Trump and the Myth of the Lost Cause

Every  person who has studied the American Civil War knows the great myth of “The Lost Cause” therefore it should come as no surprise that President Trump knows it not.  There are many parts to this myth but one of the more prominent is the contention that if Lincoln had not been elected the war would not have been fought.  Almost before the first shoots were loaded, much less fired, the south has been saying everything would have been just fine if the north had just not elected that Black Republican Lincoln as President.

It should be noted here that even if Lincoln had not gotten the Republican nomination it would have most assuredly gone to William H. Seward.  Seward was even more unexceptable to the Cotten states than Lincoln ever was as his position on the Abolition of Salvery was well and widely known.  That the Republican Party, at this time, was strongly Abolitionist is one of the accepted facts of history so the chance of anyone who’s position on Slavery would be exceptable to the Deep South is highly unlikely.  Therefore what is being said that not electing Lincoln means not electing a Republican, that is electing a Democrat.

That our dear President is totally ignorant of this fact is not surprising, too many people in this country have only the sketchiest idea of the election of 1860.  Few know that there was not one, but two Democratic nominees, Stephen Douglas, for the Northern Democatic Party,  John Breckinridge, for the Southern Democatic Party.  There was also John Bell who was running on the Constitutional Union Party, giving us a grand total of four candidates running.  Add to this that not one of these candidates was on the ballot in every state.  Given this there was little to no chance of a Not Republican candidate winning out right.  In fact in many places it was hope that no one candidate would get a majority of Electoral College votes and thus through the election to the House where it was hoped that someone acceptable to all sides of the Slavery issue would miraculously appear to save the union.

Now we come to dear President Trumps contention that if Andrew Jackson had been President the Civil War would not have happened.  Strangely enough this has some validity, in a perverse kind of way.  Let us forget that Pres. Jackson died some 16 years before the Civil War.  Instead lets hypothesize a Jacksonest candidate, what would he be?  First he’d be a Democrat, why, because Andrew Jackson was a founder of the Democratic Party.  Next he’d be a southerner, most likely from one of the more northern and western slave states.  Finally he’d be of the Plantation  Aristocracy a slave holding self made man.  This would be a man who not only supported Slavery in the States but most likely would look favorably on it’s expansion into the territories, something not to be look on with favor in the Free States.

So, just what is our dear President, in is maladroit way, saying?  If I was generous I’d say “The Civil War could have been averted if we could have elected someone who could bring the nation togeather.”  The problem is that this is a pious but impossible wish.  Just read any of the great histories on the Civil War, read Catton, or Foot or even McPherson and you will soon see that anyone acceptable to one side of the issue of Slavery would be, by being acceptable to that faction, totally unacceptable to the other.  Neither side was in the mood to compromise both equally convinced of the righteousness of there cause and equally convinced of the evilness of the other.

Since I am not feeling generous I’ll just say I believe that dear President Trump has been listening to one of hisSouthron cabinet members again.