Sunday, February 28, 2010

the Constitution

Recently I have been having a conversation with a friend on the issue of the constitutional legality of the North declaring war on the South and here is I have given you section 8 and 9 of the in which states the powers and limitations of the Congress. I think you will find it interesting.
The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties,emolm Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;
To borrow money on the credit of the United States;
To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;
To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization, and uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States;
To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures;
To provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting the Securities and current Coin of the United States;
To establish Post Offices and Post Roads;
To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;
To constitute Tribunals inferior to the supreme Court;
To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offenses against the Law of Nations;
To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;
To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;
To provide and maintain a Navy;
To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;
To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;
To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;
To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings; And
To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.
Section 9 - Limits on Congress
The Migration or Importation of such Persons as any of the States now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the Year one thousand eight hundred and eight, but a tax or duty may be imposed on such Importation, not exceeding ten dollars for each Person.
The privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it.
No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed.
(No capitation, or other direct, Tax shall be laid, unless in Proportion to the Census or Enumeration herein before directed to be taken.) (Section in parentheses clarified by the 16th Amendment.)
No Tax or Duty shall be laid on Articles exported from any State.
No Preference shall be given by any Regulation of Commerce or Revenue to the Ports of one State over those of another: nor shall Vessels bound to, or from, one State, be obliged to enter, clear, or pay Duties in another.
No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law; and a regular Statement and Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of all public Money shall be published from time to time.
No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, e, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince or foreign State

Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Blue And the Grey: a poem about the Civil War

The Blue And The Gray
Francis Miles Finch (1827-1907)

By the flow of the inland river,Whence the fleets of iron have fled,Where the blades of the grave-grass quiver,Asleep are the ranks of the dead:Under the sod and the dew,Waiting the judgment-day;Under the one, the Blue,Under the other, the GrayThese in the robings of glory,Those in the gloom of defeat,All with the battle-blood gory,In the dusk of eternity meet:Under the sod and the dew,Waiting the judgement-dayUnder the laurel, the Blue,Under the willow, the Gray.
From the silence of sorrowful hoursThe desolate mourners go,Lovingly laden with flowersAlike for the friend and the foe;Under the sod and the dew,Waiting the judgement-day;Under the roses, the Blue,Under the lilies, the Gray.
So with an equal splendor,The morning sun-rays fall,With a touch impartially tender,On the blossoms blooming for all:Under the sod and the dew,Waiting the judgment-day;Broidered with gold, the Blue,Mellowed with gold, the Gray.
So, when the summer calleth,On forest and field of grain,With an equal murmur fallethThe cooling drip of the rain:Under the sod and the dew,Waiting the judgment -day,Wet with the rain, the BlueWet with the rain, the Gray.
Sadly, but not with upbraiding,The generous deed was done,In the storm of the years that are fadingNo braver battle was won:Under the sod adn the dew,Waiting the judgment-day;Under the blossoms, the Blue,Under the garlands, the Gray
No more shall the war cry sever,Or the winding rivers be red;They banish our anger foreverWhen they laurel the graves of our dead!Under the sod and the dew,Waiting the judgment-day,Love and tears for the Blue,Tears and love for the Gray.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

What If...?

There are always those historians who will try to theoretisize what the world, the war, and the country would have been like had the South won. I tend not to join in on such conversations because I find it foolhardy to engage in such things because God has had a plan for history since the beginning of time and everything will work out according to his plans, but on this occasion I think I will give my views on the subject.
There would have been many changes to this once great country had the war gone in a different direction. I think it would have started like this. The election of 1864 between Lincoln and McClellan would have been won not by Lincoln but by McClellan. This in and of itself would have had a great impact upon the war torn United States. If McClellan had been elected he would have lobbied for a stoppage of the war. McClellan was an antiwar Northern Democrat, he was already lobbing for a peace treaty with the Southern politicians. I think this would have gone through because at this point in the war the South was just looking to finish it I think rather then win it. So this would have been a big what if.
Another what if and a very popular one at that is the subject of what if Chamberlin had not held his line on Little Round Top during the battle of Gettysburg. My opinion and the opinion of many others is that the army would have been almost completely lost. Chamberlin was on the extreme left of the entire army. Had he been removed the flank would have been rolled up like a cigar and the army could have been routed on their own territory. This would have caused major demoralization in the army and also in the hearts and minds of the people. If the Union Army had suffered such a defeat on their own home soil they would have been more then likely willing to lay down their arms. The North also would have lost a great deal more men then they already had in the fierce fighting of the previous two days.
These are just two of the many what ifs discussed in most historical circles and I have given my honest opinion on them. Feel free to comment!!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Lincoln and the coming of the civil war

This year is the one hundred fiftieth anniversary of Lincoln’s election. This election had a huge impact on the nation. Seven Southern states had already seceded before Lincoln was elected in April 1860 but once he was in office three more states would secede and Fort Sumter was fired upon. What steps could Lincoln have taken in order to avoid the war? Were Lincoln’s attempts to stop the secession of the South enough or could he have done more. These are all questions that surround the new president and the whole era. I will answer these questions in the following essay.
What steps could Lincoln have taken in order to avoid the war? Where Lincoln’s attempts to stop the secession of the South enough or could he have done more? First you must know the steps that Lincoln took in the first place. The first thing Lincoln did was to ensure the Southern states that he would not invade them. Lincoln said in his inaugural address " You can have no conflict, without being yourselves the aggressors." Lincoln knew that the Constitution was the absolute law for the country. Lincoln said that the South had two choices "They can exercise their constitutional right of amending it or, their revolutionary right to dismember, or overthrow it." Lincoln to avoid secession would even accept an amendment legalizing slavery in states were it was already established.
Another step he took to avoid secession was to use "words of affection" to draw the erring children (the seceded Southern states) back into the Union. In his inaugural address Lincoln told the South "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 battle-field, and patriot grave, to every living heart and hearth- stone, all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union...". These were Lincoln’s words of comfort but according to Eyewitness to The Civil War by Kagan Hyslop what Lincoln was really getting at when he said this was not what most people think. Lincoln said this to influence the Northern public to blame secessionists and to start a war on them. I do not think Hyslop’s interpretation of Lincoln’s speech is correct. I don’t think that Lincoln was looking to provoke anyone to war. He wanted to save lives and keep people in the Union rather then to send them away and pit brother on brother in a Civil War. I don’t think Lincoln wanted to start a war I think that he wanted to do whatever he could to keep the Union together. If that including freeing all the slaves he would, but if it also meant leaving all the slaves in their current status he would do that too if it meant saving the Union.
The next step Lincoln that took to avoid Civil war was not so effective as the others were. This next thing Lincoln did was resupply but not reinforce the garrison at Fort Sumter. Lincoln told Pickens the Federal fleet would bring "Provisions only" to the fort there would be "No effort to throw in men, arms, or ammunition.". When Governor Charles Pickens of South Carolina heard about the supply mission he went to President Davis right away. Davis met with his cabinet in the first Confederate capitol Montgomery Alabama on April 9th to decide whether or not to seize the fort. Davis knew that if the Confederates fired first Lincoln and the whole North would blame them for it. Davis also knew that the South Carolinians would fire on the fort with or without his orders. Louis T. Wigfall of Texas wrote to Jefferson Davis " No one doubts that Lincoln intends war" "Let us take Fort Sumter before we have to fight the fleet and the fort." Lincoln despite all of these things went ahead with the resupply mission. The U.S.S Star of the West was ordered to carry the supplies along with some naval frigates to the fort. The ships never made it to the fort because of the bombardment but the fact that they were sent sparked the proverbial fire known as the Civil War.
Up to April 12h 1860 only seven states had seceded. In the next three months four more states seceded. After all the states seceded the Civil War officially began. Were there things Lincoln could have done to stop this? Yes and no. The no part of the answer is this; everything that has happened in history was and is part of God’s plan and was predetermined before the beginning of time. Everything that happened had a purpose in God’s plan and cannot be changed. Then there is the yes part of the answer. In my opinion I think more legislation could have gone a long way. Yes, there had already been twenty years of compromises and collisions in the Senate but the only way to work something out in a civilized manner is to talk and debate. That is exactly what they do in the senate and that is exactly what Lincoln should have tried harder to do with the Southern Senators. He should have pushed harder for new legislation. Like I mentioned before Lincoln was open to new legislation that would have kept the Union together longer, but in all the uproar no one was willing to sit down and do so as civilized men do discuss it. The Southerners believed their honor had been injured and would not talk anymore.
Because men of the South lived and died for the sake of their honor. Men of the South would live, die, risk property and money all for the sake of their sacred honor. Honor to Southern men was just as important as oxygen is to humans and light is to plants for their growth and nutrition. In the mind of men in this era the only way to retrieve your honor is to either duel or have a war. There were many duels and fights over injured honor in the history of the Senate but the worst thing was the Sumner-Brooks incident. Charles Sumner was giving his ‘Crime Against Kansas’ speech in which he said that Butler, Douglass, and other supporters of the Kansas-Nebraska Act were trying to push Kansas into the "Hateful embrace of slavery." Sumner also said in his speech that those men were responsible for the "Rape of a virgin territory [Kansas]" Sumner also said that they were raising themselves "To eminence on the floor in championship of human wrongs". This made Senator Brooks absolutely livid. Brooks thought that Sumner had personally attacked his state (South Carolina) and his kinsman Butler also of South Carolina when Sumner said it would be no great loss to civilization if "South Carolina were blotted out of existence". So the now very angry Senator Brooks beat Senator Sumner over the head and body. This is just one instance where in someone violently defended their Southern pride and honor.
The gentry of the South felt that their honor had been greatly damaged by Lincoln’s stance on Slavery. They in the South believed that since Lincoln had taken such a derogatory stand though not openly on their peculiar institution he had personally attacked every single slave owner. Which Lincoln did not nor did he ever seek to do that because he believed that they were all country men and he did not want to give them another reason to fight The only time he did take away personal property was when he issued the Emancipation Proclamation. That is one instance where Lincoln did seek to take away the personal property of the slave holders, but only in the areas where the army was in control.
All these steps that Lincoln took helped in their own way, but they also caused trouble. Like what he did to help Fort Sumter actually brought the war on quicker. Nothing that Lincoln did in my mind actually stopped the war from coming. Obviously since the war lasted for four bloody, tragic, horrible war between brothers, fathers, sons, and cousins. An uncivil, familial war that costed the lives of more than six hundred thousand men and boys. It was a war that strengthened America though. We would have been conquered so easily by nations like Germany and Japan had the war not been fought . As Lincoln quoted in his speech in Springfield Illinois in June 1858 "A house divided cannot stand" which is a direct quote from Matthew 12:25 But Jesus knew their thoughts, and said to them: "Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand". I think Lincoln knew that if the Union was not a complete one then everything that the founding fathers had striven so hard to establish would be destroyed. If this democracy failed then the rest of the world would see that everything we believe in is wrong and won’t work. Lincoln did everything he could to keep the Union together when he realized that it wouldn’t stay together by meer reasoning and talking he knew that a war was inevitable. So I think that Lincoln did all in his power to prevent the Civil War. Humans are humans and do not always make the right choices, but Lincoln used all of his abilities to do what he did, and he pulled our nation through possibly the hardest time in history. Thank the Lord Almighty for giving us here in America a president who saw and knew that our nation under God is indivisible with life, liberty and justice for all!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Robert Edward Lee was born January 19, 1807 at Stratford Hall Plantation, Virginia. He was the son of the famed "Light Horse" Harry Lee and Anne Hill (Ne'e Carter) Lee. Robert was the fifth child in the family.
The Lees were a part of the Gentry class of Virginian society. Robert's maternal great-great Grandfather was the wealthiest man in the Virginia colony when he died in 1732. Robert's Father would not have such success in their family's finances, because Henry Lee squandered the fortunes of two wives, and abandoned the family. Harry lee moved to the Bahamas after being injured in a mob in Baltimore where he was truing to defend the home of a friend. The home he stayed in while he was in the Bahamas was the home of the famed Nathaniel Greene a hero in the Revolutionary war. It was at this home that Harry Lee died. Robert Edward was only eleven.
Nathaniel Greene
In 1825 Robert began his studies at the United States Military Academy at West Point. He became the first cadet to receive the rank of Sergeant at the end of the first year. When he graduated in 1829 he was at the head of his class. A position he shared with five other classmates. Having not gained any demerits during his years at West Point he was second overall in his class.
After his graduation he was given the brevet rank of Second lieutenant in the Corps of Engineers. Lee began his military career at Fort Pulaski on Cockspur Island Georgia. In 1831 he was stationed at Fortress Monroe. While he was there Robert married Marry Anna Randolph Custis the great- grand-daughter of Marth Washington. This was the beginning of an illustrious military career for Robert E. Lee.
Sorry I didn't type out the story for myself but I thought that this article would sufice. This is about a man from pre-civil war America who got in quite an accident. It is an interesting story.