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Ozzy

History repeats...

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G'day

I know we're not supposed to comment on present-day 'political situations,' and I fully respect that position... and will remove this post if requested.

That said, I respectfully request to make comment on today's historic Brexit poll (won by the 'Leave' campaign by 1 million votes.) Because, in your lifetime, you may never again witness a 'secession' with such similarity to what occurred in December 1860. To me, watching events unfold from Australia, the vote of Great Britain to 'opt out' of the European Union resembles the State of Texas or Florida more than South Carolina (late joiners of the American Experment that opted out in 1861); but it may illustrate what could have occurred had the South not fired on Fort Sumter in 1861.

Just an observation...

Ozzy

 

 

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Jim

Good point about the Nullification of 1832... although I believe 'the attempt by a State to nullify a National tariff' was interpreted by the Marshall Court to have wider Constitutional implications than the Taney Court of 1860 would have conceded. In fact, I do not believe the legality of Secession in the U.S. was finally decided until 1869 (Texas v. White, et al)... which is why this Brexit (opt out, or secession) of the UK from the European Union is potentially interesting: the attempt is being made in accordance with standing procedures (but who will determine the legality of those procedures, and if they were correctly followed?)

Regards 

Ozzy

N.B.  For those wondering what this Brexit discussion has to do with the Battle of Shiloh, I can only offer the following:

  • Great Britain was seen by the South in the years before 1862 as a major buyer of cotton, potentially financing the Confederate war effort;
  • Great Britain was seen as a potential ally of the Confederate States of America, requiring only 'one great victory' to formally recognize the Confederacy (Shiloh had potential to be 'that great victory');
  • Great Britain, meanwhile, was playing a double game: selling the Pattern 1853 Enfield rifle-muskets to both sides (used at the Battle of Shiloh); selling high-tech screw steamers to the Confederate Navy for use against Northern shipping; selling essentials (such as railroad rails) to both sides...
  • Today, 154 years later, Great Britain is going through her own secession crisis. And we get to watch...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pzCn7abSaOc   Victory declared in Brexit referendum.

 

  

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For a further comparison of the events of 1860 to those of June 23rd, 2016, here is what Mary Boykin Chesnut recorded in her diary:

'At Fernandina I saw young men running up a Palmetto flag and shouting, 'South Carolina has seceded!' [They were a little premature, as it was only December 10th.']

'Edward Pringle wrote me from San Francisco, Calif. on November 30th:  "I see that Mr. Chesnut has resigned from Congress, and that South Carolina is hastening into Convention, perhaps to secession. Mr. Chesnut is probably to be President of the Convention. I see all the leaders in the State are in favor of secession..." '

'December 21st, 1860:  Mrs. Charles Lowndes was sitting with us today, when Mr. Kirkland brought in a copy of the Secession Ordinance. I wonder if my face grew as white as hers. She said after a moment, 'God help us...'  They say I had better take my last look at this beautiful place, Combahee. It is on the coast, open to gunboats...

'We mean business this time... at this Convention, our wisest and best men [are in discussion.] South Carolina was never more splendidly represented...'

[Extracts from A Diary from Dixie: the writings of Mary Boykin Chesnut, edited by Isabella D. Martin and Myrta Avary; New York: D. Appleton & Co. (1906). Available at archive.com here:  http://archive.org/stream/diaryfromdixie00chesrich#page/n9/mode/2up 

 

Also, here is a link to Mary Chesnut's reaction to the firing on Fort Sumter:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m2O6ovlv58k  

 

 

Ozzy

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Let's do this. If you folks want to discuss the Brexit vote in the context of the Civil War, I'll go ahead and green-light that and we'll see how things go. Hopefully we won't have to Nixit. :)

And thankfully, unlike 1861 no one is going to war over Brexit. :) 

Perry

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Thank you, Perry

I saw value in this present-day 'secession' as an opportunity to witness the real emotions, hopes, dreams and aspirations first-hand; and imagine they are similar to what was experienced during the heady days of December 1860-March 1861. Of course, 'opting out' (whether in 1860 or in 2016) was the easy part...

Regards

Ozzy

 

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There are certainly similarities, but one big difference between the two events to me though, is that secession in 1861 was an attempt to maintain the status quo. The Brexit was a vote to change the status quo.

But we are getting a real-time sense of the uncertainty surrounding a 'secession' vote, and that could be instructive. Whatever anyone thinks of Brexit, the fact is that none of us know exactly what happens from here. It was that way in 1861 prior to the opening shots of the war. A very big sense of, 'wow, now what?' We obviously know what happened looking back more than fifteen decades, but what they knew of the future at that time is exactly what we know of the future after the Brexit vote - not much. It's all shrouded in darkness. Some people were elated, some were angry, some were pessimistic. But no one really knew what would come next. We can relate to what they felt because of that, and appreciate how uncertain a path history truly walks.

Perry

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Perry

I concur with your observation IRT 'the real-time sense of unpredictability' ...after the euphoric celebrations... Now that the chocks have been removed, there is no certainty where this plane will fly, if it flies at all. But, I have a different take on 'preserving the status-quo.' Brexit, to me, is an attempt to preserve Britain as a self-governing Nation; as opposed to continuing as a mere 'member-state' in an unwieldy, unrepresentative, progressively out-of-touch behemoth (that began as a 'free-trade organization,' and along the way morphed into something else: United Government of Europe, as opposed to 'Common Market.')

Some of the similarities between 2016 and 1860/1, as I observe them:

  • Years and years in the building-up of disenchantment. As Jim pointed out, South Carolina had dallied with 'Nullification' in 1828 and 1832. The UK has been growing disenchanted for over twenty years, as their financial contribution to the European Union increases, but their voice in the running of the organization, and the perceived benefits of belonging, diminish;
  • Not everyone within the 'Seceded State' agreed with the decision. In 1860/1, many 'Unionists' remained within the Confederacy, with varying degrees of 'influence' on the course of affairs: West Virginia eventually seceded; and East Tennessee wanted to secede (but the promised support from President Lincoln did not materialize.) Today, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and the City of London are threatening to 'secede' from the Brexit movement... and rejoin the EU;
  • Importance of allies. The Confederacy anticipated the support of Britain and France, to a much larger degree than what was provided. The only-ever anticipated recognition (after a great victory on the battlefield) might have been enough support to ensure the survival of the Confederate States. Today, Britain has the United States (in a remarkable role-reversal to 1860/1) that will benefit from continuing to trade (possibly on better terms: value of the Pound to US Dollar, and new trade agreements.) Britain also has her old Commonwealth (India, Australia, Canada, etc) to potentially reinvigorate into a more substantial trading bloc;
  • Threats to success. In 1860/1 the threat was military, and it was financial. Today, the threat is primarily financial (tariffs imposed by an angry EU on her former member-state; restraint of trade and restriction of British tourist movements inside Continental Europe.) The European Union has been attempting to create an 'EU Army' for a number of years, so Britain has left before that potential military threat could eventuate. [Possibly a lesson learned from the American Civil War.] But, the 'military threat' might come from outside (involving a country 'outside Europe' taking advantage of the turmoil to press an old territorial claim.)

Just some of my thoughts, on June 27th (Australia time), as a vocal group of disenchanted EU supporters inside the UK attempt to force a 'second vote.'

Ozzy

 

 

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Vote, and Vote again... until you get it right

 

Tennessee held a referendum in February 1861, in which 54 percent of the State's voters voted against sending delegates to a Secession Convention. After President Lincoln called for 75000 volunteers in April, to bring Rebellious States back into line, many citizens of Tennessee were outraged, to the extent that they changed their position IRT secession; and when a second vote was held on June 8, 1861, Tennessee voted in favor of Secession, and throwing in with the Confederacy [admitted as the 11th member on July 2, 1861.]

Over the weekend (25-26 June 2016) a petition began to circulate -- online -- demanding a second vote IRT Brexit, with particular regard to the following concerns:

  • the closeness of the outcome (52% leave vs. 48% remain)
  • the requirement, in accordance with EU rules, that 75 percent of eligible voters vote; or, if less than 75 percent vote, then the result must be decided by 60% vs. 40% or a greater margin, in order to achieve a valid outcome.

On its first day, the Petition attracted 500,000 virtual signatures; at the end of the second day, over 1.5 million signatures were recorded; and during the 3rd day, the total number of signatures passed 3 million... But a close scrutiny revealed that very many signatories to the Petition were non-citizens of Britain, and ineligible to vote...

The main issue at this time being: at what point does one recognize 'the will of the people?'

What is the recourse if the ballot box and polling booth are no longer trusted as instruments of governance?

 

Ozzy

 

 

 

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Brexit to take effect on 31 JAN 2020

Three and a half years ago the British People voted in a referendum to leave the organization known as the European Union. The reasons that led to that binding poll included 1) corrupt over-production of Euros by some member States of the EU; 2) flood into the Euro-zone of "Syrian refugees" (who were not from Syria), all of whom seemed intent upon gaining sanctuary in the UK (with their passage north through the Euro-zone facilitated by EU States); 3) the growing distaste in the UK for Laws enacted by the European Parliament which were contrary to established British Laws (even judged superior to 1000 years of English Common Law.) These EU laws appeared arbitrary and spiteful to the British people; 4) the UK was deemed a "financial power" within the EU and was obligated by Acts of the European Parliament to contribute an ever larger share of the management cost of the European Union.

Along the way to Brexit, there were three changes of National Leader in the UK (with one leader, Theresa May, intent on overturning the will of the People and negating the results of the Brexit vote. She was replaced through UK parliamentary procedure by Boris Johnson, who promised to abide by the original Brexit vote.) Late in 2019 Boris Johnson was forced to call an early National Election, which was effectively a Second Referendum on Brexit. The British voters returned the Boris Johnson Government to power with an increased majority, fully displaying support for the Exit of Great Britain from the European Union... and that Exit (known as Brexit) takes place at the end of January.

Many Civil War researchers and Historians ask: "Could the Southern States have enacted a bloodless Secession?"

The example of Brexit demonstrates that such a secession is possible (was possible), but consider:

  • the TIME required to make the exit effective (3 1/2 years) required extraordinary patience;
  • the UK did not threaten violence if their attempt to secede from the EU failed;
  • the European Union has no United Army of Europe. Member States have their own defense forces (at the present time; there is an intention by the EU to establish a United Army of Europe, likely based on the NATO model.)
  • Without a United Army of Europe, the EU could not "coerce" the UK to remain within the organization;
  • Nations across the globe (USA, Canada, India, Australia) look forward to the opportunities presented by a "seceded" Britain, particularly new trade deals.

SDG members have "lived through" a bloodless secession.

Was it possible for the Secession attempted in 1860/ 61 to have been accomplished without resorting to War?

Reference:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zQKotbNVTyE  "England waves GOODBYE to European Union"

 

 

 

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In my dotage I realize that my former log-held belief that I understood the U.S. system was seriously flawed. For example, my local town council recently voted to allow retail sales of marijuana. At the start of the session they all rose and spoke, with hands over hearts, the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag of the United States...one nation, under God, indivisible... Two flags were in the room, one the Stars and Stripes, the other the State Flag of Illinois. They faced the former. The latter was not mentioned. Then they proceeded to pass an Ordinance that makes them all parties to a Federal felony (actually, it was a 6-5 vote). Eleven states have joined mine in this succession. We tried this States' Rights thing once before. That time it ended badly.

We live in dangerous times, as also had been the case for our predecessors. 

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Rbn3

You present Interesting points about unforeseen changes being embraced in America; but the remedy remains at the Ballot Box, and accepting the Will of the People.

In the case of Brexit, the British People reached a tipping point four years ago that led to education, advocacy, and an eventual vote. Attempts to overturn that vote resulted in failure, confirming the Will of the People. Hence, Brexit takes effect from the end of January 2020.

In 1860/ 61 it appears no effort was made to take the Case for Secession through the Courts. (And the decisive Supreme Court decision preventing secession in America, Texas v. White, was not adjudicated until 1869.) So the question: “Why was no serious attempt made to present a case for secession to the appropriate U.S. Court?”

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