Madness Rules the Hour

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#1
Just finished this book by Paul Starobin. His premise is that Charleston politicians orchestrated secession by intentionally splitting the Democratic ticket in 1860 to ensure Lincoln's victory and thus ensuring their desire to leave the Union. He goes into much detail about the fire-eaters (Rhetts Sr and Jr, Magrath, Townsend, etc.) Fascinating read, but I wonder if Starobin's theory is the one most accepted on this Forum, or if there is a better explanation.
 

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WJC

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I do not believe this is the first mention of this 'theory'. There is some evidence that Rhett was willing to see Lincoln elected in order to force the issue. Can you provide any evidence cited by Mr. Starobin?
 

jgoodguy

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I do not believe this is the first mention of this 'theory'. There is some evidence that Rhett was willing to see Lincoln elected in order to force the issue. Can you provide any evidence cited by Mr. Starobin?
The theory is that the split of the Democratic Party was necessary to force secession by depriving the South of representation for the protection of slavery. The election of Lincoln, plus the split was the spark for secession.
 

WJC

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#4
I wanted to include this in my earlier post, but couldn't locate it:
Convinced that only a Republican victory in the presidential race of 1860 would bring about an independent southern nation, he and other southern political leaders labored hard to bring this about.​
<Gordon Leidner, "Rhett, Robert Barnwell (1800-1876)", The Fire Eaters. Great American History. https://www.greatamericanhistory.net/fireaters.htm>
 
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#5
At the Democratic convention in Charleston, Southern delegates required the Northern delegates to endorse Dred Scott to preserve the possibility of slavery in the territories. Highly unpopular in the North but embraced in the South. This was pushed by Rhett, who knew that a Democratic nominee in the national election would be defeated with this platform. Starobin uses personal letters and articles from Rhett's Mercury to push this point.
 
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#6
Somewhere in this timeframe of conventions, first being held in Columbia S. C., a smallpox outbreak occurred, forcing the convention to relocate in Charleston. I was curious if this sidelining of the convention at the State Capital was mentioned, or if it dwelt mainly on the men involved? Thanks,
Lubliner.
 
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#7
Somewhere in this timeframe of conventions, first being held in Columbia S. C., a smallpox outbreak occurred, forcing the convention to relocate in Charleston. I was curious if this sidelining of the convention at the State Capital was mentioned, or if it dwelt mainly on the men involved? Thanks,
Lubliner.
Yes , the smallpox in Columbia did force the convention to be moved to Charleston, which actually played into Rhett's hand. The crowds in the Hall where the convention was held were rabid secessionists and, per Starobin, hooted down any delegate not for secession.
 

WJC

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Somewhere in this timeframe of conventions, first being held in Columbia S. C., a smallpox outbreak occurred, forcing the convention to relocate in Charleston. I was curious if this sidelining of the convention at the State Capital was mentioned, or if it dwelt mainly on the men involved? Thanks,
Lubliner.
For a day-to-day recounting of events, see @Andersonh1's outstanding thread, https://civilwartalk.com/threads/the-south-carolina-secession-convention-day-by-day.153365/
 
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