Dispatches from the Creation Wars

Slavery and the Civil War

At the risk of being infested yet again with Southern nationalists, I want to take a look at the issue of slavery and the civil war. It has become almost a mantra in some circles to say “the civil war wasn’t fought over slavery, it was fought over state’s rights.” This is a rather fatuous statement, as I’ve pointed out before; what “right” did they demand preserving other than the “right” to continue to hold slaves, which is not by any sane criteria a right at all? Whether one wants to believe it or not, the overwhelming issue was slavery and the push to abolish it, not only in the Western territories but in the South as well.

This post will proceed on one simple basis: the fact that those who advocated secession and led the Confederacy made very clear that, for them, the overriding issue was maintaining the institution of slavery. Thus we have Alexander Stephens declaring of the Confederacy, of which he was Vice President, “Its foundations are laid, its cornerstone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery . . . is his natural and normal condition.”

The seeds of the Civil War were planted long before it started. Future Confederate leaders were calling for secession prior to the election of 1860 if a Republican were to be elected because of the platform against slavery. Alfred Aldrich, a South Carolina legislator, declared:

“If the Republican party with its platform of principles, the main feature of which is the abolition of slavery and, therefore, the destruction of the South, carries the country at the next Presidential election, shall we remain in the Union, or form a separate Confederacy? This is the great, grave issue. It is not who shall be President, it is not which party shall rule — it is a question of political and social existence.”

He was joined by many prominent national politicians from the South, including James Hammond, Congressman from North Carolina. Hammond minced no words in a speech to the House, saying, “”the moment this House undertakes to legislate upon this subject [slavery], it dissolves the Union. Should it be my fortune to have a seat upon this floor, I will abandon it the instant the first decisive step is taken looking towards legislation of this subject. I will go home to preach, and if I can, practice, disunion, and civil war, if needs be. A revolution must ensue, and this republic sink in blood.”

Likewise John Calhoun, perhaps the greatest intellectual voice for slavery and the south, was warning that abolition would result in a civil war decades before it happened. In an 1837 speech on the floor of the Senate, he declared:

Abolition and the Union cannot coexist. As the friend of the Union I openly proclaim it, and the sooner it is known the better. The former may now be controlled, but in a short time it will be beyond the power of man to arrest the course of events. We of the South will not, cannot, surrender our institutions. To maintain the existing relations between the two races, inhabiting that section of the Union, is indispensable to the peace and happiness of both. It cannot be subverted without drenching the country or the other of the races. . . . But let me not be understood as admitting, even by implication, that the existing relations between the two races in the slaveholding States is an evil: far otherwise; I hold it to be a good, as it has thus far proved itself to be to both, and will continue to prove so if not disturbed by the fell spirit of abolition.

13 years later, Calhoun delivered his famous Southern Address, which addressed the growing tensions between the North and South, all of which were centered around slavery. In the very first paragraph he announces that the subject he is addressing is “the conflict between the two great sections of the Union, growing out of a difference of feeling and opinion in reference to the relation existing between the two races, the European and the African, which inhabit the southern section, and the acts of aggression and encroachment to which it has led.”

Slavery was the foundation for the entire conflict. Defenders of the South may point to tariffs laid against goods from the South, but those tariffs were laid because of the unfair advantage the South held by using slave labor. All of the major issues were tied directly to slavery. The issue of slavery in the Western territories was a much larger one than most realize. Shortly after the election of Lincoln, Robert Toombes, later the Confederate Secretary of State, delivered a speech laying out the case for secession. He said:

In 1820, the Northern party, (and I mean by that term now and whenever else it is used, or its equivalent, in these remarks, the Antislavery or Abolition party of the North,) endeavored to exclude the State of Missouri from admission into the Union, because she chose to protect African slavery in the new State. In the House, where they had a majority, they rejected her application, and a struggle ensued, when some half a dozen of Northern men gave way, and admitted the State, but upon condition of the exclusion of slavery from all that country, acquired from France by the treaty of 1802, lying north of thirty- six degrees thirty minutes, north latitude, and outside of the State of Missouri. This act of exclusion violated the express provisions of the treaty of 1802, to which the National faith was pledged; violated the well-settled policy of the Government, at least from Adams’s administration to that day, and has, since slavery was adjudicated by the Supreme Court of the United States, violated the Constitution itself. When we acquired California and New- Mexico this party, scorning all compromises and all concessions, demanded that slavery should be forever excluded from them, and all other acquisitions of the Republic, either by purchase or conquest, forever. This position of this Northern party brought about the troubles of 1850, and the political excitement of 1854. The South at all times demanded nothing but equality in the common territories, equal enjoyment of them with their property, to that extended to Northern citizens and their property ~ nothing more. They said, we pay our part in all the blood and treasure expended in their acquisition. Give us equality of enjoyment, equal right to expansion – it is as necessary to our prosperity as yours. In 1790 we had less than eight hundred thousand slaves. Under our mild and humane administration of the system they have increased above four millions. The country has expanded to meet this growing want, and Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, Arkansas, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Missouri, have received this increasing tide of African labor; before the end of this century, at precisely the same rate of increase, the Africans among us in a subordinate condition will amount to eleven millions of persons. What shall be done with them? We must expand or perish. We are constrained by an inexorable necessity to accept expansion or extermination. Those who tell you that the territorial question is an abstraction, that you can never colonize another territory without the African slavetrade, are both deaf and blind to the history of the last sixty years. All just reasoning, all past history, condemn the fallacy. The North understand it better – they have told us for twenty years that their object was to pen up slavery within its present limits – surround it with a border of free States, and like the scorpion surrounded with fire, they will make it sting itself to death. One thing at least is certain, that whatever may be the effect of your exclusion from the Territories, there is no dispute but that the North mean it, and adopt it as a measure hostile to slavery upon this point. They all agree, they are all unanimous in Congress, in the States, on the rostrum, in the sanctuary – everywhere they declare that slavery shall not go into the Territories. They took up arms to drive it out of Kansas; and Sharpe’s rifles were put into the hands of assassins by Abolition preachers to do their work. Are they mistaken? No; they are not. The party put it into their platform at Philadelphia – they have it in the corner-stone of their Chicago platform; Lincoln is on it – pledged to it. Hamlin is on it, and pledged to it; every Abolitionist in the Union, in or out of place, is openly pledged, in some manner, to drive us from the common Territories. This conflict, at least, is irrepressible – it is easily understood -we demand the equal right with the North to go into the common Territories with all of our property, slaves included, and to be there protected in its peaceable enjoyment by the Federal Government, until such Territories may come into the Union as equal States-then we admit them with or without slavery, as the people themselves may decide for themselves. Will you surrender this principle? The day you do this base, unmanly deed, you embrace political degradation and death.

He likewise complains that the Northern states had passed laws refusing to return escaped slaves to their “rightful owners”. That is the key fact in all of this. To those who fought, slaves were their property, period, and anything that denied them the “right” to own their fellow human beings was an unjust denial of their property rights. We now know that this is an absolutely unconscionable position, but it is the one they took nonetheless. Toombes declared:

But this is only one of the points of the case; the North agreed to deliver up fugitives from labor. In pursuance of this clause of the Constitution, Congress, in 1797, during Washington’s administration, passed a Fugitive Slave law; that act never was faithfully respected all over the North, but it was not obstructed by State legislation until within the last thirty years; but the spirit of hostility to our rights became more active and determined, and in 1850 that act was found totally insufficient to recover and return fugitives from labor; therefore the act of 1850 was passed. The passage of that act was sufficient to rouse the demon of abolition all over the North. The pulpit, the press, abolition societies, popular assemblages, belched forth nothing but imprecations and curses upon the South and the honest men of the North who voted to maintain the Constitution. And thirteen States of the Union, by the most solemn acts of legislation, wilfully, knowingly, and corruptly perjured themselves and annulled this law within their respective limits. I say willfully, knowingly, and corruptly. The Constitution is plain – it was construed in 1793 by Washington and the Second Congress. In the Senate, the bill for the rendition of fugitives was unanimously passed, and nearly unanimously passed by the House of Representatives, and signed by Washington. All the courts of the United States, Federal and State, from the Supreme Court of the United States to the Justice Courts of all the States whose actions have ever come under my notice, construed this Constitution to mean and intend the rendition of fugitive slaves by law of Congress, which might be aided, not thwarted, by State legislation, until the decision of the Supreme Court of Wisconsin held otherwise, and that decision was unanimously overruled by Northern and Southern judges in the Supreme Court, and which Court, in the same case, unanimously affirmed the constitutionality of the act of 1850. But these acts were not only annulled by the abolition Legislatures, but annulled under circumstances of atrocity and aggravation unknown to the legislation of any civilized people in the world. Some of them punish us with penitentiary punishment as felons for even claiming our own slaves within their limits, even by his own consent; others by ingenious contrivances prevent the possibility of your sustaining your rights in their limits, where they seek to compel you to go, and then punish you by fine and infamous punishments for asserting your rights and failing to get them.

Could it possibly be plainer that when the Confederate leaders spoke about their rights being denied, the “right” they had in mind was the non-existent right to own another human being? One can dance around this all they like, but the irrefutable fact is that slavery is the issue that prompted the Civil War and the issue over which it was fought. And the outcome of the war was to assert, once and for all, that no man has a right to own another man.

Nothing less than the basic principle of human equality was at stake and it was a war that simply could not be lost without grave implications for all of humankind. And you want to see just how delusional the voices for slavery were at the time? Take a look at this statement from Henry Wise, Congressman from and later Governor of Virginia:

“The principle of slavery is a leveling principle; it is friendly to equality. Break down slavery and you would with the same blow break down the great democratic principle of equality among men.”

It was upon this insane and preposterous idea that the Confederacy was formed, and the world is a far better place for having relegated such claims to the dustbin of history.

Comments

  1. #1 Francis
    March 22, 2007

    “The principle of slavery is a leveling principle; it is friendly to equality. Break down slavery and you would with the same blow break down the great democratic principle of equality among men.”

    And I thought some of the things said by the Bush administration were nonsensical.

  2. #2 Cheeto
    March 22, 2007

    FYI: in paragraph #6, the quote from John Calhoun probably was not made in 1937, but 1837

  3. #3 Chuck
    March 22, 2007

    Magnificent post. The South seceded because Lincoln was elected, and they feared he would stop the expansion of slavery into the West and begin a (long) process of ending slavery altogether. Little did they realize that by seceded they opened the door to the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments by 1870.

    Now, it is true that Lincoln’s motivating factor in executing the war was the preservation of the Union. That was his Constitutional obligation, after all. But the idiots who claim that he was not an abolitionist are kidding themselves.

  4. #4 Raging Bee
    March 22, 2007

    Following is an excerpt of my latest post under “Is Everyone a Victim?” in response to a point by Bear Paw, which I thought would be relevant here too:

    The Permanent Constitution of the Confederate States was a straight lift from the US Constitution. The only significant changes I remember, were an article explicitly legalizing chattel slavery, and another article legalizing the acquisition of new territory by the CSA. Nothing about “less government, less taxes, and the right of the people to govern themselves;” and certainly nothing about the right of dark-skinned Southerners to govern themselves.

  5. #5 Brandon
    March 22, 2007

    Great post. It’s important to note that whatever Congressmen at the time were complaining about tariffs and state rights, the secession would not have happened without the will of the people. And the average Joe in the South was certainly more worried about keeping his slaves than about legal minutiae, even if it was for benevolent reasons like taking care of his family.

    Can you share the source where you got all these quotes? If I repeated these arguments in public, I’d probably just get accused of making them up.

  6. #6 Rob Knop
    March 22, 2007

    The Civil War is, I believe, the first instance of the United States going to war with the express intention of liberating the residents of the invaded area from tyranny.

    It may also be the purest example of that. WWII may have had that affect, but it was mostly Germany’s and Japan’s expansionism that prompted the US to join the rest of the Europeans in that war. That was ostensibly part of the reason to go to war in Iraq, but the whole WMD thing was the main selling point. And we’ve seen how well *both* of those worked.

    -Rob

  7. #7 Francis
    March 22, 2007

    For those wishing to verify Raging Bee’s claim that the constitution was a straight lift, you can find the two side by side here.

    And Bee isn’t quite correct that the only significant changes were the article explicitely legalising chattel slavery and the one legalising expansion. There were several either new or ammended ones on the nature of slavery (such as one saying that slaves could not be taken off you by a state that had banned slavery) and even a couple of good new ideas not relating to slavery (such as saying that a single bill could only relate to a single issue – and that issue must be mentioned in the bill’s title) but slavery is the source of most of the biggest differences.

  8. #8 Raging Bee
    March 22, 2007

    And the average Joe in the South was certainly more worried about keeping his slaves than about legal minutiae…

    Actually, that’s not really the case. The sad thing about the Southern secession movement, is that it was supported by a lot of “average joes” who didn’t own slaves, didn’t profit from slavery, couldn’t afford to own either a plantation or the slaves needed to work it, and would not have derived one whit of benefit had the Confederacy won; but who were snookered/bullied by their peers into thinking they had to fight to defend their “culture” or “rights” or something. Also, Robert E. Lee didn’t join the Confederacy to defend slavery; he joined because he was a Virginian, and considered that loyalty to be above his loyalty to the US. (If Virginia had chosen not to secede, Lee might well have headed up the Union forces, and crushed the secessionists in a month.)

  9. #9 SLC
    March 22, 2007

    An excellent post by Mr. Brayton, which so far has not stirred up the Confederate whackjobs. However, I would like to highlight something else, namely the difference in the current attitude toward Southerners who remained loyal to the Union as opposed to those who “went South.”

    Here in Virginia, one can find monuments to Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson (who was actually from West Virginia), A. P. Hill, etc., native Virginians and high ranking Confederate officers. One will be hard put to find even a mention of another native Virginian who stayed loyal to the Union, namely George H. Thomas, the Rock of Chickamauga and victor of the Battle of Nashville. I would submit that General Thomas’ contributions to Union victory are on a par with those of Grant, Sherman, and Sheridan, yet he gets little respect, even in high school text books used outside the South. This is to be contrasted with the adulation shown especially to Lee and Jackson, who after all were the losers.

  10. #10 Ted
    March 22, 2007

    The Permanent Constitution of the Confederate States was a straight lift from the US Constitution.

    Preamble of the CSA Constitution:

    We, the people of the Confederate States, each State acting in its sovereign and independent character, in order to form a permanent federal government, establish justice, insure domestic tranquillity, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity–invoking the favor and guidance of Almighty God--do ordain and establish this Constitution for the Confederate States of America.

    From the other constitution:

    We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

    The preamble itself appears to spell out a direction that goes towards states rights.

    My schools were all in the north, but the overwhelming message I got at most discussions was that although the slavery issue was important, at least as important were the demographic changes occurring in the north (population growth, industrialization vs. agrarianism, and the implications on the influence of southern states with changing mores of the northern population – and what that meant with the election of Lincoln). I may need to re-examine each and every one of those northern apologists now. I finally understand why I subliminally hated that b*tch, Mrs. Finnebowski, the history teacher.

    Is it weird that Calhoun thought that slavery is good (for his state)? Is it weird that we think that overconsumption and cheap oil guaranteed through force is an OK thing for our economy and our culture? Hindsight will probably find that throughout history people are pragmatic wrt to moralizing.

    Those northern apologists make me tend to think this as absolvatory: How could we ever equate slavery with economics and find that normal? It can’t be our national character — we’re moral, therefore it must have been about all about emancipation. 70 years late, but all about emancipation.

  11. #11 carlsonjok
    March 22, 2007

    I think it is probably a bit more accurate to talk of southern secession as an economic response, with slavery as a (and probably, the) major component of it, rather than a movement purely about slavery. There was a agitation toward secession in South Carolina in late 1832 / early 1833 that sprang from the nullification movement which, in turn, grew from reaction to the tariffs of 1828 (and the subsequent 1832 revision.) The antebellum economy was rather fragile to begin with, notwithstanding the use of slave labor. Plantation owners were often deeply in debt to their British agents who advanced them credit against their future agricultural output. These tariffs, intended to protect the nascent American manufacturing sector, were viewed as oppressive by southerners because they taxed what southerners consumed while offering no protection to what they produced.

  12. #12 RickD
    March 22, 2007

    A good list of relevant quotes:.

    Pretty much all of them support the idea that slavery was the keey issue for Southerners at the time, and that “states’ rights” was only so much window dressing.

    I remembered this quote from watching Ken Burns’ mini-series:

    Howell Cobb, former general in Lee’s army, and prominent pre-war Georgia politician: “If slaves will make good soldiers, then our whole theory of slavery is wrong.” [Battle Cry of Freedom, p. 835.]

  13. #13 carlsonjok
    March 22, 2007

    The preamble [of the CSA constitution] the itself appears to spell out a direction that goes towards states rights.

    Indeed, it was the John Marshall court that really advanced the idea of the people as sovereign, more so than the states. This tended to enforce the Supreme Court’s role of an appellate authority over state courts and, by extension, federal supremacy.

  14. #14 Rob Knop
    March 22, 2007

    at least as important were the demographic changes occurring in the north

    That probably has an awful lot to with the fact that the Civil War happened when it did. The issue was Slavery, but the timing had to do with all sorts of socioeconomic factors.

    I mean, hell, when the country was founded there was this “all men are created equal” clause in it; slavery should have been thrown out right then. It was just a matter of time before too many people woke up to the fact of the fundamental hypocricy in the nation, leading to a conflict between that and the fact that a substantial fraction of the economic power base of part of the country based their power on a business model inconsistent with the principles of the nation. All high-minded talk about states’ rights and the “goodness of slavery” are rationalizations that “we who are in power thanks to this business model have a right to keep using this business model even if it is evil.” (Kind of like the RIAA today….)

    -Rob

    -Rob

  15. #15 G. Shelley
    March 22, 2007

    I suppose it depends on what people mean by “lavery was the cause”
    Was the main reason for some of the states seceding slavery? The declarations of causes that some of them put out suggests so, frequently mentioning slaves or slavery
    eg. http://sunsite.utk.edu/civil-war/reasons.html
    which covers Georgia (35) , Mississippi (7), South Carolina (18) and Texas (22)
    http://history.furman.edu/~benson/docs/scdebate2.htm
    Is apparently a transcription of a debate in South Carolina, slavery being the primary issue
    The other states? It is less clear.
    But when people say slavery was the cause, do they mean the North went to war to end slavery? This is less likely, but I’m not convinced this is actually a common argument

  16. #16 doctorgoo
    March 22, 2007

    Pretty much all of them support the idea that slavery was the keey issue for Southerners at the time, and that “states’ rights” was only so much window dressing.

    The false reason of “States’ rights” is used still today. Before the congressional elections in 1994, Republicans were all for protecting states’ rights. Why? Because the Dems had a pretty sturdy hold on congress for decades.

    But now (or rather, up until just before the recent elections), most Republicans threw out that philosophy and gave Bush and the federal government the ability to do just about anything. (And now that the Dems might hold congress for a while again, we can expect Republicans to start caring about states’ rights again, too.)

    Just as it’s merely window dressing now, so it was back in the days surrounding the civil war.

  17. #17 Raging Bee
    March 22, 2007

    If I were of a Marxian frame of mind, I could say that the Civil War was the culmination of a class struggle, between the rising “bourgeoisie” — manufacturers, tradesmen, money-managers — who dominated Northern politics, and the declining, reactionary “feudal aristocracy” — big landowners and their slave-based economy — who dominated Southern politics.

  18. #18 Ted
    March 22, 2007

    I mean, hell, when the country was founded there was this “all men are created equal” clause in it; slavery should have been thrown out right then.

    But it wasn’t thrown out. Instead it was enshrined as one of the few property rights specifically spelled out.

    Article I and article IV comes to mind.

  19. #19 carlsonjok
    March 22, 2007

    But when people say slavery was the cause, do they mean the North went to war to end slavery? This is less likely, but I’m not convinced this is actually a common argument

    It has been long enough since I read Doris Kearns Goodwin’s “Team of Rivals” that I may be mistaken, but my recollection was that Lincoln’s primary motivation was the preservation of the Union. During the early years of the war, even such ardent abolitionists as Salmon Chase wanted to keep the sword of abolition “in the sheath.”

  20. #20 Francis
    March 22, 2007

    Ted, no one is denying that States Rights were a pretext for secession – quite literally a pre-text in the case of the preamble to the constitution. But only one states right in specific mattered at all. And that was the right to be a slave state.

    Carson:
    my recollection was that Lincoln’s primary motivation was the preservation of the Union

    There’s certainly a lot of information to support that such as

    “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.” The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume V, “Letter to Horace Greeley” (August 22, 1862), p. 388.

  21. #21 Rob Knop
    March 22, 2007

    I think it’s fair to say that the North went to war to preserve the Union.

    However, they had to do that because the South seceded, and the South seceded because they saw their slavery “rights” being chipped away, and recognized that the way things were going slavery wouldn’t last.

    Given that, it’s also fair to say that the North went to war to end slavery. Their primary motivation was to preserve the Union, but it was a Union that was slowly (too slowly) working it’s way towards actually having some approximation of freedom for all of its (at least male) residents.

    -Rob

  22. #22 BC
    March 22, 2007

    The election of Lincoln with no electoral votes from South and the disintegration of the Whig party, Henry Clay’s party, was a signal for many of the politicians in the South that they were going to be outnumbered by North and West. The reason for one slave and one free state being admitted to union concurrently was to keep the Senate evenly divided (House was already uneven, the 3/5 apportionment for slaves kept the South close). Let there be one more free state than slave state and the South would be outnumbered in House, Senate, and President. The territories were Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Wyoming, Montana, Dakotas – which of these would be amenable for slavery? So, I guess you could say economy was reason for secession if you then agree that the South’s economy was dependent on slavery (or at least in their view at the time it was).

  23. #23 mark
    March 22, 2007

    My first reaction to the post was If not, then why was there a “balance” between slave state and free state as territories were admitted to statehood–BC has well noted this in the preceding comment. In the second grade, we learned “Lincoln freed the slaves.” In college, I learned history was a bit more complicated, and slavery was a far more important issue–like a deeply-embedded tumor.

  24. #24 Joe Shelby
    March 22, 2007

    A documentary I saw on Saturday as part of St. Pat’s day (I think it was on History International) about the Irish in America had an interesting comment.

    Irish immigrants, may famine refugees and survivors, fought for both sides during the conflict. However, on BOTH sides their feelings towards the war changed significantly after the emancipation proclamation. In both it turned the war from a “liberty” issue to a “slavery” issue, but how it impacted each was different. In the South, the Irish felt the loss of the idealism behind the rebellion, an idealism they wanted to carry back to Ireland (if successful) and use to overthrow the British occupiers.

    But to both, and especially to the North, it meant that the Catholic Irish, generally on the lower classes and suffering employment prejudice already, would now be competing against blacks for the same low income jobs they’d come to depend on.

    Now, in the end this didn’t pan out, since racism against blacks was “easier” than racism against whites (always go for the obvious differences first (race, sex) – only after you can’t do you discriminate on the hidden traits like religion or sexuality). But it was certainly a legitimate fear at the time when “no Irish need apply” dominated the employment pages.

  25. #25 bigTom
    March 22, 2007

    I think Rob has the causes about right. An interesting thing I heard (wish I had some refs) had to do with the ending of the Mexican war.
    We could easily have “absorbed” a much larger chunk of Mexican territory, but the North was concerned that that would make too many slave states and tip the balance.

  26. #26 Ed Brayton
    March 22, 2007

    One thing should be noted on the question of why the average guy went to war for the Confederacy. As someone noted above, most of them did not own slaves. I think there are two primary reasons why they went to fight. One is that most of them probably deeply believed that slavery was the natural order of things and that abolition was a threat to that; they may not have owned slaves, but they almost certainly were raised with the institution of slavery as the norm and threats to tradition are a powerful motivation for the simple minded.

    The other reason, however, may be even stronger. Pre-Civil War, and especially pre-14th amendment, people thought of themselves primarily as Virginians or Georgians, not “Americans.” The instinct to protect the tribe would have kicked in primarily at the level of that identity and the war would be seen as an attack on Texas, or Alabama, or whatever state they were from. It was the 14th amendment that established the notion of American citizenship first by declaring that anyone born in the United States is, first and foremost, a citizen of the United States and that there were rights guaranteed to all US citizens that could not be denied. It was only after that was passed that the notion of American citizenship first became the dominant ethos.

  27. #27 Dave S.
    March 22, 2007

    One can also look at the stated declaration of causes from the individual states themselves -

    Georgia:

    The people of Georgia having dissolved their political connection with the Government of the United States of America, present to their confederates and the world the causes which have led to the separation. For the last ten years we have had numerous and serious causes of complaint against our non-slave-holding confederate States with reference to the subject of African slavery. They have endeavored to weaken our security, to disturb our domestic peace and tranquility, and persistently refused to comply with their express constitutional obligations to us in reference to that property, and by the use of their power in the Federal Government have striven to deprive us of an equal enjoyment of the common Territories of the Republic.

    Mississippi:

    In the momentous step which our State has taken of dissolving its connection with the government of which we so long formed a part, it is but just that we should declare the prominent reasons which have induced our course.

    Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery– the greatest material interest of the world. Its labor supplies the product which constitutes by far the largest and most important portions of commerce of the earth. These products are peculiar to the climate verging on the tropical regions, and by an imperious law of nature, none but the black race can bear exposure to the tropical sun. These products have become necessities of the world, and a blow at slavery is a blow at commerce and civilization. That blow has been long aimed at the institution, and was at the point of reaching its consummation. There was no choice left us but submission to the mandates of abolition, or a dissolution of the Union, whose principles had been subverted to work out our ruin.

    South Carolina:

    The people of the State of South Carolina, in Convention assembled, on the 26th day of April, A.D., 1852, declared that the frequent violations of the Constitution of the United States, by the Federal Government, and its encroachments upon the reserved rights of the States, fully justified this State in then withdrawing from the Federal Union; but in deference to the opinions and wishes of the other slaveholding States, she forbore at that time to exercise this right. Since that time, these encroachments have continued to increase, and further forbearance ceases to be a virtue.

    South Carolina’s proclamation does make much of so-called ‘states rights’, but it also makes it clear the right they are concerned with is the right for slavery to exist.

    Texas:

    Texas abandoned her separate national existence and consented to become one of the Confederated Union to promote her welfare, insure domestic tranquility and secure more substantially the blessings of peace and liberty to her people. She was received into the confederacy with her own constitution, under the guarantee of the federal constitution and the compact of annexation, that she should enjoy these blessings. She was received as a commonwealth holding, maintaining and protecting the institution known as negro slavery– the servitude of the African to the white race within her limits– a relation that had existed from the first settlement of her wilderness by the white race, and which her people intended should exist in all future time. Her institutions and geographical position established the strongest ties between her and other slave-holding States of the confederacy. Those ties have been strengthened by association. But what has been the course of the government of the United States, and of the people and authorities of the non-slave-holding States, since our connection with them?

    The controlling majority of the Federal Government, under various pretences and disguises, has so administered the same as to exclude the citizens of the Southern States, unless under odious and unconstitutional restrictions, from all the immense territory owned in common by all the States on the Pacific Ocean, for the avowed purpose of acquiring sufficient power in the common government to use it as a means of destroying the institutions of Texas and her sister slaveholding States.

    To argue that the Civil War had nothing to do with slavery is absurd. Even the secessionist states knew it did.

  28. #28 Colugo
    March 22, 2007

    It is not just neo-Confederates and paleoconservatives who promote the revisionist view that the Civil War was not really about slavery; some leftists make that claim as well. Such leftists also tend to make revisionist claims about the causes of the American Revolutionary War and World War II, the other “good wars,” in order to debunk any appearance of American heroism and benevolence.

    To these left wing revisionists everything the United States of America does is really about promoting bourgeois interests and imperialism. No matter the historical period, the revisionist script is the same: Capitalist interests hoodwink the masses about external bogeyman and use this manufactured paranoia to own consolidate their power and privilege. Revered figures like Lincoln, FDR, and Truman are actually villains in this worldview. And of course these left wing revisionists also believe that the United States was the more malign aggressor, or at least morally equivalent to the USSR, during the Cold War.

    It is right to condemn neo-Confederates and other anti-Lincoln ideologues on the right. But the historical revisionists on the left should also be recognized and resisted.

  29. #29 CPT_Doom
    March 22, 2007

    There is another dimension to the conflict that brings slavery directly into the picture. I just finished a book called Bound for Canaan by Fergus Bordewich, which is about the Underground Railroad. In the book he makes the point that abolition was a relatively minor movement in the early 1800s, but grew in power and force, particularly during the 1850s. He argues one of the primary motivations behind the abolitionist movement and rising anti-Southern feelings in the North was not a philosophical aversion to slavery, per se, but rather a growing realization of the limitations put on free white men’s lives by the existence of slavery and the need to protect it in the South. You had massive limitations in the South on what could be said about slavery, and immediate suspiscion of any Northerner, as they might be an abolitionist “stirring up trouble.” But even in the North, particularly after the strengthening of the Fugitive Slave Law, there was a realization that the right to free speech was being limited by the pro-slavery forces – and the Fugitive Slave Law allowed federal law enforcement officials the right to require anyone, regardless of his own feelings on the matter, to participate in the recapture and return of a fugitive slave. It was infringement on white rights that ticked a lot of Northerners off. They may not have been fighting to free the slaves, but they may well have been fighting so they would not be forced to return them to captivity.

  30. #30 slavdude
    March 22, 2007

    At the risk of sounding like I’m a Southern apologist, I am not, but I have taught American history, especially of this period, and it seems to me that BOTH sides were right. The dominant narrative in our history books and classes, however, is the one written by the victors in the war, so many of the constitutional issues that had not been resolved in 1789 but had to wait until after 1865 get glossed over.

    Yes, slavery was indeed a major issue, but it was the lens through which everything else was viewed. Perhaps the major issue was that of the relationship between the federal government and the individual states. Was the federal government a body whose power was limited only to providing a common currency, defense, and foreign policy (as well as a postal service and a way to collect customs duties), or was it a body whose purpose was to ensure that everyone living within the borders of the United States (and “state” here refers to a national entity, not to a political subdivision) enjoyed the same rights and were subject to consistent laws regardless of their state of residency?

    Many Southern nationalists saw secession as the completion of the American Revolution of 90 years before. To them, the government in Washington was beholden to Northern money interests who were intent on destroying the (rather romanticized) Southern way of life through the use of power that was not granted it by the Constitution. Indeed, during the war, many Southern intellectuals criticized Jefferson Davis for trying to impose a Union-style federal government on the Confederacy by attempting to coordinate national policy and limit some of the rights of the Confederate states during wartime.

    Northerners shared the same fears about the tyranny of the South: the federal government was dominated (in fact) by Southerners, and decisions such as the Dred Scott case (interpreted to mean that NO state could deny slavery on its soil) were seen as attempts by the “Slave Power” to expand into areas where it had either been abolished (as in the original Northern colonies) or had never existed (north of the Ohio River).

    As a matter of fact, Northerners were just as racist as their Southern relatives, and many Northern states (particularly those such as Oregon and the Old Northwest, where many Southern immigrants lived) had laws prohibiting blacks from living on their territories, though few of these laws were actually enforced. Lincoln himself favored the emigration of blacks out of the United States. Northerners did not fight for the emancipation of the slaves so much as for the preservation of the Union (and let’s not even get into the various movements for Northern secession in the decades before 1860).

    Finally, we do come to another issue: the fate of minorities in a constitutional republic. It is possible to view the “Southern way of life” (as defined by educated Southerners) as a distinct minority within the United States in 1860. How could a government constituted to provide limited power to a central authority deal with a rebellion without itself being changed beyond recognition? The Union victory in 1865 (by which time even Confederate diehards had realized that slavery within the Confederacy was doomed, if only for the sake of the CSA’s survival) affirmed that indeed such a government could survive, though not exactly in the form it had before the war started.

    Sorry for the long post, but as a historian who no longer practices his craft, I had to speak up to add my two cents.

  31. #31 Ted
    March 22, 2007

    To argue that the Civil War had nothing to do with slavery is absurd. Even the secessionist states knew it did.

    I don’t know who’s arguing that the Civil War had nothing to do slavery. I think the discussion is on motivation. Primary motivation and secondary motivations and plain old political poison pills.

    The original point had something to do with this:

    It has become almost a mantra in some circles to say “the civil war wasn’t fought over slavery, it was fought over state’s rights.” This is a rather fatuous statement, as I’ve pointed out before; what “right” did they demand preserving other than the “right” to continue to hold slaves, which is not by any sane criteria a right at all? Whether one wants to believe it or not, the overwhelming issue was slavery and the push to abolish it, not only in the Western territories but in the South as well.

    Pretty much from day one, the struggle between the federalists and the strict constructionists tested the ambiguous intents of the Constitution. 70 years later it came to a head. If this is a question of fatuosity, it would have been settled quicker. Since it took roughly two lifetimes to settle, I think it’s reasonable to think there may be complexity involved.

    I mentioned yesterday, in the other thread, that the majority of the fighters for the south were not slaveowners. So that would lead one to think that there was something else that motivated these people to die in droves. In Ed’s second analysis he appears to concede that point; that a clearer definition of what defines an American came about after the fourteenth amendment.

    To these left wing revisionists everything the United States of America does is really about promoting bourgeois interests and imperialism. No matter the historical period, the revisionist script is the same: Capitalist interests hoodwink the masses about external bogeyman and use this manufactured paranoia to own consolidate their power and privilege.

    What is this? Crypto-Godwinism? Yes, let’s exclude economics out of it because we function as rational moral agents. But others have noted your point on the Larrys, Curlies and Moes (extract from High Weirdness by Mail).

    Historical self appraisal is healthy, just like questioning the government is healthy. You want to lionize the greats of yesteryear, go ahead, but why do you oppose critical examination of motives? Mother Teresa was a saint, but could have been saintlier if she distributed condoms too.

    …there was a realization that the right to free speech was being limited by the pro-slavery forces – and the Fugitive Slave Law allowed federal law enforcement officials the right to require anyone, regardless of his own feelings on the matter, to participate in the recapture and return of a fugitive slave.

    Wisconsin nearly came to blows with the Federal Government over that issue very shortly before the south’s secession.

  32. #32 Raging Bee
    March 22, 2007

    Was the federal government a body whose power was limited only to providing a common currency, defense, and foreign policy (as well as a postal service and a way to collect customs duties), or was it a body whose purpose was to ensure that everyone living within the borders of the United States (and “state” here refers to a national entity, not to a political subdivision) enjoyed the same rights and were subject to consistent laws regardless of their state of residency?

    Well, here’s what Article IV, Section 4, of the US Constitution had to say about the role of the national government:

    The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government…

    So abolishing slavery, by whatever means proved appropriate, doesn’t seem that far from the US government’s original stated purpose — protecting and enforcing the basic rights of people under its jurisdiction.

  33. #33 Ted
    March 22, 2007

    Er, up above, “fatuosity” should have been fatuity. Nothing like inventing new words.

  34. #34 Raging Bee
    March 22, 2007

    History is written by the victors, but the victor-written history I learned said that, as civil wars go, ours was about the most honorably-waged in history. The nastiness of our Civil War is nothing compared to that of civil wars in countries such as England and Russia.

    In school and on TV, the gentlemanly conduct of Confederate generals, especially Lee, gets top billing, as does the fact that, after Appomattox, Confederate forces could have resorted to guerilla warfare and what we now call “terrorism,” but explicitly chose not to do so.

    I find it interesting that NONE of the defenders of “Southern culture” who have appeared on this blog even mention these facts. Do they even understand what they’re “defending?”

  35. #35 dogmeatib
    March 22, 2007

    >>>after Appomattox, Confederate forces could have resorted to guerilla warfare and what we now call “terrorism,” but explicitly chose not to do so.<<<

    Ummm Raging Bee, Ku Klux Klan, ever hear of it? ;o)

    Slavdude,

    While many of your points are valid, as a fellow historian, you left out some major issues that directly revolved around slavery that make it more than a “lens.” You can’t honestly argue southerners were concerned about the relationship between the states and the federal government, in a manner in which they perceived inequity, with such things as the fugitive slave act, postal service censorship, and the gag rule in Congress. Unless, of course, you mean to say that the writing was on the wall, they had run the show for the preceding seven decades, but that was no longer going to be the case?

    As for the attitude of the southern nationalists, I believe my above point (a very abbreviated version of what Chuck and I said on the other thread) is the crux of the matter. Whether they were willing to admit it or not, southerners had dominated the federal government from the very beginning. With changes in demograpics, largely due to the impact slavery had on southern economics, industrial development, immigration, etc., they were losing their dominion over the government. But again, whether they saw it as revolution part deux is really irrelevant, it all revolves around slavery.

    Why was their population lower? Slavery
    Why were they not as industrialized? Slavery
    Why was their economy and society stagnated? Slavery
    Why were they in conflict with the rest of the country? Slavery

  36. #36 Raging Bee
    March 22, 2007

    Dogmeat: I was referring to the uniformed “official” Confederate forces under the orders of the generals; what a lot of undisciplined and uneducated civilians and ex-soldiers did was another matter. And, most importantly, I was referring to the failure of the South’s defenders here to mention this one shining (if isolated) example of that “Southern culture” they’re supposedly so proud of.

  37. #37 dogmeatib
    March 22, 2007

    Raging Bee,

    My comment was mostly tongue in cheek to you, but I would argue that the Klan, and similiar organizations, did have “official” roots. The founders of most of these organizations were former Confederate officers, including Lieutenant General Nathan Bedford Forrest, who specialized in many of the tactics that the early Klan utilized. I would argue that such organizations did cast a shadow on the “honor” of the surrendering Confederate forces.

  38. #38 SLC
    March 22, 2007

    Re raging bee

    Actually, if one really wants to see a civil war in all its beastliness, I would direct them to the Spanish Civil War of the 1930s’ in which it is estimated that in excess of 1.5 million civilians were killed. One had better have a pretty strong stomach before reading descriptions of the atrocities committed by both sides.

  39. #39 tonyl
    March 22, 2007

    Raging Bee: after Appomattox, Confederate forces could have resorted to guerilla warfare and what we now call “terrorism,” but explicitly chose not to do so.

    dogmeatib: Ummm Raging Bee, Ku Klux Klan, ever hear of it? ;o)

    It’s a bit dishonest to compare a movement founded by a handful of Confederate veterans to the organized large scale guerrilla war that a handful of confederates, such as Jeff Davis, were calling for. Most of the leaders, such as Lee, actively prevented such a fight and had no part in the formation of the first incarnation of the Klan. (The exception being Forrest who seemed to be more of a figurehead than an active leader)

  40. #40 Raging Bee
    March 22, 2007

    You’re right, of course, and yes, I get your joke. I was just trying to help the Dixie-defenders out a little; they were doing such a poor job, I kinda pitied them. Kinda.

  41. #41 dogmeatib
    March 22, 2007

    Tony,

    I’m not saying that a general guerilla war wouldn’t have been far worse, my point is simply that ignoring the Klan, and the dozens of other organizations in favor of a warm fuzzy moment for the honor of the surrendering Confederates is dishonest as well.

    Forest claimed that the Klan had over half a million members and that he alone could call up “40,000 Klansmen with only five days’ notice.” He later claimed denied his leadership role, but he also seemed to have gone through a major change in his view regarding race relations in his final years.

  42. #42 Raging Bee
    March 22, 2007

    Why was their population lower? Slavery
    Why were they not as industrialized? Slavery
    Why was their economy and society stagnated? Slavery
    Why were they in conflict with the rest of the country? Slavery

    The answer to all these questions is not “slavery,” it’s “feudalism,” of which slavery was, for some time, the most indispensible and odious part. But the feudal mindset persisted, and continues to pervert Southern politics, long after chattel slavery was legally abolished.

  43. #43 dogmeatib
    March 22, 2007

    I was only talking about the antebellum period. The post war period, you are quite right. Slavery was abolished, but a neo-feudalistic society was established in its place that did continue to mold (both figuratively and literally) the south.

  44. #44 doctorgoo
    March 22, 2007

    Er, up above, “fatuosity” should have been fatuity. Nothing like inventing new words.

    That’s okay Ted, whatever you lack in verbosity, you clearly compensate with your wordmakeupage skills… :-)

  45. #45 Anonymous
    March 22, 2007

    Almost any view of history can be “proved,” depending on what facts are selected and how they are interpreted. Statements of politicians are especially suspect because politicians are notorious liars. Fights over censorship of Confederate symbols are impairing objectivity in the interpretation of history.

    Secession arguably hurt rather than helped the interests of the slaveowners. Secession did nothing for the slaveowners. On the other hand, secession caused the slave states to lose much of their clout in Congress in regard to the issues of fugitive slaves (I don’t even know why this was an issue because once they were gone, they were usually gone for good) and the territorial expansion of slavery. A strong argument can be made that the slavery issue was mainly a pretext for secession. The secessionists could argue that the Republicans and Northern Democrats, by opposing unlimited territorial expansion of slavery, were violating the Dred Scott decision’s interpretation of the Constitution — in contrast, the secessionists could not make a constitutional argument against tariffs. Also, it is noteworthy that the Confederacy ignored a major Northern concession, a proposed irrevocable constitutional amendment that would have forever barred the federal government from interfering with slavery in the states. And regardless of what originally instigated secession, the importance of the states’ rights and home-defense issues in the Civil War cannot be ignored.

    Anyway, the connection between slavery and the Civil War should just be a topic for Civil War Roundtable discussion groups and should not be a reason to censor Confederate symbols.

  46. #46 Robert
    March 22, 2007

    Who’s talking about censoring confederate symbols??? Where did that come from?

  47. #47 Anonymous
    March 22, 2007

    Robert said,

    Who’s talking about censoring confederate symbols??? Where did that come from?

    Where have you been? Fights over censorship of Confederate symbols often involve debates over the connections between slavery, racism, and the Confederacy.

  48. #48 decrepitoldfool
    March 22, 2007

    Thanks for cutting through the nonsense, Ed.

    Doubtful any war was ever started for only a single reason. Those who don’t want it to be about slavery will of course magnify the comorbidities and deprecate the significance of the main disease, which was slavery.

  49. #49 bwv
    March 22, 2007

    Up until the British abolition in 1807, slavery was a universal fact of the human condition. Every civilization practiced it in some form. At what point and under what criteria can you honor some civilizations that practiced it, while political correctness requires reviling others who did? Acting like slavery in the US (which of course was not limited to the south) was some exceptional crime against humanity, when in fact it was merely a late manifestation of a phenomenon that has plagued humanity since the dawn of civilization seems disengenuous or naive.

    If, for example, I can honor my Viking ancestors despite their record of raping and pillaging the British isles, what is it that is so objectionable about honoring the Confederacy? (despite the fact that for the analogy to hold there would have to be a sizable contingent of medieval Norse enthusiasts who maintain that the Irish actually appreciated being raped and pillaged).

    One of the things that make American culture unique is its African heritage. But for slavery this would not exist – no jazz, blues, rock, country or bluegrass. Not that this is an ex ante justification for slavery, but there are unintended positive consequences.

  50. #50 Robert
    March 22, 2007

    But no one is saying that we should ignore southern culture or heritage, but some people from the south are trying to say that certain artwork should be forbidden because it insults their culture (which is what prompted this whole series of posts).

    Yes the south has a culture and heritage, and yes that heritage contains reprehensible things (like every other culture). We should honor the good, learn from the bad, and let people express themselves about both.

  51. #51 Robert
    March 22, 2007

    And to Anon: where in this thread did anyone mention censorship of confederate symbols? Its a total non-sequiter

  52. #52 ruidh
    March 22, 2007

    “I mentioned yesterday, in the other thread, that the majority of the fighters for the south were not slaveowners. So that would lead one to think that there was something else that motivated these people to die in droves.”

    Yeah, they were committed to the economy of the South which depended on cheap, slave labor. You didn’t have to be a slaveowner to benefit personally from slavery.

  53. #53 Ed Brayton
    March 22, 2007

    Exactly right, Robert. No one here is arguing for censoring the celebration of Southern culture, good or bad. But this whole thing started with me responding to someone who does want to censor perfectly legitimate criticism because it offends his “Southern heritage.” And I called bullshit on it, and on those who showed up here making absurd arguments about how the civil war was not about slavery. Yes it was.

  54. #54 John B
    March 22, 2007

    nothing to add, just a thank you to Ed & the commentors. Very interesting to read.

  55. #55 Toby Joyce
    March 22, 2007

    The South was contradictory on slavery … it’s supporters believed that the Federal Gov should be its defender and protector, which hardly matched their professed States-Rightism. What would the states rightists say about the notorious case of Anthony Burns, an escaped slave marched out of Boston, in the free state of Massachusetts, by marines, to be returned to bondage? States’ Rights meant only one thing … the right to own slaves. On the election of Lincoln, it was clear that the attempt to make slavery a nationally protected institution would always fail. While Lincoln was pledged not to support slavery where it existed, he could still undermine it by confining it to the South, and (even more potently) by building up a non-slaveowning Republican party in the South through Federal patronage. The alliance between southern slaveownerss and northern Democrats was a busted flush. Only one thing left to do then … secede. It has been quite convincingly shown that the election in the South was fought against the “Black Republicans” on blatantly racist lines, and the electorate (most of whom did not own slaves) were stampeded into supporting secession.

  56. #56 Jeb
    March 22, 2007

    I submit to you that some of the problems that remain in the South i.e. poor schools, poor people, lack of opportunity is the result of yet another Republican president without a valid, coherent exit strategy.

    We’re still paying the price for attempting to secede.

  57. #57 bwv
    March 23, 2007

    The other irony in light of recent disputes about the courts is that the South tried a strategy of judicial activism to try to get slavery “legislated from the bench”. The goal behind Dredd Scott was to get the court to rule that slavery was an inalienable property right that all the states had to acknowledge. This strategy not only would have spread slavery to the new western territories, but would have reinstated it in the North.

  58. #58 Connie
    March 23, 2007

    Everyone just shut-up! Ed declared bullshit on it and that the WBTS was about slavery. That’s it! It’s official because Ed said so!

    Putting a cork in idiot’s like Ed would be a good reason to fight a war!

  59. #59 bwv
    March 23, 2007

    Connie have you read the secession declarations? Here is Mississippi’s for example:

    In the momentous step which our State has taken of dissolving its connection with the government of which we so long formed a part, it is but just that we should declare the prominent reasons which have induced our course.

    Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery– the greatest material interest of the world. Its labor supplies the product which constitutes by far the largest and most important portions of commerce of the earth. These products are peculiar to the climate verging on the tropical regions, and by an imperious law of nature, none but the black race can bear exposure to the tropical sun. These products have become necessities of the world, and a blow at slavery is a blow at commerce and civilization. That blow has been long aimed at the institution, and was at the point of reaching its consummation. There was no choice left us but submission to the mandates of abolition, or a dissolution of the Union, whose principles had been subverted to work out our ruin.

    you can read more here: http://sunsite.utk.edu/civil-war/reasons.html

    Care to still maintain that slavery was not the core issue for secession?

  60. #60 Connie
    March 23, 2007

    Secession was the reason for the war. Slavery was not the reason for the war. Secession had a great deal to do with Southern states being tired of paying the majority of the taxes, aka tariffs, that went to fund activities in the north. Yes, slaves were an issue. Southerners believed, rightly, that the northern states had no right to dictate to them what they could and could not do. There was no United States like we have today. Every state had the right to withdraw from the Union. Abraham Lincoln was not interested in slaves, he was afraid of losing his revenues. You’ve had numerous postings here that proved, in his own words, that Lincoln was not interested in what happened to slavery. He did not go to war with the Southern states over slavery. And they did not secede over slavery. They seceded because they believed that they had the Constitutional right to leave the Union if they found the central government to be tyrannical. The very same reason that many of their fathers and grandfathers had fought the king of England.
    Living in present day Virginia, I understand how those pre-war Southernerns felt. All Virginians pay taxes, but the vast majority of our funds, especially, for roads, go to Northern Virginia. We get taxed to death, but “boo-hoo” they have more people, so they get all the benefits.

    “Let the South go! Let the South go! My God man, where would we get our revenues?” – - Abraham Lincoln.

    I used to work with mentally ill people who had more understanding about the true reason for the WBTS than most of the “enlightened” know-it-alls here who have posted their put downs of anyone or anything that doesn’t go along with what they “claim” is the truth. More than half of the battles of that war were fought on Virginia soil. We have not forgotten why our ancestors fought and we have not forgotten the vicious nature of those who invaded our home. Most of those posting here don’t know what they are “talking” about and no amount of reasoning or proof to the contrary of what they espouse matters in the least. If they were truly interested in the truth, I would applaud their effort.

  61. #61 doctorgoo
    March 23, 2007

    Connie, there’s so much irony and outright absurdity in your last paragraph that I must admit, I enjoyed reading it… lol… Be careful, you might become my new #1 source of entertainment here on Ed’s blog if you keep it up!

    I used to work with mentally ill people who had more understanding about the true reason for the WBTS than most of the “enlightened” know-it-alls here who have posted their put downs of anyone or anything that doesn’t go along with what they “claim” is the truth.

    So are you actually saying that mentally ill people tend to agree with you more than normal, healthy people on this topic? This says more about you than it says about us.

    And no, Connie, I’m not putting you down because you don’t agree with me. I’m criticizing your vacuous arguments or just merely pointing out the absurdies in your thought processes, which are apparently caused by your internal biases for the South and against black people.

    We have not forgotten why our ancestors fought

    If you still are insisting that slavery (and the inherent racism that went along with it) weren’t a primary reason, then yes… clearly you and your mentally ill friends have forgotten. lol

    Most of those posting here don’t know what they are “talking” about and no amount of reasoning or proof to the contrary of what they espouse matters in the least.

    Oh the irony… the blessed irony! Did you write this with a straight face?

  62. #62 Scott Reese
    March 23, 2007

    Oh how the lunatics do get up early. Well, you were wondering when they would really make an appearance…

  63. #63 Raging Bee
    March 23, 2007

    Since Connie and bwv are double-posting certain points, I figure I’ll double-post my response, with a few additions:

    Secession was the reason for the war. Slavery was not the reason for the war.

    As the Southern political leaders explicitly said, in writing, at the time, slavery was the reason for their secession, and secession was the reason for the war. Ergo, slavery was the reason for the war. QED. (That’s Latin for “DUH.”)

    I don’t “think” that the [Civil] war wasn’t about slavery, I “know” that it wasn’t.

    We’ve provided documented evidence here, on THREE threads so far, proving that the Southern states seceded for the explicitly stated purpose of protecting their “right” to own slaves. Why did they have to do this? Because of the growing number of people in the US who wanted to abolish slavery. Further evidence shows that Southern politicians warned, as early as the 1830s, that attempts to abolish slavery would result in the violent breakup of the Union. No one has provided countervailing evidence to disprove any of this. If you haven’t read the evidence, or refuse to acknowledge it, then you don’t “know” squat.

    At what point and under what criteria can you honor some civilizations that practiced [slavery], while political correctness requires reviling others who did?

    Countries, and leaders, who abolish slavery on their own steam, after admitting it’s wrong, tend to get more respect than those who fight to the bitter end to keep it, get crushed as a result, and then get hyper-defensive and shriek invective at everyone who points out the obvious. Honesty and awareness about the past are the key differences.

    If, for example, I can honor my Viking ancestors despite their record of raping and pillaging the British isles, what is it that is so objectionable about honoring the Confederacy?

    Good point. I, too, honor my Viking ancestors, for (what I learned from school and folklore about) their gung-ho damn-the-torpedos spirit of exploration, conquest, and trade. But, while I occasionally make jokes about their plundering habits (“Pillage before you burn!”), I do not refuse to acknowledge the evil (by today’s standards at least) that they did, nor would I call you a bigot or hypocrite if you were to point such evil out, as long as your statements were honest and reasonably informed.

    You Dixie-defenders would get a LOT more respect if you’d just admit that what your ancestors did in the past was wrong, and that it got them in a lot of trouble; and then just get on with your lives.

    At least one of my ancestors owned slaves, and two of them fought for the Confederacy; but you won’t see me trying to dodge the facts, or pretending no one has a right to criticize them for it.

  64. #64 Raging Bee
    March 23, 2007

    Putting a cork in idiot’s like Ed would be a good reason to fight a war!

    So Connie thinks it’s okay to go to war, and get a LOT of people killed, just to silence critics of the South? ‘Nuff said. She sounds like that nasty little Manhattan Yankee bitch Ann Coulter, bless her little heart!

    What happened to Southern manners and culture? Guess they haven’t got the hang of translating it onto the Internet, bless their little hearts…

  65. #65 Raging Bee
    March 23, 2007

    There was no United States like we have today.

    The Constitution that created the United States we have today was written in 1787, not in 1865.

    Let me guess, Connie — you were homeschooled, right? In any case, whoever taught you history needs to be horse-whipped for incompetence.

  66. #66 slavdude
    March 23, 2007

    I agree that slavery was indeed the reason why the South was “backward” in relation to the rest of the United States; by 1860 it still had a colonial-type economy while the rest of the country had moved on. My point still holds, however, that it was the lens through which all other issues were filtered. Southern intellectuals and the “aristocracy” did indeed romanticize it and make it seem better than it was, but most non-slaveholding Southern whites (the vast majority of the population in the 11 states that seceded) who went to war did not do so in order that their social betters could continue to own slaves; nor did most Northerners who went to war do so to end slavery, at least not in the beginning. There is also evidence that many freedmen after the war were sorry the South lost–not because they wanted to remain slaves, but because they saw themselves as black Southerners and shared some of the sectional feeling that whites did.

  67. #67 Raging Bee
    March 23, 2007

    My point still holds, however, that it was the lens through which all other issues were filtered.

    Your “point” seems to be nothing but abstraction, a vague imagery of “lenses” and “fiters.” Against the specific historical, economic, social, military, and political points made here, in direct and concrete terms, it doesn’t carry a lot of weight. How, exactly, do you define “lens” and “filter?”

    …but most non-slaveholding Southern whites (the vast majority of the population in the 11 states that seceded) who went to war did not do so in order that their social betters could continue to own slaves…

    And if “their social betters” had not demanded that their states go to war to protect their slave-based economy, there would have been no war. Also, if those poor whites had had more clout, and the slaveowners less, they might have been able, and willing, to vote the warmongers out.

    …nor did most Northerners who went to war do so to end slavery, at least not in the beginning.

    No, but the war was a direct result of a growing abolitionist movement, and a slaveowning class that refused to yield to it, and broke up the Union to resist it — in accord with their previous explicit threats to do just that.

  68. #68 paleotn
    March 23, 2007

    Hey SLC, there are no statues of George Thomas in Virginia for the same reason there are no statues of David Farragut in Tennessee. The only one of Farragut I know of is in NYC.

    Ah yes, the confedrenutts raise their ignorant heads once again…

    Connie wrote…

    “Secession was the reason for the war. Slavery was not the reason for the war.”

    Slavery was the primary background issue behind all reasons for secession, thus the reason for the war itself.

    “Secession had a great deal to do with Southern states being tired of paying the majority of the taxes, aka tariffs, that went to fund activities in the north.”

    Whaaa? How so? Any data to prove your point? As a little project, compare the economic wealth of North vs. South in 1861. And the southerners were paying taxes to in essence, support the North? Excuse me?

    “Yes, slaves were an issue. Southerners believed, rightly, that the northern states had no right to dictate to them what they could and could not do.”

    Just as the red state south has no right to influence national policy dealing with abortion in Massachusetts or gay civil unions in Vermont? Just try arguing THAT with southern, conservative evangelicals.

    “There was no United States like we have today. Every state had the right to withdraw from the Union.”

    I think the ghost of Andrew Jackson would seriously disagree with you on that one. And…gasp!… ole Andy was a southerner no less.

    “Abraham Lincoln was not interested in slaves, he was afraid of losing his revenues. You’ve had numerous postings here that proved, in his own words, that Lincoln was not interested in what happened to slavery. He did not go to war with the Southern states over slavery. And they did not secede over slavery. They seceded because they believed that they had the Constitutional right to leave the Union if they found the central government to be tyrannical.”

    It was tyrannical in potentially removing their supposed right to enslave other human beings? From this and the statement above “southerners believed rightly” do you believe it was perfectly moral for humans to own other humans? Seriously, Connie, answer this question so that I may learn from where your argument is coming.

    “The very same reason that many of their fathers and grandfathers had fought the king of England.”

    I can’t for the life of me find anything that states that anyone in colonial America thought King George III was a stinking, low down, no good abolitionist. Care to enlighten me?

    “Living in present day Virginia, I understand how those pre-war Southernerns felt. All Virginians pay taxes, but the vast majority of our funds, especially, for roads, go to Northern Virginia. We get taxed to death, but “boo-hoo” they have more people, so they get all the benefits.”

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t northern VA a part of the commonwealth? When did the DC exburbs secede? I must have missed that. The fact is rural VA counties suck far more tax revenue OUT of Richmond than they put in. It’s simply a matter of where the potential tax revenue is and it sure as hell isn’t in ignorant, dirt poor, rural VA.

    “I used to work with mentally ill people who had more understanding about the true reason for the WBTS than most of the “enlightened” know-it-alls here who have posted their put downs of anyone or anything that doesn’t go along with what they “claim” is the truth.”

    I could write something extremely snarky here, but I will demure.

    “More than half of the battles of that war were fought on Virginia soil.”

    And the majority of the other half was fought in my old home state of Tennessee. What exactly does this factoid prove?

    “We have not forgotten why our ancestors fought and we have not forgotten the vicious nature of those who invaded our home.”

    I’ve not forgotten why my ancestors fought and some of those most southern, Tennesseans wore Union blue, thank you very damn much. I bet you know well the bible passage about reaping what one sows. One can rightly look at it as they got what was coming to them for a couple hundred years of the unpunished the sin of slavery. It can also be strongly argued that the country in general paid a terrible price for that little moral slip.

    “Most of those posting here don’t know what they are “talking” about and no amount of reasoning or proof to the contrary of what they espouse matters in the least.”

    Facts? Data? Proof? Where is the proof you refer to, Connie? I see nothing but regurgitated half truths and out right lies. From what you have posted, I must conclude that your preconceived, revisionist, racist ideas are all the proof you need.

  69. #69 SLC
    March 23, 2007

    Re connie

    As a resident of Falls Church, I have some news for Ms. connie: Ms. connie is full of crap. We in Northern Virginia get back in state services some $0.30 for every $1.00 sent down to Richmond. Without the revenue from Northern Virginia, the rest of Virginia would be a basket case. If Northern Virginia (that is Arlington Co., Fairfax Co., Loudon Co., Alexandria City, and Falls Church City) was a separate state, our taxes would be 1/2 of what they are now and hers would be double what they are now. I would greatly appreciate it if Ms. connie were to petition her representatives in the State Legislature to give Northern Virginia the boot.

    Re paleotn

    There are also statues of both of them in Washington, D.C. There is a Thomas statue in Thomas Circle, and a Farragut statue in Farragut Square.

  70. #70 Raging Bee
    March 23, 2007

    Perhaps inspired by a little PCP or crystal meth, Connie raved:

    We have not forgotten why our ancestors fought and we have not forgotten the vicious nature of those who invaded our home.

    And WE have not forgotten the vicious nature of the slaveowners, slave-traders, slave-catchers, and overseers, not to mention that of America’s first home-grown terrorists, the KKK. And let’s not forget the vicious nature of the Southern televangelists, whose hateful theocratic agenda strongly resembles that of al Qaeda and the Taliban.

  71. #71 SLC
    March 23, 2007

    Re raging bee

    To be fair, not all the f***ing born again televangelists are from the South. Let’s not forget such sl***balls as Ted Haggard and James Dobson from Colorado.

  72. #72 Squiddhartha
    March 23, 2007

    I hasten to point out, SLC, that Dobson is from southern Colorado… and Haggard is in southern Denver. :)

  73. #73 Leni
    March 23, 2007

    LOL @Squid.

    Raging Bee wrote:

    And WE have not forgotten the vicious nature of the slaveowners, slave-traders, slave-catchers, and overseers, not to mention that of America’s first home-grown terrorists, the KKK. And let’s not forget the vicious nature of the Southern televangelists, whose hateful theocratic agenda strongly resembles that of al Qaeda and the Taliban

    No, no Bee, as usual you’ve got it all wrong.

    The proper way to respond when someone accuses your ancestors of being terrible people is to tell them to go bother the NAACP.

    Sheesh. Get with it already.

  74. #74 lee
    March 24, 2007

    The first commentator seems to think that tariffs were directed against Southern products. They were directed against foreign(British)products forcing Southerners to buy shoddy and expensive Northern manufactured goods.
    Although tariffs were very low in the 1840′s and 50′s, Southerners knew the more rapid growth of the Northern States would result in much higher tariffs(as in the late 1820′s and 30′s.)
    Look at the tariffs imposed after 1865, which caused huge government surpluses and improverished the South(and most of the rest of rural America.)

  75. #75 Connie
    March 24, 2007

    paleotn – - Those of us in ignorant, dirt poor, rural Virginia, love it here. Whoopee, if most of your Tennessee ancestors wore blue. This Virginian’s ancestors all wore gray because Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation on April 15, 1861 calling for seventy thousand volunteers to go to war against the Southern States. Virginia was expected to participate. However, Virginia was not willing to wage war against her sister states and passed an ordinance of secession April 17, 1861. – - Annals of Augusta County, Virginia 1726-1871.
    Not one of you that claims the WBTS was about slavery, has yet explained how the North is held blameless in slavery. They bought, sold and imported slaves from the beginnings of this country. If there is a price to be paid for the “sin” of trafficking in human beings, they are just as culpable as the South. Just because they changed their minds after all those years, they don’t get excused. Besides, they had plenty of immigrants that they used like slaves. Someone posting to this blog or the other one that is just like it, indicated that the North didn’t have a flag. Yes, it did. It was the Stars and Stripes. And she’s still waving, in spite of all of sins committed by those who flew her.

    SLC – - Ms. connie, full of crap, would be happy to petition her representatives in Richmond to let Northern Virginia, “DC extended”, go. But you know how those money hungry governments are, they don’t like to let go of their cash cows without armed resistance.
    Of course, I doubt that Connie would do anything in your favor.

    Bee — Exactly why are you worried about my Southern culture and manners? Is it the fact that no one has ever accused Northerners of having either of those attributes? Your little friend, Leni can spew vile, filthy remarks without censure. Surely, your tender sensibilities weren’t damaged by my venting a bit in the direction of the “supreme Ed?”

    As to the KKK being the first homegrown American terrorist organization, Hunter and Sherman’s thugs preceded it. Maybe you get your “facts” from drugs – maybe, that truly would explain your deluded, self-righteous claptrap.

    Maybe, you had better check your facts on the Constitution. If I’m wrong in what I said about the Constitution, that’s okay, because I learned it in a college government class taught by a Yankee. Would you like for me to put you in touch with him so that you can give him that horse whipping? You wouldn’t, of course, abuse another human being, would you? Or heaven forbid, you wouldn’t abuse a defenseless, enslaved animal, would you? We have laws against that sort of thing, you know?

    doctorgoo — The fact that I don’t agree with you Edites that the WBTS was fought to end slavery, does not mean that I bear any ill will toward blacks. I have never in my entire life said or done anything untoward to any black person. I played at my black neighbor’s house when I was a kid, long before all of MLK’s crying about his little black children. I bought candy at their father’s store when I had a few pennies, and I never once thought of them as anything other than nice people. I went to school and rode the same bus with black kids. I had black friends at work whose company I enjoyed just as much as any of my white coworkers. When my youngest son’s best friend, a little black boy, sat next to me, laid his head against me and looked up at me with adoring eyes, when I accompanied them on a kindergarten field trip, I was just as touched as I would have been if he had been white. Just because you and others posting on this blog call me a racist, that doesn’t make it true. Yeah, I know you like to throw that word around like it’s some sort of talisman, but it really doesn’t work on me. If you want to call me a racist because I’m white and I don’t apologize for it, go ahead. I bet all of the other races get a real kick out of all of you dumb ass whites who can’t kiss their asses enough to make up for all of your self-imposed guilt. While every other race is out promoting themselves for all they’re worth, whites like you just can’t do enough self loathing and kowtowing. Sorry, bub, but I won’t be joining you on that one.
    I know quite a few people who would find your wisecracks about mentally ill people just as objectionable as you pretend racism is to you. I didn’t mention my former clients for you to make cracks about them. Since they have no knowledge of this odious blog, kindly, direct your coarse remarks at those who have an opportunity to dispute them. As per usual, you deliberately twisted what I did say in connection with them, to make it sound like something other than what, even you are intelligent enough to know, I meant.
    As a matter of fact, I did not write most of my messages with a straight face. I’m usually laughing at all of the posturing here that any of you “usuals” are something other than black hearted fiends posing as guardians of social consciousness.

  76. #76 SLC
    March 24, 2007

    Re Squiddhartha

    I’m from the South too. Southern California.

    Re connie

    “Northern Virginia, “DC extended”,”

    Ms. connie apparently has something against Washington, D.C. I wonder what it could be? For M. connies’ information, the City of Falls Church was founded in 1698, long before the District of Columbia was established.

  77. #77 carlsonjok
    March 24, 2007

    Maybe, you had better check your facts on the Constitution.

    Hmm, let me see. McCollough vs. Maryland? Check. Cohens vs. Virginia? Got it. Okay, Connie, what exactly was your point again about the states being able to leave the union?

  78. #78 doctorgoo
    March 24, 2007

    Whatever Connie… Even if we look past all the previous racist sentiments you’ve made over the past couple days, we can just look at your most recent post.

    Just one sentence after saying “I have never in my entire life said or done anything untoward to any black person”, you take a shot at MLK for crying about “little black children”. For crying out loud, there are a million other ways to say the same thing without taking a shot at MLK, but instead you deliberately chose to express yourself the way you did.

    Anyone, even your black aquantances, could see your unjustified prejudices against them, if they read what you wrote on this and other threads. And while I’m glad to read that you might not express your racism as much outside this corner of the blogosphere, the fact remains is that you’ve truly shown a really disgusting side of your personality here.

    If you want to call me a racist because I’m white and I don’t apologize for it, go ahead.

    No, I’m not calling you a racist because you’re white, or even because you disagree with me. I’m calling you a racist because of the abundance of racist comments you’ve made.

    If you remember from a different thread on slavery this week, the first time I responded to one of your off-color comments, I gave you the full benefit of the doubt that I might have been misunderstanding you, or that you hadn’t made yourself clear. But after repeatedly making these racist rants, it really is clear what your biases are.

  79. #79 doctorgoo
    March 24, 2007

    I know quite a few people who would find your wisecracks about mentally ill people just as objectionable as you pretend racism is to you.

    Oh well… I wasn’t making cracks at them. I was making a crack at you. I’ll let others decide if I crossed a line when I phrased it the way I did (or if you’re just twisting my words around for your own convenience). But if I did, then I have no problem apologizing, since it wasn’t my intention.

    And btw, I’m not just pretending that racism is objectionable to me on a personal level. Sure, I’m a white guy, but my wife is from a minority race that faces discrimination and intolerance on a weekly basis. So yes, the issue of racism hits close to home for me.

    I’m usually laughing at all of the posturing here that any of you “usuals” are something other than black hearted fiends posing as guardians of social consciousness.

    You don’t think we’re sincere? Maybe perhaps you’re projecting again… Not all people, much less all white, southern people, think the way that you do and find your racist statements normal or acceptable.

  80. #80 Connie
    March 24, 2007

    doctorgoo – - Being married to someone of another race does not prove that you are not a racist.
    I made a negative remark about MLK because I have no respect for the man, not because he was black. You people have no problem with anything remotely disrespectful unless it comes from people opposed to your general ideology. It is not racist to have no respect for a particular black man. I used my reference to MLK to show that I didn’t have to wait for his campaign to treat my black neighbors as equals.
    The only remark that I made earlier about someone of color was when I used the example of a huge black man beating a small, white woman who was well over a hundred years old (no, she was not Southern like sweet Leni implied) to show that brutality is not exclusive to Southern whites. If you want to take from that example that I am a racist, knock yourself out! Again, try to get the concept this time, I am not afraid of your mighty word, “racist.” I think that all of you who have no problem calling people “rednecks” are just as guilty of racism as anyone who puts down a black person. The color of the skin is different, but the intent is the same.
    I’m not a dirt poor Southerner, as a matter of fact, this not-so-poor Southerner is going to quit wasting time with you bigoted yanks and go for a ride on one of my two rather expensive motorcycles before I come back home to my four bedroom, three bath home on 14.5 beautiful acres in magnificent Virginia, which I share with my professional husband who is out riding on one of his two rather expensive motorcycles. FYI, we travel quite a bit in this country and I know how much all you yanks love blacks, I’ve seen your love in action.
    I know that you were just being a jerk when you made those wisecracks about my mentally ill clients, but don’t try to hold my feet to the fire for social injustice when you are just as guilty, as you “claim” that I am. Saying “if I did” doesn’t negate your guilt.
    As a matter of fact, I am quite certain that your self-assertion is sincere, that doesn’t make your opinions valid.

  81. #81 SLC
    March 24, 2007

    Re connie

    Gee, Ms. Connie rides an expensive motorcycle (probably a Harley-Davidson). I ride a fire engine red Colnago Superissimo.

  82. #82 doctorgoo
    March 24, 2007

    Being married to someone of another race does not prove that you are not a racist.

    I agree with that 100%. But of course, I never said that it was proof. I merely said it was the reason why I care so much about this issue. And I hope that my words and actions, both on and off-line, demonstrate that I’m not a racist.

    As for the rest of your post… I’m not interested in arguing specifically whether or not your disrespect for MLK, or your comment about the black mugger of a centarian, are proof enough of racism… But without a doubt, the tone and content of the discourse between you and others this week honestly has shown a rather prejudiced side of yourself. And I’m not the only one who has noticed, either.

    But to be generous, I’ll point out that many people feel open to say things on the internet that they normally wouldn’t out in the real world. And I got the impression that you might just be one of these people.

    Perhaps you’d be interested in showing this and the other related comment threads to some of your black acquaintances that you mentioned? Heck, I’m a stranger to you… I don’t (and shouldn’t) mean a darn thing in your life. But perhaps someone who’s closer to you might be able to help you see these issues from a different point of view?

  83. #83 doctorgoo
    March 24, 2007

    Oh, and one last thing Connie… do you think I’m a yank? Hardly. I really did grow up dirt poor in rural southern Missouri. Sure, I lived in San Diego for several years; and for the last couple of years, I’ve been living up in yankee-land. But really, I’m still a small-town Ozarkian at heart.

    But all this means is that I’ve seen racism enabled and spread by people who don’t realize how racist they really are. From churches that preached against race-mixing when I was growing up in the 80′s… to a subgroup of my pledge class in college who thought it was a hoot to call themselves “Tri-Kapps” when entering some intramural contest.

    So yeah… I’ve seen first-hand where people who don’t think they’re spreading unfounded prejudices, really are.

  84. #84 Leni
    March 24, 2007

    Connie wrote:

    The only remark that I made earlier about someone of color was when I used the example of a huge black man beating a small, white woman who was well over a hundred years old (no, she was not Southern like sweet Leni implied) to show that brutality is not exclusive to Southern whites.

    No one said it was. Which is why your remark is so off the wall.

    If you weren’t constantly interjecting weird racial non-sequitors that have nothing to do with the conversation, or anything to do with Ed’s post maybe you wouldn’t come off like such an ignorant racist bitch.

    You brought up:

    1) the black criminal in a pathetic attempt to defend white southerners against a charge no one here made.
    2) your inexplicable problem with MLK, of all people

    3) Your problem with the NAACP.

    4) you felt the need to say that you won’t apologize for being white, as if anyone expects you to. Or asked you to.

    5) you are arrogant enought to think you get to decide how others view a symbol that you damn well know was used by racist organizations as part of a systematic campaign of abuse against minorities.

    And you expect us to think you’re not racist because you deigned to spend your precious pennies at a black owned store and think black kids are cute?

    OK Connie, you aren’t a racist. You are just a rich white southern woman who keeps insulting blacks for no apparent reason.

    Fair enough?

  85. #85 dogmeatib
    March 25, 2007

    >>As to the KKK being the first homegrown American terrorist organization, Hunter and Sherman’s thugs preceded it. Maybe you get your “facts” from drugs – maybe, that truly would explain your deluded, self-righteous claptrap. < <

    This is amusing, Sherman and Hunter? How about Quantrell? Massacre of Lawrence Kansas?

    To claim that the KKK was our first homegrown terrorist organization is a bit of a stretch, but to respond with legitimate military operations in response is down right ignorant.

    >>I bet all of the other races get a real kick out of all of you dumb ass whites who can’t kiss their asses enough to make up for all of your self-imposed guilt. While every other race is out promoting themselves for all they’re worth, whites like you just can’t do enough self loathing and kowtowing. Sorry, bub, but I won’t be joining you on that one.<<

    For me, this is a true sign of your racism.

  86. #86 Connie
    March 25, 2007

    Leni, you darling child, if you could get all of that filth out of your head, you might actually be able to read and comprehend what I wrote.

    I don’t care if someone like you labels me as a racist. I would have to respect you as a person to care what you think.

    No, I am not arrogant enough to think that I get to decide how others view anything. I think I get to say what is offensive to me. And I don’t think you get to decide my opinion of MLK. Let me reiterate, it’s not racist to have no respect for a particular black man. You may feel that MLK is deserving of respect, but I don’t. I hold Robert E. Lee in the highest esteem, do you?

    If you don’t like me using the example of an enormous black man brutalizing a small, aged white woman, then don’t try to sell me that all slaves were brutalized by white Southerners. If you can’t handle it, don’t dish it out. If you label salt as sugar, that doesn’t make it sweet. If you choose to twist what I said into something other than what it was, it won’t change my intent.

    You are right, the Confederate flag has been “used” or rather, misused by many people, including John Sims, in ways other than its intended use. Flags can’t fight back against those who abuse them.

    I have a problem with any organization or event that gets to promote a particular race, including the NAACP. But if I thought the NAACP was just working for the good of black people and wasn’t just comprised of a bunch of black racist who are always looking for ways to cause trouble, I wouldn’t have a problem with it.

    I care to differ with you about me having insulted any blacks. I did not insult any blacks. When a person uses the sort of abusive language that you do, I find it hard to see them as some sort of champion of the oppressed. If you get your abusive nature reined in, I might believe that you actually care about someone other than yourself. Then I might take your supposed criticism as something other than just vile ranting. I was once married to an abusive man, he used language just like yours. People who use abusive language usually have no qualms about physical abuse. I don’t respond well to any form of abuse. Knowing how it feels to be abused, I try hard never to inflict it upon “any” one else.

    What I didn’t tell you about spending my pennies at Mr. Smith’s store was that in order to get to his store, I had to walk past a house where black children lived who always ran out throwing things, yelling, cussing and spitting at me. I was four or five and couldn’t understand why. I didn’t know that it was because I was white. I only knew that they terrified me. If you showed me a picture of Mr. Smith, I couldn’t identify him. But I always carried a favorable impression of him in my heart, not because of his color but because he was kind.

    I’m not rich. (Well, I am, but not so much monetarily.) But I am not poor. I just get tired of those lame, bigoted descriptions of Southerners being poor, ignorant, rednecks. Neither you, nor anyone else, has a leg to stand on arguing in defense of any race or against any symbol, when you use those sorts of terms. Being poor, ignorant or redneck are not exclusive to the South. As a matter of fact, I’d venture to say that those terms, actually, more accurately describe a larger segment of the Northern population.

  87. #87 Connie
    March 25, 2007

    dogmeat- – If what Hunter and Sherman did were just legitimate military operations that you have no problem with, than you should have no problem with the KKK.

    Again, your label of racism is of no effect. You guys are all too guilty of it for me to care. You can’t defend low-lifes like Sherman and Hunter and expect me to respect your opinions.

  88. #88 Connie
    March 25, 2007

    doctorgoo- – I have to say that your last post was the first truly decent one that I’ve seen posted from “the other side.”

    So far as I know, this is still a free country. That means I can feel however I want to about anyone or any group of people. I think that I could do that in any country. Which doesn’t make this country anything special. What used to make it special was that you were free to voice your opinion, regardless of what anyone else thought. If anyone thinks that policing what people say is an improvement, I have to disagree. The same people who think John Sims should be able to disrespect something that I hold dear, don’t think that I should be able to voice my opinions. They call his freedom of expression, mine they label racism. I say if one is wrong then so is the other. But if one is going to be allowed then so should the other. It all truly boils down to respect. If you don’t respect me and those things that I value, then don’t expect me to respect you and those things that you value. None the less, as I said before, I have never done anything to hurt any person of another color. Oh, well there was that one black guy who used to make vulgar grunting noises at me and stare at me through my office window that I used to cuss. But I would have done the same thing if he had been white.
    Sorry, for the yank remark. Didn’t mean to be as guilty of bad lableling is some others here.

  89. #89 Dave S.
    March 25, 2007

    Connie says:

    If anyone thinks that policing what people say is an improvement, I have to disagree. The same people who think John Sims should be able to disrespect something that I hold dear, don’t think that I should be able to voice my opinions. They call his freedom of expression, mine they label racism. I say if one is wrong then so is the other.

    Who here is saying you shouldn’t be able to voice your opinions? You have the right to voice your opinion. Nobody is stopping you. Ed Brayton is even providing a public forum for you, although he doesn’t have to and disagrees strongly with your message. But others also have the right to tell you you’re full of crap and a racist if that’s what they want to do. And you have the right to call them ignorant Yankees and express your admiration for the Stars and Bars and what it stood for. Just as John Sims has the right to express his disgust for same.

    Neither he nor you has the ‘right’ not to be offended by the other.

  90. #90 SLC
    March 25, 2007

    Re connie

    “I hold Robert E. Lee in the highest esteem, do you?”

    No, I do not hold Robert E. Lee in the highest esteem; I consider Robert E. Lee to be, in many respects, one of the most incapable commanding generals in history. Robert E. Lees’ incompetence at grand strategy and his wasteful offensive tactics were among the primary causes of Confederate defeat.

  91. #91 dogmeatIB
    March 25, 2007

    >>>dogmeat- – If what Hunter and Sherman did were just legitimate military operations that you have no problem with, than you should have no problem with the KKK.

    Again, your label of racism is of no effect. You guys are all too guilty of it for me to care. You can’t defend low-lifes like Sherman and Hunter and expect me to respect your opinions.<<<

    Connie, there is a significant difference between the actions of military units in the field, DURING A TIME OF WAR, and the actions of civilian vigilantes attacking innocent civilians during a time of peace. To condemn Grant and Hunter, you then have to condemn all modern warfare. US bomber command specifically targeted German cities and civilians, we did so again in Vietnam, and to a lesser degree in Bagdad and Bosnia. You don’t have to like modern warfare, but its effectiveness has been proven.

    As for labling me a racist to defend your own racist statements? Truly rather pathetic since you don’t know a thing about me. My evaluation of you is based on your own comments, yours? A defensive lashing out based on nothing.

  92. #92 Raging Bee
    March 25, 2007

    Ever further off the edge, Connie raved thusly:

    …But if I thought the NAACP was just working for the good of black people and wasn’t just comprised of a bunch of black racist who are always looking for ways to cause trouble, I wouldn’t have a problem with it.

    That’s funny, the white racists said exactly the same thing about such groups: “All they wanna do is cause trouble!” If you don’t like being called a racist, don’t act like one.

    I care to differ with you about me having insulted any blacks. I did not insult any blacks.

    Except MLK, for whom you explicitly and repeatedly said you have no respect. And since MLK earned the respect WE give him through his activism on civil-rights and race-relations issues, I can’t help thinking that your refusal to respect him has something to do with the same issues.

    I just get tired of those lame, bigoted descriptions of Southerners being poor, ignorant, rednecks.

    Then stop acting like one. I’m sure there are plenty of decent Southerners who would be horribly embarrassed by your halfwitted antics — and unlike you, they understand where those insulting descriptions come from.

  93. #93 leni
    March 25, 2007

    Connie wrote:

    No, I am not arrogant enough to think that I get to decide how others view anything.

    Yes, you are. I provided several quotes of you being a callous jackass about just such that point.

    You provided several more.

    I think I get to say what is offensive to me. And I don’t think you get to decide my opinion of MLK. Let me reiterate, it’s not racist to have no respect for a particular black man. You may feel that MLK is deserving of respect, but I don’t.

    Go on Connie. Why don’t you tell us what a horrible, horrible man MLK is.

    We’d love to hear what it is you, benevolent Madonna of the Southern Pride movement (who has nothing against blacks!), has to say about that rotten, rotten man MLK.

    Inquiring minds want to know…

  94. #94 Leni
    March 26, 2007

    Connie wrote:

    If you don’t like me using the example of an enormous black man brutalizing a small, aged white woman, then don’t try to sell me that all slaves were brutalized by white Southerners.

    And if you don’t want to be called a racist bitch than don’t minimize racism by suggesting criminal activity and slavery are equitable.

    Slaves, and black people in particular, were systematically brutalized, you stupid toad. They weren’t the accidental victims of opportunistic criminals.

    If you can’t handle it, don’t dish it out.

    Can’t handle what? The barrage of idiocy and racially charged bullshit you are trying to pass off as sensible, humane arguments?

    You aren’t upsetting me, you stupid bitch. You are making yourself look like a giant racist asshole.

    If you label salt as sugar, that doesn’t make it sweet. If you choose to twist what I said into something other than what it was, it won’t change my intent.

    LOL. Go ahead, Madonna. Tell us what you really mean.

  95. #95 Leni
    March 26, 2007

    I care to differ with you about me having insulted any blacks. I did not insult any blacks.

    No of course not. You just called the NAACP racist, dissed MLK, insisted that the Confederate flag isn’t offensive because you don’t think it is, used a black criminal as a defense of the brutality of slavery, and tried to say that living near blacks means you aren’t racist.

    Golly gee, Connie. I guess you’re right. That’s not offensive, it’s just how things oughta be.

    When a person uses the sort of abusive language that you do, I find it hard to see them as some sort of champion of the oppressed.

    Or it’s an idication of how totally disgusting and shameful the rest of us find you. Either way, doesn’t exactly show that I’m wrong.

    If you get your abusive nature reined in, I might believe that you actually care about someone other than yourself. Then I might take your supposed criticism as something other than just vile ranting.

    Get my abusive nature reigned in? How about not trolling forums with your racist Southern pride bullshit?

    In any case, I full well know that you are incapable of admitting fault. That’s why I didn’t bother engaging you with respect. I think you are so far gone that you don’t deserve even the tiniest bit of respect. I think you deserve nothing but abuse. And you pretty mush asked for nothing but that from the moment you showed up here.

    You were insulting, rude, condescending and (if I remember right) told Ed he was an idiot who’se opinions were worth going to war over.

    So, if you want to be treated decently then earn it. You want to be treated like an adult? Then act like one.

    I was once married to an abusive man, he used language just like yours. People who use abusive language usually have no qualms about physical abuse. I don’t respond well to any form of abuse. Knowing how it feels to be abused, I try hard never to inflict it upon “any” one else.

    .

    Oh for fucks’ sake. You poor little victim, you.

    Well, that settles it. Coming from a racist apologist that remark certainly carries a lot of weight it otherwise wouldn’t.

  96. #96 Connie
    March 26, 2007

    Leni – - Did you ever actually pass a reading comprehension test? What part of “I don’t care if you call me a racist,” don’t you understand? I could call you a lady, but it certainly wouldn’t make you one.

    I wish that you would explain how you can call someone who has been brutally attacked, an “accidental” victim. That’s pretty asinine even for you!

    I wasn’t asking for sympathy or understanding as far as my relationship with my late, ex-husband is concerned. I just wanted you to know that you don’t impress me, frighten me or insult me because you and he were cut from the same cloth. Yes, I know that you’ve tried really hard with your pathetic, filthy, abusive language to convince me that you’re some sort of great defender. But I know your kind too well. You are not truly concerned about anyone’s best interest but your own.
    FYI – I never said that I was a victim. He beat me around for awhile, but he’s dead and I’m alive, well and happy.

    Very much like the North, that horrible man thought that because I made the mistake of marrying him, he could treat me any way that he pleased and I could do nothing about. He cared nothing for my happiness or well being, but he did like control and my money. He told me that I would never get a divorce and he’d kill me before he’d let me go. I escaped my abusive partner, unfortunately, the South did not.
    When you get married or enter into any sort of partnership, you hope for good things, but sometimes it just doesn’t turn out that way. No one should have to stay in a bad union. That’s why, thankfully, today we have laws that let us dissolve them. Abraham Lincoln violated the law that allowed the states, who wished to do so, to separate themselves from the union. Ergo, northern abuse continues. Don’t expect me to see things your way.

    As you said you were a recent arrival from Germany, I doubt that you really know much about anything that happened in this country from 1607 until 1865, but if you are so informed as you allude, please, explain to me, if the northern states cared so much for blacks, why didn’t they take them home with them after they were free. Why were so many left here to suffer right along with the whites? Why do they live in ghetto slums in the north? What were all of those race riots in the northern and western states about?

    There may have been someone posting here who actually tried to present some evidence to support their opinion about the WBTS and slavery, but it certainly wasn’t you. Yes, I know, you will spout off some filthy, nasty remarks about me, but I think that is all that you are capable of doing.

  97. #97 Connie
    March 26, 2007

    Bee – - Not that I owe you any explanation for my feelings about MLK, but I’ll tell you. On this blog or the other one just like it, one of you guys made some nasty cracks about televangelists. Well, I group MLK in with those guys. Some of them might be true pastors, but I don’t care much for them, either. Most of their lifestyles don’t command respect, and neither did MLK’s. Womanizing, adulterers don’t get respect from me. I guess he was better than the Black Panthers, but certainly not deserving of all the hoopla that is made over him. Stonewall Jackson taught blacks to read in spite of the fact that he could have gone to jail, but all your kind can do is spit on people of the Confederacy. It would have been far better for the blacks to have lived in a region that was changing in their favor than to have their lives plunged into chaos through war and suddenly being free with no education and no way to provide for themselves. Your kind may think that it was noble and that it was something great for blacks, but I don’t believe that history bears that out.

    Don’t worry about what the “decent” Southerners will think of me. But you might give a thought to what all Southerners take from your Southern bigotry. There may be some yankees who have moved south who are as biased as you, but no true Southern would take kindly to much of anything on this blog.

  98. #98 Raging Bee
    March 26, 2007

    Connie dodged thusly:

    There may have been someone posting here who actually tried to present some evidence to support their opinion about the WBTS and slavery, but it certainly wasn’t you.

    Yes, Connie, there were PLENTY of people whose positions on the War of Feudal American Backlash were backed up by facts, logic, and references to contemporary documents; you have not responded in kind to a single one of them, but have responded only to the name-calling, not the facts. You went out of your way to meet sensible arguments with abuse and irrelevant accusations, then complained about the abuse, and pretended we were all abusive while ignoring the non-abusive participants. I’m beginning to wonder what sort of people this bahavior might attract to yourself in the real world.

    Yes, I know, you will spout off some filthy, nasty remarks about me, but I think that is all that you are capable of doing.

    If such remarks are so repellant to you, why not simply ignore them and respond only to the mature, fact-based posts? It seems pretty clear to me that you were the one who started the abuse, by calling us — and the entire North — all manner of hypocrites and bigots without refuting any of the factual claims we made.

    By responding only to the abusive posts, you are only rewarding abuse, and discouraging more polite people from trying to engage with you. Do you really consider that a recipe for successful interaction with others? If you act this way in the real world, what sort of company do you expect to find yourself in?

    …but no true Southern would take kindly to much of anything on this blog.

    “True Southern” as defined by whom? By you? The fact that you’ve made so many posts attacking Northerners, without offering a single positive accomplishment from the South (no mention of Twain, Faulkner, bluegrass, Appalacian music, Jazz or New Orleans?), leads me to believe you’re not competent to define who is or is not a “True Southern.”

  99. #99 Raging Bee
    March 26, 2007

    It would have been far better for the blacks to have lived in a region that was changing in their favor than to have their lives plunged into chaos through war and suddenly being free with no education and no way to provide for themselves.

    Yeah, right, you Southerners were all set to give blacks equal rights, but they ruined everything by standing up and saying they had rights. And before that, the North ruined everything by criticizing slavery and forcing the poor old South to fight to keep something they were about to voluntarily give up out of the superior goodness of their hearts.

    When, and why, was the South “changing in their favor?” Because people like MLK organized peaceful political action, uniting blacks with whites and Jews, to make it so.

    And before you put your foot even further into your mouth, let me remind you that MLK advocated peaceful protest, not riots or terrorism, and managed to bring all races together to expose and fight the injustices of which he complained. You should be taking this as an example of Southern decency and culture, not disparaging it like a spoiled uncaring child.

    PS: Before you go on equating MLK with televangelists, ask yourself how many televangelists supported MLK or the Civil Rights movement in general.

  100. #100 Raging Bee
    March 26, 2007

    …if the northern states cared so much for blacks, why didn’t they take them home with them after they were free. Why were so many left here to suffer right along with the whites?

    Excuse me, but you’ve been going on about how well your Southern ancestors were treating those blacks before the Feudalists’ United Backlash Against Reality (FUBAR), and how the blacks would have been so much better off if we’d left them alone — and now you’re saying the Northerners should have taken them all OUT of the South?

    Whose fault was it that blacks in the South suffered so much after the Civil War? The Northern victors tried to rebuild a society in which blacks had equal rights, but guess who violently resisted and rolled back all such efforts? The white Southerners.

    Why do they live in ghetto slums in the north? What were all of those race riots in the northern and western states about?

    A completely separate issue from that of why the Southern states started the Civil War, that’s what they were about.

    Note: every time you go on about all that racism in the North, you only drive home the point that even those racists found slavery indefensible. So what’s your excuse for not getting the clue those racists got?

  101. #101 dogmeatIB
    March 26, 2007

    Wow, according to Connie blacks only live in ghetto slums in the North? Hmm, I don’t recall living in the ghetto, and my neighbors were … on the right, black, on the left, black, directly behind us, mixed race couple. I guess you need to fly on up there and let them know that they should move to the ghetto slums to prove you right, eh?

    Also, what about the ghetto slums in the south? New Orleans, Atlanta, Houston … not to provide examples of you being wrong or anything … we know how you respond to that, by ignoring it.

    Finally, what about the rural poor? Alabama, Mississippi, notorious for black poverty in these states.

    Yet again, as bee stated, these signs of northern racism suggest how horrible the south must have been. Not only was it so bad that these northern racists felt the need to free the slaves and spend a decade trying to establish equality. It was so bad in the south that millions of African Americans opted to move north and cope with northern racism rather than stay in the idyllic south.

    Fact is Connie, on this thread and the other, your only defense for the South had been projection and obfuscation. You have ignored dozens of legitimate arguments made by “yankees.” Why? I think it is because you can’t argue against them … they’re true.

    I have nothing against the south as a region, or a direction. As a “heritage?” Sorry, no.

  102. #102 Connie
    March 26, 2007

    Bee – - If you really want to know, “Whose fault was it that blacks in the South suffered so much after the Civil War?”, look north. We here in the South, especially Virginia, know that the yankees wanted us to suffer. They had pretty much destroyed the South. But to leave their precious negro “friends,” that they had fought so hard to liberate, to starve and suffer privation, right along with the Southerners that they so despised, belies the claim of them being many so magnanimous. Don’t bother to tell me about Reconstruction. That was only occupation to shove it in Southern faces that the yanks were the “victors” and could treat Southerners any way that they pleased.

    You can’t claim that the way blacks are treated and live in the northern and western states as being a completely different issue from why the WBTS was fought and at the same time, reasonably, argue that the civil rights movement was because of the WBTS. All of you yankee-minded people would rather attack Southerners for having pride in our ancestors than you would to fix any of the evils that exist in your own part of the country. It requires so much less effort and allows you to retain all of your own prejudice. Of course, you like many others hide behind your computer and don’t admit where you live. But that’s okay, because race problems exist everywhere in this country. Exactly how does today’s racism in the north prove that northern racists found slavery indefensible? There’s an old saying, “put your money where your mouth is.” When I see that in the north, then you can preach to me. When I see all of that love in action, I’ll become a believer. And don’t tell me about marches and protests, I mean I want to see it in the way people actually live, no ghettos, no sweat shops, no cops shooting black grooms and all of that hollering because it involved white cops shooting another innocent, defenseless black man.

    I did give you an example of how people in the South were changing their attitudes toward blacks by telling you about Stonewall Jackson, one of the most famous generals in history, a “Southern” general, teaching blacks to read. Just as you accuse me of doing, you completely ignored that part of my post. “Stonewall Jackson – The Black Man’s Friend” by Richard G. Williams, Jr. is an excellent book if you are really interested in facts. I won’t bother giving to other examples that you will simply ignore.

    No, don’t remind me about MLK, I was here to hear it all firsthand. I do have some admiration for Rosa Parks. She had some guts.

  103. #103 gwangung
    March 26, 2007

    Bee – - If you really want to know, “Whose fault was it that blacks in the South suffered so much after the Civil War?”, look north. We here in the South, especially Virginia, know that the yankees wanted us to suffer.

    Oh please. Take some repsonsibility. None of this blame crap.

  104. #104 dogmeatib
    March 26, 2007

    Ahh, so the North is responsible for Jim Crow, poll taxes, lynchings, segregation, African American poverty and created everything that led to the Civil Rights movement.

    [checks his transcripts]

    I see the problem, I never took “revisionist history 101″

  105. #105 kehrsam
    March 26, 2007

    Connie: If the WBTS was not about slavery, how come the welfare of southern blacks are the responsibility of yankees? Last time I checked the only people showing any concern for them were the “Radicals” in Congress who created the Freedmans Bureau. The primary opposition came from vigilante terrorists such as the KKK — largely made up of the people whose “heritage” you claim to celebrate.

    As for General Jackson, yes, he was a remarkable man, and the postwar period might have been far better had he lived to provide some humane leadership. I fail to see what relevance that has to the causes of the war.

    BTW, I have lived my whole life in NC. That does not change the fact that my race (white), my region (south) and my religion (Southern Baptist) have been terribly wrong on racial matters. I do not believe in romanticizing history, and the wrongs of one people are not cancelled out by the wrongs of another, nor do facile comparisons assist with understanding. The black man is my friend and my brother, and if he fails to believe me in this, I have no one to blame but myself.

  106. #106 gwangung
    March 26, 2007

    Judging by Connie’s example, I guess we can thank Southern culture for the “blame others” culture that conservatives rail about.

  107. #107 wings
    March 27, 2007

    UNDERSTANDING THE CAUSES OF THE UNCIVIL WAR
    A Brief Explanation of the Impact of the Morrill Tariff
    By Mike Scruggs for the Tribune Papers
    Most Americans believe the U. S. “Civil War” was over slavery. They have to an enormous degree been miseducated. The means and timing of handling the slavery issue were at issue, although not in the overly simplified moral sense that lives in postwar and modern propaganda. But had there been no Morrill Tariff there might never have been a war. The conflict that cost of the lives of 650,000 Union and Confederate soldiers and perhaps as many as 50,000 Southern civilians and impoverished many millions for generations might never have been.
    A smoldering issue of unjust taxation that enriched Northern manufacturing states and exploited the agricultural South was fanned to a furious blaze in 1860. It was the Morrill Tariff that stirred the smoldering embers of regional mistrust and ignited the fires of Secession in the South. This precipitated a Northern reaction and call to arms that would engulf the nation in the flames of war for four years.

    In the 1860 election, Lincoln, a former Whig and great admirer of Henry Clay, campaigned for the high protective tariff provisions of the Morrill Tariff, which had also been incorporated into the Republican Party Platform. Lincoln further endorsed the Morrill Tariff and its concepts in his first inaugural speech and signed the Act into law a few days after taking office in March of 1861. Southern leaders had seen it coming. Southern protests had been of no avail. Now the South was inflamed with righteous indignation, and Southern leaders began to call for Secession.
    At first Northern public opinion as reflected in Northern newspapers of both parties recognized the right of the Southern States to secede and favored peaceful separation. A November 21, 1860, editorial in the Cincinnati Daily Press said this:

    “We believe that the right of any member of this Confederacy to dissolve its political relations with the others and assume an independent position is absolute.”

    The New York Times on March 21, 1861, reflecting the great majority of editorial opinion in the North summarized in an editorial:

    “There is a growing sentiment throughout the North in favor of letting the Gulf States go.”

    Northern industrialists became nervous, however, when they realized a tariff dependent North would be competing against a free trade South. They feared not only loss of tax revenue, but considerable loss of trade. Newspaper editorials began to reflect this nervousness. Lincoln had promised in his inaugural speech that he would preserve the Union and the tariff.
    Three days after manipulating the South into firing on the tariff collection facility of Fort Sumter in volatile South Carolina, on April 15, 1861, Lincoln called for 75,000 volunteers to put down the Southern rebellion. This caused the Border States to secede along with the Gulf States. Lincoln undoubtedly calculated that the mere threat of force backed by more unified Northern public opinion would quickly put down secession.
    His gambit, however, failed spectacularly and would erupt into a terrible and costly war for four years. The Union Army’s lack of success early in the war, the need to keep anti-slavery England from coming into the war on the side of the South, and Lincoln’s need to appease the radical abolitionists in the North led to increasing promotion of freeing the slaves as a noble cause to justify what was really a dispute over just taxation and States Rights.

    Writing in December of 1861 in a London weekly publication, the famous English author, Charles Dickens, who was a strong opponent of slavery, said these things about the war going on in America:
    “The Northern onslaught upon slavery is no more than a piece of specious humbug disguised to conceal its desire for economic control of the United States.”
    “Union means so many millions a year lost to the South; secession means loss of the same millions to the North. The love of money is the root of this as many, many other evils. The quarrel between the North and South is, as it stands, solely a fiscal quarrel.”

    Karl Marx, like most European socialists of the time favored the North. In an 1861 article published in England, he articulated very well what the major British newspapers, the Times, the Economist, and Saturday Review, had been saying:
    “The war between the North and South is a tariff war. The war, is further, not for any principle, does not touch the question of slavery, and in fact turns on the Northern lust for power.”

    How to handle the slavery question was an underlying tension between North and South, but one of many tensions. It cannot be said to be the cause of the war. Fully understanding the slavery question and its relations to those tensions is beyond the scope of this article, but numerous historical facts demolish the propagandistic morality play that a virtuous North invaded the evil South to free the slaves. Five years after the end of the War, prominent Northern abolitionist, attorney and legal scholar, Lysander Spooner, put it this way:

    “All these cries of having ‘abolished slavery,’ of having ‘saved the country,’ of having ‘preserved the Union,’ of establishing a ‘government of consent,’ and of ‘maintaining the national honor’ are all gross, shameless, transparent cheats–so transparent that they ought to deceive no one.”

    Yet apparently many today are still deceived, are deliberately deceived, and even prefer to be deceived.
    Unjust taxation has been the cause of many tensions and much bloodshed throughout history and around the world.

  108. #108 Raging Bee
    March 27, 2007

    Connie continues to dodge:

    There’s an old saying, “put your money where your mouth is.” When I see that in the north, then you can preach to me.

    And when we see it in you, you can preach to us.

    When I see all of that love in action, I’ll become a believer.

    Well, some of us described a good bit of love in action, in the form of whites and blacks, North and South, uniting to support civil rights and oppose apartheid. You didn’t care.

    And don’t tell me about marches and protests, I mean I want to see it in the way people actually live, no ghettos, no sweat shops…

    So in other words, you won’t recognize “love in action” in any form except the establishment of Heaven on Earth. Who among us is in any position to demand that much?

    And on to wings’ taxophobic revisionism:

    It was the Morrill Tariff that stirred the smoldering embers of regional mistrust and ignited the fires of Secession in the South.

    Then how do you explain all those Southern politicians explicitly warning, as early as the 1830s, that Northern attempts to abolish slavery would result in the violent breakup of the Union? Numerous quotes have been cited on this very blog, either threatening to secede over the issue of slavery, or explaining the decision to secede as being for the primary purpose of preserving the “right” to maintain slavery. Your revisionist article does not stack up against this evidence.

    Three days after manipulating the South into firing on the tariff collection facility of Fort Sumter in volatile South Carolina…

    How can an unwilling party be “manipulated” into firing on a stationary installation? The article fails to explain this — an omission I find telling. If the Southerners didn’t want a war, then they could no more be “manipulated” into starting one, than I can be “manipulated” into shooting a cop.

    This talk of “manipulation” is typical of paranoia: when a person cannot, or will not, take responsibility for his own actions, he invents conspiracy-theories in which some all-powerful malevolent party “manipulates” him into doing things that turn out badly for him.

    …and Lincoln’s need to appease the radical abolitionists in the North led to increasing promotion of freeing the slaves…

    How did the “radical abolitionists” get so much power that the President had to appease them, and that their support made that much difference in the war? (And what about the “moderate abolitionists?”) Could it be because huge numbers of Americans — racist though they were — were so disgusted with slavery that they were willing to go to war to abolish it? You just helped to disprove you own point. (Also, if the South wanted help from “anti-slavery England,” why couldn’t they have freed their own slaves to make an alliance more palatable to them?)

    How to handle the slavery question was an underlying tension between North and South, but one of many tensions. It cannot be said to be the cause of the war.

    It WAS said to be the cause of the war — by the very political leaders who led the South to secede, thus causing the war. Many such leaders were quoted here having said that very thing. If they were really going to war over tarrifs, and their people were up in arms about tarrifs, why would they have used a totally different issue to rally the people?

    Five years after the end of the War, prominent Northern abolitionist, attorney and legal scholar, Lysander Spooner, put it this way:

    “All these cries of having ‘abolished slavery,’ of having ‘saved the country,’ of having ‘preserved the Union,’ of establishing a ‘government of consent,’ and of ‘maintaining the national honor’ are all gross, shameless, transparent cheats–so transparent that they ought to deceive no one.”

    Um…slavery really was abolished, the Union really was preserved, and the government that came out of it really was, and so far, still is, a government of consent (if a far-from-perfect one), and we really did increase our nation’s honor by ridding it of the stain of slavery. How is that a “cheat?” Your “legal scholar” was a bit clueless, probably because he was writing so soon after the war, when things were, inevitably, still a bit of a mess.

    Unjust taxation has been the cause of many tensions and much bloodshed throughout history and around the world.

    This pretty much explains the author’s own prejudice: he’s an anti-tax nutjob who thinks his pet peeve is the most important issue on Earth. What will he do next — blame “unjust taxation” for the Holocaust?

  109. #109 dogmeatib
    March 27, 2007

    The argument regarding Fort Sumter don’t even make sense given that it wasn’t the first shot fired in the war in the first place.

  110. #110 Loren Collins
    March 27, 2007

    UNDERSTANDING THE CAUSES OF THE UNCIVIL WAR
    A Brief Explanation of the Impact of the Morrill Tariff
    By Mike Scruggs for the Tribune Papers
    It was the Morrill Tariff that stirred the smoldering embers of regional mistrust and ignited the fires of Secession in the South.

    So it wasn’t slavery, it was the tariff. Interesting theory. Let’s see how Mr. Scruggs backs up his claim.

    In the 1860 election, Lincoln, a former Whig and great admirer of Henry Clay, campaigned for the high protective tariff provisions of the Morrill Tariff, which had also been incorporated into the Republican Party Platform. Lincoln further endorsed the Morrill Tariff and its concepts in his first inaugural speech and signed the Act into law a few days after taking office in March of 1861. Southern leaders had seen it coming. Southern protests had been of no avail. Now the South was inflamed with righteous indignation, and Southern leaders began to call for Secession.

    This timeline is pretty wonky. Lincoln gave his first inaugural address on March 4, 1861. Seven states had already seceded by that time. Texas, the last of those seven, seceded on February 1, 1861, over a month before that speech. So Southern leaders did not begin to call for Secession after Lincoln took office; they’d actually started seceding three months earlier. And more didn’t start seceding after the speech; it wasn’t until after the war began that the next state seceded.

    In any case, whenever Southern leaders did begin to call for secession on the basis of the Morrill Tariff, I’m sure Mr. Scruggs will provide us with some good examples of Southern leaders doing so. So let’s see that “righteous indignation”…

    At first Northern public opinion as reflected in Northern newspapers of both parties recognized the right of the Southern States to secede and favored peaceful separation. A November 21, 1860, editorial in the Cincinnati Daily Press said this:

    “We believe that the right of any member of this Confederacy to dissolve its political relations with the others and assume an independent position is absolute.”

    The New York Times on March 21, 1861, reflecting the great majority of editorial opinion in the North summarized in an editorial:

    “There is a growing sentiment throughout the North in favor of letting the Gulf States go.”

    Um, those aren’t Southern leaders talking about a tariff. In fact, they’re neither Southern, nor leaders, nor talking about a tariff. Scruggs is not off to a good start, evidence-wise.

    It’s several paragraphs until the next original source is cited:

    Writing in December of 1861 in a London weekly publication, the famous English author, Charles Dickens, who was a strong opponent of slavery, said these things about the war going on in America:…

    Karl Marx, like most European socialists of the time favored the North. In an 1861 article published in England, he articulated very well what the major British newspapers, the Times, the Economist, and Saturday Review, had been saying:
    “The war between the North and South is a tariff war. The war, is further, not for any principle, does not touch the question of slavery, and in fact turns on the Northern lust for power.”

    Charles Dickens and Karl Marx? British newspapers? Not only are these guys not Southern leaders, or Southern, or just plain American, they weren’t even in the U.S. at the time. Why quote them when you could be quoting Southern leaders? Which is more persuasive: Jefferson Davis, or the author of “A Christmas Carol”?

    Plus, to make matters worse, the Marx quote is taken horribly out of context. He’s not making the above argument himself; he’s summarizing the newspaper’s, which he then rebuts. His conclusion? “The whole movement was and is based, as one sees, on the slave question.” Two months later, he wrote “The United States has evidently entered a critical stage with regard to the slavery question, the question underlying the whole Civil War.”

    Five years after the end of the War, prominent Northern abolitionist, attorney and legal scholar, Lysander Spooner,

    *sigh* Again, not a Southern leader, no mention of tariffs in the quote, and it comes from five years AFTER the war ended.

    If Southern leaders were truly calling for secession based chiefly on the Morrill Tariff, then where are the quotes from Davis and Stephens and the other Confederate Founding Fathers? Why does Scruggs cite Northern editorials and British newspapers (and grossly misrepresent one German author), but not quote a single Southerner?

    Oh, right, because the Southern leaders talked overwhelmingly about slavery. We’ve already seen the quotes from Stephens and Toombs, and the Declarations of Cause have been posted. What can I add? Maybe if I had a Southern leader flat-out state that slavery was the main cause for secession. Like, perhaps, Georgia’s Henry Benning did to the Virginia Secession Convention on February 18, 1861:

    “What was the reason that induced Georgia to take the step of secession? This reason may be summed up in one single proposition. It was a conviction, a deep conviction on the part of Georgia, that a separation from the North was the only thing that could prevent the abolition of her slavery. This conviction, sir, was the main cause.”

  111. #111 Connie
    March 28, 2007

    Bee- – I like how someone like you complains about revisionism. Taxophobic? I believe unfair taxes caused the Revolutionary war.

    “So in other words, you won’t recognize “love in action” in any form except the establishment of Heaven on Earth. Who among us is in any position to demand that much?”

    I think many of you among us “demand” that much. You are not satisfied when black people are allowed all of the same benefits from this country that any other race receives – well, if they’re in the South, that is. But of course, in the north they can still live in ghettos, etc., etc. and you think you’ve somehow proven that they are treated better than in the South. Yes, if the North truly was and is the great champion that it is touted to have been and still be, I want to see a monumental difference in how blacks fare in the north as opposed to the South. Again, put your money where your mouth is!

    “Um…slavery really was abolished, the Union really was preserved, and the government that came out of it really was, and so far, still is, a government of consent (if a far-from-perfect one), and we really did increase our nation’s honor by ridding it of the stain of slavery.

    What a crock! The South did not want the union preserved. The government was not one of “consent.” You can’t force states into staying in a union where they don’t want to be and call the enforced government one of consent. The South was an occupied country. How do you come up with “a government of consent?” I guess for you, the end justifies the means no matter how lacking in honor and legality those means were. I find it so difficult to believe that someone with that logic has a problem with people who needed a labor force, buying people who were for sale.

  112. #112 Raging Bee
    March 28, 2007

    I believe unfair taxes caused the Revolutionary war.

    Your “belief” is simplistic and incomplete. Another very important cause was lack of Colonial representation in the republican institutions of London. That is, after all, where the famous phrase “taxation without representation” came from. I guess your history teacher missed that bit.

    You are not satisfied when black people are allowed all of the same benefits from this country that any other race receives – well, if they’re in the South, that is.

    Both before and after the War of Southern Feudal Backlash, blacks did NOT have “the same benefits from this country that any other race receives.” This was especially true in the Antebellum South, where dark-skinned humans were OWNED AND TRADED LIKE LIVESTOCK. That’s what we’re not “satisfied” about. Your failure to grasp or admit this point is what makes the “flaming racist” label stick so firmly to your ignorant overpaid ass.

    But of course, in the north they can still live in ghettos, etc., etc. and you think you’ve somehow proven that they are treated better than in the South.

    We “think” that blacks in those ghettos were not OWNED AND TRADED LIKE LIVESTOCK. That doesn’t mean the job is done, but it is a significant improvement. (Oh, and BTW, not all blacks live in ghettos — some of them were able to organize for justice, get better jobs, and find better places to raise families. Not sure how they were able to do this — probably something to do with not being OWNED AND TRADED LIKE LIVESTOCK anymore. Y’think?

    I find it so difficult to believe that someone with that logic has a problem with people who needed a labor force, buying people who were for sale.

    You really have no clue what slavery was about, do you? Ignorance of this magnitude can only be deliberate.

    Your flailing, incoherent complaints of Northern hypocricy ignore one very important moral point: it is better to oppose evil inconsistently, than to support it consistently.

  113. #113 Raging Bee
    March 28, 2007

    Yes, if the North truly was and is the great champion that it is touted to have been and still be…

    “Touted” by whom? Who here has said anything like that about the north? Your accusations are as false as they are irrelevant.

  114. #114 Francis
    March 28, 2007

    What a crock! The South did not want the union preserved. The government was not one of “consent.”

    Damn right! No government that enshrines slavery can ever be one of consent. But the government of the United States of America even during Reconstruction was far closer to one of consent than that of the United States prior to the civil war and far closer to one of consent than either the Union or particularly the Confederacy.

    Yes, if the North truly was and is the great champion that it is touted to have been and still be

    That is what is called a straw man argument. Who exactly is touting the North as a great champion?

    I guess for you, the end justifies the means no matter how lacking in honor and legality those means were.

    The means in question were not half as contemptable as the institution of slavery that the South seceded and then fought a war to preserve.

    Your “belief” is simplistic and incomplete. Another very important cause was lack of Colonial representation in the republican institutions of London. That is, after all, where the famous phrase “taxation without representation” came from. I guess your history teacher missed that bit.

    Indeed. And something most Americans miss is that the Boston Tea Party was actually in response to taxes being lowered and taxes were already extremely low compared to England. (I’m serious about the tea party – it was undertaken by smugglers who could undercut the East India Company at the old tax rate but not at the new one). It’s even more complicated than most people think.

  115. #115 Ian Gould
    March 31, 2007

    The point isn’t: “The north was good and the south was bad.”

    It is “Bad as the north was by contemporary standards, the south was even worse.”

    America in the 1940′s still practised segregation and there was widespread antisemitism and anti-Asian racism.

    I don’t think many people would use that to argue for moral equivalence between the US and Nazi Germany in World War II.

  116. #116 Raging Bee
    April 2, 2007

    Except for the Nazis, of course.

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