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Those slaves would not be worth much Edited. without Georgia's land or western territories.
We agree. But again, the point is, their land was not at risk. It was the "right" to have slaves on their land which was threatened.

The Seceshers were correct that the South would be devastated without slaves. That was shorthand for, "Oh No! If slavery is gone, we will have to work with out own hands! God forbid!"
We agree but it was more than that. GA's Sec Dec says "their (Republican Party's) avowed purpose is to subvert our society and subject us not only to the loss of our (chattel) property but the destruction of ourselves, our wives, and our children, and the desolation of our homes, our altars, and our firesides."

They were not just afraid of losing their slave property, which was ruinous enough. They were afraid that if Negroes were made free and equal, it would ruin their society. At the worst it (Negro freedom and equality) would result in a race war. Indeed, after the CW was over, the phrase "race war" was used numerous times by Southern whites to describe the future of post-bellum southern society.

Just saying, it was about more than land or even money. It was about maintaining social control of the Negro population, which had economic, social, and political aspects to it.

This thread might be of interest.

Alan
 
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The transportation revolution thesis could be extended to show that even by 1870 secession would have been obviously futile.
The technical improvements in railroads, and the rapid extension of the system even over unoccupied territory in the west, created an unmistakable dominance in the paid labor states. To that extent the secessionists knew 1860-61 was the last chance.
 
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We agree. But again, the point is, their land was not at risk. It was the "right" to have slaves on their land which was threatened.



We agree but it was more than that. GA's Sec Dec says "their (Republican Party's) avowed purpose is to subvert our society and subject us not only to the loss of our (chattel) property but the destruction of ourselves, our wives, and our children, and the desolation of our homes, our altars, and our firesides."

They were not just afraid of losing their slave property, which was ruinous enough. They were afraid that if Negroes were made free and equal, it would ruin their society. At the worst it (Negro freedom and equality) would result in a race war. Indeed, after the CW was over, the phrase "race war" was used numerous times by Southern whites to describe the future of post-bellum southern society.

Just saying, it was about more than land or even money. It was about maintaining social control of the Negro population, which had economic, social, and political aspects to it.

This thread might be of interest.

Alan
Thank you for tis post, Alan. I am pleased to see some agreement for once. Perhaps we shall find more.
There was also Robert Barnwell Rhett's speech to the Southern states that did mention tariffs and self-government in addition to slavery.
Rhett Jr. or Sr.?
 
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We agree. But again, the point is, their land was not at risk. It was the "right" to have slaves on their land which was threatened.



We agree but it was more than that. GA's Sec Dec says "their (Republican Party's) avowed purpose is to subvert our society and subject us not only to the loss of our (chattel) property but the destruction of ourselves, our wives, and our children, and the desolation of our homes, our altars, and our firesides."

They were not just afraid of losing their slave property, which was ruinous enough. They were afraid that if Negroes were made free and equal, it would ruin their society. At the worst it (Negro freedom and equality) would result in a race war. Indeed, after the CW was over, the phrase "race war" was used numerous times by Southern whites to describe the future of post-bellum southern society.

Just saying, it was about more than land or even money. It was about maintaining social control of the Negro population, which had economic, social, and political aspects to it.

This thread might be of interest.

Alan
I wasn't quite done replying when something went wrong.

. . . "the destructionof ourselves, our wives and our children, etc." is a straw man of Paul Bunyan propertions wit a little of Pecos Bill thrown in for lagniappe. Absolutely no way was this going to happen. Are we in agreement with that?

James
 
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I wasn't quite done replying when something went wrong.

. . . "the destructionof ourselves, our wives and our children, etc." is a straw man of Paul Bunyan propertions wit a little of Pecos Bill thrown in for lagniappe. Absolutely no way was this going to happen. Are we in agreement with that?

James
Your question bears a direct relation to the OP, but I think that's a subject for a different thread. It's discussed in detail here. As noted at the link, a number of white southerners feared for the end of southern society if Negroes gained freedom and equality. From that thread: I am reminded of John C Calhoun's famous "Slavery as a positive good" speech of February 1837:

A large portion of the Northern States believed slavery to be a sin, and would consider it as an obligation of conscience to abolish it if they should feel themselves in any degree responsible for its continuance...​
We of the South will not, cannot, surrender our institutions. 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.​

John C Calhoun was one of the most important and influential southerners of the antebellum era, and he said it.

This is what they said, this is what they believed. It was a reasonable position for white men in the antebellum south.

- Alan
 
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Your question bears a direct relation to the OP, but I think that's a subject for a different thread. It's discussed in detail here. As noted at the link, a number of white southerners feared for the end of southern society if Negroes gained freedom and equality. From that thread: I am reminded of John C Calhoun's famous "Slavery as a positive good" speech of February 1837:

A large portion of the Northern States believed slavery to be a sin, and would consider it as an obligation of conscience to abolish it if they should feel themselves in any degree responsible for its continuance...​
We of the South will not, cannot, surrender our institutions. 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.​

John C Calhoun was one of the most important and influential southerners of the antebellum era, and he said it.

This is what they said, this is what they believed. It was a reasonable position for white men in the antebellum south.

- Alan
Thanks for your post.

Calhoun was a demagogue. This prospect he portrays is pure baloney. It is war propaganda. If it were converted to van Gogh's sunflowers, it would look like a turtle or a rattlesnake. Atrocity stories are as old as mankind. See if you can find a quote from any abolitionist or any Northerner stating that they wished to extirpate one or the other and/or to destroy us as a people. Calhoun had a gift of putting words into the mouths of other people even though he had moments of clarity. Can we agree?
 
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Thanks for your post.

Calhoun was a demagogue. This prospect he portrays is pure baloney. It is war propaganda. If it were converted to van Gogh's sunflowers, it would look like a turtle or a rattlesnake. Atrocity stories are as old as mankind. See if you can find a quote from any abolitionist or any Northerner stating that they wished to extirpate one or the other and/or to destory us as a people. Calhoun had a gift of putting words into the mouths of other people even tough he had moments of clarity. Can we agree?
Although Calhoun claimed that abolitionists hated the South, he was NOT claiming that abolitionists wished to extirpate the South. That is absolutely NOT what he was saying. His speech is here. He understood that abolitionist believed that they were helping the South, but he believed abolitionists were fools who didn't know what they were talking about.

He was saying that abolitionists desired to end slavery, which meant Negro freedom and equality. Negro freedom and equality could/would lead to the destruction of the white South.

The basic point: Calhoun was not saying that abolitionists intended to ruin the South. He was saying that abolitionists were in favor of abolition and equality. The conflict was, abolitionists believed that abolition and equality were good; southerners believed that abolition and equality were positively evil.

You say this is just propaganda, but again, many southerners found this reasonable talk.

Joe Brown was the governor of GA on the eve of the war. He wrote the following (Georgia governor Joseph Brown, in response to a "letter requesting me to give to the people of Georgia my views" Milledgeville, Dec. 7, 1860):

What will be the result to the institution of slavery, which will follow submission to the inauguration and administration of Mr. Lincoln as the President of one section of the Union? My candid opinion is, that it will be the total abolition of slavery, and the utter ruin of the South, in less than twenty-five years. If we submit now, we satisfy the Northern people that, come what may, we will never resist. If Mr. Lincoln places among us his Judges, District Attorneys, Marshals, Post Masters, Custom House officers, etc., etc., by the end of his adminstration, with the control of these men, and the distribution of public patronage, he will have succeeded in dividing us to an extent that will destroy all our moral powers, and prepare us to tolerate the running of a Republican ticket, in most of the States of the South, in 1864.​
They would abolish slavery in the District of Columbia, and at the Forts, Arsenals and Dock Yards, within the Southern States, which belong to the United States. They would then abolish the internal slave trade between the States, and prohibit a slave owner in Georgia from carrying his slaves into Alabama or South Carolina, and there selling them. These steps would be taken one at a time, cautiously, and our people would submit. Finally, when we were sufficiently humiliated, and sufficiently in their power, they would abolish slavery in the States. It will not be many years before enough of free States may be formed out of the present territories of the United States, and admitted into the Union, to give them sufficient strength to change the Constitution, and remove all Constitutional barriers which now deny to Congress this power. I do not doubt, therefore, that submission to the administration of Mr. Lincoln will result in the final abolition of slavery. If we fail to resist now, we will never again have the strength to resist.​
What effect will the abolition of slavery have upon the interest and social position of the large class of nonslaveholders and poor white laborers in the South? Here would be the scene of the most misery and ruin. Probably no one is so unjust as to say that it would be right to take from the slaveholder his property without paying for it...​
Many people at the North, say that negroes are our fit associates; that they shall be set free, and remain among us-- intermarrying with our children, and enjoying equal privileges with us.​
...suppose ...negroes were... set free and left among us, (which is the ultimate aim of the Black Republicans,) what would be the effect upon our society? ...I must not lose sight of the 4,500,000 free negroes to be turned loose among us. They, too, must become tenants, with the poor white people for they would not be able to own lands. A large proportion of them would spend their time in idleness and vice, and would live by stealing, robbing and plundering. Probably one fourth of the whole number would have to be maintained in our penitentiary, prisons, and poor houses.​
Our people, poor and rich, must be taxed to pay the expenses of imprisoning and punishing them for crime. They would have to begin the world miserable poor, with neither land, money nor provisions. They must therefore become day laborers for their old masters, or such others as would employ them. In this capacity they would at once come in competition with the poor white laborers. Men of capital would see this, and fix the price of labor accordingly... The negro comes into competition with the white man and fixes the price of his labor, and he must take it or get no employment.​
The negro therefore, comes into competition with the poor white man, when he seeks to rent land on which to make his bread, or a shelter to protect his wife and his little ones, from the cold and from the rain; and when he seeks employment as a day laborer. In every such case if the negro will do the work the cheapest, he must be preferred. It is sickening to contemplate the miseries of our poor white people under these circumstances. They now get higher wages for their labor than the poor of any other country on the globe. Most of them are land owners, and they are now respected. They are in no sense placed down upon a level with the negro. They are a superior race, and they feel and know it.​
Abolish slavery, and you make the negroes their equals, legally and socially (not naturally, for no human law can change God's law) and you very soon make them all tenants, and reduce their wages for daily labor to the smallest pittance that will sustain life. Then the negro and the white man, and their families, must labor in the field together as equals. Their children must go to the same poor school together, if they are educated at all. They must go to church as equals; enter the Courts of justice as equals, sue and be sued as equals, sit on juries together as equals, have the right to give evidence in Court as equals, stand side by side in our military corps as equals, enter each others' houses in social intercourse as equals; and very soon their children must marry together as equals.​
May our kind Heavenly Father avert the evil, and deliver the poor from such a fate. So soon as the slaves were at liberty, thousands of them would leave the cotton and rice fields in the lower parts of our State, and make their way to the healthier climate in the mountain region. We should have them plundering and stealing, robbing and killing, in all the lovely vallies of the mountains. This I can never consent to see. The mountains contain the place of my nativity, the home of my manhood, and the theatre of most of the acts of my life; and I can never forget the condition and interest of the people who reside there.​

Men like Calhoun and Brown felt that abolitionists were fanatics who simply did not know the Negro as they did. Northerners believed they were doing the right thing by freeing Negroes; Southerners knew that black freedom and equality meant Southern ruin.

Another way to look at it: Calhoun and Brown would say that abolitionists were paving a road to h**l with good, but foolish intentions.

- Alan
 
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The easy answer to the question asked in the OP is, "No, of course not." As a political document, South Carolina's Declaration of Causes for Secession does not address "the whole truth and nothing but." What it does is emphasize those factors which would be most appealing to the other southern states, and most likely to get them to join them in secession. In other words, whatever ulterior motives some of its framers may have had, they very sensibly made their strongest argument ... that which they knew most southerners would share: the need, above all else, to protect the institution of slavery.
 
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The easy answer to the question asked in the OP is, "No, of course not." As a political document, South Carolina's Declaration of Causes for Secession does not address "the whole truth and nothing but." What it does is emphasize those factors which would be most appealing to the other southern states, and most likely to get them to join them in secession. In other words, whatever ulterior motives some of its framers may have had, they very sensibly made their strongest argument ... that which they knew most southerners would share: the need, above all else, to protect the institution of slavery.
A+! Thanks for posting.
 
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Although Calhoun claimed that abolitionists hated the South, he was NOT claiming that abolitionists wished to extirpate the South. That is absolutely NOT what he was saying. His speech is here. He understood that abolitionist believed that they were helping the South, but he believed abolitionists were fools who didn't know what they were talking about.

He was saying that abolitionists desired to end slavery, which meant Negro freedom and equality. Negro freedom and equality could/would lead to the destruction of the white South.

The basic point: Calhoun was not saying that abolitionists intended to ruin the South. He was saying that abolitionists were in favor of abolition and equality. The conflict was, abolitionists believed that abolition and equality were good; southerners believed that abolition and equality were positively evil.

You say this is just propaganda, but again, many southerners found this reasonable talk.

Joe Brown the governor of GA on the eve of the war. He wrote the following (Georgia governor Joseph Brown, in response to a "letter requesting me to give to the people of Georgia my views" Milledgeville, Dec. 7, 1860):

What will be the result to the institution of slavery, which will follow submission to the inauguration and administration of Mr. Lincoln as the President of one section of the Union? My candid opinion is, that it will be the total abolition of slavery, and the utter ruin of the South, in less than twenty-five years. If we submit now, we satisfy the Northern people that, come what may, we will never resist. If Mr. Lincoln places among us his Judges, District Attorneys, Marshals, Post Masters, Custom House officers, etc., etc., by the end of his adminstration, with the control of these men, and the distribution of public patronage, he will have succeeded in dividing us to an extent that will destroy all our moral powers, and prepare us to tolerate the running of a Republican ticket, in most of the States of the South, in 1864.​
They would abolish slavery in the District of Columbia, and at the Forts, Arsenals and Dock Yards, within the Southern States, which belong to the United States. They would then abolish the internal slave trade between the States, and prohibit a slave owner in Georgia from carrying his slaves into Alabama or South Carolina, and there selling them. These steps would be taken one at a time, cautiously, and our people would submit. Finally, when we were sufficiently humiliated, and sufficiently in their power, they would abolish slavery in the States. It will not be many years before enough of free States may be formed out of the present territories of the United States, and admitted into the Union, to give them sufficient strength to change the Constitution, and remove all Constitutional barriers which now deny to Congress this power. I do not doubt, therefore, that submission to the administration of Mr. Lincoln will result in the final abolition of slavery. If we fail to resist now, we will never again have the strength to resist.​
What effect will the abolition of slavery have upon the interest and social position of the large class of nonslaveholders and poor white laborers in the South? Here would be the scene of the most misery and ruin. Probably no one is so unjust as to say that it would be right to take from the slaveholder his property without paying for it...​
Many people at the North, say that negroes are our fit associates; that they shall be set free, and remain among us-- intermarrying with our children, and enjoying equal privileges with us.​
...suppose ...negroes were... set free and left among us, (which is the ultimate aim of the Black Republicans,) what would be the effect upon our society? ...I must not lose sight of the 4,500,000 free negroes to be turned loose among us. They, too, must become tenants, with the poor white people for they would not be able to own lands. A large proportion of them would spend their time in idleness and vice, and would live by stealing, robbing and plundering. Probably one fourth of the whole number would have to be maintained in our penitentiary, prisons, and poor houses.​
Our people, poor and rich, must be taxed to pay the expenses of imprisoning and punishing them for crime. They would have to begin the world miserable poor, with neither land, money nor provisions. They must therefore become day laborers for their old masters, or such others as would employ them. In this capacity they would at once come in competition with the poor white laborers. Men of capital would see this, and fix the price of labor accordingly... The negro comes into competition with the white man and fixes the price of his labor, and he must take it or get no employment.​
The negro therefore, comes into competition with the poor white man, when he seeks to rent land on which to make his bread, or a shelter to protect his wife and his little ones, from the cold and from the rain; and when he seeks employment as a day laborer. In every such case if the negro will do the work the cheapest, he must be preferred. It is sickening to contemplate the miseries of our poor white people under these circumstances. They now get higher wages for their labor than the poor of any other country on the globe. Most of them are land owners, and they are now respected. They are in no sense placed down upon a level with the negro. They are a superior race, and they feel and know it.​
Abolish slavery, and you make the negroes their equals, legally and socially (not naturally, for no human law can change God's law) and you very soon make them all tenants, and reduce their wages for daily labor to the smallest pittance that will sustain life. Then the negro and the white man, and their families, must labor in the field together as equals. Their children must go to the same poor school together, if they are educated at all. They must go to church as equals; enter the Courts of justice as equals, sue and be sued as equals, sit on juries together as equals, have the right to give evidence in Court as equals, stand side by side in our military corps as equals, enter each others' houses in social intercourse as equals; and very soon their children must marry together as equals.​
May our kind Heavenly Father avert the evil, and deliver the poor from such a fate. So soon as the slaves were at liberty, thousands of them would leave the cotton and rice fields in the lower parts of our State, and make their way to the healthier climate in the mountain region. We should have them plundering and stealing, robbing and killing, in all the lovely vallies of the mountains. This I can never consent to see. The mountains contain the place of my nativity, the home of my manhood, and the theatre of most of the acts of my life; and I can never forget the condition and interest of the people who reside there.​

Men like Calhoun and Brown felt that abolitionists were fanatics who simply did not know the Negro as they did. Northerners believed they were doing the right thing by freeing Negroes; Southerners knew that black freedom and inequality meant Southern ruin.

Another way to look at it: Calhoun and Brown would say that abolitionists were paving a road to h**l with good, but foolish intentions.

- Alan
Thanks for your post, Alan

I did not say that Calhoon charged the abolitionists with an attempt to extirpate the South. But he did say that someone in the North wanted to. You quoted him as saying such. Did you forget? And he talked about the ruination of the South but never really parsed that. All generalities, no different than Henny Penny screaming, "The sky is falling!" There is a certain safety from responsibility in his kind of ambiguity. Calhoun was a master of it with a truckload of boogeymen in it.

Did not the North once have slavery? Did it collapse after generously selling its slaves Southward? All the North did was to diversify. The South could have done the same except for lazy planters. In fact, the South eventually did diversify. And the lack of industry is a straw man. Richmond had the iron works and Charleston's mechanics had already built steam locomotives.

Destruction of the South was a Rebel's red herring. The South could have created a fishing industry on that old wive's tale all by itself.

Do we agree?
 
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I did not say that Calhoon charged the abolitionists with an attempt to extirpate the South. But he did say that someone in the North wanted to. You quoted him as saying such. Did you forget?
I did not quote him as saying such. This is the quote from Calhoun:

A large portion of the Northern States believed slavery to be a sin, and would consider it as an obligation of conscience to abolish it if they should feel themselves in any degree responsible for its continuance...​
We of the South will not, cannot, surrender our institutions. 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.​

Where does Calhoun say that "someone in the North wanted to" "extirpate" the South?

Calhoun says that abolitionists want to eliminate the sin of slavery. The point Calhoun is making is that abolitionists think that ending slavery is a good thing. As noted by Calhoun, abolitionists don't believe that ending slavery will destroy the South, they think it will purify the South of evil. Calhoun understands this. He is further saying that abolitionists are fools who don't know what they're talking about, and will cause the ruin of the South, if Southerners allow them to do so.

- Alan
 
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Did not the North once have slavery? Did it collapse after generously selling its slaves Southward? All the North did was to diversify. The South could have done the same except for lazy planters. In fact, the South eventually did diversify. And the lack of industry is a straw man. Richmond had the iron works and Charleston's mechanics had already built steam locomotives.

Destruction of the South was a Rebel's red herring. The South could have created a fishing industry on that old wive's tale all by itself.

Do we agree?
I can't say we agree.

Your first job as a historian is to think like the people of the times, to understand why they did what they did.

You say "Did not the North once have slavery? Did it collapse after generously selling its slaves Southward? All the North did was to diversify. The South could have done the same except for lazy planters." Questions: Did Southerners want to do what the North did, or emulate the North, or be like the North? Did planters see themselves as lazy? Did planters want to diversify, and when, and how?

You are pointing to hypothetical directions or actions for the South, but it's not clear that this is in alignment with how Southerners viewed the world or themselves at that time.

Many of these people did have the belief that the Destruction of the South was coming. Some might say they're delusional. But to the person affected by them, delusions seem real. To the affected person, delusions are the truth.

- Alan
 

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Questions: Did Southerners want to do what the North did, or emulate the North, or be like the North? Did planters see themselves as lazy? Did planters want to diversify, and when, and how?
I have asserted in a number of threads that from their perspective, the planters of 1860 saw no reason to change. The slave economy was thriving, cotton production was at a new high having doubled about every decade since 1820. Planters had gained huge fortunes almost overnight. There was no indication that their future would be anything less than continued prosperity and opportunity.
Given those circumstances, it is no wonder they were concerned when their system appeared to be threatened by Lincoln's victory in 1860. And no wonder that they emphasized those concerns in the Declaration of Causes and other documents!
 
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I can't say we agree.

Your first job as a historian is to think like the people of the times, to understand why they did what they did.

You say "Did not the North once have slavery? Did it collapse after generously selling its slaves Southward? All the North did was to diversify. The South could have done the same except for lazy planters." Questions: Did Southerners want to do what the North did, or emulate the North, or be like the North? Did planters see themselves as lazy? Did planters want to diversify, and when, and how?

You are pointing to hypothetical directions or actions for the South, but it's not clear that this is in alignment with how Southerners viewed the world or themselves at that time.

Many of these people did have the belief that the Destruction of the South was coming. Some might say they're delusional. But to the person affected by them, delusions seem real. To the affected person, delusions are the truth.

- Alan
Alan,

Thank you for your informative posts. Just an FYI, for some reason I cannot open the links; however, never hesitate to send them, as maybe that is just a glitch that will heaal itself.

I am among those who consider them delusional. "Destruction of the South" and all the rest of the extreme language used in re: what the Yankees were going to do and what would happen to them was nothing but a straw man. I could go along with, "Those Yankees are going to change the way we do things." But "destroy" us? "Extirpate" us? This sounds a little genocidal to me and represents the kind of language and thought I find in the Secesh Declarations that cause me to question their surgical precision. I like surgical precision and I am sure you do also. And just think: after the war when slavery was extirpated, Southerners were not destroyed or extirpated. They lived, they breathed, they went to work, they survived --in short, they did all kinds of things that "destroyed and extirpated" people never can do.

So, could we agree that Calhoun's words were more inciting than they were precise? If I thought someone was out to "destroy" me, I suppose I could go along with almost any measure to preclude that possibility. You would, too. So, one question here, just one: Can we agree that Calhoun was painting a picture that was hyperbolic? Say anything else you want, but can we build some agreement about this?

James
 
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Alan,

Thank you for your informative posts. Just an FYI, for some reason I cannot open the links; however, never hesitate to send them, as maybe that is just a glitch that will heaal itself.

I am among those who consider them delusional. "Destruction of the South" and all the rest of the extreme language used in re: what the Yankees were going to do and what would happen to them was nothing but a straw man. I could go along with, "Those Yankees are going to change the way we do things." But "destroy" us? "Extirpate" us? This sounds a little genocidal to me and represents the kind of language and thought I find in the Secesh Declarations that cause me to question their surgical precision. I like surgical precision and I am sure you do also. And just think: after the war when slavery was extirpated, Southerners were not destroyed or extirpated. They lived, they breathed, they went to work, they survived --in short, they did all kinds of things that "destroyed and extirpated" people never can do.

So, could we agree that Calhoun's words were more inciting than they were precise? If I thought someone was out to "destroy" me, I suppose I could go along with almost any measure to preclude that possibility. You would, too. So, one question here, just one: Can we agree that Calhoun was painting a picture that was hyperbolic? Say anything else you want, but can we build some agreement about this?

James
RE: So, one question here, just one: Can we agree that Calhoun was painting a picture that was hyperbolic?

Hyperbolic, compared to what? Using present day standards, I would say that his language is over the top. I would also say, using present day standards, that it's plainly racist. But I don't know if this kind of rhetoric was abnormal by the standards of the day, and I am worried about applying presentism in a review of these words.

During the debate over the admission of Missouri to the Union in the early 19th century, things got very rancorous in the Congress. Rep James Tallmadge had proposed that Missouri be given statehood on the condition that slavery was prohibited there. This angered southern congressmen. Daniel Walker Howe, in his book What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815-1848, discusses the controversy:

On behalf of the Tallmadge amendment, northern members (of Congress) invoked morality, religion, economics, and the Declaration of Independence. They reminded southerners that their own revered statesmen, led by Thomas Jefferson, had often expressed the hope to find a way out of perpetuating slavery. Yet now, the South presented a virtually solid and implacable opposition (in which the aged Jefferson himself joined) to mandating emancipation in a new state.

Through days of rancorous debate, the two sides rehearsed arguments that would be used by North and South for years to come. Before it was over, not just the extension of slavery on the frontier but the existence of slavery throughout the whole Union would be challenged. Thomas Cobb of Georgia fixed Tallmadge in his gaze: "You have kindled a fire which all of the waters of the ocean cannot put out, which seas of blood can only extinguish." Tallmadge defended his moderate proposition with a steadfastness not at all moderate: "If a dissolution of the Union must take place, let it be so! If civil war, which gentlemen so much threaten, must come, I can only say, let it come!"

The above conflict ended in the Missouri Compromise. But look at the language: "You have kindled a fire which all of the waters of the ocean cannot put out, which seas of blood can only extinguish."... "If a dissolution of the Union must take place, let it be so! If civil war, which gentlemen so much threaten, must come, I can only say, let it come!" That is way over the top by my standards, but maybe that's how they rolled back then.

Several months ago, Andrew Delbanco, writing for The Nation, penned an article titled A Den of Braggarts and Brawlers: Politics on Capitol Hill was never civil. He wrote about a new book on behavior in the antebellum Congress:

The Yale historian Joanne Freeman (has a).. revealing new book, The Field of Blood, which takes its title from a commiserating letter sent to Sumner by a friend. Between 1830 and 1860, Freeman reports, “at least eighty violent incidents between congressmen in the House and Senate chambers or on nearby streets and dueling grounds” took place. The caning of Sumner was just one attack in a long tradition of mayhem on Capitol Hill, or what Freeman calls “the ongoing Congressional floor show” of verbal abuse and violence. The Civil War scholar David Potter wrote long ago that, by the 1840s, “Congress was beginning to lose its character as a meeting place for working out problems and to become a cockpit in which rival groups could match their best fighters against one another.” Freeman discloses a surprising amount of literal truth in Potter’s metaphor.​
...The picture of Congress we get from this book is less of a deliberative body of sober adults than of binge-drinking adolescents left alone without adult supervision. At first, the rowdy behavior took place within the confines of a quasi-private club, and thanks to the reticence of the early newspapers, what happened in the Capitol mostly stayed in the Capitol. But by the 1840s, with the rise of a commercially independent and increasingly partisan press, congressional brawling turned into a spectacle greeted by different factions of the public with delight or disgust. A Row in the Senate! Collision Between Foote and Benton! Pistol Drawn! was the blaring headline in the Milwaukee Sentinel and Gazetteafter the dustup between the two senators. Two days later, the editors of the Boston Herald wrote: “If one-half of our Congressmen would kill the other half, and then commit suicide themselves, we think the country would gain by the operation.”​
...Freeman’s story, which ranges beyond Washington, has elements of both horror and slapstick. When, in 1837, the speaker of the Arkansas House was insulted by a representative, he descended upon the offender and killed him with a bowie knife. “Acquitted for excusable homicide,” he was “reelected, only to pull his knife on another legislator during debate, though this time the sound of colleagues cocking pistols stopped him cold.” In 1856, a Southern-born California Democrat, told by a waiter at Willard’s Hotel that he’d arrived too late for breakfast, pulled out a gun and shot the man to death. Freeman doesn’t say whether the shooter stepped out elsewhere for ham and grits or waited until the dining room reopened for lunch. In Richmond, where representatives and senators from the seceded states convened a Congress of their own after Lincoln’s election, they hurled inkwells at one another over who was more loyal to the new Confederacy. The whole story has the manic oscillation between cruelty and comedy of a Marx brothers’ script.​

That behavior is unacceptable today, but it was the norm back then. Certainly, their rhetoric and discourse would also follow norms that we find reprehensible now.

To be clear: I find Calhoun's rhetoric disturbing on a number of levels. But I don't know if it was abnormal or hyperbolic in its time. They had a whole different concept of what was politically correct. Remember, this was a time when it was ok to keep people as chattel because of their ancestry, when women were denied rights because of their gender. Things that are unacceptable to us was OK to them. I am not condoning it, just saying, I need more supporting material to describe Calhoun's rhetoric as hyperbolic in his era.

- Alan
 
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Alan,

Thank you for your informative posts. Just an FYI, for some reason I cannot open the links; however, never hesitate to send them, as maybe that is just a glitch that will heaal itself.

I am among those who consider them delusional. "Destruction of the South" and all the rest of the extreme language used in re: what the Yankees were going to do and what would happen to them was nothing but a straw man. I could go along with, "Those Yankees are going to change the way we do things." But "destroy" us? "Extirpate" us? This sounds a little genocidal to me and represents the kind of language and thought I find in the Secesh Declarations that cause me to question their surgical precision. I like surgical precision and I am sure you do also. And just think: after the war when slavery was extirpated, Southerners were not destroyed or extirpated. They lived, they breathed, they went to work, they survived --in short, they did all kinds of things that "destroyed and extirpated" people never can do.

So, could we agree that Calhoun's words were more inciting than they were precise? If I thought someone was out to "destroy" me, I suppose I could go along with almost any measure to preclude that possibility. You would, too. So, one question here, just one: Can we agree that Calhoun was painting a picture that was hyperbolic? Say anything else you want, but can we build some agreement about this?

James
Again, I have to disagree with your interpretation of Calhoun's words. He was not claiming the Yankees were out to commit genocide. That is simplistic, imprecise, and incorrect.

Understand that, Calhoun was talking about a great divide between the North's vision of the future, and the South's vision. For the abolitionist North, a virtuous and holy future meant an end to slavery, which abolitionists considered to be evil. For the slave-holding South, the future required and demanded protection of their property rights and the institution of enslavement.

Calhoun did not believe, and did not say, that Northerners wanted to kill or exterminate the Southern people. Calhoun was not saying that Northerners were genocidal. That's an unfair characterization. Calhoun's point was that Northerners were dangerously misguided. That's the important takeaway. And the consequence of their misguided beliefs was that Negroes would be made free and equal, which would destroy the South.

Calhoun was saying that abolitionists were fanatical fools whose misguided visions and policies would, rather than purify the South, ruin the South. That is not the same thing as saying that Yankees had this vision of genocide for the South. The Yankee vision was to make the South wonderful. But Southerners did not see it that way.

I am uncomfortable in being in a position where I have to defend John C. Calhoun. But even the devil deserves his due. Not saying Calhoun was the devil, just using a figure of speech...

- Alan
 
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