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Sesquicentennial News---A Democrat, Edwin M. Stanton Predicted Peace, Got War

The Open Salvos Fired In A Great Calamity, Len Barcousky, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, April 12, 2011.

While lawyers are encouraged to anticipate the worst thing that can happen, U.S. Attorney General Edwin M. Stanton in January 1861 was optimistic about a peaceful resolution of differences between Northern and Southern states.

"I have never doubted that we should in the end pass safely through the present troubles," he wrote to his brother-in-law, James Adam Hutchison Jr., in a letter dated Jan. 15, 1861. Stanton's letter to Hutchison, a Pittsburgh lawyer, is in a collection of family correspondence and photographs in the archives at the Heinz History Center.

That correspondence offers a glimpse into the life and thinking of a man who would become a member of Abraham Lincoln's Cabinet and one of his closest advisers during the Civil War. The conflict began 150 years ago today with the Confederate shelling of Fort Sumter.

Stanton, who grew up in Steubenville, attended Kenyon College, studied law and began his professional career in his native Ohio. In 1847 he relocated to the booming industrial city of Pittsburgh. His first wife, Mary, had died in 1841 while he was still building his Ohio law practice. Following a two-year courtship, he married Ellen Hutchison in 1856. Sixteen years younger than her new husband, she came from a wealthy and socially prominent Pittsburgh family.

After Stanton and his family moved to Washington, D.C., he maintained close ties to his wife's Pittsburgh relatives, keeping in touch via letters to various family members. The material dealing with Stanton and the Hutchison family was donated to the history center in 2001 by Terry H. Wells, of Evanston, Ill., a descendant of the Hutchison family. While James Adam Hutchison moved to Chicago after the Civil War, family members maintained their links to Allegheny County, according to David Grinnell, chief archivist at the history center. Many are buried in Pittsburgh's Homewood Cemetery.

Stanton usually wrote in a firm hand, using dark ink on fine paper that has deteriorated little in the past century and a half. It is, nevertheless, occasionally difficult to make out some of his words. Mr. Grinnell, chief librarian Art Louderback and archivist Susan Melnick all gathered around to help transcribe one of Stanton's letters last week.

An anti-slavery Democrat, Stanton became U.S. attorney general during the final months of the disastrous administration of President James Buchanan. While sympathetic to the "South" and its "Peculiar Institution," as slavery was sometimes called, Buchanan believed that secession was illegal. Unfortunately, he also believed there was nothing he could do as president to stop states from breaking up the union.

Historians credit Stanton with stiffening Buchanan's spine during the period between the election of Lincoln in November 1860 and his inauguration the following March.

Above are excerpts. To read the complete story go this webpage at

Text and Image Source:
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette April 12, 2011

Caption: The letter from Edwin M. Stanton to his brother-in-law, dated April 15, 1861: "It is now certain that we are about to be engaged in a general civil war between the Northern & Southern states. Every one will regret this as a great calamity to the human race," Stanton wrote.

Happy 150th Anniversary

Civil War historians and enthusiasts have been waiting for this moment for the last 50 years.  Now a half century removed from the centennial celebration of the American Civil War, we have the rare and special opportunity to commemorate TODAY the opening of this country's most trying conflict.  Today marks the sesquicentennial anniversary of the opening of hostilities at Fort Sumter in Charleston, S.C.  You can see a full list of what they are doing by clicking on the link to the Fort Sumter National Monument HERE.   

The Washington Post came out with a great article outlining Fort Sumter and the making of "modern America."  Here is a direct link: Fort Sumter and Modern America.

The Post also has a great section asking its readers what they think the Civil War's greatest impact was.  HERE is the direct link to the site.

This also marks the birthday of the National Civil War Naval Museum at Port Columbus.  Happy Birthday, guys (Especially Mr. Bruce Smith- keep up the good work!).  We are all glad to hear that the symposium was a success.

So, instead of reproducing reports outlining the minute by minute  account of the battle (there are several sites out there that will be doing this), we would like to know your thoughts on this very special day in our history and collective memory.  Post your responses here, on our Facebook page, or tweet your thoughts @civilwarnavy.  Start the conversation.  Help keep the celebration alive and thriving these next few years. 

Welcome to the Civil War Sesquicentennial.

-CWN 150

Today's Fort Sumter

Back in December, I was fortunate enough to visit Charleston, SC and - in particular - Fort Sumter. Today, Fort Sumter is owned and managed by the National Park Service, which provides rangers on the transporting boat and within the fort itself. As today is the anniversary of the firing upon the fort and the official beginning of the Sesquicentennial, I felt it was a good time to post just a few pictures.

On a quick personal note, I am excited to enter the Sesquicentennial as part of the CWN150 and I look forward to the next four years of commemorating and learning with all of our readers. -- SA

Guest Blogger: Rebecca Wright

It's IntLawGrrls' great pleasure to welcome Dr. Rebecca Wright (right) as today's guest blogger.
Rebecca is the Legal Advisor for the North African Litigation Initiative (NALI) at the Cairo-based Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR). NALI aims to raise awareness of the African human rights system in six target countries: Mauritania, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, and Sudan. It assists human rights defenders from these countries to bring cases before the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights by holding training workshops and hosting potential litigants at the Ordinary Sessions of the Commission. In her guest post below, Rebecca discusses this work and further describes a recent human rights defenders workshop that NALI hosted in Tunisia.
Rebecca joined EIPR in 2007 after receiving a Harvard Law School Heningson Fellowship. She worked in Egypt for a year before traveling to Afghanistan to conduct research on the cost of conflict for civilians for CIVIC, a Washington, D.C.-based nongovernmental organization. She returned to Afghanistan on two other occasions to work for the Afghan NGO Human Rights Research and Advocacy Consortium on workers’ rights, provincial governance, and women’s leadership. After also working in Qatar and Lebanon, Rebecca returned to EIPR in April 2010 in order to help establish NALI.
Rebecca earned her J.D. from the University of California-Berkeley and her Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of Oxford. Her dissertation analysed the concept of female heroism in the autobiographies of British suffragists, and today she honors one of those women:
I would like my transnational foremother to be Sylvia Pankhurst [left]. I wrote one of the chapters of my PhD on her. She and the other suffragettes I studied inspired me to become a woman of action and to pursue causes that are just, including those outside the UK.

Pankhurst (1882-1960) joins other IntLawGrrls foremothers -- including her mother, Emmeline Pankhurst (prior posts) -- in the list just below our "visiting from..." map at right.
Heartfelt welcome!

What Role for the African Human Rights System in the Current Transformation of North Africa?

(My thanks to IntLawGrrls for the opportunity to contribute this guest post)

TUNIS - In Tunis last week, human rights defenders from across North Africa gathered to discuss the role that the regional African human rights system can play in the current transformation of North Africa. They were attending a workshop organized by the North African Litigation Initiative, a programme established by the Cairo-based Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights.
Pictured above at far right, I work as the Legal Advisor for NALI, and it was our pleasure to host participants from Mauritania, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt and Sudan.
We were also honored to have Justice Fatsah Ouguergouz (left), the Algerian Justice from the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights, join us for the three-day proceedings.
It was particularly exciting to hear from Justice Ouguergouz given the pioneering ruling issued by the African Court on March 25. In issuing this Order for provisional measures against Libya, the Court instructed Libya to
'immediately refrain from any action that would result in loss of life or violation of physical integrity of persons.'

The Court’s judgment is its first binding ruling issued against a State. It is an important intervention by the African human rights system in recent North African events.
Overall, however, the view of the workshop participants is that the response of the African system to developments in North Africa has, to date, been slow and lacking in conviction.
Indeed, the fact that African institutions mandated with protecting and promoting human rights have, on the whole, reacted in a limited manner to events in North Africa led a couple of human rights workers to criticize our decision to hold the Tunis workshop. One human rights lawyer from the United Kingdom wrote to me a couple of weeks ago and said that he felt that the workshop was “mistimed.” The African human rights bodies, he said, could only offer recourses that are “time consuming and typically remote from real effects in actual situations.” At this point, he said, it was necessary both in Tunisia and across North Africa to deal with immediate human rights abuses and the rebuilding of domestic institutions. “So why,” he asked, “was this topic chosen at this time and place?”
This question played through my mind on the first day when I arrived in Tunis and went downtown to have tea with a Tunisian activist. Tanks and barbed wire lined the streets (left and below). But the atmosphere was initially peaceful: a couple of women were even taking photographs of each other with the soldiers and tanks.
Suddenly, however, the mood changed. Police with batons and riot shields began chasing a group of young men and all of us sitting at the street-tables ran inside for cover. My Tunisian friend explained:
'The tensions are rising. There is frustration that reform is not occurring quickly enough. We have so much work to do and so many human rights abuses that must be remedied.'

This experience in downtown Tunis emphasized the continuing volatility in Tunisia – a volatility also evident in Egypt, where I live and work. It highlighted the fact that many immediate, domestic steps must be undertaken to ensure the creation of democratic societies fully removed from the past oppressive regimes.
Yet the fact that much work needs to be completed at the domestic level should not exclude engagement with the regional human rights system. On the contrary, it is especially important at this particular moment to consider how the new governments in Tunisia and Egypt (and also, let us hope, in Libya) can develop strong relationships with the African human rights system so that the new regimes actively promote, protect and fulfill the rights they pledged to uphold when they ratified the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.
The belief that the African human rights system has the potential to reinforce and strengthen domestic reform certainly influences the work of the EPIR, my organization in Cairo. Over the last few months, EIPR staff members have been working around the clock to document and address the continuing domestic human rights abuses in Egypt (see also here).
However, EIPR has also been looking beyond the domestic judicial realm and has been attempting to engage with the African human rights system. In partnership with Human Rights Watch and INTERIGHTS, we requested the African Commission to issue provisional measures to stop human rights abuses in both Egypt and Libya. In the case of Libya, such requests undoubtedly helped to motivate the African Commission to refer the situation to the African Court.
It is critical that North African human rights defenders take this type of proactive approach so that the African human rights system is encouraged to play a positive role in the transformation of North African societies. In his introductory remarks to our Tunis workshop, Justice Ouguergouz reminded us:
'The African Court cannot act, but can only react. Civil society therefore has a crucial role to play in creating an environment where it is possible for both the African Court and Commission to take steps to protect human rights.'

Following these remarks by Justice Ouguergouz, one Tunisian lawyer took me aside and showed me some of the scars that riddle his body following 8 years of imprisonment under the Ben Ali regime. The lawyer told me:
'I will fight for justice for these scars, and for the scars of thousands of other Tunisians. After this workshop I know that I needn’t stop at the domestic level. I will continue the fight for justice within the African system so my country can become a place of tolerance and dignity.'

It remains to be seen how exactly the African human rights system can play a role in the incredible societal transformations occurring across North Africa. One thing, however, is clear: North African human rights defenders are determined to seize this historical moment to ensure that human rights principles are respected. It is NALI’s mission to ensure they are given assistance to utilize every means available to achieve this goal, including recourse to the African regional system.

On April 12

On this day in ...
... 1861 (150 years ago today), about a month and a half after the inauguration of Abraham Lincoln as President, the United States' Civil War began when artillery troops in the newly formed Confederacy, comprising states that had seceded from the Union, opened fire on Fort Sumter, a Union base located on an island in the harbor of Charleston, South Carolina. (credit for photo of ruins of the fort, now a U.S. monument) The fort surrendered within a couple days and remained a Confederate holding throughout the 4-years-long conflict. Today marks the beginning of the sesquicentennial of the Civil War; well worth a read in this vein is How Slavery Really Ended in America, a New York Times Magazine essay that links a little-known event at the beginning of the Civil War not only to the eventual abolition of slavery in the United States, but also to contemporary popular uprisings in North Africa and elsewhere.

(Prior April 12 posts are here, here, here, and here.)

Lehdessä julkaistua

Viime viikolla ilmestyneessä Tuulilasissa on peräti kaksi kuvittamaani juttua. Klassikko Aston Martin V8, joka on päätynyt kansikuvaan asti ja offroad kilpuri, jonka kuvaa on käytetty sisällysluettelon pohjana. Kuvia on tietenkin myös jutuissa, jotka molemmat ovat kolmen aukeaman pituisia.

Nikon D700 + Nikkor 400 mm f/2.8 @ f/4, 1/640 s. ja ISO 200.
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 70 - 200 mm f/2.8 @ f/5.6, 1/1600 s. ja ISO 800.

Adobe's New Photoshop Touch Apps for iPad

Today, Adobe announced upcoming apps and updates to Creative Suite all aligned with the iPad. Check out this video of Adobe Senior Vice President John Loiacono discussing the updates.

Read more on AllThingsD:

Adobe Recasts the iPad as High-Tech Palette for Photoshop

Survivors of Sexual Violence and the African Union: A Model to Follow?

(Delighted to welcome back alumna Doris Buss, who contributes this guest post)

Women’s civil society groups from across Africa met recently with state ambassadors in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, as part of a now-annual meeting of the Peace and Security Council of the African Union with civil society.
The March 28 meeting included addresses by the various ‘office holders’ below: Margot Wallström (middle), the UN Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Litha Musyimi-Ogana (left), the Director of the Women, Gender and Development Directorate of the African Union, and Dr. Mary Chinery-Hesse (right), from the AU’s Panel of the Wise.
But the real force of the meetings came from the “Survivors of Sexual Violence in Armed Conflict”, who had traveled from Côte d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Guinea, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Uganda and Zimbabwe. The meeting included time for “first-hand accounts” from the survivors, as well as discussion of different models of civil society initiatives for rehabilitation and community reintegration.
At the end of the event the survivors of sexual violence released a Statement, which is a moving testament to the urgent health needs of sexual violence sufferers in Africa. The Statement makes a number of recommendations relating to health care, including, a call for “comprehensive medical care, including emergency surgery services, and trained medical workers on trauma management” and a recommendation that AU member states “ increase their health budget for our sexual and reproductive health complications and trauma management”.
The frustration of civil society actors in ‘post’ conflict negotiations is also clearly evident in the Statement:
We are deeply saddened by the fact that our violators and their apologists are often seated on these tables deciding our fate. We are therefore not surprised that post conflict processes do not include the concerns and priorities of survivors of sexual violence. Instead, we are often urged to let bygones be bygones and look to the future. We cannot look to the future when we are hurting physically and psychologically, and are unable to pick up the pieces of our lives.

Among the recommendations made is a call for the AU to “adopt sexual violence as a disqualifying criterion for leadership” in line with UN Security Council Resolution 1960.
As an example of civil society and state interactions, this annual meeting between the AU and victims of sexual violence may be a model to consider in other contexts. I wonder, for example, what would happen if members of the Canadian Parliament (or US House of Representatives), agreed to meet each year with a representative group of poor single mothers to hear about their lives and experiences over the past year?

On April 11

On this day in ...
... 1961 (50 years ago today), the trial of Adolf Eichmann began in a national court in Jerusalem on 15 charges of crimes against humanity, crimes against the Jewish people, and war crimes, all stemming from the onetime Nazi bureaucrat's World War II involvement in the Holocaust. (photo credit) As posted here and here, his eventual conviction would be upheld by Israel's Supreme Court, and he would be executed by hanging in 1962. The trial is the subject of a brand-new book. YouTube video of more than 200 hours of trial sessions is available here.

(Prior April 11 posts are here, here, here, and here.)

From the Charleston Mercury, 9 April 1861

"Our authorities yesterday evening received notice from Lincoln’s Government, through a special messenger from Washington, that an effort will be made to supply Fort Sumter with provisions and that if this were permitted, no attempt would be made to reinforce it with men! This message comes simultaneously with a fleet, which we understand is now off our bar, waiting for daylight and tide to make the effort threatened.

We have patiently submitted to the insolent military domination of a handful of men in our bay for over three months after the declaration of our independence of the United States. The object of that self humiliation has been to avoid the effusion of blood, while such preparation was made as to render it causeless and useless.

It seems we have been unable, by discretion, forbearance, and preparation, to effect the desired object, and that now the issue of battle is to be forced upon us. The gage is thrown down, and we accept the challenge. We will meet the invader, and the God of Battles must decide the issue between the hostile hirelings of Abolition hate and Northern tyranny, and the people of South Carolina defending their freedom and their homes. We hope such a blow will be struck in behalf of the South, that Sumter and Charleston harbor will be remembered at the North as long as they exist as a people.”

At this time, the sloop of war USS Pawnee was dispatched from Hampton Roads to relieve Maj. Robert Anderson's garrison at Fort Sumter.  Leaving Hampton Roads, the ship would get caught in a storm, arriving too late to help the fledgling fort.  Time was running out, or had already run out for the Navy's assistance of the garrison. 

Reproduction of the Charleston Mercury article courtesy of the Daily Observations of the Civil War, a great site detailing the daily events during the sesquicentennial.  The link may be found at:

Rebuilding Sierra Leone

The University of South Carolina School of Law recently hosted a very interesting conference entitled “Rebuilding Sierra Leone: Changing Institutions and Culture” (logo at right). Organized by Professor Joel Samuels, this April 1 conference was one of the first interdisciplinary academic conferences in the United States to focus solely on the unique challenges of redeveloping Sierra Leone after its decade-long armed conflict in the 1990s.
The goal of the conference was to highlight salient issues that have hindered Sierra Leone’s post-war rebuilding, and to begin discussion among academics working in different disciplines on future collaborations on Sierra Leone-specific projects.
The conference was divided into four panels:
► “Sierra Leone in Context”
► “Paths to Rebuilding Sierra Leone”
► “The Special Court for Sierra Leone”
► “The Problem of Child Soldiers”
Some highlights included a talk by Professor Erika George (University of Utah) (left) that began with the observation that erosion or failure of the education system is one of the first indicators of a failing or failed state. She linked this idea to the state of education in Sierra Leone prior to and after the conflict, noting some post-conflict improvements but also some very worrying gaps that still remain.
Another thought-provoking speaker was Professor Jennifer Moore (University of New Mexico) (right), who argued that post-conflict Sierra Leone needs not only courtroom (retributive) justice, it also needs to focus on social justice (material well-being), and historical justice (addressing peace in community life. She highlighted the work of two nongovernmental organizations within Sierra Leone – the Centre for Development and Peace Education and Fambul Tok – in contributing to the two latter forms of justice.
Yours truly, Valerie Oosterveld, had the honour of presenting a paper on the jurisprudence of the Special Court for Sierra Leone with respect to gender-based crimes against humanity and war crimes. I traced positive and less-than-positive legal reasoning with respect to gender-based acts in the trial judgments in what are usually referred to as the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council and the Civil Defence Forces cases. I contrasted these cases with the Revolutionary United Front case, arguing that the RUF case represents a step forward in efforts to contextualize rape, sexual mutilation and other forms of sexual violence directed against women, girls, men and boys, as well as gender-based crimes such as forced marriage. My presentation represented a continuation of arguments outlined in a recently-published article - “The Gender Jurisprudence of the Special Court for Sierra Leone: Progress in the Revolutionary United Front Judgments” (2011) 44(1) Cornell International Law Journal 49-74.
The conference participants also heard interesting presentations by: Prof. Christopher DeCorse (Syracuse University), Herb Frazier (author), Kevin Lowther (author), Joseph Opala (Bunce Island Conservation Project), Ambassador June Carter Perry (former US Ambassador to Sierra Leone), Lt. Col. Mark Daubney (British Embassy), Ambassador David Scheffer (Northwestern University), James Hodes (Cochran Law Firm), Anthony Triolo (International Center for Transitional Justice), Professor Daniel Hoffman (University of Washington), Professor Mark Drumbl (Washington & Lee University) and Professor Noah Novogrodsky (University of Wyoming).
There was discussion among the conference participants about publishing an edited volume focused on possibilities and challenges facing Sierra Leone in its rebuilding efforts: I will keep IntLawGrrl readers informed about this potentially exciting development!

Go On! "Feminist Futures"

(Go On! is an occasional item on symposia and other events of interest)

To mark its launch, the brand-new Interest Group on Feminism and International Law of the European Society of International Law will hold a daylong workshop entitled "International Law and Feminist Futures" on Thursday, April 28, 2011, at the University of Leicester in England.
Organizers write:
The event will bring together individuals committed to feminist approaches in order to develop and share their research, generate ideas for future events and collaborations and consider what contribution feminist analysis can make to the future of international law.
Featured will be a keynote address, "The Paradoxes of Feminist Engagement with International Law," by University of Melbourne Law Professor Dianne Otto (left). Panelists from throughout Europe will round out the event.
Details and registration here.

On April 10

On this day in ...
... 1981 (30 years ago today), an inmate on hunger strike in a Belfast prison was elected to the British Parliament. Fifty-two percent of the electorate in the region of Fermanagh and South Tyrone, Northern Ireland, voted for Bobby Sands, who ran as a candidate of the "Anti-H Block" campaign, a term that referred to the section of the Maze prison in "reserved for republicans and loyalists convicted of terrorist offences." (credit for photo of campaigners putting up pro-Sands poster) As stated by the BBC:
In spite of attempts by the European Commission on Human Rights to mediate, Bobby Sands died on 5 May 1981.
He was the first of 10 republican prisoners to die after hunger strikes.
They attracted international media attention and sympathy for the republicans.
The hunger strikes came to an end in October 1981.
However, the Conservative Government of Margaret Thatcher granted the republicans only a few minor concessions.

(Prior April 10 posts are here, here, here, and here.)

Kuvakisan kolme parasta

Tätä on odotettu, ja nyt odotus palkitaan. Sulantoblogin kuvakisaan tuli kiitettävä määrä kuvia, mutta enemmänkin olisi tietenkin voinut tulla. Kiitos osallistuneille. Parhaat on nyt valittu ja tuomareina toimivat valokuvaajat Jyrki Vesa, Kimmo Haimi ja Matti Sulanto.

Kisan kuvat olivat kauttaaltaan teknisesti hyvää tasoa, teräviä ja oikein valotettuja. Sommittelu ja rajauskin olivat keskimäärin kohdallaan. Kuvien sisältö oli ehkä lievästi totisen puolella, mutta mukaan mahtui kaikenlaista sisältöä. Tämä saattoi olla monelle ensimmäinen kuvauskilpailuun osallistuminen ja osallistumiskynnyskin sen mukainen.

Tässä sitten kolme parasta.
Voittajakuvan nimi on "Tarzan" ja kuvaaja on Jarno Melartin. Kuva jäi mieleen ja sitä piti katsoa toisenkin kerran. Kuvassa on ehkä lievää tekohauskuutta, mutta yritystä enemmän kuin monessa muussa. Kuvassa on tarina ja kuvaa katsoessa pitää miettiä, että mitä oikein on tapahtnut? Jarno saa palkinnoksi JAS-tekniikan kolmeen kameran kennon puhdistukseen oikeuttavan kortin.

Kunniamaninnan saa kuva nimeltä "Tapio" ja kuvaaja on Jussi Viljanen. Tämä kuva jakoi tuomariston mielipiteitä, koska se menee sarjaan oma pikku höpönassu, mutta se on kuitenkin hyvä potretti. Lyhyt terävyysalue erottaa kohteen taustasta, joka jää mukavasti pehmeäksi. Minä tosin mietin, että onko tämä normaaliobjektiivilla kuvattu, mutta koska muut tuomariston jäsenet eivät epäilleet mitään, niin minäkin vaikenin.

Kunniamaininnan saa Antti Pirisen kuva nimeltä "Kevät Helsingissä", jossa on yhteiskunnallista sanomaa. Kimmo sanoi kuvasta näin: röökit hangessa, kuva antaa ajattelemisen aihetta tupakoinnista ja roskaamisesta. Itse olisin rajannut tiukemmin, ehkä ottanut kuvaan pelkät natsat.

Onnea voittajalle sekä kunniamaininnan saaneille. Kiitos vielä kerran kaikille osallistuneille.

Back in Business

In response to the avoidance of a Government shutdown, the Civil War Navy Sesquicentennial is back in business. 


CWN 150
Bloggers Team