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The Corwin Amendment

Discussion in 'Civil War History - Secession and Politics' started by WJC, Dec 4, 2017.

  1. WJC

    WJC Moderator Moderator

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    Among the efforts to avert destruction of the Union was a proposed 13th Amendment, the Corwin Amendment. It was introduced in Congress after the first few southern states had seceded in hopes of preventing further states seceding and possibly bringing already seceded states back into the Union. It did not address the 'hot button' issue of slavery in territories.
    It stated:
    No amendment shall be made to the Constitution which will authorize or give to Congress the power to abolish or interfere, within any State, with the domestic institutions thereof, including that of persons held to labor or service by the laws of said State.​
    The Amendment was approved by Congress March 2, 1861. Kentucky was the only state that ratified the proposal prior to the rebel seizure of Fort Sumter.
    <https://www.gilderlehrman.org/content/proposed-thirteenth-amendment-prevent-secession-1861>
     

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  3. 5fish

    5fish Captain

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    Last edited: Dec 6, 2017
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  4. unionblue

    unionblue Brev. Brig. Gen'l Member of the Year

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    No one has forgotten the Corwin amendment nor has anyone been blinded by your false impression of it's effect on slavery.

    Perhaps, if you can, could you describe what the Corwin amendment was supposed to do and how many Southern, slaveholding states supported it?

    Facts would do nicely, along with any actual sources you could provide.
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2017
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  5. Copperhead-mi

    Copperhead-mi 1st Lieutenant Trivia Game Winner

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    Lincoln, whose approval was not required for passage of the amendment, made one mention of the proposed amendment during his conciliatory Inaugural address directed at the Southern states and did so to state that his constitutional duty as Chief Executive was to support and uphold the Union and any changes to the constitution done by the "rightful authority of the people." This is hardly evidence of Lincoln's endorsement for the amendment although he was willing to accept the amendment if it prevented dissolution of the Union. Had the amendment been passed and ratified, there was absolutely nothing in the constitution that prohibited the legislature from enacting, and the states from ratifying a future amendment that in effect repealed the provisions of the Corwin amendment.
     
  6. 5fish

    5fish Captain

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    I know you know all these answers: Why the pointed question... on the Corwin amendment... no slave state supported it because they had succeeded...

    The full text of the proposed amendment reads as follows, from March 2, 1861:

    No amendment shall be made to the Constitution which will authorize or give to Congress the power to abolish or interfere, within any State, with the domestic institutions thereof, including that of persons held to labor or service by the laws of said State.[1][4][5]

    The text refers to slavery with terms such as "domestic institutions" and "persons held to labor or service" and avoids using the word "slavery", following the example set at the Constitutional Convention of 1787, which referred to slavery in its draft of the Constitution with comparable descriptions of legal status: "Person held to Service", "the whole Number of free Persons ..., three fifths of all other Persons", "The Migration and Importation of such Persons".[6]


    On February 28, 1861, however, the House approved Corwin's version by a vote of 133 to 65.[
    On March 2, 1861, the United States Senate adopted it, with no changes, on a vote of 24 to 12.[13] Since proposed constitutional amendments require a two-thirds majority, 132 votes were required in the House and 24 in the Senate. The Senators and Representatives from the seven slave states that had already declared their secession from the Union did not vote on the Corwin Amendment

    Here is Lincoln's words: I call it a ringing endorsement.

    Abraham Lincoln, in his first inaugural address on March 4, said of the Corwin Amendment:[2][18]

    I understand a proposed amendment to the Constitution—which amendment, however, I have not seen—has passed Congress, to the effect that the Federal Government shall never interfere with the domestic institutions of the States, including that of persons held to service ... holding such a provision to now be implied constitutional law, I have no objection to its being made express and irrevocable.

    It goes further: endorsement ...

    Out-going President James Buchanan endorsed the Corwin Amendment by taking the unprecedented step of signing it.[16] His signature on the Congressional joint resolution was unnecessary, as the President has no formal role in the constitutional amendment process.[17]

    Just weeks prior to the outbreak of the Civil War, Lincoln sent a letter to each state's governor transmitting the proposed amendment,[19] noting that Buchanan had approved it.[20]


    Here it is the Kicker with his John Hancock on it....
    [​IMG]

    Here the one sent to the Florida governor:


    Abraham Lincoln and the Corwin Amendment


    By John A. Lupton

    The discovery of a letter from newly inaugurated President Abraham Lincoln to the governor of Florida has generated renewed interest in Lincoln's views toward slavery. The letter, found at the Lehigh County Historical Society in Allentown, Pennsylvania, is a form letter from Lincoln to Governor Madison S. Perry transmitting "an authenticated copy of a Joint Resolution to amend the Constitution of the United States." On March 16, 1861, Lincoln sent the same letter to all of the governors of the states, including states that had already seceded from the Union and formed their own confederate government. What was this amendment, and what was Lincoln's role in its attempted ratification?


    [​IMG]

    http://www.lib.niu.edu/2006/ih060934.html

    Possible impact if adopted[edit]
    The Corwin Amendment, when viewed through the lens of the plain meaning rule (literal rule), would have, had it been ratified by the required number of states prior to 1865, made institutionalized slavery immune to the constitutional amendment procedures and to interference by Congress. As a result, the later Reconstruction Amendments (Thirteenth, Fourteenth and Fifteenth) would not have been permissible, as they abolish or interfere with the domestic institution of the states. A competing theory, however, suggests that a later amendment conflicting with an already-ratified Corwin Amendment could either explicitly repeal the Corwin Amendment (as the Twenty-first Amendment explicitly repealed the Eighteenth Amendment) or be inferred to have partially or completely repealed any conflicting provisions of an already-adopted Corwin Amendment.[33][34]

    LIKE I SAID, LINCOLN WANTED "SLAVERY FOREVER"... update: to save the union...
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2017
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  7. O' Be Joyful

    O' Be Joyful First Sergeant

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    Why did Lincoln send the proposed amendments to each state governor? Your answer will be found here; my bold:

    Amendments to the Constitution are proposed in the form of joint resolutions, which have their several readings and are enrolled and signed by the presiding officers of the two Houses (V, 7029, footnote), but are not presented to the President for his approval (V, 7040; see discussion under § 115, supra; Hollingsworth v. Virginia, 3 U.S. [3 Dall.] 378 (1798)). They are filed with the Archivist who, under the law (1 U.S.C. 106b; 1 U.S.C. 112), has the responsibility for the certification and publication of such amendments, once they are ratified by the States. Under the earlier procedure, the two Houses sometimes requested the President to transmit to the States certain proposed amendments (V, 7041, 7043), but a concurrent resolution to that end was without privilege (VIII, 3508). The President notified Congress by message of the promulgation of the ratification of a constitutional amendment (V, 7044).

    https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/HMAN-105/pdf/HMAN-105-pg76.pdf

    Apparently your source did not have access to google.
     
  8. 5fish

    5fish Captain

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    Just weeks prior to the outbreak of the Civil War, Lincoln sent a letter to each state's governor transmitting the proposed amendment,[19] noting that Buchanan had approved it.[20]

    You missed the point Lincoln added Buchannon's endorsement to the letter that was never done before... showing the office of the Presidency endorses the amendment... Buchannon the outgoing president at the time and Lincoln confirming in agreement...
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2017
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  9. O' Be Joyful

    O' Be Joyful First Sergeant

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    Last 2 paragraphs from your source fish. My bold:

    Lincoln's March 16, 1861 letters to the governors did not endorse or oppose the proposed thirteenth amendment. They merely transmitted a copy of the joint resolution to amend the constitution. This was the first step to ratification by the states. After the firing on Fort Sumter and Lincoln's call for troops, important border states Virginia and Tennessee, among others, seceded. The Civil War began and the purpose of the Corwin amendment was greatly reduced. However, Ohio and Maryland ratified it, and the 1862 Illinois Constitutional Convention endorsed it.

    The discovery of Lincoln's letter to the governor of Florida does not alter the historical perspective that Lincoln was willing to compromise to restore the Union before hostilities began. It also underscores Lincoln's evolution toward emancipation. This snapshot of March 1861 shows Lincoln's last attempt to restore the Union while maintaining his party's platform. While personally opposed to slavery, Lincoln believed the Constitution supported it. His support of the Corwin amendment attempted to codify that belief, but the Civil War changed his opinion on presidential power. Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation in 1862, and in 1865, vigorously worked to pass the actual thirteenth amendment, which declared slavery illegal.

    John A. Lupton is the Associate Director and Associate Editor for The Papers of Abraham Lincoln project.

    http://www.lib.niu.edu/2006/ih060934.html


     
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  10. 5fish

    5fish Captain

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    There are formal/open political endorsement like Lincoln's inaugural address and there is the informal/ implied political endorsement and this letter with both Buchannon's a Democrat and Lincoln's a Republican signature on it is one. A classic implied political endorsement act this letter...
     
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  11. unionblue

    unionblue Brev. Brig. Gen'l Member of the Year

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    Hog and Wash, the letter indicates no such thing. The above is, again, mere opinion on your part. Your Wikipedea source does not say such either. Why the need for such spin?
     
  12. unionblue

    unionblue Brev. Brig. Gen'l Member of the Year

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    And I call BS, as the Corwin Amendment did no such thing and was not want Lincoln wanted.

    Unionblue

    Unionblue
     
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  13. O' Be Joyful

    O' Be Joyful First Sergeant

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    Your "Smoke' is getting in our eyes fish, causing them to itch which is irritating. :smile:

    We require more "Fire" ala evidence vice innuendo.
     
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  14. unionblue

    unionblue Brev. Brig. Gen'l Member of the Year

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    Geez Lauise, 5fish, the letter had to come from SOMEONE and it had to be signed by the sender. When you close a letter talking about the recent hurricanes in Florida, when you sign it, "Sincerely Yours", are you endorsing the hurricanes?

    You're still trying too hard to prove a theory that cannot fly in the face of historical evidence, no matter how selectively you post the parts you think supports such a fantasy.

    And if Lincoln, like you said, "wanted slavery forever," then why did the seven Deep South slave states secede? If, as you claim, slavery would be around forever because Lincoln wanted it to be so, why secession at all? Doesn't make any sense whatsoever.

    They seceded because they believed that the institution of slavery would NOT be secure under Lincoln's administration.

    Now why do you and they have such opposite views of Lincoln's views on slavery?

    Unionblue
     
  15. Copperhead-mi

    Copperhead-mi 1st Lieutenant Trivia Game Winner

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    Negative. Lincoln's acknowledgement of the amendment's passage in his First inaugural, a conciliatory address that is directed at the Southern states, is far from a "ringing endorsement." The amendment had already passed so there is nothing he can do or say when trying to placate the South other than he had no objection to its features. As to this supposed letter of endorsement that had both Lincoln and Buchanan's signatures on it, please produce a copy or show a link to a copy of it. Buchanan's approval of the amendment being noted when Lincoln transmitted notice of its passage to each of the governors as required by Congress at the time, should be noted since Buchanan was still the president on March 3, 1861 when he approved it.
     
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  16. 5fish

    5fish Captain

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    Its not smoke... you, unionblue, Copperhead-mi and others keep kicking sand in my eyes...

    Lincoln endorsed Hurricanes! What madness I knew it...

    This is not me all these but your conventional historians all endorse the notion that Lincoln was endorsing the Corwin amendment irrevocably in his 1st appeasement inaugural address... if you looking for evidence about historian getting something right just read up on the amendment...
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2017
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  17. unionblue

    unionblue Brev. Brig. Gen'l Member of the Year

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    Done and done and you keep responding with less and less evidence and more and more opinion and barely concealed aggravation over those who have presented actual historical sources that refute your personal views.

    I believe enough has been said and posted here to the unsupported theory you began this hay ride for. I'm willing to let that evidence stand and let the readers and members decide for themselves if Lincoln was "forced" to issue the Emancipation Proclamation and that by lawfully sending letters on the proposed Corwin Amendment, part of his duties as President, was a "ringing endorsement" and an attempt to "throw slaves under the bus" or keep slavery "forever."

    When balancing your opinion with the Emancipation Proclamation and the 13th Amendment, all backed by Lincoln and mainly created and pushed by himself alone, I think all will make up their minds to side with actual history and leave the fairy tales in the fiction section.

    We're done here.

    Unionblue
     
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  18. OpnCoronet

    OpnCoronet Major

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    In any case, the Executive has No function in the introduction or passage of Amendments to the Constitution, The only function for the President is to see to its proper enactment and enforcement, after its passing into the Law of the Land.

    What, exactly, was irrevocable in the Corwin Amendment.? The southern leadership knew, as, obviously, you do not, that what the Constitution propose, it can also Dispose.
     
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  19. NedBaldwin

    NedBaldwin Captain

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    At the time Congress voted on the amendment, the following slave states had not seceded: Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, North Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee, Missouri and Arkansas. The congressmen from these states voted overwhelmingly for the amendment.




    Not completely correct. One representative from Texas and one from Louisiana did vote for the amendment.

     
  20. 5fish

    5fish Captain

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    I tried to find the who voted for and against the Corwin amendment
     
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  21. 5fish

    5fish Captain

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    @OpnCoronet this is the what if, had the amendment was ratified.

    Lincoln support if it was ratified.
     
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