More responses from (Dr) Allen C. Guelzo
Lincoln and the "central idea of America"
From: George Purvis
To: Allen Guelzo
In response to your claims:
1. So, what this means is that other people did, but there’s no evidence Lincoln ordered the return of any fugitive to slavery. Point to me.
2. How lightly you treat slavery and bondage. You would never invite it for yourself, but you seem to think others should be perfectly happy under it. What would you have said to the slave laborers of the Gulag or the Holocaust? Should they not have arisen in violent insurrection?
3. McClellan was not an attorney. Lincoln did not own property anywhere near the "eastern terminus" of the transcontinental railroad, nor did he designate such a terminus. Where did you get this nonsense?
4. The Benson and Kennedy books have been read by myself. They are teeming with errors, and have no more sunbstance than the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Because you can cling only to writers of this ilk, it is you who have stopped up your ears.
6. There is no such thing as secession. The Constitution makes no provision and provides no mechanism for secession. No other nation on the face of the earth recognized it as such, despite missions sent by the Confederacy, and four years of opportunity. Ergo, the Confederacy was merely a revolution. Like all revolutions, it took its chance, and lost. Lincoln claimed to do no more than send food and medicine to Ft. Sumter, not soldiers and supplies; that was too much for the Confederates, who opened fire on the fort. The Confederacy, in other words, had less charity than the Iranian Revolutionary Guards did toward our captives in 1979.
7. Go out in your backyard, fire a cannon at the nearest U.S. military installation, and then incite your neighbors to attack it. Then tell me why you should not be arrested for treason. Secession is the Big Lie. There never was a secession and never will be.
8. Yes, I know who Gustavus Fox and Orville Hickman Browning were, which is why I also know that the attempt to pin silly accusations on them is ludicrous. You, evidently, do not know who they were — Fox was not the captain of any ship, but the ass’t secretary of the Navy — but you nevertheless have a great deal to say about what you know nothing about.
Now for your questions:
1. The first shot was fired on Jnauary 9, 1861, by South Carolina militia, firing at a relief vessel, the Star of the West, flying the U.S. flag, attempting to land at Ft. Sumter. Maj. Anderson had to restrain his garrison from returning the fire in order to keep the hands of the U.S. free from any suggestion of provocation. The next shot was fired in March by Maj. Peter Fayssoux Stevens of the South Carolina forces, who fired one artillery piece at Sumter; Maj. Stevens was compelled to row out to Ft. Sumter and apologize. Gen’l Beauregard ordered the ‘first shot’ fired on April 12, 1861, despite advice from Maj. Anderson that his garrison had only two days’ supply of food, and could not hold out past that date. But the Confederate forces wanted a war, not a surrender; they got both. Sources: Official Records; Swanberg, First Blood
2. There was no total war, on either side. There were the terrible hazards of war, but in the middle of the 19th century, Union and Confederate alike possessed neither the means or the malevolence to execute what we call a "total war." Moreover, no one except fiends and savages sets out, at least at the beginning, to abuse POWs aor to rape, burn and loot. The longer a war drags on, however, the more likely these become. Confederate POWs were abused, and Southern civilians raped, looted and burnt out of their homes; but so were Union POWs, and Union civilians were raped, looted and burnt out of their homes by Confederates. (See Alexander’s history of Chambersburg in the Civil War, the Rachel Cormany diaries, and Creighton, The Colors of Courage, on the outrages perpetrated on people here in Adams county by Confederate troops, culminating in the capture and deportation to the slave markets of Richmond of 500 free black Pennsylvanians, plus nine Gettysburg civilians who were incarcerated in Richmond until the end of the war. See the Official Records on this last point).
Do not boast to me of the South being an experiment in self-government, when 3.9 million of its people languished in bondage, when its secessionist fire-eaters had to rig elections to the secession conventions to get the result they wanted, and when 100,000 Southerners volunteered to fight in the Union armies. (See Freehling, The South Against the South).
The opinion of Lord Acton, an Englishman with no stake in the Civil War or power of observing it first hand, is of no more worth than the counter-opinion of other Englshmen. Take the great Parliamentarian, Richard Cobden:
Mr. Cobden fully understands the fact that with us Union is identical with nation. He has traveled in this country with his eyes and ears open, and he knows the necessity of Union. He doubtless perceives that that necessity is the paramount and controlling consideration of the war. He knows, as most thoughtful men here acknowledge, that every thing will go sooner than the Union; and that if there are many who hesitate about the President’s Proclamation, it is because the honest among them are not yet convinced of its necessity. They think that the Union can be saved without it. But the mass of these men know perfectly well that slavery is not necessary to the Union, and when they see that, on the contrary, it is threatening its life with arms, they will cry as the Tyrolese cried when the full force of the Austrian and French army was in the narrow pass of the Inn, with precipices upon each side—“In the name of the Holy Trinity, cut all loose!”—and down came the rocks, and trees, and avalanches of earth upon the enemy, utterly consuming them.
(Dr) Allen C. Guelzo
Henry R. Luce Professor of the Civil War Era
Director, Civil War Era Studies Program
300 N. Washington Street
Gettysburg, PA 17325
1. The president is the Commander in Chief. The generals, officers and soldiers in the Union army were subordinates, all these instances happened on Lincoln’s watch. As Harry Truman once said, “The buck stops here.” It is as good as having it in his own words and, in many instances we actually do have it in his own words. Of course, it has been reported , Robert Lincoln burned most of his father’s papers! An odd act for the son of a man who was our “greatest” President, don’t you think? Have you ever considered why Robert did this—unless there was a lot to hide from posterity? It makes no difference if that is true or not we have enough written works on Lincoln that we can get a good idea of what he was about.
Take all the points you want you can’t change the facts.
2. How I treat slavery and bondage is my own opinion, which I might say you don’t have a clue to what that may be. The fact that it is my opinion simply means it has no place in a discussion. Historical records prove Negroes, slave and free, served the Confederate government. They were treated as equals and not segregated into a "Negro unit." You just lost all your points
3. It doesn’t matter if McClellan was an attorney or a ‘gator wrangler. he was at one time president of the Atlantic and Great Western Railroad. So I wasn’t quite accurate, sue me. The fact of the matter is he received his orders from a superior officer in the United States Army, who answered to his superiors in the War Dept, who answered to — A. Lincoln Commander In Chief. McClellan was expected to obey those orders. Where indeed do I get this nonsense? It is matter of public record. If I told you it was a Yankee source would that be more believable?
4. These so called errors, are they determined by you and other "Yankee’ scholars.” Remember you are telling me some of my statements are nonsense, but they come from a Yankee source. If you disagree does that mean the facts are not accurate—or only that someone other than a Yankee referred to them??
5. Why do you skip from 4 to 6. Does that mean you can’t count to ten. is this the sort of errors Kennedy made???
6. Really??? Prove it. I would say the people who lived the period would know. There is no mechanism banning secession either. If the Confederacy was no more than a revolution and not recognized by any other country, why were the Confederates captured referred to as POWs, why did England and France aid the Confederate government? They knew of the war and which side they were aiding. How long did it take the United States to get international recognition??? Lincoln claimed many things does that mean he was being truthful. God knows, we have sufficient evidence that he could and did equivocate. Using as a source the commander of the Fort, Major Anderson—Sumter was getting supplies from Charleston and using another Yankee source I can upon request provide the make-up of the April fleet to Sumter. And as far as the Confederate “firing the first shot” in April, I have other Yankee sources that says different. Furthermore, there are ample Yankee sources noting the number of ships sent—contrary to President Buchanan’s orders—to remain and supply Sumter. Is that not a “war-like” operation? If you must resort to insults, as I knew you must sooner or later, that changes nothing. The Union military was no different from Hitler’s storm troopers, that fact is proved in historical records.
7. Now you are just being silly! Why would I want to fire at a US base??? I like the handouts I get from the wealthy Yankees. I am content to let you pay for my house, car, food, internet and phone service etc etc. I am living good!!! Just as you support me, the South support the North with tariffs. Send a bunch of bullies to take away my property, camp in my back yard and you can bet I will strike first and do some damage to your boys. Sure there was a secession, Massachusetts tried it. The South tried it., and Lincoln believe it a right—under certain circumstances like the socialist revolutions in Germany in 1848 but obviously not the people of the South in 1861. I guess it depended upon whose ox was being gored:
"Any people anywhere, being inclined and having the power, have the right to rise up, and shake off the existing government, and form a new one that suits them better. This is a most valuable – a most sacred right – a right, which we hope and believe, is to liberate the world."
Now what say ye???
8. Good answer. Easy to use the web isn’t it??
1.You didn’t really answer my question. I ask who made the first aggressive move at Sumter. You completely skipped that portion of the question. I know the Yankee version of what you call “history” but it contains more “story” than “history.” I asked you to tell the truth—if possible. See answer #6.
2. Sure there was total war—but that was not how war was waged among civilized nations those days. Civilians were sacrosanct. War was between armies and navies, not mommies and daddies. You are again expressing an opinion. I have many stories of the atrocities committed against the South, men women and children of all ages, both Black and White (see Dr. Brian Cicsco’s book, War Crimes Against Southern Civilians). You should read of the number of Negroes, both slave and free, taken prisoner and held captive by the Union army. Read of the 500 Roswell women in Georgia, the Negroes in Louisiana. You only mention one area in Pennsylvania, I am talking about the entire 13 Southern states.
Your answers were exactly as I expected. See this is exactly what Mrs. Protopapas was referring to about swallowing the myth hook line and sinker. You know the Yankee version but little else. You have failed to expand your knowledge since you took 7th grade history—and that is the real shame.
Oh gee you make you last statement as if I am to be shocked. You completely ignore the fact these slaves were brought to the US by Yankee slave traders. You ignore that West Virginia was admitted to the Union as a slave state. You completely ignore the fact Lincoln wanted the "territories" white, no slaves or free Blacks allowed. You fail to mention the fact that after the Emancipation Proclamation, the loyal slave owners were allowed to keep their slaves. Nice try but you can’t take the moral high ground!!!!!!!!!!!
(At this point he has not responded to me. I admit I am anxious to present an argument using nothing but Yankee sources. — GP)