How did Federal Forts come to exist in a Suspicious South

48th Miss.

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#1
I am not a scholar by any stretch on this topic nor any dealing with the Civil War. I am but an interested party, one with many questions, few answers but a willingness to learn. While on another thread today I began to wonder. Why would the South allow the Federal Government to build and own Fortifications on their land. It seems that from the beginning there was suspicion among the Signers and Debaters of all the Founding Documents and their revisions. Compromises where made for political and unity reasons. We needed each other to gain our Independence from British rule and begin our Great Experiment in Self Governance. Among others the 3/5ths compromise comes to mind and the 20 year moratorium on changes to the Slave issue. Clearly non wanted the other to have an advantage. During the ratification debate one side basically wanted a stronger central Government to meet the needs that the Articles of Confederation did not meet while others wanted a weaker central Government and more State control. Either way there were suspicions. Naturally we would need coastal defenses as indicated by the War of 1812. We needed protection from those wishing to prey on the new country but where did the fear of Government over reach go when it came time to fund and build these forts? A quick search netted a few like Ft Sumter and others in Florida and Louisiana. All coastal, all needed for protection but why did the State not build them, as it was the door to there land first? Was there ever a debate to Lease the land to the Federal Government, if even for a dollar, so the State could maintain outright ownership? Today if the Federal Government funds it then they have a lot of say in the matter and certainly I want to stay out of that as it pertains to BLM and Education and the like. Did the South figure that since the States were Sovereign that anything the Federal Government did to improve there lot in life and relieve their financial burdens and responsibilities was fine since the improvements could not be removed? How many Forts Coastal or Inland were build after the Slavery issue started to gain steam? After the Missouri Compromise and the Kansas Nebraska Act? After the first thoughts or Secession? After even some Northern States toyed with the idea of secession, I believe early on? Anyway there it is Folks. I would appreciated the help of the good scholars on the forum in addressing these questions. They seem basic enough and should not bring any to boil like some subject that seem to occupy us on other more lofty threads. I thank you in advance for the forthcoming education and of course I will make an effort as well to find some contributions with the limited resources I have
 

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brass napoleon

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#2
For one (very big) thing, Southerners expected the federal government to protect their chattel property, that is until the Black Republicans came to power:

Resolved, That this Government was instituted and adopted by the several States of this Union as a common agent, in order to carry into effect the powers which they had delegated by the Constitution for their mutual security and prosperity; and that, in fulfillment of this high and sacred trust, this Government is bound so to exercise its powers as to give, as far as may be practicable, increased stability and security to the domestic institutions of the States that compose the Union; and that is is the solemn duty of the Government to resist all attempts, by one portion of the Union, to use it as an instrument to attack the domestic institutions of another, or to weaken or destroy such institutions, instead of strengthening and upholding them, as it is in duty bound to do.

- John C. Calhoun, October 27, 1838

Source: <http://books.google.com/books?id=Jz05AQAAMAAJ&pg=PA118&lpg=PA118
....................

"We hold it to be the duty of this government to protect the persons and property of the citizens of the United States wherever its flag floats and it has paramount jurisdiction. And as a just corollary from this principle, we affirm that, as territories of the United States are the common property of the people of the several States, we have the right to enter them with our flocks and our herds, with our men servants and our maid servants, and whatever else the laws of any of the States of this Union declare to be property, and to receive full and ample protection from our common Government until its authority is rightfully superseded by a State Government."

- Robert Toombs, Feb 27, 1850

Source: <http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/ampage?collId=llcg&fileName=024/llcg024.db&recNum=218
......................​

'When the Government gets into the hands of the Republican party, the arm of the General Government, we are told, will not be raised for the protection of our slave property. Then intervention in favor of slavery and slave States will no longer be tolerated. We may be invaded, and the Black Republican Government will stand and permit our soil to be violated and our people assailed and raise no arm in our defense. The sovereignty of the State is no longer to be a bar to encroachments upon our rights when the Government gets into Black Republican hands.'

- Mississippi Senator Reuben Davis, Dec 8, 1859

Source: <http://www.digitalhistory.uh.edu/active_learning/explorations/brown/public_davis.cfm

.............................​

'Mr. Breckenridge ran as a candidate for the Presidency upon a platform which declared explicitly that slaves were property, and, like all other property, were entitled to protection wherever the Federal flag floated, wherever the Federal Government had jurisdiction. Had that sentiment been indorsed, north and south, east and west, this Union would have been saved; but when you elected a man upon a platform which declared in substance - I do not pretend to quote it - that slaves were not property; and that, instead of protection, it should meet confiscation wherever the flag floated or this Government - our common Government - had jurisdiction, we said to you, we would live under no such Government; and we have made good our words. We have dissolved the Union; mend it if you can; cement it with blood; try the experiment.'

- Texas Senator Louis T. Wigfall, March 2, 1861

Source: The Congressional Globe, Second Session, 36th Congress, pp. 1373-1399​
 

48th Miss.

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#3
For one (very big) thing, Southerners expected the federal government to protect their chattel property, that is until the Black Republicans came to power:

Resolved, That this Government was instituted and adopted by the several States of this Union as a common agent, in order to carry into effect the powers which they had delegated by the Constitution for their mutual security and prosperity; and that, in fulfillment of this high and sacred trust, this Government is bound so to exercise its powers as to give, as far as may be practicable, increased stability and security to the domestic institutions of the States that compose the Union; and that is is the solemn duty of the Government to resist all attempts, by one portion of the Union, to use it as an instrument to attack the domestic institutions of another, or to weaken or destroy such institutions, instead of strengthening and upholding them, as it is in duty bound to do.

- John C. Calhoun, October 27, 1838

Source: <http://books.google.com/books?id=Jz05AQAAMAAJ&pg=PA118&lpg=PA118
....................

"We hold it to be the duty of this government to protect the persons and property of the citizens of the United States wherever its flag floats and it has paramount jurisdiction. And as a just corollary from this principle, we affirm that, as territories of the United States are the common property of the people of the several States, we have the right to enter them with our flocks and our herds, with our men servants and our maid servants, and whatever else the laws of any of the States of this Union declare to be property, and to receive full and ample protection from our common Government until its authority is rightfully superseded by a State Government."

- Robert Toombs, Feb 27, 1850

Source: <http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/ampage?collId=llcg&fileName=024/llcg024.db&recNum=218
......................​

'When the Government gets into the hands of the Republican party, the arm of the General Government, we are told, will not be raised for the protection of our slave property. Then intervention in favor of slavery and slave States will no longer be tolerated. We may be invaded, and the Black Republican Government will stand and permit our soil to be violated and our people assailed and raise no arm in our defense. The sovereignty of the State is no longer to be a bar to encroachments upon our rights when the Government gets into Black Republican hands.'

- Mississippi Senator Reuben Davis, Dec 8, 1859

Source: <http://www.digitalhistory.uh.edu/active_learning/explorations/brown/public_davis.cfm

.............................​

'Mr. Breckenridge ran as a candidate for the Presidency upon a platform which declared explicitly that slaves were property, and, like all other property, were entitled to protection wherever the Federal flag floated, wherever the Federal Government had jurisdiction. Had that sentiment been indorsed, north and south, east and west, this Union would have been saved; but when you elected a man upon a platform which declared in substance - I do not pretend to quote it - that slaves were not property; and that, instead of protection, it should meet confiscation wherever the flag floated or this Government - our common Government - had jurisdiction, we said to you, we would live under no such Government; and we have made good our words. We have dissolved the Union; mend it if you can; cement it with blood; try the experiment.'

- Texas Senator Louis T. Wigfall, March 2, 1861

Source: The Congressional Globe, Second Session, 36th Congress, pp. 1373-1399​
Thank you Brass, If I may shorten the name for brevity if not familiarity. First let me say that I feel like a teenage girl at an Elvis concert having a member of your stature respond so quickly with the host of quotes you have. I will however keep all my clothes on.

It certainly seems reasonable to have expected the protections afforded of a Union and I would expect a lot of quotes exist in this capacity looking for protection in the State or the new territories. But the idea of building strong holds and housing federal troops in the Homeland as it were when so much distrust was in the air seems odd, especailly in the later years. We had a dog once that was a great watch dog. If anything got near the chicken house he would bark and chase it off but we never let him in the fence because he would kill the chickens for sport as he did when they got out. Now I assume if the South proposed a fort to be built and offered to pay for it, it might seem odd and suspicious in the North. They might wonder why would they need a fort and why would they not expect the United States to pay for it and man it. On the other hand, how does a Fort that protects Charleston or Florida benefit Vermont or Indiana.
aside form some products for resale docking there. Where is the Common Welfare? Aside from just wanting to maintain their purse you would think each state North or South, especially then, when they felt more or less Independent and Sovereign would insist on maintaining some of there own safety concerns or that Virginia would insist that Maine build any structure them deemed necessary as there is no Common Welfare. Like when the Erie Canal was build. NY was told basically you build it. Maybe they wanted to have their cake and eat it too. Like some of the Home buying ideas--Use the others guys money.
 

brass napoleon

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#4
Thank you Brass, If I may shorten the name for brevity if not familiarity. First let me say that I feel like a teenage girl at an Elvis concert having a member of your stature respond so quickly with the host of quotes you have. I will however keep all my clothes on.
:bounce: Thank you for that, 48th. ALL of that!

It certainly seems reasonable to have expected the protections afforded of a Union and I would expect a lot of quotes exist in this capacity looking for protection in the State or the new territories. But the idea of building strong holds and housing federal troops in the Homeland as it were when so much distrust was in the air seems odd, especailly in the later years. We had a dog once that was a great watch dog. If anything got near the chicken house he would bark and chase it off but we never let him in the fence because he would kill the chickens for sport as he did when they got out. Now I assume if the South proposed a fort to be built and offered to pay for it, it might seem odd and suspicious in the North. They might wonder why would they need a fort and why would they not expect the United States to pay for it and man it. On the other hand, how does a Fort that protects Charleston or Florida benefit Vermont or Indiana.
aside form some products for resale docking there. Where is the Common Welfare? Aside from just wanting to maintain their purse you would think each state North or South, especially then, when they felt more or less Independent and Sovereign would insist on maintaining some of there own safety concerns or that Virginia would insist that Maine build any structure them deemed necessary as there is no Common Welfare. Like when the Erie Canal was build. NY was told basically you build it. Maybe they wanted to have their cake and eat it too. Like some of the Home buying ideas--Use the others guys money.
Do we know what federal facilities were built in the South after tensions became severe - say the 1850s? For example, Fort Sumter was built during the presidency of Andrew Jackson, the man who advocated censoring the United States mail to protect the institution of slavery, and with John C. Calhoun as Vice President. I doubt many Southerners saw that government as a threat to them (although some South Carolinians may have changed their mind shortly thereafter).
 

ucvrelics

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#5
I agree with brass napoleon, most of the forts you are referring to were built way before the war against Northern Aggression. Fort Jefferson was built in 1847 and went on to house Dr Mudd and other prisoners
 

48th Miss.

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#6
:bounce: Thank you for that, 48th. ALL of that!



Do we know what federal facilities were built in the South after tensions became severe - say the 1850s? For example, Fort Sumter was built during the presidency of Andrew Jackson, the man who advocated censoring the United States mail to protect the institution of slavery, and with John C. Calhoun as Vice President. I doubt many Southerners saw that government as a threat to them (although some South Carolinians may have changed their mind shortly thereafter).
I will need to look up United States coastal fortifications. I do not have a list of forts as yet, but will be getting on it. The idea and questions came at me while unprepared to answer them and not the time at that point to search them out although finding it an odd contradiction. I agree with you that with Southerns in the White House no fear should have existed. Today we seem to think a little further ahead like who will be appointed to SCOTUS or some other office. Perhaps they really did believe it could all be worked out without coming to blows. I believe Sumter was built in the 1820's which seems to be when tensions were heightened. I would think some alarm who have been prudent but costly to the purse again or to showing good faith to the Union. Maybe as today these plans are debated many more years in advance and project just move forward as economic projects where common sense does not prevail. I have seen Government contracts fulfilled knowing a new contract will be issued to change what has not been completed yet at a Base that was closed shortly there after. Knowing this period, as you do, do you think they just let them, the Federal Gov., build what they wanted? Since you can't take it with you there was NO threat maybe. That nobody would go to war over a block fortress like at Sumter that was so far from friendly territory if things got Hot... I apologize for the messed up spelling. I will refrain from using my phone for this as best I can.
 
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48th Miss.

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#7
I agree with brass napoleon, most of the forts you are referring to were built way before the war against Northern Aggression. Fort Jefferson was built in 1847 and went on to house Dr Mudd and other prisoners
They were way before the War but still at a time of emence friction. Going back to one piece of the OP. They knew the Slave issue would come up again. They protected it for only a short time then made the first changes at the 20 year mark I believe. Seems prudence should have been more prevalent. Especially looking back that the first shot was by Citadel cadets firing on a resupply ship.
 

48th Miss.

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#8
A brief search, on a maybe suspect source that popped up on a google search fortwiki.com , said the after the War of 1812 Congress appropriated 800,000.00 to build coastal defenses called the Third System. A board of Engineers set forth appointed by Madison to search out locations. In 1821 the Board established the policy that would prevail through most of the 19th century. They suggested 50 sites, identified 200 and built 42. I will verify this as I have just found cdsg.org, American Seacoast Defenses: Forts, Military Reservations and Batteries 1794-1945.
I must finish and Eagle Scout Reference letter first.
 

DanF

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#9
By act of the S. C. Legislature and the Govenor of S. Carolina the site of sumter was ceded to the Federal Govt. Anf S. Carolina quit all claim to the property.

Committee on Federal Relations

In the House of Representatives, December 31st, 1836
"The Committee on Federal relations, to which was referred the Governor's message, relating to the site of Fort Sumter, in the harbour of Charleston, and the report of the Committee on Federal Relations from the Senate on the same subject, beg leave to Report by Resolution:
"Resolved, That this state do cede to the United States, all the right, title and claim of South Carolina to the site of Fort Sumter and the requisite quantity of adjacent territory, Provided, That all processes, civil and criminal issued under the authority of this State, or any officer thereof, shall and may be served and executed upon the same, and any person there being who may be implicated by law; and that the said land, site and structures enumerated, shall be forever exempt from liability to pay any tax to this state.
"Also resolved: That the State shall extinguish the claim, if any valid claim there be, of any individuals under the authority of this State, to the land hereby ceded.
"Also resolved, That the Attorney-General be instructed to investigate the claims of Wm. Laval and others to the site of Fort Sumter, and adjacent land contiguous thereto; and if he shall be of the opinion that these parties have a legal title to the said land, that Generals Hamilton and Hayne and James L. Pringle, Thomas Bennett and Ker. Boyce, Esquires, be appointed Commissioners on behalf of the State, to appraise the value thereof. If the Attorney-General should be of the opinion that the said title is not legal and valid, that he proceed by seire facius of other proper legal proceedings to have the same avoided; and that the Attorney-General and the said Commissioners report to the Legislature at its next session.
"Resolved, That this House to agree. Ordered that it be sent to the Senate for concurrence. By order of the House:

"T. W. Glover, C. H. R."
"In Senate, December 21st, 1836
"Resolved, that the Senate do concur. Ordered that it be returned to the House of Representatives, By order:

Jacob Warly, C. S.
__________________
 

O' Be Joyful

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#10
A brief search, on a maybe suspect source that popped up on a google search fortwiki.com , said the after the War of 1812 Congress appropriated 800,000.00 to build coastal defenses called the Third System. A board of Engineers set forth appointed by Madison to search out locations. In 1821 the Board established the policy that would prevail through most of the 19th century. They suggested 50 sites, identified 200 and built 42. I will verify this as I have just found cdsg.org, American Seacoast Defenses: Forts, Military Reservations and Batteries 1794-1945.
I must finish and Eagle Scout Reference letter first.
This may help out 48th Miss. You have to think of it as an 19th century Federal jobs program.
http://www.civilwarhome.com/sumterownership.html
 

48th Miss.

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#11
By act of the S. C. Legislature and the Govenor of S. Carolina the site of sumter was ceded to the Federal Govt. Anf S. Carolina quit all claim to the property.

Committee on Federal Relations

In the House of Representatives, December 31st, 1836
"The Committee on Federal relations, to which was referred the Governor's message, relating to the site of Fort Sumter, in the harbour of Charleston, and the report of the Committee on Federal Relations from the Senate on the same subject, beg leave to Report by Resolution:
"Resolved, That this state do cede to the United States, all the right, title and claim of South Carolina to the site of Fort Sumter and the requisite quantity of adjacent territory, Provided, That all processes, civil and criminal issued under the authority of this State, or any officer thereof, shall and may be served and executed upon the same, and any person there being who may be implicated by law; and that the said land, site and structures enumerated, shall be forever exempt from liability to pay any tax to this state.
"Also resolved: That the State shall extinguish the claim, if any valid claim there be, of any individuals under the authority of this State, to the land hereby ceded.
"Also resolved, That the Attorney-General be instructed to investigate the claims of Wm. Laval and others to the site of Fort Sumter, and adjacent land contiguous thereto; and if he shall be of the opinion that these parties have a legal title to the said land, that Generals Hamilton and Hayne and James L. Pringle, Thomas Bennett and Ker. Boyce, Esquires, be appointed Commissioners on behalf of the State, to appraise the value thereof. If the Attorney-General should be of the opinion that the said title is not legal and valid, that he proceed by seire facius of other proper legal proceedings to have the same avoided; and that the Attorney-General and the said Commissioners report to the Legislature at its next session.
"Resolved, That this House to agree. Ordered that it be sent to the Senate for concurrence. By order of the House:

"T. W. Glover, C. H. R."
"In Senate, December 21st, 1836
"Resolved, that the Senate do concur. Ordered that it be returned to the House of Representatives, By order:

Jacob Warly, C. S.
__________________
Great find DanF. New to this may i ask process you used to start your search. I have just obtained a lengthy list of forts to check dates and compare that to administrations in office and what Congressional acts might be happening at the time. You seem to have dialed right in on the target. Are there any records of the debate? Seems an ill adviced even though 24 years prior to secession. Not up on all but things had to be steaming then and locals surely would have protested this? Thank you for this piece of the puzzle
 

48th Miss.

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#12
This may help out 48th Miss. You have to think of it as an 19th century Federal jobs program.
http://www.civilwarhome.com/sumterownership.html
WOW. That link was tremendous. I guess I have not been at this long enough to even think of these resources. Hats to you and DanF.

Economics aside and getting there piece of the Federal pie and all i guess the question still begs -- How big was the threat of War? Maybe it is really not unlike today. Depending on your view at times we put National Security aside for some other unknow gain later or deal on the side. NOT wanting to go there but by example purposes only since my knowledge base is not as historic as most of you, Libya. Kadafi was a dictator but allis. Helpful now as apposed to years ago. He is gone, country is a mess and I dont know what we or most of Libya gained. Point being it seems to make no sense in the long run and in SC's case there was tension with Congress and the North in general. Lots of unknowns were to come down the road so who was the major benefactor? Fort Sumter did not house 20,000 like Camp Lejeune and have a community devoted to the needs of 20000 plus their family's. Seems the impact was small. Perhaps every little bit helped? Plus who got the contracts? Surely pure economics did not prevail? Of course it has before and since. THANK YOU for this input. Certainly achieving the goal of increasing knowledge. Now i must continue that and find a better research method.
 

DanF

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#13
Great find DanF. New to this may i ask process you used to start your search. I have just obtained a lengthy list of forts to check dates and compare that to administrations in office and what Congressional acts might be happening at the time. You seem to have dialed right in on the target. Are there any records of the debate? Seems an ill adviced even though 24 years prior to secession. Not up on all but things had to be steaming then and locals surely would have protested this? Thank you for this piece of the puzzle
I looked that up a couple of years ago and have it on file.

IIRC I used, "Fort sumter federal property" as the search phrase.
 

48th Miss.

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#14
I looked that up a couple of years ago and have it on file.

IIRC I used, "Fort sumter federal property" as the search phrase.
Was there any debate speeches listed for or against the idea?

What is the IIRC I?
I searched it but got some odd listings back that seemed dead ends. Thanks
 

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#15
Some of the forts were arguably never on state land to begin with, even though they are within state borders. The Army constructed Fort Sumter on an artificial island. I'm not sure about the legal standing of the Dry Tortugas where Fort Jefferson was built. Fort Marion (St. Augustine, FL) was originally the Castillo de San Marcos and was perhaps transferred directly from Spanish military occupation to US military. Fort Morgan (Mobile Bay, AL) was originally established as Fort Bowyer when the area was still only a territory.

The area where the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse stands was owned by the Federal government's General Land Office when it was set aside for a lighthouse reservation wherein it was on a permanent lease to the Lighthouse Establishment. I doubt it was the only light station so established and I suspect there were at least some forts in a similar situation i.e. when the territory on which they stood became part of the USA they were federally owned property set aside for Federal military use without ever entering state or private ownership. Thus the seceding state would have no right to claim ownership of them despite being entirely within that state. While not relevant for the former 13 colonies it could be relevant to forts in Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, and maybe Tennessee. (Caveat: I am not a lawyer.)

Another way to look at it from a Southern perspective: the US Army before the Civil War was very small and forts had very small garrisons in peacetime. I think Fort Marion (Castillo de San Marcos) had a single caretaker in 1861. The trio of Pensacola forts (Pickens, Barrancas, and McRee) had less than 100 men combined. Many forts were still unfinished and so had no permanent garrison at all. Secessionists could and usually did seized the forts without a fight. Only quick thinking by Army officers at Pensacola, Charleston, and Key West probably saved those forts from seizure as well.

At the same time, after the War of 1812 the Southern coastal states were no less concerned about foreign invaders than the Northern coastal states. Many non-coastal forts (albeit much smaller than the Third System masonry behemoths) were established for various lengths of time to deal with Native Americans.

And of course last but certainly not least: no matter the tensions and debates over slavery, I don't think the vast majority of Southerners (especially outside of South Carolina) saw the Federal government as enough of a threat or secession as a real enough possibility that the forts were dangerous to the states.

It would be interesting to know who in SC reconsidered whether Fort Sumter was a good idea after the Nullification Crisis. The earliest work on that fort started in 1829 I believe.
 

mobile_96

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#16
I don't think the vast majority of Southerners (especially outside of South Carolina) saw the Federal government as enough of a threat or secession as a real enough possibility that the forts were dangerous to the states.
Especially since the Southern elite had control of the Federal government for much of the time between the adoption of the Constitution and 1861.
 

DanF

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#17
Was there any debate speeches listed for or against the idea?

What is the IIRC I?
I searched it but got some odd listings back that seemed dead ends. Thanks
IIRC = If I Recall Correctly.

I never found any info on any debates concerning the ceding of the property. Probably because it was simply standard procedure (not to mention federal law) on how Federal property was aquired within States.

This applied not only to Forts, but land for arsenals, Post offices, custom houses, mints, etc.
 
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#18
Why would the South allow the Federal Government to build and own Fortifications on their land.
Becuase they wanted them to.

why did the State not build them, as it was the door to there land first?
Constitution made the Federal Government responsible for defense, war, armies, forts, protecting States from invasion, etc.

Did the South figure that since the States were Sovereign that anything the Federal Government did to improve there lot in life and relieve their financial burdens and responsibilities was fine since the improvements could not be removed?
I think it more likely that the South figured that the US was Sovereign and was responsible for defense.


In addition to coastal defense, US forts were build as part of Indian defense. For example Forts were built in Texas during the 1840s and 1850s to protect Texas against Indian trbes and in the 1830s Arkansas requested that the Feds maintain a presence near the border with Indian territory which led to construction of Fort Smith in the 1830s and 1840s.
 

brass napoleon

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#19
Knowing this period, as you do, do you think they just let them, the Federal Gov., build what they wanted? Since you can't take it with you there was NO threat maybe. That nobody would go to war over a block fortress like at Sumter that was so far from friendly territory if things got Hot...
I've never heard of any discussion of Southern fear about government forts or installations in the South, but that doesn't mean there weren't any. But keep in mind that the government forts and installations were few and far between, and really offered no tangible threat to the South. Their value for protection was far greater than any perceived threat. And if they were in fact thinking of future conflict, those forts and installations could be seen as having significant hostage value (although again, I'm not aware of anyone raising that point).

Even as late as their secession, at least one Southern state complained about TOO SMALL of a government presence to protect them:

The Federal Government, while but partially under the control of these our unnatural and sectional enemies, has for years almost entirely failed to protect the lives and property of the people of Texas against the Indian savages on our border, and more recently against the murderous forays of banditti from the neighboring territory of Mexico; and when our State government has expended large amounts for such purpose, the Federal Government has refuse reimbursement therefor, thus rendering our condition more insecure and harassing than it was during the existence of the Republic of Texas.

- Texas declaration of causes of secession

Source: http://www.civilwar.org/education/history/primarysources/declarationofcauses.html
Just two weeks after passing that declaration they took the United States soldiers stationed in Texas captive.
 

48th Miss.

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#20
Some of the forts were arguably never on state land to begin with, even though they are within state borders. The Army constructed Fort Sumter on an artificial island. I'm not sure about the legal standing of the Dry Tortugas where Fort Jefferson was built. Fort Marion (St. Augustine, FL) was originally the Castillo de San Marcos and was perhaps transferred directly from Spanish military occupation to US military. Fort Morgan (Mobile Bay, AL) was originally established as Fort Bowyer when the area was still only a territory.

The area where the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse stands was owned by the Federal government's General Land Office when it was set aside for a lighthouse reservation wherein it was on a permanent lease to the Lighthouse Establishment. I doubt it was the only light station so established and I suspect there were at least some forts in a similar situation i.e. when the territory on which they stood became part of the USA they were federally owned property set aside for Federal military use without ever entering state or private ownership. Thus the seceding state would have no right to claim ownership of them despite being entirely within that state. While not relevant for the former 13 colonies it could be relevant to forts in Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, and maybe Tennessee. (Caveat: I am not a lawyer.)

Another way to look at it from a Southern perspective: the US Army before the Civil War was very small and forts had very small garrisons in peacetime. I think Fort Marion (Castillo de San Marcos) had a single caretaker in 1861. The trio of Pensacola forts (Pickens, Barrancas, and McRee) had less than 100 men combined. Many forts were still unfinished and so had no permanent garrison at all. Secessionists could and usually did seized the forts without a fight. Only quick thinking by Army officers at Pensacola, Charleston, and Key West probably saved those forts from seizure as well.

At the same time, after the War of 1812 the Southern coastal states were no less concerned about foreign invaders than the Northern coastal states. Many non-coastal forts (albeit much smaller than the Third System masonry behemoths) were established for various lengths of time to deal with Native Americans.

And of course last but certainly not least: no matter the tensions and debates over slavery, I don't think the vast majority of Southerners (especially outside of South Carolina) saw the Federal government as enough of a threat or secession as a real enough possibility that the forts were dangerous to the states.

It would be interesting to know who in SC reconsidered whether Fort Sumter was a good idea after the Nullification Crisis. The earliest work on that fort started in 1829 I believe.
Thank you, this seems to fall in line with the information that DanF located as to how Sumter came to be Federal and the process that O'be joyful located several post back. Small forts and reasonably small Garrisons or none at all, purhaps were no threat. You would certainly see reinforments approaching as in the case of Sumter. Certainly I can see as some have said that with some Southern controls in Washington the idea of using the other guys money to build what potentially could be your battlements seems a good idea. As time is short this Morning work et al I wonder now on the debates, if any. Surely not all in all the South thought this was good. Purhaps a silent prophetic minority overriden by the more powerful and wealthy?
 



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