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AMERICAN CIVIL WAR > 3. Military Series: BATTLE CRY... Feb. 27th ~ Mar. 4th ~~ Chapter THREE (78 - 116); No Spoilers Please

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Bryan Craig Hello Everyone,

Welcome all to the third week of the History Book Club's brand spanking new Military Series. We at the History Book Club are pretty excited about this offering and the many more which will follow. The first offering in the new MILITARY SERIES is a wonderful group selected book: Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era by James M. McPherson.

The week's reading assignment is:

Week Three - February 27th - March 4th -> Chapter THREE p. 78 - 116

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. We will also open up supplemental threads as we did for other books.

This book was officially kicked off on February 13th. We look forward to your participation. Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Powell's 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. This weekly thread will be opened up either during the weekend before or on the first day of discussion.

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.

Bryan Craig will be leading this discussion. Bentley will back up Bryan on this book since his family is expecting a new addition.

Welcome,

~Bryan


TO ALWAYS SEE ALL WEEKS' THREADS SELECT VIEW ALL

Battle Cry of Freedom The Civil War Era by James M. McPhersonJames M. McPherson

REMEMBER NO SPOILERS ON THE WEEKLY NON SPOILER THREADS

Notes

It is always a tremendous help when you quote specifically from the book itself and reference the chapter and page numbers when responding. The text itself helps folks know what you are referencing and makes things clear.

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If you need help - here is a thread called the Mechanics of the Board which will show you how:

http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/2...

Glossary

Remember there is a glossary thread where ancillary information is placed by the moderator. This is also a thread where additional information can be placed by the group members regarding the subject matter being discussed.

http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/8...

Bibliography

There is a Bibliography where books cited in the text are posted with proper citations and reviews. We also post the books that the author may have used in his research or in his notes. Please also feel free to add to the Bibliography thread any related books, etc with proper citations or other books either non fiction or historical fiction that relate to the subject matter of the book itself. No self promotion, please.

http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/8...

Battle Cry of Freedom The Civil War Era by James M. McPherson James M. McPherson James M. McPherson


Bryan Craig Chapter Overview and Summary

Chapter Three: An Empire for Slavery


With the Compromise of 1850 in place, we enter the turbulent decade of the 1850s. Congress strengthened the Fugitive Slave Law. Some northern states set up local measures and had the Underground Railroad for fugitives, but the Fugitive Slave Law was a wake up call for all fugitives since there was no statute of limitations. Northerners, especially northern Whigs, saw this as a dangerous move by Southerns. In 1852, Harriet Beecher Stow published Uncle Tom's Cabin. It was a best-seller that caused a sensation in the North and the South.

Economically, the North was beginning to move ahead of the South. The north had more jobs, more manufacturing capacity than the South. There were efforts to bring more commerce, build more factories, ship routes, and railroads, but the South did not have capital that the North had to achieve equilibrium. Agriculture took on a strong conviction among Southerns. The price of cotton rose, thus creating a less diverse economy. Slave prices went up, as well, that spurred arguments that the African slave trade should be reopened. Southerns also wanted more territory. If they could not find it in America, they turned to South and Latin America.

The U.S. tried to buy Cuba from Spain, but efforts failed. There were attempts to gain Cuba by force, specially from William Crittenden and John Quitman by filibuster, but these attempts failed, as well. William Walker tried to take over Nicaragua by force and he briefly succeeded once and reinstated slavery. However, he was overthrown and Walker tried a number of times but in his final attempt, the U.S. navy stopped him. In the end, Walker was executed in Honduras.


Bryan Craig Fugitive Slave Act of 1850

The Fugitive Slave Act was part of the group of laws referred to as the "Compromise of 1850." In this compromise, the antislavery advocates gained the admission of California as a free state, and the prohibition of slave-trading in the District of Columbia. The slavery party received concessions with regard to slaveholding in Texas and the passage of this law. Passage of this law was so hated by abolitionists, however, that its existence played a role in the end of slavery a little more than a dozen years later. This law also spurred the continued operation of the fabled Undergound Railroad, a network of over 3,000 homes and other "stations" that helped escaping slaves travel from the southern slave-holding states to the northern states and Canada.
(Source: http://www.nationalcenter.org/Fugitiv...)

More:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fugitive...
http://www.usconstitution.net/fslave....
http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/aaohtml/e...
http://www.ohiohistorycentral.org/ent...


Bryan Craig Why do you think the north voted for the Fugitive Slave Act knowing that sizable segments of the population might oppose it? Do you think the politicians knew most in the north would uphold the law?


message 5: by Becky (new)

Becky (httpsbeckylindrooswordpresscom) | 1217 comments Perhaps the Northern congressmen didn't know how strong or widespread the abolitionist movement really was. Some may have thought the abolitionists were simply a very vocal minority and tried to work a compromise in good faith. - to save the Union, so to speak. The abolitionist movement was solidified by the Fugitive Slave law and Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe published only 2 years later.

Perhaps there was some feeling of loyalty to Clay.

Perhaps the Northern congressmen assented out of pure-d tiredness - the South wore them down.


Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe by Harriet Beecher Stowe Harriet Beecher Stowe


message 6: by Bryan (last edited Feb 28, 2012 06:46AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bryan Craig Great points, Becky; we could have a huge momentum starting with these two events.

Normally I don't quote other texts, but I think this is very interesting:

"There is no convincing evidence that a preponderant majority in the North were prepared to violate or nullify the law [Fugitive Slave Law]." (p. 139):
The Impending Crisis America Before the Civil War, 1848-1861 by David M. Potter David M. Potter


This is from the historian Elbert Smith:
"Also, in 1850 the quarrels were still limited largely to politicians and editors. The great mass of the population, North and South, had not yet become emotionally involved in the struggle." (p. 193)
The Presidencies of Zachary Taylor and Millard Fillmore (American Presidency Series) by Elbert B. Smith Elbert B. Smith

Do you get this sense from reading McPherson?


message 7: by Darcy (new)

Darcy (drokka) I suppose the reverse of that is: whether there is convincing evidence that the majority in the North were willing to sit around and do nothing. The area has a history of violating laws they disagree with, hence the Union in the first place.
Plus I assume whatever 'evidence' there is doesn't include many voices from the general populace. I'm not arguing against Mr. Potter, only demonstrating how 'evidence' isn't always enough to support or negate a point about popular opinion.


Bryan Craig Thanks, D. Indeed, we lose evidence without polls, oral histories, etc.

Places like Boston does have a long history and we can say Virginia does as well, lol.


message 9: by Becky (new)

Becky (httpsbeckylindrooswordpresscom) | 1217 comments I don't think the congressmen were employing pollsters at the time. Probably counted letters they received or heads at a rally or something.

Many Northerners probably didn't think it concerned them - that it was an issue for the Border states. And there were what ... 5? ... parts to the whole Compromise so the issues was getting very complex for the average John Voter.


message 10: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
Bryan, thank you.


Bryan Craig Becky wrote: "I don't think the congressmen were employing pollsters at the time. Probably counted letters they received or heads at a rally or something.

Many Northerners probably didn't think it concerned ..."


It makes sense Becky. Also, we can't forget that President Fillmore sent 750 troops into Santa Fe, because Texas was threatening war over its disputed border with New Mexico, possibly starting a civil war.

I think the members of Congress were more concerned about the border and slavery in New Mexico issues of the Compromise, not the Fugitive Slave Law.


Bryan Craig Uncle Tom's Cabin:

Harriet Beecher Stowe's best known novel, Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852), changed forever how Americans viewed slavery, the system that treated people as property. It demanded that the United States deliver on the promise of freedom and equality, galvanized the abolition movement and contributed to the outbreak of the Civil War. The book calls on us to confront the legacy of race relations in the U.S. as the title itself became a racial slur.

Uncle Tom's Cabin was a runaway best-seller, selling 10,000 copies in the United States in its first week; 300,000 in the first year; and in Great Britain, 1.5 million copies in one year. It resonates with an international audience as a protest novel and literary work.

As a young wife and mother living in Cincinnati, Harriet Beecher Stowe met former and fugitive enslaved people. Cincinnati, then the western frontier of the United States, was an ethnically and culturally vibrant city. On the Ohio River across from Kentucky, a slave state, the city exposed Stowe to the public face of slavery.

Stowe knew about slavery before she moved to Ohio. Her own grandmother kept African American servants who had probably originally been enslaved, and her father had preached in favor of the colonization movement, supporting the creation of Liberia as a settling point for freed people. But in Ohio, Stowe heard first hand stories from former enslaved people; witnessed slavery while visiting Kentucky; and employed fugitives in her home. When Harriet and Calvin learned that their servant was actually a runaway in danger of being returned to slavery, Calvin and Harriet's brother Henry Ward Beecher helped her escape and reach Canada and legal freedom.

Stowe also learned that even the discussion of slavery could divide a community when students at her father's school, Lane Seminary, rioted after anti-slavery debates were forbidden.

Among the provisions of the Compromise of 1850 were the end of the slave trade, but not slavery, in Washington D.C., and the creation of a new, stricter, Fugitive Slave Law. Helping runaways had been illegal since 1793, but the 1850 law required that everyone, law enforcers and ordinary citizens, help catch fugitives. Those who refused to assist slave-catchers, or aided fugitives, could be fined up to $1,000 and jailed for six months.

It also eliminated what little legal protection fugitives once had. Before 1850, some northern states had required slave-catchers to appear before an elected judge and be tried by a jury which would determine the validity of a claim. After the 1850 Fugitive Slave Law, anyone could be taken from the street, accused of being a fugitive from slavery, and taken before a federally appointed commissioner who received $5 for every fugitive released and $10 for every one sent south. Free blacks and anti-slavery groups argued the system bribed commissioners to send kidnapped people into slavery, and obliged citizens to participate in the slavery system.

Stowe was furious. She believed the country was requiring her complicity in a system she thought was unjust and immoral. Living in Brunswick, ME while Calvin Stowe taught at Bowdoin College, Stowe disobeyed the law by hiding runaways. When she shared her frustrations and feelings of powerlessness with her family, her sister-in-law Isabella Porter Beecher suggested she do more: "...if I could use a pen as you can, Hatty, I would write something that would make this whole nation feel what an accursed thing slavery is." Moved by the letter, Stowe swore she would "if [she] lived."

The first installment of Uncle Tom's Cabin appeared on June 5, 1851 in the anti-slavery newspaper, The National Era. Stowe enlisted friends and family to send her information and scoured freedom narratives and anti-slavery newspapers for first hand accounts as she composed her story. In 1852 the serial was published as a two volume book. Uncle Tom's Cabin was a best seller in the United States, Britain, Europe and Asia, and was translated into over 60 languages.
(Source: http://www.harrietbeecherstowe.org/utc/)

More:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uncle_To...
http://utc.iath.virginia.edu/index2f....


Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe Harriet Beecher Stowe Harriet Beecher Stowe


message 13: by Bryan (last edited Apr 19, 2012 07:16PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bryan Craig Harriet Beecher Stowe:



was an American abolitionist and author. Her novel Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852) was a depiction of life for African-Americans under slavery; it reached millions as a novel and play, and became influential in the United States and United Kingdom. It energized anti-slavery forces in the American North, while provoking widespread anger in the South. She wrote more than 20 books, including novels, three travel memoirs, and collections of articles and letters. She was influential both for her writings and her public stands on social issues of the day.
(Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harriet_...)

More:
http://www.harrietbeecherstowe.org/hbs/


Bryan Craig Who in the group has read Uncle Tom's Cabin? Do you remember any scenes that would incite quite an emotional response?

Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe Harriet Beecher Stowe Harriet Beecher Stowe


Bryan Craig Jaye wrote: "I was going to ask this exact question because my only familiarity with it was the portrayal in The King and I. Not a great start. I've always been curious to read it but have never gotten around t..."

I have not, I'm afraid; it is one of those classics that I have not gotten to yet.


message 16: by Becky (last edited Feb 28, 2012 01:10PM) (new)

Becky (httpsbeckylindrooswordpresscom) | 1217 comments I tried to read Uncle Tom's Cabin but it's very florid, flowery and melodramatic - I couldn't quite get through more than the first few chapters. (I still have it here somewhere.)

But at the time, Stowe's style with strong character development was very popular. The book "immediately broke all sales records of the day: selling half-a- million copies by 1857."
http://www4.uwm.edu/libraries/special...

In fact, "Uncle Tom's Cabin was the best-selling novel of the 19th century[5] and the second best-selling book of that century, following the Bible." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uncle_To...

Furthermore, each sale likely had several readers in those days!

*
Stowe sent an early copy to Charles Dickens, the most popular author of the day. He wrote back:

"I have read your book with the deepest interest and sympathy , and admire, more than I can express to you, both the generous feeling which inspired it, and the admirable power with this it is executed. If I might suggest a fault in what has so charmed me, it would be that you go too far and seek to prove too much ... I doubt there being any warrant for making out the African race to be a great race.' 1"

Footnote: "1... perhaps referring to her prediction of an ideal Negro civilization to come."
http://www.jstor.org/pss/3044086


Actually, "Charles Dickens didn’t have much use for the supplicating author of “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.” It galled him when her work was compared to his."
http://www.newyorker.com/arts/critics...

*

But Dickens was was a long-term abolitionist; that issue had almost spoiled his first trip to the US in 1842 when he saw it first hand and wrote about it breaking his heart.
http://www.newyorker.com/arts/critics...

*

The first installment of Uncle Tom's Cabin appeared on June 5, 1851 in the anti-slavery newspaper, The National Era. Stowe enlisted friends and family to send her information and she scoured freedom narratives and anti-slavery newspapers for first hand accounts as she composed her story.

In 1852 the serial was published as a two volume book. Uncle Tom's Cabin was a best seller in the United States, Britian, Europe, Asia, and translated into over 60 languages.
From: http://www.harrietbeecherstowe.org/utc/ :

*

In the preface to the European edition of the novel in 1852 Stowe maintained that compromise on slavery was no longer possible. In 1853, 1856, and 1859 Stowe made journeys to Europe, where she became friends with George Eliot, Elisabeth Barrett Browning, and Lady Byron. Noteworthy, Uncle Tom's Cabin sold more copies in Great Britain than in America in the first year of its publication.
From: http://kirjasto.sci.fi/hbstowe.htm

*
ME:
Uncle Tom's Cabin was a part of England's decision to stay out of the war on the side of the South - but that's a rather complex tale.

It's hard to over-stress the impact of Uncle Tom's Cabin on the Civil War as it stirred and solidified public sentiment against slavery in the North when nothing else had quite done it.

The official version from Lincoln may have been that the war was about the Union and State's Rights but I'm sure that in the hearts and minds of many Northern soldiers and their families, especially those who had read the book, it was about slavery.

Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe by Harriet Beecher Stowe Harriet Beecher Stowe


Bryan Craig Thanks so much for your thoughtful comments and helpful links. I did not know the connection between Stowe and England.

I forgot that Lincoln met her until I read the McPherson chapter. It says something that he met her and said this book started the war.

Harriet Beecher Stowe Harriet Beecher Stowe


message 18: by Patricrk (last edited Feb 28, 2012 02:45PM) (new)

Patricrk patrick | 435 comments Bryan wrote: "Chapter Overview and Summary

Chapter Three: An Empire for Slavery

With the Compromise of 1850 in place, we enter the turbulent decade of the 1850s. Congress strengthened the Fugitive Slave Law. ..."


The capital in the South was tied up in slaves. The value of the slaves far exceeded Federal revenues which made it hard for the Federal Government to offer compensation to free the slaves. Slaves at 2 billion dollars vs the federal government revenues of 75 million/yr. Numbers from

1861 The Civil War Awakening by Adam Goodheart Adam Goodheart


message 19: by Bea (last edited Feb 28, 2012 01:50PM) (new) - added it

Bea | 1830 comments I've read Uncle Tom's Cabin, but so long ago that my memory of it is quite hazy. I do remember being moved by the cruelty of the punishment of the slaves and the separation of their families.

I've also seen the 1927 silent film adaptation of the novel. Here is a video with short clips from that film. The whole film is available on DVD.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JnZTmN...

The novel was made into several silent films. You can view a 1903 version in its entirety here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OwYlvL...

Obviously, these films contain racial stereotypes that would not be tolerated today. They are intended as historical documents. I mean no offense to anyone.

Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe by Harriet Beecher Stowe Harriet Beecher Stowe


Bryan Craig Patricrk wrote: "Bryan wrote: "Chapter Overview and Summary..."

Patricrk, please add your citation at the very bottom of your post. This way the text is easier on the eyes. We are trying to standardize this a bit on the HBC. Thanks.

Pretty amazing information. It seems financial compensation was not going to be an option.


Bryan Craig Bea wrote: "I've read Uncle Tom's Cabin, but so long ago that my memory of it is quite hazy. I do remember being moved by the cruelty of the punishment of the slaves and the separation of their families.

I'v..."


Thanks, Bea, very interesting video. It is interesting to see the slave owner bow his head as he had to break up the family. I read a number of owners tried to avoid this but it happened...very sad.


message 22: by Bea (new) - added it

Bea | 1830 comments Bryan wrote: "Why do you think the north voted for the Fugitive Slave Act knowing that sizable segments of the population might oppose it? Do you think the politicians knew most in the north would uphold the law?"

It seemed to me that the Northern politicians may have thought that the Fugitive Slave Act was necessary to get the compromise on admitting California as a Free State and other things the North wanted out of the deal. I also assume that then, as now, the majority of people did not stick their necks out to protest or defy an unjust law.


Bryan Craig Indeed, Bea, and once the Northern religious presses got going about this law and then some cases begin to appear, I think it galvanized public opinion in a way Fillmore and other politicians did not expect.


Karolyn | 67 comments I agree with Bea that passage of the Fugative Slave Act was necessary to get California admitted as a free state.

It was very interesting to read about the attempts by the South to posess Cuba or parts of Mexico or Latan America. I knew the South considered it vital to keep "balanced" with the North, but I had no idea these options were seriously considered. Let alone acted upon! How diffrent the hemisphere would have been if Cuba was a state.


message 25: by Bea (new) - added it

Bea | 1830 comments I am just loving this book. I've traveled to Baja California and heard a bit about William Walker but had no idea how high his backing went! The tour leaders made him sound like some crazy guy (well I guess he was that, too). It is amazing to me how much McPherson manages to pack into a relatively few pages without making the book seem super-dense or dry.


message 26: by John (new)

John Petroshius (johnnychicago) | 13 comments Karolyn, if I recall correctly from some of my other Civil War readings, Seward came up with a plan, that he suggested Lincoln accept, to if necessary threaten war with Spain, France, England, or Russia, (whoever seemed the likeliest) for their various meddlings in Western hemispheric affairs, in order to perhaps gain territorial possessions (I think he also had his eyes on Cuba), but more importantly to "unite" the country through what he figured would be patriotic war fever...that sounds pretty crazy...but I think Seward was trying to come up with any plan he could think of to avert war...and I don't think that sentiment was crazy at all...


message 27: by Becky (new)

Becky (httpsbeckylindrooswordpresscom) | 1217 comments I'm not saying if any are true or not but many is the time it's been rumored that some new outbreak of war-type activity has really been to cover something else up at home.


Bryan Craig Narciso Lopez:



Narciso López was a Venezuelan born Spanish general who led several filibustering expeditions into Cuba with the goal of liberating the island from Spain and preserving slavery.

Most of López' support came from the U.S. south, as were most of the paid soldiers who signed up with his expeditions, and it is widely believed that his main goal was the annexation of Cuba to the U.S.

The first of various filibustering expeditions took place in September 1849 and ended in failure. Less than a year later another expedition with paid soldiers from Kentucky and Louisiana took control of the town of Cárdenas, but Spanish forces defeated this effort on May 19, 1850. Historian Philip S. Foner writes; "of the entire force, only five men were Cubans; the rest came mainly from the Southern states."

In August of 1851 López tried again (with 435 men). They landed at Bahía Honda (about 40 miles from Havana). Within two days López' army was defeated in the village of Las Pozas by Spanish troops. The 51 remaining men from López' army were executed by a firing squad on August 16, 1851. López was executed publicly in Havana on September 1. Before his death, he shouted bravely, "My death will not change the destiny of Cuba!" López' followers on the island were sentenced to work in the quicksilver mines of Spain and later pardoned.

That same month, in New Orleans, former associates of López formed a secret society called the "Order of the Lone Star." The goal of the order was to incorporate Cuba into the U.S. The order had 50 chapters in 8 Southern states and an estimated membership of 15,000 to 20,000. They went on to develop a plan to invade Cuba, in the summer of 1852, to coincide with the "Conspiracy of Vuelta Abajo," a revolt organized in Vuelta Abajo (Pinar del Río) by Francisco de Frías, López's wealthy brother-in-law.

A year later, the Junta Cubana of New York called on General John A. Quitman (a former associate of Narciso López who had been military governor of Mexico City after its surrender in 1847) to lead an invasion of Cuba, and proposed to make him "exclusive chief of our revolution, not only in its military, but also in its civil sense." Quitman was on record as wanting the U.S. to absorb Mexico as well as Cuba.

On April 18 1853 Quitman signed a formal agreement with the Junta Cubana in which he was appointed "civil and military chief of the revolution, with all the powers and attributes of dictatorship as recognized by civilized nations, to be sued and exercised by him for the purpose of overthrowing the Spanish government in the island of Cuba and its dependencies, and substituting in the place thereof a free and independent government." Article II of the agreement stated that Quitman would preserve slavery in Cuba.
(Source: http://www.historyofcuba.com/history/...)

More:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narciso_...
http://www.latinamericanstudies.org/f...


message 29: by Bryan (last edited Feb 29, 2012 06:39AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bryan Craig John Quitman:

[image error]
a Representative from Mississippi; born in Rhinebeck, Dutchess County, N.Y., September 1, 1798; pursued classical studies and was graduated from Hartwick Seminary in 1816; instructor in Mount Airy College, Pennsylvania, in 1818; studied law; was admitted to the bar; moved to Chillicothe, Ohio, in 1820, and thence to Natchez, Miss., in 1821, where he practiced law; member of the State house of representatives in 1826 and 1827; chancellor of the State from 1828 until 1835, when he resigned; member of the State constitutional convention in 1832; served in the State senate in 1835 and 1836 and was made its president; Acting Governor of Mississippi in 1835 and 1836; judge of the high court of errors and appeals in 1838; during the Mexican War was appointed a brigadier general of Volunteers July 1, 1846; commissioned a major general in the Regular Army April 14, 1847, and honorably discharged July 20, 1848; Governor of Mississippi in 1850 and 1851; elected as a Democrat to the Thirty-fourth and Thirty-fifth Congresses and served from March 4, 1855, until his death on his plantation, “Monmouth,” near Natchez, Miss., July 17, 1858, presumably from the effects of National Hotel disease contracted in Washington, D.C., during the inauguration of President Buchanan; chairman, Committee on Military Affairs (Thirty-fourth and Thirty-fifth Congresses); interment in the Natchez City Cemetery.
(Source: http://bioguide.congress.gov/scripts/...)

More:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_A._...
http://www.nndb.com/people/109/000050...
John A. Quitman Old South Crusader by Robert E. May Robert E. May


Bryan Craig William Walker:



was a US lawyer, journalist and adventurer, who organized several private military expeditions into Latin America, with the intention of establishing English-speaking colonies under his personal control, an enterprise then known as "filibustering." Walker became president of the Republic of Nicaragua in 1856 and ruled until 1857, when he was defeated by a coalition of Central American armies. He was executed by the government of Honduras in 1860.
(Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_...)

More:
http://www.sfmuseum.org/hist1/walker....
http://latinamericanhistory.about.com...
http://www.nndb.com/people/125/000049...


message 31: by Bryan (last edited Feb 29, 2012 06:56AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bryan Craig Karolyn wrote: "It was very interesting to read about the attempts by the South to posess Cuba or..."

It was wild, Karolyn and Bea. Cuba drew American business interests as well as Southerners for its sugar production. I forgot we wanted Cuba for a long time, before the 1890s. Pierce had a expansionist Secretary of State in William Marcy along with a few others in his Cabinet, so that helped.

If Cuba was taken by Spain, I think it would be a real mess. It would just add more fire to the flames regarding the slavery issue. The North would not like it at all. Would there be enough sugar in Cuba to ease Northerners?? Not sure.

What does it say about the Southerns who felt they had to turn to Latin America for their own empire?


message 32: by Mark (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mark Mortensen I’m glad this book was selected to read as McPherson’s writing style chronologically moves forward providing a wealth of background of information. I suppose you could say the political leaders through the ages, who search to expand power by all possible means including war, are constantly spending time creatively brainstorming “outside the box”.


Bryan Craig Jaye wrote: "No joke about Cuba. I read that segment with my mouth hanging open. We just sent boats of men off to start a revolution in a Spanish colony? Seriously?"

I think it shows how dysfunctional the whole climate was at this time. The North blocked any expansion by usual means (war or buying land), so the South looked to filibustering efforts. And here comes Pierce and recognizes Walker's Nicaragua. Yikes.


Bryan Craig Mark wrote: "I’m glad this book was selected to read as McPherson’s writing style chronologically moves forward providing a wealth of background of information. I suppose you could say the political leaders thr..."

Glad you like it Mark. The South certainly was thinking "outside the box" when it came to Latin America.


message 35: by Bea (last edited Feb 29, 2012 08:23AM) (new) - added it

Bea | 1830 comments Bay of Pigs anyone?

From Bryan's post on Quitman:

"On April 18 1853 Quitman signed a formal agreement with the Junta Cubana in which he was appointed "civil and military chief of the revolution, with all the powers and attributes of dictatorship as recognized by civilized nations, to be sued and exercised by him for the purpose of overthrowing the Spanish government in the island of Cuba and its dependencies, and substituting in the place thereof a free and independent government." Article II of the agreement stated that Quitman would preserve slavery in Cuba."

I find this so amusingly ludicrous. And then I remember how sad it is.

The Southerners were feeling robbed by the North of the U.S. territories and saw this as a viable option for expansion. There was a common hunger for undeveloped, cost-free land on both sides of the Mason-Dixon line, I suppose.


Bryan Craig Bea wrote: "Bay of Pigs anyone?..."

You can understand a distrust among some Cubans about us.

Also, you wonder if Cuban sugar plantations used slaves, what are the chances of another Haitian revolution or at the very least, mirror the many problems sugar plantations had in the Caribbean?


Kristjan | 45 comments Although I didn't know about it, it didn't surprise me that some in the US tried to take over Cuba. But the Nicaragua situation stunned me, including the fact that it was temporarily successful.


Bryan Craig Kristjan wrote: "Although I didn't know about it, it didn't surprise me that some in the US tried to take over Cuba. But the Nicaragua situation stunned me, including the fact that it was temporarily successful."

Indeed, I think the fact they were talking about a canal running through the country helped attract some interest in this country. American minister to the country, John Wheeler, dreamed of a slave settlement there, then a grander Central American Federation, then take Cuba.

Walker and others seem to symbolize the survival of slavery and the Southern way of life.


Bryan Craig Gadsden Purchase:

The Mesilla Valley, along the Rio Grande about 75 miles north of El Paso, was the most practical southern route for a railroad to the Pacific Ocean. U.S. President Franklin Pierce wished to secure this land to fulfill railroad expansion in the west. In order to do so, Pierce and the American minister to Mexico, James Gadsden, orchestrated the Gadsden Purchase.

Under the purchase, the United States paid $10 million for approximately 30,000 square miles that runs south of the Gila River, extends east to El Paso and west to California. The purchase -- which included the town of Tucson, in Arizona -- was a major step in resolving an outstanding Mexican American border issue. Prior to the purchase, the border between Mexico and the United States followed the main fork of the Gila River to its junction with the Colorado River. At the time the United States claimed the south fork and Mexico claimed the north fork as their main boundaries. This was the final boundary adjustment between the United States and Mexico.
(Source: http://www.pbs.org/kpbs/theborder/his...)

More:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gadsden_...
http://www.gadsdenpurchase.com/


Bryan Craig Ostend Manifesto:

The Black Warrior was a merchant steamer that generally trekked between New York City and Mobile, often stopping at Havana, Cuba. On February 28 1854, the ship was boarded and seized by Spanish authorities at Havana. They imposed a $6,000 fine on the grounds that the ship had violated customs regulations and arrested the crew.

After the arrests, Spain and the U.S. found themselves close to waging war on each other. The South, anxious to annex Cuba in a last-ditch effort to save slavery, vigorously fanned the flames of war over this event, but the North refused.

Before it was over, three American diplomats (Pierre Soule, James Mason and James Buchanan -- U.S. ambassadors to France, Spain and Great Britain and all pro-slavery Democrats) held a meeting in Ostend, Belgium, on October 9, 10 and 11, 1854, where they drew up a manifesto that stated in part: "Our past history forbids that we should acquire the island of Cuba without the consent of Spain unless justified by the great law of self-preservation… After we shall have offered Spain a price for Cuba, far beyond its present value, it will be time to consider the question; 'Does Cuba in the possession of Spain seriously endanger peace and our cherished Union?' Should this question be answered in the affirmative, then by every law, human and divine, we shall be justified in wresting it from Spain…"

The document did little but claim the U.S. right to Cuba (by force if Spain refused to sell) and U.S. Southern cotton growers and sugar planters embraced it passionately, seeing in it a chance to extend slavery if Cuba became an American possession. Abolitionists and Northerners condemned the plan, and after the Black Warrior was released the excitement subsided.
(Source: http://www.historyofcuba.com/history/...)

More:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ostend_M...
http://www.historyofcuba.com/history/...


Bryan Craig I think one thing we forget is that the North did have some economic integration with the South. McPherson talks about Northerners investing in the cotton industry, and most likely Northern capital helped drive southern industry a bit.

The author also returns to the argument that slaves were not the best workers. This is something I remember that many slaves did not put out their best effort, and for good reason.


message 42: by Bea (new) - added it

Bea | 1830 comments I think it's a universal phenomenon that where the only incentive for labor is avoidance of punishment the minimum amount of labor necessary will be supplied. This will be true whether the laborers are slaves, serfs, or collectivized farmers. I think I remember reading somewhere that the difference in the yield between private plots for home use and collective farm acreage in Communist China was huge.


Bryan Craig So true, Bea, thanks.


Athens For the past couple of years or so, I often hear on the radio or other sources that politics in America is more highly polarized than ever before.

After reading this chapter and considering the behaviors of that time in Kansas, in the Senate, across the land, well, by comparison we are now in a happy condition of harmony and oneness!


Athens Bryan wrote: "Jaye wrote: "No joke about Cuba. I read that segment with my mouth hanging open. We just sent boats of men off to start a revolution in a Spanish colony? Seriously?"

I think it shows how dysfuncti..."


Yes, on the same page as you are here. Amazing, I had no idea... and the fact that it was attempted over and over and over and over again!!!


Bryan Craig Paul wrote: "For the past couple of years or so, I often hear on the radio or other sources that politics in America is more highly polarized than ever before.

After reading this chapter and considering the be..."


You got that right Paul. The stakes were so much higher back then; I'd be scared or really nervous if I was alive in this time period, especially if I had sons of age...


Kristjan | 45 comments I'd heard about the Know-Nothings, and always thought it was a very strange name for a political power. Now I understand what they were about and how that name came to be attached to them. It still gives the author the opportunity to have some fun with sentences like "...these Know-Nothing lawmakers passed a series of reform measures..." (p.140).

If the author specified what the "personal liberty laws" were about, I must have missed it. Obviously, they were intended to counteract the Fugitive Slave Act, but were they about the liberty of the escaped slave or the liberty of northerners to aid fugitive slaves and not return them to their owners?


Bryan Craig Kristjan wrote: "I'd heard about the Know-Nothings, and always thought it was a very strange name for a political power. Now I understand what they were about and how that name came to be attached to them. It sti..."

It was only a line or two, but I think they were designed to protect free blacks and slaves, to make it more difficult for slave catchers to operate:

Contravening the Fugitive Slave Act of 1793, which did not provide for trial by jury, Indiana (1824) and Connecticut (1828) enacted laws making jury trials for escaped slaves possible upon appeal. In 1840 Vermont and New York granted fugitives the right of jury trial and provided them with attorneys. After 1842, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that enforcement of the Fugitive Slave Act was a federal function, some Northern state governments passed laws forbidding state authorities to cooperate in the capture and return of fugitives. In the reaction to the Fugitive Slave Act contained in the Compromise of 1850, most Northern states provided further guarantees of jury trial, authorized severe punishment for illegal seizure and perjury against alleged fugitives, and forbade state authorities to recognize claims to fugitives. These laws were among the many assaults on states’ rights cited as a justification for secession by South Carolina in 1860.
(Source: http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/t...)

More information:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Personal...
http://www.econlib.org/library/YPDBoo...


Kristjan | 45 comments Bryan wrote: "Kristjan wrote: "I'd heard about the Know-Nothings, and always thought it was a very strange name for a political power. Now I understand what they were about and how that name came to be attached..."

D'oh! I posted this in the wrong thread. Sorry about that.

Thanks for the explanation Bryan.


Vincent (vpbrancato) | 1245 comments Bryan wrote: "Bea wrote: "I've read Uncle Tom's Cabin, but so long ago that my memory of it is quite hazy. I do remember being moved by the cruelty of the punishment of the slaves and the separation of their fa..."

I just read Uncle Tom's Cabin last year - it is a good book - the power guy, the fair and honest guy, is Tom.

It is worth a read - especially if you are thinking about the time and the enviroment.

It is available "free" on Kindle at least

Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe Harriet Beecher Stowe Harriet Beecher Stowe


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