What If... the south had been allowed to secede peacefully?

BlueandGrayl

First Sergeant
Joined
May 27, 2018
Location
Corona, California
Thanks for your response.
Baltimore was very much supportive of the Southern cause. Though the Pratt Street Riot wouldn't have occurred, there may well have been other demonstrations had secession occurred peacefully.
One can easily come up with a scenario where further disintegration would have occurred once peaceful secession had succeeded. Once there was that precedent....
Very much so, any ATL Pratt Street riot or an equivalent would be a concern for the Union to send troops to put the down these demonstrations by lethal force. I can see further disintegration occur indeed and perhaps with Union troops trying to put pro-Confederate demonstrations in an otherwise largely Southern-sympathetic city it might be the trigger event for the Upper South states of Virginia, North Carolina, Arkansas, Tennessee, and possibly Missouri and Kentucky (given that these demonstrations occurred in the border state of Maryland) to secede. Any "peaceful secession" is going to be short lived and any trigger event besides Fort Sumter still is going to result in more secession.
 

WJC

Major General
Judge Adv. Genl.
Thread Medic
Answered the Call for Reinforcements
Joined
Aug 16, 2015
Very much so, any ATL Pratt Street riot or an equivalent would be a concern for the Union to send troops to put the down these demonstrations by lethal force. I can see further disintegration occur indeed and perhaps with Union troops trying to put pro-Confederate demonstrations in an otherwise largely Southern-sympathetic city it might be the trigger event for the Upper South states of Virginia, North Carolina, Arkansas, Tennessee, and possibly Missouri and Kentucky (given that these demonstrations occurred in the border state of Maryland) to secede. Any "peaceful secession" is going to be short lived and any trigger event besides Fort Sumter still is going to result in more secession.
Thanks for your response.
You bring up an interesting point. Suppose the original, Deep South states are allowed to peacefully secede. How long before some other event occurs that starts the process all over again?
 

BlueandGrayl

First Sergeant
Joined
May 27, 2018
Location
Corona, California
Thanks for your response.
You bring up an interesting point. Suppose the original, Deep South states are allowed to peacefully secede. How long before some other event occurs that starts the process all over again?
Well I think between a few weeks (short estimate) or over a month (long estimate) would this "peace" (I use it loosely because there's no formal peace) last and as I stated either some other event like the Pratt Street riot or some other ATL equivalent occurs to start this process over again.
 

BlueandGrayl

First Sergeant
Joined
May 27, 2018
Location
Corona, California
Folks, about all this talk of "What if the South Had Been Allowed To Secede Peacefully" there is no way the U.S. ever allows the South (or in this case the CSA) to ever secede without a fight at best there'd only be a short term peace at worst just delaying the inevitable tension and war. As I noted even if you took Fort Sumter (which ended any peaceful secession) out for a moment another event would have taken its place something like say the Pratt Street Riots in Baltimore or an alternate timeline equivalent is the trigger for war especially since the Upper South states would be angry that a fellow state (Maryland)'s residents was attacked by Union troops it be seen by Virginians, North Carolinians, Tennesseans, Arkansans, Kentuckians, and Missourians as how the British killed 5 American Patriots and wounded 6 of them in Boston on King Street an act of provocation and murder on innocent civilians (in this pro-Confederate Marylanders) with rightful grievances and a driving force for secession of the Upper South: Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Arkansas, (and possibly) Kentucky and Missouri. Let's face it, secession already occurred, an independent country was set up, one isn't happy about this occurring, and another event will fill in the shoes for Fort Sumter there won't be a peaceful secession.
 
Joined
Nov 26, 2010
Location
Arlington, Virginia
Don't know if anyone's pointed this out, but the question poses a historical absurdity.

Given that "the South"* didn't peacefully pursue secession to begin with, there was never any question of "allowing" them to "secede peacefully" -- only of surrender. And that surrender would include not just all the joint property of the United States within those states, but abandonment of all loyal citizens residing there.

In the event, there was no "peacefully" about it from the moment armed militiamen seized the first United States arsenals and forts.

Those initial surrenders didn't prevent further violent acts, so how would any later ones have avoided fighting? If "the South" felt it should include all slave states and access to all the territories, then war could only continue.

*(i.e., slaveholding states in which more than 20% of the population was enslaved and more than 20% of white families owned black people)
 

BillO

Captain
Joined
Feb 2, 2010
Location
Quinton, VA.
Things would be better than they are now. In a perfect scenario The Southern Confederation would have become a larger Switzerland. .
 

wausaubob

Lt. Colonel
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Location
Denver, CO
Lots of good speculation. But the premise is the problem. War is not unusual. Solving problems through negotiation and politics takes skill and dedication. People resort to war readily.
So the premise really suggests that the United States should have let the secessionists have their way. That suggestion implies that the 40% of the southern population that was enslaved did not matter, and the widespread disagreement about the wisdom and efficacy of secession in the Confederate states other than South Carolina does not matter either.
It also implies that the disintegration of the United States, and the demise of the federal system was desirable. Its a lot to assume without a person having to be explicit about why that would be desirable. Which is the fundamental goal of what if discussions.
 

BlueandGrayl

First Sergeant
Joined
May 27, 2018
Location
Corona, California
Lots of good speculation. But the premise is the problem. War is not unusual. Solving problems through negotiation and politics takes skill and dedication. People resort to war readily.
So the premise really suggests that the United States should have let the secessionists have their way. That suggestion implies that the 40% of the southern population that was enslaved did not matter, and the widespread disagreement about the wisdom and efficacy of secession in the Confederate states other than South Carolina does not matter either.
It also implies that the disintegration of the United States, and the demise of the federal system was desirable. Its a lot to assume without a person having to be explicit about why that would be desirable. Which is the fundamental goal of what if discussions.
Thanks. To be honest I reiterated that even if the South was allowed to secede peacefully that would only be brief for either a few weeks or just a month and even without Fort Sumter another event like for example the Pratt Street Riots or an alternate timeline equivalent in Baltimore, Maryland takes its place as a trigger for war and secession. You make some good points
 

O. A. Williams

Private
Joined
Feb 19, 2015

kevikens

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Jun 7, 2013
Location
New Jersey
Folks, about all this talk of "What if the South Had Been Allowed To Secede Peacefully" there is no way the U.S. ever allows the South (or in this case the CSA) to ever secede without a fight at best there'd only be a short term peace at worst just delaying the inevitable tension and war. As I noted even if you took Fort Sumter (which ended any peaceful secession) out for a moment another event would have taken its place something like say the Pratt Street Riots in Baltimore or an alternate timeline equivalent is the trigger for war especially since the Upper South states would be angry that a fellow state (Maryland)'s residents was attacked by Union troops it be seen by Virginians, North Carolinians, Tennesseans, Arkansans, Kentuckians, and Missourians as how the British killed 5 American Patriots and wounded 6 of them in Boston on King Street an act of provocation and murder on innocent civilians (in this pro-Confederate Marylanders) with rightful grievances and a driving force for secession of the Upper South: Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Arkansas, (and possibly) Kentucky and Missouri. Let's face it, secession already occurred, an independent country was set up, one isn't happy about this occurring, and another event will fill in the shoes for Fort Sumter there won't be a peaceful secession.
The Boston Massacre happened on March 5th, 1770. The Revolutionary War began some five years later. It took a lot more than shooting some ten demonstrators to start that rebellion.
 

cash

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
Feb 20, 2005
Location
Right here.
Here is Thomas Jefferson's answer:

"But if on a temporary superiority of the one party, the other is to resort to a scission of the Union, no federal government can ever exist. If to rid ourselves of the present rule of Massachusetts and Connecticut, we break the Union, will the evil stop there? Suppose the New England states alone cut off, will our nature be changed? Are we not men still to the south of that, and with all the passions of men? Immediately, we shall see a Pennsylvania and a Virginia party arise in the residuary confederacy, and the public mind will be distracted with the same party spirit. What a game too will the one party in their hands, by eternally threatening the other that unless they do so and so, they will join their northern neighbors. If we reduce our Union to Virginia and North Carolina, immediately the conflict will be established between the representatives of these two States, and they will end by breaking into their simple units. Seeing, therefore, that an association of men who will not quarrel with one another is a thing which never yet existed, from the greatest confederacy of nations down to a town meeting or a vestry; seeing that we must have somebody to quarrel with, I had rather keep our New England associates for that purpose, than to see our bickerings transferred to others. They are circumscribed within such narrow limits, and their population so full, that their numbers will ever be the minority, and they are marked, like the Jews, with such a perversity of character, as to constitute, from that circumstance, the natural division of our parties. A little patience, and we shall see the reign of witches pass over, their spells dissolved, and the people recovering their true sight, restoring their government to its true principles. It is true, that in the meantime, we are suffering deeply in spirit, and incurring the horrors of a war, and long oppressions of enormous public debt. But who can say what would be the evils of a scission, and when and where they would end? Better keep together as we are, haul off from Europe as soon as we can, and from all attachments to any portions of it; and if they show their power just sufficiently to hoop us together, it will be the happiest situation in which we can exist. If the game runs sometimes against us at home, we must have patience till luck turns, and then we shall have an opportunity of winning back the principles we have lost. For this is a game where principles are the stake." [Thomas Jefferson to John Taylor, 1 June 1798] The entire letter can be seen here: http://college.cengage.com/history/ayers_primary_sources/jefferson_taylor_1798.htm
 

Joshism

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Apr 30, 2012
Location
Jupiter, FL
Britain survived the loss of her American Colonies and did just fine shortly after the loss

The 13 colonies were just that: colonies. She still had many other colonies - India, Canada, Caribbean islands, etc - and the home country was territorial intact and barely harmed.

The seceded states represented a significant part of the United States.

whenever I encounter proposals that might have avoided a war of Americans slaughtering other Americans, including letting the South go its own way, it is hard for me not to conjecture that there might have been a less violent way to have dealt with secession. And I wish Lincoln had tried something like it.

If one side of a disagreement is willing to resort to violence to get their way it's hard to find options other than yielding the disagreement or responding with violence.

Solving problems through negotiation and politics takes skill and dedication. People resort to war readily.

Successful negotiations require both sides be willing to negotiate.

That suggestion implies that the 40% of the southern population that was enslaved did not matter

In 1861, legally they did not, nor would probably 95% of the other 60% have been willing at that time to risk their lives on behalf of the wishes of those enslaved people.

I'm sure Loyalists to the Crown felt the same way about the Patriots of the American Revolution.

And yet the Tory/Loyalist side of the American Revolution is treated completely differently than the Confederate side of the American Civil War.
 
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