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Old 11-25-2009, 05:21 PM
 
Location: Aloverton
6,560 posts, read 14,455,230 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cncracer View Post
I think the problem here is you see the war as a race issue, and it was a States Rights issue. Race and slavery were a thorn in the side of our nation from the beginning which Lincoln wisely ended at the end of the war, but it was a secondary problem not the primary issue. The continued uneasiness we see today in my view is because of how reconstruction was accomplished. I would have liked to see how Lincoln would have brought the States back together rather than Johnston, and Grant’s hard nose method. The revolts and distrust bred during that period still exist in the deep and rural South. It was and is an example of how not to repair broken systems.

I have always questioned the term Civil War. In my view it was not a civil war. The States had the legal right to succeed from the union. The succession issue had been brought up by MA several times related to taxes, and the laws were not changed till after the war. I think the War Between the States is better, and also correct in a legal sense.
The primary State's Right under debate, and the dominant issue of the day, was the right of a state to allow whites to own blacks as property. That's why the 'it was all about State's Rights' argument fails; it doubles back on slavery. Had slavery not been at issue, no one has yet shown me how secession and war might have nevertheless ensued. Some have tried but failed.

Far as I'm concerned, the salient point of Reconstruction that stuck in Southerners' craws postwar was: "Not only do your rich planters have to free their slaves, they now get to vote and have rights." I have seen a great deal of evidence to suggest that this, not the bad behavior of postwar occupation forces (mostly there to enforce the rights), was the dominant factor. 'Free the slaves, okay, okay, whatever; but let 'em vote like a white man? Eat in the same restaurant as me? We'll see you in hell!' And indeed, a century later, when enough of the nation decided it was tired of Colored Only drinking fountains, what did many white Southerners (backed by politicians and police) fight savagely to prevent? Integrated facilities, free exercise of the franchise, and integration in education. Sorry, but that's the reality. Had every black Southerner left the South after the war, the occupation would have been brief because there wouldn't have been something simmering on the racial burner. As long as blacks remained, and Northern troops (including some who were black) remained present and actually intended to make Southern states extend some form of rights to blacks, there was going to be resentment and it was going to linger for generations. And as long as blacks remained, it was just a matter of time before they decided it was time to stop waiting around for justice and start demanding it.

The North and West, of course, didn't cover themselves with racial glory later. Far from it. But that isn't part of the Civil War era. The Civil War was a war in which Southern states seceded in order to preserve their right to keep slaves, fired the first shots and then came out with a pathetic argument that they had been provoked, fought with great valor despite the fact that the vast majority of those who would be maimed and killed couldn't dream of owning even their own land much less other humans, lost, then complained they were oppressed because the mean Northerners set their blacks free and even tried to give them political voices. It was a war in which the South was wrong by every objective standard one can name.

Again, that does not mean that the South didn't have a right to be annoyed about some things, such as an electoral college system that rendered them irrelevant in a presidential election. Unfortunately, even a perfect democracy (which we ain't) sucks that way: in order to win you have to appeal to enough people, which might mean you have to moderate your views and offer them something. Evidently, adopting a platform that would appeal toward Northern states' voters was asking too much of Southern leaders. That's how you normally win, though. If you start a war because you didn't win the election, that's not a good enough reason. If one doesn't like the system, one seeks to change it through the means provided. Those don't include bayonets. You do that, you get smacked down and they make sure you don't get up to try it again. You don't like that, you ought not to start a war.

I think at least half of the modern Southern fervor on the topic stems from the need to suppress an embarrassing realization and never process it: that their ancestors fought to keep slaves, or for a minority to keep them, and then dug in their heels every inch of the way to keep blacks subservient. It's hard to cop to that; it would feel like it was giving in to arrogant, snotty Northern academics who look down on everything Southern: accents, hobbies, food, history, culture, college football, you name it. So it becomes an emotional issue where the reality can never be allowed to hold sway. And for that you can partly thank every insufferable, urbane Northern intellectual, so sure of his own moral high ground when in fact his own part of the country has somewhat grubby paws on the topic, who has ever mocked anyone for saying 'y'all'. As for me, I hate the insufferable Northern intellectual snobs almost as much; I was raised with a drawl and I like college football. But who has been a jerk to us does not change the historical reality. Sometimes a jerk is right about something--and moreover, not everyone who realizes that the South was so wrong is a Dixiephobic bigot. I have to cop to demonstrable historical reality, even if I don't like it. Like the fact that my great-grandfather was a Klansman in Kansas. Do I hate it? With purple flame coming out my ears I hate it. Is it the truth? Yeah, and therefore it can't be buried or explained away.

On the terms, I don't see what's wrong with 'Civil War', but I also don't have a problem with 'War Between the States'. Anything but that stupid 'War of Northern Aggression' label (which you thankfully did not use, which is the main reason I considered it worth the time to give you my viewpoint), which makes even less sense and displays an even greater bias than 'War Against Southern Slavers'. I figure if I don't use the latter, they can do away with the former. And I've decided every time I hear the former I'm coming out with the latter, just to show how historically ludicrous it is to propagandize by renaming.
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Old 01-25-2010, 12:09 PM
 
Location: Peterborough, England
472 posts, read 925,017 times
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Where does the Constitution come into it?

Secession was either legal or it wasn't If it wasn't, then it was a rebellion which Lincoln had a duty to suppress. If it was, then the Confederacy was a foreign country, and if Lincoln decided that it was in the interest of the United States (ie those states which hadn't seceded) to wage war against that country, he had just as much right to do so as President Polk had to wage war on Mexico. There could have been a legal question had Congress opposed the war, but it did not. Indeed, it sometimes criticised Lincoln for not waging war hard enough. So either way he was fully within his rights.

Incidentally, if secession was lawful, then so was Radical Reconstruction, since in that case the defeated south was a block of foreign territory conquered by the US, which Congress could reorganise in any way it saw fit. Only if they were in some sense still in the Union had those states (and their inhabitants) any Constitutiional ground to challenge Reconstruction measures.

Last edited by Mikestone8; 01-25-2010 at 12:23 PM..
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Old 01-25-2010, 12:16 PM
 
900 posts, read 672,787 times
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Two excellent posts back-to-back. Nice job.
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Old 01-25-2010, 12:19 PM
 
900 posts, read 672,787 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nevar242 View Post
The civil war will never end because many of us see one side , yet ignor the other with out looking into there views. Many wrongs were done by both sides. Who is to say which were the right ones.
Please leave the slavery thing out of it, as it was not he major point. Many of the North owned slaves including lincoln.
Lincoln did not own slaves. And yes, it was the major cause of the war. No, there were not many wrongs done by both sides. History has decided who was on the right side.
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Old 01-25-2010, 02:00 PM
 
6,565 posts, read 14,292,505 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikestone8 View Post
Incidentally, if secession was lawful, then so was Radical Reconstruction, since in that case the defeated south was a block of foreign territory conquered by the US, which Congress could reorganise in any way it saw fit. Only if they were in some sense still in the Union had those states (and their inhabitants) any Constitutiional ground to challenge Reconstruction measures.
But this is essentially saying that the North could have it both ways. They claimed secession as illegal and thus suppressed a rebellion in thier eyes, and now they can "re-organize in any way they saw fit" because they're conquered territory and not a part of the country in rebellion....

Inconsistencies abound, but the South doesn't get to pick and choose when they're independent states and when they're part of the Union out of convenience, but you're saying the North does?

Spoils of war I suppose? (Though it doesn't make it right as I'm sure you'd agree).
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Old 01-25-2010, 02:06 PM
 
6,565 posts, read 14,292,505 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Angus Podgorny View Post
Lincoln did not own slaves. And yes, it was the major cause of the war. No, there were not many wrongs done by both sides. History has decided who was on the right side.
I actually agree with you... I know if you were to further explain ANY of it I'd probably disagree, but on the surface I have no problem with this.

1) Lincoln didn't own slaves. Pretty proveable fact.

2) Slavery was the major cause of secession which led to war (notice the slight rephrasing to make it more tasteful to my palate)... Pretty indisputeable fact.

3) There were not many wrongs done by both sides. I'd agree with this as written, though I'm well aware of what you were trying to imply...

4) History has decided who was on the right side. More or less true. The United States became a world power as one nation. I don't think there's any disputing that the outcome worked out for the best.
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Old 01-26-2010, 05:18 AM
 
Location: Peterborough, England
472 posts, read 925,017 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rhett_Butler View Post
But this is essentially saying that the North could have it both ways. They claimed secession as illegal and thus suppressed a rebellion in thier eyes, and now they can "re-organize in any way they saw fit" because they're conquered territory and not a part of the country in rebellion....
</p>




I am not defending this position, merely pointing out that the Radical Reconstructionist stance was more in accord with that of the Secessionists than of their more moderate fellow-Unionists.</p>

I suspect that Lincoln was aware of this, hence his uneasiness about the Radical position. If you believe as he did that secession was legally void and the South never really out of the Union, this clearly sets limits to how far one can go in dealing with them.
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Old 01-26-2010, 10:05 PM
 
Location: Parts Unknown, Northern California
48,564 posts, read 24,110,503 times
Reputation: 21239
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikestone8 View Post
Where does the Constitution come into it?

Secession was either legal or it wasn't If it wasn't, then it was a rebellion which Lincoln had a duty to suppress. If it was, then the Confederacy was a foreign country, and if Lincoln decided that it was in the interest of the United States (ie those states which hadn't seceded) to wage war against that country.
Secession was neither legal as in specifically sanctioned by the Constitution, nor illegal, as in specifically forbidden.

That was the problem, the Constitution didn't come into it, only claims by both sides that it did. The North decided to view it as illegal, and thus waged war to supress it. The South believed it to be legal, and thus were willing to fight to protect the right.

As I wrote previously, it was the fault of the Constitutional authors. They failed to proclaim the Federal government supreme, but also failed to be specific about its limitations. They did this for the very good reason that doing it one way or the other, would have so severely alienated the opponents that the document would not be ratified. So instead they produced vagueness.

It was a compromise. It was followed by decades of other compromises until finally it was not possible to compromise any further. The price of easing our national birth was the bloody test of its unity 70 years later.
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