The Jeffersonian Secessionist Tradition

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    I have thought that Brion McClanahan was very wrong about Lincoln. However, a recent article from the MISES DAILY, titled ‘The Jeffersonian Secessionist Tradition’ has caused a rethinking. What would have happened to slavery if the southern states were allowed to succeed.
    Douglas wanted slavery in the territories. If slavery had not been stopped by Lincoln, would it have flourished?
    Perhaps Dr. McClanahan can provide some information.


    First, secede, not succeed.

    Second, this is a difficult question to answer. Slavery was virtually non-existent in the western territories even before Lincoln took office. It was flourishing in the Deep South and probably would have continued to do so for several years had the War not happened. The story would probably have been different in the the Upper South. Remember, that region may not have seceded had Lincoln not called for an invading army to put down the “rebellion,” and had rejected it outright before April 1861. Thus, slavery would probably have died out in VA, NC, MD, DE, KY, AR, and TN. It would have taken some time, but I don’t think it would have survived past the 1880s.


    There’s no ground for the claim that “Douglas wanted slavery in the territories.” What concerned him was that the Federal Government shouldn’t have a position on that issue. He in fact coined the Freeport Doctrine, which contemplated territories’ populations constitutionally excluding slavery.

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