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2018-02-12 18:42 by Karl Denninger
in Social Issues , 304 references Ignore this thread
Enough On Lincoln
[Comments enabled]

So spake a snake.

Jeff Sessions to the Union League, marking Lincoln Day: “Slavery was the cause of the war. It was not states’ rights or tariffs or agrarian versus industrial economies….The cloud, the stain of human bondage—the buying and selling of human beings—was the unsolvable problem."

Bah.

There's so much bullcrap that is run on Lincoln and the Civil War that comes from indoctrination in government schools that it's puke-inducing.

Don't get me wrong on this, and before you get out the rotten eggs and start the virtue-signalling nonsense just shut the **** up, sit down and read.

Then decide, for I have an intellectual assignment for you that you should, if you believe the common narrative, have no trouble completing.

First, let's note that importation of slaves was halted in 1808 under the Jefferson Administration.  There were contraband vessels that from time to time came in anyway, much as there are today with drugs, but since people are relatively large and hard to hide, there was little of that post 1808.  Most slave population growth from that point forward, in other words, was "indigenous"; existing slaves had children which were the property of the female's owner (and the responsibility to provide for at their expense until they were able to perform a usable amount of labor, at which point their economic output rose above zero.)

Ironically, Eli Whitney's cotton gin patent was validated in 1807, and it dramatically increased the ability to clean raw cotton of its seeds -- and by doing so made plantations far more viable than they had been before.  This of course drove demand for the ability to pick all that cotton.  You see, cotton as a crop is much more difficult to harvest in the time available than it is to sow or cultivate, so the limiting factor on acreage planted for a given amount of labor was that which you could harvest -- the rest of whatever land you had was planted with less labor-intensive crops such as corn.

There are plenty of arguments over whether or not slavery was doomed for economic reasons.  But among those who argue it definitely was not there are a couple of severe flaws in their logic that none of them adequately explain.  Chief among these is that all of said proponents both recognize and admit that extending slavery into the new territories of the west was critical for the southern states, and without it slavery would have collapsed under its own weight.  This is a classic piece of evidence that in fact slavery was a Ponzi scheme in that it was not so much maintenance of an existing "customer base" (if you will) that made it work on an economic basis but an ever-increasing, exponentially-so, customer base that was driving the economic value of the item in question -- in this case, slaves.  Of course all such schemes inherently must collapse because indefinitely exponential expansion is mathematically impossible; the only argument that remains is when they will collapse, not if.  In other words if expansion of slave-holding territory was essential to the viability of the US slavery system then no, slaves were not economically viable on the basis of their labor contribution .vs. cost.  It was only through grossly-expanding demand that the illusion of a "growing and stable" market was presented.

The second, and far more-serious flaw in said reasoning however is that again, by the proponent's of "it was economically successful" numerical figuresthe vast majority of free southern adult males were not slaveowners.  In fact about 80% of said households (women didn't have property rights, by and large, at the time) owned no slaves whatsoever.  Nearly half of the remaining 20% held fewer than five.  In other words the "big plantation with lots of slaves" was a rarity, and those people were incredibly wealthy indeed.  By today's standards if you held over 100 slaves, depending on how you choose to treat inflation (trust me, that's a snakepit over time periods of this length) you were probably a billionaire.

The implication of these figures is staggering when you think about it.  For the narrative taught in government schools to hold it must have been true that fewer than one in five adult males committed the other 80% to "defend" the 20%'s wealth, and ultimately many of them died, for damn few of those who were slaveholders took up arms as infantry -- those most-exposed to winding up dead on the battlefield.

Let that sink into your 'noggin for a minute.

Now consider this, which is perhaps where you really ought to spend your time and mental energy when evaluating the above: The most-accurate estimates we have are that fewer than 10% of those fighting on either side were conscripts; nearly all volunteered!

To put figures on this there were about 2 million free adult men in the Confederate South at the start of the war.  Best estimates are that somewhere around half of them fought and close to a third of them died between battle injuries, disease (which killed 50% more than battle did!) and a sizable number died in Northern prison camps, probably of privation and disease while interned.

So what the proponents of "it was boomtown city economically in the slave states" and "the Civil War was all about slavery and nothing else of consequence mattered" demand you believe is that less than 20% of the adult male population, which were the only adult males with any economic interest in slaves at all and were filthy rich as a result, managed to get 50% of the adult male population, which were mostly those without slaves (and thus were not filthy rich) to pick up guns, willingly enlist and fight -- and which ultimately ending in the death of a third of those who did so.

As soon as you can explain to me why 20% of the population with an economic interest can manage to convince the other 80% to voluntarily take a great and known risk of getting killed and being dispossessed of everything they owned when there was no economic benefit to be personally maintained or gained by doing so since they did not own slaves in the first place then we can probably agree that slavery was the defining issue that led the South to both secede and continue down the path of events from there that led to shooting -- and that nothing else was a serious factor.

Your assignment is to first look up data (and assumptions made) from those who are most favorable to the case that slavery was the real issue of the war, and without it no other factor would have motivated men to shoot and die -- that is, those who argue that slavery was both very economically viable at the time and would continue to be into the reasonably indefinite future. With such data as the predicate and backstop to your argument you must then explain how 20% of the adult male population managed to convince more than half of the other 80% to go out and commit suicide, both economically and literally, for no economic or personal benefit whatsoever.  In other words, you must explain how that 20% managed to convince the 80% to voluntarily both destroy everything they had and then die solely to protect the wealth of said 20% with none of the reasonably foreseeable benefit, if they had won, going to those who actually did the fighting.

You may begin your assignment in the comment section.

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Flappingeagle
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Here's how I see it. The REAL cause of the war was that Lincoln and the United States refused to let the states that initially formed the Confederacy leave in peace.

If they let them leave in peace then Virginia, Arkansas and most likely North Carolina and Tennessee stay in the United States and you have a much smaller and weaker Confederacy.

You can put both 1.1 million deaths and the fact that we have a unified country with a federal government that does whatever the hell it wants on Lincoln.

Flap

P.S. The non slave owners fought because they were invaded by a foreign country.

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Here are my predictions for everyone to see:
S&P 500 at 320, DOW at 2200, Gold $300/oz, and Corn $2/bu.
No sign that housing, equities, or farmland are in a bubble- Yellen 11/14/13
Trying to leave the Rat Race to the rats...

Reason: Added P.S.
Asimov
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Quote:
There were contraband vessels that from time to time came in anyway, much as there are today with drugs, but since people are relatively large and hard to hide, there was little of that post 1808.


My understanding is that the reason the slave importers didn't have a problem with the law, and didn't try to cheat on it, is because it wasn't economic for them by that point anyway. There was almost no import in the years leading up to that law either.

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It's justifiably immoral to deal morally with an immoral entity.

Festina lente.
Comrader
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pa
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think that it had to do with taxes on cotton and that the south was forced to sell their cotton to northern manufacturers rather than export for a higher profit. i see what you are getting at, we are taxed on every damn thing and don't do ****. these young kids marched across states and ran into cannon fire.
Phdude
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I've read several Civil War books in the last year. I have no bias in the matter since I was not born here, and my country had slaves 2000+ years ago (and it wasn't even a country, just city-states).

It's clear to me that the war was fought for ideological dominance: An agrarian and somewhat aristocratic society, vs a mercantilistic/industrialist society.

Slavery was an issue, and it definitely was a serious issue leading to the war, but it was NOT the reason Virginia seceded. The secession of Virginia was the turning point, and Virginia seceded because Lincoln asked for 70.000 volunteers to INVADE the southern states that had seceded. Lee, Jackson & the rest decided to side with Virginia & the south for exactly that reason: they were defending their country.

In my eyes, Lincoln was a political bully that is responsible for the death of 1M+ million people, and for starting the massive centralization of power into the federal government.

Oh and by the way, the abolition of slavery was brought to the forefront in 1862, and the emancipation proclamation happened after Antietam. It was a political move intended to appease the radicalist section of the republican party, and a way to deter England & France from recognizing the Confederacy.

In my mind, aside from the issue of slavery, in every other aspect, the South was right.
Idiom
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Most American discussions of slavery are so ethnocentric it hurts. This is because if you look at in the broader context of the world, the English pretty much single handedly wiped out and institution that had been with all humans since the damn of time.

Thus we don't discuss the wider context.

Excellent summary:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_NoWIZv9....
Jtr
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"My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that." -Lincoln

http://www.abrahamlincolnonline.org/linc....
Jfreeb
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My evidence that slavery was the primary reason for the war - and that the South fully expected to bring the North to its knees - is the Cotton is King speech of 1858 by Sen James Henry Hammond of SC (also formerly Gov and a major slaveowner). Technically the speech was in support of the Lecompton Constitution for the admission of Kansas as a state - and that issue split the Dems into Northern Douglas Dems and Southern Slaveowner Dems. Hammond was a leader of the group called FireEaters which drove secession. That group is only forgotten now because a)the South lost and needed a different rationale for the war and created the 'Lost Cause' mythology and b)many of the FireEaters themselves died during the war (NOT KIA though) or went into permanent exile after.

And they got non-slaveowning southern whites to do their bidding by creating what is now called the 'mudsill theory' (again from that speech) - that the existence of a mudsill class (black slaves in the South) allowed all other classes to refine/civilize/advance/etc. IOW - as long as slavery exists here, then you won't be the mudsill class. If it fails here, then you may well become the mudsill class just like white wage-laborers in the North.

That speech, along with the actual documents of secession, are easily the most overlooked documents of the time in history books. And they were well-known at the time - since Bleeding Kansas was where the Civil War really started - in 1854. Lincoln himself made a speech blasting the 'mud-sill theory'.

http://www.americanantiquarian.org/Freed....
Tickerguy
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It's considered foolish to cite something that actually argues the opposing point, even in part...

Thus spaketh the poster's source wrote..

Yesterday, the Senator said, suppose we admit Kansas with the Le compton constitutionwhat guarantees are there that Congress will not again interfere with the affairs of Kansas? meaning, I suppose, that if she abolished slavery, what guarantee there was that Congress would not force it upon her again. So far as we of the South are concerned, you have, at least, the guarantee of good faith that never has been violated. But what guarantee have we, when you have this Government in your possession, in all its departments, even if we submit quietly to what the Senator exhorts us to submit to-the limitation of slavery to its present territory, and even to the reconstruction of the Supreme Court-that you will not plunder us with tariffs; that you will not bankrupt us with internal improvements and bounties on your exports; that you will not cramp us with navigation laws, and other law s impeding the facilities of transportation to southern produce? What guarantee have we that you will not create a new bank, and concentrate all the finances of this country at the North, where already, for the want of direct trade and a proper system of banking in the South, they are ruinously concentrated? Nay, what guarantee have we that you will not emancipate our slaves, or, at least, make the attempt? We cannot rely on your faith when you have the power. It has been always broken whenever pledged.


Oh, and you didn't answer the question presented. You thus earn an "F" for the attempted misdirection, unless of course you wish to answer the question I posed...... in which case your next post would be well-advised to do so, and that post should be fairly expeditious in its appearance.

Just in case you haven't paid attention, given your low post count (but long tenure) here, attempted misdirection tends to be a capital offense. Choose wisely.

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Winding it down.

Abmd
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I had read that the Corwin amendment was passed by the republican congress and signed by Lincoln 2 days before the first shots were fired at fort sumter by the confederates thus starting the civil war. the law stated that it would be illegal to ratify any law to abolish slavery in the south. the south was handed on a silver platter a law legalizing slavery forever. mr. denninger is therefore correct that the war was fought for other reasons, most probably those he stated.
thanks and with kind regards, ab.
Cthulhu
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There are a couple of points that were not taught in California schools that I learned after travelling in the South. Mind you, they're not the Gospel....just things worth thinking about.

The first is that all 13 colonies originally had slaves. Slavery was abolished in Vermont (1777), Pennsylvania (1780), New Hampshire and Massachussetts (1783), Connecticut and Rhode Island (1784), New York (1799), and New Jersey (1804). This left Maryland, Virginia, North and South Carolina, and Georgia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slave_stat....

As each of the northern states abolished slavery, they generally did not free their slaves....instead, they sold them southward -- contributing to the expression: "being sold down the river". Northern states generally faced no financial hardship for abolishing slavery because their slaves had already been sold elsewhere for cash.

In the South, in the buildup to the Civil War, there were schemes to keep ahead of the forces for abolition by shipping slaves to the west. There were both geographic and political reasons why this was totally infeasible.

In addition, classical education at the time featured many examples of the historical emancipation of slaves within a state....that later progressed to a general slaughter at the hands of the former slaves (who, it is granted, had much to be pissed about). There were no counterexamples where a grateful population of emancipated slaves lived in peace and harmony along with their former masters and general populace.

In short, northern states packed their own slaves into the southern states and collected cash for doing so, before insisting that southern states outright free them regardless of economic loss, despite all textbooks indicating this was outright suicide. If the North would have insisted all slaves be sold in Brazil, it is likely there would have been no war.

Again, YMMV.....but all the northern states selling their slaves before making slavery illegal is a big deal.
Radiosity
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Oh, this is an easy one for the empty-headed and vacuous yuufs of today:

Because patriarchy. And white men.

The sad thing is they'd actually try putting that forward as an argument, like they do in basically every other walk of life. Because apparently everything is the white man's fault, especially slavery.

And don't even get me STARTED on the morons in this country who think Britain was historically a nation of slave-owning despots. Protip abridged history lesson for the mentally challenged snowflakes: Britain ENDED SLAVERY, you ****nuggets.

At great personal cost to the nation, too, not only financial, but the loss of naval seamen's lives fighting the slavers AND our standing with our ******N ALLIES at the time (Portugal for example, who were allied with us against the Frenchists). It's truly disgusting how far we've fallen in both our countries, if this is the calibre of our youth now. Five+ years of indoctrination in public schools will do that, I suppose.

Excellent video on the subject if you're not quite so up on British and European history:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2vFO0Olc....
Jfms99
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To Radiosity:

While you are correct that England ended the the Slave Trade, here is the chronology of that:
England passed a Bill in 1807 which outlawed the trade on Slavery, but not Slavery itself.

That did not happen till 1833, but with exceptions, those being for the British East India Company and certain places in the Empire till 1843.

So there was a lot of Hypocrisy with England on this issue.
Croumeli
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The war was about MONEY, economic prosperity, and sovereignty. Before the war the South funded ~80% of federal revenue.
Vineyardmh
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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.
https://www.civilwar.org/learn/primary-s....
(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.'
Bodhi
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Quote:
We cannot rely on your faith when you have the power. It has been always broken whenever pledged.


Just ask any Native American about the faith and honor of the federal government.

Also, the abolitionist John Brown tried to incite a slave rebellion in Virginia. Virginia had many reasons to mistrust Lincoln and the federal government, not the least of which Lincoln's call for the remaining United States to put down the rebellion in the newly seceded Confederate States. This pushed Virginia to also secede, after which 6 more states quickly followed. Lincoln had chosen to ignore the Constitution and impose his own will by not allowing states to peacefully secede ultimately resulting in the deaths of approximately 620,000 out of a population of 31 million. A most dreadful price to "preserve the union."
Maynard
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This was posted by a member here and I am sure they will chime in and won't name them but I thought it was worth saving.
Quote:

Prior to Lincoln's armed incursion into the southern seceded states, there was no conflict at all at Ft Sumter. The fort had been running low on supplies, but the local population was providing them food and water. The commander of Ft Sumter had inquired with his commanders whether to turn the fort over to the Confederate States, but he was ordered by Lincoln to remain in place and hold the fort.

The Union invasion force was sent under the auspices of a "resupply" effort. However, only one or two of the ships actually had any supplies. The rest were armed ships of the line. Had only the supply ships approached the fort, they would not have been fired on. The firing started when ONLY the armed Union ships approached. The supply ships only came to the fort afterwards. One of the first false flag events the in history of our country! The Confederacy did NOT want nor start the war. Lincoln did.

Prior to the War of Northern Aggression, there was no question whether secession was legal or not. Prior to the war, prevailing legal opinion was that secession was legal. Had the South prevailed in the war - which almost happened on a couple of occasions - there would be no argument whether it was legal or not.

The argument that secession is illegal under the Constitution is a straw man argument. It can only be made because the Union wound up prevailing. Had the Confederacy won - which it almost did on a couple of occasions - as Little_eddie notes, the "law of force" would then say it would certainly be legal. Or put more simply, The winner makes the rules. It would be a moot point as to whether it was Constitutional or not.

And if that were not true, then we would "legally" still be subjects of the Crown, and the US Constitution would also be illegal. However, we have a Declaration of Independence that, upon being written, was an illegal break from the British. All signatories had prices on their heads and were considered in rebellion. That we won the Revolutionary War and signed the Constitution because of the "law of force" is all the evidence needed to counter the argument that secession is not allowable under the Constitution. It is a moot point. If Lincoln's war had turned the other way, today there would be the United States of America AND the Confederate States of America. Not saying that it would be better or worse, and not making that argument either way. But the two countries would exist and things would have happened VERY differently over the last 150 + years.

This is not to support slavery in any way (cause you know someone will make that accusation here). Just pointing out historical fact. Just like the fact (never taught) that the pretty much the ENTIRE slave trade was run out of northern ports with all the slave trading ships coming out of the north (look into the history of why fence posts in the north are adorned with pineapples. Just sayin . . .) Also not taught is that the Confederate Constitution banned the slave trade. In the context of the time, banning the slave trade was the natural first step on the peaceful path to the abolition of the institution of slavery (a good thing). Other nations had already gone down that path, with the next step after banning the slave trade peacefully banning slavery altogether.

The War of Northern Aggression was NOT initially fought to abolish slavery. In fact, one can make a solid argument that one of the main reasons the north invaded the south was from political pressure to continue reaping the profits the Northern Slave traders made from selling slaves in the south, in addition to the profits made in taxes laid on southern exports which was another main reason the south seceded. Not to mention that slavery as an institution in the south was already on its way out anyway due to the increased industrialization and mechanization of farming, but that is another discussion.

Also not taught is that the abolition movement started in the South . . . - nor is the fact that true vile racism was much deeper and more virulent - and violent - in the North. Nor is taught the fact that Lincoln was a true racist (in the true definition of the word) and a bigot. He fully supported and funded the shipping of ALL slaves and black freedmen from Africa back to Africa (Liberia anyone?).
Quote:
Confederacy was an attempt at dissolution of the Union and the Constitution

BULL. False argument. Yes, it was a dissolution of the Union of the States, as it existed at the time. However, the US Constitution would still have been in full force and effect for the remaining - and future States - unless the remaining states chose to dissolve it, which they did not do when the south seceded.
Snowman
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I take a different view.
"rich man's war, poor man's fight".

Slavery was only a part of the narrative that got the 80% to fight for the 20% (or rather 5/95).
I think there was fear mongering in the South that the South would be subjugated under the North. It was an inferiority complex. The North would steal their assets (not just freeing slaves), control their lives, impose their demands on a far smaller populated and far poorer South.

One of the only economic paths for the poor white Southerner was to acquire land and slaves to work it. He saw the North attempting to cut him off of this potential path. I don't think it was a defense of owning people. I read that 70% of the Confederate army were farmers, versus 50% of the North.

I think a better question: why did the North fight the fight? How did the North get the also common man to volunteer to fight? I think partly because the South "started it" and they had to defend the idea of being American. Partly because they looked down on the South. Not too different from the "war of ideas" we have today between the coastal liberals and everyone else.

At the end of the Civil War, though, I gather soldiers on both sides didn't have any idea why they fought in the first place.
Merlin
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If slavery was REALLY the reason behind the Civil War, Then all Lincoln had to do was use Federal money to BUY UP all the remaining slaves and set them free. It would have been one hell of a lot cheaper than going to WAR.
Tickerguy
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@Vineyardmh:
Quote:
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.

In other words, you have a bunch of "perhaps" deals, but you can't explain it. Even when you read, in a Senator's own words, exactly what some of the reasons were. That sounds like intentional dishonesty.

You think that Southerners were all a bunch of dumb hicks, in short. Too stupid to figure it out on their own. Never mind that the South had, as said Senator outlined, watched as the North enacted preferential tariffs that taxed the hell out of them (on a comparable basis) and essentially treated them as economic serfs, even though the cotton trade was a major part of what made the "engine" of economic prosperity for the North work!

Oh, by the way, the North sold their slaves into the South as others noted when Northern States abolished slavery. THEY DID NOT SET THEM FREE TO LIVE AMONG THEM IN THE NORTHERN STATES, they turned their economic value into CASH and SOLD THEM AS PROPERTY to Southerners. Then, having done that, they wished to KEEP the cash and destroy the value of the asset.

Sounds like something a bankster would do, doesn't it? Well, that's because it was.

Was slavery a big part of the war? You bet. But that doesn't explain how you get MORE THAN HALF of all non-slave-owning free men to go to war and die for something that, if the common claim that "it was all about slavery" is true, had ZERO economic or personal benefit to them.

THAT was the challenge put before everyone in the Ticker -- explain that.

Further, explain WHY, if the economics were known (specifically, that the Western Territories by the admission of both Northern and Southern states delegations were NECESSARY to "expand slavery" for it to remain economically viable) to be a ponzi scheme war was necessary to free the slaves AT ALL. You only had to cut off slavery expansion into the western territories and the scheme would have immediately collapsed. Further, even if you DIDN'T do so the scheme would EVENTUALLY collapse (although it would have taken an intolerably long time to do so, in all probability.) In other words there was a NON-WAR answer available and the political means to use it was ALSO available.

I note that not one person who holds the opinion that slavery was the motivation for the Civil War, bar none, have managed to even APPROACH either question and provide some sort of answer.

If you have a set of facts -- and in this case the FACTS are that fewer than 20% of free Southern men owned ANY slaves, and yet of the remaining 80% more than half picked up arms voluntarily (only 10% of both sides military power was via conscription, approximately) and went off to what they KNEW would be a bloody and nasty war from which MANY would not return, then any HONEST assessment of what happened needs to be able to discern what would motivate said group of people to undertake those actions.

It could not have been simply "protecting the institution of slavery" because those individuals had ZERO benefit accruing to them from doing so -- either previously or in the the reasonably foreseeable future.

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Ckaminski
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Quote:
English pretty much single handedly wiped out and institution that had been with all humans since the damn of time.


And maybe not so ironically to the progressives, did it through the guise of unfettered capitalism/mechanization.

Quote:
If slavery was REALLY the reason behind the Civil War, Then all Lincoln had to do was use Federal money to BUY UP all the remaining slaves and set them free. It would have been one hell of a lot cheaper than going to WAR.


This is an interesting option I'd never considered - a law making ownership of slaves illegal with a "buyout" provision that would pass 4th amendment muster should have been sufficient to put an end to any economic arguments.

Tickerguy
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Never mind that Lincoln issued enough Greenbacks during the war to pay for this several times over, and further, it would NOT have laid waste all the Southern infrastructure.

That doesn't work though if the entire war was a pretext to destroy all the Southern infrastructure in the first place.

"How dare you oppose my aaaauuutthhooorrriiitttty! I'll burn your cities, murder a third of your population and steal better than half the wealth held in your lands!"

Sounds like Hitler, Stalin or Mao, doesn't it?

That's because it was.

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Inventive
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We had this kinda debate fairly often in History classes while I was in college. Yankees would always bring up that many of the letters and speeches on secession listed slavery as a reason for leaving the Union.

My response was pretty much always, "different people can have different reasons for doing the same thing". Rich slave owners probably did want to fight for the Confederacy to keep slavery legal, among other reasons I'm sure.

But as you said repeatedly, slavery wasn't good enough a reason for the majority of the people in the South to choose to fight.

I think the biggest thing that people forget about the Civil War/War of Northern Aggression is just how soon after the American Revolution it was. Less than 80 years between the two, a tiny amount of time...

Robert E. Lee's father was a hero of the Revolution. Thomas Jackson's father and grandfather fought in it as well, most of the men fighting in the Civil War would have had a direction connection the Revolutionary War. They grew up hearing stories of British tyranny, is it any surprise that they looked at the North and got the feeling that history was repeating itself?
Tickerguy
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Well, of course Slavery was ONE OF the reasons for secession.

HOWEVER, my riposte to that is "so what?"

Either the Revolutionary War was illegitimate OR SECESSION IS LEGITIMATE. You cannot have this both ways. The people either are the master of the government OR THEY ARE SLAVES. Again, you cannot have this both ways. If EVERYONE in a part of a nation is a slave DOES IT MATTER TO WHOM YOU ARE A SLAVE? Nope!

If it was legitimate for the Colonists to tell the King to******off, and enforce that with guns when he said "No" then it was ALSO legitimate for the Southern States to tell the North to******off, AND ENFORCE THAT WITH A GUN if the North refused to accept it.

And, I remind you, it wasn't necessary to use the guns -- nor were they used -- until the North sent a bunch of ships full of arms and men to Ft. Sumpter -- NOT just ordinary supplies.

The premise that one or more states does not have the right to say "NUTS!" to DC is horse****. The people ALWAYS have the right to do that as a collective.

ALWAYS.

It is that very premise upon which our nation rests; to deny it is to invalidate the United States as a Representative Republic in its entirety at which point we may as well start shooting now and get it over with since the alternative is that we are all slaves -- here, now and today.

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Bagbalm
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I've heard a number of places that the sexual exploitation of slaves was an issue also - but that in that era it could not be discussed in public at all. Indeed not even in private in many cases.
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