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Lincoln vs Davis: an alternate view

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  • Lincoln vs Davis: an alternate view

    Jefferson Davis and Abraham Lincoln were both born within a hundred miles of each other in Kentucky. Both of their families relocated when the boys were young; the Davises went south to Mississippi and the Lincolns went north to Illinois.

    But suppose it had been the other way around. And suppose somehow that the two men had followed similar paths except for the difference in loyalties. In other words, it's 1861 and former Senator Jeff Davis has been inaugerated as the first Republican President of the United States. Several southern states respond by seceding and forming a new nation, the Confederate States of America, naming respected lawyer and politician Abe Lincoln as their first President.

    Where does it go from here?

  • #2
    The south only seceeded because lincoln was elected. Every Southern state voted against him, becuase he was running on a platform of HUGE tarrifs. corperate welfare is an ancient tradition in this country.

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    • #3
      Tariffs, phooey.

      Originally posted by hobomagic
      The south only seceeded because lincoln was elected. Every Southern state voted against him, becuase he was running on a platform of HUGE tarrifs. corperate welfare is an ancient tradition in this country.
      At the outbreak of the war, the seceding Southern states claimed that they were seceding because they did not want to see the demise of slavery because their economic livelihood relied on slavery. It wasn't till the postwar era that tariffs became an issue.

      The Republican Party had 17 planks on their platform. Only the twelfth one mentions tariffs. Nine planks (between 1-11) deal with slavery. Neither Douglas, nor Breckinridge (representing the two wings of the Democratic Party) mentioned tariffs at all in their platforms.

      I don't deny corporate welfare existed and still exists, especially today, but don't go and try to create an major issue where it did not exist at the time. The major issue was clearly the spread of slavery.
      I come here to discuss a piece of business with you and what are you gonna do? You're gonna tell me fairy tales? James Caan in the movie "Thief" ca 1981

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      • #4
        I was mostly being sarcastic about the corperate welfare, but Lincoln did massively raise tarrifs and never preached against slavery. The abolitionists were considered radicals in 1860. The other planks concerning slavery were about its spread, mostly to cull the votes of free soilers who wanted free land. The south did feel that slavery was being threatened, but only because it wasn't spreading.

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        • #5
          The Republican platform upon which Lincoln RAN for President clearly was against slavery.

          The southern democrats clearly recognized that fact, which is why they attempted to dissuade people from electing Lincoln based on the threat of secession. They lost, and made good on their threat.

          Read each of the confederate states' "secession declarations", and it will become clear that the main reason behind the confederacy's birth was indeed slavery. They are an interesting read, to be sure. Most are patterned on the actual Declaration of Independence, which draws things into an even clearer focus. Whereas the Colonies were looking to separate themselves from the British crown due to not being treated equally, the southern states were looking to separate themselves from the Union due to potentially not being allowed to continue treating other people, (namely slaves), UNequally.

          The south claimed it was about "states' rights", but the main 'right' they wished to secure was the 'right to hold slaves.

          (a simple yahoo search will yield the secession declarations).

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          • #6
            Lincoln on slavery while running

            Originally posted by hobomagic
            I was mostly being sarcastic about the corperate welfare, but Lincoln did massively raise tarrifs and never preached against slavery. The abolitionists were considered radicals in 1860. The other planks concerning slavery were about its spread, mostly to cull the votes of free soilers who wanted free land. The south did feel that slavery was being threatened, but only because it wasn't spreading.
            Like most good politicians, Lincoln knew how to play a crowd. At one point he talks about "A house divided against itself" another time, in Charleston, IL he spoke about not quite knowing what to do about slavery.

            The reason why the Southerners wanted to see slavery spread would be to continue their hold on Congress. Five out of the first seven Presidents and all five were slaveowners. Things were going well then, but God forbid that they start losing control - then it's time to pack up and leave.
            I come here to discuss a piece of business with you and what are you gonna do? You're gonna tell me fairy tales? James Caan in the movie "Thief" ca 1981

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            • #7
              alternate Lincoln-Davis

              I will assume that Lincoln is still poorly disposed toward slavery, which will, of course cause some difficulty with his constituents. In his inaugural speech, he states that "we should endeavour to shed this onerous garment and move on to a society where all men are indeed equal". Otherwise, he blasts the US Congress for "their dastardly practice of usurping the states' rights and disregarding the states assemblies. he calls on citizens and soldiers alike to "heed the call in defense of your state and of your nation". In the wake of this speech, enlistments surge, giving the CSA a formidable force.

              Meanwhile, in Washington, Davis delivers his inaugural speech, lambasting the "foul and treasonus creatures who have made it their endeavour to tear this union asunder". He refers to Lincoln as "that tall creature who leads his flock down the road to dishonor, damnation and betrayal." He pledges that the Union forces will swiftly triumph over "that rabble", and that Lincoln and his cronies "will be displayed before the White House, then tried by military tribunal for their offenses".

              Despites Davis' pledges, the war stretches out, in large part, many say, due to Davis' injecting himself into most military planning and operations. After five years, with the war still terribly close to victory, talk of impeachment, but goes nowhere. Given power by Davis, the Secretary of War and the Army Chief of Staff undertake a "house cleaning", replacing indecisive, indolent and incompetent officers with younger, bolder officers. On 1 January 1867, President Davis gets a New Years gift of a victory. Before the month is finished, Davis does indeed display Lincoln, his Cabinet and senior military leadership on the White House lawn. As well, they are all tried by a military tribunal, those the panel decides that charges of sedition or treason may not be entered because all renounced any cinnection with the United States prior to commencement of hostilities. This is not a popular ruling, either within the Union forces or the populace. All are convicted, Lincoln receiving 15 years, the members of his Cabinet 8 years, and the military leadership 10 years. All are to be denied burial on the territory of the United States. In addition, none of the officers will be permitted to rejoin the US Armed Forces, nor receive a pension thereof. Finally all are prohibited for running for elective office, nor may be appointed to any office. Rather harsh, but fitting the crimes, the tribunal rules.
              Mens Est Clavis Victoriae
              (The Mind Is The Key To Victory)

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              • #8
                I was just thinking about a scenario. Let's say the first three years of the war go pretty much the same way. Then, in the summer of '64 when Johnston gets sacked, Lincoln puts in his place Patrick Cleburne and not John Bell Hood. The only reason Cleburne never advanced above Division command was his suggestion about arming slaves. Cleburne fights a mobile, defensive struggle, keeping the Army of Tennessee intact while preventing Sherman from taking Atlanta before election day. Davis is defeated by George Sickles. Davis, as a lame-duck President, orders Sherman to take Atlanta and Grant to take Richmond no matter what the cost before his term is over. Sherman pounds Cleburne, who suffers moderate and sustainable casualties and then finally falls back in January. Most of his army is still intact, while Sherman has bled his Army dry. Lee holds on desperately against Grant. The casualties at Atlanta and Petersburg apall the nation and the day Sickles takes office he asks for a cease-fire and within a month there is a peace treaty.
                "Anything worth fighting for is worth fighting dirty for"
                "The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step, and a lot of bitching"

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