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Old 01-11-2010, 03:44 PM
 
38,845 posts, read 22,970,082 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noetsi View Post
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).
I'll give it a shot. The Southern region of the country, by virtue of having a rural and therefore sparser population, was in danger of losing its voice in the federal government, where the number of representatives from urban and industrializing states outnumbered them. The fact that Southern input might no longer have any influence might have been illustrated by the election of a President who was not even on the ballot in any of the Southern states. Somehow, when your votes don't count at all, it makes you feel a bit disenfranchised. Then, when you take into account the demographics of the period, that urban populations grow faster than rural populations, that immigration to the country was 90% to the urban, industrialized north, you might think that the situation will grow worse. That, in fact, there might very shortly come a time when the federal government will simply dictate to you the will of the majority, that majority being urban, industrialized Northerners who don't have the interests of the South in mind when they pass legislation.

 
Old 01-11-2010, 03:44 PM
 
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Its a fasinating question, and a testimony to our ability to rationalize vast wrongs if Americans do them, whether slavery was worse than the policies of Saddam. By any definition slavery was a horrific institution - even if you ignore things like lynchings, castration, and selling families to different states. Most Iraqis in 2002 had more rights than slaves did in the south in 1861 and were less subject to physical harm as well
 
Old 01-11-2010, 03:46 PM
 
1,308 posts, read 2,454,846 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DC at the Ridge View Post
I'll give it a shot. The Southern region of the country, by virtue of having a rural and therefore sparser population, was in danger of losing its voice in the federal government, where the number of representatives from urban and industrializing states outnumbered them. The fact that Southern input might no longer have any influence might have been illustrated by the election of a President who was not even on the ballot in any of the Southern states. Somehow, when your votes don't count at all, it makes you feel a bit disenfranchised. Then, when you take into account the demographics of the period, that urban populations grow faster than rural populations, that immigration to the country was 90% to the urban, industrialized north, you might think that the situation will grow worse. That, in fact, there might very shortly come a time when the federal government will simply dictate to you the will of the majority, that majority being urban, industrialized Northerners who don't have the interests of the South in mind when they pass legislation.
While I agree with the analysis, I dont see any constitutional or other right involved there. Its essentially arguing that the political and financial well being of the south would have been harmed, which even if true (and I doubt it is true) is not a right in the US constitution or any where else I am aware of. You don't have a right to win elections.
 
Old 01-11-2010, 03:53 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noetsi View Post
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.
No, they used dumb rhetoric. The logic is this, in a democracy power rests in the hands of the voters. More voters, more power. Urban versus rural, urban wins hands down every time. As evidenced by the election of Lincoln, who was the urban North's candidate, and who required no votes from any other region of the country in order to assume office. Regardless of the fact that the other regions of the country, by landmass, dwarfed the region where he was elected from. At some point, a region that is by design, economically, socially and culturally rural and agrarian has to logically conclude that, when it is tied to another region that is urban and in the process of industrializing, that it's not going to be able to muster the voters in that union to effectively address its own regional issues. Especially as the urban region's population is growing exponentially. Even in a representative system, the other region's number of representatives will simply outnumber the rural region's representation, and when the majority rules, the minority loses.
 
Old 01-11-2010, 03:58 PM
 
38,845 posts, read 22,970,082 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noetsi View Post
While I agree with the analysis, I dont see any constitutional or other right involved there. Its essentially arguing that the political and financial well being of the south would have been harmed, which even if true (and I doubt it is true) is not a right in the US constitution or any where else I am aware of. You don't have a right to win elections.
The whole point of the formation of the new country was to have a voice in the political structure, and most notably, to not be ruled by far-off interests who have little familiarity with local issues.

But if you don't have the votes in a democracy, you are subject to the rule of the majority. When the majority is consistently Northern urban voters, and the minority is consistently Southern rural voters, then you have a situation where the majority will dictate to the minority. The 10th Amendment that is designed to protect states' rights, is inadequate to dealing with this situation. The Southern states were at a political disadvantage that had no hope of improving. Lincoln's election illustrates that disadvantage in a very pointed way.
 
Old 01-11-2010, 05:21 PM
 
Location: San Antonio
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DC at the Ridge View Post
When the majority is consistently Northern urban voters, and the minority is consistently Southern rural voters, then you have a situation where the majority will dictate to the minority.

But at the time the majority wasn't northern urban voters. And the South could've forged ties to the agrarian Old Northwest had southern businessmen and emigrants been as enterprising as northeastern ones.
 
Old 01-11-2010, 05:36 PM
 
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If you consider winning elections a constitutional right, then I guess you do. I am familiar with no such right anywhere implied therein (or anywhere else for that matter). Arguing that you will lose politically is not the same as arguing your rights are threatened, unless winning on political issues is a right. Which few have argued historically it is.

The abolitionist were a minority within the north, the republicans were not commited (as Lincoln's famous quote on slaves and the union reminds us) to ending slavery in the south. They were interested in stoping its spread to the territories - where it almost certainly could have not spread anyway. Northern economic interest benefited extensively from cotton and had no interest in destroying a system they had signifcant economic interest in. Nor were tarrifs a significant economic threat to the south (ironically by the 1880's the south would become a firm proponent of tarrifs).

At heart the rebellion was emotional not rational or rights based decision. The south was essentially irational about slavery which had become central to its culture and perceived safety, even as it was losing value as an economic institution. It was the same irrationality that a century later would lead the Klan to kill civil rights workers to prevent black equality, when that made no economic or political sense. Fear, anger, and arrogance not careful considerations of rights or economics caused the civil war - abbeted by a generation of fire eating extremists who spent no thought of all of where there rhetoric was leading the country.

I think of that when I listen to some of the speakers on FOX and MSNBC - who behave much as their fire eaters did.
 
Old 01-11-2010, 05:39 PM
 
1,308 posts, read 2,454,846 times
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Your welcome to cite cases where northern freed blacks were lynched, castrated, or sold away from their families as happened in the south. Its not a straw man if its true. The treatment of blacks in the south was obscene. Rationalizing or defending it, does no one any good - the evil is richly documented and much worse than freed blacks in the south.
 
Old 01-11-2010, 06:08 PM
 
Location: Mississippi
3,049 posts, read 2,367,235 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noetsi View Post
As in most wars there were many but slavery was the dominant one.



Tarrifs were a secondary cause (which is ironic, because the south became a firm supporter of high tarrifs by the late 19th century).

Confederate States of America - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
There was no Civil War. Citing Wikipedia is not a factual source. Slavery was legal and protected in the Constitution, how can the war of northern aggression be justified over slavery.
 
Old 01-11-2010, 06:15 PM
 
Location: Dixie,of course
177 posts, read 229,641 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noetsi View Post
Your welcome to cite cases where northern freed blacks were lynched, castrated, or sold away from their families as happened in the south. Its not a straw man if its true. The treatment of blacks in the south was obscene. Rationalizing or defending it, does no one any good - the evil is richly documented and much worse than freed blacks in the south.

Fine...

Letter of Private Frank Bailey, 34th New York Infantry Regiment to his brother in Middleville, New York: - "West Point, Virginia, 12 May 1862 - I hear that the Rebels sent out a Regt. of ni**ers to fight our men and that they were as naked as when they were born, except the brogues on their feet, and they incited to all sorts of cruelty. It is said that they cut the throats of our wounded and then rob them of every article of any value. The soldiers are death on ni**ers now. If they catch a ni**er in the woods, and there is no officer near, they hang them without any ceremony. Now if this is true that the Southern chivalry as they style themselves put these ni**ers up to such deeds as this, may the curse of good light on them. It is worse than the English were in the Revolution to hire the Indians, but their race is about run when they stoop to such barbarism as that. Yesterday there was two ni**ers hung close by here by our men. One of them had $20.00 government note in his pocket. There is no mistake but the Rebels have black soldiers for I have seen them brought in as prisoners of war. I saw one who had the stripes of an orderly sergeant on his coat. I don't beliee in taking them prisoner, but kill them where ever they find them, that they may never more curse the land with their hateful presence."
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