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> The American Civil War, The War between the States...
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TheCarolinaScotsman 
Posted: 23-Aug-2008, 06:59 PM
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Following is a quote from Davis's introduction to Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government.

A duty to my countrymen; to the memory of those who died in defense of a cause consecrated by inheritance, as well as sustained by conviction; and to those who, perhaps less fortunate, staked all, and lost all, save life and honor, in its behalf, has impelled me to atempt the vindacation of their cause and conduct. For this purpose I have decided to present an historical sketch of the events which preceded and attended the struggle of the Southern States to maintain their existence and their rights as soverign communities--the creators, not the creatures, of the General Government.

The social problem of maintaining the just relation between constitution, government, and people, must have homogeneity in its constituents. It is this necessity which has divide the human race into seperate nations, and finally has defeated the grandest efforts which conquerors have made to give unlimited extent to their domain. When our fathers dissolved their connection with Great Britain, by declaring themselves free and independent States, they constituted thirteen seperate communities, and were careful to assert and preserve, each for itself, its sovereignty and jurisdiction.

At a time when the minds of men are straying far from the lessons our fathers taught, it seems proper and well to recur to the original principles on which the system of government they devised was founded. The eternal truths which they announced, the rights which they declared "unalienable," are the foundationstones on which rests the vindication of the Confederate cause.


Jefferson Davis tends to be verbose, but the point is he considered the Primary cause of the war to be State's Rights. Certainly slavery was a cause under the umbrella of States Rights, but it was not The cause. Just as important in the regional power struggle was the fact of the trade laws which forced Southerners to sell to northern interests for a lower price then they could get in Britain and had to buy from northern interests at a higher price for inferior goods than could be obtained from Britain. Whether it was accurate or not, the South believed that the North was trying to make the South virtually a colony of the North. The typical Southerner was fighting for home, hearth and freedom and the typical Southerner did not own slaves, only the wealthy could afford to maintain slaves.


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Sekhmet 
Posted: 24-Aug-2008, 12:28 AM
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QUOTE (MacEoghainn @ 23-Aug-2008, 03:20 PM)
Great American History

To try and imply that the institution of Slavery was not a major reason for the American Civil War is like trying to ignore the proverbial Elephant in the living room. Just because you pretend it isn't there doesn't make it go away.

"State's Rights", " Agrarian vs Industrial", ect....... while playing a part in what led up to war, were not the prime cause. South Carolina's final excuse for secession was Lincoln's election as President because they considered him to be in the Abolitionists camp because he was a Republican (South Carolina had threatened to secede during Andrew Jackson's presidency. His response: "Go ahead and make my day" or words to that effect).

I don't think anyone's implying that slavery wasn't an issue. In fact it, along with other topics were a problem clear back to the beginnings of the country. The founding fathers wound up tabling those hot button topics for fear of losing a very tenuous hold on a united country, and continued to do so. Instead of dealing with them, they were allowed to fester, which ultimately led to the war. Meanwhile nothing was clarified, let alone resolved, and those very different opinions in how the government should be run (central government overall vs. states' rights) grew in the years to follow.

Slavery however, is not the penultimate issue that caused the war. It's just not that simple. And stating that doesn't imply racism coming or going. Frankly, it is because of its high emotional value that it is brought to the forefront over and over again, because that is what sticks in the memory more than economy, trade and fundamental differences in culture. Hot button topics sells, and it did back then just as well.

Aside from the abolitionist movement that was indeed very active in the North and did have a fairly large following, slavery began to be touted in the North through mainstream channels as a humanistic and moral cause later on in the war, when the public opinion began to slide into war-weariness and more and more voices began speaking in favor of ending the war and letting the Confederacy go on its own after all.


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Camac
Posted: 24-Aug-2008, 09:05 AM
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Sehkmet;

From what I have studied Lincoln was oppossed to Slavery but was willing to let it be contained and wither on the vine. I think it is safe to say that the premier cause of the rebelion was the issue of states rights even after the seccession the Confederate states constantly argued and fought the central government in Richmond which in turn help lead to their downfall. and of course a difference in societies. The South saw itself as the more aristocratic, cavalier society remmant of 16th & 17th century England and saw the North as a heavy handed Industrialized uncouth bully. I wonder what path your country would have taken if Lincoln had not been elected.


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MacEoghainn 
Posted: 24-Aug-2008, 09:31 AM
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QUOTE
From the "Great American History.net website I referenced in my earlier post:  "It is a fact that when the armies for the North and South were first formed, only a small minority of the soldiers on either side would have declared that the reason they joined the army was to fight either "for" or "against" slavery."

I'm sure my Great-Great-Grandfather Albert Ewing and his three brothers, Levi, Edmund, and Robert, did not volunteer to "free the slaves" when they enlisted in the 3rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry and 97th Ohio Volunteer Infantry in 1861 (Levi and Robert in the 3rd and Albert and Edmund in the 97th) anymore than their Ewing and Alexander cousins in the south (Albert's mother, Esther Alexander Ewing, was born in Virginia) enlisted into Confederate Units to defend Slavery. Al and his brothers would have said "Union Forever" and their southern cousins would have said "States Rights". That said, it does not alter the facts about the actual cause and effects of the war.

Slavery has been a major issue in this country even before we were a country. The Continental Congress almost failed to approve one of the greatest documents ever written, The Declaration of Independence, until passages denouncing Slavery were removed (need I remind everyone that Thomas Jefferson was a slave holder himself when he wrote that document and yet he even felt the practice of Slavery was wrong).

The differences in Societies, customs, and commerce between north and south were mostly the result of the institution of Slavery. The kind of large scale agriculture practiced in the south at the time was a business that required low-skill labor, and people who you could keep uneducated and unpaid was a pretty lucrative method of keeping your overhead down.

In the Congress, The Missouri Compromise of 1820, The Compromise of 1850, and other less well known legislation were not based on which territories or states would believe in "States Rights" and which ones would not, but instead on where Slavery would be allowed and where it wouldn't be allowed.

The letter "S" for Slavery is the scarlet letter burned into the American Psyche. When it was in practice its stench figuratively hung on every American. It is ultimately responsible for over 900,000 casualties in the Civil War and untold human suffering from the arrival of the first slave to these shores and up to, and including, today. It is still an underlying factor in our lives and politics, including the current Presidential contest.

"States Rights" was nothing but a political slogan the Southern elites and Politicians used to rally the masses around them so they could maintain their "peculiar institution"


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Camac
Posted: 24-Aug-2008, 10:43 AM
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MacEoghainn;

In no way should the issue of Slavery be ignored but you can not point to this abhorrance and say that caused the war. Lincoln fought the war to save the Union and it wasn't until 1862 that the "Emmancipation Proclamation" was declared and that really didn't do much at least not what it was thought it would do, cause the hoped for slave insurrection and force the South to fight an enemy within.


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Sekhmet 
Posted: 24-Aug-2008, 01:18 PM
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QUOTE (Camac @ 24-Aug-2008, 09:05 AM)
Sehkmet;

From what I have studied Lincoln was oppossed to Slavery but was willing to let it be contained and wither on the vine. I think it is safe to say that the premier cause of the rebelion was the issue of states rights even after the seccession the Confederate states constantly argued and fought the central government in Richmond which in turn help lead to their downfall. and of course a difference in societies. The South saw itself as the more aristocratic, cavalier society remmant of 16th & 17th century England and saw the North as a heavy handed Industrialized uncouth bully. I wonder what path your country would have taken if Lincoln had not been elected.


Camac.

And eventually, slavery would have done just that. The South had just about done so earlier in the century, and then Mr. Whitney came along with his cotton 'gin. Industrialization would eventually have made the need to have so many people to complete a given task obsolete.

But other things were moving faster than industrialization.

To say that there were two totally different cultures (actually more like 4 or 5) isn't an exaggeration at all. They were totally different groups even before they or their ancestors came to the Colonies. In New England was the Puritan culture, the South among the gentry was the Cavalier culture and the "cult" of chivalry, Pennsylvania still had a very heavily Quaker influence...it goes on and on. The economies were very different clear at the beginning as well. When you look at it, it was kind of amazing that the separate colonies came together at all, or managed to stay united as one country.

There's a lot of "what if" book, essays and so on about what would have happened if Lincoln had not been elected, and it's one that I never really got into myself (in fact, I'm really not that into the "what if" thing, but a lot of my friends are). What I do know is that it took a very forward thinking man to manage to pull off the minor miracle he did - particularly with the people he had to deal with in his cabinet, the public opinion, mainstream media...you get the idea.

Don't get me wrong, I don't think he was appointed by heaven, or he was perfect. But the task before him was more than many good men could have handled, and he managed it.
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Camac
Posted: 24-Aug-2008, 01:24 PM
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Sekhmet;

I think actually that Eli Whitney and his gin did more to increase slavery as the South turned heavily to cotton which is a labour intensive crop. As to Lincoln I can only say in my opinion he was the greatest President to date. An outsider opinion.


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Sekhmet 
Posted: 24-Aug-2008, 01:29 PM
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Actually that's what I meant, Camac...looking back at that post I could've written it better. Eli Whitney's cotton gin came along when slavery was hitting a nadir, making it be profitable for more slaves to do more work to produce more product to turn more profit. Later on, albeit decades later, industrialization would have replaced human hands in large portions of the agricultural and production processes.
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Camac
Posted: 24-Aug-2008, 01:58 PM
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Sekhmet;

The South was doomed from the beginning. In order to realize their goal they needed Foreign recognition, as in the Revolution, but as long as they maintained slavery it would not be forthcomming from either Britain or France. If they had abolished slavery then seceeded they stood a good chance of winning for Britain would definetly have supported them if just to annoy the Union and get one back for 1776. Britain needed cotton and imported large amounts from the South but it wasn't the only source, there was also Egypt.

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MacEoghainn 
Posted: 24-Aug-2008, 02:25 PM
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QUOTE (Camac @ 24-Aug-2008, 11:43 AM)
MacEoghainn;

In no way should the issue of Slavery be ignored but you can not point to this abhorrance and say that caused the war. Lincoln fought the war to save the Union and it wasn't until 1862 that the "Emmancipation Proclamation" was declared and that really didn't do much at least not what it was thought it would do, cause the hoped for slave insurrection and force the South to fight an enemy within.


Camac.


I have never argued against those two points. Lincoln never implied he would take action to end slavery during his campaign for President other than let it "whither on the Vine" and the primary purpose of the Emancipation Proclamation was to keep England and France out of the war on the side of the Confederacy (If you'll investigate your countries history you'll find the evidence of a build up of British troops in Canada starting about 1862 and there was a sizable French force in Mexico at the time supporting Archduke Maximilian of Austria (A.K.A.: Maximilian I, Emperor of Mexico. see Wikipedia article here .

The problem I see with the "States Rights" theory is that most of the alleged grievances about tariffs mentioned in this thread were from the late 1820s and early 1830s and were resolved by the Tariff Act of 1833. South Carolina had threatened to secede from The Union around 1831 over those tariffs. Their one major problem was the rest of the South wouldn't go with them and Andrew Jackson started moving Federal Forces in their direction to put down the "insurrection". See Articles here, here and here. What I find most funny about this argument is that most of New England (Yankee land if there ever was any) was up in arms over this issue for the same reasons and during the War of 1812 New England radicals, not the south, were for secession of the New England States and they claimed the south had too much power in the Federal government.

The shooting war started because, once again, good ole' South Carolina tried to secede from the Union (see Wikipedia on South Carolina in the American Civil War here. Their excuse was the election of Lincoln as President. There were still efforts being made to prevent a general insurrection when South Carolina troops fired on Union ships trying to supply the Federal Garrison at Fort Sumter.

In 1861 the primary grievance the South had against the North all centered around slavery (see Wikipedia article on the American Civil War here ). I have heard the canard of "States Rights" used since I first became interested in History in general and the Civil War in particular when I was a 10 or 11 year old kid and it doesn't "hold water" now any better than it did then.
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Camac
Posted: 24-Aug-2008, 02:36 PM
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MacEoghainn;

Just a brief reply to one point as I have to goo out. Yeas the Brits reinforce the garrison in Canada by some 12,0000 troops. In point of fact one of the forces that helped push Canada to unite into one Nation was the enormous size of the Union Army after the war. We feared Invasion in retaliation for Britains stance in the Civil War ie; aiding the South.


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TheCarolinaScotsman 
Posted: 24-Aug-2008, 03:37 PM
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QUOTE (MacEoghainn @ 24-Aug-2008, 03:25 PM)

In 1861 the primary grievance the South had against the North all centered around slavery (see Wikipedia article on the American Civil War here ). I have heard the canard of "States Rights" used since I first became interested in History in general and the Civil War in particular when I was a 10 or 11 year old kid and it doesn't "hold water" now any better than it did then.

The South has had others tell us the reasons we were fighting for over a hundred years now. If you truly want to know what the South was fighting for, read Jefferson Davis's The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government. Available at http://books.google.com/books?id=qdcBAAAAM...s_brr=1#PPR1,M1
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LadyOfAvalon 
Posted: 24-Aug-2008, 05:49 PM
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QUOTE (Sekhmet @ 16-Aug-2008, 01:43 PM)

LoA, I swear I'm not trying to hijack the thread, they just hit on Gettysburg, and I'm a Gettysburg dork. Been studying to be a Licensed Battlefield Guide for a few years now. biggrin.gif

Melissa

EDIT - for another typo and the wrong load listed...not having a good typing day. tongue.gif

Please Melissa not at all,

I am really impressed by what I read here and glad to have a good number of members participating in this very instructive and interesting thread.
Now feel free my dear to write all you know and debating opinions on the history of this great war.
Don't forget that I'm a student in all this and it is quite enriching for me for in my days at school unfortunetaly our history class in french's school were very different then the english one and did not discuss the same subjects at all.

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Patch 
Posted: 25-Aug-2008, 12:27 PM
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I just found that a local resident has just published his second book on the Civil War. The first involved Naval Strategies of the Union and Confederacy. The second (and the third which he is working on) are about Sherman. His name escapes me but I saved the news release. I just have to find it. This could be interesting. It is amazing that I was not aware of this in such a small community.

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Patch 
Posted: 03-Sep-2008, 12:52 PM
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Ok, his books are: (1) "Crisis of Command in the Army of the Potomac", (2) "Naval Strategies of the Civil War" and a book he is presently working on titled (3) "Custer and the Front Royal Executions of 1864." His name is Jay Simson and as far as I know that is his "pen name." I know nothing of his writing abilities. #1 is into its second printing and #2 is still in print so he must be ok.

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