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32 minutes ago, Warfish said:

While Buchanan was indeed mostly inept, I think you underestimate the challenge and division by the time Buchanan took office.

I don't think any President we've ever elected could have stopped the tide of War by that point.  Hypotheticals aside, I don't see a real-world compromise scenario both would have accepted and peacefully maintained that would have actually avoided War, ultimately.

From what I have read and heard at lectures/symposiums, I'd say about 70 % of the scholars agree with you. An armed conflict was unavoidable. There is still considerable merit behind the hypothetical outcomes had the executive/legislative/judicial branches acted differently.  Particularly, during the Buchanan presidency. There are solid reasons to consider the Buchanan administration to be one of the worst if not the absolute worst in U.S. history.  

Referring back to to my discussion with the other fellow.  He was suggesting that the Union and the Confederacy were moral equivalents.  That position is not defensible.  Invalidate the Unionist cause or Civil rights or the Suffragettes because some of their participants had unflattering pasts or reprehensible personal qualities ??? Absolute nonsense. 

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The Washington Douches

And watch all the confederate-flag loving Southerners go bonkers?   Yes, please.

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On 8/19/2021 at 9:21 AM, Long Island Leprechaun said:

I was on a Civil War history forum for about ten years. The running joke was that it was clear that the war wasn't over. Northerners didn't drive that narrative at all... mainly because the Union was victorious. For the most part discussion was "civil" and very knowledgeable. Some serious scholars attended regularly. As well as enactors... those guys who dress up in civil war gear and show up on anniversaries of battles to play them out. They were literally immersed in the minutiae of individual soldiering and meticulous re the step by step action of specific battles. And there was a sadness about it all as well. Focusing so intensely on how a nation ripped itself apart over a vile institution that should have been abolished years before is demoralizing to say the least. Strange how so many of its themes have resurfaced with such force in recent years. 

And can you believe that most people of any age are not able to tell you the year the Civil war started, how long it lasted, the number of people that were killed, the number of slave owners in 1860, the number of slaves in 1860.  Etc.  They don't even know the vitals.

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46 minutes ago, THE BARON said:

From what I have read and heard at lectures/symposiums, I'd say about 70 % of the scholars agree with you. An armed conflict was unavoidable. There is still considerable merit behind the hypothetical outcomes had the executive/legislative/judicial branches acted differently.  Particularly, during the Buchanan presidency.

I just have hesitancy when the study of History enters into Harry Turtledove or S.M. Stirling territory.

History is a complex weave of people, actions and events.  Tug one thread, and you change the whole.  The variables become infinite, and it still boils down to Alt-Historical Fiction, no matter how well read the theorizer may be.

Just read what you said:  "had the executive/legislative/judicial branches acted differently".  That's a hell of alot of change vs. what happened alone, much less the many ramifications of such a wholesale change.

46 minutes ago, THE BARON said:

There are solid reasons to consider the Buchanan administration to be one of the worst if not the absolute worst in U.S. history.

Agreed.

While I don't think anyone could have stopped the War, Buchanan certainly didn't do much or to much effect to try.

46 minutes ago, THE BARON said:

Referring back to to my discussion with the other fellow.  He was suggesting that the Union and the Confederacy were moral equivalents.  That position is not defensible.

Agreed.  The South (especially Southern Churches) tried to justify it with biblical teachings, but no, there really is no comparison.  With that said, "freeing the slaves" was not the primary goal of the North at the start either, maintaining the Union was.  Not to say it wasn't on many minds in the North, including in leadership, of course.

 

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2 hours ago, Warfish said:

 With that said, "freeing the slaves" was not the primary goal of the North at the start either, maintaining the Union was.  Not to say it wasn't on many minds in the North, including in leadership, of course.

 

That is a complex issue.  Understanding it goes well past leaning on Lincoln's quote:

"If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone, I would also do that."

Much of the political impetus in northern states leading up to the Civil War was driven by fervent abolitionists.  Those states/powers had significant  representation in the Federal government

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18 hours ago, Warfish said:

With that said, "freeing the slaves" was not the primary goal of the North at the start either, maintaining the Union was.  Not to say it wasn't on many minds in the North, including in leadership, of course.

 

Bingo.  The South seceded because of slavery, and the North would not let them secede.  Mostly because self-declared secession by a state or states was unconstitutional.

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18 hours ago, THE BARON said:

Much of the political impetus in northern states leading up to the Civil War was driven by fervent abolitionists.  Those states/powers had significant  representation in the Federal government

True, but note Lincoln in his Inaugural Address:  "I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so."  https://avalon.law.yale.edu/19th_century/lincoln1.asp

Lincoln, who hated slavery, was offering a deal to the South-stay within the Union, and the slave states can continue owning their slaves.  The South insisted on attempting to unconstitutionally secede anyway, so once the war started Lincoln was no longer bound by his promise to let slavery exist in those states which already had it.

Notice Lincoln said nothing about slavery in the territories.  His hope was that somewhere down the line, enough territories would be admitted as nonslave states so that eventually slavery will be ended.

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