- Oct 3, 2005
What northern interest was concerned with "destroying the Southern economic machine?" Name three. And what they said or did.This looks like a long term thread containing many different viewpoints on the causes of secession and war, but to help members know me, I will offer my take.
From what I have deciphered, the issues of slavery and economics are indubitably intertwined, but in the step up to secession, economics carried the greater toxicity.
At the time, Northerners were largely indifferent toward slavery, and the growing animosities between the Northern and Southern sections extended more from economic advantages the South's Slave Power gave the Southern oligarchy than the inherent injustice of slavery, the oligarchy's prime economic tool. An economic recession from the Panic of 1857 did more to alienate the sections than abolitionist ideology. Northern commerce was hit especially hard by that event while it barely caused a ripple in the Southern oligarchy's economic machine, and the divergence in the direction of the sections' economies evident in that event inflamed an already serious point of contention. Over the 1850's, low tariffs, achieved in large part with the South's Slave Power, had added greatly to Planter Class wealth. Combined with their expansion of direct trade with European markets over the decade, those economic elements caused Northern political and commercial powers to grow increasingly jealous of and aggrieved by the oligarchy's economic prowess.
Undoubtedly, the secession of the eleven Slave States which formed the Confederacy occurred to perpetuate the section's agricultural, slave-labor driven economy, or more precisely, to preserve and extend their prime economic tool, slavery. But while there was great benevolence in pursuing the end of slavery, Northern interests were more concerned with destroying the Southern economic machine as a whole than the sleazy part of its apparatus, slavery. So, though slavery issues were at play, economic elements held more weight.
I believe strongly that slavery could have been extracted from American society without the rabid destruction and massive blood letting as occurred in the WBTS. And because the demolition seems to have had a malevolent underside, I see slavery being more an excuse to obliterate the South and its wealth than justification for inflicting that type of damage.