In The Absence Of Slavery There Would Have Still Been Secession Over Other Fiscal Issues

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The average confederate soldier lived on a small farm of 25 acres or less, usually married with children and seldom traveled outside his own county. Most had never seen a slave. What made them fight? But then was the issue of states rights enough to make them fight? I feel it is difficult for us to understand their true feelings as the form of government we live under today has no resemblance to what it was like then. Or did the southerners with the power and money sell the common soldier a bill of goods to get them to fight for the wealthy aristocracy of the south, which the abolition of slavery would have threatened. Wars always start by some form of politician, it seems. So would the wealthy aristocracy of the south have gone to war to protect their wealth. Heck yes. So then what was the average northern soldier fighting for?
A good case can be made that the average confederate soldier had connections to slavery, either as coming from a slaveowning household, being temporarily down on his luck and hoping to regain slaves, being in a position that directly supported the institution, or being a member of a slave patrol, or something similar. The claim that most had never seen a slave cannot be substantiated and is most probably false. Slaves were ubiquitous in most parts of the South. Whether a white man had a direct connection to slavery or not, he still had a reason to want slavery to continue from the standpoint of racial control, especially in counties where blacks outnumbered whites.

The average Union soldier was fighting to preserve the Union and came to see the destruction of slavery as serving that cause.
 

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WJC

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On the quarantine I was thinking along the lines of Truman Doctrine as to Communist Europe.Those who lived in Eastern Europe were not all communist some even sought to challenge the system.The idea was to prevent the spread of the politics of the system.,This what Lincoln had in his thoughts.
That is a simplistic and incorrect characterization of the Truman Doctrine. Not only is it beyond the scope of our discussion, but it fails as an analogy for the Emancipation Proclamation.
Further, none of us- especially from our distant vantagepoint- knows what "Lincoln had in his thoughts".
 

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The average confederate soldier lived on a small farm of 25 acres or less, usually married with children and seldom traveled outside his own county. Most had never seen a slave. What made them fight? But then was the issue of states rights enough to make them fight? I feel it is difficult for us to understand their true feelings as the form of government we live under today has no resemblance to what it was like then. Or did the southerners with the power and money sell the common soldier a bill of goods to get them to fight for the wealthy aristocracy of the south, which the abolition of slavery would have threatened. Wars always start by some form of politician, it seems. So would the wealthy aristocracy of the south have gone to war to protect their wealth. Heck yes. So then what was the average northern soldier fighting for?
Insight into the motivation of both United States and Rebel soldiers can be found in their letters to loved ones and hometown newspapers.
Few Rebels fought 'for slavery': most fought out of fear of what freed slaves might do to their families. Some went so far as to claim that Lincoln was going to set up a system where freed Blacks would be the masters of White slaves!
US soldiers saw secession and the attacks by Rebels on US forces as an attempt to destroy the American experiment, which they truly believed was the last great hope of mankind. If our unique government was torn assunder, liberty would die.
Once US soldiers began to see the depravities of the South's "peculiar institution", they became agitators for emancipation, long before their politicians, families and neighbors back home.
See Chandra Manning, What This Cruel War Was Over: Soldiers, Slavery, and the Civil War. (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2007).
 

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Looking at the thread's title, I must disagree. Without the slavery issue, secession would not have happened. The other issues (fiscal, state rights, control of waterways, etc.) were serious ones but would have been handled in the context of normal democratic procedures (legislation, elections, amendments, etc.)
 
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The Civil War boiled down to those things as well. For example:
  • "Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery-- the greatest material interest of the world ... the loss of property worth four billions of money" [Mississippi declaration]
  • "the Federal Government have striven to deprive us of an equal enjoyment of the common Territories of the Republic ... by their declared principles and policy they have outlawed $3,000,000,000 of our property in the common territories of the Union" [Georgia declaration]
  • "It has grown until it denies the right of property in slaves, and refuses protection to that right on the high seas, in the Territories, and wherever the government of the United States had jurisdiction." [Texas declaration]
Its all there - money, with billions of dollars invested in slaves; territory, as the country split over whether US territories should be free or slave; and resources, in the control of human labor.
Along these lines, think about how strong the North and the Republicans' grip on power and the nation's money would have been if they could have kept the number of slave states static, while they went on to carve free state after free state out of the territories. Democrats and Southerners would have become a permanent minority in the House and Senate, and have little chance to capture the Presidency. That was what faced the South if they couldn't expand, and don't think the politicians on both sides weren't well aware of this.

The constant focus on slavery puts the greedy desire for spoils squarely in the South's camp, but there was a big prize to be gained for the North as well, war or no war. They'd have run everything with only token opposition.
 

WJC

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Along these lines, think about how strong the North and the Republicans' grip on power and the nation's money would have been if they could have kept the number of slave states static, while they went on to carve free state after free state out of the territories. Democrats and Southerners would have become a permanent minority in the House and Senate, and have little chance to capture the Presidency. That was what faced the South if they couldn't expand, and don't think the politicians on both sides weren't well aware of this.

The constant focus on slavery puts the greedy desire for spoils squarely in the South's camp, but there was a big prize to be gained for the North as well, war or no war. They'd have run everything with only token opposition.
You are suggesting yet another 'what if' game when the answer is there for us to see. With slavery 'off the table', even during Reconstruction- and certainly afterward- Democrats made significant advances in Congress, and- later- captured the Presidency.
 

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Along these lines, think about how strong the North and the Republicans' grip on power and the nation's money would have been if they could have kept the number of slave states static, while they went on to carve free state after free state out of the territories. Democrats and Southerners would have become a permanent minority in the House and Senate, and have little chance to capture the Presidency. That was what faced the South if they couldn't expand, and don't think the politicians on both sides weren't well aware of this.

The constant focus on slavery puts the greedy desire for spoils squarely in the South's camp, but there was a big prize to be gained for the North as well, war or no war. They'd have run everything with only token opposition.
So provide some evidence of this dastardly plan.
 

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You are suggesting yet another 'what if' game when the answer is there for us to see. With slavery 'off the table', even during Reconstruction- and certainly afterward- Democrats made significant advances in Congress, and- later- captured the Presidency.
Agreed, with slavery removed it became quite clear the Democrats became a competitive party again, appealing across more than just sectional interests.
 

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That is a simplistic and incorrect characterization of the Truman Doctrine. Not only is it beyond the scope of our discussion, but it fails as an analogy for the Emancipation Proclamation.
Further, none of us- especially from our distant vantagepoint- knows what "Lincoln had in his thoughts".
What was Scott's "Anaconda'" military strategy against the Confederacy if not a attempt to isolated these states? The navy would close off the ports and gain control of the Mississippi ,thus depriving the Confederacy of supplies which would be needed from foreign countries.The Union would cease trade ,I do think that this would have been a part of the strangulation of the South .This to bring the government of the CSA to heal.There was no time table on how long this would take.Lincoln just added a extra military part to the plan after he called for troops to halt the rebellion Lincoln recognized that to wait on the this to have effect would have provided the Confederacy with time to become better organized and might gain European recognition .Similar to hopping that sanctions as today will bring certain countries to heal to world actions ,without military threats,proven that as with Scott's plan military eventual would have to be introduced as Lincoln ,thanks to the xxx actions of the Confederate government actions in firing on Sumter,was forced to use,You are correct that no one knew what Lincoln,'s thoughts where but then what else was left for him to do in order to save the Union .Churchill and Lincoln acted while others tried for ways to appease the aggressor even after the fall of France and Sumter
 

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The average confederate soldier lived on a small farm of 25 acres or less, usually married with children and seldom traveled outside his own county. Most had never seen a slave. What made them fight? But then was the issue of states rights enough to make them fight? I feel it is difficult for us to understand their true feelings as the form of government we live under today has no resemblance to what it was like then. Or did the southerners with the power and money sell the common soldier a bill of goods to get them to fight for the wealthy aristocracy of the south, which the abolition of slavery would have threatened. Wars always start by some form of politician, it seems. So would the wealthy aristocracy of the south have gone to war to protect their wealth. Heck yes. So then what was the average northern soldier fighting for?
 

John S. Carter

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The Union soldier went to war to save the Union , It was taught to them from the time they could read that the Union was the most important next to family,and religion in their lives.They went because every man that could go went and the ideal of remaining would have marked him as a coward .They went for the glory of the fighting for the Union ,as an adventure which would enhance their standing in town or state .They, as their Southern counter part.were noeve as to what they were about to engage in and what they were to have to endure. As for the Southerner he went to protect his family ,his life,his state,his rights,and he saw the North as a threat that had challenged his way of life for to long,.Slavery meant nothing to him ,it was up holding all the traditions which he had been taught,as the Northerner went for the for the same.Remember that most of these men were boys of a young age full of ideals that we do not understand .Read the letters of these boys in the early days of the war and then read the later letters,by that time why they went did not matter as to how long before they returned home and read the letters from their families in the beginning and near the end .One goes to war with noble causes but the end is just survival to return home.
 

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Actually at the time of the proclamation Lincoln was struggling and in great despair of losing the war. He was desperate and if he lost the war the Republican party and all his dreams were dead anyways so who cared about future politics? Rewrite history with a bunch of lies, a lot of money and some attacks on the opposing party could fix those things. I mean we are talking about an election probably done under martial law for crying out loud which could be dragged out a long time. The incumbents had complete control of everything like never before or since. The press was scared to death to write the slightest negative thing against Lincoln. He controlled literally every word said and every form of press with an iron fist. He threw anyone who spoke out against him in jail with no due process or a sentence. How could you lose?

If Lincoln didn't bring slavery to the forefront over the massive financial issues he was simply the thug leader of a small gang of industrialist opportunists. Nobody wanted to die for that. The Emancipation Proclamation was the "evil dictator" of its time to churn up feelings and rally the ignorant public around. Once you have the public with "feelings" logic, negotiation, peace or even the need for more information disappear. The public becomes irrational and easily manipulated.

It went from a war about facts/gain to a war about "feelings". It also refreshed the need to not settle and continue the war until the South was burned to the ground, crops poisoned, animals all dead and most of all financially destroyed for almost a century. Quite the hypocrisy with ethical gentle souls saving the poor blacks then destroying half the country.
There is a part in the movie 'Lincoln" where he stacks the table and says that he as president has unknown or unanswered powers .What ever was required to achieve his objective political or military,he was not altered in using these powers.These powers came from previous Presidents starting even with Washington.His goal was to save the Union after that came using that power to achieve the lasting end of slavery.Without that power he would not have been allowed to do these things and without him being the man to know how to use them the republic might have ceased in 1861.
 

WJC

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What was Scott's "Anaconda'" military strategy against the Confederacy if not a attempt to isolated these states? The navy would close off the ports and gain control of the Mississippi ,thus depriving the Confederacy of supplies which would be needed from foreign countries.The Union would cease trade ,I do think that this would have been a part of the strangulation of the South .This to bring the government of the CSA to heal.There was no time table on how long this would take.Lincoln just added a extra military part to the plan after he called for troops to halt the rebellion Lincoln recognized that to wait on the this to have effect would have provided the Confederacy with time to become better organized and might gain European recognition .Similar to hopping that sanctions as today will bring certain countries to heal to world actions ,without military threats,proven that as with Scott's plan military eventual would have to be introduced as Lincoln ,thanks to the xxx actions of the Confederate government actions in firing on Sumter,was forced to use,You are correct that no one knew what Lincoln,'s thoughts where but then what else was left for him to do in order to save the Union .Churchill and Lincoln acted while others tried for ways to appease the aggressor even after the fall of France and Sumter
Thanks for your response.
Perhaps I did not make myself clear. Lincoln's "quarantine plan" was in no way similar to the Truman Doctrine, as you suggested.
I applaud your esteem of both Lincoln and Churchill, two men at the right place and time in history.
 
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WJC

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Agreed, with slavery removed it became quite clear the Democrats became a competitive party again, appealing across more than just sectional interests.
Thanks for your response.
Too bad it took a terrible war for them to realize what an albatross around their neck slavery was....
 

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The Union soldier went to war to save the Union , It was taught to them from the time they could read that the Union was the most important next to family,and religion in their lives.They went because every man that could go went and the ideal of remaining would have marked him as a coward .They went for the glory of the fighting for the Union ,as an adventure which would enhance their standing in town or state .They, as their Southern counter part.were noeve as to what they were about to engage in and what they were to have to endure. As for the Southerner he went to protect his family ,his life,his state,his rights,and he saw the North as a threat that had challenged his way of life for to long,.Slavery meant nothing to him ,it was up holding all the traditions which he had been taught,as the Northerner went for the for the same.Remember that most of these men were boys of a young age full of ideals that we do not understand .Read the letters of these boys in the early days of the war and then read the later letters,by that time why they went did not matter as to how long before they returned home and read the letters from their families in the beginning and near the end .One goes to war with noble causes but the end is just survival to return home.
Actually Americans, both north and south, revered the union and our Constitution, but for different reasons. Each thought their interpretation of the Founders' intent was the only correct one....
 

WJC

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There is a part in th movie 'Lincoln" where he stacks the table and says that he as president has unknown or unanswered powers .What ever was required to achieve his objective political or military,he was not altered in using these powers.These powers came from previous Presidents starting even with Washington.His goal was to save the Union after that came using that power to achieve the lasting end of slavery.Without that power he would not have been allowed to do these things and without him being the man to know how to use them the republic might have ceased in 1861.
That was in a movie. If you are trying to make a point, quoting something that the real Lincoln said would be far more effective....
 
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The Union soldier went to war to save the Union , It was taught to them from the time they could read that the Union was the most important next to family,and religion in their lives.They went because every man that could go went and the ideal of remaining would have marked him as a coward .They went for the glory of the fighting for the Union ,as an adventure which would enhance their standing in town or state .They, as their Southern counter part.were noeve as to what they were about to engage in and what they were to have to endure. As for the Southerner he went to protect his family ,his life,his state,his rights,and he saw the North as a threat that had challenged his way of life for to long,.Slavery meant nothing to him ,it was up holding all the traditions which he had been taught,as the Northerner went for the for the same.Remember that most of these men were boys of a young age full of ideals that we do not understand .Read the letters of these boys in the early days of the war and then read the later letters,by that time why they went did not matter as to how long before they returned home and read the letters from their families in the beginning and near the end .One goes to war with noble causes but the end is just survival to return home.
It's a little more complicated than that. Not every Northern man wanted to join the Union Army. There were draft riots in some major cites particularly NYC and Boston and some smaller cities in Wisconsin.
My thread " hiw serious was Union desertion?" has sourced information.
The Union Army had significant desertion and some young men fled to Canada has young men would do a hundred years latter.
@CSA Today posted a source that showed 2k men from Pensylvania joined the Confederate Army.
The Union had to pay large bounties to get men to enlist and had a major problem with bounty jumpers who would desert one regiment then join another to abscound with more bounties.
Fortunately the Union enlisted problems were offset by Confederate problems.
Confederate desertion was a huge problem which my thread " how serious was Confederate dertion"? has details on.
Per the book "Lincoln's loyalists Union soldiers from the Confederacy" Richard Current North Eastern University Press
One hundred and ten thousand Confederate states men joined the Union Army.
There was a significant problem with Unionist guerrillas which I detail in my thread " Union vs CSA Guerrillas".
Plus you didn't mention Southern black men who didn't wish to fight for the Confederacy but instead joined the USCT. About 170k mostly from the Confederate states.
Also the Union had immigration throughout the war and immigrants joined the Union Army.
So its kind of complicated who joined which side and why plus why did men change sides.
For example many Indians in the Indian Territory started off joining the Confederacy but either switched sides or deserted same for many Southern white men.
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Along these lines, think about how strong the North and the Republicans' grip on power and the nation's money would have been if they could have kept the number of slave states static, while they went on to carve free state after free state out of the territories.
I emphasized a set of words in your sentence because this sectional divide was still about slavery. The concern was the political balance of free state vs slave state would allow the federal government to stop enabling slavery.
 

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There is a part in the movie 'Lincoln" where he stacks the table and says that he as president has unknown or unanswered powers .What ever was required to achieve his objective political or military,he was not altered in using these powers.These powers came from previous Presidents starting even with Washington.His goal was to save the Union after that came using that power to achieve the lasting end of slavery.Without that power he would not have been allowed to do these things and without him being the man to know how to use them the republic might have ceased in 1861.



Actually, if you read his Address to Congress in Special Session(4 July, 1861) you will see, I think, that he believed as a matter of self defense, in protecting the survival of the Union, the law of nature and nations, allowed the Union, the use of all power available(whatever its source) to defend itself.

But, he also declared that, in fact, he did not, at the present, need to exercise such power because the Constitution and its laws allowed sufficient authority and power, to defend itself, without resorting to 'a war to the knife'.
 



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