Sectional Party of 1860

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Joshism

Sergeant Major
Joined
Apr 30, 2012
Location
Jupiter, FL
There were numerous policy differences between the Republican Party and the Democrats in the South. As you mentioned, the Republicans opposed the extension of slavery into the territories which the south disagreed with. Furthermore, as part of their party platform, the Republicans in 1860 also advocated tariffs to protect domestic industry from foreign competition. Most of the manufacturing sector was located in the north and the southern states were opposed to such tariffs which would increase the cost of imported goods. The Republicans also wanted to pass a Homestead Bill in order to encourage the settlement of farms in the western region by offering cheap land in small parcels. Southerners feared that such a policy would discourage the establishment of large scale plantation agriculture. The Republicans also favored internal improvements to support the development of transportation facilities. Southerners viewed federal subsidies for such projects primarily as a benefit to the northern states which had a more developed transportation network. These are just a few examples of why the Republican Party was considered to be anti-southern.
Tariffs and internal improvements were planks leftover from the Whig party, which was national.

"Large-scale plantation agriculture" = slavery.
 

trice

Lt. Colonel
Joined
May 2, 2006
She is a good Source to begin with. One reason I used her, she has no ties to the South, Abbyville or anything else. Southern Nationalism has been studied at nausea. Not so much the Yankee.
What do you mean by "Yankee" nationalism? It would seem to be simple Americanism in 1860.
 
Last edited:

trice

Lt. Colonel
Joined
May 2, 2006
Tariffs and internal improvements were planks leftover from the Whig party, which was national.
Yes, Henry Clay of Kentucky was most closely associated with it -- along with John C. Calhoun and the rest of the War Hawks, Daniel Webster and some others. In 1824-1828, the US was technically a one-party system; the Whigs really don't start until after Jackson's victory splits up the Democratic-Republican Party -- and the roots of the American System go back to the end of the War of 1812 (and are really based on Alexander Hamilton's Federalist ideas.)

"Large-scale plantation agriculture" = slavery.
In "the South" before the American Civil War, yep. After that, pretty much the same system -- technically without the slaves -- came back under new terms. We can find lots of examples of "large-scale plantation agriculture" around the world where the workers have not been legally "slaves".
 
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Potomac Pride

Sergeant Major
Joined
Oct 28, 2011
Location
Georgia
There are always "policy differences". It doesn't matter whether we are talking about modern day America or the 1850s or the 1770s. It doesn't matter if we are talking about France or Austria or Britain or the Roman Empire. There are always "policy differences". Having "policy differences" doesn't make the Republican Party "anti-Southern".

While there was certainly more industry in "the North" (as in "the rest of the country") than in "the South", "the North" was still largely agricultural -- particularly in OH-IN-IL-MI-WI-MN-IA. "The South" could have aligned itself with that area against the northeast -- but they could not bear to compromise and so lost out.

You can find Southerners supporting protective tariffs before the Civil War easily enough -- you just have to look at items where a protective tariff was a benefit to 'the South". When the day came in the 1830s where South Carolina planters discovered that rice from Java could be sold for less on the dock in Charleston than rice they floated downriver to Charleston, they immediately decided they wanted a protective tariff -- and they pushed it right through Congress in the next Tariff. Over on a different river, the sugar planters of Louisiana happily pocketed all the extra profits the tariff on sugar imports gave them without protesting the protection of their business.

In 1860, the Republicans saw two advantages in the Tariff:
  • in PA and parts of NJ, the protection of the iron-and-steel industry was very popular -- because that was where the iron-and-steel industry was largely concentrated and they were being badly hurt by British imports in the Panic of 1857 (just as they were in the 1830s leading to the Panic of 1837). This was also popular in parts of western VA (which was more closely associated with Pittsburgh than Richmond).
  • everywhere else, the real interest was in the new tax on wool imports -- because somehow small farmers saw that as "their tariff". Apparently, farmers dreamed of making a bit of cash off higher prices on wool from sheep. Again this was a popular thought in western Virginia.
On "cheap"land, the cost of an acre in "the North" was roughly three times the cost of an acre in "the South".

"The South" wanted to be able to buy land at cheap prices just like people everywhere else did. In particular, the entire cotton plantation system was closely tied to cheap Federal land sales because of the exhaustion of land in growing cotton (roughly a seven year cycle from first clearing-and-planting to the end of productive crops) -- which drove a continual migration-and-expansion into new land. What you are describing points to "the South's" opposition to the proposed cheap land in the Homestead Act as being a bit hypocritical -- they want land they buy to be cheap, but are opposed to letting the land others buy be cheap.

Virtually all of the income of the Federal government came from two sources: the Tariff (the largest part by far) and Federal land sales. Given the financial disaster presided over by the Southern-dominated Buchanan administration, an increase in revenue was essential in 1860 to pay down the Federal debt and generate operating funds -- but "the South" appears to have been opposed to paying to clean up the mess they made.

"The South" also seems to have wanted more Federal spending where it would help them -- and was opposed to Federal spending elsewhere. They wanted the protection of Federal power (troops and ships, economic strength, a merchant marine, diplomatic leverage) -- but they did not want to pay for what they got.

These are the "policy differences" that no one ever wants to discuss from the Southern standpoint. If they did not want higher tariffs or land prices, how did "the South" propose to raise the necessary income to run the government? Did "the South" want an income tax, particularly on rich planters? Did they want a tax on real property -- which would hit the planter class heavily? Just how did "the South" plan to run a government if they did not want to pay for it?
The south viewed the Republican Party as being anti-southern because it was the first truly sectional party that promoted the interests of the northern states at the expense of the south. The economy of the US was experiencing problems before the Civil War as a result of the Panic of 1857. This was a sudden downturn in the economy of the country that resulted in the successive failure of banks, businesses and financial declines in the railroad industry. By 1860, the U.S. treasury was depleted and needed revenue. However, the Homestead Act proposed by the Republicans granted settlers small parcels of public land for the price of only a small filing fee. The south believed in the sale of public lands to raise revenue and the development of large scale plantation agriculture. Although, the southern states were opposed to the protective tariff proposed by the Republicans in 1860 because it would benefit northern industry and increase the cost of imported goods in the south.
 

trice

Lt. Colonel
Joined
May 2, 2006
The south viewed the Republican Party as being anti-southern because it was the first truly sectional party that promoted the interests of the northern states at the expense of the south. The economy of the US was experiencing problems before the Civil War as a result of the Panic of 1857. This was a sudden downturn in the economy of the country that resulted in the successive failure of banks, businesses and financial declines in the railroad industry. By 1860, the U.S. treasury was depleted and needed revenue. However, the Homestead Act proposed by the Republicans granted settlers small parcels of public land for the price of only a small filing fee. The south believed in the sale of public lands to raise revenue and the development of large scale plantation agriculture. Although, the southern states were opposed to the protective tariff proposed by the Republicans in 1860 because it would benefit northern industry and increase the cost of imported goods in the south.
This seems to say that "the South" saw anyone and everything that did not agree with "the South" on any matter at all as "anti-southern". Is that what you are saying here?

The Panic of 1857 was caused by many things. The massive oversupply of shipping was caused by both the new steamship technology (obsoleting sailing ships) and the shipbuilding boom driven by the post-Mexican-War California Gold Rush -- which led to new ships being started but never finished, existing ships laying idle for lack of cargo, and seamen/dock-workers-shipbuilders with no work. The end of the Crimean War (1853-56) led to the French/British merchants taking back most of the Russian shipping market the US monopolized during that war -- leaving US flag ships without cargoes and increasing the shipping glut (which also led to some desperate ship-owners turning to illegal actions like the Wanderer and other slave-trading examples). The end of the Crimean War (1853-56) also led to the French/British iron-and-steel industry dumping their now-extra output into the American market -- causing the pain that fed the demand for a high tariff on iron-and-steel imports. This is economics as usual and the list can go on and on.

The Southern-dominated Buchanan administration came into office in 1857, inheriting a very nice budget surplus and a stash of cash in the Treasury from the Pierce administration, with their own axes to grind. Times were good and they felt they could do whatever they wanted.

"The South" wanted a lower tariff (never mind that the US tariff was already considered pretty low). They didn't want the Federal government to have cash on hand and like all politicians they had things they wanted to do (just different things than the other guys); doing them required spending money (it always does); and they did not want to actually pay for it (who does?). So they slashed the government income (IOW, they passed the Tariff of 1857), they spent the pile of cash in the Treasury, and they spent money they did not have. Whatever the benefits of that might have been, they picked the wrong time to start it: Buchanan took office in March and the Panic of 1857 exploded by Fall.

While "the North" (as in "the rest of the country") suffered mightily, "the South" crowed about how well they were doing. This is the period when all that nonsense about "King Cotton" reached its' peak, when that disreputable Senator from South Carolina made his "Cotton is King" speech in the halls of Congress (March 4, 1858). The planter class of "the South" was seen as laughing at the misery of "the North" (as in "the rest of the country"). It is also the period when "the South" is trying to re-introduce slavery into areas where it had long been banned ("Bleeding Kansas" 1854-61 and elsewhere), to roll back decades of established laws (the Northwest Territory Act, the Missouri Compromise, the Compromise of 1850) and court decisions (Dred Scott in 1857, etc.) and to drag the nation into foreign wars and conquest in the pursuit of new slave territory (filibustering in Mexico, Central America, Cuba, etc.)

To top this all off, the Southern-dominated Buchanan administration presided over a lot of pure,unvarnished corruption and ineptitude (see the near-impeachment of Buchanan in the Covode Commission whose report became a big cause in some parts of the 1860 Election, or the Secretary of War John B. Floyd fraud and embezzlement scandal that hit the fan during the Fort Sumter crisis just before Christmas).

In 1860, the country is at the end of a financial disaster. Government debt has quadrupled. The Treasury is empty (Southern congressmen were stopping by the Treasury in person to make sure they got their travel expenses home before they submitted their resignations in early 1861. Lincoln arrives in Washington to a government swamped with debt and no cash-on-hand. The bankers want higher rates and other concessions before loaning money to the Federals in 1860 precisely because the Buchanan administration had been such a disaster.

What was "the South" doing to correct the financial mess? Anything? Nothing? Or actively trying to make it worse by refusing to compromise on the Tariff?
 

Potomac Pride

Sergeant Major
Joined
Oct 28, 2011
Location
Georgia
This seems to say that "the South" saw anyone and everything that did not agree with "the South" on any matter at all as "anti-southern". Is that what you are saying here?

The Panic of 1857 was caused by many things. The massive oversupply of shipping was caused by both the new steamship technology (obsoleting sailing ships) and the shipbuilding boom driven by the post-Mexican-War California Gold Rush -- which led to new ships being started but never finished, existing ships laying idle for lack of cargo, and seamen/dock-workers-shipbuilders with no work. The end of the Crimean War (1853-56) led to the French/British merchants taking back most of the Russian shipping market the US monopolized during that war -- leaving US flag ships without cargoes and increasing the shipping glut (which also led to some desperate ship-owners turning to illegal actions like the Wanderer and other slave-trading examples). The end of the Crimean War (1853-56) also led to the French/British iron-and-steel industry dumping their now-extra output into the American market -- causing the pain that fed the demand for a high tariff on iron-and-steel imports. This is economics as usual and the list can go on and on.

To top this all off, the Southern-dominated Buchanan administration presided over a lot of pure,unvarnished corruption and ineptitude (see the near-impeachment of Buchanan in the Covode Commission whose report became a big cause in some parts of the 1860 Election, or the Secretary of War John B. Floyd fraud and embezzlement scandal that hit the fan during the Fort Sumter crisis just before Christmas).

In 1860, the country is at the end of a financial disaster. Government debt has quadrupled. The Treasury is empty (Southern congressmen were stopping by the Treasury in person to make sure they got their travel expenses home before they submitted their resignations in early 1861. Lincoln arrives in Washington to a government swamped with debt and no cash-on-hand. The bankers want higher rates and other concessions before loaning money to the Federals in 1860 precisely because the Buchanan administration had been such a disaster.

What was "the South" doing to correct the financial mess? Anything? Nothing? Or actively trying to make it worse by refusing to compromise on the Tariff?
I’m not saying that the southern states believed that anyone who didn’t agree with them was considered to be anti-southern. I was trying to explain that the Republican Party was considered to be anti-southern because they were a sectional party that represented only the political values of the north and didn’t represent other regions of the country.

The Panic of 1857 was caused by many factors as you stated including international and domestic events. As I mentioned previously, the southern states advocated the sale of public lands as a method to raise revenue for the depleted U.S. treasury.
 
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trice

Lt. Colonel
Joined
May 2, 2006
I’m not saying that the southern states believed that anyone who didn’t agree with them was considered to be anti-southern. I was trying to explain that the Republican Party was considered to be anti-southern because they were a sectional party that represented only the political values of the north and didn’t represent other regions of the country."
This seems to contradict itself. It seems the only "other regions" you are talking about come down to "the South". The Republicans seem to be representing "political values" important to large groups of people in all the "other regions of the country" -- and did well in the Election in those "other regions of the country". All this talk about "the South" and "the North" is simply designed to avoid saying what is obvious: it is really "the South" against "the rest of the country". Calling the Republicans a "sectional party" disguises reality -- it is the politicians and people of "the South" who are out of step with "the rest of the country" (and the rest of the world when it comes to slavery.)

The Panic of 1857 was caused by many factors as you stated including international and domestic events. As I mentioned previously, the southern states advocated the sale of public lands as a method to raise revenue for the depleted U.S. treasury.
Can you point to any detailed proposal to do such a thing that outlines how much money would be generated and how that would solve the serious financial problems the Buchanan administration presided over? How much revenue was supposed to be generated by this proposal and how much was supposed to be generated by the First Morrill Tariff (the one passed in early 1861 which R. M. T. Hunter of Virginia had hung up in the Senate in 1860)? Was this a reasonable effort to deal with the financial situation in 1860-61, or simply a vague "do-this-instead-of-raising-the-Tariff" talking point? Did any Southern congressman introduce a serious bill to do this? Or is it all just political spin by "the South"?
 

Joshism

Sergeant Major
Joined
Apr 30, 2012
Location
Jupiter, FL
I’m not saying that the southern states believed that anyone who didn’t agree with them was considered to be anti-southern.
You're not saying it, but I will.

I think I've said it before, but Southern leaders in the 1840s and 1850s had essentially the same mentality as many European leaders in the last couple decades before World War I. Victories won weren't big enough to satisfy the winners yet were big enough to infuriate the losers. Compromises were perceived as defeats. Negotiation was weakness. Fights backed down from became regrets. Conflict was inevitable and time was on the side of the other guys so the sooner the fight happened the better. If you weren't with us then you're against us.
 

uaskme

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 9, 2016
Location
SE Tennessee
What do you mean by "Yankee" nationalism? It would seem to be simple Americanism in 1860.
That was a big part of it. The Northerners assumed the position of Americanism. Excluding Southerners. They wanted to eliminate Southerners from participation of the Federal Government. So, WHO broke the Union. Southerns were evicted, so naturally, they moved on.
 
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Potomac Pride

Sergeant Major
Joined
Oct 28, 2011
Location
Georgia
Can you point to any detailed proposal to do such a thing that outlines how much money would be generated and how that would solve the serious financial problems the Buchanan administration presided over? How much revenue was supposed to be generated by this proposal and how much was supposed to be generated by the First Morrill Tariff (the one passed in early 1861 which R. M. T. Hunter of Virginia had hung up in the Senate in 1860)? Was this a reasonable effort to deal with the financial situation in 1860-61, or simply a vague "do-this-instead-of-raising-the-Tariff" talking point? Did any Southern congressman introduce a serious bill to do this? Or is it all just political spin by "the South"?
Man, you sure do like to ask a lot of superfluous questions. However, I previously stated that the southern states preferred the sale of public lands as the method of raising revenue as compared to a protective tariff. They believed this was a more equitable way of funding the government.
 

Potomac Pride

Sergeant Major
Joined
Oct 28, 2011
Location
Georgia
Tariffs and internal improvements were planks leftover from the Whig party, which was national.
Yes, those policies were part of the Whig Party platform and the Republican Party was composed of former members of the Whig Party after it collapsed. However, the Republicans were not a true national party when it was initially formed.
 

trice

Lt. Colonel
Joined
May 2, 2006
Man, you sure do like to ask a lot of superfluous questions. However, I previously stated that the southern states preferred the sale of public lands as the method of raising revenue as compared to a protective tariff. They believed this was a more equitable way of funding the government.
Certainly not superfluous -- if "the South" never, ever made any serious proposal to raise money to deal with the financial crisis by "selling land", then the entire argument by "the South" is simply a diversion, a straw-man argument designed to avoid the very real problems they had caused during the Buchanan administration.

I would actually like a realistic, factual answer showing when and where the politicians of "the South" tried to deal with the budget crisis they were largely responsible for -- but I can never find anyone trying to justify position of "the South" on the Tariff in 1860 who can supply an example. Why is that? Could it be that "the South" simply didn't want to deal with the issue?

BTW, Buchanan's Secretary of the Treasury was Howell Cobb of Georgia (Buchanan's choice for a successor). He was a strong advocate for the lower tariffs idea and also determined to get money out of the Treasury -- so he bought back government debt just as the Panic of 1857 hit. Being short of cash and with income cut by the reductions in the Tariff of 1857, the government then needed to borrow again -- at higher rates from banks becoming skeptical of the credit of the Federal government. (The secession talk of 1860 did nothing to help any of this, of course.) Cobb's reaction to this crisis mainly seems to be "don't worry, it will get better" -- but by 1860 even he regretfully thought that the tariff needed to be raised.
 
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Greywolf

Sergeant
Joined
Jun 17, 2017
A whole lot of paragraphs to argue what should be evident. There were problems from the beginning. Federalists and anti federalists, nationalists and Jeffersonian, essex junto, Hartford convention, etc. Its easy to see the dividing lines were political power from from mostly two different sections. Both wanted control and power to address their sectional desires.
 

trice

Lt. Colonel
Joined
May 2, 2006
Yes, those policies were part of the Whig Party platform and the Republican Party was composed of former members of the Whig Party after it collapsed. However, the Republicans were not a true national party when it was initially formed.
The Republican Party was formed in 1854, starting up at a meeting in Ripon, WI (first use of the name) or in Michigan (first State convention). The first Republican National Convention was held in 1856. While many members of the new Republican Party came from the collapsing Whig Party, they came from other sources as well: the Working Men, the Locofoco Democrats, the Free-Soil Democrats, the Know-Nothings, a great many Temperance Reform advocates and Abolitionists of all stripes, etc. Saying it was "composed of former members of the Whig Party" is not an adequate description and does not acknowledge all those Whigs in the South (unless you want to think of them as closet Republicans in "the South").

By 1860, the Republican Party is barely six years old. They are preparing for their second Presidential election and in it the Republican candidate will receive votes in 23 of the 33 states. The nine states where Lincoln received no popular ballots are all in the states that seceded in 1860-61 (#10 was South Carolina -- they had no popular vote, the State legislature choosing Electoral College members). Virginia was the only seceding state where Lincoln received some votes, almost entirely in what is now in West Virginia. Lincoln won 18 of the 33 States.

The Republican Party party had grown astonishingly in that period, six years from first formation to a strong national political force. They controlled almost half the Senate and almost half of the House of Representatives. They won the Presidency. One of the fears of the politicians in "the South" in the late 1850s was that the Republicans might very well expand down into"the South" -- so they exerted their influence and power to keep the Republicans out.

Again this talk about the Republicans being a "sectional" party comes down to saying there are only two sections: "the South" and "the rest of the country". If you prefer, you can define that as "slave" and "free" -- because Lincoln won every single "free" state from the Atlantic to the Pacific and his opponents only won in "slave" States. This seems to be the true sectional divide.
 
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trice

Lt. Colonel
Joined
May 2, 2006
It seems the argument is that any federal policy which doesn't benefit the South is unacceptable to the South.
Pretty much. We can shift to talking about internal improvements instead of slavery or the Tariff and the attitude remains the same. "The South" is opposed to Federal spending on internal improvements -- unless we are talking about flood control on the Mississippi River, or the boondoggle building of a Navy Yard and rope factory in Memphis TN (so that KY-TN-MO farmers could sell their hemp) which the Navy did not want, etc. "The South" was generally in strong opposition to things that might benefit someone else and generally in strong favor of anything that would benefit them.
 

Potomac Pride

Sergeant Major
Joined
Oct 28, 2011
Location
Georgia
I would actually like a realistic, factual answer showing when and where the politicians of "the South" tried to deal with the budget crisis they were largely responsible for -- but I can never find anyone trying to justify position of "the South" on the Tariff in 1860 who can supply an example. Why is that? Could it be that "the South" simply didn't want to deal with the issue?
I have already provided information about the budget and revenue issues advocated by the southern states in my previous posts.
 

CW Buff

First Sergeant
Joined
Dec 22, 2014
Location
Connecticut
Lincoln won the election because more southerners did not vote for Douglas, which made it unrealistic or impossible for him to get the necessary EC votes. John Bell's candidacy made it nearly impossible for Douglas to win in the border states and throw the election to the House of Reps.
the split within the Democratic Party in 1860 led to separate conventions in order to nominate a Presidential candidate. This fracturing of the Democrats led to a Republican victory and Lincoln was elected as President of the United States. The disruption of the traditional two party system was one of the factors that resulted in the war.
This is inaccurate. Take a look at the Results by state section of the Wikipedia article on the election. Lincoln took over 50% of the popular vote in every state in which he won the EC vote except CA & OR (7 EC votes). That means you can combine ALL the non-Lincoln votes into one and he still wins 180-7=173 electoral votes, 152 being required to win. Lincoln won the election because a decade of excessive demands and actions of slavery proponents pushed a majority of Northern voters into the Republican camp (heck, those actions created the Republican party). Yancy & Co. didn't have to divide the Democratic party to throw the election to Lincoln and realize their secessionist dreams. But of course, they weren't going to leave it to chance.

EC I don't think this is accurate. If you look at the EC, I think you can combine the votes of all other candidates, including fusion tickets, into one, and Lincoln would only lose 7 votes (CA & OR).
 
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wausaubob

Major
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Location
Denver, CO
This is inaccurate. Take a look at the Results by state section of the Wikipedia article on the election. Lincoln took over 50% of the popular vote in every state in which he won the EC vote except CA & OR (7 EC votes). That means you can combine ALL the non-Lincoln votes into one and he still wins 180-7=173 electoral votes, 152 being required to win. Lincoln won the election because a decade of excessive demands and actions of slavery proponents pushed a majority of Northern voters into the Republican camp (heck, those actions created the Republican party). Yancy & Co. didn't have to divide the Democratic party to throw the election to Lincoln and realize their secessionist dreams. But of course, they weren't going to leave it to chance.

EC I don't think this is accurate. If you look at the EC, I think you can combine the votes of all other candidates, including fusion tickets, into one, and Lincoln would only lose 7 votes (CA & OR).
That's the way the vote went down after the southern Democrats made it impossible for Douglas to win in the south. Douglas might have gained additional states like Kentucky or Maryland, or New York, if he had a reasonable shot at winning. He would have had to win enough states in the Ohio to Connecticut corridor, and that was not probable. People could see, based on 1856 result, that Lincoln and Breckinridge were the two candidates capable of getting EC votes.
 

wausaubob

Major
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Location
Denver, CO
After 1820 the Virginia/New York coalition lost power. No more Virginians were elected to the Presidency. After Henry Clay died, there was no strong voice advocating both unity and gradual movement away from dependence on slavery. Under those circumstances the former Whig conservative alliance broke into its Republican and Consitutionalist sections, and both were sectional.
 
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