Would the USA be better off to have let the Confederate states go peaceably ?

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WJC

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It apparently originated with Colonel John Baldwin, a member of the Virginia convention who met with Lincoln on April 4, 1861. Lincoln has also been quoted as wording it this way: "“Well…what about the revenue? What would I do about the collection of duties.” Lincoln was very concerned about the loss of revenue every day that the South was out of the Union.

Thanks for your response.
Baldwin's recollections of the meeting are from testimony February 10, 1866- five years after his meeting with Lincoln.
Baldwin cautioned that his recollections might not be totally accurate, saying "Of course you will understand that I do not pretend to recollect the language at all, but this is about the substance of it."
Baldwin recalled suggesting a Constitutional amendment to protect slavery:
You all say that you do not mean to injure us in our peculiar rights. If you are in earnest about it there can be no objection to your saying so in such an authentic form as will give us constitutional protection. And we think you ought to do it, not grudgingly, not reluctantly, but in such a way as that it would be a fitting recognition of our fidelity in standing by you under all circumstances-fully, and generously, and promptly. If you will do it in accordance with what we regard as due to our position it will give us a stand-point from which we can bring back the seceded States.​
Further, Balwin suggested that Lincoln should withdraw the troops from both Fort Sumter and Fort Pickens and call for a national convention to decide the secession issue.
According to Baldwin, Lincoln:
said something about the withdrawal of the troops from Sumter on the ground of military necessity. Said I, "that will never do under heaven. You have been President a month to-day, and if you intended to hold that position you ought to have strengthened it, so as to make it impregnable. To hold it in the present condition of force there is an invitation to assault. Go upon higher ground than that. The better ground than that is to make a concession of an asserted right in the interest of peace."-"Well," said he, "what about the revenue? What would I do about the collection of duties?" Said I, "Sir, how much do you expect to collect in a year?"-Said he, "Fifty or sixty millions." "Why sir," said I, "four times sixty is two hundred and forty. Say $250,000,000 would be the revenue of your term of the presidency; what is that but a drop in the bucket compared with the cost of such a war as we are threatened with? Let it all go, if necessary; but I do not believe that it will be necessary, because I believe that you can settle it on the basis I suggest."​
<Interview between President Lincoln and Col. John B. Baldwin, April 4th, 1861 (Staunton: Spectator Job Office, 1866).
http://valley.lib.virginia.edu/VoS/personalpapers/documents/augusta/p3baldwininterview.html#baldwin2>
It is noteworthy that Baldwin did not claim that Lincoln said where shall we get "our" revenue, "my tariff" or the effect of "letting the South go". Those appear to have been later embellishments by others. Instead, Lincoln talked about the options and difficulties involved in resolving the Fort Sumter crisis.
One of the functions of the Federal installations in Charleston was the collection of tariffs. If there was to be a withdrawal from Fort Sumter and a lengthy convention process to resolve the issue, collection of tariffs during that period was an obvious and easily understood issue. (Incidentally, Baldwin's recollection of "Fifty or sixty millions" was an error: that was the total of tariff revenues from all ports, of which Charleston was, as we have seen, only a fraction).
 

WJC

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You do realise this is factually inaccurate. As the previous poster pointed out the last 4 states to leave did so because they disagreed with Lincoln's decision.
Certainly, the reason given for their secession attempt was Lincoln's decision to put down the growing rebellion. But joining the other Southern states was not the only option. They made their choice of that option because of 'similar cultures, institutions, and practices'- slavery.
 

WJC

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A peaceful secession, if it had occurred wouldn't have destroyed the union,
Just what would have stopped any of the remaining States- say California- from deciding to follow the precedent? Further, in considering the repercussions, we ought to recognize that the fear of establishing that precedent was real at the time. Some may dismiss that today, but it was a different situation in the mid-19th-century.
 
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WJC

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John Tyler's son Lyon Tyler was aware of all three meetings, and wrote this:
…the deciding factor with him (Lincoln) was the tariff question. In three separate interviews, he asked what would become of his revenue if he allowed the government at Montgomery to go on with their ten percent tariff… Final action was taken when nine governors of high tariff states waited upon Lincoln and offered him men and supplies.
Thanks for your response.
"Aware", but not there. No one questions that meetings took place, or- for that matter- what was discussed. The debate is over the words and context of statements attributed to Lincoln in one-on-one conversations.
 

Andersonh1

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Thanks for your response.
"Aware", but not there. No one questions that meetings took place, or- for that matter- what was discussed. The debate is over the words and context of statements attributed to Lincoln in one-on-one conversations.
By aware, I mean he summarized all three meetings. It's the men who were at them who had direct knowledge and reported what was said. Given that all three men reported Lincoln saying something very similar about revenue at three different meetings, it's very likely that he did in fact hold that point of view and express it.
 
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WJC

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Why would they want to leave? With the South gone, the rest of the Union is even more politically and socially similar than before. I don't see further secession as any real possibility at that point.
Thanks for your response.
One can only speculate, but certainly, an incentive for building the transcontinental railroad was binding the distant States of Oregon and California to the rest of the country.
California had been independent and might have decided their interests were better served by seceding.
We also tend to forget that there was an East-West sectionalism as well. That is easily forgotten largely because of the Civil war.
 

WJC

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By aware, I mean he summarized all three meetings. It's the men who were at them who had direct knowledge and reported what was said. Given that all three men reported Lincoln saying something very similar about revenue at three different meetings, it's very likely that he did in fact hold that point of view and express it.
Thanks for your response.
Again, the dispute is not that Lincoln said something about revenues in those private meetings. The dispute is the context and accuracy of the quoted remark.
 

uaskme

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Thanks for your response.
Baldwin's recollections of the meeting are from testimony February 10, 1866- five years after his meeting with Lincoln.
Baldwin cautioned that his recollections might not be totally accurate, saying "Of course you will understand that I do not pretend to recollect the language at all, but this is about the substance of it."
Baldwin recalled suggesting a Constitutional amendment to protect slavery:
You all say that you do not mean to injure us in our peculiar rights. If you are in earnest about it there can be no objection to your saying so in such an authentic form as will give us constitutional protection. And we think you ought to do it, not grudgingly, not reluctantly, but in such a way as that it would be a fitting recognition of our fidelity in standing by you under all circumstances-fully, and generously, and promptly. If you will do it in accordance with what we regard as due to our position it will give us a stand-point from which we can bring back the seceded States.​
Further, Balwin suggested that Lincoln should withdraw the troops from both Fort Sumter and Fort Pickens and call for a national convention to decide the secession issue.
According to Baldwin, Lincoln:
said something about the withdrawal of the troops from Sumter on the ground of military necessity. Said I, "that will never do under heaven. You have been President a month to-day, and if you intended to hold that position you ought to have strengthened it, so as to make it impregnable. To hold it in the present condition of force there is an invitation to assault. Go upon higher ground than that. The better ground than that is to make a concession of an asserted right in the interest of peace."-"Well," said he, "what about the revenue? What would I do about the collection of duties?" Said I, "Sir, how much do you expect to collect in a year?"-Said he, "Fifty or sixty millions." "Why sir," said I, "four times sixty is two hundred and forty. Say $250,000,000 would be the revenue of your term of the presidency; what is that but a drop in the bucket compared with the cost of such a war as we are threatened with? Let it all go, if necessary; but I do not believe that it will be necessary, because I believe that you can settle it on the basis I suggest."​
<Interview between President Lincoln and Col. John B. Baldwin, April 4th, 1861 (Staunton: Spectator Job Office, 1866).
http://valley.lib.virginia.edu/VoS/personalpapers/documents/augusta/p3baldwininterview.html#baldwin2>
It is noteworthy that Baldwin did not claim that Lincoln said where shall we get "our" revenue, "my tariff" or the effect of "letting the South go". Those appear to have been later embellishments by others. Instead, Lincoln talked about the options and difficulties involved in resolving the Fort Sumter crisis.
One of the functions of the Federal installations in Charleston was the collection of tariffs. If there was to be a withdrawal from Fort Sumter and a lengthy convention process to resolve the issue, collection of tariffs during that period was an obvious and easily understood issue. (Incidentally, Baldwin's recollection of "Fifty or sixty millions" was an error: that was the total of tariff revenues from all ports, of which Charleston was, as we have seen, only a fraction).
I don’t see any rebuttal of the NYC Merchants. The Merchants change their attitudes about the Crisis, because of their Financial Duress. The Tariff Collections and rerouting Imports to the South during this period, is a clear indication of the reversal of the North’s Fortunes.

Lincoln was in Financial Trouble with the Lower South Gone. With the Upper South Gone, it would be much worse. At the Point, the Lower South, were Independent. A position Lincoln could not except.
 
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JerseyBart

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I'm afraid your taking such an extreme stance on American exceptionalism it make it difficult to take your arguments seriously. A peaceful secession, if it had occurred wouldn't have destroyed the union, unless the remaining members of the union decided it should. Even if that had happen, say some sort of military coup which is extremely unlikely with a peaceful separation as the union would have had virtually no army to impose such a rule, the world would have lost one example of a [for the time] reasonably democratic and liberal state but there were plenty of other areas of progress and reform in the world.

I think more likely, if some peaceful secession had been arranged would have been that the union would have simply passed new regulations, either for any change of secession, by any means to be forbidden as the hard liners are suggesting or formally set rules for such an option but probably with a hell of a lot of loops to jump through.

Steve
The south didn't "leave" peacefully. They "left" violently and aggressively. The union did not break apart forming 30+ individual countries (19+ did not rebel) but rather stayed together while 11 southern states failed in their violent, aggressive attempt to leave it and create their own union.
 

Potomac Pride

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I don’t see any rebuttal of the NYC Merchants. The Merchants change their attitudes about the Crisis, because of their Financial Duress. The Tariff Collections and rerouting Imports to the South during this period, is a clear indication of the reversal of the North’s Fortunes.

Lincoln was in Financial Trouble with the Lower South Gone. With the Upper South Gone, it would be much worse. At the Point, the Lower South, were Independent. A position Lincoln could not except.
It sounds like Lincoln was really concerned about the tariff. I guess he had a reason to be especially when you consider at that time the tariff provided over 90% of the total revenue for the federal government. However, if you look at some of the posts on this board, it appears that certain people believe the southern states contributed an insignificant amount to the federal tariff. I guess that Lincoln thought otherwise.
 
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WJC

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It sounds like Lincoln was really concerned about the tariff.
That is one interpretation based on the reports we have available. Two of those were about the 'takeaways' of two men who had met privately with Lincoln. The contemporary April 23, 1861, Daily Exchange report of Reverend Fuller's meeting was interpreted by the writer; Mr. Baldwin, in his testimony five years after the private meeting, cautioned that in his recollections that "I do not pretend to recollect the language at all, but this is about the substance of it."
Yet some want us to believe that we should accept these recollections as fully accurate while ignoring the context.
Did Lincoln mention the difficulty in collecting tariff revenues that would result from surrendering the Federal installations? I believe we can agree that he did: after all, it was a requirement of his Office and one of the two reasons for the Charleston installations. However, it is clear from the context that this was not his greatest concern, but just one of several impediments to resolving the crisis.
 

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I think Old Abe was wise not to let the South succeed from the union. The South succeeded over an issue that the founding fathers failed to address. They had squeezed just about all they could out of the institution of slavery. The Confederate States of America was doomed from the beginning. They had become an anachronism. The Confederate States would have crumbled and maybe even taken the US of A with it. I am proud to be a Southerner but prouderer to be an American. :wink:
 

WJC

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As I have mentioned elsewhere, the Antebellum economic system was mutually beneficial to all regions. It is difficult to see how removing any of the three regions would have ended in any of them being better off.
Certainly, Southern cotton exports were the major source of foreign exchange. That would indeed have been a loss to the United States had secession succeeded. On the other hand, as events proved, other sources of cotton soon undercut that asset. At the same time, westward expansion grew to become the major driving force behind Northern industry. Taken together, the indications are that the United States would have been successful, though to a lesser degree than has been the case.
 
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uaskme

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As I have mentioned elsewhere, the Antebellum economic system was mutually beneficial to all regions. It is difficult to see how removing any of the three regions would have ended in any of them being better off.
Don't think our 21 Century Ramblings have much to do with it. What the thought was in 1860 did. The Lower South had determined, Otherwise. During the Secessionist Winter, they were trading with Europe, to the Detriment of the Yankee. They were collecting Taxes to fund their Independence, to the Detriment of the Yankee. Able knew, if this continued, the South would get Foreign Recognition, so, he had to Act. His Answer was to start a War.

So the Myth that the South had little Economic benefit to the Union is a ruse. A Myth that wont die. Just like the Whole South was a Cotton Patch. All Southern Whites were lazy, Ignorant and Violent.
 

Potomac Pride

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That is one interpretation based on the reports we have available. Two of those were about the 'takeaways' of two men who had met privately with Lincoln. The contemporary April 23, 1861, Daily Exchange report of Reverend Fuller's meeting was interpreted by the writer; Mr. Baldwin, in his testimony five years after the private meeting, cautioned that in his recollections that "I do not pretend to recollect the language at all, but this is about the substance of it."
Yet some want us to believe that we should accept these recollections as fully accurate while ignoring the context.
Did Lincoln mention the difficulty in collecting tariff revenues that would result from surrendering the Federal installations? I believe we can agree that he did: after all, it was a requirement of his Office and one of the two reasons for the Charleston installations. However, it is clear from the context that this was not his greatest concern, but just one of several impediments to resolving the crisis.
Actually, Lincoln mentioned his concerns regarding the tariff on other occasions also. In his Inaugural Address in March 1861, he talked about the importance of collecting the federal tariff. In addition, the collection of the tariff was given as a reason for the Union blockade of southern ports in his Proclamation the following month.
 
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WJC

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Actually, Lincoln mentioned his concerns regarding the tariff on other occasions also. In his Inaugural Address in March 1861, he talked about the importance of collecting the federal tariff. In addition, the collection of the tariff was given as a reason for the Union blockade of southern ports in his Proclamation the following month.
Thanks for your response.
Of course he did. Again, no one is questioning that. Collecting the tariff was an important responsibility of his Administration. The issue arises not because Lincoln mentioned it, but because some call it "the deciding factor".
 

Potomac Pride

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Certainly, the reason given for their secession attempt was Lincoln's decision to put down the growing rebellion. But joining the other Southern states was not the only option. They made their choice of that option because of 'similar cultures, institutions, and practices'- slavery.
The other southern states didn't make their choice just based on slavery. They all initially wanted to remain in the Union and even voted against secession. However, after Lincoln's Proclamation calling for troops, things changed dramatically. The attempt to coerce the southern states to remain in the Union was seen as an unconstitutional act and an attempt to subjugate the south. Virginia stated in January 1861 that the Union had no power to make war against any of the states. The Ordinance of Secession of Virginia in April 1861 referred to their original ratification document of the Constitution which allowed for secession if the federal government became oppressive. Virginia considered the use of military force by the federal government against the southern states to be oppressive which resulted in their decision to secede. In addition, Arkansas was also opposed to federal coercion which they even stated in their Ordinance of Secession. The document declared that the state would "resist to the last extremity any attempt on the part of such power to coerce any State that seceded from the old Union".
 
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