Was the hope to expand slavery a factor in secession?

How Important was the Expansion of Slavery to the Secessionists?

  • Not at all important

    Votes: 3 7.7%
  • It factors in, but rather unimportant in the big picture

    Votes: 6 15.4%
  • One of the core concerns, among other grievances

    Votes: 13 33.3%
  • The major factor, the future depended on it

    Votes: 17 43.6%

  • Total voters
    39
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#1
How much, if at all, did the desire of some prominent proponents of slavery and secession to expand slavery to the territories and beyond factor into the various states’ decisions to secede?

Please endeavor to back up any assertions with contemporary evidence.

I tend to think it was a big deal for the “fire eaters” but maybe not for others.
 

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#2
How much, if at all, did the desire of some prominent proponents of slavery and secession to expand slavery to the territories and beyond factor into the various states’ decisions to secede?

Please endeavor to back up any assertions with contemporary evidence.

I tend to think it was a big deal for the “fire eaters” but maybe not for others.
@jgoodguy has a thread about CSA diplomacy with Mexico in which a top Confederate leader wished to expand slavery into Mexico. Southern political leaders lobbied President Buchanan to purchase Cuba from the King of Spain. President Buchanan offered the King something like forty million dollars a huge sum but the King unwisely refused the money: less then sixty years latter the US would just take Cuba away.
We have at east one past thread on the Knights of the Golden Circle which was an elite society that sought to expand slavery well beyond the US and create an independent slave republic with it's capitol in Havana. In antebellum times slave owners had financed William Walker to size Nicaragua. Walker did enjoy some temporary success . Unfortunately for Walker the Central American people where not amused which did not work out real well for Mr. Walker.
During the ACW the Confederacy did try to seize the New Mexico Territory and even Southern California but that did not work out.
Leftyhunter
 
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#3
"This is destiny, and God grant that it may be accomplished without drawing the sword. But it must be accomplished, because Providence designs the spreading out of African slavery into regions congenial and suitable to its prosperity. Such regions are presented in Nicaragua, Honduras, Chihuahua, Tamaulipas in which our omnipotent staples will flourish beneath the plastic hand of black labor. When these golden visions become realities, when we shall feed the nations, as well as supply their looms and spindles, with raw material, then will the wisdom and prescience of the founders of our new Government be vindicated-then will the proudest nations of the earth come to woo and worship at the shrine of our imperial confederacy."
Macon Daily Telegraph, Feb 28, 1861
 

Joshism

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#4
Slavery proponents wanted slavery to expand, but that seems to me secondary to me.

By 1860, slavery advocates were convinced that any restriction on slavery was a threat to slavery's continued existence.

Let's imagine Spain offers Cuba to the US in 1860 for a great price. The South is all behind that, right?

What if as part of accepting the deal in Congress, Northerners wanted slavery prohibited in Havana but would allow it in the rest of Cuba? Or if the Northerners demanded Cuba had to be subdivided into an equal number of free and slave territories? Or that Popular Sovereignty be applied?

In this scenario slavery is still expanding, but with restrictions. I believe the South would consider any of these scenarios unacceptable in 1860 despite all of them being fair to the country as a whole. Thus, expansion was desirable, but secondary.

The primary goal was protecting, preserving, and perpetuating the "right" to slavery everywhere, as underscored by the Dred Scott Decision.
 
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#5
Slavery proponents wanted slavery to expand, but that seems to me secondary to me.

By 1860, slavery advocates were convinced that any restriction on slavery was a threat to slavery's continued existence.

Let's imagine Spain offers Cuba to the US in 1860 for a great price. The South is all behind that, right?

What if as part of accepting the deal in Congress, Northerners wanted slavery prohibited in Havana but would allow it in the rest of Cuba? Or if the Northerners demanded Cuba had to be subdivided into an equal number of free and slave territories? Or that Popular Sovereignty be applied?

In this scenario slavery is still expanding, but with restrictions. I believe the South would consider any of these scenarios unacceptable in 1860 despite all of them being fair to the country as a whole. Thus, expansion was desirable, but secondary.

The primary goal was protecting, preserving, and perpetuating the "right" to slavery everywhere, as underscored by the Dred Scott Decision.
But here is the reason, although it was for freed men, the idea would never happen.


https://cupola.gettysburg.edu/cgi/v...com/&httpsredir=1&article=1093&context=gcjcwe
 
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#6
The slave area had plenty of land. Texas was mainly undeveloped, and population density was low in the south. There was plenty of potential land. It might require levees and drainage canals. Fertilizer was necessary in some areas.
By 1860 the ratio of paid labor states to coerced labor states was 18/15. The House was never going to approve of statehood for Kansas with slavery permitted. The new ratio would be 19/15. The next three likely states were Nebraska, Nevada and Colorado. These three states were going to be controlled by miners and subsistence farmers = Republicans.
Slavery was already on shaky demographic grounds in Maryland and Delaware. In Missouri, slavery could only survive if immigration from the north were to be stopped.
The slave states had lost control of both Congress and the Electoral college. And that occurred prior to reapportionment based in 1860 census going into affect.
The slave society needed more states, not more land. Extending slavery into new territory was the way to gain more states.
The Congress in Washington, and the Parliament in London were not going to concede to that process.
 
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#7
The slave area had plenty of land. Texas was mainly undeveloped, and population density was low in the south. There was plenty of potential land. It might require levees and drainage canals. Fertilizer was necessary in some areas.
By 1860 the ratio of paid labor states to coerced labor states was 18/15. The House was never going to approve of statehood for Kansas with slavery permitted. The new ratio would be 19/15. The next three likely states were Nebraska, Nevada and Colorado. These three states were going to be controlled by miners and subsistence farmers = Republicans.
Slavery was already on shaky demographic grounds in Maryland and Delaware. In Missouri, slavery could only survive if immigration from the north were to be stopped.
The slave states had lost control of both Congress and the Electoral college. And that occurred prior to reapportionment based in 1860 census going into affect.
The slave society need more states, not more land. Extending slavery into new territory was the way to gain more states.
The Congress in Washington, and the Parliament in London were not going to concede to that process.
Where were the slaves coming from for all the land they wanted to the Pacific?
 
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#8
Where were the slaves coming from for all the land they wanted to the Pacific?
The south did not have enough slaves to fill up Texas, Arkansas and Missouri. Unless involuntary migration from the Caribbean and from Africa was restarted, there was an inconsistency between expansion of slave territory and the expansion of the slave population.
The slave population was the slowest growing part of the population. That was the fundamental problem. Slave owners were a declining % of the overall population.
In addition a significant part of southern white people did not like slave culture and were trying to get west or get north, to continue the low density frontier style life to which they were accustomed. Clean water and fewer mosquitos were good reasons to move west or north.
 
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#9
How much, if at all, did the desire of some prominent proponents of slavery and secession to expand slavery to the territories and beyond factor into the various states’ decisions to secede?
Please endeavor to back up any assertions with contemporary evidence.
I tend to think it was a big deal for the “fire eaters” but maybe not for others.


Historically, the expansion of slavery, was the very reason for secession and the War. The history of slavery and its expansion was the driving force for most of the serious political struggles in Congress and te Country.

The Constitution itself was deliberately warped to make accommodation for slavery to even exist in the Union, i.e., without those accommodations, the South would not join the Union.

The Compromise of 1820 and 1850 were required under threats for disunion. Northern resistance to Stephan Douglas Nebraska Bill(that led to Bleeding Kansas) because it was seen as a Trojan Horse to expand Slavery into territories where it had never existed before. The Dred Scott decision, that nationalized Slavery(by its reasoning, there was no place under the Constitution, that could deny slavery. The two major political parties divided over the issue of Slavery, one collapsed and the other divided over adding a pro slavery plank to its 1860 election platform, in 1860.

As the United States grew the division over the expansion of slavery grew with it.
 

jgoodguy

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#10
Slavery proponents wanted slavery to expand, but that seems to me secondary to me.

By 1860, slavery advocates were convinced that any restriction on slavery was a threat to slavery's continued existence.

Let's imagine Spain offers Cuba to the US in 1860 for a great price. The South is all behind that, right?

What if as part of accepting the deal in Congress, Northerners wanted slavery prohibited in Havana but would allow it in the rest of Cuba? Or if the Northerners demanded Cuba had to be subdivided into an equal number of free and slave territories? Or that Popular Sovereignty be applied?

In this scenario slavery is still expanding, but with restrictions. I believe the South would consider any of these scenarios unacceptable in 1860 despite all of them being fair to the country as a whole. Thus, expansion was desirable, but secondary.

The primary goal was protecting, preserving, and perpetuating the "right" to slavery everywhere, as underscored by the Dred Scott Decision.
I agree that expanding slavery was an issue, but not the big one. Post secession expansion is a speculative what if.
 

unionblue

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#12
A website with some observations relating to the topic of this thread.

American History for Truthdiggers: A Broken Union (1851-1861).

From the article:

A Slave Empire?: The Obsessive Calls to Expand the "Peculiar Institution."

"...Each side was scared of the other, but Southerners were absolutely terrified of loss of property, the overturning of their caste system, and racial mixing..."

View the entire article at the following website:

https://truthdig.com/articles/american-history-for-truthdiggers-a-broken-union-1851-1861/


Enjoy,
Unionblue
 

jackt62

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#13
Rather than a desire to extend slavery to the territories, the secessionists were driven mostly by their opposition to the Republican party's stated aim of preventing the extension of slavery in those places. Southerners were more interested in upholding what they considered their "rights" to bring slavery to the territories while understanding that territorial lands were generally inhospitable to the type of cultivation that depended on slave labor. Any step taken to halt the spread of slavery could, in the belief of the secessionists, eventually lead to the abolition of the practice in states that already allowed it. Therefore, the victory of Lincoln and the Republicans in 1860 was the major event that triggered secession by South Carolina and the other states of the deep south.
 
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#14
See page xxxiii. https://www2.census.gov/library/publications/decennial/1860/population/1860a-02.pdf?#
Between 1850-1860 Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee and Kentucky experienced net out migration.
Due to replacement of white people by slaves, and without international immigration to supplement the white voting group, burdened by the 3/5ths penalty, the cotton belt 7 states were about to become irrelevant in Washington, D.C.
The truth about the southern states was that the people who remained there were in a good position, because the people who did not like the system had moved out to the frontier, either in the south or in the Midwest.
A lot of those free soil Democrats were former southerners who did not want slavery to come into their states, and were seeking the low density life style of early 19th century, for fundamentally sound reasons.
 
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#15
Rather than a desire to extend slavery to the territories, the secessionists were driven mostly by their opposition to the Republican party's stated aim of preventing the extension of slavery in those places. Southerners were more interested in upholding what they considered their "rights" to bring slavery to the territories while understanding that territorial lands were generally inhospitable to the type of cultivation that depended on slave labor. Any step taken to halt the spread of slavery could, in the belief of the secessionists, eventually lead to the abolition of the practice in states that already allowed it. Therefore, the victory of Lincoln and the Republicans in 1860 was the major event that triggered secession by South Carolina and the other states of the deep south.
But it appears to be an existential question. How many people in South Carolina intended to go to a new western territory and take enslaved workers there?
The southern states wanted equal power and equal status in the US senate because that was the last best protection against irrelevance. In the modern world, slavery was not an equal economic institution and the number of coerced labor states was never going to be more than 15, and was probably going to decrease to about 12 within 20 years.
 

byron ed

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#18
Exactly. Realistically, southern plantation owners were not likely to extend their holdings to and populate the territories. It was the principle and the right to do so that mattered to them more than anything.
The opposite. Realistically, Southern plantation owners well understood that they must at some point extend their holdings and populate the territories if they were to remain profitable. In those pre-soil replenishment days, before ag chemicals were available, cotton was exhausting their current acreage, their soil in the worst way. So practically speaking, a good crop mattered more than the principle, but of course a good crop was increasingly dependent on exercising the principle.
 
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wbull1

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#19
In 1854 during a speech in Peoria, IL Lincoln expressed his view:

"This is the repeal of the Missouri Compromise. The foregoing history may not be precisely accurate in every particular; but I am sure it is sufficiently so, for all the uses I shall attempt to make of it, and in it, we have before us, the chief material enabling us to correctly judge whether the repeal of the Missouri Compromise is right or wrong.

I think, and shall try to show, that it is wrong; wrong in its direct effect, letting slavery into Kansas and Nebraska---and wrong in its prospective principle, allowing it to spread to every other part of the wide world, where men can be found inclined to take it."

It was the repeal that made Lincoln decide to become a political candidate again. Like many others in the North, he did not question the existence of slavery where it was already in place. Expansion was the point of contention.
 

uaskme

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#20
There is No evidence that Slavery was going to be profitable anywhere else in the US than where it was.



On the matter of the Wilmot Proviso, which so many northerners seemed determined to engraft on any bill dealing with the territories, Clay begged them to look at the facts and listen to reason. Neither California nor New Mexico wishes to introduce slavery, New Mexico's soil, its barrenness, its unproductive character" will never allow slavery to flourish there. "You have got what is worth more than a thousand Wilmot provison's, "he cried. "you have nature on your side--facts upon your side--"what more can you want? What more can you demand?

If Nature has pronounced the doom of slavery in there territories. . .who can you reproach but nature and nature's God? pp 736-737 Henry Clay bu Remini

If people didn't want Slavery, which many had moved West to get away from it. Most Western States had Black Laws and didn't want Blacks. No one could force it on them. Slavery was sinking South, If it wasn't profitable in large portions of TN, KY, MO and VA was bleeding slaves, how could it go north west. Planters tried to push it in KS but it failed, even before the border wars.
 
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