Lincoln's warning


Joe Gleason:
On January 29, 1861 Kansas was admitted into the Union, without slavery, thus adding a new star to the thirty-three then in the field. In Philadelphia, it was arranged that the new flag for Independence Hall be raised by Mr. Lincoln. The hauling down of the Stars and Stripes in the South and the substituting of State flags had stirred the North deeply. The day the first Palmetto flag was raised in South Carolina, a new reverence for the national emblem was born in the North.

                               ....  " I have often inquired of myself what great principle or idea it was that kept this Confederacy so
                                    long together. It was not the mere matter of separation of the colonies from the motherland, but
                                    that sentiment in the Declaration of Independence which gave liberty not alone to the people of
                                    this country, but hope to all the world, for all future time. It was that which gave promise that in
                                    due time the weights would be lifted from the shoulders of all men, and that all should have an equal
                                    chance. This is the sentiment embodied in the Declaration of Independence. Now, my friends, can
                                    this country be saved on that basis? If it can, I will consider myself one of the happiest men in the
                                    world if I can help to save it. If it cannot be saved upon that principle, it will be truly awful. But if
                                    the country cannot be saved without giving up that principle, I was about to say I would rather be
                                    assassinated on this spot rather than surrender it. Now, in my view of the present aspect of affairs,
                                    there is no need of bloodshed and war. There is no need for it. I am not in favor of such a course,
                                    and I may say in advance that there will be no bloodshed unless it is forced upon the government.

                                    The government will not use force, unless force is used agianst it.
                                                                                                                                                      Abraham Lincoln
 excerpt from "Life of Lincoln" by Ida Tarbell



I always have wondered if Seward had been elected President instead of Lincoln if he would have re-supplied Ft. Sumter. Lincoln held a cabinet meeting before the attempt was made and only his Postmaster General Montgomery Blair was of the opinion to re-supply the fort. Lincoln went against the advice of some heavies when he disagreed with Seward, Welles and Cameron. I believe that Lincoln played a game of poker with South Carolina and forced them to play their hand. The government will not use force, unless force is used against it. Craig

Joe Gleason:
Good question.
I think Seward would have had little choice but to follow the same path as Lincoln, but would have most likely made an attempt to resupply Ft. Pickens
in Pensacola Fla. before Sumpter, perhaps with the belief that succsess would come without a great loss of life. By January of 1861, Charleston Harbor was heavily garrisoned as Buchanan realized when he sent the merchant steamer "Star of the West" with supplies for the beleagured fort, only to have it  fired upon by the confederates as it entered the harbor. The Buchanan administration entered into a secret armistice with the confederates that he himself apparently broke by his attempt to resupply Ft. Sumpter on January 9, 1861.  
The incoming Lincoln Cabinet was most likely viewed by the North as a submissive successor of the previous administration, but Seward, who believed a victory at Ft. Pickens would give confidence to the people of the North that their government was not indifferent to the fate of the seceeding states, would have IMO entered Charleston Harbor as well.
I suppose that if Buchanan was an abolishionist and adamantly opposed to the right of succession, the Civil War would have begun on January 9, 1861, two months before Lincoln became president . Unfortuanately, President Buchanan believed the United States Government could do nothing in legal terms to prevent individual states from leaving the Union.
 During this time, ( Jan, 1861) President  Lincoln apparently was not aware of the secret armistice between Buchanan and the leaders confederate states. If Seward had been elected president instead of Lincoln he most likely would have lost all confidence placed in him if did nothing to prevent the confiscation of federal installations in the suceeding states.

   .... juat a "layman's" point of view.  ;)


I agree. If Buchanan had been an abolitionist the war might have started in 1857 instead of 1861. I believe that after the Compromise of 1850 the tone was set for secession.



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