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Discussion in 'History Forum' started by Salty, Nov 16, 2013.
In your opinion - what was the cause (s) of the War Between the States?
IMHO it began primarily over:
[*]States rights issue
[*]The expansion West. Would the states be slave or free.
[*]Slavery was not the leading issue, but became so for many later.[/SIZE]
Would you say that was the order of imporrtance?
Salty, I was thinking more of it as a chronological list.
Politics is pretty much right. Members of Congress, prior to the war, gave great preference to the industrialized northern states. The special treatment included attempting to prevent foreign trade with the Southern states. The Southern cotton producers, for example, were expected to sell only to the factories in the North, rather than to other countries. The finished products turned out by the Northern textile mills and other factories were taxed at exorbitant rates, which made those products unaffordable in the South. These were products the South needed for its retail merchants, but they couldn't afford to buy, ship and offer for sale those products.
The fact is, the Civil War should never have happened. Had Congress listened to the Southern delegations when they attempted to explain the problems they were facings and put an end to the unfair trade practices the national legislature imposed on its own people, the Southern states would not have seceded and the war would not have occurred. The reality is, the North brought the war upon itself, and had to make a more noble excuse for the war, after the fact, than the truth that they tried to break the economic freedoms of the South, and nearly destroyed the country in the process. From that perspective, Lincoln's effort to save the Union seems almost ignoble, given the war was not the South's fault.
These facts fly in the face of the history books we all had in elementary, junior high and high school. It has been taught for nearly 150 years that the Civil War was solely about the abolition of slavery, with no mention of the economic policies introduced by the majority in Congress, the Northern delegations, that ruined the Southern economy. Slavery, however, did not become a major issue until John Brown's raid on Harper's Ferry, after the Battle of Antietam in September 1862. It was following that event that President Abraham Lincoln decided to free the slaves in the Confederate States in order to punish those states for continuing the war effort. But look at the time line there. Fighting broke out nearly two years before that.
Plantations and slaves were under the ownership if the richer Southerners. Most in the South did not have either in their possession. The majority of businessmen in the South were small farmers. They worked the land by themselves, or with their teenaged sons, if they were fortunate enough to have them. The economic fight they took to Washington through their elected representatives was a fight for their economic rights, and in reality a fight for their economic survival. The Northern congressional delegations were robbing them of their lifestyle and their independence. The North was acting in accord against the South to take away those rights and freedoms. The South wanted the United States Government to stop dictating to them how they should live and do business. It was very much a renewal of the same fight the Colonies took up against Great Britain less than 100 years earlier.
Why are we therefore taught that the Civil War was solely about slavery? Simple: History books are written by the victors. In the Civil War, that the Union.
IMO, the most important issue was state's rights.
No war is started over a single issue. But the one issue that the South could not handle was the abolition of the wicked, vile, dehumanising institution of racial slavery. They had learned to deal and tolerate the rest, but this issue was where they drew the line and would not budge.
I grew up in Alabama. I was taught the southern view. I love the South. If I ever had to leave Ireland I would beg God to send me back to the South.
But in the Civil War the spark that lit the powder keg was ungodly men, including to my disgust, professing Christians, trying to defend the indefensible, the ownership of another human being.
Without slavery there would have been no Civil War.
How many States Rights defenders today would defend state control over abortion or support the states right to legalise same sex marriage or the right of states to legalise marijuana? I am a big defender of constitutional states rights, but we can't use it to defend the indefensible - such as owning another man.
Since the war began before abolition was accomplished, that pretty much negates the reason for the war starting.
You believe this because it is what you have been taught, from those same grade school and high school history books. They're wrong. The war would have been fought regardless. The North, trying to justify its treatment of the Southern states, made it about slavery, and Lincoln helped promote the idea with the Emancipation Proclamation. That was issued on January 1, 1863, which was either 21 months, or a full two years, after the first shots of the Civil War. That depends on whether you believe those "first shots" were fired by cadets at what is now the Citadel, then the South Carolina Military Academy, on the Star of the West resupply ship to Ft. Sumter on New Year's Day, 1861, or by artillery batteries that undertook the bombardment of Ft. Sumter by forces under the command of CSA Brigadier General P.G.T. Beauregard over three months later, on April 12.
I was taught southern propaganda teaching in Alabama in the 60s and 70s when racism was still rampant.
Slavery was an issue LONG before 1863. The South regarded racial slavery as their divine right and they were willing to fight for it and die to preserve their way of life, which included the enslavement of fellow human beings. They were willing to defend their 'peculiar institution' to the death. It took me years to realise the lies that I was taught in the Alabama school system.
Abolition did not begin with John Brown and the Emancipation Proclamation. Pre-war writings make it clear that the southern man owners were not going to give up their 'property' without a fight.
The institution of slavery was specifically and shamefully protected by the CSA constitution. It was an issue to the constitutional convention.
The war wrecked the whole concept of States rights. If the South had been willing to give up their disgusting practice without a war states would still have their rights today.
If the North was so Anti-Slavely - why did the EP exempt the Norther States?
Keep in mind that the Constitution of the CSA mentioned slaves See Article 1 - section 9
(BTW - the CSA talk about the Womens vote before the USA ever did anything about it.)
Had the CSA been victorious - would the (remaining) 23 USA States have passed the 13-15 Amendments?
And which country ( USA or CSA ) would have had more States rights?
To the question on US slavery the northern states had already banned the ownership of other humans.
Haven't a clue on what would have happened. It would all be conjecture. The south didn't, thankfully, win the war and was forced to abandon their wicked 'peculiar institution.'
Only looked at one declaration of reasons for secession so far, from Georgia. It is quite clear from the very start why they left the Union.
From Mississippi's statement on the same link.
I am ashamed to admit that for about 10 years in the 80s I even taught the 'States rights' southern propaganda to my high school students in Alabama.
And from Texas
There is a very readable book by McKinlay Kantor, "What If the South Had Won the Civil War". Probably long out of print, but also probably available cheap from Amazon or Barnes and Noble online.
At the end of the book the two countries are negotiating merging the two countries into one again.
Believe it or not I think I read it. I think Texas was also involved in the peace talks?
I have probably read a dozen or so books on that topic and it's still all conjecture .
All I know for sure is that the result I would have been worse if slavery had survived one day longer than it did.
Please note that my home state of Alabama made it very clear that the main purpose for secession was to protect the ownership of other men.