Why Not Diplomacy?

Yes more history!

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This is for all those readers that are interested in the American Civil War.

Most people know the major players and the major engagements…..but what about before the first shots were fired in South Carolina?

Since I am a student of conflict and ways to try and avoid a disastrous war…..people have asked me why there was no diplomacy to try and avoid the deadly conflict…

Well there was diplomacy but it is just not interesting enough for the history books….plus it is not as romantic as the idea of a ‘noble cause’…..

Here is the look at diplomatic attempts during the war…..

February 2, 1865, President Abraham Lincoln and his Irish valet sneaked out of Washington City and took a steamboat down to the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay. The next day he met with three representatives of the Confederacy to discuss ending the Civil War. The Hampton Roads Peace Conference, as it’s known, is notable not for what was accomplished – nothing was – but for how, when, and why it took place at all.

In February, 1865, the Confederacy was clearly on the brink of collapse. The rebel armies were dogged but much diminished. General William Tecumseh Sherman had sacked Atlanta and was leaving a trail of devastation through Georgia. Ulysses S. Grant had Robert E. Lee pinned down at Petersburg, a rail center that was Richmond’s last defense. A Union naval blockade had cut off all supplies. Everyone knew the end was a few months away at best.

With the war all but won, why would Lincoln go out of his way, literally, to parley with the enemy? The simplest answer is that he was looking already to the postwar future, and how best to deal with the insurgents. Many hardliners in his Republican Party and his Cabinet thought they knew the answer: utterly crush the rebels militarily, hang their leaders, free all their slaves, confiscate their other property, and subjugate the South as a conquered, occupied enemy.

Lincoln believed that was no way to heal the nation. With the weight of more than half a million war dead on his soul, he “wanted to end the war quickly, peacefully if possible, not only to save lives, money, and property but also to build a stronger foundation for reconstruction,” writes James B. Conroy, author of a detailed book about the conference, Our One Common Country. “If the Confederacy could be persuaded to return to the Union voluntarily, enticed by reasonable concessions, the stage would be set for a more amicable, productive future than a military conquest could produce.”

https://www.wilsonquarterly.com/quarterly/conflict-resolution/the-road-not-taken/

Diplomacy is never a wasted energy….but did little during the American Civil War….

Be Smart!

Learn Stuff!

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

7 thoughts on “Why Not Diplomacy?

  1. Such a shame that Lincoln’s scheme didn’t work. It may well have left a divided America in a much better condition than it is to this day.
    Best wishes, Pete.

  2. I heard once that Lincoln never had any idea of freeing the slaves except for the purpose of loading them onto ships that had been specially constructed to transport all of them to some foreign country. I heard that it was never his intention to have freed slaves running all around the country … but that he and the navy had plans to ship them all offshore.

    1. Never heard or read that….I did know about a policy to allow freed slaves to return to Liberia….but Lincoln had nothing to do with that policy. chuq

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