The Fugitive Slave Clause and the Rebellion of the Northern States

Joined
Mar 15, 2018
Given that slavery was recognized under the US Constitution, would it not be accurate to postulate that it was the northern states that were involved in a rebellion against the document which they had all agreed to ratify ?
https://constitution.congress.gov/browse/essay/artIV_S2_C3_1_1/
I don’t believe that the north invaded the south over the issue of slavery, nor do I believe that the south pulled out of the union over slavery. Slavery was simply the law back in those days, as it was written into the nation’s founding document. Slavery was used primarily as a tool for vilifying the southern states, and for concealing the true reasons for the outbreak of hostilities between the two sections of the country.
 

unionblue

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(Sigh.)

What one believes often has to confront what really was.

To say that the north did not go to war with the south over slavery is correct, it didn't, as it went to war to preserve the Union, initially.

To say the south did not secede over slavery is to deny the very words of southern slaveholding states of the time and to completely ignore the issue of the day that was dividing the entire country, slavery.

The true reasons for the outbreak of civil war? The arrogant belief the the slaveholding south could enforce it's will on the rest of the nation when it came to the issue of slavery.

Belief does not triumph over recorded history, if one is willing to face facts vice blind faith.

Unionblue
 

Rhea Cole

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Given that slavery was recognized under the US Constitution, would it not be accurate to postulate that it was the northern states that were involved in a rebellion against the document which they had all agreed to ratify ?
https://constitution.congress.gov/browse/essay/artIV_S2_C3_1_1/
I don’t believe that the north invaded the south over the issue of slavery, nor do I believe that the south pulled out of the union over slavery. Slavery was simply the law back in those days, as it was written into the nation’s founding document. Slavery was used primarily as a tool for vilifying the southern states, and for concealing the true reasons for the outbreak of hostilities between the two sections of the country.
No.
 
Joined
Mar 15, 2018
(Sigh.)

What one believes often has to confront what really was.

To say that the north did not go to war with the south over slavery is correct, it didn't, as it went to war to preserve the Union, initially.

To say the south did not secede over slavery is to deny the very words of southern slaveholding states of the time and to completely ignore the issue of the day that was dividing the entire country, slavery.

The true reasons for the outbreak of civil war? The arrogant belief the the slaveholding south could enforce it's will on the rest of the nation when it came to the issue of slavery.

Belief does not triumph over recorded history, if one is willing to face facts vice blind faith.

Unionblue

The slaveholders of the north and south voted equally to ratify the constitution.

Slavery persisted in the northeastern part of the country all the way up to the 1860s and beyond, and the institution was never truly abolished in that part of the country except in name only.

Look at the horrible condition of the northern factory workers and how they slaved their lives away for meager wages, chained to their machines in miserable sweatshops.

The slave ships that crossed the Atlantic with their human cargo were built in the shipyards of New York and Boston, and to a large extent the slave ships were piloted by crews of northern “Yankees.”

We need to stop blaming the southern states over the institution of slavery.

The antebellum southern leadership consisted to a large extent of slaveholders who acquired their slaves by virtue of inheritance, and many of them in fact were abolitionists.

The southern states pulled out of the union because they basically couldn’t get along with their northern “brethren” who kept harassing them over the issue of slavery, and so they ended up “digging their heels” in defense of an institution that many looked upon with disfavor and actually wanted to abolish.

The fanatics of New England were calling for violent slave insurrections like the ones that took place in Haiti. The southern states were acting in the face of extreme provocation that was emanating from the likes of Charles Sumner of Massachusetts et al.

The “civil war” WAS about slavery but only in the sense that southerners were trying to break away from the radical fire-breathing fanatics of New York and New England.
 
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Hawkins

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Sep 18, 2017
The “civil war” WAS about slavery but only in the sense that southerners were trying to break away from the radical fire-breathing fanatics of New York and New England.
So, the South seceded to protect the institution of slavery from the influence of Northern militant abolitionists? That's still the South pulling out of the Union over slavery. Putting lipstick on that pig isn't making it any prettier. :wink:

However, if many of the antebellum southern leadership were, in fact, abolitionists and and the abolitionists were the "radical fire-breathing fanatics"...ya know, the guys that really, really wanted to end slavery, then what was the problem? They were the leadership of the South and they're able to pass secession documents. One would think it would be pretty easy to just copy and paste the end of slavery in there instead, if they really wanted to end slavery. Hell, if New Jersey was any indication, then they could have taken gradualist approach and still kept slavery for at least a generation.

Instead, they pulled out of the Union over slavery.
 

Rhea Cole

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How about we all agree to read Dr. Dew’s ‘Apostles of Disunion.’ The first states to secede the sent ambassadors to other slave holding states to explain why they had seceded & to encourage others to do the same. Each of the ambassadors was accompanied by a document that explicitly stated the justifications for secession.

There is absolutely no purpose served by posting personal speculation & assumptions. The secession commissioner’s went to great effort to explain to their own white citizens what & why they had done. It will be much more productive to read what they wrote & then discuss the actual stated reasons for secession.
 
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Location
NH
The Founders didn't even use the word "slavery" in the original Constitution. When you endorse something or recognize it as good, you use it by name. The only place "slavery" appears in the Constitution is the 13th Amendment, which abolished the practice. Slavery was a municipal institution, not a national one. The Constitution did not establish slavery. State laws did.
 

BuckeyeWarrior

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Ohio
The slaveholders of the north and south voted equally to ratify the constitution.

Slavery persisted in the northeastern part of the country all the way up to the 1860s and beyond, and the institution was never truly abolished in that part of the country except in name only.

Look at the horrible condition of the northern factory workers and how they slaved their lives away for meager wages, chained to their machines in miserable sweatshops.

The slave ships that crossed the Atlantic with their human cargo were built in the shipyards of New York and Boston, and to a large extent the slave ships were piloted by crews of northern “Yankees.”

We need to stop blaming the southern states over the institution of slavery.

The antebellum southern leadership consisted to a large extent of slaveholders who acquired their slaves by virtue of inheritance, and many of them in fact were abolitionists.

The southern states pulled out of the union because they basically couldn’t get along with their northern “brethren” who kept harassing them over the issue of slavery, and so they ended up “digging their heels” in defense of an institution that many looked upon with disfavor and actually wanted to abolish.

The fanatics of New England were calling for violent slave insurrections like the ones that took place in Haiti. The southern states were acting in the face of extreme provocation that was emanating from the likes of Charles Sumner of Massachusetts et al.

The “civil war” WAS about slavery but only in the sense that southerners were trying to break away from the radical fire-breathing fanatics of New York and New England.
Yes, the idea that "all men are created equal" is certainly a radical fire-breathing concept that only fanatics in New York and New England could ever entertain.
 

unionblue

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The slaveholders of the north and south voted equally to ratify the constitution.

Slavery persisted in the northeastern part of the country all the way up to the 1860s and beyond, and the institution was never truly abolished in that part of the country except in name only.

Look at the horrible condition of the northern factory workers and how they slaved their lives away for meager wages, chained to their machines in miserable sweatshops.

The slave ships that crossed the Atlantic with their human cargo were built in the shipyards of New York and Boston, and to a large extent the slave ships were piloted by crews of northern “Yankees.”

We need to stop blaming the southern states over the institution of slavery.

The antebellum southern leadership consisted to a large extent of slaveholders who acquired their slaves by virtue of inheritance, and many of them in fact were abolitionists.

The southern states pulled out of the union because they basically couldn’t get along with their northern “brethren” who kept harassing them over the issue of slavery, and so they ended up “digging their heels” in defense of an institution that many looked upon with disfavor and actually wanted to abolish.

The fanatics of New England were calling for violent slave insurrections like the ones that took place in Haiti. The southern states were acting in the face of extreme provocation that was emanating from the likes of Charles Sumner of Massachusetts et al.

The “civil war” WAS about slavery but only in the sense that southerners were trying to break away from the radical fire-breathing fanatics of New York and New England.
@NewYorkConfederate ,

Again, I must repeat my earlier (Sigh).

We need to stop excusing actual, recorded, historical events with emotional phrases and half-truths, and start accepting actual history, in full, not just the parts we can twist and turn to our own satisfaction.

18th century events from 19th century events would be a good place to start.

How many Northern States had slavery at the time of the firing on Ft. Sumter?

How many, and please give the correct number, Northern factory workers were actually "chained to their machines?"

How many slave ships, commanded by Yankee Captains and crewed by Northerners, were turned away at Charleston and other Southern ports by Southern, white slave buyers, where slaves were brought for sale?

We need to stop trying to find excuses for the Southern secession over slavery and simply state the facts of the time. Slavery was the economic engine of the South and cotton it's end product, a substance more valuable than any Northern one.

How many Southern slaveholders were in fact, abolitionists-in-waiting? Please identify these individuals so that we may see their intentions for ourselves.

You state in one paragraph the South did secede over slavery even though they looked upon with "disfavor" all the while wanting to abolish the institution. Please name those in the South who were slaveholders in power who called for the abolition of slavery AFTER secession.

Also, please name the Northern fanatics calling on armed slave rebellion in the South to reenact Haiti and any of their speeches or letters that called for such, if you please.

Your last paragraph is one I am in partial agreement, as you finally state that slavery was the cause of secession. But you provide no evidence or historical sources to back up your view that it was because of radical fanatics of New York and New England. If you could do so, it would be much more productive to your view.

Sincerely,
Unionblue
 
Joined
Mar 15, 2018
The Founders didn't even use the word "slavery" in the original Constitution.

The framers didn’t see any reason to insert the phrase “indentured servitude” into that document either for that matter. It was enough that they created a clause to the constitution that clearly applies to the institution of slavery.

https://constitution.congress.gov/browse/essay/artIV_S2_C3_1_1/

Please read the clause and explain how it DOESN’T apply to the institution of slavery.
 
Joined
Mar 15, 2018
How about we all agree to read Dr. Dew’s ‘Apostles of Disunion.’ The first states to secede the sent ambassadors to other slave holding states to explain why they had seceded & to encourage others to do the same. Each of the ambassadors was accompanied by a document that explicitly stated the justifications for secession.

There is absolutely no purpose served by posting personal speculation & assumptions. The secession commissioner’s went to great effort to explain to their own white citizens what & why they had done. It will be much more productive to read what they wrote & then discuss the actual stated reasons for secession.
I was able to locate Dr. Dew’s book on Amazon.com. The book appears to be pretty recent as it was only published in 2002.

I’m not sure why “disunion” is regarded as being such a bad thing.

If the southern states wanted to break away from a “union” that was intolerable to them, they should have been allowed to go in peace, and there was no need to inaugurate a massively barbaric war in the name of “unity.” IMO it was the worst possible act of tyranny to force them back into the company of people with whom they couldn’t get along, at the point of a bayonet.
 

BuckeyeWarrior

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I was able to locate Dr. Dew’s book on Amazon.com. The book appears to be pretty recent as it was only published in 2002.

I’m not sure why “disunion” is regarded as being such a bad thing.

If the southern states wanted to break away from a “union” that was intolerable to them, they should have been allowed to go in peace, and there was no need to inaugurate a massively barbaric war in the name of “unity.” IMO it was the worst possible act of tyranny to force them back into the company of people with whom they couldn’t get along, at the point of a bayonet.
Americans that stayed loyal to America(both north and south) probably did so for many reasons. Though one of those reasons was most likely these words by the father of our nation;

"The unity of government which constitutes you one people is also now dear to you. It is justly so, for it is a main pillar in the edifice of your real independence, the support of your tranquility at home, your peace abroad; of your safety; of your prosperity; of that very liberty which you so highly prize. But as it is easy to foresee that, from different causes and from different quarters, much pains will be taken, many artifices employed to weaken in your minds the conviction of this truth; as this is the point in your political fortress against which the batteries of internal and external enemies will be most constantly and actively (though often covertly and insidiously) directed, it is of infinite moment that you should properly estimate the immense value of your national union to your collective and individual happiness; that you should cherish a cordial, habitual, and immovable attachment to it; accustoming yourselves to think and speak of it as of the palladium of your political safety and prosperity; watching for its preservation with jealous anxiety; discountenancing whatever may suggest even a suspicion that it can in any event be abandoned; and indignantly frowning upon the first dawning of every attempt to alienate any portion of our country from the rest, or to enfeeble the sacred ties which now link together the various parts.

For this you have every inducement of sympathy and interest. Citizens, by birth or choice, of a common country, that country has a right to concentrate your affections. The name of American, which belongs to you in your national capacity, must always exalt the just pride of patriotism more than any appellation derived from local discriminations. With slight shades of difference, you have the same religion, manners, habits, and political principles. You have in a common cause fought and triumphed together; the independence and liberty you possess are the work of joint counsels, and joint efforts of common dangers, sufferings, and successes."
George Washington's Farewell Address 1796
 
Joined
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George Washington may have been a great speaker and a great politician, but he was wrong when he asserted that our country is nothing more than a homogeneous mass of humanity. His colleague Thomas Jefferson undoubtedly would have taken the opposing view. The so-called “civil war” was fought between two sections of the country that did not share the same values or even the same outlook on life. It was a savagely fought war. Had they been real “brothers” who were pretty much on the same team together, they never would have fought each other with such a savage degree of intense animosity. As it was the two sides were opposed to each other in so many different ways that it’s no exaggeration to say that they were in fact two distinct countries.
 

BuckeyeWarrior

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George Washington may have been a great speaker and a great politician, but he was wrong when he asserted that our country is nothing more than a homogeneous mass of humanity. His colleague Thomas Jefferson undoubtedly would have taken the opposing view. The so-called “civil war” was fought between two sections of the country that did not share the same values or even the same outlook on life. It was a savagely fought war. Had they been real “brothers” who were pretty much on the same team together, they never would have fought each other with such a savage degree of intense animosity. As it was the two sides were opposed to each other in so many different ways that it’s no exaggeration to say that they were in fact two distinct countries.
Considering over 100,000 white southerners stayed loyal to America and served in the United States military I think you are dead wrong. Every single southern state, except South Carolina, had white troops fight for America.

The civil war was caused by a bunch of butt-hurt rebels that didn't like the results of a free and fair election. No democracy/republic could ever survive if sections of it could just break away whenever an election didn't go there way. As President Buchanan said;
“In order to justify secession as a constitutional remedy, it must be on the principle that the Federal Government is a mere voluntary association of States, to be dissolved at pleasure by any one of the contracting parties. If this be so, the Confederacy is a rope of sand, to be penetrated and dissolved by the first adverse wave of public opinion in any of the States… By this process a union might be entirely broken into fragments in a few weeks which cost our forefathers many years of toil, privation, and blood to establish.”
President Buchanan's address to Congress Dec 1860
 

John Hartwell

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Look at the horrible condition of the northern factory workers and how they slaved their lives away for meager wages, chained to their machines in miserable sweatshops.
As bad as those conditions sometimes were, if a worker decided to quit and try his fortunes elsewhere, he would not be hunted down with bloodhounds, whipped, & forced back to work. Nor were his wife and children in danger of being sold away and lost forever. It was not slavery, or anything close to it.
 

Hawkins

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” IMO it was the worst possible act of tyranny to force them back into the company of people with whom they couldn’t get along, at the point of a bayonet.
Even if I limit myself to only era-related topics instead of a discussion on the broader theme of American Liberty, it's hard to think of a greater affront to it than an institution in which roughly four million souls have no right that the white man was bound to respect as slavery is the essence and mother's milk of Tyranny.
 

Zack

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Given that slavery was recognized under the US Constitution, would it not be accurate to postulate that it was the northern states that were involved in a rebellion against the document which they had all agreed to ratify ?
https://constitution.congress.gov/browse/essay/artIV_S2_C3_1_1/
I don’t believe that the north invaded the south over the issue of slavery, nor do I believe that the south pulled out of the union over slavery. Slavery was simply the law back in those days, as it was written into the nation’s founding document. Slavery was used primarily as a tool for vilifying the southern states, and for concealing the true reasons for the outbreak of hostilities between the two sections of the country.

I think @Rhea Cole and @unionblue just about sum up the answer to your question. The way you articulate it, the answer is no.

However, buried under this is actually a pretty interesting argument, which amounts to the fact that growing abolitionist sentiment could be seen as a revolution against the practices of previous generations. Many alive during the Reconstruction era, for example, felt they were living through a revolution so radical were the changes being wrought on the country.

In BATTLE CRY OF FREEDOM, James McPherson argues that Southerners were in some ways engaging in a counter-revolution designed to preserve those parts of the Constitution and government that protected slavery. They saw that the world was changing, that sentiment was moving against slaveholding, and they reacted with violence.

Amusingly, then, your argument is in fact correct IF the war was being fought by the South to preserve slavery. If, however, you continue to insist the war was fought because the South didn't like the way the North behaved in some broad non-specific sense, then the answer to your question is no.

Relevant section of BATTLE CRY OF FREEDOM here and excerpt below:
http://inside.sfuhs.org/dept/history/US_History_reader/Chapter6/mcpherson.pdf

Screen Shot 2021-07-11 at 4.40.01 PM.png
Screen Shot 2021-07-11 at 4.40.15 PM.png


BTW that speech that McPherson quotes Jefferson Davis from was given April 29, 1861 to celebrate the ratification of their Constitution. It can be read below. Davis devotes at minimum half of the speech to the issue of slavery.
http://www.civilwarcauses.org/davis.htm
 

trice

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Given that slavery was recognized under the US Constitution, would it not be accurate to postulate that it was the northern states that were involved in a rebellion against the document which they had all agreed to ratify ?
https://constitution.congress.gov/browse/essay/artIV_S2_C3_1_1/
I don’t believe that the north invaded the south over the issue of slavery, nor do I believe that the south pulled out of the union over slavery. Slavery was simply the law back in those days, as it was written into the nation’s founding document. Slavery was used primarily as a tool for vilifying the southern states, and for concealing the true reasons for the outbreak of hostilities between the two sections of the country.
There was no invasion of "the South". "The North" (as in "the rest of the country") reacted to a violent attack on the country by rebels in "the South". If by some chance you do ever establish that "the South" was a "nation" separate from and independent of the United States of America, then "the South" would be a foreign enemy launching an aggressive attack upon the United States of America. In either case, "the North" (as in "the rest of the country") or the United States of America is simply defending itself against violent aggression. For the President, he is merely fulfilling his oath of office and doing his duty when he defends the country in either case.

So, which position are you advocating: is "the South" a bunch of traitors in rebellion or is "the South" a foreign country attacking the United States?
 

ForeverFree

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...nor do I believe that the south pulled out of the union over slavery...
This is from the state of Mississippi's secession declaration:

In the momentous step which our State has taken of dissolving its connection with the government of which we so long formed a part, it is but just that we should declare the prominent reasons which have induced our course.​
Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery-- the greatest material interest of the world. Its labor supplies the product which constitutes by far the largest and most important portions of commerce of the earth. These products are peculiar to the climate verging on the tropical regions, and by an imperious law of nature, none but the black race can bear exposure to the tropical sun.​
These products have become necessities of the world, and a blow at slavery is a blow at commerce and civilization. That blow has been long aimed at the institution, and was at the point of reaching its consummation. There was no choice left us but submission to the mandates of abolition, or a dissolution of the Union, whose principles had been subverted to work out our ruin.​

This is from the state of Texas' secession declaration:

We hold as undeniable truths that the governments of the various States, and of the confederacy itself, were established exclusively by the white race, for themselves and their posterity; that the African race had no agency in their establishment; that they were rightfully held and regarded as an inferior and dependent race, and in that condition only could their existence in this country be rendered beneficial or tolerable.​
That in this free government all white men are and of right ought to be entitled to equal civil and political rights; that the servitude of the African race, as existing in these States, is mutually beneficial to both bond and free, and is abundantly authorized and justified by the experience of mankind, and the revealed will of the Almighty Creator, as recognized by all Christian nations; while the destruction of the existing relations between the two races, as advocated by our sectional enemies, would bring inevitable calamities upon both and desolation upon the fifteen slave-holding States.
By the secession of six of the slave-holding States, and the certainty that others will speedily do likewise, Texas has no alternative but to remain in an isolated connection with the North, or unite her destinies with the South.

This is from the state of South Carolina's secession declaration:

A geographical line has been drawn across the Union, and all the States north of that line have united in the election of a man to the high office of President of the United States, whose opinions and purposes are hostile to slavery. He is to be entrusted with the administration of the common Government, because he has declared that that "Government cannot endure permanently half slave, half free," and that the public mind must rest in the belief that slavery is in the course of ultimate extinction.​
This sectional combination for the submersion 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.

We don't have to guess if southern governments left the Union to protect slavery; the fact is, they said they said this was the case. They weren't trying to hide it, they said it explicitly.

- Alan
 
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