Slavery as the Primary Cause of the Civil War: the Real Lost Cause Argument.

John Fenton

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retired traveling
The secession documents fully reveal that the intention of the seceding states was to peacefully withdraw from the voluntary union of states known as the United States. The war was fought because the United States refused to recognize that the seceding states were perfectly entitled to establish a government of their own choosing. Just as the Founders had done.
why were they seceding ? why were they withdrawing ? what rights did they feel were threatened ? why did tariffs affect the south differently than the north ? why did they want to expand into the territories ? why did they need a majority representation in congress ? why did the first land battle occur in area that the local population considered more closely tied to Pennsylvania and Ohio than Virginia ?
England did not think the colonies had the right to choose a government of their choosing. What would have happened to the Founders if they had lost and been caught ?
What the Founders did was illegal and they knew it but hoped to win and not face charges. the Founders declaration claimed all men were created equal (although they were hypocrites) and the confederate declarations claimed the opposite. some of the southern states had adopted the AoC. how did they get out of the promise of perpetual union it declared ? the constitution did not address or authorize a release from that promise just as it did not specify a mechanism for secession. there is no need to address that which does not exist.
 

leftyhunter

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
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Location
los angeles ca
I agree with this. Not just the TRR, but tariff increases were to the benefit of some northern business interests, and would be passed if the southern states seceded, regardless of who won the war. The Homestead Act was of interest to many ordinary northerners and also would be passed if the southern states seceded.
We have to keep in mind that Southern businesses interests such has sugar plantation owners in Louisiana , tobacco famers in Kentucky and rice growers in South Carolina favored and received the benefit of protective tariffs. It can't be argued that only the North favored tariffs.
Leftyhunter
 

uaskme

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
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Location
SE Tennessee
Thanks for your response.
One way to acquire and preserve wealth is to choose one's options wisely. Southern aristocrats did not make a wise choice. But they most certainly were ready to get richer, for their "war efforts" if the rebels had won.

Many Chinese opium traders became pillars of the Boston community. In his eulogy, Perkins is remembered as "one of the noblest specimens of humanity to which our city has ever given birth,"

Arnott says the fact that Perkins was trading in opium was probably not a secret in Boston, but the question, "Is this trade good for the people we're trading with?" is a more recent philosophical concept."

There are signs opinion shifted as Perkins aged, which may help explain why Opium is not mentioned even once in a memoir compiled by his son-in-law and published in 1856, two years after Perkins' death.

But among merchants, there was a robust debate about the morality of selling opium in China, whee at least 2 million residents--and 10 million by some extimates--were addicted to the drug by the mid-1800s. New York David Olyphant refused to trade opium, calling it "an evil of the deepest dye.: Partners at Perkins and Co. made fun of Olyphant.

Johathan Goldstein, a research associate at Harvard University's Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies, says Boston merchants defended the trade, "even though they knew it was a debilitation drug that ruined lives. "Their thinking, says Goldstein, was that opium was no worse than alcohol and better that other forms of trade, namely:slaves. wbyr.org

Could substitute Opium for Human Trafficking, or Slave Trade to the 1870s and beyond.
 

John Fenton

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retired traveling
I do not understand anyone on here who has a hard line 100% view that they are absolutely correct, that no one else could even be partially correct and have valid points. From my experience in life there are two sides to every story, and if you look past personal bias, you can learn a great deal. Just my 2 cents.
this is not an answer to any of my questions.
 

CSA Today

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
Dec 3, 2011
Location
Laurinburg NC
Sorry, but I disagree. The word War brings on the vision of guns and cannon and killing and that is true enough. But...there is another kind of war. Such as a War of Words.
And wthen Stephens made his ""cornerstone speech"...it specifically states the 'cause' of the south was fighting for slavery!" there had already been years of a war of words in Congress between the Slave
States and Free States over Personal Liberty Laws, and a war of words about abolitionist and their demand of the end of slavery (a very long running war of words).
From Merriam-Webster
war of words noun phrase
Definition of war of words: an argument in which people or groups criticize and disagree with each other publicly and repeatedly for usually a long time

The war hadn't even started at the time Stephens made the speech. Probably the most controversial thing (by today's standards, not those of 21 March 1861) Stephens' said in his cornerstone speech was: “that the new Confederate government was based upon “the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man.”
 

uaskme

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
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Location
SE Tennessee
In 1820 South Carolina cotton accounted for half of the US exports. With the advent of cotton cultivation in the early 19th century, the relatively remote South Carolina upcountry enjoyed a vast expansion in the value of its agricultural produce. Overland transport by wagon was slow and expensive, so this produce tended to go to Augusta, Georgia, then down the Savannah River to the seaport at Savannah, Georgia. The SCC&RR Company was chartered on December 19, 1827 (amended January 30, 1828)[3] to divert this commerce to Charleston by means of connections to Columbia, Camden and Hamburg.
cotton was the basis of the SC state economy at the end of the antebellum era and employed 80% of the slave population. production continued to increase well into the 20th century. it was only out produced by GA, AL, and MS.
tobacco gave way to food crops, especially wheat, in virginia in support of the revolutionary war effort. this market was picked up by kentucky and missiouri. europe was buying, just not england (directly. do you think they had to sneak like pot heads ? ).
the states that didn't grow cotton did not secede.

With the advent of cotton cultivation in the early 19th century, the relatively remote South Carolina upcountry enjoyed a vast expansion in the value of its agricultural produce. Overland transport by wagon was slow and expensive, so this produce tended to go to Augusta, Georgia, then down the Savannah River to the seaport at Savannah, Georgia. The SCC&RR Company was chartered on December 19, 1827 (amended January 30, 1828)to divert this commerce to Charleston by means of connections to Columbia, Camden and Hamburg.
The Memphis and Charleston railroad stopped at the mississippi river with only a few short non connected lines on the other side. what did they transport ? cotton. cotton meant for new orleans or new york. new western cotton. the south had been using water routes for the same thing for decades. this was about competition for new sources and destinations at cheaper rates , to any place you could lay track.

as for vocation.... the postbellum south produced more cotton per year (except for immediately after the war, but still produced) than the antebellum south ever did.

Lot of Questions about a subject that only yesterday seemed so simple. Maybe the subject, is just not that simple.

We have to educate ourselves. No one can do it for us. That is what those 50k books are for. People shouldn’t let others tell us how to THINK!
Thanks for Posting.
 

Lost Cause

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Sep 19, 2014
see no evil, speak no evil, hear no evil...the north turned a blind eye to slavery and was guilty by association.....allowing slavery to continue (except the Quakers in Pa that were involved in the Underground railroad and were outspoken against slavery as being immoral).
Do not forget those northerners who capitalized on the evil.
 

Lost Cause

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Sep 19, 2014
i am new here but cannot believe what i am reading .
that institutionalized slavery was the primary cause of the war is indisputable even if it did not cause the first shot. to minimize it's importance is repugnant . that so many still feel otherwise is equally repugnant. i wonder what confederate supporters want ? was the confederacy really a noble cause or does it need to be in order to rationalize it ?
Your contradicting your own apparent argument that “slavery was the primary cause of the war,” yet it “did not cause the first shot.”
 

CSA Today

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
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Location
Laurinburg NC
Your contradicting your own apparent argument that “slavery was the primary cause of the war,” yet it “did not cause the first shot.”
If the primary cause of the war was slavery it was all Lincoln's doing, The CSA had no reason to, it was fully protected by their Constitution.
 

WJC

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Your contradicting your own apparent argument that “slavery was the primary cause of the war,” yet it “did not cause the first shot.”
Are those two statements mutually exclusive? For example, slavery could be the cause of distrust, anger and conflict leading to secession. But, the first shot could be attributed to a radical nationalistic fervor, a new nation 'flexing its muscles'.
 

wausaubob

Lt. Colonel
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Location
Denver, CO
There was a good deal of population dispersion before the war. People left Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Tennessee and Kentucky. They moved north, but also west. They moved to get to the Pacific West, and to get to southern frontier, in Texas, Arkansas and Missouri.
They liked that dispersed, low density living. There was better hunting and fishing. The water was cleaner, and less competition from the big operations.
The war accelerated that dispersion. Southern men who joined US forces had more opportunities after the war, and they took advantage of them.
So while the Civil War had a political dimension, in many places the war created the identity the secessionists wanted. People who did not like living with blacks moved away from the south, to places like Oregon, Colorado, Iowa and Illinois.
Before the Civil War started, people like James Buchanan and Senator Douglas knew the trans-Atlantic slave trade was ending, and that the power of British finance would end slavery in some way. The way it would end was not predictable, but Lincoln said "eventual extinction" and even Democrats knew that was probably true.
 

uaskme

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Location
SE Tennessee
Are those two statements mutually exclusive? For example, slavery could be the cause of distrust, anger and conflict leading to secession. But, the first shot could be attributed to a radical nationalistic fervor, a new nation 'flexing its muscles'.

Could of been many things, some we might think of, others we may never know.

What we do know, what it was not? Just one single Cause.
 

Lost Cause

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
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Are those two statements mutually exclusive? For example, slavery could be the cause of distrust, anger and conflict leading to secession. But, the first shot could be attributed to a radical nationalistic fervor, a new nation 'flexing its muscles'.
IMO, distrust, anger and conflict were the key emotions leading to the war on both sides. Was this attributed primarily to slavery? Secession drove the first seven and Sumter/Call to Arms the last four.
 

John Fenton

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retired traveling
Lot of Questions about a subject that only yesterday seemed so simple. Maybe the subject, is just not that simple.

We have to educate ourselves.
again no relevant discussion. in the post you quoted i only asked one question.
i am 100 % self educated and in my field (retired now) i was the instructor and achieved all of my certifications without the aid of being taught by someone else. you might call me a culture creator rather than a culture consumer. in other words, i have passed my knowledge on but received very little from the collective culture, except through literature, that i operated in. i think i have an intuitive extra that allows me to figure things out and how they work. i do this by reading and by doing. this applies to my knowledge and opinions of the civil war. when i ask a question , it often becomes mired in argumentative mud and is left for me to extricate. i thought this site might be a good place to get objective opinions . am i objective ? not always but i try to give an answer, not hyperbole.

Your contradicting your own apparent argument that “slavery was the primary cause of the war,” yet it “did not cause the first shot.”
the first shot was caused by the attempted resupply of a federal fort. why was this an issue ? it was now a south carolina fort. why did it become a south carolina fort instead of a federal fort ? because south carolina seceded and the fort goes with it. why did south carolina secede ? we should be able to stop here but i have read that some say it wasn't over slavery even when south carolina plainly said it was.

According to antebellum invention/patent records, they didn't invent much technology nor anything that advanced society collectively(Roger Burlingame, March of the Iron Men: A Social History of Union Through Invention (New York, 1938).
you are correct that the south did very little inventing and i was surprised when i looked at 19th century american inventions just how little did occur in the south by southerners. one of the few involved refrigeration. however as regards Whitney, i simply meant that southerners were aquainted with tech. my point was that the south was static and they wanted to keep it that way while at the same time enjoy tech benefits in business and pleasure for those who could afford it . southern agriculture practices required very little in the way of innovation but when it was required it was applied. after all necessity is the mother of invention.

on the single cause issue i have seen many posts making this claim about other posters. there is NO single cause but all of the causes have a common element or thread that ties them together. this thread is slavery. without this binding the rest lose their level of significance and , i my opinion, would have been resolved peaceably through the legislative process , as has been the case since.

the treasury of virtue idea is a reaction to the lost cause or " Great Alibi ". however both were coined by southerners. i do not believe the north has the same preoccupation with redemption as the south.
 

ForeverFree

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It's useful to describe what it means to say slavery was the root cause of the war.

In this video, historian Elizabeth Varon talks about the "fundamentalist school" in the first 3-4 minutes of a talk. She says "there's emerged in recent years a strong consensus, which scholars call the fundamentalist school, that slavery was the root fundamental cause of the civil war and that the political antagonisms between the North and South flowed from the fact that the North was a free labor society while the South was a slave labor society which remained committed to slavery and indeed to extending its domain."

When historians say that slavery was the root cause of the war they mean to say the following:

• At its root, the war was caused by the conflict between the free labor North and the slave labor South. That is, "slavery" did not cause the war, per se; rather the conflict between the sections over free labor versus slave labor was the root cause of the war. This conflict led to political antagonism that resulted in war. In this conflict, countless political, social, and cultural battles became proxy wars that became a full-fledged military war by the 1860s.

• The conflict of free labor versus slave labor was the primary and essential element in causing the war. That is, it is difficult to conceive there being a Civil War without this element. There were other sectional conflicts, but they did not rise to the level where secession and ultimately war were seen as necessary to resolve the conflict.
********

To add to what historians mean when they say the conflict between free labor and slave labor was the root cause of the war, there is this. In his book At the Precipice: Americans North and South during the Secession Crisis, author Shearer Davis Bowman writes

The inability to engineer an acceptable compromise during the secession crisis reflected the reality that neither northern nor southern stalwarts could endorse concessions that did not seem to undermine what they perceived to be their fundamental interests rights and honor as citizens of the American Republic.​
Avery Craven has powerfully concluded, "neither the North nor the South could you yield its position because slavery had come to symbolize values in each of their socio-economic structures for which men fight and die but which they do not give up or compromise."​
That last comment is key: the conflict of free labor versus slave labor was uncompromising. There was no middle ground between free labor and slave labor. Or at least, the antagonists could not find one. Other elements, such as tariffs, could find a middle ground for resolution. The North and South could not find a middle ground on the fundamental conflict.

I would add on this point that studies of intellectual history, emotional history and rhetoric indicate that the sections had evolved hardened views of their labor systems into which so much emotional, intellectual, political, social, and political capital had been invested, that they could not give up on their views. For the sections, free labor and slave labor were not just theories or world views; these things represented who they were culturally, intellectually, socially, and so on. These were not just conflicting world views, they were conflicting identities. These identities were entrenched to a point that compromise meant, as Shearer Bowman put it, giving up on their interests, rights, and honor. The sides were not going to do that, and then the war came.

- Alan
 

WJC

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Could of been many things, some we might think of, others we may never know.

What we do know, what it was not? Just one single Cause.
Thanks for your response.
Again, few if any among us asserts that there was just "one single cause". What has been asserted ad infinitum is that among the many causes there was one, single root cause, the one that more than any of the others was the reason for secession.
 

WJC

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IMO, distrust, anger and conflict were the key emotions leading to the war on both sides. Was this attributed primarily to slavery? Secession drove the first seven and Sumter/Call to Arms the last four.
Thanks for your response.
And what drove secession?
 

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