The American Civil War didn’t have to happen?

Thread starter #1
President Lincoln had no intention whatsoever of interfering in the institution of slavery. Lincoln was not about to commit economic suicide in both North and South by forcibly ending slavery.

Having considered that the South didn't secede just because of slavery, what was it about Lincoln that scared them so?
 

Waddams

Senior Member
From Alexander H. Stephen's (Confederate VP) Cornerstone Speech given right before they opened fire on Ft. Sumter:

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.
In reading the entire speech, he describes several reasons for seceding, in addition to slavery. In short, it comes down to values and money where the South saw the North as unfairly burdening the South to the South's detriment in dealing with several economic issues of the day. And those arguments are not without merit.

Lincoln was, if nothing else, a Federal power guy. The South knew he was going to act for the Union first, and the North was driving that boat, so Lincoln was going to impose more on the South than they already were.

The biggest problem rests in the quoted section - that direct quote shows the attitudes prevailing in the South at the time. They set up the Confederacy for it's cornerstone value to be what today we call Racism.

I think the Southern values from then, that are still prevalent today - strong work ethic, personal responsibility, staying away from government handouts and control - they're exact what we need in this country on a larger basis. However, they get lost in the criticism of the South's heritage regarding slavery and racism. Just my opinion, but unless those that adhere to Southern heritage and values today were to find new symbols (flags, statues, etc.) for that heritage and those values, nobody on the other side is gonna listen.

It's a tragedy because Southern values on the whole are just plain better and work out better than the current march towards liberalism.
 
Thread starter #3
From Alexander H. Stephen's (Confederate VP) Cornerstone Speech given right before they opened fire on Ft. Sumter:



In reading the entire speech, he describes several reasons for seceding, in addition to slavery. In short, it comes down to values and money where the South saw the North as unfairly burdening the South to the South's detriment in dealing with several economic issues of the day. And those arguments are not without merit.

Lincoln was, if nothing else, a Federal power guy. The South knew he was going to act for the Union first, and the North was driving that boat, so Lincoln was going to impose more on the South than they already were.

The biggest problem rests in the quoted section - that direct quote shows the attitudes prevailing in the South at the time. They set up the Confederacy for it's cornerstone value to be what today we call Racism.

I think the Southern values from then, that are still prevalent today - strong work ethic, personal responsibility, staying away from government handouts and control - they're exact what we need in this country on a larger basis. However, they get lost in the criticism of the South's heritage regarding slavery and racism. Just my opinion, but unless those that adhere to Southern heritage and values today were to find new symbols (flags, statues, etc.) for that heritage and those values, nobody on the other side is gonna listen.

It's a tragedy because Southern values on the whole are just plain better and work out better than the current march towards liberalism.
What they thought then was that Lincoln was gonna do this in a way the North had never been able to to this before?
Just wondering if they rightfully saw what Lincoln was capable of doing or just over reacted a bit. Wasn't is just days after Lincoln won that South Carolina seceded?
 

Waddams

Senior Member
linky

i think the link above has a pretty good read on it. it wasn't so much lincoln himself, lincoln forced the issue where either south carolina had to back down and allow a resupply of ft. sumter, or open fire.

the article has a lot more than just that, though. it's pretty a good read, and implies an indictment of our current population's ignorance.

i really think the biggest mistake the confederacy made, in hindsight, was clinging to slavery and racial superiority arguments. it wasn't even the biggest issue then between the north and south, but it has morphed into the race politics of today.
 

madsam

Senior Member
Food for thought !!!! South was asking and hoping for help from France and
England . Well , both countries had already abolished slavery and would be
less likely to render support for the South if the North abolished it. Not a
historian by any means but this could have been an influence.
 
From Alexander H. Stephen's (Confederate VP) Cornerstone Speech given right before they opened fire on Ft. Sumter:

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.
I think the Southern values from then, that are still prevalent today - strong work ethic, personal responsibility, staying away from government handouts and control - they're exact what we need in this country on a larger basis. However, they get lost in the criticism of the South's heritage regarding slavery and racism. Just my opinion, but unless those that adhere to Southern heritage and values today were to find new symbols (flags, statues, etc.) for that heritage and those values, nobody on the other side is gonna listen.

It's a tragedy because Southern values on the whole are just plain better and work out better than the current march towards liberalism.
With regard to the Alex Stephens' quote, The odd thing is that the majority of the people of the United States held the exact same views of the Negro as Mr. Stephens and the vast majority of the population in the South. Among these people was Abraham Lincoln.

With regard to the rest, I agree with you except to point out that the same racism that was prevalent in the South has always been prevalent in the North as well. I do not recall ever having seen a study that demonstrated the general condition of the Negro was somehow better in the North than in the South.
 

Waddams

Senior Member
With regard to the Alex Stephens' quote, The odd thing is that the majority of the people of the United States held the exact same views of the Negro as Mr. Stephens and the vast majority of the population in the South. Among these people was Abraham Lincoln.

With regard to the rest, I agree with you except to point out that the same racism that was prevalent in the South has always been prevalent in the North as well. I do not recall ever having seen a study that demonstrated the general condition of the Negro was somehow better in the North than in the South.
Oh I don't disagree with that, for sure.
 

jrickman

Senior Member
I think there is a point where people have to acknowledge the flaws in those that came before them. The American Civil War was most certainly not fought over only slavery, but to pretend that it was a minor issue is revisionist thinking. The English Thesaurus is simply not thick enough to work your way out of it. A lot of our ancestors were very much racists and willing to shed blood over that stance. It ain’t pretty, but pretty ain’t a requirement for truth. Sometimes it’s just ugly.
 

buckpasser

Senior Member
Was the opinion of blacks written in the Stephen’s quote based on the condition and organization of Africa and African slaves at that time? Certainly now, after all these years of freedom and equality there are many examples of successful societies or governments created and managed by blacks at the present, correct?
 
I think there is a point where people have to acknowledge the flaws in those that came before them. The American Civil War was most certainly not fought over only slavery, but to pretend that it was a minor issue is revisionist thinking. The English Thesaurus is simply not thick enough to work your way out of it. A lot of our ancestors were very much racists and willing to shed blood over that stance. It ain’t pretty, but pretty ain’t a requirement for truth. Sometimes it’s just ugly.
I still contend that the majority of the soldiers and leaders on both sides of the War at the beginning were racists. That probably held for the entire War even with the federal Colored Troops added in. I ask that you remember the prejudice that blacks historically had against darker skinned blacks.

That is not to say that Slavery was not a major point of contention along with the foul treatment that the South was receiving at the hands of the Federal Govt. I just get sick to death of the claims about the racism prevalent in the South while that same fact is omitted from any description of the North or the West, etc.
 
Thread starter #11
I still contend that the majority of the soldiers and leaders on both sides of the War at the beginning were racists. That probably held for the entire War even with the federal Colored Troops added in. I ask that you remember the prejudice that blacks historically had against darker skinned blacks.

That is not to say that Slavery was not a major point of contention along with the foul treatment that the South was receiving at the hands of the Federal Govt. I just get sick to death of the claims about the racism prevalent in the South while that same fact is omitted from any description of the North or the West, etc.
I would agree, I think one could be against slavery and also be a racist at the same time.

Even though slavery ended, it did nothing to end racism in the north or south. I too get tired of hearing how racist the South was after the war compared to the rest of the nation. Heck look at the Indiana Klan as a good example.
 
Thread starter #12
Was the opinion of blacks written in the Stephen’s quote based on the condition and organization of Africa and African slaves at that time? Certainly now, after all these years of freedom and equality there are many examples of successful societies or governments created and managed by blacks at the present, correct?
Can you restate this, I'm not quite following? I will add that most of the nation believed as Steven's did about the Negro race at that time to include Lincoln. Maybe just not to the point of using them as slaves. Sort of a limited form of freedom if you will. Kind of like the way men thought about women and equality.
 

buckpasser

Senior Member
Can you restate this, I'm not quite following? I will add that most of the nation believed as Steven's did about the Negro race at that time to include Lincoln. Maybe just not to the point of using them as slaves. Sort of a limited form of freedom if you will. Kind of like the way men thought about women and equality.
Yes, my comment is an assumption that blacks were thought of as “less than” because of the primitive condition in which they existed under their own terms and conditions (Africa).

The second part of my comment is a question. What has changed? Where is the example of black society that is well governed, successful and competitive with the rest of the world.

I’ll add one further question. Was the old southern school of thought wrong?
 
The southern states, throughout the 1850s, were facing three principle issues affecting their ability to function. One of those issues was certainly slavery, but only about 3% of the non-negro population of the southern states had ever owned a slave or even worked for slave a owner. Slavery was ending in all the states as an economic force.

By 1860, mechanical cotton pickers and a mechanical means to separate the cotton fibers from the seeds, were being introduced. The more numerous rice plantations were still using slaves extensively, but a high wheeled rice planter had already been demonstrated. Slave owners KNEW, in the 1850s, that their business model had to change. The economic model for slaves as industrial, commercial, or agricultural labor was clearly ending. Most plantation owners were unwilling to fight for continuing slave field labor instead of eventual transition to mechanical planting, picking, and preparing their crops. But that leads to economic and political issues that were preventing that transition - more later!

There was another aspect of slavery that was not under threat by the industrial changes. Slaves as personal servants were still economically feasible and socially important as status symbols. For many of the tiny minority of non-negro slave owners the public demonstration that they were "superior" to others because they owned a black slave, was very important. This tiny - racist by today's standards - minority of the southern population, was already experiencing a transition from owning their own slaves as personal servants to hiring those services either from free blacks or slave owners who supplemented their income by hiring out slaves.

When addressing slavery in the United States (including Maryland and Delaware) it is important to remember that many slave owners were NOT white. Free black slave owners outnumbered white slave owners in Charleston, SC in the 1860 census. And not all slaves were actually descended from black Africans. There is ample evidence that Southern Asian (Indian), Southeast Asian, American Indian, and South American peoples were also slaves in the United States. (If their skin was dark enough no one questioned actual race.)

There were greater, more important, issues facing the South. The most immediate was the economic stranglehold over the south by the New England industrialists. The short version of this problem defines the extremely wealthy owners of the many New England factories as a group of democrats who decided to deny the south any industrial development and use their "ownership" of the US House and Senate to take control of all transport and sale of agricultural goods in the South. Yes, the rich democrats of the 1850s and 1860s had bought the majority of all US Senators by paying several governors and key state legislators. And yes, these same democrats had used ballot harvesting, fraudulent vote counts, direct payments to voters, character assassination, false advertising, and outright lies, to get their picked candidates elected to the US House (sound familiar?)

Many federal statutes prevented people in the southern states from opening factories, selling manufactured goods, selling cotton or rice directly to other countries. Southern businesses had to pay special taxes to sell their goods to northern states and then only to certain buyers who cooperated to "fix" the price. From the mid-1850s through 1860 this economic oppression only got worse. It was devastating to plantation owners, but it was also strangling small business in the South, and destroying the economic fabric of the Southern States,

And finally, the entire culture and social fabric of the south was under assault. Not only were the rich under threat of losing the economic benefit of slave ownership and but at the same time the northern Oligarchs were preventing them from developing alternatives. Not only were merchants, factors, shippers, and tradesmen in the south denied markets for southern goods, but northerners and midwesterners were trying to shut them down and eliminate their livelihood. More than just a tiny few slave owners, the MAJORITY of the free population of the southern states believed themselves under attack.

During the election campaigns of 1860 the democrats continued to hold key districts in the northeast, and a majority of Senate seats were clearly controlled by the New England industrialists, but a new party also threatened the south. I don't think very many southern voters cared one little whit what Lincoln, or his republican party, thought about slavery. I believe that - for most voters in the south - the threat Lincoln represented was in the obvious and overt support given to the republican party by the very same super rich northerners who had been paying democrat House members to make the laws that were destroying the south.

Slavery was important as a Constitutionally authorized way of life, and perhaps more important, as a symbol of what the south was losing in the ongoing economic and political assault. In 1860 Abraham Lincoln became, for many in the south, the boogieman who represented everything that was wrong. I am certain that a significant majority of free people in the south believed that Abraham Lincoln ACTUALLY WAS going to commit economic murder and destroy the south by continuing the policies that had already diminished the southern states and further enriched the New England robber barons while pushing even more egregious taxes and regulations.

I am certain because that is exactly what Lincoln did. Beginning in 1861, Lincoln did everything possible to destroy the southern economy and funneled all the money he could gather directly into the hands of those same northeastern industrialists to buy manufactured goods for the war. Lincoln chose to prosecute a violent war against the various state militias of the Confederacy at the same time he pursued a more violent war against the people of the South attempting to starve the southern people and destroy the economies of every Confederate state.

I suggest that what Lincoln actually did proves that the voters of the southern states were absolutely right to fear a Lincoln presidency!
 
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Thread starter #15
Yes, my comment is an assumption that blacks were thought of as “less than” because of the primitive condition in which they existed under their own terms and conditions (Africa).

The second part of my comment is a question. What has changed? Where is the example of black society that is well governed, successful and competitive with the rest of the world.

I’ll add one further question. Was the old southern school of thought wrong?
Why was Europe so late to become civilized?
 
Thread starter #17
How is that relevant to my questions? Europe/Europeans were obviously capable of it.
I think it's related in terms of showing that race doesn't have much to do with civilizaion and when and where it happens. There were civilizations in the Americas and the whole world for that matter that weren't Caucasian and many that beat the Caucasians as well.

That being said, when the Europeans did develop, and this took a long time, they became masters at it. Their key to growing was expansion through colonization.

To do this they needed slaves and got most of them from Africa.
 
Thread starter #18
Yes, my comment is an assumption that blacks were thought of as “less than” because of the primitive condition in which they existed under their own terms and conditions set by themselves(Africa) though.

The second part of my comment is a question. What has changed? Where is the example of black society that is well governed, successful and competitive with the rest of the world.

I’ll add one further question. Was the old southern school of thought wrong?
I would agree that the whole developed world did and still does think the Negro is "less than." They still do to a certain extent. I'm not sure it's all based on the terms and condition in Africa though.

A lot has to do with how they were colonized and even ruled after colonization. Even though that part of history is over, they still have to deal with the EU trade and other things that may hinder them from world trade.
Since the world still considers them "less than" might make it a little bit harder for them to develop and compete.

I would say though that they must carry some of the blame for their lack of leadership and desire to work together to achieve development. Many of their countries are Socialist, maybe they should try Capitalism.

There could be many socioeconomic factors as to why they haven't developed any faster than countries on other continents. They do have to share some of that blame. I'm still not convinced it's based on racial genetics as there are too many exceptions to the rule.
 
Thread starter #19
Yes, my comment is an assumption that blacks were thought of as “less than” because of the primitive condition in which they existed under their own terms and conditions (Africa).

The second part of my comment is a question. What has changed? Where is the example of black society that is well governed, successful and competitive with the rest of the world.

I’ll add one further question. Was the old southern school of thought wrong?
Was the old southern school of thought wrong? Concerning Negros being "less than?" Yes but it wasn't any different than the rest of the thoughts of America back then or now.

Maybe the thoughts perpetuate the "less than." I think the idealism that slavery was justified by instilling in the masses that Blacks, Indians, and Asians were all "less than" in order to justify using them.

Back in the Roman days, they didn't care what race their slaves were. Maybe by the time the US was colonized, people were beginning to change in terms of how they were feeling about slavery. Using Blacks made it easier to accept because the really didn't consider them human.

By dad is 98 and he still doesn't consider the Black race as human. He says they aren't exactly animals but somewhere in between.
 
Thread starter #20
Oh, and plantation owners used Negro for slave. To them a Native American slave was a Negro just as much as the Africans. Even after slavery ended, many Native Americans were listed as Mulatto or Mixed or even Negro on the Census.
 
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