Who is Most Responsible for the Civil War??

Who is most responsible for the Civil War?


  • Total voters
    196

ewc

Sergeant
Joined
Feb 20, 2005
Location
pittsburgh
Principles and politics figure into considering who of the principal characters of the time bear the most responsibility in bringing the war to pass. Pick up to three men most culpable, either for their actions or what they represented. i couldn't include some other worthy characters, so here is the top ten.

Some I couldn't include (10 is the max) are:
Salmon P Chase- Lincoln's secreary of treasury, Radical Republican;
Robert Toombs- Davis's secretary of state, staunch Southern rights advocate;
Major Robert Anderson- Federal commandant of Ft Sumter, who refused to surrender;
Francis Pickens- South Carolina governor, leader of secession;
Charles Sumner- Radical Massachusetts senator.
 

ewc

Sergeant
Joined
Feb 20, 2005
Location
pittsburgh
My choices are Yancey, Calhoun, and John Brown. Yancey for working to destroy the Democratic Party and convincing his fellow Southerners that they had no choice but to strike out on their own. He sabotaged the political system from the inside, refusing to work toward peace and settlement, treasonous in my estimation. Calhoun, though i admire his fierce defense of States Rights and Southern rights, laid the groundwork for secession if the South's demands were not met. And these two for promoting secession, where secession could not be worked but to yield to war. Lastly Brown for attempting servile insurrection, giving credence to Southerners' worst nightmares and proving to them that all their fears were founded. This action burnt all bridges between the sections after it, leaving little chance that America would escape war among itself.
 

yankeewoman

Cadet
Joined
Feb 20, 2005
I just couldn't pick one person........

If the American Civil War were to be blamed to either side during the conflict, I would agree with Shelby Foote's *****sment that the War came out of the country's inability to compromise. The nation had troubles brewing that were ripe for conflict, and had many on both sides who played to that fact.

I never did like Jefferson Davis, though.
 

ole

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Retired Moderator
Joined
Feb 20, 2005
Location
Near Kankakee
EWC:

You pose an impossible question. The stipulation, "most responsible," makes it impossible. All bore varying degrees of responsibility. I picked Garrison, Buchanan, and Davis. Calhoun , Yancey and Rhett likely didn't receive much following outside of the aristocracy. The scary guy was that fool, Garrison. The patsy, Buchanan, ought to have done more to head off the approaching fury. The tool, Davis, put his oar in with his compliance to the rants of the fire-eaters.
 

ewc

Sergeant
Joined
Feb 20, 2005
Location
pittsburgh
Ole- No, not impossible, but certainly not easy. Everyone has their take on the Civil War, and who he feels in his heart of hearts are 'villains and rascals' and who are heroes. I've always considered Yancey, Rhett, Ruffin, and the 'fire-eater' crowd to be at the zenith of archvillainy. At the same time, there are honorable folks who would consider Garrison, Stowe, John Brown, and the abolitionists the same way.

There is a great quote in Stephen King's The Stand, a novel about a man-made plague which eliminates all but a remnant of humankind, where a survivor of the plague accosts a CDC doctor studying it, the doctor justs shakes his head and says (I paraphrase) 'Who is to blame? Who can say? On this the responsibility spreads out in so many directions that it's invisible.'

It's hard choosing one person, or three. It was hard for me paring down the list to ten, and I've already come up with more names to add to the list- (Missouri senator & border ruffian Dean Atchison and Kansas senator & Jayhawker James Henry Lane for their contributions to Bleeding Kansas.) But I'm good with the three I've chosen. I also like your own suggestion of President Buchanan, who could have done something about secession, but did not. But what could he have done? Still... What he did do was oppose Douglas and make more hash out of Kansas than you would think one fool administration could possibly do, but somehow he managed. He I think would be my 4th choice.
 

ole

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Retired Moderator
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Location
Near Kankakee
ewc:
There were those, south and north, who saw it coming and did nothing. And there were those, south and north, who encouraged the divide. Which of these SOB's is most responsible? There's plenty of blame to go around in your list, and the shades between them are obscure.
Garrison fed the flame and Calhoun capitalized on it. Which is more culpable?
I stick with impossible.
Ole
 

ole

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Retired Moderator
Joined
Feb 20, 2005
Location
Near Kankakee
Unionblue.

Been there, read that. Doesn't say most.

I see Lincoln is growing in popularity -- probably because he wouldn't let them go peaceably.
 

ole

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Retired Moderator
Joined
Feb 20, 2005
Location
Near Kankakee
Thanks for that, Unionblue.

Lincoln is villified for making the tough choice. Whatever anyone says, we are better off today because he had the 'nads to do it. (Occupied Alabama notwithstanding.)
 

ole

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Retired Moderator
Joined
Feb 20, 2005
Location
Near Kankakee
Amen.

The man is questioned, second-guessed, even villified. But when the strokes got short, he said this is where it stops. We may never again see his like. A truly, truly great man.
 

rin1

Cadet
Joined
Apr 24, 2005
Location
Virginia
You are looking in the wrong place.

Thomas Jefferson and James Madison - For not recognizing the abomination of slavery and insisting on the words "all men are created equal" as a true tennant of our country, from its inception.
 
A

aphillbilly

Guest
I see Lincoln catching the blame because he stood up and made the hard choice.

And the wrong one.
 
A

aphillbilly

Guest
Ole,

Letting the South have the Liberty, the Right of Self Determination without killing them. Avoiding war. Meeting with peace committees. Lots of things. Hey, I just voted my conscience.
YMOS
tommy
 

johan_steele

Regimental Armorer
Retired Moderator
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Feb 20, 2005
Location
South of the North 40
250,000 odd Southerners fought for the Union, was their right of self determination for naught? The CS needed a Chamberlain in the White House, they got Lincoln.
 

showmegal

Cadet
Joined
Apr 14, 2005
Location
Columbia, Mo
How about Harriet Beecher Stowe to whom Lincoln said when he met her "So you're the little lady who started this big war"! Just kidding!!!
 

lrd89

Cadet
Joined
May 23, 2005
Location
Indiana
I picked John Brown out of the list that was offered. He made a bad situation much worse. I really believe that the Civil War was inevitable. The sectional rivalry was too great. Abolitionists weren't going to comprimise nor were the southerners. New states being added to the Union and we had the Kansas-Nebraska act etc. adding fuel to the fire.
 
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