Trump Suggests Civil War Could Have Been Avoided


President Donald Trump, shown speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conferenceon Feb. 24, discussed the Civil War in a radio interview that airs on Monday afternoon. And yes, even Andrew Jackson, in the 1830s, could see that coming.

This interview has been edited lightly for clarity.

But Jackson died in 1845, and the Civil War didn't begin until 16 years later, in 1861. 'Why could that one not been worked out?' I think our side's been proven very strongly. What do you make of this? "People don't ask that question", he continued. It also suggests that Trump's understanding of complex events in history is a bit underdeveloped. Nevertheless, it's a good question to ask, which is why so many people do ask.

A deal to avoid the Civil War would likely have required the expansion of slavery into new western territories and/or a significant promise to allow it to endure in the South. "Fucking Civil War? How does it work?" Jackson amassed much of his wealth due to the free labor, as they harvested cotton on the land surrounding Jackson's Tennessee home, The Hermitage.

Presidential historian Jon Meacham said Tuesday that President Donald Trump told him a year ago that he could have negotiated a deal to avert the Civil War.

TRUMP, CHANNELING HIS INNER PFTCOMMENTER: If you think about it-why? SC backed off and no use of force proved necessary.

The federal government also, however, compromised on the tax to which SC had objected. As it turns out, Jackson wanted to maintain the union during his presidency and held federal law in high regard. Through a carefully calibrated mixture of threats (a warship actually appeared in the harbor at Charleston, ready to open fire if need be) and compromises (Congress cut the tariff a little), he persuaded the nullifiers to back down.

But this is also true: Jackson never questioned the underlying, fundamental difference between North and South, which was on slavery.

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"Slavery!" a cartoon ghost of Abraham Lincoln interjected. At one point in Jackson's life, he is believed to have owned as many as 300 slaves.

The US president made these remarks in an interview marking his 100th day in office about which he said it was a very intensive process for him.

Sometimes slaves escaped, and he advertised for their return.

Lincoln "was willing to let slavery stand in the states where it existed", Meacham said.

The Constitution of the United States, in its fourth Article, provides as follows: "No person held to service or labor in one State, under the laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in effect of any law or regulation therein, be discharged from such service or labor, but shall be delivered up, on claim of the party to whom such service or labor may be due".

So did he have a "big heart"? So the solution was to either break up the union (and leave almost 4 million people enslaved) or fight a war that would end slavery, and keep the country together.

Jackson was known for his temper and his loyalty to his friends, so this is OK. Moreover, we have little reason to suppose that Jackson, whose cotton plantation lay in the heart of what was to become the Confederacy, would have taken the Union's side. "He said, 'There's no reason for this.'" That's pretty incredible since the Civil War started 24 years after the end of the "swashbuckler's" term and 16 years after his death.