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Daxil
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Motivations for fighting the ACW

Sat Sep 06, 2008 2:39 pm

[color="Blue"]This discussion was split of from the discussion about which side people prefer to play and why - Rafiki
===================================================================[/color]

Let me amend my statement. I think I like the South more because I'm an eternal underdog. And let's not forget, the South originally rebelled not to protect slavery, but to protect state's rights. I believe they even abolished slavery at the end by enlisting black troops. The whole slavery, good vs evil thing was Lincoln's genius.

As the North, even though you have overwhelming resources and manpower at your disposal.....


You forgot to add the fact the South can zoom its divisions around at will to most fronts if it develops enough rail, while the North is fighting through chewed up territory in most cases.
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Sun Sep 07, 2008 5:41 am

Pick and choose? What are you trying to imply?
"We shall give them the bayonet." -Stonewall at Fredericksburg.

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Sun Sep 07, 2008 6:35 am

Ok, fair enough. I would say it was more about managing their own economy than slavery, though. They felt threatened by ardent Northern aboliotionists, and kind of went into defensive mode. The sad thing is, a few years later advances in farm machinery would have made the whole point moot.
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jam3
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Sun Sep 07, 2008 8:03 am

The cause of the war for the south also totally depends on which region and what social class the particular southener was from. For the men who actually started the war, the firebreathers, the rich white men from the cotton south, louisiana, alabama, mississippi, georgia, and south carolina the cause was unequivocally slavery. This was also primarily true for the poor whites from the same region.

For the middle south, North Carolina, Virginia, and to a lesser extent Tennessee the reason become much more complicated for both the rich and poor. In a sense these states went to war because they felt the lower south had the right to secede. You could make a very strong case that both Virginia and North Carolina would have stayed in the Union if Lincoln wouldn't have called up troops to quell the rebellion. Both of these states had extremly strong union sentiments.

However if you read the papers of the day you cannot help but coming away with the impression that for the south at least the war was entirely about slavery. For some southeners in the middle south they actually justified this by making the argument that the south treated their blacks better than the north treated the free blacks. You also simply cannot underestimate the 200 year fear across the south of slave revolt and the impact of northern abolitionism and John Brown's raid on the psyche of southerners.

The argument that men of the north didn't goto war to end slavery or free the blacks is also wrong. The important thing to remember is that a northern man could be essentially a racist but also believe that slavery in and of itself was wrong. There were many many northerners who felt this way, one who stands out very clearly is Sherman. While radical abolitionism was present you cannot undermine the fear of the average northern artisan, factory worker, or farmer who saw slavery as a challenge to their ability to draw a fair wage. What would happen if factories started popping up in the south manned by slaves to the industrial workers of the north?

There are alot of issues surrounding the cause of the civil war but there is no doubt in my mind that at the root of all of these issues was slavery, the "original sin" of the U.S.A.

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Sun Sep 07, 2008 2:44 pm

jam3 wrote:The cause of the war for the south also totally depends on which region and what social class the particular southener was from. For the men who actually started the war, the firebreathers, the rich white men from the cotton south, louisiana, alabama, mississippi, georgia, and south carolina the cause was unequivocally slavery. This was also primarily true for the poor whites from the same region.

For the middle south, North Carolina, Virginia, and to a lesser extent Tennessee the reason become much more complicated for both the rich and poor. In a sense these states went to war because they felt the lower south had the right to secede. You could make a very strong case that both Virginia and North Carolina would have stayed in the Union if Lincoln wouldn't have called up troops to quell the rebellion. Both of these states had extremly strong union sentiments.

However if you read the papers of the day you cannot help but coming away with the impression that for the south at least the war was entirely about slavery. For some southeners in the middle south they actually justified this by making the argument that the south treated their blacks better than the north treated the free blacks. You also simply cannot underestimate the 200 year fear across the south of slave revolt and the impact of northern abolitionism and John Brown's raid on the psyche of southerners.

The argument that men of the north didn't goto war to end slavery or free the blacks is also wrong. The important thing to remember is that a northern man could be essentially a racist but also believe that slavery in and of itself was wrong. There were many many northerners who felt this way, one who stands out very clearly is Sherman. While radical abolitionism was present you cannot undermine the fear of the average northern artisan, factory worker, or farmer who saw slavery as a challenge to their ability to draw a fair wage. What would happen if factories started popping up in the south manned by slaves to the industrial workers of the north?

There are alot of issues surrounding the cause of the civil war but there is no doubt in my mind that at the root of all of these issues was slavery, the "original sin" of the U.S.A.


I just find it interesting that in the 1820s/30s the Southerners were making a push to abolish slavery on their own and that the trend was only reversed when the North started pressing. Religion was brought into it, and the impetus was fatally twisted the wrong direction. This again, seems to point to state's rights as a desire to maintain the aristocratic status quo over the desire to maintain slavery in and of itself. There is no doubt, however, that "state's rights," as a term, was closely associated with slavery.

And the argument that men of the North were somehow more morally sound than those of the South and launched into war to end slavery is a farce. Racism prevailed almost universally then as it does now (in a repressed manner) as you say. The Northerners (as a whole) went to war to maintain the Union, plain and simple. They did not have an industry based upon slavery, which fed their women and children and so could afford to back the moral high ground more easily. Slavery thusly became a logical target when certain Northerners realized they needed something to match the Southern man's desire to defend his home. And so the Emancipation Proclamation was issued at a strategic moment following a Union victory as a means to raise morale so the Union could be maintained - Lincoln's genius. It was at that point the average Union soldier said, "Gee, that's a good idea," not before.

Once abolished you can see what the Southerners feared. Without their established ways the region fell into utter poverty and in many ways has still not recovered to this day.
"We shall give them the bayonet." -Stonewall at Fredericksburg.

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Mon Sep 08, 2008 12:15 am

"Any people, anywhere, being inclined and having the power, have the right to rise up and shake off the existing government, and form a new one that suits them better. This is a most valuable and most sacred right - a right which we hope and believe is to liberate the world. Nor is this right confined to cases in which the whole people of an existing government may choose to exercise it. Any portion of such people that can, may revolutionize, and make their own, of so many of the territory as they inhabit."

Abraham Lincoln
January 12, 1848.

The Confederacy was most justified in the War of Northern Aggression, and I choose it because my family fought for it. The majority of Confederates didn't even own slaves, it was the wealthy aristocratic landowners. The majority of us Southerners were afraid of the direction the North was going to lead the country, mainly the ultimate power of commerce and infidelity like Jackson said. Look what happened to the US after the Civil War.

Governor, if I had foreseen the use those people designed to make of their victory, there would have been no surrender at Appomattox Courthouse; no sir, not by me. Had I foreseen these results of subjugation, I would have preferred to die at Appomattox with my brave men, my sword in my right hand.

Robert E. Lee
1870.
Confederate Ancestors:
Pvt. John P. Forrest (1st cousin of Nathan B. Forrest)
Cpl. David Garren
Pvt. Carter Martin

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Mon Sep 08, 2008 11:28 am

Very Good quotes by lkincoln and lee...after the war the south got raped under the guise of reconstruction. This term in itself has varing degrees of meaning to indivduals.

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Mon Sep 08, 2008 1:53 pm

Well this thread has been hijacked, sorry if I'm throwing fuel on the fire.

I would agree that for the common soldier, on either side, the war wasn't really about slavery. Most southerners didn't own slaves and most northerners didn't care one way or the other.

However, there shouldn't be much historical doubt that the reason for secession was to preserve and potentially expand slavery. The Ordinance of Secession for Texas, Alabama, and Virginia make explicit reference to their "sister slaveholding states". The Declaration of Causes for South Carolina, Texas, Georgia, and Mississippi all mention slavery, and there is no mention of "states rights" No free states were "invited" to join the Confederacy.

Here are links to some of the documents http://americancivilwar.com/documents/.

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Mon Sep 08, 2008 2:07 pm

True eneough, but to the everyday farmer and hand in the feild it was not about slavery as to why they fought. I was about a norther invasion...I read some very good lterature on Black soldiers in the North and South...Many a Union officers resigned when asked to have black troops in their units. One of the Main reasons that officers commanded black troops was the fact it was a fast tract of promotion...if accepted a commanding slot he was guranteed a colonel's rank. Many a Lt wanted the fast track

Many were opposed to Contrabands having fire arms.

In the south Mosby's Raiders had several black soldiers in their units and were fierce fighters. Jeff Davis was wanting to in 1864 conscript 300,000 slaves to fight and give them their freedom but the bill never got legs. There were 2 companies of Black Mo. Militia that were slaves and they volunteered to fight for the south.

Alot of the Black troops in the North were assigned for menial tasks (labor, Fortifications, canal Building) or guarding western outposts

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Mon Sep 08, 2008 3:19 pm

Yeah, I think it's a little more complicated than that. As jam3 mentioned, the core states revolted due to slavery, but most of the others were sucked in when forced to choose sides and the common man didn't give a flip either way.
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Mon Sep 08, 2008 3:22 pm

How true

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Mon Sep 08, 2008 8:31 pm

Dear CS: I don't agree with that at all! I sat aboud the front proch and liviing rooms of my Grandparents. They were unviersally of the opinion that slavery was the cause of the war. :p apy:

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Mon Sep 08, 2008 10:05 pm

tagwyn wrote:Dear CS: I don't agree with that at all! I sat aboud the front proch and liviing rooms of my Grandparents. They were unviersally of the opinion that slavery was the cause of the war. :p apy:



Yes absolutly slavery was the cause of the war, and if not directly a "cause" then it was at the root of whatever the other "cause". However this is different from why an individual man went and joined the Union or the Confederacy and started shooting at their fellow countrymen. Those reasons are as complex as most individuals.

Although saying things like "Northerners didn't goto war to end slavery" is about as wrong as the converse of the statement, i.e. that all went to war to end slavery. I am sure the abolishtionists of the north who joined the army were thinking about the end of slavery first in their minds.

It also discounts that a great deal of Northeners were simply against slavery
but were also racist. This doesn't sit well in modern times but back then it was perfectly reasonable to think of other humans as inferior but not so inferior that they should be held in slavery (particularly if you thought that had some impact on your job).

-Daxil your wrong on this point to a degree (it's actually pretty complex), while what you say was true for some there were many in the north who were anti-slavery AND racist long before the war, it was an argument that had been going on since slaves were brought into the states. If you want I can even look up the editorials from the 1850's and start citing. I am just para. a good deal of literature I have read on the subject and using recollection. I can even remember editorials from the north where the writer was both vehemently anti-slave and a very hateful racist, editorials that turn into internal arguments of the writer.

There are editorials from lower central parts of Pennsylvania (which had large groups of freed blacks) who wanted to end slavery because they thought it would stop the flow of blacks from the south to the north, and hopefully prevent those blacks from taking jobs from white northerners.

There was also a large "back to africa" movement that existed across the north and the south that thought the best answer was to end slavery and expel all the blacks back to africa because while slavery was wrong whites and blacks simply couldn't co-exist.

Alot of stuff you read from the time period almost doesn't make any logical sense when you read it to a modern person but people of that era thought in almost an entirely different frame of mind.

On the southern side it also discounts a large majority of both Virginians and North Carolinians who went to war because Lincoln was about to march an army through their state and attack a state who shared the same culture, values, and laws that you did. If you want to Understand those dynamics then read "In the presence of Mine Enemies" Edward Ayers, and "Silk Flags and Cold Steel", John F. Blair.

The thing to remember about Virginia and North Carolina as well is that they provided the bulk of troops to the south. North Carolina alone provided for 1/6 of the entire confederate army some 120,000 men of which only 20,000 were conscripts.

"I have always found more dead North Carolinians on the Virginia battlefields than from any other state" - Longstreet

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Tue Sep 09, 2008 2:42 am

You're right jam but still for the majority of Northerners the War of Northern Aggression was not about slavery but keeping the South under control.
Confederate Ancestors:

Pvt. John P. Forrest (1st cousin of Nathan B. Forrest)

Cpl. David Garren

Pvt. Carter Martin

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Tue Sep 09, 2008 11:28 am

This is a very moving story form 1861...read it and maybe the content will show individuals thoughts as to why they did what they did.

Letter from A. J. Morey, editor of the "Cynthiana News" to the "Avalanche" in Memphis, Tennessee
MEMPHIS, TENN., December 11, 1861
To the AVALANCHE:
Having made my escape from the Federal prison located near Columbus, Ohio, I deem it due to the 240 brave but unfortunate Southern men whom I left incarcerated there on the 29th of October last to make known to the South and to the world the suffering and indignities to which they are subjected by their inhuman jailers.

The Government prison to which I refer is at Camp Chase about four miles south of the city of Columbus, the capital of the State of Ohio. Brigadier-General Hill is the commander under the direction of Generals Mitchel and Rosecrans, the prison being used for the confinement of military and political prisoners for both Kentucky and Northwestern Virginia. It contains about half an acre of ground inclosed by a plank wall nearly twenty-five feet high, with towers on two sides. Inside of this inclosure are two rows of board shanties with five rooms (16 by 18 feet) in each. In these small rooms, each occupied by about twenty-five men, and in this contracted space the crowd of prisoners are compelled to cook, eat and sleep. Men of every class and grade are huddled together and all treated as felons.

It will be remembered that Columbus is in a very cold country. The winter winds blow fiercely from those Northern fresh-water lakes over the State of Ohio and Camp Chase prison receives its full share of the chilling blasts. Yet while I was prisoner there, including the month of October, when the weather was very rainy and cold, no fires were allowed in the prison to warm the half naked and shivering prisoners. Promises were made from time to time by the subordinate officers that the prison should be warmed either by stoves or by a steam-heating apparatus but up to the 29th day of October no steps had been taken looking to that end. To add to the discomfort of the poor prisoners the wretched shanties, their only shelter, leaked badly, keeping the floors, their only bed, and even their scanty bed clothing soaked with water. The fear was entertained by the prisoners generally and constantly expressed that it was the intention that they should perish from the effects of cold and damp. This treatment of human beings by those calling themselves Christians is unparalleled. Inhumanity and cruelty by the Lincoln Government toward those in its power is a policy which has been suggested by many of its allies to put down the rebellion.

The prisoners sometimes remain in this wretched prison weeks before they receive even a blanket which when they get it would hardly have been sufficient for their comfort in summer let alone in a Northern October. The consequence of this severe exposure was that most of the prisoners were sick from affections of the lungs and throat and a number died while I was there, while many were perishing by inches coughing away their lungs; and many were suffering from pneumonia, measles and other diseases. It may seem incredible that this body of sick and suffering men including a considerable number of prisoners of war were left through that damp, cold and horrible October without fire and half naked in that wretched mudhole of a prison and without adequate medical attention; and yet I assert it to be a fact and defy the contradiction of the Lincoln jailers and authorities.

A large number of old men from Western Virginia and Kentucky whose heads were white with the frosts of age were among the prisoners in this bastile charged with sympathizing with the cause of the South. Among them I mention the name of Colonel Hamilton, of Virginia, who was carried from the prison in a dying condition a few days before I left and I have learned since that he died soon afterward of pneumonia. A young man from Western Virginia died two hours after he was removed from prison. I will add in this connection that the prisoners of war who had been in the prison several months were almost naked and that all were engaged in a perpetual strife with the vermin with which the loathsome den literally swarmed.

The food furnished the prisoners with the exception of the bread was of the most inferior kind and in insufficient quantities for the sustenance of the famishing men. The pork was absolutely rotten. But the great complaint was the difficulty in obtaining enough wood to cook the half-spoiled and scanty meal, only five small sticks per day being allowed for a mess of twenty-five men and that often not furnished until away in the night, leaving the men starving for want of their scanty meals during the entire day.

I have visited the military prison in this city where the Belmont prisoners are confined and found them surrounded with every comfort--lodged in a large brick house well warmed, with good beds, provided with newspapers, books and writing materials, all of which were denied to the prisoners at Camp Chase. These Federal prisoners testified to me that they were well and civilly treated and expressed their abhorrence and regret at my recital of the treatment of our prisoners.

It is but justice to the ladies of Columbus to say that they offered to furnish comfortable beds and bedding for us but were denied the privilege by the commandant because he said it was not permitted by the orders. When these kind-hearted ladies visited us in our vile prison and beheld our wretched condition they involuntarily burst into tears. They gave us all they were permitted to bestow--their sympathy and tears.

Among the prisoners were, from Maysville, Ky, Hon. R. H. Stanton, Isaac Nelson, W. B. Casteo, Mr. Thomas, John Hall, A.D. Hurt and George W. Forrester, proprietor and editor of the Maysville Express; also Lieut. A. O. Brummell of the Confederate army from Richmond, Va.; Colonel Ferguson and Henry Martin from Western Virginia and quite a number of other officers from that State who were in rags. I cannot here attempt to enumerate the names of other gentlemen.

Judge J. R. Curry, judge of the Harrison County court; Perry Wherret, clerk of the same court, and W. B. Glave, sheriff of the same county, and myself were arrested at Cynthiana its county seat. We were first taken to Newport, Ky., barracks and there confined in the cells without even a blanket for twenty-four hours. We were then marched at night through the rain and mud to the Little Miami Railroad depot.
But the cars having left we were ordered to about face and marched four miles farther to the Hamilton and Dayton depot where we took the cars for Columbus. During the march Judge Curry who is over seventy years of age being much fatigued came near giving out, but the captain of the guard with oaths gave orders to drive him up and they punched and struck him in the most brutal manner with their guns, kicking him at the same time. W. B. Glave who owing to his feebleness was also unable to keep up, the pace being double-quick, was treated in the same savage manner. Our only offense was that we dissented from the measures of Lincoln.

I have given an unvarnished statement of facts which will be attested by my fellow-prisoners whenever they can be heard. I do not desire that the Federal prisoners shall be treated with less kindness; but I do desire that the Confederate Government shall take some action in behalf of its captive citizens that they may not be murdered by slow degrees in the bastiles of the North. As the attention of the public has been directed by the press to my humble self I deem it proper to say something of the circumstances attending my escape from the Federal jailers. My wife being in delicate health was taken dangerously ill after my arrest from the effects of the shock, and hearing of her condition I determined if possible to get out to see her before her death. To effect this I wrote a letter feigning repentance which procured me a release on parole for ten days when I returned to Cynthiana to find that my wife had been buried four days. Considering that I was not bound by either law or honor to observe my parole having been dragged to Ohio for my political opinions in violation of the Constitutions of both the United States and Kentucky I embraced the opportunity to escape from my persecutors and after a very circuitous journey attended with many risks and perils I reached this city.

This much, Messrs. Editors, I have deemed proper to say for myself. I do not whine nor ask the sympathies of any one. I am loose from Yankee despotism and with my musket in one hand and the black flag of extermination to the foe in the other I intend to avenge my own and my country's wrongs; and if thoughts of a murdered wife and home made desolate do not nerve my arm to strength and execution I should be an ignoble son of Kentucky.

A. J. MOREY,
Editor of the Cynthiana, Ky., News.


http://www.geocities.com/pentagon/quarters/5109/letters1.html

jam3
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Wed Sep 10, 2008 9:02 am

This is an excerpt from

"In the presence of mine enemies" by Edward L. Ayers

I think Waddell represents very well the inner struggle of both sides. Augusta is right on the border in Northern Virginia and his central location is analgous to the central position of where most american were regarding the issues of slavery and war. A man who owned slaves but hated slavery. Promoted slavery and southern idealism in his newspapers but personally hated much about slavery and certain parts of southern ideology. Served as a quartermaster for the confederate army and watched several members of his family goto war, he also loved the union but came to despise the union army as it burned homes in the Shenendoah.

Just wanted to post this as this is a very good representation of what I mean about it wasn't really north/south, it was more about individuals just like today making tough choices in a time of war. The generalizations thrown at both sides of the civil war typically break down when you start examining the individuals themselves.

" ...Joseph Waddel enjoyed a prominent position in Augusta (county,Virginia). (Paraphased sentence). He was a quiet man, working behind the scenes rather than in the limelight, contemplative rather than active. The Waddells had been leaders in Virginia for several generations. Waddell's father had studied medicine in Philiadelphia with the famous physician Benjamin Rush. Joseph, thirty-nine years of old in 1859, ran, with his cousin, the leading newspaper in the county and in the valley of Virginia (Shenendoah), the Staunton Spectator. He, Like his mothers, sisters, and wife, supported the Presbyterean church, local schools and charitable organizations. Waddel and his wife, Virginia, had no children but tookcare of others left orphaned, along with female relatives otherwise without a home. Waddel traveled widely in the United States and prided himself on his broad view of public affairs. Neatly bearded and wearing glasses for his extreme nearsightedness, he appeared scholarly and detached. His diary, though, showed that he felt things deeply.

Waddell owned two men and one woman. He confronted a situation all the slaveholders in Augusta confronted in the days of high prices for slaves. "Dr. McGill proposed to buy Selena today and offered me $1000," he noted in his diary one evening. "I would not have sold her for $20,000, unless she desired to go, or had grossly misbehaved. This thing of speculating in human flesh is utterly horrible to me--the money would cut into my flesh like hot iron." Waddell, obliged to defend slavery in his paper, admitted in private that "slavery itself is extremly repulsive to my feelings, and I earnestly desire its extinction everywhere, when it can be done judiciously and so as to promote the welfare of both races."

Despite his anxieties about slavery, Wadddell insisted to himself, "I am no abolitionist." He believed that "the day for emancipation with us has not come, and we must wait God's time. For the present all that the most philanthorpic can do is to endeavor ameliorate the institution, but it is hard to do this in the midst of the mischievious interference of outside fanatics." In Waddells's estimation, abolitionist "fanatics" prevented the natural and gradual end of slavery and even kept the "most philanthropic" from lessening slavery's burden. He included among the fanatics not only the "Black republicans" growing in the north but also thefire-eating secessionists farther south and even Virginia's own Democratic party. "

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Thu Sep 11, 2008 5:51 pm

One factor that hasn't been mentioned is why the South cared so much that slavery be extended, and therefore why the election of Lincoln was such a threat. Many people think it was simply the long term fear that once firmly in the minority slaves states would be forced to abolish the institution, and thats certainly part of the story but the other is a very strong economic factor.

Slaves were themselves a crop and a capital asset. Slave labor plantations themselves were on the whole inefficient but slaves themselves were always being produced and sold. In addition a owner could take out loans against his slaves or liquidate them into the market in times of trouble, like any other capital asset.

New areas required large numbers of slaves to be imported which provided a demand. This demand kept the price of slaves high and thus the value of the large capital holders of the South high. Thus the covetous eyeing of Cuba and Mexico for instance.

Claims of enormous virtue for the Northern side are of course specious, but the southern form of slavery, with its virulent racism was a truly evil social structure. It corrupted Southern society and the United States in general. It was not only the root cause of the Civil War, but of much of US history before that war and continues to echo into today.

tagwyn
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Thu Sep 11, 2008 6:50 pm

TommH: I agree with your comments. However, War has a way of feeding on itself. Whatever began the war after a couple of battles the hatred of the two sides fed it until one was defeated entirely. War is an awful busness. L3

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Mon Sep 15, 2008 1:16 am

Gray_Lensman wrote:Not meant as an insult... It was a reference to the fact of all the preceeding historical events that seem to be overlooked by persons that promote the viewpoint that the Civil War was fought over "State's Rights", in lieu of slavery, when in reality the issue behind all the "State's Rights" arguments for those preceeding 85 years was over the question of whether slavery should be promoted/supported in the new states entering the Union.


Yes they did argue slavery in State's Rights but also it was more then just that on terrories and ability for states to strike down laws that were unconsitiutional called nulification. luckly it didnt pass and that the supreme court is the only group that can declare a law unconstitutional
Quote General Lee Gettysburg movie,
"Do you see, General, there is the great trap, to be a good soldier you must love the army, to be a good commander you must be ready to order the death of the thing you love. We don't fear our death. But if this war goes on and on and the men die and the price gets ever high. We are prepared to lose some of us, but we are never prepared to lose all of us. We are adrift here in a sea of blood and I want it to end. I want this to be the final battle".

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Northern fears

Mon Sep 15, 2008 5:26 am

One thing that hasn't been mentioned in this thread so far is the fact that many Northerners went to war not so much to free slaves in the South but because they feared that they were about to be turned into slaves themselves. This seems silly to us now because we know the outcome - that the North was incomparably stronger than the South and US victory was merely a matter of time. But at the time, many people in the North reasoned thusly:

- In the Dred Scott decision, the Supreme Court had implied that slaves were property and could be brought anywhere in the country without the "owner" losing his/her property rights. The Constitution is actually pretty clear about this. No state can deprive a citizen of another state of his property arbitrarily. The Court didn't actually decide on the specific issue of the right of a slave "owner" to bring his slave to a free state and keep him in slavery, but there were other cases making their way through the lower courts that would have given them the opportunity to make such a decision.

- Five of the nine Supremes were from slave states. Slave states had had a majority on the Court for many years.

- The reason the slave states had a majority on the court was because they were disproportionately represented in Congress. The 3/5 clause of the Constitution gave them extra representatives in (60%) proportion to the number of their slaves. This also meant that they had more electoral votes for president than their (white) population would have rated. This meant that the majority of presidents before the Civil War were from slave states.

- Southern states were better-organized for warfare. They had active state militias, with regular drills and arsenals. Although the majority of US Army and Navy officers were northerners, many had ties to the south through marriage or long residence and many of the very best leaders the US Army were southerners.

Northern workers feared the "slave power" of the south. Many northern states had banned or sharply limited (free) black immigration, in order to prevent job competition. When they went to war to fight slavery, self-preservation was an important component to many people's considerations.

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Barker
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Tue Sep 16, 2008 9:47 am

I agree with the sumption of fear, Fear is the main force behind any conflict. Fear drives a society to do what it has to do to survive and maintain its culture. In my opinion though and I will holdfast to this, That the average man was fearful of invasion of the north and he had a riight to defend it from any aggressors. When Lincoln sent reinforcements to Ft Sumter that sent a message to the south. When the Blood letting in Kansas and Mo was going on that was a sign. When the Union Navy boarded a British Ship and captured confederate officers and held British Officials that was another sign of war.

There was so many things that attributed to the cause that really not one thing caused it. It all fed in to it, Then there was the Riots in Maryland that was a slave state in the North. The union put it under the thumb. In Chicago Lincoln was the ONLY president to suspend Habius Corpus. Political Prisoner were sent to Camp Chase Ohio prior to the war for being Anti Lincoln. So you see the multitude of fears fed the beast of war.

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Wed Sep 24, 2008 5:19 am

Prior to 1860 states rights was a northern demand. National policies were overwhelmingly pro-southern, pro-slavery. The biggest states rights issue was the fugitive slave act.

Slave states held a majority in the Senate. The Supreme Court was overwhelmingly southern and pro-slavery. All of the presidents before 1860 were pro-enforcement of the fugitive slave act. The balance shifted unexpectedly in 1860 when Kansas, Nebraska, and Oregon petitioned for statehood as free states.

Lincoln as a candidate for president promised to outlaw slavery in the territories. This would guarantee a free-state majority in the Federal government going forward.

The Southern economy rapidly diverged from the Northern between 1850-1860. Between 1850-1860 cotton prices skyrocketed, the value of slaves and real estate skyrocketed as well. Southern industrialization waned.
Before 1850 the South was almost keeping up with the North in industrialization and railroads. The majority of Southern senators and congressmen voted for protective tariffs in 1850, to stimulate southern industrialization. Ten years later they reversed their position, but it is absurd to point to tariffs as a cause of the war.

Southern legislators were opposed to national sponsorship of western railroads, and land give aways in the west. The reason was stated explicitly by many people. Rapid development of the west favored non-slaveholders, and threatened the slave state dominance.

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Le Ricain
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Wed Sep 24, 2008 9:38 am

Mangudai wrote:Prior to 1860 states rights was a northern demand. National policies were overwhelmingly pro-southern, pro-slavery. The biggest states rights issue was the fugitive slave act.

Slave states held a majority in the Senate. The Supreme Court was overwhelmingly southern and pro-slavery. All of the presidents before 1860 were pro-enforcement of the fugitive slave act. The balance shifted unexpectedly in 1860 when Kansas, Nebraska, and Oregon petitioned for statehood as free states.

Lincoln as a candidate for president promised to outlaw slavery in the territories. This would guarantee a free-state majority in the Federal government going forward.

The Southern economy rapidly diverged from the Northern between 1850-1860. Between 1850-1860 cotton prices skyrocketed, the value of slaves and real estate skyrocketed as well. Southern industrialization waned.
Before 1850 the South was almost keeping up with the North in industrialization and railroads. The majority of Southern senators and congressmen voted for protective tariffs in 1850, to stimulate southern industrialization. Ten years later they reversed their position, but it is absurd to point to tariffs as a cause of the war.

Southern legislators were opposed to national sponsorship of western railroads, and land give aways in the west. The reason was stated explicitly by many people. Rapid development of the west favored non-slaveholders, and threatened the slave state dominance.


At which date did the slave states hoid the majority of the Senate? In 1848 there were 15 free states and 15 slave states giving a completely balanced Senate.
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stegosarus_army
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Wed Sep 24, 2008 5:01 pm

the war might have started because of slavery.
once the shooting started though, slavery, politics and the causes of the war went out of the door, and they fought because of the men beside them.

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Barker
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Wed Sep 24, 2008 5:48 pm

So why did so many Southern black men choose to wear Confederate gray?

Blacks fought for the very same reason as whites – to defend their homes and their families. Historical data can sometimes be a matter of interpretation and the facts can sometimes contradict themselves. But, one must remember that day and time and judge it accordingly, for a man of the 19th century should not be compared to a man of today’s world and evaluated by current standards. Regardless of how black Southerners participated, whether voluntary or involuntary, one thing is certain: the thousands of slaves and free persons of color in the South are the most forgotten group of the Civil War. They, too, should be remembered for the suffering, sacrifices and contributions they made.

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TheDoctorKing
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Senate control

Thu Sep 25, 2008 5:07 am

Le Ricain wrote:At which date did the slave states hoid the majority of the Senate? In 1848 there were 15 free states and 15 slave states giving a completely balanced Senate.


Never, actually. But some northern senators voted with the southern interests because of the important economic connections between north and south before the war. The north had a majority of the electoral votes by the 1850's, too, but somehow southern or pro-southern candidates kept getting elected. The truth is that plantation agriculture was phenomenally profitable in the mid 19th century and just like today, money was important in politics then. The 1860 election was a watershed because a northern anti-slavery candidate was actually able to carry almost all of the northern states. This had not happened before. And if the Democrats had been able to agree on a single candidate it probably wouldn't have happened then either.

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TheDoctorKing
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Thu Sep 25, 2008 5:12 am

Barker wrote:So why did so many Southern black men choose to wear Confederate gray?

Blacks fought for the very same reason as whites – to defend their homes and their families. Historical data can sometimes be a matter of interpretation and the facts can sometimes contradict themselves. But, one must remember that day and time and judge it accordingly, for a man of the 19th century should not be compared to a man of today’s world and evaluated by current standards. Regardless of how black Southerners participated, whether voluntary or involuntary, one thing is certain: the thousands of slaves and free persons of color in the South are the most forgotten group of the Civil War. They, too, should be remembered for the suffering, sacrifices and contributions they made.



It is true that some southern blacks fought for the CSA (though not so many as modern revisionism would like us to think). Many of them were relatives of the white officers they followed (children or half-brothers) or were otherwise tied to them by clientage or emotional ties that transcended any sort of generalized desire to see blacks freed. And the few blacks who were formally enrolled in the CSA army right at the end of the war were promised their personal freedom - a very attractive fringe benefit!

The truth is that many people on both sides joined up and remained in service because of personal motives (money, loyalty to a leader, loyalty to friends and neighbors) rather than for ideological motives. Or else for a mixture of motives. And as another poster pointed out, once you enter combat the really strong motivation is to appear brave in the eyes of your immediate companions and to protect them if you can. Ideology and patriotism are much more important to get people to sign up in the first place than to keep them once they enter combat.

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