Two Reasons for Secession from the Union

Andersonh1

Brigadier General
Moderator
Joined
Jan 12, 2016
Location
South Carolina
The first time ‘The Lost Cause’ appears in print was Pollard’s book in 1866. As any historiography will reveal, Pollard was the genesis of both the concept of the lost cause & the springboard for all the counter factual pseudo-history that followed. All of this is straight from the textbooks.
Then I'd like to know what the textbooks base that on, because again, I've read Pollard's "The Lost Cause" and did not see any of the commonly accepted tenets of the Lost Cause school of history in that book. He contributed the title and nothing more, which is not what I expected when I read it. I figured I'd see the genesis of the Lost Cause, but no such luck.
 

unionblue

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Member of the Year
Joined
Feb 20, 2005
Location
Ocala, FL (as of December, 2015).
Soldiers were reluctant to write home admitting they did so for Money.

Might want to read Marvel’s book on mercenaries. 2 to 1 Union Soldiers were below the median family wealth.

All of the Yankee Abolitionist States and the overwhelming majority avoided Military Service. Paid substitutes and State and Local authorities raise money so their middle and upper classes could stay home. All to pay someone else to Die for their Moral Cause.

Another Yankee Lost Cause.

(Sigh.)

Yet enough of the volunteers of '61 & '62 remained to finish the job.

I wonder how many "paid substitutes" were in the ranks at Appomattox to accept Lee's surrender?
 

Rhea Cole

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Soldiers were reluctant to write home admitting they did so for Money.

Might want to read Marvel’s book on mercenaries. 2 to 1 Union Soldiers were below the median family wealth.

All of the Yankee Abolitionist States and the overwhelming majority avoided Military Service. Paid substitutes and State and Local authorities raise money so their middle and upper classes could stay home. All to pay someone else to Die for their Moral Cause.

Another Yankee Lost Cause.
Perhaps the soldiers from your state were ashamed of their reasons for joining up. In the Army of the Cumberland there is a remarkably consistent pride in protecting the Union from traitors. There was a remarkable habit of regiments holding meetings to vote on declarations of why they were fighting. Iowa, one of your abolitionist states, proudly declared that they never had to fill recruiting quotas with draftees. Iowa’s Hawkeyes were tough & proud of it. Perhaps it is one of the paper collar regiments in the East that you are referring to... probably not. The white & black patriots who flocked to the flag in Tennessee certainly did not fall into the shameful category you describe. Perhaps a list of regiments that corresponded to your description will help us understand your point.
 
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wausaubob

Lt. Colonel
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Location
Denver, CO
I must say that this tariff thread has been very interesting. During this COVID distant learning I have been helping my granddaughter with her Tennessee History class work. We have just finished the the lead up to the War, its effect on Tennessee & Reconstruction. It has been very interesting. There isn’t so much as a hint of Lost Cause misinformation in any of the lessons. When I asked her about tariffs, she said that was one of the false reasons given for starting the war... she figures they were too imbarassed to admit that it was really all about slavery.

I was impressed & told her that there were a lot of people who were embarrassed that they had fought a war for slavery, it is perfectly understandable. Having very smart girls is a delightful experience.
Right. The tariffs would have been increased, to fix the US revenue amount. But if the southerners had remained in Congress, with the border states and the western states, they would have modified the increases. Some of the tariffs had to be revenue tariffs. They could not all be protectionist tariffs. The US needed the money. The problem is that most of the western states, and potential states, also needed a strong federal government.
 

alan polk

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Jun 11, 2012
If anyone is interested, in my newspaper threads, I have a New York Herald article from December 2, 1859 describing Governor Gist’s message to the South Carolina State Legislature favoring disunion if a Republican wins Presidency.

Again, this is from 1859, a full year before South Carolina’s secession. In his December 1859 message to the South Carolina legislature, it is not reported that tariffs were an issue to South Carolina. I found that rather strange, lending credence to its later use in the official Articles of Secession as perhaps “cover.”

Instead, Governor Gist’s asserts that the North is attempting to reduce South Carolina and the South to colonial vassalage by the following means:

- refusing slave states into the Union;
- establishing underground railroads to assist slaves to escape;
- prohibiting Southerners from carrying slaves into the common Territories;
- attempting to instigate slaves to insurrection; and
- furnishing slaves with arms to murder Southerners on their own soil.

Of course, this is only a report published in the NY Herald but I assume it is correct and fully reported.

If anyone wants to view the article themselves, it is on page 6, posts 112 and 113 of that thread.
 

uaskme

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 9, 2016
Location
SE Tennessee
Perhaps the soldiers from your state were ashamed of their reasons for joining up. In the Army of the Cumberland there is a remarkably consistent pride in protecting the Union from traitors. There was a remarkable habit of regiments holding meetings to vote on declarations of why they were fighting. Iowa, one of your abolitionist states, proudly declared that they never had to fill recruiting quotas with draftees. Iowa’s Hawkeyes were tough & proud of it. Perhaps it is one of the paper collar regiments in the East that you are referring to... prolly not. The white & black patriots who flocked to the flag in Tennessee certainly did not fall into a he shameful category you describe. Perhaps a list of regiments that corespondent to your description will help us understand your point.

Good point. Iowa was the poorest state in the Union. 1860 median family wealth of $295.

Mid Westerns were good soldiers. But like all the rest, majority of those who signed up did so because they were in financial distress.
 

unionblue

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Member of the Year
Joined
Feb 20, 2005
Location
Ocala, FL (as of December, 2015).
Good point. Iowa was the poorest state in the Union. 1860 median family wealth of $295.

Mid Westerns were good soldiers. But like all the rest, majority of those who signed up did so because they were in financial distress.

Sounds too much like sour grapes and not enough historical evidence.

Might want to read the book, The Army of the Potomac: A stillness at Appomattox, by Bruce Catton, chapter 1, Glory Is Out of Date, pages 23-36, which does describe how that army had changed from young volunteers to tired veterans having to put up with 'bounty men' and draftees.

But it also describes the number of veterans who reenlisted at the end of their 3-year terms and gutted out the rest of the war to see Lee and the ANV surrender at Appomattox.

And as a side note, even today, no soldier weill tell you they are serving their country for a paycheck. If it was only about the money, they would go to work at MacDonalds or Sears or Home Depot. :smile:

Maybe it wouldn't be much, but it would be a whole lot safer.

Unionblue
 

CW Buff

Sergeant Major
Joined
Dec 22, 2014
Location
Connecticut
The state of South Carolina just didn’t fabricate the tariff issue in their secession documents. In fact, the federal tariff had been a problem for years before the Civil War. In 1832, South Carolina even threatened to secede from the Union over the collection of the tariff which they labeled as the “Tariff of Abominations” .The federal government had instituted a high protective tariff on imported goods from Europe to protect the manufacturing based economy in the Northern states. The southern states, particularly South Carolina, were harmed by having to pay higher prices for imported manufactured goods as a result of the tariff. Other southern states such as Virginia, North Carolina and Alabama joined South Carolina in publicly denouncing the protective tariff. Fortunately, a compromise was reached on the tariff in 1833 which lowered rates to a more acceptable level.

In the Presidential Election of 1860, the federal tariff was an important issue because Lincoln promised new tariff legislation in order to protect domestic industry from foreign competition. A new tariff was vehemently opposed by the southern states.
Actually, if 1832 is the standard, then that's exactly what the state of SC did. They fabricated the tariff issue.

First, certain southerners and northerners conspired to make the Tariff of 1828 as abominable as possible, in order to defeat it. It was a political tactic, Calhoun and Van Buren trying to give Adams and Clay a political black eye. And, it backfired. Oops!

So how does Calhoun & Co try to recover the ball? Nullification. They dust off the VA & KY Resolutions and use them to promote some nonsense theory about a unilateral state power to undo whatever federal acts a particular state wants. 24 different versions of federal law in 24 different states, depending on what each individual state wishes to consider constitutional. Don’t worry about that silly little Supremacy Clause. And then to backup this ridiculous attempt after federal counteraction was threatened, lo and behold, we’ll just extend compact theory to another ridiculous unilateral-state-subversion-of-federal-supremacy theory. A state can leave the Union whenever it wants. Don’t mind the fact that the surviving author of the VA & KY Resolutions is saying you’re wrong. And it also worth noting that this is part of the open debate over secession that some presume occupied the country from 1789 to 1861. Ay Caramba!

So why all this subterfuge. For the sake of tariffs? Not according to the chief architect of the scheme: "I consider the tariff act as the occasion, rather than the real cause of the present unhappy state of things. The truth can no longer be disguised, that the peculiar domestick institution of the Southern States and the consequent direction which that and her soil and climate have given to her industry, has placed them in regard to taxation and appropriations in opposite relation to the majority of the Union.” -- John Calhoun, September 11, 1830

As far as the rest of the "years before the Civil War," based on a detailed article [1] on congressional debates and votes surrounding the rollback of the compromise Tariff of 1833 which resulted in the increased Tariff of 1842, the bill passed with the support of approximately one-third of southern congressmen and the opposition of approximately one-third of northern congressmen. In other words, it had a high degree of bi-sectional support AND opposition. [1] John A. Moore, "The Grossest and Most Unjust Species of Favoritism: Competing Views of Republican Political Economy: The Tariff Debates of 1841 and 1842", Essays in Economic & Business History (2011) 29: 59–73

And the Tariffs of 1846 and 1857 represented significant decreases in tariff rates. Decreases which, BTW, southerners could not possibly have affected alone, not in the House. Like the increase in 1842, these decreases exhibited a high degree of bi-sectionalism.
 

Rhea Cole

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Actually, if 1832 is the standard, then that's exactly what the state of SC did. They fabricated the tariff issue.

First, certain southerners and northerners conspired to make the Tariff of 1828 as abominable as possible, in order to defeat it. It was a political tactic, Calhoun and Van Buren trying to give Adams and Clay a political black eye. And, it backfired. Oops!

So how does Calhoun & Co try to recover the ball? Nullification. They dust off the VA & KY Resolutions and use them to promote some nonsense theory about a unilateral state power to undo whatever federal acts a particular state wants. 24 different versions of federal law in 24 different states, depending on what each individual state wishes to consider constitutional. Don’t worry about that silly little Supremacy Clause. And then to backup this ridiculous attempt after federal counteraction was threatened, lo and behold, we’ll just extend compact theory to another ridiculous unilateral-state-subversion-of-federal-supremacy theory. A state can leave the Union whenever it wants. Don’t mind the fact that the surviving author of the VA & KY Resolutions is saying you’re wrong. And it also worth noting that this is part of the open debate over secession that some presume occupied the country from 1789 to 1861. Ay Caramba!

So why all this subterfuge. For the sake of tariffs? Not according to the chief architect of the scheme: "I consider the tariff act as the occasion, rather than the real cause of the present unhappy state of things. The truth can no longer be disguised, that the peculiar domestick institution of the Southern States and the consequent direction which that and her soil and climate have given to her industry, has placed them in regard to taxation and appropriations in opposite relation to the majority of the Union.” -- John Calhoun, September 11, 1830

As far as the rest of the "years before the Civil War," based on a detailed article [1] on congressional debates and votes surrounding the rollback of the compromise Tariff of 1833 which resulted in the increased Tariff of 1842, the bill passed with the support of approximately one-third of southern congressmen and the opposition of approximately one-third of northern congressmen. In other words, it had a high degree of bi-sectional support AND opposition. [1] John A. Moore, "The Grossest and Most Unjust Species of Favoritism: Competing Views of Republican Political Economy: The Tariff Debates of 1841 and 1842", Essays in Economic & Business History (2011) 29: 59–73

And the Tariffs of 1846 and 1857 represented significant decreases in tariff rates. Decreases which, BTW, southerners could not possibly have affected alone, not in the House. Like the increase in 1842, these decreases exhibited a high degree of bi-sectionalism.
You hit that right on the head.
 

lurid

First Sergeant
Joined
Jan 3, 2019
Soldiers were reluctant to write home admitting they did so for Money.

Might want to read Marvel’s book on mercenaries. 2 to 1 Union Soldiers were below the median family wealth.

All of the Yankee Abolitionist States and the overwhelming majority avoided Military Service. Paid substitutes and State and Local authorities raise money so their middle and upper classes could stay home. All to pay someone else to Die for their Moral Cause.

Another Yankee Lost Cause.

Wouldn't you be reluctant to write you parents/family/friends a letter from the battlefield admitting your service was based on monetary reasons? I was in the military in the early 1990s and one of these reasons I joined was economics, which I'm sure that was prevalent among 18 year old kids trying to get started in life, no matter the era. Your second and third sentences in conjunction look like an oxymoron. Mercenaries = "professional" soldiers, who are hired to serve in foreign armies. Union soldier = untrained farm boy, who more than likely joined for low grade pay. Nobody was going to pay a farm boy or some immigrant with no to little experience mercenary wages. The government could have just conscripted them anyway, and payed them according to their pay grade.

Your third paragraph is absolutely an overgeneralization, I would love to see the data that shows the percentages that confirms your "overwhelming majority avoided military service" assertion, which contradicts your third sentence when you stated, "2 to 1 Union soldiers were below the median family wealth." How could your per capita income ratio be true and simultaneously your "overwhelming majority avoided military" theory be true? According to your 2:1 below median wealth theory, 50% of Union soldiers lived in some form of poverty but you claim that in "Yankee abolition" states "overwhelmingly avoided military service," which is a contradiction to say the least. Either the overwhelming majority had the money to pay someone else for service or 50% of Union soldiers were too poor to pay anyone? I would love to know which scenario really did occur?

Evidently, you don't know it was quite normal for affluent people to pull some strings to get their kids out of military service during war time, it happened in every war this country fought in except for WW2. Your entire post makes you sound like you are Howard Zinn or some other biased revisionist.
 

Potomac Pride

Sergeant Major
Joined
Oct 28, 2011
Location
Georgia
So, if I understand you correctly, the South Carolina hotheads provoked a war that killed about 3/4 of a million men over a tariff instituted nearly 30 years earlier. Of course, had the Southern congressman & senators been seated, the Democrats would have had a majority in both houses& Mr Lincoln would have had to deal with them... how very clever of them to go to war instead. This is just one of the reasons that nobody has credited the Douth as victim of onerous tariffs for the last 100 years or so.
I suppose it is obvious that 1833 was ten years before most CW soldiers were born. How many people do you know that are bent out of shape & want to kill people over tariffs from 1990? Happy to say that I do not.
No, I didn't say the Civil War started over a tariff that was created 30 years before. I was only stating that the tariff had been a source of controversy between the North & South for years even before the Civil War began. The secession documents of the lower southern states mention issues other than slavery; however, slavery is easily the most important issue mentioned in the documents.
 

Rhea Cole

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
No, I didn't say the Civil War started over a tariff that was created 30 years before. I was only stating that the tariff had been a source of controversy between the North & South for years even before the Civil War began. The secession documents of the lower southern states mention issues other than slavery; however, slavery is easily the most important issue mentioned in the documents.
I never imagined that you did not know that guaranteeing slave-holding was 99% of the reason for secession. The evidence to that effect is overwhelming.

Where we differ is that the tariff was anything but deliberate disinformation. All anyone has to do is read the counter factual statements in this thread to realize how effective that postwar anti-history was. Hopefully, my posts have exposed it for the falsehood that it is.

This is the only one of the numerous CW forums that I subscribe to where such discredited pseudo history is ever discussed. The tariff disinformation argument was settled history 100 years ago. Isn't it about time we focus on what really motivated the secessionists?
 

19thGeorgia

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
That is true, 1% is probably an exaggeration because all other issues led directly back to slavery. It would, however, be useful if you would use words a person could look up on a dictionary. Of course, if it is only meant to be snark, that came through loud & clear.
Me?...Snark?
 

Potomac Pride

Sergeant Major
Joined
Oct 28, 2011
Location
Georgia
I never imagined that you did not know that guaranteeing slave-holding was 99% of the reason for secession. The evidence to that effect is overwhelming.

Where we differ is that the tariff was anything but deliberate disinformation. All anyone has to do is read the counter factual statements in this thread to realize how effective that postwar anti-history was. Hopefully, my posts have exposed it for the falsehood that it is.

This is the only one of the numerous CW forums that I subscribe to where such discredited pseudo history is ever discussed. The tariff disinformation argument was settled history 100 years ago. Isn't it about time we focus on what really motivated the secessionists?
Well, if the tariff had not been significant to a certain degree, then it would probably not have been included in any of the secession documents.
 

Rhea Cole

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Well, if the tariff had not been significant to a certain degree, then it would probably not have been included in any of the secession documents.
The point is that the tariff issue was disinformation form the very start & was put into the documents for that purpose. As has been documented in this thread, the whole point of the tariff uproar was to obscure & distract, that is why the tariff issue was in the succession documents. It is also why it is either ignored or only given a pro-forma sentence or two in most of the secession declarations.
 
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