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

Status
Not open for further replies.

Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!

Andersonh1

Major
Joined
Jan 12, 2016
Messages
7,963
Location
South Carolina
It's hard to say.

Recollect that chattel property was worth $3-4 billion in the day, and I understand that asset class had the highest value in terms of wealth in the South.

UB, this is from an earlier post by yourself. It shows that the overwhelming majority of persons who went to secession conventions were persons who owned a large number of slaves:

Slaveholdings of the Political Elite, Lower South, 1860. {These are numbers for the Secession Winter / Cotton 7 States only}

----------------------% Owning slaves------------% with 20 or more slaves

All White
Families----------------------38%--------------------------6%


County
government
officials----------------------53%-------------------------18%


State
Legislators-------------------68%-------------------------33%


Delegates to
secession
conventions------------------83%-------------------------41%


Source: Digital History | http://www.digitalhistory.uh.edu/historyonline/us19.cfm {this is an expired web page}

Without that property, the white politics of the South will be different.

With slavery gone, the South is a free labor region. So, for example, Bloody Kansas never happens. Any controversy over the extension of slavery to the territories never happens. Fear of runaway slaves never happens. Talk of Black Republicans never happens. Demonizing abolitionists never happens. What does that do for the history of the section?

And if we presume no slavery and therefore no slaves, then 40% of the Confederate States' population is gone in an instant. What does that do for the history of the section?

What if, instead of investing money in slaves, people in the South invest in manufactures? What if the South becomes a place of many farms, as in the North ~ which was predominantly rural, after all?

If the South becomes more of a free labor society, then how much like the North does it become, which was a free labor society?

The idea of no slavery opens the South to a lot of alternate histories. It could mean two sections that are more alike in a lot of myriad ways. The idea that the sections would clash even if no slavery is, to me, unimaginative.

- Alan
A good place to start, and a book that has informed my thinking on this issue is "The First South" by Richard Alden, which I reviewed on the boards. There were always sectional differences going back to before the revolution, and in those days, slavery was a tiny part of the disputes. Any number of those differences could have grown into the basis of sectional disputes, even in the absence of slavery.

https://civilwartalk.com/threads/the-first-south.139171/#post-1665121
 

ForeverFree

Major
Joined
Feb 6, 2010
Messages
8,869
Location
District of Columbia
A good place to start, and a book that has informed my thinking on this issue is "The First South" by Richard Alden, which I reviewed on the boards. There were always sectional differences going back to before the revolution, and in those days, slavery was a tiny part of the disputes. Any number of those differences could have grown into the basis of sectional disputes, even in the absence of slavery.

https://civilwartalk.com/threads/the-first-south.139171/#post-1665121
Interesting, but still, I'm quite skeptical. There were all kinds of differences between the sections, all throughout US history. It has been pointed out that the West (the modern day Midwest) was its own section, although it gets lumped in with the NE all the time as a monolithic North, which it wasn't. The benefits of union outweighed the benefits of dissolution, and compromises were made.

The main thing is, I do not buy into the notion that each and every sectional difference made secession and war inevitable. It's like with a husband and wife, not every thing that either does leads to divorce, and many marriages have survived the harshest strains.

I think it's notable that when SC threatened to secede during the Nullification Crisis, nobody from the rest of the South was willing to intervene in its defense when Jackson in turn said he would respond militarily. But even more, compromises over tariffs were made, and as I recall, the US had some of the lowest tariffs in the West right before the CW.

I've made the point, people don't go to war over abstractions. People didn't go to war over the theory of states rights, they went to war due to the material threat to their institutions, institutions which they felt were protected by states rights. If those institutions had not been under threat, there would have been no need to invoke states rights to protect them. (Capt Obvious is tugging at my chain.) The South was uncompromising in protecting slavery, I don't see that it was so uncompromising elsewhere.

In a speech about slavery as a positive good, Calhoun said

To maintain the existing relations between the two races, inhabiting that section of the Union, is indispensable to the peace and happiness of both. It cannot be subverted without drenching the country in blood, and extirpating one or the other of the races. Be it good or bad, [slavery] has grown up with our society and institutions, and is so interwoven with them that to destroy it would be to destroy us as a people.​

It's not clear that the differences you cited would rise to that level of urgency. But of course, anything is possible.

- Alan
 

WJC

Brigadier General
Moderator
Thread Medic
Answered the Call for Reinforcements
Joined
Aug 16, 2015
Messages
12,115
There were always sectional differences going back to before the revolution, and in those days, slavery was a tiny part of the disputes. Any number of those differences could have grown into the basis of sectional disputes, even in the absence of slavery.
But would any of those, even in combination, been enough to cause secession?
 
Status
Not open for further replies.


Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!
Top