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Old 12-27-2010, 09:39 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grandstander View Post
I think that the act of secession was sufficient grounds for war from the Unionist point of view.
But it wasn't, at least in the short run, Lincoln from all accounts was willing to wait out the secessionist fever, as they referred to it, but he was adamant regarding maintaining federal property at all cost. So, the fact that Sumter wasn't the first actual act of aggression remains an important but not often mentioned incident in disproving just how far the United States was willing to go to avoid and all out confrontation.

By the way, your contribution has been, shall we say, invaluable.
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Old 12-28-2010, 07:22 AM
 
Location: Parts Unknown, Northern California
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ovcatto View Post
But it wasn't, at least in the short run, Lincoln from all accounts was willing to wait out the secessionist fever, as they referred to it, but he was adamant regarding maintaining federal property at all cost. So, the fact that Sumter wasn't the first actual act of aggression remains an important but not often mentioned incident in disproving just how far the United States was willing to go to avoid and all out confrontation.

.
I do not follow your reasoning. If as you stated, Lincoln was adamant about maintaining Federal property, then all is as I stated, either SC had to submit or it was going to have to be forced to submit. There was never a possibilty of maintaining Federal propery in a SC which was no longer part of the nation. From the SC point of view, there no longer was any Federal property in the State/New Republic, it was all SC property now.

In short, you could not have a situation where SC was out of the Union, but somehow or other the Union still controlled the Post Offices, collected the harbor revenues, retained armed forces on SC property and so forth.
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Old 12-28-2010, 10:28 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grandstander View Post
I do not follow your reasoning. If as you stated, Lincoln was adamant about maintaining Federal property, then all is as I stated, either SC had to submit or it was going to have to be forced to submit. There was never a possibilty of maintaining Federal propery in a SC which was no longer part of the nation. From the SC point of view, there no longer was any Federal property in the State/New Republic, it was all SC property now.

In short, you could not have a situation where SC was out of the Union, but somehow or other the Union still controlled the Post Offices, collected the harbor revenues, retained armed forces on SC property and so forth.
Not really. Theoretically, the act of secession in and of itself didn't establish either the legitimate borders of the "nation/state" nor does allow the state assume the legitimate property of the United States. South Carolina could just as well secede all the territory that in theory belonged to the state of South Carolina and leave that which was the property of the United States to the United States. Let's say for the moment that the United States acceded to South Carolinas withdrawal from the union a treaty between the parties would have been necessary to determine the legitimate borders and property of the state. Absent such treaty the attack on, what would now be considered a foreign nation, would by all rules of international law would have been an act of war. Yet in its act of secession, South Carolina, without legitimacy as a recognized foreign country unilaterally assumed the territory and property of the United States.

As for the issue regarding the mail, I find it quite interesting that in the revised South Carolina constitution of 1861, that, unsurprisingly, South Carolina wanted its cake and the right to eat it to. Entitled An Ordinance To Make Provisional Postal Arrangements in South Carolina:
Whereas, The State of South Carolina owes it to her own citizens, and to those of the other States, that, as one of the contracting parties, she should not prevent or interrupt the performance of the pending contract for carrying and delivering of the Mails made by the United States while South Carolina was one of said States: Be it ordained by the People of South Carolina, in Convention assembled, That the existing postal contracts and arrangements shall be continued, and the persons charged with the duties thereof shall continue to discharge said duties until a Postal Treaty or Treaties shall be concluded, or until otherwise ordered by this Convention.
Here, South Carolina recognized the need to establish a treaty between the nation/state of South Carolina and the United States for the purpose of delivering the mail, and most glaringly, adjuring from seizing the property of the U.S. Postal Service or removing of its personnel! If the South Carolina could recognize the need to establish a treaty regarding the mail, and refrain from unilateral actions in that regard, the same logic surely could have just as well been applied to the fortifications in Charleston harbor, demure until a treaty could be established. Of course at this point early in the administration, Lincoln, unsurprisingly, refused to enter into such negotiations citing the illegitimacy of the South Carolina government to negotiate as a sovereign nation but the argument still stands that there were many peaceful avenues for South Carolina to pursue outside of a violent confrontation but that would have necessitated relinquishing the false secessionist belief that the United States would not be willing to fight a war over disunion and most assuredly not one that would wind up being as violent and protracted as the American Civil War.
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Old 12-28-2010, 11:02 AM
 
Location: Parts Unknown, Northern California
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ovcatto....

In all honesty, can you see any of the above working? Can you see the Federal government agreeing to any of it?

And when a ship from a foreign port arrived in Charlston Harbor, would it have still been the Feds collecting import taxes? Would South Carolina have been free to change the tariff rates that the Feds were collecting? There is just no way that anything could have been arranged to everyone's satisfaction when it comes to collecting the duties. The Feds may have wanted a high tariff to protect home manufactures in the North, while SC would rather have a low import duty to encourage the European import of their agricultural products.

Who gets to set the rate in those circumstances? The Feds, who under your program would still be occupying their revenue houses, or the Republic of South Carolina?

There is no chance, none whatsoever, that such an arrangement could have worked.

Further, this debate does not hinge on the Federal property understandings which might have been reached. It hinges entirely on whether or not the Federal government was going to accept the concept of free secession. As I noted before, it is an intolerable arrangement for one section of a nation to have the power to break up the nation without the consent of the rest of that nation. Obvioulsy the central government is compelled to oppose such a situation, otherwise the entire idea of Federal power is rendered void...the nation itself is rendered void.

If the Feds in the North had embraced secession as a right for SC and the other deep South States who claimed that they had departed, then the precedent is in place for any other States to leave and form alternative governments. The USA would in theory, be subject to going out of business completely at anytime.

You cannot have a nation with such a thing hanging over its head.

There are those who argue that the absense of Constitutional language which forbid secession, means that secession was a legal right. Of course one may counter that by saying the absense of language permitting secession meant that there was no such right.

In the absense of definitive legal language, we must first try and divine the intent of the Constitution authors. In that no nation has ever included, in its creation charter, language which spells out the process by which the nation may be unmade, it is a fairly safe assumption that no nation has ever birthed itself with the idea that it was a temporary organization.

Finally, in the nullification crisis during the Jackson administration, when SC first attempted to override Federal supremacy, the reaction of the Federal government was to demand compliance or face invasion by Federal forces. So, it isn't as though South Carolina had no advance warning on what the Federal position on secession was going to be.

By the act of secession, SC made a defacto declaration of war against the Federal government. There was never a chance that it would be treated in any other manner.
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Old 12-28-2010, 05:41 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Grandstander View Post
ovcatto....

In all honesty, can you see any of the above working? Can you see the Federal government agreeing to any of it?
While an interesting counterfactual question, which I would have to say that I would doubt, that isn't the issue which I am attempting to address which is to counter the argument that the United States precipitated the war and especially the revisionist argument that Lincoln's insistence to hold Sumter was for the purpose of do so. In point of fact, Lincoln's cabinet voted 5-1 to against resupply the fort with one abstention all the while in a period in which Secretary of State Seward was working alongside others to craft a compromise regarding the issue of slavery (we really should get into the various compromise proposals at some point).

Quote:
And when a ship from a foreign port arrived in Charlston Harbor, would it have still been the Feds collecting import taxes?
I would have to assume that all through this period foreign ships where in fact arriving in Charleston harbor and I can find no reference that would indicate that the United States was attempting to assert its authority to collect taxes or any other official duty. But again, my sole issue is who actually precipitated the United States or South Carolina and as a result the Confederacy.
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Old 12-29-2010, 02:42 PM
 
Location: Parts Unknown, Northern California
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December 29th, 1860:

Today Secretary of War, John B. Floyd, resigned his position in protest of the Presidential plans to hold on to Fort Sumter. Floyd was already under suspicion of having deliberately sent large stores of arms to Federal posts in the South, knowing that they would be seized after secession.

Floyd was a good man for the Union to do without. He secured a general's rank for the South and is best known for his inept strategy, and later cowardly behavior, as the commander of Fort Donelson. Floyd did not survive the war, dying in August of 1863 at the age of 57.
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Old 12-31-2010, 01:59 PM
 
Location: Parts Unknown, Northern California
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December 31, 1860


150 years ago today President Buchanan issued the formal reply to South Carolina's demands regarding Federal installations. This turned out to be the same as the reply which he had written and withdrawn three days earlier. Essentially, he is informing SC that it must deal with Congress, not with the chief executive. However, there is an important clause added where Buchanan is drawing the line in the sand:
Quote:
It is not believed that any attempt will be made to expel the United States from this property by force; but if in this I should prove to be mistaken, the officer in command of the forts has received orders to act strictly on the defensive. In such a contingency the responsibility for consequences would rightfully rest upon the heads of the assailants.”
The American Civil War: December 31, 1860: Buchanan replies to the South Carolina commissioners

So, depite his attempts to avoid responsibility for the Federal reaction, Buchanan has made it clear that the US will not simply surrender the installation in the harbor without putting up a fight.

Meanwhile, on this same day, the South Carolina Secession Convention passed a resolution to raise two regiments of infantry. At first it called for 12 month enlistments, but was amended before being passed and became ..
Quote:
during the pleasure of the State, not less than one year nor more than five years
December 31, 1860: South Carolina authorizes raising regiments | Seven Score and Ten

No reason for the raising of military units was listed in the proposal, it only dealt with the specifics of organizing them.
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Old 01-03-2011, 01:08 PM
 
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Grandstander

Thanks for updating the thread.
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Old 01-03-2011, 02:33 PM
 
Location: Parts Unknown, Northern California
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January 3rd, 1861:

Things are heating up. In both Georgia and North Carolina, neither of which had left the Union at this point, Federal arsenals and forts were illegally seized by State troopers. In NC it was Governor John Willis Ellis who sent soldiers to take command of Federal installations in Willmington and Beaufort. In Georgia, militia was disptached to sieze Fort Pulaski which guards the mouth of the Savannah River. The opposition in that case consisted of one Federal soldier and a contractor who was being interviewed concerning work on the fort, it was otherwise undefended. The militia had numbered 110 men. They forced the single soldier, who was there only as a maintenance caretaker, to sign a document stating that the fort had been turned over to the State of Georgia.
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Old 01-03-2011, 05:47 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grandstander View Post
January 3rd, 1861:

Things are heating up. In both Georgia and North Carolina, neither of which had left the Union at this point, Federal arsenals and forts were illegally seized by State troopers. In NC it was Governor John Willis Ellis who sent soldiers to take command of Federal installations in Willmington and Beaufort. In Georgia, militia was disptached to sieze Fort Pulaski which guards the mouth of the Savannah River. The opposition in that case consisted of one Federal soldier and a contractor who was being interviewed concerning work on the fort, it was otherwise undefended. The militia had numbered 110 men. They forced the single soldier, who was there only as a maintenance caretaker, to sign a document stating that the fort had been turned over to the State of Georgia.
Of course piece of history that I was totally unaware of, reenforces my opinion regarding as to who were the actual aggressors. Seizing federal property why still a nominal state of the union? Means rather unapologetically treasonous.
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