Skip to comments.Facts and Myths - an examination of McPherson's "Causes of the Civil War" essay
Posted on 08/09/2002 3:38:13 AM PDT by GOPcapitalist
click here to read article
his unlawful, unconstitutional, and immoral invasion of the Southern States to "save the union"... was the cause of THE WAR
OK. Slavery was the cause for secession. The war started, not when the South seceded, but when Lincoln sent the military to stop it.
So, for the South, the war was about slavery, and the right to spread the practice into the western states.
Although the North was opposed to slavery, and to the spread of the practice into the western states, for them the war was about saving the union. As has been pointed out, when the Union was at stake, abolition went to the back burner, to the consternation of the Radical Republicans.
But slavery is the elephant that came to dinner. Without slavery, there is no war to defend it, no secession, no war to save the union. Whether for economic reasons, or any other.
Now, that having been said it is perfect proper to admit and consider slavery as a major and prominent issue during the war. To refuse it would be to deny history and engage in absurdity. But to do as McPherson, Marx, and other persons who advocate an historical view heavily skewered to the yankee side do and purport slavery to be the sole issue is similarly a violation of historical accuracy.
What you have posted is the official view of the South, designed to harness the emotions of whoever read it (propaganda doesn't have to be just for the masses). GOPcapitalist's article was an attempt to show the complexity of the Civil War, which goes beyond the propaganda both sides put out.
As for tariffs, the South denied them, felt their economy threatened by them. Thus, the North felt compelled to collect them by force. That is why Abraham Lincoln felt it was not invasion to collect money that was due to the federal government, as federal law supersedes state law. You're correct that once the South fired the first shot, the North could blockade without impunity.
I didn't know the South designed the tariffs. Source?
I didn't say that slavery wasn't a factor. I think it was a factor, just not the factor.
Exactly. Before 1860 taxation debates were over what level should be implemented indirectly as the tariff. The free traders wanted a low range tariff to simply fund the government's basics. The protectionists wanted a high range tariff to boost their industries in competition and to fund government-backed incentives to those same industries.
After that the debate shifted to being between indirect and direct taxation. Direct taxation was chosen and is now the sole issue.
LOL! I'd consider doing it but I'd have to find a publisher willing to take my extreme right wing "non-PC" political views. I'm not sure what subject it would be on, but I have toyed around with the idea of something on the secession winter. I've got an old undergrad thesis on this subject I could probably turn into something but it'd take some work.
Secession ordinances on the other hand were adopted by 11 states, 1 state legislature meeting in exile, 1 state meeting in convention, the tribes of Indian Territory, and the territorial government of New Mexico-Arizona. Though many of them list causes, slavery is barely even mentioned in any of them - often as nothing more than a geographical reference. That goes with full acknowledgement that slavery was indeed an issue, just not the sole issue.
On those four declaration of causes, here is what I can say from researching my own state's declaration. Texas' declaration of causes was nothing more than a non-binding legislative resolution with virtually no effect beyond the chamber in which it was passed. It was adopted separately of the Texas Ordinance of Secession, the actual statute that went before the voters of the state for adoption. The ordinance did not list slavery among any of its causes and had legal, binding status as the official position taken by the state. The declaration of causes lacked any of this, had no legal binding, and was never approved by anyone outside the body that adopted it after the ordinance had already passed. Therefore while each document provides some insight to various positions of those who adopted it, to portray it as an equivalent of a "declaration of independence" style document is wholly inaccurate and misleading.
I researched this extensively a few weeks ago and have posted my findings in a couple of places on FR. Basically what I found about McPherson's political affiliation boils down to the following:
1. He's actively participated and supported the modern Democrat party.
2. He actively campaigned against Bill Clinton's impeachment.
3. He has willingly appeared on an openly marxist talk show from Pacifica Radio with avowed Marxist hosts that is normally reserved for guests such as Noam Chomsky and Angela Davis.
4. He publishes "historical" works online at the World Socialist Web Site, the official publication of the international trotskyite marxist political party.
If you are interested in more, I recently drafted up an overview thoroughly documenting McPherson's radical left activism with links, quotes, sources, and practically everything you need to verify it all. You may find it on FR at the following link - http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/727203/posts?page=160#160
Thank you! That is essentially what I found when I was looking up the history of the Texas articles - they were adopted after secession was passed as nothing more than a non-binding resolution stating a position of the people who signed them and no more.
The actual secession ordinance that went before and was approved by the voters listed several causes for secession basically ammounting to "the yankees have violated the foundation of this government and abused its authority, therefore we reassert our right to self government and withdraw from the union we voluntarily joined." Slavery was not mentioned in this official statutory declaration that was adopted in a landslide by the voters.
Nonsense. Having researched the Texas one, I can speak to it directly. It was nothing more than a non-binding legislative resolution passed after the fact.
The Texas equivalent of the DoI was the legally binding ordinance of secession that stated several causes for secession and enacted it by law upon popular approval of the state's voters. Slavery was not mentioned among any of its causes.
Similarly, the Texas equivalent of the federalist papers would probably be found in the campaign preceding that referendum.
To suggest that the war had _nothing_ to do with slavery is absurd, but so is to suggest it had everything to do with slavery and slavery alone. McPherson does the latter and that is my point of contention - he is engaging in historical inaccuracy. If you are interested in what the southerners themselves said I encourage you to look into a greater sample on the subject. As I noted earlier, only four states adopted non-binding declarations separate from their official acts of secession. The rest either did not formally state causes or included them in their statutory acts of secession, and about the only ones that discuss slavery as a cause in any substantial detail are those four non-binding resolutions.
I encourage you to check out the ordinances of secession. They were passed by South Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, North Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Louisiana, Alabama, Texas, Arkansas, and Tennessee. Missouri's legislature passed one in exile after federal troops were dispatched to prevent them from doing so. Kentucky met in a convention and did the same. The territorial government of Arizona also passed one. So did the tribes of Indian Territory, with the most notable being the Cherokee declaration.
If you wish to gain a full picture of the situation you owe it to yourself to examine them all. The issues are very complex and scattered. Arizona, for example, complains of their mail services being neglected and their protection from frontier attacks having been denied by the northern government. The Cherokee declaration focuses on the violation of rights and liberties by the northern government. The Texas ordinance complains of the north's abuse of government power and violation of the social contract. Most of them are online and may be found with a simple search.
The blockade of the South was not about collecting tariffs.
Lincoln explicitly stated revenue collection was his justification for the blockade in his military orders instigating it. That was on April 19th.
But in single geographic references. Referring to the geographical entity of the slave states is a far cry from identifying slavery as some sort of sole cause for action. Try again.
IMHO there are two possible scenarios. The one I tend to think would have happened is that both countries would have emerged in the "big government" direction of what we have now, but at a significantly slower pace. I say this as it is a natural tendency for any government to grow in size over time, often to the point that it parents its own destruction.
The second scenario, to which I believe an argument could be made, is that the south would have grown more slowly just as in the first whereas the north would have quickly turned into a centralized industrial state of big government. But I suppose we'll really never know.
"CAUSES OF THE WAR; CIVIL WAR; CONFEDERACY; DIXIE; EGO POST; MCPHERSON; NOTHING NEW HERE; REBEL RANTINGS; SOUTHRON PROPAGANDA;"
I originally included the first four terms. The rest were added using the "add keyword" feature by a yankee.
If I am not mistaken, I do believe such behavior reasonably qualifies as an abuse of FR. I have little doubt that the "add keyword" function is not intended to be used as an a place to voice political opinion about a thread or to flame the thread's author. The proper place for the former is in the thread, whereas the latter is not proper on FR despite the fact that it does occur.
Needless to say it is typical yankee arrogance rearing its ugly head - unable to debate an issue on its facts and merits, they resort to calling it names.
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