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Evening Update on Fort Sumter Situation

President Lincoln has directed Federal ships to reinforce Fort Sumter, indicating that he has finally decided on some sort of plan. The question of how the Federal government would handle military forts based in, and now claimed by, the new southern government has been at the center of arguments for weeks.

The Southern governments, including at least South Carolina, Texas, and Florida have indicated that they are unwilling to regard Federal forts in southern states Federal property. It seems to this editor that the dissension between north and south will not, in the final analysis, be determined by abstractions like the right to secede or to impose an alien culture. Rather, it will turn on very concrete matters, like this question of who owns this specific property.

President Lincoln seems to have determined that Fort Sumter is a Federal property worth risking lives to secure while the government of South Carolina, or perhaps Jefferson Davis, or perhaps just General Beauregard, seem to have determined that Fort Sumter is worth risking violent reprisal over.

These are tense days and we can only hope, as so often before, that the wisdom of our people will secure the blessings of liberty for these United States of America.

Cicero for the Republic
April 7, 1861

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