Fighting for Slavery?

whitworth

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In defeat, any good reason, after the war, will be used to justify the war. By 1865 the Confederacy and slavery were gone, and new reasons had to be submitted.
 

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CMWinkler

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The problem here is that the declaration of causes, which were issued specifically to denote the reason for secession, don't say what you'd like to have us believe they say.
I'm not trying to have you believe anything. I'm merely pointing out the obvious fact that the states of the Confederacy wanted to dissolve their bonds to the United States and form their own republic, i.e., seeking independence. Try as you'd like, you really cannot avoid that.

I'm not denying slavery in any matter despite your implication, I'm simply stating a simple fact that apparently you have difficulty accepting that.
 

Eric Calistri

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I'm not trying to have you believe anything. I'm merely pointing out the obvious fact that the states of the Confederacy wanted to dissolve their bonds to the United States and form their own republic, i.e., seeking independence. Try as you'd like, you really cannot avoid that.

I'm not denying slavery in any matter despite your implication, I'm simply stating a simple fact that apparently you have difficulty accepting that.
I get it. Independence good, slavery not so much. For that reason, you wish to talk about independence as its own end. And it seems, get others to shut up about slavery. But when talking about their cause, and documenting it for posterity, secessionists said this:

"Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery-- the greatest material interest of the world. Its labor supplies the product which constitutes by far the largest and most important portions of commerce of the earth"

And this:


"That in this free government *all white men are and of right ought to be entitled to equal civil and political rights* [emphasis in the original]; that the servitude of the African race, as existing in these States, is mutually beneficial to both bond and free, and is abundantly authorized and justified by the experience of mankind, and the revealed will of the Almighty Creator, as recognized by all Christian nations; while the destruction of the existing relations between the two races, as advocated by our sectional enemies, would bring inevitable calamities upon both and desolation upon the fifteen slave-holding states."

And not, as you wish to impose on the group, independence for its own sake.
 

Georgia Sixth

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That doesn't, however, change the fact that the South sought independence.
CW, you might be interested in this quote from the book Georgia Coast shared a link for earlier in this thread. The book is "Plain Folks' Fight" by Mark Wetherington and this excerpt is the opening of the chapter "I Represent the War."

"I represent the war with six sons" proudly wrote "HOMESPUN" less than two months before the Confederacy collapsed. Despite being "pulled out of the Union against my will," four years of hard fighting, and the death of one son, the patriarch was still stirred byu "strong emotions of patriotism" for Southern nationhood. Now was not the time to cry "whipped," he declared; it was the time for each family to throw every resource at hand into the war for "our independence." Presently in his early sixties, the former antisecessionist turned die-hard Sourthern nationalist was willing to see all nine of his sons "sacrificed upon the altar of liberty and independence" before his nation suffered "submission, subjugation, reconstruction, or peace on any terms."

The book focuses on the areas of Georgia where the "plain folk" were dominant in population, meaning, not the big plantation areas with high percentages of enslaved African-Americans.
 

jgoodguy

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shanniereb,

I think you would find very little difference between ordinary Confederate soldier's letters and those of soldiers of the United States in later wars, to include our soldiers in this day (although I doubt secession comes up that often).

I would not give offense or insult to you, shanniereb, for I know your respect for the men and women of that time is honorable and with real passion.

But as I have stated elsewhere, soldiers of any time, to include Confederate soldiers, may enlist and fight for many individual reasons, but it does not matter one whit what an individual soldier believes is his reason for fighting and dying, as he has no say in the matter of who he is going to fight and why he has to fight.

As painful as it may be to come to grips with, Confederate soldiers, all of them, were fighting to protect and defend slavery, whether they wanted to or not, whether they owned slaves or not, it did not matter. I have included in this thread the many quotes of those who decided what the war was actually over and I can only come to one conclusion, that it was about slavery, at least by those who determined the course of secession and the why of it.

In my own career with the military, I have seen and heard the many reasons individual soldiers enlist in the army. For some, for travel and adventure. For others, a chance at an education and technical training for better job prospects when the leave the military. Some because there were no job propects where they lived and they needed the money, for them and their families. Others are offered an enlistment instead of a jail term. The reasons are as numerous as there are soldiers. And when it comes to war and soldiers are sent to fight it, none of those reasons matter.

It was the same for Confederate soldiers. You go where you are told, you stay there for as long as your are told, and you fight and kill who you are told regardless of your personal feelings or reasons for being in the service. You are a tool, a blunt instrument, deployed and used by your government to enforce its will upon another government. Your personal reasons for service to your nation do not matter nor are they ever asked or considered by those who thrust you into harms way.

A soldier seldom knows why he is where he is or why he is put into a fight at a particular time and place. This is left to the "big bugs" like generals and presidents. This is why his letters are mainly about home, family, and all the things he misses about both.

The Confederate soldier had no choice but to fight for slavery, as his country told him to do so, with every march he took, with every battle he fought in, to every bullet he sent downrange to kill an enemy soldier.

He was not evil, he was not a monster and he may not have owned one slave or ever wanted to. His individual reasons are his own as was his soul, but his body belonged to the army and those appointed over him and their aims and goals, which was the preservation of slavery.

From the Confederate Constitution:

Article I, Section 9, Paragraph 4: "No bill of attainder, ex post facto law, or law denying or impairing the right of propety in negro slaves shall be passed."

Article IV, Section 3, Paragraph 3: "The Confederate States may acquire new territory...In all such territory, the institution of negro slavery, as it now exists in the Confederate States, shall be recognized and protected by Congress and the territorial government."

Again, I have no intent to insult or cause hard feelings and apologize if I have done such. I merely wished to express my own views and opinions on the topic you alluded to in your post above.

Sincerely,
Unionblue

In the CSA constitution, assuming it was the basic law of the land, is the concerns of the CSA politicians. Thus the bolded quotes are significant. They are also significant in that they are the only differences worth fighting about.

Constitution of the Confederate States of America- what was change

SUMMARY

Overall, the CSA constitution does not radically alter the federal system that was set up under the United States constitution. It is thus very debatable as to whether the CSA was a significantly more pro-"states' rights" country (as supporters claim) in any meaningful sense. At least three states rights are explicitly taken away- the freedom of states to grant voting rights to non-citizens, the freedom of states to outlaw slavery within their borders, and the freedom of states to trade freely with each other.

States only gain four minor rights under the Confederate system- the power to enter into treaties with other states to regulate waterways, the power to tax foreign and domestic ships that use their waterways, the power to impeach federally-appointed state officials, and the power to distribute "bills of credit." When people champion the cause of reclaiming state power from the feds, are matters like these at the tops of their lists of priorities?

As previously noted, the CSA constitution does not modify many of the most controversial (from a states' rights perspective) clauses of the American constitution, including the "Supremacy" clause (6-1-3), the "Commerce" clause (1-8-3) and the "Necessary and Proper" clause (1-8-18). Nor does the CSA take away the federal government's right to suspend habeus corpus or "suppress insurrections."

As far as slave-owning rights go, however, the document is much more effective. Indeed, CSA constitution seems to barely stop short of making owning slaves mandatory. Four different clauses entrench the legality of slavery in a number of different ways, and together they virtually guarantee that any sort of future anti-slave law or policy will be unconstitutional. People can claim the Civil War was "not about slavery" until the cows come home, but the fact remains that anyone who fought for the Confederacy was fighting for a country in which a universal right to own slaves was one of the most entrenched laws of the land.
In the antebellum South's Defense, their leadership was of the opinion that the average person did not count for much(from Look Away! by William Davis). Only the wealthy was enlightened enough to govern. Their ideal was a republic where political power was limited to the wealthy and in the antebellum South, wealth was slaves. (Lest we forget, in today's US, the ability to rule is dependent on how much wealth a political party or individual can raise and to a great extent, political exercise is limited to the wealthy.) The lessers in the antebellum South believed in their leaders and followed the leaders. Dissidents were suppressed. Those leaders believed in slavery as a social good. Only extraordinary Southerns were opposed to slavery.

In CSA letters, we see soldiers writing home telling their wives how to manage slaves, buy and sell slaves or otherwise supporting slavery. There are none criticizing slavery or directing their wives to free their slaves. Slavery was a social good that was supported by the majority of antebellum Southerns.
 

jgoodguy

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jgoodguy said:
The simple solution is to simply agree that slave grown cotton make the antebellum South fabulously wealth; there were the fire eaters that agitated for 20-30 years for Southern Independence; said fire eaters manipulated the Southern political establishment into secession; the motive for secession was to establish an independent slave nation where the right people would guide their lessers and the slaves with a gentle, enlightened but firm hand without all the pesky Washington DC politics, the ignorant poor, those despicable money grubbing Yankees mucking things up; that most Southern soldiers directly or indirectly support the institution of slavery and would have owned a slave if they could have; that the elites were as deceived as their lessers and died with them in great numbers in a democracy of the dead, the antebellum South ran things for 80 years, made a calculated gamble for independence and almost pulled it off; in the antebellum US, slavery was a economic advantage to the slave owners;it was Constitutionally protected, and while a philosophical evil, it was either socially accepted, a social good or simply morally ignored by the majority of citizens.
A Faulkner wannabe? Kudoes.
Maybe a Southern thing. OTOH I am concerned that any grammar Nazis around may have overload trauma and went into shock over my stream of consciousness moment. I am grateful that the text highlight feature is not available on this site or I would get to relive my freshman English classes.
 
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Your argument is circular, Opn. They sought independence. Why can't you just admit that simple truth?
They sought independence only because they wanted to establish a slave republic. Everything points back at that central hub, so why deny it or complain when someone points out the sole purpose of that desire for independence? The issue appears to have something to do with the problem of honoring a national cause that was anything but noble in character.
 

CMWinkler

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About circularity:
Isn't the war was for independence. And why did the Confederates want independence? To be independent! And why did they want to be independent? To have independence. Isn't that kind of a circular argument?
Matthew, to be fair I've not said that. Their war aim was independence. It was clearly linked to their desire to protect slavery, but that doesn't change the goal. Now you may see that as circular but I do not.
 

CMWinkler

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They sought independence only because they wanted to establish a slave republic. Everything points back at that central hub, so why deny it or complain when someone points out the sole purpose of that desire for independence? The issue appears to have something to do with the problem of honoring a national cause that was anything but noble in character.
I'm curious, wasn't the North's goal prior to January 1863 to bring its wayward sisters back into the fold to reestablish the United States as a slave republic?
 

matthew mckeon

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I'm curious, wasn't the North's goal prior to January 1863 to bring its wayward sisters back into the fold to reestablish the United States as a slave republic?
Leaving aside the nitpick that a victorious Federal government would insist it wasn't "re"establishing anything, what form Lincoln's hostility towards slavery would have taken, absent a war and war powers, is an interesting one. The US, headed by Lincoln and his supporters, meant a republic that was now looking for alternatives to being a slave republic. And a rebellion stillborn or quickly suppressed in 1861 was not going to help the influence of the slave states on the national stage.

Its an interesting question: would Lincoln have shelved anti slavery to prevent a further outburst(understanding he would not retreat on barring slavery from the territories)? Would he have used the patronage power of the federal government to support an anti slavery political party among resentful, slaveless whites? Maybe one for the "what if" forum.

This may be off topic, but its a thought provoking question.
 
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Pretend slavery didn't exist? You've obviously not read anything I've written as I readily acknowledge the issue.
Exept as the motivation for the Southern rebellion. You want us to believe that the South would have wanted their independence regardless of slavery.


No, the discussion that prompted this thread dealt with war aims. The war aim of the Confederacy was independence. Are you denying that it wanted to be independent of the United States?
I'm not ignoring the reason why it wanted to be independent; to protect it's institution of slavery. So it just as accurate to say its war aims was to protect slavery and your claim that the war aim was independence. Perhaps more accurate.


Really? That would make me a very old man. I'm old, but not quite that old. I'm curious though as to how you characterize the American Revolution. Do you at every turn insert in every discussion "It was all about taxes?" You see there are times the motivation for an action initially gets lost in the doing. What began as a tax dispute grew into something more. I think because more noble phrases have a better ring than "No more taxes."
But I recognize that taxes was one of the driving reasons behind their actions. Taxes, representation, and all the other causes Jefferson laid out in the Declaration of Independence. So yes, I would say that the aim of the Revolution was freedom from British taxes, and representation in government, and ending intrusive government, and judicial freedom, and free trade, and so on. I wouldn't say that the war aim was independence and leave it at that.


I accept that the perceived threat to slavery led the South to believe it needed to be independent. The war aim, however, of the Confederacy was to form their own nation, independence. Why is that so hard for you to accept?
So by extension the war aim of the Confederacy was to protect its institution of slavery. Why is that so hard for you to accept?
 
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Had Lincoln respected the South’s right to form their own nation in peace there would have been no need to fight to defend slavery or any thing else – there would have been no need for either side to fight period.
Had the South pursued peaceful and Constitutional means to achieve their separation then there wouldn't have been a need to fight either. A peaceful separation would have required a negotiated settlement to questions of potential disagreement before leaving. But instead the South chose to walk out without discussion, repudiating debt and confiscating every bit of property that it could get its mitts on in the process. They chose the method guaranteed to foster acrimony and bad feelings and then took all the steps that they could that had the greatest potential for leading up to a conflict. The Confederacy wanted war from the beginning. And they got it.
 
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I always thought it was so we wouldn't have to be in a country with folks like you.
And yet rather than rebelling, we don't complain when we have to put up with folks like you. I guess we're just more adult about it up North.

A place of their own. Their own rules and policies. IMO it was a desire for a do over. The 1st. Republic was gone wrong and they wanted to try again.
And how, exactly, had the 1st Republic gone wrong?
 



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