Comments: The long War Between the Whites that started in the 19th century and continues to this day. [Bumped]

Never was about slavery. Follow the money.

Posted by chasmatic at June 25, 2015 9:43 AM

Z has no sense of American history. Chasmatic is hereby ordered to memorize Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address.

Posted by Fat Man at June 25, 2015 11:35 AM

You don't have to guess why Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, and Georgia seceded from the United States. They appointed Commissioners to present their case(s) to other sympathetic States, and the texts of the addresses and plaidoyers of their Commissioners to Kentucky, Virginia, Maryland, and Texas are available on-line.

Take a look:

They presented quite openly and specifically their reasons for declaring their independence, and used the arguments that they thought would be most convincing.

As Colonel John S Mosby, the commander of the 43rd Battalion, First Virginia Cavalry, wrote in 1907, "The South went to war on account of Slavery."

Posted by Punditarian at June 25, 2015 1:14 PM

"In the 19th century, northern whites of mostly English ancestry used slavery as an excuse to attack and kill as a many Southern whites as possible."

I'm trying to be respectful here, but this statement is crazy.

The States that seceded from the Union did so because they were convinced that the Republican Party's platform - preventing the spread of slave-owning to the territories of the United States - would eventually mean the end of slavery, and hence, the end of the economy and the way of life that slavery had enabled.

The United States was drawn very reluctantly into war, and only after many provocations that included the bombardment of Fort Sumter.

Posted by Punditarian at June 25, 2015 2:13 PM

I'm very weary of Civil War revisionism that pretends slavery and its spread were not the primary issue. State's Rights, a legitimate issue, was sabotaged twice by the South, first by hiding behind it to preserve and expand slavery, and then a century later to defend segregation.

I do not bear the South any ill will -- I'm a Virginian and have been for decades. I find the whole hysteria of trying to erase Confederate history to be insane and malicious. But I won't partake of distorted notions about why that war was fought.

Posted by DonRodrigo at June 25, 2015 2:51 PM

Letter to Horace Greeley from Abraham Lincoln 9/22/1862:

"As to the policy I "seem to be pursuing" as you say, I have not meant to leave any one in doubt.

I would save the Union. I would save it the shortest way under the Constitution. The sooner the national authority can be restored; the nearer the Union will be "the Union as it was." If there be those who would not save the Union, unless they could at the same time save slavery, I do not agree with them. If there be those who would not save the Union unless they could at the same time destroy slavery, I do not agree with them. My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that. What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union; and what I forbear, I forbear because I do not believe it would help to save the Union. I shall do less whenever I shall believe what I am doing hurts the cause, and I shall do more whenever I shall believe doing more will help the cause. I shall try to correct errors when shown to be errors; and I shall adopt new views so fast as they shall appear to be true views."

Lincoln was not anti-slave as much as he was pro- union. Why then did he issue the Emancipation Proclamation a few months later? Here's one answer:
There were several reasons that Lincoln announced and implemented the Emancipation Proclamation at the end of 1862, early 1863. His basic goal was to turn the war from a political focus to a morally based focus. First, Lincoln was in a difficult situation, militarily. The North had lost most of the battles that had been fought, and many Northerners were beginning to grumble about the war. Lincoln hoped that the change to a moral focus on slavery would cement Northern support. In addition, several European countries, including England and France, were considering formal recognition of the Confederacy. Lincoln correctly believed that the shift to a moral focus on slavery would prevent that recognition. Thirdly, Lincoln hoped that the promise of freedom would cause revolts among Southern slaves and lead them to support the Northern armies. Finally, Lincoln, himself, had come to believe personally that freeing the slaves was the right thing to do. The move was risky on his part because he could have easily pushed the border states into joining the Confederate cause, which is why the Proclamation only frees the slaves in rebellious territory. However, while the Proclamation did become a campaign issue in the 1864 elections, it did exactly what Lincoln had hoped, changed the war from a political conflict into a moral struggle which needed to be fought to the end."

Why did the South decide to secede? Primarily it was about their right to continue to make slavery legal. For details about each state's bill of secession and charts detailing the reasons for secession see this:

There were a few states (Primarily Mississippi and Georgia)that made the case that the South's economy could not succeed without slaves.

There are still disagreements among experts as to why the war occurred, but there can be no doubt that slavery was the biggest issue.

Today's disputes between some States and the Federales is primarily about States rights. It hasn't come to shooting yet. With a rogue President and an activist SOTUS the conditions are moving in the direction of revolt.

Posted by Jimmy J. at June 25, 2015 4:32 PM

Ah, that would be - activist SCOTUS. :-)

Posted by Jimmy J. at June 25, 2015 8:00 PM

Fat man: ouch, I'll take the rebuke.
My limited reading on the Civil War led me to interpret the motives of both sides to be: a) economic; and b) States Rights. The issue of slavery challenged both these premises. States should have the right to determine their own laws, so if they want slavery they can have it. The economy of the South was mostly agrarian and the way the states could stay competitive was by using cheap (free) labor.
While slavery was the catalyst, the economy and way of life that it supported was threatened by freeing the slaves.

"(Lincoln's) basic goal was to turn the war from a political focus to a morally based focus ..."

"... it did exactly what Lincoln had hoped, changed the war from a political conflict into a moral struggle ..."

By doing that there was no acceptable defense for slavery. States' Rights and their economy were swept aside. Slavery became the beard.

Modern example: "I think Obama is a lousy president" gets you "Aw, you don't like him because he's Black; that's racist".

Posted by chasmatic at June 25, 2015 9:03 PM

Hi chasmatic,

"States' rights" became an issue because of slavery.

Slavery was always controversial. Even many slaveholders thought it was a temporarily necessary evil that would soon fade away.

In the first draft of the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson criticized George III because:

"He has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating its most sacred rights of life and liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating & carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere or to incur miserable death in their transportation thither. This piratical warfare, the opprobrium of infidel powers, is the warfare of the Christian King of Great Britain. Determined to keep open a market where Men should be bought & sold, he has prostituted his negative for suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or restrain this execrable commerce. And that this assemblage of horrors might want no fact of distinguished die, he is now exciting those very people to rise in arms among us, and to purchase that liberty of which he has deprived them, by murdering the people on whom he has obtruded them: thus paying off former crimes committed again the Liberties of one people, with crimes which he urges them to commit against the lives of another."

Slavery was also the subject of much discussion at the Constitutional Convention. And it repeatedly came up over the next 60 years.

The Republican Party's stated platform position, was that slavery should not be permitted in any of the territories of the United States, that is in the land under the authority of the Federal government, and that no new slave-holding States should be admitted to the Union. The slave-holding States determined that such a limitation would eventually lead to abolition, and they therefore seceded, thereby provoking war.

Slavery was not an "add-on" issue. It was the fundamental issue underlying the war. All the talk about "States' rights" is in my opinion an attempt to substitute a nicer-sounding pretext for the ugliness of the rationale for war that caused more American deaths than all of our other wars, combined.

Posted by Punditarian at June 26, 2015 7:47 AM

It came to the South--for the worst of reasons--to defend the principle of the old republic--federal government limited and clearly enumerated; and for the North, in order that it may oppose a great evil, to create another great evil.

We are now wobbling at the precipice of the surviving evil, and any conservative who by this time thinks we are not falling in is a fool. Optimism is cowardice.

I have made a distinction between two types of centralization; the one called governmental, the other administrative. The first exists solely in America; the second is almost unknown there. In the United States, the majority, which often has despotic tastes and instincts, still lacks the most developed tools of tyranny.
If the direction authority in American societies took...combined the right of total command with the capacity of total execution...freedom would soon be obliterated in the New World.

Posted by james wilson at June 26, 2015 9:34 AM

That is an eloquent point, Mr. Wilson, and I am willing to be convinced.

But how did the Republican Party's platform - that there be no slavery in the territories under the Federal government's jurisdiction, rather than under the jurisdiction of any State - go against that old republican principle of a limited federal government of enumerated powers? Did the Federal government make any move to expand its powers before the secession of South Carolina, Georgia, Louisiana, Alabama, an Mississippi?

Was the interdiction of slavery in the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 an unconstitutional expansion of the Federal government's powers?

The tragedy for the United States is that the rebellion of the slave-holding States compelled the United States to expand Federal power in order to survive, and induced the citizens of the United States to begin to accept the idea of a powerful national government, as opposed to a weak Federal government. By rebelling, the slave States brought about the very monster they feared.

Posted by Punditarian at June 26, 2015 12:41 PM

Progressive politics move by indirection. It has always been so. In 1835, the abolitionist movement was stronger in the South than in the North. Then the evangelicals in the North found the new religion of John Wilberforce, and in twenty years of crusading they had prepared the public for a fight. Lincoln acknowledged to Harriet Beecher Stowe in person that the War was owed to her.

Southerners knew very well they had become inferior to Northerners in personal industry, and some of them knew that the reason was slavery itself. But weakness was not so likely to spur a people to improve themselves as it was to bring resentment, fear, and belligerence toward the growing colossus to the north. The fire was ready to be lit, and the new radical Republican Party and their friends saw to it that it was.

Menchen said it best. Soldiers left for the War representing their individual states and returned as subjects of one. It would be foolish to think this was not going to happen in it's own time, but the War was a great break in the Republic.

Posted by james wilson at June 26, 2015 4:52 PM

Punditarian, thanks for the enlightenment. I am admittedly ignorant of the dynamics involved in these issues. Thanks also James.

I'll pay attention to you guys and also get some books, learn more about this topic.

I have a hunch that States' Rights is going to become a bigger conversation. The slavery aspect, um, no. There will be issues that push the states to consider secession.

Posted by chasmatic at June 26, 2015 9:01 PM

Thanks, chasmatic, for your kind words. Discussions about slavery, the War Between the States, and States's Rights are bound to be complex.

You don't have to believe that slavery is wrong, as Lincoln believed, to believe that the Constitution should have been discarded in order to do away with it. You don't have to believe that Africans are on average the equals or even superiors of Europeans in intelligence, strength, or any other qualities, to understand that enslaving people as chattel property, no matter their limitations, is wrong, either.

Whether the States that formed and those that joined the Union have the right to secede has long been debated.

I would say that the States do not retain the right to secede without a fight. That is, they have the same right to secede from the United States that the Colonies had to secede from the United Kingdom. If they recognize it as treason, as Robert E. Lee clearly understood, but realize that the Independence of the United States was also treason, and if they can compel the United States to recognize their Independence by the force of arms, or even without the force of arms, if such could be obtained. then they have the right to secede. It is not a legal right under the Constitution, it is a right that derives from an appeal to a higher Power. But the mere assertion of that right, and that Independence, does not of course guarantee that it will be recognized.

If history is any guide, the situation that will develop in the United States as all of the institutions of civil society are undermined and wither away, will be a situation of increasing fragmentation and social chaos, which the government will try to control with increasing tyranny. The tyranny will be both soft and hard, it will be more like "Brave New World" with sex, drugs, and rock & roll for all who toe the line, until there is resistance, and then it will be more like "1984."

In such a situation, it would be possible, I think, for a socially cohesive society that was located in a defensible territory and which retained the civic virtues, to become independent.

But the rot will have to become a frank breakdown before those conditions arise.

It may happen sooner than we think, however. The evolution over same sex "marriage" has certainly happened much faster than anyone would have believed when BJ Clinton signed the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996.

Posted by Punditarian at June 27, 2015 3:29 PM


"... as all of the institutions of civil society are undermined and wither away ..."

Yes, we will see morals and virtues and patriotism challenged when the economy tanks, the food and fuel run out, the power grid goes down.

The institutions of which you speak cannot sustain the people. Stage one rioting and looting, outward spread, more military and LE in vain efforts to maintain order; they will end up in the middle, targets for looters and defenders alike.

Then comes the fragmenting as enclaves and, um, redoubts organize to ward off approaching danger. At that point States' Rights will be a non-issue. Seize what one can or keep what one holds, the only dynamics in play.

Ironically the government and military infrastructure, to wit satellites, armor, nuclear weapons, troop support in the form of food and fuel will be operational. Again, seize whatcha can and keep whatcha hold.

The military will become the unwilling supplier for all the patriots, freedom fighters, militias, oh, and the bad guys — the looters and marauders.

And that's just the domestic scene. There will be enemies without our gates as well. Hoo boy.

Posted by chasmatic at June 27, 2015 10:03 PM

Hi chasmatic,

We are getting off-topic, but the scenario you describe is plausible.

May I add that a complete breakdown of the "grid," whether by a solar "Carrington event," or by an EMP-attack of the kind about which President Obama's friends, the Iranian regime, are openly talking, would plunge the USA into chaos far more rapidly than either you or I can properly imagine.

Posted by Punditarian at June 28, 2015 7:24 AM

Pun' — I do tend to drift a bit. A couple smokes, some stout coffee and the chemo meds sloshing around in me tend to do that, although I rarely lose sight of shore.

Whatever happens to us as society and infrastructure unravel will challenge our morals and values. Power and control will be the dynamics driving any societal gathering. The breakdown will go farther than states looking to withdraw and consolidate. I think of regions.

Posted by chasmatic at June 28, 2015 12:58 PM

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