The Final Countdown To...

Monday, November 15, 2010

Primary Analysis: Jefferson Davis to Franklin Pierce

Please read and comment on the following reading.  When commenting, you should provide your own personal insight, and comment on another person's response. Tell whether you agree or disagree with that person, be sure to describe what about somebody else's previous comments do you agree/disagree with; base it on evidence.  Connect your responses to the content of chapter 21.

22 comments:

cvalenti2 said...

First off, I can't imagine what it would have felt like being President Abe Lincoln at the time. The country's disunion and Southern secession must have been a lot to handle for one man. In fact, only 6 weeks after his election as president, South Carolina, followed later by others, seceded from the union, and as stated on page 438, he could not take office until 4 months after he was elected so he could have little influence on the seceding states as he was still transitioning through the uncertainty filled lame duck period (transfer of office from Buchanan to Lincoln).
Also, this letter brought to mind another point that I never considered. This point is that it also, not just for Lincoln, must have been a lot of work for Jefferson Davis to be president of this sudden newly developed confederate state territory, and having to handle the nation's pressures for civil war. "Civil war has only horror for me" is said by Davis in the letter and this therefore elaborates on my point that, the pressures of a splitting nation were not just centered on Lincoln, but also on the Confederate president Jefferson Davis.
There is another pressure not mentioned in the letter but is obviously plagueing both presidents,and is stated in the book that the two leaders would not only have to deal with a civil war, but also with European powers finally getting the disunion of the strong America.At every second in this time period, the government and Presidents of the two parts of the union must have been worried about foreign intrusion on the weak America.
So, after reading this letter, I now can see the weight of the split of the union and possiblities of a coming civil war and how it must have burdened both Lincoln, and Jefferson Davis. Also, prior to this period, it was said in the book that John C. Calhoun was an advocate of having two presidents running the country and a major supporter for South Carolina's interests, so I wonder how he would of felt if he were still alive about South Carolina seceding and there being two presidents (technically) in the U.S.?

jessalves10 said...

ok so i skimmed sarah's novel and i can agree with her that this time must have been hard for Lincoln. Even before he took office, the country was already splitting apart. Not many men would be able to work under such pressure, but Lincon aparently could.
I dont feel very much sympathy to Jefferson Davis as much as Sarah does,though. I realize that yes, it could be very difficult for him since, hey, he did just become president of a new nation. If civil war has only horror for him, then you would think he would have tried harder to keep the Union together. He could have tried talking to the people of Mississippi or Congress in order to try to straighten things out. In times like these, it's easier to go along with the majority than stand alone, and I think Davis just went along. Plus, I'm pretty sure that he really wants to be president and didn't spend too much time crying over his raise in position to president.

cvalenti2 said...

Jessica,it was a tough time in history, alot of stress, I bet Jeffy Davis did sit around crying ALOT, I know I would:,(. and if u want to purchase my novel it
will be released in any store that sells books this coming march, themovie comes out next fall.

Mike said...

I find this letter rather deep. Davis is completely distraught that he has to fight against another half of the once together United States. As he is writing this letter, Mississippi had just seceded and he did not want to lose his good friend Pierce, even if this secession put them at opposite ends. I do agree with Jess in the fact that he could have tried a bit harder to keep the secession from occurring, but he really couldn't do too much as the thought of seceding had been going through the people's minds for far too long. Lincoln was also pretty much screwed when he took on the presidency. He had possibly the hardest presidency with trying to keep the union together after they had seceded, but he was a good man and he pulled through.

michellepleban said...

I think this letter shows the unpredictability of the Civil War. Many states were leaving the union and Davis was just trying to take one problem at a time. It didn't really seem like he had a plan to solve the biggest problem- to reunite America. (first time I used a hyphen in a sentence, thanks strunk and white)
It is kind of ironic how the north and south being divided, has an impact on personal relationships. It seems like when Cushing left, and Davis was going to leave for Mississippi, the split was caused by the disunity of the nation. Even in the end of his letter, Davis adds that that he hopes his friendship with Pierce won't end because of any circumstances.
I disagree with this sympathy towards Lincoln and Davis about having hard presidencies. They are the ones who ran in the election and knew what hardships they were going to be faced with. Lincoln or Davis may have not known how bad it was going to get but they were elected to help the nation.

amanda said...

The quote "If it is necessary that I should fall on the battlefield for my country, I am ready" really hit me hard. That quote describes how determined and patriotic Americans could be. I agree with mike on the point that Davis was completely devastated and distraught. And I like Michelle's view on how the presidents had chosen to run therefore should have been prepared for the hardships they were bound to face. It was their job to withstand hardships for their country.

Sarah I look forward to buying your novel<3

Becky said...

I don't understand how Davis could go against the union after he says his father fought and bleed to keep the union. He seems really laid back writing to someone on the opposite side of a war than him. I don'tknow how you could be bffs after that. I don't feel bad for Davis because like Michelle said he chose this.Lincoln is trying to do what is best for the country and even if he is just morally against slavery that's a good enough reason. When Davis says that the civil wwar has been horror for him he coulld've just remained in the union and thinking he'll be friends with Pierce is just dumb. I just don'tlike him.(i know it matters alot)

BigBri said...

First, I feel sorry for Lincoln coming into presidency in terribe times. He has to accommodate for the previous president James Buchanan in which the Civil War had truly begun.
I have always wondered, why do people always fight, and then sign in a peace treaty, when they can first sign a treaty and never have to fight? Also, by not fighting, there would be no reason to tax people for support of the military because you would not need one. The whole idea of war seems idiological(not sure if I spelt that right) because war does not solve anything in that all it does is ruin countries.

Diana said...

Based on Davis's words it seems like he doesn't really want to be in change of the Condeferates, but he has to. He states, "Civil War has only horror for me, but whatever sircumstances demand should be met as a duty," I thought that this meant he is not infavor of the war at all and it terrifies him, yet he is willing to take on the many duties that he will face to help the Confederates. I agree that this letter does portray how unpredictable the Civil Was was since many did not know that Mississippi would secede. When Davis talks about how difficult Lincoln and his presidency would be with the civil occuring, they should have prepared better for this and be able to take on the challenges that they will face, as mentioned before by Michelle. I thought that Davis felt sorry for himslef and for Lincoln that they have to face their time as president during that era of civil war.

Caitlin said...

i agree in Becky when she says he should have just stayed in the union. Sometimes rebels really annoy me. His father was all for the union you would think he would want to keep the ideals of his father going. I also agree with Diana when she points out that Davis was feeling sorry for himself. Its almost as if he was writing to Pierce to say, "Oh i don't really want to fight against you I'm such a martyr so we can still be besties!" Who does that? i feel as though Davis is not prepared. He mentions how he will be facing horrors showing he is probably scared. At the same time, he never mentions being prepared for this war.

Ross said...

What struck me in this letter was the fact that Jefferson Davis had compared Abraham Lincoln and the rest of the Union actions to that of the British in the Revolutionary War. He said, "When Lincoln comes he will have but to follow in the path of his predecessor and to inaugurate a civil war." Davis does make a good point in this letter, the actions taken by the Union army do resemble those taken by Britain. I understand that preserving the Union was of the utmost importance to most of the states but it does seem quite tyrannical that we would go to war to stop the secession of the Southern States. It was there decision, and there right, to secede from the nation that all the states had forged. To me it seems wrong to deny the states this most basic right, maybe someone can enlighten me?

C.Slotter said...

In this letter, Davis seems very calm about the fact that the South just seceded from the U.S. It's nice that he regrets the friends he's lost and the conflicts that have emerged, but I think that he should be a bit more spirited towards the cause he believes in enough to abandon the union. Davis also brings up an interesting point about the South's rights when he states, "Those who have driven her to this alternative threaten to deprive her of the right to require that her government shall rest on the consent of the governed." I agree with Ross when he says that it was the South's right to decide if they wanted slavery or not, and it was their right to secede from the union.

Jeanette said...

ahaha, Sarah. you crack me up. :'D

Jefferson Davis had quite a demanding role at this time, having to deal with the weight of the Confederate States of America and all. I agree with Diana; it sounded like Davis didn't really want to take control of those states, but if his people needed him he would be there. Davis seems like one of those people that won't cause trouble or get caught up in situations (in this case, he did not want the country to get caught up in a civil war) for just any reason. When he tells Franklin Pierce, "I trust be so discharged that you will not be ashamed..or cease to be my friend." This shows that Davis would do his country proud, even if the result is a civil war of "horror".
Also, I find it surprising how Davis speaks with such strong emotion about Mississippi entering the trial of secession. I like how he wrote that it didn't want to secede, but had to.

Krista said...

What struck me most was that it seemed like Davis didn't want to become the president of the Confederation. I know it was his choice to except the duty and that he felt the South had a right to secede, but as we all seem to agree, it must have been a tough choice. I also don't see his choice to accept the position as a strike against the Union, but as a choice necessary for him to stay true to himself. Like someone said (sorry I don't remember who), Davis's father fought for the Union so it was never his intention to destroy it. I feel our book portrayed him accurately; they didn't try to twist him into some crazy slavery lover like they tried to make John Brown into a lunatic. Overall I can see where Davis was coming from and why he would be scared; the entire country was in a complete state of chaos. Although I do not aprove of the Southern secession, it's easy to see why some saw in necessary. Ohh and why more thing that's not really related is why do some people in the south today think the war is still going on? What can they possibly be fighting for?

mrowl12345 said...

I actually had a tough time reading this letter because it is way past my bedtime, but to my surprise its nice and short. I found it interesting, like krista said that he didnt want to be presisdent of the confederation. I doubt that Davis complettly condoned the actions of the southern states in their seccession and he for saw the terrible possibilities of failure and war. I also find it interesting in what their confederation was based one. Their secesion and entire confederation was loosly tied together by the idea that slavery is ok, and that African americans were just property. Slavery had existed in thw world for thousands of years but now the world was ready to change their ways. ANd the fac that the south was so unwilling to give it up, it actually sounds immature. If i had been in Davis's possition i probably wouldnt have wanted to be in charge of a nations that is bound together loosly by bad morals.

smurftastic44 said...

I definitely agree with anyone who had sympathy for Lincoln. He had to deal with his own country splitting apart, and while what Michelle said was quite thought-provoking, I still think that Licoln just did what he thought was right and he deserves sympathy for dealing with the Confederacy among many other issues.
Contrary to what Jeanette said, I don't really like when Davis said that he didn't want Mississippi to seceed. He was just giving excuses for his actions rather than standing by them. If he truly didn't want Mississippi to seceed, then he should not have agreed to become president. Perhaps he believed he could stop the secession if he was in a higher place of power. But his quote "whatever circumstances demand shall be met as a duty..." made me realize his complete devotion to his duties as a president.
And as for what Ross was saying, that this is a very controversial topic. I hadn't realized this until I met a girl from the South who was taught that this was not a civil war, but the War of the Northern Recession (this was a few weeks ago, I can't remember exactly what she said). We had a somewhat friendly, if not tense, debate about the subject and it always went back to the fact that there was nothing written that allowed or forbid a state to seceed. It depends on whether you belive that the states did or did not have the right to seceed. There truly is no clear answer. While I did not agree with her view of the Civil War, it made me realize that this is really one of those things where you need to decide what your thoughts are about this. I hope that somewhat cleared things up for you, Ross.

smurftastic44 said...

And Krista, I think that it all goes back to your views about the situation. perhaps some extremists still believe that the South had the right to seceed, and that they should still attempt to fight for their independance from the Union. I'm not entirely sure about this part, I'm simply making what seems to me like a logical assumption based on experiences.

sukhmeetkohli said...

I felt bad for Lincoln because he became president in the worst of times, by trying to keep the union together. Davis is completely out of it because he has to fight the other half of the country, and doesn't want to lose his friend Pierce.

matthew said...

I think its good that just because Pierce is on the union side, Davis still wants to be his friend. He wants Pierce to write to him often, and even though he is the president of the confederation, he wants to remain friends with people in the union. Others have said that it is surprising that Davis seemed like he did not want to be their president. However, I am not surprised that Davis had a hard time deciding because by becoming president, he would most likely lose all of his friends in the union, like Genl. Cushing. Davis said, "Genl. Cushing was here last week and when we parted it seemed like taking leave of a brother." He does not want to lose his friends especially Pierce, but the confederation needs him and therefore he becomes President.

mike51095 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mike51095 said...

I found it interesting when Davis said “When Lincoln comes in he will have but to continue in the path of his predecessor to inaugurate a civil war.” It seems like Davis is implying that if a civil war did occur it would not be entirely Lincoln’s fault but rather it would be more of the fault of the presidents before him since they did not entirely take care of the slavery issue. Maybe Davis knew that a civil war was bound to happen because he does not really seem surprised when he talks about the notion of a civil war. I also agree with Matt in that it is nice to see Davis, on the confederacy side, writing to Pierce, on the union side. I do not think the confederacy should have elected Davis because it does not seem like he is totally against the Union based on this article. –Mike Signore

jlchacho said...

To be completely honest, it very much did seem that Pierce did not want to engage in Civil War. If I were to have been in his position, I wouldn't have joined the War as the Confederate leader if I felt so dispassionate about it. It seems as though this letter relates to the John Brown letter because both are oddle obscure. For the John Brown letter, he was so cheerful of death when naturally he should have been frigtened! As for the Pierce-Davis letter, Pierce was, as mentioned, so dispassionate about the War than he naturally should have been. Both letters were obscure. To me, it would seem as though the South would direct a man who WANTED War and wanted secession. Pierce, to me, does not represent this type of leader. To me, he represents a worried politician of an intense cause.