What Was the Main Cause of the Civil War? (poll)

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What Was the Main Cause of the Civil War?

  • Mainly About States' Rights

    Votes: 31 19.5%
  • Mainly About Slavery

    Votes: 95 59.7%
  • Both Equally

    Votes: 31 19.5%
  • Don't Know

    Votes: 2 1.3%

  • Total voters
    159

trice

Lt. Colonel
Joined
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Messages
11,916
The immediate cause of the war was over the Constitutional principle of secession. The U.S. Government refused to recognize the right of the southern states to secede from the Union and the CSA asserted that right by seizing federal property. However, the issue of slavery was an important contributing factor that eventually led to the war.
There is no unilateral "Constitutional principle of secession" in 1860-61. Not anywhere to be seen by human eye in all of recorded history before that time. If you think there is, please post an example of any peaceful, legal, unilateral example of secession to use as a legal precedent for "the South's" ***claim*** that such a right existed.

I have been asking people online to present such an example for more than 20 years, yet no one ever has presented a verifiable example. To get you started, the very first example of "secession" I know of starts in 1869 when Iceland begins the process of separating from Denmark. It went off without a hitch (well, at least until Nazi Germany occupied Denmark), completely in accord with the law, over a 75 year period. Even that is not a workable example for "the South" -- Denmark and Iceland were in a Personal Union under a King, not a Federal State -- but if "the South" had tried a similar peaceful, reasonable approach like Iceland did, IMHO they probably could have convinced "the North" to go along with it.
 

wausaubob

Major
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Denver, CO
3/4ths of the states could have ratified an amendment to divide the country and eliminate any clauses in the Constitution that barred division. But 11 of 33 states, pending admission of Kansas as state no. 34, did not have the right to dissolve the US.
 

wausaubob

Major
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Denver, CO
The sudden loss of political power in the south, once the Southern Democrats ran out of Doughface Northerners to help them, meant their regional interests were never going to be controlling. Gradually slavery would be reduced, by state action, and the interstate slave trade would be regulated, and then ended.
Slavery can be modified and eliminated slowly, without a Civil War. But if Lincoln could win without any Southern EC votes, after 1862, northern politicians would not have to pay much attention to southerners, which is about what happened for 70 years.
 
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Potomac Pride

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There is no unilateral "Constitutional principle of secession" in 1860-61. Not anywhere to be seen by human eye in all of recorded history before that time. If you think there is, please post an example of any peaceful, legal, unilateral example of secession to use as a legal precedent for "the South's" ***claim*** that such a right existed.

I have been asking people online to present such an example for more than 20 years, yet no one ever has presented a verifiable example. To get you started, the very first example of "secession" I know of starts in 1869 when Iceland begins the process of separating from Denmark. It went off without a hitch (well, at least until Nazi Germany occupied Denmark), completely in accord with the law, over a 75 year period. Even that is not a workable example for "the South" -- Denmark and Iceland were in a Personal Union under a King, not a Federal State -- but if "the South" had tried a similar peaceful, reasonable approach like Iceland did, IMHO they probably could have convinced "the North" to go along with it.
Thanks for your comments and that was really the immediate cause of the war which was the issue of secession.
 
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trice

Lt. Colonel
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May 2, 2006
Messages
11,916
Thanks for your comments and that was really the immediate cause of the war which was the issue of secession.
Robert E. Lee in a letter to his son, January 1861: “Secession is nothing but revolution. The framers of our Constitution never exhausted so much labor, wisdom, and forbearance in its formation, and surrounded it with so many guards and securities, if it was intended to be broken by every member of the Confederacy at will.”
 

Potomac Pride

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Robert E. Lee in a letter to his son, January 1861: “Secession is nothing but revolution. The framers of our Constitution never exhausted so much labor, wisdom, and forbearance in its formation, and surrounded it with so many guards and securities, if it was intended to be broken by every member of the Confederacy at will.”
Yes, the act of secession was really the central issue involved when the conflict first began in 1861.
 

trice

Lt. Colonel
Joined
May 2, 2006
Messages
11,916
There is no unilateral "Constitutional principle of secession" in 1860-61. Not anywhere to be seen by human eye in all of recorded history before that time. If you think there is, please post an example of any peaceful, legal, unilateral example of secession to use as a legal precedent for "the South's" ***claim*** that such a right existed.

I have been asking people online to present such an example for more than 20 years, yet no one ever has presented a verifiable example. To get you started, the very first example of "secession" I know of starts in 1869 when Iceland begins the process of separating from Denmark. It went off without a hitch (well, at least until Nazi Germany occupied Denmark), completely in accord with the law, over a 75 year period. Even that is not a workable example for "the South" -- Denmark and Iceland were in a Personal Union under a King, not a Federal State -- but if "the South" had tried a similar peaceful, reasonable approach like Iceland did, IMHO they probably could have convinced "the North" to go along with it.
Thanks for your comments and that was really the immediate cause of the war which was the issue of secession.
Robert E. Lee in a letter to his son, January 1861: “Secession is nothing but revolution. The framers of our Constitution never exhausted so much labor, wisdom, and forbearance in its formation, and surrounded it with so many guards and securities, if it was intended to be broken by every member of the Confederacy at will.”
Yes, the act of secession was really the central issue involved when the conflict first began in 1861.
As I posted, there is no unilateral "Constitutional principle of secession" in 1860-61. If you think such a unilateral "right of secession" actually existed in the law, please post some examples of it in existence before that time. If you have none, please simply say so.
 
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Rebforever

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Messages
10,180
As I posted, there is no unilateral "Constitutional principle of secession" in 1860-61. If you think such a unilateral "right of secession" actually existed in the law, please post some examples of it in existence before that time. If you have none, please simply say so.
There is nothing in the Constitution about unilateral anything.
 

Potomac Pride

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Joined
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As I posted, there is no unilateral "Constitutional principle of secession" in 1860-61. If you think such a unilateral "right of secession" actually existed in the law, please post some examples of it in existence before that time. If you have none, please simply say so.
Please name the part of the Constitution that expressly forbids the act of secession. If you have none, please simply say so. The U.S. Constitution does not actually address the issue of secession. The late Forrest McDonald was a Professor Emeritus of History and one of the foremost constitutional scholars who wrote numerous books and articles on the Constitution. Professor McDonald argued that after adopting the Constitution "there were no guidelines, either in theory or in history, as to whether the compact could be dissolved and, if so, on what conditions". However, during "the founding era, many a public figure . . . declared that the states could interpose their powers between their citizens and the power of the federal government, and talk of secession was not unknown".
The act of secession was actually a grey area before the Civil War.
 
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trice

Lt. Colonel
Joined
May 2, 2006
Messages
11,916
Please name the part of the Constitution that expressly forbids the act of secession. If you have none, please simply say so. The U.S. Constitution does not actually address the issue of secession. The late Forrest McDonald was a Professor Emeritus of History and one of the foremost constitutional scholars who wrote numerous books and articles on the Constitution. Professor McDonald argued that after adopting the Constitution "there were no guidelines, either in theory or in history, as to whether the compact could be dissolved and, if so, on what conditions". However, during "the founding era, many a public figure . . . declared that the states could interpose their powers between their citizens and the power of the federal government, and talk of secession was not unknown".
The act of secession was actually a grey area before the Civil War.
My position is that no "right of secession" existed, which is why there is no reason to mention it in the Constitution. Since the States never had such a "right of secession", it cannot be retained by them.
 
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trice

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Messages
11,916
There is nothing in the Constitution about unilateral anything.
Not sure what you mean by this, but if you can show that the unilateral "right of secession" claimed by "the South" in 1860-61 ever existed anywhere in the Western world before 1860-61, I will agree that might be available to the States under the Constitution. Please post with specific reference to your example. If you can not post an example, please say so clearly.
 

Rebforever

Lt. Colonel
Joined
Oct 26, 2012
Messages
10,180
Not sure what you mean by this, but if you can show that the unilateral "right of secession" claimed by "the South" in 1860-61 ever existed anywhere in the Western world before 1860-61, I will agree that might be available to the States under the Constitution. Please post with specific reference to your example. If you can not post an example, please say so clearly.
There is nothing about unilateral anything in the Constitution.
 
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Jager

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3
Hogwash.
Rebellion and a direct attack at the federal army was the reason for the federal government moving troops into the south.
Take a look at Shelby Foote’s series of volumes. In the context of this issue, specifically Lincoln’s repeated dismissals of Confederate dignitaries in reference to Fort Sumter. There could have been a peaceful resolution, but Lincoln wasn’t willing to make an attempt. Then consider the bluff, stated in same book, of sending naval vessels with supplies and civilian ships toward the fort. Foote stated that even the captains of those vessels knew what their real purpose was.

The Confederacy was goated into attacking the fort, giving the United States a reason to respond in kind, and by having civilian ships, or rumored civilian ships, with supplies put the Confederacy on the wrong side of the issue. I have quotes and data from the Abbeville Insitute lectures, too, if anybody’s interested. The South, before the secession, was under economic attack. It was also a very rare occasion of politicians other than Jeffersonians (Abbeville Institute. A term that describes individuals who follow the political values and concepts of Thomas Jefferson) that were in office. Thus, political differences.

The Civil War was fought for economic and political reasons, none of which were slavery, especially when you consider that a small number of people, in comparison with the total population, that actually had slaves. I’ll echo 19thGeorgia, here. The north wanted dominance over the southern economy, sought empire, and wanted to profit from it. There’s evidence painted all over the federal conduct of the war, especially in the western theater (Sherman being an example, as is his destruction of Georgia). See the aforementioned tariffs and taxation, as well. It was a major reason for the secession. Quotations from Lincoln, himself, does not state slavery as a cause for his waging war, and firsthand accounts never mention slavery as the primary motivation of the soldiers. There were even riots in union states after the emancipation proclamation, and a few deaths of African Americans as a result. Also, southern colored soldiers were not segregated from whites, and their roles ranged from not only camp laborers, but also soldiers and even regimental officers. Jefferson Davis, himself, tried to get slaves the right to own patents, but was unsuccessful until after the secession when the confederate government passed it. The elimination of slavery was already an issue in the South before and during the war. There were active talks about it, the only hindrance being paying the slave holders for their slaves’ freedom. During the war, Lee himself advocated freeing slaves and bringing them into the army, an army that already had colored troops (Jackson had some in his army, too, during the Valley Campaign, and there are African American members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans in present day). In the North, mentioning again the riots after the proclamation, and adding to it the segregated US Colored Troops. As inconvenient a truth as it might be for some people, the facts do not pan out slavery as a motivation for Civil War. The South not only had freed men, and freed men soldiers, but was also already in the process of eventually eliminating slavery entirely. That is not a culture that fights a war to hold onto slavery. Am I saying that it wasn’t a motivation for some? No, but those individuals would be in the minority.
 

Jager

Cadet
Joined
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Messages
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Take a look at Shelby Foote’s series of volumes. In the context of this issue, specifically Lincoln’s repeated dismissals of Confederate dignitaries in reference to Fort Sumter. There could have been a peaceful resolution, but Lincoln wasn’t willing to make an attempt. Then consider the bluff, stated in same book, of sending naval vessels with supplies and civilian ships toward the fort. Foote stated that even the captains of those vessels knew what their real purpose was.

The Confederacy was goated into attacking the fort, giving the United States a reason to respond in kind, and by having civilian ships, or rumored civilian ships, with supplies put the Confederacy on the wrong side of the issue. I have quotes and data from the Abbeville Insitute lectures, too, if anybody’s interested. The South, before the secession, was under economic attack. It was also a very rare occasion of politicians other than Jeffersonians (Abbeville Institute. A term that describes individuals who follow the political values and concepts of Thomas Jefferson) that were in office. Thus, political differences.

The Civil War was fought for economic and political reasons, none of which were slavery, especially when you consider that a small number of people, in comparison with the total population, that actually had slaves. I’ll echo 19thGeorgia, here. The north wanted dominance over the southern economy, sought empire, and wanted to profit from it. There’s evidence painted all over the federal conduct of the war, especially in the western theater (Sherman being an example, as is his destruction of Georgia). See the aforementioned tariffs and taxation, as well. It was a major reason for the secession. Quotations from Lincoln, himself, does not state slavery as a cause for his waging war, and firsthand accounts never mention slavery as the primary motivation of the soldiers. There were even riots in union states after the emancipation proclamation, and a few deaths of African Americans as a result. Also, southern colored soldiers were not segregated from whites, and their roles ranged from not only camp laborers, but also soldiers and even regimental officers. Jefferson Davis, himself, tried to get slaves the right to own patents, but was unsuccessful until after the secession when the confederate government passed it. The elimination of slavery was already an issue in the South before and during the war. There were active talks about it, the only hindrance being paying the slave holders for their slaves’ freedom. During the war, Lee himself advocated freeing slaves and bringing them into the army, an army that already had colored troops (Jackson had some in his army, too, during the Valley Campaign, and there are African American members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans in present day). In the North, mentioning again the riots after the proclamation, and adding to it the segregated US Colored Troops. As inconvenient a truth as it might be for some people, the facts do not pan out slavery as a motivation for Civil War. The South not only had freed men, and freed men soldiers, but was also already in the process of eventually eliminating slavery entirely. That is not a culture that fights a war to hold onto slavery. Am I saying that it wasn’t a motivation for some? No, but those individuals would be in the minority.
Besides, slavery was a national evil. Both northern and southern states, for the most part, practiced it. If you read the Emanciaption Proclamation, itself, it mentions specifically southern territory and counties. It was a gamble to start a slave rebellion in the south, which failed. It never freed a single slave, in either the union or confederacy.
 
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thomas aagaard

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Take a look at Shelby Foote’s series of volumes.
1. Foote is not a historian. His works are narratives not historical books.
As you can see by the fact that his books do not include sources and footnotes. Also he said so himself.
(and just so we are clear, I don't care what education a person got. But if he or she use proper method. Like giving sources for their claims and having footnotes so the reader can look up where they got the information)

2. The US president do not in anyway have the authority to allow part of the US to break away. Changing what is and is not at state in the union is up to Congress. (as described in the Constitution)
So even if Lincoln had wanted to, he could not have done what you think he should have.

3. The Abbeville Institute is all about Southern tradition., (by their own words) And not history.
The result is that they happily misquote, falsify quotes and take things out of context, to support their modern political agenda.

4. 1/3 of all house holds in the south owned slaves. That is not a small.
(the number is easily fond in the 1860 census)

5. The CSA Congress did not allow for and want colored troops. They had plenty of opportunity to accept them.
(as have been debated multiply times on this forum)
Even by the end of the war they where not ready to give freedom for military service... without the owners accepting it.
Here is just one example from late 1863:
From the CSA secretary of War:
"our position with the North and before the world will not allow the employment as armed soldiers of Negroes"
Black Enslistment Seddon Kirby Smith copy.jpg



And finally, this claim:
"The South not only had freed men, and freed men soldiers, but was also already in the process of eventually eliminating slavery entirely. "

Is the idea that there was serious talk about banning slavery in the CSA is pure idiocy.
The CSA Constitution have a number of provisions making it almost impossible to ban slavery. Why add them to what is mostly a copy of the US text if you wanted to get rid of slavery?
(A god comparison can be fund here: https://jjmccullough.com/CSA.htm)

If you are interested in actual history this is a great forum. But if you only care about myths about an egalitarian paradise int he south and modern day fabrications from the likes of the Abbeville Institute you are completely wasting your time.
 
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Jager

Cadet
Joined
Oct 23, 2019
Messages
3
1. Foote is not a historian. His works are narratives not historical books.
(as you can see by the fact that his books do not include sources and footnotes. Also he said so himself)

2. The US president do not in anyway have the authority to allow part of the US to break away. Changing what is and is not at state in the union is up to Congress.
So even if Lincoln had wanted to, he could not have done what you think he should have.

3. The Abbeville Institute is all about Southern tradition., (by their own words) And not history.
The result is that they happily misquote, falsify quotes and take things out of context, to support their modern political agenda.

4. 1/3 of all house holds in the south owned slaves. That is not a small.
(the number is easily fond in the 1860 census)

5. The CSA Congress did not allow for and want colored troops. They had plenty of opportunity to accept them.
(as have been debated multiply times on this forum)
Even by the end of the war they where not ready to give freedom for military service... without the owners accepting it.
Here is just one example from late 1863:
From the CSA secretary of War:
"our position with the North and before the world will not allow the employment as armed soldiers of Negroes"
View attachment 330892


And finally, this claim:
"The South not only had freed men, and freed men soldiers, but was also already in the process of eventually eliminating slavery entirely. "

Is the idea that there was serious talk about banning slavery in the CSA is pure idiocy.
The CSA Constitution have a number of provisions making it almost impossible to ban slavery. Why add them to what is mostly a copy of the US text if you wanted to get rid of slavery?

If you are interested in actual history this is a great forum. But if you only care about myths about an egalitarian paradise int he south and modern day fabrications from the likes of the Abbeville Institute you are completely wasting your time.
I am under no obligation to agree with you. And you won’t be convincing me of anything if you’re reaction is to say “I’m wasting my time.” Won’t earn you my respect, either. The only things it serves to do is mentally peg you as a man that argues for the sake of arguing, because you like the feeling of proving somebody wrong. What’s true for you is true for you, and I won’t stop you from believing what you want to believe. I’m going to maintain my point of view, regardless, because a single document and a list of points that somehow prove me wrong isn’t going to invalidate my own observations and cognitions, or letters and firsthand accounts from residents and soldiers of the time period, or historical data from books that did have citations and footnotes. I trust my own research and observations.

Good day, sir.
 
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