What exactly was the "butternut doctrine"?

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Sscul2

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In my research of my husband's great great grandfather, Lieutenant Daniel M. Stearns, he states in a letter home to his mother dated March 15, 1863 the following:

My dear Mother, I am most afraid you are becoming a little tainted with the butternut doctrine as you ask me to resign and come home. Mother, sooner than do that I would rot in a dungeon. Now dear Mother, I hope you will never ask me to come home again.

I know the Butternuts were in part northerners who sympathized in some ways with the south. But what exactly did they stand for? It is obvious that Lieutenant Daniel M. Stearns felt strongly about their doctrine to chastise his mother. Daniel's family was living in Berea, Ohio at the time. Any and all help is appreciated! Thank you!
 

M.Warren

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Upland Southerners who had crossed the Ohio River to preempt the poorer soils and hilly areas in scattered Ohio counties as well as the southern portions of Indiana and Illinois. These transplanted Southerners brought their 99 Democratic proclivities, their mistrust of Yankees, their antiblack prejudices, and their stills with them when they settled in the backcountry to become known as "Butternuts." Although a few of the upland Southerners who came northward settled in Cincinnati, most of them took to the countryside north of "the Queen City." Butler County, which bordered Hamilton County on the north, was filled with "Butternuts" who voted the Democratic ticket, regarded Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson as their prophets, and had a built-in antiblack prejudice. These so-called "Butternuts" carried hickory branches at party rallies, revered the "barefeet Democracy" of an earlier generation, and applauded speakers who denounced abolitionists. Since the poorer backwoodsman wore jeans and linseys dyed with "the humble butternut," they became known as "the great unwashed, unterrified Democracy" or "Butternuts." One observer wrote in derision : "I went out and saw the Copperhead [i.e., antiwar Democrats] demonstration today. It was large. There were a number of women in the procession on horseback. Many of their riding skirts were so old, rusty, ragged & dirty, they might have belonged to their grandmothers. It was the unterrified, unwashed Democracy."— Samuel P. Heintzelman, "Journal," entry of October 20, 1864, Samuel P. Heintzelman Papers, Library of Congress.


Sound and Fury: Civil War Dissent in the Cincinnati Area by Frank L. Klement.
http://library.cincymuseum.org/topics/c/files/civilwar/chsbull-v35-n2-sou-098.pdf
 
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Mild53

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Upland Southerners who had crossed the Ohio River to preempt the poorer soils and hilly areas in scattered Ohio counties as well as the southern portions of Indiana and Illinois. These transplanted Southerners brought their 99 Democratic proclivities, their mistrust of Yankees, their antiblack prejudices, and their stills with them when they settled in the backcountry to become known as "Butternuts." Although a few of the upland Southerners who came northward settled in Cincinnati, most of them took to the countryside north of "the Queen City." Butler County, which bordered Hamilton County on the north, was filled with "Butternuts" who voted the Democratic ticket, regarded Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson as their prophets, and had a built-in antiblack prejudice. These so-called "Butternuts" carried hickory branches at party rallies, revered the "barefeet Democracy" of an earlier generation, and applauded speakers who denounced abolitionists. Since the poorer backwoodsman wore jeans and linseys dyed with "the humble butternut," they became known as "the great unwashed, unterrified Democracy" or "Butternuts." One observer wrote in derision : "I went out and saw the Copperhead [i.e., antiwar Democrats] demonstration today. It was large. There were a number of women in the procession on horseback. Many of their riding skirts were so old, rusty, ragged & dirty, they might have belonged to their grandmothers. It was the unterrified, unwashed Democracy."— Samuel P. Heintzelman, "Journal," entry of October 20, 1864, Samuel P. Heintzelman Papers, Library of Congress.


Sound and Fury: Civil War Dissent in the Cincinnati Area by Frank L. Klement.
http://library.cincymuseum.org/topics/c/files/civilwar/chsbull-v35-n2-sou-098.pdf
Very interesting. How do you interpet the phrase in the letter in this post. It sounds like the "butternut doctrine" is encouraging soldiers to desert.
 
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M.Warren

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Very interesting. How do you interpet the phrase in the letter in this post. It sounds like the "butternut doctrine" is encouraging soldiers to desert.
He was a Union officer and to him the request was unpatriotic and he was being asked to give up on everything he believed in. To his Mother it seemed to be compromise out of love for her child. I think many of those southern Democrats living in the northern states felt the same way as she did even if for different reasons, seen through different eyes. To them it was a simple request for compromise that might lead to keeping the Union whole without 4 years of Americans killing Americans. Personally I think the author explained the situation quite well.

Few Northerners, whether Democrats or Republicans, spoke out openly against the Civil War during the spring and summer months of 1861. The Fort Sumter affair, the firing on the U.S. flag released a wave of patriotic fervor. War meetings whipped up emotions, flags flew on every hand, and President Lincoln's call for troops met a glorious response. The Cincinnati Enquirer, voice of area Democrats, gave a qualified endorsement of the war. Only the bold heart dared call for compromise or put the blame for the war upon President Lincoln and the Republican party. "I am not deceived in my faith in the North," an observer in Washington, D.C., wrote: "the excitement, the wrath is terrible. Party lines burn, dissolved by the excitement. Now the people is fusion, as bronze." Patriotism seemed to have triumphed over partyism as a member of Lincoln's cabinet wrote, "The Democrats generally as well as the Republicans are offering themselves to the country." The patriotic surge, so strong during the early months of the war, ebbed as time tempered the emotions and reality made its presence felt.

On the other hand, President Lincoln's surrender to pressure from the abolitionists also contributed to the widespread dissatisfaction with the war. Democrats who supported the president when he revoked General John C. Fremont's proclamation of August 30, 1861, and annulled General David Hunter's directive freeing the slaves within his department, turned against him when he gave support to emancipation policy—they considered the Emancipation Proclamation of January 1, 1863, to be the last straw. The Cincinnati Enquirer, which had given Lincoln and the war qualified support until he issued his two proclamations of emancipation, turned upon the president like a mad dog. Democrats argued that emancipation was unconstitutional, impractical, and unnecessary; they argued that it violated Lincoln's inaugural pledge as well as the Congressional resolutions defining the objectives of the war. They added that emancipation would discourage enlistments, unite the South to a man, dampen support of the war in the North, and make compromise and reunion nigh impossible.

Sound and Fury: Civil War Dissent in the Cincinnati Area by Frank L. Klement
 

Sscul2

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Always thankful for the response on Civil War Talk Forum!
 
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Sscul2

Private
Joined
May 25, 2016
Messages
101
Upland Southerners who had crossed the Ohio River to preempt the poorer soils and hilly areas in scattered Ohio counties as well as the southern portions of Indiana and Illinois. These transplanted Southerners brought their 99 Democratic proclivities, their mistrust of Yankees, their antiblack prejudices, and their stills with them when they settled in the backcountry to become known as "Butternuts." Although a few of the upland Southerners who came northward settled in Cincinnati, most of them took to the countryside north of "the Queen City." Butler County, which bordered Hamilton County on the north, was filled with "Butternuts" who voted the Democratic ticket, regarded Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson as their prophets, and had a built-in antiblack prejudice. These so-called "Butternuts" carried hickory branches at party rallies, revered the "barefeet Democracy" of an earlier generation, and applauded speakers who denounced abolitionists. Since the poorer backwoodsman wore jeans and linseys dyed with "the humble butternut," they became known as "the great unwashed, unterrified Democracy" or "Butternuts." One observer wrote in derision : "I went out and saw the Copperhead [i.e., antiwar Democrats] demonstration today. It was large. There were a number of women in the procession on horseback. Many of their riding skirts were so old, rusty, ragged & dirty, they might have belonged to their grandmothers. It was the unterrified, unwashed Democracy."— Samuel P. Heintzelman, "Journal," entry of October 20, 1864, Samuel P. Heintzelman Papers, Library of Congress.


Sound and Fury: Civil War Dissent in the Cincinnati Area by Frank L. Klement.
http://library.cincymuseum.org/topics/c/files/civilwar/chsbull-v35-n2-sou-098.pdf
Thank you! Appreciate this information. Sheds light on what it was like for those at home.
 
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Sscul2

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He was a Union officer and to him the request was unpatriotic and he was being asked to give up on everything he believed in. To his Mother it seemed to be compromise out of love for her child. I think many of those southern Democrats living in the northern states felt the same way as she did even if for different reasons, seen through different eyes. To them it was a simple request for compromise that might lead to keeping the Union whole without 4 years of Americans killing Americans. Personally I think the author explained the situation quite well.

Few Northerners, whether Democrats or Republicans, spoke out openly against the Civil War during the spring and summer months of 1861. The Fort Sumter affair, the firing on the U.S. flag released a wave of patriotic fervor. War meetings whipped up emotions, flags flew on every hand, and President Lincoln's call for troops met a glorious response. The Cincinnati Enquirer, voice of area Democrats, gave a qualified endorsement of the war. Only the bold heart dared call for compromise or put the blame for the war upon President Lincoln and the Republican party. "I am not deceived in my faith in the North," an observer in Washington, D.C., wrote: "the excitement, the wrath is terrible. Party lines burn, dissolved by the excitement. Now the people is fusion, as bronze." Patriotism seemed to have triumphed over partyism as a member of Lincoln's cabinet wrote, "The Democrats generally as well as the Republicans are offering themselves to the country." The patriotic surge, so strong during the early months of the war, ebbed as time tempered the emotions and reality made its presence felt.

On the other hand, President Lincoln's surrender to pressure from the abolitionists also contributed to the widespread dissatisfaction with the war. Democrats who supported the president when he revoked General John C. Fremont's proclamation of August 30, 1861, and annulled General David Hunter's directive freeing the slaves within his department, turned against him when he gave support to emancipation policy—they considered the Emancipation Proclamation of January 1, 1863, to be the last straw. The Cincinnati Enquirer, which had given Lincoln and the war qualified support until he issued his two proclamations of emancipation, turned upon the president like a mad dog. Democrats argued that emancipation was unconstitutional, impractical, and unnecessary; they argued that it violated Lincoln's inaugural pledge as well as the Congressional resolutions defining the objectives of the war. They added that emancipation would discourage enlistments, unite the South to a man, dampen support of the war in the North, and make compromise and reunion nigh impossible.

Sound and Fury: Civil War Dissent in the Cincinnati Area by Frank L. Klement
Thank you so much for the information you provided and your interpretation of Lieutenant Stearns' comments. Makes absolute sense that his mother would want hime to come home. And it makes even more sense that Stearns was strong in his response. You are right, Stearns was very patriotic and believed, without question, in the preservation of the Union. I feel for his mother though. She had three sons serving in the Union. I think it is safe to say she just wanted them home safe and sound. In the end, she got her wish as all three survived the war. Unfortunately for her, Lieutenant Stearns did not come home the same son she remembered. He struggled with the atrocities he saw, mainly at the Battle of Franklin and sadly could never leave his memories in the past.
 

Mild53

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He was a Union officer and to him the request was unpatriotic and he was being asked to give up on everything he believed in. To his Mother it seemed to be compromise out of love for her child. I think many of those southern Democrats living in the northern states felt the same way as she did even if for different reasons, seen through different eyes. To them it was a simple request for compromise that might lead to keeping the Union whole without 4 years of Americans killing Americans. Personally I think the author explained the situation quite well.

Few Northerners, whether Democrats or Republicans, spoke out openly against the Civil War during the spring and summer months of 1861. The Fort Sumter affair, the firing on the U.S. flag released a wave of patriotic fervor. War meetings whipped up emotions, flags flew on every hand, and President Lincoln's call for troops met a glorious response. The Cincinnati Enquirer, voice of area Democrats, gave a qualified endorsement of the war. Only the bold heart dared call for compromise or put the blame for the war upon President Lincoln and the Republican party. "I am not deceived in my faith in the North," an observer in Washington, D.C., wrote: "the excitement, the wrath is terrible. Party lines burn, dissolved by the excitement. Now the people is fusion, as bronze." Patriotism seemed to have triumphed over partyism as a member of Lincoln's cabinet wrote, "The Democrats generally as well as the Republicans are offering themselves to the country." The patriotic surge, so strong during the early months of the war, ebbed as time tempered the emotions and reality made its presence felt.

On the other hand, President Lincoln's surrender to pressure from the abolitionists also contributed to the widespread dissatisfaction with the war. Democrats who supported the president when he revoked General John C. Fremont's proclamation of August 30, 1861, and annulled General David Hunter's directive freeing the slaves within his department, turned against him when he gave support to emancipation policy—they considered the Emancipation Proclamation of January 1, 1863, to be the last straw. The Cincinnati Enquirer, which had given Lincoln and the war qualified support until he issued his two proclamations of emancipation, turned upon the president like a mad dog. Democrats argued that emancipation was unconstitutional, impractical, and unnecessary; they argued that it violated Lincoln's inaugural pledge as well as the Congressional resolutions defining the objectives of the war. They added that emancipation would discourage enlistments, unite the South to a man, dampen support of the war in the North, and make compromise and reunion nigh impossible.

Sound and Fury: Civil War Dissent in the Cincinnati Area by Frank L. Klement
Thanks, great explanation!
 
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