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Old 06-25-2010, 08:05 AM
 
6,550 posts, read 12,609,941 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DiogenesofJackson View Post
But that's what historians do--take individual evidence and draw overarching conclusions from it--of course there were individual and person reasons yet on both sides of the conflict many of these individual and personal reasons do indeed overlap. Further, the problem with nonslaveholding southern soldiers serving gallantly and gleefully in the CSA serves as a linchpin to the Lost Causers' arguments that the war had little to do with slavery. After all, if the war was indeed about slavery, then why would nonslaveholders form the backbone of the army created to protect slavery? so Lost Causers use this factoid to make an interpretive leap that divorces slavery from the Civil War, and this has been going on since the 1880s when popular accounts and reminiscences of the war first found their way into print.
Hate to give such a quick answer to all that you've laid out, but let me sum up my thoughts here.

Southern leaders and planters led the South toward secession which brought about war over the issue of slavery. I don't think anyone can really deny that.

As far as why the common non-slaveholding southerner picked up the rifle? I think you and most historians overanalyze this. They felt they were defending their home and their honor from people who would otherwise dictate to them how they would live. Regarding slavery, I don't think it has anything to do with aspirations to eventually own slaves necessarily, but more a trumped up sense of national pride in the sense of, "This is how we do things down here and how dare you try to tell us otherwise.".

Perhaps some that thought it through could have taken the extra leap of logic and asked themselves what happens to all the black people when 11 million slaves (or whatever the number) are suddenly released?

Another possibility, and what makes the study of history fascinating is that I think you need look no further than politics today and how the spread of misinformation works to rile up a bunch of less educated people and essentially get them to support your cause in which they have ZERO stake by attaching it to a cause in which they DO have a stake....

I currently reside in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia and it is CRAZY Conservative... Conservative economic policies have not done much to help these people out here and they never have. But play on their religious beliefs, claim yourself as the party that supports the military more and insert some homophobic rhetoric and you can get these folks to follow you anywhere.... Or hey, let's emphasize that the other party's candidate's middle name is HUSSEIN and spread rumors about how he isn't even a true American?

And this is with TODAY'S media where information is easily accessible!!! IMAGINE the misinformation that could have been spread around back in 1860 or 1861!!!

I'm sure it wasn't that uncommon for claims to be spread around that "If Lincoln is elected, blacks will be free to run around and rape your women.". I mean who knows?

Like I said earlier, politics is ugly and in a society where verifying information is darn near impossible? I can easily see how the common man could be convinced to join a cause...
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Old 06-25-2010, 08:30 AM
 
Location: Peterborough, England
472 posts, read 754,823 times
Reputation: 409
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rhett_Butler View Post
I can't see why the South would have had a problem with it. It wasnt' like they had it all planned out. Their country had just won a war and stood to acquire territory.

I think you're essentially arguing that they should have known that cutting off their collective noses to spite their face would have been a good idea for them in the end...

Sorry, I'm not sure what you mean.

The South had had plenty of warning. The HoR had passed the Wilmot Proviso as early as August 1846, some eighteen months before the peace treaty. Thus the South knew that any territory acquired from Mexico (all of it currently nonslaveholding) was more likely to turn into free states than slave ones. So why did they support its acquisition?
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Old 06-25-2010, 08:41 AM
 
Location: Parts Unknown, Northern California
36,959 posts, read 17,437,867 times
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I believe that Rhett has the straight of the matter with the above post. It might add to that to recall that in the South at that time, the single easiest common fear for politicians to exploit was that of a slave uprising, the second was that of upward social mobility for blacks.

The 1831 Nat Turner revolt which had killed 56 whites, was met with an extremely severe reaction. 56 blacks were tried and executed in retaliation, another two to three hundred assaulted and murdered without trials. Southern legislatures then enacted a series of laws designed to prevent any sort of a repeat. Education and literacy for slaves were strictly forbidden, in some states this was expanded to cover free blacks as well. The blacks lost all rights of assembly, even church services, without the supervising presence of at least two white men. Local militias organized to patrol full time and stop all blacks found traveling unaccompanied by a white person.

Since the Turner rebellion had taken place in Virginia, slaves who were suspected of being sympathetic, even though they had taken no part in the revolt, were sold to new owners in States further South, the idea being to put more geographic distance between them and any thoughts of help from, or escape to, the North.

For all of the South's bullbleep about the paternal care of these black "children" and the slaves appreciation of their good and generous treatment, there was the unspoken recognition that they were wronging these people and that they could not be trusted to not become revenge seekers should the opportunity arise. Being a good and fair "Massa" was no guarantee at all that you might not get your throat cut one night while sleeping, or get ground glass in your biscuits at the hands of that sweet Mammy Tessa in the kitchen.

It was widely believed that if all the slaves were to be liberated at once, the consequence would be an orgy of bloody revenge on whites. If you wanted to scare whites in the South and rally them to a common cause, you had but to dangle such suggestions. The ongoing fear did all the rest.

The other dynamic at work was that the South was more stratified in its social hierarchy than the North. Those at the top, the plantation classes, had constructed a society that was more reflective of aristocracy and peasants than was the more egalitarian and leveling North. The thinking was that you were born into your status and should be content to remain there. That you were white but had superiors in society was acceptable as long as you had the comfort that you still ranked immensely higher than the "nigras." As long as the laws were geared to keep the blacks a perpetual sub class, no white was ever truly on the bottom.

Consequently, even if you were a dirt farmer in Georgia who never owned a slave, that there was an institution of slavery was something of value to you. It would not be hard to persuade someone whose status was defined by the ongoing suppression of blacks, that they needed to fight the damn Yankees who were going to invade your homeland and overturn all the social rankings by liberating the slaves.
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Old 06-25-2010, 08:59 AM
 
Location: Parts Unknown, Northern California
36,959 posts, read 17,437,867 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikestone8 View Post
Sorry, I'm not sure what you mean.

The South had had plenty of warning. The HoR had passed the Wilmot Proviso as early as August 1846, some eighteen months before the peace treaty. Thus the South knew that any territory acquired from Mexico (all of it currently nonslaveholding) was more likely to turn into free states than slave ones. So why did they support its acquisition?
It passed in the House where representation was based on population, but was defeated in the Senate where representation was based on the States. Thus, the system the South had always relied upon, was still working effectively.

This goes back to the point I have been making all along....it was that system of being able to exercise a defacto veto of any and all anti slavery legislation which came under threat of extinction should the expansion of slavery be curbed.

That defacto veto had also been employed to resist the North favored programs of government spending for internal improvements, protective tariffs and western land giveaways. The consequence was that a minority of the population had been for decades, in a position to greatly control the fate of the majority.

That would change if the slave/free State balance in the Senate was altered. Then an outnumbered South would no longer be able to serve as an anchor to what the North regarded as needed progressive programs.

You are correct in that the Wilmot Proviso was indeed a warning, but you cannot blame the people of the late 1840's for not seeing it as clearly as we do now with the benefit of knowing what flowed from that event. The vote on the Proviso was the first time that traditional party loyalties were junked in favor of strictly regional voting. Northern Whigs joined with Northern Democrats in supporting it, Southern Whigs joined with Southern Democrats in voting against it. That was the beginning of the breakdown of the two party system. It could not cope with the issue of slavery.

At the time, when it was defeated, to all appearances, the South's traditional protections against such things were still in place. That all fell apart in the 1850's, but that was yet to come.
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Old 06-25-2010, 10:10 AM
 
Location: Under the lovely Southern sky
389 posts, read 607,357 times
Reputation: 387
Before I say anything, I'll say that I don't think slavery was right in any way no matter how ya look @ it. But I have to state my oppinion on how the war was caused:

The Yankees instagated the Confederates. They didn't agree with the reasons behind slavery, & they thought slavery to be cruel. Therefore, they took it upon themselves to tell the Southerners they were wrong. It wasn't mainly focused on slavery, either. If you didn't study facts in black & white, the two biggest reasons for the war were disagreement on slavery, & disagreement on economy.

I think if the Northerners wouldn't have stuck their noses in where they didn't belong, the Civil war would've never happened. That's not necessarily a good thing. The Civil war was ment to happen. As bloody & horrible as it was, it freed the slaves. Ain't that what the north wanted? But, however, if they didn't want a war @ all, they should've just kept their oppinions to themselves & thanked their lucky stars that they weren't involved with the thing that they resented so much.

If the South would've won, sure there would probably still be slaves. But keep in mind, eventually the African Americans would've stood up & said "No!" I don't know how, but I've gotta feeling that somehow the blacks would've won their rights on their own. Sure, it would've taken longer than it did with the war, but somehow it would've happened. Also, if the South would've won, the north wouldn't have had any changes to their life, except for the unnecessary damage done to their homes & cities by the war. There's no way the South would've forced their beliefs & oppinions on the Northerners like was done to them. What the hell does the north need with slaves? They don't farm much, @ least not enough to plantation. (That's exactly why the South had slaves in the first place. Plantation farming.) I guess it just got out of hand from there.

So personally, I feel like the north was mostly responsable for the war. Whether y'all see that as a good thing or a bad thing is on you.

Oh, & I'm sorry that I ain't very book smart. I know what I know 'bout it. So if any of this is wrong, which I'm sure is the case, I didn't mean it. haha

Jessie
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Old 06-25-2010, 12:27 PM
 
Location: Metairie, La.
1,156 posts, read 1,515,939 times
Reputation: 767
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rhett_Butler View Post
Hate to give such a quick answer to all that you've laid out, but let me sum up my thoughts here.

Southern leaders and planters led the South toward secession which brought about war over the issue of slavery. I don't think anyone can really deny that.

As far as why the common non-slaveholding southerner picked up the rifle? I think you and most historians overanalyze this. They felt they were defending their home and their honor from people who would otherwise dictate to them how they would live. Regarding slavery, I don't think it has anything to do with aspirations to eventually own slaves necessarily, but more a trumped up sense of national pride in the sense of, "This is how we do things down here and how dare you try to tell us otherwise.".

Perhaps some that thought it through could have taken the extra leap of logic and asked themselves what happens to all the black people when 11 million slaves (or whatever the number) are suddenly released?

Another possibility, and what makes the study of history fascinating is that I think you need look no further than politics today and how the spread of misinformation works to rile up a bunch of less educated people and essentially get them to support your cause in which they have ZERO stake by attaching it to a cause in which they DO have a stake....

I currently reside in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia and it is CRAZY Conservative... Conservative economic policies have not done much to help these people out here and they never have. But play on their religious beliefs, claim yourself as the party that supports the military more and insert some homophobic rhetoric and you can get these folks to follow you anywhere.... Or hey, let's emphasize that the other party's candidate's middle name is HUSSEIN and spread rumors about how he isn't even a true American?

And this is with TODAY'S media where information is easily accessible!!! IMAGINE the misinformation that could have been spread around back in 1860 or 1861!!!

I'm sure it wasn't that uncommon for claims to be spread around that "If Lincoln is elected, blacks will be free to run around and rape your women.". I mean who knows?

Like I said earlier, politics is ugly and in a society where verifying information is darn near impossible? I can easily see how the common man could be convinced to join a cause...
This is well stated for the most part, however, one part of your summation:
"Perhaps some that thought it through could have taken the extra leap of logic and asked themselves what happens to all the black people when 11 million slaves (or whatever the number) are suddenly released?"
assumes that the federal government had designs on ending slavery and this simply is not accurate. It's unclear what you intended this passage quoted above to convey.

As stated earlier, the view that ordinary southerners joined the cause to protect their homes is apt, yet this viewpoint is complicated when Confederate soldiers deserted en masse once it became known that their absence from their homes meant unexpected threats (i.e. Yankee "invaders," insolent slaves, imminent starvation resulting from declines in agricultural production, declining value of Confederate currency, vigilante home guards, overall anarchy in some areas, etc.).

To reiterate your point, the Planter class indeed riled up an uneducated population in defense of the secessionist movement. I furthermore believe you underscored my original contention that peer pressure played a fundamental role in getting nonslaveholders involved in the cause. It was easy for the Planters to convince ordinary southerners--because their very livelihood hung in the balance. Join and defend the cause, or do nothing and be ostracized. Planters controlled antebellum southern society and if Joe Suthron didn't do what they said, then there'd be hell to pay.
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Old 06-25-2010, 03:12 PM
 
783 posts, read 684,233 times
Reputation: 243
Quote:
Originally Posted by htlong View Post
maybe so, but man is always searching for ways to make jobs easier and cheaper and I truly feel that it was the timing not the loss of slave labor .
because the plantation owners simply TURNED The slaves INTO SHARE CROP FARMERS WHICH IS Just about the same cost as slavery
I partly agree with you if it had not benn for the attack on fort Sumter i belive the diffrences between the south an north could have been settled peacefully.
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