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

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leftyhunter

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When one third of families owned slaves, and two thirds did not, how do you reach a majority benefiting?

But it's true that people other than slave owners benefited. Slave merchants from New England benefited for decades. Anyone who bought Southern Cotton, be they Northern textile mills, or European textile mills, benefited from Southern slave labor. Anyone who wore clothing made from that cotton benefited. The financial and material products related to slavery went far and wide throughout the US and Europe.
But did New Englanders in large numbers kill American citizens to preserve slavery?
Leftyhunter
 

ForeverFree

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When one third of families owned slaves, and two thirds did not, how do you reach a majority benefiting?

But it's true that people other than slave owners benefited. Slave merchants from New England benefited for decades. Anyone who bought Southern Cotton, be they Northern textile mills, or European textile mills, benefited from Southern slave labor. Anyone who wore clothing made from that cotton benefited. The financial and material products related to slavery went far and wide throughout the US and Europe.

Anderson, would you not agree that pro-slavery people argued that all white southerners benefitted from slavery?

Let's stipulate for the moment that the actual benefits of slavery to non-slaveholders are subject to debate. But slaveholders did in fact tell the white masses that slavery was good for them all - do you agree?

- Alan
 

Andersonh1

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Anderson, would you not agree that pro-slavery people argued that all white southerners benefitted from slavery?

Let's stipulate for the moment that the actual benefits of slavery to non-slaveholders are subject to debate. But slaveholders did in fact tell the white masses that slavery was good for them all - do you agree?

- Alan

They knew they'd have an easier time keeping their source of income if the common man supported them, so yes, some of them did indeed make that case. But were they right about that?

And there's a difference between an indirect benefit of some sort, and direct financial or material benefits. Would you agree?
 

leftyhunter

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When one third of families owned slaves, and two thirds did not, how do you reach a majority benefiting?

But it's true that people other than slave owners benefited. Slave merchants from New England benefited for decades. Anyone who bought Southern Cotton, be they Northern textile mills, or European textile mills, benefited from Southern slave labor. Anyone who wore clothing made from that cotton benefited. The financial and material products related to slavery went far and wide throughout the US and Europe.
And high end auto dealerships for the last 50 plus years have benefited from cash sales to drug dealers. Does that morally make car dealership oeners drug dealers?
Leftyhunter
 

leftyhunter

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It was hard to see what you said there since you posted a response in the quote itself. Nevertheless.

This 10 percent figure I find outrageous because closer to a third of southern families owned slaves. This is not including the fact that many southerners "borrowed" slaves from one another. Therefore, it's safe to say that the majority of southerners benefited directly from slavery.




Total number of slaves in the Lower South : 2,312,352 (47% of total population).

Total number of slaves in the Upper South: 1,208758 (29% of total population).

Total number of slaves in the Border States: 432,586 (13% of total population).

Almost one-third of all Southern families owned slaves. In Mississippi and South Carolina it approached one half. The total number of slave owners was 385,000 (including, in Louisiana, some free Negroes). As for the number of slaves owned by each master, 88% held fewer than twenty, and nearly 50% held fewer than five. (A complete table on slave-owning percentages is given at the bottom of this page.)

For comparison's sake, let it be noted that in the 1950's, only 2% of American families owned corporation stocks equal in value to the 1860 value of a single slave. Thus, slave ownership was much more widespread in the South than corporate investment was in 1950's America.

On a typical plantation (more than 20 slaves) the capital value of the slaves was greater than the capital value of the land and implements.

Slavery was profitable, although a large part of the profit was in the increased value of the slaves themselves. With only 30% of the nation's (free) population, the South had 60% of the "wealthiest men." The 1860 per capita wealth in the South was $3,978; in the North it was $2,040.

Selected Bibliography

  1. Battle Cry of Freedom, by James McPherson
  2. Ordeal by Fire, by James McPherson
  3. The Confederate Nation, by Emory Thomas
  4. Civil War Day by Day, by E.B. Long
  5. Ordeal of the Union (8 vols.) by Allan Nevins
  6. Reader's Companion to American History, by Eric Foner and John Garrity
Census data can be appealed to in order to determine the extent of slave ownership in each of the states that allowed it in 1860. The figures given here are the percentage of slave-owning families as a fraction of total free households in the state. The data was taken from a census archive site at the University of Virginia.

Mississippi: 49%
South Carolina:
46%
Georgia:
37%
Alabama:
35%
Florida:
34%
Louisiana:
29%
Texas:
28%
North Carolina:
28%
Virginia:
26%
Tennessee:
25%
Kentucky:
23%
Arkansas:
20%
Missouri:
13%
Maryland:
12%
Delaware:
3%
In the Lower South (SC, GA, AL, MS, LA, TX, FL -- those states that seceded first), about 36.7% of the white families owned slaves. In the Middle South (VA, NC, TN, AR -- those states that seceded only after Fort Sumter was fired on) the percentage is around 25.3%, and the total for the two combined regions -- which is what most folks think of as the Confederacy -- is 30.8%. In the Border States (DE, MD, KY, MO -- those slave states that did not secede) the percentage of slave-ownership was 15.9%, and the total throughout the slave states was almost exactly 26%.


http://www.civilwarcauses.org/stat.htm

When you take out the border states, this number is even greater. In conclusion, your statement only undermines the scale of slavery in the South, the CS to be exact.
Outstanding research:grant: this guy would agree.I think you have more then answered @War Horse question. Sorry about the Vampire Bat sneaking in. Fat fingers and a small phone.
:bat:Leftyhunter
 

ForeverFree

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They knew they'd have an easier time keeping their source of income if the common man supported them, so yes, some of them did indeed make that case. But were they right about that?

And there's a difference between an indirect benefit of some sort, and direct financial or material benefits. Would you agree?

True, there is a difference between indirect benefit of some sort, and direct financial or material benefits. But that does not mean that those indirect benefits are worthless.

Pro-slavery forces commonly said that slaves were better off materially in the US than in Africa. Let's stipulate that this (controversial) position is true. But there are estimates that over a million slaves were passed from one owner to another in North America before the Civil War. That often meant family separation. Was the material benefit of slavery worth the horrific price of losing family members? I've never read of a slave who said that the sale of a loved one was a good thing.

Proslavery people said that slavery prevented racial equality with negroes, a "best case scenario" for the end of slavery, and stopped race war, which was the "worst case scenario" of the end of slavery. I made this point in another thread:
• The value of a male slave: maybe $1000 to the slave owner .

• The value of political superiority, absolute control of a degraded race, and keeping your daughter from marrying negroes: priceless, for all of the unenslaved


I don't know that non-slaveholders were sitting around, overcome with joy that they were privileged to be free; they had other things to think and worry about. But were they OK that negroes remained in subjugation and and a state of inequality? Yes, I do think most of them were OK with that. I think that slavery, as a system of social (racial) control, had value to them, beyond the value of slave labor to slave owners.

- Alan
 
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Kenneth Almquist

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If the Compact Theory of the Constitution and the belief in state sovereignty had not existed, would there have been secession? Would there have been a war? Can you throw state sovereignty out as irrelevant, or is it vital as the political operating theory that enabled secession?

If you look at South Carolina's declaration of secession, the invocation of compact theory was just hand waving. The document states:

We hold that the Government thus established is subject to...the law of compact. We maintain that in every compact between two or more parties, the obligation is mutual; that the failure of one of the contracting parties to perform a material part of the agreement, entirely releases the obligation of the other; and that where no arbiter is provided, each party is remitted to his own judgment to determine the fact of failure, with all its consequences.​

The section I bolded is a reasonable enough principle. In a contract between two parties, if party A fails to fulfill his part of the contract, he has no moral basis to demand that party B continue to honor the contract. But this principle cannot be used to justify secession because it only applies to contracts with exactly two parties. South Carolina never the less claims that the principle applies to compacts between “two or more parties,” and a charitable interpretation is that they stated a two-party version of the principle for rhetorical simplicity, expecting the reader to generalize it to compacts with more than two parties. So let's do that:

In every compact between two or more parties, if all but one party fail to meet their obligations to the remaining party, that releases the remaining party from its obligations under the compact.​

If we accept this principle, South Carolina can secede, but only if every single one of the other states (including her sister slave states) fail to meet their Constitutional obligations to South Carolina. In the secession declaration, South Carolina alleges that Ohio and Iowa have failed to fulfill their Constitutional obligations to Virginia, but doesn't allege than any state has failed to carry out its Constitutional obligations to South Carolina.

In short, the South Carolina secessionists were either very good at self deception, or they knew damned well that compact theory provided no support for their actions. In either case, it's a good bet that if compact theory hadn't been available, they would have come up with something else.

P.S. I should note that the “where no arbiter is provided” passage is also bogus, since all of the actions that South Carolina complains about fall under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Supreme Court.
 
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Thus, the nineteenth century’s greatest European champion of free trade, a British counterpart to John C. Calhoun, interpreted the War to Prevent Southern Independence as being motivated primarily by a lust for commercial gain on the part of the North, with the protectionist tariff as one of its chief weapons.

Regardless of what the exact percentage of tariffs that were ultimately paid by North versus South in 1861 was, it is not debatable that Southern secession and the creation of free trade in all the Southern ports would have been a huge drain on federal revenues, fully 95 percent of which came from tariff revenues. That is why, in his First Inaugural Address, Lincoln stated that it was his duty "to collect the duties and imposts," but beyond that "there will be no invasion of any state." That is, fail to collect the newly-doubled tariff rate, as the South Carolinians did with respect to the 1828 Tariff of Abominations, and there will be an invasion. He was true to his word.
The founders wisely made taxes on exports unconstitutional because they are so obviously harmful to American interests. What they failed to understand, however, is the basic economics of tariffs, which shows how a tax on imports is also effectively a tax on exports as well. As with all forms of tax incidence, what matters is who ultimately actually pays the tax, not who the law says should (in theory) be paying. John C. Calhoun understood this, as did most of his fellow Southerners since they were so burdened by protectionism. Northern steel manufacturers like Congressmen Justin Morrill of Vermont and Thaddeus Stevens of Pennsylvania understood it as well, for the opposite reason: They were on the receiving end of the plunder that was extracted by the Morrill Tariff.
If taxes on exports are unconstitutional, then so are taxes on imports, or tariffs. Anyone who claims to believe in the U.S. Constitution should therefore be in favor of one hundred percent free trade with no tariffs, quotas, or trade barriers of any kind.
 
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This again is exactly how the export-dependent South viewed all the protectionist tariff bills promoted by the likes of Abraham Lincoln, a lifelong protectionist, and his Republican Party. Apply the Friedmans’ example to 1861, and one can easily see how higher tariffs on textile imports benefited the New England textile manufacturers and workers but harmed the export-dependent South. This is exactly how protectionist tariffs are always and everywhere a tool of political plunder. To make matters worse, as the Friedmans point out, they also cause an overall reduction in total output in an economy, making everyone poorer in an aggregate sense.
 
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Abraham Lincoln repeatedly stated his war was caused by taxes only, and not by slavery, at all.

"My policy sought only to collect the Revenue (a 40 percent federal sales tax on imports to Southern States under the Morrill Tariff Act of 1861)." reads paragraph 5 of Lincoln's First Message to the U.S. Congress, penned July 4, 1861.

"I have no purpose, directly or in-directly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so," Lincoln said it his first inaugural on March 4 of the same year.

Lincoln did not claim slavery was a reason even in his Emancipation Proclamations on Sept. 22, 1862, and Jan. 1, 1863. Moreover, Lincoln's proclamations exempted a million slaves under his control from being freed (including General U.S. Grant's four slaves) and offered the South three months to return to the Union (pay 40 percent sales tax) and keep their slaves. None did. Lincoln affirmed his only reason for issuing was: "as a fit and necessary war measure for suppressing said (tax) rebellion."
 
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Lincoln declared war to collect taxes in his two presidential war proclamations against the Confederate States, on April 15 and 19th, 1861: "Whereas an insurrection against the Government of the United States has broken out and the laws of the United States for the collection of the revenue cannot be effectually executed therein."

On Dec. 25, 1860, South Carolina declared unfair taxes to be a cause of secession: "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 (75%) of them are expended at the North (to subsidize Wall Street industries that elected Lincoln)." (Paragraphs 5-8)
 

unionblue

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Thus, the nineteenth century’s greatest European champion of free trade, a British counterpart to John C. Calhoun, interpreted the War to Prevent Southern Independence as being motivated primarily by a lust for commercial gain on the part of the North, with the protectionist tariff as one of its chief weapons.

Hogwash then, hogwash now. The tariff in force at the start of the American Civil War was considered to be the closest thing to a 'free trade' tariff ever put in place by the US at that time.



Regardless of what the exact percentage of tariffs that were ultimately paid by North versus South in 1861 was, it is not debatable that Southern secession and the creation of free trade in all the Southern ports would have been a huge drain on federal revenues, fully 95 percent of which came from tariff revenues.

(Sigh.) No, it was not a "huge drain" because there was nothing in the South to drain the tariff, which was based on imports, as AGREED by both the North and the South at the time, as they both thought it fair and equal.


That is why, in his First Inaugural Address, Lincoln stated that it was his duty "to collect the duties and imposts," but beyond that "there will be no invasion of any state."

It was his duty, per the Constitution.

That is, fail to collect the newly-doubled tariff rate,

Which tariff is this? Which one DOUBLED the tariff rates? A source, if you please.


as the South Carolinians did with respect to the 1828 Tariff of Abominations, and there will be an invasion. He was true to his word.

Nope, this fantasy is completely wrong.



The founders wisely made taxes on exports unconstitutional because they are so obviously harmful to American interests. What they failed to understand, however, is the basic economics of tariffs, which shows how a tax on imports is also effectively a tax on exports as well. As with all forms of tax incidence, what matters is who ultimately actually pays the tax, not who the law says should (in theory) be paying. John C. Calhoun understood this, as did most of his fellow Southerners since they were so burdened by protectionism.

Utterly untrue.

The tariff was decided to be employed primarily because the slave-holding South did not want a head tax on its slaves, thus, a tariff to be paid only on foreign imports into the country.


Northern steel manufacturers like Congressmen Justin Morrill of Vermont and Thaddeus Stevens of Pennsylvania understood it as well, for the opposite reason: They were on the receiving end of the plunder that was extracted by the Morrill Tariff.

Nope, they weren't. If they weren't, evidence or a historical source would be nice to confirm your opinion.



If taxes on exports are unconstitutional, then so are taxes on imports, or tariffs.

It's nice that you have an opinion about tariffs, but again, historical sources would be nice in order to back up that personal opinion.

Anyone who claims to believe in the U.S. Constitution should therefore be in favor of one hundred percent free trade with no tariffs, quotas, or trade barriers of any kind.

So, you favor an income tax on everyone to support the operation of the federal government, instead of having those rich enough to import foreign goods pay for them. Nice.

Hope to hear more from you,
Unionblue
 

unionblue

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This again is exactly how the export-dependent South viewed all the protectionist tariff bills promoted by the likes of Abraham Lincoln, a lifelong protectionist, and his Republican Party. Apply the Friedmans’ example to 1861, and one can easily see how higher tariffs on textile imports benefited the New England textile manufacturers and workers but harmed the export-dependent South. This is exactly how protectionist tariffs are always and everywhere a tool of political plunder. To make matters worse, as the Friedmans point out, they also cause an overall reduction in total output in an economy, making everyone poorer in an aggregate sense.

Abraham Lincoln repeatedly stated his war was caused by taxes only, and not by slavery, at all.

"My policy sought only to collect the Revenue (a 40 percent federal sales tax on imports to Southern States under the Morrill Tariff Act of 1861)." reads paragraph 5 of Lincoln's First Message to the U.S. Congress, penned July 4, 1861.

"I have no purpose, directly or in-directly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so," Lincoln said it his first inaugural on March 4 of the same year.

Lincoln did not claim slavery was a reason even in his Emancipation Proclamations on Sept. 22, 1862, and Jan. 1, 1863. Moreover, Lincoln's proclamations exempted a million slaves under his control from being freed (including General U.S. Grant's four slaves) and offered the South three months to return to the Union (pay 40 percent sales tax) and keep their slaves. None did. Lincoln affirmed his only reason for issuing was: "as a fit and necessary war measure for suppressing said (tax) rebellion."

Lincoln declared war to collect taxes in his two presidential war proclamations against the Confederate States, on April 15 and 19th, 1861: "Whereas an insurrection against the Government of the United States has broken out and the laws of the United States for the collection of the revenue cannot be effectually executed therein."

On Dec. 25, 1860, South Carolina declared unfair taxes to be a cause of secession: "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 (75%) of them are expended at the North (to subsidize Wall Street industries that elected Lincoln)." (Paragraphs 5-8)

Lincoln did this and Lincoln did that.

How come we aren't hearing anything about what the slaveholding South said they were leaving the Union?

I think I know why.

Because the desire to protect slavery, even expand it at the expense of states rights, is awful tough to hear.

But we're stuck with it, because they said it over and over again, for decades before the war began.

Slavery was their cause and not a tariff that had so little impact on the South as to only bear mention in Georgia's declaration of secession as solved and no longer an issue.

It wasn't about the tariff. Not to the South, it wasn't.

Unionblue
 
Thank you for showing appreciation. Statistical research can really change the ball game.

Eliminate White males under the age of 20, and all White females from the pool when determining the percentage of slave owners per state and the figures sky rocket over the normal figures that are out there for White slave owners in the South.
 

Andersonh1

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If you look at South Carolina's declaration of secession, the invocation of compact theory was just hand waving.

I have read it several times, and tried to carefully analyze it, and given how much time they give to history and the compact theory and the 10th amendment, not to mention how often the same concepts were invoked by Jefferson Davis, Robert Toombs, etc. in other instances, I don't see it as a handwave. I think they meant exactly what they said. And if you look back at earlier Southerners, the secessionists in SC did not invent the ideas, they inherited them.

Can you provide any sources that demonstrate insincerity on their part?

P.S. I should note that the “where no arbiter is provided” passage is also bogus, since all of the actions that South Carolina complains about fall under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Their answer to that was that the Republicans and thus the Federal Government had no intention of honoring a Supreme Court decision, given how they ignored Dred Scott. They were convinced that at this point, the North was simply going to run roughshod over them.

http://avalon.law.yale.edu/19th_century/csa_scarsec.asp

This is a reference to the Dred Scott case, so they're saying that the Supreme Court is already being ignored by Northern states: This sectional combination for the subversion of the Constitution, has been aided in some of the States by elevating to citizenship, persons who, by the supreme law of the land, are incapable of becoming citizens; and their votes have been used to inaugurate a new policy, hostile to the South, and destructive of its beliefs and safety.

On the 4th day of March next, this party will take possession of the Government. It has announced that the South shall be excluded from the common territory, that the judicial tribunals shall be made sectional, and that a war must be waged against slavery until it shall cease throughout the United States.

The guaranties of the Constitution will then no longer exist; the equal rights of the States will be lost. The slaveholding States will no longer have the power of self-government, or self-protection, and the Federal Government will have become their enemy.

Slavery is in there, obviously, and the concern is that the sectional, anti-slavery party (the Republicans) will control both the judiciary (judicial tribunals shall be made sectional) and the executive. The government that was created to protect the rights of all will be turned against them and become their enemy.

Now of course, there's hypocrisy here, because the people gnashing their teeth over this turn right around and deny the same freedoms to slaves. But you can see from this passage that they had no faith in the courts to protect them, either from past rulings which were ignored, or from future ones which they insist would be sectional. Agree or disagree, I can understand why they did not see the court as a guarantee of protection at this point.
 

atlantis

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But many of our posters have stated that thousands of blacks joyfully fought on behalf of the Confederacy. :thumbsdown:
Do you have any sourced evidence that tbe USCT incited a race war?
Leftyhunter
Lefty, as I stated their very existence was an incitement and with their introduction the war became a race war for it was no longer just white man against white man.
 
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