If the "War" Wasn't About Slavery?

Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!
Status
Not open for further replies.

WJC

Major General
Moderator
Thread Medic
Answered the Call for Reinforcements
Joined
Aug 16, 2015
Messages
12,964
The writ of habeas corpus was nonsense to Lincoln, and so was the US Constitution.
No, Lincoln had great respect for our Constitution and its provisions. He spent his entire presidency in efforts to preserve our country and its institutions.
Sometimes he was forced to make difficult choices, some of which involved temporary violations of our Constitution, in order to save our country.
 

Rhea Cole

Sergeant
Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Messages
845
Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Here is the hog map from 1860: https://etc.usf.edu/maps/pages/100/158/158.htm. And here is a cartographic representation of the corn economy which fed those hogs, the people that owned them, and their flocks of poultry which they also owned: http://dsl.richmond.edu/historicalatlas/143/l/ So tell me how slavery separated these people, who were Americans, mostly Christians or enlightenment humanists, and spoke English in such a way that they could not abide the results of an election?
I think Mississippi Secession Commissioner William L. Harris addressed the division directly in his speech to the Georgia Legislature in December 1861. I don't think he left a lot of wiggle room.

"Our fathers made this a government of the white man. ...rejecting the negro, as an ignorant, inferior, barbarian race, incapable of self-government, & not, therefore, entitled to associate with the white man upon terms of civil, political, or social equality. (The North intends) to overturn & strike down this greatest feature of our Union... & to substitute in its stead their new theory of the universal equality of the white & black races.
 

wausaubob

Major
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Messages
9,150
Location
Denver, CO
I think Mississippi Secession Commissioner William L. Harris addressed the division directly in his speech to the Georgia Legislature in December 1861. I don't think he left a lot of wiggle room.

"Our fathers made this a government of the white man. ...rejecting the negro, as an ignorant, inferior, barbarian race, incapable of self-government, & not, therefore, entitled to associate with the white man upon terms of civil, political, or social equality. (The North intends) to overturn & strike down this greatest feature of our Union... & to substitute in its stead their new theory of the universal equality of the white & black races.
But many people already knew, the enslaved were ready to step up. Their knowledge of English and American economic culture was sophisticated and they were ready to compete. Some people were scared of that and some people thought it would make the nation stronger. But a lot of people thought killing each other over something that would progress naturally towards greater equality was crazy.
 
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!

wausaubob

Major
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Messages
9,150
Location
Denver, CO
It might have been about creating two competing nations, to act against each other like Britain and France, or like France and Prussia, so that people could go only killing each other in periodic outbreaks of insanity, if it wasn't about slavery. And by 1890 most people thought, What if we had won?
 

WJC

Major General
Moderator
Thread Medic
Answered the Call for Reinforcements
Joined
Aug 16, 2015
Messages
12,964
No it isn't a "myth." Former slaves actually gave verbal and written accounts of their experiences in front of Congressional committees during the early part of the 20th century.
Thanks for your response.
I believe you are referencing the interviews of former slaves that were conducted as part of the WPA's Federal Writers' Project from 1936 to 1938. They were not "in front of Congressional committees".
Many former slaves did indeed express fond memories of their former masters. Their recollections are a valuable source of information. However, that does not dispel the various tenants of the 'Lost Cause'.
In spite of the myth, the root cause of secession was slavery.
 

Rhea Cole

Sergeant
Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Messages
845
Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
But many people already knew, the enslaved were ready to step up. Their knowledge of English and American economic culture was sophisticated and they were ready to compete. Some people were scared of that and some people thought it would make the nation stronger. But a lot of people thought killing each other over something that would progress naturally towards greater equality was crazy.
I have no clear idea what the elite whites knew or didn't know. Every time I read what they wrote I sit back & ask myself is they really believed that stuff, 'course they did. It really is hard to get a handle on what the general slave population was really thinking. Obviously, news got around very quickly. What we almost always read are statements made to white people & how many kinds of idiot did it take to be honest with white people?
 
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!

Rhea Cole

Sergeant
Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Messages
845
Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Thanks for your response.
I believe you are referencing the interviews of former slaves that were conducted as part of the WPA's Federal Writers' Project from 1936 to 1938. They were not "in front of Congressional committees".
Many former slaves did indeed express fond memories of their former masters.
Keep in mind that they were very old black persons talking about their childhood to young white college students. I wasn't sophisticated enough to ask what they might have said to young black college students, renowned folklorist Dr. Charles Wolfe did & it opened my eyes.
 

wausaubob

Major
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Messages
9,150
Location
Denver, CO
Keep in mind that they were very old black persons talking about their childhood to young white college students. I wasn't sophisticated enough to ask what they might have said to young black college students, renowned folklorist Dr. Charles Wolfe did & it opened my eyes.
Continue, please.
 

lurid

Sergeant
Joined
Jan 3, 2019
Messages
638
Thanks for your response.
I believe you are referencing the interviews of former slaves that were conducted as part of the WPA's Federal Writers' Project from 1936 to 1938. They were not "in front of Congressional committees".
Many former slaves did indeed express fond memories of their former masters. Their recollections are a valuable source of information. However, that does not dispel the various tenants of the 'Lost Cause'.
In spite of the myth, the root cause of secession was slavery.
Many former slaves did express fond memories of the former slave master when interviewed by "white" case workers, however, when "black" case workers interviewed the exact same ex-slaves they expressed disdain and hatred for their former slave masters. (Davidson and Lytle, After the Fact: The Art of Historical Detection).
 
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!

Rhea Cole

Sergeant
Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Messages
845
Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Continue, please.
Dr. Wolfe, sadly no longer with us, was a premier folklorist. google him. I knew him as a friend & supremely entertaining dinner companion. He had spent more time listening to & recording black people, especially the elderly than anyone I ever heard of. Time & again, there were two version of stories & songs. One for in the community & one for when there were white folks present. Another wise man told me to always be on my guard when someone was telling me what I wanted to hear. I believe an amalgam of those two thought treads applies here.
 

Rhea Cole

Sergeant
Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Messages
845
Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Many former slaves did express fond memories of the former slave master when interviewed by "white" case workers, however, when "black" case workers interviewed the exact same ex-slaves they expressed disdain and hatred for their former slave masters. (Davidson and Lytle, After the Fact: The Art of Historical Detection).
That is human nature at work. My mentor found exactly the same duality among his informants.
 

leftyhunter

Colonel
Joined
May 27, 2011
Messages
17,407
Location
los angeles ca
There was a slave revolt in Southampton, Virginia, which took place only a few decades prior to the outbreak of the so-called "civil war." It was known as "the Nat Turner insurrection" and William Styron even wrote a novel ("The Confessions of Nat Turner") that was based on that story. History can be funny in a lot of respects because it is often extremely hard to sort out fact from fiction after the passing of so many decades.

Fiction is often accepted as "fact" and vice-versa.

Folks who got all worked up after reading "Uncle Tom's Cabin" just didn't seem to understand that they were getting all worked up over lousy novel - a work of fiction !! Let's not underestimate the importance of that novel because it DID play a major role in stoking anti-Southern sentiment prior to the outbreak of the "civil war."

It speaks of the power that fiction holds over the imagination of man, and it makes me wonder about all of those other fictions that came to be accepted as "fact" after the passing of so many years.

I'd like to know why the slaves didn't revolt en masse after their alleged abusers went off to fight the Yankees ? Just what was stopping them from just getting up and leaving ?? It didn't make any difference what the law said because the law was rendered essentially meaningless amid the chaos of war. The Northern Army was invading their territory and John Brown was exhorting them to revolt, but instead of running away they simply chose to carry on with their existing lifestyle. The slaves were actually stalwart defenders of their territory, and many many of them ended up getting shot dead by their so-called "liberators."
So we should simply ignore the fact that the slaves were isolated on plantations and had no idea what was happening around them.
We should ignore the fact that if a slave ran away they would be tracked down with armed men and tracker dogs. We should ignore the fact that slaves had no money or way to pay or often obtain food and shelter. We must ignore the fact that slaves could run into the Confederate Army or guerrillas.
Leftyhunter
 
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!

wausaubob

Major
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Messages
9,150
Location
Denver, CO
Last edited:

lurid

Sergeant
Joined
Jan 3, 2019
Messages
638
It could have been about a couple of myths. No. 1 was that slavery was necessary to produce cotton. Turned out to be untrue. See page 406. https://krex.k-state.edu/dspace/bitstream/handle/2097/14956/RickyDaleCalhoun2012.pdf?sequence=1 No. 2 was that cotton was going was going to be an adequate basis for national prosperity. Steel and electricity dominated the world after 1860. The US output of steel was measured in 100,000s by 1880.
We already debunked the cotton prosperity myth.
 
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!

wausaubob

Major
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Messages
9,150
Location
Denver, CO
All even go further, once the British started buying Midwest grain heavily in 1862 the boom for cotton started to bust.
As Mr. Calhoun noted, British investors hung on to their cotton, and kept the price bubble sustained, until suddenly in 1867 they realized US cotton had not disappeared and the world market for British textiles was saturated.
 
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!

FedericoFCavada

Corporal
Joined
Jan 27, 2015
Messages
462
Location
San Antonio, Texas
I hesitate to add anything to the discussion, once about what accounted for the ferocity of white Democrat opposition to the exercise of voting rights by freed people, who in spite of their fondness for the many kindnesses and blessings bestowed on their carefree existence by their owners, were quite accurately perceived at the time as a large block of Republican voters that would allow "scalawags" and "carpet baggers" to attain electoral victories and thus undermine good old local "home rule" if, in fact, the war was not about slavery after all?

In the 1970s, social history made large inroads in just about every field of historical inquiry. Perhaps nowhere, however, was it more influential than in military history. So the vast majority of Civil War military history is above all concerned with the individual experiences of "Johnny Reb" and "Billy Yank." We learn from such an intimate examination of the everyday, ordinary soldier-level experience that these were young men who were bounded by ties of kinship to their fellow comrades in arms--"bands of brothers" to reuse that term. Their diaries, letters, etc. do not indicate that they shared the same understandings of what "the war was about" that, say, the respective national leaders did. Personally, I'd rather read accounts from that level. On the other hand, a steady diet of such books has effectively blurred the overarching politics of the war. "Why were the armies in the field fighting one another?"

So while we know that Southerners were fighting for home and hearth, and that their identifications and kindred were intensely local, and that "loyalty" to the region, and by extension, the state loomed larger than identification with the entire nation, this has the effect of erasing what precisely caused the war?
 

Rhea Cole

Sergeant
Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Messages
845
Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Even though it is sketchy, just because some masters might have been decent to slaves, they still hindered them from expressing their talent and intellect.
All dictatorial systems, such as slavery, squander talent. If you were born into a white slaveholding family, no matter how many kinds of idiot you were, blessing flowed.No matter how much natural ability or native intelligence a slave was born with, they still were "docile agricultural workers'. All you have to do is look at the many successful runaway & freedmen who were successful to see the wastefulness of the slave system. You will enjoy my ‘Black Confederates were Real People, Forrest’s Groom.’ Post. Jim Key was about as remarkable a human & the namesake of perhaps the most remarkable horse that ever lived.
 
Last edited:
Status
Not open for further replies.
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!
Top