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PoP's Southern American: South Seeks Peace Through a Convention of States

4/20/2012

South Seeks Peace Through a Convention of States

From: bernhard1848@att.net

Lincoln and his Republican party demonstrated no apparent interest in restoring the Union of the Founders. Those interested in saving the Founders Union, both in the North and South, wanted a convention of the States which created that Union -- to find peace through the same compromises the Founders had forged.   The latter hoped for Democratic victory in the election of 1864, but the full power and influence of the War Department was used to ensure Lincoln’s re-election which destroyed any chance for a convention of the States and peace.

Bernhard Thuersam, Chairman
North Carolina War Between the States Sesquicentennial Commission
www.ncwbts150.com
"The Official Website of the North Carolina WBTS Sesquicentennial"


South Seeks Peace Through a Convention of States:

“As early as February, 1863, it was rumored that [South Carolina Representative William W. Boyce] had been advocating in secret session of the [Confederate] House some form of conciliation with the Northwestern States. When the Democratic convention, meeting at Chicago August 29, 1864, adopted a platform declaring that efforts should be made immediately for a cessation of hostilities and that a convention of the States be employed to restore peace “on the basis of the Federal union of the States,” Boyce addressed an open letter to President [Jefferson] Davis urging him to declare his willingness for an armistice and such a convention that Northwestern Democrats proposed.

In his letter of September 29 Boyce argued that a republic at war inevitably drifted into despotism….[through] conscription, illegally laid direct taxes, [issuing] vast quantities of paper money….suspended the writ of habeas corpus…in short, [giving] the President all the powers of a military dictator. 

Nor would the evils necessarily end with the war; that would depend on the nature of the peace. “A peace without reconciliation carried in its bosom the seed of new wars.”   A peace without harmony would be a mere armed truce.  Such a peace would cause the North to develop a great military power and the South would be forced to do likewise. There would then be two opposing military despotisms under which republican institutions would permanently perish.

To prevent such an outcome a peace of harmony must be negotiated with the United States. In bringing this to pass a successful military policy was essential but it was not enough; it must be accompanied by a political policy, a political policy which could not succeed if Lincoln, representing the fanaticism of the North, were returned to the White House.

The South’s only hope for a satisfactory peace, therefore, lay in the victory [in November 1864] of the Northern Democratic party which should be encouraged in every possible way.  [Boyce’s advice was to]….Assure [Northern Democrats] of the South’s willingness to cooperate in a convention of the States, and let South cooperate even if an amendment of the Constitution be necessary for that purpose.  Such a convention would be the “highest acknowledgment” of State rights principles.”

(South Carolina Goes to War, Charles Edward Cauthen, University of South Carolina Press, 1950, 1860-1865, pp. 217-218)


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