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Old 12-19-2007, 10:30 PM
 
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The American Civil War was fought because of a complex mix of slavery, economic policy (protectionist tariffs), faction (sectionalism and the collapse of the two party system), and federalism (States Rights).

After the election of November 1860, which Abraham Lincoln won with 40% of the popular vote, seven States seceded from the Union. After his inauguration in March 1861, four more States seceded.

Debate the origins of the American Civil War, but with one rule - please make your arguments using contemporary sources. In other words, provide quotes from Civil War era (roughly 1848 to 1865) people to support what you're saying. It might even be fun...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Abraham Lincoln, Message to Congress
Fellow-citizens, we cannot escape history. We of this Congress and this administration, will be remembered in spite of ourselves... The fiery trial through which we pass, will light us down, in honor or dishonor, to the latest generation. We say we are for the Union. The world will not forget that we say this. We know how to save the Union. The world knows we do know how to save it. We -- even we here -- hold the power, and bear the responsibility. In giving freedom to the slave, we assure freedom to the free - honorable alike in what we give, and what we preserve. We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last best hope of earth.
http://www.nps.gov/archive/liho/s11.htm
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Old 12-20-2007, 09:07 AM
 
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At first I vowed not to get involved in this discussion as it's been mulled over and beaten to death in the politics forum for pages and pages. I am a believer in the Southern cause in this war, NOT due to any support of slavery of course, but because I believe they had a right to do what they did.......

In order to face the music of that which I defend, I decided to take the greatest speech from the BIGGEST of hotheads of the South and see if by reading some of what he has said and wrote that some sense could be made of it with relations to the time..... So I looked Here (broken link) at a statement from John C. Calhoun called: Slavery a Positive Good to see what the "worst of the worst" thought this to be about.

This was Calhoun in 1837 speaking on the issue of slavery in which he basically predicts a Civil War, understanding that Abolition will be taught to future generations in the North until one day the numbers will swell to the point where political pressure forces Northern Politicians to act on their behalf... He makes a compelling case on the issue of slavery, especially when you consider the minds of the time, but there's more to it with reference to Webster and the Force Bill and his predictions of future Civil War.

He and Daniel Webster went back and forth in the 1820s and 1830s during what became known as "The Nullification Crisis" in which it seems Calhoun was fighting for the rights of states to nullify federal laws that they themselves found unconstitutional. It went so far as South Carolina Nullifying what became known as the "Tariff of Abominations" that heavily favored the New England states over the agricultural South. The Force Bill that had been previously passed was used by President Jackson in an attempt to enforce the tariff by sending naval ships to Charleston Harbor (The Force Bill basically stating that the Federal Government had the right to enforce it's laws in the states by military force.), but Henry Clay simmered everyone down by proposing a compromise tariff... Calhoun claimed a victory of sorts in that nullification worked to achieve comprimise and laid the ground work for future happenings. Nullification was a principle argued by the likes of Jefferson and Madison, though neither went so far as to include leaving the Union as a provision of nullification.

This is just an example of what had been going on since the inception of the country and one of three or four instances where Civil War was narrowly averted before the one that actually happened and this was over TARIFFS and had NOTHING to do with slavery. This is why when people attempt to claim that slavery had EVERYTHING to do with the Civil War and the rest was simply an excuse that we must look to the past and see that is hardly the case.
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Old 12-20-2007, 09:50 AM
 
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Probably every point of debate in this issue falls in line with the first paragraph of the OP - a complex mix indeed.
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Old 12-20-2007, 10:33 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VAFury
At first I vowed not to get involved in this discussion as it's been mulled over and beaten to death in the politics forum
Could be, but the 'History' forum seems like a more appropriate place for the thread. I find it interesting that 150 years after the Civil War, there is still discussion or contention over the causes of the war.

'b. frank' - umm, thanks?

Back on topic...


Quote:
Originally Posted by Gen. Joseph Wheeler, Causes of the War
SOUTHERN COLONIES OPPOSED SLAVERY
The evil of this traffic soon became apparent to the people of the South, and when the Constitution was framed in 1787, the South demanded that the fundamental law of our land should inhibit this traffic of importing human beings from Africa. The South was resisted by the New England slave-traders, and as a compromise, it was agreed that the trade should be restricted, and after the year 1800, entirely prohibited, but, by the persistency of New England, the provision was finally extended to the year 1808.
It has been charged that the opposition of southern slave-holders, which was manifested in the convention to the continued importation of slaves, was attributable to their desire to maintain the value of the slave property they already possessed, but contemporaneous writing clearly shows that the mass of these people were actuated by no such selfish motives.
Very soon the people of the North found that their climate was not adapted to slave labor, and as the Constitution prohibited the continuance of the profitable business of catching or buying negroes in Africa and selling them to the people of the South, they ceased to have any interest in this class of property. I do not say that the lack of pecuniary interest actuated any one, but about this time there commenced what history will record as a war upon the institution of slavery.
http://www.civilwarhome.com/wheelercauses.htm
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Old 12-21-2007, 01:27 PM
 
Location: Maine
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Reactionary View Post
The American Civil War was fought because of a complex mix of slavery, economic policy (protectionist tariffs), faction (sectionalism and the collapse of the two party system), and federalism (States Rights).
That paragraph right there says it all.

But I would add: Without slavery, the Civil War would not have been fought. That was the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back, and people had seen it coming for years. Even Thomas Jefferson (a slave owner) wrote about the grave danger that slavery represented to the Republic.
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Old 12-21-2007, 01:45 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark S. View Post
That paragraph right there says it all.

But I would add: Without slavery, the Civil War would not have been fought. That was the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back, and people had seen it coming for years. Even Thomas Jefferson (a slave owner) wrote about the grave danger that slavery represented to the Republic.
One can also say that without the tariffs the Civil War would not have been fought. So why can't THAT be the "proverbial straw.........."???
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Old 12-21-2007, 01:47 PM
 
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The Preamble to the Confederate States Constitution begins: "We, the people of the Confederate States, each State acting in its sovereign and independent character..."

It was about States Rights. All other examples can be grouped underneath that main idea.
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Old 12-21-2007, 09:40 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark S. View Post
That paragraph right there says it all.

But I would add: Without slavery, the Civil War would not have been fought. That was the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back, and people had seen it coming for years. Even Thomas Jefferson (a slave owner) wrote about the grave danger that slavery represented to the Republic.
True, and slavery wasn't all about the blacks. If the slaves had not been emancipated, the lower middle class would be enslaved today - white and black alike - to the upper class.
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Old 12-23-2007, 06:29 PM
 
Location: Ocean Shores, WA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SashaBlue View Post
...If the slaves had not been emancipated, the lower middle class would be enslaved today - white and black alike - to the upper class.
And you think they are not?
Bonds of slavery take many forms.
Chains and shackles are just one of them.
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Old 12-23-2007, 06:46 PM
 
Location: Boise, ID
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fat Freddy View Post
And you think they are not?
Bonds of slavery take many forms.
Chains and shackles are just one of them.
Most millionaires were not born with wealth. Our class system is remarkably fluid in this country. The so-called war on poverty has done more to hold people down than to give them opportunities.
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