Discussion First Acts of War

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captainrlm

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I do understand the concept of honor and perhaps Brooks's actions were more understandable than I realized, but the whole concept of honor is one of the irnonies of this situation.

After the attack, another Congressman (Burlingame?) called Brooks a coward. Brooks, of course, took offense to this and challenged the representative to a duel. He accepted, chose the place and weapons, but then Brooks backed down. Apparently his honor did not mean so much when his opponent would be standing with the same weapon available instead of being seated and defenseless.

Anyway, that might be getting a bit off subject, so I will cease with the thought that I still disagree that John Brown's action was the start of the war. There were PLENTY of other events - before and after - that deserve consideration for that title.
 

Elennsar

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Brown's killings must be taken within the context of bleeding Kansas, which was not started by him.

As for the canning: Had Brooks challenged Sumner to a duel, I could understand that. Beating a helpless individual into serious injury is about as honorable as groping his wife.

That's the reason for my outrage. There are appropriate ways to handle the situation, and Brooks didn't use them.

Note that 'nonviolent" is not deliberately not the word chosen.
 

trice

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On John Brown and the killings in Kansas:
The last time I looked, current research seemed to think there were more murders by pro-slavery people than anti-slavery people in the days of "Bloody Kansas". Brown's killings -- horrible as they were -- came in response to similar abuses by the pro-slavery side. All we are looking at out there is the pot calling the kettle black on violence.

On the Butlers, the canning of Charles Sumner, and Brooks:
Sumner's speech certainly ripped into the old man, deservedly or not. The Butler clan (which included a man who would become a cavalry brigadier in the ANV during the Civil War) was meeting that afternoon to see who would challenge Sumner to a duel when the canning happened. Brooks was not a close relative; he acted without going to the meeting with the rest.

Brooks, a known duelist (he walked with a cane because Wigfall of Texas had put a ball into him in a duel), was afraid of Sumner, who was a powerful man (first to swim across the Niagara River, it was said). His original idea was to approach Sumner with a whip and beat him with it like a slave. After talking it over, Brooks and a friend decided Sumner might be tough enough to grab the whip, take it away, and beat Brooks with it. They decided that would not do, which was how the canning plan came about.

Brooks then deliberately approached Sumner while he was seated at his Senate desk, which was bolted to the floor. Catching him at a disadvantage, Brooks attacked without warning, repeatedly striking a man who could not rise to defend himself. Brooks and company justified this by saying Sumner's speech had been so insulting that Brooks had no obligation to act with honor -- I think that so cowardly as to be beneath contempt.

As another said, this is getting very far from the topic. These are simply illustrations of the hot temper of the times and bad behavior by individuals on both sides. They represent no action by a government.

Tim
 
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Battalion

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On John Brown and the killings in Kansas:
The last time I looked, current research seemed to think there were more murders by pro-slavery people than anti-slavery people in the days of "Bloody Kansas".
Way off the mark.

According to documented evidence:

31 were killed by "Anti-Slavery" men.

23 killed by "Pro-Slavery" men.

Brown's killings -- horrible as they were -- came in response to similar abuses by the pro-slavery side. All we are looking at out there is the pot calling the kettle black on violence.
There was nothing that happened in Kansas equal to Brown's execution type slayings. Both sides were shocked by the murders.
 

trice

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Way off the mark.

According to documented evidence:

31 were killed by "Anti-Slavery" men.

23 killed by "Pro-Slavery" men.
Way too low. For example, where in here would you put the five men murdered by Charles Hamilton's gang May 19, 1858?

There was nothing that happened in Kansas equal to Brown's execution type slayings.
What makes Brown's action worse than Hamilton's?

Both sides were shocked by the murders.
I'm shocked as well. John Brown was probably shocked by Pro-slavery actions in the days before his action:

May 4th - Antislavery man murdered.
May 19th - Antislavery man murdered.
May 19-20 - Sumner's "The Crime Against Kansas" speech
May 21st - "Sack of Lawrence" by Pro-slavery Sheriff Jones.
May 22nd -- Brooks attacks Sumner with his cane
May 24-25 - Brown's massacre of 5 Pro-slavery men.

All of this stuff is just the pot calling the kettle black. Both sides committed bad acts, possibly the worst of them being the murder of Sarah Carver during an attack on her husband (Pro-slavery).

Tim
 

Freddy

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Act of War or Act of Rebellion? I perfer the latter. As some have already pointed out the South has seized much US property. Those were all acts of rebellion.
Why the was Fort Sumter the one act of rebellion that the US government reacted to by deciding to put down the rebellion?
 
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TxSouthpaw

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John Brown was a Calvinist and an adherent to Old Testament vengeance. To him, he was pre-determined to end slavery. In many ways, there was not much else he could do for a livelihood and this cause gave him direction: he was a failure in numerous businesses and was constantly in debt. Sumner's caning and the sack of Lawrence only strengthened his resolve, more instructions from God that he was on the right path. And the opportunity to be his cause's martyr was too irresistible to pass up.
 

unionblue

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From Abraham Lincoln's speech at Cooper Union, New York, Feb. 27, 1860:

"...John Brown's effort was peculiar. It was not a slave insurrection. It was an attempt by white men to get up a revolt among slaves, in which the slaves refused to participate. In fact, it was so absurd that the slaves, with all their ignorance, saw plainly enough it could not succeed. That affair, in its philosophy, corresponds with the many attempts, related in history, at the assassination of kings and emperors. An enthusiast broods over the oppression of a people till he fancies himself commissiond by Heaven to liberate them. He ventures the attempt, which ends in little else than his own execution. Orsini's attempt on Louis Napoleon, and John Brown's attempt at Harper's Ferry were, in their philosophy, precisely the same. The eagerness to cast blame on old England in the one case, and on New England in the other, does not disprove the sameness of the two things..."

Unionblue
 

ole

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Thanks, Blue, for more of Lincoln's clarity of thought and speech.

Ole
 
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Battalion

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Way too low. For example, where in here would you put the five men murdered by Charles Hamilton's gang May 19, 1858?
But was this motivated by the pro/anti-slavery politics?

If not should we include every act of "vigilante justice" and revenge killing that happened in the Kansas territory in the mid to late 1850s?

"...Hamilton had lived in Linn County near the Missouri border until he was driven out by fear of Montgomery's raids on slavery advocates in the neighborhood. Hamilton reportedly made severe threats against his neighbors, but it is not clear why he directed his wrath toward them. On May 19, 1958, Hamilton swept back into the territory with some twenty to thirty-five accomplices. He captured twenty or so men in the vicinity of Trading Post. Apparently following impromptu trials, he elected to retain eleven of the captives. No definitive evidence has been found to explain why he held certain men while releasing others. None of those retained had been active in the political disturbances, and nine of the eleven were National Democrats, a party generally opposed to the antislavery movement.16 Hamilton and his men led their prisoners about two miles back toward Missouri, had a brief gunfight with Eli Snyder at his blacksmith shop, and then shot down the captives in a ravine. Five men were killed, five wounded, and one survived unscathed....this incident had large political repercussions as a nationally publicized event but was not inherently a political killing. Unless additional evidence proves that Hamilton's motives were political, the massacre must be considered a matter of blind revenge being wreaked on undeserving victims. Politics played a role in creating conflict in the area but were not the controlling factor."

16....Charles Snyder testified in the Lawrence Republican, June 17, 1858, that 'Most of them [the victims] were my neighbors, and not one of them had ever been engaged in any former difficulties to my knowledge. Neither had they ever seen or belonged to Montgomery's party.' The majority report of the select committee on the governor's message, January 12, 1859, in 'Governor Medary's Administration,' 592, reinforces this interpretation: 'Not one of these men so slain had at any time been engaged in the previous troubles, but were considered conservative men, and opposed to force on either side.' "

"How Bloody Was Bleeding Kansas?" Kansas History: A Journal of the Central Plains, 18.2 (Summer 1995), pp.121-122
 

trice

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But was this motivated by the pro/anti-slavery politics?

If not should we include every act of "vigilante justice" and revenge killing that happened in the Kansas territory in the mid to late 1850s?
...
"How Bloody Was Bleeding Kansas?" Kansas History: A Journal of the Central Plains, 18.2 (Summer 1995), pp.121-122
Ah. You're working from that article. In that case, you might like to note that even that author assumes there were another 25 killings where the politics were a significant cause of the resulting death over and above the ones you presented in your count.

But in the case of Charles Hamilton (strong Pro-slavery man) at the Marais des Cygnes Massacre, we know that Hamilton wrote in advance to warn people he was coming and that they should leave, because he would treat anyone he found as "snakes". Then he rode in with some 30 men, rounded up about 20-25 local men, held some mock trials, let some go, and rode away with 11 men as his prisoners. On the way back to Missouri, he got into a gunfight at Eli Snyder's blacksmith shop, then lined the 11 up in a ravine and had his men open fire upon them. Five died; five were severely wounded; the last somehow came through unscathed.

In this specific example of the Marais des Cygnes Massacre presented above, where do we see these five dead men counted? They are not in your total. They are not in the year-by-year breakdown in the article you represent. What do you attribute Charles Hamilton's executions to besides slavery politics?

Tim
 

Battalion

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In this specific example of the Marais des Cygnes Massacre presented above, where do we see these five dead men counted? They are not in your total. They are not in the year-by-year breakdown in the article you represent.
Right.

Read the portion of the article I posted and you will see why they are not included.
But in the case of Charles Hamilton (strong Pro-slavery man) at the Marais des Cygnes Massacre, we know that Hamilton wrote in advance to warn people he was coming and that they should leave, because he would treat anyone he found as "snakes". Then he rode in with some 30 men, rounded up about 20-25 local men, held some mock trials, let some go, and rode away with 11 men as his prisoners. On the way back to Missouri, he got into a gunfight at Eli Snyder's blacksmith shop, then lined the 11 up in a ravine and had his men open fire upon them. Five died; five were severely wounded; the last somehow came through unscathed.
Nothing in your description says they were killed over slavery politics.
 
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trice

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Right.

Read the portion of the article I posted and you will see why they are not included.
Nothing in your description says they were killed over slavery politics.
ROFL. Good to see you have a sense of humor when you try to launch these attempts to avoid answering a direct question.

Now, once again: What do you attribute Charles Hamilton's executions to besides slavery politics?

Tim
 

Battalion

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ROFL. Good to see you have a sense of humor when you try to launch these attempts to avoid answering a direct question.

Now, once again: What do you attribute Charles Hamilton's executions to besides slavery politics?

Tim
No, we'll try it this way- Why do YOU believe the executions were due to slavery politics? and what do you base that belief on?
 

trice

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No, we'll try it this way- Why do YOU believe the executions were due to slavery politics? and what do you base that belief on?
Oh, I'll go with Charles Hamilton's known position as a leader of the Pro-slavery forces along the Kansas-Missouri border and the warnings he wrote in advance to the Pro-slavery men in the area to leave the area before he came. He said they would be coming "to kill snakes" and that anyone he found would be treated as a "snake".

But you already know that, because I have already posted it to you. Here you are again fleeing when asked a simple question, twisting and turning to try to avoid speaking up. I urge you to avoid this tactic. It simply makes you look like you have something to hide, and damages your own credibility.

Now, for the third time: What do you attribute Charles Hamilton's executions to besides slavery politics?

Tim
 
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Battalion

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Oh, I'll go with Charles Hamilton's known position as a leader of the Pro-slavery forces along the Kansas-Missouri border and the warnings he wrote in advance to the Pro-slavery men in the area to leave the area before he came. He said they would be coming "to kill snakes" and that anyone he found would be treated as a "snake".
So if a gang of vigilantes from Lawrence, KS, go out and hang or shoot several people we are to automatically assume it's about slavery politics because the vigilantes happen to be anti-slavery? It can't be about stealing cattle or horses or disputes over land?
 

trice

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So if a gang of vigilantes from Lawrence, KS, go out and hang or shoot several people we are to automatically assume it's about slavery politics because the vigilantes happen to be anti-slavery? It can't be about stealing cattle or horses or disputes over land?
Location doesn't matter. The intent and reasoning of the men involved does. You asked why I believed Charles Hamilton (Georgian, known Pro-Slavery leader who came to Kansas in 1855 to help make it a slave state, who wrote in advance that he was coming "to kill snakes", etc.) murdered these men as part of his campaign. I simply told you why. Twice, once before you even asked.

Yet when you are asked questions, you squirm like a worm trying to avoid answering. Why is that? What are you afraid to say?

Now, for the fourth time (see post #s 51, 53, 55): What do you attribute Charles Hamilton's executions to besides slavery politics?

Or, if you are still afraid to answer that one, how about this one that I asked you earlier (post #45): What makes Brown's action worse than Hamilton's?

I again urge you to drop this tactic of trying to avoid answering direct questions by diverting to something else. It can only damage your credibility and makes it appear you don't wish to address the facts or speak openly. Step up, answer the questions, tell us what you have and what you believe.

Tim
 

Elennsar

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What I do not understand is that if there is reason to believe it was for some other purpose - it would be very easy to state a belief that it was over horse stealing (for instance).

Or perhaps some women had been "wronged" to use the word as a euphemism.

The list of possibilities is almost endless, though the fact Hamilton has specifically told those who are pro-slavery to leave indicates that the "snakes" he has in mind are only to be found in the other camp.

That would strongly indicate that he is not going after specific individuals for a specific crime or percieved crime, but a "any d--- _______ in my path".
 
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trice

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What I do not understand is that if there is reason to believe it was for some other purpose - it would be very easy to state a belief that it was over horse stealing (for instance).

Or perhaps some women had been "wronged" to use the word as a euphemism.

The list of possibilities is almost endless, though the fact Hamilton has specifically told those who are pro-slavery to leave indicates that the "snakes" he has in mind are only to be found in the other camp.

That would strongly indicate that he is not going after specific individuals for a specific crime or percieved crime, but a "any d--- _______ in my path".
My own belief is that Hamilton, his brother, and the others simply didn't care. Charles and some of the others been tossed out of this area earlier in a pro-slavery / anti-slavery dispute. They were coming back for vengeance and to terrorize the anti-slavery people. Given the excuse, they didn't particularly care who they killed. Two of the five severely wounded who survived -- the Hairgroves -- were from Georgia. None of the eleven was identified with the radical anti-slavery groups. No one knows why they tried to kill these eleven and let the others they had captured go after the mock trials. I think these were just a bunch of hard case nuts who used the slavery issue as an excuse to kill, and the identity of the victims doesn't matter any more than those of people killed in a terrorist bombing today.

As I said, trying to look at the violence in Kansas to blame one side only is an exercise in futility, the pot calling the kettle black.

Trivia of a ghoulish sort: Amos Hall, the man who survived this unscathed by feigning death when Hamilton's men started the murder, was later shot to death in another border trouble.

[Added Later]
Hall was also a witness testifying before a Franklin County grand jury, under the direction of Judge Sterling G. Cato, charged with identifying the parties involved in the May 24, 1856 killings on Pottawatomie Creek. Hall's testimony placed John Brown in the area.


Tim
 

Elennsar

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As I said, trying to look at the violence in Kansas to blame one side only is an exercise in futility, the pot calling the kettle black.

Trivia of a ghoulish sort: Amos Hall, the man who survived this unscathed by feigning death when Hamilton's men started the murder, was later shot to death in another border trouble.
It was a pretty ugly business. I don't know if Hamilton wanted to kill for a purpose or if it was his purpose, but it was one of the nasty deeds going on, that's for sure.

I'd feel sorry for Hall, but that would imply he was innocent. Innocent and Bleeding Kansas don't mix too well, unfortunately.

Maybe he was, but its still hard to think innocent until proven guilty truly applies.
 
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