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Old 09-19-2017, 05:58 PM
Location: The High Desert
16,040 posts, read 10,591,641 times
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The slave states had an advantage in Congress and the Electoral College because slaves were counted as partial people (3/5ths compromise) when tabulating the census for representation. They were losing the benefit of the advantage as the northern population grew and free states were added. Efforts to keep the states in balance were going to fail. That's partly what "Bleeding Kansas" was about. The slave states needed to gain new slave state territory but were thwarted at every turn. They were running out of options to preserve slavery based on this advantage and balance in congress so secession began to look like a rational alternative if you were an influential slave-owner. (As a "What if..." I wonder if the option of dividing Texas into multiple slave states was ever considered. That would have preserved the slave/free state balance for a little while longer.)

After the Mexican War there was a huge new territory up for grabs. Southerners were looking at California and New Mexico but slavery had been "abolished" by Mexico in those places after gaining independence (sort of) in 1829. Nobody there was excited about reestablishing slavery in those areas except southerners (mostly Texans and some Missourians) who moved into the area or were associated with the Santa Fe trade. There were probably a few Missouri slaves that accompanied the trade wagons going to or from Santa Fe. Some military officers or personnel had black slaves at Fort Union in NM and the Bent's had slaves briefly at Bent's Fort but slavery was not widely practiced or accepted.

The resident Indian population was subjected to exploitation as unpaid laborers in a less formal system that varied from place to place and may have been a hybrid of indentured service, mission labor, serfdom and slavery. Some were purchased as captives from Apaches and Comanches and worked on the Patrón's ranches. That would possibly have been an improvement in treatment. Spanish authorities sometimes established towns made up of these (Christianized) freed Indian captives, as at Abiquiu, to be buffers between Spanish settlements and the hostile Indian groups.
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Old 09-19-2017, 06:19 PM
Location: *
13,242 posts, read 4,881,729 times
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Originally Posted by Thulsa View Post
If you are truly interested in the Civil War, don't read about anything that happened after Fort Sumter.
Once shots are fired, war becomes about survival. And as they say, "The first casualty of war is the truth."
While it is not entirely irrelevant what the soldiers say they were fighting for, they are not the ones that caused the war to happen, and most of them were probably not fully informed due to not having access to city-data forum in 1860, lol.

Read each Confederate state's secession statement, and you may find even more interesting studying each state's secession committees, how they were formed, voted, and their internal opposition.

Try to find original sources. The Library of Congress has digital copies of newspapers going way back.
Read newspapers from before 1860 at the Library of Congress's web site.
For example, see Memphis daily appeal. (Memphis, Tenn.) 1847-1886, April 22, 1858, Image 1 « Chronicling America « Library of Congress
Read "Are the Constitutional Guaranties of the South of the Question of Slavery at the Mercy of Fanaticism?" and consider the tone of the article as well as the content.
background: the article is about this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lecompton_Constitution

For example, (I can't re-find the article, apologies) I had found an article written around 1855 in a Southern newspaper (Tennessee, I think) that points out that the South is in a vulnerable position regarding secession due to the fact that the South has to import a great deal of its food because everyone seems to be growing only cotton.
It was an opinion piece, but what was more interesting than the supposed food problem was that the article was basically assuming that secession was coming. That bell was being rung many many years before any shots were fired, and it was always about the same thing.
Agree with much here. As historian Leon Litwack put it, "History is more than the dead past."
Interview with Leon F. Litwack

For anyone who's interested in the American Civil War 'before any shots were fired', the most cursory glance at the legislative history of the 36th Congress alone reveals much: Immediately before the War, the 36th Congress reviewed more than 200 resolutions with respect to slavery, including introducing 57 resolutions proposing constitutional amendments. Many or most of those represented compromises designed to avert military conflict. Just 2 of these:
  • Mississippi Democratic Senator Jefferson Davis proposed one that explicitly protected property rights in slaves.
  • A group of House members proposed a national convention to accomplish secession as a "dignified, peaceful, and fair separation" that could settle questions like the equitable distribution of the federal government's assets and rights to navigate the Mississippi River.

It's worth noting or worth repeating, the comprises proposed & reviewed were designed to avert military conflict.

Before any 'shots were fired' it was about preventing any shots being fired.

The 'states' right mythology is just that ~ a particularly specious piece of sophistry ~ nothing more, nothing less. Read the testamentary evidence, it's laid out very clearly.

Compare the Constitution of the CSA with that of the USA. The Constitution of the CSA is largely a word-for-word copy of the United States Constitution of 1789. What was changed offers the clearest window of insight into how precisely the CSA intended to be different from the USA, and why.

The following link contains both Constitutions side-by-side & line-by-line for comparison:

Constitution of the Confederate States of America- what was changed?

From the summary:

Overall, the CSA constitution does not radically alter the federal system that was established by the United States constitution. It is therefore very debatable as to whether the CSA was a significantly more pro-"states' rights" country (as supporters claim) in any meaningful sense. At least three states rights are explicitly taken away — the freedom of states to grant voting rights to non-citizens, the freedom of states to trade freely with each other, and, of course, the freedom of states to outlaw slavery within their borders.

States only gain four minor rights under the Confederate system — the power to enter into treaties with other states to regulate waterways, the power to tax foreign and domestic ships that use their waterways, the power to impeach (some) federally-appointed officials, and the power to distribute "bills of credit."

As previously noted, the CSA constitution does not modify many of the most controversial (from a states' rights perspective) clauses of the American constitution, including the "Supremacy" clause (Art. VI, Sec. 1[3]), the "Commerce" clause (Art. I, Sec. 8[3]) and the "Necessary and Proper" clause (Art. I, Sec. 8[18]). Nor does the CSA take away the federal government's right to suspend habeus corpus or "suppress insurrections."

As far as slave-owning rights go, however, the document is much more effective. Four different clauses entrench the legality of slavery in a number of different ways, and together they virtually guarantee that any sort of anti-slave law or policy would be unconstitutional. People can claim the Civil War was "not about slavery" as much as they want, but the fact remains that anyone who fought for the Confederacy was fighting for a country in which a universal right to own slaves was one of the most entrenched laws of the land. ...
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Old 09-19-2017, 06:24 PM
Location: Texas
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Well, of course it's not the whole story.

The war involved millions of people. So there are millions of stories. There are people who have dedicated their entire lives to studying the Civil War and still don't know everything there is to know about the Civil War.

2 weeks in high school history class is long enough to get the politically correct basics.

Last edited by stan4; 09-19-2017 at 06:58 PM..
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Old 09-19-2017, 06:41 PM
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Public school education is indoctrination for the masses. There aren't many Mensa candidates among High School history teachers. If you want real history, go to a top school and take some history courses there. It's all about critical thought, not memorizing "facts" that are spun to indoctrinate the masses.
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Old 09-19-2017, 08:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Grandstander View Post
I believe that you meant to write "If you are truly interested in the origins of the war...etc" Without "origins" your statement is an absurdity.

I meant exactly what I said, and I include just about any war in that advice.

90% of understanding a war is understanding what happened leading up to the first shot being fired.
The other 10% that matters is the after effects.

A person can study and memorize everything that happened between April 1861 to April 1865 and come out knowing nothing that matters about the Civil War other than the outcome. That's why we keep having this thread.
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Old 09-19-2017, 09:08 PM
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Thomas E Woods Jr's The Politically incorrect Guide to American History is a fine read which touches on many aspects of US History from pre-Revolution to 20th century. I would highly recommend it as it has excellent "Civil War/ War For Southern Independence" content.

As to your question most elementary and secondary educational materials on history is very limited. In University it (depending on the periods covered in a classroom) can often be so. Most history is written by the victors so there is always some inherent skewing based upon selective interpretation. The old one man's revolutionary is another's terrorist type thing.

Also a balanced well researched approach is often to difficult for the vast majority of people who want to 'be entertained' to take the time to digest and put themselves into another era in 'mindset' and review the events through a multiple of views.

Tangentially, I am currently reading The Aviators by Winston Groom, which covers the lives of Eddie Rickenbacker, Charles Lindbergh and Jimmy Doolilttle. It is an exceptionally written and researched book which would give anyone interested in history a lot of great insights into the period from WW1 to WW2 as it pertains to aeronautical developments and the psyche of the country at the time.
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Old 09-19-2017, 09:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Thulsa View Post
If you are truly interested in the Civil War, don't read about anything that happened after Fort Sumter.
Once shots are fired, war becomes about survival
100% true
And this is done to keep up the confusion and rewriting of history

When talking about civil war, everybody instantly talk about the war,
But nobody talks about what caused the war
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Old 09-19-2017, 09:27 PM
Location: Cumberland
6,939 posts, read 11,196,040 times
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Originally Posted by Ziggy100 View Post
Usually these threads turn into South bashing and any alternative perspectives of the war get labeled as racist or "neo Confederate".
People don't like hearing the narrative they've been taught for generations may not be entirely accurate. It does not go over well.

It's not just the Civil War but all US History leaves out a few key details here and there that can change the entire perspective.
Here is the crazy thing.............I don't remember being taught in high school (mid-90s) that slavery caused the Civil War. Our teacher was very much of the "it's complicated" school of thought and presented us with the many factors (including slavery) that contributed to the conflict. I specifically remember also being told that in "the old days" slavery was presented as a simple answer to the question.

I went to private school and had an outstanding teacher, so maybe that is the difference. There was no set curriculum he had to teach by in our school.

In all honesty, I think 99.9% of Americans miss the mark on the Civil War because we don't understand nationalism. That is what the war was, our war of Nationalism. The South were experiencing an ethno-genesis caused by the radical changes immigration and industrialization was having on the North. The Southern states had always seen themselves as different, but by the 1860s saw themselves as a 'nation' apart from their neighbors to the north. To this end, slavery was very important in causing the war. The peculiar institution was a common bond in these states and their support of it was a common cause that forced them together. They saw themselves as the "Americans" and the North as some strange new creation that would be the end of their culture and society.

If you understand the war from this POV, the "lost cause" mentality makes perfect sense and needs no pivot to hidden motives or racial hate. The ethno-genesis was completed, even though the war was lost. The common heroes, landmark events, and shared history had been formed even in defeat. The South lost the war, but maintained the distinct identity they created.

What Lincoln proposed for the USA, and what most Americans still consider to be our MO today, is that of a crown-state without a king. We owe our allegiance not to shared blood, religion, or even heritage, but to our unique system of government. The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution function as our King. Regardless of where we come from, or where we are going, we all agree that these documents expresses our feelings about ourselves and each other, and govern how we act and what freedoms we possess. It was a stroke of genius by Lincoln, one that built upon the ideas of the Founders, and was a salve for a country at war and unsure of what we really were.

Fast forward 150+ years, and America is undergoing another ethno-genesis. Nationalism is grass-roots right now in our country..............and it isn't hard to see how many citizens, and nearly all establisment politicians are simultaniously horrified by the concept, and mostly ignorant as to what why it is happening.
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Old 09-19-2017, 10:31 PM
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Why can't people admit that the civil war started because northern states weren't returning runaway slaves to the South as stipulated in the constitution, Southern states left the union and Lincoln wanted to preserve the union at any cost?

All the articles of secession for each state that seceded say that that's the reason they seceded

Why can't people admit it?
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Old 09-19-2017, 11:18 PM
Location: Cushing OK
14,539 posts, read 21,186,349 times
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Originally Posted by joe from dayton View Post
You don't learn the whole story about anything in high school. What do you have, 300 years of US history compressed into how many hours of classroom time.

Yes, the South was "angry" of state's rights issues, particularly the right to own slaves. Read the secession documents of the Confederate States; you will clearly see that secession was about slavery.

Edit: It is easy to pontificate when participants clearly and voluminously wrote about their motivations and experiences in the war -- no one has to guess anything.
Especially in lower grades, when history is taught it is vastly generalized. Take the above. ''The South" was angry... but the south was a large area with quite a lot of differences. The politicians were offenced and believed their rights to set their own rules were being violated. And in a time to come, who was going to work the fields as cheap?

Slavery was certainly a part, but the belief that if they wanted to they could succeed was also a big part.
And the expectations of all sides were badly miscalculated. It was very complex, and in the fifty grade, its hard to teach it from the adult perspective.

When I was in high school, we had an auesome history teacher. He taught the class as if it was an intro history college class. We were assigned reading a lot about the people of the time and their world. It was about the class system, and the economic divide and slavery, in the South. And the influx of poor in the North to cheaply feed their industries with labor in the North. And that both needed something to make this possible. He taught you to look at ALL the factors and how they worked together. He taught history as history is taught in the higher levels. But he introduced it to kids who often did continue to be interested. And his classes were well known for waking up kids who were sliding through and making them interested in real history. We had the hows, but your looking in. You put up all the layers and there is more perspective. Slavery was not denied or reduced, just shown in the terms of how it was the underpinnings of the society. And the thing which was surprising to some, our teacher was black. His approach didn't make it okay or better, but balanced how the practice reflected the general dominance of the wealthy, and how the poor's labor made the splended image possible. He could have been teaching at a university, but prefered high school as he could teach the full scope of what came together and the whys and hows they all lived. You can't really see the whys unless you see the world as they did. That class ask a lot of everyone, but a lot of kids discovered that history is interesting and does help one see the world today.

I still wanted to teach history up until college. I took the first two years, but had to be resigned that there would be no job out there. But I came to LOVE programming and switched to that. But I've never quit being curious about how peoples grow and change and live or not with what they experience.

I also write stories, mostly star trek based, alternative stories of a much darker fate after losing to the Dominion. But all the background is based on the way such fates would effect ours.

But in our currently galvanized society, I wonder if my one teacher who happened to be black would be able to teach early US history and making it about events over issues. Slavery wasn't ever painted as other than evil, but its origion in the southern side of what became the US was the sale of poor Europeans, and the servant trade ended when it was replaced bit by bit with something better, largely african slavery. But they lived longer than poor and often ill Europeans. It changed but not because of race, but productivity.

. with Irish and poor English is only lately ignored. But he considered it a step towards what came to be. To some, today, its not important. But in the whole picture, its the beginning by

It wasn't just the highlights, but all the influences that made one culture or society or We had to read material written in the time, and about people who lived in them. We studied the events but also the people behind them.He passed out copies of writings of the time we were studying. I wonder in the ultra sensitive climate now if he could get by with it, but we were encouraged to see things in the complexity they existed in. We were encouraged to read more and study on our own as well. Instead of saying that
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