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Author Topic:   Cause of Civil War
Inactive Member

Message 18 of 193 (584122)
09-30-2010 1:46 PM
Reply to: Message 3 by Artemis Entreri
09-29-2010 1:30 PM

Sick of this Lost Cause BS
Arty writes:
This idea that the whole war was to end slavery and the southern states rose up to gether to protect slavery is misleading and incorrect.
I agree with the part of your statement I quoted above. The purpose of the civil war was not to free the slaves. But nonethelesss slavery was indeed the cause of the war. Certainly most Yankees believed they were fighting to preserve the union. Most of them would never have been willing to go to war to free black people.
Yet there seems to be little doubt among historians that questions about the future of slavery was a decades long concern that developed into the schism that resulted in secession and the civil war.
By the time of the election of Lincoln, the major question of the day was whether the western territories would enter the union as free or slave states. The question was important because the balance of power in the Senate was at stake. The House of Representatives was fairly well balanced but only because of the slaves = 3/5 person equalizer written into the Constitution. But the population of the North was growing so much faster than that of the South, that even the 3/5 rule was not going to be much help.
In previous times, the states had found various compromises that preserved the balance, but one of the consequences of the Dred Scott Court decision in 1857 was the overturning of the Missouri compromise and the removal of essential all basis for compromises to keep a political balance.
Dred Scott v. Sandford - Wikipedia
The Court held that the provisions of the Missouri Compromise declaring it to be free territory were beyond Congress's power to enact.
In addition to the political question, the deep south states believed that their economical future required slavery to expand into the western territories. By contrast, the northern states almost universally opposed such expansion not out of love for their black brethern, but because slave labor devalued white labor. They wanted access to western territories and they wanted to compete on a non slave basis.
Lincoln's position was to leave slavery alone were it existed but to not let it expand any further. To the slave states this proposition meant simply financial and political death, and secession began shortly after Lincoln's election but before Lincoln had even been inaugurated, let alone take any action.
So you can label the causes political or economic, of whatever, but the major issues leading to secession and the civil war were all slavery related. It is not really all that difficult to trace the ups and downs of the relation ship between Northern and Southern State over slavery related issues. Bleeding Kansas, John Brown's insurrection, Southern reaction to the publishing of Uncle Tom's Cabin, all slavery related.
And then what kind of constitution did the Confederacy adopt? They adoped a constitution remarkably like the US Constitution with the exception that it made slavery in the Confederate states eternal. Supposedly they split with the Union over states rights, and they did put some limits on federal power into the Constituton. But the Confederacy then adopted federal policies more far reaching than anything that anything Congress had adopted. Pretty much all of their objections to the federal constitution other than preservation of slavery can be shown to be shams.
Yes there were a few states that didn't suceed till later, but if they signed onto the Confederacy then we cannot really say their reasons reflect on the causes for creation of the Confederacy can we?
The confederacy in my opinion was a gathering of treasonists who simply could not stand not getting their way politically against the larger population who did not want slavery to expand westward. The fact that Jefferson Davis is considered any kind of national hero is siimply Lost Cause nonsense. He was a criminal of the worst order. For Jefferson Davis, slavery was *THE* cause worth fighting for. Yet in VA we name major a thoroughfare after him. Confederacy apologetics belongs on the same heap with tobacco causes cancer denial and Holocaust denial.
Edited by NoNukes, : Minor corrections. Change slave rights to states rights
Edited by NoNukes, : minor edits

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Inactive Member

Message 21 of 193 (584132)
09-30-2010 2:48 PM
Reply to: Message 20 by Tram law
09-30-2010 2:17 PM

Re: It's all relative
Tram Law writes:
The thing is, for northerners it will be about slavery, but Southerners will claim it's about states rights and will ignore the issue of slavery.
You tar with too course a brush here.
Your article was written by a southerner with a particular political view. What else would a modern secessionist believe?
The War For States' Rights was not about control of the US government, but about our desire to govern ourselves as an independent nation. That desire still remains strong with us.
That certainly doesn't refect what I believe.
I'd state the split between view points as follows; Neo Confederates are the only ones who deny that slavery played any role in igniting the civil war. They universally state that it was about states rights and will deny that an important state right at issue was the right to enslave black people.
Almost noone else holds that view even if they disagree about the importance of factors other than slavery. Hardly anyone believes that most Northerns supported going to war to abolish slavery.
Dividing the issue of believe along geographical lines also complete discounts the opinions of black people and suggests that they aren't true southerners regardless of where they've lived their lives.
Edited by NoNukes, : Fix up tags

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Inactive Member

Message 26 of 193 (584191)
09-30-2010 7:03 PM
Reply to: Message 22 by ringo
09-30-2010 3:01 PM

Re: It's all relative
ringo writes:
Maybe it would help if somebody listed the other states' rights that the South was promoting, besides the right to allow slavery on a state-by-state basis.
Good point.
First, I think it is pretty clear that the South did not want the right for individual states to allow slavery or not. One reaon that Lincoln was elected was because the Dlemocratic Party split in 1860 over Stephen Douglas advocacy of the Freeport Doctrine, under which the people of each state would determine whether slavery existed in that state. Lincoln had pinned Douglas down to this position during the 1958 Lincoln/Douglas debates.
The Freeport Doctrine was quite incompatible with the infamous Dred Scott v Sanford decision which had established that there was no place in the Union in which the federal govenment could prevent a man from taking his slaves or any other property.
The delegates from the 10 southern states walked out of the 1860 Convention when Douglas won the fight over the party platform. The 10 states then held another convention in Baltimore and picked Breckinridge as their candidate. The resulting split led directly to Lincoln's election.
1860 Democratic National Conventions - Wikipedia
If the southern states really were willing to just allow slavery on a state by state basis, then there reluctance to allow the people on each state to make that determination basically doomed their chances of preventing Lincoln from being elected.
Another states rights issues on the table involved the desire to remove federally imposed tariff laws affected the south and their cotton more than it did the north. Of course one of the early measures imposed by the Confederate governement was to lock down cotton exports in an attempt to get England to intervene on their side.
Some apologist will concede that the secession at least was driven by slavery, but will insist that secession did not require war. That view, will still despicable, is at least supported by some evidence.

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Inactive Member

Message 38 of 193 (584252)
10-01-2010 12:44 AM
Reply to: Message 25 by Dr Adequate
09-30-2010 5:37 PM

Re: Tennessee
Dr. Adequate writes:
He made another speech, you know.
In April, ten days after Lincoln's call for troops. Calling for the second and successful referendum on secession. You can read it here
Given the flip-flopping of the Tennesse voters between referendums one might well insist that Governor Harris was simply a hate filled racist with motives not representative of the TN voters. Harris likely did not much care why the voters gave him the result he wanted.
The army would have to come through lots of places. The question was, surely, what it would do when it got there. And the answer was: fight with their fellow slave-states over the issue of slavery.
Exactly. TN voters knew exactly what kind organization they were joining and went for it anyway. Contrast that with what KY and WV did.

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Inactive Member

Message 49 of 193 (584322)
10-01-2010 11:06 AM
Reply to: Message 44 by dwise1
10-01-2010 1:58 AM

A fascinating and moving story. Thanks for sharing it.
dwise1 writes:
So regardless of what each Confederate state said, the slavery issue predominated US politics leading up to the Civil War. The only things I can say on their behalf is that I seem to recall part of the Constitution that stated that any state that wanted to leave the Union would be free to do so...
Lincoln's position was that secession was illegal. Confederacy supporters believe otherwise. I've never seen anyone cite any portion of the Constitution as explicitly giving a right to secede. It simply isn't there.

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Inactive Member

Message 50 of 193 (584323)
10-01-2010 11:18 AM
Reply to: Message 45 by Dr Adequate
10-01-2010 3:23 AM

Govenor Harris's Speech
Dr. Adequate writes:
If he didn't care why the secessionists won the referendum, and if the real concerns of the Tennessee voters at the time of the second referendum was that Union soldiers would march through their lands on the way to the Lower South, then he could have played on that fear.
Yes he could have. Perhaps he should have. But the fact remains that the TN voting results were dramatically different despite essentially the same pre referendum rhetoric from the governor. Doesn't that at least suggest that some other force other than the content of the governor's speech was in play.

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Inactive Member

Message 75 of 193 (584388)
10-01-2010 3:07 PM
Reply to: Message 60 by Theodoric
10-01-2010 12:24 PM

Re: It's all relative
Theodoric writes:
Another way that the states rights argument fails. In order to promote slavery, the southern states had no problem in infringing on the rights of northern states to make slavery illegal.
Still, I believe there is some room for a pro-Confederacy argument that the south had the better Constitution argument. Yes there is a conflict between states rights on one side and the Fifth amendment, but that conflict had been resolved in the south's favor by legal means, namely the Dred Scott decison by the Supreme Court. Further the fugitive slave acts which were anathema to the northern states were explicitly supported in the Constitution.
Arti can't get to any of the best pro Confederacy arguments because he wants to deny that slavery played any role at all.

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Inactive Member

Message 76 of 193 (584390)
10-01-2010 3:23 PM
Reply to: Message 73 by Blue Jay
10-01-2010 2:42 PM

Re: Frustration?
Bluejay writes:
This is a shame, because I think it's an interesting debate topic that I don't know enough about. I figured the best way to keep the discussion going was to take a controversial stance, so I found a possible hole in the majority side and joined in.
I thought you did a fine job. There are holes in the majority view. Maybe Arti will get to them.
If you are really interested in the subject, I'd recommend looking at Prof David Blight's lecture series on iTunesU. Blight does a good job of hashing out the causes of the civil war. You don't need to look at all 27 lectures, but I'll have to warn you that they are somewhat addictive.

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Inactive Member

Message 77 of 193 (584393)
10-01-2010 3:40 PM
Reply to: Message 62 by Dr Adequate
10-01-2010 12:32 PM

Was the South Legally in the Right
Dr. A writes:
I think it has to be conceded that the South was legally in the right. After 150 years, there's no point in being partisan about this.
I don't concede that. But it's a bit off topic IMO so I'll resist going there for now.

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Inactive Member

Message 78 of 193 (584398)
10-01-2010 4:12 PM
Reply to: Message 71 by Tram law
10-01-2010 2:41 PM

Re: Only The Slaves In The Southern States Were Freed
Tram Law writes:
How was Lincoln able to free the slaves only in the Southern slave holdings states? Did he actually have the authority to?
Lincoln used his authority as commander in chief to take away property of the enemy being used against the USA in a war. Slave labor was being used to build fortifications among other things. Further, slaves=property was pretty much established law.
Emancipation Proclamation - Wikipedia
Slaves had been part of the "engine of war" for the Confederacy. They produced and prepared food; sewed uniforms; repaired railways; worked on farms and in factories, shipping yards, and mines; built fortifications; and served as hospital workers and common laborers.
Lincoln had no authority to free slaves in friendly states like Delaware or Kentucky.

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Inactive Member

Message 94 of 193 (584608)
10-02-2010 9:50 PM
Reply to: Message 86 by Blue Jay
10-02-2010 10:27 AM

Re: The Morality of States' Rights
Bluejay writes:
That's why Southerners are still disgruntled about the whole thing today: they feel like Lincoln used a popular stance on one moral issue to hide the fact that he was trampling all over another, less popular and less well-known moral issue that they felt was nevertheless bigger and more important.
Make that some southerners are still disgrunted. I don't empathize with them in the least.
Frankly, your argument has no legs. Secession began before Lincoln did anything at all. Further Lincoln's stated policy was that he wouldn't touch slavery in the slave states. The issue of what would happen to slavery in the western territories was certainly a national matter and not a matter of states rights.
And slavery wasn't just noise. It was the issue. No amount of self rule would have given the southern states to decide the fate of the western territories.
The southern states basically gave away the 1860 election, and probably had no future cards left to play except threatening secession in order to get their way on national issues. Then 7 states bolted as soon as the election results were in. I just don't see the states rights moral high ground here.
My take on states' rights, however, is that it wasn't the escape from tyranny that modern Confederates pretend it was, but just an attempt to shift the tyranny one level down the totem pole. Citizens of, for example, Georgia, would be as subject to a the tyrannical rule of Georgia as they had before been to the tyrannical rule of the Union.
That's my view as well. In particular, if you are in the minority on any local issue its just going to be your neighbors who will attempt to trample all over your personal rights.

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Inactive Member

Message 100 of 193 (584697)
10-03-2010 3:51 PM
Reply to: Message 95 by Dr Adequate
10-02-2010 10:01 PM

Dr. Adequate writes:
But the south (rightly) interpreted his election as a big "screw you" from the North to the South. He had been elected because he opposed slavery, by Northerners who opposed slavery, without him even bothering to go on the ballot in the Southern states. His election was a signal that the North was not prepared to compromise, and that eventually, if the Southern states remained in the Union, the North would abolish their "peculiar institution".
I think the opportunities for compromise were gone. The Missouri Compromise left in place a workable framework to keep a political balance in place, but both the Southern and Northern states hated it.
Jefferson Davis wrote the following in his 600 page memoir, "The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government"
For all the reasons thus stated, it seems to me conclusive that the action of the Congress of the Confederation in 1787 could not constitute a precedent to justify the action of the Congress of the United States in 1820, and that the prohibitory clause of the Missouri Compromise was without constitutional authority, in violation of the rights of a part of the joint owners of the territory, and in disregard of the obligations of the treaty with France.
Davis's epic is an unabashed apologetic for slavery and contains plenty of evidence that states rights is just a euphemism for right to own Africans.
The Dred Scott Decision vindicated the South's position regarding the Missouri Compromise, but the decision also pretty much removed any possibility of enforcing any compromises which limited slavery's expansion in any way. What's worse, the decision implied that slave holders could freely bring their slaves into non slave holding states.
Further Lincoln wasn't really an abolitionist on the order of William Lloyd Garrison. The south's rejection of both Lincoln and Stephen Douglas suggest that the South had already reached a no compromise position.
That said, Lincoln's failure to campaign in the South surely was not helpful. But pragmatically it would have been a pointless and probably counter productive effort.

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Inactive Member

Message 101 of 193 (584735)
10-03-2010 9:37 PM
Reply to: Message 29 by Dr Adequate
09-30-2010 10:44 PM

Re: Despicable?
Dr. Adequate writes:
Despicable how? It is certainly true that the USA and CSA didn't have to resolve their differences by war. The USA wanted to, and however much we may sympathize with their goals, they didn't have to if they didn't want to.
Fair enough.
First, the South had no right to secede, and in any event their reasons for doing so were reprehensible. Second, the South had no right to seize federal property or to fire on Fort Sumter. In short the 'you could have left us alone to exploit Africans' rationale denies all Southern responsibility for the war.
Further, the slaves had no say about secession even though they were a large fraction of the southern population and despite the fact that their status would be dramatically worsened under the Confederacy. I understand that legally the slaves had 'no rights that a white man is bound to respect' prior to the civil war. Still, I find secession against the will of the slaves or any other large minority of Southerners in a state to be evil even if legal.
Finally, if the CSA were not coerced, freedom and equality for blacks would have come when? In the fullness of time? While it is true that the North did not fight to free the slaves, they snorking well should have.
Perhaps it is not fair to judge the confederacy under today's standards of fairness and morality. But it sure is fair to bring this stuff up when modern Neo Confederates wax nostalgic about the antebellum south. I can certainly judge modern apologists, and I'm not accusing anyone here of being one, by today's standards.

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Inactive Member

Message 103 of 193 (584742)
10-03-2010 10:00 PM
Reply to: Message 91 by jar
10-02-2010 11:59 AM

Re: And a short historical aside.
Dear Mother! burst the tyrant's chain,
Maryland! My Maryland!
Virginia should not call in vain,
Maryland! My Maryland!
Yikes! The reference to Lincoln is very blatant. Pretty amusing.
I had not heard of this USNA glee club tradition and I'm a grad. Looks like it started after my time.
InfieldFest - Preakness Stakes
The USNA Glee Club has performed "Maryland, My Maryland" during the Preakness Post Parade for the past 13 years.

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Inactive Member

Message 105 of 193 (584749)
10-03-2010 10:40 PM
Reply to: Message 102 by jar
10-03-2010 9:41 PM

Re: Why didn't the south have a right to secede?
jar writes:
Why didn't the south have a right to secede?
I understand that there is debate about this, but for one thing, the official answer to the question is found in Texas v. White
6. When Texas became one of the United States, she entered into an indissoluble relation. The union between Texas and the other States was as complete, as perpetual, and as indissoluble as the union between the original States. There was no place for reconsideration or revocation, except through revolution or through consent of the States.
Some people point to the Declaration of Independence as supporting the right to secede, but 1) The Declaration has no legal force, and 2) the Declaration was about the right to revolt. If revolution rather than secession is what the South wanted, then by siezing federal assets without compensation and firing on Ft sumter, the South got their wish.
My personal legal theory is that federal government was formed by the people yielding up their individual rights to form a government. The federal government then yielded rights back to the states allowing them to govern. The idea that states could then simply back out at will any time they lost an election as if the union was a simply contract between the states is simply ludicrous in my mind.
Edited by NoNukes, : Not finished

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