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The Meaning of the Gettysburg Address
09-05-2012, 08:57 PM
Post: #31
RE: The Meaning of the Gettysburg Address
HerbS, hadn't heard of those books, I will check them out. Thanks!
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09-06-2012, 12:45 PM
Post: #32
RE: The Meaning of the Gettysburg Address
To Jerry Madonna (and others),

The quotes of my earlier posting that many of you are using pro and con come from the intro to my book An Historical Dictionary of the Old South (Lanham: Scarecrow, 2006) which I am revising into an expanded second edition at the present time. You may of course quote anything I have written so long as you give me credit for my views in the usual academic footnote or something similar. The intro in the revised volume will be essentially the same as in the old. It is an essay that explains the Civil War from a different viewpoint, one that I used in Sic Semper Tyrannis with John Wilkes Booth, but with a different emphasis. The newer intro will also rely on William Cooper's article, "The Critical Signpost on the Journey toward Secession,” Journal of Southern History, 77 (February 2011), 3-16, now expanded into a book, “We Have the War Upon Us”: The Onset of the Civil War, November 1860-April 1861 (New York: Knopf, 2012), which points out that all attempts to compromise the War foundered upon Abraham Lincoln’s refusal to go against the Republican Platform of 1860 and adopt the U.S. Supreme Court’s Dred Scott opinion; namely, that slavery could not be kept out of the western territories before statehood.
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09-06-2012, 06:54 PM
Post: #33
RE: The Meaning of the Gettysburg Address
Bill,
Once again you've given me more to read, thank you for that. I'm not familiar with Lincoln's refusal of Taney's opinion in the compromise efforts so I'll have to get Cooper's book and wait for your revised dictionary.

I guess I don't understand what the refusal was all about since the Kansas-Nebraska act effectively made Taney's opinion moot. Did they want Lincoln to denounce Douglas' Freeport Doctrine which was a workaround?
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09-06-2012, 07:01 PM
Post: #34
RE: The Meaning of the Gettysburg Address
Was Lincoln trying to appease the abolitionists at that point?
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09-07-2012, 08:50 AM
Post: #35
RE: The Meaning of the Gettysburg Address
I do not think that Lincoln was trying to please anyone but antislavery people in general and standing by his principles of no slavery in the territories. But what he and other failed to reckon with was that when Southerners said non-exclusion of slavery would not be allowed under art IV sect 2 of the Constitution they meant it. Slavery had an extraterritorial right everywhere in the US and Taney stated that in Dred Scott. The real problem was on its way--Lemmon v. People of New York, where a ruling on slavery as legal in the free states was in the offing. As Lincoln said, the US could not exist as half free and half slave; sooner or later, it would be all one or the other. Lemmon addressed that problem. So did the Civil War in the final analysis with the 13th Amendment in 1865.
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09-07-2012, 09:45 AM
Post: #36
RE: The Meaning of the Gettysburg Address
Lemmon v. People of New York
I never heard of the case, never knew of it's existence. Can't tell you how much fun it is to find another wrinkle to explore in this big tapestry.
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09-07-2012, 10:12 AM
Post: #37
RE: The Meaning of the Gettysburg Address
I think Southerners also misjudged Lincoln's determination to hold the union together. The South was used to having its way throughout the years, with the fugitive slave laws and Dred Scott, and Lincoln didn't offer any threat to either. Once the South determined otherwise, it lost the protections of either law.

I also disagree that Lemmon would have made a difference. It only made it to the New York Court of Appeals and it, along with every other court, upheld the lower court's ruling.

Imagination is the only key to the future. Without it none exists - with it all things are possible. .
--Ida Tarbell
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09-08-2012, 08:23 AM
Post: #38
RE: The Meaning of the Gettysburg Address
The problem was not the NY courts but the Supreme Court of the US and its prior ruling in Dred Scott
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09-08-2012, 09:09 AM (This post was last modified: 09-08-2012 09:36 AM by Rob Wick.)
Post: #39
RE: The Meaning of the Gettysburg Address
I understand that, but it never reached the Supreme Court (Fort Sumter made it moot). Had Sumter not taken place, Virginia, who was the real plaintiff, might have gotten it there, but Lincoln showed in the Merryman case that he was willing to ignore Taney, and the assumption that the court would have decided Lemmon the same way as Dred Scott, while certainly plausible (and maybe even likely), is not a foregone conclusion.

As I said before, the best thing for the South to have done would have been to remain in the union. Once they seceded, had Lemmon been overturned, they were no longer covered by it.

Of course, one could also argue that had Lemmon been decided like Dred Scott, the South might not have seceded, although the uproar in the North would have been overwhelming.

Best
Rob

Imagination is the only key to the future. Without it none exists - with it all things are possible. .
--Ida Tarbell
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09-13-2012, 12:38 AM (This post was last modified: 09-13-2012 12:44 AM by Thomas Thorne.)
Post: #40
RE: The Meaning of the Gettysburg Address
(09-06-2012 12:45 PM)william l. richter Wrote:  To Jerry Madonna (and others),

all attempts to compromise the War foundered upon Abraham Lincoln’s refusal to go against the Republican Platform of 1860 and adopt the U.S. Supreme Court’s Dred Scott opinion; namely, that slavery could not be kept out of the western territories before statehood.
Compromise consists of both parties in a dispute agreeing that each side must give up certain things they love and accept certain things they abhor.

I don't think Lincoln and the Republican Party would have considered their abandonment of their most cherished belief and reason for existence-no slavery in the territories- a compromise. As part of this compromise, the South would have insisted on Congressional enactment of Slave Codes to protect slavery in the territories. What part of this "compromise" was something the South equally cherished. and was prepared to give up?

I think the South made a terrible mistake in making the mere election of Lincoln the reason for secession. In denying their constitutional obligation to submit to the authority of the constitutionally elected President, they broke the most fundamental law of the democratic process. This made any concessions from Lincoln regarding slavery to be impossible as the integrity of the democratic process would be impugned.

A better Southern strategy would have to carefully calculate what harm the Lincoln administration could have caused the South. As no party controlled the Senate and the Republicans would only have enjoyed a plurality in the House of Representatives that would have met in Dec 1861, Republican legislative efforts to somehow enact anti-slavery legislation would have been defeated and obnoxious Republican judicial appointments would likely have been defeated.

It is interesting that the South seceded before they presented terms to the North for remaining in the Union in a non electoral environment where for the first time the latter would realize that secession was more than electoral strutting. One of the most striking aspects of the secession winter was the refusal of Republican leaders to take secession seriously and once effectuated, they deemed it a temper tantrum by a minority which did not reflect majority Southern sentiment.
Tom
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09-13-2012, 07:59 PM
Post: #41
RE: The Meaning of the Gettysburg Address
The problem was not in the south's submission to Lincoln but Lincoln's submission to the Constitution. Lincoln was merely the man who represented all of the South's feeling in that matter. His election was a symbol that the Union no longer had anything to offer the South as to following the Founder's document of 1787. You assume that secession was some sort of great travesty. The South saw it as the breaking of a contract much as the 13 colonies saw the actions of King George in 1770s. As we seceded from Gt Br the South seceded from the tyranny of the North. There was no ned to present terms to the North. It had known for years what the South believed and ignored it. By 1861, the North has driven most Southerners into the hands of the secessionists. The South had compromised many times, Missouri in 1820, over Nullification in 1833, the Compromise of 1850. Its only victory in any prewar negotiations was the Kansas-Nebraska Act which repealed the Mo Comp and the Mo Comp was declared unconstitutional by a 7-2 vote of the Supreme Ct in 1857, and the Fugitive slave law upheld by that court t in 1859 by a 9-0 vote. And you all think that Lemmon had no relevance--Abe Lincoln did not think that and said so in the House Divided Speech. Too many of you all have fallen for the Lincoln Myth, that he was the great peace advocate in 1861. He was not. There was nothing laft to argue about. The secessionists won in the South for the first time, having failed in 1850. But they warned then that if the Comp of 1850 was not upheld in all of its provisions, secession was the answer.
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09-14-2012, 12:40 AM (This post was last modified: 09-14-2012 06:50 AM by Thomas Thorne.)
Post: #42
RE: The Meaning of the Gettysburg Address
Dear Bill
Yr always stimulating post has produced the intellectual equivalent of a 14 course Edwardian dinner which required its eaters to repair to a spa to sweat off the extra pounds.

I will confine myself at present to one aspect of one of yr assertions which absolutely astonishes me.

How can you say the Kansas-Nebraska Act was a victory for the South as it violated the principle of extraterritorial power- pp 115-118 of SST ? What is the constitutional distinction between Douglas-the people of each territory have the right to vote slavery up or down and who cares what they do-and Lincoln-Congress has the power to prevent slavery in the territories and should do so.

We know Southern Democrats refused to accept Douglas as their party's presidential candidate in 1860 and ran Breckinridge as their general election candidate. I have never seen a Southern threat to secede if Douglas was elected President. Perhaps his rather ostentatious racism made him an unlikely John Brown even to future Confederates.
Tom
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09-14-2012, 02:41 PM
Post: #43
RE: The Meaning of the Gettysburg Address
The difference is that Congress has no power to vote slavery up or down in the territories since it acts merely as a trustee to guarantee the extraterritorial rights there under the Constitution (art IV, sec 2, I believe)--of which there is only one, slavery. The people in the territories share their sovereignty with Congress and cannot vote on it either UNTIL they become a state whereupon the people gain full sovereignty and can vote slavery up or down as can any state. The Mo Comp is thus unconstitutional and the Kansas Neb act is constitutional because it recognizes the Non-exclusion of slavery from the Terrs.
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09-16-2012, 09:56 PM (This post was last modified: 09-16-2012 10:03 PM by Thomas Thorne.)
Post: #44
RE: The Meaning of the Gettysburg Address
The relevant text of the Kansas-Nebraska Act is as follows:

""When admitted as a State or States,They shall be received into the Union with or without slavery as their constitution may prescribe at the time of their admission."

All the history I have read concerning the coming of the Civil War has told me that Kansas-Nebraska abandoned Congressional decision making on whether or not slavery could exist in these areas. The people of the Kansas and Nebraska territories were granted the power to make this crucial decision as part of the constitutions they wrote prior to their admission to the Union.

This is the doctrine of "Popular Sovereignty" whose most famous champion was Stephen Douglas, the Senate floor manager for the bill. Alexander Stephens, the House floor manager & future Confederate VP also championed the idea that settlers could decide the fate of slavery before a territory became a state. In 1857 Dred Scott declared the tenets of Douglas and Stephens unconstitutional.

I plan on reading the debates about Kansas-Nebraska in the Congressional Globe. I want to see how many Southern Congressmen and Senators in 1854 agreed with Alexander Stephens about Popular Sovereignty and how many agreed with the idea of the extraterritoriality of slavery later enunciated by Chief Justice Taney in Dred Scott.
Tom
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09-17-2012, 08:11 AM
Post: #45
RE: The Meaning of the Gettysburg Address
Sorry, Tom, you are wrong about Dred Scott. It endorsed popular sovereignty. If you doubt me ask Abe Lincoln. Why do you think he was so opposed to the decision? If it ruled as you say why did he ask Douglas the Freeport Question during the Lincoln Douglas Debates?

Read Bestor, "State Sovereignty and Slavery," and Roy Nichols, The Disruption of American Democracy.
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