A House Divided: Was Secession Constitutional? I

Lead: One hundred and fifty years ago the Republic was facing its greatest crisis. This continuing series examines the American Civil War. It is "A House Divided."

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The American crisis of 1860-1861 brought into bold relief one of the most important constitutional questions left unresolved by the Founders: just what were the parameters of Federal and State sovereignty? Where did the powers of the new Union begin and end and did a State, having committed itself to the united Republic, have the right resist the power of the Federal government and ultimately separate itself in an act of secession? In other words, was secession constitutional?

 

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A House Divided: Was Secession Constitutional? II

Lead: One hundred and fifty years ago the Republic was facing its greatest crisis. This continuing series examines the American Civil War. It is "A House Divided."

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: When the South removed itself from the Union in 1860 and 1861, its partisans asserted that it was perfectly within its constitutional rights to exit from said compact, because states had freely joined the United States by ratifying the constitution. States that had joined could unjoin, therefore any attempt to force them to remain in the Union was an illegitimate enterprise. Secession was clearly constitutional.

 

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A House Divided: Union Spring, 1862 I

 

Lead: One hundred and fifty years ago the Republic was facing its greatest crisis. This continuing series examines the American Civil War. It is "A House Divided."

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: After nearly half a year of Confederate victories, the spring of 1862 saw a significant shift in the opposite direction. This strategic transformation of the war inserted Union forces into the heart of the South, took back Western and Middle Tennessee, Louisiana and two state capitals, and laid the groundwork for the career of the most effective Union military leader of the war.

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A House Divided: Union Spring, 1862 II

Lead:  One hundred and fifty years ago the Republic was facing its greatest crisis. This continuing series examines the American Civil War. It is A House Divided.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Oddly enough, to protect its internal river network, literally the highway to the national interior, the Confederacy relied on heavily fortified citadels which, as it turned out, could be surrounded, starved out, placed under siege and taken. Time and again, particularly in the Union Spring of 1862, aggressive overland infantry attacks often delivered by river-borne transports and combined with heavily armored river craft took those strong points and peeled opened the Southern heartland like a can opener.

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A House Divided: Shiloh I

 

Lead: One hundred and fifty years ago the Republic was facing its greatest crisis. This continuing series examines the American Civil War. It is "A House Divided."

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Nothing comparable had ever happened on the North American continent. Back in 1861, all but a few thought it was supposed to be over with a few shots fired, yet there on a creek side in western Tennessee this springtime 1862 encounter issued forth a cascade of blood unequalled in the American experience. Over two days, the war in the West was largely decided if not completed. Shiloh or Pittsburg Landing would not yield the bloodiest day, that would come later in the fall at Antietam, or the most casualties, that would await the three days at Gettysburg a year away, but it was enough to cure any but the most foolish of lingering romantic notions of war. It was a brutal slog, and in the end yielded 20,000 dead and wounded split evenly between the two sides.

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A House Divided: Was Secession Constitutional? III

Lead: One hundred and fifty years ago the Republic was facing its greatest crisis. This continuing series examines the American Civil War. It is "A House Divided."

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Was secession constitutional? That was a major issue as the South departed in 1861. The Constitution, historical reality, and events in the next four years, proved that it was not. Whereas the states have retained a rich source of alternative initiatives, experimentation, governmental creativity and efficiency, at each stage of the nation’s development, when states have asserted their ability to abridge Federal power, Federal sovereignty prevailed.

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A House Divided: Confederate Leaders: Jefferson Davis I

 

Lead:  One hundred and fifty years ago the Republic was facing its greatest crisis. This continuing series examines the American Civil War. It is A House Divided.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: In February 1861, the Confederate Congress elected Jefferson Davis of Mississippi provisional President of the new Southern republic. He was the logical choice because Davis was an ideal representative of the planter class that was determined to defend the Southern way of life and its “peculiar institution,” human bondage. He also had extensive military and political experience having served in the Mexican War, as U.S. Representative and Senator, and President Pierce’s Secretary of War.

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A House Divided: Confederate Leaders: Jefferson Davis II

 

Lead:  One hundred and fifty years ago the Republic was facing its greatest crisis. This continuing series examines the American Civil War. It is A House Divided.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Jefferson Finis Davis began his years as Confederate president with a daunting series of tasks: he had to create a nation where none existed, build an industrial infrastructure, fight off a potentially much larger Union military juggernaut, generate revenue to pay for all this, and find allies. His rival, Abraham Lincoln, faced tough challenges as well. He had to ramp up a seriously ill-prepared army and navy and with it invade a land mass as large as European Russia, all the while dealing with a divided Northern population, fickle and ultra sensitive to Union defeats in the following two years.

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