TRR: True cause of the War

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#1
James Lutzweiler, A friend of mine has written a book asserting that the PRIMARY (but not "exclusive." Let me say that again, "PRIMARY, NOT EXCLUSIVE) cause of the War for Southern Independence was the fierce 1845-1851 sectional (Southern, Northern, Western, Midwestern, Southwestern, Northeastern, and Northwestern) conflict over where the first footprint of the transcontinental railroad was going to go. In the process he tackles and head-butts Slavery Laureates like James McPherson, William Davis, and William Freehling who barely even mention the subject in their works. He argues that this is not just a minor oversight but a major oversight that has distorted a great deal about the war, to say nothing about the Confederacy. In short, he argues that the War was not fought over the paltry few acres we call Fort Sumter, but the zillions of acres of the trans-Mississippi West with California and its several ports on the Pacific for trade with Peking. Stephen Ambrose agreed with Lutzweiler and Eugene Genovese called one chapter alone "arresting."


If you send Lutzweiler an email at stjimbow@gmail.com, he might send you a free e-copy of his treatise provided you promise to critique it with all the bitterness and rancor you can muster for dissing the overwhelmingly obvious-to-blind-bats slavery paradigm. You won't be able to insult him no matter how hard you try. He has thick skin and compelling logic. Find one weakness in his argument and he might buy your dinner.


Gary Blessman
 

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Harvey Johnson

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#3
Although I am skeptical of any claim that Southerners collected 87% of the tariffs, his analysis includes points that merit consideration.

For example, I have long considered the actions of politicians to be a better indicator of their intent than their verbal or written remarks. In that context, it is a matter of historical record that tariffs on dutiable items were under 20% before the Civil War but averaged 45% for for the next fifty years. That tells us what Republicans really aimed to gain out from the Civil War.

Rates dropped briefly during Democrat Woodrow Wilson's two presidential terms but jumped up after Republicans regained power in the 1920s. America did not become a true free-trade advocate until after the end of World War II when the industrial economies of Europe and Asia were wrecked and could not compete with the factories north of the Ohio and Potomac rivers.

Moreover, the Morrill Tariff not only increased rates,—on both a percentage and fixed fee basis—it also greatly expanded the list of dutiable items in order to provide protection to a larger number Northern producers.
 
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MattL

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#10
There was indeed a grand competition over the route of the proposed transcontinental railroad. But to suggest that that was the "PRIMARY, NOT EXCLUSIVE cause of the War" ignores the facts. It is total nonsense.
The "PRIMARY, NOT EXCLUSIVE cause of the War" was slavery.
Either most influential secessionists were liars or it was slavery. At some point you must simply face that. Now a treatise on how all those secessionists were in fact liars, that would garner my attention and if supported then we might have somewhere to go.
 

CSA Today

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#11
There was indeed a grand competition over the route of the proposed transcontinental railroad. But to suggest that that was the "PRIMARY, NOT EXCLUSIVE cause of the War" ignores the facts. It is total nonsense.
The "PRIMARY, NOT EXCLUSIVE cause of the War" was slavery.
The primary cause of the war was secession. The United States didn't go to war to free slaves, the Confederate States had no reason to, slavery was protected.
 
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#12
One route helps Texas. A competing route helps the territories of Colorado and Nebraska, and Sacramento. A different route helps Minnesota and the potential territory of Washington. Why is there a dispute about which route is preferential?
Slavery.
If at the time there had been universal slavery or universal paid labor, the dispute about the Trans. Cont. RR would have been easily settled on cost and potential revenue criteria.
 
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#13
But in the end Stephen Douglas was not going to give an inch of RR to Jefferson Davis. Douglas thought he had carried enough water for slavery, and he was on the very edge of converting to Republicanism. Sometimes, ....
 
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#14
The primary cause of the war was secession. The United States didn't go to war to free slaves, the Confederate States had no reason to, slavery was protected.
Not quite true. If slavery can't expand it eventually dies. Eventually there would be a surplus of slaves and no way to profitably utilize them. It is no accident that slave owners financed William Walker to size Nicaragua. Slave owners pressured President Buchanan to purchase Cuba. There was the Knights of the Golden Circle which advocated a slave Republic incorporating the Southern U.S. States and parts of Latin America with its capital in Havana. In addition even during the ACW there was an attempt to seize parts if Mexico which @jgoodguy thread in Confederate diplomacy with Mexico covers.
So yes Lincoln was not going to ban slavery just have it slowly wither away.
Leftyhunter
 

jgoodguy

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#15
The primary cause of the war was secession. The United States didn't go to war to free slaves, the Confederate States had no reason to, slavery was protected.
The primary cause of the war was the attack on Fort Sumter by the Confederate States. The United States went to war to defend the United States.
 

unionblue

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#16
The primary cause of the war was secession. The United States didn't go to war to free slaves, the Confederate States had no reason to, slavery was protected.
(Sigh.)

Why was secession necessary to the slaveholding South?

Because it was felt slavery would not be secure under Lincoln and a Republican administration.
 
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#18
The primary cause of the war was secession. The United States didn't go to war to free slaves, the Confederate States had no reason to, slavery was protected.
Skirting the slavery cause issue! EDTED BY MATT MCKEON
Without guarantee of slavery's protection and expansion, no other reason strong enough for secession!

Kevin Dally
 
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jgoodguy

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#20
(Sigh.)

Why was secession necessary to the slaveholding South?

Because it was felt slavery would not be secure under Lincoln and a Republican administration.
Slavery was unsafe in any future United States controlled by anyone but slave owners.
 

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