Were Confederate Generals Traitors?

Lnwlf

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What exactly does this have to do with CSA generals.

Might I suggest you all please heed Forum Host jgoodguy's request to stay with the topic of the thread? I get that discussing secession is part of the equation of Confederate generals and whether or not they were traitors. The problem being, as with any example put forth, the discussion becomes "all about the example, and not the topic. Might I also suggest if you wish to pursue the off topic discussions, (like Sumter) that you go to the threads created by jgoodguy, and he graciously listed in posts#417 and #419 of this thread? I'm sure he would appreciate it.

Posted as a Casual Moderator. For now.
 

CowCavalry

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I think you're confusing a band of traitors fighting against a government NOT of consent, with another fighting a government their ancestors had consented to; and one who fought for freedom, with one who fought against it. That's called false equivalency.

At any rate, if they listened to the ancestors they supposedly revered, like George Washington, they would have heard him condemn state compact theory and complain that if "systematically and pertinaciously pursued", they would "dissolve the union or produce coercion". Apparently in his mind, there was a coerce option, but no let lawbreakers have their way option.

The post of mine you quoted is in response to yours regarding who is entitled to "self determination", not whether or not one band of traitors was more justified than another.

Which is to say not legitimate until they won. And your statement about self-government appears to be based on one of two misperceptions. As a human right (self-determination), it did not exist at the time, but by today's definition would not apply to the South. It applies to ethnically or racially distinct people. And the principle of consent of the governed applies to the establishment of government, and the right of the people as a whole within a political society having the right to alter or abolish their government. Unlike our Forefathers, who never consented to taxation or legislation in general by Parliament, the South consented to the US Gov't.

Your interpretation of the right seems to be founded in anarchy. There could never be effective gov't under that interpretation.

Are you saying that the right of self determination only belongs to racially homogeneous groups?
 

CowCavalry

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Might I suggest you all please heed Forum Host jgoodguy's request to stay with the topic of the thread? I get that discussing secession is part of the equation of Confederate generals and whether or not they were traitors. The problem being, as with any example put forth, the discussion becomes "all about the example, and not the topic. Might I also suggest if you wish to pursue the off topic discussions, (like Sumter) that you go to the threads created by jgoodguy, and he graciously listed in posts#417 and #419 of this thread? I'm sure he would appreciate it.

Posted as a Casual Moderator. For now.

Duly noted and agreed to.
 

jgoodguy

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No, I don't agree. That the United States considered the Confederates to be rebels is sufficient to consider them traitors. Justification for treason is a seperate issue from treason itself. Honest to God, I find the dictionary very useful to this discussion; words have meanings.
Dang don't no durn courts, just open a dictionary.
 

jgoodguy

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Might I suggest you all please heed Forum Host jgoodguy's request to stay with the topic of the thread? I get that discussing secession is part of the equation of Confederate generals and whether or not they were traitors. The problem being, as with any example put forth, the discussion becomes "all about the example, and not the topic. Might I also suggest if you wish to pursue the off topic discussions, (like Sumter) that you go to the threads created by jgoodguy, and he graciously listed in posts#417 and #419 of this thread? I'm sure he would appreciate it.

Posted as a Casual Moderator. For now.
Thanks
 

jgoodguy

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Confederate Generals were required to obtain pardons for TREASON in order to regain the rights all rebels of course forfeit, even in the most democratic nation in the world. And in this case, in that time, it's remarkable the degree to which those rights were restored. They took their chances, made their mistake, failed in their objective, and then took their medicine. I seriously doubt there was this much complaining about it back then.
That gets muddled. What happened is documented in the following letter. A case can be made that Generals that applied under the May 29 proclamation admitted guilt.
Reference
In short
  • May 29, 1865 Generals need to apply for pardon.
  • On July 4, 1868 Generals who have not applied do not have to apply. Pardon and Amnesty granted unilaterally.
  • On October 12, 1870, Congress, by the acts of May 22, 1872 (17 Stat. 142), and June 6, 1898 (30 Stat. 432), removed all political disabilities imposed by the 3rd Section of the Fourteenth Amendment.

A.G. 201 Lee, Robert E.(16 Jan 45) RO-R Mrs.
Sam. A. Davis,
235 South Jackson,
Glendale 5, California.



Dear Mrs. Davis:

In response to your letter of 16 January 1945, herewith in a copy of my letter of 27 June 1936, regarding General Robert E. Lee, C.S.A.

"In a proclamation dated May 29, 1865 (13 Stat. 758), President Johnson granted, with certain exceptions, amnesty and pardon ‘to all persons who have, directly or indirectly, participated in the existing rebellion * * *’. Among the persons excepted from the operation of this proclamation were

"3rd. All who shall have been military or naval officers of said pretended confederate government above the rank of colonel in the army or lieutenant in the navy;

"5th. All who resigned or tendered resignations of their commissions in the army or navy of the United States to evade duty in resisting the rebellion;

"8th. All military and naval officers in the rebel service, who were educated by the government in the Military Academy at West Point or the United States Naval Academy."

"Persons who sought to accept the benefits of this proclamation were required to take and subscribe to, maintain inviolate, an oath of allegiance prescried therein.

"General Lee, although not included within the terms of this proclamation by reason of the above quoted exceptions, made application for a pardon which, however, appears never to have been aced upon by President Johnson. The required oath of allegiance did not accompany General Lee’s applciation (War of the Rebellion Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series I, Vol. XLVI, Part III, pp. 1275-1286).

"On July 4, 1868, President Johnson issued another proclamation of amnesty and pardon (15 Stat. 702) which was much broader in its application than that of May 29, 1865, in that it granted

"* * * unconditionally and without reservation, to all and to every person who directly or indirectly participated in the late insurrection or rebellion, excepting such person or persons as may be under presentment or indictment in any court of the United States having competent jurisdiction, upon a charge of treason or other felony, a full pardon and amnesty for the offence of treason against the United States, or of adhering to their enemies during the late civil war * * *".

"No oath of allegiance or other act was required of those who were pardoned by the amnesty of July 4, 1868, above cited.

"It would appear that this amnesty proclamation operated to pardon General Lee for the offense of treason for, so far as is known, General Lee was not under presentment or indictment upon a charge of treason or other felony.

"On July 13, 1868, nine days after the proclamation last above referred to, the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution was ratified by the last State necessary for its adoption.

"The third section of this amendment materially restricted the political rights of former officers of the United States who had participated in the rebellion against them, unless relieved from such disability by a vote of two-thirds of each House of Congress.

"In a proclamation dated December 25, 1868 (15 Stat. 711), President Johnson proclaimed and declared

" * * * unconditionally, and without reservation, to all and every person who directly or indirectly participated in the late insurrection or rebellion, a full pardon and amnesty for the offence of treason against the United States, or of adhering to their enemies during the late civil war, with restoration of all rights, privileges, and immunities under the Constitution and the laws which have been made in pursuance thereof.

"This proclamation following, as it did, the adoption of the Fourteenth Amendent, was necessarily limited in its operation by the restrictions imposed by that Amendement upon the President’s pardoning power. The proclamation was operative, however, to pardon General Lee for the offense of treason and restore all to his former constittuional rights, privileges and immunities except the right to hold certain offices.

"Following General Lee’s death, October 12, 1870, Congress, by the acts of May 22, 1872 (17 Stat. 142), and June 6, 1898 (30 Stat. 432), removed all political disabilities imposed by the 3rd Section of the Fourteenth Amendment.

"It seems clear that General Lee was in fact pardoned by President Johnson, if not by the proclamation of July 4, 1868, then certainly by that of December 25, 1868, and that any politcal limitations to which he was subject by the Fourteenth Amendment were removed by the act of June 6, 1898.

"It is the opinion of the War Department that full and complete amnesty was accorded to General Lee by the several proclamations and acts of Congress above referred to, and that there remains no disability with respect to him upon which a further act of the Executive or of Congress could be operative even if he were still living."

Sincerely yours,

J.A. ULIO,

Major General,

The Adjutant General

By:
 
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jgoodguy

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I take the following 3 positions simultaneously.
  • Under the broadest definition of treason every white Southerner that did not join the Union committed treason including the generals plus many Copperheads up north and plus small children and their kittens.
  • Under the strictest definition of treason no General committed Treason.
  • Because treason at its base is a political crime and the political forces of the Union chose not to pursue treason, the exact state of treason for any general is not determinable.
 

CW Buff

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The post of mine you quoted is in response to yours regarding who is entitled to "self determination", not whether or not one band of traitors was more justified than another.

Not much chance of me following that when I said self determination is a modern notion, and only applies to ethnically/racially distinct people (i.e. distinct from the people/nation/gov't they wish to separate from).
The post of mine you quoted is in response to yours regarding who is entitled to "self determination", not whether or not one band of traitors was more justified than another.

You're right, I misunderstood. I misinterpreted it as another comparison of the two rebellions/secessions, though there was no excuse for the mistake, other than the nonexcuse of assumption. My Apology. I have added an acknowledgement to the prior post. Thx.

Are you saying that the right of self determination only belongs to racially homogeneous groups?

As I understand it, it applies to the right of one racially, ethnically, religiously, etc. distinct group that is dominated by another, like in most colonial situations (but not that of 1776, instead think of things like British domination of India). While it has roots in consent of the governed (which is also an element of it), it is more of a modern extension of that principle, and was used to counter the colonialism/imperialism of the early 20th century. It apparently stretches as far back as the 1860s (i had not remembered that it went back that far even), but became prominent between the WWs, and was adopted as policy by the UN after WWII (a backlash against the racism taken to its most drastic extent exhibited during that war). Consent of the governed counters plain vanilla political discrimination (i.e. British Tory oppression of the Provincials), but self-determination extends to more morally bankrupt flavors of discrimination (racial, ethnic, etc.). It is sometimes misrepresented to justify any and all revolution/independence (by applying an everything and anything definition of "people"). Hopefully I have not seriously contradicted my own source (it's been a while, and only skimmed it).

 

CowCavalry

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You're right, I misunderstood. I misinterpreted it as another comparison of the two rebellions/secessions, though there was no excuse for the mistake, other than the nonexcuse of assumption. My Apology. I have added an acknowledgement to the prior post. Thx.

I am just glad you were able to understand what I was actually replying to, after awhile it all gets hard to follow. Thanks.
 

CW Buff

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That gets muddled. What happened is documented in the following letter. A case can be made that Generals that applied under the May 29 proclamation admitted guilt.
Reference
In short
  • May 29, 1865 Generals need to apply for pardon.
  • On July 4, 1868 Generals who have not applied do not have to apply. Pardon and Amnesty granted unilaterally.
  • On October 12, 1870, Congress, by the acts of May 22, 1872 (17 Stat. 142), and June 6, 1898 (30 Stat. 432), removed all political disabilities imposed by the 3rd Section of the Fourteenth Amendment.

I thought of that when I posted "All generals were required..." but I consider it at most a very minor point. Keep in mind the overall goal and process. The unconditional pardons simply were not going to come until most Southerners, including virtually all the leaders, had obtained pardons (i.e. taken the oath). In fact, I think hostilities were not declared ended until the last pardon. The oath was crucial, especially for leaders, which is why they were among those who had to specifically apply (except maybe the first, 1863 proclamation, by Lincoln). And also why Congress kept tabs on the pardons, and the president had to keep and submit to Congress lists of the persons who were pardoned. I believe it's White v. Hart that declares the Fed had not only the power to do all that was necessary to put down the rebellion, but ditto to ensure it would not resume. In other words, the latter was also very important. I don't know how many individual pardons (for those like political and military leaders) there ended up being, but there were something like 12,500 by mid 1866. And you had over two years after that before the unconditional pardon.

Did you understand the point made in the letter, about Lee probably receiving the July 4 pardon, but then losing it when the 14th Amendment was ratified a few days later, and then falling under the Dec. 25 pardon? That made no sense to me.

As I noted before, Lee's application was not missing the oath. Someone in the Fed "misfiled" it. It was found in 1975 (yup, that second digit is a NINE). More than likely a bit of vindictiveness there.
 

jgoodguy

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Did you understand the point made in the letter, about Lee probably receiving the July 4 pardon, but then losing it when the 14th Amendment was ratified a few days later, and then falling under the Dec. 25 pardon? That made no sense to me.
As I recall it was part of the reconstruction fight between Congress and Johnson.
IMHO we have a pardon from July 4, the 14th nullifies part of it regarding offices and such and possibility being a lawyer and professional licenses, Johnson nullifies part of that nullification and then Congress nullifies the rest.
 

jgoodguy

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If the secessionist conceded that Fort Supter was US territory, it calls into question their claim of national sovereignty. Asserting sovereignty like that increases in the secessionists minds the likelihood of foreign recognition.
 
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