slavery is at the bottom of everything they were worried about

JohnTaylor

Sergeant
Joined
Feb 7, 2006
trice said:
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?
Now you are moving the goal posts. Perhaps you meant to say that "slavery was at the bottom of every justified complaint the South put forth." Of course, that puts you in the odd position of arguing that slavery-based complaints were in some way legitimate.
This is fascinating.
Respectfully,
John Taylor
 
Joined
Oct 3, 2005
Dear JT,
Thanks for replying to my post. If I understand your post, you are stating that fear of a slave uprising in the states with the highest black populations drove those states to secession. The coorelation between secession and slavery is due to an increased fear of slave uprisings among regions with more slaves. And the responsibility for this fear lies solely with John Brown and his confederates. Again, I don't find it that persuasive.

During the war, when one would think the danger of a racial rebellion and massive bloodletting would be at its height, the seceding states send the majority of their potential miltary force to fight the Yankees. The threat was the federal government, not from the slaves, and it was the legal and political abolition of slavery, not an armed struggle between black and white.

A second point. You used the analogy of the current controversy over abortion, distinguishing between legal protesters and users of illegal violence(bombings and so forth). Transporting ourselves back to the 1850s, what was the legal methods to protest slavery, particularly if you were a citizen in a Southern state. What kinds of response would those protests bring?
 

trice

Lt. Colonel
Joined
May 2, 2006
JohnTaylor said:
Now you are moving the goal posts. Perhaps you meant to say that "slavery was at the bottom of every justified complaint the South put forth." Of course, that puts you in the odd position of arguing that slavery-based complaints were in some way legitimate.
This is fascinating.

John, surely you understand that everyone needs to justify the complaints they make, or to withdraw them? Why would anyone pay attention to a complaint they knew was unjust?

We refer to suits brought without a basis as frivolous. Is that what you would have us believe these people were? Frivolous secessionists? They didn't think they were, and I think they would take great exception to your view.

In putting forth their declarations of secession, the seceding states are attempting to justfiy their actions before the world. The declarations are only in support of the actual ordinances. They are not part of them and have no force of law. They exist only to present to the world the reasons for the action.

Now you tell us that it doesn't matter a bit if their claims were justified. You tell us it only matters if they "felt" them. Balderdash. If the basis on which they acted was wrong, ==THEY== were wrong.

An example you point out mentions "Fishing Bounties". There were such bounties. They had been paid for decades. Andrew Jackson mentions them in one of his State of the Union addresses; Alexander Stephens defends them in his address to the GA legislature in 1860. What makes you think the secessionists had any reason to secede over them?

Why in the world do you find it objectionable to actually check up on what the secessionists said? Is there some particular reason you demand that they be untouchable? That no one can question them?

Regards,
Tim
 

trice

Lt. Colonel
Joined
May 2, 2006
JohnTaylor said:
"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.

I see. You are not talking about the Declaration of the Immediate Causes Which Induce and Justify the Secession of South Carolina from the Federal Union at all. The Address was written by Rhett, not Meminger.

Now obviously, since Mr. Rhett had just declared a few days before in from of his fellow convention members that some of the things he asserts in the Address were not valid causes of secession -- and yet here he asserts they were -- consistency is clearly not his strong point.

I have a question for you here: do you believe that the points this man makes in this document are valid ones that justify the act of secession, whether it is constitutional or not?

Regards,
Tim
 

JohnTaylor

Sergeant
Joined
Feb 7, 2006
trice said:
Now obviously, since Mr. Rhett had just declared a few days before in from of his fellow convention members that some of the things he asserts in the Address were not valid causes of secession -- and yet here he asserts they were -- consistency is clearly not his strong point.
You keep saying this, but you are misquoting Rhett. Rhett said (in the one 1881 source you like to quote) that some people denied the constitutionality of the FSL. Rhett himself was not among those people. Rhett beat the economic exploitation drum for a long time. To him, the siphoning off of Southern wealth into Northern pockets was a serious issue. He made this case for a long time.
And as for Keitt and Memminger, they were not saying that these other (non-slavery) causes were irrelevant, just that restrictions on slaveholding in the Territories and PLLs were sufficient causes to justify secession.
And, in the end, the people of South Carolina, in the aggregate, declared that sectional economic exploitation was a cause for secession. Otherwise, they would not have mentioned it in the aforementioned declaration.
Respectfully,
John Taylor
 

JohnTaylor

Sergeant
Joined
Feb 7, 2006
trice said:
I have a question for you here: do you believe that the points this man makes in this document are valid ones that justify the act of secession, whether it is constitutional or not?
If the Union were to develop a system of taxation that unfairly targeted the people of one State (or section), and the people of that State (or section) found such to be oppressive and intolerable, then yes, that, in my mind would be a valid reason for secession, because the alternative would be that people must accept oppression that they found intolerable. Hardly a just basis for a system of government. And very unAmerican.
Respectfully,
John Taylor
 

johan_steele

Regimental Armorer
Retired Moderator
Joined
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Location
South of the North 40
John Taylor & Trice I want to thank the two of you for making me do some etra reading and research. Anything that makes me think or double check my opinions... is greatly appreciated.

It is debate like this for which I truly love this board.
 

trice

Lt. Colonel
Joined
May 2, 2006
JohnTaylor said:
If the Union were to develop a system of taxation that unfairly targeted the people of one State (or section), and the people of that State (or section) found such to be oppressive and intolerable, then yes, that, in my mind would be a valid reason for secession, because the alternative would be that people must accept oppression that they found intolerable. Hardly a just basis for a system of government. And very unAmerican.

Avoidning the question I asked. Don't tell us that it *might* have been so *if* something happened in the future. The secessionists made the assertion that the existing system was already a cause for secession. You say this was so. Yet the tariff currently in place was the lowest in the world for any similar country. Please justify this and give us a clear answer. Were the secessionists of SC correct? Or were the secessionists of SC wrong? Which one is it?

Regards,
Tim
 

JohnTaylor

Sergeant
Joined
Feb 7, 2006
matthew mckeon said:
matthew mckeon said:
Thanks for replying to my post. If I understand your post, you are stating that fear of a slave uprising in the states with the highest black populations drove those states to secession. The coorelation between secession and slavery is due to an increased fear of slave uprisings among regions with more slaves. And the responsibility for this fear lies solely with John Brown and his confederates. Again, I don't find it that persuasive.
I'm sure that Southerners (both slaveholders and nonslaveholders) would place the blame on Abolitionist agitation. Of course, we, viewing from our perspective at the beginning of the twenty-first century, can see that at least some of the blame lies in the nature of the system itself. States with no slaves need fear no slave uprisings. (Although many Northerners were keen to not have free blacks living in their midst, as chronicled in Litwack's North of Slavery) But if a State tolerates an institution like chattel slavery, is telling slaves to slit their masters' throats ethical? Must the nonslaveholding majority of such a State simply accept that as a form of political discourse? Or does engaging in such provocative behavior excuse the nonslaveholding majority for wanting out of a union with people who would engage in such political discourse?
matthew mckeon said:
During the war, when one would think the danger of a racial rebellion and massive bloodletting would be at its height, the seceding states send the majority of their potential military force to fight the Yankees. The threat was the federal government, not from the slaves, and it was the legal and political abolition of slavery, not an armed struggle between black and white.
Southerners, especially slaveholding Southerners, engaged in a lot of whistling past the graveyard on the issue of slave violence. Most would swear that their slaves were contented with their lot, and had no inclination to rise up and kill their masters. yet the fear of slave uprising was endemic in the South. See Channing's Crisis of Fear, or Freehling's Prelude to Disunion, or Secessionists at Bay.
matthew mckeon said:
A second point. You used the analogy of the current controversy over abortion, distinguishing between legal protesters and users of illegal violence(bombings and so forth). Transporting ourselves back to the 1850s, what was the legal methods to protest slavery, particularly if you were a citizen in a Southern state. What kinds of response would those protests bring?
Protesting against slavery in the South would most likely result in, to use a euphemism I heard growing up in the South, "a butt whuppin'," or a coat of tar and feathers. Unfortunately, Victorian era Americans were not very good at expressing ideas with moderation. Helper did in fact suggest that slaves slit their masters' throats. This kind of over the top rhetoric gave reasons for banning the book and proscribing politicians who would endorse it. If he had stopped at merely saying that slavery was holding back the South economically, and was bad for the white population, the reaction might have been different. Who knows?

Respectfully,
John Taylor
 

JohnTaylor

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Joined
Feb 7, 2006
trice said:
Avoidning the question I asked. Don't tell us that it *might* have been so *if* something happened in the future. The secessionists made the assertion that the existing system was already a cause for secession. You say this was so. Yet the tariff currently in place was the lowest in the world for any similar country. Please justify this and give us a clear answer. Were the secessionists of SC correct? Or were the secessionists of SC wrong? Which one is it?
trice said:
Regards,
Tim
Tim, for some reason you have a hard time understanding this. Keitt and Memminger said that they felt that the Personal Liberties Laws and exclusion of slaves from the territories were sufficient to justify secession. These were two delegates of 167. Collectively, the people of South Carolina declared (in the declaration quoted) that economic exploitation of the South (via tariffs and Federal expenditures) was one of the reason why they wanted out of the Union.
The fracture of the Democratic party on tariff policy meant that Southerners had no ability to stop the impending increase of the tariff. With Northern Democrats abandoning the low tariff position in Congress, two more Kansas Republican Senators coming soon, and a Republican in the White House, everybody knew tariffs were going up. Seceding before they actually enacted the increase would at least mean getting out of the Union while Buchanan was still the commander in chief, and peaceful secession was a possibility.
“There is no difference between a Connecticut or Rhode Island Democrat and a Black Republican. ... Both agree in their general views of the Constitution; and are in favor of Protective Tariffs, Internal Improvements, ‘Land for the Landless,’ and the exclusion of the South from the territories. They differ in the mode of carrying out their policy in one single particular – the exclusion of the South from the Territories. That is all. ... Both pander to the interests, avarice and fanaticism of the North, and must sacrifice the South by their ascendancy. ... If there were no future progress – no future aggressions on the institution of slavery – we say that here is enough, and more than enough, to arm every true Southern man against the base surrender of the liberties and rights, the consummation of such a policy implies. But will there be no future aggressions? ... The Democratic party of the North ... gave way ... on Abolition petitions in Congress, .. . on the Wilmot proviso, .. . on the tariff and Internal Improvements. If tariffs are pushed to entire prohibition – if internal improvements for the benefit of the North shall screw the imports up to the last dollar – if we shall be turned out of every foot of our magnificent domain, purchased by our money, won by our blood – who will respect the complaints, or fear the opposition of so weak and dastardly a people?" (Charleston Mercury, 12 April 1860, pg. 1, col. 2)
Before you say that this was before the House vote on the Morrilll Tariff, the story was a response to the fact that the Connecticut and Rhode Island Democrats had endorsed a protective tariff, and were still beaten in State elections. Increased tariff rates were coming for all to see.
Respectfully,
John Taylor
 

JohnTaylor

Sergeant
Joined
Feb 7, 2006
Perhaps this is your problem

trice said:
I have a question for you here: do you believe that the points this man makes in this document are valid ones that justify the act of secession, whether it is constitutional or not?
Tim, the Address was not a declaration of "this man" as you say, but was adopted by the people of South Carolina, in convention assembled. Rhett was one of the seven who drafted the Address. The Address was ratified by the Convention as a whole.
But I assert that you are mischaracterizing Rhett. Your 1881 source gets him garbled. Rhett never said that he considered the FSL to be unconstitutional, just that some others did. Stating that the FSL was unconstitutional would be very un-Rhett. I will look into the proceedings of the South Carolina Convention and let you know.
Use precise words precisely.
Respectfully,
John Taylor
 

JohnTaylor

Sergeant
Joined
Feb 7, 2006
Originally posted by Tim: "do you believe that the points this man makes in this document are valid ones that justify the act of secession, whether it is constitutional or not?"

To which I responded, "If the Union were to develop a system of taxation that unfairly targeted the people of one State (or section), and the people of that State (or section) found such to be oppressive and intolerable, then yes, that, in my mind would be a valid reason for secession, because the alternative would be that people must accept oppression that they found intolerable. Hardly a just basis for a system of government. And very unAmerican."
So which is it Tim? Do you want to know if I thought SC's complaint would justify secession, or do you want to know whether South Carolina thought it justified secession?
They thought it justified independence.
If someone could show me that my State was being exploited by unequal taxation, and my State had declared that it found the exploitation to be unconstitutional (because it promotes not the general welfare, but particular sectional welfare), and that they would secede if it didn't cease, then yes, I'd feel they were justified in seceding.
Gee, Tim, this is not complicated. Your question might have been poorly worded, but I hope this answers it nevertheless.
Respectfully,
John Taylor
 

JohnTaylor

Sergeant
Joined
Feb 7, 2006
I said, "the Federal bench was a party to the dispute. It was a branch of the government whose authority was disputed."
trice said:
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.
Actually, who was the final arbiter of the meaning of the Constitution was a subject of debate from the beginning of the Republic. I, for one, see that the Commonwealth of Kentucky in 1799 made a compelling case for the idea that, since the people of the States were the delegators of every Federal power, in a dispute between the delegators and the agent that they created over whether a particular power was in fact delegated, that the original owners of the power in question had at least as good a right as the agent to determine the answer. The Federal judiciary was a component part of the agent.
But this dispute was whether the States in question were in the Union and whether the Constitution of the United States had any authority over them after they had withdrawn. Article VII of the Constitution clearly leaves that up to the Conventions of each State to decide.

And there was the issue of self-government and the rule of the people.

The Founders in Philadelphia confronted the unanimity requirement for amending the AoC ("Article XIII: "the Articles of this Confederation shall be inviolably observed by every State, and the Union shall be perpetual; nor shall any alteration at any time hereafter be made in any of them; unless such alteration be agreed to in a Congress of the United States, and be afterwards confirmed by the legislatures of every State."). Madison said this:
The people were in fact, the fountain of all power, and by resorting to them, all difficulties were got over. They could alter constitutions as they pleased. It was a principle in the Bills of rights, that first principles might be resorted to.” James Madison, Federal Convention, August 31st, 1787
(Resorting to "first principles" gave the States the power to ignore the Articles of Confederation provision requiring unanimity for any amendment to take effect. The fountain of all power outweighed this explicit provision of the AoC. And the Constitution went into effect, even though Rhode Island didn't even send a delegate, and North Carolina refused to ratify.)

“We, the people, possessing all power, form a government, such as we think will secure happiness: and suppose, in adopting this plan, we should be mistaken in the end; where is the cause of alarm on that quarter? In the same plan we point out an easy and quiet method of reforming what may be found amiss. No, but, say gentlemen, we have put the introduction of that method in the hands of our servants, who will interrupt it from motives of self-interest. What then? We will resist, did my friend say? conveying an idea of force. Who shall dare to resist the people? No, we will assemble in Convention; wholly recall our delegated powers, or reform them so as to prevent such abuse; and punish those servants who have perverted powers, designed for our happiness, to their own emolument. Edmund Pendleton, Virginia Convention, June 5th 1788. (Since the people of the States had delegated powers to the Federal government in State Conventions, each State deciding for itself only, how else could they resume them?)

At the very least, Federal coercion of membership in the Union was antidemocratic.
Respectfully,
John Taylor
 

trice

Lt. Colonel
Joined
May 2, 2006
JohnTaylor said:
Originally posted by Tim: "do you believe that the points this man makes in this document are valid ones that justify the act of secession, whether it is constitutional or not?"

To which I responded, "If the Union were to develop a system of taxation that unfairly targeted the people of one State (or section), and the people of that State (or section) found such to be oppressive and intolerable, then yes, that, in my mind would be a valid reason for secession, because the alternative would be that people must accept oppression that they found intolerable. Hardly a just basis for a system of government. And very unAmerican."
So which is it Tim? Do you want to know if I thought SC's complaint would justify secession, or do you want to know whether South Carolina thought it justified secession?
They thought it justified independence.
If someone could show me that my State was being exploited by unequal taxation, and my State had declared that it found the exploitation to be unconstitutional (because it promotes not the general welfare, but particular sectional welfare), and that they would secede if it didn't cease, then yes, I'd feel they were justified in seceding.
Gee, Tim, this is not complicated. Your question might have been poorly worded, but I hope this answers it nevertheless.

I did not ask you if "They" thought it was justified. I asked you if *you* thought their complaint was justified. You have once again avoided saying yes or no by going off into theoretical "if" conditions.

Do you actually believe they were being subjected to or exploited by unequal taxes in December of 1860? Please give a definite answer. If not, say "No, I do not believe their complaint was valid.". If you do, say "Yes, I do believe their complaint was valid." Or, if neither applies, simply say "I do not know if their complaint was valid or invalid".

Regards,
Tim
 

trice

Lt. Colonel
Joined
May 2, 2006
JohnTaylor said:
I said, "the Federal bench was a party to the dispute. It was a branch of the government whose authority was disputed." Actually, who was the final arbiter of the meaning of the Constitution was a subject of debate from the beginning of the Republic. I, for one, see that the Commonwealth of Kentucky in 1799 made a compelling case for the idea that, since the people of the States were the delegators of every Federal power, in a dispute between the delegators and the agent that they created over whether a particular power was in fact delegated, that the original owners of the power in question had at least as good a right as the agent to determine the answer. The Federal judiciary was a component part of the agent.
But this dispute was whether the States in question were in the Union and whether the Constitution of the United States had any authority over them after they had withdrawn. ...

Nope. The question of secession is whether or not the state can leave unilaterally. If they have such a right, the law of the US does not apply to them after they leave. If they can't leave, the law does apply.

So at what point did all the states hold conventions to discuss the matter of the "right of secession"? I can't recall any other time in history that such a "right" was found to exist before the Confederacy attempted it.

JohnTaylor said:
At the very least, Federal coercion of membership in the Union was antidemocratic.

Well, no. Democracy is essentially about majority rule, and it is clear that the majority was opposed to secession as the South attempted it.

Regards,
Tim
 

JohnTaylor

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Joined
Feb 7, 2006
trice said:
Nope. The question of secession is whether or not the state can leave unilaterally. If they have such a right, the law of the US does not apply to them after they leave. If they can't leave, the law does apply.
And the sovereign,(the people of each State, deciding for itself) denied jurisdiction to the judicial arm of the agent that the sovereign created.
trice said:
So at what point did all the states hold conventions to discuss the matter of the "right of secession"? I can't recall any other time in history that such a "right" was found to exist before the Confederacy attempted it.
You haven't read Elliott's Debates, have you?
trice said:
Well, no. Democracy is essentially about majority rule, and it is clear that the majority was opposed to secession as the South attempted it.
Which would be sufficient if the United States were a consolidated democracy. In a federal system, the majority concerned is the people of each State (i.e. each State deciding for itself whether to remain in the Union or not). The majority of the people of South Carolina was over-ruled when the agent (the Federal government) overthrew the State government by force of arms and forced the State back into the Union against the expressed will of the people of that State. Not very democratic, as I said.

Respectfully,
John Taylor
 

JohnTaylor

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Joined
Feb 7, 2006
trice said:
Do you actually believe they were being subjected to or exploited by unequal taxes in December of 1860?
I would say, I don't know. I can neither confirm nor deny the assertion. Data are simply not available.
Figures floated before the war commonly asserted that the South paid 2/3, 3/4, or even 4/5 of the tariff revenues. I remain unconvinced that the South paid even the majority of tariff revenues. The majority of consumers would seem to have lived in the North. Given the choice, I would not have voted for secession based on that alleged exploitation.
Respectfully,
John Taylor
 

Battalion

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Joined
Dec 30, 2005
JohnTaylor said:
I would say, I don't know. I can neither confirm nor deny the assertion. Data are simply not available.
Figures floated before the war commonly asserted that the South paid 2/3, 3/4, or even 4/5 of the tariff revenues. I remain unconvinced that the South paid even the majority of tariff revenues. The majority of consumers would seem to have lived in the North. Given the choice, I would not have voted for secession based on that alleged exploitation.
Respectfully,
John Taylor


Effect of secession on the collection of revenue from the tariff-

Reports of the Secretary of the Treasury

Fiscal Year..................July 1859-June 1860.........July 1860-June 1861
1st Quarter.....................$15,947,670.62................$16,119,831.22
2nd Quarter....................$10,785,849.93....................-no report-*
3rd Quarter.....................$14,962,783.68....................-no report-*
4th Quarter.....................$11,491,207.64................$ 5,527,246.33**

Totals............................$53,187,511.87................$39,553,819.81

*A total for the fiscal year was given...but there were no reports for the 2nd and 3rd quarters.

**Morrill tariff in effect

~~~~

Fiscal Year July 1860-June 1861
Amount collected in first four months........................$19,836,379.94
Amount collected in last eight months........................19,717,439.87
 

trice

Lt. Colonel
Joined
May 2, 2006
JohnTaylor said:
I would say, I don't know. I can neither confirm nor deny the assertion. Data are simply not available.
Figures floated before the war commonly asserted that the South paid 2/3, 3/4, or even 4/5 of the tariff revenues. I remain unconvinced that the South paid even the majority of tariff revenues. The majority of consumers would seem to have lived in the North. Given the choice, I would not have voted for secession based on that alleged exploitation.

Nice to see you actually take a position.

Since you don't know if their claim was valid or not, I assume you also acknowledge that their reasoning for secession might be right or wrong.

"If" they were wrong, what do you think should be said about them? Do you think they had a duty to themselves (if no one else) to act only on what they knew to be true, to avoid acting in error?

Regards,
Tim
 

trice

Lt. Colonel
Joined
May 2, 2006
Battalion said:
Effect of secession on the collection of revenue from the tariff-

Reports of the Secretary of the Treasury

Fiscal Year..................July 1859-June 1860.........July 1860-June 1861
1st Quarter.....................$15,947,670.62................$16,119,831.22
2nd Quarter....................$10,785,849.93....................-no report-*
3rd Quarter.....................$14,962,783.68....................-no report-*
4th Quarter.....................$11,491,207.64................$ 5,527,246.33**

Totals............................$53,187,511.87................$39,553,819.81

*A total for the fiscal year was given...but there were no reports for the 2nd and 3rd quarters.

**Morrill tariff in effect

~~~~

Fiscal Year July 1860-June 1861
Amount collected in first four months........................$19,836,379.94
Amount collected in last eight months........................19,717,439.87

What is it that you believe this shows us?

Regards,
Tim
 

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