“Lack of compromise”… Hmm.
The country elected a Republican, a party recently established with abolitionist roots. Shortly after Lincoln’s election (by December) South Carolina seceded the Union and joined the newly established Confederacy (in February) since other Southern states had followed S. Carolina’s lead. VA didn’t secede until April, with ladies fainting in Portsmouth as they were certain Fort Monroe would turn it’s guns against them.
So, “lack of compromise”? Yep! S. Carolina and the rest of the southern states that seceded didn’t even give Lincoln a chance to limit the expansion of slavery (which was the actual bullet point of the Republican Party Platform).
After the states started seceding, what was the Union supposed to do? Let it happen?!?!
Actually, based on my own research for my bachelor’s thesis in history (I believe it still exists as a “note/blog post” on my Facebook page), what was passed in Congress during the Civil War WERE the compromises. While most citizens were hearing the most extremist views, the bills actually being signed by Lincoln were very moderate.
Take the Emancipation Proclamation, famous for not actually freeing anyone! It only freed slaves in states that were actively rebelling (so it couldn’t be enforced), not slaves still in the Union.
For a modern perspective, take Obamacare, which still guaranteed health insurance companies their profits in order to make the program work (that was the compromise). Every problem associated with Obamacare can be directly related to the promise that insurance companies get their profit as opposed to just breaking even or mandating that they reinvest any profits back into the system to lower costs.
To look at 2017, Trump keeps running his mouth about all the “great stuff” he’s going to do (would LOVE to have a more specific list to offer as example, but Trump refuses to be less vague), but Congress keeps thwarting him. It may not be a huge part of Congress that is keeping “his agenda” (actually, it’s those members of Congress willing to write and stump for their legislation’s agenda) from passing, but it is enough to ensure that the bills that land on Trump’s desk don’t do too much harm. Of course, there are his Executive Orders to contend with, but the Courts seem to be doing a pretty good job declaring them unconstitutional.
It wasn’t until 1892 that the Pledge of Allegiance was adopted, but it has “indivisible” as an important clause. For perspective, “the United States of America” wasn’t added until 1923 and “under God” wasn’t added until 1954.
The government of Spain is currently facing the same dilemma as the Lincoln Administration: whether to let Catalonia go or force it to stay. Despite my deep abhorrence of the nature of the Confederacy and conviction that it does NOT deserve reverence because it existed for the sole purpose of perpetuating slavery, truthfully, I believe that secession should have been allowed. I think that the Confederacy would have suffered severely economically IF the US had placed a trade embargo on it as deeply as we have done for other countries, if the Union was so against slavery as Southerners continue to teach. However, this extreme option would have probably hit the pocketbooks of Unionists hard, too.
Slave labor still exists, perpetuated by the need for cheap goods. I suspect that despite extremist rhetoric in 1860, if the Confederacy had been allowed to secede, slavery would have continued there until….ERM…huh. It took 100 years after the formal end of slavery for the country to come together and more or less decide that people should be treated equally despite the color of their skin. We’re still working on that in practice. On it’s own, without outside intervention, the South would probably still own slaves.
So, let me clarify one thing from earlier: I said that I support secession. This is true! BUT I DO NOT SUPPORT SLAVERY! A war was necessary, I agree! But the war that should have been fought was to end slavery, NOT to preserve the Union. Despite modern interpretation of the “War of Northern Aggression”, ending slavery was not at the top of the agenda, which is horrible!
Everything about Reconstruction was about making secessionists feel welcome again. There were no jail sentences. There were no fines. Property was not seized. Well, slaves were officially freed, given citizenship, and the right to vote, so I guess some property was “seized”, but Southern plantation owners seemed more than capable of coming out on top of a sharecropping contract until the Agrarian Model was completely overthrown by Industrialization. Jim Crow very capably kept “colored folks” in their place. For awhile at least.
Lee claimed that he was against slavery, but believed that it should be allowed to run it’s own course, even if that meant another 1000 years. Considering that the slave trade still exists it would seem that there are a lot of people who still think that slavery is a “necessary evil” (and please do not be deluded into thinking that “modern slavery” is fundamentally different from 1850s slavery, it’s not (though 1850s slavery WAS different from it’s predecessors)). Vulnerable people are taken and held captive, abused, while the owner tries to convince the captive that they are better off in captivity than free (Stockholm Syndrome) while the rest of the world turns a blind eye, or otherwise thinks it’s okay (“at least they have a job and get paid $1/day; who cares about working conditions”).