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.
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.
Wow, have times changed. Or the perceptions!
correct, Lincoln himself voted to keep blacks out of IL.
Either way we all look at it , I think we all have to admit that over 600,000 people lost their lives, the south lost at least two generations and millions of blacks were going around the country wiht no idea what to do and yes many women were raped, killed etc,
A tragedy , a true tragedy.
My take on the history books is the north had manufacturing w/slaves and the south had raw materials w/slaved. The south started manufacturing so the rich northerners put the pressure on to eliminate slavery in the south only to keep the south from manufacturing. Hence the argument over states rights which only incidentally involved slavery.
Whats worrisome to me is history seems to be repeating itself, north imposing itself on the “non-north”.
The government of the United States, by certain joint resolutions, bearing date the 1st day of March, in the year A.D. 1845, proposed to the Republic of Texas, then a free, sovereign and independent nation, the annexation of the latter to the former, as one of the co-equal states thereof, The people of Texas, by deputies in convention assembled, on the fourth day of July of the same year, assented to and accepted said proposals and formed a constitution for the proposed State, upon which on the 29th day of December in the same year, said State was formally admitted into the Confederated Union . . . Texas abandoned her separate national existence and consented to become one of the Confederated Union to promote her welfare . . . She was received as a commonwealth holding, maintaining and protecting the institution known as negro slavery-- the servitude of the African to the white race within her limits-- a relation that had existed from the first settlement of her wilderness by the white race, and which her people intended should exist in all future time. Her institutions and geographical position established the strongest ties between her and other slave-holding States of the confederacy . . . When we advert to the course of individual non-slave-holding States, and that a majority of their citizens, our grievances assume far greater magnitude. The States of Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin, Michigan and Iowa, by solemn legislative enactments, have deliberately, directly or indirectly violated the 3rd clause of the 2nd section of the 4th article [the fugitive slave clause] of the federal constitution . . . designed by its framers to perpetuate the amity between the members of the confederacy and to secure the rights of the slave-holding States in their domestic institutions . . . In all the non-slave-holding States, in violation of that good faith and comity which should exist between entirely distinct nations, the people have formed themselves into a great sectional party, now strong enough in numbers to control the affairs of each of those States, based upon an unnatural feeling of hostility to these Southern States and their beneficent and patriarchal system of African slavery, proclaiming the debasing doctrine of equality of all men, irrespective of race or color-- a doctrine at war with nature, in opposition to the experience of mankind, and in violation of the plainest revelations of Divine Law. They demand the abolition of negro slavery throughout the confederacy, the recognition of political equality between the white and negro races, and avow their determination to press on their crusade against us, so long as a negro slave remains in these States . . . By consolidating their strength, they have placed the slave-holding States in a hopeless minority in the federal congress, and rendered representation of no avail in protecting Southern rights . . . They have for years past encouraged and sustained lawless organizations to steal our slaves and prevent their recapture . . . They have, through the mails and hired emissaries, sent seditious pamphlets and papers among us to stir up servile insurrection and bring blood and carnage to our firesides. They have sent hired emissaries among us to burn our towns and distribute arms and poison to our slaves for the same purpose . . . They have refused to vote appropriations for protecting Texas against ruthless savages, for the sole reason that she is a slave-holding State . . . We hold as undeniable truths that the governments of the various States, and of the confederacy itself, were established exclusively by the white race, for themselves and their posterity; that the African race had no agency in their establishment; that they were rightfully held and regarded as an inferior and dependent race, and in that condition only could their existence in this country be rendered beneficial or tolerable. That in this free government all white men are and of right ought to be entitled to equal civil and political rights; that the servitude of the African race, as existing in these States, is mutually beneficial to both bond and free, and is abundantly authorized and justified by the experience of mankind, and the revealed will of the Almighty Creator, as recognized by all Christian nations; while the destruction of the existing relations between the two races, as advocated by our sectional enemies, would bring inevitable calamities upon both and desolation upon the fifteen slave-holding states. By the secession of six of the slave-holding States, and the certainty that others will speedily do likewise, Texas has no alternative but to remain in an isolated connection with the North, or unite her destinies with the South . . . Source: ASCII Text Prepared by Justin Sanders from E.W. Winkler, ed., *Journal of the Secession Convention of Texas*, pp61-66.
Late 1864: In an attempt to fill the dwindling ranks of their army without resorting to recruiting free blacks and slaves, the Confederacy resorted to a brief, and ultimately unsuccessful, attempt at recruiting Oompa Loompas.
Slavery didn't become the war's focus for Northerners until later, after much blood had already been shed.
If you'd asked a secessionist politician in 1861 why he wanted secession, you might get an answer about "our Southern way of life" or "Southern rights," but scratch the veneer and you'd know what was underneath.
If you asked an average Southern soldier, he might say "state's rights" or "our way of life" or "the Yankees attacked us," or even "slavery."
I'll give the fighting man the benefit of the doubt, but those who started the secessionist movement and the war were pretty clear about what they feared and what they wanted.
Check out the secession declarations of the various states.
This could turn into somewhat of a history lesson.Just remember,the victors write the books.To me slavery was on it’s way out.It was about taxes,and expansion of slavery.The government stepping in and telling states what they can and can not do . Sounds almost like modern times.
And yet, poor as they were, they weren't too keen on picking cotton for no wages and getting whipped ...
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.