Why did the south fire on Fort Sumter?


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JerseyBart

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Too many deletions and adults acting immaturely. Time to move on or move out of this thread.
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unionblue

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Your confusion may lie in that you responding to a discussion (post 835) as to why the South needed to unite as quickly as possible once it decided war was inevitable.
No confusion at all.

A Republican president was feared by the slaveholding South to be a direct threat to the institution of slavery. The threat to slavery by the election of such, as with Freemont before Lincoln, was always in the mind of those slaveholders who threatened secession over the issue that concerned them most.

My confusion is always a result in the continued denial to see the other side of the coin and a continued "Lincoln" excuse as the only side of the coin presented.

Unionblue
 
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The South fired on Fort Sumter because:
1 - their peace commissioners were being ignored by Lincoln
2 - their peace commissioners were being strung along by Stanton
3 - they felt that given 1 and 2 they could not trust the US government to deal with them in good faith
4 - they knew the ships were on the way with provisions and reinforcements for Sumter
5 - it was either fire now while Sumter was lightly manned, or face warships in the harbor and a much larger garrison in the fort.

The attempt to represent us as the _aggressors_ in the conflict which ensued is as unfounded as the complaint made by the wolf against the lamb in the familiar fable. He who makes the assault is not necessarily he that strikes the first blow or fires the first gun. To have awaited further strengthening of their position by land and naval forces, with hostile purpose now declared, for the sake of having them "fire the first gun," would have been as unwise as it would be to hesitate to strike down the arm of the assailant, who levels a deadly weapon at one's breast, until he has actually fired. - Jefferson Davis
1) The Peace commissioners should have been ignored, seperation peacefully was impossible, Kentucky, Missouri, Kansas were going to split up peacefully? Maryland, too? Not likely
2) Good
3) Obviously, agents of anarchy shouldn't be treated in good faith. Anarchy was a key issue
4) Then why not show your peaceful intentions and let them in?
5) And start a war instead that will bring warships in the harbor to shell the city? (Davis underestimated the Union resolve, obviously)
 

cash

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The South fired on Fort Sumter because:
1 - their peace commissioners were being ignored by Lincoln
2 - their peace commissioners were being strung along by Stanton
3 - they felt that given 1 and 2 they could not trust the US government to deal with them in good faith
4 - they knew the ships were on the way with provisions and reinforcements for Sumter
5 - it was either fire now while Sumter was lightly manned, or face warships in the harbor and a much larger garrison in the fort.

The attempt to represent us as the _aggressors_ in the conflict which ensued is as unfounded as the complaint made by the wolf against the lamb in the familiar fable. He who makes the assault is not necessarily he that strikes the first blow or fires the first gun. To have awaited further strengthening of their position by land and naval forces, with hostile purpose now declared, for the sake of having them "fire the first gun," would have been as unwise as it would be to hesitate to strike down the arm of the assailant, who levels a deadly weapon at one's breast, until he has actually fired. - Jefferson Davis
Davis' self-serving attempt to rewrite history is noted and unconvincing to anyone who's actually studied what happened.

There was no "assailant" who had leveled "a deadly weapon."
 

jgoodguy

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As moderator.
Thread is reopened.
I will moderate this thread for a bit.
On topic posts only.

Until I post otherwise, next posts will be tangible evidence only.
Links, a description of what that link points to and so on.
Links to the posts with evidence in this thread with a description of that that link is.

Requests for evidence will be deleted
Complaints about providing evidence will be deleted.
Fancy Latin phrases will be deleted.
Off topic posts will be deleted.
I am judge jury and executioner.
 
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http://avalon.law.yale.edu/19th_century/csa_m042961.asp

That these assurances were given has been virtually confessed by the Government of the United States by its sending a messenger to Charleston to give notice of its purpose to use force if opposed in its intention of supplying Fort Sumter. No more striking proof of the absence of good faith in the conduct of the Government of the United States toward this Confederacy can be required than is contained in the circumstances which accompanied this notice. According to the usual course of navigation the vessels composing the expedition designed for the relief of Fort Sumter might be expected to reach Charleston Harbor on the 8th of April. Yet, with our commissioners actually in Washington, detained under assurances that notice should be given of any military movement, the notice was not addressed to them, but a messenger was sent to Charleston to give the notice to the Governor of South Carolina, and the notice was so given at a late hour on the 8th of April, the eve of the very day on which the fleet might be expected to arrive.

That this maneuver failed in its purpose was not the fault of those who contrived it. A heavy tempest delayed the arrival of the expedition and gave time to the commander of our forces at Charleston to ask and receive the instructions of this Government. Even then, under all the provocation incident to the contemptuous refusal to listen to our commissioners, and the tortuous course of the Government of the United States, I was sincerely anxious to avoid the effusion of blood, and directed a proposal to be made to the commander of Fort Sumter, who had avowed himself to be nearly out of provisions, that we would abstain from directing our fire on Fort Sumter if he would promise not to open fire on our forces unless first attacked. This proposal was refused and
the conclusion was reached that the design of the United States was to place the besieging force at Charleston between the simultaneous fire of the fleet and the fort. There remained, therefore, no alternative but to direct that the fort should at once be reduced. - Jefferson Davis, message to the Confederate Congress, April 29 1861
 

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Crisis at Fort Sumter

The presidential election of 1860 culminated more than a decade of increasing sectional conflict between the North and South, and, simultaneously, precipitated a new crisis that ultimately severed the Union. The election of the Republican Party's candidate, Abraham Lincoln, on November 6, 1860, began a chain of events that included the secession of seven deep South states the establishment of the Confederate States of America at Montgomery, Alabama, and the assumption of authority over federal property, such as customhouses and forts. The Confederacy's attempt to extend its sovereignty over forts that remained in Union hands, notably Fort Sumter in Charleston harbor and Fort Pickens at Pensacola, Florida, placed the rival governments on a collision course. These events transpired in the approximately 120 days between Lincoln's election in early November and his inauguration on March 4, 1861.
The ultimate answer to 'Why" is to 'extend its sovereignty'
 

brass napoleon

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@NedBaldwin I'm just looking to see where the Confederates themselves gave some sort of account for why they fired. Davis gives more details about the circumstances that led up to the decision from his point of view and they can be found at the linked speech. I think the most relevant portion, from a strictly military standpoint, is that Davis told Congress he thought the fort and the relief fleet would both be firing at Confederate troops in the harbor, and he felt it was necessary to capture the fort before that could happen.
Davis was actually quite clear that he did NOT expect the U.S. government to launch any kind of attack anywhere as long as the border states were in play, and that it might be to the Confederates' advantage to force their hand:

"It is scarcely to be doubted that for political reasons the U.S. Govt. will avoid making an attack so long as the hope of retaining the border states remains. There would be to us an advantage in so placing them that an attack by them would be a necessity, but when we are ready to relieve our territory and jurisdiction of the presence of a foreign garrison that advantage is overbalanced by other considerations."

- Jefferson Davis to Braxton Bragg, April 3, 1861

Source: <<http://books.google.com/books?id=7j1rLgwgO-4C&pg=PA85&lpg=PA85
edited by moderator jgg​
 
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Davis was actually quite clear that he did NOT expect the U.S. government to launch any kind of attack anywhere as long as the border states were in play, and that it might be to the Confederates' advantage to force their hand:

"It is scarcely to be doubted that for political reasons the U.S. Govt. will avoid making an attack so long as the hope of retaining the border states remains. There would be to us an advantage in so placing them that an attack by them would be a necessity, but when we are ready to relieve our territory and jurisdiction of the presence of a foreign garrison that advantage is overbalanced by other considerations."

- Jefferson Davis to Braxton Bragg, April 3, 1861

Source: <<http://books.google.com/books?id=7j1rLgwgO-4C&pg=PA85&lpg=PA85
I would appreciate hearing your take on this. Thank you.
We discussed this a few pages back, but I would be glad to offer some further thoughts. Davis wrote the letter you quote on April 3, as seen in the link. That was his assessment of the political and military situation on that date. But less than a week later, when he learned that a relief fleet was on the way with a message from Lincoln, that changed the military situation. There's no inconsistency with Davis giving one view on April 3, and another on April 12, since the situation had changed, and an armed fleet with reinforcements and supplies was on the way to Fort Sumter.

Lincoln intended to resupply Sumter with food, against Confederate wishes. In response to a demand by the Confederates that he evacuate the fort, he responds that he will resupply with food, and if that resupply is resisted, he will use force. That is a direct threat to attack from the President of the United States, and that threat overrides the earlier political calculation that Davis had made that Lincoln would not attack because he wanted to keep the border states pacified.
 
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jgoodguy

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More evidence of a dispute over sovereignty as the 'why'. Both NC and the UJS claim exclusive sovereignty over Ft Sumter.
FORT SUMTER. - The Official Demand for its Surrender

You will perceive that it is upon the presumption that it is solely as property that you continue to hold Fort Sumter, that I have been selected for the performance of the duty upon which I have entered. I do not come as a military man to demand the surrender of a fortress, but as the legal officer of a State -- its Attorney-General, to claim for the State the exercise of its undoubted right of eminent domain, and to pledge the State to make good all injury to the rights of property which arise from the exercise of the claim. South Carolina, as a separate, independent sovereign, assumes the right to take into her own possession everything within her limits essential to maintain her honor or her safety, irrespective of the questions of property, subject only to the moral duty requiring that compensation should be made to the owner.

ibid

The proposal then, now presented, is simply an offer on the part of South Carolina to buy Fort Sumter and contents as property of the United States, sustained by a declaration, in effect, that if she is not permitted to purchase she will seize the fort by force of arms. As the initiation of a negotiation for the transfer of property between friendly Governments, this proposal impresses the President as having assumed a most unusual form. He has, however, investigated the claim on which it professes to be based, apart from the declaration which accompanies it. And it may be hero remarked that much stress has been laid upon the employment of the words "property" and "public property," by the President in his several Messages. These are the most comprehensive terms which can be used in such a connection, and surely when referring to a fort, or any other public establishment, they embrace the entire and undivided interest of the Government therein. The title of the United States to Fort Sumter is complete and incontestible. Were its interests in this property purely proprietary, in the ordinary acceptation of the term, it might probably be subjected to the exercise of the right of eminent domain; but it has also political relations to it of a much higher and more imposing character than those of mere proprietorship. It has absolute jurisdiction over the fort and the soil on which it stands. This jurisdiction consists in the authority to "exercise exclusive legislation" over the property referred to; and is, therefore, clearly incompatible with the claim of eminent domain now insisted upon by South Carolina. This authority was not derived from any questionable revolutionary source, but from the peaceful cession of South Carolina herself, acting through her Legislature under a provision of the Constitution of the United States. South Carolina can no more assert the right of eminent domain over Fort Sumter than Maryland can assert it over the District of Columbia. The political and proprietary rights of the United States in either case rest upon precisely the same ground.

An attribute of sovereignty is the claim of Eminent Domain

Reference

The right is an inherent power of the sovereign and exists in a sovereign state without any specific recognition. It comes into existence with the establishment of government and continues as long as the government endures. However, its exercise may be constitutionally limited[vi]. The Fifth Amendment merely prohibits the government from taking property without paying just compensation. It prevents the legislature from depriving private persons of vested property rights except for a public use and upon payment of just compensation[vii].

It is to be noted that under the power of eminent domain, the sovereign can take or damage private property for a public purpose upon payment of just compensation. On the other hand, the police power is the power which the state inherently has to restrict the use of property without paying compensation by valid regulations intending to promote public health, safety, morals, and general welfare.
reference

a right of a government to take private property for public use by virtue of the superior dominion of the sovereign power over all lands within its jurisdiction
Eminent Domain can mean refer to the protected taking of private prohibits or the absolute right of a sovereign to control all lands in its domain. Fort Sumter is not private property, therefore NC is claiming sovereign rights.


 
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https://books.google.com/books?id=b...OAhXII8AKHTzoCpoQ6AEIHDAA#v=onepage&q&f=false

see page 208

We have waited hopefully for the withdrawal of garrisons which irritate the people of these states and threaten the respective localities, and which can serve no purpose to the United States unless it be to injure us. So far from desiring to use force for the reduction of Fort Sumter we have avoided any measure to produce discomfort or to exhibit discourtesy, until recently when we were informed that the idea of evacuation had been abandoned and that supplies convoyed by an armed vessel under the command of Capt Stringham had been sent to Fort Sumter, and that Fort Pickens was to be reinforced. - Jefferson Davis, April 6, letter to John Campbell
 
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jgoodguy

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NC/CSA is a disputed sovereign, not a full sovereign Its sovereignty exists only where its armed forces can keep the US forces out. It has laws and courts accepted in the main by its citizens but capable of coercion if the need arises. As long as its forces are able to maintain control, then NC/CSA is sovereign.

De jure and de facto

De facto, or actual, sovereignty is concerned with whether control in fact exists. Cooperation and respect of the populace; control of resources in, or moved into, an area; means of enforcement and security; and ability to carry out various functions of state all represent measures of de facto sovereignty.


The CSA is not a full sovereign but a de facto one. Its sovereignty will continue as long as its army is able to prevent its conquest.
 

jgoodguy

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So far lots of evidence of a sovereignty dispute as the 'why'.

Is there any tangible evidence that Davis Knew or suspected that VA el.al would secede?
What tangible evidence is there of the value of VA that made it worth a war with the Union?
Also what tangible evidence is there of the perception of the cost of such a war?
Do we have tangible evidence that the Slave 7 would break up without a war.
 



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