slavery is at the bottom of everything they were worried about

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JohnTaylor

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In the Southern honor thread, Trice stated, “It is obvious they were worried, and that slavery is at the bottom of everything they were worried about.”

I said, “Tim, that is not true, but that is also a separate debate.”

So, it would seem to be relatively simple to refute Tim’s statement by providing some item from the list of grievances that does not have slavery at its bottom. That said, here is a list of just a few:

1. From the Georgia declaration: “the owners of fishing smacks sought and obtained bounties for pursuing their own business (which yet continue), and $500,000 is now paid them annually out of the Treasury.” Federal expenditures without a constitutional basis.

2. From the Texas declaration: “The Federal Government, while but partially under the control of these our unnatural and sectional enemies, has for years almost entirely failed to protect the lives and property of the people of Texas against the Indian savages on our border, and more recently against the murderous forays of banditti from the neighboring territory of Mexico.” The Federal Government has failed to protect the people from incursions from Mexico and from attacks by Indians.

3. From the South Carolina declaration: “The Northern States, having the majority in Congress, claim the same power of omnipotence in legislation as the British Parliament. "The general welfare" is the only limit to the legislation of either; and the majority in Congress, as in the British Parliament, are the sole judges of the expediency of the legislation this "general welfare" requires.” The people of the North, especially the Republicans, have expressed the view that there is no real limit on Federal power, other than what the simple majority in Congress believe it to be.

4. Declaration of the people of Botetourt county, Virginia in 1861: “When a State does secede, the Constitution and laws of the United States cease to operate therein. No power is conferred on Congress to enforce them. Such authority was denied to the Congress in the convention which framed the Constitution, because it would be an act of war of nation against nation – not an exercise of the legitimate power of a government to enforce its laws on those subject to its jurisdiction.” Thus, the people of Botetourt asserted that the attempt to coerce a seceded State would violate the Constitution, and would justify Virginia in resuming her delegated powers, which as events turned out, is exactly what she did.

These are the words of peoples that have seceded as to why they seceded (or endorsed secession in the case of the Botetourt Resolutions). None of these is slavery. None of these is even closely related to slavery. Slavery is at the bottom of none of these issues. Thus, Trice’s assertion is disproven.
Respectfully,
John Taylor
 

ewc

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JohnTaylor said:
These are the words of peoples that have seceded as to why they seceded (or endorsed secession in the case of the Botetourt Resolutions). None of these is slavery. None of these is even closely related to slavery. Slavery is at the bottom of none of these issues. Thus, Trice’s assertion is disproven.
Come now, John Taylor. You are right, but only in the narrowest of senses. I don't think anyone disputes the Southern States had other concerns at the time than direct slavery-related issues. We all know tariffs and the state/Federal authority issues were in the mix. The thing is that almost all states, or areas, or parties, are going to have some grievance with the government at some time. Our entire Amrican history is so littered and at no time can or will it ever be said that the citizenry, or any particular grouping of it, is entirely happy with the guv'mint and without grievance. The wonderful thing about America has been the ability to handle these grievances in the political arena without resorting to overthrow, blooodshed, revolt & secession, etc. Save in but a very few instances. And too, those grievances you listed would have been handled through compromise without overthrow, bloodshed, etc if they hadn't been trundled together with the finally unsolvable problem of slavery. So it is indeed slavery that is at the bottom of this problem. It was the one rat the American snake could not get down its' gullet. All others have gone down before and since. regards, ed
 

JohnTaylor

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Ed,
I am only evaluating the situation based on Tim's words.
I would agree that slavery was an emotional issue that heightened everyone's emotions, and rendered compromise much more difficult.
Some people were willing to do terrible things to protect, and others to destroy, the institution, per se.
Respectfully,
John Taylor
 
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trice

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JohnTaylor said:
In the Southern honor thread, Trice stated, “It is obvious they were worried, and that slavery is at the bottom of everything they were worried about.”
I said, “Tim, that is not true, but that is also a separate debate
JohnTaylor said:
So, it would seem to be relatively simple to refute Tim’s statement by providing some item from the list of grievances that does not have slavery at its bottom. That said, here is a list of just a few:.”
As I told you in the other thread, this is a quibble. You can certainly find them mentioning a few things, but none seems to rise to the level of justifying their radical actions and, in law, all remedies must be proportionate and appropriate.

JohnTaylor said:
1. From the Georgia declaration: “the owners of fishing smacks sought and obtained bounties for pursuing their own business (which yet continue), and $500,000 is now paid them annually out of the Treasury.” Federal expenditures without a constitutional basis.
John, there is certainly a laundry list of complaints in the Georgia declaration. Would you please provide some basis for thinking they are actually justified? Or are they just "sound-bites", to use a modern term, that will play well in the public eye?

On Nov. 14, Alexander Stephens, Congressman from GA soon to be VP of the Confederacy, was invited to speak before the GA legislature. He dismissed all such charges, like the tariff issue and the Navigation Act issue. For him -- just as for the SC Fire-Eaters Keitt, Rhett, and Meminger -- the only issue was whether or not the free states had fullfilled their responsibilities on slave-property. In fact, Stephens tells them the Federal government has fullfilled its' responsibilites under the Constitution.

JohnTaylor said:
2. From the Texas declaration: “The Federal Government, while but partially under the control of these our unnatural and sectional enemies, has for years almost entirely failed to protect the lives and property of the people of Texas against the Indian savages on our border, and more recently against the murderous forays of banditti from the neighboring territory of Mexico.” The Federal Government has failed to protect the people from incursions from Mexico and from attacks by Indians.
At the time, 1/8th of the entire Federal Army was stationed in Texas trying to protect Texans, and 7/8ths of the Army was West of the Mississippi to protect the new states and terrtories. In Congress, Southern politicians had often been involved in trying to cut military spending in the late 1850s, and one of Jefferson Davis' last acts in the Senate was to inquire of the War Department about methods to cut spending for the coming budget.

Again, this looks really good as a PR statement for secessionists. Do you think it is justifiable or simply empty words? The Texans certainly had Indian and bandit troubles, and the requirement to protect them is in the treaty of annexation. But it is hard to say how the deed was to be done, and it is obvious the US was devoting a substantial amount of their effort to doing so. In what way do you think this is justified? How had the Federal government failed to try to protect them?

Should there have been 50,000 Federal troops in Texas at the start of 1861 instead of 2200? Would the rest of the South have voted the taxes for tripling or quadrupling or quintupling the size of the Federal Army? Do you think Texas would have been able to secede with tens of thousands of Federal troops in the state -- or would there have just been a bunch of dead Texans if they were silly enough to try?

JohnTaylor said:
3. From the South Carolina declaration: “The Northern States, having the majority in Congress, claim the same power of omnipotence in legislation as the British Parliament. "The general welfare" is the only limit to the legislation of either; and the majority in Congress, as in the British Parliament, are the sole judges of the expediency of the legislation this "general welfare" requires.” The people of the North, especially the Republicans, have expressed the view that there is no real limit on Federal power, other than what the simple majority in Congress believe it to be.
Yes? And? Other people aren't allowed to have opinions? They don't like living in a society where other people get to participate? So what? They can always leave for another country: Spain, perhaps, or Brazil. Or they can stay and go along to get along.

All these are very squishy statements, the kind of things that have a lot of sound and very little basis.

JohnTaylor said:
4. Declaration of the people of Botetourt county, Virginia in 1861: “When a State does secede, the Constitution and laws of the United States cease to operate therein. No power is conferred on Congress to enforce them. Such authority was denied to the Congress in the convention which framed the Constitution, because it would be an act of war of nation against nation – not an exercise of the legitimate power of a government to enforce its laws on those subject to its jurisdiction.” Thus, the people of Botetourt asserted that the attempt to coerce a seceded State would violate the Constitution, and would justify Virginia in resuming her delegated powers, which as events turned out, is exactly what she did.
Suppose no "right of secession" exists for any state? Then what?

Obviously, anyone seceding would make such a statement. It is implicitly self-serving. I would declare it if I seceded. Again, so what? It has no force in law.

JohnTaylor said:
These are the words of peoples that have seceded as to why they seceded (or endorsed secession in the case of the Botetourt Resolutions). None of these is slavery. None of these is even closely related to slavery. Slavery is at the bottom of none of these issues. Thus, Trice’s assertion is disproven.
John, saying some words does not establish the validity of a complaint. That is what we have courts for in America. You seem to find offense in the requirement that these people actually validate what they say.

Your first three cites look like nothing more than posturing to the crowds by the secessionists. They remain empty until and unless specific data is supplied proving that such violations did in fact happen, and that they were in fact violations of the Constitution or other law. They claim something specific with no proof it is true.

]
 

JohnTaylor

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trice said:
As I told you in the other thread, this is a quibble. You can certainly find them mentioning a few things, but none seems to rise to the level of justifying their radical actions and, in law, all remedies must be proportionate and appropriate. John, there is certainly a laundry list of complaints in the Georgia declaration. Would you please provide some basis for thinking they are actually justified? Or are they just "sound-bites", to use a modern term, that will play well in the public eye?
Tim, whether they were justified and whether they were motivations for secession are two separate inquiries. You seem to be saying that the only complaints you accept a sincerely held were slavery-based complaints. I present non-slavery complaints, and you dismiss them as sound bites. If there were complaints about continued membership in the Union that were not true, the appropriate Northern-Federal response would have been to demonstrate the falseness of the asserted complaint. But these issues were put forth by the people of the seceding States as issues that had caused them to desire independence from the Union. And they had nothing to do with slavery. QED
trice said:
On Nov. 14, Alexander Stephens, Congressman from GA soon to be VP of the Confederacy, was invited to speak before the GA legislature. He dismissed all such charges, like the tariff issue and the Navigation Act issue. For him -- just as for the SC Fire-Eaters Keitt, Rhett, and Meminger -- the only issue was whether or not the free states had fullfilled their responsibilities on slave-property. In fact, Stephens tells them the Federal government has fullfilled its' responsibilites under the Constitution.
Stephens, speaking at the Georgia Legislature in November 1860 was speaking against secession as a remedy. Thus, it would make sense for Stephens to minimize the legitimacy of the complaint. As for Keitt and Memminger, they were willing to rest secession solely on the Personal Liberty Laws of Northern States. Keitt’s brother had been murdered by his slave the previous summer and I am sure Lawrence placed the blame for that on abolitionist agitation. (The inherently abusive nature of the slave system perhaps didn’t enter his mind when considering why his brother’s slave would kill him). Keitt and Memminger were indifferent to the other issues; they just felt that PLLs and excluding slavery from the territories were sufficient justification for independence. Rhett is in a different category from Keitt and Memminger, however. Rhett complained long and bitterly about the economic exploitation of the South by the North through the medium of tariffs and Federal expenditures. So assert that Rhett was indifferent to economic exploitation is to ignore the historical record. I have read a lot of Rhett. Trust me; he felt that economic exploitation was a reason for independence from the North. And ultimately, regardless of what Keitt and Memminger said, the people of South Carolina, in their collective and sovereign capacity, declared that economic exploitation was part of what had driven them to embrace independence.
trice said:
At the time, 1/8th of the entire Federal Army was stationed in Texas trying to protect Texans, and 7/8ths of the Army was West of the Mississippi to protect the new states and terrtories. In Congress, Southern politicians had often been involved in trying to cut military spending in the late 1850s, and one of Jefferson Davis' last acts in the Senate was to inquire of the War Department about methods to cut spending for the coming budget.
I’m sure that was small consolation to the victims of Cortina’s depredations and Comanche raids.
trice said:
Again, this looks really good as a PR statement for secessionists. Do you think it is justifiable or simply empty words? The Texans certainly had Indian and bandit troubles, and the requirement to protect them is in the treaty of annexation. But it is hard to say how the deed was to be done, and it is obvious the US was devoting a substantial amount of their effort to doing so. In what way do you think this is justified? How had the Federal government failed to try to protect them?
Maybe by not putting enough troops in Texas to protect the people of the Texas frontier from attacks and depredations?
trice said:
Should there have been 50,000 Federal troops in Texas at the start of 1861 instead of 2200? Would the rest of the South have voted the taxes for tripling or quadrupling or quintupling the size of the Federal Army? Do you think Texas would have been able to secede with tens of thousands of Federal troops in the state -- or would there have just been a bunch of dead Texans if they were silly enough to try?
Tim, if there were 50,000 troops in Texas defeating Comanche raids and punishing Cortina, then Texas would have had less cause to complain.
trice said:
Yes? And? Other people aren't allowed to have opinions? They don't like living in a society where other people get to participate?
One of the other reason why Southerners turned to independence was the northern attitude toward limitations on the powers of the Federal government. As Rhett said, “There were two reasons, he thought, why they could never live in a Union with the Northern people. The first, that the Yankees had no respect for them whatsoever; and the second, that they were totally ignorant of the Constitution. Their idea of free government was that if thirteen men lived together, the seven have a right to rule the six.” (Charleston Mercury, 13 November 1860, pg. 1, col. 6). The Northern majority seemed to assert that they answered to a “Higher Law” than the Constitution. They also expressed “consolidationist” political ideology, which asserted that the only limit on Federal power was whatever majority said it was. In a Union under such an administration, no constitutional protection for the minority was safe. To quote Yancey, “All, then, that the South asks in this contest is that you shall observe the constitutional checks and balances with reference to her. – She is not willing that her rights shall be submitted to the will of mere numerical majorities.” (Richmond Enquirer, September 25th, 1860, pg. 2, col. 4-6.) Under a constitutional federal republic, the will of the majority is not enough to enact policy, if the proposed policy violates the limits on Federal power placed on it by the Constitution. But if a majority party says that, in effect, it will interpret the limits in its own way, so as to allow a mere majority to rule without constitutional limits, then such a Union instantly becomes unsafe for the minority.
trice said:
Suppose no "right of secession" exists for any state? Then what? Obviously, anyone seceding would make such a statement. It is implicitly self-serving. I would declare it if I seceded. Again, so what? It has no force in law.
No, Tim, but it does address the issue of why these people supported the remedy of independence from the Union. You had asserted that every complaint had slavery at its base. I showed you complaints that advocates of secession had put forth that had nothing to do with slavery. Whether they were legitimate or not was not what you asserted. You simply said that “slavery is at the bottom of everything they were worried about.”
trice said:
John, saying some words does not establish the validity of a complaint.
Tim, just because you doubt the validity of Southern secessionists’ beliefs does not mean that these beliefs were not sincerely held by the people at the time. If you don’t believe the validity of these complaints, then don’t vote for secession if it comes up.
trice said:
That is what we have courts for in America.
You keep going back to this, but the Federal bench was a party to the dispute. It was a branch of the government whose authority was disputed. I dare say that the British court system wouldn’t have given the colonists of 1775 much of a fair hearing either. Thank God the colonists didn’t try that route. We’d be opening baseball games with God Save the Queen.
trice said:
You seem to find offense in the requirement that these people actually validate what they say. Your first three cites look like nothing more than posturing to the crowds by the secessionists. They remain empty until and unless specific data is supplied proving that such violations did in fact happen, and that they were in fact violations of the Constitution or other law. They claim something specific with no proof it is true.
Tim, since it is in their secession declarations, I would take that as prima facie evidence of the sincerity of the complaint. Perhaps their complaints were not grounded in reality (that is a separate question, that we can debate as well). But that doesn’t mean they weren’t sincerely held as justifications for secession.
As for the veracity of the complaint, are you asserting that New England fishermen did not receive a Federal fishing bounty? Are you asserting that “Mexican banditti” did not raid into Texas with impunity? That Comanches did not attack settlers on the frontier? Do you assert that some Northerners had not asserted that the “general welfare” clause gave them power to pass laws on any issue that Congress wanted to legislate?
Respectfully,
John Taylor
 

trice

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JohnTaylor said:
Tim, whether they were justified and whether they were motivations for secession are two separate inquiries. You seem to be saying that the only complaints you accept a sincerely held were slavery-based complaints. I present non-slavery complaints, and you dismiss them as sound bites. If there were complaints about continued membership in the Union that were not true, the appropriate Northern-Federal response would have been to demonstrate the falseness of the asserted complaint. But these issues were put forth by the people of the seceding States as issues that had caused them to desire independence from the Union. And they had nothing to do with slavery.
No, that is simply wrong. Everyone has "motivations". Lots of people make lots of claims in life. It matters a very great deal if what they claim as their justification is true and accurate, or false and inaccurate.

When they issued their Declarations of Secession, the states were trying to justify themselves and their actions before the world. When the 13 colonies signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776, they were doing the same, to justify why they were revolting against their allegiance to their King and country.

Now you come along and say it doesn't matter. If they had a complaint and it was wrong, you say that is OK. If they lied, no big deal. If they were misinformed, so what? If they saw advantage in twisting the facts, bully for them! Apparently truth has no importance in your view.

If it doesn't, then anything at all can be done and the issues you wish to associate yourself with are all hoaxes -- because what does "Southern honor" mean if you believe they can lie or fabricate anything they want? How can there be a "right" of anything if lies are permitted in all circumstances and there is no need to establish truth. I certainly don't believe such a thing and no one like Robert E. Lee or Jefferson Davis would have stood for you claiming it about their people.

In the office across the hall from my office right now, a homeless guy is living (which is, of course, illegal and a violation of health and zoning regulations). The landlord, discovering he has been hoodwinked by the tenant who told him he had a real estate business, has sent him notice. The tenant says he isn't living there, that his business just requires him to keep odd hours (he arrives after 10 PM and leaves before 8 AM, seven days a week).

Now the guy is working as a waiter in a local restaurant. He collects empty bottles and returns them for deposits -- in NY since NJ doesn't allow that. He has 2 other people (apparently his son and a young woman) and a dog living there with him. There's no need to go too far down this road, but there have been some incidents with bodily waste and dog doo-doo that you really don't want me to go into. Trust me on this.

Yet this man "feels" that he has a grievance -- how dare the landlord evict him! He undoubtedly has "motivations" for what he says -- like the fact that the office is cheaper than an apartment would be. By the standard you are presenting, he should be able to say and do whatever he wants, and the validity of his claims should never be questioned. The landlord, and the other tenants here, should be forced to let him stay, by your reckoning.

Truth matters, John. When someone make a claim, they have to be prepared to back it up -- and if he are wrong, an honorable man admits it. If he cannot face the cold light of honest investigation, odds are what he says is no good at all.

Regards,
Tim
 
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trice

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JohnTaylor said:
Stephens, speaking at the Georgia Legislature in November 1860 was speaking against secession as a remedy. Thus, it would make sense for Stephens to minimize the legitimacy of the complaint. As for Keitt and Memminger, they were willing to rest secession solely on the Personal Liberty Laws of Northern States. Keitt’s brother had been murdered by his slave the previous summer and I am sure Lawrence placed the blame for that on abolitionist agitation. (The inherently abusive nature of the slave system perhaps didn’t enter his mind when considering why his brother’s slave would kill him). Keitt and Memminger were indifferent to the other issues; they just felt that PLLs and excluding slavery from the territories were sufficient justification for independence. Rhett is in a different category from Keitt and Memminger, however. Rhett complained long and bitterly about the economic exploitation of the South by the North through the medium of tariffs and Federal expenditures. So assert that Rhett was indifferent to economic exploitation is to ignore the historical record. I have read a lot of Rhett. Trust me; he felt that economic exploitation was a reason for independence from the North. And ultimately, regardless of what Keitt and Memminger said, the people of South Carolina, in their collective and sovereign capacity, declared that economic exploitation was part of what had driven them to embrace independence.
Look, John, in our posts here you have tried to tell me that something very well known -- the declarations of secession by these states -- wasa deep dark secret (BTW: the SC declaration is in Stamps work "Causes of the Civil War", read by virtually anyone who does serious study on the issue; hardly an unknown).

Above you say "Keitt and Memminger were indifferent to the other issues; they just felt that PLLs and excluding slavery from the territories were sufficient justification for independence." Yet when asked, Keitt, Meminger, and Rhett all concurred that the Fugitive Slave Act was unconstitutional, and the PLLs of the 1850s only reactions to it, nullifying an unconstitutional act of Congress. (Note this means Keitt, Rhett, and Meminger sided with the opinion of the Wisconsin Supreme Court.) How come they disagreed with what you claim they said?

You speak of "And ultimately, regardless of what Keitt and Memminger said, the people of South Carolina, in their collective and sovereign capacity, declared that economic exploitation was part of what had driven them to embrace independence." Yet I just reviewed the declaration again, and I can't see where they did that. Would you please point it out for us?

Regards,
Tim
 

trice

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Quote:
Originally Posted by trice
At the time, 1/8th of the entire Federal Army was stationed in Texas trying to protect Texans, and 7/8ths of the Army was West of the Mississippi to protect the new states and terrtories. In Congress, Southern politicians had often been involved in trying to cut military spending in the late 1850s, and one of Jefferson Davis' last acts in the Senate was to inquire of the War Department about methods to cut spending for the coming budget.

JohnTaylor said:
I’m sure that was small consolation to the victims of Cortina’s depredations and Comanche raids.
Do you, by chance, work in the political industry? I have some friends who do, and they often respond with sound-bites like this when faced with data or questions they don't like.

About this time, Lee sent Major Heintzelman down to get Cortinas, and he did hit him hard, but Cortinas escaped into Mexico with Lee in pursuit. Comanches, Kiowa, and the other tribes were very difficult to catch, and the Staked Plains are difficult places to track people down.

No one says the job was done perfectly. No one says the threat had been wiped out. What I did say was that the US Army was making a major effort in Texas and the West. It took another 40 years or so to really accomplish this task, with more resources by far than were available in 1860 to the Army. You can admit that, can't you? And perhaps acknowledge that the Texas declaration is, shall we say, a bit unrealistic in its claim?
Quote:
Originally Posted by trice
Again, this looks really good as a PR statement for secessionists. Do you think it is justifiable or simply empty words? The Texans certainly had Indian and bandit troubles, and the requirement to protect them is in the treaty of annexation. But it is hard to say how the deed was to be done, and it is obvious the US was devoting a substantial amount of their effort to doing so. In what way do you think this is justified? How had the Federal government failed to try to protect them?

JohnTaylor said:
Maybe by not putting enough troops in Texas to protect the people of the Texas frontier from attacks and depredations?
What troops, John? The entire US Army is only 16,000 men, and 14,000 of them are already West of the Mississippi.
Quote:
Originally Posted by trice
Should there have been 50,000 Federal troops in Texas at the start of 1861 instead of 2200? Would the rest of the South have voted the taxes for tripling or quadrupling or quintupling the size of the Federal Army? Do you think Texas would have been able to secede with tens of thousands of Federal troops in the state -- or would there have just been a bunch of dead Texans if they were silly enough to try?

JohnTaylor said:
Tim, if there were 50,000 troops in Texas defeating Comanche raids and punishing Cortina, then Texas would have had less cause to complain.
Then perhaps the Southern states should have gotten behind raising revenue in the late 1850s instead of cutting expenses, eh? Buchanan's administration suffered from a raft of financial problems, which is one of the reasons the Morill Tariff was passed. If you want 50,000 troops in Texas, you need to have the government pay for them. But then, I already brought that to your attention above, and you ignored it in your response.

It is real easy to complain. It is hard to actually go through the steps needed to solve problems and make sacrifices. Most people don't do it, and the secessionists were just people.

Regards,
Tim
 

trice

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JohnTaylor said:
No, Tim, but it does address the issue of why these people supported the remedy of independence from the Union. You had asserted that every complaint had slavery at its base. I showed you complaints that advocates of secession had put forth that had nothing to do with slavery. Whether they were legitimate or not was not what you asserted. You simply said that “slavery is at the bottom of everything they were worried about.”
John, as I have told you before, the validity of a complaint is important. If it is not, there is nothing but anarchy. No rule of law can survive the situation you insist upon. The very people you are defending would reject the concept you present.


JohnTaylor said:
Tim, just because you doubt the validity of Southern secessionists’ beliefs does not mean that these beliefs were not sincerely held by the people at the time. If you don’t believe the validity of these complaints, then don’t vote for secession if it comes up.
The secessionists insisted they were exerting a legal right and were presenting justifications for their action. That is the entire point of what they claim. If their claims cannot be supported, their actions cannot be supported.

If I believe my neighbor is going to kill me and go over to his house to shoot him first, I assume the burden of proof by my act. Odds are I will be convicted and sent away, because in our society laws matter and truth matters. We don't get to just "feel" we can do something, no matter how sincere we are about it.

JohnTaylor said:
You keep going back to this, but the Federal bench was a party to the dispute. It was a branch of the government whose authority was disputed.
Balderdash. By that reasoning, all of the states are disqualified from seceding because they are also parties to the dispute. The Constitution specifically gives jurisdiction in these matters to the Supreme Court. It was a Southerner who rammed that down the country's throat in the old days.

JohnTaylor said:
I dare say that the British court system wouldn’t have given the colonists of 1775 much of a fair hearing either. Thank God the colonists didn’t try that route. We’d be opening baseball games with God Save the Queen.
John, the colonists understood and acknowledged that they were revolting against their allegiance. This was not a legal question. If they had gone to court, they would have lost, for the good and proper reason that they were acting illegally.

If you want to insist that you are following the law, you go through the system. If you feel that you cannot, you revolt.

OTOH, the secessionists of 1860 rejected that position. They insisted they were following a perfectly legal "right of secession" -- something that never existed before and had no specific basis anywhere beyond theory. That claim puts the burden on them. To exercise such a right, they have to act through the Constitution -- which offers them not one but two methods they might have tried. Yet they did not. They chose all the methods of revolution, and claimed they were acting legally. It does not work that way.

JohnTaylor said:
Tim, since it is in their secession declarations, I would take that as prima facie evidence of the sincerity of the complaint. Perhaps their complaints were not grounded in reality (that is a separate question, that we can debate as well). But that doesn’t mean they weren’t sincerely held as justifications for secession.
Again, sincerity is not the point. They were making a legal claim about the justifications for their action. If their belief was false, their claim is also false.

JohnTaylor said:
As for the veracity of the complaint, are you asserting that New England fishermen did not receive a Federal fishing bounty? Are you asserting that “Mexican banditti” did not raid into Texas with impunity? That Comanches did not attack settlers on the frontier? Do you assert that some Northerners had not asserted that the “general welfare” clause gave them power to pass laws on any issue that Congress wanted to legislate?
None of these are justifications for secession as written.

Whether or not New England fisherman did receive some form of payment would only be meaningful if it were somehow a violation of the agreement that formed the nation.

Undoubtedly there were bandits and Indians in Texas, raiding and plundering. There were also US soldiers trying to suppress them. The complaint is only meaningful in relation to the duty of the government to try to protect its people. If the US was trying (1/8th of the Army out there seems like it),then the question is whether they were making a reasonable good-faith effort. This is the real world, not some fantasy where the US can magically stop every crime that might occur.

Northerners can assert whatever they wish. So can Southerners. That does not make this a valid complaint.

Regards,
Tim
 
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matthew mckeon

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There is an interesting study of the secessionist ordinances passed by the soon to be Confederate states called "Apostles of Disunion." The leading arguments of the secessionists revolved around preserving and extending slavery, with the tariff issues playing a very minor role.

The "public safety" arguments that are being made here..who is making them? The states that "suffered" the most were the border states, Missouri(their border ruffians vs. free soilers), Maryland(many runaways), Virginia(John Brown's raid). Yet these are the states that were the most reluctant to secede, or didn't secede at all. The states keenest to secede, and were the first to secede, were the cotton states, whose economy and society were most influenced by slavery, and who had never seen an abolitionist, and whose slaves had the least chance of escaping.

I'm not saying that the fears about slave uprisings, or John Brown type raids didn't play a part. But its a minor role, IMO.
 

matthew mckeon

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I don't find the tariff argument particularly compelling either. I think Neil calculated the tariff as coming to less than two dollars per person, per year.

Secession, and then war came in bursts of enthusiasm and was fought with extraordinary violence and at tremendous cost. To think that issues like tariff policy provoked such bloodshed and commitment is unpersuasive.

To say the South bolted because of duties on iron...well if the South couldn't contain more than one economic activity at a time, it was not going to survive anyway.
 
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matthew mckeon

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What is persuasive is that slavery couldn't be compromised, or reformed, or even discussed by the slaveowning society. Why? Besides its tremendous economic power, especially in the 1850s, slavery is not just an economic activity like making shoes, or selling nails. It was a way of life that required a belief system about human beings, black and white. This belief system told the people of that society who they were, and what they were valued for. And that was what was threatened.

Whatever they told themselves(and here I am moving into speculation), thoughtful slaveowners must have realized they were in a role that was open to criticism and disapproval, and that abolitionist attacks were on some level justified. Mary Chesnut, Robert E. Lee, and others expressed relief when slavery was abolished. It doesn't mean they wanted to lose the war, or didn't want the CSA to endure, but they were sick of slavery.
 

trice

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matthew mckeon said:
There is an interesting study of the secessionist ordinances passed by the soon to be Confederate states called "Apostles of Disunion." The leading arguments of the secessionists revolved around preserving and extending slavery, with the tariff issues playing a very minor role.
Yes. I remember the book. Since US tariffs in 1857-1860 were the lowest of any of the major countries in Europe or America at the time, it is pretty hard to see why the tariff would be a major part of secession issues.

matthew mckeon said:
The "public safety" arguments that are being made here..who is making them? The states that "suffered" the most were the border states, Missouri(their border ruffians vs. free soilers), Maryland(many runaways), Virginia(John Brown's raid). Yet these are the states that were the most reluctant to secede, or didn't secede at all. The states keenest to secede, and were the first to secede, were the cotton states, whose economy and society were most influenced by slavery, and who had never seen an abolitionist, and whose slaves had the least chance of escaping.
To the best of my knowledge, only Texas made this claim. It is based on a clause in the treaty of annexation of Texas in the 1840s.

Regards,
Tim
 
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trice

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matthew mckeon said:
I don't find the tariff argument particularly compelling either. I think Neil calculated the tariff as coming to less than two dollars per person, per year.
Secession, and then war came in bursts of enthusiasm and was fought with extraordinary violence and at tremendous cost. To think that issues like tariff policy provoked such bloodshed and commitment is unpersuasive.
To say the South bolted because of duties on iron...well if the South couldn't contain more than one economic activity at a time, it was not going to survive anyway.
One of the reasons for the Morill Tariff (introduced in 1860, passed in 1861) is that the Buchanan administration was suffering from some financial embarassment. More revenue was needed or major cuts would be needed.

The military of the 1850s had suffered through hard times, as per usual in peacetime. If Texas, for example, wants greater protection the military needs to be expanded and well-funded, which requires expenditures, which requires revenue, which in the 1860 period means, well, tariffs.

Regards,
Tim
 

JohnTaylor

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matthew mckeon said:
There is an interesting study of the secessionist ordinances passed by the soon to be Confederate states called "Apostles of Disunion." The leading arguments of the secessionists revolved around preserving and extending slavery, with the tariff issues playing a very minor role.

The "public safety" arguments that are being made here..who is making them? The states that "suffered" the most were the border states, Missouri(their border ruffians vs. free soilers), Maryland(many runaways), Virginia(John Brown's raid). Yet these are the states that were the most reluctant to secede, or didn't secede at all. The states keenest to secede, and were the first to secede, were the cotton states, whose economy and society were most influenced by slavery, and who had never seen an abolitionist, and whose slaves had the least chance of escaping.

I'm not saying that the fears about slave uprisings, or John Brown type raids didn't play a part. But its a minor role, IMO.
Matthew, I have read Apostles of Disunion. The problem with Dew's argument is that anything connected with slavery equals slavery itself. Dew seems to be arguing that opposition to Harper's Ferry type of attacks equals protection of slavery per se. This is a fallacy. I might personally oppose bombing abortion clinics and shooting abortion doctors, at the same time oppose abortion on demand as a means of birth control. They are two separate, but related things, and opposing violent anti-abortion acts does not equate to supporting abortion on demand as a means of birth control
Now, I am not saying that non-slaveholders were opposed to slavery per se (most, no doubt, supported the institution, and most would have liked to own slaves themselves). Just that, until the events of 1859-1861, they were not pro-slavery enough to be willing to embrace independence as a remedy. But antislavery violence had grown and was receiving official sanction from Republicans by 1859-1861. So Southern non-slaveholders started to embrace independence in sufficient numbers to make it the majority position in those States.
It is not a coincidence that the first two States to leave the Union had majority black populations. South Carolina, while a minority of the white families were slaveholders (43% of SC white families owned slaves), had a black majority population (57% black to 43% white). Mississippi, in which 49% of families owned slaves, had a population that was 55% black. Thus, if a slave insurrection broke out, nonslaveholders would suffer as much as slaveholding families. That is why the "blackest" States were the first to secede, not the ones that most suffered from antislavery violence to date.
Respectfully,
John Taylor
 

ole

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I'm not saying that the fears about slave uprisings, or John Brown type raids didn't play a part. But its a minor role, IMO.
Sergeant McKeon: I'll have to pick on that a bit. Fear of slaves, uprising or simply unruly, played a significant role as it was this fear that the secessionists used to gain support. Although few southerners owned slaves, one might suppose that most were afraid of having them free. The widely held belief that slaves were savages and would quickly revert to that savage state, along with the claims that the Republicans would soon free the slaves, served to gather the yeoman into the secessionist camp,
Respectfully,
Ole
 
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JohnTaylor

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trice said:
Above you say "Keitt and Memminger were indifferent to the other issues; they just felt that PLLs and excluding slavery from the territories were sufficient justification for independence."
Just to clarify, what I meant to write was that "Keitt and Memminger were not indifferent to the other issues; they just felt that PLLs and excluding slavery from the territories were sufficient justification for independence."
Apologies about any confusion.
Respectfully,
John Taylor
 

JohnTaylor

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trice said:
You speak of "And ultimately, regardless of what Keitt and Memminger said, the people of South Carolina, in their collective and sovereign capacity, declared that economic exploitation was part of what had driven them to embrace independence." Yet I just reviewed the declaration again, and I can't see where they did that. Would you please point it out for us?
"The Southern States now stand in the same relation toward the Northern States, in the vital matter of taxation, that our ancestors stood toward the people of Great Britain. They are in a minority in Congress. Their representation in Congress is useless to protect them against unjust taxation, and they are taxed by the people of the North for their benefit exactly as the people of Great Britain taxed our ancestors in the British Parliament for their benefit. For the last forty years the taxes laid by the Congress of the United States have been laid with a view of subserving the interests of the North. The people of the South have been taxed by duties on imports not for revenue, but for an object inconsistent with revenue -- to promote, by prohibitions, Northern interests in the productions of their mines and manufactures.
... The people of the Southern States are not only taxed for the benefit of the Northern States, but after the taxes are collected three-fourths of them are expended at the North. This cause, with others connected with the operation of the General Government, has provincialized the cities of the South. Their growth is paralyzed, while they are the mere suburbs of Northern cities. The bases of the foreign commerce of the United States are the agricultural productions of the South; yet Southern cities do not carry it on. Our foreign trade is almost annihilated. In 1740 there were five shipyards in South Carolina to build ships to carry on our direct trade with Europe. Between 1740 and 1779 there were built in these yards twenty-five square-rigged vessels, beside a great number of sloops and schooners to carry on our coast and West India trade. In the half century immediately preceding the Revolution, from 1725 to 1775, the population of South Carolina increased seven-fold." (Source: "The Address of the people of South Carolina, assembled in Convention, to the people of the Slaveholding States of the United States," please tell me you have read this)
The Convention declared their belief that the Federal system of taxes and expenditures had turned the South into the cash cow for the North.
Respectfully,
John Taylor
 
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