Was war inevitable once a Republican was elected President?

Was war inevitable once a Republican was elected President?

  • Yes

    Votes: 16 84.2%
  • No

    Votes: 3 15.8%

  • Total voters
    19

Rhea Cole

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Lincoln was wrong, slavery was not the only substantial difference between them.

In any case, I do not believe war was inevitable, nor can we fairly place all the blame for the war on the Southern side of the equation. They'd have been more than happy to leave without one.
I would really appreciate the chance to read the writings from the SC & other’s that threatened a feel good secession from 1782 onward. No kidding, I want to create a folder with those quotes. I am always looking for counterintuitive sources.
 

wausaubob

Lt. Colonel
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Location
Denver, CO
I would really appreciate the chance to read the writings from the SC & other’s that threatened a feel good secession from 1782 onward. No kidding, I want to create a folder with those quotes. I am always looking for counterintuitive sources.
Right. Even after they shelled Fort Sumter, the Confederates could have communicated that was a mistake and they did not want war, and they were willing to pay for the fort. Nothing prevents negotiation while preparation for war is ongoing. There just is not very much evidence that either side took the war seriously until the battle of Shiloh.
 

Andersonh1

Brigadier General
Moderator
Joined
Jan 12, 2016
Location
South Carolina
I would really appreciate the chance to read the writings from the SC & other’s that threatened a feel good secession from 1782 onward. No kidding, I want to create a folder with those quotes. I am always looking for counterintuitive sources.

I can certainly provide letters from Lincoln showing that he had no peaceful response in mind to South Carolina secession. All letters or quotes from letters can be found in the Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln. Volume 4. https://quod.lib.umich.edu/l/lincoln/lincoln4/ If war was inevitable, I suggest we look to the mindset of the newly elected Republican President to understand one big reason why. Even if Buchanan negotiated away the fort to South Carolina, Lincoln planned to retake it as soon as he was President. Where is the desire for a peaceful solution to the crisis here?


Private & Confidential. Hon. Thurlow Weed Springfield, Ills- Dec. 17-1860​
My dear Sir Yours of the 11th. was received two days ago. Should the convocation of Governors, of which you speak, seem desirous to know my views on the present aspect of things, tell them you judge from my speeches that I will be inflexible on the territorial question; that I probably think either the Missouri line extended, or Douglas' and Eli Thayer's Pop. Sov. would lose us every thing we gained by the election; that filibustering for all South of us, and making slave states of it, would follow in spite of us, under either plan.​
Also, that I probably think all opposition, real and apparant, to the fugitive slave [clause] of the constitution ought to be withdrawn.​
I believe you can pretend to find but little, if any thing, in my speeches, about secession; but my opinion is that no state can, in any way lawfully, get out of the Union, without the consent of the others; and that it is the duty of the President, and other government functionaries to run the machine as it is. Yours very truly A. LINCOLN---​
Confidential​
Hon. F. P. Blair, Ser. Springfield, Ills.​
My dear Sir Dec. 21. 1860​
Yours giving an account of an interview with Gen. Scott, is received, and for which I thank you. According to my present view, if the forts shall be given up before the inaugeration, the General must retake them afterwards. Yours truly A. LINCOLN​

Confidential​
Hon. A. G. Curtin Springfield, Ills.​
My dear Sir Dec. 21. 1860​
Yours of the 14th. was only received last night. I am much obliged by your kindness in asking my views in advance of preparing your inaugeral. I think of nothing proper for me to suggest except a word about this secession and disunion movement. On that subject, I think you would do well to express, without passion, threat, or appearance of boasting, but nevertheless, with firmness, the purpose of yourself, and your state to maintain the Union at all hazzards. Also, if you can, procure the Legislature to pass resolutions to that effect.​

Confidential​
Hon. E. B. Washburne Springfield, Ills.​
My dear Sir: Dec. 21. 1860​
Last night I received your letter giving an account of your interview with Gen. Scott, and for which I thank you. Please present my respects to the General, and tell him, confidentially, I shall be obliged to him to be as well prepared as he can to either hold, or retake, the forts, as the case may require, at, and after the inaugeration. Yours as ever A. LINCOLN​

Confidential Major David Hunter, Springfield, Ills., Dec. 22, 1860.​
My dear Sir: I am much obliged by the receipt of yours of the 18th. The most we can do now is to watch events, and be as well prepared as possible for any turn things may take. If the forts fall, my judgment is that they are to be retaken. When I shall determine definitely my time of starting of Washington, I will notify you. Yours truly, A. LINCOLN.​


Confidential
Hon. P. H. Silvester Springfield, Ills.​
My dear Sir Dec. 22. 1860​
Your kind letter of Nov. 16th. was duly received. Want of time has delayed me so long before acknowledging the receipt of it. This, even now, is the most I can do.​
The political horizon looks dark and lowering; but the people, under Providence, will set all right.​
If Mr. B. surrenders the forts, I think they must be retaken. Yours truly A. LINCOLN​


Hon. Lyman Trumbull Springfield, Ills. Dec. 24, 1860​
My dear Sir I expect to be able to offer Mr. Blair a place in the cabinet; but I can not, as yet, be committed on the matter, to any extent whatever.​
Despaches have come here two days in succession, that the Forts in South Carolina, will be surrendered by the order, or consent at least, of the President.​
I can scarcely believe this; but if it prove true, I will, if our friends at Washington concur, announce publicly at once that they are to be retaken after the inaugeration. This will give the Union men a rallying cry, and preparation will proceed somewhat on their side, as well as on the other. Yours as ever A. LINCOLN​

Private​
Col. J. W. Webb. Springfield, Ills.​
My dear Sir: Dec. 29. 1860​
Yours kindly seeking my view as to the proper mode of dealing with secession, was received several days ago, but, for want of time I could not answer it till now. I think we should hold the forts, or retake them, as the case may be, and collect the revenue. We shall have to forego the use of the federal courts, and they that of the mails, for a while. We can not fight them in to holding courts, or receiving the mails.
This is an outline of my view; and perhaps suggests sufficiently, the whole of it. Yours very truly A. LINCOLN​
 

Rhea Cole

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
I can certainly provide letters from Lincoln showing that he had no peaceful response in mind to South Carolina secession. All letters or quotes from letters can be found in the Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln. Volume 4. https://quod.lib.umich.edu/l/lincoln/lincoln4/ If war was inevitable, I suggest we look to the mindset of the newly elected Republican President to understand one big reason why. Even if Buchanan negotiated away the fort to South Carolina, Lincoln planned to retake it as soon as he was President. Where is the desire for a peaceful solution to the crisis here?


Private & Confidential. Hon. Thurlow Weed Springfield, Ills- Dec. 17-1860​
My dear Sir Yours of the 11th. was received two days ago. Should the convocation of Governors, of which you speak, seem desirous to know my views on the present aspect of things, tell them you judge from my speeches that I will be inflexible on the territorial question; that I probably think either the Missouri line extended, or Douglas' and Eli Thayer's Pop. Sov. would lose us every thing we gained by the election; that filibustering for all South of us, and making slave states of it, would follow in spite of us, under either plan.​
Also, that I probably think all opposition, real and apparant, to the fugitive slave [clause] of the constitution ought to be withdrawn.​
I believe you can pretend to find but little, if any thing, in my speeches, about secession; but my opinion is that no state can, in any way lawfully, get out of the Union, without the consent of the others; and that it is the duty of the President, and other government functionaries to run the machine as it is. Yours very truly A. LINCOLN---​
Confidential​
Hon. F. P. Blair, Ser. Springfield, Ills.​
My dear Sir Dec. 21. 1860​
Yours giving an account of an interview with Gen. Scott, is received, and for which I thank you. According to my present view, if the forts shall be given up before the inaugeration, the General must retake them afterwards. Yours truly A. LINCOLN​

Confidential​
Hon. A. G. Curtin Springfield, Ills.​
My dear Sir Dec. 21. 1860​
Yours of the 14th. was only received last night. I am much obliged by your kindness in asking my views in advance of preparing your inaugeral. I think of nothing proper for me to suggest except a word about this secession and disunion movement. On that subject, I think you would do well to express, without passion, threat, or appearance of boasting, but nevertheless, with firmness, the purpose of yourself, and your state to maintain the Union at all hazzards. Also, if you can, procure the Legislature to pass resolutions to that effect.​

Confidential​
Hon. E. B. Washburne Springfield, Ills.​
My dear Sir: Dec. 21. 1860​
Last night I received your letter giving an account of your interview with Gen. Scott, and for which I thank you. Please present my respects to the General, and tell him, confidentially, I shall be obliged to him to be as well prepared as he can to either hold, or retake, the forts, as the case may require, at, and after the inaugeration. Yours as ever A. LINCOLN​

Confidential Major David Hunter, Springfield, Ills., Dec. 22, 1860.​
My dear Sir: I am much obliged by the receipt of yours of the 18th. The most we can do now is to watch events, and be as well prepared as possible for any turn things may take. If the forts fall, my judgment is that they are to be retaken. When I shall determine definitely my time of starting of Washington, I will notify you. Yours truly, A. LINCOLN.​


Confidential
Hon. P. H. Silvester Springfield, Ills.​
My dear Sir Dec. 22. 1860​
Your kind letter of Nov. 16th. was duly received. Want of time has delayed me so long before acknowledging the receipt of it. This, even now, is the most I can do.​
The political horizon looks dark and lowering; but the people, under Providence, will set all right.​
If Mr. B. surrenders the forts, I think they must be retaken. Yours truly A. LINCOLN​


Hon. Lyman Trumbull Springfield, Ills. Dec. 24, 1860​
My dear Sir I expect to be able to offer Mr. Blair a place in the cabinet; but I can not, as yet, be committed on the matter, to any extent whatever.​
Despaches have come here two days in succession, that the Forts in South Carolina, will be surrendered by the order, or consent at least, of the President.​
I can scarcely believe this; but if it prove true, I will, if our friends at Washington concur, announce publicly at once that they are to be retaken after the inaugeration. This will give the Union men a rallying cry, and preparation will proceed somewhat on their side, as well as on the other. Yours as ever A. LINCOLN​

Private​
Col. J. W. Webb. Springfield, Ills.​
My dear Sir: Dec. 29. 1860​
Yours kindly seeking my view as to the proper mode of dealing with secession, was received several days ago, but, for want of time I could not answer it till now. I think we should hold the forts, or retake them, as the case may be, and collect the revenue. We shall have to forego the use of the federal courts, and they that of the mails, for a while. We can not fight them in to holding courts, or receiving the mails.
This is an outline of my view; and perhaps suggests sufficiently, the whole of it. Yours very truly A. LINCOLN​
So, if I get your conclusion, had Lincoln just sat back & allowed just anybody to attack & take over US forts then there would have been no war? I do not find that logical. It isn’t a war if the victim of the attack does not fight back simply makes no sense.
 

Andersonh1

Brigadier General
Moderator
Joined
Jan 12, 2016
Location
South Carolina
So, if I get your conclusion, had Lincoln just sat back & allowed just anybody to attack & take over US forts then there would have been no war? I do not find that logical. It isn’t a war if the victim of the attack does not fight back simply makes no sense.

If you look at the dates, no one had taken over any fort when most of these letters were written, and no, not just "anyone" but citizens of the State that the fort was intended to help protect. Where is Lincoln's desire for some sort of understanding or negotiated solution? Do you see him express it anywhere? Quite the contrary, even if there is a negotiated handover by Buchanan (Mr. B) he has no intention of honoring it.
 

Rhea Cole

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
If you look at the dates, no one had taken over any fort when most of these letters were written, and no, not just "anyone" but citizens of the State that the fort was intended to help protect. Where is Lincoln's desire for some sort of understanding or negotiated solution? Do you see him express it anywhere? Quite the contrary, even if there is a negotiated handover by Buchanan (Mr. B) he has no intention of honoring it.
I think this has run its course. I am far too well versed in the polemics of the hotheads et al to ignore their aggressive intent. The fighting in Kansas tells me everything I need to know on this subject.
 
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I think this has run its course. I am far too well versed in the polemics of the hotheads et al to ignore their aggressive intent. The fighting in Kansas tells me everything I need to know on this subject.

It's a shame that Buchanan did not listen to Benjamin Butler for it may have nipped the secession fever in the bud.
Benjamin Butler went to Attorney-General Black upon finding out that secession commissioners were planning on presenting South Carolina's Secession Ordinance in person to President Buchanan and offered a scenario in which the commissioners would be arrested for treason which in turn would force the court to rule whether secession was legal or not. The AG agreed with Butler's proposal and sent him on to Buchanan with the proposal but the President refused to act:

"Mr. Black advised me to put my views before the President, and I went to him immediately and made an arrangement for an interview for that purpose, at which I laid the matter before him substantially in the same form that I had stated it to the attorney-general. Mr. Buchanan was a quiet old gentleman and had been for many years a trained politician, but to say that he was astounded at the boldness of the proposition would be but a feeble description of his condition of mind and body. He said in substance: 'These men claim to be ambassadors, and though we cannot admit the claim, still, they have voluntarily placed themselves within our power, and seem to have a kind of right to be at least warned away before we can honorably treat them as criminals or enemies.'

"To this I replied that my object was to have it judicially ascertained which they were. That they had committed an act of treason voluntarily, was certainly no ground for permitting them to escape, and if they had not committed treason, they were clearly ambassadors, and the State from which they came could require the United States to indemnify them for all they had suffered.

"Of course it was impossible for a man of Mr. Buchanan's temperament and training, however honest and conscientious, to adopt so decisive a course. He thought it would lead to great agitation. I thought it would stop agitation until the question was determined, and whichever way determined it would prevent unauthorized action being taken. For, if the commissioners were acquitted on the ground that they were ambassadors from a sovereign power, then there was nothing to be done except to treat other secession commissioners accordingly."
Autobiography And Personal Reminiscences Of Major-General Benjamin F Butler, pp. 155-156.
 

Andersonh1

Brigadier General
Moderator
Joined
Jan 12, 2016
Location
South Carolina
If anyone else can provide evidence that Lincoln ever showed any interest in understanding and finding a peaceful way out of the impasse with the secessionists, please let me know. All his private correspondence indicates that a military solution was his first inclination.

He does not seem to have taken the secessionists seriously, viewing secession as simply a political blackmail tactic, and that those saying they were leaving the Union did not really mean it. They were just trying to extort the winners.

Confidential. Hon. J. T. Hale Springfield, Ill. Jan'y. 11th 1861.​
My dear Sir---Yours of the 6th is received. I answer it only because I fear you would misconstrue my silence. What is our present condition? We have just carried an election on principles fairly stated to the people. Now we are told in advance, the government shall be broken up, unless we surrender to those we have beaten, before we take the offices. In this they are either attempting to play upon us, or they are in dead earnest. Either way, if we surrender, it is the end of us, and of the government. They will repeat the experiment upon us ad libitum. A year will not pass, till we shall have to take Cuba as a condition upon which they will stay in the Union. They now have the Constitution, under which we have lived over seventy years, and acts of Congress of their own framing, with no prospect of their being changed; and they can never have a more shallow pretext for breaking up the government, or extorting a compromise, than now. There is, in my judgment, but one compromise which would really settle the slavery question, and that would be a prohibition against acquiring any more territory. Yours very truly, A. LINCOLN.​
 
Joined
Dec 22, 2016
Location
NH
Peace with secessionists? Peace with people waging war to expand slavery? What's interesting is the parts of Lincoln's last letter you don't highlight. He had just won an election, now you demand he surrender his entire platform for the "peace" the South demanded, in such things as the Mexican War, which was a slavocrat President's way of stealing half of Mexico in the 1840s to expand slavery. That's the peace the secessionists dreamed of. War for Cuba, war for more of South America. That's secessionist peace. Lincoln's peace, again a part of the letter you don't highlight, was no more territorial acquisitions, something slavocrats always demanded to expand their blessed institution. Please, no more talk about the peaceful inclinations of Southern secessionists!!!
 

Andersonh1

Brigadier General
Moderator
Joined
Jan 12, 2016
Location
South Carolina
Peace with secessionists? Peace with people waging war to expand slavery? What's interesting is the parts of Lincoln's last letter you don't highlight. He had just won an election, now you demand he surrender his entire platform for the "peace" the South demanded, in such things as the Mexican War, which was a slavocrat President's way of stealing half of Mexico in the 1840s to expand slavery. That's the peace the secessionists dreamed of. War for Cuba, war for more of South America. That's secessionist peace. Lincoln's peace, again a part of the letter you don't highlight, was no more territorial acquisitions, something slavocrats always demanded to expand their blessed institution. Please, no more talk about the peaceful inclinations of Southern secessionists!!!

With all due respect, treating Southerners as something "other than American" and labeling them is exactly the sort of attitude that brought on the war. The "slaveocrats" did not cause it all by themselves. Was this expansionist attitude, assuming you've accurately described it, any different than Mainfest Destiny and the conquest of the west, or Lincoln's assumption that the entire continent belonged to the United States already because they needed the land and resources? 19th century Americans were expansionist in general. It wasn't just the South.
 

unionblue

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Member of the Year
Joined
Feb 20, 2005
Location
Ocala, FL (as of December, 2015).
The only reason for the war of any note is the South's desire to protect slavery.

Their insistence on keeping it, protecting it, even expanding it at the expense of States Rights, was the primary cause of the war. No other political reason would cause such an action.

The election of a Republican President was the excuse to secede in order to make sure the institution was safe from a Republican administration.
 

Rhea Cole

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
I think that unionBlue & Liberty&Union have summed this up completely. The “Look what you made me do !” Lincoln started the war argument is both counter factual & illogical.
 

unionblue

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Member of the Year
Joined
Feb 20, 2005
Location
Ocala, FL (as of December, 2015).
Confidential. Hon. J. T. Hale Springfield, Ill. Jan'y. 11th 1861.​
My dear Sir---Yours of the 6th is received. I answer it only because I fear you would misconstrue my silence. What is our present condition? We have just carried an election on principles fairly stated to the people. Now we are told in advance, the government shall be broken up, unless we surrender to those we have beaten, before we take the offices. In this they are either attempting to play upon us, or they are in dead earnest. Either way, if we surrender, it is the end of us, and of the government. They will repeat the experiment upon us ad libitum. A year will not pass, till we shall have to take Cuba as a condition upon which they will stay in the Union. They now have the Constitution, under which we have lived over seventy years, and acts of Congress of their own framing, with no prospect of their being changed; and they can never have a more shallow pretext for breaking up the government, or extorting a compromise, than now. There is, in my judgment, but one compromise which would really settle the slavery question, and that would be a prohibition against acquiring any more territory. Yours very truly, A. LINCOLN.​

With the above example by @Anersonh1, I'm still trying to figure WHY Lincoln had to negotiate anything with Southern secessionists, as his above letter indicates the folly of trying to do exactly that.
 

Andersonh1

Brigadier General
Moderator
Joined
Jan 12, 2016
Location
South Carolina
I think that unionBlue & Liberty&Union have summed this up completely. The “Look what you made me do !” Lincoln started the war argument is both counter factual & illogical.

Not the argument I made. The argument I made is that when the question of the inevitability of war or not is considered, the fact that Lincoln clearly had the use of force in mind cannot be ignored. His own words in his private correspondence are clear.
 

Andersonh1

Brigadier General
Moderator
Joined
Jan 12, 2016
Location
South Carolina
With the above example by @Anersonh1, I'm still trying to figure WHY Lincoln had to negotiate anything with Southern secessionists, as his above letter indicates the folly of trying to do exactly that.

Because they were fellow Americans, and he was supposed to be the President of all of the United States?
 

jackt62

Captain
Member of the Month
Joined
Jul 28, 2015
Location
New York City
By the time that Lincoln was elected President in November 1860, the era of reasonable compromise was long over. Lincoln was elected on a clear platform of containing slavery to those states where it already existed, and preventing its expansion elsewhere. That fault line between north and south was breached with the Kansas-Nebraska Act in 1854 and could not be repaired. The attempts at compromise by Crittenden after Lincoln's election would have at best resurrected the old Missouri Compromise of 1820, by extending the slavery line of demarcation to the Pacific Ocean. That compromise would have negated Lincoln's promise to the electorate, and would not have offered a permanent solution to the intractable problem of slavery.
 

unionblue

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Member of the Year
Joined
Feb 20, 2005
Location
Ocala, FL (as of December, 2015).
Because they were fellow Americans, and he was supposed to be the President of all of the United States?

Sadly not even all of my Fellow Americans today follow the law.

Is the President to excuse some Americans who have clearly stated their intent not to follow the Constitution, break the laws and incite rebellion, simply because he won the election?
 
Joined
Dec 22, 2016
Location
NH
Because they were fellow Americans, and he was supposed to be the President of all of the United States?
Lincoln was President to hundreds of thousands of anti-secessionist Southerners, some of whom were in prison or hanged by secessionists before or soon after Lincoln even took office. Wide swaths of the South opposed the slavocrats. Eastern TN, Western VA, northern Alabama. Lincoln was their President, even if the slavocrats prohibited him from being on the ballot in most slave states. A platform opposed to the extension of slavery was not anti-American or even anti-South. It was merely following a precedent from the Founders, who banned slavery in the Northwest Territory, an area which would become part of about five states. Was Geogre Washington not being a President of all Americans when he supported that ban from continuing to have effect after ratification of the Constitution? Was James Madison not being Southern enough when he wrote, at the time of the MO Compromise, that the territories clause of the Constitution granted enough discretion to Congress to ban slavery in the territories?
 
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