GDG- NPs & Slavery

Andy Mills amills at
Thu Jan 5 11:53:58 CST 2012

However:  Germany was already fighting a two-front war and not interested in bringing in another participant.  

Lincoln in April 1861 was not fighting a two front war and wasn't fighting any war.  Provocation was in Lincoln's interests.  As Otto von Bismarck would say "Make the other side declare war on you" so you have what appears to be the moral justification for going to war.  Lincoln needed this as the North wouldn't support a war to bring the South back into the Union until an act of aggression against the US occurred.  Had there been no Sumter, I am hard pressed to believe Lincoln could get enough support to launch a war to suppress the south and bring them back into the fold (remember, a few border states remained loyal until after Lincoln's call for troops).    

Germany was already fighting a war and America's entry would only further hinder their ability to conquer Europe.  Losing Iceland and East Africa wasn't worth bringing in another participant.

Much as the Trent Affair later in 1861, it wasn't worth bringing Britain into the war, he backed down as he was already fighting a two front war and didn't need to open another front against a very powerful nation.  The same goes for Germany in 1941.  


-----Original Message-----
From: gettysburg-bounces at [mailto:gettysburg-bounces at] On Behalf Of John Lawrence
Sent: Tuesday, January 03, 2012 8:48 PM
Subject: Re: GDG- NPs & Slavery

Esteemed GDG Member Contributes:
Hi Bob.
I think think the theory of the war of northern aggression goes like this.
South Carolina   claimed to have seceded from the Union. They laid, among other things, claim to Fort Sumter.
Lincoln, in typical Lincoln chicanery manner, sent "The star of the West", an unarmed civilian vessel, to resupply the fort.
The  confederates were compelled to fire on the ship and, ultimately, the fort.
The theory is that Lincoln was fully aware that Lincoln knew that the south would be forced to fire on this act of aggression  cunningly disguised as an unarmed civilian supply ship, thus provoking the war.
This is the theory anyway.
Examining this theory with more credibility than it probably deserves, we can look at other situations where it was presumed that an action by one side or another would inevitably lead to war by the other side.
In WWII in July of 1941 American Marines occupied Iceland, which was designated as one of 38 actions that, if executed, would immediately lead to war with Germany and the United States.
These troops were directed at the order of President Roosevelt, from transit through the Panama Canal to the occupation of east Africa.
The occupation of East Africa was deemed critical to operations in the south Atlantic in the of war with Germany. This occupation in Africa was also on the "Germany Will Go To War" list.
Despite the fact that America willingly occupied a country on the "Go to War" list, Germany did not declare war on the United States.
In fact, Germany did not declare war on the United States until after the United States declared war on Japan after Pearl Harbor, as Butler felt the Axis treaty required.

Any intimation that Lincoln's Western Star attempt was a knowing, deceitful act of war is ridiculous. 

There was no "Northern aggression".
Only another South Carolina intelligentsia act of arrogance.


Bob Huddleston <huddleston.r at> wrote:

>Esteemed GDG Member Contributes:
>I was unaware that Lincoln went to war with the slave states. Silly me I thought it was the slave states that went to war with Lincoln & the Black Republicans.
>Tom Ryan <pennmardel at> wrote:
>>Esteemed GDG Member Contributes:
>>Sorry, Dennis.  Your approach to this is a little too pedantic for my 
>>sensibilities.  I prefer to emphasize why Lincoln went to war with the 
>>South, not what was the underlying cause for secession.
>>-----Original Message-----
>>From: gettysburg-bounces at
>>[mailto:gettysburg-bounces at]On Behalf Of Dennis Lawrence
>>Sent: Tuesday, January 03, 2012 1:15 PM
>>To: GDG
>>Subject: Re: GDG- NPs & Slavery
>>Esteemed GDG Member Contributes:
>>At 12:03 PM 1/3/2012, you wrote:
>>>Esteemed GDG Member Contributes:
>>><<No slavery, no secession  ,  no secession no war.  Those are 
>>>unassailable parts of how the war began.>>
>>>That implies that secession could not have taken place except for the 
>>>issue of slavery.  It also implies that the North would have gone to 
>>>war over secession regardless of why it came about.
>>No, it does not imply anything.  It is simply stating the historical 
>>facts.  There may be alternatives that you would like to explore , but 
>>these are the historical facts, not implications.
>>>It is true, however, that slavery was the motivation for secession in 
>>>this case.
>>And that is the only case that is being discussed.  Historically 
>>secession was caused by slavery.  That led to war.  There's really no 
>>other way to look at it without linguistic gymnastics
>>>   It is also true that Lincoln did not go to war over the slavery 
>>But he went to war to save the Union, and that became a war to end 
>>slavery.  That is historical fact as well.
>>   That needs to be explored and it can only be done by looking at how 
>>secession was caused by slavery that eventually led to the war being 
>>fought to end slavery.
>>>The point is what should and should not be presented to the visitor's 
>>>at Gettysburg.  I happen to lean more to the preservation of the Union side.
>>I do not have any issue with those who want to limit or change or want 
>>more or less on  slavery in the visitor center.  To each his own.
>>My only concern is the argument that slavery was not somehow the cause 
>>of the war when  clearly it was the key point.
>>.  Whether not Lincoln should have could have or would have chosen  
>>something besides war is not the point.  War was the result of 
>>secession that was caused by slavery
>> >>>>>>
>> >>>>>>
>>We perceive, uneasily , that slavery somehow was there at the 
>>constitutional beginning, liken unbidden, malevolent spirit at a 
>>festive celebration; the fairy tale witch who was not invited to the 
>>christening but who came anyway, and in an act; of spite left the 
>>curse on the child.  William M. Wiecek.
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