The Corwin Amendment

Joined
Mar 15, 2018
In the final days of the antebellum period the south was up in arms over the issue of slavery to a certain extent, and a defense of slavery was even written into the secession documents of a handful of southern states, and this fact is constantly being dredged up by the apologists of northern aggression in an effort to demonstrate that the “civil war” was fought primarily over the issue of slavery. In the view of the said apologists, these out-of-context statements offer some kind of “proof” that the southern states were driven primarily by a desire to protect the peculiar institution of slavery.

In my own view, folks in the southern states were getting sick and tired of being verbally and physically harassed by the “holier-than-thou” denizens of New York and New England.

In one of several notable provocations, John Brown of Connecticut went into a section of what is now West Virginia, at Harpers Ferry, with the intention of leading a bloody slave uprising.

Incidents such as the affair at Harpers Ferry had the effect of making the southern states “dig in.” The existence of pro-slavery language in secession documents must therefore be seen in light of the historical context. In my own view these statements can only be understood as constituting a defensive response that was thrown together under duress and in the face of hostile rhetoric that was emanating from the likes of various northern radicals like John Brown et al.

I wonder why the southern states never agreed to ratify the proposed 13th amendment to the constitution a.k.a. the Corwin Amendment ? This amendment was a virtual “dream come true” for the alleged lovers of slavery. All they had to do was to renounce secession and stay in the union, and the institution of slavery would have been protected forever.
 
In the final days of the antebellum period the south was up in arms over the issue of slavery to a certain extent, and a defense of slavery was even written into the secession documents of a handful of southern states, and this fact is constantly being dredged up by the apologists of northern aggression in an effort to demonstrate that the “civil war” was fought primarily over the issue of slavery. In the view of the said apologists, these out-of-context statements offer some kind of “proof” that the southern states were driven primarily by a desire to protect the peculiar institution of slavery.
The "final days of the antebellum period?" The post-nullification secession movement in the Southern states started years before the "final days." The Southern commercial conventions of the 1850s were vesture for the formation of a Southern Confederacy and immediate secession from the Union led by South Carolinians such as Robert Barnwell Rhett, William Porcher Miles, and Laurence Keitt. Six months before the Republicans had chosen their candidate for president, a group of armed U.S. Congressmen from South Carolina along with assistance from South Carolina's governor, William Gist, planned to shoot up Congress and even assassinate Republican John Sherman as a prelude to South Carolina's secession and establishment of a Southern confederacy if Sherman was chosen as Speaker of the House. Governor Gist offered to send a regiment of South Carolina militia to Washington to assist in the attack on Congress but preferred that the revolution be bloodless.

Beginning in December 1860, five Southern states issued declarations of causes to announce their secession and in every single declaration, slavery was the predominant subject defended or mentioned in each declaration. During this same period, fifty-two secession commissioners travelled throughout the South garnering popular support for secession of the remaining Southern and Border states by delivering speeches in front of the locals and the state legislatures with one common theme being spoken and printed in Southern newspapers if their state did not secede -- Lincoln and the black Republicans would destroy slavery and that blacks would be elevated to the same level as the common white man. These commissioners spelled out the fate awaiting the Southern whites if they submitted to "negro equality" such as "consigning her citizens to assassinations and her wives and daughters to pollution and violations to gratify the lust of half-civilized Africans." The commissioners specifically appealed to the poor and middle class, non-slaveowning White Southerner when Stephen Hale for example, said "the slave-holder and non-slave-holder alike must ultimately share the same fate; all be degraded to a position of equality with free negroes, stand side by side them at the polls, and fraternize in all the social relations of life, or else there will be an eternal war of races, desolating the land with blood and utterly wasting all the resources of the country."

Bottom line is the Southern newspapers, politicians and secession commissioners all screamed "slavery" as the reason for seceding and starting a war by firing on a United States fort manned by her soldiers. Lincoln responded to preserve the Union and Constitution as required by its Article II, Section 3.
 

Zack

First Sergeant
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Location
Los Angeles, California
"No amendment shall be made to the Constitution which will authorize or give to Congress the power to abolish or interfere, within any State, with the domestic institutions thereof, including that of persons held to labor or service by the laws of said State."

It didn't actually solve the problem as the South saw it. It protected slavery where it already existed but said nothing about its future in new states.

Furthermore, in the paranoid minds of Southerner planters, it didn't stop the North from using extra-Constitutional means to eliminate slavery, such as fomenting slave rebellions.

We're also talking March 1861. Secession was already well underway by the time the Corwin Amendment was proposed. The focus of the South was on putting together its new confederacy and enticing more states to secede, not looking for ways back into the US. Events quickly overtook ratification discussions.

There also appears to have been an open question as to whether or not, despite its wording, a subsequent amendment could overturn the Corwin Amendment either explicitly or by superseding it.

So, no, it was not a dream come true for the South and, no, it does not prove that the South seceded for reasons other than the preservation of slavery.
 
Joined
Mar 15, 2018
I’m not sure what kind of genuine evidence you can cite after the passing of more than a century and a half, it just appears that everything you’ve said is highly speculative.

The wording of the Corwin amendment applies perfectly to the problem of slavery even if it doesn’t mention slavery per se. If you look at the historical timeline the C.A. was proposed approximately 6 weeks prior to the affair at Fort Sumter, which means that there was an ample window of opportunity for the southern states to renounce the blasphemy of secession and to rejoin their “friends” in the northern states. If we’re going to assume that concern for the protection of slavery was the only thing that was causing the southern states to break away from the yoke of federal despotism and that nothing else really mattered to them except for the issue of slavery, it doesn’t make any sense to postulate that the alleged lovers of slavery would have been willing to risk engaging in a bloody war over the issue of slavery when their “friends” were clearly expressing agreement with them by proposing the C.A. and when even the federal government was capitulating on the issue right from the very get-go. The way I see it, there must have been other concerns beyond the mere problem of slavery that was driving a wedge between the alleged slavery lovers and their so-called “friends.”
 
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Zack

First Sergeant
Joined
Aug 20, 2017
Location
Los Angeles, California
https://www.google.com/books/edition/Lincoln_and_the_Politics_of_Slavery/mcs3CwAAQBAJ?hl=en&gbpv=1

This is a book about the Corwin Amendment. It's all in there.

During the debate, Virginia Democrat James Murray Mason led the effort to stop the amendment, calling it a "wretched bread pill" designed to trick the patient into "the belief that he has taken a salutary medicine."

He explained that the threat to slavery in the states themselves was "remote" and that, consequently, the new amendment ignored Virginia's "principal grievance" - "the great territorial controversy." Virginia and the other slave states would not support an amendment that did not guarantee their "rights in the common Territories."

Murray believed it was nothing but subterfuge to suggest that protecting slavery in the states was a conciliatory gesture as few believed it to actually be in danger. Even Republicans concentrated their efforts on stopping the spread of slavery and hoping it would die in the states it already existed.

The book goes on with other examples but that's pretty explicit.
 
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NedBaldwin

Major
Joined
Feb 19, 2011
Location
California
I wonder why the southern states never agreed to ratify the proposed 13th amendment to the constitution a.k.a. the Corwin Amendment ? This amendment was a virtual “dream come true” for the alleged lovers of slavery. All they had to do was to renounce secession and stay in the union, and the institution of slavery would have been protected forever.
Because it was neither "a dream come true" nor would it protect slavery forever and they knew it.
it had barely passed Congress and required a lot of southern votes to do so. To become effective it would have had to been ratified by enough states in some realistic timeline. completely unlikely.

Finally it would have to actually have some effect to be worthwhile. But all it did was say that there could be no future amendments giving new power to Congress that would affect slavery. It did nothing about the existing powers of Congress, or the President, or the courts, or the States. So it was a worthless exercise.
 
Joined
Mar 15, 2018
The C.A. was ratified by a couple of hardcore “Yankee” states even after the lead was already flying. It’s possible that the whole bloody mess could have been averted if the southern states + a good majority of northern states had voted to ratify the C.A., but then again I think we’re vastly overstating the role that slavery played in the secession of the southern states. As Gen. Cleburne pointed out in his famous letter to Gen. J.E. Johnston, the issue of slavery was contrived by the enemies of the south in order to give their cause a moral-sounding justification.
 
The C.A. was ratified by a couple of hardcore “Yankee” states even after the lead was already flying. It’s possible that the whole bloody mess could have been averted if the southern states + a good majority of northern states had voted to ratify the C.A., but then again I think we’re vastly overstating the role that slavery played in the secession of the southern states. As Gen. Cleburne pointed out in his famous letter to Gen. J.E. Johnston, the issue of slavery was contrived by the enemies of the south in order to give their cause a moral-sounding justification.
For starters:

"The South had always been solid for slavery and when the quarrel about it resulted in a conflict of arms, those who had approved the policy of disunion took the pro-slavery side. It was perfectly logical to fight for slavery, if it was right to own slaves."
John S. Mosby

"The new constitution has put at rest, forever, all the agitating questions relating to our peculiar institution -- African slavery as it exists amongst us -- the proper status of the negro in our form of civilization. This was the immediate cause of the late rupture and present revolution."
Alexander Stephens


"On the 4th day of March next, this party will take possession of the Government. It has announced that the South shall be excluded from the common territory, that the judicial tribunals shall be made sectional, and that a war must be waged against slavery until it shall cease throughout the United States."
South Carolina Declaration of Causes

"Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery."
Mississippi Declaration of Causes

"For the last ten years we have had numerous and serious causes of complaint against our non-slave-holding confederate States with reference to the subject of African slavery."
Georgia Declaration of Causes

"What was the reason that induced Georgia to take the step of secession? This reason may be summed up in one single proposition. It was a conviction, a deep conviction on the part of Georgia, that a separation from the North-was the only thing that could prevent the abolition of her slavery."
Henry Benning of Georgia to the Virginia Convention, February 18, 1861

"Our people have come to this on the question of slavery. I am willing, in that address to rest it upon that question. I think it is the great central point from which we are now proceeding, and I am not willing to divert the public attention from it."
Lawrence Keitt to the South Carolina Secession Convention, December 22, 1860
 
Joined
Mar 15, 2018
I think the south contrived the slavery issue pretty well all by themselves.
The radical abolitionist party of New England (led by W. Phillips and W.L. Garrison and the fanatical murderer from Connecticut, John Brown) was screaming for the blood of southerners because slavery existed there, and yet the fact of the matter remains that slavery was never restricted to the southern states. Sojourner Truth and Venture Smith were both slaves in the “Yankee” state of New York. Slavery was used as a propaganda weapon against the southern states, and the issue was never grounded in genuine concern for the well-being of the slaves. It was the sheer naked hypocrisy of northern finger-pointing over the issue of slavery that drove many southerners into a borderline state of rage, and rightfully so because the overwhelming majority of southerners never even owned any slaves.
 

NedBaldwin

Major
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Feb 19, 2011
Location
California
The C.A. was ratified by a couple of hardcore “Yankee” states ...
6 states ratified.
Kentucky, Maryland and Virginia are not yankee at all.
Illinois was hardly "hardcore" and only marginally Yankee.
I feel the same way about Ohio
And as a Massachusetts native, I consider Rhode Island to be wannabe Yankees.

No way it would get enough states to be adopted.
 

Zack

First Sergeant
Joined
Aug 20, 2017
Location
Los Angeles, California
but then again I think we’re vastly overstating the role that slavery played in the secession of the southern states.
“It is a hard matter to get a Union man to acknowledge that this is an abolition war. He will say to you; 'If I thought this was a war for the abolition of slavery, I would not only lay down my arms which I have taken up for the defense of the Union, but I would go into the Southern army...many in the western states speak the same way. Now, any man who pretends to believe that this is not a war for the emancipation of the blacks, and that the whole course of the Yankee government has not only been directed to the abolition of slavery, but even to a stirring up of servile insurrections, is either a fool or a liar."

- The Vidette, Brigade Newspaper of John Hunt Morgan’s brigade, November 1862
 

Zack

First Sergeant
Joined
Aug 20, 2017
Location
Los Angeles, California
The radical abolitionist party of New England (led by W. Phillips and W.L. Garrison and the fanatical murderer from Connecticut, John Brown) was screaming for the blood of southerners because slavery existed there, and yet the fact of the matter remains that slavery was never restricted to the southern states. Sojourner Truth and Venture Smith were both slaves in the “Yankee” state of New York. Slavery was used as a propaganda weapon against the southern states, and the issue was never grounded in genuine concern for the well-being of the slaves. It was the sheer naked hypocrisy of northern finger-pointing over the issue of slavery that drove many southerners into a borderline state of rage, and rightfully so because the overwhelming majority of southerners never even owned any slaves.

So....it was about slavery.
 
Joined
Mar 15, 2018
So....it was about slavery.
The north didn’t launch a military invasion out of concern for the slaves, and the south didn’t pull out of the union because of slavery.

The north invaded the south because it was a winner-take-all power-play and Lincoln was seeking to expand the power of the federal government. The reason that best explains why the southern states pulled out of the union, was that, in addition to having many divergent economic interests, they also had many irreconcilable differences with their northern “friends.”
 
Joined
Mar 15, 2018
For starters:

"The South had always been solid for slavery and when the quarrel about it resulted in a conflict of arms, those who had approved the policy of disunion took the pro-slavery side. It was perfectly logical to fight for slavery, if it was right to own slaves."
John S. Mosby

"The new constitution has put at rest, forever, all the agitating questions relating to our peculiar institution -- African slavery as it exists amongst us -- the proper status of the negro in our form of civilization. This was the immediate cause of the late rupture and present revolution."
Alexander Stephens


"On the 4th day of March next, this party will take possession of the Government. It has announced that the South shall be excluded from the common territory, that the judicial tribunals shall be made sectional, and that a war must be waged against slavery until it shall cease throughout the United States."
South Carolina Declaration of Causes

"Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery."
Mississippi Declaration of Causes

"For the last ten years we have had numerous and serious causes of complaint against our non-slave-holding confederate States with reference to the subject of African slavery."
Georgia Declaration of Causes

"What was the reason that induced Georgia to take the step of secession? This reason may be summed up in one single proposition. It was a conviction, a deep conviction on the part of Georgia, that a separation from the North-was the only thing that could prevent the abolition of her slavery."
Henry Benning of Georgia to the Virginia Convention, February 18, 1861

"Our people have come to this on the question of slavery. I am willing, in that address to rest it upon that question. I think it is the great central point from which we are now proceeding, and I am not willing to divert the public attention from it."
Lawrence Keitt to the South Carolina Secession Convention, December 22, 1860
Mosby was a great soldier for the south but just like Gen. Longstreet his allegiance to the south grew kind of fuzzy after the war was over. It speaks volumes that Mosby became the campaign manager for U.S. Grant. I have often wondered about those other confederate figures who spoke openly in favor of the peculiar institution. It seems that they were playing directly into the hands of their northern “friends.”
 

DanSBHawk

Captain
Joined
May 8, 2015
Location
Wisconsin
The north didn’t launch a military invasion out of concern for the slaves, and the south didn’t pull out of the union because of slavery.

The north invaded the south because it was a winner-take-all power-play and Lincoln was seeking to expand the power of the federal government. The reason that best explains why the southern states pulled out of the union, was that, in addition to having many divergent economic interests, they also had many irreconcilable differences with their northern “friends.”
The "north" didn't start shooting. The south chose war.
 
Joined
Mar 15, 2018
The South did pull out of the Union because of slavery and the US thought about offering yet another concession on slavery to the South to appease them...namely 'the Corwin Amendment'...so It was slavery.
Delaware had pledged its loyalty to Lincoln’s “union” and the fact that Lincoln never invaded the slave-loving state of Delaware only goes to prove that the “civil war” was fought because the Lincoln was bent on forcing the seceded states back into his “union” and that the issue of slavery was nothing but mere “window dressing” ...
 
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