The Failure Of The South To Convince Delaware To Secede

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#1
This is an interesting blog post that talks about the state of Delaware and the campaign to recruit it into the Confederacy: The Failure Of The South To Convince Delaware To Secede. This is from the blog This Cruel War: An Evidence-Based Exploration of the Causes and Ramifications of the American Civil War.

The article cites text from David Clopton, Alabama’s secession commissioner, who contacted the state and tried to convince it to secede. This is from Clopton's appeal to the state governor and legislature:

“(regarding the Republican Party) Its animus, its single bond of union, is hostility to the institution of slavery as it exists in the Southern States. Its members, numbering nearly two millions of voters, as evidenced by the late Presidential election, have been collected from all the other various political organizations, and although disagreeing totally upon other important political principles, have nevertheless ignored all these, and been molded into a compact mass of enmity to this particular institution, upon which depend the domestic, social, and political interests of fifteen States of the Union, and which institution was recognized, respected, guarded, and protected by the convention which framed the Constitution and by the people of the States by whom it was ordained and established.

“Those men who direct the sentiment, purpose, and action of this party have notified the people of the slave-holding States that the past policy of the Federal Government is now to be wholly changed; that those principles which have secured our present respect abroad and our past internal prosperity are to be superseded by others which are adverse to the true theory, nature, and designs of the federal government. Mr. Lincoln has left us in no doubt as to his policy.

“He may suppose that the people of the slave-holding States will be satisfied with the assurance that he does not intend to interfere with slavery in the States; but, in thus supposing, he supposes further, that they have not the manhood and honor to assert and maintain, or do not possess the intelligence to understand, their rights in the Territories or wherever else the jurisdiction of the Government extends, and that they are willing to surrender all the outposts, and leave the citadel unguarded, liable to first covert then open attacks. Notwithstanding this assurance, common sense and experience, our knowledge of human nature and all history, teach that, believing slavery to be a moral and political evil, a wrong to the Government, and that these States cannot exist half free and half slave, Mr. Lincoln will exert all his powers, influence, and patronage ‘to place it where the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is in the course of ultimate extinction.’

“From these considerations Your Excellency must concur in the opinion expressed by the Governor of the State of Alabama, that— The success of said party and the power which it now has and will soon acquire, greatly endanger the peace, interests, security, and honor of the slave-holding states, and make it necessary that prompt and efficient measures should be adopted to avoid the evils which must result from a Republican administration Of £ Federal Government.​
“You cannot be surprised that, in the opinion of the people of Alabama, the time has arrived when imperious necessity and self-preservation require them to exercise their right to abolish the present Government and institute a new one, laying its foundation in such principles and organizing its powers in such form as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.

“I will simply suggest that the hope of obtaining new and sufficient guaranties, by way of constitutional amendments or otherwise, has abandoned the hearts of all, even the most moderate Southern men. The expressions of Republican presses and the representative men in and out of Congress, the futile efforts of the Senate and House committees, and the persistent silence of Mr. Lincoln have extinguished the last ray of such hope. But even if new guaranties could be obtained, they can bring no sense of security to the Southern mind; they would prove a temporary and delusive truce, a broken reed to pierce hereafter.

“It will be my pleasure to advise and consult with Your Excellency and the members of the Legislature, so far as may be agreeable and practicable, and to communicate the views and purposes of Your Excellency and the sentiments and desires of the people of Delaware to the Governor of the State of Alabama by the time of the meeting of the State convention.”​

- Alan
 

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BlueandGrayl

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#2
Delaware was very unlikely to secede and join the Confederacy, slavery was pretty much dead at this point and most of the black population was free not to mention that there were attempts in the late 1790s and 1803 to abolish the institution (though they failed the latter due to the speaker who was a slaveowner himself voting no).

Had Delaware abolished slavery earlier in those years/decades there would have already been an imbalance between Northern and Southern States decades ago and fueled tension between the two sections.
 
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#3
Maryland was more likely to secede than Delaware was from the Union. I do not recall the Confederacy drawing any regiments from Delaware during the war and it's economy was much more like the Northeastern states (manufacturing based) in nature. Maryland gave at least a brigade's worth of infantry, two cavalry regiments and two artillery regiments to the Confederacy. Maryland still had a semblance of a Planter class left over from Colonial times on the Eastern Shores with agrarian interests so more effort to entice it to join the Confederacy would have been better spent (still only a slim chance) than on Delaware.
 
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BlueandGrayl

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#4
Maryland was more likely to secede than Delaware was from the Union. I do not recall the Confederacy drawing any regiments from Delaware during the war and it's economy was much more like the Northeastern states (manufacturing based) in nature. Maryland gave at least a brigade's worth of infantry, two cavalry regiments and two artillery regiments to the Confederacy. Maryland still had a semblance of a Planter class left over from Colonial times on the Eastern Shores with agrarian interests so more effort to entice it to join the Confederacy would have been better spent (still only a slim chance) than on Delaware.
Kentucky and Missouri were much more likely since the former had the most substantial slave population and planter class of the border states while the latter was the home of the Border Ruffians of Bleeding Kansas.

I also doubt Maryland would have seceded and joined the Confederacy even if given the chance much like Delaware slavery had been on the decline since the post-War of American Independence period and it had a large free black population.
 
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USS ALASKA

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#5
Sir, not unless Maryland secedes first, and even then I don't see Delaware seceding. Just a look at a map shows Delaware completely surrounded by Union states and VERY close to the Union's 2nd largest city. She is more isolated from the Confederacy than Missouri would have been. While it might have been a political and moral victory for the Confederacy to include Delaware in their initial complement, it would also be the South's first loss / defeat / political crisis as she could provide no support to Delaware's existence.

Even if the powers-that-be in Delaware believed in everything the Confederacy stood for, this is going to be a very short conversation. "Yeah ok, thanks but no thanks."...
96

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USS ALASKA
 
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BlueandGrayl

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Sir, not unless Maryland secedes first, and even then I don't see Delaware seceding. Just a look at a map shows Delaware completely surrounded by Union states and VERY close to the Union's 2nd largest city. She is more isolated from the Confederacy than Missouri would have been. While it might have been a political and moral victory for the Confederacy to include Delaware in their initial complement, it would also be the South's first loss / defeat / political crisis as she could provide no support to Delaware's existence.

Even if the powers-that-be in Delaware believed in everything the Confederacy stood for, this is going to be a very short conversation. "Yeah ok, thanks but no thanks."...
96

Cheers,
USS ALASKA
Yeah, Delaware had a large free black population just like Maryland and had Delaware manage to abolish slavery in the 1790s or 1803 successfully it would have been a free state like its nearby neighbor Pennsylvania and there would have already been an imbalance between the North and South as mentioned before, affecting say future sectional disputes such as the Missouri Compromise or the territories issue for example.
 
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#9
Maryland was more likely to secede than Delaware was from the Union. I do not recall the Confederacy drawing any regiments from Delaware during the war and it's economy was much more like the Northeastern states (manufacturing based) in nature. Maryland gave at least a brigade's worth of infantry, two cavalry regiments and two artillery regiments to the Confederacy. Maryland still had a semblance of a Planter class left over from Colonial times on the Eastern Shores with agrarian interests so more effort to entice it to join the Confederacy would have been better spent (still only a slim chance) than on Delaware.
Most of the Delaware confederates joined maryland and virginian regiments I dont have any real stats of how many men fought for the south but i believe it would have been the smallest number from the border states i would be interested in knowing though
 

BlueandGrayl

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#11
Most of the Delaware confederates joined maryland and virginian regiments I dont have any real stats of how many men fought for the south but i believe it would have been the smallest number from the border states i would be interested in knowing though
And that's because Delaware was essentially tied closely to Pennsylvania (a nearby neighbor) and almost came close to abolishing slavery in the 1790s, 1803, and 1847 and causing an imbalance between Northern and Southern states.
 
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#14
Sir, not unless Maryland secedes first, and even then I don't see Delaware seceding. Just a look at a map shows Delaware completely surrounded by Union states and VERY close to the Union's 2nd largest city. She is more isolated from the Confederacy than Missouri would have been. While it might have been a political and moral victory for the Confederacy to include Delaware in their initial complement, it would also be the South's first loss / defeat / political crisis as she could provide no support to Delaware's existence.

Even if the powers-that-be in Delaware believed in everything the Confederacy stood for, this is going to be a very short conversation. "Yeah ok, thanks but no thanks."...
96

Cheers,
USS ALASKA
It's useful to note that in the mid-nineteenth century, the "South" was practically synonymous with "Slave States." The terms were used almost interchangeably.

The Secession winter states were making appeals to all the other slave states, as illustrated by the above. As noted in the link The Failure Of The South To Convince Delaware To Secede, the secessionists were aware that Delaware's situation was not perfectly aligned with that of the Deep South. But they clearly thought it was worth a try.

The CSA did have troops in MD at various points, and they held onto the hope that anti-Republican or anti-Union or pro-secession or pro-slavery sentiment might bubble up and cause the whole of the state, or parts of the state, to align with the Confederacy. That didn't happen, in good part because of the Union occupation.

The point is, the secessionists hoped they could convince Delaware to secede, and they'd work out the details later. Secession never happened, but they made the attempt.
 

matthew mckeon

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#16
This is an interesting blog post that talks about the state of Delaware and the campaign to recruit it into the Confederacy: The Failure Of The South To Convince Delaware To Secede. This is from the blog This Cruel War: An Evidence-Based Exploration of the Causes and Ramifications of the American Civil War.

The article cites text from David Clopton, Alabama’s secession commissioner, who contacted the state and tried to convince it to secede. This is from Clopton's appeal to the state governor and legislature:

“(regarding the Republican Party) Its animus, its single bond of union, is hostility to the institution of slavery as it exists in the Southern States. Its members, numbering nearly two millions of voters, as evidenced by the late Presidential election, have been collected from all the other various political organizations, and although disagreeing totally upon other important political principles, have nevertheless ignored all these, and been molded into a compact mass of enmity to this particular institution, upon which depend the domestic, social, and political interests of fifteen States of the Union, and which institution was recognized, respected, guarded, and protected by the convention which framed the Constitution and by the people of the States by whom it was ordained and established.​
…​
“Those men who direct the sentiment, purpose, and action of this party have notified the people of the slave-holding States that the past policy of the Federal Government is now to be wholly changed; that those principles which have secured our present respect abroad and our past internal prosperity are to be superseded by others which are adverse to the true theory, nature, and designs of the federal government. Mr. Lincoln has left us in no doubt as to his policy.​
…​
“He may suppose that the people of the slave-holding States will be satisfied with the assurance that he does not intend to interfere with slavery in the States; but, in thus supposing, he supposes further, that they have not the manhood and honor to assert and maintain, or do not possess the intelligence to understand, their rights in the Territories or wherever else the jurisdiction of the Government extends, and that they are willing to surrender all the outposts, and leave the citadel unguarded, liable to first covert then open attacks. Notwithstanding this assurance, common sense and experience, our knowledge of human nature and all history, teach that, believing slavery to be a moral and political evil, a wrong to the Government, and that these States cannot exist half free and half slave, Mr. Lincoln will exert all his powers, influence, and patronage ‘to place it where the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is in the course of ultimate extinction.’​
…​
“From these considerations Your Excellency must concur in the opinion expressed by the Governor of the State of Alabama, that— The success of said party and the power which it now has and will soon acquire, greatly endanger the peace, interests, security, and honor of the slave-holding states, and make it necessary that prompt and efficient measures should be adopted to avoid the evils which must result from a Republican administration Of £ Federal Government.​
“You cannot be surprised that, in the opinion of the people of Alabama, the time has arrived when imperious necessity and self-preservation require them to exercise their right to abolish the present Government and institute a new one, laying its foundation in such principles and organizing its powers in such form as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.​
…​
“I will simply suggest that the hope of obtaining new and sufficient guaranties, by way of constitutional amendments or otherwise, has abandoned the hearts of all, even the most moderate Southern men. The expressions of Republican presses and the representative men in and out of Congress, the futile efforts of the Senate and House committees, and the persistent silence of Mr. Lincoln have extinguished the last ray of such hope. But even if new guaranties could be obtained, they can bring no sense of security to the Southern mind; they would prove a temporary and delusive truce, a broken reed to pierce hereafter.​
…​
“It will be my pleasure to advise and consult with Your Excellency and the members of the Legislature, so far as may be agreeable and practicable, and to communicate the views and purposes of Your Excellency and the sentiments and desires of the people of Delaware to the Governor of the State of Alabama by the time of the meeting of the State convention.”​

- Alan
That's an interesting website.
 

USS ALASKA

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#20
The point is, the secessionists hoped they could convince Delaware to secede, and they'd work out the details later. Secession never happened, but they made the attempt.
Understood sir - it cost the seceding states absolutely nothing to try other than the effort to mouth the words.

Looking at the statistics from the 1860 census, https://www2.census.gov/library/publications/decennial/1860/manufactures/1860c-07.pdf , Delaware's economy was so locked into that of her surrounding states of PA, NJ, NY, and MD, she would have been signing her own death warrant.

It does bring up an interesting 'what if'...Delaware secedes, is immediately 'conquered' and then...in a reverse 'West Virginia' becomes part of MD, NJ, PA?

My apologies sir, didn't mean to de-rail your thread...
138

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USS ALASKA
 



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