Why did The Uncontrolled Growth Of Sectionalism During the 1850s Happen; Slavery or Something More Subtle?

John Fenton

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From the pulpit...
Reverend Furman of South Carolina insisted that the right to hold slaves was clearly sanctioned by the Holy Scriptures. He emphasized a practical side as well, warning that if Lincoln were elected, “every Negro in South Carolina and every other Southern state will be his own master; nay, more than that, will be the equal of every one of you. If you are tame enough to submit, abolition preachers will be at hand to consummate the marriage of your daughters to black husbands.”
It was a corollary that to attack slavery was to attack the Bible and the word of God. If the Bible expressly ordained slave holding, to oppose the practice was a sin and an insult to God’s word. As the Baptist minister and author Thornton Stringfellow noted in his influential Biblical Defense of Slavery, “men from the north” demonstrated “palpable ignorance of the divine will.”
A preacher in Richmond exalted slavery as “the most blessed and beautiful form of social government known; the only one that solves the problem, how rich and poor may dwell together; a beneficent patriarchate.”
https://www.battlefields.org/learn/articles/why-non-slaveholding-southerners-fought
 

wausaubob

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From the pulpit...
Reverend Furman of South Carolina insisted that the right to hold slaves was clearly sanctioned by the Holy Scriptures. He emphasized a practical side as well, warning that if Lincoln were elected, “every Negro in South Carolina and every other Southern state will be his own master; nay, more than that, will be the equal of every one of you. If you are tame enough to submit, abolition preachers will be at hand to consummate the marriage of your daughters to black husbands.”
It was a corollary that to attack slavery was to attack the Bible and the word of God. If the Bible expressly ordained slave holding, to oppose the practice was a sin and an insult to God’s word. As the Baptist minister and author Thornton Stringfellow noted in his influential Biblical Defense of Slavery, “men from the north” demonstrated “palpable ignorance of the divine will.”
A preacher in Richmond exalted slavery as “the most blessed and beautiful form of social government known; the only one that solves the problem, how rich and poor may dwell together; a beneficent patriarchate.”
https://www.battlefields.org/learn/articles/why-non-slaveholding-southerners-fought
People who did not see it that had moved away. They had gone to Tennessee and Kentucky, and then other generations kept moving to Missouri and the far west.
Between 1787 and 1860, it was a very fluid population. The people were sorting themselves.
 

John Fenton

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Her opinion. 1 in a crowd. Foner and McPherson, first 2 on her list are Lincoln Apologist. Others I haven’t read, wonder Why?
I haven’t read any Emotional Historians either. Do they talk about Yankee Racism toward Blacks and about murdering Indian Savages? Maybe the Yankee just wasn’t Emotional about it?

Well Andrew Jackson sure as heck was emotional about it. You should read more about the creek and Seminole wars , creek Mary’s blood , bury my heart at wounded knee, the trail of tears, and others. Emotional yankees and southern participants all over the place.
several southerners received medals of honor for wounded knee. I am not sure what you mean by emotional historians but I am sick and tired of your implication that only yankees were seeking Indian lands at the point of a gun.
 

John Fenton

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And one more thing. Just considering Little Bighorn. Although the majority of troops were foreign born immigrants, and the next largest group were northern or native (our allies) ,the southern states had representation from almost all former confederate and border states. The bulk seem to come from Virginia, Maryland, and Kentucky. The only missing states to be represented were al, ga, ms, and ar. Even la and tx had people there. So just stop with the misrepresentations.
 

John Fenton

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from The Impending Crisis, by David Potter

The Summery is that just like nesting Russian dolls, there is often something deeper than hitting Southerners over the head with 'slavery' and retreating into a self satisficing session with Treasury Virtueure. Economic clashes over modes of production and labor is another. Or perhaps a clash of civilizations which is common in historical scholarship.
of course it was a clash over modes of production and labor. Free industrialized labor vs slave labor. The south had no other mode of production that did not affect their wealth. Northerners did not do or care much about the plight of slaves or immigrants for that matter but slavery represented unfair competition, not only for business but for the immigrants. Like the Russian nesting doll, every layer exposed another connection to slavery. Each doll is basically the same doll only smaller. Production types or crop selection are one layer. White supremacy is another. types of skilled trades are one of the inner layers. They all fit neatly in the slave doll and have their connections, however subtle, to real wealth and future profits.
 
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wausaubob

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Kentucky, Virginia and NC shed population northward and westward. Here is just one example of the migration:
1586446521915.png

https://www.essentialcivilwarcurriculum.com/kentucky-in-the-civil-war-1861-1862.html
The politicians were just reacting to what was going on in the population. Southerners who did not like living among slaves, and were not going to try growing cotton, moved north and west and wanted slavery to just stay in the cotton belt, as far from their farm and their town as possible.
 

wausaubob

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Therefore when Virginia and Kentucky lost power in the 33 state republic, and NY, PA and OH became the dominant states in the EC, the politicians were just reacting to what the people had created. Small pox was slackening. International immigration was easy and safer. But cholera, malaria, typhoid fever and macro parasites were not controlled in the south, and the population there stayed highly dispersed as a defense against those diseases.
 
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From the pulpit...
Reverend Furman of South Carolina insisted that the right to hold slaves was clearly sanctioned by the Holy Scriptures. He emphasized a practical side as well, warning that if Lincoln were elected, “every Negro in South Carolina and every other Southern state will be his own master; nay, more than that, will be the equal of every one of you. If you are tame enough to submit, abolition preachers will be at hand to consummate the marriage of your daughters to black husbands.”
It was a corollary that to attack slavery was to attack the Bible and the word of God. If the Bible expressly ordained slave holding, to oppose the practice was a sin and an insult to God’s word. As the Baptist minister and author Thornton Stringfellow noted in his influential Biblical Defense of Slavery, “men from the north” demonstrated “palpable ignorance of the divine will.”
A preacher in Richmond exalted slavery as “the most blessed and beautiful form of social government known; the only one that solves the problem, how rich and poor may dwell together; a beneficent patriarchate.”
https://www.battlefields.org/learn/articles/why-non-slaveholding-southerners-fought
don't seem that concerned about the tariff.
 

wausaubob

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It wasn't the politicians, it was the people. The people were willing to accept slavery in the south, and willing to allow the cotton belt to become highly specialized in growing cotton. But the people were no longer willing to see the system grow. Which is why so many people in the border states were willing to see slavery weaken and disappear, if that is what it took to save the constitution.
 

alan polk

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It wasn't the politicians, it was the people. The people were willing to accept slavery in the south, and willing to allow the cotton belt to become highly specialized in growing cotton. But the people were no longer willing to see the system grow. Which is why so many people in the border states were willing to see slavery weaken and disappear, if that is what it took to save the constitution.

I think that is correct and a good analysis, but I would change the last sentence because I really believe there is a distinction to be made here - or ought to be made. Instead of “the constitution” in the last sentence, I think it might be nearer the truth to say: ”if that is what it took to save the union.” I really think there was a difference there - though I’m no expert and can’t exactly put my finger on it. But it’s something about the Union that rings better. Just my thoughts.
 

wausaubob

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I think that is correct and a good analysis, but I would change the last sentence because I really believe there is a distinction to be made here - or ought to be made. Instead of “the constitution” in the last sentence, I think it might be nearer the truth to say: ”if that is what it took to save the union.” I really think there was a difference there - though I’m no expert and can’t exactly put my finger on it. But it’s something about the Union that rings better. Just my thoughts.
Agreed. The people were becoming more sectional. Southerners who did want to be in the same area as slaves, either went north, or moved to the southern frontier. The people who remained in the south, usually had a direct stake in the cotton system, which took over the south between 1837 and 1860. Especially after 1850, cotton fever had a firm grip on the 7 southern most states.
In the northern states, after 1844, voluntary immigration solved the labor problem. Instead of the US being a slow growing colonial outpost of a conservative European population, it became a place to take a chance and make a new start. Wage labor and small farming succeeded, which is why the northern states became so committed to it.
In the five border areas, and in DC, the slave owners were losing power, because non slave owners could do most of the same farming, without slaves. But those border areas, previously dominated by Virginia, were becoming relatively less powerful. The compromise position of Henry Clay, union, slavery and economic growth, lost strength.
 

alan polk

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Agreed. The people were becoming more sectional. Southerners who did want to be in the same area as slaves, either went north, or moved to the southern frontier. The people who remained in the south, usually had a direct stake in the cotton system, which took over the south between 1837 and 1860. Especially after 1850, cotton fever had a firm grip on the 7 southern most states.
In the northern states, after 1844, voluntary immigration solved the labor problem. Instead of the US being a slow growing colonial outpost of a conservative European population, it became a place to take a chance and make a new start. Wage labor and small farming succeeded, which is why the northern states became so committed to it.
In the five border areas, and in DC, the slave owners were losing power, because non slave owners could do most of the same farming, without slaves. But those border areas, previously dominated by Virginia, were becoming relatively less powerful. The compromise position of Henry Clay, union, slavery and economic growth, lost strength.
Indeed. But I would add this: I think for many Americans at the time it was believed that, although the Constitution was probably flexible enough to incorporate these varying economies in a legal or technical sense, the Union, on the other hand, was not.

The issue of what the Constitution may or may not allow was a very different issue from what the concept of “Union” could actually withstand.
 

wausaubob

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Between 1837 and 1860 the southern states made a very large commitment to cotton and to slavery. As a way to open up new land, and clear it for cultivation, slavery was invaluable. Without violence, it was impossible to hire anyone to do that heavy work. But once the land was clear, what was required was stable, experienced farmers. There was a lot of unskilled work to do, but the best farmers were intensely valuable and slavery would have taken on a Roman character, with slaves have increasing freedoms, in stable areas. Thus the old south, on the Atlantic coast, began to see that the system was unstable, and was going to need a huge ideological commitment.
The other problem was that in Louisiana, Mississippi and Arkansas, disease conditions, and climate were so bad, that as noted by some secessionists, the land was worthless without slavery. Only slaves could be forced to stay and work under those conditions. These are the reasons the cotton south states became so committed to coerced labor.
As for the north, it became much more sectional as it succeeded. The telegraph came on line, railroads expanded, and newspapers flourished. The railroad did for the north what slavery did for the south, it made remote land valuable, because if the wheat, oats or barley could get to a rail station, it could be shipped anywhere in the world.
So the deep south had a source of power and wealth, cotton and to lesser extent sugar, and coerced labor. Free labor was not going to stay in the south and work under the conditions that existed in 1860.
The north had an even more potent source of power, the railroads, the iron that they were going to demand, and the coal deposits that provided unlimited energy.
The northern states were conscious of their strength. That is why there could be a sectional party by 1860, capable of winning the Presidential election.
The moderating force of the pro slavery Whigs, located mainly in Virginia and Kentucky, and to some extent in Missouri and Louisiana, was weak.
The middle south had fallen behind in population growth, especially Virginia.
 

wausaubob

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The northern states, plus California and Oregon did not compromise because they knew they did not have to. Here is manufacturing output of top 20 cities in the US in 1860. This tabulation was published after the war, in 1866.
1586557510131.png

If Baltimore, Louisville and St. Louis were federal cities, not willing to join the secessionist experiment, and New Orleans was a port city whose access to the Gulf of Mexico was easily blockaded, the paid labor states had no reason to compromise.
 

wausaubob

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The compromise that was available was to let the cotton 7 go. Then the US would neither recognize them, or force them back into the union. The US would buy its cotton and sugar on the world market, and it would be exposed to a tariff as it came in from Liverpool to New York.
That compromise solves very little, since the two imperialist nations are soon going to be at odds over territory in North America and the Confederacy is most likely going to be expanding southward onto its neighbors. The evidence from Kansas demonstrated that the territorial war, a typical issue that had already caused most wars, had already started.
 

wausaubob

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The deep south made a huge commitment to cotton and slavery. There is a reason they became more sectional. There was no place else in the Atlantic economy that could grow, pack and ship cotton the way those 10 southern states could. In cotton production, they did not to compete with the rest of the United States.
Meanwhile the rapidly falling cost of reliable, all weather transportation pried the lid off of urban and industrial growth in the Midwest and the northeast. While the population was growing at 41% per decade, cities, and indicator industries like sewing machines were growing much faster.
 

wausaubob

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Between 1837 and 1860, the two major economies moved in opposite directions. The cotton south continued to operate like a colonial outpost of Europe. It was selling a huge amount of cotton and tobacco to Europe and making money at it. Those parts of the south selling sugar to the US, or selling livestock both to Cincinnati and Savannah, were much more Whigish and conservative.
The northern areas were dominated by New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Ohio. These states were dominated by banks and businesses that saw there future in developing a continental common market. If they were going to compete internationally, it would be in innovation and manufacturing, not agriculture.
As that divergence grew, Virginia and Kentucky were no longer powerful enough to bind things together, and opinion in Missouri was moving towards emphasis on growth, not slavery.
 

Horrido67

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The evidence from Kansas demonstrated that the territorial war, a typical issue that had already caused most wars, had already started.

Trying to expand slavery into Kansas was the last straw. Had the slave-owing states and doughface democrats did not attempt to implant slavery in Kansas as it was agreed previously, the rest of the country would not gave an overwhelming support for Lincoln in the election of 1860.
 

Rhea Cole

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I had a professor who had an interesting way of depicting this topic. Slavery was the bulldozer that drove through this period of American history. Everything else is an argument over what color it was painted. Reading the posts on this thread brought that vividly to mind.
 

wausaubob

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The regions became more sectional because the southern areas were limited to growing cotton and a few other crops. Their share of oats, mules, horses fell.
They could have started more low end textile mills, but they were a step away from that. The southern states made their own gins. The milled a good deal of sugar, and the southern share of dressed lumber was respectable. But cotton was so profitable that it drew those 10 states into the international market. The non cotton states were all involved in the Whig development program announced by Henry Clay. The southern states made a bet on the international demand for cotton. The bet paid off, but it left the south dependent on the growth of the slave population.
The politicians were just reacting to what the people were doing. The south was oriented towards cotton, the navigable rivers, NYC, and the international markets.
In the northern states the railroads were taking over high value freight. They were gradually reducing the importance of the steamboat industry and making towns and cities much more powerful.
The telegraph and the railroads made a continental empire much more practical. The Civil War began as serious discussions about a national railroad to reach California began. A telegraph line that reached Sacramento was finished in November 1861.
 
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