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Historical Vote #1: The Expulsion of Sen. Bright


vcczar
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Historical Vote #1: The Expulsion of Sen. Bright  

29 members have voted

  1. 1. See my first comment for the backstory, then vote. If you were a US Senator in 1862, would you vote to expel Sen. Bright?

  2. 2. Would you consider Sen. Bright to have acted treasonously?

  3. 3. Other than expulsion, would you seek any stricter punishment for Sen. Bright, such as imprisonment?

    • Yes
    • No
    • Only if other letters exist that prove that a business deal was successfully conducted or worse.
  4. 4. If I were a Senator in 1862, I'd be.... [note: only including the factions that had a presence in the US Senate--so no 3rd parties)

    • An abolitionist GOPer (includes former Free Soil Democrats -- these saw the war as a great good to rid the nation of slavery)
    • A moderate GOPer (Like Lincoln -- Union is more important than the slavery issue, but will willingly favor abolish it when it is politically and strategically expedient to do so)
    • A conservative GOPer, more interested in a high tariff, pro-industrial, nativist policies, and pro-wall street policies than slavery
    • A pro-Union Democrat who isn't terribly interested one way or the other regarding the slavery issue but sees a unified nation as best for both North and South. Unlike some Dems, thinks secession is illegal and that the Pres has the power to prevent it.
    • A Copperhead Democrat -- Like Pierce, Bright or Buchanan -- prefers the Union stays together but opposes activist efforts by the Federal Government to compel the states to stay together.
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In 1862, during the Civil War, the Confederate sympathizing Democratic Senator of Indiana faced an expulsion vote, the last in US History. Sen. Bright had been in the US Senate since 1845. While he was pro-Union, he opposed the federal governments efforts to quell secession, as was the case with many Copperhead Democrats. 

The expulsion was based on a letter that was found by GOP Sen Morton Wilkinson of MN that had been taken from a gun trader who was captured after a battle. The letter dated from 1861 was written to CSA President Jefferson Davis from Sen. Bright. The letter acknowledged Davis as the president of the Confederate States and it also involved a firearms trade. 

If you were a US Senator in one of the states (obviously a state that had not seceded), would you vote for Sen. Bright's expulsion from the US Senate for acknowledging that the CSA was a sovereign state, for acknowledging Davis as a head of state, and for discussing a fire arms trade?

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Tagging everyone. I'll occasionally have a new historical vote up. They'll tend to be unique votes in US history, such as on the McCarthy hearings and things like that. Here's the first one -- Sen. Bright's historic expulsion. Please read my first comment above to get the background on the vote.

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4 hours ago, vcczar said:

In 1862, during the Civil War, the Confederate sympathizing Democratic Senator of Indiana faced an expulsion vote, the last in US History. Sen. Bright had been in the US Senate since 1845. While he was pro-Union, he opposed the federal governments efforts to quell secession, as was the case with many Copperhead Democrats. 

The expulsion was based on a letter that was found by GOP Sen Morton Wilkinson of MN that had been taken from a gun trader who was captured after a battle. The letter dated from 1861 was written to CSA President Jefferson Davis from Sen. Bright. The letter acknowledged Davis as the president of the Confederate States and it also involved a firearms trade. 

If you were a US Senator in one of the states (obviously a state that had not seceded), would you vote for Sen. Bright's expulsion from the US Senate for acknowledging that the CSA was a sovereign state, for acknowledging Davis as a head of state, and for discussing a fire arms trade?

I myself would be in a very difficult position in the U.S. Civil War, caught between my normally antiwar, outside extensencial crises and threats to the nation and livable civilization in general (a la, WW2) and my strong sense of justice and ethics, as I'm sure I'd be a firm, even rhetorically-militant Abolitionist, and I don't believe I would recognize Davis' tinpot empire of Neo-feudal slavery and de facto one-party rule, but "treason," is such an easily abused and misused criminal offense to apply, especially in the "fog of war." It's very similar in that way to much more recent crime of "terrorism." So, I put, "I don't know," over voting for outright treason, and while I put "GOP Abolitionist," (probably indeed former Free Soiler), I might not be enthusiastic about a long, bloody war, but might be a supporter of the containment and commercial strangling though blockade policy given more of a diligent attempt, had I actually been there.

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Just noticed that this was a series instead of a random hypothetical question. I welcome and am excited for this series! One question though, is it going to go in a chronological/historical order (1800s->1900s->2000s etc.) or is it going to jump around time periods?

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On 10/17/2020 at 6:32 PM, vcczar said:

@jvikings1 I kind of see you as more of a Copperhead Democrat -- critic of the war, more pro-states rights, free trade over protectionism, etc. 

I was conflicted on this. I fit in this category for many thing, but the slavery issue throws a wrench into things. Picking wither side would have some serious cons coming with it (in my mind).

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2 hours ago, jvikings1 said:

I was conflicted on this. I fit in this category for many thing, but the slavery issue throws a wrench into things. Picking wither side would have some serious cons coming with it (in my mind).

And Kentucky had a separate State Government and Congressional Delegate loyal to each side. :S

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18 hours ago, Patine said:

And Kentucky had a separate State Government and Congressional Delegate loyal to each side. :S

Indeed. In fact, Frankfort was the only state capital in a non-secessionist state (at least officially) that was occupied by Confederate forces

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