Specialist290

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The Danites had no connection to the Mormons. General James Henry Lane was one of the leaders of the Danites. Too bad there isn't much in public about them. They seem very interesting from what I've read. An abolitionist "Jayhawker" secret society, supposedly the first of its kind. So I had to give them a little shout out, especially since Brown did make contact with them so they were apparently known to certain people at the time. Even if it's only like 2 or 3 short sentences. It's the stuff that Hollywood or some alt-history writer would seemingly be fascinated with.

Strange; I'm much more familiar with the Mormon Danites, and this is the first time I've heard that name used in connection with Bleeding Kansas. Another little-known facet of history for me to investigate more when I have the time, I guess.
 

volksmarschall

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Strange; I'm much more familiar with the Mormon Danites, and this is the first time I've heard that name used in connection with Bleeding Kansas. Another little-known facet of history for me to investigate more when I have the time, I guess.

It's really a shame.

I couldn't leave them out discussing John Brown in Kansas. This is a nice little article in a Kansas newspaper talking about them, when a Kansas historian published a little book about them a bit back now. The Original Jayhawkers. The article was very careful (as the author in his work) to make known the difference, "The group borrowed its name from the Mormon Danites, but Mildfelt discovered the word originally occurred in the Bible and means, literally, the son of Dan." (So it seems more plausible the name was taken for its Biblical meaning rather than homage to the Mormon Danites, whom probably named themselves for the same reason I'd guess.)

What doesn't make the textbooks, or Hollywood, gets left unknown. It's like why, though I wanted to make sure we all know the anti-Catholicism of the Know Nothings, the Know Nothings were actually super progressive on a lot of issues that often gets lost to the public. So I feel like I'm doing my role in facilitating some of the lesser known facets of American history that I'm honored to know, and I think others would like to know as well. From the few articles and Mildfelt's book I've read about them, I'm surprised that so few people know about them. It seems like the stuff people would gravitate toward. A secret society. Meeting in Masonic lodges. Militant abolitionists. Networks running from Kansas to Missouri to other northern states. John Brown met with them! It's a story waiting to be told!
 

volksmarschall

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So, since we are building up to the civil war, how will you give the Confederacy a fair shake? I mean, for virtually every player, winning the civil war is really easy to do.

Yeah. I know, it's so disappointing. The American Civil War, truly the defining event not only for America's 19th century, but the most important event in American history by most historians. Doesn't even last a year if you really blitz the Confederacy.

Since I'm far beyond that in game, and the end of the war is engendered in various previous posts, I did take certain measures as the human player to make sure I had a Civil War that is of the utmost importance. When we get to it, I'll leave it for you readers to see my work as puppeteer to drag it out and make it worthwhile. I love Victoria, but I've always been disappointed with the CW dynamic. Not a problem if you're playing a grand campaign for fun, but if I were to do an AAR, as I am here, a short and easy Civil War is just sacrilege. I mean, especially as a player you know the CW will happen, it's not hard to beef up the army in expectation and then just steamroll the Confederacy! :p I couldn't bring myself to do that for the purposes of the AAR! :cool:
 

Nathan Madien

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A photograph of John Brown when he took his oath to perpetually fight slavery until his death.

See this face? This is what the word "hardcore" looks like.
 

volksmarschall

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CHAPTER V: THE COLLAPSE OF THE SECOND PARTY SYSTEM


Kansas-Nebraska Act and the Election of 1856

The Second Party System ended, many think, with the Kansas-Nebraska Act and the unleashing of violence as hitherto described. It also marked the transitionary rise of Stephen Douglas—“the Little Giant.” Douglas was an Illinois Democrat, a strong Jefferson-Jackson Democrat. One might say he was the last Jacksonian. A Unionist and populist-democrat, Douglas had an unwavering faith in the people and the politics of democracy. Perhaps to the point it clouded his starry-eyed Americanism in thinking the popular vote in the west would reject slavery.

Douglas won the presidency as the Second Party System was dissolving. The fear of slavery’s expansion into Central America propelled a division within the Democratic Party. Douglas secured enough northern delegates, and moderates in the Border States and the South to secure the nomination in 1856 with the intention of a Democratic victory to prevent possible annexation of Central America and Caribbean states that most feared a second term Davis Administration would embark on. Not to be outdone, the fire-eater wing of the Democratic Party—the current American Administration—stripped Douglas of his ballot slot in the Deep South. The Republican Party was also denied ballot access, so the Deep South had a contest between only Davis and American Party nominee Robert Conrad (whose running mate was Andrew Jackson Donelson from Tennessee). Many Deep South Whigs backed the American Party, as did New England.

q9jsRKW.jpg

President Stephen A. Douglas, Democrat from Illinois. He started his career as an ardent Jacksonian, and was a prominent member of the "Young America" movement, an intellectual and political cohort of Americans inspired by the works of Hegel and the German Romantics in Europe. He was nicknamed the "Little Giant" for his short stature but fiery character. A unionist nationalist, his politics have been scrutinized for his fidelity to popular democracy in an era where such commitments made one appear to be a closet pro-slavery radical (which he never was).

The 1856 election was an election that was itself symptomatic of all the wild social reformism and conflict that was embroiling the country. The nominal Democratic Party had nominated Stephen Douglas on a platform of popular sovereignty, consolidating the westerly gains of the last decade, but opposition to annexationism in Central America. His position on slavery was tenuous then. Garrison, Republicans, and many northern Know Nothings argued that Douglas’s insistence on western popular sovereignty and populism would inevitably bring conflict and slavery’s expansion. It was nothing more than a rouse to keep the pro-slavery factions in the South in line. Of course, it didn’t. The Southern Democrats removed him from their ballots in favor of current President Jefferson Davis. Though they knew he would not win the election on electoral count, the hope was that Davis would deny Douglas’s popularity in the American Midwest and in the Border States, and throw the election to the House of Representatives. There, the sitting President would have a definite advantage. Not to mention the Democrats nominally controlled both chambers, though this is complicated due to shifting loyalties over slavery.

The American Party nominated a Pennsylvania man, a social climber and mayor of Philadelphia. The Republicans had nominated two former Democrats turned anti-slavery politicians in a bid to attract the more moderate ranks of northern Democrats. The odds were both for and against Davis and Douglas. The north held enough electoral power to determine the president, but only if the vote was reasonably unified. The south did not have the same prestige in electoral power, but had enough votes to likely deny Douglas the presidency. Furthermore, Davis was counting on a split vote in the Electoral College, and then a split northern vote in the Congress to allow a majority of Democrats to coalesce around his reelection. Not to mention backroom deals could always be made.

Wilmot and Fremont, although only winning six states, won 81 electoral votes (nominally). Douglas achieved the largest plurality with 10 states and 106 electoral votes, Davis won 11 states and 77 electoral votes, while Conrad swept the northeast except for Rhode Island, winning six states (including New Jersey) and 44 electoral votes. William Lloyd Garrison had a respectable showing in Missouri and Illinois, winning 7% and 9% of the vote respectively. For Davis, the election went as planned. He expected Virginia, Kentucky, and Missouri would all fall back in line for him. Douglas, realizing he wouldn’t win, would concede which would allow fellow northern Democrats to fall back and give Davis the election. Alternatively, like the Corrupt Bargain of 1824, Davis could equally offer Douglas a high cabinet position for his support.

What Davis did not expect was the emergent unity of his opposition. The American and Republican Parties both folded in agreement with anti-slavery Democrats in the north, mostly in New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Illinois to ensure the election of Douglas over Davis. The Know Nothings knew Conrad stood no possibility of winning the Congressional vote despite strong support from New England. Likewise, Wilmot calculated the fear of slave politics would equally prevent him from winning. Douglas, the “moderate” in the race, was the last best option. Granted his popular sovereignty doctrine may be used to expand slavery, but his strong stance against annexationism was small ray of light. Perhaps Democrats could accept a man from their own party who was instrumental in opening the Kansas Territory to slave power via his doctrine of popular sovereignty? And it worked, while the Border States folded back to Davis in the vote in the House, the northern “alliance” backed Douglas, giving him 178 of the needed 155 electoral votes to win. Davis was spurned, but exited with some dignity; though not come 1860 when he was a leading voice for secession.

Douglas was unique in American politics, although coming out of the Jefferson-Jackson wing of the Democratic Party and being a strong nationalist, unionist, and democrat like his predecessors, he was part of the “Young America” movement. It was an intellectual movement within the Democratic Party (mostly) that was inspired by the German Romantics and Idealists, especially people like Johann Fichte and Georg W.F. Hegel. Douglas, for his part, was a unionist nationalist who also tended toward a more nationalist and commercialist view on economics that was in the minority within the Democratic Party—though it had a strong base in the north. His economics brought him into conflict with slave interests too, not just his ardent appeals for unionist integrity and confrontations with Walker in Latin America.

Therefore, the end of the Second Party System also saw, ironically, a Democrat pursuing more Whiggish economic policies than any Democrat in the past.

Douglas in Kansas and Latin-America

Douglas, admittedly, was elected as a sort of compromise candidate. The Know Nothings and Republicans hadn’t the votes for either of their men: Wilmot or Conrad, so they threw their support behind Douglas to prevent a possible consolidation of Democratic votes for Davis—which also prevented another possible “corrupt bargain” repeat. He was a Democrat and Unionist, a Jacksonian and popular democrat, a man opposed to Davis and the Fire-Eaters, but whose democratic politics was equally seen as an avenue by which slavery’s expansion could spread. And that was not hyperbole, the war in Kansas was a perfect reflection of the problem of popular democratic sovereignty and the holes it opened up for the infiltration of pro-slavery politics in territories, as little as five years ago, was considered to have been off-limits to slavery.

An ardent democrat, Douglas nevertheless moved swiftly to deal with the two issues that Republicans and Know Nothings backed him to act on: Kansas-Nebraska and more importantly, Walker’s little empire in Latin America. News of the possible role of American aid for Walker having come from the Davis Administration was unsettling for many northern and western Americans, but also a minority of southerners as well. The fear was that Walker’s “five or none” campaign was going to bring in, if not one new state, potentially five. All slave states too. Steps were already taken to solidifying relations between the United States of Central America and the United States of America. The expectation was, had Davis been re-elected, the USCA would enter the Union not as an integral whole, but as five separate states that corresponded to the old “five” nations that Walker set out to conquer. “Five or None” after all.

wG1ucI2.jpg

A battle of the "Filibuster War" in which William Walker constructed his Five or None dream with the United States of Central America. His brazen actions won him celebrity and fame in the American South and West, but animosity and fear in the American North (and especially in New England). Walker would prove to be one of the great international foes to President Douglas, and a thorn in the side of the Union war effort during the American Civil War. It is estimated that upwards of 10,000 men traveled through Mexico to Texas and into the American South to fight for the Confederacy. Though there was no way of linking the "volunteers" back to direct orders on Walker's behalf, the Battle of the Rio Grande (August 11, 1861) saw Union forces intercept around 5,000 Confederates and "Filibuster" veterans. Relations between the two countries, already sour, despite being nominal allies, reached a boiling point. On September 23, 1861, Union warships fired several cannonades into important harbors in the USCA in retaliation. No formal hostilities were manifested, and today the United States of America and United States of Central America remain close friends and allies despite their checkered history in the past.

Douglas, for his part, upheld his opposition to the most radical and expansionist elements of the fire-eaters. Though nominally still “allies,” Douglas blockaded the USCA, established an embargo, and vocally proclaimed opposition to any efforts of possible integration. For this, he was rightly lauded. He also alienated the southern wing of the Democratic Party in the process.

But whatever success we want to laud on Douglas here, his failures in Kansas were appalling at worst, disappointing at best. His election, ironically at one level the last triumph of Jacksonianism, also marks the end of the Jacksonian Age too. The Second Party System begun by Jackson ends with a Jacksonian as President. Perhaps the fears of the anti-Jacksonian forces were proven correct after all.


SUGGESTED READING:

Michael F. Holt, The Political Crisis of the 1850s

Robert Johannsen, Stephen A. Douglas

Martin Quitt, Stephen A. Douglas and Antebellum Democracy
 
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Tankman987

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No Douglas, you fool! Why you no invade USCA and take it over you damn pacifist! Just make them free states.

So the stage is set, as Andrew Jackson's legacy begins to fade, new political stars rise and fall.
 

Nathan Madien

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It is estimated that upwards of 10,000 men traveled through Mexico to Texas and into the American South to fight for the Confederacy.

I assume this is your way of beefing up the Confederacy in order to prevent the Civil War from being too easy for the North.

Davis was spurned, but exited with some dignity; though not come 1860 when he was a leading voice for secession.

A former President calling for the breaking up of the United States...that's pretty shocking I think.
 

volksmarschall

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CHAPTER V: THE COLLAPSE OF THE SECOND PARTY SYSTEM

The Rise of Abolitionism and Afro-American Liberation Churches

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn (Isaiah 61: 1-2).

America has always been a peoples of The Book. What is unique about American religious identity is how, sans the Cavaliers, all segments of American society adopted not the New Testament as their primary Biblical foundation, but the Old Testament. This, of course, has sweeping ramifications for American identity. I’ve already explained the nature of the Hebrew Bible as it related to the American Puritans, but it is equally true that the Scotch-Irish Presbyterians were a fervent people of the Old Testament as well. But more importantly, Afro-American religion and identity in America has arguably been even more strongly associated with the same shared Biblical tradition as the Puritans and Scotch-Irish.

Like the Puritans, Afro-Americans, especially in their churches: The African Methodist Episcopal Church of Zion, African Methodist Episcopal Church, Free African Baptists churches, were extremely well-organized, educated, and all shared the same fixation with the African peoples in America as the New Israelites, enslaved in Egypt (in their case, Egypt being America), seeking Exodus and liberation, and the consummation of their standing as equals in a supposedly Christian society. The immensity to the contributions of American culture, music, literature, and sports cannot be understated. It fails to behoove me that I am unable to place into words the debt American culture owes to Africans. As the great Paul Robeson once said, “I’m an American who is infinitely prouder to be of African descent, no question about it.” Beyond swing, jazz, rock and roll, the blues, spirituals, and general folk culture the swept from the Deep South to universalize itself across the nation as the whole, the African contributions to literature, from W.E.B. DuBois and Booker T. Washington (though they later feuded with each other), the whole of Afro-American struggle is without an equal. And to the Old Testament they turned to find their solace as an oppressed, migratory, but one day liberated people.

CkX51iz.jpg

Bishop Richard Allen, the founder of the African Methodist Episcopal Church in Philadelphia, the first independent Black congregation in the United States. Born in Philadelphia, and highly educated, Allen's church became a nexus for the African-American community. He often preached on the subjects of education, abolition, and social reform movements in the 1820s until his death in 1831. He remains one of the most important figures in American history, and was widely respected by Philadelphia's elite. Originally a preacher for the American Methodist Church, he left to form his own church because of the tenuous nature of slavery in American Methodism (northern Methodists being sympathetic to abolition, southern Methodists not being sympathetic in the slightest). He later united independent African Baptist churches under his head, and became a major figure in the early Underground Railroad Movement. Many African-American reformers in the nineteenth century credited him with their inspiration.

From the Scotch-Irish Presbyterians, who viewed Anglicanism with Egypt and Roman Catholicism with Babylon, to the Puritans who saw their migration to the New World as a replaying of Exodus and the “errand into the Wilderness,” many of Afro-American Protestants saw themselves in a similar position: taken from their homes, enslaved in a foreign land, and ultimately unsure of what would become of them—except for the promises entailed in Scripture of their deliverance. Much is made of the ordeal of African slavery in America, especially the South. While there is no possible way to overwrite what has happened, there was, nevertheless, a great diversity in the practice of American slavery. The “benign” picture of slavery came largely from the large plantation villas on the coasts and that dotted Virginia. Here, albeit awkward to perhaps put into words, slavery was viewed as a sort of benign and progressive institution.

These Africans, largely illiterate and formerly un-Christianized, were given the basics of education and religious instruction. Viewed as property, to be sure, but worthwhile property nonetheless. It was largely unwise to harm and deprive slaves of their ability to perform their usual tasks: from cropping, to construction, to nurturing and aiding the young children of the plantation owners. A handful of slaves were extensively well-educated, and those that were fortunate enough to be freed, trekked north to find a new beginning. And I do only mean “a handful,” since it was codified legal code, even in Virginia, that forbade the education of slaves—nevertheless, some instances of education did occur besides the most miniscule and basic of education that provided menial competency for the purposes of daily life. Many such freed slaves became ministers and formed their own black churches, which advanced the causes of education and literacy among the American African population, and provided a sense of solace and community in a harsh and foreign world.

The second strand of slavery, and perhaps the more famous one that is often the picture of the brutal realization of slavery as it was, was slavery in the Deep South—particularly along the Mississippi River. Where cotton was king, and where the Mississippi flowed, the phenomenon of “chattel slavery” was practiced alongside the rigorous small-planation form of slavery that was often inhumane, brutal, and exhaustive. Unlike slavery along the coast, or in the more “posh” regions of Virginia, slavery in the Deep South was far from benign, and slave owners did little to advance the welfare and education of their property. The pictures and tales of slavery in the Deep South was of the upmost concern for moralistic Puritan Yankees, who struggled to reconcile their religious convictions with the practice of slavery.

The collapse of the Second Party system coinciding with rising consciousness and social reformism in the 1850s, especially with concern toward American slavery. It would be wrong, however, to color over the abolitionist movement as without it is own racism—in the sense that even many White social reformers who saw slavery as a moral evil, nevertheless still viewed Colored peoples as inferior. It is one of the many paradoxes of the American abolitionist movement—to which even people like Illinois Congressman Abraham Lincoln shared.

Regardless, one of the beacons of education and social consciousness was the various black churches that were largely forming in various regions in the north. Especially the Midwest, in places like Ohio, and also New York. Here, associations and gatherings of Afro-American ministers and supporters, established strong emphases on the necessity to education Black Americans to bring them up to par with the new demands of northern society. Of course, one of the only books available to Afro-Americans was the Bible. So it is no surprise that they gravitated to it as the rest of American society did, both out of conviction but also because of circumstance.

In Ohio, the association of Freed Colored Baptists launched, with Oberlin College, one of the most important documents and charters for freed Blacks in America that granted rights to property and land in Ohio. This led to the African Methodist Episcopal Church establishing Wilberforce University, an all-Black university with the mission to education freed Black youth in much the same manner as other institutions of higher learning. Ohio became center-ground for the formation of various all-Black colleges to promote this mission. Additionally, Ohio became a center for the Underground Railroad and also the larger abolitionist controversy sweeping the country in the 1850s. Wealthy landowners often resented Afro-Americans, while many local churches and their ministers actively assisted in the Underground Railroad to help funnel fleeing slaves to Canada, and supporting such endeavors like Wilberforce University for freed Blacks.


sLYvoQu.jpg

Wilberforce University, named after the British Evangelical minister and abolitionist, the university was one of the first chartered all-Black schools with a mission to educate freed Blacks. The rise of such institutions and the general education of freed Blacks was an important moment for the transformation of the abolitionist movement to gain wider support from Americans.

It was during the 1850s that White northerners began to have more regular contact with Black Americans. And by regular, I mean occasionally seeing a freed Black—though it was extremely rare for any sort of communication with them. Even in the “progressive north,” racism and segregation was the norm, though slavery was outlawed. Regardless, the new presence and interaction and social awareness of Afro-Americans in northern America helped to spur the abolitionist movement. Contrary to popular belief, it was the American Midwest, not New England, where the “grassroots” abolitionist movement was strongest.

While the scions of the Puritans would be the most enthusiastic in marching off to war in April of 1860, the battles between abolitionist and anti-abolitionist forces, and the association of wealthy pro-abolitionist Whites and freed Blacks was strongest in states like Wisconsin and Ohio; though it would be wrong to even think of either state as being bastions of post-racial utopianism. The increased number of well-educated Afro-Americans, especially the ministers (who were often written as knowing Scripture better than White clergy), was part of the changing perceptions of Afro-Americans in northern society. Again, while it would be wrong to see these transformations as largely progressive, they were nevertheless important for allowing the struggling abolitionist and anti-slavery movements to gain steam and popular support.

In the 1435 Papal Bull, Sicut Dudum, Pope Eugene IV officially condemned the practice of slavery. While there are always a myriad of social problems and inconsistencies with such application of social reformism, especially in religion, the Roman Catholic Church was the only official church in America to have a de jure condemnation of slavery in the Americas, which was later reiterated in Sublimis Deus(1537) and In Supremo (1839). The latter of which was vigorously championed by Baltimore Archbishop Samuel Eccleston, in which the slavery of Africans and American Indians in the United States was again condemned and called for all American Catholics to actively oppose slavery. But the minuscule influence of Catholicism had no impact on abolitionism in America, not to mention most American Catholics themselves had little sympathy with the abolitionist movement despite official church pronouncements on the subject. (And the larger waves of German and Irish Catholics in the 1840s and 1850s saw freed Blacks as competition economically.)

It wasn’t until 1847 when The American Home Missionary Society, a loose association of various Reformed Calvinist congregations condemned slavery, along with the help of various Methodist circuit riders, that American Protestantism was mobilized for the fight. Due to the nature of church polity, none of the major American denominations officially declared their opposition to slavery, though many northern Baptists, Unitarians, and especially Congregationalists, began turning to their pulpits to preach against slavery as a moral evil. This was not the first time, for it was the fourth century Church Father, Gregory of Nyssa, in preaching a homily on the Book of Ecclesiastes, who strongly opposed slavery as a moral evil and preached upon the dignity of all persons who are made in the image of God. The New York Congregational Association was the only de-facto Protestant body to officially condemn slavery before the outbreak of the Civil War (the state affiliate of the larger national American Congregational Association). That said, by the late 1850s there had been a remarkable change in American Protestantism concerning the question of slavery.

This was, no doubt, aided by the likes of Richard Allen and other African ministers and educators who aggressively expanded relationships with northern Whites, and helped to fund colleges to defy popular stereotypes. And the rise of abolitionism in the 1850s was but another weight that caused the collapse of the Second Party System and the start of the American Civil War.



SUGGESTED READING:

Ariela Gloss, Double Character: Slavery and Mastery in the Antebellum Southern Courtroom

Richard S. Newman, Freedom’s Prophet: Bishop Richard Allen, the AME Church, and the Black Founding Fathers

Mark Tushnet, Slave Law in the American South
 
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Tankman987

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You know, I find it quite interesting how both the Boers and the African Americans based their theological experience on the Israelites. The Boers seeing themselves as conquering their Canaan and Black's seeing themselves like in bondage like the Israelites once were.
 

Specialist290

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I like the way that this AAR has been shining light on some of the little-explored complexities of nineteenth century America without reducing everything to a simple morality tale, and this chapter in particular is a stellar example of that. I think a lot of modern people simply don't understand just how much every aspect of life and culture in those days was steeped in and invigorated by Christian beliefs and the moral systems that underlay them. Far too many people who are aware of it like to paint a one-sided picture of dogmatic religious interpretation being used to justify slavery -- which, let's be honest, it often was -- while neglecting to mention that many abolitionists were equally inspired by their own fervent belief that every man and woman is a creature fashioned in God's own image.
 

volksmarschall

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You know, I find it quite interesting how both the Boers and the African Americans based their theological experience on the Israelites. The Boers seeing themselves as conquering their Canaan and Black's seeing themselves like in bondage like the Israelites once were.

It was a largely Calvinist phenomenon to be sure. The Anglicans and Lutherans didn't share the same tale appropriation. Historically, African-American Protestantism is engendered with Calvinism as it was the prevailing theological spirit in America well into the early 1900s. It also has much to do with circumstance and historical reasons. Roles of theological covenants (going back to Exodus as we briefly explored with the Puritans and Constitutionalism), and the a historical anti-Catholicism which perceived Rome as either Egypt or Babylon. It is, indeed, deeply fascinating, and deserves to be highlighted.

I like the way that this AAR has been shining light on some of the little-explored complexities of nineteenth century America without reducing everything to a simple morality tale, and this chapter in particular is a stellar example of that. I think a lot of modern people simply don't understand just how much every aspect of life and culture in those days was steeped in and invigorated by Christian beliefs and the moral systems that underlay them. Far too many people who are aware of it like to paint a one-sided picture of dogmatic religious interpretation being used to justify slavery -- which, let's be honest, it often was -- while neglecting to mention that many abolitionists were equally inspired by their own fervent belief that every man and woman is a creature fashioned in God's own image.

Why thank you Specialist!

Well, as you can easily glean by now, while this is certainly an AAR, nevertheless tied to as much historicity as possible, as a historian I vehemently despise the vulgarized "histories" of rah rah rah Exceptionalism, social morality tales, to just outright rank abject revisionism of the worst kind, that dominant American culture and public consciousness (and who says you can't use an AAR as a platform to confront such things! :p). God forbid someone reads Howard Zinn, goes to see "Hamilton," or reads William Bennett's The Last Best Hope trilogy, let alone their high school textbook, and think "they got it." History is nice and complex, filled with ambiguities and things that we will certainly find "repulsive" by contemporary standards. And I find political histories to be dry and the worst forms of history books that provide insight to students. Now that's definitely my training in cultural and intellectual history shining through! More to come as we progress through the decades, can't wait, honestly, when we get to go out West during the age of agrarianism and populism. Might also help shed perspective on what's happened more recently in American politics.

And to be sure, I dislike the general stereotyping more than most. Last thing we need is "an expert" talking about abolitionism or the Know Nothings and not bring up anything that I've tried to highlight, while keeping an attempt at balance and perspectivism, which I'm glad to know people reading are feeling as well. The breadth of what we can delve to study and highlight in the 19th century, which is so informative for us Americans, is one of the reasons why I love this era. How many writers of the last six months have suddenly gained a new interest in the "Know Nothing Party," yet, reading the NYT or New Republic, you would have no idea of how important and influential the Know Nothings were to the turn-of-century "progressive" movement, or that there vast majority of Know Nothings folded into the Republican Party after the party's collapse?
 

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Love this chapter, as British person the insight into little known aspects of history is fascinating. I dare ask, is any of this especially different from OTL or is this entirely unchanged by the different elections/actions etc.

And maybe this has been asked before but considering the theological bent of the history here, what do you think of the concept of America having or having had "Judeo-Christian" values?
 

volksmarschall

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Love this chapter, as British person the insight into little known aspects of history is fascinating. I dare ask, is any of this especially different from OTL or is this entirely unchanged by the different elections/actions etc.

And maybe this has been asked before but considering the theological bent of the history here, what do you think of the concept of America having or having had "Judeo-Christian" values?

Not much differs in terms of any historicity besides, most obviously, as you note, changes to who is president, political party in power, events, etc. Anytime I'm detailing intellectual or cultural history, it is rooted in what is available to readers today (hence my general attaching of "Suggested Readings" which are the main sources that I draw from), simply rewritten to be in conformity with the triggering of events in-game.

And I'm happy to know many of you find some of these "little known" aspects to be fascinating reading. :) Though I might protest to "little known" since they exist in the academy, whether they manage to get out to the public is a different matter, and as someone who works in academia I have particular thoughts as to why.

As for your question about Judeo-Christian values, as a philosopher and historian, let me first note what your question is not asking: a value judgment. First, the term "Judeo-Christian" came about in the 1940s and 1950s to reflect the cosmopolitan nature of American Christianity (with larger numbers of Catholics, and also the fact that American Protestantism was now much more diverse, and of course the fact that there was a large presence of Jews). The term itself is just a fanciful way of saying "Protestant." And specifically, Reformed Protestantism/Calvinism.

It is a simple fact of history that America was greatly influenced by, which has influenced the development of American culture and identity, Reformed Calvinism. It has become part of our history, culture, and inheritance. It is terribly important to understand the nature of American identity, experience, and consciousness. And as I've tried to highlight in other parts of this AAR, this is still with us for those trained to see how such beliefs "secularize" themselves into culture. Most scholars see Puritanism as bequeathing "Progressivism" in America as I've tried to highlight at other parts in this AAR. That's not controversial at all. Whether we see that as having been a good thing is a different matter altogether. So if we mean that America was heavily influenced by, and still is, either in its "secular" or still "religious" incarnations, by that spirit of Reformed Christianity, that's just a basic fact of history whether we like it or not. Pretending that it's not true doesn't make it not true. As I've highlighted, even the now "secular" values of religious freedom and separation of church and state were, in their original conception, deeply Protestant (and anti-Catholic) beliefs. I like to think I'm doing what Specialist notes, presenting the material while trying to refrain from segwaying to simple moralizing, and from you all reading, you seem to appreciate such caveats; which does mean much to me as the writer since I do take the time to do this for your enjoyment and edification as much as mine.
 
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stnylan

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Just managed to read through this AAR, informative and interesting, almost a game trying to identify little hints to what the future might hold. Plus with your usual wonderful erudition and good quality prose.
 
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volksmarschall

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IMAGE INTERLUDE

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Jefferson Davis, President of the United States from 1853-1857; his presidential portrait still stands in Washington D.C. Formerly a Democratic Congressman and Senator from Mississippi, he was among the ardent pro-expansionist faction of slave politics and the Democratic Party—one of the leaders of the so-called “Fire-Eaters,” the radical faction within the Democratic Party that supported pro-slavery expansionism and even secessionism if their concerns were not prioritized by the Federal Government. He was an opponent to the pro-slavery integralist faction of the Democratic which was aligned, nominally, with Unionism. He was defeated for re-election in 1856 by Stephen Douglas when anti-slavery Democrats, Republicans, and Know Nothings united in the Congressional Vote to oust Davis. This left a bitter taste in his mouth. He would be elected Governor of Mississippi, and be one of the first principal voices for southern secession in 1859 that manifested itself in April of 1860.

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Abraham Lincoln (at left), Illinois Congressman and Republican, one of the leaders of the early Republican Party. He strongly opposed the politics of nativism and the rise of the American “Know Nothing” Party. He was viewed as a leading candidate, along with John C. Fremont, for the Republican nomination in 1860. Lewis Charles Levin (at right), Pennsylvania Congressman, and Jewish convert to Methodism. He was one of the Congressional leaders for the American “Know Nothing” Party. A noted adventurer, orator, and shrewd politician, his anti-Catholic politics seemed peculiar given his first generation immigrant status. He strongly opposed the rise of the Republican Party, and was the only dissenting Know Nothing vote in the House election of 1856 for President, casting his ballot for sitting President Jefferson Davis. Heading into 1860, he ardently and passionately opposed both Fremont and Lincoln, and during one speech, was forcibly removed from the stage by Republican Party activists. He suffered a mental breakdown and died soon after.[1]

[1] In lieu to what happened in real life, Levin opposed Fremont’s nomination in 1856 where he was removed from his speaking platform and is said to have suffered a total mental collapse soon after. He died in 1860, considered “dangerous” to himself and others.

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Henry Ward Beecher, Congregationalist clergyman. Beecher was one of America’s most famous clergyman in the 1850s and 1860s, and a strong supporter of the Republican Party. He preached abolitionism from his pulpit, and was friends with William Lloyd Garrison. During the American Civil War, he personally purchased Sharpe’s Rifles and equipped them to Union soldiers during the war—his gifts, so to speak, were affectionately nicknamed “Beecher’s Bibles.” After the war, Beecher became an early figure in the emergent “Social Gospel Movement” in American Protestantism, a strand of socially activist Protestantism that focused on social and political reformism in accordance with New Testament social dictates. He was later embroiled in a sex scandal for adultery, though he was cleared of charges in what has been called “The Affair That Shocked The Nation” owing to Beecher’s respect and popularity. Beecher was the son of the famous Second Great Awakening Revivalist Lyman Beecher. He also supported temperance, women’s suffrage, and Darwin’s Theory of Evolution. Beecher’s theology focused on the theme of God’s love and the social commands of Christ to love one’s neighbor and reform society, “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free” (Luke 4:18) is the New Testament passage that most people cite as undergirding his theology of hope, love, and optimism. He is sometimes considered the “Father of Liberal Protestantism” in North America, and exuded the timeless American progressive values of eternal optimism, progress, and overcoming past wrongs. He was probably the second most well-known and respected American clergyman in U.S. history behind Jonathan Edwards.

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An image of the Philadelphia Riots, 1844. During the rise of Catholic immigration, which sparked the concurrent rise in progressive nativist politics, exemplified by the American Party, several cities that became central locations of Catholic immigration saw conflict between the nativist Protestant population (generally upper-class) and the working-class Catholic immigrant population. In fitting fashion, Irish Protestant Americans, who made up the American wing of the British Orange Order, were often the most vicious and vocal opponents to Irish Catholic (and Catholic more generally) immigration. Nativist Protestant politics has always had a prominent place in American culture, politics, and history.

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A young Ulysses S. Grant, ca. 1840s. Grant was an American officer who served in the Quebec War and the Second Mexican War, rising to the rank of captain. He eventually resigned his commission in 1854, in protest to the pro-slavery expansionist politics of Jefferson Davis. Grant believed the Mexican War was fought for the deliberate expansion of slavery, and that the war was morally unjust. When the Civil War broke out in 1860, he was requested to rejoin the army with the commission of colonel. He accepted. By the spring of 1861 he had risen to brevet major general, and was the main commander of the Army of the Mississippi. His Mississippi River Campaign made him a legendary figure during the war, and his victories at Corinth, Oxford, Greeneville, and Vicksburg are still studied by military strategists.[2] He was later elected President in 1868. Grant emerged from the war as one the nation's many heroes, and one of the most well-known and respected.

[2] Not equivalent to OTL’s engagements at Corinth and Vicksburg.
 
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Nathan Madien

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I have a question:

I noticed in the previous update that you kept saying "Afro-Americans" instead of "African-Americans". Why is that?

It fails to behoove me that I am unable to place into words the debt American culture owes to Africans.

And not just American culture. A lot of young British men in the late 1950s became big fans of the blues and the rock and roll songs being made by African-Americans. The late Chuck Berry was a particularly strong influence for the Rolling Stones (which is named after a Muddy Waters blues song) and the Beatles. In fact, the first song the Rolling Stones ever recorded was a cover of a Berry song.
 
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volksmarschall

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I have a question:

I noticed in the previous update that you kept saying "Afro-Americans" instead of "African-Americans". Why is that?

The game lists African-American as Afro-American. I guess it rubbed off. No other reason than that. Though it is a little antique to use that phrase.
 

volksmarschall

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CHAPTER VI: MARCHING TOWARD THE CIVIL WAR

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The war is inevitable and let it come! I repeat it, sir, let it come. It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!

~ Patrick Henry, American statesman and Founding Father

Trapped by Cultures
When the American Revolution broke out in 1775, the trials and intentions of the young American nation was very much in doubt. Crane Brinton, in his magisterial work The Anatomy Revolution, highlights how revolution usually segways into civil war. This is equally true for the United States, whose civil war from revolution merely occurred two 73 years after the Constitutional Convention. A civil war nevertheless did occur between the disparate and conflictual forces that were initially allied in revolution, but split afterward.

In much the same manner, we can understand the slow march toward civil war as reflecting the disparate fractionalism in American society that has always existed from its founding. That the most enthusiastic supporters of the civil war were the children of the New England Puritans is also very telling, just as much as Scotch-Irish and Cavalier descendants in the South took up their arms to defend what they perceived as their hard-won toil and liberty. While sometimes oversimplified, we also see the divisionary spirit of American politics at play too: the agrarian republicanism of Jeffersonianism being suffocated by the industrialist oligarchism of Hamiltonianism. While it is true that the north produced a greater sum of agrarian produce than the south, the integralist nature of the American agrarian economy made the south, nominally, wealthier than the north. It is also wrong to view the south as purely agrarian, since it had major industrial and arms centers in New Orleans, Atlanta, various centers scattered throughout urban Virginia, and Charleston.

Others have often taken to speak of the “tragedy” of the American Civil War. Such thought is folly and intellectual dishonest. In fact, the observations of revolution to civil war are widely attested. From this empirical fact, the American Civil War was inevitable. One historian said, correctly, “In this sense I would say that the Civil War is precisely tragic: given the character of the early United States, it was both inevitable and necessary. That equality was codified in so many of our foundational texts while simultaneously denied to many millions of the country's people isn't merely an ugly contradiction but one which made violent correction inevitable.” But it was inevitable for others reasons, as we’ve already hinted at earlier in this work.

That the Puritans understood covenant election as binding and eternal, the covenant undertaken by the American states in 1787 meant, by definition, that secession was illegal. In fact, the Constitution itself even hints at this when it stipulates that Congress, and only Congress, can redraw the sovereign territory of the United States. That the southern states would seek to circumnavigate this process through state secession was, by every Constitutional standard, illegal. Additionally, besides this point, the north—influenced immeasurably by Puritan political theology—also underscored the binding nature of the covenant agreed upon by the states at the Constitutional Convention and would not permit the idea of secession; it was a violation of the very principles and precepts signed up for in the Constitution itself.

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Since arriving in Massachusetts, Puritans dominated much of Northern American culture, politics, and ideas. Restless and activist, the Puritans are largely responsible in the eyes of most American historians and philosophers as bequeathing America's spirit of Progressivism, Social Reformism, and utopian and optimistic vision of itself. The sociologist Talcott Parsons said that the greatest legacy of the Puritans was the establishment of a culture of "instrumental activism." The idea of reforming America into an egalitarian, utopian, and perfectionist paradise was one of the reasons for the Puritan migration to America. While many Americans no longer share their explicit millennial theology, most historians see the spirit of American Progressivism as a largely "secularized" variation of Puritanism. Anglo-Scottish philosopher and historian David Hume once described Puritan theology as the world's first explicit political ideology.

It was during the Constitutional Convention that New England Congregationalist ministers often preached from their pulpits on the necessity of the formation of the new republic based on this constitution, and invoked the covenantal election of Israel in the Book of Exodus. It is often forgotten that election in Judaism was not a blessing, but a burden. As the New Israelites, this was no different in American consciousness. The new constitutional covenant was a burden, but if the burden was accepted it would also produce the blessings and benefits that were promised to Israel for keeping God’s commandments. As many authors and historians have long noted, “Americans were the almost Chosen People.”

The historiography leading up to the Civil War has been of much debate among American historians. There are those who have long argued that the cyclical nature of revolutions occurred in the Civil War; the period in between a positive but doomed era. [1] Others have argued that the Constitution, ground itself in contradictory Lockean principles, inevitably paved the groundworks for the attempted separation of the disparate nation.[2] Others have also written on the cultural and constitutional conundrums that left the new nation slowly drifting apart.[3] And, of course, the myriad of social and economic histories casting the Civil War as a product of social moralism against slavery, a war in defense of the material slave holding interests of the southern gentry, or the drifting economies of north and south.

While it may be the case that all views have their merits, it is important to note what historian George McKenna said concerning the important role of American Puritanism and Progressivism, “The progressives loved America, but the America they loved was the one began in New England, traversed the North, defeated the slave-holding South. Its religion was Protestant, but not the dreamy Protestantism of Antinomian mystics and certainly not the ‘prickled’ Protestantism of the South. It was the muscular, activist strand of Puritanism."[4]

Indeed, when the trumpets for war sounded in the spring of 1860 it were the children and scions of the Puritans who enthusiastically marched off to war believing themselves in service to Isaiah’s God of demanding sacrifice and righteous vengeance against transgressors. Republican and American Party agitators for war were largely of Puritan stock. Staunch, strict, and moralistic Calvinists who dreamed of the utopia laid out by their greatest philosopher and theologian, Jonathan Edwards. After all, it was Edwards, who in his magnum opus, History of the Work of Redemption, which was also a major publication that influenced the American Revolution, that stated that the cleansing and purification of the American continent would precipitate the Second Coming of Christ.

The militant, iconoclastic, and revolutionary zeal of non-Conformist Protestantism, which was the prevailing Christian spirit of the American North, took aim at those “prickled” Baptists and Presbyterians south of the Mason-Dixon Line. Caught between the two, the American Episcopal Church and the scions of the old Cavaliers who had fled to Virginia and North Carolina after Cromwell’s victories in the English Civil War. The old divides of Britain were beginning to shape again in America. Puritan vs. Anglican. Covenanter vs. landed aristocrat. Yeoman vs. equestrian. Scotch-Irish vs. English.

The intensification of cultural struggle in the late 1850s is something that is often overlooked in most American histories, instead, focusing on the problem of slavery and the growing crisis that this produced. But we have already done this, and we should now properly examine the cultural dynamics at play.

In the lead up to the Civil War, America was essentially divided into four cultural zones: Puritan and English in New England (the “White Anglo-Saxon Protestant”), Anglican/Episcopal and the “gentleman aristocrat” in the Virginia and North Carolina, Presbyterian and yeoman laborer in the Deep South and Frontier, and a mixed zone in the Midwest between old stock Congregationalists who first settled the region, German Lutherans and many revolutionary expatriates who fled the Germanies after the failed Revolutions of 1848, and being dubbed “48ers,” and also Irish Catholic minorities scattered throughout the more urban centers.


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Fleeing German revolutionaries, the "Forty-Eighters" entering America. Tens of thousands of failed revolutionaries from across Europe, most of them from what would become Germany, migrated to America after the Prussian and Austrian destruction of revolutionary sentiments in Central Europe. Many of these migrants were militantly republican, moralistic, and became one of the major backbones of the Union armies during the Civil War. With their military and combat experience, many German-Americans became famous war heroes. Despite that, tensions between English Puritans and German Lutherans crippled Union war efforts. Some German regiments refused to have American-born officers leading them during the war. Others were noted for lackluster performance when under the command of American-born officers, but were reported as exceptional in combat when led by native German officers.

To be sure, the growing animosity between the “hard-fought, hard-won” Scotch-Irish Presbyterians and the Covenanting Puritans was a major problem. The Virginian and North Carolinian gentry were trapped in between; though many expressed unionist sympathies, most were also deeply localist and communitarian in outlook, preferring the role of the locale over and against a federal authority which many, still in the memory of Cromwell’s wars and dictatorial commonwealth, feared or harbored extreme suspicion about.

No doubt the rising moral consciousness of abolitionism was causing an even further drift to appear within the nation, but it is far more likely, indeed, simply historical, to note the longstanding and foundational tensions that the nation was founded upon, that were finally rearing its ugly head in the fragmented republic. Indeed, the political success, not failure, of the Second Party system politics is another immediate cause for the descent into madness and war. The Second Party system had polarized American political culture in a war never seen before.[5] The American historian Richard Hofstadter noted that in the Second Party System that partisan loyalty and partisan politics eclipsed the “politics of the gentlemen” that characterized American politics from 1789-1828.

The politicization of American society was the inevitable outcome of American Democracy. Citizens took positions antagonistic to fellow citizen. Rather than cooperation and compromise, all sides were clamoring for a militant enforcement of party principle and loyalty over all things. This, of course, was not aided by the fact that cultural polarization was also influencing the formation of party politics. That American Puritans and English were strongly orienting themselves to the Republican Party, and that Scotch-Irish Presbyterians were Democratic, only added fuel to the fire.

Furthermore, so did the animosity between Northern Protestants (strongly Pro-Republican and American Party) and immigrant Catholics and Northern Democrats (who, by default, ended up supporting the Democrats). This rift ensured that Northern Republicans largely distrusted their Northern Democratic counterparts for allowing “Papist” infiltrators enter the ranks of Northern political power. But not only was there a growing rift between Republicans and Democrats in the north because of cultural and religious matters, this was also occurring within the national Democratic Party. Southern Democrats were proudly Presbyterian and Baptist, while Northern Democrats, mostly Protestant (Methodist, in particular), were viewed as accommodating to Catholics. This caused fear among Southern Democratic Presbyterian politicians of “a Catholic invasion” of party politics.

Both Democrats and Republicans were self-consciously Protestant in the 1850s. Protestants viewed Catholics with the upmost suspicion, guilty of the “dual loyalty” to Rome and their honorary country of citizenship. Many American politicians were paranoid that the sudden and massive influx of Catholic immigrants was a Papal plot. Even Abraham Lincoln thought that the emerging Civil War would weaken America and become the nexus by which Papal power would destroy the American republic.[6]

Whose continent was America to be?


[1] Cf. Crane Brinton, The Anatomy of Revolution.

[2] Cf. Christopher Farrera, Liberty: The God that Failed.

[3] Cf. Kevin Phillips, The Cousins’ War: Religion, Politics, Civil Warfare, And The Triumph Of Anglo-America.

[4] George McKenna, The Puritan Origins of American Patriotism, p. 191.

[5] Cf. Richard Hofstadter, Anti-Intellectualism in American Life.

[6] This is true, and often unknown about Abraham Lincoln. Some American conspiracy theorists remain convinced that his assassination was a Jesuit plot.


SUGGESTED READING:

Editors, Civil War America: A Social and Cultural History with Primary Sources

Kevin Phillips, The Cousins’ War: Religion, Politics, Civil Warfare, and The Triumph of Anglo-America.

Colin Woodard, American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America
 
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stnylan

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I have an American friend - who read history with me at St Andrews - who has a pet theory that the United States only truly existed as a county after the civil war - between the revolution and the civil war it was merely in a formative state. This update made me think of that.