tv [untitled] May 19, 2012 1:00pm-1:30pm EDT
programs at any time by visiting our website, c-span.org/history. suspect watch american artifacts every sunday at 8:00 a.m., 7:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. eastern here on c-span 3. as the presidential campaign enters its final months and the political parties prepare for their conventions, american history tv will air c-span's original series, "the contenders," featuring 14 key political figures who ran for president and lost, but impacted american political history. we'll air the series every weekend from june 3rd to september 2nd on sundays at 8:30 a.m., 7:30 p.m., and 10:30 p.m. eastern all here on american history tv on c-span 3. join us as historians previewed the series on saturday, june 2nd at 10:00 a.m. eastern. each week, american history tv sits in on a lecture with one of the nation's college professors. you can watch the classes here every saturday at 8:00 p.m. and
midnight eastern time, and sundays at 1:00 p.m. university of southern mississippi professor susanna ural teaches a course on the history of the united states from its founding to 187. in this lecture, she focuses on the presidential election of 1860 and subsequent is he session by the southern states. this is 50 minutes. ff i promise you, next we would get to that crazy election of 1860. as we have been talking about all semester, election years are always fun to watch to kind of take the pulse of the united states. but as you can see from what's up there on the outline, and we're going to wind up with four presidential candidates, two from the same party, obviously things are about to get really
crazy, okay? what happened with the dread scott decision in sn what are you going remember to put in your essays? oh, wait, i'm not supposed to ask questions. i'll tell you. dred scott decision number one, biggest thing you need to remember beyond the date. and remember, y'all are fine if you just tell me late 1850s, i'm happy. all right? you don't have to remember march of 1857. ruled under justice taney any line saying from here on up is free and from here on down is slave, anything like that is fifth amendment property rights violation, okay? link con douglas, remember, had the famous senate debates, that senate campaign in 1858, and that's when they're hashing out
a lot of those ideas, okay? hashing out what the country at large is arguing. you can see it through the lens of illinois. 1859 we talked about the -- excuse me, the john brown's raid on harp percent ferry, right. southerners in particular worried about the fact that there are portions of the north, by no means all, but portions of the north that are very much mourning the execution of a man who was going to launch a slave rebellion that would have led to a lot of the deaths of southern whites, okay? so by the time we get to 1860 what you're seeing is a country that is falling apart and running out of ways to come up with some sort of compromise, some sort of solution. now in that year they're going to have to pick who they want for their presidential candidates, the different parties, all right? we talked about last time that in 1856 you've seen the birth of the republican party. you have the democratic party, which is fragmenting in terms of regions. you're getting kind of a northern wing and a southern
wing of the democratic party. what those two groups are going to have to do is come together and find out who they want the presidential candidate to be. now, the democrats decide to meet for no apparent reason, certainly not a smart one, in south carolina, the hot bed of the secession movement. that's where they go to talk about some sort of solution to the crisis. again, not smart. they go down to charleston, all right, southern democrats, okay, the southern wing of the party very much wants protections about the idea that slavery is going to be able to continue to expand into the territories, okay? they want that option that we don't want to put it up to a vote, we don't want to make a popular sovereignty, we want some protection that slavery can continue to expand into the territories. the northern wing of the democratic party is saying we have to come up with a compromise. we can't hold a hard line on this issue anymore. the northern wing of the democratic party wants steven
douglas to be their candidate, okay? but the southern wing is going to say, no way. all right. they're going to say, stephen douglas, this is the guy who gave us popular sovereignty. this is the guy who put fifth amendment property rights up for a vote. no, he's compromising on things that we cannot compromise on, we can't afford to. what's going to happen is the southern wing of the democratic party will storm out of that convention. the democrats are going to have to reconvene later and in the end what they come up with are two separate candidates. southern democrats are going to nominate john breckinridge. slave holders from the slave state of kentucky. okay? northern democrats are going to go o with stephen douglas. very experienced politician. moderate on a lot of the key issues that the democratic party holds dear. looks like the guy who has the experience and the broad support
to win an election. problem is you've already split your vote, okay? if you remember, do you remember in the '90s when you would have ross perot, he'd be running and the republicans would freak out. ross perot will come into the election and he will siphon off some of the votes. the democrats are, hey, the more the more the merrier, come on in. >> , this is good. around 2000 is when the democrats had to deal with ralph nader. the republicans were like, the more the merrier, come on in. this is good. now what you're seeing is a split in the democratic party which will wrench any sort of block vote that will give them the majority. when you see a party splintering like this, it's your clear sign that something is seriously wrong. they know what they're doing. these are not idiots, all right? they know what's going on, but they cannot come up with a compromise that they can sleep with at night. and they know in many ways they're probably committing
political suicide here, but they don't know what else to do. now the republicans need to come up with a candidate who can win, okay? 1856 we saw them give us john freemont. then the country kind of looked at him and looked at the republicans and they're awfully new. i don't know. they're pretty radical. they're not all abolitionists, but that's where the abolitionists tend to hang out and that's a little too radical for me. we're going with union. okay? the republicans look at one of their main contenders, all right? his name is william seward. william seward is one of the main candidates the republicans will look at for from 1860. put him forward, okay? seward is from new york. very talented politician. eloquent speaker. i'll give you an excerpt of lincoln's inaugural address. later on in here in a little bit. it's beautiful. lincoln has writing skills you just can't teach somebody to write like that. it is just beautiful, and there
are lines in lincoln's address that actually william seward gave him. okay? so seward is a very talented politician in his own right. problem for the republicans with him is, number one, he's from the northeast. he's from new york, all right? they need to get some western votes because, remember, douglas is from the west. they need to siphon off some of those western votes. number two, he is a very outspoken opponent of slavery. there is no way to tell southern democrats that william seward is a moderate on the slavery issue, that they can work together on the slavery issue. william seward flat out is opposed to slavery. needs to end, needs to end now. so he's not going to be moderate enough. what the republicans end up doing is going with this fairly new, unknown guy by the name of abraham lincoln, okay? he's not well known. if you remember from your reading, some of y'all read that primary source essay, you were reading about lincoln's position on the mexican war. he's had one term in congress. that's pretty much it. he lost his senate race in 1858 in illinois.
but he's this kind of rising star who's clearly a very talented speaker, clever debater. he's that kind of guy who -- he's kind of got that classic southern thing about him is what he has. have you ever talked to somebody where they talk a little slow, look a little disheveled. he's a country guy. old guy. probably doesn't have that much education. you sitting around. y'all probably don't. i do. i'm from the north. i fall for that trick. you're listening to him, all right. next thing you know he's lapped you three times. that was lincoln. he tells you these barnyard jokes. kind of got this awe, shucks kind of style, bam, he backhands you in the middle of a debate. that's lincoln. what he's able to do is convince enough people that, you know what, he's got the brains for it. he's moderate enough to get enough votes, and he might just be able to pull this thing off, okay? now the slavery issue, it's
going to be something that the republicans have to deal with. remember what we talked about earlier this week, okay? the republican party officially on the position of slavery is for containing it. not abolishing it. what lincoln's going to say is, hey, everybody chill out. i will protect slavery, what it is. if i get elected, there's nothing to worry about. but what happened during the lincoln douglas debates in 1858, y'all ever heard excerpts from a house divided against itself cannot stand? in that speech he said a country divided as we are, half free and half slave, cannot stand. we're going to have to choose all free or all slave. we cannot keep going like this. southern democrats say, you can say compromise all you want, but you said in 1858 we have to choose one or the other. we just don't trust you. what lincoln does is he just kind of stays quiet. once he gets the nomination he just kind of keeps saying, look, look at my record, look at what i've said earlier. i'm going to stay quiet.
i will protect slavery where it currently exists. i'm morally opposed to it. lynn can lincoln has a very famous story where he talks about a family literally sold apart in an auction and how that absolutely shaped him. if you ever go to the lincoln presidential library museum in illinois, springfield, there's a big daze display on that. he would talk about that, that morally he was opposed to it, but as a lawyer and as a constitutionalist, he fundamentally believe it was protected under the u.s. constitution, all right? he said, i'll protect it where it exists. i won't support it extending any further. that was his official position. so that leaves us with abraham lincoln representing the republicans. we have stephen douglas representing northern democrats. john breckinridge representing southern democrats, then you have a portion of the country that's still not happy. they organize themselves into a political party for this election. they are the constitutional unionists.
their slogan is the constitution as it is, the union as it is. first time i ever read about the constitutional unionists, i was sitting where y'all are now. i always thought of the head in the sand party. i was like, well, there's a solution for you. all right? there's the constitution as it is. great. ya, we got that. it's not working. what's interesting about the constitutional unionists, is the more you read about them, the more you'll notice is what they want to do is fragment this vote to the point where it gets thrown into the house. now we can debate it out of the house. get it out of the passions of the american people and debate it among the experts. what they also are are a bunch of wealthy guys who have a heck of a lot to lose if war actually comes from this. if everything falls apart, all right? these are a lot of your wealthy planters who have investments with northern banks, they've invested in railroads. these are the guys who are invested across the entire nation. these are the guys who are going
to lose a lot if it comes to war. these are not your radicals. so what they're going to have to come up with is some sort of a compromise, but they say at heart we always have to go back to the constitution. we always have to go back to the union. that is who we are. that is how you end up in the fall of 1860 with four presidential candidates. these are viable candidates. these aren't, you know, the crazy guy who managed to get on the evening local news. four strong potential candidates. constitutional unionists put forward john bell. they looked at a few options. sam houston, if you've heard of him from texas, he had been the president of the republic of texas. sam houston would have been a pretty good choice. the problem with sam houston for 19th century america was he was divorced from his first wife and his second wife was a cherokee woman which for 19th century americans, they weren't going to be able to wrap their head around either one of those things. so sam houston went out, john bell came in as the much more palatable option.
1860, november, americans go to the polls, okay? adult white male american citizens go to the polls and this is how it winds up. everything in green there goes for lincoln. douglas got missouri and part of new jersey. breckinridge gets the slave owning south except for some of the border states. tennessee, kentucky, virginia go to john bell. okay? and what's interesting about this is how the vote breaks down. overwhelmingly lincoln wins the electoral college. he gets a clear majority of the electoral votes which is all you need to become president, okay? but in terms of the popular vote, lincoln gets about 39%, but because it was so split and
the way the electoral college works, he wins the presidency. the problem is a huge portion of the country, particularly the south, is going to feel like the guy that they didn't vote for, who didn't appear on a lot of deep south ballots, state of texas lincoln wasn't even on southern ballots in the state of texas. it's not like he was getting a whole lot of write in votes. there was no way they were going to vote for the republican. no. no, he's not. he's from the north. illinois to boot, all right? there's no way they were going to do it. so a huge portion of the country feels like, forget it. we didn't even vote for this guy. there are other factors going on too. when you look at, again, looking at here the union is dissolved, reactions to lincoln's victories where i'm at. i mean, if you look at the situation, if y'all have ever voted for a candidate who's lost, we've talked about this before, you always console yourself, right, that all right, in four more years we'll come back and win next time. problem for huge portions of the
south is that they're convinced with a republican in the white house, laws are going to change to the point where they'll never be able to reclaim the white house again, where they will always be outvoted. territories will come into the unions as states. this era he worried they'll be free states. democrats will lose more and more power. 50 -- where is that stat i wrote down? there we go. southern states, slave holders that controlled the presidency for 50 of the last 72 years. okay? american presidents have been slave holders, controlling the presidency for 50 of the last 72 years. no party had directly, that's cool, no party, stop -- technology's possessed. all right. had seriously challenged slavery until 1856. one election later in 1860 suddenly the republicans are controlling the white house. and what's going to happen is
portions of the deep south are going to decide, forget it. okay? we cannot continue to exist as one nation. now, the way it's going to happen is south carolina is going to be the first one out. south carolina secedes about a month, a little over a month after the election. lincoln gets elected in early november, first week in november 1860. south carolina secedes from the union. you remember in your essays. it's secede, not succeed. it's okay. a lot of people make the mistake. you're paying big bucks for an education. make it sound like -- my computer's possessed. stop. i'm not ready to go on. all right. south carolina going to secede from the union in december. next state out will be mississippi. following mississippi in january of 1861 you get florida, alabama, georgia and louisiana.
and y'all if you ever get confused you're trying to remember all of this, just go to the mapping section on your test. find south carolina, work your way down the coast line until you get to texas. those are your first seven states of the confederacy. find south carolina and weave your way down. i will never ask you, all right, did texas go in january or february? all right. i'm far more interested in why texas goes than exact month texas goes. you know this. south carolina is the first out in december of 1860. then you're going to get mississippi is going to be next. and kind of that heart moving down from south carolina, the deep south where you get georgia, florida, alabama, louisiana, and then in february you're going to get texas. so what you'll have -- let me jump to this map maybe. maybe not. what you'll end up seeing with the deep south -- now it's
going. picture the map. south carolina on down to texas, those are going to be the first seven states of the confederacy. remember, because those states when they go, they go in direct response to lincoln's election, okay? they see lincoln and what they argue is that the country is falling apart and the only way to preserve the principles of the founders is to cut away the basically decaying part of the country, all right? cut away that gangrenous limb to save the life of the country. they're going to organize into the confederate states of america and the first capitol is going to be montgomery, alabama. i don't know why it's not going. there we go. here. look at it there. look at this one. this will help you remember it. dark blue, those are your seven deep south states that are the first to secede. south carolina on down to texas.
they go in response to lincoln's election. you need to remember this because it's going to be different motivations for the upper south. okay? you know, some days the magic works and some days it just doesn't. now what's going to end up happening, that's me talking today. i'm glad we got that title in. what's going to end up happening is they're going organize and meet montgomery, alabama. they'll come up with their own basically state constitutions. they'll revise all of them, and they'll come up with a new confederate constitution. they're going to pick for their president that guy, the top right-hand corner, jefferson davis. okay? y'all hopefully know him being from mississippi, okay? he's familiar to most of y'all. davis is an interesting character. i mean, yes, he's a west point graduate. yes, he commanded the
mississippi rifles in the war. he's been secretary of the war in the 1850s. he has a lot of that background that's going to make him a very good choice in many ways, at least on paper, okay? there's a famous quote that i put up there that talks about how davis himself was never entirely sold on being president, that in many ways he had hoped to command troops in the field, but it's going to be that classic virtuous citizen argument, that he is called upon to serve as president of the confederacy and as he was called he will do, okay? now in some ways he was hesitant to do it. okay? he wasn't entirely sure this is what he wanted to do. when davis -- davis is sitting as a senator representing the state of mississippi in the u.s. senate in washington city when all of this is happening, when the secession crisis is taking place, there that winter of '60-'61. when those deep south states start to secede, he is one of
the leading senators stands up to deliver the departure speech, this good-bye farewell address of the south, okay? one of his classic lines from this is that the south has a high and solemn motive to defend and protect the rights which we inherited which is it is our sacred duty to transmit unshorn to our children. if you look at davis's inaugural address he cites the revolution, he cites the legacy of the founding fathers. in his inaugural address, not even once does he mention the word slavery, okay? his vice president, guy by the name of alexander stevens flat out says, we need to leave to protect slavery. period. end of story. in some of davis's writings he says you cannot have the federal government infringing on these rights. this is it, end of story, we need to talk about it. you need to get this in your notes because i'm going to want you to be able to debate this issue of kind of how people are reacting and pointing to the constitution, these inaugural addresses to look at the issue
of slavery and its influence and -- how should we phrase it? how it ties into the causes of the civil war. okay? y'all know or if you haven't heard it's sometimes a big fight over was slavery the central issue of the civil war, was it not the central issue of the civil war? this is classic material for an essay question for the last exam, okay. hint, hint, hitting you over the head with a hammer here. all right. you've got it. what i want you to be able to do -- remember, i don't want to know about your feelings. i don't care if you had an ancestor who served in the 6th wisconsin and the union is right and all of that. i care, all right, but remember i want to know what you think, okay? so i want you to be able to point to historical evidence and give me proof. if you look at the confederate constitution, confederate state constitutions, look at mississippi's constitution, okay, before the secession crisis and after. every single one of those increased protections for slave holders. clearly slave owners were worried about their rights as
slave owners, were worried about property rights and be this was a clear motivation. if you want to make an argument that slavery was not the only issue, you can look at davis's speech but your stronger evidence is going to come from union soldiers and it's going to come from lincoln's actions in the first year of this war. we'll get more into that when you get back on monday and when you get back from thanksgiving break. lincoln flat out will say, he'll put the union together with slavery and without it. it's all about the union until late 1862. so if you want to look at the beginning of the war and argue about multiple motivations, there's your evidence. that's what i want you looking at. remember, i don't care -- it's up to you to come to your own conclusions. i want to make sure you can defend it. if you want to argue that it was fundamentally slavery, look at those constitutions, but you're also going to have to tie in the fact that lincoln is willing to compromise on that issue of slavery in the beginning of the war. that union soldiers will go off
to war in 1861 flat out saying there is no way they're abolitionists. they are fighting to preserve the union, period, end of story. you have to make sure you can get clear m your head the complexity of it all. when i was a kid some of the first historians i ever read was a guy named bruce catton. he once argued that in 1860 slavery wasn't the only issue that caused the war but was the one issue that americans not only couldn't compromise on, it was that they didn't want to anymore, that they were so angry with each other they just wouldn't compromise on that one anymore. they just didn't care to compromise anymore. to me, that's the best way to characterize it. no war is ever about one thing, but that slavery became that one issue on which people got so mad they didn't even want to try to get along anymore. that was it. they were done. it's one of the best characterizations of that that i've ever heard. now davis is going to rise to the presidency of the confederacy, okay?
lincoln is going to have to try and keep what he can of the country together. can you imagine being abraham lincoln? i always think about this. you got elected to the presidency of the united states. this is huge. and seven states leave the union specifically because of you, okay? i mean, seriously. ouch. all right? so lincoln's got to find a way to keep the country together. now as far as lincoln's concerned, the confederacy does not exist. he never -- there's one mishap where actually kind of de facto he recognizes the existence of the confederacy, in principle, his speeches, he never recognizes the existence of the confederacy. it's always the rebellious states, southerners, the rebellious people, rebel army. anything like that. he never actually recognizes the existence of those southern states forming into an independent country. what he tries to do in the spring of 1861 desperately is
keep everything together. so what he's going to do in his inaugural address, they're in march in those days, is basically convince the south to come back into the fold. and he says in your hands my dissatisfied countrymen and not in mine is the momentous issue of civil war. don't try to get this down. it's cool. you'll miss it if you try to get it down. the government will not assail you. you can have no conflict without yourselves being the aggressors. you have no oath registered in heaven to destroy the government while i have the most solid oath to preserve, protect, and defend it. what he's saying is, look, i'm not going to start this thing, but i have just taken the oath to preserve, protect, and defend the union. ball's in your court. what the confederacy is arguing is this is not a civil war. they don't want to overthrow the government in washington. they want to go home. they want to break away and form themselves into an independent country and that's what they're arguing they've done. what happens, by march of 1861 is you kind of have yourself in
this kind of no man's land, this kind of deadlock. we're not necessarily sure what we're going to be able to do, okay? everybody's just kind of staring at each other wondering who's going to make the next move. and the next big critical move is going to come shockingly in charleston, south carolina. okay? now in charleston bay there are a couple of forts. the u.s. army commander in charge of those forts was a guy by the name of robert anderson. major robert anderson. he couldn't hold on to everything so he's consolidated all of his forces to one of these islands where you have for the ft. sumter. so you had charleston, you had the harbor there. and in the harbor is ft. sump r sumpter. major anderson has consolidated his forces there.
anderson has orders to hold on to that fort. yes, south carolina has been saying since december that they are not part of the united states anymore. yes, since february you now have the organization of the con if he had dear rate states of america. they are saying that you are illegally in their country as an enemy army, okay? but as far as the u.s. government's concerned, we don't recognize the existence of the confederacy. you stay where you are. anderson's problem, okay, he's literally sitting in the hot bed of secession movement in charleston. he's on an island. he will run out of food and supplies at some point, okay? now in january, in january the u.s. federal government tried to send a relief expedition down. confederate forces fired on that ship and it turned around. so ever since january anderson's been trying to hold out. what he's saying is, guys, i don't know how much longer i can do this, all right? we've got a serious problem.