The Real Cause of the Civil War: In 1860, Southern Plantation Owners owed $1 billion+ to NY Banks

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#1
For 150 years, Southerners have clung to 'The Cause' of States Rights for why the Civil War was fought. In an attempt to rewrite history and thus promote their 'righteousness', even some Neo-Confederates on this forum and elsewhere continue their propaganda of "The Civil War wasn't fought over slavery." Not only was the Civil War all about the struggle to free the African-American slaves, Southerners have attempted to mute how the Rebels never took black Union soldiers prisoner - they were always ruthlessly shot! Furthermore, the real reason for the Southern Secession movement has been effectively kept out of the history books. In 1860, Southern plantation owners were greatly in debt to New York City banks to the tune of over $1 billion dollars! That was a HUGE amount of money back then and no matter how much cotton they sold, they could never pay it back. The plantation owners figured if they could get the Southern States leaders to secede, then they wouldn't have to repay their debts. Wow! I was never taught that in school; you won't find that 'little fact' in a college textbook, battlefield park gift shop or History Channel program.

The combined worth of the African slaves in the Southern States was greater than all the other combined wealth in the United States. Yes, money and greed were the real cause of the Civil War but that wouldn't get hundreds of thousands of Southern men to fight and maybe die for that! So the slave owners' propaganda was "States rights and no Northerners coming down here and telling us how to live!"

Have you heard of anything more evil? Of course, the Northern bankers were also at fault. Their lending practices forced the plantation owners to take drastic actions! It's time to write the truth in the history books.
 
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brass napoleon

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#4
Does anyone have a source for this?
Beyond that, is there any evidence that the South seceded over this? Slaveholders certainly were dependent on Northern banking, and did owe considerable money to them. But that was all just part of their normal business cycle. To walk away from that debt would have dried up that source of financing for them, would have destroyed their credit-worthiness with anybody else, and left them like a fish out of water.
 

IcarusPhoenix

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#5
Does anyone have a source for this?
Yes; the earliest mention of it was in an Italian-language pamphlet by the poet Ezra Pound... in 1944. Pound - though an American - was still broadcasting for the in exile Roman fascists at the time. Pound was a deranged anti-semite and fascist who was eventually indicted for treason. The conspiracy theory goes that the war was started to protect the banks (run by a big conspiracy of Jews, of course), and that they then had Lincoln killed because they thought he'd be too soft on the debtors.
 
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#7
Does anyone have a source for this?
This is interesting and I too look forward to the source. Never heard it.

To walk away from that debt would have dried up that source of financing for them and left them like a fish out of water.
Didn't some in NYC want to secede also, as a free city to continue to trade with both?

Can't argue with either the OP nor the above, but will be interested to see where this one goes....:cautious: :unsure:
 

Dave Wilma

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#8
I doubt very much whether the desire to cancel debt was in the heads of the secessionists. Naturally being indebted to Northern bankers did not engender much in the way of loyalty to the free states, but if they thought about it, they would still need a loan next season. Then again, the secession sentiment of 1860/61 was not known for forward thinking.
 
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#11
Interesting on the bond debt, have not heard this ----Was this debt owed primarily by the super rich planters along the Mississippi River or just planters in general in the South? I have heard that before the war S.C. was the third richest state in the Union---cotton, rice, slaves etc.
 
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#12
It's not factual that Confederates never took black prisoners. Even at Fort Pillow, one of the most notorious incidents, there were a number of black soldiers who lived to be taken prisoner.
Have you got a source for that? I've never heard that. And are you telling me that perhaps one exemption means that I falsely accused the Rebels of being evil towards the black Union troops?
 

jgoodguy

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#13
There may have been some resentment about Yankee dominance of the financial sector, but the Southerners had opportunities to correct, but did not because capital invested in either land to grow cotton or the means-slaves, brought much more profit than investing in the financial sector.

More to the point, after secession, debts own to the Yankee banks became payable to the CSA government so there was no advantage for the Southern Cotton growers in this.
 

brass napoleon

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Have you got a source for that? I've never heard that. And are you telling me that perhaps one exemption means that I falsely accused the Rebels of being evil towards the black Union troops?
Versalle F. Washington, in his book about the 5th USCT, Eagles on their Buttons, while he makes no bones about the fact that some Confederate soldiers slaughtered and enslaved captured USCT soldiers, also notes that some USCT soldiers were exchanged, paroled, and even treated at Richmond hospitals.
 

rhettbutler1865

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#18
Now that I've read my esteemed fellow members' responses, I am in total agreement with them--this notion goes against countless historians, people who have dedicated their lives to studying, analyzing, and interpreting the "cause" of the Civil War...and you say the book was published in Britain? I can't wait to hear more!
 
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#19
Here is a direct quote from an earlier thread started by Brad Watson. Emphasis not added.

"Like a lot of the enthusists that participate in this forum, I've always had a strong interest in the Civil War and Abraham Lincoln - perhaps, it could even be an obsession. This was always my favorite part of history and I loved studying it in school and as an adult, taking trips to battlefields and other related Civil War era places, etc. I'd like to think of myself as somewhat of a scholar/historian on all things CW & Lincoln, but yet, I just learned something from a $3 bargain book that I never knew and it is blowing my mind! By the end of 1860, "In commercial dealings, the South owed the North some $300 million, which Southerners believed would be forfeited." - American History - Timeline of the Civil War (p. 23) by John D. Wright (Amber Books, 2007) What?! I had never heard this before!! This one simple sentence provides a whole new take on Southern Secession. Could it be that another of the major factors of the war was a veiled attempt by the Southern rich to avoid paying a huge debt?! WOW!!!

- Brad Watson, Miami, FL
author of 7 Score & 4 Years Later'
http://civilwartalk.com/threads/was...fault-on-its-300-million-debt-to-north.16368/

Is this $300million and the $1billion+ two different stories? Or the same story with incorrect dollar amounts? What I understand from both stories is the South seceded to to not pay money owned to North bankers. The vast amount of difference in money notwithstanding.
 

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