July 18, 2013 at 8:49 am #15199
All true, Wundershoen, except the bit about the British. Queen Victoria made clear to the US ambassador that there was no way her government would aid the CSA so long as she was queen; her reason was slavery.July 19, 2013 at 5:23 pm #15200binyewisMember
Does it seem to anyone that getting caught up with the slavery question doesn’t get to the heart of the real question? As far as I can tell there’s no requirement to laud the south even if you believe they had the right to secede and the north was wrong to invade them. It also doesn’t seem like it diminishes the evil of slavery by suggesting that it could have been ended more peacefully and with less loss of liberty by everyone.July 19, 2013 at 6:14 pm #15201
I’m pretty sure that’s precisely what I’ve been saying.July 19, 2013 at 9:15 pm #15202binyewisMember
Excellent. I’m going to put “thinks like Kevin Gutzman” on my resume!July 23, 2014 at 9:43 pm #15203
Hmm. I’m not sure that’s a good idea.October 12, 2014 at 10:37 pm #15204sheyboerParticipant
So based on all the responses, it seems the answer to the question, “no slavery, no civil war?” is yes. If slavery did not exist then the Deep South would not have seceded and the North would not have claimed a need to preserve the Union. The purpose of the question was to gauge the importance of other issues for secession, such as the protective tariff, but since no other reason for secession by the Deep South was brought up I can assume any other reason was secondary.October 15, 2014 at 12:53 pm #15205Brion McClanahanMember
I did not respond to this question because I think it is far too complex for a single paragraph or discussion thread, but the issues between the North and South were longstanding. Certainly, the Deep South considered the threat to slavery as a sufficient justification for secession, but they mentioned other issues as the conflict intensified and these other issues had been mentioned before as potential threats to the Union, i.e. economics, cultural differences, etc. The North, not the South, advocated secession as early as 1794 when it seemed they were going to lose control of the government. The issue of slavery in 1794 was no where near as important as it was in 1860, yet the North threatened to leave not only in 1794, but in 1803 and 1815. And even before the Constitution was written and ratified, as well as during the Phil. Convention of 1787, everyone knew the North and South were different, not just because of slavery, but because of climate, geography, culture, and economics. There was a threat to the Union at that point and armed conflict was mentioned as a possible outcome of the dissolution of the Union.
The underlying issue is did the South develop the way it did because of slavery or was slavery developed because of Southern culture. I think it is the latter. Slavery was the millstone of Southern society, a means to maintain an economy and a social order, and by the way a social order Northerners also readily accepted once black Americans were introduced to many Northern States. Southerners often exposed Northern hypocrisy on the issue of race.
Overall, the question of why slavery should be asked, not if slavery. Was it moral, economic, political, or philosophical? The political implications far outweigh the other issues, meaning the North and South were locking horns over who would control the central government and its spoils, i.e. Western land and the treasury, and what type of political system would reign supreme, a federal republic or a national government. Southerners argued that the Confederate Constitution was a return to the true intent of the U.S. Constitution as ratified.
As for other issues, read this report from the Confederate Committee on Foreign Affairs written by Robert B. Rhett: http://www.abbevilleinstitute.org/review/report-of-the-committee-on-foreign-affairs/October 21, 2014 at 10:28 pm #15206sheyboerParticipant
Thanks for your incites and observations as well as the link.November 26, 2014 at 6:41 pm #15207
We might note as well that many southerners in the antebellum period had an exaggerated view of the popularity in the North of various radical notions with which leading abolitionists were associated–among them women’s suffrage, health food, free love, a critical approach to/rejection of the Bible, rejection of the Constitution, etc. In this context, the attack on slavery as immoral, retrograde, a retarding economic influence, and so on looked like just another ingredient in a very unsavory stew of Yankee craziness.
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