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Old December 22nd, 2016, 10:32 AM   #1

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Why wasn't Jeff Davis hanged?


"They will hang Jeff Davis to a sour apple tree! (3X)As they march along!" (John Brown's Body)
Why wasn't Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate States of America, hanged following the Civil War?
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Old December 22nd, 2016, 11:08 AM   #2

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My understanding is that it was meant to be a conciliatory act. After all, if Davis, then why not the rest of the administration and top military leaders too - like Lee?
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Old December 22nd, 2016, 11:12 AM   #3
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This has been discussed before. Partly, because of ex parte Milligan, 1866. Four Confederate sympathizers were accused of conspiring to attack POW camps, and all sort of stuff like that. They were tried by military court and sentenced to death. The US Supreme Court ruled that civilians couldn't be tried by military courts when civilian courts existed.

The Lincoln conspirators were tried by military court. Except for one, John Surrat, who fled the country and was extradited. He was tried by civilian court in Washington, DC, and there was a hung jury.

It would have been impossible to get a conviction of Davis by a jury anywhere in the south, including Washington, DC. They would have to have tried him in New England or somewhere like that or by military court, any of which would have questionable legality and constitutionality.
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Old December 22nd, 2016, 11:44 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Vagamundo View Post
"They will hang Jeff Davis to a sour apple tree! (3X)As they march along!" (John Brown's Body)
Why wasn't Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate States of America, hanged following the Civil War?

The first thing you need to realize is that John Brown was almost certainly insane. As in clinically mentally unstable and near if not full blown psychotic.

Also, although Jeff Davis's actions could certainly be construed as treasonous, he was very fortunate in that Lincoln made it clear before he was killed that Davis should not be put to death. So, Andrew Johnson, as terrible a president as he indeed was, along with his staff...Lincoln's old staff...Respected his wishes. Grant was also adamant on not hanging Davis.
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Old December 22nd, 2016, 04:06 PM   #5
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I would say its because the top lawyer in the country from NYC offered to defend him for free as he knew Jeff Davis would win the court case [remember at that time not today]. But the federal government is the one who controls education and writes the history and declares what is law today, so we get there view. My guess is we may see a thread related to this subject down the line.
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Old December 22nd, 2016, 06:19 PM   #6
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He should probably have been hanged. I cannot find any mercy for this traitor who caused so many needless deaths. One should theoretically, at least, be magnanimous in victory, but this man willfully made war on his own country and, as the head of its government, the weight of that guilt should have descended upon him. Whether nor not he could have been tried in the South is a question can't answer but a military tribunal wouldn't have been beyond the pale. A "jury of one's peers" in the South makes me wonder about whether there would have been any peers who weren't alreadydisenfranchised. Hm.
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Old December 23rd, 2016, 12:55 AM   #7

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He should probably have been hanged. I cannot find any mercy for this traitor who caused so many needless deaths. One should theoretically, at least, be magnanimous in victory, but this man willfully made war on his own country and, as the head of its government, the weight of that guilt should have descended upon him. Whether nor not he could have been tried in the South is a question can't answer but a military tribunal wouldn't have been beyond the pale. A "jury of one's peers" in the South makes me wonder about whether there would have been any peers who weren't alreadydisenfranchised. Hm.
Wasn't it supposed to be a Union of states, not a country? A number of states wanted to cede from that union and have their own laws. War was made to prevent them doing that.

It's quite amazing how the USA today quickly sticks up for people who want independence from a big bully state (eg Cuba/Spain), but anyone who wants to break away from the US is a dastardly traitor!?

Isn't that the way Moscow thinks too?
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Old December 23rd, 2016, 01:52 AM   #8
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Quote:
He should probably have been hanged. I cannot find any mercy for this traitor who caused so many needless deaths. One should theoretically, at least, be magnanimous in victory, but this man willfully made war on his own country and, as the head of its government, the weight of that guilt should have descended upon him. Whether nor not he could have been tried in the South is a question can't answer but a military tribunal wouldn't have been beyond the pale. A "jury of one's peers" in the South makes me wonder about whether there would have been any peers who weren't alreadydisenfranchised. Hm.

Really what you are saying is Lincoln should have been hanged as it applies to Lincoln not Davis. Lincoln destroyed the american union of the founders. he also destroyed the american principle of self government and the consent of the governed.

“Any people anywhere, being inclined and having the power, have the right to rise up, and shake off the existing government, and form a new one that suits them better. This is a most valuable - a most sacred right - a right, which we hope and believe, is to liberate the world.”
-Abraham Lincoln 1848

“That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government”
-Declaration of Independence


it was also Lincoln, not Davis that committed treason.


Article 3 section 3 of the constitution says

"Treason against the United*States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort. No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court."

This is what Abraham Lincoln did in the American civil war, he waged war against the southern states.

“To coerce the states is one of the maddest projects that was ever devised... a complying state at war with a non complying state. Congress marching the troops of one state into the bosom of another? Here is a nation at war with itself. Can any reasonable man be well disposed toward a government which makes war and carnage the only means of supporting itself- a government that can exists only by the sword”.
-Alexander Hamilton Northern federalist


Also being called a traitor is not automatically a bad thing, our nations greatest heroes IMO were traitors. The declaration of Independence was a secession document of sovereign states choosing separation from England's tyrannical government. From Great Britans point of view, they were the loyalist and Americans the traitors. The difference is the north won the war. Had America lost its war for independence, they would have taught the founders as traitors and rebels in textbooks in America. During the revolution “loyalist” like Benedict Arnold were the traitors.

Last edited by 1stvermont; December 23rd, 2016 at 01:55 AM.
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Old December 23rd, 2016, 02:00 AM   #9

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Originally Posted by johnincornwall View Post
Wasn't it supposed to be a Union of states, not a country? A number of states wanted to cede from that union and have their own laws. War was made to prevent them doing that.

It's quite amazing how the USA today quickly sticks up for people who want independence from a big bully state (eg Cuba/Spain), but anyone who wants to break away from the US is a dastardly traitor!?

Isn't that the way Moscow thinks too?
If you lived in the USA in the 1950’s… those could be dangerous words…
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Old December 23rd, 2016, 09:57 AM   #10

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Originally Posted by 1stvermont View Post
Really what you are saying is Lincoln should have been hanged as it applies to Lincoln not Davis. Lincoln destroyed the american union of the founders. he also destroyed the american principle of self government and the consent of the governed. . . .

it was also Lincoln, not Davis that committed treason.


Article 3 section 3 of the constitution says

"Treason against the United*States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort. No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court."

This is what Abraham Lincoln did in the American civil war, he waged war against the southern states. . .
.
Another true believer, it appears.
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