View single post by CleburneFan
 Posted: Sun Jan 21st, 2007 03:10 am
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Joined: Mon Oct 30th, 2006
Location: Florida USA
Posts: 1021

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Kentucky_Orphan wrote: would he have demanded that Confederate leaders sit down at the negotaiting table with their Union counterparts and even if it took a year, work out a peaceful settlement and do whatever it takes to avoid what turned out to be a calamitous war.

I think that part of your criticism is unjustified. The federals were there to crush the confederate armies in the field, no negotiations save complete surrender. Thats what the federals wanted, and failure to meet them in battle would have resulted in the occupation of the south by federal armies. If he would have demanded such a thing from his commanders, there could not be any doubt that he would have been thrown out of office very quickly. The same could be said of Lincoln, I believe (and probably with more justification). A longer period of negotatiations could have done no harm, yet despite that fact I believe they would have been fruitless as well (the Confederates were every bit as motivated as their Federal counterparts).

Are we talking about the same thing? I was referring to avoiding the war through negotiations. I was referring to Federal government officials and Confederate government officials, not military high command. What I meant and perhaps phrased poorly is might Davis have found in retrospect that it would have been better to avoid the war completely than to have gone through the great cost of the war?

Frankly, I don't think that question is unjustified. It is a question I would like to ask Jefferson Davis if I could. He might tell me in response that he felt the war was worth the cost even though the Confederacy lost, but what is the harm in asking the question?  I'd ask it of Lincoln too.

Let's change the phrasing. If either Lincoln or Davis had magically known how long and how costly the war would be, would they have tried harder to avoid it? If Davis answered that, "Oh no, I would have been thrown out of office if I had tried to avoid the war...well, that says something about him too. It says it was more important for him to stay in office than to be expelled for trying to avoid the war." But this is all hypothetical anyway. We can't really know.

Furthermore, in this hypothetical exercise of meeting with someone long dead, I assume one has the right to ask whatever one wants to ask. I Davis draws his saber...then I would be cooked.

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