Skip to comments.Was the Civil War Actually About Slavery?
Posted on 08/30/2012 2:40:56 PM PDT by PeaRidge
On 6 November 1860, the six-year-old Republican Party elected its first president. During the tense crisis months that followed the secession winter of 186061 practically all observers believed that Lincoln and the Republicans would begin attacking slavery as soon as they took power.
Democrats in the North blamed the Republican Party for the entire sectional crisis. They accused Republicans of plotting to circumvent the Constitutional prohibition against direct federal attacks on slavery. Republicans would instead allegedly try to squeeze slavery to death indirectly, by abolishing it in the territories and in Washington DC, suppressing it in the high seas, and refusing federal enforcement of the Slave Laws. The first to succumb to the Republican program of ultimate extinction, Democrats charged, would be the border states where slavery was most vulnerable. For Northern Democrats, this is what caused the crisis; the Republicans were to blame for trying to get around the Constitution.
Southern secessionists said almost exactly the same thing. The Republicans supposedly intended to bypass the Constitutions protections for slavery by surrounding the South with free states, free territories, and free waters. What Republicans called a cordon of freedom, secessionists denounced as an inflammatory circle of fire.
It just wouldn’t be Wednesday of we didn’t again re-fight the War Between the States aka The Civil War aka The War of Northern Aggression.
Actually, it has been a little while since we saw some Southern Dander up.
Got my popcorn...
All hands to Quarters. The Threadnaught is leaving the harbor.
“In this corner, the War Of Northern Aggression team! In the opposite corner, the Treason Of The Slaveholders team! Touch gloves, boys, keep it clean, and go to a neutral corner in the event of a knockdown... No LET’S GET READY to RRRRUUUMMMMMBBBBLLLLLEEEE!!!”
Foremost among these questions was the question of states rights. Did the Southern states have the right to take their ball and go home like a bunch of whiny spoilsport crybabies the first time the country elected a president who publicly opposed slavery? On this question the North and South could not agree. The Southerners insisted that the individual states had the absolute right to withdraw from the Union whenever they desired to do so, and in general took an uncompromisingly strong stance on states rights.
There was also the question of enforcement of federal laws. Did the Northern states have the right to pass laws that hindered the enforcement of the Fugitive Slave Act? Here again there could be no agreement: the Southerners insisted that the federal law must be supreme, and in general took an uncompromisingly strong stance against states rights.
Then there was the question of the territories. Should slavery be allowed in them or not? Should they be admitted to the Union as slave states or free states? Many Southerners vehemently opposed the Missouri Compromise, which roughly divided the territories between free in the North and slave in the South, on the grounds that each newly admitted state should be allowed to decide the question of slavery for itself. Likewise, Southerners were appalled when California, at its own request, was admitted to the Union as a free state, on the grounds that the admission violated the Missouri Compromise.
So you can see that slavery was in fact the least of the difficulties dividing North and South.
- Dr. H. Albertus Boli
I'd like to see the UN place a bounty on slavers ears.
As far as the war of Northern Aggression, the south should have freed the slaves and THEN fired on Ft. Sumter.
It would be a completely different war today, what with the south having means of production, and raw materials. And many more than 600K dead.
My Parents came to this country in the 1970's, so needless to say, I don't have the "Civil War experience" like the rest of you do and I am still uncertain who was in the right.
Maybe NEITHER was in the right.
I would suggest one read the articles of secession by the Confederate States before answering. (if it wasn’t the primary reason, it was a close second or a catalyst reason).
Get ready to duck. For Yankee and Rebel partisans, the smoke never clears.
1862 slavery became a big issue for the north and Lincoln and to be honest Lincoln played it smart by doing what he did he knew Britain, France and Spain would not join the south.
Had those contries come to the south then we would have a different outcome but then again so many instances would have.
I firmly think that if Jackson my favourite had not died then Leee would not have lost at Gettysburg
Should have freed them and sent them north and let the north do what they wanted with them, send them back or give them freedom
I’ll second that no
There was nothing truly radical about it, though. Even the Founding Fathers looked forward to the eventual end of slavery.
In the short term, however, Lincoln and the Republicans weren't going to rock the boat with sudden moves or lunges.
It was the cause of their deep emotion. States Rights actually meant less, or they would not have imposed the fugitive slave law on the northern states. That was a clear violation of state sovereignty.
I hate to be pedantic... but isn't today technically Thursday? ;)
Here we go again...
Well considering that Salon.com brought it up again ad nausea, nope. But every so often here, the war has to be fought again and again.
I'll let these men attest to who was more correct....
The fireeaters were in charge at the start of the war, but then the moderates like Davis took over. Lee was in favor of enlisting blacks for military purposes, because he could never get enough troops. But the only important figure to argument for emancipation was Pat Cleburne, an outstanding general from Ireland. If he had been in charge instead of Bragg or Hood, Sherman would have had more of a fight on his hands.
[Disclaimer: My use, below, of the words “meme” and “multifactorial” should in no way suggest that I might be a pointy-headed liberal.]
As a proud Southerner boy, both by heritage and inclination, I had long bought the “states’ rights” meme. In recent years I have looked into the matter quite a bit more deeply for myself, and I have to say that, while the underpinnings of the conflict were multifactorial, the prime cause was slavery. I must also say that this shift in understanding in no way diminishes my hatred of the North or of Lincoln for the conduct and aftermath of the war.
This will be my sole contribution to the Afternoon Delight that now stretches out luxuriously before us.
Well, it's a little like being a Mariners fan during the playoffs - you get to root for whomever you like.
However you cut it, the fact of the matter is that the disputants in this debate weren't there. Honor and virtue are in the keeping of individual men and women, not in any geographic area. I love the history of the era but these threads too often devolve into children in the back seat insisting "Mom, he hit me first." I think the thing deserves a bit more dignity than that.
Flame away if you like, guys, I really don't care.
I'm a direct descendent of individuals who fought for the Union and at the risk of being considered a traitor to the Union, I have to admit that the SEC football conference is far superior to the Big 10...but that will change this year.
There, I said it.......
Let's just cut to the chase.
For the North, the answer is: mostly yes
For the South, the answer is: no
The Civil War was actually about making the rich pay their fair share.
Now why don’t you go pay your taxes? Your government is broke. :)
All you have to do is make the "yes" a "no" and the "no" a "yes" and your answer would be perfect.
If anyone has any doubts, they should set aside a few weeks to read the seven Lincoln-Douglas debates. Unthinkable in our day and age, Lincoln and Douglas toured around Illinois, their arguments evolving over time, yet remaining polite, and they went in depth to the issues of the day.
The amount of brain power involved in that effort was staggering, but the end result was extraordinary. At the time the debates were published in newspapers around the country and made Lincoln a star.
Yes, it was almost entirely about slavery.
Because of the debates, Douglas became senator from Illinois, and Lincoln, president.
After losing the senate race, Lincoln did a pretty fair edit and published the debates in a book.
The slavery issue was a bit hypocritical, since the North didn’t really have any cash crop that needed slaves. So their looking down their noses at the South was a but much.
That being said, Lincoln spent countless hours mulling over what to do about the freed and unfreed slaves: where would they go, how would they be treated (the Northerners didn’t want them looking for work any more than we today don’t want illegal aliens seeking jobs available for American citizens), should the Southern slave owners be financially compensated for their loss of “property,” etc., ad nauseum.
So, yes slavery was the resultant big issue evolving from the high tariffs on Southern products and numerous other non-slave issues.
Actually, Lincoln went back and forth with the South, finally offering for the South to keep their slaves in exchang for not seceding. The South refused, still wanting secession.
don’t forget that Lincoln actually said about sending them back to Liberia or other countries but mostly get themnut of America
Likewise, I believe the slaves had a right and a duty to overthrow their "masters", by violence if necessary.
Well, isn’t this just perfect timing? /s
The war of northern aggression was *not* about slavery. It was about state’s rights. I believe it was over taxes/ tariff’s imposed on Southern crops.
When will *someone* recount the actual, factual details of how slavery happened, *who* the slavers were, & who forced their own people to be sold as slaves? Nobody is going to do that because it would pretty much destroy the narrative that is, apparently, working so well. How many generations have passed?
Why weren’t these folks repatriated to their homeland & their family ties? They had been here for barely 2 generations. Wouldn’t that have been the decent & logical thing to do?
As far as the left is concerned, *everyone* who doesn’t go along quietly with their communist “transformation” of America- & especially those of us in the South- all of us, are racist. Look at what was said about Mia Love, Allen West, Herman Cain, JC Watts, & Condi Rice. It’s perfectly okay then.
There is *nothing* we can do or say to prove otherwise & it doesn’t even matter if it’s true or not to any degree. We can slit our wrists en masse & bleed to death but It. Will. Never. Be. Enough.
There were PLENTY of slaves up north - and I don’t mean freed slaves.
It was about the expansion of slavery.
The theory was that a group of people who were born in bondage could never know how to function free in America and were better off going "home."
Agreed on both counts.
>>I hate to be pedantic... but isn’t today technically Thursday? ;)<<
That kind of week. Thanks for shortening it a day! :)
The South was Right.There , now you know.
A lot of good men and women died as a result of politics. That is what it was really about.
One side wanted to overload the house of representatives by counting slaves as people to enlarge their representation in the house. Yet, they insisted that those very slaves, were in fact, property.
Want to know who really starated this whole thing way back before that? The monarchy in Europe.
Suppose you asked the average pro-war Northerner this: are you fighting to free the slaves? (Remember the title of the article.)
That Northerner would have honestly replied: Yes, and also to preserve the Union.
Now ask the average pro-war Southerner this: Are you fighting to keep slavery?
That Southerner would have honestly replied: No, I’m fighting for states rights.
Sure, you’ll find exceptions in both camps, but I stand by my original answer.
These threads are better than the Hatfields and McCoys mini-series.
They couldn’t send them north. Thy northern states didn’t want them. Many northern states had laws against “Negros” moving into the state.
Here is a good article about the northern states’ “Black Codes”.
No problem. Cooks can do things like that. Without slaves. ;)
Slavery was an issue of State’s rights, but many things other than State’s rights also contributed to the war, including the economic tyranny the southern States were receiving in the Congress from the northern States. Lots of hatred went into that war, same as today.
But others say the North was right, or maybe neither was right.
Want to know who really starated this whole thing way back before that? The monarchy in Europe.
But the U.K. Abolished it's slaves before the U.S. and did not fight a Civil War over it.
(I am just presenting counter-arguments I hear alot to those positions, again this discussion is passionate for many people and I wish to know, because I fear we face the very real danger of second one not so far down along the road)
“I would suggest one read the articles of secession by the Confederate States before answering. (if it wasnt the primary reason, it was a close second or a catalyst reason).”
If you believe that then you should read Lincoln’s inaugural address where he wasnt going to interfere with slavery so the South had no reason to believe he would.
Hey, I’m a born, bred and still living in the South.
It’s the “Act” of Northern Agression! lol
Or as our southern belles would say, “that unpleasantness”.
You raise a good point here. The North didn't need slaves because some of its labor-intensive industries -- like coal mining in Pennsylvania, for example -- had access to plenty of cheap labor who didn't cost anything to "buy" ... in the form of immigrants from Ireland and Wales.
Yes, it 'twas a problem . . . but turning so many of them to freedom caused all kinds of logistical problems, especially since most of them were illiterate and had few skills.
Even for those Negroes who fought for the North, equal pay didn't come for many years after the war was over.
Lincoln was on to something with the Liberia idea, but it wasn't handled too well. Anyway, sending them back to a continent that sold them wholesale into slavery wasn't too appealing to the Negroes.
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