Restricted Debate Why was the South in such a hurry to leave?

Joined
Sep 13, 2018
Messages
219
#1
Why not give Lincoln a year and see how he governs? And if he goes on an antislavery crusade, then secede and fight. Weren't all of 1860 Lincoln's statements to the effect that I have no intention of interfering with slavery? Not to mention the fact that Lincoln is not an emperor and the South still has legitimate governmental institutions (and conservative Northern Democratic allies. Maybe even a conservative supreme court? Taney was still Chief Justice) to use to block any radical changes to the peculiar institution. So why did they feel that Lincoln, a guy who wasn't campaigning on abolishing slavery (at least I don't think) and who only cared about preserving the Union, would be so unreasonable that they just had to leave?

Was this just a SC thing? Perhaps the other 10 states WERE willing to give Lincoln a shot? And its just that after SC seceded, things unraveled and escalated so quickly and Southern honor forced their hand into solidarity?

Look forward to any thoughts!
mike
 

(Membership has it privileges! To remove this ad: Register NOW!)

James N.

Lt. Colonel
Forum Host
Civil War Photo Contest
Annual Winner
Featured Book Reviewer
Joined
Feb 23, 2013
Messages
10,932
Location
East Texas
#2
I believe the Deep South states had already made up their collective minds - South Carolina had basically been preparing for it and the possibility of war since around the Compromise of 1850 when they began placing orders for artillery and munitions with Northern factories - and were just waiting for what they judged would be an opportune moment and a new, inexperienced Chief Executive in the White House.
 
Joined
Mar 30, 2018
Messages
552
Location
Tucson, Arizona
#4
'New, inexperienced Chief Executive' hit the nail right on the head. The Republican Party had built a platform around abolition. A great many people assumed Lincoln would be a puppet of his party and fall in step with their ideological desires. Their secession was more in protest of a 'radical' party in control of the executive branch than Lincoln himself, though as the figurehead of the party, he took the brunt of Southern anger.

As it turned out, Lincoln was far more independent of spirit than most everyone expected, and a quick end to slavery wasn't at hand. Certainly, when viewing it from the present day, it looks as though the Cotton States had 'jumped the gun', but not necessarily over Lincoln himself.
 

James N.

Lt. Colonel
Forum Host
Civil War Photo Contest
Annual Winner
Featured Book Reviewer
Joined
Feb 23, 2013
Messages
10,932
Location
East Texas
#5
'New, inexperienced Chief Executive' hit the nail right on the head. The Republican Party had built a platform around abolition. A great many people assumed Lincoln would be a puppet of his party and fall in step with their ideological desires. Their secession was more in protest of a 'radical' party in control of the executive branch than Lincoln himself, though as the figurehead of the party, he took the brunt of Southern anger.

As it turned out, Lincoln was far more independent of spirit than most everyone expected, and a quick end to slavery wasn't at hand. Certainly, when viewing it from the present day, it looks as though the Cotton States had 'jumped the gun', but not necessarily over Lincoln himself.
Of course most of those fears centered around the man everyone - including himself - assumed would win the Republican nomination, the hated William Seward of New York. When Lincoln chose Seward as his Secretary of State that seemed only to confirm those fears and everyone assumed Seward would be the puppeteer pulling the strings.
 
Joined
Nov 27, 2018
Messages
947
Location
Chattanooga, Tennessee
#6
Why not give Lincoln a year and see how he governs? And if he goes on an antislavery crusade, then secede and fight. Weren't all of 1860 Lincoln's statements to the effect that I have no intention of interfering with slavery? Not to mention the fact that Lincoln is not an emperor and the South still has legitimate governmental institutions (and conservative Northern Democratic allies. Maybe even a conservative supreme court? Taney was still Chief Justice) to use to block any radical changes to the peculiar institution. So why did they feel that Lincoln, a guy who wasn't campaigning on abolishing slavery (at least I don't think) and who only cared about preserving the Union, would be so unreasonable that they just had to leave?

Was this just a SC thing? Perhaps the other 10 states WERE willing to give Lincoln a shot? And its just that after SC seceded, things unraveled and escalated so quickly and Southern honor forced their hand into solidarity?

Look forward to any thoughts!
mike
It is an interesting afterthought to meditate on the possibilities of Lincoln's Presidency if South Carolina had not immediately seceded. Or if, for the same matter of the stand off in Charleston, if the call for troops and the evacuation had taken place and a settlement had transpired. The what if's are vastly separate from the actual events though.
Lubliner.
 

uaskme

Sergeant Major
Joined
Nov 9, 2016
Messages
2,066
#7
Didn’t have anything to do with a fear of Lincoln. The Republican Party was a Sectional Party. Cotton States made the Democratic Party Sectional by 1860. They had determined that Douglas was a Threat. Not allowing Slaves into the Territories had become a issue of Equality. Cotton States knew that Slavery would not dominated in the Territories, but were not going to except Exclusion.
 

OpnCoronet

Lt. Colonel
Joined
Feb 23, 2010
Messages
10,316
#8
To the extent slavery identified the South and its way of life, Lincoln's election was a watershed event.

The Compromise of 1850, completed the encirclement of the South with Free States or Territories. The Republican was committed to eventual eliminastion of Slavery, within the borders of the Union and its Constitution and Laws. not immediately but, eventually.

In his Cooper's Union Speech, Lincoln refuted southern charges that the Republican Party was section by its policies, but by the use of threats of vilene and use of intimidation kept Republican's from garnering any votes in most slave states. He challenged the leaders of the South to engage infree and open debates with republicans over their policies and see if they did not elect representatives or not. Which, of course, was the very worst possible event for southern separatists of all stripes. Electing Republicans, or even southern opponents to slavery would be death kneww indeed.

There ws no hope for it, the tide had turned, with Lincoln's election. If Slavery and the southern way ofg life were to be maintained, it could only be saely done, outside the United States Constitution and its laws.
 

uaskme

Sergeant Major
Joined
Nov 9, 2016
Messages
2,066
#9
To the extent slavery identified the South and its way of life, Lincoln's election was a watershed event.

The Compromise of 1850, completed the encirclement of the South with Free States or Territories. The Republican was committed to eventual eliminastion of Slavery, within the borders of the Union and its Constitution and Laws. not immediately but, eventually.

In his Cooper's Union Speech, Lincoln refuted southern charges that the Republican Party was section by its policies, but by the use of threats of vilene and use of intimidation kept Republican's from garnering any votes in most slave states. He challenged the leaders of the South to engage infree and open debates with republicans over their policies and see if they did not elect representatives or not. Which, of course, was the very worst possible event for southern separatists of all stripes. Electing Republicans, or even southern opponents to slavery would be death kneww indeed.

There ws no hope for it, the tide had turned, with Lincoln's election. If Slavery and the southern way ofg life were to be maintained, it could only be saely done, outside the United States Constitution and its laws.
Radicals thought their view of the Constitution was correct. The View that Slavery was protected. However, there is a view that all this was a pretext:

They Yancey introduced a new theme: the glory that awaited a southern republic. Not only could a southern nation manage just fine without the North, Yancey promised that it would thrive. Baltimore, Norfolk, Charleston, Savannah, New Orleans, Pensacola, and Mobile would all emerge as dynamos one southern commerce stopped funneling through northern ports. In fact, Yancey asserted that the only people who would suffer from secession were northerners. The shipping industries of Boston and Philadelphia would collapse, their wharves and warehouses rot, and grass would grow in the streets of New York. All of this, according to Yancey, because the South could do without northern commercial facilities far better than the North could without southern agriculture staples. "The Union is everything to New York, Boston, and Philadelphia. The Union is much to the South." If the South did secede, he asserted, "we are independent of the world; we have the great peace-maker, King Cotton, within our midst." Yancey closed on the defiant note, vowing that the South alone could clothe the world. "Unless these people, therefore, want to go naked, and show their nakedness, they better come and solicit the support of our cotton planters. pp259 William Lowndes Yancey by Walther

The few months the Cotton States had between Secession and War, they were doing pretty well. The Federal Government was seeing reduced Imports and Taxes.
 
Last edited:

OpnCoronet

Lt. Colonel
Joined
Feb 23, 2010
Messages
10,316
#10
Radicals thought their view of the Constitution was correct. The View that Slavery was protected. However, there is a view that all this was a pretext:




I do tend to agree with the thesis, that Secession of 1860 - '61, was the result of a gneral conspiracy of highly placed Sotheern radicals, in out of slave state gov'ts and not a gdneral popular movemment at the time.

I beleve though, that once the conspirators started the ball rolling for Revolution and Independence, the reasoning of the various proclamations of secession and its causes, by the states, were generally true, for those who ended up supported the confederacy rather than the Union.
 

CSA Today

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
Dec 3, 2011
Messages
19,422
Location
Laurinburg NC
#12
It's hard to say SC was in a hurry when they had already intended to secede in 1852, so this was a long time coming. Having said that, once in convention they wanted to move quickly to encourage the other states who were considering secession to move forward as well.
I can't help but to smile when somebody disparages the presidencies of Franklin Pierce and James Buchanan, had it not been for those moderate Northerners South Carolina and the other Southern States would have seceded even earlier when there was a much better chance of success.
 
Last edited:



(Membership has it privileges! To remove this ad: Register NOW!)
Top