At least I think it's a mockingbird. But it was dancing. Click to enlarge.
More on "Blood on the Bayou"
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Calhoun returned to Congress determined to bring the war to a rapid close. Making war was inevitably centralizing; the revenue to finance it must upset the finances of the country and, after the struggle to reform the tariff, force it upward again; above all, by raising the specter of new slave territory, the war inflamed abolitionist feelings in the North and turned all parties against the South. "They are willing that our blood and treasure shall be expended freely in the war to acquire territory, not for the common good, but as a means of assailing and ruining us. We are made to dig our own grave," Calhoun wrote gloomily.
Mr. CALHOUN . . . The question now submitted to us is one of the gravest character, and the importance of the consequences which may result from it we cannot now determine. I do hope that this body will give to it that high, full, and dispassionate consideration which is worthy the character of the body and the high constitutional functions which it is called on to exercise. I trust that we will weigh everything calmly and deliberately, and do all that the Constitution, interests, and honor of the country may require. . . .
Mr. CALHOUN. . . . [T]he President has announced that there is war; but according to my interpretation, there is no war according to the sense of our Constitution. I distinguish between hostilities and war, and God forbid that, acting under the Constitution, we should ever confound one with the other. There may be invasion without war, and the President is authorized to repel invasion without war. But it is our sacred duty to make war, and it is for us to determine whether war shall be declared or not. If we have declared war, a state of war exists, and not till then.
It was in this aspect of the question that I regarded it as one of great magnitude, and deprecated any precipitate action on the part of the Senate. There is a certain forbearance, dignity, and calmness, which will make war not the less effective if it should be our fate to be involved in war.
I hope that I shall never indicate, on my part, the earnestness with which I go into any measure by a precipitate course of action. I am prepared to do all that the Constitution, and patriotism, and the honor of my country, may require. But I wish time to consider on all points, and desire that our whole action may be marked by dignity.
Whereas, by the act of the Republic of Mexico, a state of war exists between that Government and the United States:
Be it enacted . . ., That, for the purpose of enabling the Government of the United States to prosecute said war to a speedy and successful termination . . ..
Mr. CALHOUN . . . I hope, at least, one day will be allowed to those who are to vote upon this bill, as an opportunity to consult the documents which have been submitted to the Senate by the Executive, as containing the ground on which the bill is to pass. It is a bill amounting to a declaration of war. I have no objection whatever to voting the amount of supplies contained in the bill, or even a greater amount; but I am at present unprepared to vote anything which amounts to a declaration of war. The question is one of great magnitude, and gentlemen who entertain doubts respecting the facts on which the bill is founded, or in regard to the necessity or propriety of a declaration of war, should certainly have some short time allowed them for reflection. . .
Mr. CALHOUN . . . I seek no delay, and resort to no indirect course to conceal my true intent. . . . [W]hy can you not accommodate gentlemen who have honest doubts as to the state of facts, by consenting to strike out the preamble of the bill, and to suffer the question of supplies to be separated from the question of a declaration of war? Is not such a course reasonable? Is it not fair and just? Gentlemen stated to the Senate that the information received from the frontier was such as to require instant action; if so, they can have instant action. If any delay occurs, the delay is their own. I will create none.
I am prepared to vote the supplies on the spot, and without an hour’s delay; but it is just as impossible for me to vote for that preamble as it is for me to plunge a dagger into my own heart, and more so. I cannot; I am not prepared to affirm that war exists between the United States and Mexico, and that it exists by the act of that Government. How can I affirm this, when I have no evidence on which to affirm it? How do I know that the Government of Mexico will not disavow what had been done? Am I to be called upon to give a vote like this? It is impossible for me to utter it, consistently with that sacred regard for truth in which I have had been educated.
I have no difficulty as to my course. My mind is made up; it is made up unalterably; I can neither vote affirmatively nor negatively. I have no certain evidence to go on. Whether any one will go with me in this course I do not know; I have made no inquiries, and I do not know that a single friend will be found at my side. As to what might be said of such a course, and all that is called popularity, I do not care the snap of my finger. If I cannot stand and brave so small a danger, I should be but little worthy of what small amount of reputation I may have earned.
I cannot agree to make war on Mexico by making war on the Constitution; and the Senate will make war on the Constitution by declaring war to exist between the two Governments when no war has been declared, and nothing has occurred but a slight military conflict between a portion of two armies. Yet I am asked to affirm, in the very face of the Constitution, that a local rencontre, not authorized by the act of either Government, constituted a state of war between the Government of Mexico and the Government of the United States – to say that, by a certain military movement of General [Zachary] Taylor and General [Mariano] Arista, every citizen of the United States is made the enemy of every man in Mexico.
It is monstrous. It strips Congress of the power of making war; and what is more and worse, it gives that power to every officer, nay, to every subaltern commanding a corporal’s guard. Do you gentlemen call on me to do this? Do you expect that I would vote for a position so monstrous? If you force the question upon me, I will take my own course. If you want unanimity, you can have it; but if you choose to proceed on your own petty party views, be it so.
Why, in the name of all that is reasonable, would you rush at once to the ultimate resort? Suppose this turns out to be a case in which war ought to be declared, after examination of all the documents: let the declaration be made in due form and with becoming dignity – not in this side-way, as if you were afraid to do it. Show a front to the world, such as becomes the character of the nation.
In the present condition of the world, war is a tremendous thing. The whole sentiment of the civilized world is turning stronger and stronger against war. Let us not, for the honor of our country – for the dignity of the Republic – be the first to create a state of war. Mortal man cannot see the end of it. When I look on and see that we are rushing upon the most tremendous event, I am amazed. I am more than amazed; I am in a state of wonder and deep alarm. This is not the tone of character to go into war. They who go into war in this manner – as if seeking a divisive course – cannot expect to succeed. It is a hasty, thoughtless course.
I do not wish to use any words in an offensive sense -- but with all possible emphasis, I exhort you to avoid even the appearance of precipitancy, or want of that deep reflection and profound meditation which alone can guide you to a successful issue.
Politicians then and historians since have debated [John C.] Calhoun’s motives for writing the Pakenham Letter. The [John Tyler] administration line on annexation was that it was strictly a question of national interest unconnected with slavery. Calhoun’s letter, which went to the Senate along with the treaty and became public knowledge on April 27 [,1844], placed annexation on pro-slavery grounds. Could he have been oblivious to the effect of this?
No pre-Civil War mystery is less mysterious. Calhoun here pursued the policy he had deployed since nullification times. First he would find the issue to teach Southerners that outsiders hid antislavery intent behind camouflaged methods of proceeding. His issue would arouse southern apologists from their preference to diffuse blacks away. An awakened Slavepower would then compel Northerners into a pure states’ rights party, which would settle the precipitating issue the South’s way.
George Poage thinks Calhoun wanted his letter to initiate a general debate with the British government over slavery, hoping this would alarm southern Whigs and bring them into a section bloc under his leadership. Their votes were necessary to ratification, but as yet, they remained loyal to Whig policy and seemed oblivious to the growing danger to their “way of life.”
To William R. Brock, “all evidence suggests that Calhoun knew what he was doing and calculated the odds.” Early in March, weeks before Calhoun had discovered Aberdeen’s letter, he lamented the disunity in the South . . .. Calhoun was convinced that southern Whigs would vote against the treaty unless they could be alerted to the impending destruction of their slave property . . .. The protection of slavery had to be made the central issue of annexation. This would be a test, not only for southern Whigs, but also for northern Democrats.
On Monday, April 15, [1844,] the Globe’s endorsement of annexation appeared according to promise, but the treaty did not. Learning in advance that the Globe would endorse the treaty, Tyler and Calhoun had jumped to the conclusion that Van Buren was about to rob them of the political fruits of their toils by coming out for annexation. “If the Globe, or any other organ of Mr. Van Buren, shall attempt to appropriate the measure in a manner to operate on the Baltimore Convention, or at the polls,” warned the Tyler organ in reply to Blair’s editorial, “we shall denounce such a proceeding.” Holding back the treaty from the Senate, Calhoun set to work to accomplish something Blair had warned Van Buren about a month before: introducing “stipulations on the negro question calculated to make it [annexation] odious in the north & peculiarly a southern question.”
A pro-Democrat cartoon forecasting the collapse of Whig opposition to the annexation of Texas. James K. Polk, the expansionist candidate, stands at right near a bridge spanning "Salt River." He holds an American flag and hails Texans Stephen Austin (left) and Samuel Houston aboard a wheeled steamboat-like vessel "Texas." Austin, waving the flag of the Lone Star Republic, cries, "All hail to James K. Polk, the frined [sic] of our Country!" The Texas boat has an eagle figurehead and a star on its prow. Below the bridge pandemonium reigns among the foes of annexation. Holding onto a rope attached to "Texas" above, they are dragged into Salt River. Led by Whig presidential nominee Henry Clay, they are (left to right) Theodore Frelinghuysen, Daniel Webster, Henry A. Wise, and an unidentified figure whose legs are tangled in the rope. Clay: "Curse the day that ever I got hold of this rope! this is a bad place to let go of it--But I must!" Frelinghuysen: "Oh evil day, that ever I got into the footsteps of my predecessor." Webster: "If we let go, we are ruined, and if we hold on--Oh! crackee!" Abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison, straddling a barrel labeled "Abolition" in the river, shouts at Clay, "Avaunt! unholy man! I will not keep company with a blackleg!" referring to the candidate's reputation as a gambler.
Aberdeen’s tone was courteous, not hostile. He admitted that his government had pressed Mexico to acknowledge the independence of Texas, but it had done so with “no occult design, either with reference to the slavery which now exists, and which we desire to see abolished in Texas.” It was well known to the United States and to every other nation, Aberdeen explained, that Great Britain desired and was “constantly exerting herself to procure the general abolition of slavery throughout the world.” But in attempting this, Britain would do nothing in a secret or underhanded manner. “We should rejoice if the recognition of that country [Texas] by the Mexican Government should be accompanied by an engagement on the part of Texas to abolish slavery eventually and under proper conditions”; but Britain did not intend to exercise improper authority on either Mexico or Texas. “We shall counsel, but we shall not seek to compel, or unduly control, either party. So far as Great Britain is concerned, provided all other States act with equal forbearance,” Mexico and Texas were at liberty “to make their own unfettered arrangements,” in regard to slavery or any other matter.
The administration, wrote the Secretary of State, “regards with deep concern the avowal” that England was “constantly exerting herself” to procure world-wide antislavery. The administration was also appalled that England was urging emancipation as “one of the conditions on which Mexico should acknowledge” Texas. “It would be difficult for Texas in her actual condition,” emphasized Calhoun, “to resist” this pressure, even “supposing the influence and exertion of Great Britain” remained within Lord Aberdeen’s “limits.”
An emancipated Texas, continued the Carolinian, would give “Great Britain the most efficient means of effecting in the neighboring States of this Union what she avows to be her desire to do in all countries where slavery exists.” A free labor Texas “would expose the weakest and most vulnerable portions” of slaveholders’ “frontiers” to inroads. But while England’s hope is to end what she calls our evil, warned Calhoun, our mission is to perpetuate what we consider our blessing. Under southern Christian slavery, bragged the American Secretary of State, “the negro race” has attained an unprecedented “elevation in morals, intelligence,” and “civilization.” The United States, concluded Calhoun, “acting in obedience” to racial “obligation,” and “as the most effectual if not the only means of guarding against the threatened danger . . . has concluded an annexation treaty.”
Politicians then and historians since have debated Calhoun’s motives for writing the Pakenham Letter. The administration line on annexation was that it was strictly a question of national interest unconnected with slavery. Calhoun’s letter, which went to the Senate along with the treaty and became public knowledge on April 27 [,1844], placed annexation on pro-slavery grounds. Could he have been oblivious to the effect of this?
A satire on the Democrats' approach to the delicate question of the annexation of Texas. In marked contrast to his portrayal of the issue as a beautiful woman in "Virtuous Harry" (no. 1844-27), the artist here presents Texas as the ugly hag War or Chaos, brandishing a dagger, pistols, whips, and manacles. She embodies the threat of war with Mexico, feared by American opponents of annexation. The whips and manacles in her left hand may also allude to slavery, whose expansion into the new territory was desired by southern annexationists. Bucholzer parodies Van Buren's evasion of the controversial and sectionally divisive issue and Democratic candidates Polk and Dallas's motives in favoring the measure. Senators Thomas Hart Benton and John C. Calhoun confront Van Buren with Texas, whom they support on a plank across their shoulders. Calhoun says, "Come, Matty, we introduce you to the Texas Question, what do you say to her Ladyship?" Van Buren, backing away, replies, "Take any other shape but that and my firm nerves shall never tremble!" Andrew Jackson, who prods Van Buren from behind with his cane says, "Stand up to your lick-log Matty or by the Eternal you'll back into Salt River before you know it." In the background right are Polk and Dallas. Polk says, "What say you Dallas? She's not the handsomest Lady I ever saw but that $25,000 a year-- Eh! it's worth a little stretching of Conscience!" (The annual salary of a U.S. President was $25,000.)
To begin with, the cultural argument exaggerates the points of diversity between North and South, minimizes the similarities, and leaves out of account all the commonalities and shared values . . .. These features had proved their reality and their importance by nourishing the strong nationalism which was in full vigor by the 1840s. Further, any explanation which emphasizes the traditionalism of the South is likely to lose sight of the intensely commercial and acquisitive features of the cotton economy.
Cultural dissimilarities exist between or among sections or groups in many countries. Yet they usually do not lead to war. Likewise, in the United States cultural differences between North and South were probably greater during the founding period and the first quarter of the Nineteenth Century than they were in 1860, and differences persisted long after the Civil War ended. Yet southerners were in the forefront of founding the nation and the nationwide Second Party system, and enlisted in the United States army and fought under the American flag in 1898 and 1917.
The cultural diversity argument fails because it cannot account for these phenomena: To explain an antagonism which sprang up suddenly, and died down suddenly, the historian does not need to discover, and cannot effectively use, a factor which has been constant over a long period, as the cultural difference between the North and the South has been. He needs to identify a factor which can cause bitter disagreement even among a people who have much basic homogeneity.
The flaw in the economic explanation, when it is rigidly applied, is that history can show many instances in which economic diversities and conflicts existed without producing the separatist tendencies of acute sectionalism. Economic dissimilarities may, in just the opposite way, promote harmony between two regions, if each supplements the other, and if their combined resources can give them self-sufficiency. For example, in the United States, the Middle West and the East have had very dissimilar economies, and their interests have often clashed violently, but since the diverse economies could be made to supplement one another in important ways, a separatist sectionalism never developed in the Middle West. Could not the economy of the South have been drawn into some similar interdependence? In the United States in the forties, the South’s cotton exports paid for the imports of the entire country, and it is an arbitrary theory which would deny that North and South might have found roles, to some degree complementary, in an economy of national self-sufficiency.
It is possible to join the cultural and the economic explanations in one overall analysis that begins by demonstrating the existence of social dissimilarities which, in themselves, do not necessarily cause friction, and then goes on to show how these dissimilarities are translated into specific conflicts of interest. But though the two may be treated as complementary in this way, they differ basically in emphasis. At bottom, the cultural explanation assumes that people quarrel when they are unlike one another; the economic explanation assumes that no matter how much alike they may be, they will quarrel if the advantage of one is the disadvantage of the other. One argues that important cultural dissimilarities cause strife; the other that strife causes the opposing groups to rationalize their hostility to one another by exaggerating unimportant dissimilarities. One explains sectionalism as a conflict of values; the other, as a conflict of interests. One sees it as a struggle for identity; the other as a struggle for power.
So, one must ask why the southern states made such an extreme response to Lincoln’s election. The reasons are complex and there is no way I can discuss them in any depth here. Suffice to say that there were economic, social, and political reasons for the break, and they all begin with slavery, with the perceived right to hold property in the form of a human being.
Thus in cultural and economic matters, as well as in terms of values, slavery had an effect which no other sectional factor exercised in isolating North and South from each other. As they became isolated, instead of reacting to each other as they were in actuality, each reacted to a distorted mental image of the other – the North to an image of a southern world of lascivious and sadistic slavedrivers; the South to the image of a northern world of cunning Yankee traders and of rabid abolitionists plotting slave insurrections. This process of substituting stereotypes could be very damaging indeed to the spirit of union, for it caused both northerners and southerners to lose sight of how much alike they were and how many values they shared.
[The process of substituting stereotypes] also had an effect of changing men’s attitudes toward the disagreements which are always certain to arise in politics: ordinary, resolvable disputes were converted into questions of principle, involving rigid, unnegotiable dogma. Abstractions, such as the question of the legal status of slavery in areas in which there were no slaves and to which no one intended to take any, became points of honor and focuses of contention which rocked the government to its foundation. Thus the slavery issue gave a false clarity and simplicity to sectional diversities which were otherwise qualified and diffuse. One might say that the issue structured and polarized many random, unoriented points of conflict on which sectional interest diverged. It transformed political action from a process of accommodation to a mode of combat. Once this divisive tendency set in, sectional rivalry increased the tensions of the slavery issue and the slavery issue embittered sectional rivalries, in a reciprocating process which the majority of Americans found themselves unable to check even though they deplored it.
The smothering atmosphere engulfed Columbia after the transforming news from Charleston arrived. By 4:30 P.M. on Saturday, November 10, almost exactly twenty-four hours after the Senate had voted 44-1 for a January 15 convention (with elections for delegates on January 8), the House voted 117-0 for a December 17 convention (with elections for delegates on December 6). That evening, the Senate concurred 42-0. Two days later, the . . . [December 17] convention date sailed unanimously through all three readings in both houses.
If illegal mobs failed to cancel a South Carolina legislature delay, a Mississippi convention might have seized the Separatist initiative . . .. Alternatively, a southern convention might have met and served Separatists ironically well. Uncompromising Lower South delegates might have stormed out in protest against Upper South compromising. Such an exodus would likely have led to a cooperative Lower South secession. . . . Or the Lower and Upper South might have agreed on demands for northern concessions that Lincoln would have rejected. A northern rejection of a southern convention’s ultimatum could have led to disunion as swiftly as did the Charleston and Savannah Railroad’s celebration. All in all, the chances for the nation to finish 1861 peacefully intact were very poor.
Thus as South Carolina Separatists feared (and Cooperationists elsewhere hoped), several weeks of delay just might have dulled the first sting of Lincoln’s election, even in South Carolina and then in Mississippi too. Subsequently, a southern convention just might have settled for an overt act ultimatum: No secession now but automatic disunion hereafter, if Republicans secured a federal antislavery edict. Or perhaps a southern convention just might have insisted on northern concessions that President-elect Lincoln might have considered negotiable. Or perhaps an unexpected coincidence, akin to the accident of the railroad’s timing, might again have deflected history a little off course [true in theory, but this sort of speculation might be deemed to violate the rule against unreasonable counterfactuals, discussed above]. All humans know, or should know, that the fortuitous can somewhat deflect apparently remorseless trends at any time or place.
—Your favor of the 3d is received, and always with welcome. These texts of truth relieve me from the floating falsehoods of the public papers. I confess to you I am not sorry for the non-ratification of the Spanish treaty. Our assent to it has proved our desire to be on friendly terms with Spain; their dissent, the imbecility and malignity of their government towards us, have placed them in the wrong in the eyes of the world, and that is well; but to us the province of Techas will be the richest State of our Union, without any exception. Its southern part will make more sugar than we can consume, and the Red river, on its north, is the most luxuriant country on earth. Florida, moreover, is ours. Every nation in Europe considers it such a right. We need not care for its occupation in time of peace, and, in war, the first cannon makes it ours without offence to anybody. The friendly advisements, too, of Russia and France, as well as the change of government in Spain, now ensured, require a further and respectful forbearance. While their request will rebut the plea of proscriptive possession, it will give us a right to their approbation when taken in the maturity of circumstances. I really think, too, that neither the state of our finances, the condition of our country, nor the public opinion, urges us to precipitation into war. The treaty has had the valuable effect of strengthening our title to the Techas, because the cession of the Floridas in exchange for Techas imports an acknowledgement of our right to it. This province moreover, the Floridas and possibly Cuba, will join us on the acknowledgement of their independence, a measure to which their new government will probably accede voluntarily. But why should I be saying all this to you, whose mind all the circumstances of this affair have had possession for years? I shall rejoice to see you here; and were I to live to see you here finally, it would be a day of jubilee. But our days are all numbered, and mine are not many. God bless you and preserve you muchos años.
With us things are going on well. The boisterous sea of liberty indeed is never without a wave, and that from Missouri is now rolling towards us, but we shall ride over it as we have over all others. It is not a moral question, but one merely of power. Its object is to raise a geographical principle for the choice of a president, and the noise will be kept up till that is effected. All know that permitting the slaves of the south to spread into the west will not add one being to that unfortunate condition, that it will increase the happiness of those existing, and by spreading them over a larger surface, will dilute the evil everywhere, and facilitate the means of getting finally rid of it, an event more anxiously wished by those on whom it presses than by the noisy pretenders to exclusive humanity. In the meantime, it is a ladder for rivals climbing to power.
But nothing has ever presented so threatening an aspect as what is called the Missouri question. The Federalists, completely put down and despairing of ever rising again under the old divisions of Whig and Tory, devised a new one of slave-holding and non-slave-holding States, which, while it had a semblance of being moral, was at the same time geographical, and calculated to give them ascendency by debauching their old opponents to a coalition with them. Moral the question certainly is not, because the removal of slaves from one State to another, no more than their removal from one country to another, would never make a slave of one human being who would not be so without it. Indeed, if there were any morality in the question it is on the other side; because by spreading them over a larger surface their happiness would be increased, and burden of their future liberation lightened by bringing a greater number of shoulders under it.
However, it served to throw dust into the eyes of the people and to fanaticize them, while to the knowing ones it gave a geographical and preponderant line of the Potomac and Ohio, throwing fourteen States to the North and East, and ten to the South and West. With these, therefore, it is merely a question of power; but with this geographical minority it is a question of existence. For if Congress once goes out of the Constitution to arrogate a right of regulating the condition of the inhabitants of the States, its majority may, and probably will, next declare that the condition of all men within the United States shall be that of freedom; in which case all the whites south of the Potomac and Ohio must evacuate their States, and most fortunate those who can do it first.
And so far this crisis seems to be advancing. The Missouri constitution is recently rejected by the House of Representatives; what will be their next step is yet to be seen. If accepted on the condition that Missouri shall expunge from it the prohibition of free people of color from emigration to their State, it will be expunged, and all will be quieted until the advance of some new State, shall present the question again. If rejected unconditionally, Missouri assumes independent self-government, and Congress, after pouting awhile, must receive them on the footing of the original States. Should the Representatives propose force, 1, the Senate will not concur; 2, were they to concur, there would be a secession of the members south of the line, and probably of the three Northwestern States, who, however inclined to the other side, would scarcely separate from those who would hold the Mississippi from its mouth to its source.
What next? Conjecture itself is at a loss. But whatever it shall be you will hear from others and from the newspapers; and finally the whole will depend on Pennsylvania. While she and Virginia hold together, the Atlantic States can never separate. Unfortunately, in the present case she has become more fanatisized than any other State. However useful where you are, I wish you were with them. You might turn the scale there, which would turn it for the whole. Should this scission take place, one of the most deplorable consequences would be its discouragement of the efforts of the European nations in the regeneration of their oppressive and cannibal governments. Amidst this prospect of evil I am glad to see one good effect. It has brought the necessity of some plan of general emancipation and deportation more home to the minds of our people than it has ever been before, insomuch that our governor has ventured to propose one to the Legislature. This will probably not be acted on at this time, nor would it be effectual; for, while it proposes to devote to that object one-third of the revenue of the State, it would not reach one-tenth of the annual increase.
My proposition would be that the holders should give up all born after a certain day, past, present, or to come; that these should be placed under the guardianship of the State, and sent at a proper age to St. Domingo. They are willing to receive them, and the shortness of the passage brings the deportation within the possible means of taxation, aided by charitable contributions. In these I think Europe, which has forced this evil on us, and the Eastern States, who have been its chief instruments of importation, would be bound to give largely. But the proceeds of the land office, if appropriate to this, would be quite sufficient.
God bless you, and preserve you multos años.
But nothing disturbs us so much as the dissension lately produced by what is called the Missouri question: a question having just enough of the semblance of morality to throw dust into the eyes of the people, & to fanaticise them; while with the knowing ones it is simply a question of power. The Federalists, unable to rise again under the old division of whig and tory, have invented a geographical division which gives them 14. states against 10. and seduces their old opponents into a coalition with them. Real morality is on the other side. For while the removal of slaves from one state to another adds no more to their numbers than their removal from one country to another, the spreading them over a larger surface adds to their happiness and renders their future emancipation more practicable.
I know of no difference between the rights of the negro and the rights of the white man; God Almighty has made none; our [Massachusetts] declaration of rights has made none. That declares that “all men (without regard to color) are born equally free and independent.”
“In the attempt to associate the admission of Maine and Missouri together,” William [King] wrote his half brother, “the motive is so apparent, that it has excited general disgust in this State.” Maine’s citizens desired statehood, but only “on terms honorable & correct . . . they will not, I am sure, consent to bargain their way along let the consequence be what it may.” John Holmes was the only member of the Maine delegation intending to vote with the South, William informed his brother; “it is hardly fair to judge his motives, altho’ opinions are expressed freely on the subject.” . . . “Mr. Holmes’ course is generally complained of here, and I am inclined to think his constituents will not be disposed to overlook his present conduct.”
It could be argued that nothing less than an endorsement from the author of the Declaration of Independence himself could have salvaged Holmes's political career in Maine. Fortunately for him, [Holmes] had exactly that. . . . Armed with this powerful document by the founder of their party, with its forecast of doom for the infant nation, Holmes secured election as one of Maine's first senators from the new state's chastened Republican legislature.
If Whigs were unwilling to grant full rights to "unqualified" immigrants, their acceptance of human inequality made them more willing than Democrats to accord partial rights to blacks and Indians. Instead of treating manhood and full citizenship as indivisible, Whigs could envision a gradation of rights and responsibilities ranging from one end of the social scale to the other. Edward Everett thus maintained that "the wholly untutored white man is little better than the wholly untutored red man," while the Whig editor of the American Review declared that "free institutions are not proper to the white man, but the courageous, upright and moral man." Democrats tended to oppose any suffrage rights for nonwhites, but even Southern Whigs could occasionally support the right to vote for free blacks who could pass requirements such as a property test.
A comic scene representing two New York city political factions, the Whigs and the radical Democrats (or "Loco Focos"), as scuffling newsboys. The scene takes place before the half-built Customs House, where several newsboys and a black chimney sweep are gathered watching a scrap involving a ragged youth selling "loco foco" matches and another newsboy. The match-seller raises his fist and threatens, "Oh! you d---d Whiggy." The latter, striking him, "I'll loco poke you." On the left three of the newsboys hold Democratic newspapers the "New York Evening Post" and the "New Era," and a copy of radical reformer Frances ("Fanny") Wright's lectures. One says, with a sidelong glance at the unfortunate match-seller, "I told him he had better not fight." The chimney sweep taunts them, "Does Fanny know you're out?" On the right, a second group of newsboys, holding copies of Whig journals, the "Transcript, Morning Courier and New York Enquirer, Gazette," and the "Evening Star," cheer on the winning fighter.
Some Whigs, notably New York Governor William Seward, made strenuous efforts to appeal to immigrant voters and to meet their legitimate needs. More commonly, Whigs tended to reject those whom North Carolina Senator Willie P. Mangum called "the bandit of the Apennines, the mercenary Swiss, the hungry loafer of the cities of the Old World, the offal of the disgorged jails, penitentiaries, and houses of correction of foreign countries."
In the fall of 1861, Carroll traveled to St. Louis to work with secret agent, Judge Lemuel Dale Evans, who had been appointed by Secretary of State William H. Seward, to assess the feasibility of an invasion of Texas. Carroll worked on her second war powers paper at the Mercantile Library where she sleuthed out information from the head librarian who was Confederate General Joe Johnston’s brother. She took military matters into her own hands when she initiated an interview with a riverboat pilot Capt. Charles M. Scott about the feasibility of the planned Union Mississippi River expedition. Scott informed her that he and other pilots thought the advance ill conceived due to the fact that there were many defensible points on the Mississippi River that could be reinforced and it could take years just to open it up to navigation. Carroll then questioned Scott about the feasibility of the use of the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers for a Union invasion. Scott provided Carroll technical navigation details. Based on this information Carroll wrote a memorandum that she sent to Assistant Secretary of War Thomas A. Scott and Attorney General Edward Bates in late November 1861, advocating that the combined army-navy forces change their invasion route from the Mississippi to the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers. Scott took the plan to Lincoln who deemed the plan viable, although no actual documentary evidence of this meeting exists. Evidence indicates that on the advice of Senator Benjamin F. Wade, chairman of the Committee on the Conduct of the War, Lincoln appointed Edwin Stanton secretary of war in January 1862 to implement the Tennessee River plan. Lincoln scholar Doris Kearns Goodwin, on the other hand, argues in her Pulitzer-Prize-winning book, that Lincoln chose Stanton to replace the crooked Simon Cameron on the advice of Secretary of State William Henry Seward and Secretary of the Treasury Salmon Chase, surprising the entire Cabinet with his selection, having consulted no one but Seward and Chase, the latter of whom claimed full credit for the choice of Stanton.
Meanwhile in St. Louis, Major General Henry W. Halleck was planning the same movement without Lincoln’s knowledge. Upon learning that Confederates were possibly sending reinforcements west from Virginia, Halleck ordered Brigadier General Ulysses S. Grant and Flag Officer Andrew Hull Foote to immediately move on Fort Henry and Fort Donelson on the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers in a telegram dated January 30. Scott was dispatched to the Midwest to mobilize reinforcements for Halleck on the night of January 29. On February 6, Fort Henry fell to Foote’s gunboats and on February 13, Fort Donelson fell to Grant’s and Foote’s combined forces. These comprised the first two “real victories” of the Civil War for the Union as Gen. William Sherman wrote later. Thus Carroll’s submission was critical to providing needed reinforcements for Grant and to gaining Stanton the appointment as secretary of war. At the time Carroll’s role in the effort was kept secret, and immediately following the war, she herself gave credit for the plan to Capt. Charles Scott in a letter printed in a leading Washington newspaper, but years later Assistant Secretary of War Scott and Senator Wade testified to it before Congress.
During the remainder of the war, Carroll worked with Lincoln on issues pertaining to colonization and emancipation. She and Aaron Columbus Burr lobbied him to establish a colony of freedmen in British Honduras, today Belize. Although Carroll had freed her own slaves, she lobbied Lincoln against issuing the Emancipation Proclamation fearing that support of Southern Unionists would be lost and resistance to the Union would be stiffened. But, she wrote that Lincoln did have the constitutional right to free the states as a temporary war measure under his power as commander-in-chief, since the proclamation would help cripple the organized forces of the rebellion. Yet the measure was not a transfer of title and would have to be suspended once the war emergency ended. To free the slaves required a constitutional amendment.