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

WilliamH

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Point Lookout
I've read multiple times on this board people argue that President Davis ordered the attack on Fort Sumtner bc he needed a war to unite the South and keep the Confederacy together.

I believe their is a quote from an Alabama congressman to Davis along the lines that unless blood is sprinkle in the faces of the people of South they will return to the Union.

If one accepts Davis needed a war to unite the South then it is responsible in this "What if" of no war that the South does not unite and the Confederate government falls apart resulting in the Southern states reuniting with the Union.
 

JonnyReb_In_MI

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Location
Southeast Michigan
I've read multiple times on this board people argue that President Davis ordered the attack on Fort Sumtner bc he needed a war to unite the South and keep the Confederacy together.

I believe their is a quote from an Alabama congressman to Davis along the lines that unless blood is sprinkle in the faces of the people of South they will return to the Union.

If one accepts Davis needed a war to unite the South then it is responsible in this "What if" of no war that the South does not unite and the Confederate government falls apart resulting in the Southern states reuniting with the Union.

I am one who does not accept that line of thinking. Davis, of all men in the entire Confederacy as a then-recent past U.S. Secretary of War, knew that the South was not prepared for armed conflict with the North in virtually any way. It defies all logic to suggest it.
 
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berlin
Here is Thomas Jefferson's answer ...

The 13 colonies were just that: colonies. ...

... and others said:

this is a whatif - the question is not how realistic it is, is it? they have been letting go in peace. talk about what happens after that. talk about why (maybe) 'another' war starts a week later (and maybe who started it) but you are not supossed to discuss how stOOpid the whole idea is or why actual history tells us otherwise. that's just not the focus here. nobody forces anybody to engange in whatifs.



... having said that:

I am one who does not accept that line of thinking. Davis, of all men in the entire Confederacy as a then-recent past U.S. Secretary of War, knew that the South was not prepared for armed conflict with the North in virtually any way. It defies all logic to suggest it.

what defies logic is that knowing all this he nonetheless started that war. there is no way that after ft sumter anything but war is possible. this is 1860 - honour dictates it
 
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Joined
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Location
berlin
I've read multiple times on this board people argue that President Davis ordered the attack on Fort Sumtner bc he needed a war to unite the South and keep the Confederacy together.

I believe their is a quote from an Alabama congressman to Davis along the lines that unless blood is sprinkle in the faces of the people of South they will return to the Union.

If one accepts Davis needed a war to unite the South then it is responsible in this "What if" of no war that the South does not unite and the Confederate government falls apart resulting in the Southern states reuniting with the Union.

i don't think so. as no war means no ft sumter 'incident' (honour would not allow to simply forget that) we are talking the original 7 states were let gone in peace. the other four are not needed to survive a war that doesn't happen (yet). they may or may not follow suite within the years.

i think they will. they'll most likely flee the ensuing blamegame in the (rest) us to join the then comparitively strong and stable csa. after all the people (as long as they are white) of the csa are in a possitive mood. they have not that much reason for infighting. also that blame game will (from day one on) most likely scapegoat
  • the government
  • the remaining slave states
the problem is that the (rest) us has a set precendence (as has the csa, btw) that secession is okay. with precedence based law ...
 
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Joined
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berlin
Things would be better than they are now. In a perfect scenario The Southern Confederation would have become a larger Switzerland. .
you may want to read up on switzerland
just to spare you the reading up

8 nov 1307 (hardly modern politics)

We want to be a single People of brethren,
Never to part in danger nor distress.
We want to be free, as our fathers were,
And rather die than live in slavery.
We want to trust in the one highest God
And never be afraid of human power.​

that's the basic oath of switzerland. there are a couple of versions (all of them are in german) so i use the translation from schiller's wilhelm tell

good luck to the csa with that




... btw, if you have a source for the swiss having slaves (or anythinghg like it) since then i'll be happy to check it
 

wausaubob

Lt. Colonel
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Location
Denver, CO
Its true that in 1861 the United States did not letmthe Confederacy go in peace. The people at that time did not think the Confederates wanted to be left alone. Why not?
Because their experience up until 1861, especially the last 20 years between 1841-1861, had been that the large plantation owners had dominated the federal government. They had dominated foreign policy and engaged in expansionist wars and old time dislocation of minority peoples.
The people of the United States had added territory to the plantation section and allowed them to import more slaves, legally, and then more slaves through Louisiana, Florida and Texas, both legally and illegally. This had not satisfied the secessionists. The only thing that would satisfy then was continued dominance and continued imperial expansion.
Therefore it seems to me the people of the United States correctly judged that the secessionists did not want peace. Secession was only the first step towards continental domination. A bit of southern Napoleon, and Confederate Caesar was in the cards, and the people of the United States in the northern states and the border states rightly concluded that it was either war now or war later.
 

wausaubob

Lt. Colonel
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Location
Denver, CO
Therefore if someone like President Lincoln had tried to let the Confederates go, the free blacks and abolitionists would have been organizing successful slave raids into the south. These raids would have provoked a war. If that had not been sufficient, the United States would have fractured into pieces that were willing to fight.
It is that second process that scared the people into fighting immediately.
The idea of contesting armies, contesting currencies, contesting legal systems, and contesting labor systems spreading out across the continent, making America a cheap copy of Europe, was rejected. That is why there never could have been peace between the two contestants.
 
Joined
Nov 26, 2010
Location
Arlington, Virginia
you may want to read up on switzerland
Good point -- the Swiss were much more efficient than us. They had a civil war themselves, but wrapped it up in three weeks with less than a hundred dead and made the losers pay the expenses. "The South" was no Switzerland, and could be no Switzerland with slavery -- an anathema to the entire point of Switzerland. And of course there was nowhere near the level of democratic culture in "the South."
 

JonnyReb_In_MI

Corporal
Joined
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Location
Southeast Michigan
what defies logic is that knowing all this he nonetheless started that war. there is no way that after ft sumter anything but war is possible. this is 1860 - honour dictates it

Yes, this is a what-if thread, but please stay on topic; if you want to start another one discussing the "idea" that Davis started the war, please feel free :smile coffee:
Edited.
 
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BillO

Captain
Joined
Feb 2, 2010
Location
Quinton, VA.
just to spare you the reading up

8 nov 1307 (hardly modern politics)

We want to be a single People of brethren,
Never to part in danger nor distress.
We want to be free, as our fathers were,
And rather die than live in slavery.
We want to trust in the one highest God
And never be afraid of human power.​

that's the basic oath of switzerland. there are a couple of versions (all of them are in german) so i use the translation from schiller's wilhelm tell

good luck to the csa with that




... btw, if you have a source for the swiss having slaves (or anythinghg like it) since then i'll be happy to check it
Modernization and the Boll Weavel would have sharply reduced slavery in the south. IMO if slavery was curtailed it would have been quickly followed by forced removal of the former slaves. Sounds harsh but I suspect it would have been done.
 

leftyhunter

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
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Location
los angeles ca
Modernization and the Boll Weavel would have sharply reduced slavery in the south. IMO if slavery was curtailed it would have been quickly followed by forced removal of the former slaves. Sounds harsh but I suspect it would have been done.
We can't really know that would be the case. Slavery survived in other nations including industrial nations well after the Civil War.
Leftyhunter
 

leftyhunter

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
May 27, 2011
Location
los angeles ca
As you already liked a post of mine, you know that even if for a moment the CSA didn't bomb Fort Sumter thus no Union response another event would have taken its place such as the Pratt Street Baltimore Riots of 1862.
Can you elaborate on the Pratt Street Riots of 1862 and how they differed from the Pratt Street Riots of April 1861?
Thanks;
Leftyhunter
 

CSA Today

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
Dec 3, 2011
Location
Laurinburg NC
I've read multiple times on this board people argue that President Davis ordered the attack on Fort Sumtner bc he needed a war to unite the South and keep the Confederacy together.

I believe their is a quote from an Alabama congressman to Davis along the lines that unless blood is sprinkle in the faces of the people of South they will return to the Union.

If one accepts Davis needed a war to unite the South then it is responsible in this "What if" of no war that the South does not unite and the Confederate government falls apart resulting in the Southern states reuniting with the Union.

I think it was actually an Alabama newspaper trying to force Davis to take action against Yankee occupation, but I doubt seriously anybody thought that if blood wasn't shed and soon the very same people were going to demand a return to the union.
 

Irishtom29

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Jul 21, 2008
Location
Kent, Washington
I am one who does not accept that line of thinking. Davis, of all men in the entire Confederacy as a then-recent past U.S. Secretary of War, knew that the South was not prepared for armed conflict with the North in virtually any way. It defies all logic to suggest it.

Not all logic. Evidently the rebellion was based on bad premises not bad logic.
 

WJC

Major General
Judge Adv. Genl.
Thread Medic
Answered the Call for Reinforcements
Joined
Aug 16, 2015
Modernization and the Boll Weavel would have sharply reduced slavery in the south.
When? Both eventually occurred, but a 'kinder, gentler' slavery continued under Jim Crow for another hundred years.
 

amweiner

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Feb 8, 2017
Location
Monterey, CA
I haven't seen this addressed in the thread, but have to wonder about the likelihood of more and bloodier revolts by enslaved men and women. Abolitionists might well have supported these with money and guns, and it's possible that these revolts would've been intended to show the slave states that the price of maintaining slavery wasn't worth the blood paid. Abolitionist leaders would have been quick to draw international attention to these to pressure the Confederacy towards considering emancipation, and trying to isolate it politically at every opportunity.
 
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