BECK index

United States Dividing 1860-61

by Sanderson Beck

United States in 1860
United States Elections in 1860
United States & Secession in Late 1860
United States & Secession in Early 1861

United States in 1860

      After John Brown’s raid Virginia Governor Wise enforced martial law and spent $250,000 on the military. During the winter of 1859-60 Alabama spent $200,000 on military preparations, Mississippi $250,000, and South Carolina $100,000.
      The United States Congress had opened on 9 December 1859, but the House of Representatives took eight weeks to elect the Speaker. Democrats still controlled the Senate. Even though 18 free states had 20 million white people while 15 slave states had only 7 million whites, all the chairmen of the 16 Senate committees were from slave states. The House had 109 Republicans, 101 Democrats, and 27 Know-Nothings and Whigs with most from the South. Since the South ran the Senate, the Republicans believed they should rule the House. Republicans supported the capable John Sherman of Ohio; but southerners opposed him because he had endorsed the distribution of Helper’s anti-slavery Impending Crisis book. Democrats insisted on extending debate, and Sherman still needed four more votes. Every Congressman was armed as were many visitors in the gallery. Senator Hammond said, “The only persons who do not have a revolver and a knife are those who have two revolvers.”1 After Sherman’s withdrawal on January 30, on the 44th ballot two days later they elected freshman William Pennington of New Jersey the Speaker, and he accepted most of the committee assignments made by Sherman.
      On January 10 the Pemberton Mill in Lawrence, Massachusetts collapsed, killing 77 of the 670 textile workers, mostly women and pre-teenage children.
      On January 18 Senator Albert G. Brown of Mississippi introduced proslavery resolutions for territories and a slave code. Two weeks later the other Mississippi Senator, Jefferson Davis, presented a sectional manifesto to protect slavery. He asked for a debate on February 8, but it was continually postponed. In March the caucus of Democratic Senators approved the Davis resolutions as the correct interpretation of the US Constitution.
      The Chicago Tribune endorsed Abraham Lincoln for President on February 16, and on the 27th he made an effective speech at Cooper Union in New York. He spoke of the 39 men who framed the US Constitution which he argued did not forbid controlling slavery in federal territories. In 1789 the first Congress had voted to enforce the Ordinance of 1787 that prohibited slavery in the Northwestern Territory, and in 1798 the Congress prohibited bringing slaves into the Mississippi Territory. He observed that some are trying to forbid the Federal Government from controlling slavery in the territories. What Republicans are asking is that the evil of slavery not be extended into territories. He noted that slave insurrections had not increased since the Republican Party was formed and that slaves refused to participate in John Brown’s effort to get them to revolt. Yet the South was threatening to break up the Union. Lincoln argued that slaveholders have no constitutional right to take slaves into federal territories. The Constitution does not recognize slaves as property. He concluded by asking people to have faith that right makes might. On that day Mathew Brady took a photograph of Lincoln that was widely distributed.
      On February 29 the Republican Seward of New York condemned John Brown’s raid as treason and sedition. He assured the South that the Republican Party only opposed slavery in the new western lands.
      Lincoln spoke at Hartford on March 5 and supported a shoe strike there caused by withdrawn southern trade. As the first presidential candidate to support a strike, he said,

I am glad to know that there is a system of labor
where the laborer can strike if he wants to!
I would to God that such a system
prevailed all over the world….
If you give up your convictions and call slavery right
as they do, you let slavery in upon you—
instead of white laborers who can strike,
you’ll soon have black laborers who can’t strike.2

      On April 5 Owen Lovejoy, brother of the murdered abolitionist Elijah Lovejoy, spoke in the House of Representatives denouncing slavery,

Slaveholding has been justly designated
as the sum of all crimes….
It has the violence of robbery, the blood of piracy,
the brutal lusts of polygamy
all combined and concentrated in itself,
with aggravations that neither one of those crimes
ever knew or dreamed of….
We concede as a matter of fact the inferiority of the race,
but it does not follow that it is right to enslave a man
simply because he is inferior to you.
Mr. Chairman, this is to me a most abhorrent doctrine.
It would place the weak at the mercy of the strong.
The theory is, that if a man is crippled, trip him up;
if he is old and weak, strike him—he can’t strike back;
if he is a child, deceive him.
Why, sir, this is the doctrine of Democrats—
and it is the doctrine of devils as well.
It would lead the strong to enslave the weak everywhere.
It would justify the angels in enslaving men.3

      Galusha Grow offered the Homestead Bill to the House of Representatives that would provide free land to quickly colonize the West, expand agricultural wealth, and create new markets for manufacturing. This passed the House 115-65 in early March. The Senate would not accept it, and Andrew Johnson of Tennessee proposed a conservative measure for families, but not individuals, for 25 cents an acre. A compromise bill eventually passed the House 115-51 and the Senate 36-2 which enabled heads of families to buy quarter sections at 25 cents an acre after occupying the land for five years. However, on June 20 Buchanan vetoed the bill, and southern Senators blocked the attempt to overcome the veto. The South and low-tariff Democrats in the Senate also prevented a tariff bill from passing that would have increased revenue while protecting metal, textile, and other industries.
      “Honest John” Covode of Pennsylvania led a House committee that began an investigation of government patronage on March 5, and hearings went on until June. They revealed that Cobb, Thompson, and Black in the cabinet along with Slidell were overcoming the weak Buchanan. The President had used patronage against Douglas and others opposing the Lecompton regime in Kansas. New York Postmaster Isaac Fowler had absconded with $155,500, and for seven years he had been paid more than $15,000 a year. War Secretary Floyd had helped his Virginia friends and New York politicians make excessive profits. Cornelius Wendell had exploited public printing.
      William H. Russell and Alexander Majors started the Overland California & Pike’s Peak Express Service by purchasing 500 horses and hiring “skinny expert riders” to carry the mail 1,966 miles from St. Joseph, Missouri to Sacramento, California in 11 days using different horses at top speeds between the 119 stations starting on April 2. Wagon trains had taken eight weeks, but this Pony Express would be superseded on 24 October 1861 by the wires of the transcontinental telegraph and later by the railroad. On April 30 the USS Mohawk captured an American slave-ship Wildfire near Cuba and took it to Key West, Florida.
      The US census of 1860 counted 31,443,500 people including 3,953,762 slaves and 482,122 free blacks. New York City population passed one million and Philadelphia’s a half million. Baltimore had 212,000 followed by Boston, Cincinnati, and St. Louis. New Orleans had 168,675, but the next largest city in the Confederate States was Charleston with 40,522. By 1860 freight from Cincinnati to New York had decreased from 55 days to 5 days. The US population had increased by 8.5 million in the decade, but only about 2 million of them were in the future Confederate States. Western states and territories from Ohio to Dakota went from 5.4 million people to 9.1 million. Manufacturing increased from about $1 billion in 1849 to $1,886 million while railroads went from 8,500 miles in 1850 to 30,600 miles in 1860, accounting for more than half of the railway lines in the world. The North and Central states shifted their shipments of corn, wheat, and pork substantially from the South to the East. Cotton production surpassed two billion pounds per year. More than half the 321 high schools in the US were in Massachusetts, New York, and Ohio. In 1860 the top 10% of free men owned 60% of American wealth while the bottom half of the people had only 1%. The assets and number of banks in the US doubled between 1849 and 1860.
      In the 1850s the slave states more than quadrupled their railway mileage. Per capital southern wealth increased 62% while manufacturing only went up 39%. The average price of slaves rose 72%.
      Senator Charles Sumner, after having been severely beaten with a cane in May 1856 because of his anti-slavery views, needed years to recover. He returned to the US Senate in 1859, and on 4 June 1860 he gave his first speech “The Barbarism of Slavery” during the long debate over whether to admit Kansas as a free state. He criticized attempts to present slavery as a benevolent institution, and he denounced those who claimed they owned persons and treated them with severe cruelty. He reminded them that he was beaten for arguing about that four years earlier. He said, “The sacred animosity between Freedom & Slavery can end only with the triumph of Freedom.” He described how the laws of slavery originated and compared their results in slave states to those in free states. He noted five elements of slavery’s barbarism.

Slavery tyrannically assumes a power
which Heaven denied;
while under its barbarous necromancy,
borrowed from the Source of Evil,
a man is changed into a chattel,
a person is withered into a thing,
a soul is shrunk into merchandise.4

He noted that marriages of slaves were not respected nor was there parental relation. Slaves were denied knowledge and education. The fifth element of its barbarism was using their unpaid labor. He described how they were stolen from African and transported so far to America. He observed that the South has many natural advantages, but the slave system makes poor use of them compared to free states which have a better economy, churches, schools, publishing, patents, and more people have moved from slave states to free states. Next he explained how slavery damages the character of masters and slaves, and it discourages arts and manufacturing. Blood-hounds are used to catch Negroes. He described the noble efforts of abolitionists in Britain and America. Slavery degrades the master more than the slave.
      On July 4 the Negro, H. Ford Douglas of Chicago, spoke in Boston with other abolitionists. He criticized the political parties for not supporting anti-slavery efforts, and he believed the Negro is not inferior and deserves equality and that those who fight for equality should be honored. He criticized Lincoln for not promoting social and political equality for Negroes.
      On September 12 the British finally executed the filibustering William Walker in Honduras for seizing their customs house. Walker and his men had killed hundreds of people while trying to rule Nicaragua in 1856-57.
      The Annual Meeting of the Pennsylvania Anti-Slavery Society on October 25 heard 18-year-old Anna Elizabeth Dickinson speak. She asked,

Now, what is the law of this country?
It is the law of slavery.
A law made to grind the face of God’s poor;
a law that tramples in the dust
all the holiest feeling of our nature;
a law that tramples on man’s manhood,
and makes mockery of woman’s womanhood:
a law which deserves only to be condemned
and abhorred and trampled under foot of men.
  And what is the Constitution?
It is the fundamental law on which all the slave laws rest.5

      On December 3 Frederick Douglass organized a rally in Boston to commemorate the first anniversary of John Brown’s execution, but they encountered a mob that forced them to disperse.
      In 1860 only 40% of laborers in the North worked in agriculture while in the South it was still 80%. At West Point, New York manufacturers began replacing cannon balls with explosive shells. Oliver Winchester in New Haven invented the breech-loading rifle that replaced muzzle-loading rifles. West Point was the only military college in the North compared to seven in the slave states.
      Kansas Territory suffered such a severe drought that 30,000 settlers left. Popular novelist Ann Sophia Stephens sold Maleska: The Indian Wife of the White Hunter for a dime. Elizabeth Peabody began the first private kindergarten in Boston. The Charleston lawyer James L. Petigru, who opposed secession, said that South Carolina was too small to be a republic and tool large for an insane asylum.

United States Elections in 1860

      By January 1860 Senator Stephen Douglas had acquired most of the Democratic delegates in the northwestern states of Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Iowa, and Wisconsin, and each state bound them to vote as a unit.
      The Democratic convention began in Charleston, South Carolina on April 23 and broke up one week later. The 303 delegates were equal to the number of electoral votes. In the election Democrats were likely to win 120 in the southern states plus 7 from California and Oregon. To win they would need at least one northern state, but a slave-code plank in the platform would surely prevent that. During the week of the convention the states of Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Texas agreed they would withdraw if the platform did not call for protection of slavery by Congress in the territories. Democrats required two-thirds of the delegates for a nominee. Caleb Cushing of Massachusetts strongly supported the South and was made permanent chairmen. About 3,000 people gathered on April 23. A majority report said that neither Congress nor a territorial legislature could abolish slavery, and a minority report implied popular sovereignty and that the party would abide by Supreme Court decisions. Yancey urged southerners to take a stand, but then Ohio Senator George Pugh warned that northern Democrats would not agree that slavery is right. George Sanders sent a telegram asking President Buchanan to intervene, but he was not going to help Douglas. They adjourned on Sunday and tried to negotiate.
      The Virginia delegation joined the slave-code plank, but the convention passed the Douglas version of the platform. The resolution to abide by Supreme Court decisions was rejected 238-21. Then Alabama began to leave because they had not obtained a slave-code resolution, and Mississippi went with them followed by most of the Louisiana and South Carolina delegations. Florida, Texas, and Arkansas also walked out, and the next day 26 of 34 Georgia delegates left. Chairman Cushing ruled that two-thirds of the 303 was still required for nomination. Douglas got a majority of those voting on all 57 ballots, and on some he even got a majority of all delegates. In 1856 he had withdrawn after Buchanan got a majority, but this time that did not happen. Before they adjourned, the Unionist B. F. Perry of South Carolina accused the Democrats of committing political suicide by not tolerating northern Democrats as much as they tolerated the southerners. Buchanan Democrats had refused to accept Douglas who refused to yield to James Guthrie of Kentucky. Those wanting to secede had won, preferring a southern republic to northern domination.
      The 73-year-old Senator John J. Crittenden of Kentucky was the primary founder of the Constitutional Union Party, but he would not be a candidate. They met in Baltimore on May 9 and nominated John Bell of Tennessee and Edward Everett of Massachusetts as their presidential ticket. Bell was 64 years old, and Everett was 66. Sam Houston at the age of 67 had come in second. Opponents called them the “Old Gentlemen’s Party.” They were supported by the National Intelligencer, the Louisville Journal, the Nashville Republican and Banner, and by the St. Louis Intelligencer.
      On May 8 at the Illinois state Republican convention 600 delegates gathered at Decatur. About a thousand men cheered those who brought two rails with a banner that read “Abraham Lincoln. The Rail Candidate for President in 1860.” Lincoln’s four delegates at large were appointed and included State Chairman Norman Judd and Judge David Davis, and the convention agreed that the Illinois delegation would vote in Chicago as a unit for Lincoln.
      Since 1856 the Republicans had won many elections in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Illinois, and in 1860 they were much better organized. New York’s Governor E. D. Morgan was chairman of the Republican national committee. Thousands of people came in May 1860 to Chicago, a city of 110,000 people where 15 railway lines ended. The People’s Party of Pennsylvania and the Opposition Party of New Jersey joined the Republicans. The corruption and weakness of the Buchanan Administration had given them winning issues on homesteads, tariffs, improvements, and honest government. The failure of the divided Democrats to choose a candidate in April made the Republicans confident they could win this year, though some were concerned that Democrats would meet again in Baltimore. Republican newspapers had become very influential such as Bryant’s Evening Post, Greeley’s New-York Tribune, Joseph Medill’s Chicago Tribune, the Springfield Republican, the Philadelphia Press, and the Cleveland Leader.
      Senator William Seward of New York was considered the leading candidate with strong support from New England, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota as well as New York. Edward Bates of Missouri and Salmon Chase of Ohio were likely alternatives. Bates was disliked because he had briefly supported the Know-Nothing (American) Party and Chase was because he had been a Democrat. Abraham Lincoln had recently become popular because of his debates with Douglas, his 23 speeches in 1859 as he traveled 4,000 miles, and especially his oration at Cooper Union.
      Seward’s “Irrepressible Conflict” speech had made many wonder if the New Yorker was too radical. Thurlow Weed campaigned for Seward, but he was accused of passing six street-railway bills for New York streets and for throwing money around. Medill wrote that Seward was too radical and that Bates was too conservative.
      Jesse Fell had published a short biography of Lincoln in December 1859 to promote his candidacy. The Reading Journal in Pennsylvania recommended “Honest Old Abe” as a candidate, and Illinois periodicals publicized Lincoln. Judd, Davis, and others met with Lincoln to plan how he could get the nomination. He authorized the campaign and said he would not consider running for Vice President. He told his managers to be friendly to all delegates and to urge those voting for others to make him their second choice. He did not want them making promises and said he would not be bound by them; but Davis and others ignored that as impractical, and Simon Cameron of Pennsylvania was promised a cabinet office.
      The national Republican Convention began in Chicago on May 16 in the newly constructed “Wigwam” that could hold the 466 delegates and up to 10,000 spectators. Republican National Committee Chairman Edwin Morgan opened the convention, and David Wilmot gave the keynote speech. He and permanent chairman George Ashmun reminded the delegates of their duty in this crisis.
      On the second day the Republicans adopted the platform that included free homesteads, tariff revision, internal improvements, a Pacific railroad, daily overland mail, and the admission of Kansas as a free state. They opposed the Lecompton effort in Kansas, using “popular sovereignty” on slavery in territories, reviving the slave trade, and disunion.
      On May 18 Seward got 173 votes on the first ballot, and Lincoln had 102 followed by Cameron with 50, Salmon Chase 49, Edward Bates 48, Dayton 14, McLean 12, Collamer 10, Wade 3 with one each for John Read, Sumner, and Frémont. On the second ballot Seward got 184, Lincoln 181, and Bates 35 with 42 scattered votes. Most of the crowd cheered for Lincoln’s gain. The third ballot gave Lincoln 231, Seward 180, Chase 24, and Bates 22. Lincoln needed only two more votes, and Ohio quickly changed four votes for Chase to Lincoln. The Republicans nominated Senator Hannibal Hamlin of Maine for Vice President.
      The Democratic Party met again at Baltimore on June 18, but Douglas and the northerners could not agree with the southern secessionists, and the latter left on the 23rd. Those staying quickly nominated Senator Douglas for President. Alabama Senator Benjamin Fitzpatrick declined to be his running mate, and the National Committee chose Herschel V. Johnson, the former senator and governor of Georgia. The bolting southern delegates met at the Maryland Institute, adopted a slave-code platform, and nominated Vice President Breckinridge of Kentucky for President with Oregon Senator Joseph Lane for VP.
      D. W. Bartlett published his Life and Public Services of the Hon. Abraham Lincoln in 354 pages. The New York Tribune printed the Political Textbook that included Lincoln’s major speeches and part of the Freeport debate, and it sold for 66 cents and had 14 editions by October. William Cullen Bryant advised Lincoln not to make any promises or express opinions or try to arrange the future. He believed that people were satisfied and would elect him. Lincoln stayed in the governor’s room at the State House in Springfield, wrote letters, and talked with callers.
      With Democrats divided none of the other three parties had much chance of winning. Bell had spoken in favor of slavery while Everett was considered an abolitionist. Breckinridge’s party was dismissed outside the South as disunionists. He would not withdraw to help Douglas win, and Douglas had refused to do the same for Breckinridge. Lincoln declined to make speeches, relying on those he had already made and other Republicans to campaign for him. They made 50,000 speeches for Lincoln including 10,000 in New York where Wide Awake parades drew as many as 90,000 Lincoln supporters. Douglas campaigned actively giving many speeches in the North, the border states, and in the South. He would come in second to Lincoln in the northern states, second to Bates in the border states, and second to Breckinridge in the South. Yet the Missouri Republican was the only newspaper that would help Douglas win an entire state. In August the Republicans in St. Louis elected Frank P. Blair, Jr. to Congress.
      Many leaders in the South made it known that if Lincoln won, they would secede. Douglas campaigned heroically to preserve the Union and against disunion. When asked on August 25 at Norfolk what he would do if Lincoln is elected and the South seceded, Douglas said,

I answer emphatically that it is the duty
of the President of the United States and all others
in authority under him to enforce the laws
of the Untied States as passed by Congress
and as the courts expound them.
And I, as in duty bound by my oath of fidelity
to the Constitution, am to do all in my power to aid
the government of the United States in maintaining
the supremacy of the laws against all resistance to them,
come from what quarter it would.
In other words, I think the President of the United States,
whoever he may be, should treat all attempts
to break up the Union by resistance to its laws
as Old Hickory treated the Nullifiers in 1832.6

After learning that Republicans won the Pennsylvania elections in October, Douglas said that Mr. Lincoln is the next President and that he would try to save the Union by going to the South. He received ovations in Memphis and Nashville, was cheered in Atlanta, and he would be in Mobile on election day.
      William Yancey toured the nation from Boston to Mobile arguing that every state has the right to secede if Lincoln becomes President. The secret Knights of the Golden Circle began as an effort to annex Latin American territory as slave states. Their founder George Bickley claimed they had nearly 48,000 members. They held their convention in the spring of 1860 and were recruiting for an expedition to take over Mexico, and it became a secessionist society. The military organized minute men in Alabama, South Carolina, and Georgia, and Yancey Rangers were formed in New Orleans.
      In September elections Maine and Vermont easily elected Republican governors, and Pennsylvania and Indiana Republicans won in October. Before the November election many voters shifted from Bell and Douglas to Breckinridge as their best hope against Lincoln.
      In the election on November 6 Lincoln got 1,865,908 popular votes and 180 electors, Douglas 1,380,202 votes with 12 electors, Breckinridge 848,019 with 72 electors, and Bell 590,901 and 39 electors. If the northern and southern Democrats had remained united and nominated Douglas, he very likely would have won. In ten southern states Lincoln’s name was not on the ballot. Douglas combined his candidacy with Bell in New York, with Breckinridge in Pennsylvania and Rhode Island, and with both in New Jersey; but this effort only gained Douglas three electoral votes in New Jersey, and the only state he won was Missouri. Lincoln won all 17 states in the North and West; Breckinridge took all 9 in the South plus the slave states of Maryland and Delaware; and Bell obtained the other slave states of Kentucky, Tennessee, and Virginia.
      Clement Vallandigham of Ohio became a leader of the Democrats for peace, and on November 2 at Cooper Union he said he would never “as a Representative in the Congress of the United States, vote one dollar of money whereby one drop of American blood should be shed in a civil war.”

United States & Secession in Late 1860

      Reaction to Lincoln’s election moved quickly in South Carolina, Alabama, and Mississippi. On November 7 crowds gathered in Charleston and hoisted the state flag. Federal Judge Magrath and Collector Colcock resigned. That week the South Carolina legislature approved $100,000 for arms, and their US Senators Chesnut and Hammond resigned. Militia and minute men drilled more actively, and people attended bonfires and resistance rallies. In Savannah, Georgia a mass meeting called for a state convention and defense. On the 10th William Yancey aroused people in Montgomery, Alabama, though some merchants in Mobile indicated their opposition to secession. Alabama’s governor, senators, Supreme Court judges, and all but one Representative resigned. People in Mississippi called for a special session of the legislature.
      In the New-York Daily Tribune on November 9, 1860 Horace Greeley wrote,

We hold with Jefferson to the inalienable right
of communities to alter or abolish forms of government
that have become oppressive or injurious;
and if the Cotton States shall become satisfied that
they can do better out of the Union than in it,
we insist on letting them go in peace.
The right to secede may be a revolutionary one,
but it exists nevertheless; and we do not see how
one party can have a right to do
what another party has a right to prevent.
We must ever resist the asserted right of any State
to remain in the Union and nullify or defy the laws thereof;
to withdraw from the Union is quite another matter.
And whenever a considerable section of our Union
shall deliberately resolve to go out,
we shall resist all coercive measures designed to keep it in.
We hope never to live in a republic
whereof one section is pinned to the residue by bayonets.
  But while we thus uphold the practical liberty
if not the abstract right of secession,
we must insist that the step be taken, if it ever shall be,
with the deliberation and gravity
befitting so momentous an issue.
Let ample time be given for reflection;
let the subject be fully canvassed before the people;
and let a popular vote be taken
in every case before secession is decreed.
Let the people be told just why
they are urged to break up the confederation;
let them have both sides of the question fully presented;
let them reflect, deliberate, then vote;
and let the act of secession
be the echo of an unmistakable popular fiat.
A judgment thus rendered,
a demand for separation so backed,
would either be acquiesced in without the effusion of blood,
or those who rushed upon carnage to defy and defeat it
would place themselves clearly in the wrong.7

      On November 9 the South Carolina legislature, which mostly represented the wealthy lowlands, called a secession convention with election of delegates on January 8; but a massive protest from Charleston persuaded them to move the vote up to December 6 and set the convention for the 17th. The Jackson Mississippian suggested that they not wait to March 4 to secede so that they could do it while the friendly Buchanan government was still in Washington. Alabama planned to elect delegates on December 24 and start the convention on January 7. Georgia set January 2 to elect delegates with the convention a fortnight later. Senator Robert Toombs spoke to both houses of the Georgia legislature on November 13 for the vindication of southern rights, and the next night Alexander Stephens used the state motto, “Wisdom, justice, and moderation,” to counsel patience in order to see what Lincoln would do.
      John Townsend published in Charleston the pamphlet, “The South Alone Should Govern the South,” which estimated that the South was contributing $105 million a year to the North and claimed it was getting nothing but insults in return. He adapted this in a speech he made on October 9 in which he warned that slavery would be abolished within ten years either by bloodshed, or the new federal government would do it with laws.
      Yancey after touring the North believed that the withdrawal of southern states would be peaceful; or if the Yankees resisted, that the South could win. He also stated that the secession party in the South universally believed it would be a “peaceable measure.”
      The South was harvesting its cotton crop and was not paying back money they borrowed from the North. Southerners were also withdrawing their gold and silver from northern banks, and they were discussing direct trade with Europe. On November 13 the money market in New York stopped buying paper, and interest rates for the South increased to 18% and 24%. The next week banks in the South and West were suspended. The Federal Treasury in December could not even pay Congressional salaries and for other expenses. Business journals suggested that secession could not be stopped.
      On November 17 Greeley wrote in the New-York Weekly Tribune,

Whenever a considerable section of our Union
shall deliberately resolve to go out,
we shall resist all coercive measures
designed to keep it in.
We hope never to live in a republic
whereof one section is pinned to the residue by bayonets.
But we must insist that the step be taken, if ever it shall be,
with the deliberation and gravity
befitting so momentous an issue.
Let ample time be given for reflection;
let the subject be fully canvassed before the people;
and let a popular vote be taken in every case
before secession is decreed.8

The Brooklyn Eagle denied any state the right to secede; but they also denied the nation any right to prevent them from doing so because that would convert the government to “odious despotism.” The Cincinnati Press noted that the revolt by the colonies was a fair precedent for secession and that the general voice of the North was for letting South Carolina go or stay. Most northern newspapers denied that secession is a right while most southern ones justified it.
      President Buchanan opposed violence and feared a fratricidal war. At the age of 69 he was not well and stayed in his upstairs rooms. His cabinet was equally divided between Cobb, Thompson, and Floyd who defended southern secession and Cass, Joseph Holt, and Black who opposed them. The Democratic Senate was opposed by the Republican House of Representatives. The interval of four months between the election and the inauguration had never been so critical.
      President-elect Lincoln limited the statements he made. On November 20 Senator Trumbull made a speech to Illinois Republicans, and Lincoln told the press that it expressed his views. Trumbull said that if South Carolina interfered with the collection of Federal revenues or if anyone attacked with force a national authority, that Americans would deal with the “traitors.” Lincoln studied President Jackson’s speeches during the nullification crisis. The editor of the Illinois State Journal was also Lincoln’s spokesman, and on December 20 he wrote that Mr. Lincoln would perform his duty because “disunion by armed force is treason.”
      Buchanan wanted to preserve the peace and hoped to bring the two sides together, but he was inept at the latter. He believed that a military demonstration against South Carolina in November would ignite a war. General Winfield Scott had advised him a week before the election that six forts in the South should be garrisoned, but no attempt was made. Buchanan was influenced at first mostly by Cobb, Thompson, Floyd, and Slidell. Then he opposed the right of secession while denying that his government should stop it.
      Black offered Buchanan legal arguments for his message to Congress; but he realized that the resignation of all the federal officers in a state made enforcement impractical unless the Congress authorized a war. Of the nine coastal forts in the South the three in Charleston harbor were Castle Pinckney, Fort Sumter, and Fort Moultrie, and the Charleston arsenal had 72,000 muskets. General Scott repeated his advice that the nine forts should be garrisoned to prevent surprise; but Buchanan was concerned that this would precipitate a war, and he rejected the plan. The day after Lincoln’s election, Col. John Gardner had tried to transfer ammunition from the Charleston arsenal to Fort Moultrie, but a hostile crowd had blocked that. Major Robert Anderson replaced Gardner, and he asked for reinforcements on November 24, 28, and December 1. Buchanan was going to send troops; but then he agreed to revoke that because South Carolina Governor Gist promised not to seize national property.
      Mississippi Senator Jefferson Davis was invited to the White House, and Buchanan read to him his upcoming message to Congress and accepted suggestions made by Davis. Major Anderson was ordered not to provoke an attack but to defend the forts if attacked. Black argued that they had the right to defend public property. In his last annual message to Congress on December 3 Buchanan declared secession unconstitutional, but he also believed that neither the President nor Congress has the right to compel a state to remain in the Union. He said that he could not act in a state where the entire population would resist him. He noted that on 31 May 1787 James Madison had said,

The use of force against a State would look more like
a declaration of war than an infliction of punishment,
and would probably be considered by the party attacked
as a dissolution of all previous compacts
by which it might be bound.9

Therefore the Convention voted to delete from the draft of the Constitution the following clause: “authorizing an exertion of the force of the whole against a delinquent state.” Buchanan wrote,

The fact is that our Union rests upon public opinion,
and can never be cemented
by the blood of its citizens shed in civil war.
If it can not live in the affections of the people,
it must one day perish.
Congress possesses many means
of preserving it by conciliation,
but the sword was not placed in their hand
to preserve it by force.10

He observed that the Union had made them prosperous and respected in the world. He urged Congress to find a remedy for existing evils. The Constitution can be amended, but his suggestions for doing so to protect “the right of property in slaves” and “the right of the master to have his slave who has escaped” are in my opinion morally repugnant to say the least.
      The United States Congress had begun meeting on 3 December 1860. The next day Representative Boteler of Virginia proposed a special committee with one person from each state, and Speaker Pennington appointed 16 Republicans, 14 Democrats, and 3 Opposition members with Tom Corwin of Ohio as chairman. The Committee of 33 began meeting on the 11th, and three days later southerners issued a circular with 30 signatures declaring that Republicans would never offer what they could accept. The House voted on six propositions presented by Corwin.
      Charles Francis Adams Sr. argued that southern concessions would not work, but he hoped that his peaceful attitude would slow down the South and keep border states in the Union. If they could hold Virginia, Maryland, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Missouri for a year, he hoped that a fair and mild Lincoln administration would make the South realize the folly of secession. Adams and Seward with Henry W. Davis of Maryland worked out a plan that would admit New Mexico as a state, and its people would decide on slavery; but southerners realized that it would be a free state and blocked the plan.
      Treasury Secretary Cobb resigned on December 8, and his successor, Philip Thomas of Maryland, lasted only 33 days. Cass resigned on the 14th and was replaced at State by Jeremiah Black, whose position as Attorney General six days later went to Edwin Stanton of Ohio, a skilled lawyer who persuaded Black that secession is illegal. On December 17 Captain J. G. Foster at Fort Moultrie acquired 40 muskets from a Federal arsenal. Two days later War Secretary Floyd telegraphed Foster to return the arms instantly, and he did.
      On December 18 Tennessee’s unionist Senator Andrew Johnson had urged southerners to struggle for their rights based on the Constitution, and he warned that a civil war would destroy slavery. That day the US Senate formed a Committee of Thirteen. Plans presented by southerners and Douglas were quickly rejected, but Kentucky Senator Crittenden proposed six amendments to the Constitution that were considered for a while. They would extend the Missouri Compromise line west to California, forbid Congress from abolishing slavery in any slave state, or in the District of Columbia without their consent and compensation, protect interstate transportation of fugitive slaves, allow Congress to compensate owners who lost fugitive slaves, and forbid any other change to the Constitution on slavery. However, Lincoln and Republicans made it clear they would never accept the extension of slavery in the territories.
      On December 20 the South Carolina convention of 169 delegates voted unanimously to secede and form an independent commonwealth, and they appointed three commissioners to negotiate with President Buchanan on the cession of national property.
      On December 25 the Constitution newspaper advised that the nation must recognize secession or face civil war. Buchanan notified the editor, W. M. Browne, that the paper no longer represented his administration, and it ceased publishing at the end of January 1861.
      Fort Moultrie was built for 700 men but had a garrison of only 60. On the night of December 26 Major Anderson moved his men to Fort Sumter and had a rearguard spike the guns and burn the gun-carriages at Fort Moultrie. South Carolina’s new Governor Francis Pickens demanded that Anderson return to Moultrie, but he refused. Pickens then sent ten military units to guard the arsenal, which had munitions worth $500,000. They took over the Federal Treasury and sent a force to unguarded Fort Pinckney. Anderson telegraphed Washington, and Jefferson Davis, Virginia Senator Robert Hunter, and Assistant Secretary of State W. H. Trescot of Charleston got the message and told Buchanan that he was surrounded by dishonor. The President was upset and said it was against his policy. He postponed his meeting with the three South Carolina commissioners and met with his cabinet. Floyd demanded that the garrison be withdrawn from Charleston harbor. Black rejected that, and Stanton said it would be treason. Holt and Toucey agreed with the latter, and Buchanan wanted more information from Anderson.
      On December 27 the three commissioners (Harvard graduate Barnwell, Yale graduate J. H. Adams, and former US House Speaker James Orr) demanded that all Federal forces leave Charleston harbor. Buchanan told them they had to negotiate with the US Congress. He asked for time to pray as he did on all great affairs of state. The commissioners’ demands in writing went to the cabinet the next day. Georgia Senator Toombs wrote Buchanan that Fort Sumter must be evacuated to prevent irrevocable action by southern states. Senator Seward told Orr that Anderson’s movement to Fort Sumter was “most unfortunate,” and they discussed a neutral Fort Sumter. Interior Secretary Thompson of Mississippi suggested withdrawing to show that they mean no harm; but Stanton warned that that would arouse a storm of anger in the North. They recently learned that millions of dollars had been stolen from Thompson’s department, and Floyd’s notes were substituted. Floyd’s relative Goddard Bailey loaned Floyd $150,000 which came from the Indian Trust Fund, and as much as $870,000 may have been embezzled. On December 23 the cabinet interrogated Bailey, and businessman William H. Russell was put in jail; but both men were soon freed.
      Also on December 27 Governor Pickens sent two officers to tell Major Anderson he must go back to Fort Moultrie; but he replied that he would do his duty to the nation even though he sympathized with the South.
      Floyd resigned on December 29 and was replaced by Postmaster Holt who was succeeded by Horatio King of Maine. Black urged Buchanan to grant General Scott’s request to send 250 recruits from New York to Fort Sumter, and Stanton and Holt supported Black. Threatened with an attack on Sumter, he refused to remove his forces. In a letter the commissioners accused the President of breaking his pledge and choosing war. On the 31st Buchanan ordered the warship Brooklyn to take troops and ammunition to Charleston; but Scott sent the steamer Star of the West instead, and it sailed on January 5 and arrived four days later. Cadets from the Citadel Academy fired shore batteries but did little damage, and the ship retreated. Major Anderson had not been notified a relief ship was coming, and he did not fire back. Interior Secretary Thompson resigned on the 8th, and the position was not filled until Lincoln appointed Caleb Smith of Indiana.

United States & Secession in Early 1861

      On 3 January 1861 Claiborne Jackson became Governor of Missouri and urged all slaveholding states to unite against oppression, and Georgia troops seized Fort Pulaski. The states Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana, and North Carolina took over federal forts and arsenals without violence. Also on the 3rd Senator Douglas appealed for peace and warned that an exterminating civil war would make the separation irrevocable. The new Massachusetts Governor John Andrew ordered the militia to fill up their companies. In Memphis a crowd burned an effigy of Senator Andrew Johnson for being a Unionist. Alabama’s Governor Andrew Moore ordered the militia to occupy the Mt. Vernon arsenal, Fort Morgan, and Fort Gaines in Mobile Bay. In Charleston a censor controlled the telegraph office. US Navy Secretary Toucey sent 40 marines to garrison Fort Washington on the Potomac. On the 6th Florida took over the arsenal at Apalachicola, and the next day they seized the fort at St. Augustine. On January 9 US Marines garrisoned Fort McHenry in Baltimore. Senators Benjamin and Slidell warned Governor Moore that federal warships were taking supplies to forts at the mouth of the Mississippi, and he sent 500 militia to take the forts and the arsenal at Baton Rouge.
      The Congregational minister Benjamin Russell Allen on the day of national fasting, January 4, preached a sermon in Marblehead, Massachusetts on “The Constitution and the Union” in which he recognized that opposition to the government even as far as secession is a revolutionary right of all people “above all constitutions,” though no government may provide for that.
      On January 5 the US Senators from Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Florida, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Texas formed a caucus in Washington and agreed that a convention would meet in Montgomery before February 15 to organize a confederacy; but they would keep their seats until then to prevent hostile legislation. On January 6 New York City Mayor Fernando Wood spoke to the Common Council suggesting that New York could become a free city in order to maintain self-government and do business with both sides of a divided nation. Lincoln in Springfield, Illinois wrote letters and conversed with visitors for four hours a day.
      On January 8 President Buchanan sent a special message to Congress in which he wrote,

I certainly had no right
to make aggressive war upon any State,
and I am perfectly satisfied that the Constitution
has wisely withheld that power even from Congress.
But the right and the duty to use military force defensively
against those who resist the Federal officers
in the execution of their legal functions
and against those who assail the property
of the Federal Government is clear and undeniable.
But the dangerous and hostile attitude of the States
toward each other has already far transcended
and cast in the shade the ordinary executive duties
already provided for by law,
and has assumed such vast and alarming proportions
as to place the subject
entirely above and beyond Executive control.
The fact can not be disguised that
we are in the midst of a great revolution.
In all its various bearings, therefore, I commend
the question to Congress as the only human tribunal
under Providence possessing the power
to meet the existing emergency.
To them exclusively belongs the power to declare war
or to authorize the employment of military force
in all cases contemplated by the Constitution,
and they alone possess the power to remove grievances
which might lead to war
and to secure peace and union to this distracted country.
On them, and on them alone, rests the responsibility.11

      A Mississippi convention voted for secession 85-15 on January 9, followed by a Florida convention voting 72-7 on the 10th and Alabama 61-39 on the 11th. On the day Florida seceded, the US Army officer Adam J. Slemmer had 9,100 kg. of gunpowder destroyed at Fort McRee. Then he had the guns spiked at Fort Barrancas and transferred his force to Fort Pickens. Only in Alabama was there a substantial minority opposing secession, and 33 of the 100 delegates refused to sign the secession ordinance. On the 21st Louisiana took over the Baton Rouge arsenal, Fort St. Philip, and Fort Jackson. The next day Florida occupied Fort Barrancas and the Pensacola navy yard.
      John Dix of New York became Treasury Secretary on January 15. Black, Holt, Stanton, and Dix persuaded Buchanan to defend the forts and other federal property in the South, and those four were advised by Seward. Dix lived in the White House and talked with Buchanan every night. The President decided that he would not recognize secession, and he would not give up national property. Navy Secretary Toucey supported Buchanan. Governor Hicks opposed disunion and refused to summon the Maryland legislature. Dix sent a Treasury officer to New Orleans to take the revenue cutters and send them to New York.
      Corwin submitted the report of the Committee of 33 on January 14 along with six minority reports. Ten days later he wrote to Lincoln that the Union would dissolve and that a “bloody war must follow.” He blamed the madness of both sides and wrote to Lincoln,

Treason is in the air around us everywhere.
It goes by the name of patriotism.
Men in Congress boldly avow it,
and the public offices
are full of acknowledged secessionists.12

      Kentucky Governor Beriah Magoffin called a special session of the legislature to consider secession on January 17; but they voted against secession in the South and against coercion by the North. They invited other states to attend a national convention. Georgia’s convention voted to secede 208-39 on the 19th, and on that day the Virginia legislature proposed a peace convention for representatives from all the states.
      On January 21 Jefferson Davis made his farewell speech, and he and the four senators from Florida and Alabama withdrew from Congress. On that day the Senate voted 36-16 to admit Kansas as a state. Nine northern Democrats supported the Republicans, and they soon established the territories of Dakota, Colorado, and Nevada. Democrats from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York helped pass a tariff bill that Buchanan signed. Also on the 21st Mississippi troops took Fort Massachusetts on the Gulf coast. On the 25th Georgia troops occupied the arsenal at Augusta and Fort Jackson the next day. Also on the 26th the Louisiana  convention voted to secede 113-17. On January 29 Louisiana troops took over Fort Macomb, and two days later they seized the US Branch Mint in New Orleans.
      Senator Seward had agreed to be Lincoln’s Secretary of State on January 10, and he said he would try to save freedom for his country and prevent a civil war. On the 22nd Seward made a major speech suggesting conciliation and offering a compromise plan. He told California Senator Gwin that he hoped that the two sections could be separated peacefully so that people in the future could decide whether they are kept separate. The 1860 census had found only 10 slaves in the Nebraska Territory, 24 in the New Mexico Territory, and 29 in the Utah Territory. Southern efforts to expand into Cuba, Mexico, or Central America were not looking likely. Lincoln had said he would not attack a slave state, and he believed slavery would eventually become extinct. Kansas was admitted as a free state on January 29.
      Virginia’s new Governor John Letcher proposed a national peace conference that met in Washington from February 4 to 27, and they started by discussing the Crittenden Compromise. However, seven states from the deep South boycotted, and the states of Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, California, and Oregon were not represented. Ex-President Tyler presided, and they approved resolutions similar to the Crittenden plan which a Senate committee rejected 28-7, and on March 1 the House voted to not consider the proposal.
      Texas Governor Houston was a unionist and reluctantly called the legislature to meet on January 21. Radical leaders called a convention that met one week later, and on February 1 they voted 166-8 to secede even though only about half the counties sent delegates. Texans seized the arsenal at San Antonio on February 16. A referendum on February 23 confirmed their vote for secession with 46,153 for and 14,747 against. Texas was the seventh state to secede.
      Delegates from the first six states to secede met in Montgomery on February 4. Howell Cobb presided, and each state had one vote in the convention. On the 8th they adopted a Constitution for a provisional government of the Confederate States of America (CSA). The next day they elected Jefferson Davis as provisional President, and Alexander Stephens was unanimously elected Vice President. In a few weeks they drafted a permanent Constitution based on the US model that emphasized state rights, guaranteed slavery, and left out the general welfare clauses. Although they protected slavery, the African slave trade was still banned. States could not coin money or make alliances or compacts with other states. The President and VP could only serve one six-year term. The Treasury was not to pay bounties, and protective tariffs were prohibited. Cabinet members were given seats in Congress to discuss departmental issues. US laws were to be enforced if they did not conflict with the Confederate Constitution. The US mail would be delivered in North and South, and the Mississippi River remained open for commerce. The Choctaw nation joined the Confederacy on February 7. Two days later Tennessee rejected a call for a secession convention by a vote of 69,387 to 57,798. North Carolinians did the same on February 28 by the narrow vote of 47,323 to 46,672.
      On February 18 Confederate President Davis gave his inaugural address at Montgomery, and on that occasion he may have also said, “All we ask is to be left alone.” In his speech he noted, “The separation of the Confederate States has been marked by no aggression upon others and followed by no domestic convulsion,” and he said that they would raise an army to defend their harbors and commerce on the high seas. On February 12 the CSA Congress had passed a resolution to take control of the forts in their states, and on the 22nd they resolved to take over Fort Sumter and Fort Pickens on an island off Pensacola, Florida.
      President-elect Lincoln left Springfield on February 11 on his way to Washington. On that day in Indianapolis he spoke to 20,000 people, saying,

If the Government, for instance,
but simply insists upon holding its own forts,
or retaking those forts which belonged to it,—
or the enforcement of the laws of the United States
in the collection of duties upon foreign importations,—
or even the withdrawal of the mails
from those portions of the country
where the mails themselves are habitually violated;
would any or all of these things be coercion?
Do the lovers of the Union contend that
they will resist coercion or invasion of any State,
understanding that any or all of these
would be coercing or invading a State?
If they do, then it occurs to me that the means
for the preservation of the Union they so greatly love,
in their own estimation, is of a very thin and airy character.
If sick, they would consider
the little pills of the homeopathist
as already too large for them to swallow.
In their view, the Union, as a family relation,
would not be anything like a regular marriage at all,
but only as a sort of free-love arrangement,
to be maintained on what that sect calls
passionate attraction.13

Lincoln was in Columbus, Ohio two days later when the electoral votes were counted and confirmed. He had visited his VP Hannibal Hamlin in Chicago, and he had hired John Nicolay and his friend John Hay, both of Illinois, as his personal secretaries. In choosing his Republican cabinet the main conflict was between the moderates led by Seward and Adams against the radicals who favored Chase such as Sumner, Wade, Zack Chandler, and Greeley. Seward was to be Secretary of State, and Chase was likely to be at the Treasury. Lincoln chose Edward Bates to be Attorney General. David Davis had promised to give Cameron a cabinet position, but several people including Thaddeus Stevens, William Cullen Bryant, and Matthew Carey warned him that Cameron lacked integrity and could not be trusted. Although Cameron had influence in Pennsylvania, on January 3 Lincoln had written him a letter saying he could not appoint him. The Pennsylvania legislature, the Philadelphia Inquirer, iron and coal men, and many others backed Cameron. Davis had also promised a cabinet post to Caleb Smith of Indiana, and because of his interest in improvements, Lincoln chose him for Interior. About 250,000 people met Lincoln’s train in New York City on February 19.
      Orville Browning was an Illinois attorney who had defended five men accused of murdering the Mormon prophet Joseph Smith in 1844 and who had been a delegate at the convention at Bloomington, Illinois in May 1856 that opposed the Kansas-Nebraska Act and supported the forming of the Republican Party. On February 17 he wrote a letter to Lincoln in response to the draft of his inaugural address that Lincoln showed him. Browning criticized the “threat or menace” that would irritate border states in the following statement:

All the power at my disposal will be used
to reclaim the public property and places which have fallen;
to hold, occupy and possess these, and all other property
and places belonging to the government.14

Browning suggested that he limit himself to holding only the property the Union still controlled, and he made the following argument:

In any conflict which may ensue between the government
and the seceding States it is very important that
the traitors shall be the aggressors, and that
they be kept constantly and palpably in the wrong.15

Lincoln liked that argument and decided not to try to reclaim places already controlled by seceding states. Lincoln wanted a strong policy, and he was prepared to go to war; but he wanted it look like an action of the South was in the wrong and starting the war.
      William Seward also read the draft and warned that the bellicose rhetoric in the speech would expand the secession movement. He persuaded Lincoln to take out the phrase that he was “bound by duty” and “good faith” to follow the Chicago platform which Bates considered “exclusive and defiant.” Seward warned that this would help disunionists get Virginia and Maryland to secede so that they would have to fight the South to protect the capital. Seward also objected to Lincoln’s promise to “hold, occupy, and possess” property in the seceded states such as Fort Sumter. Seward also suggested that Lincoln not use the word “treasonable” to describe Confederacy’s ordinances and actions and replace it with “revolutionary.” Lincoln chose to say “insurrectionary or revolutionary.”
      The Missouri Republican had surprised the state by calling for secession on the last day of 1860, and the Democratic Governor Claiborne Jackson supported that cause. A state convention met on February 18. A large majority of Missourians voted against secession while the convention voted 89-6 for evacuating national troops from southern forts.
      Congress also passed the reforms to stop mail service to the Pacific by steamship, revise patent laws, and create the Government Printing Office instead of farming out the work. They debated a bill to use militia and volunteer forces to handle disturbances. When Lincoln reached Washington, he used his influence to help defeat that.
      The detective Allan Pinkerton warned Lincoln of a credible threat of a possible assassination. Yet he spoke at Independence Hall in Philadelphia on February 22, saying,

Now, in my view of the present aspect of affairs,
there is no need of bloodshed and war.
There is no necessity for it.
I am not in favor of such a course,
and I may say in advance, there will be no blood shed
unless it be forced upon the Government.
The Government will not use force
unless force is used against it.16

Lincoln used a disguise when he entered Washington before dawn on February 23, and he stayed at the Willard Hotel where Chase also had a room. Lincoln met with Seward there and with President Buchanan at the White House. On the 27th he met with Senator Douglas and others who believed that conciliation was possible. The US Congress authorized the building of seven steam warships. The next day the Confederate Congress voted to borrow $25 million.
      In an effort to prevent an imminent war, on February 28 the US House of Representatives voted 133-65 to approve an amendment to the US Constitution that would prevent interfering with slavery inside a state, and on March 2 the Senate approved it 24-12, giving the needed two-thirds votes to send the proposed amendment to the states for their ratification. Although seven slave states had seceded, the other eight slave states held back. The Delaware legislature voted overwhelmingly against it. Maryland’s Governor Thomas Hicks wished the South well but refused to summon the legislature because he considered it rebellion. The Kentucky senate voted against holding a state convention. Arkansas elected mostly conservatives to a convention,, and Missouri had no advocates for secession. Virginia had defeated a resolution for secession in January, and Unionists there gained a convention; but by late February the conservatives had gained control. North Carolina voted against holding a convention as did Tennessee which had a majority of delegates for a Union. In the first seven Confederate states slaves were 47% of the population, and 37% of white families owned slaves; but in the upper South only 24% of the people were slaves.
      Also on February 28 Confederate President Davis appointed three commissioners led by Martin J. Crawford of Georgia to go to Washington as ambassadors to negotiate the division of the former Federal Union. Crawford arrived alone on March 3 and asked to meet the incoming Secretary of State Seward to adjust issues arising from the separation for the “future welfare of the two nations” such as apportioning the national debt, dividing western territories. Seceding states had already seized some federal properties in their states, and he wanted to negotiate remaining property still held by the Federal Union. Secretary Seward refused to recognize or meet with these envoys, but he did try to negotiate through third parties.
      On March 2 the Morill Tariff Act became law. On that day Seward sent a message to Lincoln that if Chase was in the cabinet, he would not serve. Lincoln responded that if Chase was out, Seward would be too; but they came to an agreement. Lincoln’s cabinet would also include Cameron as War Secretary, Gideon Welles as Navy Secretary, and Montgomery Blair as Postmaster-General. Lincoln at the age of 52 would be the youngest President so far.
      The oldest President by then, James Buchanan, finished his book, Mr. Buchanan’s Administration on the Eve of the Rebellion in 1862, but it was not published until 1866.
      On March 3 the US Congress proposed an amendment to the US Constitution to prohibit the federal government from abolishing or interfering with slavery in the states, but this would be ratified by only two states. On that day Virginia Congressman A. R. Boteler met with Lincoln to inform him that Congress was considering a Force Bill that could lead to war, but he believed in enforcing laws by peaceable means, not by bayonets. He warned that the Force Bill would cause Virginia to secede and would involve the country in a civil war. Lincoln believed the bill could be stopped, but he did not want to interfere with that Congress. That night the House voted to adjourn and did not give the President the power to summon the militia and volunteers.
      Also on March 3 Russia’s Tsar Alexander II decreed the liberation of about 23 million serfs, one-third of the Russian people, though the story would not be printed in the New York Times until March 26.

Notes

1. Quoted in The Emergence of Lincoln, Volume II: Prologue to Civil War 1859-1861 by Allan Nevins, p. 121.
2. The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, Volume IV, p. 7 and 12.
3. The New York Times, April 6, 1860, telegraphic report.
4. The Works of Charles Sumner, Volume V, p. 20.
5. “The Annual Meeting of the Pennsylvania Anti-Slavery Society, 1860” in Antislavery and Disunion, 1858-1861: Studies in the Rhetoric of Compromise and Conflict ed. J. Jeffery Auer, p. 256.
6. New York Weekly Tribune, September 8, 1860 quoted in The Emergence of Lincoln, Volume II, p. 294.
7. Civil War, The: The First Year Told by Those Who Lived It ed. Brooks D. Simpson et al, p. 9-10.
8. New York Weekly Tribune, November 17, 1860 quoted in The Emergence of Lincoln, Volume II,  p. 338.
9. Messages and Papers of the Presidents 1789-1908, Volume V, p. 636.
10. Ibid.
11. Quoted in Life of James Buchanan: Fifteenth President of the United States, Volume II by Richard N. Curtis, p. 434.
12. Abraham Lincoln: A History by John G. Nicolay and John Hay, Volume III, p. 218.
13. The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, Volume IV, p. 195.
14. Quoted in Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin, p. 324.
15. Ibid.
16. Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, Volume IV, p. 240-241.

Copyright © 2020 by Sanderson Beck

 

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