Discussion A quote from Grant's memoirs

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huskerblitz

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IQ is not subjective. You can call the results useless . . . but they're derived very objectively.

They don't measure the IQ of historical figures. They estimate it based on what they've produced. It's simply a matter of comparison. Writing is especially easy to do because computers today allow you to examine the writing of ancient figures. Paintings, sculpture are more difficult. Musci is also fairly east to use as an estimator.
IQ is completely subjective. And basically worthless. Which is why I'm not going to waste anymore of my time discussing it for someone who has been dead for 100 years.
 

Cavalry Charger

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Near the beginning of volume 2 of Grant's memoirs, I find interesting his analysis of the South at that time, and his prediction of what it's destiny could have been:

"There was no time during the rebellion when I did not think, and often say, that the South was more to be benefitted by its defeat than the North. The latter had the people, the institutions, and the territory to make a great and prosperous nation. The former was burdened with an institution abhorrent to all civilized people not brought up under it, and one which degraded labor, kept it in ignorance, and enervated the governing class. With the outside world at war with this institution, they could not have extended their territory. The labor of the country was not skilled, nor allowed to become so. The whites could not toil without becoming degraded, and those who did were denominated 'poor white trash.' The system of labor would have soon exhausted the soil and left the people poor. The non-slaveholders would have left the country, and the small slaveholder must have sold out to his more fortunate neighbor. Soon the slaves would have outnumbered the masters, and not being in sympathy with them, would have risen in their might and exterminated them. The war was expensive to the South as well as to the North, both in blood and treasure, but it was worth all it cost."

end quote. I do believe that the South benefitted by its defeat. It's difficult to imagine that society, as structured, succeeding in the long term. I'm not sure if an insurrection would have been in the cards, though. Somewhat speculative. I had never thought of a migration of whites out of the South to seek better opportunities. Does anyone know if, prior to the Civil War, the South was already being drained of poor whites? And if so, were they all heading west to new territories, or were any going north?
Grant mentions that the outside world was at war with the institution of slavery. He was right. It was a dying practice. To have attempted to maintain it would have been folly for the South, but I'm not sure at what point they would have been willing to let it go. They may have come around to that of their own volition. Secession forced everyone's hand in the circumstances.

And we can't expect a man who wasn't a proponent of slavery to say otherwise ... that it was never ultimately going to be of benefit to the people - black or white.
 
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JohnJW

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Wandering a ways off topic, I like to think that I can roughly gauge a person's intelligence by the amount of insight he/she shows in speech or writing.
I don't think it's off-topic at all.

If you're going to examine what Grant said, you also have to examine the man himself.

Yes, insight, creativity, turn of phrase, allusions to history, sentence and paragraph length, clarity . . . all are used to analyze written material and estimate IQ.
 

Robin Lesjovitch

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Grant mentions that the outside world was at war with the institution of slavery. He was right. It was a dying practice. To have attempted to maintain it would have been folly for the South, but I'm not sure at what point they would have been willing to let it go. They may have come around to that of their own volition. Secession forced everyone''s hand in the circumstances.

And we can't expect a man who wasn't a proponent of slavery to say otherwise ... that it was never ultimately going to be of benefit to the people - black or white.
I agree with you. However, when it comes to Grant, his Memoirs are the final act of something he attempted from about the time he became a general officer. Grant was reinventing himself. Grant did not offer his services to Illinois to benefit the South, I am sure of that.
 

Cavalry Charger

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I agree with you. However, when it comes to Grant, his Memoirs are the final act of something he attempted from about the time he became a general officer. Grant was reinventing himself. Grant did not offer his services to Illinois to benefit the South, I am sure of that.
No, but he did see his act of service as being of ultimate benefit to the South.
 
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DanSBHawk

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There's nothing ignorant about Grant's remarks. He had an opinion, and he was as qualified to express that opinion as anyone else of that time. I'd say his opinion is very insightful.

The part about non-slaveholders leaving the south was a prediction of future events if the war had not happened. It's impossible to say if his prediction was accurate, but it's at least as plausible as some other predictions about the future of the south and slavery just ending on its own.

I think criticism of this quote is more about whether you agree or disagree with it, rather than how intelligent the quote may be.
 

DanSBHawk

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I agree with you. However, when it comes to Grant, his Memoirs are the final act of something he attempted from about the time he became a general officer. Grant was reinventing himself. Grant did not offer his services to Illinois to benefit the South, I am sure of that.
"Reinventing?" How so?
 

wausaubob

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See pages xxxiii and xxxiv. https://www2.census.gov/library/publications/decennial/1860/population/1860a-02.pdf?#
Alabama, Kentucky and Tennessee experience net out migration 1850-1860. And they did not experience any international immigration to make up the loss. The out migration had begun before the Civil War. A lot of people did not like growing cotton or living alongside slave operations. It was easier to sell out and seek opportunity in CA or OR. (Edited)
 
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thomas aagaard

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It's simply a matter of comparison. Writing is especially easy to do because computers today allow you to examine the writing of ancient figures.
Bad writing do not equal low IQ. A person can have a high IQ even if he never learned to read/write.
Then we have issues like dyslexia.

When we are talking a old person, they might suffer from Dementia or other things that effect their brain. This make it problematic to use their writings for judging things like IQ.
 

Robin Lesjovitch

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"Reinventing?" How so?
This is not criticism negative or otherwise. Grant created a brand during the war, very understandable, that he wanted to represent success. He went from a largely politically naive former soldier to president in a very short time. To accomplish that he had to reinvent himself. Not a negative. The basically honest, sincere Missouri farmer and Illinois store clerk learned to tell stories and remember conveniently, and forget at will. He was far outdone at that by J B Gordon and J L Chamberlain. But, based on recorded reactions during the war and memory afterwards, Grant did acquire some political skills.
This post could go on and on, and if you wish more, I will provide
 

Robin Lesjovitch

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Slave revolts in Cuba and Caribbean, as well as the ancient world, were common.
Those events weighed on the minds of the White population that had large slave populations nearby. The inability of militia to deal with John Brown's adventure caused many in those areas to believe they might be better served by having their own standing military force.
This was a serious issue, not unlike the issue settlers in the West had with US Army protection. Texans moved to seccession much quicker than they might have because of that.
 
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Robin Lesjovitch

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See pages xxxiii and xxxiv. https://www2.census.gov/library/publications/decennial/1860/population/1860a-02.pdf?#
Alabama, Kentucky and Tennessee experience net out migration 1850-1860. And they did not experience any international immigration to make up the loss. The out migration had begun before the Civil War. A lot of people did not like growing cotton or living alongside slave operations. It was easier to sell out and seek opportunity in CA or OR. (Edited)
Or, one might consider that TN and KY were mostly settled from VA and NC and the pioneer spirit had waned there. and, the rail lines from the major ports of entry generally didn't terminate in KY or TN..
 

Lusty Murfax

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I do not believe Grant was trying to say that the North did the South a favor by waging war against the seceded states. He just believed the South would have been on a dead end course as a separate nation with slavery preserved.

He believed that, in a unified U.S., the North had more to offer than the South. Therefore, if the partnership was preserved (i.e. if the South lost the war) the South had more to gain from this partnership than did the North

You may disagree with that assessment, but your emotional response just distorts Grant's quote.
I think Grant was saying both things. I suspect that during the immediate decades following the war many northern leaders felt tremendous guilt over the 'butcher's bill' paid to unify the nation. The number killed should evoke an emotional response and Grant's statement was his way of justifying his part in it.
 
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I suspect that during the immediate decades following the war many northern leaders felt tremendous guilt over the 'butcher's bill' paid to unify the nation.
I've not seen this post war "tremendous guilt" displayed by northern leaders although most North and South were saddened by the human cost of the war. Can you provide an example or two of this guilt?
 
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GS

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The census data, published on a preliminary basis in 1862, and more fully in 1864 support the conclusion that out migration had begun before the war. The whites with the most ambition went north or moved west. Together with the high death rates in Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi, the tendency towards a high % of enslaved would have produced uprisings. Slaves either escape or revolt.
Grant's view, written at the end of his life, comes after long visits in Britain and several years in New York. The quote comes from Grant but his opinion is based in British experience and Santo Domingo.
I agree, @wausaubob. I compared the 1850 Census with the 1860 Census, and when you do the math, roughly 28% of Carolinians (north and south) out-migrated west during that decade before the War. These were primarily yeoman class farmers, who were struggling under high tariffs, and the control of the market value of their crops. A drought hit in 1854, which did not help matters.

These non-slaver European immigrants, living along the eastern seaboard, had settled in over several generations, some having attained, by the sweat of their brow, hundreds of acres of land. However, they were kept denigrated by the elite class, through laws made by, and which favored, the elite, inequities which included land ownership. Until the Federal law, the Homestead Act, was passed in 1863, many were not given opportunity to expand. There was very little, if any, free public education in the South, while the elite class sent their offspring to Europe or New England schools.

The abolitionist movement in the South placed the two predominant classes (elite and yeoman/middle) at odds against one another, adding fuel to the fire. There was rampant paranoia among the elite about a slave uprising. Even a hint of sympathy toward a slave could have you publicly whipped, hanged, tarred and feathered, and your farm torched. There was a common saying, "run them like dogs into the wilderness", which they in effect accomplished. Essentially, socio-economic pressures were such that an undeclared class war existed prior to the Civil War ensuing.

The heart of the elite class is best expressed by B.F. Rice of Union District in upstate South Carolina, who basically said if slavery ends, the "poor" whites must take their place. Their "poor whites" were what we might call the tax-paying middle class of today. The yeomen were not ignorant fools, and departed the region forthwith. The War propelled many, those who survived, even further west to escape the violence and destruction.
 

wausaubob

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They were targeting the southern frontier, in MO, AR, and TX, or were crossing the Ohio River. Some made the journey to CA or OR. They were free soil Democrats who did not want the slave economy in their county or state.
 
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