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The Civil War

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Military medals14 of 14Tripoli Shriners WWI MedalFond Du Lac, Wisconsin Mexican Border Service Medal.
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Posted 5 years ago


(174 items)

Illustrated here is the U.S. Army Civil War Service medal. As a student of history I have often thought about the “what if “ questions. For example what if the Confederacy had taken a Gandhi like approach and not fired the first shot at Fort Sumter? I asked this question on another thread and it was quickly removed so here it is again on my own thread. The more I read about Pres. Lincoln I see that he was conflicted as to if states had the right to leave a union that they had voluntarily joined. I believe that Lincoln as a lawyer, thought they did. As President however, Lincoln desperately wanted to preserve the union. This was a states rights question which originally came up in the 1830’s over the issue of tariffs. By the 1850’s the issue of slavery brought it back with a vengeance. Lincoln did not believe that he could legally use force to prevent secession like President Andrew Jackson did in the 1830’s. He was however ready to protect Federal property like the New Orleans Mint, Forts, Federal Buildings etc. with the military troops. He was also very anti-slavery but not willing to go to war on that issue alone. As a lawyer he thought that slavery could be ended by law and in the courts. All of Lincoln’s legal and moral hesitation ended instantly when Fort Sumter was fired upon and captured. From that point on he saw it as a simple question of self defense. I believe that had the first shot not been fired against Fort Sumter or anywhere else later, Lincoln would not have felt justified to take any war like military actions. I also believe that unfortunately the mind set of the time would not permit the Confederates to tolerate Federal troops on their territory once they had declared themselves independent. Please feel free to voice you opinions.


  1. Chrisnp Chrisnp, 5 years ago
    II think the Civil War could have been avoided by some sort of negotiations over Ft Sumter. But in that alternate universe, how much longer would slavery exist in North America? To what extent would any succession lead to further balkanization of the states? How much power would the Federal Government continue to exercise? So many questions.

    The thing that always interested me about the Civil War campaign medal was that it was authorized over 40 years after the Civil War ended. I know Militarist already knows much of this, but for the rest of you, the U.S. War Department didn't authorize campaign medals until the start of the 20th century. The Army version is shown above was designed in 1906. Originally the ribbon was red, white and blue, but changed to blue and grey in 1913. Although the war had been over for 40 years, special care was taken in the design of the medal so as not to offend or antagonize the South. Many of the early medals had serial numbers, which in some cases can be traced to the recipient. The attachment device shown on the medal above, called a wrap brooch, indicates this medal was probably manufactured in the 1920s or 1930s.
  2. Militarist Militarist, 5 years ago
    Thanks for your very well thought out replies !

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