Lincoln and slavery split from Compromise and Peace: The Road Not Taken

Bee

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At the present, there is a stop sign at 1865 for my civil war interest in fear of overload.

I like to refer to Reconstruction as the epilogue of the Civil War, or the political half of the war. So much of the understanding of modern history hinges on the understanding of what took place during Reconstruction. Unfortunately, Reconstruction is treated as the alternate elective to the mandatory study of the Civil War for most enthusiasts. <rant over>
 

Hunter

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Regrettably Civil War Alabama has to wait until the ex library books are available for me.. Much of the information seems to be online, however. Certainly the post war historiography has muddied the field for years. However there are several authors doing drilling of one kind or another.

No polls mean that about all we have is speculation. Looking forward to more data.

Are you currently working on any Civil War scholarship?
 
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Do you actually disagree with the argument?
I have simply asked for evidence for you to support your argument. You offered a book that does not support it. I've asked for evidence that such was the case elsewhere. You've not provided it.

I think you wildly overestimate the support in the Confederacy for a negotiated peace looking toward reunion while retaining slavery in 1863. One can look to the Lincoln/Greeley Niagara Falls business in 1864 to see that even a year later there was no wild response to this offer.

Lincoln in 1862 did not know what would happen in 1863. You do. Therein lies the weakness of your argument, in that it relies upon Lincoln knowing what he could not have known.
 

Hunter

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I like to refer to Reconstruction as the epilogue of the Civil War, or the political half of the war. So much of the understanding of modern history hinges on the understanding of what took place during Reconstruction. Unfortunately, Reconstruction is treated as the alternate elective to the mandatory study of the Civil War for most enthusiasts. <rant over>

I agree, Bee. The current direction of Civil War academic thought seems to be toward the proposition that the war did not actually end until 1877, if not later. Whether this will result in a paradigm shift in curriculum is hard to predict.
 

jgoodguy

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I have simply asked for evidence for you to support your argument. You offered a book that does not support it. I've asked for evidence that such was the case elsewhere. You've not provided it.

I think you wildly overestimate the support in the Confederacy for a negotiated peace looking toward reunion while retaining slavery in 1863. One can look to the Lincoln/Greeley Niagara Falls business in 1864 to see that even a year later there was no wild response to this offer.

Lincoln in 1862 did not know what would happen in 1863. You do. Therein lies the weakness of your argument, in that it relies upon Lincoln knowing what he could not have known.

I agree that the effect of CSA peace movements are overrated. I also agree about Sept 1863 emancipation, even if Lincoln had the gift of foresight, the arguments of 1862(counting the preliminary EP) as the better time are overwhelming IMHO.
 

jgoodguy

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I agree, Bee. The current direction of Civil War academic thought seems to be toward the proposition that the war did not actually end until 1877, if not later. Whether this will result in a paradigm shift in curriculum is hard to predict.
Or simply as I do regard the hot war ending in 65 with a cold war continuing to some later date.
 

Hunter

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I have simply asked for evidence for you to support your argument. You offered a book that does not support it. I've asked for evidence that such was the case elsewhere. You've not provided it.

I think you wildly overestimate the support in the Confederacy for a negotiated peace looking toward reunion while retaining slavery in 1863. One can look to the Lincoln/Greeley Niagara Falls business in 1864 to see that even a year later there was no wild response to this offer.

Lincoln in 1862 did not know what would happen in 1863. You do. Therein lies the weakness of your argument, in that it relies upon Lincoln knowing what he could not have known.

First, I never said Lincoln could foresee in 1862 what would happen in 1863. I was simply responding to a question about what he might have done differently.

Second, you say the book contains no supporting evidence, which reveals you have obviously not read it. It cites to evidence from other states, if that is what you want. Is there a particular state in which you are interested.

Third, the Niagara Falls peace overtures do not support your point. Lincoln distrusted the sincerity of the Confederate agents in Canada and required that they proffer written evidence of their authority before he would negotiate. It never came because the agents were acting without authority. And besides, these agents, who were diehard Confederates, never made any offer related to slavery. So, there was nothing to respond to, wildly or otherwise.
 

James_tiberous

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I agree, Bee. The current direction of Civil War academic thought seems to be toward the proposition that the war did not actually end until 1877, if not later. Whether this will result in a paradigm shift in curriculum is hard to predict.
Ya, the Civil Rights movement was really just an extension of the same historical forces and issues into a different era
 
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Second, you say the book contains no supporting evidence, which reveals you have obviously not read it..

Just because I disagree with you does not mean that I have not read the chapter in question. It means I disagree with you in terms of using the book as support for your position.

Simply repeatedly claiming that I haven't read the book doesn't get us anywhere (and it implies I'm a liar, which I thought would violate the claims some make for civility in this group). Show us how the book supports your position. After all, you brought it up.
 

jgoodguy

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Gentlemen, lets tie this up without endless back and forths.
Hunter says his evidence is sufficient.
contestedground says Hunter's evidence is insufficient.
Please let the audience decide and move on.
 

Mike Griffith

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Lincoln and the Republicans' actions on slavery provide further evidence that the war was not being fought over slavery but over maintaining the Union/Southern independence. They were willing to let the slave state of West Virginia join the Union and to keep the state's slaves enslaved for up to 20-30 years or longer. They were willing to exempt eastern Tennessee from the Emancipation Proclamation in order to keep that region loyal to the Union. They were not willing to impose emancipation on the Union slave states for fear of losing their support. For that matter, before Lincoln issued the EP, he attempted to get support for a gradual emancipation plan that would have left Union slaves in bondage for 20 years or more. Before that, he strongly supported the Corwin Amendment, which would have expressly prohibited the federal government from abolishing slavery, in the hope of keeping the Southern states in the Union.
 

Hunter

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Gentlemen, lets tie this up without endless back and forths.
Hunter says his evidence is sufficient.
contestedground says Hunter's evidence is insufficient.
Please let the audience decide and move on.

Agreed
 

jgoodguy

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You're part of that audience. What say you?
The chapter can be read in support but I look to other sources to make a decision.
More information on the Peace advocates would be interesting, however most legislators would be slave owners and it appears to me that they have no incentive in returning to a Union where their property rights are threatened. My brief reading of online sources suggests to me that they were ineffectual in the main and easily counteracted in the legislatures, though they made life difficult for the CSA in less developed areas.
 
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Lincoln and the Republicans' actions on slavery provide further evidence that the war was not being fought over slavery but over maintaining the Union/Southern independence. They were willing to let the slave state of West Virginia join the Union and to keep the state's slaves enslaved for up to 20-30 years or longer. They were willing to exempt eastern Tennessee from the Emancipation Proclamation in order to keep that region loyal to the Union. They were not willing to impose emancipation on the Union slave states for fear of losing their support. For that matter, before Lincoln issued the EP, he attempted to get support for a gradual emancipation plan that would have left Union slaves in bondage for 20 years or more. Before that, he strongly supported the Corwin Amendment, which would have expressly prohibited the federal government from abolishing slavery, in the hope of keeping the Southern states in the Union.

Once the fighting began, and the cost in blood and treasure continually mounted, both Lincoln's actions and his words make it pretty clear that his thinking on the aims of the war evolved apace with the changing situation. He concluded that the Union would never be safe unless and until the economic basis of the Slave Power was definitively broken for all time. That could only be accomplished by abolishing slavery. The EP created effectively irreversible facts on the ground in the majority of the territories where slavery had been most lucrative, thus preparing the way for the eventual, and almost inevitable passage of the Thirteenth Amendment.

Lincoln's second inaugural address left no doubt about his personal feelings about slavery in 1865. I believe his feelings about slavery had changed far less since 1860 than the circumstances in which he found himself. In 1860, Lincoln judged that: 1) he had no Constitutional authority to abolish slavery; and 2) slavery might be abolished peaceably over time if only the Union could be preserved, by whatever means. (For their part, secessionists agreed with Lincoln on both points.) But long before 1865, it had become clear to him that: 1) the Union could only be preserved, long-term, by abolishing slavery by whatever means necessary; and 2) southern secession and the ensuing armed rebellion gave him both the Constitutional means and the practical opportunity to accomplish that end. (Armed conflict conferred Constitutional emergency powers upon the POTUS to enact the EP, and secession temporarily vacated most of the Congressional seats, and disempowered the state legislatures, that would have stood in the way of the passage and ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment, thus finishing the job.)
 
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Mike Griffith

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Jun 22, 2014
In my opinion, the debate over Lincoln's views and actions on slavery stems in large part from the over-generous, misleading portrayals of them in most modern Civil War books. These portrayals have allowed far-left authors like Lerone Bennett to make the opposite extreme look like fact, when in reality the truth is somewhere in the middle and is overall favorable to Lincoln.

The problem is that the true picture of Lincoln's views and actions on slavery does not sit well with many modern Americans. People with modern sensitivities are a bit shocked to learn that Lincoln ardently backed fugitive slave laws, was willing to abolish personal liberty laws, and was willing to see slavery continue for several decades. On the other hand, Lincoln's views on blacks evolved for the better; he put his colonization schemes on a back burner; he spoke out for the humanity of slaves and for their right to live as free men and women; he freed tens of thousands of slaves via the Emancipation Proclamation (not at first, but as Union forces moved farther into the South); he insisted that prisoner exchanges include black Union POWs regardless of their previous status; and he softened his stand on black voting rights.
 
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In my opinion, the debate over Lincoln's views and actions on slavery stems in large part from the over-generous, misleading portrayals of them in most modern Civil War books. These portrayals have allowed far-left authors like Lerone Bennett to make the opposite extreme look like fact, when in reality the truth is somewhere in the middle and is overall favorable to Lincoln.

The problem is that the true picture of Lincoln's views and actions on slavery does not sit well with many modern Americans. People with modern sensitivities are a bit shocked to learn that Lincoln ardently backed fugitive slave laws, was willing to abolish personal liberty laws, and was willing to see slavery continue for several decades. On the other hand, Lincoln's views on blacks evolved for the better; he put his colonization schemes on a back burner; he spoke out for the humanity of slaves and for their right to live as free men and women; he freed tens of thousands of slaves via the Emancipation Proclamation (not at first, but as Union forces moved farther into the South); he insisted that prisoner exchanges include black Union POWs regardless of their previous status; and he softened his stand on black voting rights.

Please show me an example of Lincoln's "ardent" support for fugitive slave laws. My understanding is that he felt they were necessary to preserve the union and avoid civil war, but that private citizens of free states should not be compelled to help enforce them. In my book, that is hardly "ardent" support. To the contrary, my understanding of Lincoln's pre-war position on the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 supports my earlier contention that he considered the preservation of the union a necessary and sufficient condition for the eventual extinction of slavery. Many ardent abolitionists found this moderate position unsatisfactory. Nevertheless, there is ample evidence that Lincoln personally despised slavery and always did.
 
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