Were Abolitionists Responsible for the Secession Crisis? (poll)

Were Abolitionists Responsible for the Secession Crisis? (poll)

  • Yes

    Votes: 5 9.3%
  • No

    Votes: 28 51.9%
  • Partly

    Votes: 21 38.9%
  • Don't Know

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    54

gem

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Oct 26, 2012
What is your opinion?

- Alan



I think its fair to say that abolitionists were a factor, an important factor in the secession crisis. Certain abolitionist like Garrison actually wanted the North to split from the South and used rhetoric to further that aim.

However, saying that they were responsible would mean that they were the primary cause of secession and I don't think that is the case.
 

John S. Carter

Sergeant Major
Joined
Mar 15, 2017
What is your opinion?

- Alan
If you read of the founding of the colonies you will find that each section developed differently .esp. between the Eastern colonies and the Southern colonies. The east with their merchant class and the south with their agriculture class,which eventually developed into the Plantation aristocracy .These colonies were populated by people from different cultures in Europe ,the east with the religious sects,except New York which assumed the merchant class left by the Dutch.The south by farmers and those seeking a sources of wealth, which came from the rich farm lands .Two different mind sets would developed as a result of these social and latter political development.To say that one event or one people with a hostile view of the other would fail to take into consideration of the difference in their development.as a society . Just as people develop differently so do populations as a whole.People are taught to accept things that others believe are contrary to what should not be.After generations pass,these beliefs become the norm for both and change or acceptance of the fact they what they learnt is incorrect or offends the other ,hostile verbal attacks at first,can lead to a catastrophic event between the two.
 
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kevikens

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Jun 7, 2013
Location
New Jersey
I think to some extent they were. Think about this. You are a member of a family. Within that family there are some disreputable members. A few are drunks, one or two larcenous swindlers, a few deadbeat debtors, one married five time and divorced five times. You know this and are not especially proud of your family members. Among yourselves you are willing to admit it would be nice if they cleaned up their acts and within a family setting you can be critical of their behaviors. But now invite some visitors, strangers into your home and let them start bad mouthing your little brother, big sister, uncle, cousins, and heavens forbid your boozing spouse. What is your reaction? If like most families I know you defend the indefensible, not because they are right, but because they are yours, warts and all. If you visitors persist, out they go as the whole family rallies around the flag to defend their own. The same is true of the school you go to, the city where you live, the hometown sports teams. You can complain all you want about them but let outsiders make snarky remarks and you again raise the flag and rally around it.

I have always thought that much of the South was at one time ambivalent about their peculiar institution and among themselves had a certain discomfort with it. Whether in time this would have resulted in state legislation to ameliorate. even eventually transform it into a less restrictive peonage and later freedom I don't know, but the Abolitionist attacks on the South, all of it, slave owning or not, had the effect of rallying the Southern people to defend their own against the often shrill, self righteous hectoring of mostly Northern (outside) reformers. Southerners did what any people do when it is their own that are under assault, raise and rally around that flag and defend their own.

To me it was a crying shame that these Abolitionist reformers could not have seen slavery as Abraham Lincoln did, admitting that if he were a Southerner he would himself not know how to deal with it. I think and believe that if the critics had done more to learn about how embedded slavery was within the Southern way of life and that simply declaring slaves free was a terrifying vision that white Southerners had nightmares over, that perhaps the Northern reformers could have patiently offered their assistance, especially financial aid, in helping the Southern people when they did get around to deciding that maybe chattel slavery needed to go. But for as long as Abolitionists were seen as outsiders intruding on the families' sensibilities, for just that long would the Southern people, slave owners or not, see slavery as peculiar rather than reprehensible and continue to defend what in the fullness of time they themselves would have dealt with in a manner that would have prevented civil war, an awful legacy of poisoned race relations, and a butcher's bill of staggering proportions. The Abolitionists did not have the patience or understanding to give the South that fullness of time and in doing so they must bear some of the responsibility for Southern secession and ensuing civil war.
 

Joshism

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Apr 30, 2012
Location
Jupiter, FL
You are a member of a family. Within that family there are some disreputable members. A few are drunks, one or two larcenous swindlers, a few deadbeat debtors, one married five time and divorced five times. You know this and are not especially proud of your family members. Among yourselves you are willing to admit it would be nice if they cleaned up their acts and within a family setting you can be critical of their behaviors. But now invite some visitors, strangers into your home and let them start bad mouthing your little brother, big sister, uncle, cousins, and heavens forbid your boozing spouse. What is your reaction? If like most families I know you defend the indefensible, not because they are right, but because they are yours, warts and all. If you visitors persist, out they go as the whole family rallies around the flag to defend their own. The same is true of the school you go to, the city where you live, the hometown sports teams. You can complain all you want about them but let outsiders make snarky remarks and you again raise the flag and rally around it.

In other words, the irrational tribalism that plagues humanity on a regular basis. It's sometimes referred to as "closing ranks" and to this day remains a serious problem.

We even see a variant in modern CW circles with the Ancestor Fallacy: my ancestor was a X but was not Y, therefore Z (or therefore no X were Y). Such as "my ancestor fought for the CSA, but didn't own slaves therefore the war/CSA was not about slavery." Or "my Southern ancestor was not a racist therefore Southerners are not racists, and I know he was not a racist because my family says so." Such arguments are essentially closing ranks around your ancestors, because they're yours and that means they have to be good.
 

Joshism

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Apr 30, 2012
Location
Jupiter, FL
Abolitionists did not cause the war. However, they didn't help the situation. Several of their prominent members were radicals, spouting some far out there opinions. It reminds me of many individuals in modern times who go off the deep end, starting with the support of a good cause but steadily becoming more extreme on the issue until I want nothing to do with them or their cause.

But the South was angrily opposed to the abolitionists from day one. The interception of abolitionist literature in the US Mail in the 1830s is shocking and if something like that happened today would be a huge scandal. The abolitionists wanted an end to slavery, something the South fought from the beginning in Congress (see the GA and SC reaction to Quaker anti-slavery proposals in the first Congress). Even without the abolition movement (which was never more than a small minority) the Southern rigid stance on slavery would exist.
 

leftyhunter

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
May 27, 2011
Location
los angeles ca
I think to some extent they were. Think about this. You are a member of a family. Within that family there are some disreputable members. A few are drunks, one or two larcenous swindlers, a few deadbeat debtors, one married five time and divorced five times. You know this and are not especially proud of your family members. Among yourselves you are willing to admit it would be nice if they cleaned up their acts and within a family setting you can be critical of their behaviors. But now invite some visitors, strangers into your home and let them start bad mouthing your little brother, big sister, uncle, cousins, and heavens forbid your boozing spouse. What is your reaction? If like most families I know you defend the indefensible, not because they are right, but because they are yours, warts and all. If you visitors persist, out they go as the whole family rallies around the flag to defend their own. The same is true of the school you go to, the city where you live, the hometown sports teams. You can complain all you want about them but let outsiders make snarky remarks and you again raise the flag and rally around it.

I have always thought that much of the South was at one time ambivalent about their peculiar institution and among themselves had a certain discomfort with it. Whether in time this would have resulted in state legislation to ameliorate. even eventually transform it into a less restrictive peonage and later freedom I don't know, but the Abolitionist attacks on the South, all of it, slave owning or not, had the effect of rallying the Southern people to defend their own against the often shrill, self righteous hectoring of mostly Northern (outside) reformers. Southerners did what any people do when it is their own that are under assault, raise and rally around that flag and defend their own.

To me it was a crying shame that these Abolitionist reformers could not have seen slavery as Abraham Lincoln did, admitting that if he were a Southerner he would himself not know how to deal with it. I think and believe that if the critics had done more to learn about how embedded slavery was within the Southern way of life and that simply declaring slaves free was a terrifying vision that white Southerners had nightmares over, that perhaps the Northern reformers could have patiently offered their assistance, especially financial aid, in helping the Southern people when they did get around to deciding that maybe chattel slavery needed to go. But for as long as Abolitionists were seen as outsiders intruding on the families' sensibilities, for just that long would the Southern people, slave owners or not, see slavery as peculiar rather than reprehensible and continue to defend what in the fullness of time they themselves would have dealt with in a manner that would have prevented civil war, an awful legacy of poisoned race relations, and a butcher's bill of staggering proportions. The Abolitionists did not have the patience or understanding to give the South that fullness of time and in doing so they must bear some of the responsibility for Southern secession and ensuing civil war.
Gentleness and patience does not always result in change. How patient should the abolitionists have been? The abolitionists were all non violent until bleeding Kansas. Being non violent and patient didn't do the abolitionists much good at that point.
Leftyhunter
 

5fish

Captain
Joined
Aug 26, 2007
Location
Central Florida
I listed Our Presidents leading up to the civil war and all of them believed the Northern Abolitionists were the cause of unrest in the nation... if these men believe the abolitionist were bad how can we say otherwise...

James Buchanan 1860:

1860: "The immediate peril arises... from the fact that the incessant and violent agitation of the slavery question throughout the North, for the last quarter of a century, has at length produced its malign influence on the slaves, and inspired them with vague notions of freedom."

Franklin Pierce 1855:

1855: “If the passionate rage of fanaticism and partisan spirit did not force the fact upon our attention, it would be difficult to believe that any considerable portion of the people of this enlightened country could have so surrendered themselves to a fanatical devotion to the supposed interests of the relatively few Africans in the United States to totally abandon and disregard the interests of 25,000,000 Americans.” (Nichols. P 433)

Millard Fillmore 1838:
1838: After Fillmore was nominated to Congress an abolitionist group sent him the following list of questions: “Do you believe that petitions to congress…on slavery and the slave trade, ought to be received... and... considered? Are you opposed to the annexation of Texas…? Are you in favor of Congress [abolishing] the…slave trade between the states? Are you in favor of immediate… abolition of slavery in the District of Columbia?” Fillmore supposedly shouted “The Philistines are upon us,” but to all questions, he answered: “Yes.” (Rayback, p162)

Zachary Taylor 1847
1847: “The moment [the abolitionists] go beyond the point where resistance becomes right and proper, let the South act promptly, boldly and decisively with arms in their hands, if necessary, as the Union, in that case, will be blown to atoms, or will be no longer worth preserving.” (McKinley, p270)

James Polk 1848
1848: “The agitation of the slavery question is mischievous and wicked, and proceeds from no patriotic motive by its authors. It is a mere political question on which demagogues and ambitious politicians hope to promote their own prospects for political promotion. And this they seem willing to do even at the hazard of disturbing the harmony if not dissolving the Union itself.” (Polk, v4. p251)
 

John S. Carter

Sergeant Major
Joined
Mar 15, 2017
Gentleness and patience does not always result in change. How patient should the abolitionists have been? The abolitionists were all non violent until bleeding Kansas. Being non violent and patient didn't do the abolitionists much good at that point.
Leftyhunter
It was not that the abolitionist were not violent but they were very hostile to the Southern life style,They became a political threat to the South's power in Washington by their literature and by actions which would promote their agenda against the slave empire.Their political statues aided in the founding of the Republican party whose platform in 1854 was a anti slavery one.Uncle Tom was their most successful publication and then with the Brown raid into Harper's Ferry it only solidified all of the beliefs that the Abolitionist of the North were no longer a political threat to their life style but now a militia threat.So the ideal that the abolitionist were non violent,not directly but they did aid in their shuttle way,as a diamond back snake,in arousing the South to a more extreme movement in order to protect and defend their beliefs.NON-VIOLENT can lead to a VIOLENT result.
 

leftyhunter

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
May 27, 2011
Location
los angeles ca
It was not that the abolitionist were not violent but they were very hostile to the Southern life style,They became a political threat to the South's power in Washington by their literature and by actions which would promote their agenda against the slave empire.Their political statues aided in the founding of the Republican party whose platform in 1854 was a anti slavery one.Uncle Tom was their most successful publication and then with the Brown raid into Harper's Ferry it only solidified all of the beliefs that the Abolitionist of the North were no longer a political threat to their life style but now a militia threat.So the ideal that the abolitionist were non violent,not directly but they did aid in their shuttle way,as a diamond back snake,in arousing the South to a more extreme movement in order to protect and defend their beliefs.NON-VIOLENT can lead to a VIOLENT result.
I agree that by the 1850s in particular the mid 1850s the threat from the abolitionists had changed. The abolitionists ironically started or at least had many abolitionist societies in the South but due to a violent backlash they had to either quit or move out of the South.
Bleeding Kansas in which a certain gentle Parson played no small role showed that when push came to shove the abolitionists could definitely hold their own and then some .Kansas became a free state despite the best efforts of the Missouri border ruffians.
John Brown's raid on Harper's Ferry showed that while John Brown only represented a small portion of the Abololitionist movement ,Brown became a martyr for many in the North. The slave owners feared there could be many John Brown copycat raids.So while the abolitionists did not cause the Civil War they certainly sparked fear among the slave owners.
I would not say that a movement that benefited forty percent of the South's population which is black is anti Southern.
Leftyhunter
 
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