Are individual soldiers' motivations important?

NH Civil War Gal

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I have never come across "interracial sex" as a reason Southerners were fighting to prevent it! I believe the quote is there, but please find it and put in what's all around it too. It sounds like he had a really weird bee in his bonnet.

I have seen sentences along the lines of "the tyranny of the North" but yet the average middle-class Southern soldier couldn't define what that was. The seemingly embittered statement about the "North accustomed to receiving her countless thousands" well, the South was glad to sell to the North. And for a number of years, a few up and coming Southern business men had tried to get Southern states interested in publishing as a trade but nobody would bite. It all came from the North. The South simply didn't want to build that type of infrastructure. And what didn't come from the North came from England or France and they seemed happy enough with that.
 

leftyhunter

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WHO? I would like to know exactly where in their various collections at AHEC. As I stated, I have not looked at everything in their voluminous collections. They do not have individual finding aids for the entire collection. I would like you to produce just one common soldier's letter that clearly states that their motivation for fighting was either to destroy slavery or to defend slavery. Shelby Foote in Burn's Civil War documentary tells a story of how a Union soldier asks a Rebel soldier why he was fighting in this terrible war, the Rebel soldier's response was because you are down here, meaning in the South. Nothing about slavery!!! Nevertheless, So thrill me with your acumen. Produce the evidence!!! David.
You might find what Patterson said on p.128 interesting
" Some Northern journals state that there will be more exchanges until our government consents to treat captured negroes as prisoners of war.If this is the case then I hope that there may never be an exchange. If the Yankee government will persist in arming negros of the South and sending them against us I believe it will amount to the Black Flag. @Cavalry Charger had a thread in the "Black Flag".
"One thing I think us very certain and that is the Army in Virginia will not take Negro prisoners . Much has we deplore such a state of affairs I say let it come rather than take the alternative. If we loose everything else let us preserve our honor".
Interesting that we are told by many of our pro Confederate posters that racism has nothing to do with the ACW.
Leftyhunter
 

NH Civil War Gal

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For individual motivations, we never hear on the Union side about societal "honor." We hear about manly honor, i.e., courage, having a manly bearing, playing the man under fire, that sort of thing. The Southern side of things, you read a lot more about societal or group "honor."
 

leftyhunter

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I have never come across "interracial sex" as a reason Southerners were fighting to prevent it! I believe the quote is there, but please find it and put in what's all around it too. It sounds like he had a really weird bee in his bonnet.

I have seen sentences along the lines of "the tyranny of the North" but yet the average middle-class Southern soldier couldn't define what that was. The seemingly embittered statement about the "North accustomed to receiving her countless thousands" well, the South was glad to sell to the North. And for a number of years, a few up and coming Southern business men had tried to get Southern states interested in publishing as a trade but nobody would bite. It all came from the North. The South simply didn't want to build that type of infrastructure. And what didn't come from the North came from England or France and they seemed happy enough with that.
I will eventually find that quote. Edited.
Leftyhunter
 

Deleted User CS

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You might find what Patterson said on p.128 interesting
" Some Northern journals state that there will be more exchanges until our government consents to treat captured negroes as prisoners of war.If this is the case then I hope that there may never be an exchange. If the Yankee government will persist in arming negros of the South and sending them against us I believe it will amount to the Black Flag. @Cavalry Charger had a thread in the "Black Flag".
"One thing I think us very certain and that is the Army in Virginia will not take Negro prisoners . Much has we deplore such a state of affairs I say let it come rather than take the alternative. If we loose everything else let us preserve our honor".
Interesting that we are told by many of our pro Confederate posters that racism has nothing to do with the ACW.
Leftyhunter
Who is Patterson and what is the book you are referring to? Thank You. David.
 

leftyhunter

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I have never come across "interracial sex" as a reason Southerners were fighting to prevent it! I believe the quote is there, but please find it and put in what's all around it too. It sounds like he had a really weird bee in his bonnet.

I have seen sentences along the lines of "the tyranny of the North" but yet the average middle-class Southern soldier couldn't define what that was. The seemingly embittered statement about the "North accustomed to receiving her countless thousands" well, the South was glad to sell to the North. And for a number of years, a few up and coming Southern business men had tried to get Southern states interested in publishing as a trade but nobody would bite. It all came from the North. The South simply didn't want to build that type of infrastructure. And what didn't come from the North came from England or France and they seemed happy enough with that.
Also @christian soldier ,
P.171
"I have just read a pamphlet called "Miscegenation " the contents of which are endorsed by Wendell Philips and Mrs.Harriet Beecher Stive and others of the same stripe.I have no words to describe my opinion of the book or its author.The doctrine it advocates are damnable, they are hellish.Never before has any man or women been found so degraded so list to all sense of shame ,so devoid of every enabling principal which makes a man as to breathe such foul slander against the noble women of the South".
Leftyhunter
 

leftyhunter

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All me to introduce one source that I will continuously skim through.
"Yankee Rebel the Civil War Journal of Edmund De Witt Patterson University if North Carolina Press.
Patterson was 19 when the war started and was from Ohio. Patterson enlisted in the Lauderdale Rifles which became Company D Ninth Alabama Regiment. Patterson fought in many battles until his capture at the battle of Gettysburg. Patterson was promoted from a private to at least a Lieutenant.
Patterson wrote in part on p.11
Dec 31st 61
" The Southern people unable longer to bear the tyranny of the North or rather Northern fanaticism , determined to exercise their rights guarantee them to them by the Constitution and following the example of the Colonies years ago ,separated themselves from the old government and set up for themselves in which they have no conflicting issues. The North so accustomed to receive her countless thousands from the South would not willingly sacrifice her share in profits accruing from the Southern trade and hence this unholy war ,which is being waged against the South and her institutions.
Patterson states a lot more and anyone is welcome to quote more from him.
Much later in the book Patterson bitterly decries interracial sex and it is a reason he and others were fighting to prevent. I will eventually find that quote.
Leftyhunter
@christian soldier see above.
Leftyhunter
 
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Probably the only ones we know for sure who were fighting for the freedom of slaves were the African American troops.

Having said that many were faithful body servants to Confederate masters during the war.

It is a hugely complex issue to test individual's motives for fighting in the war, but I'd say overall in the South it was in the context of 'defense' for the majority, and in the North in the context of 'unity'. The whole thing began with an idea to split to country according to two separate ideologies, both with ways of life in mind that the other found untenable.

@NH Civil War Gal makes an interesting point about the differences in the societies and concepts of honor. For Northerners it was more individualistic and Southerners more societal based. No doubt this societal sense of honor may have also played into Southerners motivations. To be part of the society, and to retain honor, there was a need for you to fight. And having made the decision to secede, it was now up to Southern men to defend that decision. Northern men also had to make this decision, but maybe it didn't rest so much on their honor as their determination not to see the 'great experiment' fail.

I think I agree with you here, @NH Civil War Gal . Northerners motivations did not rest so much on honor as Southerners did.
 

Northern Light

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Going back to the original post. I think that the answer depends on the context and depends on what is being studied. If you are studying battles, then it hardly matters what anyone's motivations were. If you are studying soldiers then of course it is important.

We all have different motivations for what we do. Why would Civil War soldiers be any different? Broad generalizations are not useful for most serious students of history, because they do not answer the questions that we pose and often only muddy the issues. It is ridiculous to say that a Texan, a Virginian, and a Floridian all fought for the same reasons, and it is equally ridiculous to make an assumption that everyone in the North fought for the same thing. I would bet that there are more than few on either side who had no convictions either way, and just wanted adventure or to get way from the farm and family for a while.
 

uaskme

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Lincoln and Douglas debates always talked about Race Mixing. Northerners believed in White Supremacy just as much as Southerners.

So what, now Southerners were fighting against Race Mixing. Edited. This is a new one.
 

WJC

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Outside of Confederate advocates defending Southern soldiers I know of no-one else in the world that is concerned about individual soldiers' motives. Can someone enlighten me?
I'd certainly like to know with some degree of certainty why some of my family members fought and why some others didn't. As it is, I can only guess.
 

Northern Light

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Lincoln and Douglas debates always talked about Race Mixing. Northerners believed in White Supremacy just as much as Southerners.

So what, now Southerners were fighting against Race Mixing. I thought all Slave Owners raped their Slaves? This is a new one.

From what I have read, the fear was that as soon as slavery ended,black men would go on a rampage and rape all the white women. I imagine that this was an over-reaction, as it didn't seem to happen on any great (or small) scale, from my reading at least. I think the enslaved people were more interested in obtaining and keeping their freedom than in chasing white women, which they had to know was not going to end well.
 

John Winn

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Bah. You want me to debate you about some opinion put forward by a banned member ? In my opinion his opinions and posts die with his membership. If you want to propose such a stance that's perhaps another matter (although I doubt I'd debate you).

This is the sort of thread I find disagreeable and that has resulted in me restricting my participation. It's just picking a fight which is what the departed member quoted often did and enjoyed. Well, you probably will ask, why am I posting if I don't want to play ? That's an honest question and all I can say is sometimes I feel the need to express my opinion. I think we should just let the expressed opinions of banned members go with them. Debating a banned member seems absurd to me.
 

leftyhunter

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Lincoln and Douglas debates always talked about Race Mixing. Northerners believed in White Supremacy just as much as Southerners.

So what, now Southerners were fighting against Race Mixing. I thought all Slave Owners raped their Slaves? This is a new one.
Point well taken that Lincoln and Douglas did debate race mixing. Northeners did not believe in racial superiority to the same extent as Southerners. Even in antebellum times some Northern states had no miscegenation laws nor restrictions on black voting. No Southern state voluntarily repealed any of their racist legislation.
So no Northern states are not the same as Southern states.
Patterson articulated a common Southern fear of miscegenation which did not apply to white men.
Edited.
Leftyhunter
 

WJC

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Who are the others?
Certainly, the one I am most familiar with is Ms. Chandra Manning. She devotes her entire book to the views expressed by individual soldiers of both sides in letters to loved ones and letters to home-town newspapers.
Chandra Manning, What This Cruel War Was Over: Soldiers, Slavery, and the Civil War. (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2007).
 

jgoodguy

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All me to introduce one source that I will continuously skim through.
"Yankee Rebel the Civil War Journal of Edmund De Witt Patterson University if North Carolina Press.
Patterson was 19 when the war started and was from Ohio. Patterson enlisted in the Lauderdale Rifles which became Company D Ninth Alabama Regiment. Patterson fought in many battles until his capture at the battle of Gettysburg. Patterson was promoted from a private to at least a Lieutenant.
Patterson wrote in part on p.11
Dec 31st 61
" The Southern people unable longer to bear the tyranny of the North or rather Northern fanaticism , determined to exercise their rights guarantee them to them by the Constitution and following the example of the Colonies years ago ,separated themselves from the old government and set up for themselves in which they have no conflicting issues. The North so accustomed to receive her countless thousands from the South would not willingly sacrifice her share in profits accruing from the Southern trade and hence this unholy war ,which is being waged against the South and her institutions.
Patterson states a lot more and anyone is welcome to quote more from him.
Much later in the book Patterson bitterly decries interracial sex and it is a reason he and others were fighting to prevent. I will eventually find that quote.
Leftyhunter
If someone is looking for a specific phrase like "I am fighting for slavery" that may not be found. However, there are rebel letters writing home with instructions to buy or sell slaves. I would count that as fighting for slavery. A letter saying he is fighting for the Southern way of life is fighting for slavery in my mind. There are no letters condemning slavery or the Sothern slave labor system.

In addition, motives change during service.

We are trending off topic. Which is do individual soldiers especially named individuals really matter to a lay historian or historian.
 
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If someone is looking for a specific phrase like "I am fighting for slavery" that may not be found. However, there are rebel letters writing home with instructions to buy or sell slaves. I would count that as fighting for slavery. A letter saying he is fighting for the Southern way of life is fighting for slavery in my mind. There are no letters condemning slavery or the Sothern slave labor system.

In addition, motives change during service.

We are trending off topic. Which is do individual soldiers especially named individuals really matter to a lay historian or historian.
So if one wrote home instructing to sell cattle or crops, that becomes their primary motivation for fighting in the war? Btw lets not overlook the Union had slavery throughout the war also.....So a US soldier from Missouri or Kentucky instructing the sale of one of his slaves......is his motivation for fighting for the Union? Or is he simply conducting business and managing his affairs...…..
 

jgoodguy

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As Host.
Back to topic, please.
Are individual soldiers' motivations important?
The topic is not arguing over motivations.

Thanks
 
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