Slavery; THE Cause?

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dawna

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Cash:

And what of expanding the West to exclude blacks because of racial purity? The 'destiny' of Northern capitalists did not include living with freed slaves. Go west young man...but only if you're the right colour, religion, and nationality.

Dawna
 

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cash

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dawna said:
Cash:

And what of expanding the West to exclude blacks because of racial purity? The 'destiny' of Northern capitalists did not include living with freed slaves. Go west young man...but only if you're the right colour, religion, and nationality.

Dawna
Dawna, that was never the reason for expansion.

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Cash
 

dawna

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Cash:

I understand that this was not the reason for expansion, but that this was largely due to the fact that people of the United States had convinced themselves that it was their Manifest Destiny, and God-given right, to take/steal land from within the bounds of sea to shining sea. These lofty ideals were exclusive and firmly entrenched - only white, blond-haired, blue-eyed and theological racists need apply.

Dawna
 

cash

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dawna said:
Cash:

I understand that this was not the reason for expansion, but that this was largely due to the fact that people of the United States had convinced themselves that it was their Manifest Destiny, and God-given right, to take/steal land from within the bounds of sea to shining sea. These lofty ideals were exclusive and firmly entrenched - only white, blond-haired, blue-eyed and theological racists need apply.

Dawna
---------

Except that the reason for the expansion was to expand slavery.

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Cash
 
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Cash -

Are you saying that the reason for manifest destiny was simply to expand slavery westward? I always thought it was a general thirst for territory and resources, slavery or not. What did slavery, per se, have to do with it?
 
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Cash -

Are you saying that the reason for manifest destiny was simply to expand slavery westward? I always thought it was a general thirst for territory and resources, slavery or not. What did slavery, per se, have to do with it?
 

cash

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Slavery had almost everything to do with it. Expansion of slavery was behind the land grabs of getting Texas and the war with Mexico. Expansion of slavery was behind the filibusters of the 1840s attempting to take over parts of Mexico, Central and South America, and Cuba. Expansion of slavery was behind getting California.

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Cash
 

dawna

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Cash:

Are you suggesting that the Northern capitalists at the time of the Civil War did not want slavery expanded westward because of 'moral' reasons?

Dawna
 

cash

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dawna said:
Cash:

Are you suggesting that the Northern capitalists at the time of the Civil War did not want slavery expanded westward because of 'moral' reasons?

Dawna
-----------

Dawna,

The record is clear that while there were a few who wanted to keep blacks out of the territories, the vast majority opposed slavery and agreed with Lincoln that slavery was a snake in the bed, and the best way to protect the child was to not allow the snake in the bed in the first place.

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Cash
 
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dawna said:
Cash:

I understand that this was not the reason for expansion, but that this was largely due to the fact that people of the United States had convinced themselves that it was their Manifest Destiny, and God-given right, to take/steal land from within the bounds of sea to shining sea. These lofty ideals were exclusive and firmly entrenched - only white, blond-haired, blue-eyed and theological racists need apply.

Dawna
Dawna -

I couldn't agree with you more. Manifest Destiny was probably our biggest mistake as a young nation. Who were we to try and claim lands that were already being lived on? Imperialism at its best from a nation that was born in its rabid stance against Imperalism. Racism however is not just an American issue. France, Spain, Germany, Holland, Italy and even England are guilty of racism during their colonial period in Africa and Southeast Asia. (Psst.. somebody please remind France of this; they seem to think that they've walked through history as meek as lambs).

On that note, here is some food for thought; I always like to remind those who study history that we often have a very bad habit of trying to place current views on race and equality upon those who lived in the past. I mean, by our standards, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson and George Washington and many other icons would be classified as racists today when their attitudes towards other races were very much in line with the attitudes of the day. Neither Lincoln, Washington or Jefferson lived through the changing attitudes towards minorities that occurred in the 1950s and 1960s. We can even go further back in the past and look at the Crusades and classify that period of our history as a misguided holocaust whose only intent was to pry lands and wealth away from the Muslims. I guess we have to look upon the past as a kind of impartial observer. We can't really judge them, that should be left to God, but we definitely can and should learn from their mistakes. Learning from our past mistakes is really the true treasure to be found in studying history. I think its called Wisdom.
 

dawna

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MKotyk said:
Learning from our past mistakes is really the true treasure to be found in studying history. I think its called Wisdom.
Mike:

It is that Wisdom and the ability to put things into perspective as a result of studying history that is so valuable in defining our current circumstances; and also the continuing benefits that are derived from increased knowledge, the elimination of prejudices, and further understanding of human nature.

Dawna
 

unionblue

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Volume II, American War. Speech II.
ROCHDALE, November 24, 1863.

"...But I will tell you candidly, that if it was not for one cause, I should consider as hopeless and useless the attempt to subjugate the Southern States; and I will tell the parties upon whose views I have been commenting, that it is the object and purpose which they have that has rendered success by Secessionists absolutely impossible. Indeed, if the moral and intellectual faculties of this country had not been misled upon that question, systematically misled, they would have been unanimous and of one opinion. We were told in the House of Commons by one, whom it was almost incredible to behold and think saying so--who was once the great champion of democracy and of the rights and privileges of the unsophisticated millions,--we heard him say--I heard him say myself--that this civil war was originated because the South wished to establish Free-trade principles, and the North would not allow it.

...Well, I confess to you what I confessed to my friends when I returned, that I felt disappointed, when I was at Washington in the spring of 1859, and that there was so little interest felt on the Free-trade question. There was no party formed, no public agitation; there was no discussion whatever upon the subject of Free Trade and protection. The political field was wholly occupied by one question, and that question was SLAVERY.

Now, I will mention an illustrative fact, which I have not seen referred to. To my mind, it is conclusive on this subject. In December, 1860, whilst Congress was sitting, and when the country was in the agony of suspense, fearing the impending rupture amongst them, a committee of their body, comprising thrity-three members, being one representative from every State then in the Union,--that committee, called the Committee of Thirty-three, sat from December 11th, 1860, to January 14th, 1861. They were instructed by Congress to inquire into the perilous state of the Union, and try to devise some means by which the catastrophe of a secesion could be averted. Here is a report of the proceedings in that committee [holding up a book in his hand]. I am afraid there is not another report in this country. I have reason to know so. There are forty pages. I have read every line. The members of the Southern States, the representatives of the Slave States, were invited by the representatives of the Free States to state candidly and frankly what were the terms they required, in order that they might continue peaceable in the Union; but in every page you see their propositions brought forward, and from beginning to end there is not one syllable said about tariff or taxation. From the beginning to end there is propositions calling on the North to give increased security for the maintenance of that institution; they are invited to extend the area of slavery; to make laws, by which fugitive slaves might be given up; they are pressed to make treaties with foreign Powers, by which foreign Powers might give up fugitive slaves; but, from the beginning to end, no grievance is mentioned except connected with slavery,--it is slavery, slavery, slavery, from the beginning to the end. Is it not astonishing, in the face of facts like these, that any one should have the temerity, so little regard to decency and self-respect, as to get up in the House of Commons, and say that secession has been upon a question of Free Trade and Protection?

Well, this is a war to perpetuate and extend human slavery. It is a war not to defend slavery as it was left by their ancestors--I mean, a thing to be retained and to be apologised for,--it is a war to establish a slave empire,--a war in which slavery shall be made the cornerstone of the social system,--a war which shall be defended and justified on scriptural and on ethnological grounds. Well, I say, God pardon the men, who, in this year of grace 1863, should think that such a project as that could be crowned with success."

You can view the entire speech here at the following web site:

http://www.econlib.org/library/YPDBooks/Cobden/cbdSPP38.html#Vol.%20II,%20American%20War,%20Speech%202

Slavery, what a surprise.

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unionblue

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Friends,

Found some interesting numbers in the recent issue of Time magazine (Special Issue, July 4, 2005, Uncovering The Real Abe Lincoln).

On page 60 of this issue, there is a chart called, 'Slavery Up Close', which gives the following information:

Totals 1860
Number of slaves:

The US
3,953,731 (12.7% of pop.)

States That Formed The Confederacy
3,525,110 (38.7% of pop.)

Families Owning Slaves:

The US
7.6% Owned Slaves

States That Formed The Confederacy
30.8% Owned Slaves

Slaves And Owners:
Most Southerners didn't own slaves, and most who did weren't wealthy planters but were small-scale farmers and workers. More than half of all slaves were younger than 19.

Percentage of families that owned slaves, by state:
State 0-----10-----20-----30-----40-----50%
MS----xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
SC----xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
GA----xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
AL----xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
FL----xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
LA----xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
NC----xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
TX----xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
VA----xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
TN----xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
KY----xxxxxxxxxxxxx
AK----xxxxxxxxxxx
MO---xxxxxxxx
MD---xxxxxxx
DL----xx

Number of slaveowners owning...

-------0-----50,000-----100,000-----150,000
1 slave-xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
2 to 5 -xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
6 to 9 -xxxxxxxxxxxx
10to19-xxxxxxxxxxxx
20to49-xxxxx
50to99-xx
100+ --x

Other items of interest:

Of the 15 people in the US who owned more than 500 slaves, 8 were in South Carolina.

Largest slave population: 37,290, Charleston, South Carolina.

Highest concentration of slaves: 92.5% in Issaquena County, Miss., 115 owners held 7,244 slaves.

Largest number of free blacks: 25,680 in Baltimore, Maryland.

New Jersey had 18 slaves at this time.

Delaware had 1,798 slaves at this time.

Kansas Territory had 2 slaves.

Nebraska Territory had 15 slaves.

Less than 5% of slaves taken from Africa came to North America.

Transatlantic slave imports, 1450-1870:

1. Brazil--------------------- 4 million slaves
2. Spanish Empire-------------2.5 million slaves
3. British West Indies -------- 2 million slaves
4. French West Indies ------- 1.6 million slaves
5. British North America & US---500,000 slaves
6. Dutch West Indies ----------500,000 slaves
7. Danish West Indies ----------28,000 slaves
8. Europe ---------------------200,000 slaves

Source: Census Bureau, Population of the United States in 1860; Map Guide to the US Federal Censuses, 1790-1920, by William Thorndale and William Dollarhide; Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research; University of Virginia; estimates on slave imports from The Slave Trade, by Hugh Thomas, 1997 (Simon & Schuster.)

Unionblue
 

unionblue

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Interesting,

Just finished reading the book, The Lincoln-Douglas Debates, The First Complete, Unexpurgated Text, edited by Harold Holzer.

The book makes for such an interesting read as the title suggests, the full, untampered speeches of both Douglas and Lincoln are there in plain view for the reader to see for the first time.

What got my interest was the subject matter. The tariff was not mentioned as an issue that was agitating the country at the time of these important debates. Slavery was.

In fact, out of the seven debates between Douglas and Lincoln, Douglas mentioned the tariff only six times in five of the seven debates, Lincoln not once in all of the debates. And then, it was only mentioned as a past problem that had troubled the nation.

Now, as to the subject of slavery, it was mentioned 854 separate times in all seven debates by both Lincoln and Douglas. Even Douglas mentioned that this was the only source of agitation known to the nation 'at this time.'

Unionblue
 

unionblue

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"The whole social institution of the people in the slave-holding states rested as they then supposed upon the stability of the right, which was involved with the ownership of slaves.

It was reputed to be the cornerstone of that society, which for ages had rested upon it, and which it was supposed would be overthrown at its removal. All of the transactions of life were based upon it; all of the arrangements for the progress of society were made with reference to it;...It was thus that the remarkable unanimity was produced in all of these states. No other cause would have produced it."


A.G. Magrath, Nov. 20, 1865.

Unionblue
 
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You are ABSOLUTELY correct....slavery was the ROOT cause of the War! Any and all other extraneous reasons are rooted in slavery. Quite simply, the "other reasons" wouldn't have existed if it had not been for slavery. Perhaps the following quote provides the best summary:
What caused the American Civil War? It is amazing that even today, over 130 years after the Civil War started, there is passionate debate regarding the "cause" of the Civil War. Consider this:


It is a fact that when the armies for the North and South were first formed, only a small minority of the soldiers on either side would have declared that the reason they joined the army was to fight either "for" or "against" slavery.


However, equally true is the statement: "Had there been no slavery, there would have been no war. Had there been no moral condemnation of slavery, there would have been no war." (This was made by Sydney E. Ahlstrome, in his monumental study of religion in America A Religious History of the American People, Yale University Press,1972, on p. 649) The entire article can be viewed at:

http://members.tripod.com/~greatamericanhistory/gr02013.htm

Renowned historian Kenneth Stampp reaches the same conclusion in "And The War Came", available at most libraries.

A quick search of the internet under the simple heading "Causes of the Civil War" brings up over 9 million references including both sides of the issues. The concensus of opinion of most is summed up in: "At the root of all of the problems was the institution of slavery..." (http://www.swcivilwar.com/cw_causes.html)

Some may argue Sectionalism was the cause. Obvious reply is: "...sectionalism steadily grew stronger. During the 19th century the South remained almost completely agricultural, with an economy and a social order largely founded on slavery and the plantation system." (http://www.us-civilwar.com/cause.htm)

Others will argue of the impact of Northern and Southern propaganda. Rebuttal: "There is an element of truth in this view...But this was not the whold story. Beneath all the propaganda there was the fact of Negro slavery." (Kenneth Stampp; "And the War Came"; p. 2.

And, so forth. Ultimately, every cause offered, from the original participants through today's revisionist historians, is rooted in the "peculiar institution".

H. L. Hanger
 

ole

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Kerflummoxed: Appreciated your post. (By the way, did I properly welcome you aboard?)

Kerflummoxed Some may argue Sectionalism was the cause. Obvious reply is: "...sectionalism steadily grew stronger. During the 19th century the South remained almost completely agricultural said:
http://www.us-civilwar.com/cause.htm[/url])

Others will argue of the impact of Northern and Southern propaganda. Rebuttal: "There is an element of truth in this view...But this was not the whold story. Beneath all the propaganda there was the fact of Negro slavery." (Kenneth Stampp; "And the War Came"; p. 2.
H. L. Hanger
While chasing a footnote in Potter's "Impending Crisis," I came upon a reference to Nevin's v1 p412 through..., which makes an excellent analysis of the role of sectionalism in the increasing division.

So far as Northern propaganda goes, it is amusing to note that in the various states' Declarations of Secession and Declarations of Causes, several states whine about the government not silencing the Northern agitators and propagandists. In effect: "You didn't shut them up and you even delivered the mail they sent."
 

unionblue

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The Inevitability Of Violence
by Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.

"The Civil War was our great national trauma. A savage fraternal conflict, it released deep sentiments of guilt and remorse--sentiments which have reverberated through our history and our literature ever since. Literature in the end came to terms with these sentiments by yielding to the South in fantasy the victory it had been denied in fact;...But history, a less malleable medium, was constricted by the intractable fact that war had taken place, and by the related assumption that it was, in William H. Seward's phrase, an "irrepressible conflict," and hence a justified one.

...Yet within a few years a new school of revisionist brought about a profound reversal of the professional historian's attitude toward the Civil War. Scholars now boldly advanced the thesis that a "blundering generation" had transformed a "repressible conflict" into a "needless war."...

The revisionist case...has three main premises. First...

1. that the Civil War was caused by the irresponsible emotionalization of politics far out of proportion to the real problems involved...

2. that sectional friction was permitted to develop into needless war by the inexcusable failure of political leadership in the 1850's...

It is hard to tell which was under attack here--the performance of a particular generation or democratic politics in general. But, if the indictment "blundering generation" meant no more nor less "needless" than any event in our blundering history. The phrase "blundering generation" must consequently imply that the generation in power in the 1850's was below the human or historical or democratic average in its blundering. Hence the third revisionist thesis:

3. that the slavery problem could have been solved without war. For, even if slavery were as unimportant as the revisionist have insisted, they would presumably admit that it constituted the real sticking-point in the relations between the sections. They must show therefore that there were policies with which a non-blundering generation could have resolved the slavery crsis and averted war; and that these policies were so obvious that the failure to adopt them indicated blundering and stupidity of a peculiarly irresponsible nature. If no such policies could be produced even by hindsight, then it would seem excessive to condemn the politicians of the 1850's for failing to discover them at the time...

...The problem [of slavery] in America was peculiarly recalcitrant. The schemes for gradual emancipation got nowhere. Neither internal reform nor economic exhaustion contained much promise for a peaceful solution. The hard fact, indeed, is that the revisionists have not tried seriously to describe the policies by which the slavery problem could have been peacefully resolved. They have resorted instead to broad affirmations of faith: if only the conflict could have been staved off long enough, then somehow, somewhere, we could have worked something out. It is legitimate, I think, to ask how? where? what?--at least, if these affirmations of faith are to be used as the premise for castigating the unhappy men who had the practical responsibility for finding solutions and failed.

Where have the revisionists gone astray?...I cannot escape the feeling that the vogue of revisionism is connected with the modern tendency to seek in optimistic sentimentalism an escape from the severe demands of moral decision; that it is the offspring of our modern sentimentality which at once evades the essential moral problems in the name of a superficial objectivity and asserts their unimportance in the name of an invincible progress.

The revisionists first glided over the implications of the fact that the slavery system was producing a closed society in the South. Yet that society increasingly had justified itself by a political and philosophical repudiation of free society; southern thinkers swiftly developed the anti-libertarian potentialities in a social system whose cornerstone, in Alexander H. Stephens' proud phrase, was human bondage. In theory and in practice, the South organized itself with mounting rigor against ideas of human dignity and freedom, because such ideas inevitably threatened the basis of their own system...

A society closed in the defense of evil institutions thus creates moral differences far too profound to be solved by compromise. Such a society forces upon every one, both those living at the time and those writing about it later, the necessity for a moral judgment; and the moral judgment in such cases becomes an indispensable factor in the historical understanding.

The revisionists were commendably anxious to avoid the vulgar errors of the post-Civil War historians who pronounced smug individual judgments on the persons involuntarily involved in the tragedy of the slave system. Consequently they tried hard to pronounce no moral judgment at all on slavery...

Because the revisionists felt no moral urgency themselves, they deplored as fanatics those who did feel it, or brushed aside their feelings as the artificial product of emotion and propaganda. The revisionist hero was Stephen A. Douglass, who always thought that the great moral problems could be solved by sleight-of-hand...

By denying themselves insight into the moral dimension of the slavery crisis, in other words, the revisionists denied themselves a historical understanding of the intensities that caused the crisis. It was the moral issue of slavery in the territories or over the enforcement of the fugitive slave laws their significance. These issues, as the revisionists have shown with cogency, were not in themselves basic. But they were the available issues; they were almost the only points within the existing constitutional framework where the moral conflict could be face; as a consequence, they becam charged with the moral and political dynamism of the central issue...

Let us be clear what the relationship of moral judgment to history is. Every historian...imports his own set of moral judgments into the writing of history by the very process of interpretation; and the phrase "every historian" includes the category "revisionist."...The whole revisionist attitude toward abolitionists and radicals, repeatedly characterized by [them] as "unctious" and "intolerant," overflows with the moral feeling which is so virtuously excluded from discussions of slavery...

...[revisionists are guilty of]...uncritical optimism...when [they] say that the Union could have went on or that slavery would have been outmoded without war and reconstruction. We have here a touching afterglow of the admirable nineteenth-century faith in the full rationality and prefectiblity of man; the faith that the errors of the world would all in time be "outmoded"...by progress. Yet the experience of the twentieth century has made it clear that we gravely overrated man's capacity to solve the problems of existence witin the terms of history.

This conclusion about man may disturb our complacencies about human nature. Yet it is certainly more in accord with history than all those enlightened assumptions that man can solve peaceably all the problems which overwhelm him. The unhappy fact is that man occasionally works himself into a log-jam; and that the log-jam must be burst by violence. We know that well enough from the experiences of the last century...

We delude ourselves when we think that history teaches us that evil will be "outmoded" by progress and that politics consequently does not impose on us the necessity for decision and for struggle. If historians are to understand the fullness of the social dilemma they seek to reconstruct, they must understand that sometimes there is no escape from the implacabilities of moral decision. When social conflicts embody great moral issues, these conflisct cannot be assigned for solution to the invincible march of progress; nor can they be bypassed with "objective" neutrality. Not many problems perhaps force this decision upon the historian. But, if any problems does in our history, it is the Civil War.

To reject the moral actuality of the Civil War is to foreclose the possibility of an adequate account of its causes. More than that, it is to misconceive and grotesquely to sentimentalize the nature of history. For history is not a redeemer, promising to solve all human problems in time; nor is man capable of transcending the limitations of his being. Man generally is entangled in insoluble problems; history is consequently a tragedy in which we are all involved, whose key-note is anxiety and frustration, not progress and fulfillment. Nothing exists in history to assure us that the great moral dilemmas can be resolved without pain; we cannot therefore be relieved from the duty of moral judgment on issues so appalling and inescapable as those involved in human slavery; nor can we be consoled by sentimental theories about the needlessness of the Civil War into regarding our own struggles against evil as equally needless.

One must emphaize, however, that this duty of judgment applies to issues. Because we are all implicated in the same tragedy, we must judge the men of the past with the same forbearance and charity which we hope the future will apply toward us."

Unionblue
 
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UnionBlue,

Historian Kenneth Stampp's essay entitled "The Irrepressible Conflict", in his book "The Imperiled Union", discusses the question whether the Civil War was inevitable. A good part of the essay consists of a review of the historiography of the issue, i.e., the rising and falling of competing views of historians as to the causes of the war and whether the war was inevitable. In the course of the essay, Professor Stampp discusses Schlesinger's views, quoting portions of the passage that you quoted above.

Professor Stampp's essay ends with his own analysis, which concludes:

"The interplay of these proslavery and antislavery forces, not the irresponsible blunders of northern or southern politicians, or economic conflict, or irrepressible cultural differences, brought on the [War].

". . . It may well be that the country reached a point sometime in the 1850's when it would have been almost impossible to avoid a violent resolution of the sectional crisis. During that decade, northern antislavery and southern proslavery radicals became increasingly militant and prone to anticipate an ultimate resort to armed conflict; and the point of no return may have been reached in 1857 with the Dred Scott decision, the Kansas crisis, Douglas's break with the Buchanan administration, and the severe economic panic of that year. . .."

The essay -- and indeed the entire volume -- is well worth reading.
 
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