Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns


In addition to being Constitution Day, September 17 is the anniversary of the bloodiest day in American history. On September 17, 1862 near Sharpsburg, Maryland, the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia and the Union Army of the Potomac suffered combined casualties of nearly 26,000, including nearly 5500 dead. Although tactically a draw, the fact that Robert E. Lee had been turned back after a string of victories beginning in the spring permitted Lincoln to issue the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, which changed the character of the war. I wrote a piece on Antietam as part of my series on the Civil War for Ashbrook. It is here

Discussions - 7 Comments

So not only do we have a day to celebrate a Constitution no one follows, but we also have the aniversary of the day that marked the beginning of the end of the Old Constitutional Republic. Ironic or appropriate?

Sorry. I couldn't resist. :-)

With so many days to choose from, why exactly do you pick Antietam?

Lincoln was a left-wing dictator, a 19th-century predecessor to Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot. No real conservative would ever support him.

Steve: by giving Lincoln a little bit of political capital, Antietam allowed Lincoln to issue the Emancipation Proclamation, which in turn ruined the South's chances for support from abroad. Of course, there would be several reverses throughout the course of the war, North and South alternating who had the upper hand, which is partly why Lincoln inferred in the Second Inaugural Address that the American Civil War might have been a form of divine punishment. At least that's what I've gathered.

Great Britain was not going to support the South regardless of The Emancipation Proclamation. Great Britain was not about to allow its foreign policy to follow the dictates of real politick. Fundamental morality guided her foreign policy throughout the whole bloody drama.

When people deride the British Empire, which they shouldn't do, and follow the Marxist line, they should give a thought to Great Britain's policy towards our country during our Civil War.

It's one of the shining moments of British history, though few give it a thought.

Dan, there was a large CSA lobby in Britain which gained support every day the CSA remained in existence (not to mention France and Belgium, which were even more willing to support the CSA - fewer qualms with the slavery issue). The one thing, as you point out, stopping Britain, and thus the rest of Europe who was following the British lead, was the issue of slavery. It was Antietam and the Emancipation Proclamation which sealed the deal.

That lobby was not sufficient to stir Britain to aid the Confederacy. Were Britain to aid the Confederacy by initiating a diplomatic overture to halt hostilities, it would have stultified the Royal Navy's long campaign against slaving. Recall the reception that the two Confederate ambassadors received when they finally reached London. Even though London made a great point about their being whisked off a ship flying British colours, when they finally reached London, they received nothing more than a cold shoulder. The French were much more interested in aiding the Confederates, but without Britain, were hamstrung in their desires to do so. And Belgium, per usual, was thoroughly degenerate.

I think Britain would never have come to the aid of the Confederacy, with or without the Emancipation Proclamation. Lincoln's views on slavery were not going to alter those of Britain.

How could so many intelligent and perceptive Southern men make so FUNDAMENTAL a miscalculation about the views of Britain, and British society, towards slavery? Their entire war effort hinged on wangling foreigners to take up their "cause." But at root, their "cause" was inextricably bound up with slavery. And any aid to the South, diplomatically, militarily, culturally, ipso facto aided the forces of slavery. There was no way Great Britain could aid the Confederates, although they could and did admire her high courage, her stern resolve.

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