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Old 11-17-2009, 12:26 PM
 
Location: Aloverton
6,560 posts, read 14,463,545 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rhett_Butler View Post
Your comment about "Resupplying the insignificant Fort Sumter" and your suggestion that resupplying the fort wasnt' a "provocative" action made it sound like you didn't grasp what the big deal was or you were trying to diminish the significance to further your point.
I had presumed you didn't consider me stupid. I don't consider you stupid. I figured that you understood my basic meaning: that Fort Sumter was neither going to win nor lose a general war for either side, nor even impact it much, therefore it was militarily non-strategic, thus militarily insignificant.

In any case, I continue to contend that resupplying a fort is a lot less provocative than bombarding it. Whatever the provocation not involving the firing of shots, firing shots must surely outweigh it. As long as we are not firing shots we are not at war. Once we fire shots, we may well be at war.
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Old 11-17-2009, 12:43 PM
 
Location: Metromess
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Seems to me that the best thing to do is to admit that racism still exists in significant numbers just about everywhere and get on with addressing it. There is as much of it here against Latinos, both from whites and blacks, as any other kind. There is a common tendency among each group to blame others for many of their troubles, e.g. "If we could just get rid of all the [fill in blank], things would be a lot better".
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Old 11-17-2009, 12:44 PM
 
42,732 posts, read 29,889,770 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by j_k_k View Post
I had presumed you didn't consider me stupid. I don't consider you stupid. I figured that you understood my basic meaning: that Fort Sumter was neither going to win nor lose a general war for either side, nor even impact it much, therefore it was militarily non-strategic, thus militarily insignificant.

In any case, I continue to contend that resupplying a fort is a lot less provocative than bombarding it. Whatever the provocation not involving the firing of shots, firing shots must surely outweigh it. As long as we are not firing shots we are not at war. Once we fire shots, we may well be at war.
I think you are underestimating the degree of provocation that re-supplying the fort posed. You're looking at the situation with the perfect vision of hindsight. The parties involved at the time didn't have this advantage. The North and South were still peacefully negotiating their differences. Yes, a few states had declared independence, but diplomacy was still being tried.
Given that militarily Ft Sumter had little significance, why was Lincoln so adamant that it should be re-supplied? He was in correspondence with Southern leaders, he knew what a sore point this was. What would have been lost if the fort had been peacefully evacuated, and the Union forces transported to a Union port, of their choosing? It wasn't militarily strategic, and Lincoln knew this. He pushed the issue because it was politically strategic for him to do so. He couldn't have secession become a legal issue because of Taney. He hoped to contain the conflict, because his primary goal, was then, and throughout the war, to preserve the union. Lincoln was aware of how provocative he was being, but he was gambling that if he could provoke the South into firing, that the other states poised on the brink might not follow the secessionist lead, because the South would be the aggressor. The fact that those other states did follow the secessionists suggests that people in that time period did perceive that Lincoln was the provocateur.
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Old 11-17-2009, 12:57 PM
 
6,565 posts, read 14,298,942 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by j_k_k View Post
I had presumed you didn't consider me stupid. I don't consider you stupid. I figured that you understood my basic meaning: that Fort Sumter was neither going to win nor lose a general war for either side, nor even impact it much, therefore it was militarily non-strategic, thus militarily insignificant.
Understood, but it doesn't matter whether one is smart or stupid, hyperbole is often used by either to attempt to make a point at times...

Quote:
Originally Posted by j_k_k
In any case, I continue to contend that resupplying a fort is a lot less provocative than bombarding it. Whatever the provocation not involving the firing of shots, firing shots must surely outweigh it. As long as we are not firing shots we are not at war. Once we fire shots, we may well be at war.
I'd refer you to the phrase, "Act of War". It doesn't ALWAYS mean firing a weapon... Caesar didn't harm a soul when he crossed the Rubicon, but it was widely understood what the action meant.

That isn't to say that resupplying Sumter was quite as overt as that, but when you:
- Are claiming to be a sovereign nation
- Have asked a military force to leave what you now consider to be your territory
- Have not to this point forced the issue because a final answer to your request had not been given.

One can see why an attempt to resupply the "offending" garrison would be the equivelent of saying "no" to the request...

I guess the southern reply was, "Very well then, we'll MAKE you leave."

Yes, Lincoln played all innocent too when Beuregard fired on Fort Sumter, but let's be real here. He was advised against it by most of his cabinet and knew darn well that this action would probably result in war.
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Old 11-17-2009, 12:59 PM
 
6,565 posts, read 14,298,942 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DC at the Ridge View Post
I think you are underestimating the degree of provocation that re-supplying the fort posed. You're looking at the situation with the perfect vision of hindsight. The parties involved at the time didn't have this advantage. The North and South were still peacefully negotiating their differences. Yes, a few states had declared independence, but diplomacy was still being tried.
Given that militarily Ft Sumter had little significance, why was Lincoln so adamant that it should be re-supplied? He was in correspondence with Southern leaders, he knew what a sore point this was. What would have been lost if the fort had been peacefully evacuated, and the Union forces transported to a Union port, of their choosing? It wasn't militarily strategic, and Lincoln knew this. He pushed the issue because it was politically strategic for him to do so. He couldn't have secession become a legal issue because of Taney. He hoped to contain the conflict, because his primary goal, was then, and throughout the war, to preserve the union. Lincoln was aware of how provocative he was being, but he was gambling that if he could provoke the South into firing, that the other states poised on the brink might not follow the secessionist lead, because the South would be the aggressor. The fact that those other states did follow the secessionists suggests that people in that time period did perceive that Lincoln was the provocateur.
And don't forget that Lincoln was putting on a show for Europe as well as the border states.
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Old 11-17-2009, 01:32 PM
 
Location: Aloverton
6,560 posts, read 14,463,545 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DC at the Ridge View Post
I think you are underestimating the degree of provocation that re-supplying the fort posed. You're looking at the situation with the perfect vision of hindsight. The parties involved at the time didn't have this advantage. The North and South were still peacefully negotiating their differences. Yes, a few states had declared independence, but diplomacy was still being tried.
I'm actually trying to look at it from the viewpoint of a 'calmer head' in the SC leadership of the day. When I think of a provocative action, I don't think of shipping in supplies. An island fort will always need supplies. When I think of a provocative action, I think of shipping in a division of troops to stage them for a possible seizure of the port with fixed bayonets and so on. I'm looking at a roughly oval island 500' in diameter, a tiny dinky thing which could not possibly have harbored a military force of any size. I'm also looking at the fact that the force holding Fort Sumter is the same force that just evacuated Fort Moultrie, which unlike Sumter is directly on the mainland. So right there, I have one reason to think maybe resupplying this miniscule, isolated fort is not the most provocative thing Abe could be doing. He could have instead sent a division to Fort Moultrie, for example.
Quote:
Originally Posted by DC at the Ridge View Post
Given that militarily Ft Sumter had little significance, why was Lincoln so adamant that it should be re-supplied? He was in correspondence with Southern leaders, he knew what a sore point this was. What would have been lost if the fort had been peacefully evacuated, and the Union forces transported to a Union port, of their choosing? It wasn't militarily strategic, and Lincoln knew this. He pushed the issue because it was politically strategic for him to do so. He couldn't have secession become a legal issue because of Taney. He hoped to contain the conflict, because his primary goal, was then, and throughout the war, to preserve the union. Lincoln was aware of how provocative he was being, but he was gambling that if he could provoke the South into firing, that the other states poised on the brink might not follow the secessionist lead, because the South would be the aggressor. The fact that those other states did follow the secessionists suggests that people in that time period did perceive that Lincoln was the provocateur.
Can you offer a dispassionate source (and I do realize these are difficult to come by on this subject, for many modern writers reek of agendas) for Lincoln's motives as you describe them? And if the issue is so emotional, why did not the evacuation of Fort Moultrie suffice to calm fraying tempers? Unless those tempers were just looking for an excuse, it seems to me that if the owners of those tempers were still emotional about Fort Sumter, they were just plain angry. Which makes sense if they seceded to begin with, I guess...but also suggests that they might have been mad enough to be looking for a pretext to start shooting. If Lincoln thought provoking them would discourage other states from seceding, it is possible they thought otherwise: that a whiff of gunpowder, on any pretext, might be just the thing to convince undecided Southern states to get off the fence and rebel. And it's quite probable that SC leaders had a better read of the mindset of other Southern states, for the same reason Lincoln probably understood Ohio better than Southern leaders did.

In fact, let's suppose SC did not start shooting. What happens when the heady early euphoria of secession wears off, the energy bled off unspent? What happens if people start to reflect and wonder if secession was such a hot idea after all? What if no more states secede? The border states ended up bitterly divided over the issue: Missouri Union but with heavy Confederate sympathies, southern Indiana more Confederate than Union, Kentucky trying to be neutral, Tennessee with significant pro-Union pockets, WV to actually divide in two, and Maryland a lot like Missouri. And I have pretty compelling reason to believe that the Southern populace remained quite divided over the war even after it went full-dress.

By the way, wasn't Buchanan still in office when the first firing in the direction of Fort Sumter occurred? Doesn't he have to take more of the heat for this than Lincoln, who wasn't inaugurated until March?

Last edited by j_k_k; 11-17-2009 at 01:40 PM.. Reason: slight error on my part
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Old 11-17-2009, 01:34 PM
 
Location: Wheaton, Illinois
10,261 posts, read 21,761,214 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rhett_Butler View Post
Yes, Lincoln played all innocent too when Beuregard fired on Fort Sumter, but let's be real here. He was advised against it by most of his cabinet and knew darn well that this action would probably result in war.

Lincoln was acting legally in supporting Fort Sumter. And even if it was intended as a provocative act to provoke someone into doing something foolish doesn't take the responsibility for the foolish act away from the one provoked. A study of the Cuban Missle Crisis might be instructive.
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Old 11-17-2009, 01:44 PM
 
6,565 posts, read 14,298,942 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Irishtom29 View Post
Lincoln was acting legally in supporting Fort Sumter. And even if it was intended as a provocative act to provoke someone into doing something foolish doesn't take the responsibility for the foolish act away from the one provoked. A study of the Cuban Missle Crisis might be instructive.
Legal is VERY relative here and depends entirely on one's perspective. That's really the entire point.
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Old 11-17-2009, 01:46 PM
 
42,732 posts, read 29,889,770 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Irishtom29 View Post
Lincoln was acting legally in supporting Fort Sumter. And even if it was intended as a provocative act to provoke someone into doing something foolish doesn't take the responsibility for the foolish act away from the one provoked. A study of the Cuban Missle Crisis might be instructive.
No one is saying that the responsibility for firing isn't the responsibility of the South. What is being said is that the issues and context in 1861 are much more complex than a casual perusal would lead someone to believe. We have to remove ourselves from today, and look at the events in the eyes of the people who lived in that period in order to gain the most basic understanding.

We have to look at the key figures not just as actors acting out their roles in the drama, but as real people whose motivations and intentions are not always as clear-cut as history portrays them to be.

And we have to recognize that most of the history that people today are exposed to is history that is filtered by the victorious side. In that sense, the Civil War is never-ending, because people in the Confederacy strive to preserve their version of this history. Is the Confederate version more true than the Union version? I don't think so, but I think the truth lies somewhere in between, so as long as the two versions, the two sets of traditions persist, then that truth in the middle is preserved. If one version is totally obscured, then the chances of our perceiving the truth is diminished.
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Old 11-17-2009, 01:54 PM
 
6,565 posts, read 14,298,942 times
Reputation: 3229
Quote:
Originally Posted by j_k_k View Post
I'm actually trying to look at it from the viewpoint of a 'calmer head' in the SC leadership of the day. When I think of a provocative action, I don't think of shipping in supplies. An island fort will always need supplies. When I think of a provocative action, I think of shipping in a division of troops to stage them for a possible seizure of the port with fixed bayonets and so on. I'm looking at a roughly oval island 500' in diameter, a tiny dinky thing which could not possibly have harbored a military force of any size. I'm also looking at the fact that the force holding Fort Sumter is the same force that just evacuated Fort Moultrie, which unlike Sumter is directly on the mainland. So right there, I have one reason to think maybe resupplying this miniscule, isolated fort is not the most provocative thing Abe could be doing. He could have instead sent a division to Fort Moultrie, for example.
You're attempting to look at this objectively which is good. Of course the fact that this force evacuated Fort Moultrie for a more defensible position could be seen as "provocative", no?

Beauregard could have sent a marine force across to the fort to take it rather than just shelling it I suppose. As long as we're talking about more provocative things that "could" have been done.

You seem hung up as though the argument was:

"Hey, your troops there in the fort are threatening to us, remove them."

with the response being.

"Aw, them? They aren't hurting anyone!!!"

Sorry, but it was more like,

"Those troops are occupying our sovereign land. Based on recent events, they are a foreign force at this point. Please remove them."

with the response being.

"Give us time to think on it...."

(The re-enforcement ship was symbolic that they'd thought about it and the answer was "no").

Last edited by Rhett_Butler; 11-17-2009 at 02:11 PM..
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