Dwight Eisenhower on Lee and Secession

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#21
I think Ike was perfectly correct in his assessment of the question of the legality of secession. It was not settled in the courts but on the battlefield. Might makes right, or the right of conquest is actually a valid legal principle, right up there with possession being nine tenths of the law. The Israelis understand this better than we do.
 

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larry_cockerham

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#22
I think Ike was perfectly correct in his assessment of the question of the legality of secession. It was not settled in the courts but on the battlefield. Might makes right, or the right of conquest is actually a valid legal principle, right up there with possession being nine tenths of the law. The Israelis understand this better than we do.
That's precisely why and how the nation of Israel continues to exist. If you want their land, just push them aside or lob a missile into Tel Aviv. Good luck.
 

ole

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#25
I'd better go take a nap. I am going to go postal in about 3.5 minutes, but I'd really rather do a crossword puzzle until my eyelinds get too heavy.
 

wilber6150

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#26
I do have to agree with the person who wrote to Ike, though Lee had many admirable traits and a fine example of a Southern Gentleman he did resign from the US army and took up arms against it.. His generalship of rebel forces caused the death of tens of thousands of US troops..
 

wilber6150

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#29
On January 23, 1861, Robert E. Lee, in a letter to his son Rooney, set forth his views on secession:

I received Everett’s Life of Washington which you sent me, and enjoyed its perusal. How his spirit would be grieved could he see the wreck of his mighty labors! I will not, however, permit myself to believe, until all ground of hope is gone, that the fruit of his noble deeds will be destroyed, and that his precious advice and virtuous example will so soon be forgotten by his countrymen. As far as I can judge by the papers, we are between a state of anarchy and civil war. May God avert both of these evils from us! I fear that mankind will not for years be sufficiently Christianized to bear the absence of restraint and force. I see that four states have declared themselves out of the Union; four more will apparently follow their example. Then, if the border states are brought into the gulf of revolution, one half of the country will be arrayed against the other. I must try and be patient and await the end, for I can do nothing to hasten or retard it.
The South, in my opinion, has been aggrieved by the acts of the North, as you say. I feel the aggression and am willing to take every proper step for redress . It is the principle I contend for, not individual or private benefit. As an American citizen, I take great pride in my country, her prosperity and institutions, and would defend any state if her rights were invaded. But I can anticipate no greater calamity for the country than a dissolution of the Union. It would be an accumulation of all the evils we complain of, and I am willing to sacrifice everything but honor for its preservation. I hope, therefore, that all constitutional means will be exhausted before there is a resort to force. Secession is nothing but revolution. The framers of our Constitution never exhausted so much labor, wisdom, and forbearance in its formation, and surrounded it with so many guards and securities, if it was intended to be broken by every member of the Confederacy at will. It was intended for “perpetual union,” so expressed in the preamble, and for the establishment of a government, not a compact, which can only be dissolved by revolution or the consent of all the people in convention assembled. It is idle to talk of secession. Anarchy would have been established, and not a government, by Washington, Hamilton, Jefferson, Madison, and the other patriots of the Revolution. . . . Still, a Union that can only be maintained by swords and bayonets, and in which strife and civil war are to take the place of brotherly love and kindness, has no charm for me. I shall mourn for my country and for the welfare and progress of mankind. If the Union is dissolved, and the government disrupted, I shall return to my native state and share the miseries of my people; and, save in defense, will draw my sword on none.
 
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#35
You do know his grandfather fought under Lee and was killed at Third Winchester, don't you? His father was an aquaintance of Mosby as well.

dvrmte
Colonel of the 22nd Virginia, if memory serves. Not much under Lee, but I'm nit picking.

Personally, if Ike just wrote a letter expressing that he thought Lee was an Honorable and Decent Man, I'd be much less...um...let's just say annoyed, because something stronger is inappropriate.

And to respond to someone's earlier post: The legality of secession was not determined on the battlefield. It was determined by the courts based on the laws as they were before the waste of life.

Assuming a similar supreme court, it would have gone exactly the same way in 1860 as it did in 1869(?).

The issue of its legality and the controversy has been covered by better people than myself (trice for one).
 

brass napoleon

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#37
I like Ike, and I agree with his letter. As for the question of secession, Ike is right. Secession was an unresolved issue in 1860, and it doesn't take a constitutional scholar to recognize that. The issue of secession is not addressed in the Constitution, thus without a prior Supreme Court ruling it was an unresolved issue. (I must add, however, that the secessionist leaders made absolutely no attempt to resolve the issue peacefully, either through a Supreme Court ruling or a Constitutional Amendment, before firing on Fort Sumter. But that wasn't Lee's doing.)
 
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#38
Seems to me that letter is a perfect fit for this forum. Doesn't surprise me at all, nor does the wording of the letter, my revisionist friends.....it's what a lot of people have been saying all along. In the minds of the guys who seceded, there were more reasons than one. Did Union Blue's head just explode when I said that?
Nathanb, the thought of UB down in the Carolinas needing another swig of 'shine did cross my mind.:smile:

Had Eisenhower been just another G.I. in WWII, and had written that letter at a desk with a portrait of General Lee looking down on him, many of our revisionist friends here would dismissively call him a Neo-Confederate!
 
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#39
Unless that's where you found it, no.



What source? The closest we've gotten is where the letter itself is supposedly found, not where RobertP found the text.
Do you mean the ones who described how the anti-slavery North had provoked secession by interfering with slavery over and over again?​


Major, I had copies of both letters, with the Archives cover page emailed to me last night. They are in PDF form and me, not being adept with computer files, will need some help to post them if you are still interested.​
 

wilber6150

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#40
Major Elennsar and Trice vs. 5 star General and President of the United States

Hmmmm ...............
Except Ike was wrong in what he thought Lee believed about secession

Ike :
Men of probity, character, public standing and unquestioned loyalty, both North and South, had disagreed over this issue as a matter of principle from the day our Constitution was adopted.

General Robert E. Lee was, in my estimation, one of the supremely gifted men produced by our Nation. He believed unswervingly in the Constitutional validity of his cause


Lee:
Secession is nothing but revolution. The framers of our Constitution never exhausted so much labor, wisdom, and forbearance in its formation, and surrounded it with so many guards and securities, if it was intended to be broken by every member of the Confederacy at will. It was intended for “perpetual union,”

Lee thought secession was wrong and unconstitutional , now what and who is revisionist here?
 



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