Restricted Debate More silly guys who worried that slavery would tear the country apart


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Lots of posts, although not much in the way of history.
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Secession was to protect slavery. I can't see how we can overlook that. The secessionists felt slavery was under threat. Read The Scorpion's Sting by John Oakes. They used the threat against slavery to try to persuade the other slave states to secede. Read The Apostles of Disunion by Charles Dew. That's history. Today, to create a republic based on a master race owning another race defined as subhuman seems....unAmerican. Thusly we endure various theories about the Constitution, what it means and what it doesn't mean.

The effort seemed to be "we shoulda been able to, if it wasn't for those mean Yankees." I'll let the self appoint Constitutional experts debate that.
But the real question "Should we have?" has an answer that's got strong with every year since 1861. "No." The cause was not worthy.
Yep, those Edited. yankees were successful in destroying the original idea of liberty that the founders envisioned and replaced it with nationalism.
 
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I don't think its good to trivialize the events as merely a way to save slavery; unless your aim is to dehumanize the South (which was no doubt the aim of her enemies). What was under attack and worthy of preservation (among other things) was the whole social order.. Destroy a nations social order and you threaten to destroy a nation.
Even if the basis of that social order is chattel slavery?
 

matthew mckeon

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I don't think its good to trivialize the events as merely a way to save slavery; unless your aim is to dehumanize the South (which was no doubt the aim of her enemies). What was under attack and worthy of preservation (among other things) was the whole social order.. Destroy a nations social order and you threaten to destroy a nation.
Putting slavery front and center, is both historically accurate and the opposite of trivial. Slavery was profound. Slaves made up 40% of the population of the Confederacy. Slaves were the most valuable property in the nation, greater than all the factories and railroads put together. Besides it's raw economic power, race-based chattel slavery was the social basis for society, a status marker, even the basis of identity.

Next to slavery, the other sectional controversies were trivial and could be, and were, resolved within the Constitutional framework.

As far as dehumanizing the "South,"by which I assume you mean white southerners, not at all. The Free Soil threat to slavery was indirect and very gradual in the 1860 election, but it was real. I can understand the sense of being isolated by their peer societies because of their owning slaves. Its very human. Human beings are capable of some awful things.
 

matthew mckeon

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Only by losing the war does this become true, enforced by the sword.
Isn't using modern sentiment enforced by the North's victory and elimination of any competing philosophy not very historic and more of a victor's conceit.
I don't think so. The secessionists appealed to the sword and were defeated. But their defeat was also ideological. The former Confederates became Americans again and abandoned the cause of secession. There has never been another secession movement by sane people since. Because the Civil War resolved the actual cause of secession, the actual difference between the South and the rest of the country: slavery. The Civil War wasn't a battle in an eternal dispute over federal vs. state powers. It was the bloody end to American slavery.

I'm of Irish ancestry. Ireland was occupied for centuries by the British. The odds between Britain and Ireland are lopsided and Irish rebellions were defeated, time and again. But the Irish never gave up, and eventually won independence, because, despite some similarities, Ireland and Britain are different countries. The US, despite some differences, is the same country.
 

matthew mckeon

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Yep, those d--m yankees were successful in destroying the original idea of liberty that the founders envisioned and replaced it with nationalism.
I have to disagree for three reasons:
1.Before the Civil War, the South promoted strong nationalist efforts: The Embargo Act, the War of 1812, The Cherokee Removal, the Mexican War and the Fugitive Slave Law. The last especially ran roughshod over state's rights.

2. During the Civil War, the Confederacy was highly centralized and the Confederate Constitution strengthened the office of the presidency. Because of the pressure of fighting the war, I will accept that might have not continued into peace time.

3. The increased role of the federal government is really a result of the Progressive Era, the New Deal, and postwar America. Its modern politics, so I won't mention it beyond noting the timeline.
 
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Note that in the wake of the secession of South Carolina in December 1860, no Federal sword was raised. Indeed for months secession went on and on, never having to contend with arms of any kind. Not until after the CSA lined up the Artillery and fired on Fort Sumter was armed resistance of any kind mounted by the USA.

Some folks today will claim this was not rebellion, yet 150+ years ago the CSA fighting man proudly and universally called himself Johnny Reb.



“1856 election of Lincoln”. Might want to fact check that one.
That a very good point that is lectured frequently by the good professors for the freshman year secession courses at Abbeville. Lincoln frustrated by the inability of his AG to find anti-secession statues or the Black Republicans in Congress to justify war to stop secession, stymied by an uncooperative SCOTUS because secession was not illegal has to manipulate a distracted and very ill Davis, into firing on a massive invasion fleet, giving him the excuse to go to war. This was hidden because if the Northern State governors had learned of this, Lincoln would have been left high and dry and perhaps impeached.

It was a glorious rebellion of a freedom-loving people against an oppressive government, but the term 'Johnny Reb or 'Johnny Rebel' dates from "Johnny Reb" is a Confederate soldier's song written in 1959 by Merle Kilgore and popularized by Johnny Horton." Just another example of the Northern boot on a prone South, just another indignity.from Northern popular culture.
 
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Putting slavery front and center, is both historically accurate and the opposite of trivial. Slavery was profound. Slaves made up 40% of the population of the Confederacy. Slaves were the most valuable property in the nation, greater than all the factories and railroads put together. Besides it's raw economic power, race-based chattel slavery was the social basis for society, a status marker, even the basis of identity.

Next to slavery, the other sectional controversies were trivial and could be, and were, resolved within the Constitutional framework.

As far as dehumanizing the "South,"by which I assume you mean white southerners, not at all. The Free Soil threat to slavery was indirect and very gradual in the 1860 election, but it was real. I can understand the sense of being isolated by their peer societies because of their owning slaves. Its very human. Human beings are capable of some awful things.
I don't take exception with putting the slavery issue front and center; what does strike me as libelous and dehumanizing is alluding to the idea the the slavery issue didn't have far reaching consequences -- and consequently is /just/ about slavery. That is the slavery issue, as an issue, can't be detached from the even more important issues: such as how it might effect the social order, where will the slaves go etc. Slavery as an issue was also deeply tied with concepts of property rights -- who has the right to simple demand my property be taken from me.
 
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WJC

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In the South of the antebellum period, slavery was socially acceptable.
Thanks for your response.
Was slavery "socially acceptable" or just a practice that everyone chose to ignore? The 'Emperor's new clothes'? The contribution of William L. Garrison to American history was that he forced people to notice 'the elephant in the room'.
 
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That is the slavery issue, as an issue, can't be detached from the even more important issues: such as how it might effect the social order, where will the slaves go etc.
And it must be pointed out here that while Alexander Stephens was concerned about this issue, Abraham Lincoln was not. "Root, hog, or die." was his solution to what would become of the newly freed slaves. And many of them did die.
 

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I don't think its good to trivialize the events as merely a way to save slavery
You may consider that characterization 'trivializing', but the secessionists clearly told us that was the most important reason for secession.
No slavery, no secession.
 

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I don't take exception with putting the slavery issue issue front and center; what does strike me as libelous and dehumanizing is alluding to the idea the the slavery issue didn't have far reaching consequences -- and consequently is /just/ about slavery. That is the slavery issue, as an issue, can't be detached from the even more important issues: such as how it might effect the social order, where will the slaves go etc. Slavery as an issue was also deeply tied with concepts of property rights -- who has the right to simple demand my property be taken from me.
When one cuts through the layers of obfuscation he/she is left with slavery as the crucial issue. Of course, slavery had infected the 'social order'. Of course, there were restrictions- legal and social- confronting people like Jefferson who wanted to free their slaves. Of course, the system considered slaves property.
What is the common factor in each of those arguments? Slavery!
Refusal to accept that, to believe it "can't be detached", was simply throwing one's hands up and claiming the slavery issue couldn't be resolved, an excuse for ignoring the problem.
 
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The "radical abolitionists" by way of demonizing the South made constructive talk impossible. If the situation was really just about slavery I can imagine much more constructive ways to put pressure on the South to consider a long term plan of phasing slavery out. A push to simple suggest everyone change over night into a new system, a system the principle people will have to rely on, is bound to cause reactionaries to loose their minds. Responsible and good government / leaders / concerned individuals, know that major changes requires a plan with some kind of assurances; executed in small test cases, not only to make sure its going to work, but to let the reactionaries warm up to the idea. However, I just mention this all as food for thought -- something I have considered and asked my self while I study our Southern history. I don't consider slavery, as I said, an axiomatic evil. Utilization of the "radical abolitionist" however to destroy the South is unforgivable. And I seen no sane attempts to provide a real solution to the problem as they seen it; which in my mind is a prerequisite for requests or demands.
 
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...the term 'Johnny Reb or 'Johnny Rebel' dates from "Johnny Reb" is a Confederate soldier's song written in 1959 by Merle Kilgore and popularized by Johnny Horton." Just another example of the Northern boot on a prone South, just another indignity.from Northern popular culture.
Not true. "Johnny Reb" appears in newspapers from the Civil War era.
 
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You may consider that characterization 'trivializing', but the secessionists clearly told us that was the most important reason for secession.
No slavery, no secession.
I do indeed considering the slavery question as being trivialized. I consider also the Southerner with strong religious sentiments who defended slavery on religious grounds. An attack against slavery was tantamount to an attack on the God ordained social order; not just our local social order.
 

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The "radical abolitionists" by way of demonizing the South made constructive talk impossible.
Or, alternatively, like an EKG revealing heart problems, they allowed Americans to recognize the destructive nature of the "peculiar institution".
 

matthew mckeon

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I don't take exception with putting the slavery issue issue front and center; what does strike me as libelous and dehumanizing is alluding to the idea the the slavery issue didn't have far reaching consequences -- and consequently is /just/ about slavery. That is the slavery issue, as an issue, can't be detached from the even more important issues: such as how it might effect the social order, where will the slaves go etc. Slavery as an issue was also deeply tied with concepts of property rights -- who has the right to simple demand my property be taken from me.
I don't disagree that American society post slavery was going to be a very different place, and in states like Mississippi or South Carolina, where the majority of residents were enslaved, that worried whites.

I will note that the conflict in 1860 wasn't between different visions of creating a post slavery America. It was between putting slavery on the road to extinction(which some Republicans, thought would take fifty years) because it was wrong, and keeping in, strengthening it, and extending it, because it was right.

Interesting point about property rights, I'll answer in a little bit.
 
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Thanks for your response.
That certainly was the excuse given by many, including Robert E. Lee.
It was perhaps (I have little doubt) an excuse by some; however, it was a reality for many. The reality being that Orthodox Christianity taught about the God ordained social order; and in it the Man of the house had his role, the slaves and servants their roles, the children had their own roles, and so on; and any attack against that was, in their minds, an attack against Christ himself.
 

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An attack against slavery was tantamount to an attack on the God ordained social order; not just our local social order.
Thanks for your response.
That certainly was the excuse of many, including Robert E. Lee.
 



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