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The American Civil War was About Slavery Plain and Simple. Convince Me Otherwise.

Discussion in 'Civil War History - General Discussion' started by War Horse, Feb 14, 2017.

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  1. War Horse

    War Horse Captain Forum Host Silver Patron Trivia Game Winner Regtl. Quartermaster Gettysburg 2016 Member of the Year

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    Seriously. The upper 10% of the South were all in. Why? They were protecting their way of life, plain and simple. Convince me otherwise! Was Slavery not the labor (the backbone) Of the southern economy?
     

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  3. Rusty Ford

    Rusty Ford Private

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    Hello War Horse,

    Yes. But slavery was also a big part of the American economy as well, not just the south's. A large portion of the federal government's revenue intake came from southern agriculture. I think I read once that it was something like 70-75% of the federal revenue came from the south. Not sure about that percentage, I'll see if I can find from what book I read that.

    Many people say states rights was the reason for war. Well, yes, but the main factor in that states rights argument was slavery.
     
  4. diane

    diane Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host

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    I can't! Slavery was the backbone of more than the economy - culture, society, even religion revolved around it. Not just for the planters, either. And, many who fought very hard for the Confederacy were not inclined to say the 's' word - they might say states' rights or independence or something else. However, Forrest had no trouble spitting it out and saying it as clearly as anybody ever did: "If this dam! war ain't about slavery I'd sure as hell like to know what it is about!"
     
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  5. MaryDee

    MaryDee Sergeant Major Trivia Game Winner

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    Looking at the Declarations of Causes, they are all about slavery. That's why the southern states seceded. Get into the motivations of individual soldiers, things were more complex. Certainly plenty of nationalistic emotions involved, too.

    For the Union side, while there were some anti-slavery motives in the mix, for the majority, it was a desire to preserve the Union. And it seems that the firing on Fort Sumter had much the same effect on the Union in 1861 as Pearl Harbor did in 1941. Interestingly, it had much the same effect on the Confederacy.

    For both sides, intersectional rivalry had been going on for many, many years. You really can't isolate the Civil War and its causes without going back to at least the Constitutional Convention in 1787. and preferably a long time before that.
     
  6. War Horse

    War Horse Captain Forum Host Silver Patron Trivia Game Winner Regtl. Quartermaster Gettysburg 2016 Member of the Year

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    I couldn't agree more. Northern abolitionist were inserting extreme pressure on the established government at the time. Hence the unpopular Republican parties arrival onto the Scene. I..E Lincoln!
     
  7. major bill

    major bill Major Forum Host

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    No, the South did not provide anywhere near that high of percent of federal revenue. The North proved around that percentage of the federal revenue, not the South. This forum has many threads that show this 'south provide most of the federal revenue" is simply not true.
     
  8. unionblue

    unionblue Brev. Brig. Gen'l Member of the Year

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    War Horse,

    :smile:

    Very Sincerely,
    Unionblue
     
  9. Tennessee_Mountainman

    Tennessee_Mountainman Sergeant

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    It wasn't just the upper class, many poor farmers wanted to maintain their social status, to be higher than blacks. If you ever get a chance to read over the reports from the Battle of Petersburg, what the Virginia Brigade did to the surrendering or routing blacks, it is just awful. They talk of them like animals, one soldier described it like "killing hawks." There were reports of Southerners clubbing there heads in, bayonetting them to death, and shooting them while they were on their knees. They were lined up, with the white officers, in the streets of Petersburg, as war criminals, some going back to slavery.
     
  10. leftyhunter

    leftyhunter Major

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    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 16, 2017
  11. highplainsdrifter59

    highplainsdrifter59 Private

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    If slavery was the main reason for this war would not had Lincoln provided the people of the northern states the proclamation of emancipation sooner than January 1st 1863?
    I think it played a reason , might have been a major reason for the war but Lincoln stood upon the reason of keeping the country as a single Union and prevent a split of a north and south.
    The Southern states stood upon "States Rights" as the perceived as a right given to them through the Constitution as to have their each state to govern internal affairs. Here you may insert " slavery" if you wish. But I think it goes much deeper than that to say slavery was the one and only reason for the war.
    Taxes, tariffs, for the exports of goods, let's just say for cotton were a huge reason for the south to express concerns as to what was purposes in the coming election. The north wish to raise taxes for exports to bring about more money....ahhh, money! The south thought this was going to be unfair to the south for cotton was king.
    Of course we can see and read the arguments for state rights when a territory became voted in as a state. The western growth was not just coming in as a free will state but one that was being told you may or may not be governed by your state leaders but by the trusted men of Washington. The south wanted ea h state to decide how they wish to be lead and by what means we're better for them. Each region had different needs to be successful where as New Yorkers could not possibly know what it meant to live in Kansas, Missouri and what it took to substain oneself. So, let those that live in that state decide that for it is them that live there.
    I now go back to my first statement about Lincoln and the Emancipation Proclamation, I think Lincoln felt if slavery was the main issue then maybe he thought the north would not have " jumped on the bandwagon" to support a war based upon this sole reason. The northern people in general really didn't have a huge reason to send their loved one to die over something that does not affect them. They didn't see slavery, they were not in contact with slavery and this reason I think Lincoln weighed this as not to infuse slavery until he thought the north was winning the war and then he could incorporate this legislative act into action. Hence, Lincoln waited until he had a victory upon a battlefield to bring it before the people. Antitam wasn't what we call a victory in terms of a route but at that moment Lincoln needed something and this was the best he could get fron the Union Army for they did defend itself on their own soil in Maryland.
    With this event and Lincoln sensing a waning of support for the war, he brought for a moral reason and just added it to reasons or reason to continue the bloodshed. You can read letters from Union soldiers that thought they were now fighting for a new reason, slavery now. It had not entered their minds that slavery was the reason they had enlisted, it was solely on the fact to preserve the union. Even then they thought that it wasn't a good enough reason but still fought on just for the preservation of the union.
     
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  12. leftyhunter

    leftyhunter Major

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    Tarrifs only apply to imports not exports. Can you show a law that allows tarriffs on exports?
    What state right was threatened by the federal government?
    Leftyhunter
     
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  13. highplainsdrifter59

    highplainsdrifter59 Private

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    You are correct, tariffs do apply to imports, a run on in my sentence to not separate the two. But imports and exports were to be taxed at a higher rate which the south was protesting.
    What state rights were going to be threatened? I feel the south felt that imposing their will to dictate to each state how to internally run themselves went against states right. Just the assembling of talks to imposed a major hike in export taxes (cotton) was enough for the elite in the south to raise a fist to denounce that the northern portion of the states were determining how they should run their businesses.
    I still feel from all that I've studied and through books and lectures from well more learned people than I, that the South stood their ground upon States Rights, while the North stood by to preserve the Union. I'm my earlier post I feel I supported some of those thoughts with events based upon what we do know.
    I am not the final word with a resolution of correctness, I can find some truth in most of anything which people give their "opinion" on as to what really was the cause of the Civil War. Just look here at this forum site, we can have different views but really I can pretty much attest to the fact that no one will fully have the entire truth of the matter.
    Yet, after 150+ years we still have this qustion asked but pray tell, someone who wasn't living during those times and not even thought about has the answer! I doubt that.
    But I regress, I find this question interesting to say the least and look forward to reading others opinions as to what they think is the reason.
     
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  14. Tennessee_Mountainman

    Tennessee_Mountainman Sergeant

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    The Emancipation Proclamation was signed to keep foreign powers out. Countries like GB would not want to fight along with a nation that allowed the bondage of other humans. However, Lincoln needed a victory so it wouldn't appear as a sign of desperation. The Battle of Antietam is just what he needed.
     
  15. Tennessee_Mountainman

    Tennessee_Mountainman Sergeant

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    Sure there were other reasons, but slavery was the first and foremost.

     
  16. KLSDAD

    KLSDAD First Sergeant

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    So "plain and simple" that it's about both slavery and way of life.... sheesh :D
     
  17. Rebforever

    Rebforever Captain

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  18. Rebforever

    Rebforever Captain

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    Any Idea what that percentage would be? Facts please.
     
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  19. Copperhead-mi

    Copperhead-mi 1st Lieutenant Trivia Game Winner

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    A couple of reasons dictated that the Emancipation Proclamation did not happen prior to 1863. The Union went to war with the Confederacy to to preserve it's own territorial and political integrity. Regardless of Lincoln's personal views, his only aim as Chief Executive from his inauguration of March 4, 1861 through late 1862, was to restore the Federal authority in the rebellious areas without touching their fundamental political, economic or social institutions. It's a matter of record that Lincoln not only fired or admonished commanders who exceeded this level but he also rescinded emancipation proclamations announced by his commanders -- Fremont in August 1861, and Hunter in May 1862. The Lincoln administration even insisted that the Fugitive Slave Act be obeyed by federal commanders who were receiving runaways into their lines.

    The emancipation of slaves and the institution's eventual eradication only became an objective of the Union in 1863...HALFWAY through the War. Up to that point Lincoln was quite willing to let bygones be bygones and let the Southern States re-enter the flock with slavery and pretty much everything else untouched. The international legalities of war as well as many constitutional issues were new and unknown to United States when the War began. Certain belligerent rights under the laws of war were coming to light and American legal experts in and outside of the Administration were studying ways to incorporate them into use on the Federal government's behalf leading to policies such as the seizure of slaves as "contraband of war." Benjamin Butler first advanced this idea to the Lincoln administration during the early months of the War as a way of using the belligerent rights in war to legally seize and employ runaway slaves from owners who supported the Confederacy yet still be in compliance with the Federal Fugitive Slave Act by returning runaways to those owners who came forward and took an oath of loyalty to the Federal government. Additionally as a belligerent right, the contraband's title of ownership automatically transferred to the United States and there was no expectation or requirement of compensation to the former owner. This however made the United States a slave owner since the laws of contraband only provided a transfer of the title as a piece of property and did not provide for emancipation. In this instance it was Lincoln and not a legal advisor who suggested a solution to this quandary. On July 17, 1862 he sent a message to Congress outlining his silver bullet :

    "It is startling to say that Congress can free a slave within a State, and yet if it were said the ownership of the slave had first been transferred to the nation, and that Congress had then liberated him, the difficulty would at once vanish. And this is the real case. The traitor against the General Government forfeits his slave at least as justly as he does any other property; and he forfeits both to the government against which he offends. The government, so far as there can be ownership, thus owns the forfeited slaves, and the question for Congress in regard to them is, 'Shall they be made free or be sold to new masters?' I perceive no objection to Congress deciding in advance that they shall be free."

    Later the same day Congress passed the Second Confiscation Act which allowed the seizure of property and slaves of any person who assisted or engaged in rebellion against the United States. Under this Act of Congress, all seized slaves were "forever free of their servitude, and not again held as slaves."

    Following Union military setbacks and the failure of Southern Unionists to rise up in 1862, Lincoln, under pressure from his advisors, military commanders, abolitionists, and radical congressmen, opted to change the Union's strategy to that of hard war which included the destruction of enemy property and the overthrow of the South's social institutions. The protection of slavery is what led to the war and slavery helped prolong the war. Using his position and constitutional authority as Chief Executive Lincoln issued a Preliminary Proclamation on September 22, 1862 in which he warned that emancipation would be forthcoming to any state in rebellion that did not return to the Union by January 1, 1863. Unlike the Second Confiscation Act, all slaves, regardless of the loyalty of their owner, would be free. He further alluded to compensation for slave owners within any loyal slave state which implemented immediate or gradual emancipation as law, and as an enticement to those loyal slave owners in the rebellious states, compensation for loss of property and slaves if their state returned to the Union.

    On January 1, 1863, Lincoln as Commander-in-Chief invoking the rights of a belligerent in war, issued his Emancipation Proclamation. As a belligerent right of a commander-in-chief and a war power of the chief executive, the seizing of property or in this case the the automatic manumission of slaves who made it into Union lines or were left behind when Union forces entered an area, was restricted only to those areas in rebellion. For that reason, both the Constitution as well as the laws of war limited the scope of the proclamation. At that point -- two years into the war -- the eradication of slavery became a primary aim.
     
  20. Rebforever

    Rebforever Captain

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    Food for thought.
     
  21. War Horse

    War Horse Captain Forum Host Silver Patron Trivia Game Winner Regtl. Quartermaster Gettysburg 2016 Member of the Year

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    They couldn't maintain one without the other.
     

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