How did Lincoln view the South's threat to secede?

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Andersonh1

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For example, this author addresses the very question of why Lincoln did not take it seriously:

https://books.google.com/books?id=GF8YDAAAQBAJ&pg=PA185&lpg=PA185&dq=lincoln's+belief+about+southern+unionism&source=bl&ots=h6DRB_g4Dr&sig=zim-4dme7mzdsg6jk7OzwMqWpQk&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiT0ZmjlezPAhXJPT4KHWn_C8QQ6AEIXjAJ#v=onepage&q=secession&f=false

But, though the unfolding of events may subsequently have demonstrated that these were the basic alternatives, one of the dominating faces about the Republicans in the winter of 1860-61 is that they rejected the idea of voluntary disunion and also rejected the idea of compromise, without any feeling that this narrowing of the spectrum would lead them to war. At this juncture, what may be called the illusion of the Southern Unionists played a vital part. Both Lincoln and Seward and many another Republican were convinced that secessionism was a superficial phenomenon. They believed that it did not represent the most fundamental impulses of the South, and that although the Southern Unionists had been silenced by the clamor of the secessionists, a deep vein of Unionist feeling still survived in the South and could be rallied, once the Southern people realized that Lincoln was not an Illinois version of William Lloyd Garrison and that the secessionists had been misleading them. Lincoln and Seward became increasingly receptive to this view during the month before Lincoln's inauguration. Between December 20 and March 4, seven Southern states had held conventions, and each of these conventions had adopted an ordinance of secession. But on February 4, the secessionists were defeated in the election for the Virginia convention. Within four weeks thereafter, they were again defeated in Tennessee, where the people refused even to call a convention; in Arkansas. where the secessionist candidates for a state convention were defeated; in Missouri, where the people elected a convention so strongly anti-secessionist that it voted 89 to 1 against disunion; and in North Carolina, where antisecessionist majorities were elected and it was voted that the
convention should not meet.

It clearly looked as though the tide of secession had already turned. Certainly, at the time when Lincoln came to the presidency, the movement for a united South had failed. There were, altogether, fifteen slave states. Seven of these, from South Carolina, along the south Atlantic and Gulf coast to Texas, had seceded; but eight others, including Delaware, Kentucky, and Maryland, as well as the five that I have already named, were still in the Union and clearly intended to remain there. In these circumstances. the New York Tribune could speak of the Confederacy as a "heptarchy," and Seward could rejoice, as Henry Adams reported, that "this was only a temporary fever and now it has reached the climax and favorably passed it." The Southern Unionists were already asserting themselves, and faith in them was justified. Thus, on his way east from Springfield, Lincoln stated in a speech at Steubenville, Ohio, that "the devotion to the Constitution is equally great on both sides of the [Ohio) River." From this it seemed to follow that, as he also said on his trip, "there is no crisis but an artificial one .... Let it alone and it will go down of itself."
 

jgoodguy

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It isn't but I guarantee you several folks here are sharpening their quills as I type this. Be prepared, you have been warned.
Expect several lengthy posts saying nothing to follow.
Good points, now lets discuss the OP of the thread.
 

John Winn

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It isn't but I guarantee you several folks here are sharpening their quills as I type this. Be prepared, you have been warned.
Expect several lengthy posts saying nothing to follow.
Perhaps you are right that others will somehow see the question as an attack; I hope not. I just see it as not much different - and certainly not as emotionally-loaded a question - as asking how Lincoln's views on slavery evolved. Lincoln was someone who looked at the situation and evidence before him and re-evaluated it if need be. I'm sure his view on how serious a threat secession actually was changed in a similar manner. We all know that for a while most thought even after the shooting started that it would all be over in a few months (maybe including Lincoln since he only called for short-term volunteers initially). So I see the OP question as simply asking how Lincoln's thoughts progressed as time went by and at what point did he realize stuff had hit the fan.

I don't think it took him very long, certainly by first Manassas, but it's not something I've studied per se so maybe I'm wrong. At any rate, I don't see why simply asking how Lincoln's thoughts on the matter changed is controversial or argumentative. That's all.

Y'all have at it; I'll maybe lurk as I might learn something (unless it just turns into a mud slinging fest and then I'll just ignore the thread).
 
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OpnCoronet

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In my reading I have discovered something I didn't know about Lincoln, and it surprised me. So as I said, and I did mean what I said, I'm not necessarily criticizing Lincoln here. I'm genuinely interested in the fact that he did not seem to take secession threats seriously, because in the face of what the South was doing, that mindset makes no sense to me. So please don't start assigning motivations to me that I don't have. Believe me, if I want to criticize Lincoln, I won't dance around the issue.
Plotting may have been secret, but the actions of South Carolina and the other states were out in the open for all to see.




It is more probable, that Lincoln took the threats of secession, by secessionists, very seriously. How could he not, when for the last decade(and in his opinion, maybe the last 3 decades)the secessionists threats of secession was an ever increasing phenomenon that had actually culminated in secession.

However like many Americans at the time, Lincoln seems to have had some dim doubts(or, at least, Hope) as to how committed to session the ordinary citizens of the South, that might be appealed to, after the first forth of the revolution might settle. Reality met him on the first day of his Inauguration and within a few days, Lincoln's appreciation of the situation was soon clarified.

In the end though, speaking historically, Lincoln never deviated from the sentiments and policies he enunciated in his First Inaugural Address.(nor later from his Call up of the Militia, or his Address to Congress in Special Session)
 

NedBaldwin

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- Why did Lincoln not take secession seriously?
- Why, if his friends and colleagues could see the situation for what it was, could Lincoln not do the same?
- Did he understand it, and was he just putting up a good front to avoid letting the secessionists believe they'd gotten to him?
- What would have changed once he became President if he had seen how serious it was? In the short amount of time that he had before Fort Sumter, would or could his approach to the situation have changed?
- to what extent did Lincoln's belief contribute to the crisis, if at all, and how that crisis was handled?
If he had understood the secessionists better I think his actions in the first month in office would have been firmer and more decisive. His lack of clarity about what was happening contributed to the uncertainty in what to do about it.
 

jgoodguy

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If he had understood the secessionists better I think his actions in the first month in office would have been firmer and more decisive. His lack of clarity about what was happening contributed to the uncertainty in what to do about it.
Good points, but how would he have understood them better and what actions could have been undertaken differently?
 
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jgoodguy

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It is more probable, that Lincoln took the threats of secession, by secessionists, very seriously. How could he not, when for the last decade(and in his opinion, maybe the last 3 decades)the secessionists threats of secession was an ever increasing phenomenon that had actually culminated in secession.

However like many Americans at the time, Lincoln seems to have had some dim doubts(or, at least, Hope) as to how committed to session the ordinary citizens of the South, that might be appealed to, after the first forth of the revolution might settle. Reality met him on the first day of his Inauguration and within a few days, Lincoln's appreciation of the situation was soon clarified.

In the end though, speaking historically, Lincoln never deviated from the sentiments and policies he enunciated in his First Inaugural Address.(nor later from his Call up of the Militia, or his Address to Congress in Special Session)
I agree with some additional observations. What exactly does seriously mean in this thread. It is not apparent to me from the evidence if Lincoln is speaking as an ordinary citizen or as the head of an insurgent political party, first time to elect a president in the midst of a crisis attempting to prevent panic, desertion and actions detrimental to the Republican party.
 

jgoodguy

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Looking over my references, I find that with few exceptions Northerners did not believe the Southerners would secede and the Southerners did not believe the Northerners would fight. IMHO the proper question is did Lincoln consider secession as a real threat. Likely not. He is head of a party that campaigned on no more compromises and that there was no significant threat to the Union. According to the reference
Lincoln and the Decision for War Lincoln played a double political game-reassuring the hard liners and using Steward as a back door line of communications. Lincoln could not demoralize Republicans or encourage secessionists, but had to encourage any unionists in the South. This mean that I cannot depend on this letters to other politicians to determine his personal views. The strategy was to buy time in the hope the secessionists could be suppressed just like all the other times. This time the secessionists were successful.
 

civilken

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Lincoln had decided not to get into discussion with the south until he was in office he did not want to give any gravity to the secession movement in the South. That is one of the reasons he would not deal with emissaries from the South I believe he played it right and allowed Pres. Jefferson to make tthe first mistake by firing on Fort Sumter he became the aggressor which gave Lincoln the moral and legal right to defend a federal Fort.
 
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Ah the blame Lincoln starch gets added to a thin gruel to make some sort of gravy. Unpalatable to begin with no amount of what if speculation will add any flavor to it.

Secession was a secessionist plot to secede. Led by the South Carolina Gist, in the knowledge that public acknowledgement and discussion of secession had sunk past attempts, he engaged in a secret coup to secede with deep South governors he could depend on. Lincoln had no knowledge of this plot and could in no case could have prevented it.

The Road to Disunion, Volume II : Secessionists Triumphant Volume II By William W. Freehling
pp 389-399 parts quoted below cover this.

To answer your question, if by some chance a psychic told Lincoln of this secret plot and he exposed it to the press, then secession would have taken a different path. OTOH if the secessionists had played fair and done their disputable business in the open with free and open debate, 700,000 lives could have been saved.

View attachment 113311

View attachment 113313
Governor Gist was bound and determined to pull South Carolina out of the Union even if he had to use assassination and his state militia troops to start the ball rolling.

Eleven months before Lincoln was elected to the Presidency, a group of armed U.S. Congressmen from South Carolina along with assistance from South Carolina's governor, William Gist, planned to shoot up Congress and possibly assassinate Republican John Sherman as a prelude to South Carolina's secession and establishment of a Southern confederacy if Sherman was chosen as Speaker of the House. Governor Gist offered to send a regiment of South Carolina militia to Washington to assist in the attack on Congress but preferred that the revolution be bloodless.

It appeared after a number of ballots with no clear majority and subsequent realignment of support that Sherman would be the likely winner for the Speaker's position, but he drew the ire of the Southern members of Congress, especially those from South Carolina, when it was discovered that he had signed a March 9, 1859 endorsement of Hinton Helper's anti-slavery, anti-Southern book, The Impending Crisis of the South. Radical Southern members of Congress believed that Sherman's candidacy and its subsequent disruption would be the "spark which would set off the explosion they desired" and would terminate the differences between Southern moderates and radicals which would in turn unite the Southern states into a Southern Confederacy.

Secession and war were averted at least for the time being when Sherman's name was withdrawn as a candidate.
 

jgoodguy

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Governor Gist was bound and determined to pull South Carolina out of the Union even if he had to use assassination and his state militia troops to start the ball rolling.

Eleven months before Lincoln was elected to the Presidency, a group of armed U.S. Congressmen from South Carolina along with assistance from South Carolina's governor, William Gist, planned to shoot up Congress and possibly assassinate Republican John Sherman as a prelude to South Carolina's secession and establishment of a Southern confederacy if Sherman was chosen as Speaker of the House. Governor Gist offered to send a regiment of South Carolina militia to Washington to assist in the attack on Congress but preferred that the revolution be bloodless.

It appeared after a number of ballots with no clear majority and subsequent realignment of support that Sherman would be the likely winner for the Speaker's position, but he drew the ire of the Southern members of Congress, especially those from South Carolina, when it was discovered that he had signed a March 9, 1859 endorsement of Hinton Helper's anti-slavery, anti-Southern book, The Impending Crisis of the South. Radical Southern members of Congress believed that Sherman's candidacy and its subsequent disruption would be the "spark which would set off the explosion they desired" and would terminate the differences between Southern moderates and radicals which would in turn unite the Southern states into a Southern Confederacy.

Secession and war were averted at least for the time being when Sherman's name was withdrawn as a candidate.
It seems to me that if Lincoln had perfect knowledge of Southern Secession, he could have not done much different. A timeline of changes in Lincoln's position may be interesting, but separating changes from political campaigning is going to be difficult to do.
 

rpkennedy

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It seems to me that if Lincoln had perfect knowledge of Southern Secession, he could have not done much different. A timeline of changes in Lincoln's position may be interesting, but separating changes from political campaigning is going to be difficult to do.
Other than giving in to the secessionists, there is almost nothing that Lincoln could have done that would have averted war.

Ryan
 
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jgoodguy

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Time Line Secession. With Lincoln events I can find in this thread. Looking for more and corrections if any.
  • [*]November 6, 1860—Americans go the polls and elect Abraham Lincoln as the sixteenth president of the United States. Lincoln receives 1,866,452 popular votes and 180 electoral votes from 17 of the 33 states. Not a single slave state endorses Lincoln. Stephen Douglas receives 1,376,957 popular votes and 12 electoral votes; John Breckinridge receives 849, 781 popular votes and 72 electoral votes; and John Bell receives 588, 879 popular votes and 39 electoral votes.
    [*]November 9, 1860—Lame duck president James Buchanan convenes a cabinet meeting to discuss the national crisis that has been unleashed in the wake of Lincoln’s election. Like the country as a whole, his advisors are split over the issue of secession. Buchanan proposes a convention of the states with the object of hammering out a compromise. Secretary of State Lewis Cass (MI) argues that the Union should be preserved at all costs, even if that means using force. Attorney General Jeremiah Sullivan Black (PA) shares Cass’ opinion. Postmaster General Joseph Holt (KY) opposes both secession and Buchanan’s idea for a convention. Secretary of the Treasury Howell Cobb (GA) believes secession is legal and necessary. Secretary of the Interior Jacob Thompson (MS) agrees with Cobb and says any show of force by the U.S. government will force his native Mississippi out of the Union. Secretary of War John Floyd (VA) opposes secession because he believes it is unnecessary. Secretary of the Navy Isaac Toucey (CT) endorses Buchanan’s convention idea.
    [*]November 10, 1860—Both of South Carolina’s senators, James Chesnut, Jr. and James H. Hammond, resign their seats. The legislature of South Carolina orders a convention to meet in Columbia on December 17 to decide whether or not the state should remain in the Union.
    [*]November 13, 1860—The South Carolina legislature authorizes the raising of ten thousand men for the state’s defense.
    [*]November 14, 1860—Alexander Stephens, the future vice-president of the Confederacy, addresses the Georgia legislature and speaks out against secession. He argues that the South should pursue a more moderate course and, “Let the fanatics of the North break the Constitution, if such is their fell purpose.”
    [*]November 18, 1860—The Georgia legislature authorizes one million dollars for weapon purchases.
    [*]November 20, 1860 Lincoln inserted two paragraphs into a speech given by Lyman Trumbull: #6

    [*]November 23, 1860—Major Robert Anderson issues a report from Charleston which identifies Fort Sumter as the key to the defense of the city’s harbor. In addition, he argues that secession is a fait accompli in South Carolina.
    [*]December 4, 1860—President Buchanan sends his State of the Union message to Congress, which attempts to appease both northerners and southerners. He views secession as a consequence of the “intemperate interference of the Northern people with the question of slavery” and urges the North to respect the sovereignty and rights of the southern states. At the same time, Buchanan condemns secession and signals his intent to defend any federal forts in the South that come under attack. Both sides are displeased with the speech. The House of Representatives creates a Committee of Thirty-three (one member per state) to study the country’s crisis and issue recommendations.
    [*]December 8, 1860—The first rupture in Buchanan’s cabinet occurs when Secretary of the Treasury Howell Cobb (GA) resigns his post. A former unionist, Cobb has come to believe that the “evil” of Black Republicanism is “beyond control” and must be met with resistance. The same day, a group of South Carolina congressmen visits the White House and encourages Buchanan to relinquish federal property to their state.
    [*]December 10, 1860—South Carolina congressmen meet with Buchanan and promise that their forces will not attack U.S. forts before the issue of secession is debated, or the two governments reach an agreement, as long as the military status quo is maintained.
    [*]December 12, 1860—Secretary of State Lewis Cass (MI) resigns over Buchanan’s decision not to reinforce the federal forts in Charleston.
    [*]December 13, 1860—Twenty-three House members and seven Senators from the South make a public announcement calling for the creation of a Southern Confederacy.
    [*]December 17, 1860—South Carolina’s Secession Convention opens in Columbia.
    [*]December 20, 1860—Delegates to South Carolina’s Secession Convention vote 169 to 0 to leave the Union. President Buchanan is stunned by the news. The Palmetto State’s decision emboldens secessionists in other southern states.

    If Buchanan is stunned with his superior information, then it is reasonable that Lincoln is not as well informed as to the serious of the secession crisis.

    [*]December 20, 1860 Lincoln meets in Chicago w Philadelphia Evening Bulletin. Lincoln is unaware of the SC vote. Post #1

    [*]December 26, 1860—Major Robert Anderson moves his small force from Fort Moultrie to Fort Sumter. He believes the former location will soon be attacked and that the change of location is necessary to “prevent the effusion of blood.” South Carolinians view the troop transfer as a violation of their agreement with Buchanan to maintain the status quo.
    [*]December 29, 1860—Secretary of War John B. Floyd (VA) resigns over Buchanan’s decision not to overrule Anderson’s troop transfer.
    [*]December 30, 1860—South Carolinians seize the Federal Arsenal at Charleston, making Fort Sumter the last piece of federal property in the state controlled by the United States government.
    [*]January 8, 1861—President Buchanan sends a special message to Congress which endorses Senator John J. Crittenden’s proposal to resurrect the old Missouri Compromise line. Also, Buchanan places the onus of responsibility for solving the crisis on the legislative branch. The last southerner in the president’s cabinet, Secretary of the Interior Jacob Thompson (MS), resigns.
    [*]January 9, 1861—Mississippi secedes from the Union. In Charleston, southern guns fire on the Star of the West as it attempts to re-supply Fort Sumter. The ship withdraws and sets course for New York.
    [*]January 10, 1861—Florida secedes from the Union. Lieutenant Adam Slemmer moves his small federal garrison from Barrancas Barracks at Pensacola to Fort Pickens on Santa Rosa Island. Slemmer refuses repeated surrender demands from Florida authorities, allowing Fort Pickens to remain in Union hands for the duration of the war.
    [*]January 11, 1861—Lincoln's letter to Hon. J. T. Hale

    [*]January 11, 1861—Alabama secedes from the Union.
    [*]January 14, 1861—The chairman of the Committee of Thirty-three, Thomas Corwin (OH), presents the group’s report to the House of Representatives. Recommendations include a Constitutional amendment guaranteeing slavery where it exists, a repeal of northern “personal liberty laws”, and jury trials for fugitive slaves. The committee does not unanimously approve of the proposals.
    [*]January 16, 1861—The Crittenden Compromise is defeated in the Senate.
    [*]January 19, 1861—Georgia secedes from the Union.
    [*]January 21, 1861—Five senators from Florida, Alabama, and Mississippi bid farewell to their colleagues in the upper house. Among them is Senator Jefferson Davis, future president of the Confederacy.
    [*]January 26, 1861—Louisiana secedes from the Union.
    [*]January 29, 1861—Kansas is admitted to the Union sans slavery.
    [*]February 1, 1861—Texas secedes from the Union.
    [*]February 4, 1861—The convention of seceded states opens in Montgomery, Alabama as a Peace Convention called by Virginia gets underway in Washington. One of the delegates at the latter meeting is former president John Tyler. Louisiana Senators Judah Benjamin and John Slidell resign their seats.
    [*]February 8, 1861—Delegates in Montgomery adopt a provisional constitution for the Confederate States of America. The document contains only a few variations from the U.S. Constitution, among which are a clause protecting slavery and one that prohibits tariffs designed to protect domestic industry.
    [*]February 9, 1861—Jefferson Davis and Alexander Stephens are elected Provisional President and Vice-President of the Confederacy respectively. Both men are considered political moderates. In Tennessee, voters reject a call for a secession convention.
    [*]February 18, 1861—Jefferson Davis is inaugurated as president of the Confederacy during a ceremony in Montgomery, Alabama.
    [*]February 23, 1861—Abraham Lincoln arrives in Washington on a special train at the behest of his security team. The President-elect’s clandestine journey is lampooned by a number of newspaper cartoonists, who inflate wild rumors that he was disguised as a Scotsman.
    [*]February 27, 1861—The Peace Convention proposes six constitutional amendments to Congress—most relate to the impasse over slavery. None passes. The House of Representatives rejects a call for a constitutional convention and the Crittenden Compromise.
    [*]February 28, 1861—The House passes a measure supported by President-elect Lincoln which prohibits the federal government from interfering with slavery in states where it exists.
    [*]March 1, 1861—Confederate President Jefferson Davis appoints P.G.T. Beauregard as commander of southern forces guarding Charleston. Congress organizes two new territories, Nevada and Dakota, and passes the Morrill Tariff Act, which raises taxes on imports.
    [*]March 4, 1861—Abraham Lincoln is inaugurated as President of the United States in Washington. He tells the crowd gathered around the Capitol that he has no intention of interfering with slavery, but that secession is illegal and the Union perpetual.
    [*]March 5, 1861—Lincoln learns from Major Anderson that Fort Sumter must either be re-supplied or abandoned within a matter of weeks. The president understands that surrendering the fort would mean a loss of federal sovereignty, but that sending supplies would likely start a war. He loses sleep over the situation.
    [*]March 29, 1861—After days of deliberation and careful consultation with his cabinet, Lincoln decides to re-supply Forts Sumter and Pickens.
    [*]April 4, 1861—In an 89 to 45 vote, the Virginia State Convention rejects an ordinance of secession.
    [*]April 6, 1861—Lincoln dispatches a State Department employee to inform South Carolina Governor Francis Pickens that the federal government will re-provision Fort Sumter. The president makes it clear that no additional troops will be sent to the fort if supply ships are allowed to land.
    [*]April 10, 1861—Confederate Secretary of War LeRoy Walker authorizes Beauregard to use force if the federal government attempts to re-supply Fort Sumter.
    [*]April 11, 1861—Major Anderson refuses a request from the Confederate government to surrender Fort Sumter. A final request would come in the early morning hours of April 12, shortly before the bombardment of the fortress began.
 

jgoodguy

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IMHO
Secessionists.
  • Secession was a strategic surprise.
  • The secessionists maintained initiative.
  • The secessionists had a coordinated plan
  • The Union including Lincoln were unable to respond effectively.
  • The secessionists were victorious in secession without significant cost.
Lincoln.
  • Lincoln's strategy.
    • Keep the Republican Party united.
    • Prevent political surrender.
    • Prevent compromise.
    • Prevent panic and desperation.
    • Maintain morale.
    • Politically prepare the Union for war.
  • Lincoln kept the initiative over his political opponents.
  • The secessionist were unaware of and did not care in any case about Lincoln's strategy.
There were 2 competing strategies.
  • The Union was unable to counter the secessionists strategy.
  • Secessionists did not attempt to counter Lincoln's.
  • Both were more or less unaware of the other's strategy.
Conclusion of both strategies was Fort Sumter.
  • Fort Sumter was the culmination of the secessionist strategy and was a short time strategic victory.
  • Lincoln's strategy was the long term strategic victory and won the war.
 

jgoodguy

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The thing Lincoln and the Secessionists have in common if they can get their way peacefully, wonderful; if not then war.
 
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OpnCoronet

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The thing Lincoln and the Secessionists have in common if they can get their way peacefully, wonderful; if not then war.


True, as far as it goes, but, it should be realized that Lincoln waged his war within the confines of the Organic Law of the United States and the secessionists by revolutionizing against that Organic Law. Legitimacy in this case might have been a fine point of law, but it was still important(especially to Lincoln and Davis).
 

jgoodguy

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True, as far as it goes, but, it should be realized that Lincoln waged his war within the confines of the Organic Law of the United States and the secessionists by revolutionizing against that Organic Law. Legitimacy in this case might have been a fine point of law, but it was still important(especially to Lincoln and Davis).
Of course, but it is also true both saw it as operating in the law as they saw it.

There are 3 ways to resolve such a dispute, Congress, Courtroom or Conflict. We know which was chosen.
 

OpnCoronet

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Lincoln seriously thought that South Carolina would allow revenue to be collected after they seceded, and that would mean that the Union could be maintained.



What he said has to be read in the context of what he said in his Inaugural Address. For one thing, All concession would only be temporary, unless codified in the Constitution and its laws.

If the Federal Gov't was collecting Revenues as specified in the Constitution, in SC(or any seceded state) then by that fact, alone, proved SC was an integral part of the Union and still a state in that same Union.
 
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jgoodguy

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Lincoln seriously thought that South Carolina would allow revenue to be collected after they seceded, and that would mean that the Union could be maintained.

http://www.nytimes.com/1860/12/20/news/visit-mr-lincoln-president-elect-his-office-conversation-public-affairs-his.html

At length, one of the party asked him if he had any news from the South. "No," he replied; "I have not yet read the dispatches in the morning papers. But," he added, "I think, from all I can learn, that things have reached their worst point in the South, and they are likely to mend in the future. If it be true, as reported, that the South Carolinians do not intend to resist the collection of the revenue, after they ordain secession, there need be no collision with the Federal Government. The Union may still be maintained. The greatest inconvenience will arise from the want of Federal courts; as with the present feeling, judges, marshals, and other officers could not be obtained." On this point Mr. LINCOLN spoke at some length, regretting its difficulty, but adding that his mind was made up as to how it should be overcome. His tone and language were moderate, good-humored and friendly towards the South.
What he said has to be read in the context of what he said in his Inaugural Address. For one thing, All concession would only be temporary, unless codified in the Constitution and its laws.

If the Federal Gov't was collecting Revenues as specified in the Constitution, in SC(or any seceded state) then by that fact, alone, proved SC was an integral part of the Union and still a state in that same Union.

IMHO. Lincoln cannot politically concede anything to the secessionists. Therefore he must publicly carry on with as much normality as he can. IMHO One reason that Davis shot first is to foreclose any going back.
 

Andersonh1

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Looking over my references, I find that with few exceptions Northerners did not believe the Southerners would secede and the Southerners did not believe the Northerners would fight. IMHO the proper question is did Lincoln consider secession as a real threat. Likely not. He is head of a party that campaigned on no more compromises and that there was no significant threat to the Union.
In support of this, from McPherson's "Battle Cry of Freedom" pp 229-231

This mass hysteria caused even southern unionists to warn Yankees that a Republican victory meant disunion. "The Election of Lincoln is Sufficient Cause for Secession," a Bell supporter in Alabama entitled his speech. The moderate Benjamin H . Hill of Georgia insisted that "this Government and Black Republicanism cannot live together. . . . At no period of the world's history have four thousand millions of property debated whether it ought to submit to the rule of an enemy." Not to be outdone in southern patriotism, the leading Douglas newspaper in Georgia thundered: "Let the consequences be what they may—whether the Potomac is crimsoned in human gore , and Pennsylvania Avenue is paved ten fathoms deep with mangled bodies . . . the South will never submit to such humiliation and degradation as the inauguration of Abraham Lincoln."

The fever spread to the border states. A unionist editor in Louisville professed to have received hundreds of letters "all informing us of a settled and widely-extended purpose to break up the Union" if Lincoln was elected. "We admit that the conspirators are mad , but such madness 'rules the hour. ' " John J. Crittenden, Kentucky's elder statesman of unionism, heir of Henry Clay's mantle of nationalism, gave a speech just before the election in which he denounced the "profound fanaticism " of Republicans who "think it their duty to destroy . . . the white man , in order that the black might be free. . . . [The South] has come to the conclusion that in case Lincoln should be elected . . . she could not submit to the consequences, and therefore, to avoid her fate, will secede from the Union."

Republican s refused to take these warnings to heart. They had heard them before, a dozen times or more. In 1856 Democrats had used such threats to frighten northerners into voting Democratic . Republicans believed that the same thing was happening in 1860. It was "the old game of scaring and bullying the North into submission to Southern demands," said the Republican mayor of Chicago. In a speech at St. Paul, Seward ridiculed this new southern effort "to terrify or alarm" the North. "Who's afraid? (Laughter an d cries of'no one.') Nobody's afraid; nobody can be bought. " Nor did Lincoln expect "any formidable effort to break up the Union. The people of the South have too much sense, " he thought, "to attempt the ruin of the government."

Hindsight was to reveal that southerners meant what they said. Two sagacious historians have maintained that Republican failure to take these warnings seriously was a "cardinal error." Yet it is hard to see what Republicans could have done to allay southern anxieties short of dissolving their party and proclaiming slavery a positive good. As a com mittee of the Virginia legislature put it, "the very existence of such a party is an offense to the whole South." A New Orleans editor regarded every northern vote cast for Lincoln as "a deliberate, cold-blooded insult and outrage' to southern honor. It was not so much what Republican s might do as what they stood for that angered southerners. "No other 'overt act' can so imperatively demand resistance on our part, " said a North Carolin a congressman, "as the simple election of their candidate."
 
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