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Old 01-11-2010, 12:02 PM
 
900 posts, read 498,451 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rhett_Butler View Post
Unreal...... The reason the South seceded is irrelevent. ESPECIALLY considering the Union's ENTIRE stated reason for stopping it was to preserve the Union (ie. based on the belief that the SECESSION was unlawful.) ...

Let me put it in plain English for you Angus:

1) Slavery is not defensible and wass an abhorrent institution. NOBODY here has EVER argued otherwise.

2) The argument is that secession IS defensible. Maybe if you'd take time out from arguing with your strawman over there you could come join the actualy discussion... (though I know better).
And until you accept the argument that secession was all about slavery and that any legal arguments that could be advanced to justify it are rendered meaningless by that simple fact, there is no basis for discussion.

As I said, it does give the Y'all brigade and the 'Lincoln was Hitler' mouth-breathers and the other 19th Century thinkers something to get excited about.

I have to admit that part of the discussion is always is amusing. You have such incredible allies.

 
Old 01-11-2010, 12:06 PM
 
900 posts, read 498,451 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DC at the Ridge View Post
Why is it that you cannot separate the secession issue from the slavery issue? They are separate issues.

States' rights and the strength of the federal government were very prevalent issues in the 1800's. That's why we have so many references on states' rights, that's why we have the Federalist papers, that's why the Founding Fathers wrote so often about what their personal visions were. There wasn't just the balance of powers between the executive branches that was part of the political debate and discussions, but also the balance of power between the federal government and the states' governments.

I think that the Civil War was a fight over power, just as most wars are, much more so than a fight over morality, which is almost always given lip-service, but rarely is the underlying issue for any war.
Well, you are entitled to your opinion. The issue of states' rights was around forever, and in fact still raises it's ugly head at these Tea Party gatherings (and it's just as dumb now as it was then), but it wasn't until the particular states' right of buying and selling other human beings was threatened that any state actually decided to leave the union.

And that is a fact that is undeniable, even to those who get their history from web sites devoted to 'The War of Northern Aggression'.
 
Old 01-11-2010, 12:09 PM
 
900 posts, read 498,451 times
Reputation: 299
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rhett_Butler View Post
I grasp all of this and agree with you. In 1861 the legality of secession was in question. In 1865 it no longer was... But as you stated, it took the war to decide the issue. That is fair enough. The REASON for the secession is not relevent to the question of the legality of the act however. THAT is my point.

Also, as we've discussed, the end result of the war doesn't mean we can go back to 1860 and retro-actively apply the fact that secession is now seen as unlawful and determine that the South's actions were illegal... The law cannot be retroactively applied. When prohibition came into effect, they didn't start throwing people in jail for drinking the week before.....
By the way, I thought your analogy of the pre-civil war south and Saddam Hussein's Iraq was an excellent one. They both had a very similar viewpoint towards those they perceived as their inferiors.
 
Old 01-11-2010, 12:13 PM
 
6,543 posts, read 12,439,882 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Angus Podgorny View Post
And until you accept the argument that secession was all about slavery and that any legal arguments that could be advanced to justify it are rendered meaningless by that simple fact, there is no basis for discussion.

As I said, it does give the Y'all brigade and the 'Lincoln was Hitler' mouth-breathers and the other 19th Century thinkers something to get excited about.

I have to admit that part of the discussion is always is amusing. You have such incredible allies.
So you believe in American society that one should look at the reason, rather than the legality of one's actions?.....

Last I checked, if you murder a man, the law doesn't care if the man you killed got away with burning your house down and killing your family. You committed murder, PERIOD.

If you get pulled over for DWI, the law doesn't care if you were celebrating your sister's wedding and didn't know you'd drank too much.

Bottom line? The law doesn't work that way Angus. It didn't then, and it doesn't now. I mean is your argument honestly that, had the South seceded because it was upset about something else that it would have been okay? That the legality of secession depends on WHY a state wishes to secede?
 
Old 01-11-2010, 12:20 PM
 
6,543 posts, read 12,439,882 times
Reputation: 3143
Quote:
Originally Posted by Angus Podgorny View Post
By the way, I thought your analogy of the pre-civil war south and Saddam Hussein's Iraq was an excellent one. They both had a very similar viewpoint towards those they perceived as their inferiors.
You needed to read the rest of it then.... Do you believe the United States had the right to invade Iraq?

Do the ends justify the means?

If the legality of secession means nothing to you because the South had slaves, then it stands to reason that you also have no problem with the United States invading Iraq because Saddam was a butcher...

Having a good idea of what your political leaning is, I can say that I'm going to enjoy watching you try to spin your way out of this....
 
Old 01-11-2010, 12:57 PM
 
38,462 posts, read 22,459,727 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Angus Podgorny View Post
Well, you are entitled to your opinion. The issue of states' rights was around forever, and in fact still raises it's ugly head at these Tea Party gatherings (and it's just as dumb now as it was then), but it wasn't until the particular states' right of buying and selling other human beings was threatened that any state actually decided to leave the union.

And that is a fact that is undeniable, even to those who get their history from web sites devoted to 'The War of Northern Aggression'.
Actually, I don't think their "right", a term I use only because you have done so, to buy and sell other human beings was threatened. The first move to secede was in response to the election of Abraham Lincoln. As you know, Lincoln was not a national candidate, none of the candidates in 1860 was a national candidate. They did not run for office in all the states, or even in a majority of the states. The candidates were supported within specific regions of the country. In the past, this regionalism had required a certain amount of negotiation to get a President elected, and those negotiations meant that though a person was elected by a certain region, the other regions acquiesced to the election. In 1860, this was not the case. Lincoln's regional candidacy had enough electoral votes to clinch the election, without resort to negotiation. And the Northern Industrial and New England region had been at odds with the Southern region for some time, not only about slavery, but also over other issues.

Electoral college votes are directly correlated to Congressional representation. If the Northern Industrial/New England region could elect the President without support from other regions, then what else could they achieve politically? Slavery was a driving issue, but to ignore the underlying issue, that the North could impose its will on the South via the federal government, ignores all the concerns that the anti-Federalists had expressed during the first half of the nineteenth century. Presidents had been elected on anti-Federalist platforms. To try to say that the debate continues is like saying the debate over whether the sun rotates around the earth continues. Any historian will tell you that the growth and consolidation of federal power is probably the most far-reaching result of the Civil War. The institution of slavery as the South practiced it wasn't economically sustainable, and would have died out. I don't defend slavery in any way, I don't defend slaveowners, no matter how compassionate. The fact of owning and controlling another human being is inhumane, and indefensible. Bringing about the end of slavery as early as possible was a positive benefit of the Civil War, but there is ample reason to believe that the practice was would have ended at some point anyway.

There isn't ample reason to believe that the development of our Federal government would have been so robust in the absence of the Civil War, or that states' rights would have withered so. In many ways, a union of separate, independent states, before the war, was forged into a single entity, one indivisible nation, after the war. And certainly for the next hundred years following the war, there was no question of which region of the country had the least political power. And that uneven distribution of power had a ripple effect, less political power meant less economic power, meant less infrastructure investment, in roads, highways, government buildings and even schools, and as you fall behind in these areas, the economy falls ever further and further behind.

1861-1865 was a power struggle that had far-reaching effects. The South had already lost the power struggle, though, before the first shots of the Civil War were fired. They lost the power, because in any democratic political system, representative republic or not, the power rests with the people, and therefore rests with the area with the most people. Urban areas invariably trump rural ones. The South's rural agrarian system, a system perpetuated economically, socially and culturally, pitted against the urbanizing, industrializing system, was doomed to failure. Lincoln's election provided clarity to that simple fact of democracy. And the South's political leaders weren't blind to the facts, or to the ramifications of it. They wanted to maintain their own power, and the only way to do that was to separate from the North. Which is why I, personally, characterize the war as a power struggle, and slavery is the morality issue we used to justify the war. Because historically, we know that wars are fought for power, but the combatants always dress it up with moral issues.
 
Old 01-11-2010, 03:27 PM
 
1,308 posts, read 2,429,352 times
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I have asked people repeatedly over the years what southern "right" other than slavery was threatened by the North in 1861. None of those who assert states rights, or alternate causes for the war, have ever come up with a right other than slavery that was threated. Given the limited capacity of the federal government, there was virtually no way they could threaten rights in the south before the south left the union, when there presence in the south was small to non-existent. Moreover, even the most reductionist interpretations of the US constitution don't deny that the federal government had the right to raise and spend money.

If one listens to what was said by those who left the Union, including the formal written statements of southern conventions, it is clear that slavery was the central nearly the entire issue. All of the other points were mild to non-existent in comparison and would never have led to war. Rather ironically there is no evidence Lincoln intended to end slavery in the South so even that right was not truly at risk - only the right to bring slaves into territories outside the states (which obviously was not a state right as the control of the territories had always belonged to the federal government). Had the south not suceeded, slavery would have gone on far longer than it did.

Its truly silly to argue that the churches, which often did not come out against slavery, did so because they were paid by northern industrialist. In fact, abolitionism was not dominant in most churches and harmed the financial interests of industrialists who lost heavily when southern cotton trade was disrupted (in many cases they also had direct investments in the south).
 
Old 01-11-2010, 03:36 PM
 
900 posts, read 498,451 times
Reputation: 299
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rhett_Butler View Post
So you believe in American society that one should look at the reason, rather than the legality of one's actions?.....

Last I checked, if you murder a man, the law doesn't care if the man you killed got away with burning your house down and killing your family. You committed murder, PERIOD.

If you get pulled over for DWI, the law doesn't care if you were celebrating your sister's wedding and didn't know you'd drank too much.

Bottom line? The law doesn't work that way Angus. It didn't then, and it doesn't now. I mean is your argument honestly that, had the South seceded because it was upset about something else that it would have been okay? That the legality of secession depends on WHY a state wishes to secede?
No, just the morality of it. Frankly, had there been no slavery the south could have seceded, and had I been around at the time, I would have celebrated the fact. They can secede now as far as I'm concerned. I'd be much happier in a nation rid of the right wing, bible-thumping, anti-government sentiment so prevalent in the south, and I'm sure they'd be a lot happier.

I believe the Union was worth preserving, but I probably wouldn't have fought a Civil War over it - always supposing the South refrained from attacking American soldiers. Slavery made that a non-issue, and transformed the war from something only constitutional scholars would care about to something meaningful.
 
Old 01-11-2010, 03:37 PM
 
900 posts, read 498,451 times
Reputation: 299
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rhett_Butler View Post
You needed to read the rest of it then.... Do you believe the United States had the right to invade Iraq?

Do the ends justify the means?

If the legality of secession means nothing to you because the South had slaves, then it stands to reason that you also have no problem with the United States invading Iraq because Saddam was a butcher...

Having a good idea of what your political leaning is, I can say that I'm going to enjoy watching you try to spin your way out of this....

You have no idea what my political leanings are. Your analogy is valid only as to the comparison between Saddam's Iraq and Jeff Davis' Confederacy. It ends there.
 
Old 01-11-2010, 03:42 PM
 
1,308 posts, read 2,429,352 times
Reputation: 617
Here is a simple question (well two):

1)What southern right was threatened other than slavery in 1861 (please don't say tarrifs, the US government is given specific authority in the US constitution - which all the southern states had ratified - to raise and spend money)?

2) If slavery had been abolished in 1840 would there have been a civil war in 1861?

Regardless, southern efforts to protect slavery was doomed. It was economically inefficient as well as morally indefensible to a Western state - the south was one of only two western states (the other being Brazil) that retained it in 1861. So to was retaining the "right" to move slaves into the new territories that many southerners saw as critical. One historian analyzing efforts to do so in New Mexico in the 1850's (when it was protected by law and the only place it might have conceivably moved to) noted that only a handful of slaves came into that territory. It was against not only the culture, but the economic and physical realities of the region.

The south used what can be, at best, said to be dumb logic in leaving the Union.
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