Unit 5: the three phases of the civil war, 1846-1877 (2012) The political conflict

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The political conflict

Nov. 26 Introduction

27      The Mexican War and results.  Rd. Martin 316-31.  Do flowchart reading.

28 The Compromise of 1850.  Rd. Martin 334-41. RESPECTABILITY PROJECTS DUE

29 Escalating tensions.  Rd. Martin 341-46. 

30 Escalating tensions.  (cont.).

Dec. 3    Climax of sectional strife.  Rd. Martin 346-56. 

The official military conflict

4 Election of Lincoln and coming of war.  Rd. Martin 359-67.  Do flowchart reading

5 Military campaigns and the war at home.  Rd. Martin 367-79.

6 The Confederacy collapses. Rd. Martin, 379-85

Ongoing guerilla conflict

7 Moderate Reconstruction.  Rd. Martin, 387-96.
10 Radical Reconstruction. Rd. Martin, 396-404.

11 Reconstruction unraveling. Rd. Martin, 404-411.

12 The victory of white supremacy. Rd. Martin, 411-414.


14 Glory.  
17 Glory (cont.) 

18 Glory (cont.).


Nueces River                                         *Bear Flag Revolt                               

John Slidell                                            *Wilmot Proviso    

Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo     Mexican Cession

popular sovereignty                                     Free Soil Party
*Fugitive Slave Law                                       Christiana riot                        
Uncle Tom's Cabin                                       Sociology for the South
Ostend Manifesto                                 Gadsden Purchase               
Stephen A. Douglas                                      *Kansas-Nebraska Act
Know Nothings                                        Beecher's Bibles                       

Pottawatomie Massacre Sumner-Brooks incident                            

Ableman vs. Booth               *Dred Scott vs. Sanford                         

Lecompton Constitution Freeport heresy                                  

Harpers Ferry   Anthony Bewley                                 

*Fort Sumter George McClellan                       

Trent                                                   *Emancipation Proclamation
*Antietam                                               Fort Pillow
Gettysburg                                           Colored Orphans' Asylum
*William T. Sherman                                       Appomattox
Black codes                                           Special Field Order #15

*Circular 15 Freedman’s Bureau

New Orleans and Memphis race riots      Nathan Bedford Forrest 

Adelbert Ames Colfax massacre

US vs. Cruikshank "redemption"
Elias Hill *Friars Point incident / John Milton Brown   

The political conflict

I. Introduction to the three phases of the Civil War

A. Civil War in popular mythology

1: North’s view: virtuous whites defeat racist whites to end slavery.

2. South’s view: virtuous whites lose to aggressive, self-righteous whites to end states’ rights.

B. Popular mythology reasons for outcomes

1. North: we win because of superior tactics, leadership (Lincoln), numbers, industry, and morality 2. South: we lose because of dishonorable tactics and unfair advantages

C. What’s neglected in popular mythology

1. role of African-Americans

a. insistence on and success in being allowed to fight for freeing themselves and others

b. immediate slave desertions from masters reveal lunacy of pro-slavery ideology

2. role of foreign powers and general diplomacy on both sides

3. waxing and waning of group motivation based on religious and psychological factors

D. More accurate realities regarding the Civil War

1. war immediately fought not over abolition but over conflict related to expansion of slavery

2. war also fought over question of states’ rights, “democracy,” and who gets protection of fed. gov’t.

a. advocates of “majority rule”

b. advocates of “protection of minority (i. e. slaveholders) rights”

3. war fought because of success of extremists on both sides, able to polarize America

4. war unleashes all sorts of other, less-intended but ultimately equally important dynamics

a. dominance of government-supported corporate capitalism

b. continued hegemony of white supremacy

E. Question of “Who won?” depends on objectives of war

1. Was it a war to save the Union? Who won that?

2. Was it a war to establish national sovereignty over states’ rights? Who won that? What does it take to count as a “win?” (If you win the lottery and never cash in your ticket, did you really win?)

2. Was it a war to end slavery? To extend opportunity to freedmen? Who won that?

3. Was it a war to protect an economy centered on race-based, exploitative, controllable labor and a society centered on white supremacy? Who won that?
II. Mexican War
 A. Situation in 1844-45
        1. economy is recovering; foreign immigration (esp. Irish Catholics) increases
        2. Jacksonian reform is in full flower, esp. anti-slavery
               3. moral issue of slavery splits major Protestant denominations
        4. Manifest Destiny and expansion is the issue in 1844 election
B. Polk's goals
        1. compromise on Oregon is fine
        2. desire for California rules policies
                a. Slidell tries but fails to buy northern third of Mexico
                      b. Sloat, Stockton, and Fremont ready for Larkin's proposed "Bear Flag Revolt"
                   c. Taylor sent to Rio Grande to provoke Mexicans into war
                       d. war message coincides with Mexican "attack"
  C. Theaters of War
              1. northern Mexico bogs Taylor down
              2. California: the Bear Flag revolt succeeds
           3. Scott's amphibious invasion of Vera Cruz and march to Mexico City
    D. Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo
          1. "All Mexico?"
                2. Trist and public demand to end war
   E. Implications of Mexican War
          1. racism and force as keys to American Manifest Destiny
                2. trains a generation of military leaders
              3. Wilmot Proviso and the 2 big questions re slavery in territories of the Mexican Cession

a. will slavery be allowed in the new territories?

b. who will decide: Congress, the people, or the courts?
    F. Election of 1848
             1. Whigs: Taylor runs as sectional compromise with no stance on issues
          2. Democrats: Cass and popular sovereignty
              3. Free Soil Party: Van Buren broadens appeal of antislavery party
                      a. includes alienated Democrats and Whigs
                     b. Liberty Party remnants
                       c. homestead platform, high tariff, and other features
  G. Free soil and free labor ideologies
          1. slavery defined not as just sin but also as antithetical to republican and respectable values
                        a. slaveholders exercise power with no limits -> tyrannical and rough/proto-aristocratic
                        b. slaves are necessarily made dependent
                        c. slavery restricts opportunity for (white) competitors
                        d. antislavery w/out concern for slaves: Garrison and "white-man-ism"
           2. comparison to slavery makes "free labor" a workable substitute for producerism
                       a. combines liberal republican virtue with renewed emphasis on individualism
                           (1) non-dependence redefined to mean controlling sale of labor only                             ("mobile dependency" or "wage slavery" acc. to critics--no more control)

(2) respectability now excludes collectivist responses to exploitation                      (hyper-individualism redefines asking for help as dependency)

                      b. provides rationalization for industrial capitalist development

III. Compromise of 1850

A. Background and politics
              1. California Gold Rush and push for (free) statehood
        2. passing of old leaders (Clay, Calhoun); emergence of new (Douglas, Davis, Seward)
        B. Final compromise
             1. U. S. assumes Texas debt; no more slave trade in Washington D. C.
             2. California admitted as free state to gain northern support
            3. stronger Fugitive Slave Law, to gain southern support
          4. "popular sovereignty" in the territories
     C. Implications: centrality of fugitive slave legislation and popular sovereignty
               1. issues related to slavery join nationalist/localist tensions (federal government vs states rights)
            2. conspiracies
                a. South fears subversion of repub. rights of minorities; legal rights of “property”-owners
                       b. North fears "slave power conspiracy" of slaveholders and doughface politicians
        3. armistice, not a solution; sets agenda for future conflict

IV. Responses to Fugitive Slave Law

        A. North refuses to support it, especially when it requires them to aid slave-catchers
          1. earlier examples of non-compliance lead southerners to emphasize its importance

a. Prigg vs Pennsylvania and “personal liberty laws” protect runaways

b. novelty of Henry “Box” Brown inspires abolitionists and others

c. Underground RR becomes symbol of Northern resistance

               2. Christiana, PA incident: death of Gorsuch and acquittal of Parker infuriate South
          3. Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852) shakes up the country
                     a. SGA inspiration of Harriet Beecher Stowe
                     b. tries to unify sections by blaming both for economic sins
                    c. climactic scene of fugitive slave Eliza crossing ice flows elicits horror and sympathy
                      d. irony: completely polarizes the sections
             4. increased civil disobedience: Anthony Burns and Shadrach Minkins
B. Southern response to anti-FSL actions
                1. Aunt Phyllis' Cabin and southern ban on UTC
          2. George Fitzhugh and Sociology for the South (1854)
                   a. all prosperity is based on coerced labor
                     b. all liberal economics supports greed as an outgrowth of "laws of nature"
                     c. all nature shows that the strong prey on the weak (proto-Darwinism)
                  d. but slaveholders uphold workers' welfare, so class conflict is avoided
                       e. slavery will cure the ills of northern industrial capitalist society

V. Problems with popular sovereignty

    A. Election of 1852: Pierce the "doughface" overcomes apathy and the Whig, Winfield Scott
       B. "Young America" and further expansion as an attempt to deflect attention away from slavery
           1. Ostend Manifesto: covert effort by Democrats to take Cuba from Spain
              2. Gadsden Purchase (1853): desert area bought as potential transcontinental RR route
   C. Kansas-Nebraska Act (1854)
           1. Stephen Douglas mixes personal and political ambition
                        a. transcontinental railroad needed to boost Chicago
                    b. western territories need to be politically organized
                c. makes the Missouri Compromise null and void
          2. Northern outrage over its passage: A. Lincoln and the "sanctity" of the Missouri Compromise
    D. Collapse of 2nd Party System
        1. Whigs disintegrate
           2. potential replacements
                       a. nativists: the Know Nothings
                b. anti-Nebraska Democrats, conscience Whigs, and Free Soilers form Republicans

VI. Escalation of tensions

     A. “Bleeding Kansas” indicates problems with popular sovereignty; the “war” over slavery begins!
          1. suspicious elections and initial conflicts: Beecher's bibles and the “Sack of Lawrence”           2. Sumner-Brooks affair generates divergent sectional perspectives on bravery and honor

a. northerners are seen as dishonorable wimps

b. southerners are seen as rough/proto-aristocratic tyrants

3. John Brown and the Pottawatomie Massacre

B. Election of 1856 indicates a new two-party system
C. Counterintuitive court decisions and responses indicate breakdown of political expectations
          1. Dred Scott vs. Sanford (1857) convinces South to trust federal government power

2. Ableman vs. Booth (1859) overturns WI’s states’ rights rejection of Fugitive Slave Law

      D. Politics becomes purely sectional as Repub.s plan to win all Northern states and Dem.s disintegrate
                   1. Lecompton Constitution: Buchanan vs. Douglas over popular sovereignty                        2. Lincoln-Douglas debates (1858): Freeport heresy further damages Douglas
     E. Martyrdom indicates extreme polarization, demonization, and the collapse of the moderate center
             1. John Brown's raid and martyrdom (1859): Harper's Ferry, VA (WV)
              2. lynching of Anthony Bewley (TX)
F. Election of 1860: four-way campaign
            1. Republicans in Chicago pass on Seward to nominate Lincoln
            2. Democrats officially splinter over popular sovereignty, Dred Scott, and Freeport heresy
                      a. northern Democrats choose Douglas
                b. southern Democrats choose Breckenridge

3. border state Whigs form Constitutional Union Party; nominate Bell
    G. Lincoln's "victory" and Southern response
            1. first wave of secession, with South Carolina taking 6 others with them this time
              2. Crittenden Compromise comes too late; border states remain but allegiance is fragile
        3. Fort Sumter marks the beginnings of actual hostilities (April, 1861)

4. four more states, including VA, join new Confederacy

The official military conflict

VII. Civil War
A. Union and Confederacy on eve of war

1. advantages and disadvantages

2. Winfield Scott’s “Anaconda Plan” to cut Confederacy in half

3. Lincoln calls up 75,000 troops and Confederacy responds, with Lee eventually leading Rebs

B. Initial battles, 1861-62
             1. South dominates in east: failures of McClellan et al: Bull Run, non-attack on Richmond
        2. Trent affair shows Lincoln's skills; avoids British intervention
             3. North makes progress in west: Shiloh and fall of New Orleans, (April, 1862)
     C. Antietam (Sept., 1862) as turning point
            1. Lee denied victory on northern soil needed for European recognition
          2. McClellan's incompetence (even seeing Lee's battle plans) makes Lincoln fire him 
                3. Lincoln uses "victory" to write Emancipation Proclamation; abolition becomes war aim

a. Lincoln uses Commander-in-Chief power to issue the EP for rebel-held areas only

b. waits until Jan. 1, 1863 for public opinion approval before actually issuing it

c. leaves slavery in border states untouched

D. Conditions at start of 1863
          1. Deterioration and incompetence in South: failure of Confederate “nationalism”

a. cotton embargo backfires completely and economic woes disrupt war effort

(1) Confederate paper money suffers from growing lack of confidence

(2) capture of New Orleans and failure at Glorieta Pass NM dry up gold supply

b. Union blockade hurts and smuggling cotton proliferates: James Alcorn of MS

2. morale improves in North despite significant opposition

a. beginning of economic and agricultural boom in North

b. bolstered by Emancipation Proclamation

c. but North still suffers from poor generals and from opposition to the draft and abolition
           3. use of African-American troops strengthen Union forces: Glory
       E. Critical point: July 1863
            1. Vicksburg: Confederacy cut in half; Lincoln finds generals (Grant and Sherman)
            2. Gettysburg: Lee denied victory on northern soil and European recognition again
           3. draft riots in New York City: Colored Orphans Asylum 
        F. Total war, 1864-65
           1. Grant's war of attrition in the East wins Lincoln’s approval; grinds away at Lee’s army
        2. Sherman and his March to the Sea targets civilians

3. Ft. Pillow: NB Forrest and James Chalmers allow slaughter of surrendered black troops

             4. Lincoln's unexpected re-election means the war will continue
G. Appomattox: Lee surrenders to Grant and official military war ends (April, 1865)

H. Assassination of Lincoln stuns the nation

1. Booth’s blatantly racist motivations

2. ascension of Southern Unionist and ticket-balancer, Andrew Johnson

3. immediate martyrdom of previously despised Lincoln
Ongoing guerilla conflict
VIII. The South and Reconstruction plans, 1863-70
    A. What the Civil War accomplished

1. federal power wins over states’ rights and local gov’ts ( budget grows from $63 mil to $1 BIL)

2. northern industrial capitalism triumphs over cash-crop plantation economies

3. competing visions within dominant Republican party result

a. helping rough/respectable poor: Homestead and Morrill Land Grant Acts

b. subsidizing respectable/proto-aristocratic capitalists: Pacific Railroad Act

c. punishing proto-aristocratic planters: disenfranchisement of Confederate leaders

d. plan for permanent Republican hegemony w/three factions emerging

(1) radicals: formerly abolitionists, now radically egalitarian

(a) opportunities for freedmen guaranteed and protected

(b) punishment for rebels to be harsh and effective: Z. Chandler

(2) conservatives: pro-business types, want to extend wartime economic gains (3) moderates: like Lincoln, want to see country re-united quickly and easily

4. slavery abolished everywhere forever: 13th Amendment

B. What the Civil War did not accomplish

1. immediate end to political, socioeconomic, and guerrilla conflict and disruption

2. racial equality: Black Codes in South; only temporary suspension of racism in the North

3. total acceptance of implications of defeat, especially in terms of white supremacy

4. continuation of effective presidential leadership: Lincoln is dead; Johnson is president

a. looks like Lincoln on paper: poor, self-educated and self-made, no privilege

b. but, sucks up to planter “in-crowd;” ragingly racist; incompetent drunk

  C. Presidential reconstruction, 1863-66
        1. Lincoln's "restoration" as war measure
               2. radical challenge of Wade-Davis Bill
        3. Johnson's "restoration," 1865-66
                     a. radicals initially have high hopes but soon consider Johnson too easy on Black Codes, etc.

b. personal presidential pardon for ex-Confederate leaders

              4. land and the freedmen: THE issue for equal opportunity
                        a. Sherman’s Special Field Order #15; Lincoln plans to confiscate land of Confed. leaders b. Freedman’s Bureau rents land to freedmen, with promise of option to buy

c. Johnson's Circular 15 returns all land to white landowners

                        d. Stevens's congressional plan for land redistribution fails=> Southern Homestead Act
                       e. result: gradual emergence of sharecropping system
D. Moderate Congressional Reconstruction, 1866-67
               1. Freedman's Bureau contributions (Mar. 1865)    
                        a. gives displaced blacks and whites food, clothing, and fuel

b. rents land, adjudicates land and labor disputes, provides savings bank and schools

c. influence of southern African-American preachers and teachers
                        d. influence of white Northern reformers
                        e. ideological tension between liberalism and government intervention
           2. Freedman's Bureau extension Bill and Johnson's veto
            3. fight over Civil Rights Bill and 14th Amendment
              4. Southern intransigence alienates moderates: quote from Chicago Tribune
                   a. New Orleans and Memphis race riots
                   b. southern opposition to Republican gov’ts: carpetbaggers, scalawags, and freedmen
                      c. Ku Klux Klan and indigenous terrorism
               5. congressional elections of 1866
      E. Radical Congressional Reconstruction, 1867-70
                1. Radicals attempt to monopolize federal power for Congress & Republican Party
                     a. division of South from ten states into five military districts
                        b. coerced passage of 14th and 15th Amendments
                  c. domination of Supreme Court
          2. Tenure of Office Act and impeachment of Johnson

IX. The post-war North, after 1865

     A. Politics, 1865-73
            1. Initially Republicans enjoy great support, balancing rights and support for business
                    a. they won the war, elected a war hero (Grant), and get credit for prosperity
                      b. newly-enfranchised African-Americans vote for them
              c. when all else fails, they can "wave the bloody shirt"

           2. Democrats remain the party of rebellion, white supremacy, and immigrants

     3. war-time idealism increasingly hampered by “practical” concerns

a. preoccupation with corporate capitalist growth: railroads

             b. racism returns; willingness to face systemic inequity wanes since Amendment “success”
                        c. apathy toward ongoing moral issues in politics
              (1) disappearance of abolitionist moral fervor
           (2) corruption of the Grant administration: Credit Mobilier and the Whiskey Ring

            B. ambivalent reaction to Redemption and Klan terrorism in lower South

                1. federal government shatters Klan organization, but tactics persist

a. NBF disperses Klan in Jan. 1869

b. Congress passes Force Bills in 1870 and 1871; Grant ousts Klan in SC

c. white supremacists pursue other avenues; bide their time

2. Amnesty Act re-enfranchises ex-Confederates
C. Panic of 1873 and subsequent depression
              1. real suffering takes attention from woes of freedmen and militancy of white supremacists

2. growing sense that South needs stability and investment more than rights for blacks

  3. Liberal Republican alternative emerges
                               a. emphasize liberalism and civil service reform: liberty, competition, and limited gov’t
                          b. innovation of developmentalism: Darwinian evolution and Progress
                            c. Republicans sacrifice support for human rights for business interests
            D. Interdependence of urbanization, immigration, and industrialization: industrial capitalism

X. The South, after 1870

A. Problems of Black Reconstruction

1. leadership of carpetbaggers, scalawags, and freedmen proves reasonably effective but insufficient

        2. alleged problems with taxation and corruption enable “white-liners” to complain and organize
           B. “Redemption” (Democratic rule and white supremacy) effort grows 

1. southern Republicans divide: radical Adelbert Ames vs. white supremacist James Alcorn   2. Democratic Party and white supremacists’ resurgence

                  3. indigenous terrorism continues to take its toll: Elias Hill

4. (1st) Mississippi Plan: paramilitary Democratic recapture of southern politics

                                a. white Republicans are ostracized and intimidated
                            b. black Republicans are intimidated and murdered
                                      (1) Colfax, LA massacre in 1873
                                  (2) Friars Point, MS coup in 1875: John M. Brown, Jas. Alcorn, and Jas. Chalmers

(a) undemocratic, violent realignment of political power

(b) preservation of exploitable, controllable labor force
            C. Reconstruction on the ropes

1. U. S. vs. Cruikshank (1876): federal gov’t  prohibits state (not individual) discrimination only

2. northern disgust with “annual autumnal outbreaks”
3. inanity of Henry Ward Beecher scandal unfairly discredits abolition/support for freedmen
D. White supremacy poised for final “victory” in the Civil War: the results of the election of 1876

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