The following is a revised posting I left at the Pharyngula website.1 I have also added references.
This is the post I was replying to: I have added some supplemental commentary to this persons posting it is the non-indented material.
Hit me with your best shot !I'm still standin yea yea yea !Come on is that the best you folks can do?Calling me names truly exposes who is the bigot.How many ships flying the confederate flag imported slaves? ZERO!That was the north's doing. Cha Ching $$$$.
The Northern blockade during the Civil War massively reduced trade into the Confederacy and prevented any revival of the slave trade including illegal. The South was heavily involved in the trade while it was legal; after all who was buying the slaves? Southerners were involved in all aspects of the operation of the slave trade.2
"I will say then that I am not, nor ever have been in favor of bringing about in anyway the social and political equality of the white and black races – that I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race."
This is from the Lincoln / Douglas debates. Aside from indicating that racism and racist like beliefs were common in the North as in the South how does this indicate that slavery was not the most important cause of the Civil War? Or that Lincoln shared these beliefs how does this in anyway indicate the preserving slavery was not the most important reason why the South tried to secede. Further racist attitudes towards Blacks did not mean that someone could not be opposed to having them enslaved. Interestingly Lincoln seems to have shared these beliefs less than most people of his time.3
Also in Lincoln's first inaugural address:"I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so."
Lincoln was still hoping for reunion with the Seceding states seven of which had seceded by the time of his inauguration. Further he did not wish to alienate the border South states. Finally he really did believe that he had no power to interfere with slavery where it existed. In this respect he was entirely correct, in terms of the normal powers of the president in a normal situation. In the future Lincoln would base his interference with slavery entirely on his emergency and war powers. I should however indicate that Lincoln was quite adamant that he and his government would NOT allow the further extension of slavery or the creation of more slave states. And Lincoln was quite adamant that he wanted to stop the expansion of slavery so that the institution would, without new places to expand into, wither and die. Many southerners felt that this was the death knell of slavery and that the institution would be in mortal danger unless the slave states left the union. Certainly the main complaints justifying secession in the Southern Conventions regarding secession was the threat to slavery posed by Lincoln and the Republicans. Finally Lincoln was trying to reassure Southerners that although he and his government would stop the extension of slavery they would not interfere with it where it currently existed. All in hope of reunion.4
So why did Lincoln invade the South if not to free the slaves? If you have an inability to think for yourself, then you stick to repeating the same government lies. But if you are interested in finding the truth, you can again examine Lincoln's very own words. Again from his first inaugural address:"there needs to be no bloodshed or violence, and there shall be none unless it be forced upon the national authority [...] to collect the duties and imposts"It seems fairly clear from the actual words of Lincoln that he was a racist (like most Americans in that day) who wanted to invade the South in order to collect the government's taxes from Southerners who no longer wished to remain in the Union. The entire war was initiated and fought by the North in order to preserve the Union, not to free the slaves. Likewise, since the North was not threatening to end slavery, the South was most certainly not fighting to preserve slavery. The South fought the war to defend their homes and to break free from a tyrannical government.
Well the author forget that it was the South was the one that opened fire on Fort Sumter and further since the South had no legal right to secede the National government was well within its rights to continue to collect duties and imposts. The author creates a straw man; it is well known that the war was fought to preserve the Union by the North for various reasons, including the idea that Southern secession made a mockery of Democracy and further that allowing secession would destroy the rest of the Union. Nations generally do not allow themselves to be destroyed at what appears to be a whim. In a nation state attempted secession leaves behind a massive array of interlocking disputes making civil war extremely likely. The comment that the North incited the war is simply false. After all it was the Confederacy that opened fire on Fort Sumter. None of this deals with the question of the why the South succeeded, in fact it avoids it. First the Confederacy was formed even before Lincoln and his allegedly “tyrannical” government took power. And what where the “tyrannical” acts threatened? Why the exclusion of slavery from the territories. The refusal to impose a slave code on the territories, regardless of the inhabitants feelings. The base insults to the South consisted of such things as giving fugitive slaves rights to a hearings before being sent back south in some northern states.5
Also, recall that slavery was supported by the US government, not just by the South. Moreover, most of the slave trade went through Northern ports and the North was profiting from slavery just as well as the South through cheap Southern-produced goods and tariffs. So if the media is going to attack all things Southern as racist, should they not been held to do the same for all things US government or all things yankee? The hypocrisy is truly unbelievable. I suspect the true motive for the denigration of the South is really about denouncing secession (by equating it to racism). Government is coercion and secession is the ultimate weapon against government.
The above is an outstanding example of evading the issue which is why did the South secede. It does so my changing the topic to racism in general. The South produced few goods, it manufacturing industries were comparatively weak. What the South produced was masses of cotton and other raw materials, i.e., tobacco, rice etc. The South was a mass importer of manufactured items from the North and Europe. Oh and please note that many Abolitionists knew full well that much of the Northern economy benefited from slavery directly or indirectly and bitterly denounced it. In fact those who in the north directly benefited from slavery (various commercial concerns etc.) where very likely to be pro-Southern and pro-slavery. Besides your defence of the South is to shout your racist too! That of course means that your admitting the South was and is racist. No Historian worth his salt will deny that racism permeated both North and South in the pre Civil War era, what this has to with changing the cause of the Civil War is beyond me. It is obvious that you could be racist and anti-slavery. I also note a slip slide from the past to the present. How does the fact that over a century ago racism permeated the American Republic tell us about racism today. It is a fact that neo-Confederate thinking has traditionally in the South been associated with racism. Neither does any of this change the fact that secession occurred because of Southern fears about slavery being undermined. The fact that the North benefited in many respects from slavery does not change the reasons why the South seceded was because the South feared what might happen to slavery when Lincoln took office.6
As Jefferson Davis said, "Truth crushed to the earth is truth still and like a seed will rise again." Let us hope this is true.disclaimer: Although I think this is unnecessary, the yankees will slander me if I do not say this. While I support the South and the principle of secession, I am completely against slavery. While we are at it, I am also against murder, rape, pedophilia, and the slaughter of kittens.Confederate Constitution:"Section 9 - Limits on Congress, Bill of Rights1. The importation of negroes of the African race from any foreign country other than the slaveholding States or Territories of the United States of America, is hereby forbidden; and Congress is required to pass such laws as shall effectually prevent the same."
I will deal with the slave trade below. After the Civil War Jefferson Davis produced an appologia7 which claimed the Civil War was not about slavery. He did so by massive messaging of the truth and out and out lying.
The evasions above of the Southern history of disenfranchisement and racism are obvious and clear. Also obvious is a deliberate ignoring of the interconnection between nostalgia for the Confederacy and racism. The re-imposition of “white” rule in the South was accompanied by much Confederate nostalgia along with terror. Further this “white” reconstruction of the South was accompanied by a Northern acceptance of the myth of the innocent South and the wicked Reconstruction and a tacit allowance of the imposition of a quasi servitude on Blacks again. Our author, although he is against slavery, seems to not be aware that it is tyrannical. Certainly he does not seem to be terribly upset by it. At least compared to the Lincoln’s unacceptable tyranny, which consisted of nothing he did because he wasn’t in office yet. The tyranny that our author finds unacceptable boils down to a government refusing to allow the further territorial expansion of the tyranny of slavery and further the perfectly legal collection of taxes etc.; also the national government resisting the illegal seizure by violence of its property.8
Below is my posting.
You do realize that the reason that the Confederate constitution outlawed the Slave trade was because if they legalized it it would have guaranteed European opposition to the New Confederate states. Despite this there was a significant push to re-legalize the slave trade by some Southerners at the time. This was rejected as political suicide.9 You do realize that that the U.S. had abolished the Slave trade more than 50 years earlier.10 You do realize that people continued to illegally import slaves into the south for profit. You do realize that Southerners were heavily involved in this traffic and that there were court cases in the South in which those who were tried for this were routinely acquitted.11
You do realize that the confederate constitution strengthened slavery and made it much more difficult to abolish.12 You do realize that that at the state State Conventions considering succession slavery was talked about ad nauseum and that that in the papers and other documents justifying succession slavery was the most prominently given reason for succession.13 You do realize that after the election of Lincoln large sections of the South were filled with spasms of rage and fear over what his election meant in terms of the survival of slavery.14
You do realize that even before Lincoln was inaugurated seven states had seceded from the Union and the confederacy formed.15 You do realize that the Southern states were ceasing federal property all over the place. You do realize that attacking Fort Sumter was an act of war. You do realize that the American president has emergency powers to deal with insurrection, which this was indisputably.16
You do realize that the Confederates absolutely refused to recognize the right to succeed of parts of the Southern States that didn't want to go along with succession. You do realize that mass arrests and in some places executions happened in those areas. Say parts of Texas, Eastern Tennessee, with mass arrests suspension of Habeas corpus etc.17
During the War the Confederacy in terms of centralizing the state etc, went the same way as the Union. Oh and the Confederacy invaded neutral Kentucky.18
Oh and Andrew Jackson, a Southerners said during the nullification crisis in 1832 that succession was treason and that he would hang the ringleaders as traitors.19
In 1860 most people in the United States did not think that there was a legal right to secede. Most American supported the right to revolution, which was a different thing.20 In this case the simple fact that Lincoln was elected as President was not deemed by most northerners and by a lot of Southerners sufficient excuse to secede.21 After all Lincoln had been elected by 40% of the vote and the republicans had less than half the seats in the new Congress.22 Lincoln's ability to adversely affect the South would have been severely limited. Oh and Stephen Douglas a very pro-Southern Northern politician and second in the popular vote in the election of 1860 swore up and down that succession was illegal and that he would help crush it.23
Oh and at the same time Arkansas seceded from the Union the state introduced laws that made manumission of slaves illegal and tried to re-enslave the states free black population. Much of South Carolina’s free Black population fled in the face of greatly increased persecution.24
Succession was not a legal act but a revolutionary act and has such had a high chance of causing a Civil War. The Southern politicians made a disastrous mistake. Oh and many were hoping for the election of Lincoln and helped to generate the hysteria and panic in the months preceding the election in order for succession to happen.25
And do I have to point out that during the constitutional convention Southerners lobbied for their human property to be included as part of the full population when it came to appropriating representation etc. at the same time they wanted their human property excluded from the rights of the constitution etc. A compromise was reached the infamous 3/5th clause. At the same time Southern slave owners resisted any effort to lessen their tyrannical control over their slave property. Allowing slaves to get legally married would have been a good start.26
The South fully supported coercion against slaves to keep them in that status and those who didn't want secession.
The political leaders of the South made what could only be described as an irresponsible gamble and lost completely.
2. Thomas Hugh, The Slave Trade, Papermac, London, 1997, pp. 543-546, 566-570, 739-741., McPherson, James M., Battle Cry of Freedom, Ballantine Books, New York, 1988, pp. 378-388.
3. McPherson, pp. 184-187.
4. Stampp, Kenneth M., And the War Came, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1950, pp. 179-203.
5. IBID, pp. 1-45, 239-286, McPherson, 234-307, Potter, David M., The Impending Crisis, Harper Torchbooks, New York, 1976, pp. 485-583.
6. McPherson, 91-103, 116-144.
7. Davis Jefferson, The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government, 2 vols., Thomas Yoseloff, (rept.) New York, 1958. The Vice-President of the Confederacy also wrote an apologia, Stephens, Alexander Hamilton, A Constitutional View of the Late War between the States, 2 volumes, National Publishing Company, Philadelphia PA, 1868-1870.
8. See McPherson, pp.234-275.
9. McPherson, pp. 102-103, Freehling, William W., The Road to Disunion, vol. 2, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2007, pp. 177-184, 502-504.
10. Cooper, William J., Liberty and Slavery, Alfred AQ. Knopf, New York, 1983, pp. 50-52, 70-72, 98-99.
11. McPherson, pp. 102-103.
12. See Avalon Project, Here, for the Confederate Constitution. The following sections massively strengthened and defended slavery.
Article 1 Sec. 9 (4) No bill of attainder, ex post facto law, or law denying or impairing the right of property in negro slaves shall be passed.…Article 4 Sec. 2. (I) The citizens of each State shall be entitled to all the privileges and immunities of citizens in the several States; and shall have the right of transit and sojourn in any State of this Confederacy, with their slaves and other property; and the right of property in said slaves shall not be thereby impaired.…(3) No slave or other person held to service or labor in any State or Territory of the Confederate States, under the laws thereof, escaping or lawfully carried into another, shall, in consequence of any law or regulation therein, be discharged from such service or labor; but shall be delivered up on claim of the party to whom such slave belongs,. or to whom such service or labor may be due.…Sec. 3 (3) The Confederate States may acquire new territory; and Congress shall have power to legislate and provide governments for the inhabitants of all territory belonging to the Confederate States, lying without the limits of the several Sates; and may permit them, at such times, and in such manner as it may by law provide, to form States to be admitted into the Confederacy. In all such territory the institution of negro slavery, as it now exists in the Confederate States, shall be recognized and protected be Congress and by the Territorial government; and the inhabitants of the several Confederate States and Territories shall have the right to take to such Territory any slaves lawfully held by them in any of the States or Territories of the Confederate States.
The American Constitution by comparison goes to strenuous lengths to avoid the words slave, and slavery.
13. See Dew, Charles B., Apostles of Disunion, University Press of Virginia, London, 2001.
14. McPherson, pp. 234-275, Channing, Steven A., Crisis of Fear, W.W. Norton and Company, New York, 1974, pp. 229-293, Freehling, 2007, pp. 323-444, Potter, David M., The Impending Crisis, Harper and Row, London, 1976, pp. 485-514.
15. McPherson, pp. 257-259.
16. McPherson, pp. 267-275, Potter, pp. 555-583.
17. McPherson, pp. 305-306, Lowen, James W., Lies Across America, The New Press, New York, 1999, pp. 177-179.
18. McPherson, p. 296, pp. 428-437.
19. Freehling, William W., The Road to Disunion, vol. 1, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1990, p. 278.
20, See Stampp, Kenneth M., The Imperiled Union, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1980, pp. 3-36, (Essay The Concept of a Perpetual Union).
21. McPherson, pp. 257-275, Stampp, 1980.
22, Stampp, 1980, pp. 238-239.
23. McPherson, pp. 231-232.
24. Freehling, 2007, pp. 199-200.
25. Channing, pp. 229-293, Freehling, pp. 323-341, Potter, 448-484.
26. Stampp, pp. 232-234.