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User Info Enough On Lincoln; entered at 2018-02-13 02:08:29
Posts: 20
Registered: 2010-02-12 Bremerton, WA
A few random thoughts....

A great book to read - "Freeing Slaves and Emancipating Free Men: A History of the American Civil War" - by Jeffrey Rogers Hummel - covers the nature of chattel slavery being a horrid Ponzi scheme that did NOT enrich Southerners - but it did 'rot their souls'. This book validates some of the comments made by Karl.

Another great book to read: "The President's War; Six American Presidents and the Civil War That Divided Them" - by Chris DeRose. This book helps understand the many forces that led to the inevitable Civil War. One key thing to remember (and this is well documented in the book) - while initially the North did NOT go to war to 'free the slaves' (that came later...) - the SOUTH was willing to go to war for the right to keep slaves. In the book, the author references some "Articles of Secession" issued by southern states that decided to leave the Union. The most prevelant reason in the Articles of Secession was NOT 'tariffs' or 'state's rights' - but the desire to keep and preserve the institution of slavery! SO - in their 'own words' - Southern legislators declared that they would secede in order to be able to keep slaves. [SO - the legislators were committed to secede to preserve slavery; less is known if they would have been so 'devoted' to the cause if they were told that they personally would have to go and fight.]

Here is a link to 5 state 'secession resolutions' - and 4 of the 5 are clear - the goal is preservation of slavery.
(For the 1 state, VA, that did not mention slavery as a cause for secession in their brief resolution, one must look to articles that document the debate - where slavery WAS mentioned frequently and was considered a big reason.)

Why were large numbers of poor southern whites willing to go to war to fight for slavery, an institution that did not benefit them? My guess is that (and this is alluded to in both books) - that in the south, there was a hierarchy (much like in older India with it's 'Caste System' - and much still exists) - even a poor white considered himself much better off than black slaves, and they could not countenance a system where blacks might be equal - or perhaps above the poor whites. Perhaps - a great degree of racism and unwillingness to see blacks as equal humans? Add to that the pride in 'your own state' was greater than pride in being part of the nation (consider that Robert E. Lee, a brilliant tactician and general, would have likely been given overall command of all Union forces, but he considered himself a Virginian first, and an American second, even though he opposed slavery. Lee & his wife 'inherited' slaves from his wife's father's estate, and he sought to free them within 5 years- per the father's wishes, per a letter written in 1858.

Of note - Of all the letters by Lee that have been collected by archivists and historians over the years, one of the most famous was written to his wife in 1856. 'In this enlightened age, there are few I believe, but what will acknowledge, that slavery as an institution, is a moral & political evil in any Country,' he wrote.

But he added that slavery was 'a greater evil to the white man than to the black race' in the United States, and that the 'painful discipline they are undergoing, is necessary for their instruction.'
2018-02-13 02:08:29