Question of the Week: 4/19-4/25/21

April 19 is the anniversary of the Battles of Lexington and Concord at the beginning of the American Revolution. Now, the Civil War angle…

Which historical figure from the Revolutionary War era do you think had the most influence and memory by the time of the Civil War? Why and how?

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24 Responses to Question of the Week: 4/19-4/25/21

  1. nygiant1952 says:

    Thaddeus Kosciuszko, Polish patriot, and a military engineer who designed the field fortifications which caused the British defeat at Saratoga, turning the tide of the war in favor of the American cause. After the Revolution, he returned to Poland to fight for Polish Independence, thus becoming a patriot and freedom fighter for 2 countries.

    He left money with Thomas Jefferson for slaves to be freed, but Jefferson did not honor that request.

  2. Mike Maxwell says:

    From incidental research on personalities, North and South, the most acclaimed and influential Revolutionary War figure at commencement of the Secession Crisis and continuing through at least 1862 was George Washington. Being a Virginian, slave owner, war hero, remarkable first U.S. President (and advocate for Virginia NOT ratifying the Constitution, according to many Southerners, “as evidenced by Washington declining to lead the Virginia delegation” and “being supportive of ‘correcting’ the Articles of Confederation, and not initiating an entirely new document”) the South claimed him “as their own.” Many military units were named after the Revolutionary War hero, including the Washington Artillery. The North claimed Washington as Father of the United States; a President who refused to be King; and a General who resigned his commission (instead of becoming a military dictator.) Lincoln made a special point of attending a flag raising at Philadelphia on 22 FEB 1861; and set February 22 as “the date by which Armies will advance, everywhere” in 1862.

  3. Rod says:

    George Washington was the center figure of the Confederate Seal because the Confederates knew they were involved in a second secession from tyranny, and a second quest for the founding principles of self-determination, self-government, and a government by consent of the governed.

    • Matt McKeon says:

      “consent of the governed” Yeah, that’s the first thing I think of when I think of the slavers creating their slave holding utopia. The second thing is how George Washington would have shot Jefferson Davis in the face.

    • John Foskett says:

      It appears that they didn’t read for comprehension his speech on departing the Presidency.

  4. Douglas Pauly says:

    I will offer the Framers of the Constitution as a single entity. I agree with those who cite George Washington’s fame and legacy. Both sides absolutely treated Mount Vernon with reverence throughout the Civil War. But the War itself hinged on CONSTITUTIONAL questions and issues. So the legacy of its Framers, of which George Washington was one of, loomed quite large come April 1861.

    • nygiant1952 says:

      Fact is though, the Founding Fathers were never a single entity. They were men who had to make a compromise, in order to establish a Constitution that they could all live with.

      Slavery was a compromise.

      • Douglas Pauly says:

        But the Constitution was established. And slavery was a Constitutional issue, as was secession.

      • nygiant1952 says:

        The Constitution was a document that protected slavery, that true. Secession was not mentioned in the Constitution. It5 was not a Constitutional issue.

      • Douglas Pauly says:

        It was considered a Constitutional issue at that time. Lincoln absolutely believed that secession was “unconstitutional”. The Confederates believed that the Constitution did NOT prevent them from legally breaking away. The Supreme Court has ruled on the “right” to seceded, though their ruling was after the War was over.

      • nygiant1952 says:

        As there is no mention of secession in the Constitution, it was never a Constitutional issue. Constitutionally, there can be no such thing as secession of a State from the Union.

      • Douglas Pauly says:

        ‘Slavery’ is not mentioned in the Constitution, so by your (ahem) ‘logic’, it wasn’t a cause of the War, because it COULDN’T be. The CONSTITUTIONALITY of secession was discussed and debated and argued is statehouses, in Washington, DC, and on newspaper editorial pages. It was via the Constitution that both sides ‘made their case’. Dispute that all you want, it won’t change the historical facts!

      • nygiant1952 says:

        All historians concur that Article 1, Section 9, Clause 1, is one of a handful of provisions in the original Constitution related to slavery, though it does not use the word “slave.” This Clause prohibited the federal government from limiting the importation of “persons” (understood at the time to mean primarily enslaved African persons) where the existing state governments saw fit to allow it, until some twenty years after the Constitution took effect. It was a compromise between Southern states, where slavery was pivotal to the economy, and states where the abolition of slavery had been accomplished or was contemplated.

        Historians also agree that it was slavery which led to the Civil War.

        Only those who believe in the Lost cause or make excuses for the South, ignore slavery as a cause of the war.

      • nygiant1952 says:

        So, since slavery is not mentioned by name, it can’t be a cause of the Civil War?

        Now..THAT Is illogical!

      • Douglas Pauly says:

        No one is saying that slavery was not THE main issue behind the war. NO ONE is ignoring it. That’s YOUR invention. But before there was a war, there was secession. The constitutionality of it was debated ad nauseum, on both sides. Your refusal to acknowledge that undeniable historical fact doesn’t change the truth of it. Reflecting on that (ahem) ‘logic’ of yours, abortion is not a modern-day constitutional issue because IT is not mentioned in the Constitution. Right?

      • nygiant1952 says:

        Doug, You are implying that the Constitution is concrete…its NOT! The US Constitution is a living document, and was written by the FF in vague terms, so that it could adjust to the changing times our Nation would face.

        Mentioning abortion is just a diversion. But I think by explaining it, you will better understand the US Constitution. The Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution provides a fundamental “right to privacy” that protects a pregnant woman’s liberty to choose whether or not to have an abortion. Constitution.

        You do realize that the 14th Amendment is the result of the Civil War.

        In the US constitution, there is no mention of secession nor is secession implied. While there is a way for states to be added to the Nation which is dictated by the Constitution, there are NO clauses that allow or direct a state to leave the Union, since the FF intended that this Union be perpetual.

        Right?

        RIGHT!

      • Douglas Pauly says:

        Again Giant, you delve into total irrelevancies, as well as your usual dishonesty. . YOU are the one who is trying to make all this about slavery ONLY. Then you lie about how others, mainly myself, have portrayed that. No worries Giant, I’m used to that from you. But again, YOUR OWN WORDS are in play here. YOU stated that because secession was not mentioned in the Constitution, then it wasn’t a cause of the war. By that (ahem) ‘logic’, then there was no war. There was no slavery to fight about. I guess that abortion thingy that I RIGHTFULLY mentioned has never happened either. Gee, you cleared all that up.

        Oh, and Giant, the Constitution absolutely IS ‘concrete’. It cannot be changed on the whim of whoever desires to. It CAN be changed, but there are established processes for that. Too bad you didn’t get that memo. Oh, and while we’re at it, there is no mention of a “right to privacy” in it either. That’s been an ‘interpretation’ offered by the SC over time, especially concerning abortion. And it is because of ‘interpretations’ of the Constitution by both sides that secession, as in the right to do it and/or the right to prevent it, was a huge catalyst for what would become the Civil War. Right?

        Hmmm?

      • nygiant1952 says:

        There you go Doug! Moving the goal posts , again!

        I never said that because secession is not mentioned the Constitution, it wasn’t a cause of the war….That’s what YOU believe!

        And still yo bring up abortion to use as a diversion, after I instruct you on the US Constitution.

        Your logic is…..well…..illogical.

        And I know all about how the Constitution can be amended. But you seem to lack the understanding on how decisions are made. You are 1000% wrong about the right to privacy clause in the US Constitution.

        The Supreme Court in Griswold v. Connecticut, 381 U.S. 479 (1965) found in that the Constitution grants a right to privacy against governmental intrusion via penumbras located in the founding text. Writing for a 7-2 majority in Griswold v. Connecticut, Justice William O. Douglas famously said that a general right to privacy is found in the “penumbras,” or zones, created by the specific guarantees of several amendments in the Bill of Rights, including the First, Third, Fourth, and Ninth Amendments. This right to privacy has been the justification for decisions involving a wide range of civil liberties cases, including Pierce v. Society of Sisters, which invalidated a successful 1922 Oregon initiative requiring compulsory public education, Roe v. Wade, which struck down a Texas abortion law and thus restricted state powers to enforce laws against abortion, and Lawrence v. Texas, which struck down a Texas sodomy law and thus eliminated state powers to enforce laws against sodomy.

        And since we both agree that secession isn’t mentioned in the US Constitution, how can there be an interpretation of it?

        Hmmmmmmmmmm?

  5. Katy Berman says:

    George Washington for the South. Andrew Jackson’s bold response to South Carolina’s secession influenced Lincoln.

  6. Matt McKeon says:

    George Washington, of course for both sides. By 1860, many leading secessionists rejected Thomas Jefferson because of the Declaration of Independence, but he was a key influence for Lincoln.

  7. Matt McKeon says:

    Paul Revere, a minor figure before, becomes a household word with the publication of “Paul Revere’s Ride” by Longfellow, specifically in response to the secession crisis.

  8. Lyle Smith says:

    Thomas Jefferson… writer of “all men are created equal”, arguably a proto-Confederate since his patrimony to Virginia was the continuation of the institution of slavery, and is straight up quoted and criticized by Alexander Stephens’ in the Cornerstone Speech.

    Thomas Jefferson, what a legacy!!!

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