History 3.3
23 Aug. 2001

PROLOGUE: The Last Crisis

I. Secession Winter, 1860-61: Would South or Lincoln give in?

A. Lincoln's election and the secession of the lower South, Nov.-Dec. 1860.

B. Impasse: Upper South refused to secede, national majority seemed to oppose both secession & use of force to prevent it.

C. Defeat of Crittenden Compromise (Dec. 1860) and the proposals of the Peace Convention (Feb. 1861), offering permanent guarantees for slavery.

D. Outbreak of the Civil War

1. Lincoln's inauguration, Mar. 1861: Slavery will be protected, but the Union is perpetual; states cannot lawfully leave, and those that try are in rebellion; laws will be enforced.
2. In crisis over federal property, SC besieged & shelled Ft. Sumter.
3. Lincoln called for 75,000 troops to stop the rebellion.
4. Believing that this use of force to coerce obedience violated basic American values, the Upper South seceded and the war began.

II. Who’s in Charge Here? The Problem of Sovereignty

A. Definitions of sovereignty: control of territory, supremacy, power, dominion, absolute independence of action, final authority.

B. Who is sovereign in the 21st century?

1. In theory, the people or the law.
2. In the end, whatever person or institution has the right or ability to use coercion and violence legitimately, without facing consequences.

C. Implication: governing a community always involves an ultimate coercive authority that can use force to keep control, especially in European cultures.

D. Europeans got confused about this when they moved here & dreamed of communities w/o coercion.