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Old 11-17-2009, 02:07 PM
 
Location: Aloverton
6,560 posts, read 14,461,907 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rhett_Butler View Post
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?
We simply do not define 'provocative' the same way. In fact, the evac of Fort Moultrie was on the initiative of a junior officer, taking responsibility for his command (and in my opinion, doing exactly what he should have done). If you consider it provocative when the Union actually yields territory to the Confederacy in any way, then our definitions cannot be reconciled now or ever. And perhaps that is the fundamental problem. Perhaps, to see the Southern actions as justified, one has to be so eager to defend the actions of Confederate leaders on the scene that one can construe a yielding of territory as provocative. If so, we are certain to disagree in perpetuity, because I can't think of anything less fundamentally provocative than a withdrawal. Looks to me like all that withdrawal achieved was to convince SC's leadership that the Union had no guts for a fight.

An indirect benefit of this is perhaps a bit of insight into how SC leaders could have been looking at things. I've long wondered how they could have taken such leave of their senses if their ultimate goal was a peaceful secession. If this is how they saw it, no wonder there was a war. Any response from the Union that was not completely supine was likely to lead to war, if they were doing such odd mental gymnastics they could construe withdrawal as a provocation.
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Old 11-17-2009, 02:16 PM
 
42,732 posts, read 29,884,155 times
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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.

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?
I think the Southern populace was very divided, which made the war and its aftermath all the more bitter. The wealthy may have been euphoric, there may have a lot of young cocky Southern boys sure the war would end quickly and in their favor, but there were many who saw secession and Civil War as death knells for a young country and for a vision.

The United States hadn't even reached its first centennial. Most of the population came from Europe where their countries traced their histories back a thousand years or more. So the perception of the United States as new, and more than that, as an innovation. A promise to the world that men could rule themselves, that a caste system, an aristocracy, was not needed, the failure of the union to survive wasn't seen as just a failure of this young country, it was seen as something much bigger, much more important. And in a region that looked to both Thomas Jefferson and to Andrew Jackson as part of its heritage, a region that saw education as a key component of the gentility that was the best of itself, many of the young men who marched off to war did so with the hope that the promise of the United States would be kept by the Confederate States of America.

They felt betrayed by the union in a host of ways. Beginning with Lincoln's election, when Lincoln wasn't even on the ballot in those Southern states. It is a demonstration of power when a Presidential candidate can get elected with zero support from half of the country. And zero, as in absolute zero. It underscored the nature of democracy, that urban populations have more power than rural ones.

They felt betrayed because it was tariff income that supported the government of the United States, and that tariff income was primarily supplied by the South. But that income wasn't spent in the South. Roads, rail, and industry were subsidized by the government, and those subsidies went to the North, not to the South.

They felt betrayed because the issue of slavery had been left to the states by the Constitution, but increasingly the Federal government was assuming power over that issue, and the impetus was to limit slavery, the impetus was to impose Federal rules over the states. In current times, the exercise of Federal power is rarely challenged. But the debates over the balance of power in the first half of the 19th century were not over the balance of powers between the three branches of the Federal Government. The debates were almost always focused on the balance of power between the individual states and the central government. From the very beginning, the tension, even among the Founding Fathers, focused on this balance.

As for Buchanan and the Union military forts in the South, his entire position in the matter rested on his political position that the South's rights in the matter lay not in secession, but in rebellion. And if the South's rights were solely the right to rebel, then it was their obligation to fire on those military forts. Which explains Buchanan's failure to respond to any overt aggressions, and also helped to develop the situation where the South was uniquely positioned to support its interests by initiating war.
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Old 11-17-2009, 02:34 PM
 
6,565 posts, read 14,297,629 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by j_k_k View Post
We simply do not define 'provocative' the same way. In fact, the evac of Fort Moultrie was on the initiative of a junior officer, taking responsibility for his command (and in my opinion, doing exactly what he should have done). If you consider it provocative when the Union actually yields territory to the Confederacy in any way, then our definitions cannot be reconciled now or ever.
It wasn't done as a cession of territory. It was done in order to move the troops to a more defensible position. Fort Moultrie was designed to repel a sea-borne invasion force. Obviously hostilities in this instance would not be coming from that direction. And thus, they moved, under cover of darkness mind you, to the citadel in the middle of Charleston Harbor.

It's provocative in that it went against a promise that was made to Governor Pickens that the "Military disposition in the area would not be altered." The purpose of the move thus becomes moot if we're discussing a provocative action. Doesn't that seem like they're preparing for a siege or an attack? Now if their presence was so innocent, why would that be necessary? Let's just let the politicians talk it out, right?

No, this was an indication of where things were headed to Pickens I would suspect. I mean put yourself in his shoes. What would you think?

Quote:
Originally Posted by j_k_k
And perhaps that is the fundamental problem. Perhaps, to see the Southern actions as justified, one has to be so eager to defend the actions of Confederate leaders on the scene that one can construe a yielding of territory as provocative. If so, we are certain to disagree in perpetuity, because I can't think of anything less fundamentally provocative than a withdrawal. Looks to me like all that withdrawal achieved was to convince SC's leadership that the Union had no guts for a fight.
Funny, I actually CAN think of something MUCH less provocative; That would be getting on a ship and leaving Charleston like they were asked to do... If you are looking at a column of troops 200 meters in front of you and you are unsure of their intent, then those troops go backwards 200 more meters into a prepared trench or fortification, does that seem more or less provocative than just staying there???

If your answer is "less", then you are correct, we have different understandings of "provocative" with respect this this particular scenario/situation. While you are saying that you are trying to see it through the eyes of a more moderate South Carolinians, I think you are depriving yourself of some of the information that would make these actions appear like betrayals of trust..

Quote:
Originally Posted by j_k_k
An indirect benefit of this is perhaps a bit of insight into how SC leaders could have been looking at things. I've long wondered how they could have taken such leave of their senses if their ultimate goal was a peaceful secession. If this is how they saw it, no wonder there was a war. Any response from the Union that was not completely supine was likely to lead to war, if they were doing such odd mental gymnastics they could construe withdrawal as a provocation.
They probably, in their eyes, saw it as that they were lied to on multiple occasions. History tells us that these "lies" were basically not intentional, but just a symptom of how confused the Lincoln Administration was on what should be done, and also a symptom of how bumpy the transition from Buchannon to Lincoln was....

Buchannon assured Pickens that the disposition of their military presence would not change. It did.

Seward told southern diplomats (with no authorization from Lincoln mind you... We again, have the benefit of knowledge that South Carolina did NOT have) that Sumter would be abandoned. It wasn't.

Pickens was ALSO told by Ward Lamon, a federal diplomat sent by Lincoln, that he was under the impression that Sumter would be evacuated.

So try to imagine the outrage when it was made clear via the act of resupplying the garrison that, in fact, they weren't going anywhere...

Let's ALSO remember that this wasnt' some split decision that had to be made. South Carolina had time to decide their course of action as well, knowing the resupply ship was coming. I understand that to you, this means that they should have known better and never fired a shot. I think that at some point they had to follow through on their threats of what would happen in the event that the Union tried to resupply the fort.

What good does, "If there is any attempt to resupply the garrison we will open fire." do if, when the chips are down, you don't follow through?
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Old 11-17-2009, 02:42 PM
 
6,565 posts, read 14,297,629 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by j_k_k View Post
Perhaps, to see the Southern actions as justified, one has to be so eager to defend the actions of Confederate leaders on the scene that one can construe a yielding of territory as provocative..
Perhaps, in order to see the Union actions as justified, one has to be eager to think that the Union had any rhyme or reason to be in a fort in the middle of Charleston Harbor. What WAS it to them, other than a symbol that they were NOT going to allow secession and that they didn't recognize it?

That's what I mean when I say Sumter was symbolic of EVERYTHING and EVERY action was a microcosm of the other sides' disposition. Every little move and statement from either side with regard to Sumter was "provocative".
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Old 11-17-2009, 03:13 PM
 
216 posts, read 343,656 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rhett_Butler View Post
Perhaps, in order to see the Union actions as justified, one has to be eager to think that the Union had any rhyme or reason to be in a fort in the middle of Charleston Harbor. What WAS it to them, other than a symbol that they were NOT going to allow secession and that they didn't recognize it?

That's what I mean when I say Sumter was symbolic of EVERYTHING and EVERY action was a microcosm of the other sides' disposition. Every little move and statement from either side with regard to Sumter was "provocative".
Yep
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Old 11-17-2009, 06:15 PM
 
Location: Eastern Balto County
99 posts, read 328,991 times
Reputation: 31
My question is-Was the American Civil really necessary? Correct title should be" war between the states" since the South was not trying to take over the Northern states but to split and remain autonomous. The Spanish civil war was correct since two political parties were trying to gain power. Just think of all the bloodshed its a dorn shame.
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Old 11-17-2009, 06:33 PM
 
31,387 posts, read 37,054,795 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sawmill Jim View Post
Naw you don't get it would say you don't know one thing about Southern culture or what the South did or does stand for . Still a bunch of carpetbaggers showing up trying to bring their liberal PC crap down South .
Ya think? Born in New Orleans in the early 50's, there isn't isn't a southern state that I have lived in or stayed in. Oh, I know all too damned well all about Southern culture and what it stands for.
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Old 11-17-2009, 07:03 PM
 
216 posts, read 343,656 times
Reputation: 118
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikey jam View Post
My question is-Was the American Civil really necessary? Correct title should be" war between the states" since the South was not trying to take over the Northern states but to split and remain autonomous. The Spanish civil war was correct since two political parties were trying to gain power. Just think of all the bloodshed its a dorn shame.
The powers that be at the time in Dc and the bankers though so

Yes you are correct except the north needed the tax money they could of been two independent country's .

Big question with states filling notice with Dc of their 10th rights is history trying to repeat good for another thread . ???
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Old 11-17-2009, 07:13 PM
 
Location: Wheaton, Illinois
10,261 posts, read 21,758,251 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikey jam View Post
My question is-Was the American Civil really necessary? Correct title should be" war between the states" since the South was not trying to take over the Northern states but to split and remain autonomous. The Spanish civil war was correct since two political parties were trying to gain power. Just think of all the bloodshed its a dorn shame.

The official name according to The United States Army sums it up---The War of the Rebellion.
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Old 11-17-2009, 07:33 PM
 
Location: MI
1,069 posts, read 3,199,371 times
Reputation: 582
Look,It's as simple as this:

1) South paying 70% of cost to run the U.S. govenment via tariffs on King Cotton. (Overwhelming most of it spent on Northern infrastucture and arms).

2) North can't sell it's industrial technology or products to England, England don't need it, they already have it., but England does need cotton.

3) Not only does the North try to eliminate competition for King Cotton, they create a market for their newfound arms making capabilities allthewhile washing their dirty hands in the history of not only slavery in the South but the entire U.S.
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