Skip to comments.Victor Davis Hanson: [‘Response to Readership’] Why did the South start the Civil War?
Posted on 02/17/2005 1:55:46 PM PST by quidnunc
Q: After having read many accounts of the Civil War, I still dont understand why South Carolina fired on Ft. Sumter, galvanizing the North into war. What do you think might have happened had the South continued to let these coastal forts be manned by the Union for a longer time?
Hanson: I think conflict was inevitable, because the South had little appreciation of Northern industrial power nor of the competence of a number of formerly nondescript Union officers. The best officers of the Mexican War had joined the Confederacy and there was an erroneous general impression that all superior commanders had left the Union, and with vaunted Southern courage, a big victory or two would teach the Yankees that going into the Confederacy was simply not worth the trouble, especially for the increasingly controversial idea of emancipation.
(Excerpt) Read more at victorhanson.com ...
This is going to start something
FACT- The CIVIL WAR WAS OVER SLAVERY, it was also over states rights, tariffs, but a big part of it was slavery.
FACT- MOST of the white southerners were not slaveowners. In fact most of the whites were very POOR farmers.
Why did they fight?
I'm asking a question,
PLEASE Dont say it wasn't over slavery it was. But that was only a few of the Southerners. Most were poor. I think they were duped.
I think VDH is right when he says the south didn't apprectiate the north's potential. Grant and Sherman eventualy showed them what's for.
I'm with Hanson. Those Snotty Virginians gravely underestimated a certain alcoholic midwesterner. They were merely lucky that they got to face that clown McClellen first.
Bill Tecumsah is one of my heros. Destroy the infrastructure to trap your enemy.
What is the point of bringing this up in this thread? There is no need. The question and VDH's answer are very limited in scope and need not be expanded into another pro/anti-Dixie brawl.
ping for later
I won't bite. The main problem today is totalitarian Islam, not who started the Civil War. It is irrelevant.
sorry, I'm just learning about it. And I'm wondering.
After his captures many plantation owners down South were fearful that others would try to emulate John Brown, they hired local militia's to protect their plantations. These militia's would form the backbone of the confederate army.
The gross overestimation of Confederate strength by the early union military leaders (especially the Army of the Potomac leaders) and the against the odds reverse at first Bull Run (or first Manassas, whatever your preference) meant the war lasted longer than it should have. Without the militia's the confederate army would have been weaker and with a little more competence and daring from the union generals at the time they would have inflicted an instant killer blow.
in the antebellum United Strates, most people, especially in the South, considered themselves to be first and foremost citizens of their states and only secondarily, Americans.
The non-slave-owning southerners fought because their primary allegiance was to their home states rather than to the Union.
I'm surprised. VDH didn't answer the question - one which I too have had.
Firing on Ft. Sumter gave Lincoln all that he needed to justify invasion of the south.
Had the south not fired on Union troops, would Lincoln have acted preemtively? Would he have retained the high moral ground if he had?
It's a two part answer. Why did the individual fight? Because his country was at war. Why was his country at war? Because his political leadership believed that it was the only way to protect slavery.
There are no stupid questions.
This is a perfectly appropriate thread to pose the question.
That'll push 'em over the edge...
Lincoln was smarter than the Confederate leaders. I believe that under no circumstances could they have trapped him into striking first.
The value to the Union cause of the South firing the first shots cannot be overestimated. Among other critical points, if the Union had fired first, it would probably have tipped both MO and KY over the edge into successful secession. And Lincoln himself said that if those two states had gone the other way, the job would have been two big. Secession would have succeeded.
Yes the war was over slavery. Poor Southern whites fought because they were patriotic. They were Texans, they were South Carolinians, they were North Carolinians, etc. - they fought for their state. They fought for honor, duty, patriotism. In the North, they fought for honor, duty, patriotism - Americans all.