Skip to comments.Was the Civil War about Slavery?
Posted on 08/11/2015 1:11:21 PM PDT by iowamark
What caused the Civil War? That seems like the sort of simple, straightforward question that any elementary school child should be able to answer. Yet many Americansincluding, mostly, my fellow Southernersclaim that that the cause was economic or states rights or just about anything other than slavery.
But slavery was indisputably the primary cause, explains Colonel Ty Seidule, Professor of History at the United States Military Academy at West Point.
The abolition of slavery was the single greatest act of liberty-promotion in the history of America. Because of that fact, its natural for people who love freedom, love tradition, and love the South to want to believe that the continued enslavement of our neighbors could not have possibly been the motivation for succession. But we should love truth even more than liberty and heritage, which is why we should not only acknowledge the truth about the cause of the war but be thankful that the Confederacy lost and that freedom won.
(Excerpt) Read more at blog.acton.org ...
The word is secession, no succession, and no, my great-grandfather did not fight for slavery. He fought to defend his home and state from Northern invasion.
What does it matter? We won’t be a country much longer at the rate we are going.
Forget modern Marxist ‘interpretations’ of the Civil War and just READ the Articles of Confederation.
The whole thing is about slavery—period.
What do they say about opinions?
The South disagreed, believing that the Federal fugitive slave law should preempt states' rights.
Thereupon the Southern states seceded in order to form a new federal government of their own, under which states were not free to make their own laws regarding slavery.
So yes! the Civil War originated out of a states' rights issue.
Slavery was a collateral factor. The sectional conflict was basically about whether the Northern business interest or the Southern agrarian interest would control the policy of the federal government. It had been a simmering conflict for decades. The extension of slavery and slavery itself were the occasion but not the underlying cause. Northerners were no less “racist” than southerners, but slavery meant power, economically and politically, for the South.
Right? If you’re going to make an argument, at least use the proper words. That’s pathetic.
The answer would yes and no.
Well, I stopped reading when the poster wrote ‘succession” instead of ‘secession.” If you can’t even get the operative term right, you have no credibility.
Part of the “Prager University” series, which looks to be pretty good.
Same as my GGGF, who was a Confederate cavalryman with Nathan Bedford Forest.
I would like to see a tax on blacks to pay restitution to families of northern soldiers that died to free them from slavery.
SRSLY?! I mean, a CW thread, from an exerpted blog? One more topic to pit FReepers against each other? For what purpose?
The civil war was about the Federal Government telling the states what they had to do.
Imagine if the issue was not telling states they had to end slavery, but instead telling them had to.. oh, I dunno.. buy health insurance
Well this should be fun. Getting my popcorn.
It would be a distraction, no doubt about that!
Not this again.
“What caused the Civil War? Did the North care about abolishing slavery? Did the South secede because of slavery? Or was it about something else entirely...perhaps states’ rights? Colonel Ty Seidule, Professor of History at the United States Military Academy at West Point, settles the debate.”
“Was the American Civil War fought because of slavery? More than 150 years later this remains a controversial question.
Why? Because many people don’t want to believe that the citizens of the southern states were willing to fight and die to preserve a morally repugnant institution. There has to be another reason, we are told. Well, there isn’t.
The evidence is clear and overwhelming. Slavery was, by a wide margin, the single most important cause of the Civil War — for both sides. Before the presidential election of 1860, a South Carolina newspaper warned that the issue before the country was, “the extinction of slavery,” and called on all who were not prepared to, “surrender the institution,” to act. Shortly after Abraham Lincoln’s victory, they did.
The secession documents of every Southern state made clear, crystal clear, that they were leaving the Union in order to protect their “peculiar institution” of slavery — a phrase that at the time meant “the thing special to them.” The vote to secede was 169 to 0 in South Carolina, 166 to 7 in Texas, 84 to 15 in Mississippi. In no Southern state was the vote close.
Alexander Stephens of Georgia, the Confederacy’s Vice President clearly articulated the views of the South in March 1861. “Our new government,” he said, was founded on slavery. “Its foundations are laid, its cornerstone rests upon the great truth that the Negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery, submission to the superior race, is his natural and normal condition.” Yet, despite the evidence, many continue to argue that other factors superseded slavery as the cause of the Civil War.
Some argue that the South only wanted to protect states’ rights. But this raises an obvious question: the states’ rights to what? Wasn’t it to maintain and spread slavery? Moreover, states’ rights was not an exclusive Southern issue. All the states — North and South — sought to protect their rights — sometimes they petitioned the federal government, sometimes they quarreled with each other. In fact, Mississippians complained that New York had too strong a concept of states’ rights because it would not allow Delta planters to bring their slaves to Manhattan. The South was preoccupied with states’ rights because it was preoccupied first and foremost with retaining slavery.
Some argue that the cause of the war was economic. The North was industrial and the South agrarian, and so, the two lived in such economically different societies that they could no longer stay together. Not true.
In the middle of the 19th century, both North and South were agrarian societies. In fact, the North produced far more food crops than did the South. But Northern farmers had to pay their farmhands who were free to come and go as they pleased, while Southern plantation owners exploited slaves over whom they had total control.
And it wasn’t just plantation owners who supported slavery. The slave society was embraced by all classes in the South. The rich had multiple motivations for wanting to maintain slavery, but so did the poor, non-slave holding whites. The “peculiar institution” ensured that they did not fall to the bottom rung of the social ladder. That’s why another argument — that the Civil War couldn’t have been about slavery because so few people owned slaves — has little merit.
Finally, many have argued that President Abraham Lincoln fought the war to keep the Union together, not to end slavery. That was true at the outset of the war. But he did so with the clear knowledge that keeping the Union together meant either spreading slavery to all the states — an unacceptable solution — or vanquishing it altogether.
In a famous campaign speech in 1858, Lincoln said, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” What was it that divided the country? It was slavery, and only slavery. He continued: “I believe this government cannot endure permanently half slave and half free... It will become all one thing, or all the other.” Lincoln’s view never changed, and as the war progressed, the moral component, ending slavery, became more and more fixed in his mind. His Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 turned that into law.
Slavery is the great shame of America’s history. No one denies that. But it’s to America’s everlasting credit that it fought the most devastating war in its history in order to abolish slavery.
As a soldier, I am proud that the United States Army, my army, defeated the Confederates. In its finest hour, soldiers wearing this blue uniform — almost two hundred thousand of them former slaves themselves — destroyed chattel slavery, freed 4 million men, women, and children from human bondage, and saved the United States of America.
I’m Colonel Ty Seidule, Professor and Head, Department of History at the United States Military Academy, West Point for Prager University.”
“Colonel Ty Seidule assumed duties as the Professor and Head of the Department of History at the United States Military Academy at West Point in 2013. Previous duties at West Point include the Deputy Head; Chief, Military History Program; Chief, International History Program; and Academy Professor. Prior to his arrival at West Point, he commanded 3rd Battalion, 81st Armor at Fort Knox KY. He was commissioned as a Distinguished Military Graduate from Washington and Lee University. He holds a Ph.D. in history from the Ohio State University.
COL Seidules previous assignments include platoon leader and company executive officer in 5th Battalion, 68th Armor Regiment, 8th Infantry Division, Mannheim Germany; adjutant and battalion maintenance officer, 3rd Battalion (Airborne), 73rd Armor, 82nd Airborne Division; commander, A Troop, 1st Squadron (Airborne), 17th Cavalry, 82nd Airborne Division in Southwest Asia during Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm; Squadron Operations Officer, 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment; Executive Officer, Light Infantry Observer/Controller Team (Airborne), Operations Group, National Training Center; and Crisis Planner, Allied Forces South (NATO), during operations in the Balkans.
COL Seidules military education and training includes Airborne, Ranger, and Jumpmaster Schools, Armor Officer Basic and Career Courses, U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, and a National Securities Fellowship to the Naval Postgraduate School. He also served as a Picatinny Arsenal Research Fellow.”
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