Fort Sumter’s 2020 Equivalent Approaches

Bombardment of Fort Sumter, April 12-13, 1861 Library of Congress (Currier and Ives) [Photo courtesy NPS]

An impasse over the expansion of slavery into the territories and the future of the “peculiar institution,” was the catalyst for secession of the first seven states after Lincoln was elected President, historians concur.

Yet, even so, there was little passion on the part of northern states and loyal citizens to coerce former-countrymen to rejoin the union. Killing southerners in order to force compliance with unionist sentiments seemed absurd to citizenry and leadership, alike. If they wanted a divorce, let them have it.

It was not until those seceding states used violence to attack a federally- owned and controlled facility, Fort Sumter, that the northern populace was roused with patriotic fervor.

This is human nature.

If one feels unjustifiably pushed, then it’s perfectly moral to push-back with equal or greater magnitude.  Ft. Sumter would be the Boston Massacre, Pearl Harbor, the 911 of its day.

Fort Sumter was not the first violent event that had taken place to rouse passions of both sides. But, it was the event of sufficient magnitude to awaken the northern masses.

If the original seceding-states would have left in peace and simply ignored Fort Sumter as just an annoying island in Charleston harbor, it is doubtful that Lincoln could have rallied the country’s majority around his cause and invaded the south with deadly force

We fast-forward:

Some argue today that the federal government has no right to defend its property.  This argument, for anyone who has studied, is long-since settled. In fact, South Carolina had a more compelling legal argument about reasserting control of federal property than any state has today.

When South Carolina ceded the island, it reserved the right to take it back if the Fort was not being used to protect the State’s interest.  Well, that argument did not work then, nor does it today.

Just how historically-illiterate have we become that we need to even debate this issue?

The larger question now: What will be our Fort Sumter?

What will awaken the counter-revolution? What violence will need to take place — and history tells us it’s inevitable— that will finally jolt the average, leave-me-alone citizen to a point of moral clarity? That there is a right and wrong here;  that there is no hiding from the consequences of what is unfolding today; that sides need to be picked; that lack of participation in the fight is capitulation, that individual sacrifice will be required,  and that consistent tremendous efforts from “We the people” will be needed to make up for decades of apathy.

The nation and future generations are at stake, people.

Better to learn from history and be prepared for what is coming than to be blindsided and unprepared.

Better to take the time, now, and methodically and prayerfully outline principles and priorities. Better to make sure you are on the right-side instead of blindly walking into bad decisions and destruction.  Better to make up your mind now about how you’ll react in an emergency than postpone and, later, act under duress.

It is ironic that, as the federally-owned Fort Sumter was the spark that lit a deadly fuse in American history, we may see a new kindling for civil-war at a yet-to-be-known federal property.

This is not trivial.

Many excuse and gloss-over potentially-catastrophic events that could be unleashed if the rhetoric and destruction of property by the “protestors” are not artfully kept in-check and then extinguished.

When many of our elected leaders and even an entire political party seem to support those in open rebellion, that means the match is lit, the powder dry and it is just a matter-of-time before the two connect.

Jeff Utsch, of Tucson, AZ, can be contacted at and can heard on iHeart Radio’s Podcast, Constitutional Conversations, with KFYI 550-AM host James T Harris, of The Conservative Circus.




About Jeff Utsch 30 Articles
Jeff Utsch is a Leadership and History Instructor at the Leadership and Freedom Center in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, where he teaches leadership lessons learned from the battle and forging trusted teams and leaders. Jeff also teaches professional development and "leading with a purpose" courses to law enforcement and other agencies around the country. He is the Founder of Heirs of the Republic Educational Foundation a 501(c)3 organization dedicated to “Securing the Blessings of Liberty to Ourselves and Our Posterity.” He previously served as a Director and Ambassador for the Navy SEAL Foundation, where he assisted in establishing an endowment within the Foundation. At the Foundation, Jeff chaired the Development Committee and organized and assisted with benefit galas in Tucson, AZ, Coronado, CA, and Virginia Beach, VA. He also has 27 years’ experience as President and CEO of a small company and 25 years’ experience training U.S. military personnel. Jeff graduated from University of Arizona in 1991 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Aerospace Engineering, where he also served as captain of the Swim Team. During his swimming career, Jeff was a member of the US National Team 1984-87, Top 10 World Rankings 1984-1988, and NCAA All-American in 1988. Using the skills, he developed as an All-American swimmer and Captain of the University of Arizona swim team, Jeff currently serves as an Instructor to the Navy SEALS/Naval Special Warfare community where he teaches Navy SEALS and support personnel specialized tactical swimming. In addition, Jeff has taught Air Force Para Rescue Jumpers, Combat Controllers, Force Recon Marines, Coast Guard MSST, and other military personnel.