Where in the US Constitution does it say that Lincoln was granted the legal authority to initiate a military invasion against the southern states ?

GwilymT

Sergeant Major
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The right to rebellion is a natural right, not a legal right. The founders were acting illegally under the law in place over them at the time. The rebels of the 1860s were acting illegally as well.

This does not mean that exercising the natural right to rebellion cannot be morally justified, if the cause of the rebellion is morally just then the rebellion is morally just.
 

Belfoured

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The right to rebellion is a natural right, not a legal right. The founders were acting illegally under the law in place over them at the time. The rebels of the 1860s were acting illegally as well.

This does not mean that exercising the natural right to rebellion cannot be morally justified, if the cause of the rebellion is morally just then the rebellion is morally just.
Agreed. But that's the problem with anybody trying to justify all of this under the Constitution. It is a legal document, not a compendium of "moral" values (which would almost certainly be subjective and involve disagreement over any specifics). It authorizes the suppression of a rebellion. If you think your rebellion is "just" or "moral", go roll the dice. But don't invent an argument that it's "constitutional". And be ready to deal with the fact that others may find that your rebellion also happens to be "immoral". (The AWI was indeed also a rebellion, but I wouldn't go too far down the road with that analogy - starting with the fact that the rebellion involved colonies, etc etc etc.)
 

wausaubob

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If it had ever been an alliance of states, when it accepted a large new member, without those people reserving any right to leave the alliance, and then fought an aggressive, expansionist war to take from its neighbor the territory the so called alliance wanted, it had become an empire. The southern cotton growers were fine with the US becoming an expansionist empire, as long as they controlled it.
When they lost an election, there was suddenly a heightened interest in local sovereignty.
By the time some states wanted to break away from the empire, the government had telegraphs, steamships and steam locomotives, it was far too late.
 
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thomas aagaard

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is divorce not possible?
In every country's in the world there is some sort of legal procedure for it.
You might have to pay your wife 50% of your fortune and keep paying her for years.

There might be cases like, the wife being unfaithfully, where you can get it with no cost... but then you will need to prove it in front of a court.

The legal procedure for getting out of the union would be going to congress and have it pass a bill saying you are out.
(since Congress is the legal authority that can add states they should be the one to undo it)
 

thomas aagaard

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When two or more people agree to a contract in this case the Constitution that contract must be obeyed if any person breaches that contract it immediately becomes null and void then then of course we have a breach of contract this can be ignored and we can continue with the original agreement but when a breach of contract happens over and over I feel that the offended party has every right to simply leave with no regard to the original contract or the original participants.
If one party breach it, you go to court to solve the issue... you don't attack the other company and take over their property by force... as the south did.

If the south argued that the north was in breach of the contract, then they should have used the federal court system.. with the supreme court dealing with the issue.
 

mobile_96

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Location
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I would humbly ask you to look at Virginia's adoption of the Constitution I believe she made a few provisions some might even call it an escape clause
Would you kindly produce the documents for all 3 of the states that you claim had an escape clause? Or, at least links to the documents. New York did submit amendments to be discussed but did not include a right of removing its self from the Union if it didn't like something.
 

mobile_96

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Location
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Three states in particular (New York, Virginia and Rhode Island) had actually demanded the right to secession in writing before they agreed to ratify the new constitution.
Copies of these documents and the reply from the Confederation Congress would be most welcome. Hope you can supply them as all others asked failed, by either ignoring the request or making up excuses.
 

ForeverFree

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The southern states were being targeted by northern radicals like John Brown et al. and the situation was getting to be so intolerable that they had no other recourse but to break away from the tormentors that were exporting terrorism into their section of the country.

Here’s the definition of the word “insurrection” https://www.dictionary.com/browse/insurrection

The actions of eleven southern states that tried to escape from an intolerable situation DOES NOT constitute an insurrection or a rebellion against authority.

By now, most folks here are familiar with this, but you might not have seen it yet.

So, faced with a secession crisis, the President sent a detailed message to the people and leaders of South Carolina; excerpts are below:

The States severally have not retained their entire sovereignty. It has been shown that in becoming parts of a nation, not members of a league, they surrendered many of their essential parts of sovereignty. The right to make treaties, declare war, levy taxes, exercise exclusive judicial and legislative powers, were all functions of sovereign power. The States, then, for all these important purposes, were no longer sovereign. The allegiance of their citizens was transferred in the first instance to the government of the United States; they became American citizens, and owed obedience to the Constitution of the United States, and to laws made in conformity with the powers vested in Congress. This last position has not been, and cannot be, denied… it has been shown that in this sense the States are not sovereign, and that even if they were, and the national Constitution had been formed by compact, there would be no right in any one State to exonerate itself from the obligation.​
So obvious are the reasons which forbid this secession, that it is necessary only to allude to them. The Union was formed for the benefit of all. It was produced by mutual sacrifice of interest and opinions. Can those sacrifices be recalled? Can the States, who magnanimously surrendered their title to the territories of the West, recall the grant? Will the inhabitants of the inland States agree to pay the duties that may be imposed without their assent by those on the Atlantic or the Gulf, for their own benefit? Shall there be a free port in one State, and enormous duties in another? No one believes that any right exists in a single State to involve all the others in these and countless other evils, contrary to engagements solemnly made. Everyone must see that the other States, in self-defense, must oppose it at all hazards.​
Your pride was aroused by the assertions that a submission to these laws was a state of vassalage, and that resistance to them was equal, in patriotic merit, to the opposition our fathers offered to the oppressive laws of Great Britain. You were told that this opposition might be peaceably-might be constitutionally made-that you might enjoy all the advantages of the Union and bear none of its burdens. Eloquent appeals to your passions, to your State pride, to your native courage, to your sense of real injury, were used to prepare you for the period when the mask which concealed the hideous features of DISUNION should be taken off.​
But the dictates of a high duty oblige me solemnly to announce that you cannot succeed. The laws of the United States must be executed. I have no discretionary power on the subject-my duty is emphatically pronounced in the Constitution. Those who told you that you might peaceably prevent their execution, deceived you-they could not have been deceived themselves. They know that a forcible opposition could alone prevent the execution of the laws, and they know that such opposition must be repelled. Their object is disunion, but be not deceived by names; disunion, by armed force, is TREASON. Are you really ready to incur its guilt? (All bolding by ForeverFree)

So... when did Lincoln issue these comments? Actually, it's not Lincoln at all. It is president Andrew Jackson, in 1832, in response to the nullification and secession threat of South Carolina. (During the so-called Nullification Crisis, the South Carolina threatened to secede if it would not be allowed to nullify federal law.)

The above is a portion of Jackson's proclamation; the entire text is here. The key point is that in 1832 President Jackson stated that as a matter of US government policy, disunion by armed force - which describes Confederate secession - would be met with a military response. He was not engaging in a theoretical debate. He was prepared to put that policy into effect. I'm sure a LOT of people knew of Jackson's stance on this subject, even decades later.

If Jackson was to stay true to that stance, he would certainly have challenged the Fire Eaters' secession. The very first US facility that was captured - and several were captured before Sumter - would have necessitated federal resistance to armed disunion.

Note that, I do not post this to say that Jackson was "right" or "righteous" in his policy. I am simply making the point that Lincoln's actions were based on precedent. He did not create this policy to defend against armed disunion out of thin air. Lincoln's actions followed a policy that was set some three decades before his presidency. We must not "Lincolnize" this discussion and say that it's all about what Lincoln did. Lincoln followed a course that had been set years earlier in American history.

- Alan
 

ForeverFree

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Like most things in life slavery was a mixed bag. There must have been some bad slave owners and yet the bad slave owners were actually few and far between. Think of all the effort that was exerted by the northern abolition movement and how they tried so hard to incite the slaves into open violent rebellion. But it was all for naught.
Slavery was despotism; morally corrupting; and an act against God.

That's not me saying that; that's what Thomas Jefferson said. In his 1787 Notes on Virginia, he wrote:

It is difficult to determine on the standard by which the manners of a nation may be tried, whether catholic, or particular. It is more difficult for a native to bring to that standard the manners of his own nation, familiarized to him by habit. There must doubtless be an unhappy influence on the manners of our people produced by the existence of slavery among us. The whole commerce between master and slave is a perpetual exercise of the most boisterous passions, the most unremitting despotism on the one part, and degrading submissions on the other. Our children see this, and learn to imitate it; for man is an imitative animal.​
This quality is the germ of all education in him. From his cradle to his grave he is learning to do what he sees others do. If a parent could find no motive either in his philanthropy or his self-love, for restraining the intemperance of passion towards his slave, it should always be a sufficient one that his child is present. But generally it is not sufficient. The parent storms, the child looks on, catches the lineaments of wrath, puts on the same airs in the circle of smaller slaves, gives a loose to his worst of passions, and thus nursed, educated, and daily exercised in tyranny, cannot but be stamped by it with odious peculiarities.​
The man must be a prodigy who can retain his manners and morals undepraved by such circumstances. And with what execration should the statesman be loaded, who permitting one half the citizens thus to trample on the rights of the other, transforms those into despots, and these into enemies, destroys the morals of the one part, and the amor patriae of the other. For if a slave can have a country in this world, it must be any other in preference to that in which he is born to live and labour for another: in which he must lock up the faculties of his nature, contribute as far as depends on his individual endeavours to the evanishment of the human race, or entail his own miserable condition on the endless generations proceeding from him.​
With the morals of the people, their industry also is destroyed. For in a warm climate, no man will labour for himself who can make another labour for him. This is so true, that of the proprietors of slaves a very small proportion indeed are ever seen to labour. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with his wrath?
Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that his justice cannot sleep for ever: that considering numbers, nature and natural means only, a revolution of the wheel of fortune, an exchange of situation, is among possible events: that it may become probable by supernatural interference! The Almighty has no attribute which can take side with us in such a contest. -- But it is impossible to be temperate and to pursue this subject through the various considerations of policy, of morals, of history natural and civil.

Jefferson believed that slavery was immoral and evil; so much so that a "just God" would, "by supernatural interference", call forth a "contest" between the enslaved and their enslavers. "The Almighty has no attribute which can take side with us in such a contest," said Jefferson. And he seemed to have been prescient: the Civil War did indeed tear the nation asunder, and no force, supernatural or otherwise, would protect the institution by the war's end.

- Alan
 
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ForeverFree

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I read a book a long time ago, it was the autobiography of Frederick Douglass and the book made a very big impression on me. I realize now that slavery was never a racial issue. It was never about whites enslaving blacks and all the rest of it. More than anything else, slavery was about the strong enslaving the weak, and what the story of Frederick Douglass proves more than anything else is that the strong cannot enslave the strong.

This is what CSA VP Alexander Stephens said in his famous 1861 corner-stone speech:

Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its corner-stone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth.​
This truth has been slow in the process of its development, like all other truths in the various departments of science. It has been so even amongst us. Many who hear me, perhaps, can recollect well, that this truth was not generally admitted, even within their day. The errors of the past generation still clung to many as late as twenty years ago.​
Those at the North, who still cling to these errors, with a zeal above knowledge, we justly denominate fanatics. All fanaticism springs from an aberration of the mind from a defect in reasoning. It is a species of insanity. One of the most striking characteristics of insanity, in many instances, is forming correct conclusions from fancied or erroneous premises; so with the anti-slavery fanatics. Their conclusions are right if their premises were.​
They assume that the negro is equal, and hence conclude that he is entitled to equal privileges and rights with the white man. If their premises were correct, their conclusions would be logical and just but their premise being wrong, their whole argument fails.​

Stephens leaves no doubt about his views: negroes are not the equal of whites, and the negroes' "subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition." With an almost religious zeal, he calls this belief a "great physical, philosophical, and moral truth."

This is what white southerners believed. There is no doubt about the importance of race in their defense of the institution.

The Texas DECLARATION OF CAUSES (A Declaration of the Causes which Impel the State of Texas to Secede from the Federal Union), dated February 2, 1861, says this:

We hold as undeniable truths that the governments of the various States, and of the confederacy itself, were established exclusively by the white race, for themselves and their posterity; that the African race had no agency in their establishment; that they were rightfully held and regarded as an inferior and dependent race, and in that condition only could their existence in this country be rendered beneficial or tolerable.​
That in this free government *all white men are and of right ought to be entitled to equal civil and political rights* [emphasis in the original]; that the servitude of the African race, as existing in these States, is mutually beneficial to both bond and free, and is abundantly authorized and justified by the experience of mankind, and the revealed will of the Almighty Creator, as recognized by all Christian nations; while the destruction of the existing relations between the two races, as advocated by our sectional enemies, would bring inevitable calamities upon both and desolation upon the fifteen slave-holding states.​
By the secession of six of the slave-holding States, and the certainty that others will speedily do likewise, Texas has no alternative but to remain in an isolated connection with the North, or unite her destinies with the South.​

Texas says that "the African race (is)... rightfully held and regarded as an inferior and dependent race, and in that condition only could their existence in this country be rendered beneficial or tolerable."

We don't have to guess about the role of race in slavery. We don't have to guess because people like Stephens and the state of Texas told us about that role again and again and again and again. The central role of race in American slavery is undeniable.

- Alan
 
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ForeverFree

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The most horrific thing about slavery was the international slave trade, and how they packed those poor folks like sardines into tiny spaces during the long voyage across the Atlantic; but once the lucky ones who managed to survive the horrific voyage arrived at their destination they were treated very well for the most part and that would explain why they turned a deaf ear to the incendiary pleas of the bloodthirsty abolitionists.
RE: "that would explain why they turned a deaf ear to the incendiary pleas of the bloodthirsty abolitionists."

Slaves hardly heard the pleas of abolitionists, because limits on free speech made such talk socially and in some cases legally dangerous in the South. But the main reason enslaved people couldn't do anything about their condition is because they lacked power. Once the war came, thousands of black men donned US uniforms and fought for their freedom. The southern whites who believed in the myth of the contented Negro had a rude awakening.

01886v-jpg.jpg

The Battle of Nashville, by Kurz & Allison, created/published circa 1891
An artistic rendering of the US Colored Troops at this key Civil War Battle
Source: Library of Congress, Reproduction Number: LC-DIG-pga-01886,LC-USZC4-506, LC-USZ62-1289
> An example of African Americans not believing that "slavery subordination to the superior race is (black people's) natural and normal condition."


RE: "The most horrific thing about slavery was the international slave trade"

Many things were horrific about slavery. But many people can't see this, because they look at the treatment of slaves relative to the treatment of other slaves. What if we compare the treatment of enslaved people with the treatment of free people? Then how does slavery look?

In July of 1852, Frederick Douglass proclaimed

Standing with God and the crushed and bleeding slave on this occasion, I will, in the name of humanity which is outraged, in the name of liberty which is fettered, in the name of the constitution and the Bible which are disregarded and trampled upon, dare to call in question and to denounce, with all the emphasis I can command, everything that serves to perpetuate slavery-the great sin and shame of America!​

At best we can say that Douglass' opinion was a minority opinion in 19th century United States. But he was not alone, and he surely spoke for millions of African descent people who were enslaved, and for many whites as well.

But here's the thing: almost all whites shared the view that something was wrong with slavery. Antebellum whites universally believed that slavery was terrrible... if white people were enslaved. They of course understood that slavery was degredation and the deprivation of natural and civil rights, and so, it was unacceptable to apply such treatment to themselves.

Slaves had no family rights, thus, family members could be sold away from each other, never to see each other the again. NO WHITE PERSON WOULD SAYS THIS CONSTITUTES BEING TRATED WELL, IF THE PERSON INVOLVED WAS WHITE. Such treatment would be considered intolerable for white people.

In a famous court case in Missouri, it was ruled that a slave woman could not defend herself against a rape attempt by the master. Practically speaking, this meant that is was no legal defense for a slave woman against sexual assault by her master. NO WHITE PERSON WOULD SAYS THIS CONSTITUTES BEING TRATED WELL, IF THE WOMAN INVOLVED WAS WHITE. Such treatment would be considered intolerable for white people.

I could go on with other examples, but I think these are enough. CSA VP Stephens said of blacks that "slavery subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition." Such subordination by whites was of course unacceptable; and whites had the power to determine what was "natural and normal." As the golden rule says, he who has the gold, makes the rules.

But what did slaves think of it? The former slave Frederick Douglass spoke for them, saying plainly, "slavery (is) the great sin and shame of America!"

- Alan
 
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ForeverFree

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There are lots of folks who get up and go to work every day, all for just a measly paycheck. Isn’t that wage slavery ? Have you ever heard of the fire that took place at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in Lower Manhattan back in the early part of the twentieth century ? It was the most horrific thing you can imagine, with poor workers leaping out of windows because they were suffocating from smoke inhalation and there was no way out. I’m not condoning slavery in any form but there are many forms of slavery and I’m not going to sit in judgment of the antebellum south just because slavery existed there to a certain limited extent. It was a different era and it was a different world back then. In some ways it was a much better world than what we have nowadays.

The thing that really irks me is how the south was literally crucified on the cross of slavery - like it didn’t exist anywhere else but in the south.
The term "wage slave" is rhetorical obfuscation.

United States Slavery was legally and socially defined. A slave in the USA, by definition, was a commodity that could, for example, be bought and sold. Slaves, by definition, could not engage in a labor "contract" with an employer; they were, to use the wording in the Constitution, "held to Service." Slaves had no family rights, so, children of slaves could be separated and sold away from parents in a way that was illegal for free whites. Male slaves had no right to vote or serve on a jury, white men had these rights. In the USA, "slave" was a legal, social, and political binary, you either were a slave or you weren't.

This is slavery:

slave-auction-in-virginia-600x312-jpg.jpg


Bottom line: All slavery is exploited labor, but not all exploited labor is slavery. It is absolutely true that there were exploited laborers in the North. But they were not slaves, in fact, they would take umbrage at being called slaves, especially given the racial connotations associated with being a slave. (It is worth noting that free white laborers did in fact engage in resistance against bad labor practices, there was a labor movement, and all Americans today enjoy the benefits of that movement. A successful labor movement among slaves was practically impossible.)

- Alan
 
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Viper21

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The term "wage slave" is rhetorical obfuscation.

United States Slavery was legally and socially defined. A slave in the USA, by definition, was a commodity that could, for example, be bought and sold. Slaves, by definition, could not engage in a labor "contract" with an employer; they were, to use the wording in the Constitution, "held to Service." Slaves had no family rights, so, children of slaves could be separated and sold away from parents in a way that was illegal for free whites. Male slaves had no right to vote or serve on a jury, white men had these rights. In the USA, "slave" was a legal, social, and political binary, you either were a slave or you weren't.

This is slavery:

View attachment 398911

Bottom line: All slavery is exploited labor, but not all exploited labor is slavery. It is absolutely true that there were exploited laborers in the North. But they were not slaves, in fact, they would take umbrage at being called slaves, especially given the racial connotations associated with being a slave. (It is worth noting that free white laborers did in fact engage in resistance against bad labor practices, there was a labor movement, and all Americans today enjoy the benefits of that movement. A labor movement among slaves was practically impossible.)

- Alan
Moses Dallas negotiated his own contract (CS Navy). I'm betting he wasn't the only one to ever do so.
 

ForeverFree

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The term "wage slave" is rhetorical obfuscation.

United States Slavery was legally and socially defined. A slave in the USA, by definition, was a commodity that could, for example, be bought and sold. Slaves, by definition, could not engage in a labor "contract" with an employer; they were, to use the wording in the Constitution, "held to Service."

Moses Dallas negotiated his own contract (CS Navy). I'm betting he wasn't the only one to ever do so.

Moses Dallas did not have a labor contract with the CS Navy.

Labor contracts exist between employers and employees. Slaves, on the other hand, are commodities owned a slave-master. They are, to use a term in the Constitutionalists, "held to Service."

In the South it happened quite often that slaves were rented out by their masters. They were still held to service by the owner, but they worked directly for the renter. In the urban South especially, enslaved people were often allowed to negotiate the terms of their rental, but this was NOT a labor agreement between an employer and employer. Note that in all cases, the slave-master could keep any portion of the payments made to the enslaved person as the master desired. The monies were the property of the owner to do as he or she wished; the slave could negotiate a rental agreement, but did not have a legal right of "ownership" of these payments.

The case of Moses Dallas is clearly an example of a rental.

Let's do a thought experiment. Could the CS Navy stipulate, as part of this rental agreement, that Moses's service made him a free man? No, of course not. Such a stipulation would violate the ownership rights of the slave master. Could Dallas stipulate that as part of this agreement, he considered himself free of service, and now a freeman? No, of course not. Such a stipulation would violate the ownership rights of the slave master.

We must not confuse these rental agreements with actual labor contracts.

In a speech in New Haven, March 6, 1860, Lincoln said this, which highlights the differences between the free labor system and the slave labor system:

Another specimen of this bushwhacking, that "shoe strike." ... I am glad to see that a system of labor prevails in New England under which laborers can strike when they want to [Cheers,] where they are not obliged to work under all circumstances, and are not tied down and obliged to labor whether you pay them or not! [Cheers.] I like the system which lets a man quit when he wants to, and wish it might prevail everywhere. [Tremendous applause.] One of the reasons why I am opposed to Slavery is just here. What is the true condition of the laborer? I take it that it is best for all to leave each man free to acquire property as fast as he can. Some will get wealthy. I don't believe in a law to prevent a man from getting rich; it would do more harm than good. So while we do not propose any war upon capital, we do wish to allow the humblest man an equal chance to get rich with everybody else. [Applause.]​
When one starts poor, as most do in the race of life, free society is such that he knows he can better his condition; he knows that there is no fixed condition of labor, for his whole life. I am not ashamed to confess that twenty five years ago I was a hired laborer, mauling rails, at work on a flat-boat -- just what might happen to any poor man's son! [Applause.] I want every man to have the chance -- and I believe a black man is entitled to it -- in which he can better his condition -- when he may look forward and hope to be a hired laborer this year and the next, work for himself afterward, and finally to hire men to work for him! That is the true system.​

- Alan
 

Viper21

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Moses Dallas did not have a labor contract with the CS Navy.

Labor contracts exist between employers and employees. Slaves, on the other hand, are commodities owned a slave-master. They are, to use a term in the Constitutionalists, "held to Service."

In the South it happened quite often that slaves were rented out by their masters. They were still held to service by the owner, but they worked directly for the renter. In the urban South especially, enslaved people were often allowed to negotiate the terms of their rental, but this was NOT a labor agreement between an employer and employer. Note that in all cases, the slave-master could keep any portion of the payments made to the enslaved person as the master desired. The monies were the property of the owner to do as he or she wished; the slave could negotiate a rental agreement, but did not have a legal right of "ownership" of these payments.

The case of Moses Dallas is clearly an example of a rental.

Let's do a thought experiment. Could the CS Navy stipulate, as part of this rental agreement, that Moses's service made him a free man? No, of course not. Such a stipulation would violate the ownership rights of the slave master. Could Dallas stipulate that as part of this agreement, he considered himself free of service, and now a freeman? No, of course not. Such a stipulation would violate the ownership rights of the slave master.

We must not confuse these rental agreements with actual labor contracts.

In a speech in New Haven, March 6, 1860, Lincoln said this, which highlights the differences between the free labor system and the slave labor system:

Another specimen of this bushwhacking, that "shoe strike." ... I am glad to see that a system of labor prevails in New England under which laborers can strike when they want to [Cheers,] where they are not obliged to work under all circumstances, and are not tied down and obliged to labor whether you pay them or not! [Cheers.] I like the system which lets a man quit when he wants to, and wish it might prevail everywhere. [Tremendous applause.] One of the reasons why I am opposed to Slavery is just here. What is the true condition of the laborer? I take it that it is best for all to leave each man free to acquire property as fast as he can. Some will get wealthy. I don't believe in a law to prevent a man from getting rich; it would do more harm than good. So while we do not propose any war upon capital, we do wish to allow the humblest man an equal chance to get rich with everybody else. [Applause.]​
When one starts poor, as most do in the race of life, free society is such that he knows he can better his condition; he knows that there is no fixed condition of labor, for his whole life. I am not ashamed to confess that twenty five years ago I was a hired laborer, mauling rails, at work on a flat-boat -- just what might happen to any poor man's son! [Applause.] I want every man to have the chance -- and I believe a black man is entitled to it -- in which he can better his condition -- when he may look forward and hope to be a hired laborer this year and the next, work for himself afterward, and finally to hire men to work for him! That is the true system.​

- Alan
Maybe you missed this part of my post:

From a piece by Dr. Maurice Melton:

For a slave, Moses Dallas had it made. He was a coastal pilot, guiding passenger and cargo steamers through the shoals and over the bars in the waterways from Savannah south through the sounds, down the coast to Jacksonville, Fla. and up the St. Johns River all the way to Palatka. By 1860, he was in late middle age and at the top of his profession. The steamboat companies knew his reputation, and paid good money for his expertise.

Dallas was owned by a widow named Harriet Ann Elbert, of St. Marys, Ga. on the Florida-Georgia line. Her sister, the widow of a St. Mary’s doctor named Bacon, owned Dallas’ wife (also named Harriet) and their six children.
1 In 1860, the sisters agreed to let Dallas and his family move to Savannah, the center of the area’s shipping business. There, Moses and Harriet Dallas rented five acres and a house out Bryan Street east of town, across the bayou in the rice fields and woods behind Fort Jackson. Moses and Harriet Dallas lived there on their own, like a free family.

Whenever Dallas took a job with a new shipping line, Mrs. Elbert’s agent, G.W. Conn, negotiated the initial contract. But it stipulated that henceforth, Moses Dallas would act as his own negotiator on any contractual changes, including pay. And his salary would be paid directly to him.
2 It was normal for a hired-out slave’s wages to be paid to the owner (who often allowed the slave a small allotment for living expenses). But Dallas kept all his wages. 3 His hiring out earned Mrs. Elbert nothing. Dallas was good with money: His reputation for frugality matched his reputation as a pilot. 4 He knew the value of a dollar, and trusted himself to get the best value for his services......

Dr. Maurice Melton is a history professor at Columbus State University and the author of several books and articles about the Civil War navies.
 

Belfoured

1st Lieutenant
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Aug 3, 2019
Moses Dallas negotiated his own contract (CS Navy). I'm betting he wasn't the only one to ever do so.
Interesting, but I'm not sure I'd extrapolate too far. Piloting was a critical need and before the war slaves were hired out by their masters to do the work (gaining the knowledge and experience). It appears his widowed owner consented to his hire and allowed him to keep his pay. In short, Dallas may have been in a unique position.
 

ForeverFree

Major
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Feb 6, 2010
Location
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Maybe you missed this part of my post:

From a piece by Dr. Maurice Melton:

For a slave, Moses Dallas had it made. He was a coastal pilot, guiding passenger and cargo steamers through the shoals and over the bars in the waterways from Savannah south through the sounds, down the coast to Jacksonville, Fla. and up the St. Johns River all the way to Palatka. By 1860, he was in late middle age and at the top of his profession. The steamboat companies knew his reputation, and paid good money for his expertise.

Dallas was owned by a widow named Harriet Ann Elbert, of St. Marys, Ga. on the Florida-Georgia line. Her sister, the widow of a St. Mary’s doctor named Bacon, owned Dallas’ wife (also named Harriet) and their six children.
1 In 1860, the sisters agreed to let Dallas and his family move to Savannah, the center of the area’s shipping business. There, Moses and Harriet Dallas rented five acres and a house out Bryan Street east of town, across the bayou in the rice fields and woods behind Fort Jackson. Moses and Harriet Dallas lived there on their own, like a free family.

Whenever Dallas took a job with a new shipping line, Mrs. Elbert’s agent, G.W. Conn, negotiated the initial contract. But it stipulated that henceforth, Moses Dallas would act as his own negotiator on any contractual changes, including pay. And his salary would be paid directly to him.
2 It was normal for a hired-out slave’s wages to be paid to the owner (who often allowed the slave a small allotment for living expenses). But Dallas kept all his wages. 3 His hiring out earned Mrs. Elbert nothing. Dallas was good with money: His reputation for frugality matched his reputation as a pilot. 4 He knew the value of a dollar, and trusted himself to get the best value for his services......

Dr. Maurice Melton is a history professor at Columbus State University and the author of several books and articles about the Civil War navies.

I don't see where I've missed anything. Dallas Moses was a slave, he was held to the service of his masters. He was able to negotiate the terms of his rental agreement, as I stated. You are confusing the negotiation of a rental agreement ~ which was not uncommon for slaves to do ~ with the negotiation of a labor contract. As noted above, Whenever Dallas took a job with a new shipping line, Mrs. Elbert’s agent, G.W. Conn, negotiated the initial contract. After that, Moses was able to get into the details of the rental agreement. Perhaps you missed that part.

Let's do that thought experiment again. Suppose Moses wanted to engage with the CS Navy, but his masters strictly forbade him from doing so. Could Moses just go ahead and pilot for the Navy anyway? Of course not. His labor was owned and controlled by his masters. In terms of slavery and freedom, there is a huge difference between a short leash and no leash at all. If Moses was a free man, the wishes and desires of his master would not have been relevant, because a free man has no master. I don't see how this controversial.

- Alan
 
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