war immediately, they were going to be the losers in a race war later.
That is not an opinion, that is a fair representation of what they said. Don't take my word for it, do what historians do, go to the original documents & read them for yourself.
Just to get this out of the way, my opinion is that the commissioners were probably correct. Not only was slaveholding disappearing all over the world, but the pressure of demographics in places like South Carolina were compelling. They really were headed for a demographic tsunami in the not so distant future. My opinion is that going to war was hubristic, not rational decision. Reading what they said & wrote, elite Southern slaveholders really meant it when they said that God had ordained their position in society. Anything that threatened the divinely inspired order, like abolition, had to be crushed. Going to war was a terrible decision, but given their mindset I am not sure how they could have come to another conclusion.
There you have it, history on top, analysis & opinion on the bottom, just the way it ought to be.
 

wilber6150

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Retired Moderator
Joined
Apr 1, 2009
Location
deep in the Mohawk Valley of Central New York
Actually, the very first thing they did was to appoint commissioners who were tasked with going to the legislatures of slave states sitting on the fence & making the case for secession. There is no purer version of the reasons for secession than what those men told their fellow slaveholders in 1861. In fact, the Ordinance of Secession was passed on Dec 20, 1860. The day before, Isaac W. Hayne proposed sending commissioners out with copies of the Ordinance as soon as it passed. From that point on, gathering other slave states into a confederation consumed their every waking hour. Their survival depended on it. In all candor, the image of the stiff necked men who had worked for decades to free themselves & guarantee their "... God given right to hold their fellow human beings as property." kneeling down before Victoria, who had wholeheartedly supported banning slavery in her empire, made me start my day with a laugh, I thank you for that. You might want to read the Ordinance of Secession, Victoria's government was not going to touch that with a ten foot pole.
Glad I could amuse you, history is entertaining especially when its true, as soon as South Carolina seceded several of its secession delegates approached the English representative in Charleston about that very idea...Whether you choose to believe it, dont care but do some research on it before you dismiss it out of hand..
 
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wausaubob

Major
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Location
Denver, CO
In this context, most people want to be able to assign blame to one side or the other. But as to these sections of the country, both wanted war. Both sections were rabid expansionists. They had both taken a huge territory from Mexico. The northern boundary had been settled with the British Empire, but that boundary ran mainly through unsettled wilderness.
Two attempts had been made to settle which type of land tenure and labor system would be allowed in the west of the US, and both attempts had failed. Wars about control of territory were very common, especially in European history. So political failure to settle a huge land grab, should not have been surprising.
 

Rhea Cole

First Sergeant
Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Glad I could amuse you, history is entertaining especially when its true, as soon as South Carolina seceded several of its secession delegates approached the English representative in Charleston about that very idea...Whether you choose to believe it, dont care but do some research on it before you dismiss it out of hand..
You might want to read the account of that & other attempts to get the British to come in on the side of the Confederacy in Amanda Foreman's excellent book 'A World on Fire, Britain's Crucial Role in the American Civil War.'
If you ever have the chance to hear her speak, don't miss it. She is the real deal, knows her stuff & is also very amusing. Fair warning, the Wall Street Journal review says, "Ms Forman is such an engaging writer that readers may find the 958-page volume too short." -Michael Burlingame.He is oh so right, mine is a signed copy.
Perhaps, in the future when you read my posts you will give me the benefit of the doubt & assume I know what I am writing about. Ms Forman is how I know that the approach by the South Carolinians was just for show.
 

Rhea Cole

First Sergeant
Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
In this context, most people want to be able to assign blame to one side or the other. But as to these sections of the country, both wanted war. Both sections were rabid expansionists. They had both taken a huge territory from Mexico. The northern boundary had been settled with the British Empire, but that boundary ran mainly through unsettled wilderness.
Two attempts had been made to settle which type of land tenure and labor system would be allowed in the west of the US, and both attempts had failed. Wars about control of territory were very common, especially in European history. So political failure to settle a huge land grab, should not have been surprising.
I am a history is what history is man. Assigning blame & other moralizing is usually the exclusive province of the victors in any case. in the end it is all sic transit gloria anyways.
 
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wausaubob

Major
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Location
Denver, CO
I am a history is what history is man. Assigning blame & other moralizing is usually the exclusive province of the victors in any case. in the end it is all sic transit gloria anyways.
It was too big an issue for the north to concede, and too much wealth affecting the southern future, for them to consent to a majority rule answer. Tariffs, banking and land grant issues could be fought out in Congress. But slavery in the territories, combined with allowing some Homestead dispersement, combined with starting a Trans Cont RR, were wrapped together as issues involved in an enormous land grab of the sort people had been fighting over since the Roman Empire.
People don't fight wars to liberate the other side's slaves. But if the war starts, they sure as heck take their allies wherever they can get them.
The western issues were clearly set forth in the Republican platform. And there were immediately addressed in Congress and with boots on the ground in the west.
 
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