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PRESIDENTIAL SERIES > 3. A. LINCOLN ~ CHAPTERS 7 - start of 9 (99 - 149) (11/16/09 - 11/22/09) ~ No spoilers, please

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message 1: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Nov 16, 2009 07:06AM) (new)

Bentley | 23983 comments This is the reading assignment for week three - (November 16, 2009 to November 22, 2009):

Chapters 7 - start of 9: (pages 99 - 149)

Chapter 7 - A Matter of Profound Wonder: 1831-42 - page 99

Chapter 8 - The Truth Is, I Would Like to Go Very Much: 1843-46 - page 119

Chapter 9 (only the beginning so far) My Best Impression of the Truth: 1847 - 49 - page 139


Hello Everyone,

We will open up a thread for each week's reading. Please make sure to post in the particular thread dedicated to those specific chapters and page numbers to avoid spoilers.

This book was kicked off on November 1st.

We look forward to your participation. Barnes and Noble and other noted on line booksellers do have copies of the book and shipment can be expedited. The book can also be obtained easily at your local library, or on your Kindle.

Since we only started this book on November 1st, there is still time remaining to obtain the book and get started.

There is no rush and we are thrilled to have you join us. It is never too late to get started and/or to post.

Welcome,

~Bentley


TO ALWAYS SEE ALL WEEKS' THREADS SELECT VIEW ALL

A. Lincoln  A Biography by Ronald C. White Jr.

Ronald C. White Jr.


Joe (Blues) | 472 comments If anyone would like to chime in on Chapter 7, please feel free. I think I will digress to Lincoln's famous quote, "Nothing new here, except my marrying, which to me is a matter of profound wonder."

I did however find this essay at the Lehrman Institute's website, if anyone is interested.

Mr. Lincoln and Cupid
by Richard J. Behn

http://www.lehrmaninstitute.org/histo...


Joe (Blues) | 472 comments Moving on to Chapter 8...

In the beginning of 1843, after completing his 4th term as a representitive in the Illinois legislature, Lincoln declined a fifth term in favor of running for a seat in the US House of Representatives. His law partner, John Todd Stuart, who previously held that seat for two terms, declined to run for a third. But Lincoln had to compete for it with two other prominent Illinois lawyers, John Hardin and Edward Baker. "Lincoln employed an aggressive multipronged strategy. Months before the election, he began writing Whig friends about his congressional aspirations." pg 121

"On March 4, 1843, the Whigs published an 'Address to the People of Illinois,' signed collectively by five politicians, including Lincoln, who likely penned it. Who else but Lincoln would have pled for political action appealing to Aesop, 'that great fabulist and philosopher,' and to Jesus, 'he whose wisdom surpasses that of all philosophers, who 'declared that 'a house divided against itself cannot stand''? The campaign circular concluded, 'At every election, let every Whig act as though he knew the result to depend upon his action.'" pg 122

As things turned out, Lincoln was voted to be the chairman of a delegation pledged to his opponent, Edward Baker. Because his chances of winning the Whig nomination vanished, he suggested to adopt a resolution which agreed to limit the winner to a single term, thereby implementing a rotation strategy, hopefully assuring his chances during the next election. Quite ingenious, I think.


message 4: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 23983 comments Gee, I better put up next week's thread right away (smile).


Joe (Blues) | 472 comments lol... no, we don't need to get ahead of ourselves. I wrote these up early yesterday to have them ready. But, I am anxious to get to the meatier chapters though.

I have read the book already, but am using these threads to skim over the text again to better remember the most important stuff. Writing it down and paraphrasing the events helps alot.


message 6: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 23983 comments I was puttering around getting the thread set up and wham...we were into chapter 8 - I said wow that was fast (smile)

Great job Joe and I will get the next thread up later on today.I like your approach.


message 7: by Joe (last edited Nov 22, 2009 02:13PM) (new)

Joe (Blues) | 472 comments Because of Lincoln's proposed rotation strategy, the last half of Chapter 8 chronicles how he finally wins his first term in Congress as his state's representative. Chapter 9 then begins with him and his wife Mary preparing to leave for Washington on October 25, 1847.

White then basically outlines short biographies of influential legislators who Lincoln will meet when he gets to Congress. Most prominently, Henry Clay, John Calhoun, and Daniel Webster are outlined and grouped together as "the Great Triumvirate." If anyone would like to add more to our knowledge of the men who were Lincoln's mentors, please feel free. The following books would be a good start.

The Great Triumvirate  Webster, Clay, and Calhoun by Merrill D. Peterson Mr. Adams's Last Crusade  John Quincy Adams's Extraordinary Post-Presidential Life in Congress by Joseph Wheelan

Merrill D. Peterson
Joseph Wheelan

During Lincoln's trip to Washington, he was able to attend a political meeting which featured a speech by Henry Clay. Clay presented a fiery speech against President Polk's policy in waging war with Mexico. I hope to examine Lincoln's own opposition to that war during next week's discussion.


Vince (vpbrancato) | 693 comments HI Folks

Well still behind and I see that as has been my bad habit not reading all the instructions I have finished chapter nine (which makes me less far behind but truncates what I was thinking to put here) -

Maybe it is just the way this biography is written or just due to being part of this group that I pay better attention than I seem to have paid in the past to Lincoln details.

It is interesting that a man as industrious as Lincoln in search for a wife should have had such a long journey to accomplish this - I am curious what the ratio may have been of women to men in Illinois in this time.
This book hoever also presents Mary Todd as an attractive woman of independent thought and spirit but certainly brought up in a different atmosphere than Lincoln.

I also found Lincoln's non organized religion beliefs diest if one wishes to be indicative of a self confidence (certainly needed for his path) and I found the real establishement of his means of getting support and friends - humor with arguments and facts and being conveyed to me for I think the first time to understand how he won his positions.
Also his ability to campaign for the party - overruling some of his individual values for the "greater" value of electing the party was interesting to see.





message 9: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Nov 24, 2009 08:59PM) (new)

Bentley | 23983 comments Vince, it doesn't seem to me that Lincoln was much of a looker...despite his celebrated leadership accomplishments (if one believes everything in presidential polls). Possibly he also seemed a bit depressed and odd looking.

Many will say that he had charisma; but I have never seen that in him. I think some of his speeches had charismatic appeal; but not the man. I guess he grew on the people who served him.

He certainly worked hard for his achievements; in many ways just like Richard Nixon. Nixon never felt well liked either yet folks voted for him because they believed in his competence. Maybe it was like that for Honest Abe.

I was thinking the other night whether I would have voted for Lincoln if I happened to be living during that time period. Frankly, all of the candidates were not that appealing. I may have voted for him because he was least unlikeable.

There are so many folks who simply say that they think he is the greatest president; but aside from the Gettysburg Address and the Emancipation Proclamation or the fact that they learned about him and Washington in school; they frankly have no basis for saying that because they know nothing else about Lincoln; except the fact that he was assassinated. It seems to me that learning about a man's personal qualities and integrity and how he handled the presidential decisions day in and day out is what makes him a standout or not. He was President during some very tough times; but how he handled these crises should tell us alot about his performance not a couple of speeches.

Being able to gain support from your enemies is a true accomplishment; it is a lot easier just getting it from your friends and Lincoln seemed to be able to win over both.

So I may have voted for him; but for me he does not have the likeability quotient of a Tony Blair or a Ronald Reagan. He seems to me to be more like a Gordon Brown or a Richard Nixon in terms of hard work and perseverance versus charisma and instant likeability.

I personally have no idea what the ratio of men to women was in Illinois.







Joe (Blues) | 472 comments Bentley wrote: "There are so many folks who simply say that they think he is the greatest president; but aside from the Gettysburg Address and the Emancipation Proclamation or the fact that they learned about him and Washington in school; they frankly have no basis for saying that because they know nothing else about Lincoln; except the fact that he was assassinated. It seems to me that learning about a man's personal qualities and integrity and how he handled the presidential decisions day in and day out is what makes him a standout or not. He was President during some very tough times; but how he handled these crises should tell us alot about his performance not a couple of speeches."

Taken in it's most simplest terms, it's not difficult to see that Lincoln came into office with the biggest set of problems on his hands than any other President in our history. The only exception that can be considered, that I can remember, is when FDR was entering his third term. But FDR had the whole country behind him while Lincoln lost half of his country. On top of that, the half that he did have wasn't quite with him either. But Lincoln left office with the union preserved, and the slavery question answered. That alone should put him at least number one or two.


message 11: by Joe (last edited Nov 26, 2009 06:40AM) (new)

Joe (Blues) | 472 comments Bentley wrote: "He certainly worked hard for his achievements; in many ways just like Richard Nixon. Nixon never felt well liked either yet folks voted for him because they believed in his competence. Maybe it was like that for Honest Abe."

Bentley, it's odd that you would choose Richard Nixon to compare with Abraham Lincoln. Yes, Nixon is known as someone who was not well liked, but I always thought that meant that he didn't have many friends. Also, what comes to mind when someone mentions Richard Nixon, unfortunately, is his resignation, and his deliberate deception that justified it.

It could be said that Lincoln also was not well liked, but not by the people who knew him well. The people who didn't like Lincoln were mostly motivated by their own political philosophy. Lincoln was a magnificent conversationalist who won over many friends by gaining people's trust and also by being uniquely gifted to stimulate fascinating and entertaining conversation.


Joe (Blues) | 472 comments Vince wrote: "It is interesting that a man as industrious as Lincoln in search for a wife should have had such a long journey to accomplish this - I am curious what the ratio may have been of women to men in Illinois in this time.
This book hoever also presents Mary Todd as an attractive woman of independent thought and spirit but certainly brought up in a different atmosphere than Lincoln. "


Vince, I'm not sure if this makes much sense, but could it be possible that Lincoln thought of women as an unfortunate necessity? Obviously, any women who would be interested in someone like Lincoln would need to be highly educated, and be able to stimulate and actively contribute to interesting conversation. I guess Mary fit that bill.


message 13: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Nov 26, 2009 08:42AM) (new)

Bentley | 23983 comments Joe wrote: "Bentley wrote: "There are so many folks who simply say that they think he is the greatest president; but aside from the Gettysburg Address and the Emancipation Proclamation or the fact that they le..."

The slavery question was not really answered for a long time after that. Yes, the slaves were supposed to be free; but free to do what and at what status. I think he began the conversation and he did draw the line in the sand. And of course, we should all be thankful for him doing that.

Nixon had many many friends. That was not the comparison that I was making. And I did not find it odd at all; but it is possible you may have.

Since none of us have had the pleasure of even meeting Lincoln, it is fair to say that we are all deriving our opinions from secondary sources, biographers, maybe even Lincoln's papers and speeches and what others have written about him.

I guess it is also fair to say that he might be one of your icons and that you might just be slightly pro Lincoln and that is OK. I happen to feel similarly about Churchill; but despite Churchill being a great man; he was human, had some serious flaws and made some errors - all of which still did not diminish his greatness and we found it great fun to discuss all aspects of the man (good, not so good, etc.)...and of course we all are able to do this with our presidents.

That is what makes it such great fun.



message 14: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 23983 comments Joe wrote: "Vince wrote: "It is interesting that a man as industrious as Lincoln in search for a wife should have had such a long journey to accomplish this - I am curious what the ratio may have been of women..."

I am not so sure Joe that "any women who would be interested in someone like Lincoln would need to be highly educated, etc." - other dutitful wives would probably have interested Lincoln and vice versa, I suspect. But maybe Lincoln was an undecided man and afraid of commitment.

Here is about.com's profile on the marriage of Lincoln and Mary Todd..I found it interesting detailing some of the elements of their courtship..I am not sure if others might..but I am posting it here:

http://marriage.about.com/od/presiden...




message 15: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 23983 comments Joe wrote: "Bentley wrote: "There are so many folks who simply say that they think he is the greatest president; but aside from the Gettysburg Address and the Emancipation Proclamation or the fact that they le..."

Would these factors alone garner him one of those spots?




James | 34 comments Bentley wrote: "Joe wrote: "Bentley wrote: "There are so many folks who simply say that they think he is the greatest president; but aside from the Gettysburg Address and the Emancipation Proclamation or the fact ..."

We are not in those chapters yet... but its generally known that Lincoln continued to make tough decisions. He changed Generals, stayed the course to win the war -that he hated, and developed the approach for reconstruction that put the States back together.


Joe (Blues) | 472 comments Bentley wrote: "Would these factors alone garner him one of those spots?"

I think that by being given the worst hand in history, and then solving those issues in a positive way would be the number one criteria.


Joe (Blues) | 472 comments Bentley wrote: "I guess it is also fair to say that he might be one of your icons and that you might just be slightly pro Lincoln and that is OK"

I don't necessarily think that my views are excessively positive. Yes, they are positive, but I think my views are consistent with what most Lincoln scholars today are writing and teaching. I think it is also fair to say you are slightly against a positive view of Lincoln. Hopefully we both can take advantage of this situation and learn something.


message 19: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 23983 comments Joe wrote: "Bentley wrote: "Would these factors alone garner him one of those spots?"

I think that by being given the worst hand in history, and then solving those issues in a positive way would be the number..."


I appreciate your point of view.



message 20: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 23983 comments Joe wrote: "Bentley wrote: "I guess it is also fair to say that he might be one of your icons and that you might just be slightly pro Lincoln and that is OK"

I don't necessarily think that my views are excess..."


Absolutely not..very balanced. You have to highlight all points on the spectrum, positive and negative.




message 21: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 23983 comments James wrote: "Bentley wrote: "Joe wrote: "Bentley wrote: "There are so many folks who simply say that they think he is the greatest president; but aside from the Gettysburg Address and the Emancipation Proclamat..."

All of those things are true; but the South still does not appreciate him and maybe that is to be expected. One only has to venture to the Fort Sumter museum and it is obvious.

James, I think all of the things that you say are true...but I just did a what if and asked myself if he would have been a person who I would have voted for at first glance (probably not - although like I said before - the others in the race seemed even more unappealing). Now a second term might be different because you would have had an opportunity to get to know him and if he proved himself during the first term...then of course, I would have been most inclined to vote for him.

Just curious James..who are your favorite presidents in terms of modern times as well as in our early history.




message 22: by James (last edited Nov 26, 2009 05:38PM) (new)

James | 34 comments Bentley wrote: "James wrote: "Bentley wrote: "Joe wrote: "Bentley wrote: "There are so many folks who simply say that they think he is the greatest president; but aside from the Gettysburg Address and the Emancipa..."

This is actually a tough question for me to answer...My top 5 or 6 would be Washington, Lincoln, Teddy, FDR, Kennedy, and Reagan... All for very different reasons and all because of the way they dealt with different things....

I think it would have been easy for me to vote for Lincoln... but i was born in Iowa and a Northerner to the core.


Joe (Blues) | 472 comments Bentley wrote: "All of those things are true; but the South still does not appreciate him and maybe that is to be expected. One only has to venture to the Fort Sumter museum and it is obvious."

Unfortunately, one of the things that define this country is the North/South tensions which started boiling before the Civil War. Our country as a whole is still trying to work through those issues, just like we are battling against sexism and racism. Barack Obama is a perfect example of the strides that have been made to conquer those tensions.


message 24: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 23983 comments James wrote: "Bentley wrote: "James wrote: "Bentley wrote: "Joe wrote: "Bentley wrote: "There are so many folks who simply say that they think he is the greatest president; but aside from the Gettysburg Address ..."


There you go James...I understand now why you would vote for him. Good answer



message 25: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 23983 comments Joe wrote: "Bentley wrote: "All of those things are true; but the South still does not appreciate him and maybe that is to be expected. One only has to venture to the Fort Sumter museum and it is obvious."

Un..."


I agree with the above.


James | 34 comments James wrote: "Bentley wrote: "James wrote: "Bentley wrote: "Joe wrote: "Bentley wrote: "There are so many folks who simply say that they think he is the greatest president; but aside from the Gettysburg Address ..."

I have one other reason for voting for Lincoln, he successfully defended, twice, an ancestor of mine... Jefferson Dugger. Jefferson had a couple of other interactions with Lincoln that I will talk about when we get to those chapters...


message 27: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 23983 comments James, that is fascinating. Jefferson Dugger...I have never personally heard of him.



message 28: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Dec 04, 2009 11:16PM) (new)

Bentley | 23983 comments Chapter Seven should have been titled: Honest Abe - an absolute disaster with women.

In Mary, who I do not think he really loved, White stated that he found a soul mate in intellectual curiousity and learning,. I actually think she could have done far better and he far worse.

Was it customary for a husband to call his young wife "Mother" and for her to call her husband Mr. Lincoln. What a pair?




James | 34 comments Bentley wrote: "Chapter Seven should have been titled: Honest Abe - an absolute disaster with women.

In Mary, who I do not think he really loved, White stated that he found a soul mate in intellectual curiousity ..."


Well... before being married i always called my wife by her last name and she did the same to me... I can't even remember why or how that started... In looking back, I wouldn't have called that "terms of endearment" but it was.




message 30: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 23983 comments James wrote: "Bentley wrote: "Chapter Seven should have been titled: Honest Abe - an absolute disaster with women.

In Mary, who I do not think he really loved, White stated that he found a soul mate in intellec..."


But James she did not call you Mr. James (if that were your last name) did she?...she probably just lovingly called you your last name period.

If somebody called me Father or Mother...I think I would hate it (if they were my spouse and not my children).



James | 34 comments Bentley wrote: "James wrote: "Bentley wrote: "Chapter Seven should have been titled: Honest Abe - an absolute disaster with women.

In Mary, who I do not think he really loved, White stated that he found a soul ma..."


I suspect some little situation happened where she called him "Mr. Lincoln" to make a point about something and it stuck.


message 32: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 23983 comments More than likely (grin).


Vince (vpbrancato) | 693 comments the great American experiment had been re-formated if one wishes bz the Constitution written 13 years after the start of the Revolutionarzy war.
The fundaqmental flaw for moving into the last century, the 20th century, was the residue of recognition of slavery in the Constituion to get the southern slave holding states to go along.
The vision and fortitude to hold the union together - and when the cahnce came to emancipate the slaves in the rebelling states and then to champion the amendments to ban it entirely is My thoughts but comments would be interesting.


message 34: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 23983 comments The Constitution was what it was and it certainly was not fair to all races. Benjamin Franklin was the first founding father to stand up and basically say that something had to be done. Unfortunately he died and his submission to Congress basically died alongwith it.

I wonder what would have happened had the South not left the Union...when would slavery have been abolished. The founding fathers had to compromise because the South would never have gone along with the experiment and would have branched out on their own.

I often have thought that Lincoln earned his greatness because as President the Union won the war. And because of it the slaves were emancipated as a by product of that victory. However, even with these achievements inequality was with us for quite some time.


message 35: by Ed (new)

Ed (ejhahn) | 82 comments At the risk of repeating something already said, the Civil War was not about slavery. It was about State's Rights. It was about how to interpret the Constitution. Slavery was the "presenting" problem and an emotional issue. Most people in the North could have cared less about the Negroes in the South.

See the movie Glory which pretty much captures the attitude of white soldiers to the blacks who were fighting on the same side.

Many conservative and libertarian commentators think Lincoln's presidency was one of the worst things that could have happened to our country and its Constitution. They believe slavery was going to end anyway. It was insupportable as an institution in the long run.

They also believe Lincoln's legacy led to what they see as FDR's trashing of the Constitution.


message 36: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Dec 07, 2009 07:32AM) (new)

Bentley | 23983 comments I had a comment here but because this is a spoiler thread; I will post my remarks on the Abraham Lincoln general thread.



Vince (vpbrancato) | 693 comments Ed wrote: "At the risk of repeating something already said, the Civil War was not about slavery. It was about State's Rights. It was about how to interpret the Constitution. Slavery was the "presenting" pr..."

Right Ed but the "states' right" that was most important to defend for the south was, in my view, the right to keep slaves - to keep their status quo.

I think without slavery there would have been no civil war and we would have continued as a growing nation together.






Neil | 15 comments The argument that the Civil War was about "states' right" is the same myth used in political debates today about everything from abortion, to taxes, to gun control. The label is a mask to sanitize the ugliness of the position being advocated, in this instance the position that African-Americans are property that can be purchased and sold just like cattle. Reading this biography alone illustrates how divisive an issue slavery was during Lincoln's era, and how much of a constant theme it was throughout his entire political career from start to finish. Slavery, not "states' rights," was the subject of numerous acts of Congress debated during Lincoln's tenure there. Slavery was even the subject of a resolution debated by Lincoln as an Illinois state legislator. Some slavery laws, like the federal Fugitive Slave Act, had no impact on states' rights at all. Did Southerners oppose the Fugitive Slave Act on grounds of "states' rights"? Of course they didn't. Their position always hinged on the issue of slavery, and slavery alone.


message 39: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Dec 13, 2009 06:53AM) (new)

Bentley | 23983 comments Yes...Neil slavery was a top issue as it should have been during these times. But it rested on states rights..the rights of states to determine what they wanted to do within their state versus what the Federal government could tell them to do. In fact, if they had not left the union when they did; the government would have appeased the South and slavery would have continued there for some time.

Slavery was abhorrent, nobody should have captured people and taken them to another country as indentured servants...but man had been doing that since probably before the Crusades and it was not simply native Africans coming to the South.

The South's way of life depended solely on slave labor; without it they were doomed. They did not want a federal government messing with their way of life and their livelihood. It may be hard to believe now but it was South Carolina and the South who was footing the bill for a great deal in this country including setting up the capital. They were the richest area of the US. And they had been assured that nobody was going to upset the status quo multiple times. Lincoln's election had them believing that all bets were off and frankly they did not like him to begin with.

There were grave economic differences between the North and the South. With the invention of the cotton gin...the South became a one crop economy....raw cotton and this industry depended upon slave labor. The North's attitudes and the abolition movement in the North were threatening the South's way of life and everything that they owned and held dear. It was an economic decision more than anything else. Did they really care that much about the slaves or their rights one way or another...absolutely not...but they did care about their own lives. their own land and plantations which needed labor and their only means of making a living.

Even Jefferson owned slaves as did most Virginians and they were largely the proponents of states rights versus a strong government because they did not want the federal government to meddle in their affairs...they also pushed nullification; so that just because the central government told you that it would be nice for you to do something; did not necessarily mean that you had to do it.

Our founding fathers did not put anything in ANY document about abolishing slavery when they joined a Union or when they ratified the Articles of Confederation or even as late as the ratification of the Constitution because if they had even done that once AT ANY TIME...they knew for sure that no union of the entire country would have taken place in their lifetime; it was just a fact that the South, without a strong states rights package would never have joined. And if you were for Jefferson at that time, you would have been a very strong proponent of the above...states' rights.

The South did not change their stripes in this case.

Bleeding Kansas as it became known...was also scaring the dickens out of the South...if the new lands were not going to be able to have slaves...it was only a matter of time when it was their turn.

When Lincoln was elected, that was the last straw with the South...they did not like him - they thought he gave one speech in the South and another in the North and in fact he did. Stephen Douglas in the famous debates called him out on just that. So there was bad blood everywhere, major distrust, a lack of communication and frankly an irreconcilable breaking point between those who wanted a strong central government and those who did not. And slavery was the undercurrent no doubt about it...but states rights was the banner and the overt cause.

Everything on both sides then became non negotiable.

B


Vince (vpbrancato) | 693 comments I have to agree with Neil & Bentley but the mention of the cotton gin is interesting as I think that without it
, Or something sililar, the growth of slavery would have been stifled


message 41: by Ed (new)

Ed (ejhahn) | 82 comments BTW, slavery has been with us since almost the beginning of time. It is only relatively recently that it has been outlawed.

It has been argued that the Roman Empire could not have existed without slavery and I agree.

Also, I agree with Vince that w/o slavery there would have been no need to fight the Civil War. It was the South who fired the first shots.


Neil | 15 comments Jefferson's role is a bit more complicated than merely his advocacy for "states' rights." He authored the Declaration of Independence (that Lincoln later used as his primary basis to argue against slavery), was the principal thinker behind the 1st Amendment's Religious Establishment Clause, and was a strong proponent of individual liberties. He also opposed slavery, despite the hypocrisy posed by his own status as a slave-owner. The failure to abolish slavery in the initial Constitution was not something Jefferson, Adams, Franklin and the other principal founders favored. It was a compromise, entered into to preserve the Union.

As for the original point about whether the Civil War was fought over slavery or "states' rights," I again point to the simple fact that the South was more than willing to compromise states' rights if doing so favored their position on slavery, such as the Fugitive Slaves Act. They would not have gone to war over a mere shift in power from the states to the federal government. The catalyst was slavery.


Vince (vpbrancato) | 693 comments Ed is right - slavery was with the world forever - Democracyas begun in 1776 was the change to unseat its permanence and the Civi War was the result of a people believing thye lived in democeracy & how they couldn't let it expand

The ability / opportunity to eliminate it was given impetus by the South starrting the war




message 44: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Dec 13, 2009 09:30PM) (new)

Bentley | 23983 comments Neil wrote: "Jefferson's role is a bit more complicated than merely his advocacy for "states' rights." He authored the Declaration of Independence (that Lincoln later used as his primary basis to argue against ..."

Yes, that is what I cited...without the founders compromising and not saying outright that there would be no slavery..there would not have been a union. But Jefferson was also one of the leading folks who was against the Federalist's view of a strong centralized government...his reasoning...state's rights. Jefferson maintained his very own slaves and did not free them until his death..aside from one of Heming's children.

I actually think states rights was the overt cause of the civil war...and the underlining reason was that they did not want the federal government telling them what to do about what was allowed in their state and who should be freed. They were afraid of losing their way of life. As I said in message 39, slavery has been with the world since the beginning of time.

I do not think that the South was willing to compromise at all when they saw that Lincoln was going to come to power.

Also, the South may have fired the first shots after Anderson arbitrarily acted on his own; but the blockade of the harbor was ordered by Lincoln unilaterally. Hard to say which entrenched position was more responsible at the end...it really was a war that had to be fought because a way of life was at stake and they were not going to give it up gracefully.




message 45: by Joe (last edited Dec 14, 2009 06:25AM) (new)

Joe (Blues) | 472 comments I also agree with those who have commented that the differences the country faced with regard to slavery was central to what caused the Civil War. But, the patriotism and the loyalty people had back then toward their home states was not anything like we understand it today. Robert E. Lee gave up his commission in the U.S. Army, and in fact declined an offer to become the lead General in the war because of his locality to his home state of Virginia. Today, we don't associate locality to specifically our home states like we did back then. Today, we are patriotic United States citizens in a much different manner than what was possible back then.


message 46: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 23983 comments Joe..I agree with message 45...states rights meant something utterly different than it could possibly mean today...the state then was your extended family of community members.

These neighbors and community members belonged to your church, socialized and assisted you when needed, were there to lend a helping hand and everyone pitched in during any time of need. Then in many instances, they needed each other to survive, thrive, bring up their children, build their houses. These were the people you depended upon. Without them, you had no defenses.

If Lee had not given up his commission, he would never have been able to go back home, to the home that the family had for years and/or he would have been shunned by people who he had known and loved all of his life. What his community and his state felt about him was all that mattered for his honor.

Being able to go back home meant "everything" to these people and they would sooner lose a limb than give it up. This attitude may not have resonated with Lincoln who grew up being a wandering soul due to all of his family moves; and the fact that his family was not gentry.

Of course, he would have been so pleased with his ancestry if he had known about it... but he certainly had no need or want to go home...it appeared actually that in Lincoln's case, he wanted to do just the opposite.

There was also more of a states rights momentum in the South where family, heritage and way of life played more of a role than city life. As a child I remember a children's story about the city mouse and the country mouse and how different their lives were and how different were their interests and needs. Those differences were quite stark at this time in the country's past between the North and South.




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