The best thing to happen to my region, The South, was to lose the "Civil War" and to lose it because of William T. Sherman's tactics. The only way you break the will of fanatics is to show them the gates of Hell and force them to burn or change. The fantasy of slavery would never last long-term but the Plantation owners would never give it up without war.
BTW, most fanatics will not walk into Hell, when given the choice. They will change. We can't read the minds of Muslims, who is moderate and who will become violent. Send them home. The region needs more moderates and those moderates are not going to change Islam from The West.When they fix their countries we can treat them like civilized members of humanity, not before.
re: " the Plantation owners would never give [slavery] up without war." Scott M
Nonsense. Everywhere else in the Americas slavery ended peacefully by pen or purse. Pay off the owners was the usual way it worked. Immigration of legions of dirt poor whites from Europe by the advances in ships because of the industrial revolution involving metals and motors insured slavery was doomed economically.
The war was unnecessary. It was the last gasp of the Puritan mindset before they discovered Progressivism.
Who else can imagine the death and destruction that would have been imposed upon the South by the more populous and heavily industrialized North, had the South taken that advice?
The War Between the States may have been "unnecessary." And it certainly devastated the economic development of the Southern states.
However, the War was forced by Southern extremists. Certainly there were abolitionists spoiling for a fight. But if men like Ruffin and Pryor had desisted from an armed assault on American troops, the War could have been avoided, there would not have been any enthusiasm for an invasion of the South, and secession would have been accepted.
I've always thought Jackson was one of the most brilliant tacticians the US ever produced. Had he not been a victim of friendly fire, he would have been with Lee at Gettysburg and that battle, close as it was, would have likely gone the other way.
The Southern Army would have been in a position to march on Washington and probably forced the Federals to negotiate a peace. The war was not popular in the North and any excuse would probably have been good enough. Particularly if Washington was in Southern hands.
What a different world we'd live in today had that been the case.
One of the best books I ever read on the subject was called "I Rode With Stonewall". I don't remember the author but he had been a junior officer on Jackson's staff and wrote the book after the war. He never did anything with it and on his death, his son found the manuscript and had it published. Wonderful, inciteful book.
The monument in Baltimore that shows Jackson and Lee parting on the eve of Chancellorsville has always touched me, particularly Jackson's quote, inscribed on its base, "So great is my confidence in General Lee, that I am willing to follow him blindfolded."
And in the delerium which accompanied his death from a septic wound infection, he gave us his beautiful last words, "Let us cross over the river, and rest under the shade of the trees."
And I have long saved a Jackson calendar, which tells each day what the General was doing during his War.
But this is the same Jackson who told his aides, after a day in which 20,000 casualties were recorded, including 2600 deaths, as he calmly ate a peach, "God has been very kind to us this day."
Believing the Armies of the Confederacy to be the very Host of the Lord, the war he would have carried to the North, had he lived, and had he been permitted, would have wreaked devastation besides which the property destruction of Sherman's March through Georgia would have paled.
re: "However, the War was forced by Southern extremists." Punditarian
Suggest you obtain and read The Secret Six by Otto Scott and meet the Northern extremists: The Secret Six were Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Samuel Gridley Howe, Theodore Parker, Franklin Benjamin Sanborn, Gerrit Smith, and George Luther Stearns.
The war was fomented by the North.
Thanks, Mr. Kurt, that book looks interesting. I will try to find a copy so as to read it. But the Harper's Ferry raid of 1859 failed to spark a slave insurrection, much less a regional war.John Brown was hanged 46 days after the first action of his raid. The War didn't begin until Ruffin and Pryon fired on Fort Sumter, 500 days later.
Lincoln Instigated The Firing On Ft. Sumter - Quotes
"You and I both anticipated that the cause of the country would be advanced by making the attempt to provision Ft Sumter, even if it should fail; and it is no small consolation now to feel that our anticipation is justified by the result. "
Lincoln, Letter To Gustavus Fox on 1 May, 1861
"He (Lincoln) himself conceived the idea, and proposed sending supplies, without an attempt to reinforce giving notice of the fact to Gov Pickins of S.C. The plan succeeded. They attacked Sumter it fell, and thus, did more service than it otherwise could."
Senator Orville Hickman Browning's diary dated July 3, 1861
(Lincoln's personal and political friend)
An American Reichstag fire?
Maybe, but even if he made of Fort Sumter an inviting target, Lincoln did not fire the guns.
That took Pryor and Ruffin. Their responsibility for igniting the fire of War can't be evaded.
Follow the money is a good way to analyze the Civil War.
The Blacks got 40 acres and a mule and still worked in poverty.
Those of them that went North merely changed locations for indentured servant lives.
We are still paying for the results of that war, namely: slaves set free.
I don't see many Black Negro Afro-American People of Color panhandling in the fields of Mississippi.
They want restitution? OK, let's add up all the Welfare and Medicaid and food stamps and free phones and um, a lot more things.
Make an offer of forty acres and a mule to any of them that want it or a one way ticket to Africa for those that think Black lives matter.
I have one question: matter to who?
The South had no intention of giving up slavery, but rather, they intended to expand it westward. They were largely a top-down agrarian society and intended to stay that way.
The fact that time and history would have eventually ended both slavery and agrarian dominance was of no consequence in 1861. All wars are to some degree or another, "unnecessary." But the fullness of time is never taken into account in the heat of the moment.
Incidentally, even had their not been an all-out Civil War and no secession to precipitate it, there would have been much conflict and violence anyway. Remember that Kansas was a prelude to the greater war, as was Harpers Ferry.
Same can be said of the two World Wars. It is inevitable that the tensions that lead to great wars can only be dampened, but not put out. The Spanish Civil War is but one example in the more modern conflicts.
"The War didn't begin until Ruffin and Pryon fired on Fort Sumter, 500 days later. " - Punditarian
I described the situation of Fort Sumpter to my son thusly: It was as if you bought a house. Not only do the previous tenants not leave, but they invite over all their friends and relatives over with their guns to shoot at you if you set foot on your own property.
The war didn't start until Lincoln called for 75,000 volunteers specifically "to invade the South". We didn't want anything to do with the Federals. If we wanted, we could have strolled into DC right after First Mannassas. We didn't.
Sumpter didn't belong to the Federals the second SC seceded. Lincoln abandoned all of Texas without firing a shot, but for some reason decides that Sumpter belongs to the Federals?
Check out Prof. Dr. Aiken's article over at The Abbeville Institute. "Monsters of Virtuous Pretension"...
Just got the ebook of this yesterday.
Thank you, Malgus, for suggesting the Aiken essay.
He presents the Southern case very well indeed.
There is no doubt that the War Between the States was the occasion of terrible suffering.
I hope you will forgive me for the observation, but the fact that the South suffered devastation as a result of the war does not illuminate questions as to how the war started. I continue to believe that the Southern states could have proceeded peacefully to a resolution that would have been much more to their liking than the results of the War.
It was the Southern states, or perhaps better said, some of the Southern states, who precipitated the War because of intemperate haste to resolve the underlying questions, and because of a mistaken belief in their military superiority.
South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas adopted ordinances of secession after Lincoln's election, but before his Inauguration.
The reasons that these state governments thought that secession was immediately imperative can be known from the speeches and letters of the Commissioners appointed by Alabama, South Carolina, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Georgia, to convince the governments of the other slave holding states to secede.
You can find the texts of those speeches and letters here:
These documents are not post-bellum justifications and rationalizations. They are appeals to presumably sympathetic audiences, using the best and strongest arguments that the Commissioners had.
The speeches to the Virginia convention are particularly important.
There can be no question whatsoever, but that the secession was motivated by fear that in the fullness of time, if the platform of the Republican Party were to be upheld, and that no additional slave states were to be admitted to the Union, then the institution of "African slavery," as John Preston called it, would eventually disappear.
In Henry Benning's words:
"The Republican party is the permanent, dominant party at the North, and it is vain to think that you can put it down. It is true that the Republican party hates slavery, and that it is to be the permanent, dominant party at the North; and the majority being equivalent to the whole, as I have already stated, we cannot doubt the result. What is the feeling of the rest of the Northern people upon this subject? Can you trust them? They all say that slavery is a moral, social and political evil. Then the result of that feeling must be hatred to the institution; and if that is not entertained, it must be the consequence of something artificial or temporary-some interest, some thirst for office, or some confidence in immediate advancement. And we know that these considerations cannot be depended upon, and we may expect that, ultimately, the whole North will pass from this inactive state of hatred into the active state which animates the Black Republican party."
"If things are allowed to go on as they are, it is certain that slavery is to be abolished except in Georgia and the other cotton States, and I doubt, ultimately in these States also. By the time the North shall have attained the power, the black race will be in a large majority, and then we will have black governors, black legislatures, black juries, black everything. [Laughter.] The majority according to the Northern idea, which will then be the all-pervading, all powerful one, have the right to control. It will be in keeping particularly with the principles of the abolitionists that the majority, no matter of what, shall rule. Is it to be supposed that the white race will stand that? It is not a supposable case. Although not half so numerous, we may readily assume that war will break out everywhere like hidden fire from the earth, and it is probable that the white race, being superior in every respect, may push the other back. They will then call upon the authorities at Washington, to aid them in putting down servile insurrection, and they will send a standing armv down upon us, and the volunteers and Wide-Awakes will come in thousands, and we will be overpowered and our men will be compelled to wander like vagabonds all over the earth; and as for our women, the horrors of their state we cannot contemplate in imagination. That is the fate which Abolition will bring upon the white race.
But that is not all of the Abolition war. We will be completely exterminated, and the land will be left in the possession of the blacks, and then it will go back into a wilderness and become another Africa or St. Domingo. The North will then say that the Lord made this earth for his Saints and not for Heathens, and we are his Saints, and the Yankees will come down and drive out the negro."
There is much more to be mined from the same vein in the writings of the other Commissioners at the site indicated, above.
The Southern states precipitated the war because they felt that their last moment had arrived, that is the last opportunity they would have to preserve "African slavery." They thought they were losing the political and economic struggle, and therefore took up arms.
As you say, perhaps the armies of the South could have taken Washington forthwith. But again, the South's inability to dictate how the War would be fought, and the South's inability to prevail, do not illuminate the causes of the War, and don't change the fact that Ruffin fired artillery on a military installation of the United States.
As an aside, I think the author of this dialogue was mistaken about the "black flag."
According to histories of the "golden age" of maritime piracy, it was not the "black flag" that was displayed to indicate the intention to refrain from taking prisoners, but the Red Flag. When they flew the "black flag" --whether it was adorned with a skull, crossed bones, or whatever -- the pirates were announcing their attention to be relatively merciful.
And that was probably a holdover from the Oriflamme, a banner of red silk flown from a gilded lance when the French King was present on the battlefield. No prisoners would be taken and no quarter given while the Oriflamme was displayed. It was last displayed at Agincourt, when its bearer was killed.
Interesting that the red flag was adopted by the socialist revolutionaries of 1848, the Paris Commune of 1871, and by communists all over the world thereafter.
This discussion appears to have died away, so I will summarize my thinking here:
1) The states that seceded from the Union in 1860-1861 did so in order to protect the institution of slavery.
2) Whether states have the right, preserved under the Constitution, to secede from the United States is a very good question, and there are many good arguments on both sides of the issue. I am in general sympathetic to the idea that sovereign states who joined in a compact, do retain the right to withdraw from that compact. However I think there are reasonable arguments on the other side of the issue.
3) Secession could have been accomplished without War.
4) In a sense, the actual eruption of total war -- although deriving in some sense from very deep and insurmountable problems -- was the result of a series of mistakes that were based on incomplete and wrong impressions of economic, technological, military, and social realities.