Why do some people claim the Civil War was NOT fought over slavery ?

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Andersonh1

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Sounds like the old confederate heritage slight-of-hand trick to me, still trying to somehow separate slavery from the shooting war! No slavery issue, no secession, no firing on a Federal Installation, no WAR!

Kevin Dally

The desire to protect slavery was a reason for secession, and the seceded condition of the Confederate States led to the sovereignty dispute, since South Carolina did not want a foreign government's fort controlling access to Charleston Harbor. But nothing about slavery motivated Davis and Beauregard to open fire on Fort Sumter, and slavery did not motivate Lincoln to send a relief ship to Sumter. The issue over which the shooting began was who had the right and power to exercise control of Sumter.

There's no sleight of hand here, just accuracy rather than broad generalization. At best, it can be said that slavery helped create the conditions that made the war possible. It cannot be said that the Confederate States and the United States went to war over slavery. They did not.
 

Andersonh1

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Ok, so let me see.......because we are tired of the ones always taking the blame for everything....including slavery.....which was legal under the US flag and Constitution for 86 years. We are always, the escape goat for the rest of the country. I am not looking to start another war, but I am a bona fide Southerner, you asked a question, I hope I answered it without beating around the bush. One other thing you might consider, the fact they claim EVERY Southern soldier was fighting for slavery, when in fact that is an outright lie! So that makes people like me, go on the defensive because basically they are attacking our great great grandfathers. The states called upon these men for their service, they did what they where suppose to do. Now, even the states (like South Carolina), do not want anything to do with these men and young boys. The very ones that THEY called into service and action! Yes, I get upset with the mindset of this country and even the South! It appears that many people can not separate slavery from men who were just doing their duty, many conscripted by the states. Many never owning a slave, instead they were poor dirt farmers barely making a living themselves. I know, I have stories from my family on these issues. They try and judge these men by modern standards. Let me ask you a question: Can you help what time period you are born in, and the place you are born? No, and that is the only wrong that some of these men committed.

Truth. Well said.
 

thomas aagaard

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It appears that many people can not separate slavery from men who were just doing their duty, many conscripted by the states. Many never owning a slave, instead they were poor dirt farmers barely making a living themselves. I know, I have stories from my family on these issues.
I would argue the exact opposite. It is the pro csa people who usually try bring in why the individual fought.

Why the individual fought is irrelevant.
The government define the goals of the war and as such the reason for fighting.

Also about 30% did own slaves. (or their household did)
And finally family histories, unless backed up by hard evidence are just stories. Nothing more.
 

Patrick H

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Nineteen pages and counting.......

I guess the simple answer is that some people don't want to believe it was over slavery.

For me, it's more complicated. It depends on whom you ask first. Sure, it was over slavery, but it was also about putting down the rebellion. It was about putting down the rebellion first. Ending slavery came later.

Now... ask the question in a different way: Why did the southern states begin to secede? They did it over the issue of slavery.

But, why was the war fought? To put down the rebellion of the secessionist states.

For many here, the line is from slavery to secession to war is so direct as to be irrefutable.

I see it as more of a cascade of things that ramped up and led to the ultimate, terrible conflict. I see it as separate circumstances arrayed one after another along the same, tragic timeline.
 

shanniereb

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Mt. Croghan South Carolina
I would argue the exact opposite. It is the pro csa people who usually try bring in why the individual fought.

Why the individual fought is irrelevant.
The government define the goals of the war and as such the reason for fighting.

Also about 30% did own slaves. (or their household did)
And finally family histories, unless backed up by hard evidence are just stories. Nothing more.
I totally disagree. The government may define the reason for the war, but each individual soldiers has his own reasons for fighting. Many Union soldiers also owned slaves.
 

Tin cup

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Ok, so let me see.......because we are tired of the ones always taking the blame for everything....including slavery.....which was legal under the US flag and Constitution for 86 years. We are always, the escape goat for the rest of the country. I am not looking to start another war, but I am a bona fide Southerner, you asked a question, I hope I answered it without beating around the bush. One other thing you might consider, the fact they claim EVERY Southern soldier was fighting for slavery, when in fact that is an outright lie! So that makes people like me, go on the defensive because basically they are attacking our great great grandfathers. The states called upon these men for their service, they did what they where suppose to do. Now, even the states (like South Carolina), do not want anything to do with these men and young boys. The very ones that THEY called into service and action! Yes, I get upset with the mindset of this country and even the South! It appears that many people can not separate slavery from men who were just doing their duty, many conscripted by the states. Many never owning a slave, instead they were poor dirt farmers barely making a living themselves. I know, I have stories from my family on these issues. They try and judge these men by modern standards. Let me ask you a question: Can you help what time period you are born in, and the place you are born? No, and that is the only wrong that some of these men committed.
Get upset all you want, your and MY Confederate Army serving ancestors fought in a Army created by the Confederate Government solely for the purpose of protecting, and expanding slavery for ALL time! A hard truth I had to take time to accept, others have too. No "modern standard" judgement about it, it was the truth in 1861-65. Their duty was to do the fighting that Government obligated them to do, to save their slavery.

Kevin Dally
 
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shanniereb

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The desire to protect slavery was a reason for secession, and the seceded condition of the Confederate States led to the sovereignty dispute, since South Carolina did not want a foreign government's fort controlling access to Charleston Harbor. But nothing about slavery motivated Davis and Beauregard to open fire on Fort Sumter, and slavery did not motivate Lincoln to send a relief ship to Sumter. The issue over which the shooting began was who had the right and power to exercise control of Sumter.

There's no sleight of hand here, just accuracy rather than broad generalization. At best, it can be said that slavery helped create the conditions that made the war possible. It cannot be said that the Confederate States and the United States went to war over slavery. They did not.
That's a fair observation about the start of the war.
 

Old_Glory

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NOTHING else, no other issue, could bring on the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of Americans.

You're both stuck with a paper trail that will not go away nor diminish in cause no matter how hard one trys to ignore it.

Unionblue

Tens of millions of people died in World War 2, there was no struggle over slavery. But there was something else present, a struggle for increasing political power and wealth. It is the same story in almost every war. The Civil War is no different.
 

shanniereb

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I
Get upset all you want, your and MY Confederate Army serving ancestors fought in a Army created by the Confederate Government solely for the purpose of protecting, and expanding slavery for ALL time! A hard truth I had to take time to accept, others have too. No "modern standard" judgement about it, it was the truth in 1861-65. Their duty was to do the fighting that Government obligated them to to to save their slavery.

Kevin Dally
I don't think so, but I will quietly slip away into the night. I will leave you with this: why then, if the war was solely about slavery, did the power of the Federal government expand drastically after the war?
 

Tin cup

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Location
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Tens of millions of people died in World War 2, there was no struggle over slavery. But there was something else present, a struggle for increasing political power and wealth. It is the same story in almost every war. The Civil War is no different.
And it was the slave power brokers who pushed for secession and war in 1861, and they got it.

Kevin Dally
 

zburkett

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It seems to me that you are asking everyone to agree to a single simple answer to a complex question. Start by defining the "South". Is it the legislature of South Carolina or the Guerilla with a blood lust because his family had been murdered by Kansas raiders. You will have a hard time arguing that Moses Dallas was fighting for slavery.
 

DanF

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which was legal under the US flag and Constitution for 86 years.

Standard neo confederate rhetoric. If slavery were "legal" under the U. S. Constitution then no state could have banned it. Yet several states had done just that. Not only that but the Founding Fathers themselves banned it in the Northwest territory in 1787. Something that would not have been possible if slavery were "legal" under the U. S. Constitution.

The secessionists never made the argument that slavery was legal under the U. S. Constitution. In fact, they were adament that Slavery was strictly a State issue which the Federal govt. Had no authority over.

the fact they claim EVERY Southern soldier was fighting for slavery, when in fact that is an outright lie!

Who is "they"? By fighting the individual soldier is furthering the goals/cause of the entity he is fighting for. The individual soldiers motivation is largely irrelevant.

It appears that many people can not separate slavery from men who were just doing their duty, many conscripted by the states

Slavery was the cause for which the Confederacy went to war.

Many never owning a slave, instead they were poor dirt farmers barely making a living themselves.

So?
 
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The American Revolution began when an expedition of British soldiers attempted to seize arms and supplies stored in the town of Concord: the battles of Lexington and Concord. Are we to conclude the American Revolution was solely about seizing arms and supplies in Massachusetts, and limit our understanding of the cause and motivations of the British and the Revolutionaries to this incident? Is it honest to turn our eyes away from why the British military was in Boston in the first place, why the colonists were gathering arms, and why this relatively small incident led to war and the Declaration of Independence.

I don't think so.

The Civil War came from an attempt to create an independent country dedicated to the maintenance, and extension of the institution of slavery. Does it seem reductionist just to say "slavery?" Not if we understand antebellum slavery was an economic powerhouse, as well as wrapped and baked into white people's sense of themselves and their place in Creation.
 

rpkennedy

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I

I don't think so, but I will quietly slip away into the night. I will leave you with this: why then, if the war was solely about slavery, did the power of the Federal government expand drastically after the war?

It didn't. The federal government shrunk after the war.

R
 

unionblue

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Unionblue, you prove my point.

No, you've simply repeated yours.


The South did not start shooting over slavery. They seceded over slavery. They started shooting to prove who controlled Fort Sumter, a sovereignty dispute with the United States government.

You have a sequence of events, but fail to recognize that it all leads to the same conclusion. The fuse was slavery, without which there is no following sequence of events. "They seceded over slavery" without which there would be no "shooting to prove who controlled Fort Sumter, the sovereignty dispute with the US government." It all starts with slavery.

The North did not go to war to end slavery, they went to war to prevent the South from successfully leaving the United States.

Exactly, I agree.

Look at what you yourself have written.

I do and I believe what I have read what the secessionists themselves did, that slavery was what they were concerned with which resulted in the chain of events that began the war.


The war was not started and fought over slavery.

Wrong, just flat out wrong, an assumption that must disregard everything the secessionists themselves said. READ what they said.

The war was begun over an issue of who controlled a rock in the Charleston harbor.

Spark - slavery. Result - fight over Sumter and sovereignty over a section of the US.

Sovereignty was the issue that touched off the Civil War, and it was the issue over which it was fought.

See above- without slavery, no sequence of events.


What was Lincoln's one non-negotiable term for peace? Submit to the federal authority and lay down Southern arms. Not "give up your slaves, and we'll quit fighting".

And you keep starting too far down the chain of events and disregard the spark, the one issue that brought it all on.

As they said themselves, slavery was THE issue.

Unionblue
 

unionblue

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Tens of millions of people died in World War 2, there was no struggle over slavery.

Who here has claimed such about the cause of WWII?

But there was something else present, a struggle for increasing political power and wealth. It is the same story in almost every war. The Civil War is no different.

Sorry, but your wrong.

The primary cause of the Civil War was slavery, as stated by the men of the time.

Why won't you believe them and take them at their word?
 

thomas aagaard

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Location
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I totally disagree. The government may define the reason for the war, but each individual soldiers has his own reasons for fighting. Many Union soldiers also owned slaves.
1. never said they didn't have their own reasons. Just that it do not matter when debating why a war was fought. That is up to the governments to decide on.

Last point. Please back that up with evidence.
And then please tell me how you define "many"
5? 500? 50.000? 5 million?

About 1 of 3 households in the the CSA owned slaves. And the % of soldiers who came from slave owning households was a bit bigger.

How big was the % in the union states?
 
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