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Was Lincoln's invasion of the South Constitutional?


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In reply to an earlier post on Jul 28, 2012 9:53:51 PM PDT
"Republican form of government" means a representative democracy rather than a direct one. It has no bearing on the "Republican" party.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 28, 2012 10:09:24 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 28, 2012 10:10:11 PM PDT
Speaking of the claim of a "righteous cause", read the book and watch the PBS documentary called "Slavery by Another Name". Local politicians and governments throughout the south managed to perpetuate slavery into the early 1940's when FDR acted to end it. In the late 1800's, Theodore Roosevelt had his Attorney General start a court case against it but backed off when he thought the political cost would be too high since much of the economy of the south was still driven by forced labor. The case that got FDR's attention involved a rancher in Texas, I believe, who murdered a large number of his forced labor (slaves) rather than be prosecuted for slavery by the government. A disgusting case in the extreme. He was that first white man prosecuted for murdering a black man since the T.R. case in the late 1800's. Then, of course, in the 60's and 70's whenever someone was charged with murdering someone who was black, they were usually found "not guilty".....by all white jury's.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 28, 2012 10:26:18 PM PDT
Omnireader says:
Well said.

Most of the folks who [ race around screaming "Save Yo Dixie Cups, th' South will Rise Again!"] would be share croppers and called white trash by the plantation owners they seek to see re-instituted.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 28, 2012 10:29:18 PM PDT
Omnireader says:
Does this answer my question? NO

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 29, 2012 4:11:30 AM PDT
f: The United State government is a world wide empire. Lincoln's war was over territory to continue this process.

BPL: Stop slandering the man. You didn't know him and know nothing about him.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 29, 2012 4:20:17 AM PDT
Leon Lane says:
BDD You have stated 5 opinions with no basis in fact to support them. Please find a fantasy blog to bloviate on. Your grasp of history is surely lacking.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 29, 2012 6:57:10 AM PDT
Leon,

Have you seen the program? Watch it here:

http://video.pbs.org/program/slavery-another-name/

And get back to us.

Posted on Jul 29, 2012 7:12:21 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 29, 2012 7:13:25 AM PDT
freedom4all says:
"1. All peoples have the right of self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development." --- PART 1, Article 1,
The United Nations INTERNATIONAL COVENANT ON CIVIL AND POLITICAL RIGHTS. July 7, 1994

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 29, 2012 6:51:14 PM PDT
Martin Hall says:
How can you possibly try to justify the South attempting to exit the Union as being action protected or supported by a right to self-determination, when the key issue was their desire to continue indefinitely to deny the right of self-determination to the slaves?

In the counter-factual where free states had tried to split off from a Union which required that they enforce immoral laws (as New England occasionally threatened to do over the slave return laws), they might have had some legitimacy under self-determination principles, but not the South.

Asserting the principle of self-determination would in fact have justified the Union prohibiting slavery and taking action if necessary to enforce the prohibition.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 30, 2012 3:33:58 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 30, 2012 3:41:29 AM PDT
freedom4all says:
Martin Hall says:
How can you possibly try to justify the South attempting to exit the Union as being action protected or supported by a right to self-determination, when the key issue was their desire to continue indefinitely to deny the right of self-determination to the slaves?

f4a: Where the Slaves and the disenfranchised willing to join the Union in 1788? What what right did those in power bring the unwilling into a system that recognized and condoned slavery? If joining was legal in 1788 why was it illegal to unjoin in 1860 by the very same voter constituency in both?

Indeed by the logic of those who were for Lincoln's war, the very Union itself was illegal by the means it was formed. Your last statement is true. There should have been no such Union.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 30, 2012 8:41:32 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 30, 2012 8:47:43 PM PDT
Freedom? (I have to wonder) for all: Lincoln's war wasn't started by him but by the south so they could keep slavery as an economic "institution". It was not in any way shape or form Lincoln's war. The south seceded merely because he was elected. It was completely the south's war. Empire also has absolutely nothing to do with Lincoln or the Civil War. Instead it was to save this democratic country as "The last, best hope of earth". If it was dissolved or torn apart this democratic experiment, which was still a new thing at the time, would have been seen as a failure. Can't you see that? Can't most of the people posting here even see that?

"Fellow-citizens, we cannot escape history. We of this Congress and this administration, will be remembered in spite of ourselves. No personal significance, or insignificance, can spare one or another of us. The fiery trial through which we pass, will light us down, in honor or dishonor, to the latest generation. We say we are for the Union. The world will not forget that we say this. We know how to save the Union. The world knows we do know how to save it. We -- even we here -- hold the power, and bear the responsibility. In giving freedom to the slave, we assure freedom to the free -- honorable alike in what we give, and what we preserve. We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last best hope of earth. Other means may succeed; this could not fail. The way is plain, peaceful, generous, just -- a way which, if followed, the world will forever applaud, and God must forever bless."

-- President Abraham Lincoln, Annual Address to the U.S. Congress, 1 December 1862.

Give it up. Lincoln really was a great man and in some ways, he rose above his time. As BPL said, stop slandering him. Why can some people read these things and realize they contain truth, wisdom, and are the product of a very thoughtful mind, and others can't see any of these things?

Lincoln knew that the values he was trying to explain were of very high importance. That's why he usually chose to communicate them with great eloquence which was often unappreciated at the time.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 30, 2012 8:44:23 PM PDT
Leon, Leon, Leon........Read the book. Watch the film. If it doesn't change what you think, all I can say is.........Leon, Leon, Leon.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 31, 2012 1:31:58 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 31, 2012 1:33:40 AM PDT
Martin Hall says:
f4a: Where the Slaves and the disenfranchised willing to join the Union in 1788? What what right did those in power bring the unwilling into a system that recognized and condoned slavery?

Martin Hall: Slavery was morally wrong in 1788, but only a small proportion of people recognised this then. But the prior colonial system was no different - so at least there was no worsening of their situation with formation of the Union.
As for the disenfranchised, every sovereign state has processes to determine who exercises political power - those with the vote can determine the fate of the whole. Whether they do so in a fair or moral fashion affects how we assess their character, but their acts remain valid unless they transgress on international law (which is an evolving standard - slavery was legal in some countries into the 20th century).

f4a: If joining was legal in 1788 why was it illegal to unjoin in 1860 by the very same voter constituency in both?

Martin Hall: The key point about joining and unjoining is that some acts are not unilaterally reversible. When you enter into a contract with another party, you have to abide by it or else reach agreement with the other party to change it - you can't just change it yourself, although there may be legal structures to govern terminating the arrangement (consider commercial contract, marriage, etc). So each state could individually choose whether to join the Union, but once joined it had to act within the boundaries of what it had agreed - or else reach agreement with the whole as to changes which would allow it to exit.
At a fundamental level, the sovereign state of South Carolina ceased to exist when it joined the Union, and it was replaced by the US state of South Carolina (subject to the constraints and obligations of the US Constitution) - a very different beast legally. To re-create a sovereign state legally would have required an amendment to the US Constitution so that SC could secede - the alternative extra-legal (or illegal) approach was to undertake a successful rebellion (which was tried and failed).

Opposing a rebellion is not making war against a foreign power, but rather attempting to enforce the status-quo within your own country. Action by the Union against the rebel states was therefore certainly legal and not un-constitutional. Whether it was morally right may depend on your perspective, but IMO it was, because the rebellion was fundamentally driven by the slavery issue.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 31, 2012 4:20:02 AM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Jul 31, 2012 4:26:04 AM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 31, 2012 1:46:46 PM PDT
freedom4all says:
"The Constitution has no inherent authority or obligation. It has no authority or obligation at all, unless as a contract between man and man. And it does not so much as even purport to be a contract between persons now existing. It purports, at most, to be only a contract between persons living eighty years ago. "---- 1869 Lysander Spooner, 'No Treason' http://jim.com/treason.htm

Posted on Jul 31, 2012 3:02:24 PM PDT
M. Hatter says:
I work with a guy from Georgia who calls the Civil War "the War of Northern Aggression" and thinks that Lincoln was a terrorist.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 31, 2012 3:24:56 PM PDT
MH: I work with a guy from Georgia who calls the Civil War "the War of Northern Aggression" and thinks that Lincoln was a terrorist.

BPL: Well, he's ignorant of American history.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 31, 2012 5:16:03 PM PDT
F4A: He probably said that because near that time slavery was seen as being "Constitutional". The Constitution is the general framework of how the country is supposed to operate and it has legal force. If a law is judged unconstitutional it cannot be a law. This isn't always decided correctly though. Plessy vs. Ferguson being just one huge example. Congress passes things every so often to make political points when they know that it is unconstitutional. In that case they're really not doing their jobs and are just playing games with the power they have.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 31, 2012 5:18:57 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 31, 2012 5:22:30 PM PDT
Just American History? He probably didn't set the spelling bee world on fire either.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 31, 2012 6:34:52 PM PDT
Omnireader says:
That's the problem with an unbranched family tree.

Posted on Sep 7, 2012 6:32:16 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 7, 2012 8:37:13 PM PDT
HEY!! Has everyone fallen asleep? Let me attempt to revive this comatose discussion with some new considerations regarding Lincoln, slavery and the South. These originate with a fairly new book called DRED SCOTT AND THE PROBLEM OF CONSTITUTIONAL EVIL by Mark Graber. The author contends that the much-reviled Supreme Court decision in this land mark case of 1857 was actually correct and reflected the general popular sentiment of the time; more than this, it understood that slavery was deeply rooted in the American constitutional order established in 1787. Unless non-Southern delegates to the Consitutional Convention put aside their personal disagreement or opposition to the South's "peculiar institution", there would have been no Constitution and no American nation...period.
The whole point of the Constitution was not to make a better nation, but a well-ordered one in which disputes between individuals and regions could be resolved peacefully, even if neither party got everything it wanted but at least was able to walk away from the table with something to show for the effort. The Missouri Compromise of 1819-20; the Nullification crisis of 1832-33; and the Great Compromise of 1850 show serious statesmen of all sides committed to preserving the nation above all; the majority justices in the Dred Scott case were similarly dedicated. The Abolitionists and the newly-formed Republican Party were outraged by the decision, as was Lincoln (the outcome of this case prompted him to return to politics), but unless they were willing to risk destroying the nation-literally-they should have accepted Judge Taney's opinion as the only realistic and possible one. John Brown's abortive attempt to overthrow slavery in 1859 revealed the inevitable outcome of such actions--blood and death. Virtually no one in the Republican Party wanted either, neither did Lincoln, but we all know the outcome.
I believe the South was absolutely correct in assessing the grave threat posed to its existence by the rising Republicans and an anti-slavery president--at some point in time; if not in 1860 then at some other arbitrary date. The new Confederacy jumped the gun--and lost. It would have been better if they were allowed to relinquish slavery at a time of their choosing--so says the author of this book. It certainly would have avoided a blood bath of colossal proportions; but what of the slaves? Which is the greater morality? freeing the slaves after a mass slaughter or allowing the constitutional order to do what it was intended to do, at the price of permitting slavery to exist somewhat longer? I don't know, but the effects of that war are still with us and no real solution has been found. Isn't this the case?

In a perhaps superfluous postscript, I don't believe there were any villains in this tragedy and certainly no winners.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 7, 2012 7:14:56 PM PDT
R. Largess says:
Certainly the abolition of slavery in the British West Indies provides an interesting comparison. Emancipation was gradual and owners were compensated. It was not without its problems, but the intense hostility and conflict of the American situation was mostly avoided. In Jamaica, many ex-slaves refused to provide labor for the sugar plantations, and withdrew to the island's mountainous interior and subsistence farming. They were replaced by free contract labor on the plantations largely recruited from India and China, but also from West Africa.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 7, 2012 8:53:00 PM PDT
Thanks for the input. I was unaware of the West Indies example. Another new book, AMERICA AFLAME, posits that religious fundamentalism contributed to the rancor over slavery on both sides, hardening opinion so that compromise was impossible. I have yet to read this on my Kindle and am about half-way through the other book on Dred Scott. I'm sure there are more constitutional morsels to discover and I will report them as I digest them.

Posted on Sep 8, 2012 5:08:03 AM PDT
D. says:
Another new book, Apostles of Equality:The Birneys, the Republicans and the Civil War, describes how the slaveholders began the armed conflict as early as 1809, with Kentuckians raiding into Michigan to retrieve escaped slaves. These raids continued into the 1840s when egalitarian citizens retaliated, in several cases arresting the raiders. One such non-military guerrilla-type action in 1847 led Kentucky newspapers to condemn the "Michigan outrage" and induced Sen. Henry Clay to strengthen the Fugitive Slave Law in 1850, further accelerating inter-sectional tensions. The slaveholders had the Constitution and the Fugitive Slave Law on their side but the defenders hewed to the Declaration of Independence and natural law they felt came from God. The Dred Scott Decision came nearly half a century after the constitutional flaws had been exposed by the Michigan Raids. As the nation grew into non-slave territory westward divisions intensified and supposedly eminent statesmen like Clay, Stephen Douglas, John Floyd and Jefferson Davis were unable, or unwilling, to reach a peaceful solution. Lincoln's offer of compensated emancipation was pridefully scorned. And, eventually, the war came as James G. Birney had predicted decades before.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 8, 2012 8:34:33 AM PDT
R. Largess says:
That's an interesting point. I believe that in many ways the American Revolution can be seen as a continuation of the English Civil War, where the constitutional aspect - Crown vs. Parliament - is complemented by the religious aspect - Church of England vs. Puritans. Abolitionism had its roots in New England, and the New England Puritan spirit - "Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord." The religious aspect was very powerful.
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