B After The Fact

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Bleeding Kansas -- Part 4

Northern Democrats who opposed President Buchanan’s Kansas policy discovered that they and all of their friends lost their patronage, their influence and their jobs. Northern Democrats who had supported the Southern position on Kansas were losing elections in 1854 and 1856, and virtually everyone else who remained would lose the election in 1858.

Senator Stephen A. Douglas, who had been the Northerner that Southerners loved, had banked his career and his popularity on the notion of letting the voters decide the issue of slavery. He had no political integrity without his expansive reading of “popular sovereignty.” Douglas believed that “popular sovereignty” meant that even if there was a federal law favoring slavery, even if there was a Dred Scott decision, the people of a given locality could simply choose not to enforce the law. Douglas leaned hard on the theory that people in a locality were better equipped to make laws than people in Washington.

Southerners completely rejected this theory. The point of the Federal government was to protect the South’s “domestic institutions.” If the Federal government could not do job one, then it was unclear what the benefit of the United States was to the South. “States Rights” did not mean that the people of each State were entitled to make their own laws. States Rights, to the South, on the eve of the Civil War, meant that the United States was comprised of States, not people, and that the purpose of the United States was to help the States first.

Douglas could not understand how anyone could be confused about the meaning of “popular sovereignty.” although that seems a bit disingenuous for the man who built his career on the “double construction”. It was clear to Douglas, at least, that decisions made by the territory concerning its admission to statehood should be made at the end of the process, at the point where the territory was to be admitted, where all the new citizens had a chance to settle in. What was actually happening in Kansas, however, was that all the important choices were made at the beginning of the process, when there was practically no one in the room to vote.

While the debate over the Lecompton Constitution raged on in Washington, the voters of Kansas made more trips to the polls. On December 21, 1857, the voters ratified the Lecompton Constitution. 6,000 voters voted for the Constitution, either “with” or “without” slavery. Since voting “against” slavery merely meant voting against importation of more slaves, since voting “against” slavery would not have ended slavery in Kansas anyway, anti-slavery forces had no method of voting. It appears that the 6,000 voters in December were the same as the 2,200 voters who voted for the convention delegates in June. It is impossible that the pro-slavery population of Kansas almost tripled in three months. Massive fraud was attributed, again, to Calhoun.

Meanwhile, the free-soil “legal” legislature that was voted for in October came to power, and called yet another election for state officers and the state legislature for January. Both sides agreed that this was a “valid election. Therefore, the “legal” apparatus remained in John Calhoun’s hands.

Both free-soilers and pro-slavery persons voted in the January 1858 elections. Calhoun presided over the election, tabulated the results, but did not announce them. Instead, Calhoun went to Washington. He was trying to see which way the wind was blowing, and what was in it for him. A more sympathetic reading is that Calhoun had no good choices, and was hoping for some high-level advice from Douglas or someone close to Buchanan on how to play a bad hand. Meanwhile, affidavits of Kansans reporting voting irregularities were coming in to the Kansas legislature.

In order to reduce the number of free-soil votes in one district, Calhoun hid a box of ballots in a candle box that was then stashed it under a woodpile near Calhoun’s house in Lecompton. The sheriff uncovered them, and I bet modern-day television cameras could have made a lot out of that incident. There was reportedly a rather ugly scene between Calhoun and Douglas in Douglas’s D.C. townhouse in which Douglas confronted Calhoun with affidavits, and a distressed Calhoun made a sudden (tearful?) exit. From Douglas’s viewpoint, Calhoun’s fatal mistake came at the Lecompton Convention when he brokered the constitution “with slavery”/ “without slavery” provisions. Douglas would have preferred a Constitution with no submission to the voters at all.

Under an enormous amount of pressure, Calhoun finally admitted that the free-soilers had won the January elections. Southerners howled, and Calhoun’s career was effectively over. He died less than two years later, age 53.

The Lecompton Constitution, with no real provision for the people to vote against slavery, passed the United States Senate but not the House. However, the Kansas election of January 1858, when finally ratified by Calhoun, left Buchanan and the Southerners with a ridiculous conundrum. If Buchanan prevailed, Kansas would be admitted as a slave state that was run by an anti-slavery state legislature that would elect anti-slavery Senators to Washington. This was not a result the Administration wanted, but Buchanan was now committed to the Lecompton Constitution. Moreover, it was clear that no amount of arm-twisting was going to get the House of Representatives to vote for the Lecompton Constitution. With the Administration looking for a way down from the limb, William English, a young Indiana congressman, found an unusual solution.

The Lecompton Constitution provided for an unusually large allotment of Federal land to be turned over to the state of Kansas, which would have provided the state with a large number of financial benefits. In the English Compromise, instead of voting on the issue of “slavery,” the voters were given the choice of “Constitution with land” or “Constitution with no land.” If the voters voted for “Constitution with no land” they would not be admitted to statehood until they had the 90,000 people needed at that time for a seat in the House of Representatives. More new-speak, since voting for a Constitution with no land was the same as voting for no Constitution at all.

Buchanan, who had previously said that all non-slavery provisions of a state Constitution were mere “boilerplate,” signed on. However, Douglas held to his guns on “popular sovereignty.” He still believed that the voters still did not have a chance to vote up or down on the full Constitution. The English Compromise passed.

The voters of Kansas were thrilled to have the opportunity to vote the Constitution down in an election sanctioned by Congress. Kansas was not admitted into the Union until after the Civil War began in 1861.

Once again, the Buchanan Administration was exposed as a total vassal to the Slave Power. The Democratic Party had been split into Northern and Southern branches, the last national institution to be so broken. The Democratic Party remained united longer than the major denomination Protestant churches did.

It was never the intention of the Kansas-Nebraska Act to make Kansas a slave state. As Lincoln pointed out, the taking of slavery off the path to extinction, and giving it room to grow through popular sovereignty and Dred Scott was a tremendous victory for the South in and of itself. In trying to steal a victory in Kansas they had not really earned, the Democratic Party and the Slave Power hastened their own roads to ruin.

[References available on request.]

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Bleeding Kansas --- Part 3

Senator Stephen A. Douglas did not get the Democratic nomination for President in 1856. He was too controversial, too hard to control. James Buchanan, a Pennsylvania Democrat, a former Secretary of State, now the Ambassador to England (and therefore out of the country during the current Kansas crisis), a professional politician with 40 years of experience, won the election of 1856 with heavy Southern support. The events of the previous years, from the Mexican War on, had destroyed political alliances in the North. The Whig Party was dying, and the Republican Party not yet fully coalesced. There was also a “nativist” party, the Know Nothings, which ran former President Millard Fillmore, a New Yorker. His Whig administration, in power for the Compromise of 1850, was basically pro-Southern. The Northern vote was therefore split, and Buchanan won election in the Electoral College 174-122 (combined) despite having only 45% of the popular vote (1,800,000 to 2,200,000)

Kansas was still a political “hot-potato” and no one wanted to be the governor of Kansas. Robert Walker a Pennsylvania-based Mississippi plantation owner with strong ties to Douglas accepted the job. Before taking the job, however, he made Buchanan endorse the following statement: “The actual, bona-fide residents of the territory of Kansas, by a fair and regular vote, unaffected by fraud or violence, must be permitted, in adopting their state constitution, to decide for themselves what shall be their social institutions.”

Douglas now had Governor Walker in Kansas, a Buchanan appointee who was closer to Douglas than he was to Buchanan. There was also a Surveyor General, a Commissioner of Elections, John A. Calhoun (no relation to the famous Senator from South Carolina) who was completely beholden to Douglas for his career.

Not waiting for Governor Walker, the Kansas legislature (the “legal” pro-slavery one) announced an election for delegates to the State Constitutional Convention, to be held in Lecompton. The Kansas voting districts did not seem to follow the actual population trends very well. In addition, all the mechanisms of the voting was in pro-Southern hands. As a result, free-soilers decided to sit out the election. On arriving in Kansas, Governor Walker warned the anti-slavery movement that the upcoming election was a legal election set up by a legal legislature, and the free-soilers would have to live with the result. The free-soilers did not take the Governor’s advice, and a pro-slavery Constitutional Convention was elected. 2,200 voted out of an estimated 9,000 eligible voters in Kansas. In general, no states were admitted to the Union unless there were enough people to elect a representative to the House of Representatives. In 2000, each Congressional district represents between 500,000 and 600,000 persons. In 1857, each district represented 90,000 persons. Under general rules, there were not enough people in Kansas to hold a Constitutional convention. Yet, a Constitutional convention was about to be held.

What is popular sovereignty? A “legal” legislature is elected by 6,307 of a possible 2,905 voters “residing” in Kansas for the day called for a constitutional convention. 2,200 people out of a possible 9,000 eligible voters (apparently, population had increased) voted for representatives to that convention. Was that enough “popular sovereignty” for the purposes of the Kansas-Nebraska Act? The entire South clearly thought so. None of the actions taken by the pro-slavery forces were strictly illegal. Southern sentiment wanted a convention to meet in Lecompton to pass a pro-slavery constitution. The pro-slavery faction, despite Buchanan’s promise to Walker, despite what seemed to be the general understanding in Kansas, then wanted to bypass a final general election on the issue of slavery on the grounds that it was within the power of the territorial legislature to bypass the vote. Then, they wanted the Congress to ratify the Lecompton Constitution. All of this was to the letter of the law, but is it what any of the lawmakers intended when they passed the Kansas-Nebraska Act and set up the election?

Buchanan was on record, both in March and in July, as stating that the Constitution had to be submitted to the voters, but what did that really mean?

The Lecompton Convention was originally planned for September, but it was adjourned because the “legal” Kansas legislature was due up for election in October. Finally, it seemed that everyone voted, notwithstanding the heavy pro-Southern gerrymandering of the districts. The pro-Southern voters won, although some of the results were a bit unusual. For example, in one district, there were 6 houses and 30 registered voters. 1,601 voters voted. The same person signed all 1,601 signatures. They were the same 1,601 names that appeared, in identical order, in the Cincinnati Directory. It was considered that the signatures were either the work of John Calhoun (who was supposedly Stephen Douglas’s friend), or someone working under the direction of Calhoun.

The Buchanan administration told Governor Walker that he was expected to let the [pro-slavery] judges in Kansas sort out the disputed ballots. However, the judges literally left the state rather than face the wrath of the losing party. As a matter of law, the governor now had the power to throw out election returns, and Governor Walker exercised this power. He declared the winners in a way that seemed to follow the population, and made the incoming Kansas legislature pro-Northern. Obviously, Walker used up all his political capital, and in the midst of the financial panic of 1857, he left Kansas, too.

As a result of Walker’s actions, the incoming “legal” state legislature in Kansas would be anti-slavery. In the meantime, the constitutional convention in Lecompton, was equally “legal” and totally pro-slavery. The Lecompton delegates saw, if they had not before, that any constitution that they would submit to the voters would be defeated.

The Lecompton Convention finally convened in November 1857. The Lecompton Convention stripped Governor Walker of most of his powers. That meant that the most powerful person in Kansas, as far as elections were concerned, was now John Calhoun.

Calhoun had a problem of his own. Congress would not ratify a state Constitution that had no provision for approval by the voters. Both Buchanan and Douglas had demanded some sort of popular vote. Calhoun reportedly wrote Douglas for advice, but Douglas never responded. It is unclear what Calhoun would have done with the advice anyway. Calhoun had clearly cast his lot with the pro-slavery faction in Kansas, and for them the end result had to be Kansas as a slave state. In solving the dilemma, Calhoun proved that modern “newspeak” is not so modern.

The voters would be allowed to vote only on the constitutional provision on slavery. Voters could vote either for the Constitution “with slavery” or the Constitution “without slavery.” The Constitution “with slavery” has its plain meaning. The Constitution “without slavery” meant that no new slaves would be imported into Kansas. However, all existing slaves, and all their descendents, would continue to be slaves. Moreover, the Constitution stated that the “pro-slavery” provisions could not be amended for at least seven years.

The “grandfathering” of existing slaves, in new or amended state constitutions, was not unique, and several states had resorted to it in their abolition of slavery acts. However, the Lecompton Constitution provided that all existing slaves, and their issue, would remain slaves. This was unique. Since it was impossible for slaves to conclusively prove paternity, it would allow for the continuation of slavery even if the “against slavery” forces won. This unique position was based on an expansive reading of Dred Scott. Dred Scott said that slaves could not be granted freedom in the territories against the wishes of their masters. It did not change the laws allowing states to decide on slavery or freedom. The Lecompton Convention stretched Dred Scott to say that once a slaveholder brought a slave into a territory, no one, except the master, ever had the power to set that slave, or his family, free.

Beyond this non-choice about slavery, the voting commissioners of every county would be appointed by Calhoun, and the commissioners would in turn appoint the election judges. Therefore, as a practical matter, there would be no opportunity to protest vote fraud, or in some cases to even vote “against slavery.” Voting against the entire constitution was not an option.

President Buchanan declared that a Constitutional Convention that gave the voters only this choice regarding slavery, in this manner, was “popular sovereignty” as far as he was concerned. Buchanan said that the slavery clause was the only clause worth voting on, that the remainder of any state’s Constitution was boilerplate. For Buchanan, giving “popular sovereignty” to voters to formulate their “domestic institutions,” giving the “states rights” to formulate its “domestic institutions,” were only euphemisms for the discussion of slavery.

Buchanan put all of the prestige of the Presidency, and all of the power and the patronage of his Administration, behind the pro-slavery Lecompton Constitution.

[More to follow]

Sunday, January 23, 2005

The Stroke

Today is the Second Anniversary of my stroke.

Details on Time After Surgery

Friday, January 21, 2005

Presidential Trivia -- Re-elected Presidents

This is an easy to look up factoid I have not seen anywhere else.

In 1996, President Bill Clinton ran for a second time and was re-elected.

In 2000, George W. Bush ran for a second time and was re-elected.

This is only the third or fourth time in American History that a four Presidential election-cycle went: Someone wins a Presidential election, gets re-elected, and then someone else wins a Presidential election, and gets re-elected.

1. Jefferson runs in 1800, was re-elected in 1804.
2. Madision runs in 1808, was re-elected in 1812.
3. Monroe runs in 1816, was re-elected in 1820.

What was the fourth time? Does the fourth time count?

Teddy Roosevelt (1904), Calvin Coolidge (1924), Harry Truman (1948)and Lyndon Johnson (1964) were all Presidents who were "re-elected," but none of them ran for President a second time. They all became Presidents when the previous President died. All of them ran for President only once.

Grover Cleveland won in 1884, lost in 1888, and won in 1892.

Other Presidents who won two Presidential elections were suceeded by Presidents who only won one Presidential election

Washington (J.Adams)
Monroe (J.Q. Adams)
Jackson (Van Buren)
Grant (Hayes)
McKinley {T Roosevelt)
Wilson (Harding)
FD Roosevelt (Truman)
Eisenhower (Kennedy)
Nixon (Ford/ Carter)
Reagan (GHW Bush)

And then the fourth time.

Abraham Lincoln ran for President in 1860 and was re-elected in 1864
Ulysses Grant ran for President in 1868 and was re-elected in 1872.

Of course, after Lincoln was assassinated, Andrew Johnson became President, but given his impeachment, Johnson was not in a position to run for his own term in 1868.

So Lincoln and Grant were not "back-to-back Presidents" who won re-election, but rather "back-to-back candidates" who won re-election. Whether or not Lincoln/Grant counts in your trivia answer depends on how you ask your trivia question.

Another way to say it is that 2004 is the first time that a candidate won re-election immediately after the candidate from the other party won re-election.

(You have to phrase it that way to get around Truman/ Eisenhower)

(Jefferson/ Madison/ Monroe were Democrats; Lincoln and Grant Republicans)

And no. I definitely do NOT have too much time on my hands :-)

Thursday, January 20, 2005

The Social Security Crisis -- Some Pre-Inauguration Speech Notes

Who says Bush does not like poor people? He is attempting to institute economic changes that will create more poor people than ever before.

Some notes on the coming social security battle.

There seems to be a vast amnesia over the fact that in the 1930s the economic system crashed and the political system was teetering between communism and fascism.

Certain changes. like Social Security, were enacted to meet this dual crisis and keep the political-economic system on its feet. Bush is interested in restoring the pre-1930s Constitution and the pre-1930s social arrangments for the same reason he wants to repeal the estate tax. It is more money in Bush's pocket and the pockets of people like him, and less money and protection for people who work for a living.

There is a moral component at work as well. I can write pages on it, but since we will all have to work longer hours now to save for the retirement none of us will get, I would simply say that a vast number of people seem to believe that it is a moral abomination for anyone to be entitled to be as secure as Social Security makes them. There is some sort of (is it Calvinist?) notion that if you do not have enough money to retire on, then it reflects a life-time of poor moral choices. If you lived a moral life, God would also make sure you were rich.

For those of us who are not totally convinced by that premise, you are seeing movement conservatives trying to conflate the 1930s with the 1960s so that people not paying attention to history (i.e. -- virtually everyone) will think that the New Deal changes, such as Social Security, were made in order to make it easier to get an abortion, and therefore supporting progressive economic policies are the same as supporting abortion. They are not, even if many people who believe in one also believe in the other.

In order to win the war that Bush is fighting against us, we have to make sure that we are always uncoupling the arguments, so that the economic arguments and the history behind them (which, to me, are easier to make and sell) do not get lost in the life-style arguments (where, it is, of course, always harder to change opinions that are often rooted in family and religion).

[Edited down from an earlier, nastier version :-)]

Slimy Mollusc

I am now a Slimy Mollusc in the TTLB Ecosystem (see info on lower right hand side of screen.

Seems like the less I post, the more popular I am!

Monday, January 17, 2005

Walk Don't Run

Current post on Time After Surgery

Sunday, January 16, 2005

A Non-Fan's Notes

I have been discussing football issues on B After The Fact and weight and recovery issues on Time After Surgery . Since this concerns both, I am running it on both sites.


I apologize to NoTrust. After the game, in the middle of the post-mortem phone call, I mentioned a fact that NoTrust has known since 1967 -- I am a Giants fan.

But I have a funny feeling that if the Giants lost a playoff game 20-17 on a missed field goal or two --- I wouldn't have felt much different. I know because when the Giants won a Super Bowl 20-17 on a missed field goal, I didn't feel much different.

This year my mid-life crisis reached drinking age. My mid-life crisis hit its full stride in November 1986, after my beloved Mets beat the Boston Red Sox in the World Series.

After the World Series, I got so depressed, a form of the circus-has-just-left-town blues, that I promised that I would never get so worked up again over a television event -- which is after all what sporting events mostly are. I also made a series of life-altering changes, the most important I started taking acting lessons. Within a year, I left my Harvard Law School job. Within three years, I moved to California, my 200-pound body and my thick New York accent dreaming of some sort of sitcom glory that never came. If the circus-has-just-left-town, I would go looking for it.

I am back to practising law now, and I still do some acting from time to time, but in the words of the newly popular movie, after the 1986 World Series, my life blew Sideways, and has been like that for a long, long time.

I wouldn't blame everything that happened to me on fandom, just like you can't blame everything on the failure of a kicker to make 40-yard plus field goals in the other team's stadium, but it was a little extra thing that pushed matters over the edge.

It has taken a lot of work, but it seems that I have kept my promise to myself. As I get older, and find that most of the things I like to do can be found in my own home, I find that I watch more televised sporting events. I still get excited by my Mets, and can spend a lot of time following their activities. However, when I had a rehearsal for an acting class conflict with one of the Mets-Dodgers playoff games in 1988, an appointment that could have been broken as easily as a trip to Starbucks, I went to the rehearsal. When someone offered me theatre tickets the same night as the last Mets NLCS game in 2000, I went to the theatre.

So while I follow sports closely, and I still know, well not as much baseball trivia as a 14-year old, but way too much for a 46-year old, it appears that I have stopped being a fan. Some games can play in my mind for a long time, and I can listen to the stupidest sports call-in show for hour after hour. I read many books on baseball every year. I like to watch football a lot. And, according to my wife, I love few things in life, if anything, more than falling asleep in front of a baseball game, and then claiming the next day that I saw the whole thing. Certainly, if I can stay awake, I will stay awake, even past midnight on a working night, if I am enjoying the game enough.

I like it when any New York team wins. Life here is too hard, much harder than it is anywhere else. If we have four times the people as anywhere else, I don't know why the Yankees and Mets shouldn't be entitled to win every year. When any of the New York teams win, it makes for a more pleasant city. That good New York feeling is more important to me than whether the feeling is coming from the Yankees, Mets, Giants or Jets. That is an immediate tell. If I root for all four of those teams to win (although I root for the Mets hardest), I am too promiscuous to be a true fan.

I apologize to NoTrust, a true fan, for calling him with my its-only-a-game-mind during such an inopportune time.

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Bleeding Kansas -- Part 2

By the end of 1855, Kansas was beginning to bleed in earnest. People were being murdered, and the murderers were either escaping arrest due to their political views, or being rescued from jail by their political supporters. The new governor of Kansas might have been able to control the escalating situation but for the fact that the pro-slavery sheriffs were using mobs of people from Missouri to enforce the law. Finally, for no apparent reason, tempers calmed down toward the end of 1855. I have read a variety of explanations as to how this happened, but the one I believe most is that it simply got too cold outside to fight.

As the weather heated up again, passions did as well. The pro-slavery sheriff had some problems making arrests in Lawrence, Kansas, which was the center of the “free-soil” movement in Kansas. Again, he amassed a posse consisting of “border ruffians” from Missouri, and in May, 1856 they “sacked” Lawrence, destroying a lot of property, burning the homes of free-soil leaders, but killing no one, except on slave-supporter who died when a piece of falling debris hit him. How much damage really occurred in Lawrence, and how much was a result of the “Black Republican” media is a matter of some dispute.

During the same week in May 1856, three other famous events occurred. On the floor of the Senate, Charles Sumner of Massachusetts delivered a speech called “The Crime Against Kansas,” incendiary even for those incendiary times. The speech took the time to call out the elderly South Carolina Senator Andrew Butler, in a highly personal and, to modern ears, highly inappropriate, manner.

Butler’s nephew, Congressman Preston Brooks, felt likewise, and went to the Senate floor to beat Sumner with a cane. Brooks was acting under the Southern code of honor that insisted that Sumner be called into account for his words. However, that code provided for a duel. In resorting to a caning, Brooks gave yet another meaning to the newly formed construction “Black Republican,” (i.e. black dog) and further polarized Northern and Southern statesmen. Sumner wouldn’t return to the Senate for two and a half-years. Massachusetts left the seat empty, in silent protest, the entire time. Sumner would have his revenge in the years immediately following the Civil War.

That same week in May 1856, John Brown slaughtered 5 men in Kansas in the Pottawatomie Massacre. John Brown would never be arrested for this act, although it was clear to everyone that he spearheaded the Massacre. Brown traveled openly in a vague netherland between fugitive and celebrity until his raid on Harpers Ferry, three years later lead to his hanging and his lying a-mouldering-in-the-grave.

The sacking of Lawrence and John Brown’s massacre actually calmed everyone in Kanas down. Just as things were getting truly out of hand, everyone had the good sense to take a step back. From this point, the politicians would do the fighting.

[More to follow]

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Elections in Iraq and Palestine and Bleeding Kansas

I was going to take my "Bleeding Kansas" -- Part 1 post, and send it to the New York Times. I did. I am now posting what I sent to the Times, which will give you a flavor of what I am put into the "Bleeding Kansas" post. For those of you who want a longer version, you can read the Bleeding Kansas -- Part 1 post below, and the other upcoming posts.

This is what I put on the Times's post site:

Thomas Friedman's article on the "Iraq We've Got" reminds me that there is some American parallel to what is going on in Iraq, and in Palestine and Ukraine, for that matter.

Historically, elections often lead to violence, as new election systems are fraught with fraud. People who feel the elections are illegitimate first refuse to vote and then attempt to validate their refusal to vote by reasons both legal and extra-legal.

The Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 called for an election of people "residing" in Kansas to decide on a pro-slavery or anti-slavery legislature.

In order to preserve their way of life, people from the neighboring state, Missouri, who happened to be “residing” in Kansas on March 30, 1855 (i.e. they were visiting for the afternoon) voted along with everyone else. Despite a pre-election census showing that 2,905 eligible voters lived in Kansas, 6,307 total votes were cast. A pro-slavery legislature was elected, despite ample evidence that the 2,805 eligible voters were anti-slavery.

Had the popular sovereignty thus exercised by 6,307 voters, wherever they came from, and however long they had stayed, been enough popular sovereignty to decide the issue of slavery in Kansas once and for all until the end of time?

It was to the benefit of a great many people, including the newly-elected Kansas legislature and the Southern politicians in Washington, to answer that question yes.

Some might even say that it was important for the rule of law to answer the question "yes".

To most people at the time, however, notions of what was fair and right argued that the results of the election should be disregarded.

The stage was thus set for "Bleeding Kansas." There is a long rest of the story, of course, including the role of John Brown, but the elections in Kansas in 1855-1857 are a major part of the story that lead to the American Civil War.

Bleeding Kansas --- Part 1

Thomas Friedman in Today's New York Times:

"We have to have a proper election in Iraq so we can have a proper civil war there.

"Let me explain. None of these Arab countries - Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia -are based on voluntary social contracts between the citizens inside their borders. They are all what others have called "tribes with flags" - not real countries in the Western sense. They are all civil wars either waiting to happen or being restrained from happening by the iron fist of one tribe over the others or, in the case of Syria in Lebanon, by one country over another.

"What the Bush team has done in Iraq, by ousting Saddam, was not to "liberate" the country - an image and language imported from the West and inappropriate for Iraq - but rather to unleash the latent civil war in that country. Think of shaking a bottle of Champagne and then uncorking it."

I agree with that 100%. It is one of the things I have been trying to say all along.

Now for my contribution to the discussion:

What will the elections in Palestine and Iraq possibly lead to?

The example I know most about is Bleeding Kansas 1854-1857.

The Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 repealed the 36-30 slavery line of the Missouri Compromise and left the remaining unorganized territories of the Missouri Compromise to determine the fate of slavery in their territories, subject to popular sovereignty, whatever that meant.

As a practical matter, no one felt that Nebraska (which also included modern North Dakota and South Dakota, and parts of Montana) would be hospitable to slavery in any form. Most people felt the same about Kansas. However, Kansas shared a border with slave state Missouri. People on both sides of the slavery issue went to work to create facts on the ground.

Aid societies were set up, mostly in Massachusetts, to give people from the North financial assistance to emigrate to Kansas. Although there is some dispute about how successful these aid societies were, and how many people they represented, they were certainly loud. Loud enough to convince the slave-holders on the Missouri border that a great invasion of Northerners were coming to Kansas to ruin their way of life.

In order to preserve their way of life, people from Missouri, who happened to be “residing” in Kansas on March 30, 1855, the day of the first election (i.e. they were visiting for the afternoon) voted along with everyone else. Despite a pre-election census showing that 2,905 eligible voters lived in Kansas, 6,307 total votes were cast.

In the face of this massive fraud, the territorial governor let the election results stand. He said that he could not change the results of the election unless the votes were challenged in compliance with the statute. In the few instances that parties with standing to challenge were able to overcome the legal hurdles and quickly make a showing of fraud, the challenges were upheld. However, the resulting legislature was so pro-Southern that when the legislature met, it refused to seat the pro-Northern representatives.

Had the popular sovereignty thus exercised by 6,307 voters, wherever they came from, and however long they had stayed, been enough popular sovereignty to decide the issue of slavery in Kansas once and for all until the end of time? Clearly, a great many people, including the Kansas legislature and the Southern politicians in Washington, answered that question yes.

The Kansas representatives who had not been able to fill their seats, who represented a majority of the people living in Kansas from day-to-day, thought otherwise. A rival legislature met in Topeka in the middle of 1855 to draft a “free-state” constitution for Kansas, and a “free-state” election was held in late 1855, ratifying the work of the free-soilers. Despite the popular success of the election, it was unclear that the Topeka group had any legal authority to call an election at all.

By the first anniversary of the great Kansas-Nebraska Act, the once and for all settlement of the slavery issue, Kansas had a “legal” government, acting as a result of a fraudulent election, and an “illegal” government, acting as a result of an election where the results seemed to follow the census.

By the end of 1855, Kansas was beginning to bleed in earnest

(More next time)

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Time After Surgery and the New York Times

The New York Times wrote an article on weight-loss programs today that caused me much gnawing of teeth. I kill it on my time after surgery blogsite.

Incidentally, two weeks of Weight Watchers, 4.5 pounds.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

B -- Predictor of Important Football Events

In the comment section to my December 28 post, I told ARIZONA LAWYER:

"I predict that the Rams will beat the Jets, but that even with a backup QB and a backup RB, the Steelers find a way to beat the Bills, which is a team that the Steelers do not want to see again in the playoffs."