Civil War and slavery: a friend replies

a friend writes.........
Very nice. Lots of good quotes (but
some references not cited). I was happy to see what you put. I agree
100%. It will live on in everlasting shame for the South that they
elevated the institution of slavery so high. The Germans will have shame
for a long time, and surveys show that they are still suffereing from
it. May there, one day, come a day when America has shame for the 30 -
40 years that we lived with and protected the right of abortion on
living children THROUGH NINE MONTHS OF PREGNANCY. This is by far more
shameful then either the South or Germany.

jpu-other former slave holding countries such as England and France and Brazil don't seem to have the same continued problems that the US does. Problems are definitely there but not to the same degree as the US. also those countries have restricted abortion rights, unlike the carte blanche that is in the US.

Interesting to see that the South leads the fight against abortion,
having much stricter state laws against it (that the US Sup Court
strikes down, Lincoln style) than the liberal North. Just a thought.
Hey, perhaps they learned the value of all life in their shame of seeing
how much their ancestors protected slavery?? Not sure why. In any case,
clearly the South is WAY ahead of the North on this issue. Good idea for
your blog, non?

jpu-power is a nuetral thing. it can be used for good or evil. the supreme court ruled against escaped slaves and called them property, Dred Scott. also Congress passed the abominable Fugitive Slave Law. But this evil law that threatened any African in the North, whether a fugitive or not, with seizure and resale in the South because no presumption of innocence for any person seized was provided. yet the North didn't try to nullify the federal law or secede over it. There were riots, by whites on behalf of seized blacks, as a result of the application of the law in Boston and Ohio.

Your link to a "Northern perspective" produced this quote:
-----------------
"""It is true that the single, simple answer to the question "What
caused the Civil War?" is slavery, but the causes of the Civil War are by no means simple, and saying slavery
caused the Civil War is somewhat akin to saying the invention of the
printing press caused the Enlightenment. While the two are inextricably
tied together, and one probably would not have happened without the
other, the invention of the printing press was not the only element that
contributed to The Enlightenment.

The same can be said about the Civil War. Without slavery, the divisions
that split our nation probably would not have occurred, but slavery was
not the only cause of the war. Lincoln himself distanced the country
from the slavery issue, proclaiming "A House Divided..." in 1858. It was
a theme he would repeat throughout his Presidency.

Ultimately, these divisions began as our Nation was being created. The
U. S. Constitution was a document hammered out by compromise - sometimes
over slavery, sometimes over the right to bear arms, sometimes the
establishment of a state-sanctioned religion. Compromise, however, did
not seem to be completely effective. Each interest group came away
winning something and losing something.

By 1820, Southerners had long ago given up on maintaining a majority in
the House of Representatives. The growth of the industrialized North
meant the distribution of seats in the House was in their favor. When
the Compromise of 1820 was worked out Missouri entered the Union as a
slave state and Maine entered the Union as a free state preserving the
balance of slave states to free states in the Senate. The preservation
came at a price for Southerners. They were tacitly agreeing that the
Senate had the right to make laws regarding slavery."""""

jpu-if you and the writer did not know South Carolina's and Mississippi's Legislatures' self-indicting statements that declared their secession was for the protection of slavery the arguement is still easy to make. yes the rebellion was about states rights, the states right to own slaves, yes it was about regionalism, the cotton producing regions' desire for cheap labor to keep the coffers full; yes it was about unfair tariffs, but they leveled the playing field for those in the North who had to pay their workers; yes it was about Western expansion, because Kansas demonstrated the degree to which the country's citizens would go to to upset the balance of power in the senate.
------------------

That is an okay assesessment of the situation, especially since the
persons calls it a Northern Perspective. Why not put a link to a
Southern perspecive on your blog? Could that not in itself show your bias?

jpu-the southern perspective is found wanting, over and over again. and i'm demonstrating it in this response.

No doubt the shameful institution of slavery was fundamental in the
causes of the Civil War (some call it the War of Northern Agression. My
brother was at an insurance conference last week in Phx and one of the
speakers called it that. He wrote me). No doubt. But there are three
things that I take issue with. 1.) That today in our dumbed-down schools
and society, it is presented and accepted to be simply all Southerners
slave holders, all Northerners trying to fight to free them. Ther truth
is that very few (none?) of the Northerners marched off to get killed so
that slaves could be free. It just was not the case. A good part of the
North (see rioting in the streets of the big cities) said "just let them
go, we don't need them."

jpu-HB Stowe's novel was a runaway bestseller. good Christian citizens did lay down their lives for the freedom of slaves. many free blacks also joined the union army despite no promise of improvement of their social status except freedom for their kin. many did fight for the integrity that the founding fathers did not have. many more were drafted. the major draft riot occurred in New York City which had a huge immigrant population which had no ownership of the country's history and no concern for fellow citizens. regardless, has any draft been popular?

That brings up the second point: 2.) why didn't Abe just let them go? It
had only been 70 years since the Constitution was written, so phew, just
let the South go. Hey Texas had already been an independent nation and
decided to join the "Federation of States" (and that only a dozen years
before), so why not let them get back out? I mean they never signed a
non-revocable clause.

jpu-because a house divided won't stand. the precedent would eventually turn the confederacy against itself. states would divide over seceding counties, see the creation of West Virginia, a territory that had no interest in preserving slavery. the constitution provided a method to responding to unfavorable laws. secession destroyed the democratic experiment. they were wrong. the federal government had major investments in the south, including forts and bases, and individual citizens also had investments in the south. the question was answered 30 years before when SC tried to secede. the same argument could be made against the South, "why not let them go?" if they had freed their slaves and given them voting rights then the 3/5ths counting of the slaves would no longer limit them and their representation in the House of Reps, their electoral college votes, and popular votes in general. so its a moot argument unless their is any reason why the south shouldn't have let them go.

The above quote introduces my third point. 3.) The Constitutional
Convention was a failure. Most conservative Xns (like me) think that our
Constitution is some heavenly document (unlike me). I disagree. It is
flawed. The proof is that they said all men were created equal, and yet
they allowed slavery. That is a fundamental error that put the
federation off to a bad start. The founding fathers that were against
slavery should have NEVER accepted anything less than equality for all
persons on the American soil (that is what they were fighting for from
King George). The quote above mentions other compromises: "sometimes
over slavery, sometimes over the right to bear arms, sometimes the
establishment of a state-sanctioned religion". Well said. the only
difference was that the other compromises were not so "regional" and
thus, the seeds were planted for the Civil War....and endless, endless
hypocrisy. The hypocrisy was that even AFTER the War, the North still
had countless laws against Blacks (no school, no army, no land
ownership, no intermarry, no hold office, no vote in many counties, and
states) and yet they didn't go so far as slavery. So they were STILL not
saying "all are created equal." Hypocrites! Yes, the South was even more
shameful in enslaving them. Bigots and racists! Shame on them both! But
surely (point two above) the Northern boys were NOT going off to fight
for the freedom of unknown black men and women (there are countless
quotes from Lincoln himself showing that he had no love for blacks, and
CLEARLY considered them inferior. His dislike of slavery was mostly on
an economic level. I am sure that you know this. You must know it having
looked into so well...Unless you limit yourself to pro-Lincoln
information. But speeches and journals and letters don't lie.)

jpu-some Northern states had slavery and repealed it. don't disparage progress. Lincoln made progress also. he was a phenomenal politician and held his cards very close, but he was impressed by the black soldiers who fought for him. he let his racism be argued against. he allowed black to soldier. blame doesn't stop at the constitutional convention. you need to go back the american revolution. the revolution was unlawful but they won. the precedent had been set by the fathers then, when all else fails turn to violence and bloodshed. the revolution was endorsed by Christian men and women and their preachers, they were able to expalin away God's instructions regarding submission to authority. in the same way some southern Christian men and women and their preachers justified slavery and racism with terrible theology.

John, I appreciate your postion because slavery is so odious. I truly
respect you and your thoughts. I would hope that one day you will see
that it is not a one-sided issue (although one can limit himself to
sites and quotes that make it look that way!). I would hope that you
will be honest and at least present the good side of the South,
especially the South that we see today (who are none other than the
grand-children and great-grandchildren of slaveowners and Southern
soldiers).

jpu-i was challenged to prove my assertion that Slavery was the reason for the war of the states. did i do that? the only southerners i have a problem with are those who try to minimize it in the analysis. all the other issues are tangential to slavery. and i have a problem with those who slam Lincoln for being an imperfect man who freed 4 million human beings. its like slamming Reagan for defeating the Communism because he talked to an astrologer. its unfair to compare Lincoln to Jesus Christ. try comparing him to his counterpart, Jefferson Davis, who tried to keep them all enslaved with a promise to one day set them free. that promise was broken over and over again to individual slaves by their owners. what made their word any better after the incorporation of the confederacy?

This is not a North-good, South-bad issue. In my opinion it is more like
a North-bad, South-bad issue. North = almost total inequality for blacks
in many, many ways, agression and unfair laws towards Southern economy,
shipping, taxes etc. South = slavery, odious, wretched slavery.

jpu-how about North better than South? South had all the North's ills plus slavery.

Before the war, when delegations from the state governments of SC and
Virginia went to see Lincoln to offer to pay for federal land in their
respective states, he slighted and snubbed them by not even granting
them an interview. They were the honestly elected officials of these
states with a legitimate desire to speak with him and make an offer.
What an insult he made. He set the tone for war, and he got it. He
should have just let the South go.

jpu- if someone stole your car and later came by and offered you some money for it, would you take it? only if there was no recourse for you. that's a mafia tactic my friend and not honorable at all. how could he have set the tone for the war if they seceded long before his inauguration. their tone was set long before, like when they beat that senator on the senate floor.

now where did i go wrong?

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