Should the Founders Be Blamed for the Civil War?

Should the Founders be blamed for the Civil War?

  • Yes

  • No

  • Partially


Results are only viewable after voting.

WJC

Major General
Judge Adv. Genl.
Thread Medic
Answered the Call for Reinforcements
Joined
Aug 16, 2015
slavery was legal, protected by the constitution
The right to decide the issue of slavery was reserved by the States. The Founders tolerated that reality but specifically refused to sanction the practice in our Constitution in spite of attempts by Southerners to add such protection.
 
Joined
Sep 17, 2011
Location
mo
Would add that we dont like Dred Scott Decision today, doesn't change it was the majority decision in its day..............in fact it wasnt even a close decision, but a 7-2 decision.
 
Last edited:

WJC

Major General
Judge Adv. Genl.
Thread Medic
Answered the Call for Reinforcements
Joined
Aug 16, 2015
both the constitutional FSL and including 3/5s representation would show it was indeed sanctioned by the Federal government.
Thanks for your response.
Neither sanctioned slavery. Both were constructed to further the eventual demise of the practice.
The Fugitive Slave Law was a passively worded statement that did not assign responsibility for enforcement. The 3/5 Clause was a concession made in order to eliminate a 'deal-breaker'. It gave slave states less than they wanted, increased their representation in the House of Representatives but did not affect representation in the Senate. At the time, even this was seen by many as yet another 'nail in the coffin' of slavery. Its immediate effect was Southern dominance of national politics.
 
Joined
Sep 17, 2011
Location
mo
Thanks for your response.
Neither sanctioned slavery. Both were constructed to further the eventual demise of the practice.
The Fugitive Slave Law was a passively worded statement that did not assign responsibility for enforcement. The 3/5 Clause was a concession made in order to eliminate a 'deal-breaker'. It gave slave states less than they wanted, increased their representation in the House of Representatives but did not affect representation in the Senate. At the time, even this was seen by many as yet another 'nail in the coffin' of slavery. Its immediate effect was Southern dominance of national politics.
Again however one cant ignore if theres a dispute as to whether something is a state or federal issue, its the role of the Supreme Court to decide. which it pretty clearly did in its 7-2 majority opinion.
 
Last edited:

C.W. Roden

Formerly: SouthernFriedOtaku
Joined
Dec 3, 2019
Location
South Carolina, USA, Earth
In my opinion that war was inevitable the day Aaron Burr shot Alexander Hamilton in that duel.
Otherwise no I don't really blame the Founding Fathers for the War Between The States.
What I blame is human nature and our all-too-ready willingness to reject the very thing that makes us in God's image above that of the other beasts on this planet -- our ability to reason. War comes when we reject reason for emotion, logic for ciaos. War is the rejection of that thing that God gave us in favor of our base animal selves. When you take away the brilliant strategies, the personalities, the so-called "righteous causes" war is just murder for the sake of greed and the illusion of power.
That is what I blame on that war, and every other war humanity has ever fought.
 

Dead Parrott

Sergeant
Joined
Jul 30, 2019
I agree with the highlighted comment, however as long as slavery was legal, protected by the constitution, and especially in light of Dred Scott...….....a American from the south had every bit as much right to move to the territories with all their property as any American from the north.......thats not a state issue at all, but a federal liberty. There was absolutely no legal basis for the federal government to prohibit what was entirely legal and constitutionally protected by the United States.

A state deciding to end it, or even a territory deciding itself as it applies for statehood would be a state issue...…The federal government discriminating against some settlers from taking all their property (which is legal property by the United States) to a US territory which isnt a state, isnt a state issue at all.

No - it is clearly a question of the federal vs state issue. Two states have different laws regarding something; which one holds in a territory? The federal government makes that decision, as empowered by the Constitution. It is, directly, an issue of states rights (the state right, as always, being about slavery of course). This is especially striking when the difference is purely binary - either\or. Slavery was just such a difference - which is why no state was ever half slave\half free. As our FF realized, binary issues eventually require either a situational change which removes the distinction, or a decision either way. The federal government faced just such an issue every time territories were involved - US history is filled with such compromises. When a binary decision is required over a difference in the territories, somebody's state right is going to go.

We're going a bit far afield, and I'm trying to stay OT with the original poster's intent and focus on the FF, so apologies for any diversion.

A different corollary question would be: If the slave-owning leaders from the South really believed the issue settled by Dred Scott, then they had even less reason for violent rebellion. SCOTUS had only one change during the early war period, and that did not swing the court to abolition. Therefore the party plank in the GOP was meaningless, as the slave-owners would win in court. If they felt as you do, they would be even guiltier for the initiation of the bloodletting. Their reaction suggests far more what I proposed - the slave-owners knew the defense of their ugly institution was eventually doomed, from the variety of factors listed previously. They had been feeling the pressure of change for some time, hardening their defense of the ugliness with each challenge. Seeing the game over, and not willing to concede to a gradual and compensated ending they started shooting.
 

Joshism

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Apr 30, 2012
Location
Jupiter, FL
I'm unwilling to blame people for not doing what I would not have known how to do myself.

I think there's a key difference between "not know how to do" and "not try to do."

That the Constitution did not end or begin to end slavery is one thing. Getting all 13 states on board was more important.

But men like Jefferson spent the rest of their lives wringing their hands and lamenting "oh slavery, such a terrible thing, whatever shall we do about it..." That men like Jefferson, Madison, and Monroe made no real attempt to phase out slavery in their home state of Virginia, much less the entire USA, is condemnable. They had power and influence and recognized the problem, but didn't try anything to solve it. They didn't host a convention seeking to solve the problem.

I think it was very hypocritical that men who owned slaves signed a document saying, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal."

Not if you assume by men they actually meant "white men".

Given the legal status of blacks in 18th century America they weren't men in the eyes of the law.

The ideas in the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions became a precursor to John C. Calhoun’s arguments about the power of states to nullify federal laws. However, during the nullification controversy of the 1830s, James Madison rejected the legitimacy of nullification, and argued that it was not part of the Virginia position in 1798.

There is a critical difference between the VA/KY Resolutions and Calhoun's Nullification. The former protested an unconstitutional infringement of rights on the entire country. The latter protested the impact of a constitutionally-sound tariff on one state.

the founders wanted their sons to address this situation. People like John Quincy Adams did address it. I voted No because it was the next generation after the founders.

JQA was one of the few.

I don't believe the majority of southerners liked slavery

I vehemently disagree. Slavery provided a clear social hierarchy they could aspire to climb. It allowed the lowest white to feel he was still far above any black. It kept the blacks under control where they could be made to work, often in jobs whites didn't want. Why would most Southern whites want this system to change when it seemingly benefited them in every way?

The Whig party are at fault for the Civil War.

A wild Libertarian enters the forums...
 

WJC

Major General
Judge Adv. Genl.
Thread Medic
Answered the Call for Reinforcements
Joined
Aug 16, 2015
That men like Jefferson, Madison, and Monroe made no real attempt to phase out slavery in their home state of Virginia, much less the entire USA, is condemnable.
Jefferson had a long record of support for equal rights for Blacks.
His first action as a young member of the Virginia Legislature was to join with Richard Bland in an "effort in that body for the permission of the emancipation of slaves." Bland introduced the Bill; Jefferson seconded it. It was defeated.
<Andrew A. Lipscomb, Editor, The Writings of Thomas Jefferson. (Washington, DC: The Thomas Jefferson Memorial Association, 1903), Vol. IV, p.4.>
As a lawyer, in 1770 and 1772 Jefferson represented slaves in court cases seeking their emancipation, losing both cases.
<"Jefferson and Slavery", Monticello. http://www.monticello.org/site/jefferson/jefferson-and-slavery>
Jefferson wrote a draft for Virginia's Constitution in 1776 which included a provision ending slavery. The convention rejected that provision.
<Julian P. Boyd, Editor, The Papers of Thomas Jefferson. (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1953), Vol. I, p. 353.>
Jeffferson's draft of the Declaration of Independence included a grievance that King George would not permit the colonies to end slavery. That provision was removed at the insistence of delegates from South Carolina and Georgia.
<Thomas Jefferson, "Rough Draft of the Declaration of Independence", History. http:www.ushistory.org/declaration/document/rough.html>
In 1778 Jefferson introduced the bill in the Virginia Legislature that banned the importation of slaves. It passed unanimously.
<Henry A. Washington, Editor, The Writings of Thomas Jefferson. (Washington: Taylor & Maury, 1853), Vol. I, p. 38.>
The following year, as governor, Jefferson introduced a bill "to "emancipate all slaves born after passing the act." It failed.
<Thomas Jefferson, "Query XIV The Administration of Justice and Description of the Laws?", Notes on the State of Virginia. (Philadelphia: Matthew Carey, 1794), p. 228.>
As a delegate to Congress in 1784, Jefferson introduced a bill to ban slavery from all Territories. (This provision was included in the Northwest Ordinance in 1789).
<Gaillard Hunt, Editor, Journals of the Continental Congress. (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1928), Vol. XXVI, pp. 118-119.>
In his later years, Jefferson supported and encouraged emancipation efforts nationwide.
"Condemnable"? I think not!
 

WJC

Major General
Judge Adv. Genl.
Thread Medic
Answered the Call for Reinforcements
Joined
Aug 16, 2015
Again however one cant ignore if theres a dispute as to whether something is a state or federal issue, its the role of the Supreme Court to decide. which it pretty clearly did in its 7-2 majority opinion.
Thanks for your response.
Although 7-2, that decision was (and is) widely recognized as classic judicial overreach and the worst SCOTUS decision ever. It settled nothing: it actually aggravated an already tense situation.
 
Joined
Sep 17, 2011
Location
mo
Thanks for your response.
Although 7-2, that decision was (and is) widely recognized as classic judicial overreach and the worst SCOTUS decision ever. It settled nothing: it actually aggravated an already tense situation.
Again our view of it today has no bearing at all that at the time, it was in fact an overwhelming decision at 7-2 and law of the land, and did clearly define slavery as a federal issue to be protected in the territories.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Sbc
Joined
Sep 17, 2011
Location
mo
Two states have different laws regarding something; which one holds in a territory? The federal government makes that decision, as empowered by the Constitution.
Yes that is a federal issue and not a state one, and Dred Scott defined it was already protected by the constitution and not an issue to congress to decide, which is the purpose of the court. Again whether we like the decision or not, it was defined by the very body who purpose is to decide jurisdiction and constitutionality.

Its somewhat curious to me, Supreme Court decisions aren't a pick and choose just the ones you like.......they all are equally valid, whether liked or not.
 

wausaubob

Lt. Colonel
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Location
Denver, CO
After the legal period of the slave trade ended in 1807, to allow the creation or addition of any additional slave states, was probably going to lead to a division of the US. Certainly adding Texas as a slave state created an armistice situation in which the two potential belligerents were preparing for the war.
 

wausaubob

Lt. Colonel
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Location
Denver, CO
Yes that is a federal issue and not a state one, and Dred Scott defined it was already protected by the constitution and not an issue to congress to decide, which is the purpose of the court. Again whether we like the decision or not, it was defined by the very body who purpose is to decide jurisdiction and constitutionality.

Its somewhat curious to me, Supreme Court decisions aren't a pick and choose just the ones you like.......they all are equally valid, whether liked or not.
If that is true, then Lincoln and Seward were right. The US was about to become a slave empire and slavery was about to become legal everywhere. Could have happened, except the USSpCt, it not the sovereign, and by elections of Congress and a President, and amendments to the Constitution, they can limit the effect of judicial decisions, appoint new justices, or amend the Constitution.
 

wausaubob

Lt. Colonel
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Location
Denver, CO
So the Supreme Court may try to limit the ability of Congress to prohibit slavery in the territories, but that has no affect on the trend of history. By 1860 there were three states approaching the numerical point of abolishing slavery, and in Kansas, Nebraska and Colorado, the next most probable states, the local population was not going to allow slavery.
 
Joined
Sep 17, 2011
Location
mo
If that is true, then Lincoln and Seward were right. The US was about to become a slave empire and slavery was about to become legal everywhere. Could have happened, except the USSpCt, it not the sovereign, and by elections of Congress and a President, and amendments to the Constitution, they can limit the effect of judicial decisions, appoint new justices, or amend the Constitution.
But in 1860 they didnt have a 2/3rds vote to overturn the court.........whe whole point in trying to prevent slavery in the territories was to attempt an end around by only admitting free states to eventually get a 2/3rds majority.....the court obviously saw through that, as any American should have been free to go to a US territory with all their property, as the property wasn't illegal.........there was no legal basis to prohibit legal property.
 

48th Miss.

First Sergeant
Joined
May 11, 2016
Location
North Carolina
Eleanor Rose, excellent question and will not wax eloquent here but just point you to a book I am reading. It's not new but breaks a lot down in a short space and to me, so far it makes sense. It's called Vindicating the Founder
Race, sex, class and justice in the origins of America. It can be bought used or new on Abebooks.com from 4.00 and up..

I'm biased but it seems reasonable to be that they can not be blamed. The goal was unity but they also set the decline if slavery in motion starting with the NW ordinance and the seeding of that land to the Government from Va. Check it out
 
Top