Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Member of the Year
- Feb 20, 2005
- Ocala, FL (as of December, 2015).
What we find in the 19th century is that most 'abolishionists' are looked upon as radicals, much as most in my day looked at 'hippies' as radicals for the time.Forum,
We know by now that both Confederate and Union soldiers had their own reasons for fighting in the ACW, or War for Southern Independence.
And what were those reasons in your own view, Rebelrose?
Why is the question of whether someone fought for or against slavery such a big issue?
Because it was THE issue, one that had been debated and argued for decades before the Civil War. No other issue caused such anger, such consternation, such debate or rancor, as the issue of slavery in the United States at that time.
Slavery was included in the U.S. Constitution, sanctioned by the Bible, and had been a part of the national economy for decades.
Rebelrose, slavery was included in the Constitution at the insistance of the South, who would not join the Union or ratify the Constitution unless the institution was secure.
As for using the Bible to sanction slavery, I seem to recall there were many Northern sermons (and a few Southern ones, before those parsons were forced from the pulpit and the South altogether) preached from the Bible AGAINST slavery. But the simple fact of the matter is, one can use the Bible to support almost ANYTHING. It's that context thing.
You may want to browse the following website to see what I mean:
Samuel J. May Anti-Slavery Collection.
Slavery was almost not a part of the national economy and had been slowly losing favor and a 'necessary evil,' until the invention of the cotton-gin. Once slavery is profitable, NOW it is a money-maker and a 'positive good.'
The North was involved in the slave trade much longer than the South, because of the outcome of the war.
Miss Rose, no slave ship from the North ever had to sail into Charleston Harbor, and force white Southern men to buy their cargo at gun point. Without the Southern demand for slaves, there would have been no Northern slave ships. One must have a market in order to sell a particular item. This does not excuse Northern slave traders. In my view, they are just as guilty as Southern slave holders and buyers. But if there were no drug addicts in the US, would the South American drug cartels be shipping drugs to the US? Saying one end of the slave trade (Northern carriers) is bad does not excuse the other end of the slave trade (Southern slaveholders), which was just as bad.
And remember, there were calls to reopen the slave trade and to expand into Mexico, Cuba, and South America to EXPAND slavery.
As for your observation that the South had been out of the slave trade longer than Northern carriers, this was simple economics. More slaves imported would mean the price for slaves would drop in the South, which no Southern slaveowner, who wanted to maintain the high price of his chattel, wanted to happen.
We cannot judge those living in the timeperiod of antebellum America by our contemporary values re: slavery. Yes, as Americans in the 21st century, we have accepted that slavery is immoral, but Americans in the 19th century were not so sure.
Sorry, but I don't go along with this premise at all.
Murder is murder, no matter what century it occurs, the same as other henious crimes, such as rape, robbery, genocide, etc.
Evil is evil, no matter what the century, and slavery is one of the oldest and most intractable of evils. The world was already coming to the conclusion that slavery was immoral, even by 19th century standards. It was being outlawed and the slave trade slowly shut down. The weight of history clearly shows that.
Those who had begun to consider slavery immoral in the 19th century, were in a minority, and considered "fanatics" by many of their neighbors. (Some of my Quaker ancestors who were abolitionists, had to move around alot because of their unpopularity in the various towns they tried to make their "home"). Many of these towns also refused to permit any Negroes, whether legally "free" or runaway slaves, to settle there...they were "encouraged" to move further North to Canada. Just a few comments.
But most Americans of the time were beginning to want the issue of slavery (not racism, a completely separate issue) resolved and placed on the path of 'natural extinction.'
And like it or not, a reading of the issue of slavery through US history of the time shows that slavery was THE issue of the day, much as the war on terror or the financial bailout/TARP is of our day.
The South left the Union over the issue of slavery, which it felt was not going to be secure under Lincoln and a Republican administration, nor under the Constitution of the United States. This is clear because this is what the South said, loud and clear, without any hesitation or attempt at moderation of this one, basic issue. The war was begun over the issue of slavery.
And from my research, the soldiers on both sides said that also.