The History Book Club discussion

Battle Cry of Freedom
This topic is about Battle Cry of Freedom
49 views
AMERICAN CIVIL WAR > 4. Military Series: BATTLE CRY... Mar. 4th ~ Mar. 11th ~~ Chapter FOUR (117 - 144); No Spoilers Please

Comments Showing 1-28 of 28 (28 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

Bryan Craig Hello Everyone,

Welcome all to the fourth 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 Four - March 5th - March 11th -> Chapter FOUR p. 117 - 144

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.

Citations

If an author or book is mentioned other than the book and author being discussed, citations must be included according to our guidelines. Also, when citing other sources, please provide credit where credit is due and/or the link. There is no need to re-cite the author and the book we are discussing however. For citations, add always the book cover, the author's photo when available and always the author's link.

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 Four: Slavery, Rum, Romanism


The Whig Party was dying. With the Fugitive Slave Law, Fillmore alienated northern Whigs while southern Whigs defected the party because the Whig Party nominated Winfield Scott, who was not a slave owner. The Democrats nominated Franklin Pierce who won the 1852 election.

In 1854, Congress passed the Kansas-Nebraska Act. In essence, it repealed the Missouri Compromise by allowing territories to decide the slavery issue for themselves (popular sovereignty). Only Democratic discipline with the help of President Pierce and Sen. Douglas got this bill passed as many northerners felt betrayed due to the repeal of the Missouri Compromise. The Whig party splintered as Democrats in the South took over, and Northern Whigs could not be Democrats. The Republican Party began to fill the gap in the North. Stephen Douglas and Abraham Lincoln held a series of debates in 1854 that put Lincoln on a national stage and it was a boost for the Republican Party.

Another party emerged in 1854: the Know-Nothings. In the 1850s, poorer immigrants (many Catholic from Ireland) continued to come. Anti-Catholicism rose and some linked immigration to a higher crime rate. Nativists, many of them were young men, began to set up lodges endorsing Protestant native-born candidates. People would ask about the lodges and they would say, "I know nothing," hence the name. They opposed the Kansas-Nebraska Act, tax money to parochial schools, not tax to parochial schools, reduce the influence of immigrants in elections and in office, and had some anti-slavery members. Republicans tried to stay away from any direct platform statement on nativism, but were vague enough to get some support from them.

In 1855, one of the nastiest elections of House Speaker occurred. After 133 ballots, Nathaniel Banks, a Know-Nothing then turned Republican, won as anti-slavery members rallied behind him.


Bryan Craig Kansas Nebraska Act:

repealed the Missouri Compromise, allowing slavery in the territory north of the 36° 30´ latitude. Introduced by Senator Stephen Douglas of Illinois, the Kansas-Nebraska Act stipulated that the issue of slavery would be decided by the residents of each territory, a concept known as popular sovereignty. After the bill passed on May 30, 1854, violence erupted in Kansas between pro-slavery and anti-slavery settlers, a prelude to the Civil War.
(Source: http://www.loc.gov/rr/program/bib/our...)

More:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kansas%E...
http://avalon.law.yale.edu/19th_centu...
http://teachingamericanhistory.org/ne...


message 4: by Bryan (last edited Mar 05, 2012 08:58AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bryan Craig It is hard not to turn on your "hind-sight" on this.

Could have Douglas come up with a better strategy to sell his plan to northern Whigs? I think because the act repealed the Missouri Compromise, it made it hard for many Northerners.


message 5: by Patricrk (new)

Patricrk patrick | 435 comments Bryan wrote: "It is hard not to turn on your "hind-sight" on this.

Could have Douglas come up with a better strategy to sell his plan to northern Whigs? I think because the act repealed the Missouri Compromi..."


I found the number of rounds of voting at the national conventions amazing. It really shows how polarized the politics were. Also I didn't realize that Douglas was only leading this fight so he could possibly get a railroad. I had heard Lincoln described as a railroad lawyer but didn't know of Douglas being involved in the business.


message 6: by Bea (new) - added it

Bea | 1830 comments Can anyone explain what "paired" means in the following context (p. 125)?

"Every northern Whig in the two houses voted against the bill, while 25 of 34 southern Whigs voted or were paired for it. Of 75 southern Democrats, 72 voted or were paired for the measure, while 49 of northern Democrats voted or were paired against it."

I don't recall coming across this previously.


message 7: by Becky (last edited Mar 05, 2012 06:23PM) (new)

Becky (httpsbeckylindrooswordpresscom) | 1217 comments Paired Voting:
A senator or representative who expects to be absent during a recorded vote (in which a member's name will be listed as voting yea or nay) can arrange to be paired with another member who plans to vote the opposite way and is also going to be absent. With this voluntary agreement the two absent members show how they would have voted and that their votes would not have changed the final result. If one of the pair is present for the vote, it is called a “live pair.” In a live pair the member votes “present” and announces how the pair of them would have voted on that issue. Paired votes appear in the Congressional Record at the end of the recorded vote tally.
http://www.answers.com/topic/pair-voting


message 8: by Bea (new) - added it

Bea | 1830 comments Thanks, Becky. This book club is great. I learn something new every day.


Bryan Craig Thanks for answer, Becky. Another example of Congressional traditions.


Bryan Craig Patricrk wrote: "Bryan wrote: "It is hard not to turn on your "hind-sight" on this.

Could have Douglas come up with a better strategy to sell his plan to northern Whigs? I think because the act repealed the Mis..."


Follow the money, right, railroads were very important, good observation.


Bryan Craig Know Nothing Party:

The other new party to challenge Whigs' role as Democrats' major foe between 1854 and 1856 was the anti-Catholic, anti-immigrant Know Nothing party. Started as a secret fraternity known as the Order of the Star Spangled Banner and reacting to a massive wave of European immigration between 1845 and 1855 as well as fear of the apparently burgeoning political influence of Roman Catholics, Know Nothings confined their membership to native-born Protestants and sought to increase the naturalization period for immigrants from five to twenty-one years while proscribing all immigrants and Catholics from public office. Their sobriquet apparently stemmed from the practice of members to say "I know nothing" about the order ifnonmembers asked them about it. In the congressional and state elections of 1854 and 1855 the Know Nothing party actually grew faster and proved far more damaging to the Whig party by siphoning off its adherents than the Republican party. Unlike the Republicans, moreover, Know Nothings flourished in the South as well as the North. By 1856, when the party had abandoned secrecy and campaigned publicly as the American party, many people expected it to elect the next president. But at the national convention in February 1856 which nominated ex-Whig Millard Fillmore for president. Know Nothings split along sectional lines over the slavery extension issue. That year the great majority of northern Know Nothings would join the Republicans in supporting John C. Fremont, and between 1856 and 1860 almost all the rest of Fillmore's northern supporters would become Republicans. Those converts helped Lincoln garner 500,000 more votes in 1860 than Fremont had won in 1856.
(Source: http://dig.lib.niu.edu/message/ps-kno...)

More:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Know_Not...
http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/08677...


Bryan Craig Many in the Know Nothings believed in the anti-Catholic, anti-immigration platform, but I also wonder how many saw this as a way to save the union in a small way. It could release some of the crazy sectional tensions by deflecting it to these issues...


message 13: by Becky (last edited Mar 07, 2012 09:18AM) (new)

Becky (httpsbeckylindrooswordpresscom) | 1217 comments Could be - I think there were probably lots of reasons to be a Know Nothing - 1. you were a relatively new German or Irish and deathly afraid of the Pope's take-over of your very soul, the stuff of the Wars of Reformation. 2. You were a worker and afraid for your job what with all the immigrants from any country including Chinese on the West Coast. 3. You were Republican and wanted to split the Whigs to make way for Republican victories. 4. You were Whig but the anti-slave ideas of Winfield Scott just pushed your buttons. 5. Rage at immigrants taking the US over. 6. Populism on the part of the leaders - a chance to be a big-shot in an up-and-coming party. 7. Shoot- the "secrecy" and apparent intrigue might have appealed to some of the early ones.

So it seems to me that wanting to turn attention to immigration and other issues in order to save the union might certainly be a possible motive for some. That seems kind of rational - not anger/hatred related, though - for them. (heh - sorry)


message 14: by Bea (new) - added it

Bea | 1830 comments Fear-mongering and xenophobia certainly have a long tradition in U.S. politics, don't they? I don't buy an altruistic reason for joining the Know-Nothings. The Republican strategists probably welcomed the vote-splitting of the new party but I don't buy that the average voter had that on his/her mind.


Bryan Craig Becky wrote: "Could be - I think there were probably lots of reasons to be a Know Nothing - 1. you were a relatively new German or Irish and deathly afraid of the Pope's take-over of your very soul, the stuff o..."

Great points, Becky, I also get the feeling saving the union was low on the priority list.


message 16: by Bryan (last edited Mar 07, 2012 09:58AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bryan Craig Bea wrote: "Fear-mongering and xenophobia certainly have a long tradition in U.S. politics, don't they? I don't buy an altruistic reason for joining the Know-Nothings. The Republican strategists probably wel..."

I agree, clearly this was nativism through and through and mix in with religious intolerance that still floats around today (JFK and Mitt Romney).

What is interesting about this party is that they are generally anti-slavery. Quite illogical for a party to be supported discrimination of one group and not for the other...Lincoln saw the hypocrisy of it, though.


Bryan Craig I am amazed how many factions sprout up. Up until 5 years ago, you felt pretty comfortable on where you stand.

In this decade, it was so fractious. Here are a few examples besides Democrats, Republicans, Whigs, and Free Soilers: People's party men, Anti-Nebraksaites, Fusionists, Know-Nothings, Know-Somethings, Maine Lawites, Temperance, Rum Democrats, Silver Gray Whigs, Hindoos, Hard Shell Democrats, Soft Shells, Half Shells, and Adopted Citizens.

It makes my head spin!


Bryan Craig This is a great image of our political parties. You will see the many splinters in this time period:

http://www.historyshots.com/Parties/i...


Bryan Craig I'm amazed how well the Republicans became a national party so quickly. It took over the Know-Nothing movement in the North without adopting a huge nativist plank. Also, Nathaniel Banks' election to Speakership seems to show how the Republicans had rallied the anti-slavery and nativist together.


message 20: by Bea (last edited Mar 08, 2012 11:18AM) (new) - added it

Bea | 1830 comments Bryan wrote: "I am amazed how many factions sprout up. Up until 5 years ago, you felt pretty comfortable on where you stand.

In this decade, it was so fractious. Here are a few examples besides Democrats, Rep..."


If those party names had turned up in a novel, they would have seemed far-fetched. Dickens could not have done better than the "Silver Gray Whigs" and "Hard Shell Democrats"!


Bryan Craig Bea wrote: "If those party names had turned up in a novel, they would have seemed far-fetched. Dickens could not have better than the "Silver Gray Wigs" and "Hard Shell Democrats"! ..."

Lol, so right, bizarre names indeed, maybe coming from a sci fi novel, too.


Bryan Craig I think this chapter should be called "Slavery, Rum, Romanism, and Slavery" because it goes to show you how powerful the slavery issue was. It splintered the Know-Nothings among sectional lines and put temperance on the "back burner."


Bryan Craig Jaye wrote: "This was a fantastic discussion that I'm coming in late on because of an illness but I do have to day that after all what what must stuck with me through those drugs was, "John Brown had twenty Chi..."

Thanks for the kind words and no worries about coming in late.

Twenty kids is mind blowing, and many played a role right by his side in his abolitionist schemes.


Craig (twinstuff) I know his first wife died in childbirth and then his second wife was just a teenager when she married the much older Brown. This web page has some images of some of the children; most seem so solemn and sad.

http://www2.iath.virginia.edu/jbrown/...


Bryan Craig I get a sense this family is pretty serious. It doesn't help that the camera takes so long to take a picture that you can't smile, but you are right, with their father's death, it is sad. I suspect they were pretty proud of him, though.


Vincent (vpbrancato) | 1245 comments Bryan wrote: "I'm amazed how well the Republicans became a national party so quickly. It took over the Know-Nothing movement in the North without adopting a huge nativist plank. Also, Nathaniel Banks' election..."

It is really interersting - it seems that slower communication would have allowed all these parties to form - but then how do we explain the fast assembliage of the Republican party. Maybe the coming Presidential election and the commonality of anti-slavery.......................


Bryan Craig True, Vince, maybe the election and the right mix of events, emotion, etc. became the recipe for the Republicans to become national. It also filled a political vacuum of the defunct Whig party.


Bryan Craig No worries, Nancy, we forget or never learn a lot of material.

Hughes says public schools are wellsprings of "Socialism, Red Republicanism, Universalism, Infidelity, Deism, Atheism, and Pantheism." (p. 133).

It is a good example of how prejudice surfaces on both sides of an argument.


back to top

unread topics | mark unread


Books mentioned in this topic

Battle Cry of Freedom (other topics)

Authors mentioned in this topic

James M. McPherson (other topics)