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James Lutzweiler

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RE: So, one question here, just one: Can we agree that Calhoun was painting a picture that was hyperbolic?

Hyperbolic, compared to what? Using present day standards, I would say that his language is over the top. I would also say, using present day standards, that it's plainly racist. But I don't know if this kind of rhetoric was abnormal by the standards of the day, and I am worried about applying presentism in a review of these words.

During the debate over the admission of Missouri to the Union in the early 19th century, things got very rancorous in the Congress. Rep James Tallmadge had proposed that Missouri be given statehood on the condition that slavery was prohibited there. This angered southern congressmen. Daniel Walker Howe, in his book What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815-1848, discusses the controversy:

On behalf of the Tallmadge amendment, northern members (of Congress) invoked morality, religion, economics, and the Declaration of Independence. They reminded southerners that their own revered statesmen, led by Thomas Jefferson, had often expressed the hope to find a way out of perpetuating slavery. Yet now, the South presented a virtually solid and implacable opposition (in which the aged Jefferson himself joined) to mandating emancipation in a new state.​
Through days of rancorous debate, the two sides rehearsed arguments that would be used by North and South for years to come. Before it was over, not just the extension of slavery on the frontier but the existence of slavery throughout the whole Union would be challenged. Thomas Cobb of Georgia fixed Tallmadge in his gaze: "You have kindled a fire which all of the waters of the ocean cannot put out, which seas of blood can only extinguish." Tallmadge defended his moderate proposition with a steadfastness not at all moderate: "If a dissolution of the Union must take place, let it be so! If civil war, which gentlemen so much threaten, must come, I can only say, let it come!"

The above conflict ended in the Missouri Compromise. But look at the language: "You have kindled a fire which all of the waters of the ocean cannot put out, which seas of blood can only extinguish."... "If a dissolution of the Union must take place, let it be so! If civil war, which gentlemen so much threaten, must come, I can only say, let it come!" That is way over the top by my standards, but maybe that's how they rolled back then.

Several months ago, Andrew Delbanco, writing for The Nation, penned an article titled A Den of Braggarts and Brawlers: Politics on Capitol Hill was never civil. He wrote about a new book on behavior in the antebellum Congress:

The Yale historian Joanne Freeman (has a).. revealing new book, The Field of Blood, which takes its title from a commiserating letter sent to Sumner by a friend. Between 1830 and 1860, Freeman reports, “at least eighty violent incidents between congressmen in the House and Senate chambers or on nearby streets and dueling grounds” took place. The caning of Sumner was just one attack in a long tradition of mayhem on Capitol Hill, or what Freeman calls “the ongoing Congressional floor show” of verbal abuse and violence. The Civil War scholar David Potter wrote long ago that, by the 1840s, “Congress was beginning to lose its character as a meeting place for working out problems and to become a cockpit in which rival groups could match their best fighters against one another.” Freeman discloses a surprising amount of literal truth in Potter’s metaphor.​
...The picture of Congress we get from this book is less of a deliberative body of sober adults than of binge-drinking adolescents left alone without adult supervision. At first, the rowdy behavior took place within the confines of a quasi-private club, and thanks to the reticence of the early newspapers, what happened in the Capitol mostly stayed in the Capitol. But by the 1840s, with the rise of a commercially independent and increasingly partisan press, congressional brawling turned into a spectacle greeted by different factions of the public with delight or disgust. A Row in the Senate! Collision Between Foote and Benton! Pistol Drawn! was the blaring headline in the Milwaukee Sentinel and Gazetteafter the dustup between the two senators. Two days later, the editors of the Boston Herald wrote: “If one-half of our Congressmen would kill the other half, and then commit suicide themselves, we think the country would gain by the operation.”​
...Freeman’s story, which ranges beyond Washington, has elements of both horror and slapstick. When, in 1837, the speaker of the Arkansas House was insulted by a representative, he descended upon the offender and killed him with a bowie knife. “Acquitted for excusable homicide,” he was “reelected, only to pull his knife on another legislator during debate, though this time the sound of colleagues cocking pistols stopped him cold.” In 1856, a Southern-born California Democrat, told by a waiter at Willard’s Hotel that he’d arrived too late for breakfast, pulled out a gun and shot the man to death. Freeman doesn’t say whether the shooter stepped out elsewhere for ham and grits or waited until the dining room reopened for lunch. In Richmond, where representatives and senators from the seceded states convened a Congress of their own after Lincoln’s election, they hurled inkwells at one another over who was more loyal to the new Confederacy. The whole story has the manic oscillation between cruelty and comedy of a Marx brothers’ script.​

That behavior is unacceptable today, but it was the norm back then. Certainly, their rhetoric and discourse would also follow norms that we find reprehensible now.

To be clear: I find Calhoun's rhetoric disturbing on a number of levels. But I don't know if it was abnormal or hyperbolic in its time. They had a whole different concept of what was politically correct. Remember, this was a time when it was ok to keep people as chattel because of their ancestry, when women were denied rights because of their gender. Things that are unacceptable to us was OK to them. I am not condoning it, just saying, I need more supporting material to describe Calhoun's rhetoric as hyperbolic in his era.

- Alan
Thank you for your post, Alan. I always enjoy your informative contributions. And I always like it when posters reply to specific questions, as you did.

I always like to agree to agree rather than agree to disagree. Your reply strikes me as a move toward agreement --that Calhoun was hyperbolic. Know this: Every post I make has nothing to do with presentism. So, my judgment of Calhoun has nothing to do with today. Based on the definition of words then, I see his "destruction" language as not only hyperbolic but totally false. So, can we try again: Based on language then in use, was Calhoun's use of "destruction" hyperbolic? No hurry. Just an important factor in re: the OP. Once charge I will make when I submit my grading of SC's Secesh Declarations will be its hyperbolic and elliptical nature.

Let me add one thing without departing from the single question I just posed to you. A major difference between me and the slavery alone or primary advocates is this --as I see it: I take into account ALL the Secesh declarations i can find between 1845-1861, while my critics and opponents take only the immediate declarations of 1860 into account. I see a lot more to secession than December 1860.

Thanks again for your constructive engagement. You are a good role model.

James
 

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ForeverFree

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Thank you for your post, Alan. I always enjoy your informative contributions. And I always like it when posters reply to specific questions, as you did.

I always like to agree to agree rather than agree to disagree. Your reply strikes me as a move toward agreement --that Calhoun was hyperbolic. Know this: Every post I make has nothing to do with presentism. So, my judgment of Calhoun has nothing to do with today. Based on the definition of words then, I see his "destruction" language as not only hyperbolic but totally false. So, can we try again: Based on language then in use, was Calhoun's use of "destruction" hyperbolic? No hurry. Just an important factor in re: the OP. Once charge I will make when I submit my grading of SC's Secesh Declarations will be its hyperbolic and elliptical nature.

Let me add one thing without departing from the single question I just posed to you. A major difference between me and the slavery alone or primary advocates is this --as I see it: I take into account ALL the Secesh declarations i can find between 1845-1861, while my critics and opponents take only the immediate declarations of 1860 into account. I see a lot more to secession than December 1860.

Thanks again for your constructive engagement. You are a good role model.

James
RE: Your reply strikes me as a move toward agreement --that Calhoun was hyperbolic.

My point was that his language is hyperbolic based on today's standards, which is presentism. I did not say his language was hyperbolic based on his own times. In fact, I allude to the opposite conclusion.

RE: Based on language then in use, was Calhoun's use of "destruction" hyperbolic?

So, methodologically, how would we establish that Calhoun's language was or was not hyperbolic for the times? A good start would be to identify and examine white Southerner's discourse and rhetoric concerning the consequences of abolition.

So, what were some things being said? This is from the Mississippi secession declaration (A Declaration of the Immediate Causes which Induce and Justify the Secession of the State of Mississippi from the Federal Union)

In the momentous step, which our State has taken of dissolving its connection with the government of which we so long formed a part, it is but just that we should declare the prominent reasons which have induced our course.​
Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery - the greatest material interest of the world. Its labor supplies the product, which constitutes by far the largest and most important portions of commerce of the earth. These products are peculiar to the climate verging on the tropical regions, and by an imperious law of nature, none but the black race can bear exposure to the tropical sun.​
These products have become necessities of the world, and a blow at slavery is a blow at commerce and civilization. That blow has been long aimed at the institution, and was at the point of reaching its consummation. There was no choice left us but submission to the mandates of abolition, or a dissolution of the Union, whose principles had been subverted to work out our ruin.

The MS elite responsible for the Sec Dec explicitly ties abolition to the ruin of their state. Proof that speaking of abolition as being the end of the South was normal.

Recollect the words of GA governor Joe Brown in my previous post. Brown says:

Abolish slavery, and you make the negroes their equals, legally and socially (not naturally, for no human law can change God's law) and you very soon make them all tenants, and reduce their wages for daily labor to the smallest pittance that will sustain life. Then the negro and the white man, and their families, must labor in the field together as equals. Their children must go to the same poor school together, if they are educated at all. They must go to church as equals; enter the Courts of justice as equals, sue and be sued as equals, sit on juries together as equals, have the right to give evidence in Court as equals, stand side by side in our military corps as equals, enter each others' houses in social intercourse as equals; and very soon their children must marry together as equals.​
May our kind Heavenly Father avert the evil, and deliver the poor from such a fate. So soon as the slaves were at liberty, thousands of them would leave the cotton and rice fields in the lower parts of our State, and make their way to the healthier climate in the mountain region. We should have them plundering and stealing, robbing and killing, in all the lovely vallies of the mountains. This I can never consent to see. The mountains contain the place of my nativity, the home of my manhood, and the theatre of most of the acts of my life; and I can never forget the condition and interest of the people who reside there.​

Brown says abolition will lead to " plundering and stealing, robbing and killing"... blacks and whites would ""enter each others' houses in social intercourse as equals; and very soon their children must marry together as equals." Proof that speaking of abolition as being the end of the South was normal.

More to come...
 

ForeverFree

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...continued from post #183

In the Texas Secession Declaration, it is stated:

We hold as undeniable truths that the governments of the various States, and of the confederacy itself, were established exclusively by the white race, for themselves and their posterity; that the African race had no agency in their establishment; that they were rightfully held and regarded as an inferior and dependent race, and in that condition only could their existence in this country be rendered beneficial or tolerable.

That in this free government all white men are and of right ought to be entitled to equal civil and political rights; that the servitude of the African race, as existing in these States, is mutually beneficial to both bond and free, and is abundantly authorized and justified by the experience of mankind, and the revealed will of the Almighty Creator, as recognized by all Christian nations; while the destruction of the existing relations between the two races, as advocated by our sectional enemies, would bring inevitable calamities upon both and desolation upon the fifteen slave-holding States.​

The TX elite responsible for the Sec Dec explicitly says "the destruction of the existing relations between the two races" (ie, the master-slave relationship)" would bring inevitable calamities upon both and desolation upon the fifteen slave-holding States." Proof that speaking of abolition as being the end of the South was normal.

Benjamin Morgan Palmer was a pro-secession religious leader (January 25, 1818 – May 25, 1902). Per Wikipedia, Palmer, “a theologian and orator, was the first moderator of the Presbyterian Church in the Confederate States of America.” He was pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of New Orleans when he gave an influential “Thanksgiving Sermon” on November 29, 1860, shortly after Lincoln won the White House. In his sermon, Palmer argues for a break from the Union. Why? To enable the South to fulfill its God given trust to “conserve and perpetuate the institution of domestic slavery as now existing.” The threat of northern abolitionists, whose goal was “setting bounds to what God alone can regulate,” called the South “to resent and resist,” Palmer claimed.

Palmer’s sermon might seem extraordinary today for its forthright, righteous, and holy defense of slavery. But in Palmer’s time, the idea of slavery as God’s divine will and order was common in the slaveholding states. Palmer was, to use an expression, preaching to the choir.

The full text of the sermon is here; this an excerpt:

In determining our duty in this emergency (the election of Lincoln) it is necessary that we should first ascertain the nature of the trust providentially committed to us. A nation often has a character as well defined and intense as that of an individual. This depends, of course upon a variety of causes operating through a long period of time. It is due largely to the original traits which distinguish the stock from which it springs, and to the providential training which has formed its education.

But, however derived, this individuality of character alone makes any people truly historic, competent to work out its specific mission, and to become a factor in the world’s progress. The particular trust assigned to such a people becomes the pledge of the divine protection; and their fidelity to it determines the fate by which it is finally overtaken. What that trust is must be ascertained from the necessities of their position, the institutions which are the outgrowth of their principles and the conflicts through which they preserve their identity and independence.

If then the South is such a people, what, at this juncture, is their providential trust? I answer, that it is to conserve and to perpetuate the institution of domestic slavery as now existing.

...The country is convulsed simply because “the throne of iniquity frameth mischief by a law.” Without, therefore, determining the question of duty for future generations, I simply say, that for us, as now situated, the duty is plain of conserving and transmitting the system of slavery, with the freest scope for its natural development and extension.

Let us, my brethren, look our duty in the face. With this institution assigned to our keeping, what reply shall we make to those who say that its days are numbered? My own conviction is, that we should at once lift ourselves, intelligently, to the highest moral ground and proclaim to all the world that we hold this trust from God, and in its occupancy we are prepared to stand or fall as God may appoint. If the critical moment has arrived at which the great issue is joined, let us say that, in the sight of all perils, we will stand by our trust; and God be with the right!

The argument which enforces the solemnity of this providential trust is simple and condensed. It is bound upon us, then, by the principle of self preservation, that “first law” which is continually asserting its supremacy over all others. Need I pause to show how this system of servitude underlies and supports our material interests; that our wealth consists in our lands and in the serfs who till them; that from the nature of our products they can only be cultivated by labor which must be controlled in order to be certain; that any other than a tropical race must faint and wither beneath a tropical sun?

Need I pause to show how this system is interwoven with our entire social fabric; that these slaves form parts of our households, even as our children; and that, too, through a relationship recognized and sanctioned in the Scriptures of God even as the other? Must I pause to show how it has fashioned our modes of life, and determined all our habits of thought and feeling, and moulded the very type of our civilization? How then can the hand of violence be laid upon it without involving our existence?

It is a duty which we owe, further, to the civilized world. It is a remarkable fact that during these thirty years of unceasing warfare against slavery, and while a lying spirit has inflamed the world against us, that world has grown more and more dependent upon it for sustenance and wealth.

So literally true are the words of the text, addressed by Obadiah to Edom, “All the men of our confederacy, the men that were at peace with us, have eaten our bread at the very time they have deceived and laid a wound under us.” Even beyond this the enriching commerce which has built the splendid cities and marble palaces of England, as well as of America, has been largely established upon the products of our soil; and the blooms upon Southern fields gathered by black hands have fed the spindles and looms of Manchester and Birmingham not less than of Lawrence and Lowell.

Strike now a blow at this system of labor and the world itself totters at the stroke. Shall we permit that blow to fall? Do we not owe it to civilized man to stand in the breach and stay the uplifted arm? If the blind Samson lays hold of the pillars which support the arch of the world’s industry, how many more will be buried beneath its ruins than the lords of the Philistines? “Who knoweth whether we are not come to the kingdom for such a time as this.”​

Last of all, in this great struggle, we defend the cause of God and religion. The abolition spirit is undeniably atheistic. The demon which erected its throne upon the guillotine in the days of Robespierre and Marat, which abolished the Sabbath and worshipped reason in the person of a harlot, yet survives to work other horrors, of which those of the French Revolution are but the type.​
This spirit of atheism, which knows no God who tolerates evil, no Bible which sanctions law, and no conscience that can be bound by oaths and covenants, has selected us for its victims, and slavery for its issue. Its banner-cry rings out already upon the air—”liberty, equality, fraternity,” which simply interpreted mean bondage, confiscation and massacre. With its tricolor waving in the breeze,—it waits to inaugurate its reign of terror.​
To the South the high position is assigned of defending, before all nations, the cause of all religion and of all truth. In this trust, we are resisting the power which wars against constitutions and laws and compacts, against Sabbaths and sanctuaries, against the family, the State, and the Church; which blasphemously invades the prerogatives of God, and rebukes the Most High for the errors of his administration; which, if it cannot snatch the reign of empire from his grasp, will lay the universe in ruins at his feet. Is it possible that we shall decline the onset?​

After saying that slavery "is interwoven with our entire social fabric" Palmer says "Strike now a blow at this system of labor and the world itself totters at the stroke." Proof that speaking of abolition/the end of slavery as being the end of the South was normal.

More to come...
 

Paterson

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The South Carolina DoC certainly told the truth here:

"The parties to whom this Constitution was submitted, were the several sovereign States; they were to agree or disagree, and when nine of them agreed the compact was to take effect among those concurring; and the General Government, as the common agent, was then invested with their authority.

Edited.
 

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Alan,

Thank you for your informative posts. Just an FYI, for some reason I cannot open the links; however, never hesitate to send them, as maybe that is just a glitch that will heaal itself.
I'll go over the links to see that they are correct. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Can we agree that Calhoun was painting a picture that was hyperbolic? Say anything else you want, but can we build some agreement about this?
In the above posts, I included several primary sources that are actually from the the period of secession and the War to see what "normal" rhetoric and discourse looked like in the white South concerning the effect of abolition. These examples indicate that at least among the white Southern elite, there was a feeling that abolition would lead to the ruin of their section. Such language was not unique, it was not hyperbolic, it was was common and normal.

These docs were immediately accessible to me, but I have no doubt that there's more of this around, if one were to look.

So, this is the truth the secessionists believed. You can argue that they were wrong, and of course, abolitionists totally disagreed with them. But this was their truth, they were not being disingenuous.

- Alan
 

James Lutzweiler

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The South Carolina DoC certainly told the truth here:

"The parties to whom this Constitution was submitted, were the several sovereign States; they were to agree or disagree, and when nine of them agreed the compact was to take effect among those concurring; and the General Government, as the common agent, was then invested with their authority.

Edited.
Thank you for this partial answer to my OP. Let me know if you address all three parts.
 

James Lutzweiler

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I'll go over the links to see that they are correct. Sorry for the inconvenience.



In the above posts, I included several primary sources that are actually from the the period of secession and the War to see what "normal" rhetoric and discourse looked like in the white South concerning the effect of abolition. These examples indicate that at least among the white Southern elite, there was a feeling that abolition would lead to the ruin of their section. Such language was not unique, it was not hyperbolic, it was was common and normal.

These docs were immediately accessible to me, but I have no doubt that there's more of this around, if one were to look.

So, this is the truth the secessionists believed. You can argue that they were wrong, and of course, abolitionists totally disagreed with them. But this was their truth, they were not being disingenuous.

- Alan
No inconvenience at all. But thank you.

I wll be happy to address your past couple of posts; but would you do something for me first?

I refer to my OP. Do I read you correctly that your answer to my question is an unqualified YES? I have no desire to put words in your mouth. I gather from your posts that YES is your answer; Edited. Please advise.
 

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Using present day standards, I would say that his language is over the top. I would also say, using present day standards, that it's plainly racist. But I don't know if this kind of rhetoric was abnormal by the standards of the day, and I am worried about applying presentism in a review of these words.
Thanks for the important reminder.
 

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RE: Did South Carolina's Declaration of Causes for Secession tell the Truth, the WHOLE TRUTH, and Nothing but the Truth?

I cannot answer the question, because I do not know the definition of "the truth" as you conceive it.

I do believe the secessionists wrote the truth they thought was important to tell, which distilled the essence of their argument for dissolving the Union. Of course they could have written more. But the things that were essential for them to say, they said.

As noted earlier, the constraints of time, precision, brevity, and other things, limited what they could or would say in their Declaration. They were not writing a laundry list of issues, they were trying to get to the point, in as persuasive a way as possible. They were writing what they knew was a momentous document, and they were writing a document that would stand the test of time. A persuasive argument for secession does not necessarily have to include everything there is to say about secession. Things that might be "true" but not persuasive would and could and maybe should be omitted.

To put it simply: I believe they told all the truth they felt was persuasive, based on their perception what the truth was.

Q: Do I personally think the Sec Dec was a pack of lies, a cesspool of disingenuousosity (is that a word?), not worth the paper it's printed on? I have not researched every fact that's stated, so I cannot comment. I have always thought the facts were reasonable and accurately presented. In my research, I don't recall too many people saying that on the basis of accuracy, the Sec Dec really misses the mark, or plays loose with the facts. But if any member has perspectives on this, I'd be interested to see it.

I also recognize that, in addition to being their bill of particulars, the secessionists reached conclusions to which I might or might not agree, but I really haven't looked at it from a critical perspective. I haven't really wanted to argue with the doc, as much as I want to know what's in it, and understand what reasons they gave. From my current perspective, I will obviously have issues (because it's a pro-slavery document, for one), but this was their argument for their audience. They couldn't care less what somebody like me thought about it.

- Alan
 

James Lutzweiler

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RE: Did South Carolina's Declaration of Causes for Secession tell the Truth, the WHOLE TRUTH, and Nothing but the Truth?

I cannot answer the question, because I do not know the definition of "the truth" as you conceive it.

I do believe the secessionists wrote the truth they thought was important to tell, which distilled the essence of their argument for dissolving the Union. Of course they could have written more. But the things that were essential for them to say, they said.

As noted earlier, the constraints of time, precision, brevity, and other things, limited what they could or would say in their Declaration. They were not writing a laundry list of issues, they were trying to get to the point, in as persuasive a way as possible. They were writing what they knew was a momentous document, and they were writing a document that would stand the test of time. A persuasive argument for secession does not necessarily have to include everything there is to say about secession. Things that might be "true" but not persuasive would and could and maybe should be omitted.

To put it simply: I believe they told all the truth they felt was persuasive, based on their perception what the truth was.

Q: Do I personally think the Sec Dec was a pack of lies, a cesspool of disingenuousosity (is that a word?), not worth the paper it's printed on? I have not researched every fact that's stated, so I cannot comment. I have always thought the facts were reasonable and accurately presented. In my research, I don't recall too many people saying that on the basis of accuracy, the Sec Dec really misses the mark, or plays loose with the facts. But if any member has perspectives on this, I'd be interested to see it.

I also recognize that, in addition to being their bill of particulars, the secessionists reached conclusions to which I might or might not agree, but I really haven't looked at it from a critical perspective. I haven't really wanted to argue with the doc, as much as I want to know what's in it, and understand what reasons they gave. From my current perspective, I will obviously have issues (because it's a pro-slavery document, for one), but this was their argument for their audience. They couldn't care less what somebody like me thought about it.

- Alan
Would I be correct in saying that you cannot unequivocally call it the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth? That you do have some reservations?

Once again, I am pointedly NOT trying to put words in your mouth. I am exploring whether these documents on their face value deserve a ringing endorsement. And these people called upon the likes of you and me to judge their reasons. I have judge them terribly missed leading and only posterity papers. You need not agree with me 1%. All I am asking for is your view, yes or no. By virtue of the fact that you cannot unequivocally say yes, I gather there is perhaps one percent of hesitation, if not more. Would I be correct?
 

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Would I be correct in saying that you cannot unequivocally call it the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth? That you do have some reservations?

Once again, I am pointedly NOT trying to put words in your mouth. I am exploring whether these documents on their face value deserve a ringing endorsement. And these people called upon the likes of you and me to judge their reasons. I have judge them terribly missed leading and only posterity papers. You need not agree with me 1%. All I am asking for is your view, yes or no. By virtue of the fact that you cannot unequivocally say yes, I gather there is perhaps one percent of hesitation, if not more. Would I be correct?
{1} So, what method would I use to determine that the Sec Dec was the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth? Perhaps I could (a) identify what the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth would look like (the "ideal" truth) for such a document; and (b) compare the actual Sec Dec to the "ideal" doc; and (c) determine how much lacking in truth the Sec Dec is, compared to the ideal.

I don't have the desire, energy, or enthusiasm for that, unfortunately. My answer to the question, was the Declaration "the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth", is that I have no answer.

{2} If the question is, are the facts mentioned in the Sec Dec false or misleading: I have not fact checked the document in any detail. My impression when I read it is that it appears factual, and I haven't read anyone who has cited the Sed Dec as factually unsound.

If there are parts of the Sec Dec that you know to be factually inaccurate, I think the members would love to hear your thoughts on that.

{3} If the question is, do I believe they made a strong case for secession?: in the Sec Dec, SC says that the incoming Republican Administration wishes to "wage a war against slavery." If I were in their shoes, I would probably want to leave the Union in that case. I think they made a reasonable case for people who shared their beliefs, perceptions, and values.

{4} Is it true that Republicans wanted to wage a war against slavery, as claimed by SC?: That has been the subject of some debate in the academy. I think that based on the policies espoused by the Republicans, and given the world view of the secessionists, they genuinely perceived that the threat existed, even if the threat might not be real. And perception rules. I would not say they were delusional at all.

I do think that the ideas, beliefs, feelings, biases, and perceptions of Carolinians led them to a secession decision that entailed a lot of risk. I further think they spectacularly miscalculated the risk level of the secessionist project. Sadly, many humans learn only by experience.

- Alan
 

James Lutzweiler

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{1} So, what method would I use to determine that the Sec Dec was the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth? Perhaps I could (a) identify what the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth would look like (the "ideal" truth) for such a document; and (b) compare the actual Sec Dec to the "ideal" doc; and (c) determine how much lacking in truth the Sec Dec is, compared to the ideal.

I don't have the desire, energy, or enthusiasm for that, unfortunately. My answer to the question, was the Declaration "the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth", is that I have no answer.

{2} If the question is, are the facts mentioned in the Sec Dec false or misleading: I have not fact checked the document in any detail. My impression when I read it is that it appears factual, and I haven't read anyone who has cited the Sed Dec as factually unsound.

If there are parts of the Sec Dec that you know to be factually inaccurate, I think the members would love to hear your thoughts on that.

{3} If the question is, do I believe they made a strong case for secession?: in the Sec Dec, SC says that the incoming Republican Administration wishes to "wage a war against slavery." If I were in their shoes, I would probably want to leave the Union in that case. I think they made a reasonable case for people who shared their beliefs, perceptions, and values.

{4} Is it true that Republicans wanted to wage a war against slavery, as claimed by SC?: That has been the subject of some debate in the academy. I think that based on the policies espoused by the Republicans, and given the world view of the secessionists, they genuinely perceived that the threat existed, even if the threat might not be real. And perception rules. I would not say they were delusional at all.

I do think that the ideas, beliefs, feelings, biases, and perceptions of Carolinians led them to a secession decision that entailed a lot of risk. I further think they spectacularly miscalculated the risk level of the secessionist project. Sadly, many humans learn only by experience.

- Alan
I commend you for an A+ explicit reply to my OP. Thank you.

This brief reply is not to neglect all your other fine contributions. Lots of good food for thought.

Just one byte for now. I consider the claim that Republicans wish to "wage a war against slavery" to be a straw man. There are other ways to eliminate undesirable facts of life short of war. By invoking "war" imagery, SC was able to fire up the masses. Simple Nortern expansion into the West would give the North enough political power and military might to eliminate slavery without lifting a finger other than to sign legislation banning it. SC had the option to phrase its Secession this way, but it doesn't quite have the buzz that te threat of war does. And did SC think that by seceding the North --and some Southerners-- was just going to fold up the abolitionist tents and go home? This is one reason I give SC an A+ in non sequiturs. Simply no way. This was probably one component of the expressions by others that slavery was safe in the Union than out of it. Robert Hayne, the great debater of Webster and a Nullifier at one time, even believed that slavery was doomed on its own without any help from the North. But red hot Rhett, a young punk of only 32, was not interested in moderate voices and buried such with threats of ostracism. What of significance had Rhett ever done besides set newsprint that fattened his wallet?

But forget this for now, if you wish. Go back and read the first four sentences above.
 

ForeverFree

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Just one byte for now. I consider the claim that Republicans wish to "wage a war against slavery" to be a straw man. There are other ways to eliminate undesirable facts of life short of war. By invoking "war" imagery, SC was able to fire up the masses. Simple Nortern expansion into the West would give the North enough political power and military might to eliminate slavery without lifting a finger other than to sign legislation banning it. SC had the option to phrase its Secession this way, but it doesn't quite have the buzz that te threat of war does. And did SC think that by seceding the North --and some Southerners-- was just going to fold up the abolitionist tents and go home? This is one reason I give SC an A+ in non sequiturs. Simply no way. This was probably one component of the expressions by others that slavery was safe in the Union than out of it.

Robert Hayne, the great debater of Webster and a Nullifier at one time, even believed that slavery was doomed on its own without any help from the North. But red hot Rhett, a young punk of only 32, was not interested in moderate voices and buried such with threats of ostracism. What of significance had Rhett ever done besides set newsprint that fattened his wallet?.
See, here's the thing. In earlier posts, I point out that:

• The MS elite responsible for the Sec Dec explicitly ties abolition to the ruin of their state. Proof that speaking of abolition as being the end of the South was normal.​
• In a letter justifying secession, GA governor Brown says abolition will lead to " plundering and stealing, robbing and killing"... blacks and whites would ""enter each others' houses in social intercourse as equals; and very soon their children must marry together as equals." Proof that speaking of abolition as being the end of the South was normal.​
• The TX elite responsible for the Sec Dec explicitly says "the destruction of the existing relations between the two races" (ie, the master-slave relationship)" would bring inevitable calamities upon both and desolation upon the fifteen slave-holding States." Proof that speaking of abolition as being the end of the South was normal.​
• In a pro-secession sermon given in Louisiana, the religious leader Morgan Palmer says slavery "is interwoven with our entire social fabric," and further says "Strike now a blow at this system of labor and the world itself totters at the stroke." Proof that speaking of abolition/the end of slavery as being the end of the South was normal.​

The idea of Republican-borne abolition as a threat to the South was common, normal, and pervasive. This was not the idea of a few young hot heads, it was just the opposite.

Now, was the decision to secede a a reasonable response to the perceived threat? In hindsight, secession was a huge mistake. But I am reminded of an episode on the first version of Star Trek, from decades ago. Mr Spock asks his father why he married a human woman, with all of her failings. His father replied, "it seemed logical at the time."

Recollect, this was a time when the conflict between slavery and anti-slavery had escalated sharply. With Bleeding Kansas and the John Brown Raid part of the landscape, the sum of all Southern fears regarding radical northern abolitionism were made flesh. Driven by passion, fear, and anger, at least, secession made sense at the time.

All of this must be taken into account before we dismiss what these secessionists said and did.

I will note this. For almost a century after the end of the war, it was legal in the South to deny people the right to vote based on where their parents were from. On the same basis, certain people were denied the right to sit on a jury. Certain people were much more likely to go to jail. Certain people were denied certain jobs. Certain people were forced to sit in the back of the bus.

These conditions seem un-American, unfair, immoral and evil; but also illogical and unreasonable. How could people think like that? Yet it was a way of life for decades.

Most of us today are non-racists. We do not appreciate how notions of race consumed and dominated the beliefs, feelings, and thoughts of antebellum Americans. These thoughts so consumed them that they made decisions which were debatable and controversial, perhaps impulsive, eventually decisive, and ultimately self-destructive. When we reckon with that mind-set, their decisions and actions make a lot of sense. If we were them, we'd do the same thing.

- Alan
 
Last edited:

ForeverFree

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I commend you for an A+ explicit reply to my OP. Thank you.

This brief reply is not to neglect all your other fine contributions. Lots of good food for thought.

Just one byte for now. I consider the claim that Republicans wish to "wage a war against slavery" to be a straw man. There are other ways to eliminate undesirable facts of life short of war. By invoking "war" imagery, SC was able to fire up the masses. Simple Nortern expansion into the West would give the North enough political power and military might to eliminate slavery without lifting a finger other than to sign legislation banning it. SC had the option to phrase its Secession this way, but it doesn't quite have the buzz that te threat of war does. And did SC think that by seceding the North --and some Southerners-- was just going to fold up the abolitionist tents and go home? This is one reason I give SC an A+ in non sequiturs. Simply no way. This was probably one component of the expressions by others that slavery was safe in the Union than out of it. Robert Hayne, the great debater of Webster and a Nullifier at one time, even believed that slavery was doomed on its own without any help from the North. But red hot Rhett, a young punk of only 32, was not interested in moderate voices and buried such with threats of ostracism. What of significance had Rhett ever done besides set newsprint that fattened his wallet?
One last thing, and then I think that will be it for my comments in the thread.

Above, you say: "By invoking "war" imagery, SC was able to fire up the masses. Simple Nortern expansion into the West would give the North enough political power and military might to eliminate slavery without lifting a finger other than to sign legislation banning it. SC had the option to phrase its Secession this way, but it doesn't quite have the buzz that te threat of war does."

Well, yes - this is what people - all people do. In trying to convince people do things, we often see rhetorical flourishes that involve heart pulling, fear invoking, anger inducing, the whole thing. This was not unique to secessionists.

Any two or more humans can have vastly different reactions to a single object based on how we feel, what we believe, and what we perceive. For example, secessionists and Unionists looked at the facts of the day and made vastly different decisions about how to respond to them. We have to understand the prisms through which people viewed things to understand what the truth was for them.

Secession was not merely a logical decision, it was an emotional decision and a values decision. Secession was not a matter of just looking at some stats, or assessing various inputs. Secession was a function of how people felt, and what they believed.

These secession declarations were never about objective truth, and if graded on that basis, they can only fail. This is not to say that falsifications should be ignored, or that instances of being disingenuous should not be criticized, for example. Just saying these declarations were about more than the objective truth. Stuff like this often is. The writers of these docs no doubt graded their works not just for their facts, but for the way they expressed their feelings and values, and thus connected with readers in a way they hoped was persuasive.

- Alan
 

James Lutzweiler

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See, here's the thing. In earlier posts, I point out that:

• The MS elite responsible for the Sec Dec explicitly ties abolition to the ruin of their state. Proof that speaking of abolition as being the end of the South was normal.​
• In a letter justifying secession, GA governor Brown says abolition will lead to " plundering and stealing, robbing and killing"... blacks and whites would ""enter each others' houses in social intercourse as equals; and very soon their children must marry together as equals." Proof that speaking of abolition as being the end of the South was normal.​
• The TX elite responsible for the Sec Dec explicitly says "the destruction of the existing relations between the two races" (ie, the master-slave relationship)" would bring inevitable calamities upon both and desolation upon the fifteen slave-holding States." Proof that speaking of abolition as being the end of the South was normal.​
• In a pro-secession sermon given in Louisiana, the religious leader Morgan Palmer says slavery "is interwoven with our entire social fabric," and further says "Strike now a blow at this system of labor and the world itself totters at the stroke." Proof that speaking of abolition/the end of slavery as being the end of the South was normal.​

The idea of Republican-borne abolition as a threat to the South was common, normal, and pervasive. This was not the idea of a few young hot heads, it was just the opposite.

Now, was the decision to secede a a reasonable response to the perceived threat? In hindsight, secession was a huge mistake. But I am reminded of an episode on the first version of Star Trek, from decades ago. Mr Spock asks his father why he married a human woman, with all of her failings. His father replied, "it seemed logical at the time."

Recollect, this was a time when the conflict between slavery and anti-slavery had escalated sharply. With Bleeding Kansas and the John Brown Raid part of the landscape, the sum of all Southern fears regarding radical northern abolitionism were made flesh. Driven by passion, fear, and anger, at least, secession made sense at the time.

All of this must be taken into account before we dismiss what these secessionists said and did.

I will note this. For almost a century after the end of the war, it was legal in the South to deny people the right to vote based on where their parents were from. On the same basis, certain people were denied the right to sit on a jury. Certain people were much more likely to go to jail. Certain people were denied certain jobs. Certain people were forced to sit in the back of the bus.

These conditions seem un-American, unfair, immoral and evil; but also illogical and unreasonable. How could people think like that? Yet it was a way of life for decades.

Most of us today are non-racists. We do not appreciate how notions of race consumed and dominated the beliefs, feelings, and thoughts of antebellum Americans. These thoughts so consumed them that they made decisions which were debatable and controversial, perhaps impulsive, eventually decisive, and ultimately self-destructive. When we reckon with that mind-set, their decisions and actions make a lot of sense. If we were them, we'd do the same thing.

- Alan
Thank you for your customary fine post.

Just so we don't wander too far from my OP, do recall that my primary interest is only in SC's Declarations. This is not a criticism of your offerings, as valuable as they are. Ironically, they represent a form of presentism in that all of these other declarations occur AFTER SC's Declaration. Would you agree? I clearly see the parallelism and I am sure everyone else does. But in my own dealing with the question, I only allow myself to use what can be known as of December 24, 1860. In my quest nothing after that date occurred. And as you might also recall, I have called all of these other states nothing but copycats anyway. This subject is very large. I don't need to tell a man of your skills that. That is why I am taking one byte at a time, i.e., SC's Declarations.

Incidentally, I do NOT find your Star Trek analogy a form of presentism. I find analogies outside the time period very useful and I hope it is not edited out.

Having said all this, let me add to your fodder something that I would guess you already know but that others might not. The wife of General Sherman is alleged to have said “I hope this may not be a war of emancipation but of extermination, & that all under the influence of the foul fiend may be driven like swine into the sea. May we carry fire and sword into their states till not one habitation is left standing.” Not very lady like, but the exact kind of thing SC's Seceshers had in mind when they prophesied of Yankee atrocities. I would guess that many Yankees felt this way, if an ostensibly stereotypically mild mannered female felt this way.

Meantime, you will find at ttps://www.abbevilleinstitute.org/clyde-wilson-library/why-the-war-was-not-about-slavery/ a partial representation of my own views in re: SC's Secesh Declarations.

James
 

James Lutzweiler

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One last thing, and then I think that will be it for my comments in the thread.

Above, you say: "By invoking "war" imagery, SC was able to fire up the masses. Simple Nortern expansion into the West would give the North enough political power and military might to eliminate slavery without lifting a finger other than to sign legislation banning it. SC had the option to phrase its Secession this way, but it doesn't quite have the buzz that te threat of war does."

Well, yes - this is what people - all people do. In trying to convince people do things, we often see rhetorical flourishes that involve heart pulling, fear invoking, anger inducing, the whole thing. This was not unique to secessionists.

Any two or more humans can have vastly different reactions to a single object based on how we feel, what we believe, and what we perceive. For example, secessionists and Unionists looked at the facts of the day and made vastly different decisions about how to respond to them. We have to understand the prisms through which people viewed things to understand what the truth was for them.

Secession was not merely a logical decision, it was an emotional decision and a values decision. Secession was not a matter of just looking at some stats, or assessing various inputs. Secession was a function of how people felt, and what they believed.

These secession declarations were never about objective truth, and if graded on that basis, they can only fail. This is not to say that falsifications should be ignored, or that instances of being disingenuous should not be criticized, for example. Just saying these declarations were about more than the objective truth. Stuff like this often is. The writers of these docs no doubt graded their works not just for their facts, but for the way they expressed their feelings and values, and thus connected with readers in a way they hoped was persuasive.

- Alan
Thank you for your post, Alan. I for one will miss your contributions.

And thank you for a pointed, a very pointed, answer to my OP. I read that as SC's failure to convey objective truth, that those Decarations are not the whole truth which was the exact point of my OP --and the point of the link I just posted by the learned editor of John C. Calhoun's papers. I think earlier you had said "no opinion" or something akin to it. I laud your segue.

For a good exercise in what many prominent South Carolinians actually believed was a rational move that would save slavery, see the biography of Robert Hayne which is online. Hayne, you may recall, was not only a U.S. Senator who debated Webster, but also at one time the governor of SC and the mayor of Charleston. He abandoned these political pursuits for a practical solution that involved the West and western territories. I don't often see Hayne quoted in standard Civil War books.

Best,

James
 

Viper21

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He was not claiming the Yankees were out to commit genocide. That is simplistic, imprecise, and incorrect.

Calhoun did not believe, and did not say, that Northerners wanted to kill or exterminate the Southern people.
Sherman did..

Gen. Sherman in a June 21, 1864, letter to Lincoln's Sec. of War, Edwin Station wrote, "...There is a class of people men, women and children, who must be killed or banished before you can hope for peace and order." Stanton replied, "Your letter of the 21st of June has just reached me and meets my approval."

"The government of the U.S. has any and all rights which they choose to enforce in war - to take their lives, their homes, their land, their everything...war is simply unrestrained by the Constitution...to the persistent secessionist, why, death is mercy, and the quicker he or she is disposed of the better... Gen. W. T. Sherman, Jan. 31, 1864.
 

ForeverFree

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Thank you for your customary fine post.

Just so we don't wander too far from my OP, do recall that my primary interest is only in SC's Declarations. This is not a criticism of your offerings, as valuable as they are. Ironically, they represent a form of presentism in that all of these other declarations occur AFTER SC's Declaration. Would you agree? I clearly see the parallelism and I am sure everyone else does. But in my own dealing with the question, I only allow myself to use what can be known as of December 24, 1860. In my quest nothing after that date occurred. And as you might also recall, I have called all of these other states nothing but copycats anyway. This subject is very large. I don't need to tell a man of your skills that. That is why I am taking one byte at a time, i.e., SC's Declarations.

Incidentally, I do NOT find your Star Trek analogy a form of presentism. I find analogies outside the time period very useful and I hope it is not edited out.

Having said all this, let me add to your fodder something that I would guess you already know but that others might not. The wife of General Sherman is alleged to have said “I hope this may not be a war of emancipation but of extermination, & that all under the influence of the foul fiend may be driven like swine into the sea. May we carry fire and sword into their states till not one habitation is left standing.” Not very lady like, but the exact kind of thing SC's Seceshers had in mind when they prophesied of Yankee atrocities. I would guess that many Yankees felt this way, if an ostensibly stereotypically mild mannered female felt this way.

Meantime, you will find at ttps://www.abbevilleinstitute.org/clyde-wilson-library/why-the-war-was-not-about-slavery/ a partial representation of my own views in re: SC's Secesh Declarations.

James
I did want to take the opportunity to answer your comments, but I do hope I can do this and perhaps go to other pastures.

RE: Ironically, they represent a form of presentism in that all of these other declarations occur AFTER SC's Declaration. Would you agree?

...they represent a form of presentism...???... All of the secession events took place during the same period, ie, secession winter. The SC Sec Dec is dated December 24, 1860. The SC Sec Dec is dated January 15, 1861. The SC Sec Dec is dated December 24, 1860. The SC Sec Dec is dated February 2, 1861. These docs are all within weeks of each... they were contemporaries. This is NOT presentism. Presentism involves gulfs of years, often generations.

I was responding to the question: was the claim "abolition equals the end of the South" hyperbolic? My methodology was to look at the language used contemporarily in the South. There was a discourse about events that was greater than that within the state. Much of what they said, felt, and believed was generated as a unit collective called "The South." My conclusion was that based on what Southerners were saying at the time, that claim was common, normal, and pervasive.

If you can offer another methodology, with a different outcome, I would welcome that.
**********

RE: The wife of General Sherman is alleged to have said “I hope this may not be a war of emancipation but of extermination, & that all under the influence of the foul fiend may be driven like swine into the sea. May we carry fire and sword into their states till not one habitation is left standing.” Not very lady like, but the exact kind of thing SC's Seceshers had in mind when they prophesied of Yankee atrocities. I would guess that many Yankees felt this way, if an ostensibly stereotypically mild mannered female felt this way.

This is out of context with the OP. The secessionists were talking about what would happen if an abolitionist Republican administration took power, not about what would happen during a civil war. The Sherman comments were ABSOLUTELY NOT the exact kind of thing SC secessionists "had in mind when they prophesied of Yankee atrocities." The secessionists were anticipating what would happen in peacetime as a result of Republican control of the Executive branch.

RE: In my quest nothing after that date occurred.

That is a very problematic way to look at history. Often things that are said or happen after a particular event are useful, insightful, and perhaps even necessary to understand the event. From a standpoint of proper methods, I would suggest you rethink that.

- Alan
 

USS ALASKA

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History Theses Department of History
1-12-2006

Render unto Caesar: Sovereignty, the Obligations of Citizenship, and the Diplomatic History of the American Civil War
by Samuel David Negus

This Thesis is brought to you for free and open access by the Department of History at ScholarWorks @ Georgia State University. It has been accepted for inclusion in History Theses by an authorized administrator of ScholarWorks @ Georgia State University. For more information, please contact scholarworks@gsu.edu.

ABSTRACT
In scholarship on the Civil War there is generally a lack of emphasis placed upon the significance of transatlantic diplomacy. However, much of the literature that is devoted to this subject does little to draw the importance of diplomatic and domestic histories together. This thesis uses British Foreign Office papers to discuss the role of Her majesty’s consuls, and the importance of resident persons of British nativity, especially within the Confederacy, during the war. It argues that the struggle between the Union and the new Confederacy affected diplomatic relations not only in the geo-political sense, but directly and personally through the fate of foreign individuals residing within America. Political theory and the semantics of ideology will be cross-examined against British, Confederate and Union government documents and correspondence in order to develop a deeper understanding of the flexibility and malleability of the concept of sovereignty, and its role in Civil War diplomacy.

https://scholarworks.gsu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1004&context=history_theses
636

Cheers,
USS ALASKA
 

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