The Civil War by Shelby Foote – V1.Chapter 1: Prologue-The Opponents

As I’m reading Shelby Foote’s incredible The Civil War: A Narrative, these are my notes on the points I may have forgotten from before or new pieces I’ve learned. Any and all comments appreciated.

Next post: Chapter 2

Volume One: Chapter 1: Prologue

  1. Succession. Davis and Lincoln
  2. Sumter. Early Maneuvers
  3. Statistics North and South

Other states and even NYC talked about seceding from the Union;

  • From page 43: “…Lincoln was confronted with division even among the states that had stayed loyal. New Jersey was talking succession; so was California, which along with Oregon was considering the establishment of a new Pacific nation; so, even, was New York City, which beside being Southern in sentiment would have much to gain from independence.”
  • A new Pacific nation would certainly have mad getting the Union back together difficult. An interesting piece for an alternate history.

Interesting “adjustments” in the Confederate Constitution;

  • From page 42: “One important oversight was corrected, however. Where the founding fathers, living in a less pious age of reason, had omitted any reference to the Deity, the modern preamble invoked “the favor and guidance of Almighty God.” Nor were more practical considerations neglected. The President and Vice President were elected to a six-year term, neither of them eligible for reelection. Congress was forbidden to pass a protective tariff or to appropriate money for internal improvements. Cabinet officers were to be given seats on the floor of Congress. Each law must deal with only one subject, announced in its title, and the President had the right to veto separate items in appropriation bills. Instead of requiring a three-fourths majority, amendments could be ratified by two-thirds of the states. While the newer document expressly prohibited any revival of the slave trade, those chattels referred to in the old on as “persons” now became outright “slaved” and in all territory acquired by the Confederacy, slavery was to be “recognized and protested” by both the Federal and territorial governments.”

Fort Sumter somewhat backfired on Lincoln. The South attacked, and Lincoln used this as motive for putting out a call for 75,000 men. The border states did not join in the spirit of “uniting the North.”

  • From page 51: “Telegram after telegram arrived from governors of the previously neutral states, each one bristling with moral indignation at the enormity of the proclamation, rather as if it had been in fact an invitation to fratricide or incest.”
  • Virginia seceded with two days, Arkansas, North Carolina and Tennessee shortly after.

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