The Non-Gadsden Purchase: A Major Cause of the Civil War

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James Lutzweiler

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In the South disappointment caused by the failure of well-laid plans to secure federal approval for a road by the southern route and the growing sectional feeling of the day led to the formulation and wide approval of a plan for building a sectional Pacific railroad. The author was Albert Pike, of Arkansas, orator, poet, and Pacific railroad enthusiast. He first presented his scheme in the Southern Commercial Convention meeting in Charleston, April, 1854, while the Kansas-Nebraska bill was still before Congress and the fate of the Gadsden Treaty still in the balance.

Pike proposed that one on the Southern states charter a company to build the road by the Gila route and that Southern states, cities, and loyal Southerners subscribe the stock. The subscribing states should be equally represented on the board of directors. The company should be authorized to negotiate with Mexico for the right of way, where the route lay on her soil, in case the Gadsden Treaty should fail. Branches should be built form various points along the lower Mississippi. Texas should be requested to confer her proffered land grant upon the company, but no federal aid should be sought.

The resolutions embodying Pike's plan were opposed by several of the ablest men in the convention. They tried to show that the scheme was impracticable and even unconstitutional. It was the duty of the federal government, they said, to aid in the construction of a Pacific railroad by the most practicable route. The southern route was the most practicable, and the federal government should be expected to adopt it.

Pike defended his plan in a couple of eloquent speeches. People talked, he said, about building the road with land grants. He had been over the route and knew that most of the lands were worthless. Only money could build the road. Someone must supply it. Southerners had constitutional scruples against federal grants. The southern route, he agreed, was cheapest, shortest, and most practicable; but, if they depended upon the federal government to build the road, it would go North. He invited attention to the great Northwest which Southern men seemed never to take into consideration. It was being filled at a prodigious rate and was giving the North a preponderance over the South. The North was bidding for foreign immigration to settle the region. Grants of the privileges of citizenship to persons who had not ever declared their intentions of becoming citizens were one bid. The Homestead bill, which had already passe the House, was another. The Kansas-Nebraska bill was a third. With this continued increase of the foreign and Northern influence, was it not obvious that the prospect of the South ever getting the Pacific railroad from Congress was growing beautifully less every year? His plan might prove impracticable. There could be no harm trying it. He wanted to demonstrate that the South could unite in its own interest. He believed Congress should help, but he did not want to ask it for aid. He wanted his resolutions to be "a sort of declaration of independence on the part of the South." pp188-190 Improvement of Communication with the Pacific Coast as an Issue in American Politics by Russel
Well spoken!

And Pike knew the consequences of the South NOT getting the TRR: absolute disaster.
 

OpnCoronet

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My question is; Did the final Gadsden Purchase approved by Congress help or hinder the plans of the conspirators for a southern secession, even at the cost of a Civil War, if need be ?
 
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WJC

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Isn't that what I said: a win for Southern interests?
Thanks for your response.
Sorry, I separate 'secessionist interests' from 'Southern interests'. The Gadsden Purchase was a clear victory for Southern interests- still a part of the U. S.- giving them the needed territory to construct a TRR over their desired southern route. At the time, it was seen as taking one of the complaints raised by secessionists 'off the table'. So in that respect, it was a loss for secessionists.
 
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James Lutzweiler

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Thanks for your response.
Sorry, I separate 'secessionist interests' from 'Southern interests'. The Gadsden Purchase was a clear victory for Southern interests- still a part of the U. S.- giving them the needed territory to construct a TRR over their desired southern route. At the time, it was seen as taking one of the complaints raised by secessionists 'off the table'. So in that respect, it was a loss for secessionists.
Thank you for your clarifying distinction.

I agree that it took one of the secessionist's complaints off the table. The Gadsden Purchase certainly falsified the charges they made that the federal government was anti-South. Can you imagine the outcry if for some reason Congress had awarded Kansas or Nebraska a $10 million subsidy, to say nothing of $50 million to Great Britain for some more Canadian territory into which the Feds might carve another couple of voting free states!!

Havoc!!
 

OpnCoronet

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According to an Encyclopedia Britannica entry on the Gadsden Purchase and an essay by Fred Rippy entitled The Negotiation of the Gadsden Treaty in the Southwestern Historical Quarterly for July 1923 (Vol.27, No. 1), the United States authorized James Gadsden to pay up to $50,000,000 for additional property that America had yet not stolen from Mexico between 1846-1848. That is a lot of money. And a lot of money explains a lot that so far has received very little attention, if any, from Civil War historians and posters. No surprise about this with all the fevered fixation on slavery as the sole or major cause of the ACW.

In 1803 Thomas Jefferson paid France $15,000,000 for roughly 828,000 square miles of real estate --utterly magnificent real estate-- called the Louisiana Purchase (LP). Jefferson was looking for the famous but elusive Northwest Passage. In 1853 Jefferson Davis (the future first and only president of the CSA --and, not so incidentally, named after Thomas Jefferson) sent James Gadsden of South Carolina (the first State to secede) to Mexico to acquire for a Northwest Passage in the American Southwest a yet to be determined number of square miles (but clearly smaller than 828,000 square miles --and visually maybe half of that or even a third of it) from Santa Anna for $50,000,000. Below and from Rippy's essay is a map showing what appears to be the property in question.

View attachment 315447

I have never seen the actual number of square miles that make up the Mexican real estate on this map. If someone knows them or can calculate them, a lot of scholars would be very well-served. Nevertheless, no matter the number of square miles, the figure of $50,000,000 is 3.3+ times more than the price paid for the fabulous LP. And if the number of square miles is only half of the LP, then the price offered for this property is almost 7 times the price paid for the LP. If 1/3 the size of the LP, then 10 times the price paid for the LP.

Now think about how many books have been written about the LP. Then think about how little has been written about this piece of property that America never acquired. Shall we just decide that since we didn't get it that it means nothing? Hardly. For one thing, the map seems to show that part, if not all, of the Mexican State of Sonora is included. For an evaluation of Sonoran real estate alone, read the biography of William McKendree Gwin by Lately Thomas. Gwin was once a U.S. Congressional Representative from Mississippi, and then he became one of California's first Senators in 1850. Not so incidentally, when Jeff Davis left Washington, D.C. for the last time in January 1861, he spent the night with Gwin. Teaser: Gwin valued Sonora alone as worth more than California; and shortly after Davis spent the night with him in D.C., Gwin was off to Europe to borrow money for the Confederacy with yet unowned "Sonora futures" for collateral.

Is it any wonder, then, that a comparatively impoverished South Carolina led the way out of the Union --to say nothing of the value of all that ocean frontage in Baha, California? Keep in mind also that when James Gadsden squeezed 30,000 square miles of nothing but kitty litter, sans TRR, from Santa Anna for $10,000,000 that he did so with implied threats, a la the Ostend Manifesto, to take it militarily, if Mexico chose not to sell it. Without those threats, the loser of Texas almost twenty years earlier might have held out for $15-20,000,000.

For additional perspectives see Rippy's full essay online at https://www.jstor.org/ stable/30234875

Who will join me in assessing further the significance of this real estate issue the exploitation of which necessitated a transcontinental railroad and at least one port on the Pacific?

James Lutzweiler






The relevance of any comparisons between the Louisiana Purchase and the Gadsden(s) Purchase, to SC's, et. al., drive for a TRR and Southern Independence, is as elusive as the theory of TRR's beiing the real cause for secession.
 
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James Lutzweiler

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The relevance of any comparisons between the Louisiana Purchase and the Gadsden(s) Purchase, to SC's, et. al., drive for a TRR and Southern Independence, is as elusive as the theory of TRR's beiing the real cause for secession.
I don't know anyone who has ever claimed that the TRR was "the real cause for secession." I Would be interested to know to whose writings you refer. Please do let me know.
 

James Lutzweiler

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For those with no context, I have argued in my book about the subject that the PRIMARY --pointedly NOT the exclusive or singular-- cause of the War of Southern Aggression, preferably a war for an Independent Slave Empire but in the absence of that dream at the very least an independent empire, was the conflict between the North and South and Northwest and Southwest and Midwest and Northeast from 1845--1861 over where the first footprint of the TRR was to go. Short and simple.

Posters can use this proposition to evaluate other statements that by confusion might be thought to be mine.

Hope this helps.

James
 
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OpnCoronet

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For those with no context, I have argued in my book about the subject that the PRIMARY --pointedly NOT the exclusive or singular-- cause of the War of Southern Aggression, preferably a war for an Independent Slave Empire but in the absence of that dream at the very least an independent empire, was the conflict between the North and South and Northwest and Southwest and Midwest and Northeast from 1845--1861 over where the first footprint of the TRR was to go. Short and simple.
Posters can use this proposition to evaluate other statements that by confusion might be thought to be mine.
Hope this helps.
James



So without the issue of the protection of Slavery and its expansion, there would still have been a civil war for southern independence?
In other words was the PRiMACY of TRR's intrinsic to Slavery or to itself?

I ask this in the light of the historical fact, that the South got the land for their Southern Rte(with the help of Northern votes) and could have started the TRR any time they wanted, why did they waste so much of their political capital fighting to make Ks. a Slave State?

It would seem from the evidence TRR's was not Primary, at all.
 

James Lutzweiler

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So without the issue of the protection of Slavery and its expansion, there would still have been a civil war for southern independence?
In other words was the PRiMACY of TRR's intrinsic to Slavery or to itself?

I ask this in the light of the historical fact, that the South got the land for their Southern Rte(with the help of Northern votes) and could have started the TRR any time they wanted, why did they waste so much of their political capital fighting to make Ks. a Slave State?

It would seem from the evidence TRR's was not Primary, at all.

The South wanted Independence, period, with or without slavery but certainly preferably with it. Read Ruffin's ANTICIPATIONS OF THE FUTURE and his Preface to it. Ownership of Western lands was the key to achieving and sustaining that independence; and the key to claiming and maintaining those western lands was a railroad to and through them for not only the transportation of goods but the transportation of soldiers to hold it --as was the case in the eastern theater. One of Lincoln's purposes in building the TRR, while fighting the ACW with one hand and a couple of fingers behind his back, was to secure California from falling into the hands of the South, Britain, or the San Andreas Fault. This is stated clearly in Lincoln's personal copy of the Pacific Railroad Reports which are easily obtainable today. The lesson then and still today is: railroads secure and make usable real estate.

I would assume you know that simple statements like "TRRs were not primary at all" are nothing but that: simple statements of conclusions. Better to let the evidence state the conclusions than assisting the evidence with empty declarative editorializing.
 

unionblue

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I would assume you know that simple statements like "TRRs were not primary at all" are nothing but that: simple statements of conclusions. Better to let the evidence state the conclusions than assisting the evidence with empty declarative editorializing.
Why should there not be simple statements in reply to simple thread titles like, The Non-Gadson purchase a Major Cause of the Civil War" are given?
 
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OpnCoronet

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The South wanted Independence, period, with or without slavery but certainly preferably with it. Read Ruffin's ANTICIPATIONS OF THE FUTURE and his Preface to it. Ownership of Western lands was the key to achieving and sustaining that independence; and the key to claiming and maintaining those western lands was a railroad to and through them for not only the transportation of goods but the transportation of soldiers to hold it --as was the case in the eastern theater. One of Lincoln's purposes in building the TRR, while fighting the ACW with one hand and a couple of fingers behind his back, was to secure California from falling into the hands of the South, Britain, or the San Andreas Fault. This is stated clearly in Lincoln's personal copy of the Pacific Railroad Reports which are easily obtainable today. The lesson then and still today is: railroads secure and make usable



In ref.to this particular thread, you would have done better to have read passages from Thomas Jefferson's so-called 'Fire=Bell In the Night' letter.

I have asked on many other threads through the years, for the reason, other than slavery, that the slave states of the South, would want to be a separate and independent country, i.e., without slavery, what rights, or sovereignty did the rest of the Union have, that was not shared equally with the South?



P.S. ...of course Lincoln would want a Union TRR for the reasons he said, after the necessity of resisting secession and Civil War made them obvious.
 

James Lutzweiler

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In ref.to this particular thread, you would have done better to have read passages from Thomas Jefferson's so-called 'Fire=Bell In the Night' letter.

I have asked on many other threads through the years, for the reason, other than slavery, that the slave states of the South, would want to be a separate and independent country, i.e., without slavery, what rights, or sovereignty did the rest of the Union have, that was not shared equally with the South?



P.S. ...of course Lincoln would want a Union TRR for the reasons he said, after the necessity of resisting secession and Civil War made them obvious.
Good question.

One reason that has satisfied me is the pitiful economic condition of the South. The South, especially SC, was basically bankrupt and becoming even worse. It was only a matter of time before its soils gave out totally without a healthy dose of guano. Then there was the question of where to get the money for the guano.

So, when you can't pay your bills and are too embarrassed to say so, what do you do? Simple: You declare independence (i.e., you secede) and by virtue of that separation you repudiate debts owed to the North and especially to New York factors. As part of your (i.e., the South, not you personally ) argument you repeat blarney about how nasty the North has been, totally burying from sight or discussion the recent $10 million subsidy those wicked Yankees just gave you. Slavery was nothing but a pretext, a vacuous battle cry. You never yell the obvious like, "Rise up, my fellow Rebels, and repudiate your debts."

If you think my estimate of the economic condition of the South is overstated, read Helper and consult his economic tables --ironically, tables made possible by the #1 fire-eater, James D. B. De Bow!!!!

Note also how Helper devastates the canard that the South was agriculturally superior to the North. Nothing but Secesh humbug.

So, in a word, debt repudiation is a good and workable. Not so chivalrous, as the South always claimed to be.

James
 
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John Fenton

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Read Ruffin's ANTICIPATIONS OF THE FUTURE and his Preface to it.
the preface only tells us that the southern section wanted independence, nothing about a TRR or independence without slavery. it is fairly ambigious which you fit into your narrative.
try reading pages 11 and 12 in letter II in which he plainly and directly says why the southern section wanted independence which is , of course, slavery.
i can not copy and paste it so to paraphrase it says that in EVERY matter in which the two sections differ , opposition and hostility to slavery is the common denominator.
if he has anything to say about a TRR please cite the page number as i am not reading the entire book which is full of predictions that did not come to pass , especially that the south would win in the coming war. that war would be the eventuality he got right but nothing else as far as i know.
and in the second place, he did not , nor did DeBow and especially Helper , speak for all southerners or many more would have eaten a bullet from their own guns.
the only thing he held as important as slavery was his hatred of Yankees, of who he said " And now with my latest writing and utterance, and with what will [be] near to my latest breath, I here repeat, & would willingly proclaim, my unmitigated hatred to Yankee rule—to all political, social and business connections with Yankees, & to the perfidious, malignant, & vile Yankee race."
https://books.google.com/books?id=LDzzwhDEPQ0C&dq=Anticipations+of+the+Future,+to+Serve+as+Lesson+for+the+Present+Time&printsec=frontcover&hl=en#v=onepage&q=Anticipations of the Future, to Serve as Lesson for the Present Time&f=false
 
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James Lutzweiler

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the preface only tells us that the southern section wanted independence, nothing about a TRR or independence without slavery. it is fairly ambigious which you fit into your narrative.
try reading pages 11 and 12 in letter II in which he plainly and directly says why the southern section wanted independence which is , of course, slavery.
i can not copy and paste it so to paraphrase it says that in EVERY matter in which the two sections differ , opposition and hostility to slavery is the common denominator.
if he has anything to say about a TRR please cite the page number as i am not reading the entire book which is full of predictions that did not come to pass , especially that the south would win in the coming war. that war would be the eventuality he got right but nothing else as far as i know.
and in the second place, he did not , nor did DeBow and especially Helper , speak for all southerners or many more would have eaten a bullet from their own guns.
the only thing he held as important as slavery was his hatred of Yankees, of who he said " And now with my latest writing and utterance, and with what will [be] near to my latest breath, I here repeat, & would willingly proclaim, my unmitigated hatred to Yankee rule—to all political, social and business connections with Yankees, & to the perfidious, malignant, & vile Yankee race."
https://books.google.com/books?id=LDzzwhDEPQ0C&dq=Anticipations+of+the+Future,+to+Serve+as+Lesson+for+the+Present+Time&printsec=frontcover&hl=en#v=onepage&q=Anticipations of the Future, to Serve as Lesson for the Present Time&f=false
See first sentence of first letter.

Then see third sentence of first letter.

Two themes I have harped on forever.
 

John Fenton

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See first sentence of first letter.

Then see third sentence of first letter.

Two themes I have harped on forever.
first , you said read the preface.
sentence 1 and 3 of letter one are more ambiguous , to your point, than the preface.
sentence one says a telegraph message was delayed [or delayed like a regular message] across the tehauntepec route which is the mexican isthmus where a road built by and with rights of US access in mexico, nowhere near the US border.
sentence 3 refers to "Sonora" which i can only assume is that part of Sonora the was included in the Gadsden pruchase, which was not a state, and i believe allowed slavery while it was a territory, and had no access to the pacific or the gulf of california.
so i don't get your implication unless it is that telegraph communication was through mexico. mexico did not have one as far as i can tell until at least 1860 when the US completed it's first transcontinental telegraph , along the pony express route, in 1860.
None of this explains away Ruffins precise statements on pages 11 and 12 in letter 2. Edited by moderator. you will have to be more clear in your opinion although i do not believe there is clear and precise evidence for you to use. you failed to do so in your other theads and use radical crazies like ruffin and helper as proof of the whole southern voice .
i am familiar with your themes but i can not make heads or tails out of these and it seems to be a pattern established with you having "discovered something ".
Edmund Ruffin was wrong about almost everything.
as to guano Ruffin used what he called "marl" to replenish exhausted soils. i think he called one of his plantations "Marlbough". it is most likely where we got the name for "Marlboro" cigarettes.
 
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