U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > History
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 1.5 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
Jump to a detailed profile or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Business Search - 14 Million verified businesses
Search for:  near: 
 
 
Old 06-21-2010, 03:39 PM
 
Location: Virginia
6,530 posts, read 9,214,345 times
Reputation: 3057

Advertisements

Quote:
Originally Posted by Grandstander View Post
I have not contested the notion that the South believed that they had a right to secession. Do you acknowledge that the basis for that belief was neither morally stronger, nor legally superior, to the Northern argument that the South was violating a contract it had voluntarily signed?
Depends what you mean by "morally" stronger. If you're asking if I believe the North had an equal footing in the question of the legality of secession, my answer would be 'no'... Reason explained below.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Grandstander
See, the thing with your "mentality of the founding fathers" argument is that it may be employed to support both sides. That they left the question of ultimate sovereignty vague, supports one side as well as the other. You say the South would not have ratified the document if they had any inkling that secession wasn't an assumed right, but one might also say that the Federalist would not have ratified it if they thought that it was just some temporary agreement and that the union could be busted up by the unilateral actions of a sub part. Both sides chickened out. The price of unity in 1787 turned out to be war in 1861.

For both sides.
But the problem with this notion is that the Federalists wouldn't have to be dragged to the table in order to form a central government in the first place. The necessity of doing so was part of their philosophy.

I don't think the Anti-Federalists were too concerned with being desperate over unifying under one flag.

Thus, I believe it's pretty obvious who dangled the carrot to lure whom to the table.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Grandstander
And....it was the fact that the South behaved as though there was no question of a right to secession which meant that it was going to have to be settled with guns rather than lawyers.
But again, you have to look at the fact that appealing to Federal authority undermines the act of secession before it ever occurs. By simply asking the question (read: Asking Permission to secede) they would have already ceded the argument...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Grandstander
So...it was, and remains, a moral question and that is where we differ. I do not think the South's cause...our extra strength political power is going to be scaled back to just regular power...sufficient to justify them walking out on the deal to which they had agreed. If the South's rights truly were being threatened, then you would have a case. It wasn't their rights under siege, it was their outsized political power. Yes, the Constitution affirmed the institution of slavery where it existed, but it did not affirm it on a perpetual basis. The Constitution also included an amending process so that if the majority should change its mind in the future, it was free to do so. That was what frightened the South, that the majority would exercise what they had a legal right to do. The South had a right to expect slavery to be left alone where it existed, until such time as the majority, acting legally, decided that this should be changed. They had no right to expect a special perpetual status for one particular law in a compact which included the means for altering any and all laws.
We certainly agree on what the South was afraid of. I don't think there' really any doubt. Where we disagree is the notion of them walking out on a "deal to which they had agreed". As I described earlier, it wasn't the rules that may have changed, but the entire game that was changing in a way the South could not have forseen. (referring to land added to the U.S. in such massive proportions as to add enough states to tilt the government hopelessly against them).

I'm guessing they obviously felt that so long as the South had slaves and the North did not that there would never be a necessary 2/3 majority to completely abolish slavery. The Louisianna Purchase, the territories ceded by Mexico, etc... forever changed the game... And there was never any "deal" that said that the "game" was a permanent one.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Grandstander
The Southern States signed aboard with the understanding that the majority would prevail. There was no language in the document which covered acceptable escape behavior for those who did not like the majority decision.
As stated, the South signed aboard with the understanding that this wouldn't be a problem (The North needs more than a simple majority to make a Constitutional Amendment). The game changed on them.

There was no language in the document that covered the permanance of the Union either. It is your belief that the onus is on the party that is seeking to leave that the are allowed to do so in the absence of any rule stating they cannot. It is MY belief that the onus is on the party that wishes to stop the action to prove why it is NOT lawful....

Again, appealing to a FEDERAL Court is symbolically a loaded proposition for the southern states that seceded.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Grandstander
This is greatly compounded by the fact that the extra political power was based entirely on sustaining an immoral institution...slavery. At some point you have to look that question in the face and make a decision as to which side you support.
To suggest that agreeing that the South had no right to secede due to the reason they wished to secede goes against any and all Western legal systems of which I am aware. The reason plays no part in the legality.

There are two separate questions here. WAS THE SOUTH RIGHT to secede over slavery? Of course the answer is 'no' to that question. DID THE SOUTH HAVE THE RIGHT to secede? In my opinion the answer to that question is 'yes'..

Anyway, I think we're both aware of what the other is saying and I don't forsee an agreement forthcoming... The difference of opinion has only been answered by the war itself, but the war didn't necessarily change anyone's minds....
Quick reply to this message

 
Old 06-21-2010, 03:42 PM
 
Location: Virginia
6,530 posts, read 9,214,345 times
Reputation: 3057
Quote:
Originally Posted by Grandstander View Post
Rhett:


I'm going to ask the legal authorities for permission to divorce her. The Southern solution would be just to walk away as though the marriage had never taken place, abandon her and abandon the legal obligations which were undertaken when the "I do" was said.

You approve of that?
Well, understand that in order to make the analogy fit completely, the wife would be the legal authority you were asking permission from. I think you can see how the answer that you saw as so simple a minute ago suddenly gets confounded...

Think about it, I have to ask you if its okay to leave you when I know that you don't want me to and there's nothing to say I cannot do so...

Seems pretty straight forward in my eyes and yes, on THAT I approve whole-heartedly...
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-21-2010, 05:51 PM
 
Location: Parts Unknown, Northern California
11,217 posts, read 7,290,953 times
Reputation: 8450
Well, okay, Rhett. I believe that we have exhausted our repertoires of explanations and arguments.

I consider your view in error, but respect the reasoning which backs it. More so than trying to make moral converts, my arguments here have had the primary purpose of trying to persuade readers that the direct cause of the war was the threat to the Southern political power which was founded upon and sustained by, slavery. You seem to grasp this, or had already grasped this before we started, so at least we were always on the same page with regards to what the moral argument should be.
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-22-2010, 02:07 AM
 
Location: Peterborough, England
467 posts, read 363,588 times
Reputation: 391
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rhett_Butler View Post
We certainly agree on what the South was afraid of. I don't think there' really any doubt. Where we disagree is the notion of them walking out on a "deal to which they had agreed". As I described earlier, it wasn't the rules that may have changed, but the entire game that was changing in a way the South could not have forseen. (referring to land added to the U.S. in such massive proportions as to add enough states to tilt the government hopelessly against them).

Then why did the South consent to the acquisition of this territory - or indeed to the Mexican War itself?

Had the Senators of the slave states (or even those of the eleven future Confederate ones) voted solidly nay, the Treaty of Guadeloupe Hidalgo would have stood no chance of ratification. Given the opposition of Northern Whigs, it probably couldn't have gained even a majority, never mind two-thirds. Similarly, the DoW would have been difficult to pass in the face of Southern opposition. Looks to me as if the South brought this problem on itself.
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-22-2010, 08:40 AM
 
Location: Parts Unknown, Northern California
11,217 posts, read 7,290,953 times
Reputation: 8450
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikestone8 View Post
Then why did the South consent to the acquisition of this territory - or indeed to the Mexican War itself?

Had the Senators of the slave states (or even those of the eleven future Confederate ones) voted solidly nay, the Treaty of Guadeloupe Hidalgo would have stood no chance of ratification. Given the opposition of Northern Whigs, it probably couldn't have gained even a majority, never mind two-thirds. Similarly, the DoW would have been difficult to pass in the face of Southern opposition. Looks to me as if the South brought this problem on itself.
Along the lines of the South creating their own problems, does it not appear to be the case that the Southern hotheads deliberately provoked secession? We cannot pretend that there was anything other than 100 % awareness that by splitting the Democratic Party into a Northern Douglas faction and a Southern Breckenridge faction, a Republican victory in the 1860 election was assured.

The complaint with Douglas was never that he was unsympathetic to slavery, the complaint was that he was not a fire breathing hothead on behalf of all causes Southern. The walkout from the Chalreston convention and subsequent dual nominating conventions which split the party, was a consequence of the Douglas faction refusing to cooperate in constructing a platform which was 100 % pro slavery. The breakaway convention which nominated Breckenridge had a platform which called for the endorsement of the Dred Scott decision, and an act of Congress which said that all new States would be open for slavery.

Since there was not the slightest chance that a Democrat running on such a platform would win any States outside of the deep South, the hotheads knew in advance that they had thrown the election to the GOP. By their actions, they guaranteed that they would be getting a hostile Lincoln rather than a friendly, if not friendly to an extreme, Douglas. This would set things up so that they could then argue that secession was the only alternative to living under a Republican administration.

Douglas and Breckenridge combined received 48 % of the votes cast in the 1860 election, compared to Lincoln's 39 %. Had the choice in the Deep South been between Lincoln and Douglas, then of course they would have voted for Douglas who wasn't promising to end the expansion of slavery.

So, the South has itself to blame for losing that election and I highly suspect that it was deliberately engineered to come out that way so that the champions of secession would have their excuse. That these folks were trigger happy for splitting the nation may be evidenced by the fact that secession took place before Lincoln even took the oath of office. Without a single action against them, the South walked out on the basis of assuming future actions.

Looks like we may lose...so lets knock over the checkerboard.
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-22-2010, 09:23 AM
 
Location: St. Augustine
9,258 posts, read 11,853,943 times
Reputation: 7430
Interesting and insightful post GS.
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-22-2010, 05:59 PM
 
Location: Virginia
6,530 posts, read 9,214,345 times
Reputation: 3057
Agreed. I don't typically buy into this type of conspiracy theory, but I can see this as plausible. At the very least I can see the minority of fire-eaters going along with this route knowing where it would lead while most really WERE arguing based on their principles without too much consideration of where it might ultimately lead or that it would throw the election to the Republicans...

And then? Well, the Republican Party's politics were so far gone from what most in the South wanted that I'm sure it didn't take much cajoling from the extremists to get them where they wanted to go...

Ah the game of politics... UGLY!!!
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-22-2010, 06:03 PM
 
Location: Virginia
6,530 posts, read 9,214,345 times
Reputation: 3057
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikestone8 View Post
Then why did the South consent to the acquisition of this territory - or indeed to the Mexican War itself?

Had the Senators of the slave states (or even those of the eleven future Confederate ones) voted solidly nay, the Treaty of Guadeloupe Hidalgo would have stood no chance of ratification. Given the opposition of Northern Whigs, it probably couldn't have gained even a majority, never mind two-thirds. Similarly, the DoW would have been difficult to pass in the face of Southern opposition. Looks to me as if the South brought this problem on itself.
Well, I was more discussing why the founders didn't think that specific clauses were necessary in the Constitution. Flashing forward 60 years or so, I can't see why the South would have had a problem with it. It wasnt' like they had it all planned out. Their country had just won a war and stood to acquire territory.

I think you're essentially arguing that they should have known that cutting off their collective noses to spite their face would have been a good idea for them in the end...
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-22-2010, 06:24 PM
 
Location: Parts Unknown, Northern California
11,217 posts, read 7,290,953 times
Reputation: 8450
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rhett_Butler View Post
Agreed. I don't typically buy into this type of conspiracy theory, but I can see this as plausible. At the very least I can see the minority of fire-eaters going along with this route knowing where it would lead while most really WERE arguing based on their principles without too much consideration of where it might ultimately lead or that it would throw the election to the Republicans...

And then? Well, the Republican Party's politics were so far gone from what most in the South wanted that I'm sure it didn't take much cajoling from the extremists to get them where they wanted to go...

Ah the game of politics... UGLY!!!
In the interest of fairness, I believe that what the hotheads were about was reactive. It was the Republicans who created the first strictly regional party, they didn't try to organize in the deep South. The actions of the unhappy delegates to the Charleston Convention strike me as an effort to counter the regionalized GOP by making the Democrat party the Southern answer. In short, if the North was to have its own party, then so should the South. Of course the sticky problem with that was what to do with the Northern Democrats who championed a moderate, Douglas.

Reactive though it was, it was either a serious error, or as suggested before, a deliberate ploy to justify secession. If an error, the mistake was rejecting Douglas, whose administration probably would have been little different from those of Pierce and Buchanan in terms of non hostility toward slavery. If deliberate, then they got what they really wanted all along, an excuse for revolution.
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-22-2010, 07:14 PM
 
1,308 posts, read 1,590,281 times
Reputation: 561
Historians tend to assume (like most academics) that there is a logical reason for actions. But that is not always the case IMHO. The fire eaters were so consumed with anger and so sure of the righteous of their cause that they failed to think carefully through what they were doing. And much of the country as a whole got swept up in patriotism so that they to failed to carefully consider what they were doing. Thus our analysis of the causes of the war is likely to rational by half.

The true cause of the war may well have been that harsh rhetoric by both sides over two decades before the war so poisoned relations that both sides came to hate the other. When that happens it only takes a spark to cause an explosion. I think that hatred, and growing sense of southern not US nationality, may well have been the decisive force in the war.
Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


 
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:
Over $84,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > History
Similar Threads

All times are GMT -6.

© 2005-2014, Advameg, Inc.

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25 - Top