Skip to comments.The Great Civil War Lie
Posted on 06/11/2013 4:48:08 AM PDT by iowamark
Civil War buffs have long speculated about how different the war might have been if only the Confederacy had won formal recognition from Britain. But few recognize how close that came to happening and how much pro-Southern sympathy in Britain was built on a lie...
Early British support for the South was further buttressed by something as mundane as a protective tariff the Morrill Tariff approved by Congress on March 2, 1861. This new tariff, passed to protect American infant industries, also unwittingly gave rise to a troublesome myth of mounting trans-Atlantic proportions.
The tariff had been opposed by many Southern legislators, which is why it passed so easily once their states seceded. But this coincidence of timing fed a mistaken inversion of causation among the sympathetic British public secession allowed the tariff to pass, but many in Britain thought that the tariff had come first, and so incensed the Southern states that they left the union.
Nor was this a simple misunderstanding. Pro-Southern business interests and journalists fed the myth that the war was over trade, not slavery the better to win over people who might be appalled at siding with slave owners against the forces of abolition...
Why was England so susceptible to this fiction? For one thing, the Union did not immediately declare itself on a crusade for abolition at the wars outset. Instead, Northern politicians cited vague notions of union which could easily sound like an effort to put a noble gloss on a crass commercial dispute.
(Excerpt) Read more at opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com ...
We’ve never had a civil war in this country.
We’ve had two wars for independence from a centralized governing authority.
One win, one loss.
He takes the series into World War II with the Confederacy being run by a Hitler-like individual named Jake Featherstone and the South something akin to Nazi Germany, complete with gas chambers for the black population. I think that Turtledove goes a bit off the deep end with that kind of alternate history. It was interesting to see a young Jimmy Carter killed off by black resistance fighters though.
And just think . . . today’s Neo-Confederates are protectionists (and pacifists).
“The tariff had been opposed by many Southern legislators, which is why it passed so easily once their states seceded. “
Either they did or they didn’t. If they did then Lincoln committed acts of war against a sovereign nation. That statement, alone, says someone is acknowledging that the southern States did secede and votes were held in the US congress with such acknowledgment.
Lotta things go by phony names...that Con-Con, for instance, was a coup d’etat, to overthrow our first constitution, the AOC....and things like that never really ended...
It's hard to view it as a coup d'etat when all the states voted for the legislation that authorized it in the first place.
If that were true, then didn't the Confederacy commit the first act of war by firing on Sumter?
Yeah. I had most of the “great war” series in hard back and was building up a collection of all his stuff when I got halfway through the alien invasion during WWII series and realized I simply was not enjoying the books and I was offended about being strung along.
I sold them ALL at a used book store. It’s the one in Black Diamond next to the restaurant. One of our favorites. I still have a $7 credit there but, being in Kentucky now, I don’t expect to use it much...
But Guns of the South IS a really good read. Lots of interesting action, facts and twists.
“then didn’t the Confederacy commit the first act of war by firing on Sumter?”
Not when the US government was fortifying the fort in preparations to fire on the South. Not to mention that wasn’t the only thing going on at the time. I know your knowledge of the period is extremely limited and those other events are beyond your scope of reasoning. That is obvious since all you ever bring up is Sumter.
The Troy landed gentry were Pro-Southern since they viewed the Southern landed “aristocracy” as their kin. Just as the South had their battles against the Industrial North the Tories were fighting the middle/commercial classes represented by the Liberal coalition.
One of the reasons the British did not try to break the Union blockade was because the British wanted to have the option of using blockade if they were involved in a war.
not so hard when ya consider that “we the people” bs was only the signers to the preamble to our present constitution...many of the delegates to the con-con wouldn’t hold still for what was going on in old phils and went home...we the people were the remainder of the delgates/signers.
see edrivera.com a disbarred lawyer and constitutional scholar teaching “wee the folks” online now...
then several..no, many more libertarian (small l)writers...but most pc folks won’t listen to them...everyone has their own level of pc, of course...
Just Plain Dick
You make some great points, but as in all things historical, there are many complications. The tax (mostly via tariffs) problem was of course rooted in the constitutional compromise that allowed slavery and counted slaves at 3/5 their numbers for apportionment of both taxes and representation. Without this SC would not have enterred the union in the first place, and the South would not have enjoyed a near lock on the early Presidencies. Not hard to understand SC’s dissatisfaction when northerners began to press for abolition almost immediately after ratification, and the tariff rates continued to rise, protecting northern industrialists at southern expense, bleeding the south of hard money (leaving its capital bound up in land and slaves, discouraging industrial investment, and inceasing dependency on Northern finance).
Britain did have a major vested interest and role in the expansion of slavery in the US, through creating a market for cotton, the milling of which was a prime element driving Britain’s industrial revolution. SC’s dedication to expanding slavery into the West was driven to a great extent by slaveholders’ desire to relocate or sell their large surplus of slaves into areas with soils not yet exhausted by tobacco and cotton. Such export became profitable because of British demand for cotton. British interest in the Southern cause diminished due to an economic downturn, a large backstock of cotton, and alternative sourcing, right at the time the Confederacy was seeking support.
With a strong basis in the sovereignty of states, the South discovered that a Confederacy, i.e., confederated sovereign states, are at their least efficient in fighting a national war. The strong Federal Union was ironically made stronger by the Confederate defection, starting a trend away from states' rights and toward an ever more powerful central government.
When the main stated reason for the War quickly switched from "Preserving the Union," to "Freeing the Slaves," the issue of states' rights got lost along the way. Unanswered: Does a sovereign state have the right to leave the Union?
The north went to war to defend the union and ended up saving the slaves. The south went to war to save slavery and ended up losing everything.
Your logic does not hold.
The north went to war to secure a tier of states it could continue to treat as a second-class source of raw materials for its own mill industry. Threats to end slavery were threats of economic sanctions. Tariffs were designed to force trade with the North and hamper industrialization in the South to preserve the status quo. The cause was economic in nature.
False altruism might make for nice fairy tales, but it was all about the money.
Slavery was the primary reason for the slave power to pretend to secession.
Union was the primary reason for the US to oppose secession.
At the end of the war, slavery was dead. The slave power lost. Anyone sad about that?
Sumter was a US fort, had been fortified by the US, and was built using southern labor with stone from NY and MA on a shoal. It was never part of SC land.
Pretending that ‘they was gonna hit me first’ didn’t work in 4th grade, and it doesn’t work now.
The insurrection wanted a war to get Virginia, the largest slave state, to join the insurrection. That part of the southern insurrection strategy worked.
The ‘winning the war that they started’ part: not so much.
But the ramifications of that loss extended far beyond the end of slavery and we will see those issues again. Our Federal Government was supposed to be a Federal Government (very limited in power) while the State Governments were supposed to have more power. Instead, we now have a National Government, and the States have been stripped of much of their power. That is regrettable, as the National Government imposes one-size-fits-all standards where one size doesn't fit, while the states have become rubber stamps for the National Government.
Slavery depended on new land, because slaves had to be kept ignorant to remain slaves. Old farms became unprofitable except as a place to breed slaves. Example: Arlington Va.
Closing the territories to slavery would have killed slavery, by reducing demand for slaves, dropping the price.
The south started the war, and attempted to invade the territories, to the extent they could. They had tried to start the war in Kansas, in an attempt to corruptly install a slave constitution. They were stopped. They started the war at Ft. Sumter to induce Virginia to join their insurrection.
Then lets work together to reduce federal power to the limits appropriate to it.
Perhaps begin by shutting down the departments of Education, Labor, and Agriculture, all fields well known to the founders, and all fields where congress has no enumerated powers.