Restricted Debate Transcontinental Railroad: The Primary Reason for the Election of Jefferson Davis to be President of the CSA

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James Lutzweiler

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There can be no doubt that the reason Jeff Davis was elected the first president of the CSA was because of his TRR resume. No other Southerner was as equipped as Davis for bringing the western territories into the new nation. So, the TRR not only explains the origin of the War of Southern Aggression for Independence but it explains why Davis in particular was chosen to lead the new nation toward its own manifest destiny.

Are there any posters out there who see it otherwise?

James
 

trice

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There can be no doubt that the reason Jeff Davis was elected the first president of the CSA was because of his TRR resume. No other Southerner was as equipped as Davis for bringing the western territories into the new nation. So, the TRR not only explains the origin of the War of Southern Aggression for Independence but it explains why Davis in particular was chosen to lead the new nation toward its own manifest destiny.

Are there any posters out there who see it otherwise?

James
In the 1850s, Jefferson Davis was regarded as a strong defender of the theoretical "right of secession". He was a West Point graduate. He was a hero of the Mexican War. He had been the driving force of the Pierce administration as Secretary of War. He had been a very visible force in the Senate, widely known throughout "the South" and nationally.

When a people are about to rush towards war, they tend to favor military leaders. With the Georgia faction divided, their opponents united behind Davis, a man with strong military and political experience. I do not recall any mention of the TRR in any text or discussion of why Davis became Confederate President. I do recall mention of other things as considerations.
 

James Lutzweiler

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Au contraire: Davis' "TRR resume" was at best a minor factor in his becoming President.
Thanks for your post.

I understand your reluctance to embrace this view. Without doubt the TRR was the elephant --or should I say "camel"?-- in the room. It is Sherlock Holmes's "dog that didn't bark."

Are we to assume that Davis had been a strong and vocal advocate of a southern footprint from 1853 at the very latest right through January 5, 1861, and then suddenly forgot all about it? Are we to assume because we don't find "Sonora" or any of the rest of the "non-Gadsden Purchase Properties" larded in his 1861 speeches that their value had slipped his mind? Once a couple of eggs are baked into cake batter and no longer look like they are fresh from a cracked shell do they stop being eggs?

In short, not in my view.

I understand that we don't find the verbatim words, "We are electing Jeff because of his TRR credentials" in the campaigning for him. But actions still speak louder than words; and the actions of Davis from 1853-1861 were primarily about the TRR, not cotton or slavery. His mind was blown with the prospects of Empire; and like a good poker player --and real estate developer-- he did not blab his hand.

James
 

WJC

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Thanks for your post.

I understand your reluctance to embrace this view. Without doubt the TRR was the elephant --or should I say "camel"?-- in the room. It is Sherlock Holmes's "dog that didn't bark."

Are we to assume that Davis had been a strong and vocal advocate of a southern footprint from 1853 at the very latest right through January 5, 1861, and then suddenly forgot all about it? Are we to assume because we don't find "Sonora" or any of the rest of the "non-Gadsden Purchase Properties" larded in his 1861 speeches that their value had slipped his mind? Once a couple of eggs are baked into cake batter and no longer look like they are fresh from a cracked shell do they stop being eggs?

In short, not in my view.

I understand that we don't find the verbatim words, "We are electing Jeff because of his TRR credentials" in the campaigning for him. But actions still speak louder than words; and the actions of Davis from 1853-1861 were primarily about the TRR, not cotton or slavery. His mind was blown with the prospects of Empire; and like a good poker player --and real estate developer-- he did not blab his hand.

James
Thanks for your response.
So the claim is nothing more than your speculation.
 

trice

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Thanks for your post.

I understand your reluctance to embrace this view. Without doubt the TRR was the elephant --or should I say "camel"?-- in the room. It is Sherlock Holmes's "dog that didn't bark."

Are we to assume that Davis had been a strong and vocal advocate of a southern footprint from 1853 at the very latest right through January 5, 1861, and then suddenly forgot all about it? Are we to assume because we don't find "Sonora" or any of the rest of the "non-Gadsden Purchase Properties" larded in his 1861 speeches that their value had slipped his mind? Once a couple of eggs are baked into cake batter and no longer look like they are fresh from a cracked shell do they stop being eggs?

In short, not in my view.

I understand that we don't find the verbatim words, "We are electing Jeff because of his TRR credentials" in the campaigning for him. But actions still speak louder than words; and the actions of Davis from 1853-1861 were primarily about the TRR, not cotton or slavery. His mind was blown with the prospects of Empire; and like a good poker player --and real estate developer-- he did not blab his hand.

James
This seems to be saying that the complete lack of evidence to support your claim is what proves your claim. If that is not what you mean, please explain what you do mean.
 

James Lutzweiler

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Thanks for your response.
So the claim is nothing more than your speculation.
Thanks much for your post. A very good and welcome question.

If by "speculation" you mean staring at a decade full of hard and fast irrefutable facts, by all means "Yes!" Perhaps you missed my simple but seismic statement that "Actions speak louder than words." When a man shoots another man in cold blood after a poker game gone bad, we really don't need a black and white statement from the killer, stating that he was angry. Millions of people could say, "He was angry!" and be absolutely correct without a corresponding confession from the killer to confirm their self-evident conclusion. If the facts don't speak for themselves in such a case without a verbatim commentary, then few things are really provable. I deal in probabilities.

Did you intend your simple declarative sentence, "So the claim is nothing more than your speculation" as some kind of evidence that refuted my own declaration? Declaration vs. Declaration? Opinion vs. opinion? Or do you have some evidence that the TRR and the western territories were NOT an ever-present obsession with Jeff Davis and his electors? Is it your view that all the things I mentioned (TRR, Sonora, etc.) just suddenly disappeared from the mind of JD a few days after he left Congress?

You may recall that when I once asked Dr. Robert Durden, Duke University's leading Civil War historian, about Jeff's feelings about the TRR, he replied, "In 1861 the TRR was the furthest thing in the world from the mind of Jeff Davis." Davis's speech on January 5, 1861, proved that Bob Durden, though my dear friend, was dead wrong, as are others who do not see the TRR as the main focus of Davis's frontal lobes.

As for speculation in perhaps the wild sense of the term you might have in mind, I would consider key lime pie, sweet tea, and Texas brisket as incredibly remote factors in the election of Davis to be president of the CSA. Maybe. Maybe not. I have no idea.

Sincerely,

James
 

trice

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Jefferson Davis, as history shows us, was back at his plantation in Mississippi at the beginning of February, 1861. He had been appointed head of the Army of Mississippi, was scaring the Governor with his warnings that a long, difficult war appeared imminent, and was hoping to be appointed to a high military command by the new Confederate government. He had expressed his opinion: he did not want to be made President of the new Confederacy.

In Montgomery, Alabama the Confederate government was beginning to form. The six states had thirty-seven representatives there. The vote for President was one vote per State, so a majority of four States was needed to elect a President. The number of individual representative votes was only important inside a State delegation, so it would have been possible to win four States and get less than a majority of the representatives' votes.

Since Davis was not present and does not appear to have wanted the job, the only way to support a claim that the TRR was a factor in electing him would be to look at those thirty-seven representatives -- the people who actually elected him. Can you show any instances of those people arguing for his election because he supported a Transcontinental RR?
 

WJC

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Thanks much for your post. A very good and welcome question.

If by "speculation" you mean staring at a decade full of hard and fast irrefutable facts, by all means "Yes!" Perhaps you missed my simple but seismic statement that "Actions speak louder than words." When a man shoots another man in cold blood after a poker game gone bad, we really don't need a black and white statement from the killer, stating that he was angry. Millions of people could say, "He was angry!" and be absolutely correct without a corresponding confession from the killer to confirm their self-evident conclusion. If the facts don't speak for themselves in such a case without a verbatim commentary, then few things are really provable. I deal in probabilities.

Did you intend your simple declarative sentence, "So the claim is nothing more than your speculation" as some kind of evidence that refuted my own declaration? Declaration vs. Declaration? Opinion vs. opinion? Or do you have some evidence that the TRR and the western territories were NOT an ever-present obsession with Jeff Davis and his electors? Is it your view that all the things I mentioned (TRR, Sonora, etc.) just suddenly disappeared from the mind of JD a few days after he left Congress?

You may recall that when I once asked Dr. Robert Durden, Duke University's leading Civil War historian, about Jeff's feelings about the TRR, he replied, "In 1861 the TRR was the furthest thing in the world from the mind of Jeff Davis." Davis's speech on January 5, 1861, proved that Bob Durden, though my dear friend, was dead wrong, as are others who do not see the TRR as the main focus of Davis's frontal lobes.

As for speculation in perhaps the wild sense of the term you might have in mind, I would consider key lime pie, sweet tea, and Texas brisket as incredibly remote factors in the election of Davis to be president of the CSA. Maybe. Maybe not. I have no idea.

Sincerely,

James
Thanks for your response.
Lots of bluster, but still no hard evidence to support your speculation.
 

James Lutzweiler

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Jefferson Davis, as history shows us, was back at his plantation in Mississippi at the beginning of February, 1861. He had been appointed head of the Army of Mississippi, was scaring the Governor with his warnings that a long, difficult war appeared imminent, and was hoping to be appointed to a high military command by the new Confederate government. He had expressed his opinion: he did not want to be made President of the new Confederacy.

In Montgomery, Alabama the Confederate government was beginning to form. The six states had thirty-seven representatives there. The vote for President was one vote per State, so a majority of four States was needed to elect a President. The number of individual representative votes was only important inside a State delegation, so it would have been possible to win four States and get less than a majority of the representatives' votes.

Since Davis was not present and does not appear to have wanted the job, the only way to support a claim that the TRR was a factor in electing him would be to look at those thirty-seven representatives -- the people who actually elected him. Can you show any instances of those people arguing for his election because he supported a Transcontinental RR?
Very good question --and incidentally one of my own.

I have stated in my book that this entire subject is of vast proportions. I have only scratched the surface. Part of the reason I post is to invite others to join me in the chase. This is just one of them, and it is no doubt a fascinating one. As time permits I will engage in it myself.

When Bob Durden stated that in 1861 the TRR was " The furthest thing in the world from the mind of Jefferson Davis," I did not know that his speech of January 5, 1861, even existed. But I did know he was wrong based on The Gadsden purchase and the non-Gadsden purchase. One does not forget such things in a few short years. So I began reading on January 1, 1861, in the congressional Globe. There on day five was his speech that eviscerated Durden's claim. I have no doubt that in an examination of the voters for Davis's presidency that such hard evidence will turn up. Perhaps you will be the one to discover it first.

Again, A very good and pertinent question and post. And I will wager this: I will wager that many of those voters, if not all of them, had railroad interests of their own, just as I have shown in my book called the top 10 fire eaters had such (Including Ruffin).

James
 

James Lutzweiler

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Thanks for your response.
Lots of bluster, but still no hard evidence to support your speculation.
Is "Lots of bluster" tantamount to hard evidence to the contrary? I don't think so. Perhaps you have definitive hard evidence to the contrary.
 

James Lutzweiler

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Thanks for your response.
I do not need to provide "evidence to the contrary". The burden of proof is yours.
Thanks for your post.

You have stated that my point of view is wrong. That must mean you have a point of view that is proven. What is it?

I have already presented plenty of proof. That you do not acknowledge it as proof is not tantamount to it not being such. it remains proof whether you acknowledge it or not.
 

James Lutzweiler

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This seems to be saying that the complete lack of evidence to support your claim is what proves your claim. If that is not what you mean, please explain what you do mean.
Thanks for your post.

What seems to you to be the case is not at all the case. Not by wide margins. And I have already explained what I meant.
 

Bruce Vail

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Au contraire: Davis' "TRR resume" was at best a minor factor in his becoming President.
Yes, the long and outstanding military record was far more important. All the leading secessionists knew there would be war, and they wanted a war leader.

Turned out to be rather a mistake, I'd say. Davis would have been great as the CSA Secy of War with Stephens as President.
 

James Lutzweiler

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Yes, the long and outstanding military record was far more important. All the leading secessionists knew there would be war, and they wanted a war leader.

Turned out to be rather a mistake, I'd say. Davis would have been great as the CSA Secy of War with Stephens as President.
Thanks for your participation.

The TRR and military skills were not mutually exclusive. The Pacific Railroad Surveys make this clear. The TRR to California was to enable troops in the east rapidly to deploy to California in case the British tried to seize it --or, if you were a Southerner, to use it to heist California from the North in case you seceded. JD combined military skills with and had more Railroad savvy than anyone else in the South. He managed to raid the US treasury of $10 million for the Gadsden Purchase. Why couldn't he raid New Mexico, Arizona, CO, Nevada, Utah, and CA from the U.S. with that same savvy? He had an impeccable record of real estate skills and behind them was the infrastructure of the TRR. That was his weapon; and anyone who wasn't blind knew it cold. Let us NOT forget that the railroads themselves were weapons and that the TRR was the biggest weapon of them all. JD knew how to use it, and he did. And his supporters knew it. The only people who don't seem to know it are the Civil War authorities I critique by name in my book. Once you consider JD a westerner instead of or at the very least in addition to a southerner, it all falls into place.

James
 
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WJC

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The TRR to California was to enable troops in the east rapidly to deploy to California in case the British tried to seize it --or, if you were a Southerner, to use it to heist California from the North in case you seceded.
Those were fine long term objectives, but of no consequence, unless the rebels won independence.
 

WJC

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He had an impeccable record of real estate skills and behind them was the infrastructure of the TRR.
Though Davis may have qualified for 'Top Seller', there was no TRR infrastructure yet. And when it came, it would be to support the more northerly route.
 
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