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

Robin Lesjovitch

Sergeant
Joined
Dec 16, 2018
Thanks for your response and pointing out my error.
I was referring to James K. Polk, Democrat from that decidedly not northern State of Tennessee.
I was sure it was Polk. Polk's success in the 1844 Presidential race was not really sectional. Polk ran on a firm platform of admitting Texas to the Union, and dealing firmly with the UK over Oregon. His opponent Henry Clay was not so sure. Polk took the lower South, and NY, PA, Il and IN among others . Clay got TN, NC, Ky and MD.and others. War with Mexico was a real possibility with Texas becoming a state. Polk's administration may be seen as a jump in "Manifest Destiny" as much as anything.
 
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Oct 3, 2005
I think the northern cities, Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York/Brooklyn, and Boston, started with more of maritime tradition and an inferiority complex. They knew that Richmond was dominant and they would have work to catch up.
I very much doubt that New York City ever thought Richmond was dominant in anything.
 

wausaubob

Colonel
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Location
Denver, CO
I very much doubt that New York City ever thought Richmond was dominant in anything.
Lets let Richmond signify the Virginians. They had made a lot of money on tobacco and had enough pull to get Washington, D.C. Those Virginians had a lot of authority for the first 30 years. About the time the Erie Canal started functioning New York pulled away. Baltimore caught up with a railroad. The competition among those northern cities was probably another factor creating a difference between north and south.
 

BigTex

Corporal
Joined
May 19, 2019
"The South contends that a state has a constitutional right to secede from the Union formed with her sister states. In this, I submit, the South errs. No power or right is constitutional but what can be exercised in a form or mode provided in the constitution for it's exercise. Secession is therefore not constitutional, but revolutionary; and is only morally competent, like war, upon failure of justice."

-- Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, Roger B. Taney.

Unionblue
One cannot argue with the Chief Justice on the Constitution. The Constitution is silent on the matter of secession. The act of secession is revolutionary, as was the departure from the AOC. But it is also true that war is not necessary to accomplish the act.
Article I, Section 10. No State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation; .....
[ As a member of the Compact, a State's loyalty is to the other members and the Constitution ]
No State shall, without the Consent of Congress, ...enter into any Agreement or Compact with another State, or with a foreign Power, or engage in War, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent Danger as will not admit of delay.
[ As a member State it surrendered these powers and delegated them to the General Government.]
So the question is whether there was a failure of justice. The Southern States contended this was the case.
A revolutionary act of separation was first accomplished, then the States, after resuming their original Sovereignty, entered into a Compact with each other. They did not enter into any Agreement or Compact while in Union with the United States.
The Chief Justice makes clear that the Constitution is silent on the matter of secession. However, he writes that the South makes a claim of a "constitutional right" of secession that is not within the scope of the Compact. In this, I agree with the Chief Justice.
Did the Southern States call it a "Constitutional Right "? If they did, they were in error. The Right of a people to self-determination is an unalienable right, but it is always a revolution to accomplish it, with or without War.
 

uaskme

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 9, 2016
Location
SE Tennessee
Thanks for your response.
Oddly, I've seen nothing to indicate that the "Southern Ladies" were the reason Davis rejected any further discussions. What I have seen are letters from "Southern Ladies" to their men in the rebel forces urging them to come home.


It has been argued elsewhere that Confederate women's commitment to the cause waned in the final months of the war, as their many sacrifices seemed increasingly useless. But, having survived an army of invasion without the protection of Southern soldiers, many women of Columbia now exhorted their men to remain at their posts and exact vengeance on the enemy. "Let me entreat you not to seek a place here, with a view to give us security," wrote one such woman to her husband, ending her letter with the words, "Don't Come!" Susan Cheves similarly assured her husband that there was no reason for him to be "uneasy" about her well-being. Emma Holmes called upon all Southern soldiers to "die in defense of their country (rather) than live under Yankee rule." Lily Logan urged her soldier brother to keep up his spirits and "let us whip Sherman." She assured him of her own enduring confidence in as early victory, claiming that they should all be "ready to bear even more for our glorious cause." Such tactics obviously had the desired effect on one Confederate soldier, who thanked God for such a "brave mother and sisters. With such a spirit emanating from you, how could we do else but perform our duty nobly and manfully."

Another young woman had heard that the spirit of the people in Columbia was even better after the Union attack. Now that they have experienced their (the Yankees') tender mercies, they are resolved to persevere unto the bitter end." A Palmetto State soldier wrote home form the ranks that he had heard "the people who have suffered are very patriotic, but those who were not molested are badly whipt."

But there may be another explanation for elite white women's tenacity that has implications for other contexts where Confederate civilians and enemy soldiers came face-to-face. Analyses of areas where home front became battlefront suggest that men and women did not have two different and oppositional sets of values, but rather shared many of the components that comprised the will to fight. James McPherson's 1997 investigation of Civil War soldiers provides a helpful model. McPherson argues that the will to fight was a function of "war aim and positive cultural values shared by soldiers and the society for which they fought." A further motivation, he argues, was hatred and a desire for revenge. The evidence presented here strongly supports the argument that many women could easily identify with these values and desires. They certainly had reason enough to hate the Yankee soldiers who wrought such devastation on their homes and regions. Confronting the enemy face-to-face allowed these women to share a sense of responsibility for actively defending the Confederacy, with a consequent upsurge in patriotism.
pp72-74 When Sherman Marched North from the Sea by Jacqueline Glass Campbell

She writes a good bit about this. The Yankee focus was on Southern Women after the War. Called them the most disloyal. Some had reason to be, who ended up on the Front Lines. God Bless the Southern Woman.
 

unionblue

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Member of the Year
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Location
Ocala, FL (as of December, 2015).
One cannot argue with the Chief Justice on the Constitution.

I would think not.

The Constitution is silent on the matter of secession.

As the Chief Justice stated there is no form or mode for it to be exercised within the Constitution.

The act of secession is revolutionary,

Yes, it was.

as was the departure from the AOC.

Revolutionary? How many battles and deaths were caused when the AOC was shut down and the Constitution ratified?

But it is also true that war is not necessary to accomplish the act.

I'm afraid the Slaveholding South thought so.

Article I, Section 10. No State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation; .....
[ As a member of the Compact, a State's loyalty is to the other members and the Constitution ]
No State shall, without the Consent of Congress, ...enter into any Agreement or Compact with another State, or with a foreign Power, or engage in War, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent Danger as will not admit of delay.
[ As a member State it surrendered these powers and delegated them to the General Government.]

Very good, all that pertains on what a state can NOT do.

So the question is whether there was a failure of justice. The Southern States contended this was the case.

I frankly do not consider the idea that the results of a free and fair election, as proscribed by the Constitution, can be considered a "failure of justice."

A revolutionary act of separation was first accomplished, then the States, after resuming their original Sovereignty, entered into a Compact with each other.

They separated for one of the worst reasons ever given.

They did not enter into any Agreement or Compact while in Union with the United States.

They erred as the Chief Justice said, as they tried to separate from their sister states by way of unilateral secession.

The Chief Justice makes clear that the Constitution is silent on the matter of secession.

Not exactly. What he said was that there was no form or mode for secession to be exercised within the Constitution, therefore, it was not constitutional.

However, he writes that the South makes a claim of a "constitutional right" of secession that is not within the scope of the Compact. In this, I agree with the Chief Justice.

As you have stated previously.

Did the Southern States call it a "Constitutional Right "? If they did, they were in error. The Right of a people to self-determination is an unalienable right, but it is always a revolution to accomplish it, with or without War.

Not bad, @BigTex , not bad at all.

Unionblue
 

BigTex

Corporal
Joined
May 19, 2019
Not bad, @BigTex , not bad at all.

Unionblue
Since the Compact is silent on that matter, it follows that the secession of a State is an act of self-determination, and revolution, in that the the old order is overthrown, and a new order instituted. In this case the resulting condition would be liberty. The Southern States contended that the Compact had been currupted and the liberty originally bequeathed by their fathers had been denied them.
The secession from the AOC was a "velvet revolution" but a revolution nonetheless.
The South did not consider a "free and fair election " a failure of justice. They did not believe that the ruling party would be fair, honest and equitable toward their association.
The Justice wrote that the South erred in that they called it a "constitutional right ".
It is not mentioned in the Compact. It is undoubtedly an "unalienable Right" but outside the scope of the Compact and therefore to exercise it is to resort to revolution. They knew this, which is why they immediately took possession of the forts, armories and munitions. Such are the actions in a revolution.
But why would they resort to such a perilous action? Did they just get up one day and say let's leave? Who and or what caused them to give up on the "consolidated government "(to quote Patrick Henry)? I believe it was a perceived injustice. Or as the Chief Justice wrote, "a failure of justice".
 
Joined
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There has been a lot of debate, but two issues: the enforcement of the fugitive slave law, and the expansion of slavery in the West have been identified by all concerned as major causes for sectional strife.

So the consensus, despite somewhat different "takes" on the issue, is that slavery was the cause of disunion.
 
Joined
Oct 3, 2005
Since the Compact is silent on that matter, it follows that the secession of a State is an act of self-determination, and revolution, in that the the old order is overthrown, and a new order instituted. In this case the resulting condition would be liberty. The Southern States contended that the Compact had been currupted and the liberty originally bequeathed by their fathers had been denied them.
The secession from the AOC was a "velvet revolution" but a revolution nonetheless.
The South did not consider a "free and fair election " a failure of justice. They did not believe that the ruling party would be fair, honest and equitable toward their association.
The Justice wrote that the South erred in that they called it a "constitutional right ".
It is not mentioned in the Compact. It is undoubtedly an "unalienable Right" but outside the scope of the Compact and therefore to exercise it is to resort to revolution. They knew this, which is why they immediately took possession of the forts, armories and munitions. Such are the actions in a revolution.
But why would they resort to such a perilous action? Did they just get up one day and say let's leave? Who and or what caused them to give up on the "consolidated government "(to quote Patrick Henry)? I believe it was a perceived injustice. Or as the Chief Justice wrote, "a failure of justice".
Which is why we can dispense with trying to find some quasi legal justification for secession. The secessionists acted like revolutionaries, as violently and illegally as the American revolutionaries of the 18th century. There was no pretense they were performing a constitutional or legal process. They were motivated, not by some abstract notion of federalism, but by the justice of their cause. The trouble is, outside the bubble of the slave holding regions of the South, their cause was judged, in the 19th century and later, as a bad cause.

The trouble is, the Confederate cause was not just.
 

BigTex

Corporal
Joined
May 19, 2019
There has been a lot of debate, but two issues: the enforcement of the fugitive slave law, and the expansion of slavery in the West have been identified by all concerned as major causes for sectional strife.

So the consensus, despite somewhat different "takes" on the issue, is that slavery was the cause of disunion.
I cannot accept that as the cause because the Compact did not prohibit it. All but one of the States were slave-States at the ratification. Why did the Northern States sign if they were against slavery? They had their Sovereignty. They had a loose confederation. What did the North hope to gain by consolidation with the South. The cultural distinctions were already present. The sectional strife of rival economies was present. They were all 'good' with slavery then but later it was not good for some. They wanted it erradicated. They were hostile to the South over it. Who was it that changed the association? Who was it that caused the disunion?
 

John S. Carter

Sergeant Major
Joined
Mar 15, 2017
Historians cannot agree on how slavery 'caused' the civil war.
May one suggest two books "The Field of Blood ,violence in Congress and the road to Civil War" Joanne B. Freeman and "Heirs of the Founders,the second generation of American Giants" H.W. BRANDS.I could write on this but these two books may help to provide insight into the reasons for what happen during that period leading up to that time.
 

unionblue

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Member of the Year
Joined
Feb 20, 2005
Location
Ocala, FL (as of December, 2015).
Since the Compact is silent on that matter, it follows that the secession of a State is an act of self-determination, and revolution, in that the the old order is overthrown, and a new order instituted.

That's the choice of the Southern slaveholding states. They played a game of chance, threw the dice and came up snake eyes. No do overs.

In this case the resulting condition would be liberty.

Not even close. What liberty was being denied citizens in the Southern states? Were they denied representation in Washington? Were they denied the right to vote in national elections? Were they denied access to the courts? Liberty as an excuse for rebellion and theft, all in the name of having the "liberty" to take their human property where they pleased, isn't cutting it.

The Southern States contended that the Compact had been currupted and the liberty originally bequeathed by their fathers had been denied them.

Don't see how, especially since the South had control of the "Compact" for nearly the first seventy years of the Republic.

The secession from the AOC was a "velvet revolution" but a revolution nonetheless.

So, no one died. Seems like you're alluding to the change from the AOC to the ratification of the Constitution by the people of the United States in conventions. Sorry, don't see the comparison of revolution to such a peaceful process.


The South did not consider a "free and fair election " a failure of justice. They did not believe that the ruling party would be fair, honest and equitable toward their association.

You realize that's what a "free and fair election" is, right, The people decide which ruling party they want in office by majority vote, you know, according to the Supreme Law of the Land, the Constitution. In other words, you are contradicting yourself.

The Justice wrote that the South erred in that they called it a "constitutional right ".

And we both consider him correct, if I have read your previous posts correctly.


It is not mentioned in the Compact. It is undoubtedly an "unalienable Right" but outside the scope of the Compact and therefore to exercise it is to resort to revolution.

Revolution is a "natural right" not an "unalienable right."

They knew this, which is why they immediately took possession of the forts, armories and munitions. Such are the actions in a revolution.

Correct.

But why would they resort to such a perilous action? Did they just get up one day and say let's leave? Who and or what caused them to give up on the "consolidated government "(to quote Patrick Henry)? I believe it was a perceived injustice. Or as the Chief Justice wrote, "a failure of justice".

It was fear, exaggerated fear, stroked by the slaveholding elite to ensure their control over the South and to maintain their leadership.

Again, what perceived "failure of justice" did the Southern States endure? They had government representation. There was no Northern interference with their choice of state government representation. They could participate in national elections. They had access to both local and federal courts. They could travel without passports or passes anywhere in the nation. They could buy what they could afford. The tariff rates were the same in Charleston as they were in Boston or New York.

So what was THE problem?

Slavery and slavery alone.

Unionblue
PS @BigTex , you're asking a lot of good questions. I hope you can find good answers.
 

unionblue

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Member of the Year
Joined
Feb 20, 2005
Location
Ocala, FL (as of December, 2015).
I cannot accept that as the cause because the Compact did not prohibit it. All but one of the States were slave-States at the ratification. Why did the Northern States sign if they were against slavery? They had their Sovereignty. They had a loose confederation. What did the North hope to gain by consolidation with the South. The cultural distinctions were already present. The sectional strife of rival economies was present. They were all 'good' with slavery then but later it was not good for some. They wanted it erradicated. They were hostile to the South over it. Who was it that changed the association? Who was it that caused the disunion?

The slaveholding South changed it and caused disunion.
 

BigTex

Corporal
Joined
May 19, 2019
Which is why we can dispense with trying to find some quasi legal justification for secession. The secessionists acted like revolutionaries, as violently and illegally as the American revolutionaries of the 18th century. There was no pretense they were performing a constitutional or legal process. They were motivated, not by some abstract notion of federalism, but by the justice of their cause. The trouble is, outside the bubble of the slave holding regions of the South, their cause was judged, in the 19th century and later, as a bad cause.

The trouble is, the Confederate cause was not just.
Agreed, chattel slavery violates the precept of the Creator. As for man's law, it was legal.
But legal does not mean just. I get that. Since the Compact was drawn up with chattel slavery as not prohibited and even endorsed thru Article IV, Section 2, it follows then that the Compact itself was unjust and violated the precept of the Creator.
As for the "bubble of the slave-holding regions of the South" the same could be said of all the Northern slave holding region originally. That is, all were guilty of slavery by deed or association and all profited from it, to the third and fourth generation. I shake my head.
Thank you for your response. I think I'm done with this.
 

BigTex

Corporal
Joined
May 19, 2019
It was fear, exaggerated fear, stroked by the slaveholding elite to ensure their control over the South and to maintain their leadership.

Again, what perceived "failure of justice" did the Southern States endure? They had government representation. There was no Northern interference with their choice of state government representation. They could participate in national elections. They had access to both local and federal courts. They could travel without passports or passes anywhere in the nation. They could buy what they could afford. The tariff rates were the same in Charleston as they were in Boston or New York.

So what was THE problem?

Slavery and slavery alone.

Unionblue
PS @BigTex , you're asking a lot of good questions. I hope you can find good answers.
Thank you for your continued responses as I have attempted to find those answers. I think I can now live with what it was and deal with what we are left with because of it.
 
Joined
Oct 3, 2005
Agreed, chattel slavery violates the precept of the Creator. As for man's law, it was legal.
But legal does not mean just. I get that. Since the Compact was drawn up with chattel slavery as not prohibited and even endorsed thru Article IV, Section 2, it follows then that the Compact itself was unjust and violated the precept of the Creator.
As for the "bubble of the slave-holding regions of the South" the same could be said of all the Northern slave holding region originally. That is, all were guilty of slavery by deed or association and all profited from it, to the third and fourth generation. I shake my head.
Thank you for your response. I think I'm done with this.
In the 19th century, slave holders would have assured us that in fact, slavery was totally cool with God, and was the American way, and they had developed an elaborate defense of holding slaves in the land of the free based basically on racial prejudice.
 
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