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.
[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.
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