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Author Topic: U.S. Grant
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Comment: I've been running into the following quote on several history message
boards throughout the net, attributed to Ulysses S. Grant:

"If I thought this war was to abolish slavery, I would resign my
commission, and offer my sword to the other side."

Probably you could have 50 webpages on quotes alone, but it irks me to see
this thread brought up only to by confederate reinactors in order to claim
that the Civil War had nothing to do about slavery. I can't find it
outside of that particular context, so it does make me wonder. Grant could
have said this, but it seems like it would have been an oddball thing to
say even if he owned slaves.

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Johnny Slick
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While it's damn near impossible to prove a negative, I think that some of the other statements he made about slavery would kind of contradict this:

quote:
From a November 27, 1861 letter to his father:"My inclination is to whip the rebellion into submission, preserving all Constitutional rights. If it cannot be whipped any other way than through a war against slavery, let it come to to that legitimately. If it is necessary that slavery should fall that the Republic may continue its existence, let slavery go."
quote:
An 1863 letter to Elihu Washburne:"I never was an abolitionist, not even what could be called anti-slavery, but I try to judge fairly and honestly and it became patent in my mind early in the rebellion that the North and South could never live at peace with each other except as one nation, and that without slavery. As anxious as I am to see peace established, I would not therefore be willing to see any settlement until the question is forever settled."
Later on in his career, he'd amend his views from "if we have to destroy slavery to forever preserve the Union, then so be it" to "in retrospect, slavery was evil":

quote:
From his memoirs:"The cause of the great War of the Rebellion against the United States will have to be attributed to slavery. For some years before the war began it was a trite saying among some politicians that "A state half slave and half free cannot exist." All must become slave or all free, or the state will go down. I took no part myself in any such view of the case at the time, but since the war is over, reviewing the whole question, I have come to the conclusion that the saying is quite true."


Does this sound like a guy who'd throw down his arms in support of slavery to you?

John Craven

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Roy012
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Also, Grant's wife Julia's father owned slaves, although Grant's father was an abolitionist. Grant owned a young male slave that his father-in-law gave his wife for about a year. He freed the man in 1859, although he could have sold him for $1000 dollars at a time that he was steeped in debt.
Another Grant quote is as follows :
""As soon as slavery fired upon the flag, it was felt, we all felt, even those who did not object to slaves, that slavery must be destroyed. We felt that it was a stain to the Union that men should be bought and sold like cattle... there had to be an end to slavery."

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The Otter of our Discontent
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As President, Grant outlawed the KKK, the equivalent of labeling them a terrorist organization.
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BeachLife
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Not just Grant, Lincoln's primary concern was keeping the nation together, not freeing the slaves.

quote:
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. What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union; and what I forbear, I forbear because I do not believe it would help to save the Union. I shall do less whenever I shall believe what I am doing hurts the cause, and I shall do more whenever I shall believe doing more will help the cause.
Abraham Lincoln

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Johnny Slick
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quote:
Originally posted by BeachLife:
Not just Grant, Lincoln's primary concern was keeping the nation together, not freeing the slaves.

Lincoln was a politician, but to say he wasn't primarily interested in freeing the slaves us is kind of silly. After all, the reason the South seceded was that he and his radically pro-abolitionist party won the presidential election. Though it was only a matter of time, it is worth mentioning that James Buchanan inherited a similarly volatile situation to Lincoln and managed to keep the country together for the entirety of his term.

I think Lincoln's feelings about slavery were best expressed during his Second Inaugural Address:

quote:
If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offenses which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offense came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to Him? Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said "the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether."
Quick translation: "God put upon us the Civil War because He believes that slavery must be abolished. If we have to kill every last Southerner in order to do it, we will do so knowing that God is behind us."

Yeah, what a moderate.

John Craven

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quote:
Lincoln was a politician, but to say he wasn't primarily interested in freeing the slaves us is kind of silly. After all, the reason the South seceded was that he and his radically pro-abolitionist party won the presidential election.
On the contrary, Lincoln could not possibly have been elected if he had espoused a "radically pro-abolitionist" platform, and his political stance on slavery, stated over and over both before and after the election, was that he sought only to limit the spread of slavery, not to interfere with it where it already existed.

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quote:
Lincoln's primary concern was keeping the nation together, not freeing the slaves.
But that's really a moot point since, short of war, Lincoln had no power to end slavery. It took a constitutional amendment to end slavery, one which never would have passed had the southern states not seceded from the Union and lost the subsequent war.

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quote:
Quick translation: "God put upon us the Civil War because He believes that slavery must be abolished. If we have to kill every last Southerner in order to do it, we will do so knowing that God is behind us."
A better translation: "If God put upon us the Civil War because He believes that slavery must be abolished, and if the South continues to fight until they've squandered all the wealth they've made from the toil of slaves and shed as much blood as all the slaves they've beaten, then we will continue the war knowing that we are serving as God's instrument."

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Johnny Slick
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quote:
Originally posted by snopes:
quote:
Lincoln was a politician, but to say he wasn't primarily interested in freeing the slaves us is kind of silly. After all, the reason the South seceded was that he and his radically pro-abolitionist party won the presidential election.
On the contrary, Lincoln could not possibly have been elected if he had espoused a "radically pro-abolitionist" platform, and his political stance on slavery, stated over and over both before and after the election, was that he sought only to limit the spread of slavery, not to interfere with it where it already existed.
I truly believe that this is where Lincoln was making his viewpoint look more palatable to the average Northerner, not a good judge of his true beliefs. There is ample evidence to suggest taht Lincoln was throughout his life an abolitionist, and in addition not the kind of person who was afraid of taking a stand.* Even so, limiting slavery to the current states that did allow it was a fairly radical position; I mean, the issue of whether to allow them the popular vote on the subject itself was contentious enough to split the Democratic Party in two that year.

As for your interpretation of the Second Inaugural quote, it's closer than mine, but (and this is the problem with paraphrasing) it also kind of glosses over some of Lincoln's point. He didn't say that he'd continue fighting if the *South* continued to put up resistance, he said he'd continue fighting as long as the Lord deemed it proper to do so. I think that it would have been very likely that, had he still been alive when the South started voting in old Confederate officers to all of its offices and attempted to behave like the Emancipation Proclamation was never issued, he would have cited his earlier decision and been every bit as harsh on the recalcitrant South as the radicals who moved in on Johnson were.

John Craven

*From a letter to his friend Joshua Speed, sent in 1855:
quote:
You know I dislike slavery; and you fully admit the abstract wrong of it. So far there is no cause of difference. But you say that sooner than yield your legal right to the slave -- especially at the bidding of those who are not themselves interested, you would see the Union dissolved. I am not aware that any one is bidding you to yield that right; very certainly I am not. I leave that matter entirely to yourself. I also acknowledge your rights and my obligations, under the constitution, in regard to your slaves. I confess I hate to see the poor creatures hunted down, and caught, and carried back to their stripes, and unrewarded toils; but I bite my lip and keep quiet. In 1841 you and I had together a tedious low-water trip, on a Steam Boat from Louisville to St. Louis. You may remember, as I well do, that from Louisville to the mouth of the Ohio there were, on board, ten or a dozen slaves, shackled together with irons. That sight was a continual torment to me; and I see something like it every time I touch the Ohio, or any other slave-border. It is hardly fair to you to assume, that I have no interest in a thing which has, and continually exercises, the power of making me miserable. You ought rather to appreciate how much the great body of the Northern people do crucify their feelings, in order to maintain their loyalty to the constitution and the Union.
From an 1858 speech given in Chicago:
quote:
I have always hated slavery, I think as much as any Abolitionist. I have been an Old Line Whig. I have always hated it, but I have always been quiet about it until this new era of the introduction of the Nebraska Bill began. I always believed that everybody was against it, and that it was in course of ultimate extinction.

I have said a hundred times, and I have now no inclination to take it back, that I believe there is no right, and ought to be no inclination in the people of the free States to enter into the slave States, and interfere with the question of slavery at all.

The famous "democracy" quote, issued some time in 1858:
quote:
As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master. This expresses my idea of democracy. Whatever differs from this, to the extent of the difference, is no democracy.
Now, it's true that Lincoln also expressed his belief in the states' rights to regulate slavery on their own (while making all new states free), but I believe that there is an undercurrent present here that, given the opportunity, he would either force the South to comply with abolition himself or not stand in the way of Northern radicals (Tad Stevens and co.) when they would inevitably do so.

From another speech at Chicago in 1859:
quote:
I do not wish to be misunderstood upon this subject of slavery in this country. I suppose it may long exist, and perhaps the best way for it to come to an end peaceably is for it to exist for a length of time. But I say that the spread and strengthening and perpetuation of it is an entirely different proposition. There we should in every way resist it as a wrong, treating it as a wrong, with the fixed idea that it must and will come to an end.


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snopes
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quote:
I truly believe that this is where Lincoln was making his viewpoint look more palatable to the average Northerner, not a good judge of his true beliefs.
This context of this discussion in what Lincoln intended to do politically; his private beliefs are largely irrelevant.

quote:
Even so, limiting slavery to the current states that did allow it was a fairly radical position
*Any* limitation of slavery was "radical" to the South. The point is that the Republican platform of 1860 was not radical to the North (and fence-sitters), whereas full-blown abolitionism was. No one, not Lincoln or anyone else, could have been elected in 1860 on a platform that advocated the outright abolition of slavery.

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MHDIsHere
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While the underlying causes of the Civil War revolved around slavery (particularly Lincoln's insistance that slavery not spread, thereby allowing the free states to out-number the slave states in Senate and Congress as new states entered the Union), the re-enactors claims in the OP are justified from their standpoint as representing "common" soldiers.

(For the record, I used to be a Union reenactor, so I really do know what I'm talking about)

Most Union soldiers enlisted from a sense of patriotism, of wanting to do their share to preserve the Union. Very few fought to free the slaves. A good number were caught up in the adventure of it all, enlisted because their friends did, etc. Remember too that the Emancipation Proclamation wasn't issued for about a year after the war began.

Confederate soldiers were a bit more practical, they saw the Union army as invaders and they did what men have always done when their land is invaded. That's one of the reasons there was resistance to the Army of Northern Virginia invading Union territory (Battle of Gettysburg).

So, the political reasons for the war involved slavery (and most of the people who made those decisions didn't get shot at), the claim of the reenactors holds true, the soldiers didn't enlist for slavery, pro or con.

MHD "Hurrah for the Union!" IsHere

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ASL
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I think it's pretty much accepted that slavery played a part in the war, but it was by no means the sole cause. Perhaps the bigger factor is the idea of Federal vs. state governments, which the war most certainly decided along with the issue of slavery. Under the constitution, there was some ambiguity as to the National governments power in relation to state governments. In a way, slavery was both a sub-set of this issue and a completely seperate issue. One the one hand there was the simple moral question regarding slavery, but on the other there was the question of whether or not the federal government had the power to override state governments and make state governments subject to the federal government. Did the federal government have the right to interefere with states and individuals by outlawing slavery? Were states subject to the federal government at their leisure (and consequently entitled to seceed from the US) or were they bound by the federal governments decisions and incapable of leaving the US?

Things aren't always so simple as "slavery caused the civil war" and "the assassination of archduke ferdinand caused WWI" and "the tonkin gulf incident caused the vietnam war."
quote:
So, the political reasons for the war involved slavery (and most of the people who made those decisions didn't get shot at)
Tell that to Lincoln.

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PatYoung
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We've been down this road before. Anyone want to book-a-chow?

The fight over slavery was the sine qua non of the start of the Civil War. 600,000 people don't die in an abstract debate over states rights.

The messages of the various seccession conventions held in the confederate states repeatedly talked about the defense of slavery as the reason for leaving the union.

The problem that a lot of contemporay Americans have in placing slavery at the center of the conflict is confusion over the positions of the anti-slavery forces and the doctrines of White supremacist/nationalist ideology fostered by the "Lost Cause" school of historiography.

Most Americans today seem to believe that at the time of the Civil War popular opinion fell into two camps on the topic of slavery: 1) Pro-Slavery, 2) Abolitionist. In fact, the demonstrably largest segment of popular opinion backed the Free-Soil point of view. Free Soilers believed:
1) Slavery was bad for "free labor" (white workers) because it degraded labor and held down wages. It was also bad on capitalist grounds because it applied labor in a non-market fashion.
2) Slavery gave too much power in national politics to a slave-holding elite which used that power to the detriment of the emerging industrial order. Also, in order to secure new slave territories the "slaveocracy" at times backed a dangerous adventurist foreign policy.
3) Absent a constitutional ammendment slavery could not be abolished in the states in which it already existed.
4) Slavery could be excluded from the territories by act of Congress.
5) Slavery should be limited to those places where it already existed. New territories should be "free soil" where the peculiar institution was prohibitted.

Many free soilers believed that if slavery was limited, it would eventually die.

Lincoln was one of the leading spokesmen for the Free Soil point of view. This is why it is accurate to say that he was both against slavery and not in favor of its immediate abolition. By the end of his first term, it is clear that he had emerged as an abolitionist. He endorsed a Constitutional Ammendment abolishing slavery and talked of giving the franchise to Black veterans and literate ex-slaves.

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Silas Sparkhammer
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quote:
Originally posted by PatYoung:
. . . Absent a constitutional ammendment slavery could not be abolished in the states in which it already existed . . .

I may be reading this differently than you meant, but what if Virginia, say, had decided to outlaw slavery? Does the pre-13th-amendment constitution prohibit them from doing so?

Otherwise, I agree completely with your post; when people say that the Civil War was over "States Rights," I often ask, "Which specific right did the southern states endorse? The coinage of silver?"

Silas (repeal of the 55mph speed limit? what?) Sparkhammer

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STF
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quote:
Originally posted by Silas Sparkhammer:
quote:
Originally posted by PatYoung:
. . . Absent a constitutional ammendment slavery could not be abolished in the states in which it already existed . . .

I may be reading this differently than you meant, but what if Virginia, say, had decided to outlaw slavery? Does the pre-13th-amendment constitution prohibit them from doing so?

Otherwise, I agree completely with your post; when people say that the Civil War was over "States Rights," I often ask, "Which specific right did the southern states endorse? The coinage of silver?"

Silas (repeal of the 55mph speed limit? what?) Sparkhammer

Only question I have is this. Of course, I'm not denying that slavery was an important aspect of why that war was fought. It probably was the primary reason. I won't argue any of that, but isn't it fair to say that it could also have been fought over the concept of states' rights? I mean I don't think that point of view is completely illegitimate. The right in question may have been slavery, but also just in a general since isn't it possible that the southern states wanted to retain as much power as possible themselves? I'm just asking because I'm not historian, but I don't think that the "states rights" argument is completely invalid.

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PatYoung
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quote:
Originally posted by Silas Sparkhammer:
quote:
Originally posted by PatYoung:
. . . Absent a constitutional ammendment slavery could not be abolished in the states in which it already existed . . .

I may be reading this differently than you meant, but what if Virginia, say, had decided to outlaw slavery? Does the pre-13th-amendment constitution prohibit them from doing so?

Silas (repeal of the 55mph speed limit? what?) Sparkhammer

No. You're absolutely right, sir. I was speaking of the power of the Federal government to abolish slavery. It was widely recognized that states could abolish slavery. In fact Lincoln hoped that border states would voluntarily abolish slavery. He floated several "compensated emancipation" plans with the border state governments offering to pay slaveholders a fixed amount of money per emancipated slave if a state abolished slavery.

While his attempt at compensated emancipation is sneered at today, at the time he hoped it would set an example which might inspire the confederate states to rejoin the union. Lincoln reasoned that:
1. Compensated emancipation was cheaper than war.
2. Lives would be saved.
3. Slavery would be ended.
4. Planters who invested large amounts of money in what had been a legal transaction would receive partial compensation for their losses allowing them to remain in business in a new "free labor" South.
5. Race relations could more amicably be adjusted if emancipation was voluntary, rather than enforced by the military.

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pat "Megadittoes Rush" young

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PatYoung
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quote:
Originally posted by STF:
quote:
Originally posted by Silas Sparkhammer:
quote:
Originally posted by PatYoung:
. . . Absent a constitutional ammendment slavery could not be abolished in the states in which it already existed . . .

I may be reading this differently than you meant, but what if Virginia, say, had decided to outlaw slavery? Does the pre-13th-amendment constitution prohibit them from doing so?

Otherwise, I agree completely with your post; when people say that the Civil War was over "States Rights," I often ask, "Which specific right did the southern states endorse? The coinage of silver?"

Silas (repeal of the 55mph speed limit? what?) Sparkhammer

Only question I have is this. Of course, I'm not denying that slavery was an important aspect of why that war was fought. It probably was the primary reason. I won't argue any of that, but isn't it fair to say that it could also have been fought over the concept of states' rights? I mean I don't think that point of view is completely illegitimate. The right in question may have been slavery, but also just in a general since isn't it possible that the southern states wanted to retain as much power as possible themselves? I'm just asking because I'm not historian, but I don't think that the "states rights" argument is completely invalid.
There are really three questions here.
1) Why did the war begin?
2) Why did states not in the original confederacy seceede?
3) Why did individual Southerners fight?

1) The war clearly began over the issue of slavery. Southern radicals were successful in depicting Lincoln as an abolitionist. They even alleged that his Vice President was part African in ancestry. The secession conventions in South Carolina, Georgia, Miss., etc. were dominated by speeches defending slavery. The messages these states sent out explaining their ordinances of secession were rife with talk of Lincoln's assault on slave property.

2) Many states which joined the Confederacy, including Virginia, had not seceeded at the time of the Confeate attack on Fort Sumpter. The actions of the radicals in the early seceeding states basically forced the other slaveholding states to choose sides. Several, like Kentucky, Maryland, and Delaware, chose the Union, other like Tennesee and Virginia chose the Confederacy. The decision to join the Confederacy was so low in some areas that West Virginia actually seceeded from the Confederacy and east Tennessee tried to do the same. So these late comer states to the Confederacy had more mixed motives in the side they took. Virginians claimed that if they had not joined the Confederacy they would have had to take arms against their Southern brothers (of course in joining the Confederacy they took arms against their Northern brothers).

3) The reasons individuals fought were many and varied. In the deep South a pro-Slavery, anti-United States ideology had been carefully cultivated among whites over the previous decade. Agitation had been so fierce in South Caolina that a wag mourned for poor South Carolina because it was too small for a Republic and too large for an insane asylum. In other areas men fought because it was what their community called for them to do or out of loyalty to their states. Of course these recruits fell off quickly in the South and conscription was introduced in 1862, a year before Lincoln enacted similar laws in the United States.

So, while it is clear that the war was begun by confederates over the issue of slavery, several states and many thousands of men joined the effort for more mixed reasons.

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Silas Sparkhammer
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quote:
Originally posted by STF:
. . . I don't think that the "states rights" argument is completely invalid.

It's not so much that it's invalid, but that it's meaninglessly vague.

One might say that the U.S. entered WWII because of "Naval Aviation." True: the attack on Pearl Harbor was one of the most triumphant examples of carrier warfare in world history. But it's also so vague as to be misleading.

The Civil War erupted over states' rights; the specific contested right was slavery.

Can you name any other states' right that was in question at the time?

Silas

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STF
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quote:
Originally posted by Silas Sparkhammer:
quote:
Originally posted by STF:
. . . I don't think that the "states rights" argument is completely invalid.

It's not so much that it's invalid, but that it's meaninglessly vague.

One might say that the U.S. entered WWII because of "Naval Aviation." True: the attack on Pearl Harbor was one of the most triumphant examples of carrier warfare in world history. But it's also so vague as to be misleading.

The Civil War erupted over states' rights; the specific contested right was slavery.

Can you name any other states' right that was in question at the time?

Silas

Not necessarily, but I could see how it was *possible* that the southern states were concerned that if the northern states could do this through the federal government then they could usurp more of the states' powers.

Again I don't know this to be true so I'm not arguing as much as I'd really like to know. My limited knowledge lead me to believe that even if slavery was the only states right in question at that time it was possible that southern states felt that they may lose more power or have less ability to self-govern.

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Four Kitties
Layaway in a Manger


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quote:
The Civil War erupted over states' rights; the specific contested right was slavery.

Can you name any other states' right that was in question at the time?

Silas

Semi-hijack:

Not only was the southern states' right to keep slaves in question, but the northern states' right to abolish it, as well.

The Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 required the citizens & police of free states to assist the federal government to return escaped slaves to their masters in the south. Before 1850, once a slave escaped to a free state s/he was free (see escaping to Ohio in Huckleberry Finn ). After 1850 the Underground Railroad was extended north, to the Canadian border, to get folks out of the country entirely.

Four "crossin' over Jordan" Kitties

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Kilrati
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What about tarifs on imports and exports? That played a role too.
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tabard innkeeper
The Red and the Green Stamps


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quote:
Originally posted by Kilrati:
What about tarifs on imports and exports? That played a role too.

That did play something of a role, but it wasn't legitimately a states' rights issue, as tariff-setting power belongs explicitly to Congress:
"The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States; but all duties, imposts and excises shall be uniform throughout the United States"

Reading the Texas Ordinance of Secession, I'd say that the South didn't even bother much to find a covering issue - it was mainly about slavery.

ti

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PatYoung
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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quote:
Originally posted by FourKitties4:
quote:
The Civil War erupted over states' rights; the specific contested right was slavery.

Can you name any other states' right that was in question at the time?

Silas

Semi-hijack:

Not only was the southern states' right to keep slaves in question, but the northern states' right to abolish it, as well.

The Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 required the citizens & police of free states to assist the federal government to return escaped slaves to their masters in the south. Before 1850, once a slave escaped to a free state s/he was free (see escaping to Ohio in Huckleberry Finn ). After 1850 the Underground Railroad was extended north, to the Canadian border, to get folks out of the country entirely.

Four "crossin' over Jordan" Kitties

You make an important point. The South did not go to war to protect an abstraction like states rights. It went to war to protect extremely valuable property rights in slaves.

When White Southerners saw their property liberating inself by fleeing to the north, White Southerners backed laws like the Fugitive Slave Act which overroad state and local ordinances abolishining slavery in the North. They also supported the Dred Scott Decision in which Federal law again took precedence over states' rights.

"Stats Rats" was not the cause of the war. Slavery was. Without slavery as an issue, South Carolina would not have torn down the flag of union.

BTW, my son works down in Geogia and always cracks up when he see a pickup with American and Confederate flags flying. Bit of historical revisionism there.

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pat "Megadittoes Rush" young

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AnglsWeHvHrdOnHiRdr
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


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quote:
Originally posted by PatYoung:
BTW, my son works down in Geogia and always cracks up when he see a pickup with American and Confederate flags flying. Bit of historical revisionism there.

I saw a good one the other day...."Southern by Birth; Union by Choice.

Erm, yes, because when one side loses a war, we call that "choice." [Roll Eyes]

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Anthony
The Red and the Green Stamps


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quote:
Originally posted by Silas Sparkhammer:
One might say that the U.S. entered WWII because of "Naval Aviation." True: the attack on Pearl Harbor was one of the most triumphant examples of carrier warfare in world history. But it's also so vague as to be misleading.

The Civil War erupted over states' rights; the specific contested right was slavery.

Can you name any other states' right that was in question at the time?

Silas

This may be a first -- I am agreeing with you.

"Southern Rights" -- what were the southern rights being defended. Ultimately, the right was slavery. Enough southerners knew slavery was wrong (or at least were uncomfortable with slavery) that other rights were dressed up. Protective tariffs, "internal improvements" all were issues, but not ones you fight over. I do not see people taking up arms over NAFTA or the interstate highway system.

It is especialy interesting that when you look at the 80 years proceeding the civil war, you see that until the Lincoln administration., southerners basically controlled the US government, especially the important cabinet posts of War and State. Treasury was usually held by a northerner.

As for the "capitalist" anti-slavery criteque that was pushed by the Free-soilers (capitalist in quotes as that term was little used pre-Marx), the best argument was put forth by a southerner, Hinton Helper. Helper's book, "The Impending Crisis of the South" attacked slavery on an economic basis (rather than a religious basis, though his book did, IIRC, contain the usual religious arguments). Helper felt that slavery degraded work, so that the real victims of slavery were poor southern whites. Using (and misusing) 1850 census data, Helper argued that all the talk about "King Cotton" was false, in that the hay crop of the free states was worth more than the cotton crop of the slave states.

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Silas Sparkhammer
I Saw V-Chips Come Sailing In


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quote:
Originally posted by Anthony:
This may be a first -- I am agreeing with you.

It's either a sign of the apocalypse, concrete proof that we're both in on the conspiracy, or a random vacuum fluctuation! [Wink]

Silas (can I use the word "either" to apply to more than two options?) Sparkhammer

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When on music's mighty pinion, souls of men to heaven rise,
Then both vanish earth's dominion, man is native to the skies.

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PatYoung
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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quote:
Originally posted by Anthony:
[QUOTE].
As for the "capitalist" anti-slavery criteque that was pushed by the Free-soilers (capitalist in quotes as that term was little used pre-Marx), the best argument was put forth by a southerner, Hinton Helper. Helper's book, "The Impending Crisis of the South" attacked slavery on an economic basis (rather than a religious basis, though his book did, IIRC, contain the usual religious arguments). Helper felt that slavery degraded work, so that the real victims of slavery were poor southern whites. Using (and misusing) 1850 census data, Helper argued that all the talk about "King Cotton" was false, in that the hay crop of the free states was worth more than the cotton crop of the slave states.

While Helper was wrong in believing the "real victims" were poor southern whites, obviously those enslaved were the most victimized, he and others were correct in pointing out the economic harm done to the south by slavery. While slavery may have been in the slaveholder's interest, it may not have been in the region's interest.

Because labor was so degraded by competition with slaves, only a tiny proportion of new immigrants went to the south. Outside of New Orleans, Charleston, Texas, and a few other areas, almost no new immigrants settled in the South after 1820. Newcomers found the prospect of competing with slaves untenable. Investment in industry was also retarded because because so much of Southern capital was tied up in slaves.

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pat "Megadittoes Rush" young

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First of Two
The Bills of St. Mary's


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quote:
Originally posted by UnglRdr:
quote:
Originally posted by PatYoung:
BTW, my son works down in Geogia and always cracks up when he see a pickup with American and Confederate flags flying. Bit of historical revisionism there.

I saw a good one the other day...."Southern by Birth; Union by Choice.

Erm, yes, because when one side loses a war, we call that "choice." [Roll Eyes]

Not all of the South supported secession. Some of them were very much against it.

The Free State of Winston

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"Liberalism is a philosophy of consolation for western civilization as it commits suicide." - Jerry Pournelle

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AnglsWeHvHrdOnHiRdr
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


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quote:
Originally posted by First of Mroww:
Not all of the South supported secession. Some of them were very much against it.

The Free State of Winston

Ah, but how to explain the Confederate flag?

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"When a stupid man is doing something he is ashamed of, he always declares that it is his duty."--George Bernard Shaw

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Anthony
The Red and the Green Stamps


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quote:
Originally posted by First of Mroww:
Not all of the South supported secession. Some of them were very much against it.

The Free State of Winston

Winston County shows up in "To Kill a Mockingbird" -- when a new teacher at school says she is from there, the students groan.
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ASL
We Three Blings


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quote:
Originally posted by Silas Sparkhammer:
quote:
Originally posted by STF:
. . . I don't think that the "states rights" argument is completely invalid.

It's not so much that it's invalid, but that it's meaninglessly vague.

One might say that the U.S. entered WWII because of "Naval Aviation." True: the attack on Pearl Harbor was one of the most triumphant examples of carrier warfare in world history. But it's also so vague as to be misleading.

The Civil War erupted over states' rights; the specific contested right was slavery.

Can you name any other states' right that was in question at the time?

Silas

This is a hijack, but I'd have to call that a false analogy. That'd be like saying the Civil War started because of cannon fire. We are not saying the civil war started because of cannon fire, we're saying that states rights (as an abastract, non-specific idea) had something to do with the Civil War and that Slavery was both a seperate and inclusive issue depending on how you looked at the matter. I'd say if the issue had been hammered out earlier that two things would have happened:

1) The US would have formed with the clear knowledge that the federal government was superior to state government .

---or---

2) The US would not have been formed at all.

Hence the reason that many say the revolution began at Lexington in 1775, and ended at Appomatox Courthouse in 1865. The Civil War, undoubtedly, settled the issue of states vs. federal supremecy in ADDITION to settling the issue of slavery. To say that the idea of states rights had nothing to do with it is both an overestimation of slavery vs. abolitionism nationwide and an underestimation of state-level nationalism vs. national nationalism (basically, people seeing themselves as Virginians as opposed to people seeing themselves as Americans).

So, whereas you say that, naval aviation aside, WWII was caused by Pearl Harbor (assuming we forget about Europe and China, seeing as Poland and France had already been overrun, Russia had been invaded, and the Japanese had been in China for a good 10 years already) I might say WWII was caused by increasing tensions between Japan an the US as a result of an economic embargo, conflicting interests (both the US and Japan were interested in pacific island holdings), and Japan's inevitable realization that in order to obtain neccessary resources for their expansionist policy, they would need to force the principal objector in the region (the US) into aquising to their demands. Since it became obvious the US would not stand idly by forever (although it had for almost a decade stood idly by), Japan chose to cripple the US fleet, thereby making it unable to stiffle Japanese ambitions in the Pacific.

So, no, I don't appreciate your false annalogy about naval aviation and WWII compared to states rights and the civil war.

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PatYoung
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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You cannot ignore the attack on Fort Sumpter in discussing the start of the Civil War anymore than you can ignore the attack on the World Trade Center in discussing the US invasion of Afghanistan. The North was not maneuvering towards war, Secessionists in the Deep South were. They hoped that by attacking an important Federal facility they would create a situation in which:
1. The United States would be forced to respond militarily.
2. Other slave states, most of which had not seceeded, would be forced to join their "brothers" in the new Confederacy.

If states rights was a major cause of the war, and I don't believe that for a moment, then you must also accept the right of a country to respond to an attack on its property as a major cause of the war.

Had states rights been the issue, it was one which we would normally expect reasonable men to resolve in the Supreme Court or the legislature.


Remember also, the chief justice was notiously sympathetic to slavery, having opined several years before that a slave had no rights under federal law.

War was not inevitable and it was not desired by most Americans. Lincoln may have famously said that the "war came", but it was not a force of nature.

An elite, seeking to protect its investment in property which it saw declining in value if the expansion of slavery was not allowed, believed mistakenly that it could fight and win a war against the United States. This elite carefully crafted a set of arguments during the 1840s and 1850s, including the states rights argument, all deployed in service of the defense of slavery.

The same elite responded to the election of Abraham Lincoln by calling for secession conventions in various slave states. Remember that this was before Lincoln had done a thing. He was not even in office yet when these conventions took place.

Failing to rally most slave states to the confederacy, this same group pushed for violent radical action against a well-known federal facility, surrounding the roughly 100 United States soldiers at Fort Sumpter with more than 5,000 men and superior artillary. Fearing that the men in the fort who had been cut off from supplies would surrender within a week rather than starve, this same group ordered the full force of Confederate might to open fire on the beleaguered American fort.

You cannot dismiss the violent attack on federal troops any more than you can consign slavery to just being a cause among many.

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pat "Megadittoes Rush" young

THUMP, THUMP, THUMP

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PatYoung
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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WAFFLES

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pat "Megadittoes Rush" young

THUMP, THUMP, THUMP

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Silas Sparkhammer
I Saw V-Chips Come Sailing In


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quote:
Originally posted by ASL:
. . . To say that the idea of states rights had nothing to do with it is both an overestimation of slavery vs. abolitionism nationwide and an underestimation of state-level nationalism vs. national nationalism (basically, people seeing themselves as Virginians as opposed to people seeing themselves as Americans).

Name another states' right that was under dispute.
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