Did Lincoln follow precedents set by previous Presidents when dealing with the secession/rebellion of the southern states?

jgoodguy

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Discussion.

The most obvious precedent is Jackson's reaction to SC nullification crisis.
Another is Washington's reaction to the Whisky Rebellion.

However, both had been in office a long while and both ever experienced military men compared to Lincoln's absence from office when the crisis started, lack of experience, and not informed by Buchannan.

I'm not looking at legal precedents.

There are other issues of what exactly did Lincoln do to impeded secession before hostilities. After shots fired it is a hot war with obvious precedents.
Go for it.
 

Jim Klag

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It's not a fair test. When Lincoln was sworn in, secession/rebellion was a fait accompli. In addition, members of Congress and federal officers (John B. Floyd for one) of Buchanan's administration had been complicit in the rebellious actions. There was no precedent for what Lincoln faced. Faced with this novel situation Lincoln did remarkably well, even though members of his own cabinet (i.e. Seward) were often at cross purposes with the President.
 

jgoodguy

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It's not a fair test. When Lincoln was sworn in, secession/rebellion was a fait accompli. In addition, members of Congress and federal officers (John B. Floyd for one) of Buchanan's administration had been complicit in the rebellious actions. There was no precedent for what Lincoln faced. Faced with this novel situation Lincoln did remarkably well, even though members of his own cabinet (i.e. Seward) were often at cross purposes with the President.
Good point. The original question was in the context of a Lincoln bashing fest, however, I thought the question was interesting, but ultimately nonsense because Lincoln did not confront a secession and no other president confront a rebellion.
 

diane

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Congressman John Gilmer, of North Carolina, had asked Lincoln to explain his position in hopes of moderating Northern reaction to Southern action - that was seen through, though. It seemed the Cotton States were determined well before Lincoln got to the White House what they would do. Lincoln saw Gilmer's suggestion as opening the door for changing his stance but he could not change the positions on which he had been elected. Not much of an olive branch! He consulted the Webster-Haynes debates and Jackson's nullification crisis - Henry Clay figured in as well. These political predecessors combined with Lincoln's reading of the Constitution formed the course of action he took. His immediate predecessor - Buchanan, sympathetic to the planters, tacitly supported people like Floyd in his administration and generals like Twiggs in Texas - the secession was in motion even before he left office. If the secessionists had been willing to take it through the court system to the Supremes they likely would have won, especially with Taney still there. IMHO, Lincoln's precedent was variations on kick the can...and his presidency was where the road finally ended.
 

5fish

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I'm not looking at legal precedents.
His inaugural address showed weakness just adding fuel to the fire...

He did wire tap all the telegraph lines going into Washington without any acknowledgement to Congress...

Government intervention in the economy, in infrastructure, in science, and ect...

Snip was Foreign diplomacy his or Seward... wiki...

For decades historians have debated who played the most important roles in shaping Union diplomacy. During the early 20th century, Secretary of State William Seward was seen as an Anglophobe who dominated a weak president. Lincoln's reputation was restored by Jay Monaghan who, in 1945, emphasized Lincoln's quiet effectiveness behind the scenes.[6] A new study by Norman Ferris in 1976 was a realistic study of Seward's actual programming, emphasizing his leadership role.[7] Lincoln continues to get high marks for his moral leadership in defining the meaning of the conflict in terms of democracy and freedom.[8][9] Numerous monographs have highlighted the leadership role of Charles Sumner as head of the Senate Foreign Relations committee,[10] and Charles Francis Adams as minister to the Court of St. James (Britain),.[11] Historians have studied Washington's team of hard-working diplomats,[12] financiers[13] and spies across Europe.[14][15]
 

diane

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There were a number of things Lincoln did without Congress, and one of the reasons he delayed the session convening was so he could do them. Most were not undone when Congress did convene. To me, Lincoln's genius was in being able to herd cats. When he began his first term, he didn't even have a dog for a friend in Washington but by the time he was assassinated he had the deep respect of almost everybody. For someone who revered the Constitution he certainly took liberties with it but the idea of a benign dictator was not objectionable in that time. In many ways, Lincoln fit the term.
 

Jim Klag

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His inaugural address showed weakness just adding fuel to the fire...
Bullshit. He was deliberately being conciliatory as a salve on southerners' soreness. The fact that it didn't work was due to southern blind adherence to the party line - anyone elected president other than the doughiest faced Democrat was unacceptable and meant only to rob them of their rights and deprive them of their peculiar institution.
 
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jgoodguy

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Congressman John Gilmer, of North Carolina, had asked Lincoln to explain his position in hopes of moderating Northern reaction to Southern action - that was seen through, though. It seemed the Cotton States were determined well before Lincoln got to the White House what they would do. Lincoln saw Gilmer's suggestion as opening the door for changing his stance but he could not change the positions on which he had been elected. Not much of an olive branch! He consulted the Webster-Haynes debates and Jackson's nullification crisis - Henry Clay figured in as well. These political predecessors combined with Lincoln's reading of the Constitution formed the course of action he took. His immediate predecessor - Buchanan, sympathetic to the planters, tacitly supported people like Floyd in his administration and generals like Twiggs in Texas - the secession was in motion even before he left office. If the secessionists had been willing to take it through the court system to the Supremes they likely would have won, especially with Taney still there. IMHO, Lincoln's precedent was variations on kick the can...and his presidency was where the road finally ended.
Good points on the legal/political precedents I think the secession 'cake' was in the oven and most like done before Lincoln took office.

Lincoln and his Attorney General Edward Bates. also looked at the military acts of 1792, 1795, 1807 (Emergency Power and the Militia Acts) which seems to me to void secession.


.
 

jgoodguy

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Bullshit. He was deliberately being conciliatory as a salve on southerners' soreness. The fact that it didn't work was due to southern blind adherence to the party line - anyone elected president other than the doughiest faced Democrat was unacceptable and meant only to rob them of their rights and deprive them of their peculiar institution.
The secessionists regarded it as inflammatory. OTOH anything except capitulation by a Northern commoner was offensive to the secessionist aristocrats.
 

Jim Klag

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The secessionists regarded it as inflammatory. OTOH anything except capitulation by a Northern commoner was offensive to the secessionist aristocrats.
Correct. Lincoln would go a long way to be conciliatory but he would not give away the farm, which is what the southern firebrands wanted. Their negotiating position always was, "Give us everything we want and then we'll talk." Lincoln's always was, "Bring yourselves back into proper relation to the federal government and then we'll talk." Not much common ground there.
 

5fish

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Bullshit.
He spoke of reconciliation with the secessionist... showed weakness... added grit to rebellion...

In his inaugural address, Lincoln promised not to interfere with the institution of slavery where it existed, and pledged to suspend the activities of the federal government temporarily in areas of hostility.

Snip... he has his hug a southern moment.... weakness: https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/lincoln-inaugurated

“In your hand, my fellow countrymen, and not in mine, is the momentous issue of civil war. The government will not assail you. You can have no conflict without being yourselves the aggressors. You have no oath in Heaven to destroy the government, while I shall have the most solemn one to preserve, protect, and defend it… We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave, to every living heart and hearthstone, all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.


 

diane

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I read that differently, 5fish! It shows strength and offers a dignified way out. Do this and I'll have to do that but it doesn't have to be that way if we remember we are countrymen. There's no weakness in the inaugural address. (Lincoln was almost a prose poet, by the way.)
 

Jim Klag

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I read that differently, 5fish! It shows strength and offers a dignified way out. Do this and I'll have to do that but it doesn't have to be that way if we remember we are countrymen. There's no weakness in the inaugural address. (Lincoln was almost a prose poet, by the way.)
Zackly, @diane.
 

jgoodguy

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Correct. Lincoln would go a long way to be conciliatory but he would not give away the farm, which is what the southern firebrands wanted. Their negotiating position always was, "Give us everything we want and then we'll talk." Lincoln's always was, "Bring yourselves back into proper relation to the federal government and then we'll talk." Not much common ground there.
Exactly
 

5fish

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Noooo.....

Lincoln supported the Coriwin amendment another suck up to the slavers... in his inaugural address...



Abraham Lincoln, in his first inaugural address on March 4, said of the Corwin Amendment:[17]

I understand a proposed amendment to the Constitution—which amendment, however, I have not seen—has passed Congress, to the effect that the Federal Government shall never interfere with the domestic institutions of the States, including that of persons held to service ... holding such a provision to now be implied constitutional law, I have no objection to its being made express and irrevocable.




Lincoln like the weak Buchanan supported slavery as President's...
 

jgoodguy

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Noooo.....

Lincoln supported the Coriwin amendment another suck up to the slavers... in his inaugural address...



Abraham Lincoln, in his first inaugural address on March 4, said of the Corwin Amendment:[17]

I understand a proposed amendment to the Constitution—which amendment, however, I have not seen—has passed Congress, to the effect that the Federal Government shall never interfere with the domestic institutions of the States, including that of persons held to service ... holding such a provision to now be implied constitutional law, I have no objection to its being made express and irrevocable.




Lincoln like the weak Buchanan supported slavery as President's...
Didn't the secessionists reject Coriwin.
 

Jim Klag

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Lincoln like the weak Buchanan supported slavery as President's...
Hardly. Lincoln felt that he had no constitutional authority to interfere with slavery in the states. That is far from support. Read the quote again. To paraphrase - since the implied language of the constitution already says basically the same thing, I have no objection to the amendment.
 
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