How Was South Carolina's Secession Supposed to Save Slavery?

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Perhaps, I did note that I believed there would be a reckoning between the two groups, if the secession had been successful. But, in any case, I do not think the impetus for empire would likely come from SC.
A great deal of that emphasis came from South Carolina. It was in the mine up John C Calhoun, Robert Hayne, James Hammond, James Gadsden, and especially from De Bow Who, though he wrote in New Orleans, was from Charleston, South Carolina. I deal with this subject of the southern request for a glorious empire in my book. It was no idle Or scarce dream. And it was not new.
 

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True. The "only" is relative to another posters opinion that the confederacy was intended to extend to the Pacific.
I think I might be the poster in question and you understood my position correctly. I defy anyone to show me that the confederacy had no interest in seizing California or at least Southern California.
 

jgoodguy

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Quick question: did any of the Secession declarations mention Cuba, Mexico, or Central America? I am only familiar with the ones that mention the western territories recently taken from Mexico. That would mean Arizona, New Mexico, parts of Utah and Nevada and California.

Did you knowingly leave out China as the basis for the confederacy building a great slave the Empire? Or have you yet encountered that idea?
If they beat the US without a fight, I'd imagine they've felt like they could take on the world. The only issue I can think of is getting plantation owners to pay the needed taxes for a big military.
 

WJC

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***Posted as Moderator***
The topic of this thread is "How was South Carolina's secession supposed to save slavery?"
Please avoid rehashing arguments presented recently in other threads addressing different topics. Stay on topic and respect the opinions of others.
 
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I failed to see how anyone can understand the coming of the Civil War without an acquaintance of southern interest in trade with China from 1845 forward. Noticed that I did not say that one cannot understand it. I said that I failed to see how anyone can.
Edited.
I guess your position is that trade with China would offset other reductions in other revenues or replace them ?
I have said it before and i’ll Say it again, “the south did not have anything that the Chinese wanted. “ the two things most wanted were opium and silver. Now the south could have been smart and grown opium but it didn’t. In some cases cotton prices to the north fell in competition with imported nankeen. The only way to trade would be through a triangulated trade system like the North had and controlled.
The first American ship to enter canton harbor was in 1787 , I think. Britain colonized Hong Kong by 1841 I think. The southern states were not trading in China but was still focused eastward for it’s market. It is also fair to say that China had very little that southerners wanted. The elite wanted luxuries but they wer3 soon over produced and in many cases copied by western craftsmen. The same was true for elite Chinese.
I question , and am of the opposite opinion, that China trade made great empires out of any nation that traded with them and I urge you to do more studies on the Chinese trade of the nineteenth century. I think I can name more countries and cultures that were run over by the Chinese than benefited from them. Even Britain , who probably had the most success, did much better in India, which it colonized. China did not like or want contact with the west as a rule and only opened up trade restrictions via gunboat diplomacy.
Revenues from Chinese trade would not have helped save slavery and that trade could have been undertaken without secession. Secession would not build a TRR if one could not be built before secession. Private investment is what finially initiated the TRR and determined it’s footprint.
The south was not racing to establish trade with China even though it already had a pacific port before secession. Secession was meant to save slavery by operating under a new constitution. If there was war all the emperors men would not put Dixie back together again.
 

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Don't know about China, but the secessionists claimed part of the Mexican Cession territories (gained by the US after the Mexican War), as rightfully belonging to the confederacy. Whether slavery could have been established in the southwest (assuming the confederacy was able to successfully obtain those areas), was always a dubious question.
 
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Don't know about China, but the secessionists claimed part of the Mexican Cession territories (gained by the US after the Mexican War), as rightfully belonging to the confederacy. Whether slavery could have been established in the southwest (assuming the confederacy was able to successfully obtain those areas), was always a dubious question.
You will find an examination of China in the minds of antebellum Southerners to be rewarding.

Two of my own answers to the question I launched with this thread are the West and the Far West. And by West I mean The American Southwest, and by the Far West I mean the Far East. I have explained this on other threads. But I did not start this thread to assert my viewpoint. I did so to examine other viewpoints. I would argue that secession was an absolutely stupid way to establish an empire. Here is how I see the mental state of South Carolina:

1. We are going broke.
2. We need to preserve slavery in order to earn a living on the backs of others.
3. History shows that England got rich off the China trade.
4. With a TRR we can do what England did and what America can now do to England by creating a new Silk Road made of iron from Charleston to San Diego.
5. If we succeed and seize the mantel from England and Washington, we will with our sister States become a powerful empire.
6. If we become a powerful empire, no other country will be able to abolish our peculiar institution.
7. Therefore, let us secede and be on our way about establishing our great slavery empire. We will pay for our revolution with Western and far eastern trade.

The problem with their thinking was that Secession was not exactly the brightest way to capture the Western and far eastern trade. For the life of me, I cannot understand why they chose secession as their means to do this. But what I do see is that the South for the past 30 years had wanted to become independent and slavery was simply their war cry, as it is difficult to recruit soldiers by yelling "Locomotives!"

This is the short oversimplified tutorial. I deal with all questions about it in other venues. My point with this thread is to see if I have missed some other connection between Secession and the preservation of slavery. This is simply the only thing I can see.
 

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Lot of new ideas here to ponder. My initial reaction is to agree that secession was not the way to "capture" western and eastern trade. But did the secessionists actually think this stuff out, or was it mostly an emotional reaction to events outside their control?
 
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Lot of new ideas here to ponder. My initial reaction is to agree that secession was not the way to "capture" western and eastern trade. But did the secessionists actually think this stuff out, or was it mostly an emotional reaction to events outside their control?
I think they had already thought it out from 1845--1860 which is why they dared to do what they did in December. I say it based on my attempts to crawl inside Carolina craniums for that period. SC's Secession was not spontaneous. I think it was stupid and no way to accomplish the preservation of their peculiar institution.

I continue to ask myself, "If I were a SC planter in 1860 and wanted to make sure that my business was safe for the future, what would I do?" It was the purpose of my OP to invite others to think along this line with me. To do so, I try to block out everything from December 20, 1860 forward, and just ask this simple question: what is the best way to preserve my business as a planter? Secession is NOT a thought that comes to my mind, but maybe I am overlooking something that they saw. I just can't figure out what it is. I start in part with my belief that slavery was safer in the Union then it was out of the Union --a view that did not originate with me but with many in the antebellum. Please School me all that you can: How was Secession going to preserve slavery --assuming the preservation of slavery was really their number one goal. I consider it quite possible that in reality they believed that the preservation of slavery was simply not going to be a problem and That Secession was really motivated by something else: Nationalism, The simple desire to start their own country just like people want to start their own real estate company or law firm or dental practice.

The Seceshers accused the North of slinging pretexts. Probably so. But I don't think the North had a monopoly on pretexts. Neither did Andrew Jackson who prophesied during the Nullification crisis that the next attempt by the South to become independent would be based on the pretext of slavery. That makes all the sense in the world to me. Cotton could never save the South. Commerce might have.
 
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You do not understand the history of Chinese trade. It had nothing to do with cotton. It had to do with getting Chinese luxuries out of China, and always did. China was never a market for ordinary western manufactures or raw materials. The wealth came from China in the form of luxuries that had to be bought, transported, and resold at a profit. The British went to war and colonized Hong Kong, and sold opium. Were the confederates ready for that ? The Chinese population was made up of people too poor to buy anything. China was not a consumer country. Clothes were homespun with domestic cotton and nankeen. Silk was still a luxury in China. China only had one port that it allowed open to foreign trade and this was only expanded by British gunboat diplomacy. They did not want us there. the luxury in question in the 19th century was tea. Yes southerners drink tea but they also drink coffee, and apparently, anything that looks like coffee. Chicory is terrible. Tea could only be purchased directly with silver and only in one port until the British forced more openings. The British basically kept the Chinese people hooked on opium while they plundered the Chinese economy At gun point. By the turn of the century anti foreign sentiment started the boxer rebellion. Tea could be grown in the south just like cotton was grown in China.
Chinese migration had only just started but Chinese coolies would be sure competition for slavery. China was not destined to save secession and hence slavery and no southerners that I know of made any effort to establish trade relations in China or invest in RRs beyond the Mississippi. If the RR and chinese trade were the means by which secession would work then why didn’t the slave states put more effort into both areas ? Why wasn’t cotton being transported across Mexico or panama and shipped to China ? Why did the northeast dominate almost exclusively what trade there was with China ? Where were they building ships , in the US , for this type of commerce ? What states were actually trading with China ? Who got any trading rights in China without fighting for those rights or were allied with the victors and also granted rights ?
You would have us believe that the south seceded to save slavery and would be funded by Far East trade ? Not cotton ? They never considered cotton sales and credit from Europe would be enough, even if they could get it, and Chinese luxury trade would save the day if only they could get a TRR To San Diego. They had from1854 at least to build the RR from private financing, or at least start it, through the proposed most southerly route, but did nothing. Was the cost too high ? How did that compare to the cost of secession and war ? If they were calculating costs wouldn’t that come up ? And the WHOPPER OF ALL is that they risked an established renewable domestic regional white gold mine for a pig in a poke ! If that is true then stupidity is the primary cause of the war.
I almost forgot... the British and US were allies against China in the 1st opium war. They both established trading rights. Was the confederacy ready to start an incident with Britain in China ?
 
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WJC

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Secession is NOT a thought that comes to my mind,
Perhaps not, but it was the choice of South Carolina slaveholders in December 1860. Simply put, they thought they would have a better chance to protect their investment in slaves as an independent nation.
 
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Perhaps not, but it was the choice of South Carolina slaveholders in December 1860. Simply put, they thought they would have a better chance to protect their investment in slaves as an independent nation.
Thank you.

I understand that. But why did they think that? How was Secession going to do that? What would follow Secession to preserve it? That is what my question is about.
 

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If they beat the US without a fight, I'd imagine they've felt like they could take on the world. The only issue I can think of is getting plantation owners to pay the needed taxes for a big military.
That and reproducing the white population large enough to raise armies and navies sufficient to accommodate both worldwide expansion and home security at the same time. I don't see Confederate armies ranging too far afield until then. After all, imperialism was much in vogue during the 19th century many countries wanted a piece of the action including the US.
 

jgoodguy

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That and reproducing the white population large enough to raise armies and navies sufficient to accommodate both worldwide expansion and home security at the same time. I don't see Confederate armies ranging too far afield until then. After all, imperialism was much in vogue during the 19th century many countries wanted a piece of the action including the US.
Good point. OTOH, they did pretty well mobilizing in the Civil War.
 

CSA Today

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Good point. OTOH, they did pretty well mobilizing in the Civil War.
Indeed they did, but in the end too few and too vast a territory to defend adequately. Another reason why they wouldn't have entertained worldwide adventures any time soon had they won independence no matter how much they would have liked to have done so.
 

uaskme

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Cool. However the British had made considerable progress in eliminating the Atlantic slave trade.
Hugh Thomas, Simon and Schuster, New York 1997.
The Story of the Atlantic Slave Trade 1440-1870.
The abolition movement which arose then was the consequence, first, of the diffusion of ideas made possible by the pamphlet and the book operating in conditions free of censorship, as was possible in Britain and North America and to a lessor extent in France; and second, the conversion to abolition of one Protestant sect, the Quakers, who had participated in the trade, and so knew exactly what it was they were against. It must be doubtful whether abolition would have carried the day when it did had it not been for the Quaker movement's capacity for organizing first their members and then others. p. 797
Mr. Thomas' overall conclusion is that the slave trade and slavery were not abolished because it did not pay. The moral objections to the physical suffering of the slaves was the consistent reason that both practices were eliminated.

The effort was conducted at considerable cost, attended by loss of life due to disease. They were not likely to reverse course.
British were using the ruse of seizing Slave ships to indenture negro labor to their Sugar Cane Plantations. British and American Merchants were shipping Coolies. Coolies were taking the Place of Africans in Cuba, West Indies and North Africa. Might be some reason the Atlantic Slave Trade was declining.
 
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Thank you.

I understand that. But why did they think that? How was Secession going to do that? What would follow Secession to preserve it? That is what my question is about.
Edited. So why secede? My own answer is that they saw some handwriting in the sand. I think they were feeling their economic Cheerios and were confident Edited. Ironically, all that Secession would do is slow down the progress by inviting the diversion of war. I simply cannot think of a single way the act of declaring independence is something a Ways and Means Committee would come up with as a solution to preservation. I think instead it was the equivalent of a not altogether snubbing of Nullifying noses at the North --as if to say nonverbally but by their asinine action, "We are big boys now, and we are going to stick it to you Northerners who have for so long been a fly in our slavery soup."

So, in short, my own answer to my own question is, "There is no possible was that Secession by itself contributed to a slavery solution." But my post was NOT to assert my viewpoint, though I have just done so, but to see if anyone else could come up with some answers that I have not thought about. Again, the simple question is, "Just exactly how would the act of Secession accomplish its stated goal?"
 
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If they beat the US without a fight, I'd imagine they've felt like they could take on the world. The only issue I can think of is getting plantation owners to pay the needed taxes for a big military.
Now that is one good and understandable answer to my question --i.e., by seceding they could get the planters to pay up for the economic adventurism to follow. That gives me something useful to think about. Thank you for thinking along this line with me. There can certainly be no doubt that Secession would force the involvement of a lot of other otherwise uninvolved people in the goals of the Rhetts and the Yanceys. And let us not forget that the only reason Yancey was back into politics at all was because of his interest in the TRR issue. So said his biographer, Eric Walther, with whom I have discussed this subject one on one. But the statement is in his biography for all to consult.

Edited.
 
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That and reproducing the white population large enough to raise armies and navies sufficient to accommodate both worldwide expansion and home security at the same time. I don't see Confederate armies ranging too far afield until then. After all, imperialism was much in vogue during the 19th century many countries wanted a piece of the action including the US.
Indeed, imperialism was in vogue. There are many explicit expressions in antebellum Southern literature in which the speakers talk about their section as becoming the most dominant economic power in the world, a veritable Garden of Eden redivivus.
 
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Someone on this thread or another thread akin to it brought up Paul Starobin's book entitled Madness Rules the Hour: Charleston, 1860 and the Mania for War. Because of that post I bought a copy. This is a wonderful book in spite of the absence of an Oxford comma. Whoever you are who posted this, thank you. It addresses many of my questions. Whoever you are, please never secede from this thread. Let us continue our Union.
 



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