We hanged Jeff Davis from a sour apple tree

JSmith

Banned
This is the problem, punishing one basically means you have to punish all, something the US wisely avoided OTL, it basically neutered the more radical die hards and gave the Souths leadership an honourable way out and a chance to help reunite the nation.
The honourable way out-Sharecropping, Jim Crow, De Jure Segregation. What would have been the dishonourable way out :eek:
 
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Hopefully, the South would be a better place with Jeff Davis and Confederate leadership dancing on the end of a short rope. Hard to pass them off as honorable men when they get a traitors death.

Honestly, as long as whatever trials there are get conducted fairly, and only pertain to members of the Confederate Government - not the military men or the common man - I honestly don't think there would be too much of a fuss. There might be some, but I reckon some Sotherners might be glad to see the bastards who wanted the war as bad as they did pay the consequences for it.
 
This post makes me wonder if a "stab-on-the-back" legend could have been created on the South, leading to a second Civil War down the line.
You have to have an argument for being "stabbed in the back" by your own people in the first place. The fact that US, British and French troops were not sitting on German soil at the time made it easier to maintain. With the generals themselves doing the surrendering, with Union troops having raided or occupied almost everywhere down South that would be hard to maintain and in the end they would have to blame Bobby Lee, Joe Johnston and Richard Taylor as they did the surrendering. That is NOT going to happen. You could blame the politicians , but in that case they are scoundrels that deserve swinging. You need a completely different war for a "stab in the back" myth to take off.
 

JSmith

Banned
Hopefully, the South would be a better place with Jeff Davis and Confederate leadership dancing on the end of a short rope. Hard to pass them off as honorable men when they get a traitors death.
We saw how the South behaved when it was given the easy way out and treated way better than it should have been. What would the difference have really been in their behavior if the got what they deserved ?
The notion that the Union was in control of their behavior is ludicrous -if that's so then the Union caused them to start the war and fight it for 4 years :eek:
 
The honourable way out-Sharecropping, Jim Crow, De Jure Segregation. What would have been the dishonourable way out :eek:
It avoids needless blood letting? And unless Lincoln survives to carry on a determined commitment to Reconstruction, then there is not a chance it changes things in the South for the better. Without a firm hand and occupation (which the American electorate did not seem to have the stomach for) Jim Crow and all it's attendant ills just come barreling down the road anyways. Hanging a few Confederate leaders out of misguided bloodlust just makes them martyrs for the Lost Cause.

Here's a better use for that bloodlust, stick to Reconstruction!
 

JSmith

Banned
It avoids needless blood letting? And unless Lincoln survives to carry on a determined commitment to Reconstruction, then there is not a chance it changes things in the South for the better. Without a firm hand and occupation (which the American electorate did not seem to have the stomach for) Jim Crow and all it's attendant ills just come barreling down the road anyways. Hanging a few Confederate leaders out of misguided bloodlust just makes them martyrs for the Lost Cause.

Here's a better use for that bloodlust, stick to Reconstruction!
Needless bloodletting implies that the South was in the right and not doing anything wrong after it was defeated in a war that it started.
 
We saw how the South behaved when it was given the easy way out and treated way better than it should have been. What would the difference have really been in their behavior if the got what they deserved ?

Depends on your priorities. If the object of the war was to bring the Southerners back as loyal US citizens, it was a complete success. Within a generation, Southern boys were queuing up to enlist for the war with Spain. Ditto in 1917 and 1941.

I don't see how hanging Davis (or anyone else) could have served to accelerate this process. It could scarcely have happened more rapidly than it did.
 
I can't help thinking that hanging Davis would have rather unfortunate repercussions. This doesn't mean I think reconstruction was handled well in OTL, not at all, but making a martyr out of Davis could have made it much worse. I can't help thinking he might be seen in hindsight much like people such as James Connolly and some of his brothers in arms*. They were, by most accounts, despised when the Easter Rising ended. When they were executed, they became heroes. The last thing the US needs in the post war era is a ghostly Saint Jeff hovering over all proceedings South of the Mason-Dixon Line.

*This comparison is not extended towards the goals and aims of the Irish Republicans being similar to the CSA, just to be clear.
 

JSmith

Banned
I can't help thinking that hanging Davis would have rather unfortunate repercussions. This doesn't mean I think reconstruction was handled well in OTL, not at all, but making a martyr out of Davis could have made it much worse. I can't help thinking he might be seen in hindsight much like people such as James Connolly and some of his brothers in arms*. They were, by most accounts, despised when the Easter Rising ended. When they were executed, they became heroes. The last thing the US needs in the post war era is a ghostly Saint Jeff hovering over all proceedings South of the Mason-Dixon Line.

*This comparison is not extended towards the goals and aims of the Irish Republicans being similar to the CSA, just to be clear.
Right-as opposed to the ghosts of Saints Robert E Lee and Nathan Bedford Forest who hovered over most proceedings South of the Mason-Dixon Line OTL.
 
well, at least this thread is less bloodthirsty than similar ones we've had on here before... this one is limited to hanging a handful of Confederate leaders instead of slaughter far and wide, a 'harrying of the south'. In the end... I don't think hanging a handful of Confederate politicians is going to make much difference. It won't change how southern whites treat the black population one iota. If you want to end Jim Crow laws, sharecropping, segregation, etc., back then, it'll take more than this...
 
He was also "guilty" of being just a no-account German immigrant. If he'd had a pedigree like Lee's, he would never have come to trial, but then, of course, the CS government would never have given him such a dirty job in the first place.
Wasn´t Wirz a Swiss ?
 

JSmith

Banned
Hanging the Confederate leaders would be a good start because it actually says to the South-hey you guys did something wrong. As far as the South was concerned the worst possible punishment they received was the end of slavery and the citizenship of blacks. They were allowed to do everything possible to erase that.
 
Hanging the Confederate leaders would be a good start because it actually says to the South-hey you guys did something wrong. As far as the South was concerned the worst possible punishment they received was the end of slavery and the citizenship of blacks. They were allowed to do everything possible to erase that.
So? So long as they don't think the punishment is just, they won't care that the North thinks they did something wrong. And nothing short of ASBs will make them think they did, so Reconstruction is basically useless insofar as solving the South's cultural problems. It depresses me to no end, but I really see no way out here.
 
Needless bloodletting implies that the South was in the right and not doing anything wrong after it was defeated in a war that it started.
Needless bloodletting actually implies that after a war which killed hundreds of thousands of Americans taking more punitive measures against a populace which is uninclined to see the error of its ways even with a war makes this pointless.

Other than ignoring my point on that a better Reconstruction solves the problem better than the Confederate Congress swinging from the trees and trying to imply I somehow agree with the south do you have any real arguments to make? Or are you going to just follow your usual style of snarky one liners and not actually contribute to the discussion?
 

JSmith

Banned
So? So long as they don't think the punishment is just, they won't care that the North thinks they did something wrong. And nothing short of ASBs will make them think they did, so Reconstruction is basically useless insofar as solving the South's cultural problems. It depresses me to no end, but I really see no way out here.
The only moral way out would have been to punish the guilty and protect the innocent.
This was within the power of the North to do but it didn't have the will to do it in large measure because most of them felt the defeated traitors were more human than the innocent Freedmen.
 
As long as the distinction is drawn that there is a big gulf between the Average Joe Southerner and the CSA elites that they put to trial and hang, I think it could go off without too much grief.

On the plus side, it may prevent what in OTL proved to be the saving grace of the planter elite and the doom of Southern blacks - that the previously tense relationship between the poor whites and the gentry reconciled. Here, the USA would preempt that, play off of that tension, and could well prevent it from every happening.

Ironically enough, by using one of the OTL Lost Causer's main tenants - "you folks were just fighting to defend your homes, you never would have had to if those bastards in Richmond hadn't forced you to fight their rebellion." Only this time, it would be used to see the proto-Lost Causers hung. Ain't AH grand :D
 

JSmith

Banned
Needless bloodletting actually implies that after a war which killed hundreds of thousands of Americans taking more punitive measures against a populace which is uninclined to see the error of its ways even with a war makes this pointless.
Why does it make it pointless? It means that the white South looses completely instead of the backhanded victory it achieved OTL. Since this would mostly benefit blacks who were the victims I don't see the problem with it.
Neither did Abraham Lincoln if you take him at his word:

Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said "the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether."

Abraham Lincoln March 4 1865
 
Why does it make it pointless? It means that the white South looses completely instead of the backhanded victory it achieved OTL. Since this would mostly benefit blacks who were the victims I don't see the problem with it.
Neither did Abraham Lincoln if you take him at his word:

Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said "the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether."

Abraham Lincoln March 4 1865
Thanks for actually contributing to the conversation, but your argument and quote don't follow. Can you tell me how hanging Davis et all would even remotely contribute to disabusing die hard racists and Confederate insurgents that they lost or should go along with Reconstruction?
 
Much like with any other crime that carries a sentence of death, I think this sends the message that if you surrender you may be executed too. One can only hope that this after most Southeners laid down their arms or that guerilla war everyone was worried about may actually happen.
 
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