Looking back on the whole bloody mess, I truly believe that it was completely pointless EXCEPT as a maneuver to obliterate southern independence.

GwilymT

First Sergeant
Joined
Aug 20, 2018
Location
Pittsburgh
It was a system that created and exploited poverty. Many white southerners after 1820 saw how the system worked and moved away. And while in some case it allowed the slave owners to stockpile under employed labor for critical harvest systems, it still was concentrated on the areas with the best soils, the cheapest water transportation routes, and the early railroads. They thought it was slavery that was supporting southern wealth, but not paying their farm labor was holding them back, except for a favored few.
I’m in complete agreement. I just don’t buy the notion that an independent south would suddenly have an aha moment and change the entire system they left the US in order to protect. It strikes me as wishful thinking.
 

CW Buff

Sergeant Major
Joined
Dec 22, 2014
Location
Connecticut
If you project your understanding of how they lived on to them, you'll never analyze them with any accuracy. They were aware that they lacked infrastructure and shipping and industry, notwithstanding the fact that they intended to remain an agrarian society. I think they would have stepped up to the plate and developed all of the areas they were deficient in.
Without tariffs, subsidies, etc.?
 

Piedone

Corporal
Joined
Oct 8, 2020
I think I have taken account on how the war affected the south. IMO, the war saved the south and its inhabitants about 100 years of misery. If slavery was allowed to continue it would have taken two centuries to recover, whereas the war took them a little over 100 years to recover. Just look at the countries who adhered to slavery for long periods of time, you will come to the shocking conclusion that they are still relatively underdeveloped. Now, the south doesn't have that problem because the rest of the USA pulled them in for the big win.

As for the south's independence, you seem to be incredulous about the south's whole constitution was to be an arcadia backed by a slavocracy, war or no war. You do know what indicators are, don't you?
  • Leading indicators are considered to point toward future events.
  • Lagging indicators are seen as confirming a pattern that is in progress.
  • Coincident indicators occur in real-time and clarify the state of the economy.
Prior to the war there are lagging indicators that point in the direction that south invested all its money in slaves and land. During the antebellum era from 1810-1860, the south expanded slavery over 300%, 1 million slaves to $4 million slaves, and the north downsized to almost 3% by 1860. Consequently, this a leading indicator the south's main objective was to continue to exponentially expand slavery wherever. Under 20% of investment was spent on infrastructure and transportation. As of 1859, the coincident indicator clearly shows that the south's entire economy was wrapped up in slavery and cotton, which nobody can separate the two. There are no indicators that show the south was going to end slavery, not rely on cotton production nor embrace the Industrial Revolution.

What are the indicators that show what the south was going to do with its independence? Other than rhetoric, can you prove the south was geared towards the IR and was going to end slavery in the second part of the 19th century? The Gilded Age proves the north's ingenious with one of the greatest economic eras in the history of the USA.
While I am also convinced that the southern economy showed serious deficits in regard of self-subsistence I’d stress the point that it was highly profitable.

Maybe it’s completely wrong to interprete it as some kind of Arcadia where old wealth financed high life.
I am currently of the opinion that it was a thoroughly capitalist economy that did everything to make the biggest money (more or less) out of just one cash crop. Regarding the production and export of cotton a more profitable economical system was hardly conceivable in those times - and it produced enough wealth to make the South the 4th richest country in the world.

Modern investment funds would be excited with an economy so fundamentally adjusted to it’s “core competences” - it just had to be prevented that slavery was abandoned as long as the business was thriving.

Hence I’d propose to take a look on the entrepreneur skills of the South - if they were that highly developed (as I tend to believe at the moment) then they would have probably found ways to stay afloat...

But you are absolutely right when criticizing such a monoculture because it hindered the development of other industries and led to a concentration of wealth in just a few hands.
But again this was not the consequence of dumbness but just capitalist reasoning and a lot of people North, South and abroad were interested in that business running smoothly.

Albeit I have no idea how wealth was distributed in the northern society.
I suppose the concentration of wealth in Britain or France could have been somehow comparable to the South’s.
 

Piedone

Corporal
Joined
Oct 8, 2020
I’d like to add that the South achieved remarkable economical progress during the war when it was forced to. There obviously were people with brains enough to innovate...
hence I deem it hard to make a guess about what would have happened and how the region would have developed...
 

Andersonh1

Brigadier General
Moderator
Joined
Jan 12, 2016
Location
South Carolina
I’d like to add that the South achieved remarkable economical progress during the war when it was forced to. There obviously were people with brains enough to innovate...
hence I deem it hard to make a guess about what would have happened and how the region would have developed...

Exactly. It shows you what they were capable of,which I believe would have been whatever level of industrialization was needed to meet their needs.
 

ForeverFree

Major
Joined
Feb 6, 2010
Location
District of Columbia
I have to agree. There is nothing that leads me to believe that the CSA would have developed into a prosperous nation nor that they would have freed slaves of their own accord.

There is every indicator it would have been totally Orwellian. The Confederates would have never ended slavery own their own, the market would have freed the slaves. Then the Confederates would have switched to Apartheid like South Africa.
Agreed. Historically, the thing that has put the South on a path to human equality is the intervention of the federal government, such as with the Civil War.

I recall what the Texas DECLARATION OF CAUSES (A Declaration of the Causes which Impel the State of Texas to Secede from the Federal Union), dated February 2, 1861, stated

We hold as undeniable truths that the governments of the various States, and of the confederacy itself, were established exclusively by the white race, for themselves and their posterity; that the African race had no agency in their establishment; that they were rightfully held and regarded as an inferior and dependent race, and in that condition only could their existence in this country be rendered beneficial or tolerable.

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.​

As far as the Texas government was concerned, black freedom was intolerable. It was an existential threat. And note the reference to the Almighty Creator above; this was not just an opinion, it was a religious belief. All of this points to a dogged persistence of such views.

- Alan
 

GwilymT

First Sergeant
Joined
Aug 20, 2018
Location
Pittsburgh
Exactly. It shows you what they were capable of,which I believe would have been whatever level of industrialization was needed to meet their needs.
Yes, they adopted certain measures when faced with the grim reality of their defeat, begrudgingly at every step. They realized that they needed tariffs for common infrastructure improvements, whether railroads or harbors. Eventually they realized they would have to not only draft the poor white folk but, at the end, (southern gasp) grant freedom to their slaves if they fought, not slave’s families however, some things go too far for southern honor.

They chose war to preserve an outdated way of life based on African slavery. Due to pressures of the war they enacted the taxes they railed against and imposed a national police state based in Richmond. They made an effort to improve their railroads, fought at every turn by those who didn’t want to pay. Heck, at the end even Georgia wanted out. What a debacle, a debacle for republican government, a debacle for citizens of the United States, and justly, a great calamity for slave owners. Thanks CSA for challenging the idea of freedom and losing. The world is better for your loss.

I don’t see where you find your rosy view of a CSA moving forward.
 
Last edited:

lurid

First Sergeant
Joined
Jan 3, 2019
I’m in complete agreement. I just don’t buy the notion that an independent south would suddenly have an aha moment and change the entire system they left the US in order to protect. It strikes me as wishful thinking.

If anyone who wants to strive to be an accurate historian, trained through Historian craft or just wants to be accurate they must understand when the evidence is not palpable they must accumulate the most certainties or probabilities to build an accurate case. Otherwise, they are formulating a narrative with opinions, 'what ifs' and surmise scenarios that don't hold any weight in historiography.

All the certainties and probabilities pertaining to southern independence are indicative that it would have been a periphery nation and not a core nation. Nobody thinks that they could not obtain independence, but it was a matter of periphery and core country status, and it sure looks like the south what have been periphery for a long time. I showed the lagging and leading indicators and the opposition was nothing but opining with rhetoric. Historiography speaking, we did what is right accordingly and the naysayers did quite the opposite.
 

lurid

First Sergeant
Joined
Jan 3, 2019
Agreed. Historically, the thing that has put the South on a path to human equality is the intervention of the federal government, such as with the Civil War.

I recall what the Texas DECLARATION OF CAUSES (A Declaration of the Causes which Impel the State of Texas to Secede from the Federal Union), dated February 2, 1861, stated

We hold as undeniable truths that the governments of the various States, and of the confederacy itself, were established exclusively by the white race, for themselves and their posterity; that the African race had no agency in their establishment; that they were rightfully held and regarded as an inferior and dependent race, and in that condition only could their existence in this country be rendered beneficial or tolerable.

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.​

As far as the Texas government was concerned, black freedom was intolerable. It was an existential threat. And note the reference to the Almighty Creator above; this was not just an opinion, it was a religious belief. All of this points to a dogged persistence of such views.

- Alan

Agreed. But what i was trying to prove here is that the south's so-called independence what have been shaky because they never prepared for the industrial revolution and adhered to slavery and agriculture. People think the south could have just quit slavery and geared towards a more diverse economy in minutes and the south would have been a strong core country. Nonsense. You know that the countries that kept slavery around until the late 1800s and early 1900s are still underdeveloped today.

Besides, abolishing slavery in the south no matter the time frame would have contracted the economy to a bear market.
 

TSJ

Private
Joined
Feb 2, 2021
Well...I can fully understand your perspective - and as a foreigner feel utterly unable to comment on the current political situation in the US anyway.

Out of a historian´s perspective I´d prefer to look on matters in their historical context and would feel somehow uncomfortable when mixing up history with current interests or needs.

For over a century a national and liberal perspective on things was prevalent in european historiography -
regarding everything as deadweight that didn´t lead to the national state
(political catholicism, the Holy Roman Empire, the kingdom of Two Sicilies, the Habsburg empire...).

But since the 1990´s it became clear that such a perspective didn´t depict the real historical conditions - it produced some (rather grave) distortions and (moreover) led to detrimental effects by itself.

I am very much convinced that we have to try to look on things as the people in those times did - to understand their actions correctly...
Exactly, I’ve thought a lot about if I was living during the time of the CV. What would I have done? And I’ve come to the conclusion that I would have fought with the people around me. It by no means have been about fighting for slavery. But I would fight to protect my family, home and friends from anyone, foreign or domestic, who tried to destroy them. That you can still count on 💯 %
 

Irishtom29

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Jul 21, 2008
Location
Kent, Washington
Exactly, I’ve thought a lot about if I was living during the time of the CV. What would I have done? And I’ve come to the conclusion that I would have fought with the people around me. It by no means have been about fighting for slavery. But I would fight to protect my family, home and friends from anyone, foreign or domestic, who tried to destroy them. That you can still count on 💯 %

Well, suppression of rebellion and reestablishment of proper law doesn't necessarily involve the destruction of home, family and friends. More so if home, family and friends refrain from rebellion.
 

Piedone

Corporal
Joined
Oct 8, 2020
I feel I should add some clarification: all of the lagging factors of southern economy and society are clearly visible - and I am everything but sure that the South would have prospered (if given the chance to).

I am just critical on certain stereotypes (there were of course people in the South that fitted in those moulds but I also came upon a lot of letters and speeches of that era that were written of intelligent and reasonable people).

The South‘s leading classes banked on cash crop production and cheap imports of fabricated goods because that was the most paying economical system in their world - being neighbour to a thriving North that concentrated on industrialization. Under such conditions it was illusory (and didn’t pay) to create a southern industrial sector (hence a lot of establishments failed as eg. rudimentary locomotive production in Va.).

There were a lot of people in the South to deplore that development but they had no chance to change anything as long as the existing system was that profitable (to some) and as long as there was a common market with common regulations for North and South.

I think that the glorification of the South‘s agrarian way of life might have been at times
just propaganda of the planters (to weaken the influence of southern entrepreneurs on economical decisions).

Hence again... we cannot know what would have happened if the determining factors of the economy would have changed that drastically (if the South should have achieved his independence) -

they might have found themselves at a loss -
but it may also have led to rising influence of the middle class and the entrepreneurs which should have changed a lot...

we just cannot know because we cannot reduce the South on it‘s planter class (and even that class wasn‘t immune against innovation and highly capitalist in her mindset).

It‘s tempting to have a look on the unification of Italy whose realization also comprised a decisive loss of wealth and influence of the leading classes of southern Italy.
And albeit there also were a lot of lagging factors there it was also this damage to the leading financiers that doomed economy until the present days
(as northern italian managers just didn‘t see any necessity to invest in southern firms - that would become nothing but their competitors in the end).

And IIRC it were the civil war‘s forced innovations that formed a economical nucleus as a base for production in the „New South“ - or am I misleaded here?
 

Piedone

Corporal
Joined
Oct 8, 2020
Well, suppression of rebellion and reestablishment of proper law doesn't necessarily involve the destruction of home, family and friends. More so if home, family and friends refrain from rebellion.
I do agree - things shouldn’t turn out that way. I entered some discussions here to find out how much of (unnecessary) destruction happened but could never get a clear picture.
I am pretty much convinced that the US government in reality acted quite lenient during reconstruction - but it might be possible that much unnecessary damage was done during the war.

Albeit I have no idea about what happened in reality but reading recently something about the burning of Columbia I tend to believe that unnecessary damaging happened both to infrastructure, private housing and more than that to the willingness of southern people to give up resentment against the North.

But it’s always the same when criticizing historical people and decisions...who knows what we would have done when in charge of Union forces - and if there even would have been an occasion to do things the way we would have preferred to....
 

Lost Cause

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Sep 19, 2014
Well, when he talks about misrepresentations repugnant to the constitution of the colonies, he’s talking about no legislation/taxation without representation. That was the bone of contention, and in the British constitutional system the colonists not only had an argument, they had a very good one. No taxation without representation was as old as the English/British Constitution itself. However, even without ANY such legal/constitutional argument, they were still fighting for greater freedom and liberty. But WRT that part of the statement, GIII was certainly not talking about any kind of false theories about constitutional unilateral separation, or any legal right to set up a rebellious confederacy, because the colonists never adopted such notions. They didn’t need one, their cause was just, a la the right to revolution for just cause.

And where GIII does talk about revolt and rebellion, the colonists would agree with him. They knew they had a just cause, and didn’t need to sugar coat it for the masses. Never once did they presume false theories about constitutional unilateral separation. The Confederates however, and their long scheming disunionist predecessors, acting for the sake of slavery, lacked a just cause, and needed a crutch, namely their doctrine of secession. You don’t need to be a lawyer to see how well Jackson pegged it when he said “Secession, like any other revolutionary act, may be morally justified by the extremity of oppression; but to call it a constitutional right, is confounding the meaning of terms, and can only be done through gross error, or to deceive those who are willing to assert a right, but would pause before they made a revolution, or incur the penalties consequent upon a failure.
In 2011, an article in BBC.com (link below) described a then recent-pseudo no holds barred mental slug fest between American and British lawyers, in non other than Philadelphia. The topic of the question was the legitimacy of T. Jefferson’s listed grievances as justification for issuing the DOI, resulting in the separation of colonies from British rule. Not surprising, the lawyers had opposing viewpoints, each supporting their country of origin. The American lawyers deemed the grievances Jefferson listed as legal justification for unilateral secession. The British lawyers contended there was no legal basis that allowed the colonists to arbitrary leave, for what they considered trivial reasons. To disregard this and formally declare separation meant a treasonous rebellion; adding Lincoln decided Texas cannot leave the union if it wanted to.

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.bbc.com/news/magazine-15345511.amp

The final decision for the legitimacy of unilateral secession was of course decided on the battlefields of both wars, not through political negotiations and ramblings. Furthermore, the moral justification often either proceeds or entails such victories, often rewritten.
 

Viper21

Brigadier General
Moderator
Silver Patron
Joined
Jul 4, 2016
Location
Rockbridge County, Virginia
I do agree - things shouldn’t turn out that way. I entered some discussions here to find out how much of (unnecessary) destruction happened but could never get a clear picture.
I am pretty much convinced that the US government in reality acted quite lenient during reconstruction - but it might be possible that much unnecessary damage was done during the war.

Albeit I have no idea about what happened in reality but reading recently something about the burning of Columbia I tend to believe that unnecessary damaging happened both to infrastructure, private housing and more than that to the willingness of southern people to give up resentment against the North.

But it’s always the same when criticizing historical people and decisions...who knows what we would have done when in charge of Union forces - and if there even would have been an occasion to do things the way we would have preferred to....
That question will never be answered. My belief is, much more than most want to admit.

Here's what happened in nearby Lexington, VA:

"For four days in June 1864, Union troops commanded by General David Hunter occupied the small Shenandoah Valley town of Lexington, the home of the Virginia Military Institute. The federal forces, about 18,000 strong, entered the town on the afternoon of June 11. General John McCausland, a VMI graduate and former faculty member, the Confederate troops were greatly outnumbered and were soon forced to retreat. The VMI Corps of Cadets, having only recently returned to VMI after their participation in the Battle of New Market on May 15, were also ordered to retreat; they camped near the top of the Blue Ridge Mountains, about two miles from Balcony Falls, on the night of the 11th. There were no civilian or military casualties as a result of this occupation. However, VMI was both the site of a state arsenal and a military training school, and the Institute was considered to be a legitimate military target. On June 12, Hunter ordered the burning of VMI. The cadet Barracks and two faculty residences were extensively damaged, as were the library and laboratory equipment. The troops also removed the Institute's statue of George Washington, which was taken to Wheeling, West Virginia as a trophy of war; it was returned in 1866. The Union forces left on June 14, marching over the mountains to Lynchburg."

https://vmi.edu/archives/civil-war-and-new-market/hunters-raid/

th-id-oip-jpg.jpg

Hunter also burned Gov Letcher's house in Lexington.

I don't dispute that, VMI was a legit military target. However, I don't believe the town of Lexington, or it's residents were.
 

Viper21

Brigadier General
Moderator
Silver Patron
Joined
Jul 4, 2016
Location
Rockbridge County, Virginia
That question will never be answered. My belief is, much more than most want to admit.

Here's what happened in nearby Lexington, VA:

"For four days in June 1864, Union troops commanded by General David Hunter occupied the small Shenandoah Valley town of Lexington, the home of the Virginia Military Institute. The federal forces, about 18,000 strong, entered the town on the afternoon of June 11. General John McCausland, a VMI graduate and former faculty member, the Confederate troops were greatly outnumbered and were soon forced to retreat. The VMI Corps of Cadets, having only recently returned to VMI after their participation in the Battle of New Market on May 15, were also ordered to retreat; they camped near the top of the Blue Ridge Mountains, about two miles from Balcony Falls, on the night of the 11th. There were no civilian or military casualties as a result of this occupation. However, VMI was both the site of a state arsenal and a military training school, and the Institute was considered to be a legitimate military target. On June 12, Hunter ordered the burning of VMI. The cadet Barracks and two faculty residences were extensively damaged, as were the library and laboratory equipment. The troops also removed the Institute's statue of George Washington, which was taken to Wheeling, West Virginia as a trophy of war; it was returned in 1866. The Union forces left on June 14, marching over the mountains to Lynchburg."

https://vmi.edu/archives/civil-war-and-new-market/hunters-raid/

View attachment 399498
Hunter also burned Gov Letcher's house in Lexington.

I don't dispute that, VMI was a legit military target. I don't believe the town of Lexington, or it's residents were though.
Check out this 1st person account from the same source (VMI Archive):

Lexington, Va.

June 17, 1864


My dear Papa

You are no doubt anxious to hear what has become of us all since the unexpected arrival of the Yankees
and how we were treated by them. On last Thursday we were enjoying undisturbed quiet, having heard
the Yankees had suffered a severe defeat from General Breckinridge.

Imagine our surprise and fright on Friday evening when a courier came in stating that McCausland with
his small force was a Cedar Grove and the Yankees at Brownsburg. A few minutes later another one
brought news that the Yankees had reached Cedar Grove and McCausland had encamped on Colonel
Cameron's farm, about three miles from town where they intended remaining for the night. Great
excitement prevailed in town; many persons sent off their servants together with wagons loaded with
provisions, and nearly all the gentlemen of town went went out into the mountains, in that way hoping
to escape capture by the enemy; among them the cadets, and professors of both Institute and College
with many of the citizens. On Saturday morning McCausland crossed the river and burnt the bridge, he
deployed his men on the cliffs of the river above and below the mill where a stubborn resistance was
made by our men, who at last retreated.

Meanwhile the Yankees had reached an elevated field just opposite the town and planting their artillery
in full range of the main street, they commenced shelling it; afterward assigning as a reason that they
wanted to clear the streets of the "Rebels" who were passing up at the time; in which they were much
mistaken, for McCausland being aware of their intention retreated up the back street.

The first shell that struck our part of town passed through Mrs. Johnston's house; the next one above
ours tearing a circular hole just the size of the ball. We were standing in the front door when the ball
passed over our heads, and fearing danger we went to the cellar, thinking that was the safest place, and
were standing on the steps when we heard the whizzing near us; we found that another one had passed
through our garret wall and struck the rafter, exploding with a thundering noise. It knocked nearly all
the plastering off and all the sash out of the windows, made a great many large holes in the wall and
floor. One piece passed through the ceiling of the passage, two small pieces perforated the ceiling of
grandpa's room just above the head of his bed in which he was lying at the time in a doze, and was
aroused by the fall of the plaster. I seemed to have spent a lifetime in one day. I never before had an
idea of the terror caused by the shelling of a town, never seemed to realize what it meant.

In a few moments the alarm of fire was given; shells were flying thick and fast. Uncle was the first to run
up to the garret and burst the door open where he was almost suffocated by the smoke which was
discovered to proceed from the explosion and [not] from fire as was supposed. Not long after several
white flags were hoisted by some of the citizens when the enemy in turn raised one and the firing ceased.

The Yankees foiled in the expectations of crossing the bridge soon made a good ford and in about half
an hour after the shelling ceased, the wretches galloped into the town yelling and whooping like so
many savages. We kept the doors locked and the windows closed all the time they were here.

Sunday morning about 10 o'clock the Yankees set fire to the Institute, blew the walls down and
destroyed the mess hall and professors' houses, and if General Smith's daughter, Mrs. Morrison, had not
been very ill they fully intended destroying his elegant mansion. All the Point property except the
miller's and toll houses was burned. Governor Letcher's house was burnt with but five minutes notice.
The Yankees took Mr. Matthew White, Jr. prisoner and he was seen Sunday afternoon marching out of
town with a squad of soldiers, who shot him for bush‐whacking; all the time deceiving his parents by
telling them he was at home. His body was found unburied in the woods near Mrs. Cameron's house on
the evening the Yankees left.

Last Wednesday there was scarcely a Yankee to be seen anywhere in town, and our scouts captured the
few stragglers that remained. On Tuesday morning I was aroused early by the rumbling of the artillery
racing out of town with all its speed; before breakfast the whole front street far as the eye could see up
and down was jammed with their wagon trains which seemed to be in the greatest possible hurry, and
before 12 o'clock all were gone except a few horsemen who seemed to be left as scouts. We were in
high spirits you may know, and there never was so much rejoicing in town.

I have heard of a great deal of destruction by the Yankees and a great many shells have struck houses in
town. We heard that Uncle Thomas Wilson was in the woods with his servants and stock when some
Yankees fell upon them, wounding him in the head and capturing his wagons, etc. Two of his servants
came here night before last bringing us news about him. We hope he will recover. Colonel Massie came
home yesterday; said he had seen you and spent a very sick night at your house where he received kind
attention for which he seemed very grateful, thinks a great deal of you.

We have it reported here this morning (20th) that the Yankees have gotten a good whipping at
Lynchburg and are retreating. I hope they will not come this way. Uncle and Aunt write me in love to
yourself, Mama, my brother and sisters and all friends. Do let us hear from you soon. Your affectionate

daughter, Fannie M. Lyle Wilson.


P.S.
We heard from Uncle Thomas last night. He was wounded right badly. He eye was shot out and the
pistol was placed so near to his face that his hair was burnt. There are several deep saber cuts on his
head; his wound is painful but not dangerous. Fannie."



https://vmi.edu/media/content-assets/documents/archives/HuntersRaid_FannieWilsonLetter.pdf
 
In 2011, an article in BBC.com (link below) described a then recent-pseudo no holds barred mental slug fest between American and British lawyers, in non other than Philadelphia. The topic of the question was the legitimacy of T. Jefferson’s listed grievances as justification for issuing the DOI, resulting in the separation of colonies from British rule. Not surprising, the lawyers had opposing viewpoints, each supporting their country of origin. The American lawyers deemed the grievances Jefferson listed as legal justification for unilateral secession. The British lawyers contended there was no legal basis that allowed the colonists to arbitrary leave, for what they considered trivial reasons. To disregard this and formally declare separation meant a treasonous rebellion; adding Lincoln decided Texas cannot leave the union if it wanted to.

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.bbc.com/news/magazine-15345511.amp

The final decision for the legitimacy of unilateral secession was of course decided on the battlefields of both wars, not through political negotiations and ramblings. Furthermore, the moral justification often either proceeds or entails such victories, often rewritten.
This wasn't secession but a rebellion which our Founding Fathers freely admitted to; they admitted they were rebels and could expect to be hanged if captured. I didn't realize that engaging in a rebellion had to be legal.
 

BuckeyeWarrior

Sergeant
Joined
Jan 1, 2020
Location
Ohio
In 2011, an article in BBC.com (link below) described a then recent-pseudo no holds barred mental slug fest between American and British lawyers, in non other than Philadelphia. The topic of the question was the legitimacy of T. Jefferson’s listed grievances as justification for issuing the DOI, resulting in the separation of colonies from British rule. Not surprising, the lawyers had opposing viewpoints, each supporting their country of origin. The American lawyers deemed the grievances Jefferson listed as legal justification for unilateral secession. The British lawyers contended there was no legal basis that allowed the colonists to arbitrary leave, for what they considered trivial reasons. To disregard this and formally declare separation meant a treasonous rebellion; adding Lincoln decided Texas cannot leave the union if it wanted to.

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.bbc.com/news/magazine-15345511.amp

The final decision for the legitimacy of unilateral secession was of course decided on the battlefields of both wars, not through political negotiations and ramblings. Furthermore, the moral justification often either proceeds or entails such victories, often rewritten.
Except the founding fathers did not secede from Britian, they revolted. The southern states also revolted, though they tried to claim they were seceding. Even though there was absolutely zero support for such an act in the constitution, supreme court rulings, presidential precedents, or laws passed by congress. In fact there was clear evidence from the constitution, supreme court rulings, and precedents set by Presidents that secession, at least unilateral secession, by one or more states, was illegal.

Revolution - a forcible overthrow of a government or social order in favor of a new one.
Secession - the action of withdrawing formally from membership of a federation or body, especially a political state.

Revolutions are always illegal under the laws of the current government. Whether they are justified or not is up to us determine based on the reasons and causes of why the people revolted.
 

CW Buff

Sergeant Major
Joined
Dec 22, 2014
Location
Connecticut
In 2011, an article in BBC.com (link below) described a then recent-pseudo no holds barred mental slug fest between American and British lawyers, in non other than Philadelphia. The topic of the question was the legitimacy of T. Jefferson’s listed grievances as justification for issuing the DOI, resulting in the separation of colonies from British rule. Not surprising, the lawyers had opposing viewpoints, each supporting their country of origin. The American lawyers deemed the grievances Jefferson listed as legal justification for unilateral secession. The British lawyers contended there was no legal basis that allowed the colonists to arbitrary leave, for what they considered trivial reasons. To disregard this and formally declare separation meant a treasonous rebellion; adding Lincoln decided Texas cannot leave the union if it
wanted to.

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.bbc.com/news/magazine-15345511.amp

The final decision for the legitimacy of unilateral secession was of course decided on the battlefields of both wars, not through political negotiations and ramblings. Furthermore, the moral justification often either proceeds or entails such victories, often rewritten.
Maybe you can show me where I said revolution, American or otherwise, is legal. You’re conflating the moral right to revolution with its justification. I suppose my typo didn’t help, I said “the right to revolution for just cause,” when I should have specified “the [moral] right to revolution for just cause.” But I also said:

And where GIII does talk about revolt and rebellion, the colonists would agree with him. They knew they had a just cause, and didn’t need to sugar coat it for the masses. Never once did they presume false theories about constitutional unilateral separation.

The act of revolution is never legal. But if justified, and ONLY if justified, it is moral. And that’s what mattered to the Founders. The justification, on the other hand, can be legal (an intolerable abuse of constituted power) or moral (mere oppression). If a constitutional government violates the constitution under which it operates, and that abuse of power is intolerable (i.e. not “light and transient”), the justification is legal. The act of rebellion is, of course, still illegal.

My prior point stands: The Founders had a genuine justification, and therefore proceeded via the moral right to revolution for just cause (while recognizing their revolution was illegal and treasonous under the existing government). The Confederate cause, slavery, was clearly unjust, and so they tried to proceed via false theories about constitutional unilateral separation.

The authors of your article appear to be ordinary journalists with no legal background. It would be interesting to see an actual transcript of the debate. If the American lawyers were arguing that “the grievances Jefferson listed” were “legal justification,” they were right. If they were arguing that “unilateral secession” on the part of the colonists was legal, or that a legal justification makes the act of unilateral separation legal, I would avoid them like the plague as far as legal advice is concerned.
 
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