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Old 06-15-2011, 11:24 AM
 
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Interesting theory but I'm not sure about the Confederate reabsorption. Remember, the Civil War occurred in the 1860s which was part and parcel of a fundamental shift in global politics. The United States was very much on its way to becoming a massive colonial power. In a span of twenty to thirty years prior to the Civil War, the U.S. was successful in taking two-thirds of Mexican national territory and a pretty good chunk of British North America (Oregon Territory). When the Civil War broke out, France rushed in to set up a puppet monarchy in Mexico and Spain reoccupied Hispanola. Britain wisely declared neutrality but would have been wiser to ally itself with the U.S.

Some Southerners like to romanticize that the Confederacy was competitive in the Civil War. But as prominent southern author and historian Shelby Foote stated, "I think that the North fought that war with one hand behind its back." If the Confederacy ever had come close to winning on the battlefield, the North simply would have brought that other arm out from behind its back. I don't think the South ever had a chance to win that war."

We forget that at the same time the Union was screwing around with the Rebels (which is why Lincoln changed commanders so many times), the U.S. was out conquering "wild" Indians, facilitating the construction of the Transcontinental Railroad, and making preparation to crush any European power with a presence in North America. When the South was finally "defeated", Britain was so petrified that the battle tested Union would declare war and simply overrun Canada (and not pay a dime in compensation for it) it passed the British North America Act, basically giving Canada "independence" so their North American holdings wouldn't be a total loss. Russia, also doubting its prospects in matching the U.S. in war "sold" us Alaska in the second greatest real estate bargain in global history after the Louisiana Purchase.

But Spanish Florida, the Oregon Territory, the Mexican Cession, the Gadsden Purchase, Alaska? No country makes these "sales" without guns at the backs of their heads. Being that the United States had 50-year old designs on occupying Santo Domingo after the Spanish fled as well as taking Cuba & Puerto Rico (which it did), and "acquiring" some sovereign Central American territory through which to build a canal (it ended up being Panama), I say there is no way in Hades that the United States would have ever let the southern states walk. To this day, the federal government disproportionately subsidizes the former Confederate states and pretty much owns half of the land in Western states at its economic detriment. One thing the U.S. does under no circumstances is cede territory!

Quote:
Originally Posted by westsideboy View Post
Since we are playing counter-factual history, here is my 2 cents. If the North had just let the South go, and fought only to keep the Western Territories, the remaining USA would have gone on to become the world superpower it is today. The USA would have continued to attract new immigrants, would have continued to industrialize, and would have soon dwarfed the Confederacy in population and economy even more so than it did in 1860.

The South would have been left to its own devices and become a poor agarian state with a huge race problem. The North, with its small black population would have been in a much better position to grant equality to all citizens, the South would have soon imploded internally as the industrial revolution, and dropping world cottom prices would have left its slave based cotton economy worthless.

More than likely the USA would have reabsorbed the Confederacy politically, or at least economically.....if they even wanted to mess with the imploding hornets nest at all, and been in a great position to force the social change towards equality that it failed miserably at during Reconstruction after the Civil War since they would not being trying to mend the wounds of a horrific war, but bailing out a failed state desperate for a share of the weath the USA would have possessed.
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Old 06-15-2011, 11:42 AM
 
Location: Macao
15,713 posts, read 34,784,639 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by westsideboy View Post
Since we are playing counter-factual history, here is my 2 cents. If the North had just let the South go, and fought only to keep the Western Territories, the remaining USA would have gone on to become the world superpower it is today. The USA would have continued to attract new immigrants, would have continued to industrialize, and would have soon dwarfed the Confederacy in population and economy even more so than it did in 1860.

The South would have been left to its own devices and become a poor agarian state with a huge race problem. The North, with its small black population would have been in a much better position to grant equality to all citizens, the South would have soon imploded internally as the industrial revolution, and dropping world cottom prices would have left its slave based cotton economy worthless.

More than likely the USA would have reabsorbed the Confederacy politically, or at least economically.....if they even wanted to mess with the imploding hornets nest at all, and been in a great position to force the social change towards equality that it failed miserably at during Reconstruction after the Civil War since they would not being trying to mend the wounds of a horrific war, but bailing out a failed state desperate for a share of the weath the USA would have possessed.
I have often thought how interesting it would have been had the North not gone to war with the South. It would have been interesting if they had decided to just have two different countries.

Slavery as an institution was not sustainable whatsoever. No doubt it would have become a predominately African majority country.

I agree as well that the North would have been able to handle smaller numbers, and worked with equality. Instead most northern cities were just overwhelmed with southern blacks looking for jobs and work, and with massive amounts of poor Europeans also coming across looking for work...the mix just didn't work well, in the end for AA's.

Actually what would have been interesting is that much of the Midwest was giving away free land to Europeans who were landless and wanted land. So tons of Germans and Scandinvians were populating the entire northern midwest region. It would have been interesting if more of these territories at the time offered blacks free land in exchange for settling them. But, I think, at that time, that kind of thinking was still inconceivable.
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Old 06-15-2011, 11:49 AM
 
Location: Cumberland
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Very interesting. I proposed many threads ago that the US Civil War was a war of Nationalism, much like the War for Italian Unification, the war(s) for German Unification, and the never ending wars in the Balkans between Greeks, Turks, and Slavs all taking place around 1860 to establish or expand their own nascent "nation-states."

Maybe it is best to see the US Civil War as a war of nationalism from the Southern perspective and a war of imperalism from the Union prespective.
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Old 06-16-2011, 07:21 AM
 
Location: Berlin, MD
202 posts, read 470,259 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by westsideboy View Post
Since we are playing counter-factual history, here is my 2 cents. If the North had just let the South go, and fought only to keep the Western Territories, the remaining USA would have gone on to become the world superpower it is today. The USA would have continued to attract new immigrants, would have continued to industrialize, and would have soon dwarfed the Confederacy in population and economy even more so than it did in 1860.
I was thinking about that some more yesterday and was wondering, do you think the south would have just given up on border states though? I'm not sure that the confederacy would have just left the border states alone and let them stay part of the union, especially the residence in those states that were pro confederacy. I think the civil war would have happened either way.
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Old 06-16-2011, 09:33 AM
 
Location: Cumberland
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No way the Confederacy would have fought for MD or any other slave state that the Union had already occupied. It would have been a sure path to defeat. Steelers is right when he says the Confederacy had about a 0% chance of winning any sort of prolonged military conflict and knew it. Hence Gettysburg.

The South was fighting well in pitched battles on their own turf, but couldn't replace men or equipment at nearly the same rate as the Union. Lee was looking for a big military battle on Union soil he could win to convince the Union to "give up." Break their will. With the 1864 election coming up, and still in doubt, a huge Southern victory at Sharpsburg or Gettysburg "could" have lead the Northern States to elect a President that would sue for peace and end the war. That was their only chance, a puncher's chance, to use a boxing term.

When the blow missed and the Union proved it could defend its own soil, it was just 18 months of slow burn in the South as the Union decided to break the Confederate will be torching and destroying everything in their path. That strategy worked like a charm as reality soon set in that the cause was indeed "a lost one."
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Old 06-16-2011, 10:26 AM
 
Location: Berlin, MD
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Well yea I agree with that but from your other post I was under the impression you meant that if they had only fought over the western territories the civil war wouldn't have happened. I don't think the confederacy would have solely fought over the western territories. It's obvious they were going to lose, but they wouldn't have given up without trying first I don't reckon.
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Old 06-16-2011, 11:36 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dotty19 View Post
Well yea I agree with that but from your other post I was under the impression you meant that if they had only fought over the western territories the civil war wouldn't have happened. I don't think the confederacy would have solely fought over the western territories. It's obvious they were going to lose, but they wouldn't have given up without trying first I don't reckon.
The Civil War actually was the fight over the "western territories". The whole "South seceded over state's rights not slavery" is some myth concocted long after the war was fought to legitmize treason. Please read:

Five myths about why the South seceded


There was really no way Maryland was going to secede. Why would they? At no point was the United States attempting to infringe upon any Southern state's right to maintain slavery. As a matter of fact, the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 nullified the Missouri Compromise by allowing for popular sovereignty (if the citizens of a state wanted slavery they could vote to have it).

If anything, Southern states fought against state's rights, not for them. It wasn't until Missouri violated popular sovereignty and allowed its citizens to try and establish slavery in a territory that didn't want it that open conflict broke out between "North" and "South". Missouri actually sent its citizens into Kansas to try and vote illegally to make it a slave state. When Kansas was admitted as a free state in January of 1861 and Southern slaveholders realized the only remaining territory on which they could project their political and social will was out west in New Mexico, they began to organize their Senators and make preparation for secession, to which South Carolina took the initiative on attacking a fort. The South was not fighting because it was "occupied" by the North; any state or territory(free or slave) that raised a militia to attack a federal garrison would have been met with the same response (see the Utah War of 1857-58 taking place at the same time as "Bleeding Kansas" but having nothing to do with slavery).

Maryland had no impetus to secede and unlike the border state of Kentucky, no fake Confederate legislature even formed. That shows the lack of commonality Marylanders had with their Southern neighbors even despite the presence of slavery. The Civil War was precipitated by very weak Doughface presidential leadership and Southern states with a disproportionate share of political power based on the three-fifths compromise. If anything, their actions of secession hastened the demise of legal slavery and the ascendance of black enfranchisement.
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Old 06-16-2011, 12:54 PM
 
Location: Cumberland
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steelers10 View Post
The Civil War actually was the fight over the "western territories". The whole "South seceded over state's rights not slavery" is some myth concocted long after the war was fought to legitmize treason. Please read:

Five myths about why the South seceded


There was really no way Maryland was going to secede. Why would they? At no point was the United States attempting to infringe upon any Southern state's right to maintain slavery. As a matter of fact, the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 nullified the Missouri Compromise by allowing for popular sovereignty (if the citizens of a state wanted slavery they could vote to have it).

If anything, Southern states fought against state's rights, not for them. It wasn't until Missouri violated popular sovereignty and allowed its citizens to try and establish slavery in a territory that didn't want it that open conflict broke out between "North" and "South". Missouri actually sent its citizens into Kansas to try and vote illegally to make it a slave state. When Kansas was admitted as a free state in January of 1861 and Southern slaveholders realized the only remaining territory on which they could project their political and social will was out west in New Mexico, they began to organize their Senators and make preparation for secession, to which South Carolina took the initiative on attacking a fort. The South was not fighting because it was "occupied" by the North; any state or territory(free or slave) that raised a militia to attack a federal garrison would have been met with the same response (see the Utah War of 1857-58 taking place at the same time as "Bleeding Kansas" but having nothing to do with slavery).

Maryland had no impetus to secede and unlike the border state of Kentucky, no fake Confederate legislature even formed. That shows the lack of commonality Marylanders had with their Southern neighbors even despite the presence of slavery. The Civil War was precipitated by very weak Doughface presidential leadership and Southern states with a disproportionate share of political power based on the three-fifths compromise. If anything, their actions of secession hastened the demise of legal slavery and the ascendance of black enfranchisement.
Hmmm....not sure about the claims of that author. His argument and way of connecting dots are dubious at best. The article opens with the statement that "Confederate states did claim the right to secede." So in action, the Confederates did believe that states had the most important right of all, the sovereign right to decide their own association with larger governmental organization.

Also the author states:

(sic) Northern states had failed to “fulfill their constitutional obligations” by interfering with the return of fugitive slaves to bondage. Slavery, not states’ rights, birthed the Civil War.

South Carolina's claim was that the Northern States weren't following their Constituitional duties, this in way shape or form would has any connection to the rights of the state's under the 9th amendment to the Constitution. Yet, he tries to connect the dots.

In addition, the author himself brings up Calhoun's state's rights argument about nullification predating the Civil War by 30 years, making sure to mention Calhoun only backed down when no other states were willing to go "all-in" with him against the threat of force from Federal Government at that time. In 1860, South Carolina found willing partners and backed up their talk about state's rights with action.

Now WHY they chose to secede when they did does goes beyond the issue of State's Rights into the issue of slavery, because as Steelers say, the Southern States saw the writing on the wall that their over-inflated power in the Federal Government was coming to an end, and had been for some time. The new territories were almost certainly going to choose to be "Free States"

With the addition of more free states into the Union, it was only a matter of time (the South thought) before they would have to bend the will of the their Northern neighbors. I think you can accurately describe the period of 1789 - 1860 as a period of uneasy compromise. Once the North ascended, the need to compromise would end, and the results were not guaranteed to be positive for the South or their way of life. They choose to get out when the getting out was good.

It is even weaker to attack the State's rights argument simply because the Southern States used the Federal Government when they could to promote their interests. I don't see the logical connection between participating in the Federal Government, expecting federal law to be followed, and still believing that the ultimate sovereignty to be "in" or "out" of the Union still resided with the individual states.

Writers of Loewen's ilk focus too much on the language of "slavery" being used in the secession documents themselves. They are written as rhetoric, sophistry, to inflame and spur the people to action. Some dry legalistic argument about state's rights is over the head of most people today, let alone the masses in 1860.

Loewen's argument is akin to claiming that because George Bush II used rhetoric about "weapons of mass destruction" and "promoting democracy" to convince people his actions were justified, it was his real motivation for invading Iraq. Maybe it is part of the picture, but politicians then and today use the most inflamatory parts of their arguments to convince people to support the cause, and keep much of deeper reasoning and arguments behind the scenes.

Think about it....which argument is going to get the Southern people more ready to break away and go to war? Does the rhetorical arguments used by politicians in 1860s have any more bearing on their actual reasons and actual reality than the arguments of politicans today?

Last edited by westsideboy; 06-16-2011 at 01:27 PM..
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Old 06-16-2011, 02:54 PM
 
Location: Cumberland
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Perhaps it is best to actually post the Declaration of Secession from South Carolina, written back in 1852, but not acted on until 1860

Avalon Project - Confederate States of America - Declaration of the Immediate Causes Which Induce and Justify the Secession of South Carolina from the Federal Union

Here is the beginning (bolds are mine)

The people of the State of South Carolina, in Convention assembled, on the 26th day of April, A.D., 1852, declared that the frequent violations of the Constitution of the United States, by the Federal Government, and its encroachments upon the reserved rights of the States, fully justified this State in then withdrawing from the Federal Union; but in deference to the opinions and wishes of the other slaveholding States, she forbore at that time to exercise this right. Since that time, these encroachments have continued to increase, and further forbearance ceases to be a virtue.


And now the State of South Carolina having resumed her separate and equal place among nations, deems it due to herself, to the remaining United States of America, and to the nations of the world, that she should declare the immediate causes which have led to this act.

cut to later.....


By this Constitution, certain duties were imposed upon the several States, and the exercise of certain of their powers was restrained, which necessarily implied their continued existence as sovereign States. But to remove all doubt, an amendment was added, which declared that the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States, respectively, or to the people. On the 23d May , 1788, South Carolina, by a Convention of her People, passed an Ordinance assenting to this Constitution, and afterwards altered her own Constitution, to conform herself to the obligations she had undertaken. [/i]

Here are some of the other state's secession documents.

Declaration of Causes of Secession - Mississippi, almost directly completely to the issue of slavery.

http://www.csawardept.com/documents/secession/VA/ - Virginia, rather even-handed and addressing only the issue at hand, the disolution of the state with the rest of the Union.

To me, SC and VA's read like mini-Declaration of Independence copies, stating greviences, claiming rights reserved to them as states, fairly loftly and high minded, in contrast to what I believed they would be like. Mississippi's is rather, well, inflammatory and what is similiar was mentioning early, disposing of any philosophical rhetoric and just going for the juglar concerning the threat to their slave based economy. It seems to me, the writers of these documents were concerned and took time to mention both issues.

Last edited by westsideboy; 06-16-2011 at 03:08 PM..
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Old 06-16-2011, 03:10 PM
 
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From your comments, it is clear that your critique is well-thought out and you didn't give it a cursory glance. Are you stating that Southern state's were seceding over "states' rights" rather than slavery. In Confederate Vice-President Alexander Stephens' "Cornerstone Speech" he rationalized the formation of the Confederate States of America as follows (just highlights not the whole speech):

"The new constitution has put at rest, forever, all the agitating questions relating to our peculiar institution African slavery as it exists amongst us the proper status of the negro in our form of civilization. This was the immediate cause of the late rupture and present revolution. Jefferson in his forecast, had anticipated this, as the "rock upon which the old Union would split." He was right. What was conjecture with him, is now a realized fact. But whether he fully comprehended the great truth upon which that rock stood and stands, may be doubted.

Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its corner- stone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth. This truth has been slow in the process of its development, like all other truths in the various departments of science. It has been so even amongst us. Many who hear me, perhaps, can recollect well, that this truth was not generally admitted, even within their day. The errors of the past generation still clung to many as late as twenty years ago."

Unless the Vice-President of the Confederacy was severely misinformed, it would appear that the "foundation" and "corner-stone" of the Confederate States of America was the subordination of the negro and confining the negro to his/her natural social position of slavery. In a speech longer in words than the U.S. Constitution itself, Stephens mentions burden of costs should be paid by private enterprise and not the government, but never once mentions "state's rights". As a matter of fact, the CSA had quite a strong and domineering central government. The CSA certainly didn't recognize the secession of West Virginia, East Tennessee, and North Alabama. Of course it helps that the CSA crushed the secessionist movements of East Tennessee and North Alabama. There were a handful of counties throughout the CSA that attempted to secede because the central government of the CSA was too strong.

Accordingly, Stephens explicitly stated that Jefferson was right in forecasting the Union would split but wrong for not fully comprehending that the issue over the split would be slavery. I think Loewen was correct in connecting the dots by referencing Calhoun (vs. his contemporaries including Andrew Jackson) as it would appear as that was exactly who Stephens was referring to with the sentence "The errors of the past generation still clung to many as late as twenty years ago."

I tend to agree with you, telling a group of people they were superior to others certainly would be a greater motivating factor to fight over failed nullification. In terms of the "weapons of mass destruction argument", you are correct, only George W. Bush knows the "true" motivation for the war in Iraq. Accordingly, was white supremacy Stephens' "true" motivation for helping to erect the Confederate States of America? We can suppose with our 21st century "rational" minds that it would have been a flimsy basis imperiled from the start but what ever his motivation, a lot of young Southern men were led to their deaths for a government that Stephens clearly stated in the speech was "better" than that of the United States.


Quote:
Originally Posted by westsideboy View Post
Hmmm....not sure about the claims of that author. His argument and way of connecting dots are dubious at best. The article opens with the statement that "Confederate states did claim the right to secede." So in action, the Confederates did believe that states had the most important right of all, the sovereign right to decide their own association with larger governmental organization.

Also the author states:

(sic) Northern states had failed to “fulfill their constitutional obligations” by interfering with the return of fugitive slaves to bondage. Slavery, not states’ rights, birthed the Civil War.

South Carolina's claim was that the Northern States weren't following their Constituitional duties, this in way shape or form would has any connection to the rights of the state's under the 9th amendment to the Constitution. Yet, he tries to connect the dots.

In addition, the author himself brings up Calhoun's state's rights argument about nullification predating the Civil War by 30 years, making sure to mention Calhoun only backed down when no other states were willing to go "all-in" with him against the threat of force from Federal Government at that time. In 1860, South Carolina found willing partners and backed up their talk about state's rights with action.

Now WHY they chose to secede when they did does goes beyond the issue of State's Rights into the issue of slavery, because as Steelers say, the Southern States saw the writing on the wall that their over-inflated power in the Federal Government was coming to an end, and had been for some time. The new territories were almost certainly going to choose to be "Free States"

With the addition of more free states into the Union, it was only a matter of time (the South thought) before they would have to bend the will of the their Northern neighbors. I think you can accurately describe the period of 1789 - 1860 as a period of uneasy compromise. Once the North ascended, the need to compromise would end, and the results were not guaranteed to be positive for the South or their way of life. They choose to get out when the getting out was good.

It is even weaker to attack the State's rights argument simply because the Southern States used the Federal Government when they could to promote their interests. I don't see the logical connection between participating in the Federal Government, expecting federal law to be followed, and still believing that the ultimate sovereignty to be "in" or "out" of the Union still resided with the individual states.

Writers of Loewen's ilk focus too much on the language of "slavery" being used in the secession documents themselves. They are written as rhetoric, sophistry, to inflame and spur the people to action. Some dry legalistic argument about state's rights is over the head of most people today, let alone the masses in 1860.

Loewen's argument is akin to claiming that because George Bush II used rhetoric about "weapons of mass destruction" and "promoting democracy" to convince people his actions were justified, it was his real motivation for invading Iraq. Maybe it is part of the picture, but politicians then and today use the most inflamatory parts of their arguments to convince people to support the cause, and keep much of deeper reasoning and arguments behind the scenes.

Think about it....which argument is going to get the Southern people more ready to break away and go to war? Does the rhetorical arguments used by politicians in 1860s have any more bearing on their actual reasons and actual reality than the arguments of politicans today?
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