John Bell as President

gentlemanrob

Brigadier General
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We all know how President Lincoln did as President. but how would a John Bell Presidency have been? We must remember Bell had been a former Secretary of War briefly under the William Henry Harrison administration and had also served as United States Senator, Speaker of the House but how would he have performed the duties of President with the situation. Edward Everett would have been Vice President as we know Everett was a minister from Massachusetts a former Secretary of State, Foreign Diplomat, Governor and Senator. Would Bell and Everett worked together to try one last compromise or was it to late for compromise?
 

NedBaldwin

Major
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Feb 19, 2011
Location
California
Great topic!

They would have worked to compromise but would have also been tough on secession.

They would have been stuck between two fires — the radical Republicans and the radical democrats

Secession would have been delayed just so the two sides could better prepare for the election of 1864. But violence might have broken out (like bleeding Kansas style) before then...
 

uaskme

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SE Tennessee
Bell owned a couple of hundred slaves. Married into wealth and a steel works business. However he was against the expansion of Slavery.

Succession rhetoric wouldn’t have worked with him. However, their was no practical way he could of been elected. North had the population and the electoral votes to exclude the South.
 

NedBaldwin

Major
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Feb 19, 2011
Location
California
Bell owned a couple of hundred slaves. Married into wealth and a steel works business. However he was against the expansion of Slavery.

Succession rhetoric wouldn’t have worked with him. However, their was no practical way he could of been elected. North had the population and the electoral votes to exclude the South.
If no candidate won a majority of electoral votes, and thus the decision went to the House (like it did in 1800 and 1824) he could have been selected as a compromise candidate
 

major bill

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
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I have doubts that a President Bell would have made Southerners happy and they may well have seceded before Bell took office. I think the real question is how would have Bell reacted to secession?
 

uaskme

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Location
SE Tennessee
If no candidate won a majority of electoral votes, and thus the decision went to the House (like it did in 1800 and 1824) he could have been selected as a compromise candidate
Didn’t happen in 60‘ with 4 somewhat competitive candidates. It was a pipe dream. Lincoln knew he had to win the States that Fremont won and PA, IL or IN and NJ. There was no scenario where Lincoln would not have won. Douglas could of bowed out. Lincoln would of still won. Mathematical you could manipulate the numbers where no one got a majority. But Politically, none of that would ever had happened.
 

uaskme

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SE Tennessee
If no candidate won a majority of electoral votes, and thus the decision went to the House (like it did in 1800 and 1824) he could have been selected as a compromise candidate
Bell was no Abolitionist. No Abolitionist voted for him. He was a Constitutional Whig.

Radicals wanted out. However they had to convince others to secede. Bell was NO Threat to the South. He was a unionist. Republicans were a Anti-Southern Party. They wanted to end Southern Power and Influence.
 

uaskme

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SE Tennessee
If no candidate won a majority of electoral votes, and thus the decision went to the House (like it did in 1800 and 1824) he could have been selected as a compromise candidate
They had a Election in 1860. It didn’t happen. Lincoln got 60 percent of the Electoral Vote.

160 year old Political Rhetoric. Bell failed to understand the complexity of the North having a huge Electoral Majority, that Douglas was a weak candidate and Lincoln having strengths other than Anti-Slavery. Douglas just got 12 percent of the electoral vote.
 

Carronade

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Pennsylvania
A compromise by definition doesn't make anyone totally happy. It just doesn't make them drastically unhappy. Something everyone, or a least a majority, can live with even if it wasn't their ideal choice.
 

Joshism

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Apr 30, 2012
Location
Jupiter, FL
Bell failed to understand the complexity of the North having a huge Electoral Majority, that Douglas was a weak candidate and Lincoln having strengths other than Anti-Slavery.

This can't be stressed enough. Despite being a Whig in all but name, Bell didn't get much attention in the North because former Northern Whigs were pretty much all Republicans by 1860, including Lincoln. Even the ones lukewarm on slavery issues.

And the Republicans delivered on the Whiggish aspects of their platform: Transcontinental Railroad, Homestead Act, and land grant colleges.
 
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