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Uncle Tom's Cabin
Lew Rockwell ^ | 12/16/03 | Gail Jarvis

Posted on 12/16/2003 1:15:09 PM PST by PeaRidge

Uncle Tom's Cabin by Gail Jarvis by Gail Jarvis

People who disagree with me often claim that my historical views do not conform with "modern" interpretations. For my enlightenment, they recommend "modern" history books, books written after the 1960s. However, one correspondent took the opposite approach insisting that I needed to read a book from the past, Uncle Tom's Cabin. Of course, like most of you, I read the book years ago when I was younger. And, although I thought I remembered it, I decided to read it again; this time slowly and analytically.

Its author, Harriet Beecher Stowe was the daughter, sister, and wife of ministers and fervent Abolitionists who used New England pulpits to passionately proselytize against slavery. So it is not surprising that she became an Abolitionist and wrote her influential novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Although the book is the most famous of all anti-slavery polemics, I suspect most people are not aware of many of the opinions held by its author.

In rereading her book, I was first struck by Mrs. Stowe insistence that slavery in the South was no worse than slavery in the North had been. Furthermore, Stowe did not condemn Southern plantation owners but rather placed the onus of slavery on the slave system itself; especially New England slave traders, New York bankers, and other Northern entrepreneurs who profited from slave commerce.

Writer and Civil Rights activist James Baldwin was incensed by her position, stating: "It was her object to show that the evils of slavery were the inherent evils of a bad system, and not always the fault of those who had become involved in it and were its actual administrators." To Baldwin this opinion was racist and abdicated slave owners of personal responsibility.

Civil rights activists were also irritated by Mrs. Stowe’s support of the American Colonization Society’s belief that slaves should be returned to Africa, support she shared with Abraham Lincoln.

Although an Abolitionist, Stowe belonged to the "gradual emancipation" school. She believed that slaves must receive at least a basic education before being freed. And she insisted that they be converted to Christianity. After these two conditions were met, they should be recolonized to Africa.

Uncle Tom’s Cabin was published two years after the Compromises of 1850. During a hectic two-month period, Congress enacted several laws designed to placate both pro-slavery and anti-slavery factions. The law that especially rankled Mrs. Stowe was the Fugitive Slave Act, which required that all run-away slaves be returned to their owners. She thought it was hypocrisy for Northern congressmen, who publicly condemned slavery, to enact the Compromises of 1850.

Harriet Beecher Stowe decided that she could make her point more dramatically by using a fiction format. Her goal was not to write the great American novel, but, like Charles Dickens, create sympathy for members of an underclass of society, slaves.

The character "Uncle Tom" grew up on the plantation of his first master, Mr. Shelby, a Southerner who was kindly disposed toward his slaves. In the course of events, Mr. Shelby incurs such large debts that he must either sell Tom, his most valuable slave, or sell all the others. This dilemma allows Mrs. Stowe to demonstrate how the economic realities of the slave system itself often precluded humanitarian considerations.

Uncle Tom’s second master, Mr. St. Clare, was also a Southerner and a compassionate slave owner. Mrs. Stowe uses St. Clare’s Vermont cousin, Miss Ophelia, to illustrate the Northern view of slavery. Miss Ophelia chastises St. Clare: "It’s a perfect abomination for you to defend such a system – you all do – all you southerners." But, annoyed by the slipshod manner in which the house servants conduct themselves; she calls them "shiftless." Miss Ophelia is also offended by the close companionship of St. Clare’s daughter, Little Eva, with Tom and the other slaves, which she deems inappropriate.

Uncle Tom’s third and final master is perhaps the most famous villain in American literature – Simon Legree: a New England Yankee. Legree amasses enough money pirating to purchase a plantation in Louisiana. As a plantation owner, he regularly beats, curses and abuses his slaves. In one of his beatings of Tom, Legree's rage boils over and he accidentally kills the noble slave.

Toward the end of the book, an escaped slave, George Harris, realizes he can now achieve his dream of joining the colony in Liberia: "Let me go to form part of a nation, which shall have a voice in the councils of nations, and then we can speak. We have the claim of an injured race for reparation. But, then, I do not want it. I want a country, a nation, of my own."

In a postscript to Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Harriet Beecher Stowe catalogues the evils of the slavery system and then addresses Southerners:

"The author hopes she has done justice to that nobility, generosity, and humanity which in many cases characterizes individuals at the South. Such instances save us from utter despair of our kind. To you, generous, noble-minded men and women of the South – you, whose virtue, and magnanimity, and purity of character are the greater for the severer trial it has encountered – to you is her appeal."

Next she turns her attention to Northerners:

"Do you say that the people of the free states have nothing to do with it? The people of the free states have defended, encouraged, and participated; and are more guilty for it, before God, than the South. There are multitudes of slaves temporarily owned, and sold again, by merchants in Northern cities; and shall the whole guilt or obloquy of slavery fall only on the South? Northern men, Northern mothers, Northern Christians, have something more to do than denounce their brethren at the South; they have to look to the evil among themselves."

Uncle Tom’s Cabin was published almost ten years before the War Between the States. Harriet Beecher Stowe did as much as anyone to encourage "gradual emancipation" of the New England sort..

December 16, 2003

Gail Jarvis [send him mail], a CPA living in Beaufort, SC, is an advocate of the voluntary union of states established by the founders.

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TOPICS: Culture/Society; Miscellaneous; Philosophy; Politics/Elections; Your Opinion/Questions
KEYWORDS: civilwar; dixielist; moosewatch; racism; slavery
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1 posted on 12/16/2003 1:15:12 PM PST by PeaRidge
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To: TwoBit; aomagrat; sheltonmac; billbears; bluecollarman; JMJ333; Constitution Day; TomServo; ...
bump
2 posted on 12/16/2003 1:18:27 PM PST by PeaRidge
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To: PeaRidge
Her goal was not to write the great American novel, but, like Charles Dickens, create sympathy for members of an underclass of society, slaves.

LOL. Who reads the "great" novels and who reads Dickens? Great novels are forced on students, while ordinary people still pick up Dickens, Tolkein and Twain.

3 posted on 12/16/2003 1:20:14 PM PST by js1138
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To: PeaRidge
Just curious. When did the "Missouri Compromise" get renamed "the compromise". I am asking because revisionists have made me very suspicious.
4 posted on 12/16/2003 1:22:48 PM PST by reed_inthe_wind (That Hillary really knows how to internationalize my MOJO.)
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To: PeaRidge
People who disagree with me often claim that my historical views do not conform with "modern" interpretations.

I'll take the truth over a "modern" interpretation.

5 posted on 12/16/2003 1:30:36 PM PST by 4CJ (Come along chihuahua, I want to hear you say yo quiero taco bell. - Nolu Chan, 28 Jul 2003)
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To: PeaRidge
Uncle Tom's Cabin
by Warrant

Just for the record let's get the story straight
Me and Uncle Tom were fishin' it was gettin' pretty late
Out on a cypress limb above the wishin' well
Where they say is got no bottom, say it take you down to Hell
Over in the bushes and off to the right
Come two men talking in the pale moonlight
Sheriff John Brady and Deputiy Hedge
Haulin' two limp bodies down to the water's edge

I know a secret down at Uncle Tom's cabin oh yea
I know a secret that I just can't tell


They didn't see me and Tom in the tree
Neither one believin' what the other could see
Tossed in the bodies let 'em sink on down
To the bottom of the well
Where'd they never be found

I know a secret down at Uncle Tom's cabin oh yea
I know a secret that I just can't tell
I know a secret down at Uncle Tom's cabin
I Know a secret that I just can't tell
I know a secret down at Uncle Tom's cabin
Know who put the bodies in the wishin' well

(Guitar Solo)
Soon as they were gone me and Tom got down
Prayin' real hard that we wouldn't make a sound
Runnin through the woods back to Uncle Tom' shack
Where the full moon shines throught the roof tile cracks
Oh my God Tom who are we gonna tell
The sheriff belongs in a prison cell
Keep your mouth shut that's what we're gonna do
Unless you wanna wind up in the wishin' well too.

I know a secret down at Uncle Tom's cabin
I know a secret that I just can't tell
I know a secret down at Uncle Tom's cabin
I know a secret that I just can't tell
I know a secret down at Uncle Tom's cabin
Know who put the bodies, know who put the bodies in the wishin' well
6 posted on 12/16/2003 1:34:58 PM PST by Blzbba
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To: 4ConservativeJustices
Although an Abolitionist, Stowe belonged to the "gradual emancipation" school. She believed that slaves must receive at least a basic education before being freed. And she insisted that they be converted to Christianity. After these two conditions were met, they should be recolonized to Africa.

Except for the colonization to Africa, not an opinion that one could say was held by ol 'root, pig or perish' himself

7 posted on 12/16/2003 1:35:31 PM PST by billbears (Deo Vindice)
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To: Blzbba
He knows who put the bodies in the wising well:


8 posted on 12/16/2003 1:36:46 PM PST by danneskjold (Kerry f***ed up my tagline)
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To: danneskjold
I'm going to pretend I have no idea what you're referring to... LOL!
9 posted on 12/16/2003 1:43:40 PM PST by Welsh Rabbit
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To: Welsh Rabbit
come on now...we were all young(er) once...
10 posted on 12/16/2003 1:45:03 PM PST by danneskjold (Kerry f***ed up my tagline)
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To: js1138
Oh what a shame that people should feel sorry for slaves. Lew Rockwell sputum.
11 posted on 12/16/2003 1:45:18 PM PST by cyborg
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To: js1138
I understand one of the required reading today is "Hannabil".

I ask you, what has this book got to do with history? Also, one of the kids did not know why he was even reading this book?
12 posted on 12/16/2003 1:45:59 PM PST by freekitty
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To: danneskjold
Please no more pictures of Jani Lane! It is bringing back thoughts of those awful cassette tapes I used to buy of all the "hair" bands.
13 posted on 12/16/2003 1:47:52 PM PST by MizzouTigerRepublican (82nd ABN Gulf war vet)
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To: billbears
Except for the colonization to Africa, not an opinion that one could say was held by ol 'root, pig or perish' himself

Careful, you'll tick off the "Saint" Lincoln crowd.

14 posted on 12/16/2003 1:49:08 PM PST by 4CJ (Come along chihuahua, I want to hear you say yo quiero taco bell. - Nolu Chan, 28 Jul 2003)
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To: PeaRidge
If it were not for partial quotes you sothron types would have no quotes at all.

"To you, generous, noble-minded men and women, of the South, -- you, whose virtue, and magnanimity and purity of character, are the greater for the severer trial it has encountered, -- to you is her appeal. Have you not, in your own secret souls, in your own private conversings, felt that there are woes and evils, in this accursed system, far beyond what are here shadowed, or can be shadowed?"

And the answer was, of course, no. The vast, overwhelming majority of southerners saw nothing wrong with slavery. At best they saw it as a necessary evil. At worst their views were the same as Jefferson Davis' who said, "We recognize the negro as God and God's Book and God's Law in nature tells us to recognize him - our inferior, fitted expressly for servitude. Freedom only injures the slave. The innate stamp of inferiority is beyond the reach of change. You cannot transform the negro into anything one-tenth as useful or as good as what slavery enables him to be."

Slavery made the south what is was. Slavery was an institution that almost all southerners felt would be passed on to their children and their grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Slavery was so important to the south that it was worth beginning a rebellion over, worth starting a war over. The believed in it, prospered from it, and their answer to Ms. Stowe would have been a resounding "Hell, no!"

15 posted on 12/16/2003 1:50:56 PM PST by Non-Sequitur
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To: MizzouTigerRepublican
Hair bands... did you ever have banana clips?
16 posted on 12/16/2003 1:51:06 PM PST by cyborg
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To: 4ConservativeJustices
Careful, you'll tick off the "Saint" Lincoln crowd.

Not hardly.

17 posted on 12/16/2003 1:52:34 PM PST by Non-Sequitur
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To: 4ConservativeJustices
Well into the war, Lincoln would say,

"Root, hog, or die" ….

Lincoln's suggestion to illiterate and property less ex-slaves unprepared for freedom, (Feb. 3, 1865).
18 posted on 12/16/2003 2:00:32 PM PST by PeaRidge
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To: PeaRidge
Thus implying that a slave couldn't learn anything I suppose :-( Well he didn't learn from the British who put that into practice in their former colonies, esp. the ones with slavery (like Jamaica).

I'm not a hang him high Lincoln hater, but I'm no fan of him either.
19 posted on 12/16/2003 2:02:48 PM PST by cyborg
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To: Non-Sequitur
She can answer your inquiry.

"Do you say that the people of the free states have nothing to do with it? The people of the free states have defended, encouraged, and participated; and are more guilty for it, before God, than the South.

"There are multitudes of slaves temporarily owned, and sold again, by merchants in Northern cities; and shall the whole guilt or obloquy of slavery fall only on the South?

"Northern men, Northern mothers, Northern Christians, have something more to do than denounce their brethren at the South; they have to look to the evil among themselves."

Harriette Beecher Stowe

20 posted on 12/16/2003 2:05:33 PM PST by PeaRidge
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To: Non-Sequitur
Licoln stated, "There is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will for ever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race."

Of interest is the last line where Lincoln states that "any other man" would be in favor of having whites be superior. I guess Lincoln didn't consider black males to be "men".

21 posted on 12/16/2003 2:07:07 PM PST by 4CJ (Come along chihuahua, I want to hear you say yo quiero taco bell. - Nolu Chan, 28 Jul 2003)
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To: PeaRidge
Lincoln's suggestion to illiterate and property less ex-slaves unprepared for freedom, (Feb. 3, 1865).

Nonsense. Look at the quote in whole:

"You see," said he, "we had reached and were discussing the slavery question. Mr. Hunter said, substantially, that the slaves, always accustomed to an overseer, and to work upon compulsion, suddenly freed, as they would be if the South should consent to peace on the basis of the 'Emancipation Proclamation,' would precipitate not only themselves, but the entire Southern society, into irremediable ruin. No work would be done, nothing would be cultivated, and both blacks and whites would starve!"

Said the President: "I waited for Seward to answer that argument, but as he was silent, I at length said: 'Mr. Hunter, you ought to know a great deal better about this argument than I, for you have always lived under the slave system. I can only say, in reply to your statement of the case, that it reminds me of a man out in Illinois, by the name of Case, who undertook, a few years ago, to raise a very large herd of hogs. It was a great trouble to feed them, and how to get around this was a puzzle to him. At length he hit on the plan of planting an immense field of potatoes, and, when they were sufficiently grown, he turned the whole herd into the field, and let them have full swing, thus saving not only the labor of feeding the hogs, but also that of digging the potatoes. Charmed with his sagacity, he stood one day leaning against the fence, counting his hogs, when a neighbor came along.

"'Well, well,' said he, 'Mr. Case, this is all very fine. Your hogs are doing very well just now, but you know out here in Illinois the frost comes early, and the ground freezes for a foot deep. Then what you going to do?'

"This was a view of the matter which Mr. Case had not taken into account. Butchering time for hogs was 'way on in December or January! He scratched his head, and at length stammered: 'Well, it may come pretty hard on their snouts, but I don't see but that it will be "root, hog, or die."'" Link

Lincoln wasn't referring to what the slaves should do, but what the planters should do. It was the planters who were faced with the need to work for a living. Without slaves to do the work then it was the rich white southern aristocracy who would have to 'root hog, or die'.

22 posted on 12/16/2003 2:09:01 PM PST by Non-Sequitur
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To: 4ConservativeJustices
So by that quote you have shown that Lincoln was no different than virtually anyone else in the U.S. at the time. But Lincoln had other beliefs, which he also expounded on in the Lincoln Douglas Debates. He also stated his belief that "...but I hold that, notwithstanding all this, there is no reason in the world why the negro is not entitled to all the natural rights enumerated in the Declaration of Independence, the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I hold that he is as much entitled to these as the white man. I agree with Judge Douglas he is not my equal in many respects-certainly not in color, perhaps not in moral or intellectual endowment. But in the right to eat the bread, without the leave of anybody else, which his own hand earns, he is my equal and the equal of Judge Douglas, and the equal of every living man."

In that alone, Lincoln expressed a belief that was virtually unique among Northern politicians, and which was not shared by any southern leader.

23 posted on 12/16/2003 2:15:59 PM PST by Non-Sequitur
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To: PeaRidge
Stowe as saying to the North that if they weren't part of the solution then they were part of the problem, a problem that the south was willing to fight to the death to defend.
24 posted on 12/16/2003 2:17:27 PM PST by Non-Sequitur
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To: Non-Sequitur
Slavery made the south what is was. Slavery was an institution that almost all southerners felt would be passed on to their children and their grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Slavery was so important to the south that it was worth beginning a rebellion over, worth starting a war over. The believed in it, prospered from it, and their answer to Ms. Stowe would have been a resounding "Hell, no!"

Actually, over 90% of southerners did not own slaves. The main reason for the fight was the fact that the federal government was trampling on states rights. (Gosh, that sounds like a conservative position!! Horror!!!!)

disclaimer:I am not now, nor have I ever advocated slavery, nor am I attempting to defend a despicable and incredibly monstorous practice

I am merely pointing out that the Civil War was not ONLY about slavery.

25 posted on 12/16/2003 2:51:13 PM PST by ibheath (Born-again and grateful to God for it.)
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To: ibheath
Actually, over 90% of southerners did not own slaves

I grew up in a family with three children. We had one car, titled in my father's name. So it can be correctly said that 80% of the people in my family did not own a car, but 100% reaped the benefit of car ownership. Likewise with slavery. A look at the census data of the period would show that only about 6 or 7 percent of the people owned slaves, but those people had families. A further look at the census data shows that in some states the number of slave owning families approached 50%. Overall in the states that originally seceded the percentage is just over 30%. So it may be difficult to understand why the south would launch a war to defend an institution that only 7% of the people benefited from, but when the percentage approaches 1/3rd then it isn't so hard to understand.

The main reason for the fight was the fact that the federal government was trampling on states rights.

Other than the expansion of slavery what states right was being trampled?

I am merely pointing out that the Civil War was not ONLY about slavery.

Perhaps. But defense of the institution of slavery was by far the single most important reason for the rebellion.

26 posted on 12/16/2003 3:29:24 PM PST by Non-Sequitur
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To: PeaRidge
Well into the war, Lincoln would say,

"Root, hog, or die" ….

Lincoln's suggestion to illiterate and property less ex-slaves unprepared for freedom, (Feb. 3, 1865).

I don't know if this is true or not. I suspect not.

But if anyone in this country was ever left to 'root hog or die', it was Lincoln himself.

Walt

27 posted on 12/16/2003 3:30:50 PM PST by WhiskeyPapa (Virtue is the uncontested prize.)
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To: ibheath
Slavery made the south what is was. Slavery was an institution that almost all southerners felt would be passed on to their children and their grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Slavery was so important to the south that it was worth beginning a rebellion over, worth starting a war over. The believed in it, prospered from it, and their answer to Ms. Stowe would have been a resounding "Hell, no!"

Actually, over 90% of southerners did not own slaves.

Slave ownership devolved on 50% of whites in LA, MS and SC, and on 1/3 of whites in the rest of the south.

Walt

28 posted on 12/16/2003 3:32:24 PM PST by WhiskeyPapa (Virtue is the uncontested prize.)
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To: ibheath
The main reason for the fight was the fact that the federal government was trampling on states rights.

Can you show that in the record?

Walt

29 posted on 12/16/2003 3:35:05 PM PST by WhiskeyPapa (Virtue is the uncontested prize.)
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To: ibheath
I am merely pointing out that the Civil War was not ONLY about slavery.

There were no other issues.

Walt

30 posted on 12/16/2003 3:36:21 PM PST by WhiskeyPapa (Virtue is the uncontested prize.)
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To: ibheath
Actually, over 90% of southerners did not own slaves.

The percentage of slaveowning households was much higher in the first states to secede: 46% of free households had slaves in South Carolina, 49% in Mississippi. Secession began in Deep South areas with a high percentage of slaveholding families. After secession and the establishment of the CSA regime, many other Southerners rallied to it in a "them vs. us" spirit.

31 posted on 12/16/2003 3:37:37 PM PST by x
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To: PeaRidge
Might be interesting to take a poll of who has actually read UTC. It was a phenomenal best seller at the time, and is still in print.
32 posted on 12/16/2003 3:38:50 PM PST by RightWhale (Close your tag lines)
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To: MizzouTigerRepublican; danneskjold
Don't blame me - I only posted the lyrics!!

Also, that was probably Warrant's best song.
33 posted on 12/16/2003 4:00:40 PM PST by Blzbba
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To: ibheath
Actually, over 90% of southerners did not own slaves.

Does that figure include the 4 million who were slaves?

Try again bubba.

34 posted on 12/16/2003 4:14:22 PM PST by mac_truck (Aide toi et dieu l’aidera)
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To: WhiskeyPapa
A New Look at the "Civil War"
by Carl Pearlston

While barge traveling down the Mississippi this Spring, we stopped at Vicksburg to tour the historic Civil War (or as it is variously termed in the South, the War Between the States, the War for Southern Independence, or the War of Northern Aggression) battlefield marking the city's siege and surrender, which gave the Union final control over the river and divided the Confederacy. Like so many, I've always been fascinated and puzzled by this tragic war in which some 630,000 Union and Confederate soldiers lost their lives. I had always learned and believed that the South's "peculiar institution" of slavery was the cause of that conflict, but in discussions with the local tour guide, he opined that the real cause of the war was Union tariff policy. This was a novel idea which piqued my curiosity. Fortuitously, a day or two later in the museum at Natchez, I found a book entitled War for What, by Francis Springer, which purported to give "the real cause of the war between the states."

Springer points out, amid a good deal of apologia for slavery, that in 1860, the 15 Southern states had 8 million whites and 4 ½ million black slaves, compared to 19 million whites and ¼ million blacks in the North's 19 states. The vast areas of undeveloped western territory were rapidly being settled by people whose economic interests were not with the South. It found itself continually outvoted in both the Congress and Senate, especially on commercial regulations, with the prospect of an increasing majority against it. The nub of the problem was that the North wanted high tariffs on imported goods to protect its own manufactured products, while the South wanted low tariffs on imports and exports since it exported cotton and tobacco to Europe and imported manufactured goods in exchange. High tariffs in effect depressed the price for the South's agricultural exports; the South paid high prices for what it bought and got low prices for what it sold because of the federal tariff policy which the South was powerless to change. Southerners viewed themselves as being dominated by the mercantile interests of the North who profited from these high tariffs.

At the Constitutional Convention in 1787, Virginia had proposed a requirement for a 2/3 majority to enact laws regulating commerce and levying tariffs, which were the chief revenue of the federal government. George Mason of Virginia stated "The effect of a provision to pass commercial laws by a simple majority would be to deliver the south bound hand and foot to the eastern states". Virginia withdrew its amendment at the Convention in the interest of securing adoption of the Constitution, but ratification was with the proviso that it could be rescinded whenever the powers granted to the Union were used to oppress, and Virginia could then withdraw from the Union. True to George Mason's prediction, the high tariff of 1828 did bring the South to the verge of rebellion, leading Senator John C. Calhoun to unsuccessfully champion the concept of Nullification and the doctrine of the Concurrent Majority in 1833 to ensure that the South could have a veto power over commercial acts passed by a simple majority in Congress and the Senate.

Springer's book had certainly raised a host of questions, when I was informed of a new book entitled When in the Course of Human Events: Arguing the Case for Southern Succession, by Charles Adams, a noted scholar and writer on the history of taxation. It is a fascinating and somewhat disturbing revisionist history, for it posits the Civil War as but a continuation of the tariff controversy from 1828, ignoring the issues of slavery and the admission of new non-slave states from the territories as reasons for the South's secession and the resultant conflict.

Adams takes the skeleton which Springer had sketched and fills out its flesh with statistics, facts, and timely and instructive details from the newspapers of both the US and England. Consider, for example, a quote by author Charles Dickens in a London periodical in December 1861, "Union means so many millions a year lost to the South; secession means the loss of the same millions to the North. The love of money is the root of this as of many other evils....The quarrel between the North and South is, as it stands, solely a fiscal quarrel". As Adams notes, the South paid an undue proportion of federal revenues derived from tariffs, and these were expended by the federal government more in the North than the South: in 1840, the South paid 84% of the tariffs, rising to 87% in 1860. They paid 83% of the $13 million federal fishing bounties paid to New England fishermen, and also paid $35 million to Northern shipping interests which had a monopoly on shipping from Southern ports. The South, in effect, was paying tribute to the North. The address of Texas Congressman Reagan on 15 January 1861 summarizes this discontent: "You are not content with the vast millions of tribute we pay you annually under the operation of our revenue law, our navigation laws, your fishing bounties, and by making your people our manufacturers, our merchants, our shippers. You are not satisfied with the vast tribute we pay you to build up your great cities, your railroads, your canals. You are not satisfied with the millions of tribute we have been paying you on account of the balance of exchange which you hold against us. You are not satisfied that we of the South are almost reduced to the condition of overseers of northern capitalists. You are not satisfied with all this; but you must wage a relentless crusade against our rights and institutions." As the London Times of 7 Nov 1861 stated: "The contest is really for empire on the side of the North and for independence on that of the South....".

If the South did not secede to protect slavery, why was that prominently stated as the principal reason in the secession resolutions of the various Confederate states? Adams claims that slavery was never in danger, pointing out that Lincoln pledged to enforce the fugitive slave law, declared he had no right or intention to interfere with slavery, and supported a new irrevocable constitutional amendment to protect slavery forever. The South's proclamation that slavery was in danger was a political ploy full of political cant to stir up secessionist fever. As the North American Review (Boston October 1862) put it: "Slavery is not the cause of the rebellion ....Slavery is the pretext on which the leaders of the rebellion rely, 'to fire the Southern Heart' and through which the greatest degree of unanimity can be produced....Mr. Calhoun, after finding that the South could not be brought into sufficient unanimity by a clamor about the tariff, selected slavery as the better subject for agitation". An editorial in the Charleston Mercury 2 days before the November 1860 election stated: "The real causes of dissatisfaction in the South with the North, are in the unjust taxation and expenditure of the taxes by the Government of the United States, and in the revolution the North has effected in this government from a confederated republic, to a national sectional despotism." And on 21 January 1861, five days before Louisiana seceded, the New Orleans Daily Crescent editorialized: "They [the South] know that it is their import trade that draws from the people's pockets sixty or seventy millions of dollars per annum, in the shape of duties, to be expended mainly in the North, and in the protection and encouragement of Northern interests....These are the reasons why these people [the North] do not wish the South to secede from the Union."

When South Carolina seceded in December 1860, followed by the other Confederate states, all the powerful moneyed interests in the North were in favor of appeasing the South over slavery in order to preserve the Union. If the South were to be a sovereign nation with low tariffs, it could undermine Northern business and trade. The South believed that it did not need the North, since it could buy the goods it needed from Europe, but the North needed the South as a market for Northern goods.

The Republican platform of 1860 called for higher tariffs; that was implemented by the new Congress in the Morill tariff of March 1861, signed by President Buchanan before Lincoln took the oath of office. It imposed the highest tariffs in US history, with over a 50% duty on iron products and 25% on clothing; rates averaged 47%. The nascent Confederacy followed with a low tariff, essentially creating a free-trade zone in the South. Prior to this "war of the tariffs", most Northern newspapers had called for peace through conciliation, but many now cried for war. The Philadelphia Press on 18 March 1861 demanded a blockade of Southern ports, because, if not, "a series of customs houses will be required on the vast inland border from the Atlantic to West Texas. Worse still, with no protective tariff, European goods will under-price Northern goods in Southern markets. Cotton for Northern mills will be charged an export tax. This will cripple the clothing industries and make British mills prosper. Finally, the great inland waterways, the Mississippi, the Missouri, and the Ohio Rivers, will be subject to Southern tolls."

Earlier, in December 1860, before any secession, the Chicago Daily Times foretold the disaster that Southern free ports would bring to Northern commerce: "In one single blow our foreign commerce must be reduced to less than one-half what it now is. Our coastwise trade would pass into other hands. One-half of our shipping would lie idle at our wharves. We should lose our trade with the South, with all of its immense profits. Our manufactories would be in utter ruins. Let the South adopt the free-trade system, or that of a tariff for revenue, and these results would likely follow."

Similarly, the economic editor of the NY Times, who had maintained for months that secession would not injure Northern commerce or prosperity, changed his mind on 22 March 1861: "At once shut down every Southern port, destroy its commerce and bring utter ruin on the Confederate States." On 18 March, the Boston Transcript noted that while the Southern states had claimed to secede over the slavery issue, now "the mask has been thrown off and it is apparent that the people of the principal seceding states are now for commercial independence. They dream that the centres of traffic can be changed from Northern to Southern ports....by a revenue system verging on free trade...."

In late March 1861, over a hundred leading commercial importers in New York, and a similar group in Boston, informed the collector of customs that they would not pay duties on imported goods unless these same duties were collected at Southern ports. This was followed by a threat from New York to withdraw from the Union and establish a free-trade zone. Prior to these events, Lincoln's plan was to evacuate Fort Sumter and not precipitate a war, but he now determined to reinforce it rather than suffer prolonged economic disaster in a losing trade war. That reinforcement effort was met with force by the South, and the dreadful conflict was upon us.

Adams attacks the opposing views of those like Horace Greeley and John Stuart Mill, who held that slavery was the one cause of the secession and the War, as uninformed and based on inadequate research. Mill's article of February 1862, reprinted in Harper's magazine, was a welcome shot in the arm for the Northern cause, giving it an undeserved moral virtue.

As part of this revisionist history, Adams discusses Lincoln's suspension of habeas corpus, his order for arrest of Chief Justice Taney after the Justice's opinion holding such suspension to be unconstitutional, the military courts martial which replaced civilian courts and imprisoned some 14,000 dissidents or Copperheads for varied opposition to the war, the closure of some 300 newspapers for opposition to the war, Reconstruction, the rise of the Klan, the planned trial of Jefferson Davis, and the legality of secession. He also provides a critical examination of the Gettysburg Address, of which one reader stated, as quoted on the bookjacket, "Having read this book, I can no longer, with ease, recite the 'Gettysburg Address' or sing the 'Battle Hymn of the Republic'."

What then are we to make of the case Adams sets forth? Was Karl Marx correct when he wrote in 1861: "The war between the North and the South is a tariff war. The war is, further, not for any principle, does not touch the question of slavery, and in fact turns on the Northern lust for sovereignty." While historians may differ, Adams makes a convincing case. But one fact is clear: without its "peculiar institution" of slavery, the South would have never developed its agricultural might so dependent on masses of black laborers. Without slavery and the resultant plantation economy, the cultural divide and fierce sectional rivalry between North and South over tariff policy would not have developed. So, in that sense, slavery was at the root of the entire conflict between the North and the South, though tariffs may well have been the immediate precipitating factor, just as Adams contends. Whatever the cause, it is hard to quarrel with Adams' conclusion that "... the Civil war was not just a great national American tragedy, but even more so, a tragedy for civilization .... In 1861, the world's first great democracy, which was going to show the world what great benefits and virtue this new form of government could bring, failed miserably, tragically, and horribly."

August 25, 2000

Carl Pearlston is an attorney specializing in alternate dispute resolution (arbitrations and mediations) in Southern California, a member of the board of Los Angeles Toward Tradition and ADL, a conservative activist, and an inveterate writer of letters and articles of social and political commentary.

http://www.sewanee.edu/faculty/Willis/Civil_War/documents/SCExposition.html
35 posted on 12/16/2003 5:01:54 PM PST by KDD (Time makes more converts than reason.)
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To: KDD
That's all complete crap.

Walt

36 posted on 12/16/2003 5:39:31 PM PST by WhiskeyPapa (Virtue is the uncontested prize.)
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To: ibheath
The main reason for the fight was the fact that the federal government was trampling on states rights.

Sigh!!!

Which states' rights were being trampled on in late 1860/early 1861 when the majority of southern states seceded,well before Lincoln was inaugurated? If you are going to make such statements, you should be able to back them up with facts, rather than hyperbole.

I have asked this question many time of The South Will Rise Again boys. I have never received a coherent answer.

37 posted on 12/16/2003 7:46:20 PM PST by Restorer
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To: 4ConservativeJustices; billbears
Careful, you'll tick off the "Saint" Lincoln crowd.

Well... you warned 'em!

38 posted on 12/16/2003 8:17:00 PM PST by Gianni (Some things never change.)
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To: WhiskeyPapa; KDD
That's all complete crap.

Wow, pages upon pages, with citations; refuted in four words.

Walt, sometimes you truly amaze me. Merry Christmas

39 posted on 12/16/2003 8:32:21 PM PST by Gianni (Some things never change.)
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To: KDD
Adams claims that slavery was never in danger, pointing out that Lincoln pledged to enforce the fugitive slave law, declared he had no right or intention to interfere with slavery, and supported a new irrevocable constitutional amendment to protect slavery forever. The South's proclamation that slavery was in danger was a political ploy full of political cant to stir up secessionist fever.

So when the declarations of the causes of secession gave slavery as the reason for the rebellion, when the secession commissioners gave slavery as the reason for the rebellion, and when the newspaper editorials gave slavery as the reason for the rebellion, you are saying that they were lying? That the whole southern cause was built on a lie? That the only way the southern leadership could get the people to go along with them was to lie to them? Is that what you are saying?

40 posted on 12/17/2003 2:47:45 AM PST by Non-Sequitur
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To: Gianni
Well... you warned 'em!

It didn't even take 40 posts.

41 posted on 12/17/2003 4:50:00 AM PST by 4CJ (Come along chihuahua, I want to hear you say yo quiero taco bell. - Nolu Chan, 28 Jul 2003)
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To: Non-Sequitur
Lincoln wasn't referring to what the slaves should do, but what the planters should do. It was the planters who were faced with the need to work for a living. Without slaves to do the work then it was the rich white southern aristocracy who would have to 'root hog, or die'.

Bravo Sierra.

Mr. Case is charged with providing for his HOGS, not himself, as evidenced by the statement that it was 'a great trouble to feed them'. He plants potatoes for the HOGS, who will root the potatoes themselves, 'saving not only the labor of feeding the hogs, but also that of digging the potatoes'.

Nowhere does he allude to Mr. Case planting potatoes for himself. Lincoln was alluding to the former slaves, not to Southen planters.

42 posted on 12/17/2003 5:05:49 AM PST by 4CJ (Come along chihuahua, I want to hear you say yo quiero taco bell. - Nolu Chan, 28 Jul 2003)
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To: 4ConservativeJustices
Bravo Sierra.

When if comes to bovine excrement then who better than you should know?

President Lincoln was responding to Mr. Hunter, a member of the so-called 'peace commission'. Mr. Hunter wasn't concerned with the freed slaves. It is obvious by his concern about the ruin of southern society. His fear that work would not get done, crops wouldn't be cultivated. His fear was the loss of his chattel, the workforce that did the cultivating in the first place. Those were the hogs that had to root or die, the hogs that had to face a future where they did the work, they did the cultivating, they didn't have their slaves to fall back on. President Lincoln was addressing Mr. Hunter's concerns when he made his statement, so his remarks were obviously addressed to the white hogs, not any black ones.

43 posted on 12/17/2003 6:06:29 AM PST by Non-Sequitur
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To: Non-Sequitur
When if comes to bovine excrement then who better than you should know?

Thank you. After seeing much of what is written by your side, I do consider myself to be an expert.

His fear was the loss of his chattel, the workforce that did the cultivating in the first place. Those were the hogs that had to root or die, the hogs that had to face a future where they did the work, they did the cultivating, they didn't have their slaves to fall back on.

Well, which one does the cultivating?

44 posted on 12/17/2003 6:23:42 AM PST by 4CJ (Come along chihuahua, I want to hear you say yo quiero taco bell. - Nolu Chan, 28 Jul 2003)
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To: Non-Sequitur
That the only way the southern leadership could get the people to go along with them was to lie to them? Is that what you are saying?

Maybe slavery was the WMD issue of the 19th century. Of course, regardless of the instigating cause, the confederates fought for independence. All you need to do is explain why independence is such a grotesque evil that it had to be stopped at the cost of a million American lives. Ready... set... GO!

45 posted on 12/17/2003 7:22:30 AM PST by Gianni (Some things never change.)
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To: 4ConservativeJustices
It didn't even take 40 posts.

Seems like there's usually sort of an unwritten rule of 60 posts before we actually begin refighting the WBTS. It's only polite to allow everyone to do their pinging, gather their armies, close ranks, and line up their strategies.

46 posted on 12/17/2003 7:25:29 AM PST by Gianni (Some things never change.)
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To: Non-Sequitur
Nice try but no banana, Non.

You are really resorting to revisionism to use a source like Lincoln's Yarns and Stories, by Colonel Alexander K. McClure. Couldn't you find a reliable source?

But then of course if you did, you would have to post the truth, which is:

"A Constitutional View of the Late War between the States," Alexander Stephens , 1870, Philadelphia: National Publishing Co.:

"When asked by Confederate Vice President Alexander Stepehens at the 1865 Hampton Roads 'peace' conference what would become of the freedmen without property or education, Lincoln sarcastically recited the words to a popular minstrel song, 'root, hog or die.'"

So, the popular emancipator was talking not about the working class Southern farmers, but specifically the slave class that would be forced into extreme poverty and starvation if the Southern economy was destroyed.

47 posted on 12/17/2003 7:27:55 AM PST by PeaRidge
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To: 4ConservativeJustices; Non-Sequitur
From the looks of the quote as posted by Non, it seems Lincoln is referring to all the people of the South indifferent to race or status; which seems wholly plausible given his lack of compassion for both slaves and the aristocracy evidenced elsewhere.
48 posted on 12/17/2003 7:29:37 AM PST by Gianni (Some things never change.)
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To: 4ConservativeJustices
Well, which one does the cultivating?

The slaves, of course. And what were they cultivating? Cotton, tobacco, rice, all the products that made the rich white planters rich white planters. So now the white population had to root in their own fields, or die trying. Their chattel was no longer there to do their bidding.

49 posted on 12/17/2003 7:50:51 AM PST by Non-Sequitur
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To: KDD
These guys would not validate any position that would even remotely shed a positive light on the South. Some of these threads go into the hundreds. From experience, you are wasting your time. Yankees need to deny their culpability and these guys are pros. Imagine all the effort put into researching a point, and the response is 'no he didn't'. By leaning on the PC 'southerners are evil' position, they feel they can somehow justify the liberal desire for total government oversight of all. Have fun, but you've been warned!
50 posted on 12/17/2003 7:51:22 AM PST by bk1000 (listed on federal no tag line list.)
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