Why War?

brass napoleon

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According to Princeton.edu, the Morrill Tariff was adopted on March 2,1961 and signed into law by President James Buchanan.
I believe you mean 1861. But be that as it may, by March 2nd, 1861, seven Southern states had seceded from the Union and withdrawn their representatives from Congress. Had those states not seceded and those representatives not withdrawn, the Morrill Tariff could not have passed. This is probably why none of those seceding states said one word about the Morrill Tariff in their Declarations of Causes of secession (which I highly recommend as a very informative read.)
 

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"Screaching about revisionist history" ??? I am beginning to question my wisdom in posting anything in this forum. From what I have read, as well as responses to me, it looks like individuals do not desire any discussions about the issues. Seems more like just angry comments vs honest debate/discussion. Deo Vindice
From the way you wrote your first entry in this thread, it appears to some of us that honest debate is not what you are about.
 

brass napoleon

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...The north and the south will never agree on issues such as the right of the south to seceed...
I'm not so sure that "the North" and "the South" disagree on that now. Certainly some Northerners and some Southerners disagree, but neither "the North" or "the South" is a monolith, nor were they in 1861, when even Robert E. Lee himself said that secession was nothing but revolution:

"Secession is nothing but revolution. The framers of our Constitution never exhausted so much labour, wisdom & forbearance in its formation & surrounded it with so many guards & securities, if it was intended to be broken by every member of the confederacy at will. It was intended for pepetual [sic] union, so expressed in the preamble, & for the establishment of a government, not a compact, which can only be dissolved by revolution or the consent of all the people in convention assembled. It is idle to talk of secession. Anarchy would have been established & not a government, by Washington, Hamilton, Jefferson, Madison & the other patriots of the Revolution. In 1808 when the New England States resisted Mr Jeffersons Imbargo law & the Hartford Convention assembled secession was termed treason by Virga statesmen. What can it be now?"

- Robert E. Lee, January 29, 1861

Source: Source: http://leearchive.wlu.edu/reference/...chal/index.txt
 
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Well, you might not like all the responses you get from Southerners. The key to making your case on this forum is evidence. If you have evidence to support your claims (with sources), you'll be in good shape. I would suggest you take it one issue at a time, so you're not trying to argue several different issues at once.
Actually, there is too much anger and name calling on this site. I have studied the politics of the early 19th century quite a bit. However, the sources were obviously not the ones quoted by many others in this forum. There is not much allowance given to opposing viewpoints. I have no expectations that all Southerns would agree with me, as you seem to believe as evidenced by your initial sentence. Deo Vindice
Well, you might not like all the responses you get from Southerners. The key to making your case on this forum is evidence. If you have evidence to support your claims (with sources), you'll be in good shape. I would suggest you take it one issue at a time, so you're not trying to argue several different issues at once.
 
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According to Princeton.edu, the Morrill Tariff was adopted on March 2,1961 and signed into law by President James Buchanan.
Which would make it after the original seven Southern states seceded. And had they not seceded then they had the votes in the Senate to block it. So how could the tariff be in any way the cause of their rebellion?
 

cash

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Dear Union Blue,
What is behind your anger?? You may want to give that some consideration. The north and the south will never agree on issues such as the right of the south to seceed or Abe Lincoln's violations of the Constitution, etc. Since the war was over 150 years ago, it seems that the issues could be discussed in an adult manner without the need to revert to name-calling or such petty comments as incorrect spelling, etc. By the way, how high is your blood pressure? Deo Vindice
He's rightfully angry when he sees so many lies about the history of our country appearing in one place. I don't blame him.
 

cash

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I have studied the politics of the early 19th century quite a bit.
Suure you have.

Let's take your first spurious claim: "Dishonest Abe choose war because he did not want to lose the taxes collected from southern states."

Given that the taxes at the time were tariffs on imports from foreign countries, then perhaps you can show us, with appropriate sources, how much of the tariff was paid by those who seceded? I'll give you a start on this. According to the 1860 Census, 29% of the total US population lived in the 11 states that became the confederacy. If we look at the population of the 11 states that became the confederacy, 40% of that population were slaves, who didn't buy foreign imports. So if we run the numbers, free people in the 11 states that became the confederacy represented 17% of the total population of the United States.

So tell us how much of the taxes collected by the United States were paid by the 17% of the population of the United States represented by the free population of the confederacy?
 

OpnCoronet

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With secession not being directly addressed in the Constitution, why did Lincoln choose war to further the experiment of self-governance that was the United States?

The fact that the Constitution is silent on the issue of secession, is just as much proof that it does not exist, as that it does.

Actually, the tariff was passed before the war. Looks like northern revisionist history is alive and well. Would like to see some responses from some Southerns.
Although the ultimate cause of the War, was Secession. It was not the declarations of secession that started the war, but one of those states, claiming their secession, actually firing, deliberately, upon Ft. sumter, i.e., there were many events occuring all through U.S. History leading up to the final act of war by the csa; Tariff Bills, obviously being one of minor importance to the confederacy, as the absence of their representatives from the Congress that passed the Bill, clearly indicates.
 

unionblue

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Dear Union Blue,
What is behind your anger?? You may want to give that some consideration. The north and the south will never agree on issues such as the right of the south to seceed or Abe Lincoln's violations of the Constitution, etc. Since the war was over 150 years ago, it seems that the issues could be discussed in an adult manner without the need to revert to name-calling or such petty comments as incorrect spelling, etc. By the way, how high is your blood pressure? Deo Vindice
roydenoral,

What is behind my 'anger' (actually weariness) is the ability of people of this time and place to swallow whole the fantasy that some peddle as actual history.

The "north" and "south" will never agree on issues? You really know the minds of the present day millions of the north and south? You may want to give that some consideration.

Since the war was over 150 years ago, there is enough historical documentation and factual history to render your opinion absolutely nil.

And to me, the phrase "Deo Vindice" speaks volumes about your own historical objectivity.

By-the-way, 130 over 80,

Unionblue
 

James B White

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I have no pre-conceived expectations of what southerns might say. I asked this question because all of the immediate posts around my post were from individuals from northern states.
As I asked, "Do you agree with them?" What do you think about reasons stated by southerners at the time, for the war and for secession? In general, I find that they emphasized slavery when writing/speaking for other southerners and for northerners, and tariffs or economic reasons more when writing for Englishmen, whom they knew would be less sympathetic about slavery but more interested in cotton. Is that what you've found? I'm also more interested in honest debate/discussion but it takes two.
 

wilber6150

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"Screaching about revisionist history" ??? I am beginning to question my wisdom in posting anything in this forum. From what I have read, as well as responses to me, it looks like individuals do not desire any discussions about the issues. Seems more like just angry comments vs honest debate/discussion. Deo Vindice
You accuse me of posting something revisionist when the very facts of the incident prove what I said....
 

cedarstripper

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The north and the south will never agree on issues such as the right of the south to seceed or Abe Lincoln's violations of the Constitution, etc.
People who have no desire to actually learn history will let their geographic location determine how they think. But this form of tribalism does nothing for knowledge.
Since the war was over 150 years ago, it seems that the issues could be discussed in an adult manner without the need to revert to name-calling or such petty comments as incorrect spelling, etc.
You made a pretty cocky entrance onto this forum, spouting the same stuff that has been debunked soooo many times. Your tune has been heard before.
Deo vindice
E pluribus unum.
 
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Actually, there is too much anger and name calling on this site.
This from the many who started his very first post "Dishonest Abe choose war because he did not want to lose the taxes collected from southern states." So not only do you resort to insult with your very first sentence, you go on to repeat claims that have been discounted by reputable historians for decades. So instead of blubbering about name calling you should realize that you reap what you sow.
 

CSA Today

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People who have no desire to actually learn history will let their geographic location determine how they think. But this form of tribalism does nothing for knowledge. You made a pretty cocky entrance onto this forum, spouting the same stuff that has been debunked soooo many times. Your tune has been heard before.
E pluribus unum.
Is this an example of the geographical tribalism you mention?
 

OpnCoronet

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With secession not being directly addressed in the Constitution, why did Lincoln choose war to further the experiment of self-governance that was the United States?

In Historical Fact: It was not Lincoln's choice but Davis'. As noted by Lincoln in his Inaugural Address, he could not start a war by simply doing his duty as President, in the same manner as all preceding Chief Executives beginning with Washington.


P.S. by the way, Washington himself led a Militia army to put down an insurrection of a violent minority, resisting Constitutional Authority.
 

cedarstripper

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Is this an example of the geographical tribalism you mention?
Absolutely not. Noting that the garden variety disinformation he debuted with has been debunked many times here is a noting I can equally do without regard to where I live. It has been debunked by posters here from all corners of the globe.
 
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There was no about-face.

Chase consistently gave his support to provisioning the fort: in mid-March because he didn't think it would lead to war and thought it was the right thing for the government to do; in late-March becuase he saw war as just as likely whether or not Sumter was provisioned and still thought it was the right thing to do.

Blair was consistently in favor of doing whatever was necessary to hold the fort.

Seward consistently felt that reinforcing the fort was useless as it could not be held for long. But he was in favor of using force at some other point, preferring Pensacola.

Smith didnt consider the fort essential and basically echoed what Seward was saying.*

Both Bates and Welles saw little chance of success in provisioning the fort and did not see much practical value in holding it. So the question for them was a political one. Both felt in mid-March that things would calm down and there might be a peaceful settlement because pro-union southerners could prevail. But by the end of the month it was obvious this was not happening -- see the report from Hurlbut to Lincoln of his visit to South Carolina -- and the Senate had recessed without resolving anything. They did not about face; they just let go of their expectations for a political solution and, in the words of Welles, realized that “the time has arrived, when it is the duty of the government to assert and maintain its authority.”


---
*However, in his mid-March statement Smith qualified his position with the following:
“If the evacuation of Fort Sumpter could be justly regarded as a measure which would even by implication, sanction the lawless acts of the authorities of that State, or indicate an intention on the part of the government to surrender its constitutional authority over them, or if it could be regarded as an acknowledgement by the government of its inability to enforce the laws, I should without hesitation advise that it should be held without regard to the sacrifices which its retention might impose.”​
This turned out to be much more the case than his belief that the fort was not important.


Excellent presentation.....................but


Lincoln’s First Cabinet Meeting………..

Seward, who had exerted himself in the previous months trying to mollify the Union’s remaining slave states, found the idea of provisioning Sumter and sending troops to South Carolina detestable. From his suite in the old State Department, a two-story brick building containing only thirty-two rooms, Seward drafted his reply, while his son Frederick, who had been confirmed by the Senate as assistant secretary of state, handled the crowds downstairs. In his lengthy reply to the president, Seward reiterated that without the conciliation measures that had solidified the Unionist sentiment in the South, Virginia, North Carolina, Arkansas, and the border states would have joined the Confederacy. The attempt to supply Fort Sumter with armed forces would inevitably provoke the remaining slave states to secede and launch a civil war—that “most disastrous and deplorable of national calamities.” Far better, Seward advised, to assume a defensive position, leaving “the necessity for action” in the hands of “those who seek to dismember and subvert this Union…. In that case, we should have the spirit of the country and the approval of mankind on our side.” His emphatic negative reply probably reached Lincoln within minutes, for the State Department was adjacent to the northern wing of the Treasury Department and connected by a short pathway to the White House.

Chase did not return his answer until the following day, repairing that evening to his suite at the Willard Hotel. Considering his hard-line credentials, Chase returned a surprisingly evasive and equivocal reply: “If the attempt will so inflame civil war as to involve an immediate necessity for the enlistment of armies and the expenditure of millions I cannot advise it.” Better, he later explained, to consider “the organization of actual government by the seven seceded states as an accomplished revolution—accomplished through the complicity of the late admn.—& letting that confederacy try its experiment.” Still, he concluded in his answer to Lincoln, “it seems to me highly improbable” that war will result. “I return, therefore, an affirmative answer.”

Every other cabinet officer save Blair rejected the possibility of sustaining Fort Sumter.

Bates argued that he was loath “to do any act which may have the semblance, before the world of beginning a civil war.” Cameron contended that even if Fox’s plan should succeed, which he considered doubtful, the surrender of the fort would remain “an inevitable necessity.” Thus, “the sooner it be done, the better.” Welles, writing from his second-floor suite in the Navy Department on 17th Street, reasoned that since the “impression has gone abroad that Sumter is to be evacuated and the shock caused by that announcement has done its work,” it would only cause further damage to follow “a course that would provoke hostilities.” And if it did not succeed, “failure would be attended with untold disaster.” In like fashion, Interior Secretary Caleb Smith concluded that while the plan might succeed, “it would not be wise under all the circumstances.” Only Montgomery Blair delivered an unconditional yes, arguing that “every new conquest made by the rebels strengthens their hands at home and their claim to recognition as an independent people abroad.” So long as the rebels could claim “that the Northern men are deficient in the courage necessary to maintain the Government,” the secession momentum would continue. Just as President Jackson stopped the attempted secession of South Carolina in 1833 by making it clear that punishment would follow, so Lincoln must now take “measures which will inspire respect for the power of the Government and the firmness of those who administer it.”


In the end, five cabinet members strongly opposed the resupply and reinforcement of Sumter; one remained ambiguous; one was in favor.

Doris Kearns Goodwin (0100-12-31T22:00:00+00:00). Team of Rivals (Kindle Locations 6626-6654). Simon & Schuster. Kindle Edition.



Lincoln’s Second Cabinet Meeting:

At noon the next day, the cabinet convened. Lincoln presented all the intelligence he had gathered, including Fox’s report on Major Anderson’s situation and Hurlbut’s conclusion that Unionism was essentially dead in South Carolina. Once more the members were asked to submit their opinions in writing. This time, shaped no doubt by Lincoln’s presentation and General Scott’s disturbing memo, the majority opinionwith only Seward and Smith clearly dissenting—advised that both Sumter and Pickens should be resupplied and reinforced.


Doris Kearns Goodwin (0100-12-31T22:00:00+00:00). Team of Rivals (Kindle Locations 6713-6717). Simon & Schuster. Kindle Edition.



So fact is there was an about face……


I would base the about face on the updated information that Lincoln presented.

Still though an about face and in all reality matters not as Seward's prediction " The attempt to supply Fort Sumter with armed forces would inevitably provoke the remaining slave states to secede and launch a civil war—that “most disastrous and deplorable of national calamities." came true

Was this Lincoln's fault entirely ? No..........Many factors, many people played their part.

Respectfully,

William
 
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So fact is there was an about face……
Regarding Seward, while he does refer to war as "the most disastrous and deplorable of national calamities" he prefaces this with says "Next to Disunion itself"; he also explains that he "would resort to force to protect the collection of the revenue, because this is a necessary as well as a legitimate union object. Even then, it should be only a naval force that I would employ, for that necessary purpose-- While I would defer military action on land until a case should arise when we would hold the defense. In that case, we should have the spirit of the country and the approval of mankind on our side." So he isnt for peace at any cost. Regardless he still dissents at the end of the month from the plan to resupply, so as I said Seward does not reverse himself.

Regarding Chase, the key part is in what you quoted: "he concluded in his answer to Lincoln, “it seems to me highly improbable” that war will result. “I return, therefore, an affirmative answer.” This isnt an ambiguous answer. He said yes to resupply at the time; just as he said yes the second time. So he did not change his position.

As both of us have pointed out, Smith did not change his position between the mid month meeting and the end of the month meeting.

We also seem to agree that Blair took the same stance both times.

Cameron was not present for the second meeting, so he cant be said to have done an about face at that meeting.

At the second meeting Bates did not advise that Sumter be resupplied -- his answer was ambiguous and equivocal. So I dont see the basis for saying he did an about face.

Did any of the above 6 do an about face on the question of resupply? No. You haven't shown that to have been the case.

This leaves us with Welles. If 1 out of 7 cabinet secretaries changed position its not an about face by the whole cabinet.
 

OpnCoronet

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There was another cabinet meeting in Richmond, to decide on a final solution to the impasse at Ft. Sumter. I understand Davis got some good advice(or at last a Prediction) from his Sec'y of State.
 

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