Saturday, February 5, 2011

Washington DC Peace Conference

John Tyler, a member of the Conference
When Virginia voted to stay in the Union a few weeks ago, it also voted to invite all of the states to a peace conference to attempt to find a way to prevent secession and war. This conference began on February 4th. One-hundred and thirty politicians gathered in Washington, DC, but notably absent were any members from the seceded Deep South states. The seceded states were gathering in Alabama to consider forming a new government. The Peace Conference was called the “Old Gentlemen’s Convention” by some because many of the men there were old politicians such as John Tyler, ex-president of the United States.

In the end the conference had no effect. After meeting for three weeks, a committee suggested Constitutional Amendments very similar to the Crittenden Compromise, which Lincoln and the new Republican Government had blocked from passing. The Senate defeated the suggested amendment 28 to 7. Lincoln’s private secretary wrote, “The deliberations and recommendations of the much-vaunted Peace Conference proved as worthless as Dead Sea fruit."1

1. Abraham Lincoln: A History by John G. Nicolay and John Hay (New York: The Century Co., 1890) vol. 3 Source. http://books.google.com/books?id=TmM6gR-fteAC p. 323


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