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smiling bandit
10-10-2007, 02:50 PM
I'm having some trouble at my new job. My boss comes from South Carolina. My coworker, I'm not sure, but the south.

Today we got into a discussion of the civil war (after work, for me). No problem. I don't hate the South, nor do I even hate its people or leaership during the Civil War (during the run-up, is a slightly different story).

However, I started getting mad after they claimed that:

Charleston was never surrendered. (it did, Febuary 18th, 1865)
The seccession was legal. :rolleyes:
Invoking the founding father to say they'd al support the south.
Accusing Sherman of being a monster and genocidal killer. :rolleyes:
Claimed we were using Total War in Iraq. I was a little :dubious: at this, and asked if she understood what the term meant. She was quite PO'd at that. I may have been a little out of line but I was taken aback and honestly a little confused, as the assertion made no sense.
Declared that the north was all murderers.

I can only hope I don't get fired for expressions opinions (and being able to back them up) which differ.

I was happy to talk about the Civil War, even to discuss the causes or compare leaders. But to claim the south was some innocent jewel (a bad habit I've seen in many southerners) except for y'know, the entire way fo life being based around slavery, or to claim that they were obviously innocently defending themselves because obviously Lincoln had no right to take Fort Sumter - that's just beyond the pale.

The ironic part was that I said I wished Sherman had been able to start his march through South Carolina earlier in the war. This was met with shock and horror and being accused of hoping her ancestors would die. Which missed the point: I wanted the war to end sooner so fewer of ANYONE would die.

:mad:

I'm soryr. I know this doesn't really meet pit standards of cursing or inventiveness or a cool story.

pool
10-10-2007, 02:56 PM
I've lived in Georgia my whole life so I hear this stuff from time to time. Sorry but the South was in the wrong. Secession is not kosher with me.

Zebra
10-10-2007, 02:57 PM
When ever I get into one of those discussion I just point out how they were all traitors and losers and all the confederates hated America.


Then I keep emphansising loser, because that is the most onerous.

Zsofia
10-10-2007, 03:02 PM
The rest of it, dumb. But there's a reason why people feel that way about Sherman down here, you know. Unfortunately I can't find a picture of the aftermath in Columbia (there's a series called the "Three Great Photographs" - basically they show a whole lot of nothing where there used to be a town) but I can assure you, whether you're on the right side or not, it sucks when your city gets burned to the ground.

Shodan
10-10-2007, 03:12 PM
The seccession was legal. :rolleyes: Did you have a cite that it was not, prior to 1861?
Accusing Sherman of being a monster and genocidal killer. :rolleyes: Methinks they might have a bit of a point here.

Regards,
Shodan

Ludovic
10-10-2007, 03:22 PM
Legality, schmegality, on both the houses. It's right if it's moral, case closed. If you're trying to secede from an immoral state, and the resultant state would be more moral, you're right. The South wasn't, so it was wrong, and those who defend or oppose the justification of secession based on legal arguments are irrelevant.

Jackmannii
10-10-2007, 03:23 PM
Interesting article (http://people.cohums.ohio-state.edu/grimsley1/myth/myth.htm) about myths surrounding Sherman's march.

South Carolina evidently got the worst of it, not entirely surprising given the state's role in precipitating the war and its large number of diehard secessionists. The genocide stuff is nutty, but there are still cranks who don't want to accept that the Civil War is over and that the outcome was good.

Just don't hum "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" at job evaluation sessions. :D

Wee Bairn
10-10-2007, 03:32 PM
A not uncommon bumper sticker in the South, back when people used bumper stickers-

"Lee Surrendered. I did not. :) "

Zsofia
10-10-2007, 03:33 PM
Interesting article (http://people.cohums.ohio-state.edu/grimsley1/myth/myth.htm) about myths surrounding Sherman's march.

South Carolina evidently got the worst of it, not entirely surprising given the state's role in precipitating the war and its large number of diehard secessionists. The genocide stuff is nutty, but there are still cranks who don't want to accept that the Civil War is over and that the outcome was good.

Just don't hum "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" at job evaluation sessions. :D
My understanding is that there was no order to burn Columbia, but when you put an army in an enemy city, these things happen.

saoirse
10-10-2007, 03:37 PM
A not uncommon bumper sticker in the South, back when people used bumper stickers-

"Lee Surrendered. I did not. :) "

That would go well with the one I saw on my way to work. It had a confederate flag in circle with a line throught it, and said: "You lost. Get over it."

Jackmannii
10-10-2007, 03:43 PM
Legality, schmegality, on both the houses. It's right if it's moral, case closed. If you're trying to secede from an immoral state, and the resultant state would be more moral, you're right. The South wasn't, so it was wrong, and those who defend or oppose the justification of secession based on legal arguments are irrelevant.Or one could try to defend the legality of the South's seizing federal installations and committing aggression against Fort Sumter.

But then one would be an ass.

Bricker
10-10-2007, 03:55 PM
Did you have a cite that it was not, prior to 1861?


I don't know that it's useful to talk about legality or illegality or an action like succession.

I'm pretty sure, for example, that England considered the American colonies' actions c. 1776 to be illegal. Yet we, by declaring our independence, essentially stated that we refused to recognize England's claim to define the law for us in this matter.

So it is with the southern states' succession. It was illegal in the sense that the Constitution, which all states had ratified, had no provision for a state to leave the union. Furthermore, we have the long-standing principle in international law of pacta sunt servanda - a sovereign state must keep its word, once given.

But the overwhelmingly majority of sovereign states in the history of the world were born from some act which repudiated prior claims of sovereignty in violation of implicit or explicit law, and the United States herself is no exception. And we have an equally-long standing principle of international law in rebus sic stantibus - a fundamental change in circumstances permits unilateral breach of a pre-existing agreement.

What we should conclude, I think, is that "legal" and "illegal" are not useful concepts to apply here. If a nation-state declares itself sovereign and can defend that sovereignty effectively, its actions become "legal" after the fact, and its founding fathers are heros; if it cannot defend its actions, then they become "illegal" after the fact, and its would-be founding fathers are rebellious traitors.

This is simpy not a useful place to apply the criminal law model.

LurkMeister
10-10-2007, 03:59 PM
If you really want to start trouble, try wearing this (http://www.zazzle.com/general_sherman_s_american_tour_t_shirt-235606122096291731) to work some day.

Bricker
10-10-2007, 04:01 PM
Legality, schmegality, on both the houses. It's right if it's moral, case closed. If you're trying to secede from an immoral state, and the resultant state would be more moral, you're right. The South wasn't, so it was wrong, and those who defend or oppose the justification of secession based on legal arguments are irrelevant.

How do you know what's moral and what isn't? Who is in charge of determining the morality of a given state? Is there a meter we can buy somewhere? A Big Book o' Morals? What?

Slithy Tove
10-10-2007, 04:06 PM
just steer the conversation to their other obsession: football.

Tuckerfan
10-10-2007, 04:06 PM
My understanding is that there was no order to burn Columbia, but when you put an army in an enemy city, these things happen.
IIRC, they happened in Atlanta because the locals didn't like the idea of the Yanks getting their grubby mitts all over things.

Has your boss used the, "Lincoln was the first (or only) President to use the military against his own people." line yet? That's always a hoot, especially when you mention Washington and the Whiskey Rebellion.

smiling bandit
10-10-2007, 04:08 PM
The theory that seccession was legal is belied by the fact that the South itself only did so when convenient. They saw nothing wrong with the federal govenrment so long as they could control. In fact, the State's Righters were most willing to use federal power to force other states to do as they pleased. They only cried foul when a lawfully and freely elected government (in fact, its election was hindered by Southern violence and illegal actions) would not support them... on one issue. It would not even harm them directly; it simply would not expand slavery to the territories.

Look, many southern generals and leaders were good men. But a great many others were blatant hypocrites, tyrants in power and cowards out of it, who used democracy to get power and seccession to keep it.

The South accepted the Constitution: legal ways existed for them to secede. (Constitutional Convention or Amendments) Frankly, there was a non-trivial chance they could have got it if they asked, given the bad blood and the desire of many Northerner to leave the south behind. The South worked with the Constitution when it suited them. And of course, no one among the Founding Fathers accepted the idea of secession; it was totally ahistorical.

msmith537
10-10-2007, 04:10 PM
Whenever your boss tells you to do something, tell him "Hey, you guys LOST the War to Free the Slaves. I don't have to listen to you, my shit is Emancipated!"

or if you prefer not to be insubordinate, simply say "Yessa Massa! I collate dem copies (or whatever typical task ) fo you directly! Laws yes!" and then do a little Minstral jig while wistling Dixie.

Southerns always seem to gloss over that aspect of the Civil War.

Obsidian
10-10-2007, 04:11 PM
I'm marrying a transplanted Texan, who family is from Georgia. Both of our fathers are big history buffs, particularly about the civil war. Both know a lot about their ancestors. I naively suggested this as a topic they could talk about. I thought it would be cool if they figured out if our ancestors fought at any of the same battles.

My fiance looks at me, dead serious, and says, "They didn't march with Sherman, did they?"

msmith537
10-10-2007, 04:13 PM
just steer the conversation to their other obsession: football.


or NASCAR

Slithy Tove
10-10-2007, 04:16 PM
or NASCAR

(although "steering" and "NASCAR" are mutually exclusive terms)

Tuckerfan
10-10-2007, 04:18 PM
I'm marrying a transplanted Texan, who family is from Georgia. Both of our fathers are big history buffs, particularly about the civil war. Both know a lot about their ancestors. I naively suggested this as a topic they could talk about. I thought it would be cool if they figured out if our ancestors fought at any of the same battles.

My fiance looks at me, dead serious, and says, "They didn't march with Sherman, did they?"
The only response to this is, "No, but they did fight at the Alamo. With Santa Anna." :D

Anaamika
10-10-2007, 04:19 PM
:reads thread:
:wonders how much further North she can move:
Kidding, of course. But I've come across this attitude, too, and then the "Bless your heart" which is sooooo condescending.

Kudos to the OP for trying but I've never seen any point to arguing with them.

Shodan
10-10-2007, 04:28 PM
I don't know that it's useful to talk about legality or illegality or an action like succession.

I'm pretty sure, for example, that England considered the American colonies' actions c. 1776 to be illegal. Yet we, by declaring our independence, essentially stated that we refused to recognize England's claim to define the law for us in this matter.

So it is with the southern states' succession. It was illegal in the sense that the Constitution, which all states had ratified, had no provision for a state to leave the union. Furthermore, we have the long-standing principle in international law of pacta sunt servanda - a sovereign state must keep its word, once given.

But the overwhelmingly majority of sovereign states in the history of the world were born from some act which repudiated prior claims of sovereignty in violation of implicit or explicit law, and the United States herself is no exception. And we have an equally-long standing principle of international law in rebus sic stantibus - a fundamental change in circumstances permits unilateral breach of a pre-existing agreement.

What we should conclude, I think, is that "legal" and "illegal" are not useful concepts to apply here. If a nation-state declares itself sovereign and can defend that sovereignty effectively, its actions become "legal" after the fact, and its founding fathers are heros; if it cannot defend its actions, then they become "illegal" after the fact, and its would-be founding fathers are rebellious traitors.

This is simpy not a useful place to apply the criminal law model.It seems that the whole thrust of the Declaration of Independence is to establish the legality of the United States in terms, not of any national or international law, but in terms of natural law. "...are and ought to be Free and Independent", IOW. What I remember of the justification for secession was based on states' rights, and/or arguments that blacks were inherently inferior to white people, and that therefore abolition was in transgression of "natural law".

But I am not aware of anywhere where the Supreme Court ruled (prior to the late unpleasantness of 1861-1865) that the Union was indivisable. I am open to correction on this, of course. But how can a state (in the North Carolina/Virginia/Alabama/etc. sense of the word) be considered "sovereign" if you disallow the secession that makes it sovereign? Kind of a logic-chopping arguement, I realize.

I believe it was Shelby Foote at the end of Ken Burns' series on the Civil War who made the claim that, prior to 1865, people said "the United States are" such-and-such, and after that, they said "the United States is". Before the Civil War, we were a collection of states. After that, we were one nation.

What you are saying about the Founding Fathers being heroes because we won the War of Independence is true, of course. We must all hang together, or we shall assuredly all hang separately.

Regards,
Shodan

Slithy Tove
10-10-2007, 04:36 PM
After the war they kept Jefferson Davis locked up for a while, but never brought him to trial. They didn't bring him to trial because they realized they'd probably lose the case as well as point out a troublesome fact, so he was allowed to quietly skip out on bail.

SnakesCatLady
10-10-2007, 04:53 PM
Not all of us from the South live in the past. And trust us - we sane ones dislike the crazies more than you do!

When my sister in law decided to do some genealogy research on my family, she discovered one of my ancestors was a slave owner. His 8 slaves were listed in the census sometime in the early 1800's. I'm still squicked out by that. Makes me feel dirty.

Jackmannii
10-10-2007, 05:21 PM
Shodan? Is that you under all that crinoline? :confused:

Bricker
10-10-2007, 05:32 PM
But I am not aware of anywhere where the Supreme Court ruled (prior to the late unpleasantness of 1861-1865) that the Union was indivisable. I am open to correction on this, of course. But how can a state (in the North Carolina/Virginia/Alabama/etc. sense of the word) be considered "sovereign" if you disallow the secession that makes it sovereign? Kind of a logic-chopping arguement, I realize.


If the Supreme Court had ruled on it, and the southern states had disregarded the ruling, would you consider their actions completely unjustified?

The Court had never ruled on it -- the Constitution imposes a "case or controversy" requirement on the Supreme Court. It cannot issue advisory opinions, or rule on a hypothetical. The issue could not be considered until a succession had actually happened, and frankly, if you believe, having declared themselves independent and unbound by the Constitution and laws of the United States, that the southern states would make meekly submitted to a Supreme Court ruling that their actions were illegal.... then I must disagree. :)

No, their actions were "illegal" simply because the Constitution itself makes no provision for a state to secede, and the general legal principle is that a government must keep its word. The southern states had agreed to the Constitution, and in 1861 they breached that agreement.

Contrapuntal
10-10-2007, 05:35 PM
But to claim the south was some innocent jewel (a bad habit I've seen in many southerners) except for y'know, the entire way fo life being based around slavery,I am not convinced that the entire way of life was based on slavery. Can you convince me?

robby
10-10-2007, 05:39 PM
I'm from the South (Houston, Texas), but now live in Connecticut.

There's a statue in our town here in Connecticut that memorializes those "who fought to save the Union."

I've taught my son that the Civil War was a terrible war in which some of our ancestors fought for the losing side, and that despite their sacrifice, it was a good thing that the South lost. If they had won, slavery would have persisted, and we would have ended up with two much weaker nations that never would have stopped bickering and fighting.

(I have made reference to the "War of Northern Aggression (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_of_Northern_Aggression)," but it has been purely tongue-in-cheek.)

Merijeek
10-10-2007, 05:42 PM
"Lee Surrendered. I did not. :) "

"Don't blame me, I voted for Jefferson Davis".

-Joe

DudleyGarrett
10-10-2007, 05:43 PM
I am not convinced that the entire way of life was based on slavery. Can you convince me?

Well, I'm not going to try and convince you, but I'll add that it seems by 1860, during the second industrial revolution, that the more savvy-this-time northeastern textile mills were turning out more products than ever before, products that were made of southern cotton. I can't say it was their entire way of life, but by that time, it was certainly the centerpiece of the southern economic system.

Contrapuntal
10-10-2007, 05:52 PM
I can't say it was their entire way of life, but by that time, it was certainly the centerpiece of the southern economic system.Even if true, not the same thing at all. Not nearly.

PunditLisa
10-10-2007, 06:01 PM
The issue could not be considered until a succession had actually happened, and frankly, if you believe, having declared themselves independent and unbound by the Constitution and laws of the United States, that the southern states would make meekly submitted to a Supreme Court ruling that their actions were illegal.... then I must disagree. :)

Don't forgot how meekly Andy Jackson submitted to the Supreme Court's rulings on the forcible removal of the Cherokee from their homeland.

As to the OP, I once got into an argument with my husband's co-worker, a native Georgian, who asked why there wasn't a statue of Lee at West Point. I responded, in all seriousness, "Because he's a traitor?"

Whoa boy, that was the wrong thing to say.

Shodan
10-10-2007, 06:09 PM
Shodan? Is that you under all that crinoline? :confused:
Well, bless your heart. :D
If the Supreme Court had ruled on it, and the southern states had disregarded the ruling, would you consider their actions completely unjustified?
No - I don't think the union was indivisible. Secession was immoral because race slavery is immoral, not because the Constitution has no out clause.

I am a little surprised to hear you argue that "whatever is not mandatory is forbidden" in the Constitution - IOW, the fact that the Constitution does not say that states can leave means that they cannot.
The issue could not be considered until a succession had actually happened, and frankly, if you believe, having declared themselves independent and unbound by the Constitution and laws of the United States, that the southern states would make meekly submitted to a Supreme Court ruling that their actions were illegal.... then I must disagree.
No, clearly they would not have. But ISTM that onen only argue the legality of non-succession in the same way you did the War of Independence - it's legal because the government can enforce it. (That does not sound quite right to me as a statement of your position - if you want to correct me, go ahead.)

It seems that the indivisibility of the Union was established by the Civil War. Before that, it was an open question, perhaps even legally.

You would know more about that than I.

Regards,
Shodan

DudleyGarrett
10-10-2007, 06:12 PM
Even if true, not the same thing at all. Not nearly.

True, I guess clarification is needed from the original post, as we both know slavery, albeit large, wasn't even the entire way of life for all southern blacks.

smiling bandit
10-10-2007, 06:35 PM
I am not convinced that the entire way of life was based on slavery. Can you convince me?

While of course not everyone could own slaves, the southern economic system was very much dominated by big planters and Big Slavery. If you didn't own slaves, you probably just didn't have the money. Planters dreamed of getting enough $$ to buy more land and slaves, and then using it to get more money, then more land and slaves, ad inifinitum. Poorer people might well still have one, but either way their big aspiration was to join the planter class.

Slavery consumed the political sphere, which was made of that same planter class. Other people had little-to-no say in government, and the government failed to provide the seeds of any alternative, restricting public education. In the spiritual realm, well, southern clergy increasingly turned their pulpits into centers of pro-slavery propaganda. In the cultural, Romance was king (Romance with a capital R). Genteel southerners again dominated due to their liesure time, and particularly liked Walter Scott's novels, imagining themselves as heroic nobility.

Slavery took over every dream and every city and every economy. If you didn't have slaves, you wanted them! And everything you did or did not do revolved, in the South, around how many slaves you owned. Your manners, your education, your politics (The Whig party was eventually permanently destroyed as it couldn't hold itself together in the face of Southern pro-slavery sentiment). And if you failed to tow the line, the south had some nasty precursers to lynching. Few were killed in these incidents, but many transplanted northerners and anti-slave southerners were forcibly expelled, often tarred and feathered and literally run out on a rail. They just weren't pro-slave enough.

intention
10-10-2007, 06:46 PM
How do you know what's moral and what isn't? Who is in charge of determining the morality of a given state? Is there a meter we can buy somewhere? A Big Book o' Morals? What?

Ummm ... well ... I can't find the exact page in the Big Book o' Morals, but I'm pretty sure that a state which condones, encourages, and defends slavery is mentioned in there somewhere ...

w.

Voyager
10-10-2007, 06:52 PM
It seems that the whole thrust of the Declaration of Independence is to establish the legality of the United States in terms, not of any national or international law, but in terms of natural law. "...are and ought to be Free and Independent", IOW. What I remember of the justification for secession was based on states' rights, and/or arguments that blacks were inherently inferior to white people, and that therefore abolition was in transgression of "natural law".

Regards,
Shodan
However, abolition was not proposed at the time of secession. I suppose they were worried about the prospect of abolition, but it was not part of Lincoln's platform. The Declaration of Independence included a list of grievances, not things that might become grievances at some later time.

Voyager
10-10-2007, 06:56 PM
My fiance looks at me, dead serious, and says, "They didn't march with Sherman, did they?"
During WW I my grandfather, who was a plumber, went from Brooklyn to Georgia to work on army bases. It wasn't fun since his last name was Sherman.

I don't think telling them he was Jewish would have helped much.

As for the OP - I wonder when they'll get to the "the blacks had it better as slaves" bit?

Alessan
10-10-2007, 07:04 PM
I am a little surprised to hear you argue that "whatever is not mandatory is forbidden" in the Constitution - IOW, the fact that the Constitution does not say that states can leave means that they cannot.

Could a city secede?

How about a county? A town? An individual? Did the constitution forbid it?

LouisB
10-10-2007, 07:07 PM
While of course not everyone could own slaves, the southern economic system was very much dominated by big planters and Big Slavery. If you didn't own slaves, you probably just didn't have the money. Planters dreamed of getting enough $$ to buy more land and slaves, and then using it to get more money, then more land and slaves, ad inifinitum. Poorer people might well still have one, but either way their big aspiration was to join the planter class.

Slavery consumed the political sphere, which was made of that same planter class. Other people had little-to-no say in government, and the government failed to provide the seeds of any alternative, restricting public education. In the spiritual realm, well, southern clergy increasingly turned their pulpits into centers of pro-slavery propaganda. In the cultural, Romance was king (Romance with a capital R). Genteel southerners again dominated due to their liesure time, and particularly liked Walter Scott's novels, imagining themselves as heroic nobility.

Slavery took over every dream and every city and every economy. If you didn't have slaves, you wanted them! And everything you did or did not do revolved, in the South, around how many slaves you owned. Your manners, your education, your politics (The Whig party was eventually permanently destroyed as it couldn't hold itself together in the face of Southern pro-slavery sentiment). And if you failed to tow the line, the south had some nasty precursers to lynching. Few were killed in these incidents, but many transplanted northerners and anti-slave southerners were forcibly expelled, often tarred and feathered and literally run out on a rail. They just weren't pro-slave enough.I would really like to know where you got all this information. MOST of the people in the southern states did NOT own slaves and many of them wouldn't have had slaves if they had been given to them; it was all many of the poor southern farmers could do to support themselves; why would they add the burden of supporting and caring for a slave? I doubt very seriously that dreams of becoming a slave owners preoccupied many people at all and I doubt that Walter Scott's novels served as a guide or moral code for anyone; people were smart enough, for the most part, to understand that those novels were works of fiction. The southern government didn't restrict education in any sense; the fact was that most of the people in the south were agrarian and poorly educated to begin with. They couldn't provide education to their children because the poor tykes were put to work scratching out a living as soon as they were big enough to wield a tool of some sort. And just as a nit pik, the expression is TOE the line and NOT Tow the line. I think you've either read Gone With The Wind or have seen the movie and thought it was a documentary.

And none of what I say is to be construed as being supportive of the institution of slavery.

Sampiro
10-10-2007, 07:26 PM
I've mentioned a term I coined about this neverending debate and subject of irritation before:
Dixiephrenia (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showpost.php?p=6921034&postcount=38)- a cognitive dichotomy that requires post WW2 southerners to be willing to trash or defend their regional and family history at a moment's notice and with equal elan. The defense is usually towards non-Southerners who want to paint all southerners as ignorant and racist, the attack is for fellow southerners who want to paint all southern history as sinned against and not sinning.

I'm a direct descendant of several slaveowners, at least one black slave, and of a lot of poor white farmers who owned slaves. While I haven't placed a definite connection, my surname derives from an Irish family sold into slavery in the Caribbean under Cromwell, one of whom later immigrated to an area of Virginia where I've traced my direct ancestry to, so there's possibly a descent there. I have neither pride nor shame in any of my lineages, I just acknowledge them. The majority of the southerners I've known (which is most of the people I've known) are the same way about the war, slavery, and all things related to Southern history- it's trivia rather than obsession and most freely admit the evils of slavery while feeling no part of it regardless of the acts of their ancestors (if they happen to know who their ancestors were).

An odd, or cool, thing about reading history that I noticed when I was a kid: I've never been to Italy, but a book on the Roman empire, even a primary source (in English translation), is often far more familiar a landscape than a book on, say, the Battle of Chickamauga which occurred so recently the primary sources do not need to be translated, in a place a few hours from my home and where I've stood, and in a campaign which involved several of my ancestors (all of them Confederate privates whose serving in the CSA armies no more branded them as pro-slavery than Pope Benedict XVI's serving in the Wehrmacht brands him pro-Holocaust). The antebellum nation was a strange and alien place that like our ancestors manages to have little or nothing in common with those alive today and yet is responsible for our being here.

I think most of the world's annoyance if not its atrocities derive from the need for simple answers, and that's as true of the Civil War as it is of religion as it is of global warming as it is of American involvement in other nations. Yes, slavery was evil, I'm going to take a real stand and say it out loud (or online), but it was legal, and it's no more accurate to say that all slaveowners were evil than it is to say all slaves were moral. It's unthinkable that a state should secede today, but at the time there were still veterans of the war in which Americans seceded from Great Britain (granted they were in their 90s or better and moving pretty slow, but they were alive- the Revolution was that recent). Slavery's unthinkable to us today, but so is genocide- U.S. troops slaughtered Cheyenne women and children in Colorado and Oklahoma years after the Civil War began. It's unthinkable that women should be denied the right to vote, but it was taken for granted then. This was the same land and the same language, many of the same buildings and houses are still lived in (I've lived in a couple of them), it's the same bloodline, but while it has lessons to teach on human nature and the like, it's ultimately a landscape as alien to us as the battlefields at Philippi or the Golden Horn and as such it CANNOT be discussed using our own moral gauges (gauges which, I might add, would condemn most northerners of the time, including Sherman [a virulent racist who had no problem whatever with slavery, hence probably the admittedly simplistic and erroneous boss in the OP's characterization of him- genocidal is going a bit far, but he was by his own admissions a total bastard who wanted to scare the hell out of the civilians of the south).

Anyway, the abstract: you're not going to convince people that history wasn't what they think it wasn't, but for the record it wasn't what most people think it was (myself not excluded).

[The above was written under fire so please forgive sudden case changes and typos.]

[I'm Alexander H. Stephens, VP of the Confederacy, and I approved this post. And slavery.]

An Arky
10-10-2007, 07:32 PM
I weep for my southern brethren, who are misguided, as well as my yankee brethren, who are misguided, as well.

I personally abhor the very idea of slavery, and racism is a complete no-go for me. The Civil War was won by the Union, which was strengthened in the process. Viva la Union!

But there was some seriously fucked up shit going on on both sides of this conflict, and nobody in the North, excepting Quakers and a few other abolitionists (whom in today's equivalent would be regarded as ultra liberals and shunned) liked or even gave a tinker's dam about black people, called them niggers and remaining segregated, in historical timeframes, something like 5 minutes less than the South.

The vast, vast majority of Southerners didn't own slaves, and for that matter, didn't own enough land to even remotely justify their use. Most soldiers on both sides served because they were drafted, end of story. When the Civil War began, neither civil rights nor voting rights for blacks were stated as goals by the North. The only non-church-entity segment of the Northern population who gave a shit about slavery were the ones who wrongly thought they couldn't hack the competition from slave labor. Slavery was on the way out, anyway, and the Civil War could have been avoided, had cooler heads prevailed. Unfortunately, in those days, the cooler heads had prctically no role in government.

What neither side finds convenient is that the Civil War was a big fat waste of a million lives that had little or nothing to do with the rich man's pissing contest that started it.

So, to characterize Southerners as knuckle-dragging racists is only half right. Northerners were also knuckle-dragging racists who happened to have representatives who opposed the South's secession, and that's about it. It didn't take much to start wars back then, apparently.

LouisB
10-10-2007, 07:42 PM
I get sick and tired of the constant portrayal of southerners as savages and the constant portrayal of northerners as angels who fought only to free the slaves; the majority of people on either side could not have cared less about slavery. The Union, God Bless It, couldn't have fielded an army if they/it had not instituted a draft and the institution of that draft led to violent anti-draft riots throughout the union states; riots that were largely put down by the use of armed force, I.E., the Union Army. That says a lot, to me, of the eagerness to free the slaves exhibited by the majority of northerners. As if a draft wasn't bad enough, one could, if wealthy enough, buy one's way out of it and plenty of draftees did just that. For a paltry $100.00, IIRC, one could hire a substitute to serve in one's place. It really was a rich man's war and a poor man's fight.

Sherman would have made an excellent Roman Legionnaire; crucifixion would probably have been seen as right and proper by him.

Count Blucher
10-10-2007, 07:45 PM
I'm from the South (Houston, Texas), but now live in Connecticut.

There's a statue in our town here in Connecticut that memorializes those "who fought to save the Union."

I've taught my son that the Civil War was a terrible war in which some of our ancestors fought for the losing side, and that despite their sacrifice, it was a good thing that the South lost. If they had won, slavery would have persisted, and we would have ended up with two much weaker nations that never would have stopped bickering and fighting.

(I have made reference to the "War of Northern Aggression (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_of_Northern_Aggression)," but it has been purely tongue-in-cheek.)

On a Cub Scout trip to Gettysburg, my son and I stopped at a souvenir shop. He asked to buy an action figure of a soldier; I told him to get two. He picked out a ‘Billy Yank’ and was about to pick out a ‘Johnny Reb’, when he put it back. I asked him why.

“I didn’t want to buy a Bad Guy, Daddy.”

I then took 5 minutes to explain that the reason Gettysburg is remembered the way it is is because of the horror of war, not that one side was Good and one side was Bad. “Michael, when every building in 5 square miles has to drill fist-sized holes in the corners of the floors to drain off the spilled blood of the wounded, and even then it rarely gets lower than ankle-deep, civilized people capable of rational thought realize that War and Death on this sort of scale must never be waged or tolerated again.”

There was another customer in the shop; a woman from a few miles South of Gettysburg (which is actually not very far from the Mason-Dixon Line). She put down the item she was going to buy, let out a loud “Harrumph!” and stormed out of the store. The owner then walked up to me.

“Look, I’m sorry I caused your store to lose a sale, but I thought it was important to tell my son the truth about what happened here in Gettysburg…”

“Don’t worry,” she said in a calm tone. “We get Nuts like that one all the time.”

eleanorigby
10-10-2007, 07:47 PM
I come from family in the south who did own slaves--a smallish homestead with (IMS) two slaves to work it, in addition to the family. This is not something I brag of, but it is also something of which I am not particularly ashamed--it has nothing to do with the making of who I am or who my family is today. It was legal to do so, (although I think it was immoral to do so). It is just a footnote in our history. That is is waaay more than a footnote to the descendants of those two slaves is much more likely, and is therefore regrettable and regretted. If I had been alive then, perhaps I would have made other choices-who can say for sure?

I really don't get the whole antebellum, Old South meme. For military history buffs, I can see that the battles were fascinating. Certainly it is subject deserving of serious study and debate. But this whole Confederate flag thing, and the Way of Life; the whole "Lee surrendered, I didn't" stuff--what purpose does this serve? Regional identity? How about the local HS sports teams or the state uni's? How about touting the natural beauty so much of the south has? How about the cuisine? Something, anything, rather than a bloody, horrid mess that destroyed so much and caused pain far into this century. I just don't get it. My great aunts used to say things like, "well, Ginny (my mother) married a Yankee." Oh, puleese. :rolleyes:

BrainGlutton
10-10-2007, 07:49 PM
FTR, Atlanta was hardly a town at all when Sherman burned it.

Sampiro
10-10-2007, 07:59 PM
Out of curiosity, are The NYC Draft Riots (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_York_Draft_Riots) taught in school? (They occurred a week after Gettysburg, when several (no exact count exists) blacks were murdered by mobs and hundreds more were beaten and or burned out of their homes and churches.) For that matter, the race riots in Harlem and Chicago/Cicero well after Jim Crow, or that Central Park is built on slave cemeteries? While there are most definitely southerners who are simplistic and self-deluded about their history (particularly that fucking flag, which isn't even one of the three (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:CSA_FLAG_4.3.1861-21.5.1861.svg) - official (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Confederate_National_Flag_since_Mai_1_1863_to_Mar_4_1865.svg) -flags (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Confederate_National_Flag_since_Mar_4_1865.svg) of the Confederacy) I'm with all above who express irritation with the Southern and non-Southern simplicists who see the war as Good v. Evil when neither the war nor race in America were ever simple or localized issues.

Sampiro
10-10-2007, 08:04 PM
FTR, Atlanta was hardly a town at all when Sherman burned it.

He didn't really burn it, for that matter. The South did as much damage by firing the ammo deposits and depot when they withdrew; most of Sherman's damage was caused with his shelling, but even after both Sherman and the Rebs had done their damage most of the city was still standing. (The most impressive thing Sherman did was completely evacuate the city of civilians.)

Today there are a handful- between three and twelve antebellum buildings in Atlanta (the variance depending on the count and on how you define "antebellum" and how you define "Atlanta"). The most often heard explanation for this lack of historical preservation is Sherman, but the truth is that the ones that didn't fall down from age were torn down to build newer and bigger buildings, so you're left with a city of 4 million with streets and plazas named after peachtrees where there are no peachtrees and after GWTW characters where there's nothing anybody from that book would have recognized left standing. (That'd be a cool idea for a play- Scarlett falls through a timewarp and goes from 1872 Atlanta to a gay bar in midtown built on the site of Kennedy's Lumber- but of course the Mitchell family would sue.)

RickJay
10-10-2007, 08:18 PM
Interesting article (http://people.cohums.ohio-state.edu/grimsley1/myth/myth.htm) about myths surrounding Sherman's march.

South Carolina evidently got the worst of it, not entirely surprising given the state's role in precipitating the war and its large number of diehard secessionists. The genocide stuff is nutty...
Not if you were an Indian.

The Union, God Bless It, couldn't have fielded an army if they/it had not instituted a draft...
This is of course quite obviously false, since the Union DID field an Army without the draft, bringing the draft in only later in the war to replace the men who'd died, been wounded or run away from the army they'd been fielding for two years.

LouisB
10-10-2007, 08:23 PM
Not if you were an Indian.


This is of course quite obviously false, since the Union DID field an Army without the draft, bringing the draft in only later in the war to replace the men who'd died, been wounded or run away from the army they'd been fielding for two years.
Look at it like this: If the draft had not been instituted, the Union couldn't have fielded an army for the very reasons you laid out; had they relied on volunteers to free the slaves, they would have had to forget about it.

Slithy Tove
10-10-2007, 08:31 PM
Of course you know, most of this antebellum preservation is maintained by enterprising people who no more believe in the virtues & romance of the Old South any more than the citizens of Roswell New Mexico believe in UFOs, right?

Sampiro
10-10-2007, 08:43 PM
An odd thing that brought home to me how recent this strange landscape is: I've been doing genealogical research lately and I photocopied the will of an ancestor from Autauga County, Alabama. He was in his early 70s when he wrote the will in 1859 and bequeathes property (mostly slaves) to particular heirs then requests the estate be inventoried, sold, and divided equally among his wife (who was about 28) and his children. This is the (relevant to this post) portion of his will:

In the name of God Amen.

I, George Deramus of the County and State aforesaid... will bequeath and devise unto my beloved wife Amanda L. Deramus and to our child Rebecca B. Deramus and to such other child or children as may hereafter be born unto us a certain negro man named Allen about twenty-five years old, and Fanny his wife, a woman twenty-two or twenty-three years old, and their children Alford about five years old, and Nancy about two or three years old, and Jane an infant about three months old, and the future increase from this time fo said negros, for my wife and our said child Rebecca B. and such other child or children as may herafter be born of her by me, to hold the said negros and all of their future increase from this time as tenants in common.

(He had an additional daughter with her and posthumously born twin sons after writing this will, but I digress.)

Anyway, Rebecca, who inherited Allen and Fanny and their children "and increase" and who was my mother's [however many greats] aunt and her step-great-grandmother, attended my parents' wedding in 1952. She was in her early 90s and to quote my mother "didn't know where in the hell she was or who in the hell was getting married", but it's still bizarre that I grew up watching Captain Kangaroo and was a kid under Reagan and yet my parents wedding was attended by a former slaveowner. I knew several of Rebecca's many children (they were the same age as my grandparents), the last surviving of whom only died a couple of years ago.
That can be also important to remember: while it may seem on par with Neanderthals and Black Plague and Cher's youth, slavery and the Civil War are still in the living memory (meaning that the oldest people alive remember the people who lived through it as the old people from their youth). In a decade or so when the vast majority of the current oldest-generation still alive in great numbers in the south (the ones who were young adults in WW2 and middle aged during the late Civil Rights era) are gone it will be removed from Living Memory. It will be interesting to see if it remains as prominent a touchstone afterwards. (For me, Living Memory would date to around the turn of the 19th/20th centuries as that's the oldest era I have first hand accounts of from the people who lived it.)

Sampiro
10-10-2007, 09:01 PM
I enclose this inventory of my ancestor's estate strictly as a "might be of interest" to people who like primary sources and are curious how slaves were valued as compared to other property. It's very difficult to convert currency from this era (inventory was done in 1861) to our own currency, but roughly $1 then would equal about $20 now (or slightly more in Canadian dollars). The spacing may be off.

------------------
An appraisal of the movable estate of Geroge [sic] Deramus, deceased, being undertaken at the instigation of his executors Henry Deramus and Jacob Deramus. And not taking into consideration cash and notes.

Isaac, a negro man, 63 years old $ 250.00

Joe " " 55 " " " " $ 800.00

Adam " " 39 " " " " $1,100.00

Morris, " " 35 " " " " $1,200.00

Moses " " 34 " " " " $1,200.00

Olford, " " 25 " " " " $ 800.00

Sampson, " 23, " " " " $1,300.00

Jack " """ 19 "" $1,200.00

Josephus, a negro boy, 14 $1,000.00

Sally,a negro woman, 15 $1,050.00

Judy, Girl, 13 $1,050.00

Ben, Man, 53 $ 700.00

Elizabeth, woman, 25 $1,000.00

Fillis, a negro woman 25, Neal her boy 4, Martha her infant $1,500.00

Eliza a negro woman 23 years old, and Mary, her girl, 3, and Licy, her infant, 7 months $1,800.00

Ceily, a negro woman, 18 years old, and Leonyn, 2, and Ginsey, infant, 3 months $1,300.00

Milly, girl, 16 years old
$1,000.00

Bathsheba, negro girl, 11 $ 700.00

Angeline, negro girl, 10 $ 500.00

Adoline, negro girl, mulatto, 12 $ 800.00

Edmond, 8, mulatto $ 900.00

Charley, a he mule, $ 150.00

Bet, a she mule, $ 125.00

Jimmy, he mule, $ 140.00

Sid, he mule $ 100.00

Bun and Em, breeding pair of donkeys $ 140.00

Kent, a Grey horse, 8 years old, $ 125.00

1 pr of oxen $ 40.00

1 pr of oxen, older $ 30.00

60 head of cattle @ $5 per head $ 300.00

61 hogs @ $3 per head $ 183.00

1 4-horse waggon $ 50.00

1 6-horse waggon $ 40.00

1 2-horse waggon $ 15.00

1 Bay Filly $ 70.00

1 Mare, Fanny $ 25.00

1 Horse, Johnny, $25

1 Horse, Jack $75

1 Mule, Sally $75

1 mare and colt $90

1 mare Doris, bred with mule colt, $100

1 set of Black Smith Tools $20

1 Lot of Plow Hoes $12

8 axes $6

1 Lot of Plow Frames $2

1 Lot of weeding Hoes $2

6 set of Plow [gens?] $3

1 Lot device holdscrews {?} $3

1 Taylor's cotton gin $50

1 Lot of crockery $2

1 lot of cooking utensils $5

1 double barrel shot gun $10

17 Bee Hives @ ea 1.50 $26

1 Buggy w/harness $40

1 lot of old plow $6

1 Lot of Iron Tynes [?] $1

4 plow stock single trees (?) $4

1 Clock $5

1 Bureau with mirror $12

1 Bureau $10

1 Folding Table $6

1 Settee with cover $1

1 Bedstead with bed furniture $25

1 Lot of bed quits Blankets $12

2 wood chest ea $.50/-- $1

1 Trunk $50

1 Bedstead and Bed $50

1 Bedstead mattress feather bed $20

1 Lot of carpenter Tools $5

1 Bedstead furniture $10

6 Tables $5

1 large Safe $50

1 Lot of pot Ware $8

1 Lot of Jars China Crockery Finish $15

The total at $23,234

It's fascinating, if only to me, at how much things cost at the time. (The estate inventory of another ancestor lists a lot of "ladie's lace throat wear taken from old dresses, 4" at $8, or the price of a cow and a hog.)

You can also see that the least expensive slave, 63 year old Samuel, was more expensive than the most expensive of this man's horses and was still as valuable as 50 cows or 83 hogs. That must have made him feel good about himself. :dubious:

Jackmannii
10-10-2007, 09:19 PM
South Carolina evidently got the worst of it, not entirely surprising given the state's role in precipitating the war and its large number of diehard secessionists. The genocide stuff is nutty...
Not if you were an Indian.Try reading for context before tossing off these little gems, and avoid truncating quotes to suit your fancy. What I said wasThe genocide stuff is nutty, but there are still cranks who don't want to accept that the Civil War is over and that the outcome was good.Clearly I was referring to the inane "Sherman was a genocidal killer" claim quoted in the OP.

smiling bandit
10-10-2007, 09:37 PM
I would really like to know where you got all this information. MOST of the people in the southern states did NOT own slaves and many of them wouldn't have had slaves if they had been given to them; it was all many of the poor southern farmers could do to support themselves; why would they add the burden of supporting and caring for a slave?

The fact that they could not afford one does not mean they would not have gotten better alnd and slaves if they could have, and a vast number did. It was THE way to get ahead; scholarship, industry, mercanitlism, even public service or military service - these were all secondary to geting a plantation.

I doubt very seriously that dreams of becoming a slave owners preoccupied many people at all and I doubt that Walter Scott's novels served as a guide or moral code for anyone; people were smart enough, for the most part, to understand that those novels were works of fiction.

As I said, it was the way to get ahead, and what people stuck with. They could have done differently but chose not to. The Scott reference was an atempt to explain how the planter class controlled the public realm through influence, wealth, education, and leisure time - and saw themselves as the embodiment of chivalry. Nor was this some fictional amusement: some quite seriously suggested they were the modern-day incarnation of the English Cavaliers.

The southern government didn't restrict education in any sense; the fact was that most of the people in the south were agrarian and poorly educated to begin with. They couldn't provide education to their children because the poor tykes were put to work scratching out a living as soon as they were big enough to wield a tool of some sort.

And just as a nit pik, the expression is TOE the line and NOT Tow the line.

As a nitpick, notice which two letters happen to be next to eahc on the keyboard. Hmmm... W and E. Interesting, that.

I think you've either read Gone With The Wind or have seen the movie and thought it was a documentary.

:rolleyes: When in doubt, pretend the other poster just pulled it out of his ass. Always a good one. Maybe the TIME-Life series The Civil War, or Ken Burns' documentaries, or James McPherson's Battle Cry of Freedom. But hey, I disagree wht you, so I must be getting my info from Gone With the Wind. Maybe one day I'll even see it.

And none of what I say is to be construed as being supportive of the institution of slavery.

Didn't say it was.

Shodan
10-10-2007, 10:25 PM
Could a city secede?

How about a county? A town? An individual? Did the constitution forbid it?
The Constitution certainly doesn't forbid an individual from "seceding". People change their citizenship all the time. The Constitution doesn't set any way for people to do it, but it is possible nonetheless.

Regards,
Shodan

E-Sabbath
10-10-2007, 10:46 PM
In New York, in the 1980s and 1990s, the Draft Riots were taught. Until 1990 or so, the places where they shelled 7th Avenue could still be seen on the buildings of the City.

Sampiro
10-10-2007, 10:47 PM
There were several areas of the south that remained loyal to the Union, most famously The Free State of Winston (County, Alabama), Scott County MS (later renamed Jeff Davis County as a deliberate insult), and basically most of central and southeastern Tennessee. Every Confederate state fielded Union troops and all but South Carolina fielded full Union regiments.

There were also many southerners (some of them slaveowners believe it or not) who were active in the underground railroad. Sadly, their bravery and heroism went unrecorded in the vast majority of cases as

1- before the war it would at minimum have seen them imprisoned for a long time and more likely would have seen them hanged
2- even after the war, it would have made it almost impossible to remain in an area because resentments still ran deep

Then there were cases like Dolly Madison's father. He converted to the Quakers and became very abolitionist in his sympathies, freeing all of his slaves and moving north to work in slavery-free businesses. His investments failed and he went from being a wealthy Virginia farmer to a penniless and deeply in debt Pennsylvania businessman. Slave economy was like the Mafia- next to impossible to extricate yourself from once you were a practitioner and most practitioners were born into the system. (As renowned a man as Thomas Jefferson had to beg permission in his will for the six slaves he manumitted to be allowed to remain in the state; it was granted for him, but it was not at all pro-forma.)

To paraphrase a quote by Upton Sinclair, it is difficult for a man to understand something when his income and property *depends upon him not understanding. This has seldom been more true than it was of slaveowners not "understanding" abolition, but it still has many reaches today. Poverty is probably second only to death and a long road trip with Gary Busey in the things people fear the most.

*Sinclair said salary rather than income and property

Ogre
10-10-2007, 11:00 PM
There were several areas of the south that remained loyal to the Union, most famously The Free State of Winston (County, Alabama)To be fair, however, it wasn't really loyalty to the Union that motivated the Winstonians. It was more of a complete detachment from and disinterest in the secession.

CarnalK
10-10-2007, 11:02 PM
...it was a good thing that the South lost. If they had won, slavery would have persisted, and we would have ended up with two much weaker nations that never would have stopped bickering and fighting.

Talk about your mixed blessing! Am I right, rest of the world, or am I right?

Voyager
10-11-2007, 12:39 AM
To be fair, however, it wasn't really loyalty to the Union that motivated the Winstonians. It was more of a complete detachment from and disinterest in the secession.
When I lived in Louisiana, I had the definite impression that while there was a statue of a general in downtown Lafayette, most of the Cajuns had nothing to do with the war, living in the middle of the swamps and being hard to get to, or vanishing into the swamps when necessary.

Sampiro
10-11-2007, 01:55 AM
To be fair, however, it wasn't really loyalty to the Union that motivated the Winstonians. It was more of a complete detachment from and disinterest in the secession.

Perhaps with some, but there was far more than disinterest. They supplied about a third of the 5,000 or so Alabamians who fought for the Union (about 1,200 infantry and 200+ cavalry (http://www.1stalabamacavalryusv.com/loyalist.asp)) and referred to themselves as Southern Unionists. Some joined immediately, others joined after they were harassed by guerrilla units for their refusal to contribute men and supplies to the Confederacy, but they saw very heavy action. (Ironically their last engagement resulted in their capture by [my great-great-grandfather's unit] the 51st Alabama Cavalry days before Johnston surrendered.)

user_hostile
10-11-2007, 03:02 AM
There were several areas of the south that remained loyal to the Union, most famously The Free State of Winston (County, Alabama), Scott County MS (later renamed Jeff Davis County as a deliberate insult), and basically most of central and southeastern Tennessee...

Having lived in Johnson County, TN (the north-eastern tippy point of the state), Sampiro, I thought it was all of eastern TN. At least that’s what a Civil war re- enactor (TN Union sergeant) told me who lived in Bristol, TN. It was his contention that eastern TN would have broken away (ala West Virginia from Virginia), had it not been a strategic transportation hub for the south.

Thoughts?

MEBuckner
10-11-2007, 03:44 AM
I would really like to know where you got all this information. MOST of the people in the southern states did NOT own slaves and many of them wouldn't have had slaves if they had been given to them; it was all many of the poor southern farmers could do to support themselves; why would they add the burden of supporting and caring for a slave? I doubt very seriously that dreams of becoming a slave owners preoccupied many people at all and I doubt that Walter Scott's novels served as a guide or moral code for anyone; people were smart enough, for the most part, to understand that those novels were works of fiction. The southern government didn't restrict education in any sense; the fact was that most of the people in the south were agrarian and poorly educated to begin with. They couldn't provide education to their children because the poor tykes were put to work scratching out a living as soon as they were big enough to wield a tool of some sort. And just as a nit pik, the expression is TOE the line and NOT Tow the line. I think you've either read Gone With The Wind or have seen the movie and thought it was a documentary.

And none of what I say is to be construed as being supportive of the institution of slavery.
I weep for my southern brethren, who are misguided, as well as my yankee brethren, who are misguided, as well.

I personally abhor the very idea of slavery, and racism is a complete no-go for me. The Civil War was won by the Union, which was strengthened in the process. Viva la Union!

But there was some seriously fucked up shit going on on both sides of this conflict, and nobody in the North, excepting Quakers and a few other abolitionists (whom in today's equivalent would be regarded as ultra liberals and shunned) liked or even gave a tinker's dam about black people, called them niggers and remaining segregated, in historical timeframes, something like 5 minutes less than the South.

The vast, vast majority of Southerners didn't own slaves, and for that matter, didn't own enough land to even remotely justify their use. Most soldiers on both sides served because they were drafted, end of story. When the Civil War began, neither civil rights nor voting rights for blacks were stated as goals by the North. The only non-church-entity segment of the Northern population who gave a shit about slavery were the ones who wrongly thought they couldn't hack the competition from slave labor. Slavery was on the way out, anyway, and the Civil War could have been avoided, had cooler heads prevailed. Unfortunately, in those days, the cooler heads had prctically no role in government.

What neither side finds convenient is that the Civil War was a big fat waste of a million lives that had little or nothing to do with the rich man's pissing contest that started it.

So, to characterize Southerners as knuckle-dragging racists is only half right. Northerners were also knuckle-dragging racists who happened to have representatives who opposed the South's secession, and that's about it. It didn't take much to start wars back then, apparently.
I think y'all are exagerrating a bit here. For instance, a statement like "the vast, vast majority of Southerners didn't own slaves" can be mathematically true, but very misleading.

Let's look at South Carolina. South Carolina was, as previously noted in the thread, the most ardently pro-Confederate, anti-Unionist of the states; the first to secede. Not coincidentally, South Carolina was also, by almost any measure, the most heavily invested in the institution of slavery. And yet, of the total population of South Carolina in 1860 (703,708), a mere 26,701--about 3.8%--were slaveholders. (All data from the 1860 census, from the United States Historical Census Browser (http://fisher.lib.virginia.edu/collections/stats/histcensus/) at the University of Virginia Library). Now how the heck did less than 4% of the population get the whole darned state to secede over their "peculiar interest"?

Well, to start with, less than 4% of the population of South Carolina were slave owners, but 57% of the population were slaves; another 1.4% were free blacks, with the white population making up only a little over 40% of the total population. Right there, that indicates that even non-slave owners amongst the white population might have an interest in slavery; free all those slaves, and all of a sudden the white folks are going to be outnumbered--and outvoted if you don't just free the slaves but also make them citizens. And of course almost any white South Carolinian in 1860, whether or not he owned slaves, would likely be convinced that freeing 400,000 slaves would result in Haiti-on-the-Congaree--looting and pillaging and "Negroes" making off with the flower of Southern damselhood. Note also that all of a sudden the percentage of slave owners of the white population climbs dramatically, from less than 4% to over 9%. (Some parts of the South did have black or mixed-race slave owners, particularly Louisiana. Even there it was not the norm--that is, most slave owners were white--and in most of the South outside of New Orleans, slave owners were even more likely to be white.) Slaves, of course, were not consulted in the debates as to whether or not South Carolina ought to secede. (I don't reckon the less than 10,000 free blacks in 1860 South Carolina got a vote either.)

Secondly, even now we don't consult little children on such weighty matters as secession and war. "Free, white, and 21", as they used to say. I believe the age of inheritance of property back then would have been 21; the census data categories for age go from "15-19" to "20-29", so there's going to be a little slop in the data here, but the adult white population of South Carolina in 1860 (that is, 20 years old and up) was around 137,000; slave owners made up about 20% of that group. Far from a majority, to be sure, but not the tiny, tiny minority of rich swells that some people seem to envision, either.

Finally, in 1860 women didn't vote, North or South. The total number of adult white males in South Carolina in 1860 was a little over 68,000. The slave owning population of South Carolina would come to just under 40% of the adult white male population. Now, I honestly don't know exactly how property and gender worked in South Carolina in 1860--I believe instances of a woman controlling property would be rather rare, but I know any number of influential men in American history in the Colonial, Revolutionary, and Antebellum periods got control of substantial estates by marrying rich women (especially rich widows). I really don't know how a married female property owner would be counted in the census--she wouldn't control her property, but I guess the census would still count her as owning her property.

So, in 1860, somewhere between 20% and 40% of the electorate in South Carolina owned slaves. This is not an inconsiderable number. Throw in the fact that even non-slaveowners might have a direct economic interest in the slave-based plantation economy (in the same way that in east Texas a real estate agent, an owner of a Cadillac dealership, and a seller of cowboy hats all have a direct stake in the price of oil, even though none of them owns a single oil well). Throw in the fact that non-slaveowners might have non-economic interests, real or imagined, in the maintenance of a system of white supremacy, in a state where the majority of the population were oppressed blacks. It's not at all clear that the secession of South Carolina was a case of some tiny minority of plutocrats forcing their will on the "vast, vast majority" of the electorate who got a voice in deciding the matter.

South Carolina, as said, was the most heavily enslaved of all the states. The only other state where a majority of the population were slaves was Mississippi. (Probably not a coincidence that Mississippi was the second state to secede, either. They were pretty damned clear about why they were seceding, too. (http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/csa/missec.htm)) The other Southern states ranged from having slave populations of over 40% (in most of the other Deep South states), to 25 or 30-odd% (in the second, post-Sumter wave of seceding states: Arkansas, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia), to 10 or 20% slaves in the divided states of Kentucky and Missouri. A similar gradient can be seen for the proportion of slave owners among the adult white population--unsurprisingly, Georgia, where almost one-sixth of the adult white population owned at least one slave, seceded more quickly than Arkanas, where less than one voting citizen in ten was a slave owner.

Oh, yes: in 1860 there were very damned few white Americans, North or South, who were not racists by our standards. Nonetheless, the Republican Party--whose coming to power in the 1860 election precipitated the secession and the war--was born as an anti-slavery party. Not necessarily pro-black, it's true, but definitely opposed to slavery, regarding slavery, and especially the expansion of slavery, and the "Slave Power" in general, as dangerous to liberty, republicanism (in the "small-r" sense), and American ideals, and conversely tending to spread corruption and tyranny. It was because the North elected an anti-slavery party to control of the national government that the South seceded. Clearly, more of the Northern population than a few religious hippie-dippie abolitionists gave a shit about slavery: enough Northerners gave a shit about slavery to vote an anti-slavery political party into power.

And although it's often claimed that "gee, slavery was on the way out anyway", Southerners were sufficiently enamored of the institution that they chose to seek to destroy the Union and fight the bloodiest war in American history, rather than put up with a party which sought merely to contain slavery, never mind "rollback". So to suggest that absent the war Southerners would have just voluntarily given up on slavery in 1870 or whenever is, at best, mere speculation.

LouisB
10-11-2007, 03:46 AM
The fact that they could not afford one does not mean they would not have gotten better alnd and slaves if they could have, and a vast number did. It was THE way to get ahead; scholarship, industry, mercanitlism, even public service or military service - these were all secondary to geting a plantation.



As I said, it was the way to get ahead, and what people stuck with. They could have done differently but chose not to. The Scott reference was an atempt to explain how the planter class controlled the public realm through influence, wealth, education, and leisure time - and saw themselves as the embodiment of chivalry. Nor was this some fictional amusement: some quite seriously suggested they were the modern-day incarnation of the English Cavaliers.





As a nitpick, notice which two letters happen to be next to eahc on the keyboard. Hmmm... W and E. Interesting, that.



:rolleyes: When in doubt, pretend the other poster just pulled it out of his ass. Always a good one. Maybe the TIME-Life series The Civil War, or Ken Burns' documentaries, or James McPherson's Battle Cry of Freedom. But hey, I disagree wht you, so I must be getting my info from Gone With the Wind. Maybe one day I'll even see it.



Didn't say it was.

I had one more skin cancer removed yesterday morning; it left a hole about the size of a quarter in the side of my neck. To say I was feeling cranky when I posted what I did doesn't cut it nor does it excuse my combativeness re your post. The GWTW crack was way out of line, even for the pit, and I apologize. The comment re your use of the word "tow" in place of "toe" was spite and nothing more nor less.

I still dispute the claims that the majority of southern hard scrabble farmers lusted after slaves, though. I'll grant that most hard scrabble farmers lusted after more land; I've never met a farmer, no matter how prosperous, who didn't. As they say, I only want the land that adjoins mine. Still, when a man can only afford the bare minimum of land needed to eke out an existence, there simply isn't enough land to support an additional hard working adult; in other words, there wouldn't be enough subsistence for a slave. Plus, plenty of poor white hard scrabble dirt farmers actively hated blacks simply because many black slaves were better off than he was; since whites were better than blacks (according to the idea of the times) how dare a black be better off than a white?

As to Time-Life purporting to accurately report on conditions and ways of thought that existed in the south prior to, during, and immediately after the Civil War I have to consider that Time-Life was after the largest number of purchasers of their publications; I don't think they are beyond telling those potential customers what they want to hear.

I don't remember Ken Burns stating that the average poor white lusted or honed or hankered for slaves and I haven't read your other source. I remain unconvinced on that score. As for your claim that vast numbers of poor whites did end up buying slaves to get ahead, I simply don't see vast numbers of them overcoming poverty to that extent; slaves were much more expensive than most farmers of that time earned in several years; see Sampiro's excellent post regarding prices of slaves vs livestock vs real property.

Paul in Qatar
10-11-2007, 03:59 AM
Forgive me. This sort of BS makes my blood boil. I am a White Southerner, as a group we have much to be proud of and much to be ashamed of. It is rare to meet one of us who has enough common sense to tell one from the other.

Sherman is a hero to me. I do not want his name soiled. Here, quoted at length is Sherman's letter to the people of Atlanta. Tell me if this sounds like genocide. Bolding is mine.

HEADQUARTERS MILITARY DIVISION of the MISSISSIPPI in the FIELD
Atlanta, Georgia,
James M. Calhoun, Mayor,
E.E. Rawson and S.C. Wells, representing City Council of Atlanta.

Gentleman: I have your letter of the 11th, in the nature of a petition to revoke my orders removing all the inhabitants from Atlanta. I have read it carefully, and give full credit to your statements of distress that will be occasioned, and yet shall not revoke my orders, because they were not designed to meet the humanities of the cause, but to prepare for the future struggles in which millions of good people outside of Atlanta have a deep interest. We must have peace, not only at Atlanta, but in all America. To secure this, we must stop the war that now desolates our once happy and favored country. To stop war, we must defeat the rebel armies which are arrayed against the laws and Constitution that all must respect and obey. To defeat those armies, we must prepare the way to reach them in their recesses, provided with the arms and instruments which enable us to accomplish our purpose. Now, I know the vindictive nature of our enemy, that we may have many years of military operations from this quarter; and, therefore, deem it wise and prudent to prepare in time. The use of Atlanta for warlike purposes is inconsistent with its character as a home for families. There will be no manufacturers, commerce, or agriculture here, for the maintenance of families, and sooner or later want will compel the inhabitants to go. Why not go now, when all the arrangements are completed for the transfer, instead of waiting till the plunging shot of contending armies will renew the scenes of the past month? Of course, I do not apprehend any such things at this moment, but you do not suppose this army will be here until the war is over. I cannot discuss this subject with you fairly, because I cannot impart to you what we propose to do, but I assert that our military plans make it necessary for the inhabitants to go away, and I can only renew my offer of services to make their exodus in any direction as easy and comfortable as possible.

You cannot qualify war in harsher terms than I will. War is cruelty, and you cannot refine it; and those who brought war into our country deserve all the curses and maledictions a people can pour out. I know I had no hand in making this war, and I know I will make more sacrifices to-day than any of you to secure peace. But you cannot have peace and a division of our country. If the United States submits to a division now, it will not stop, but will go on until we reap the fate of Mexico, which is eternal war. The United States does and must assert its authority, wherever it once had power; for, if it relaxes one bit to pressure, it is gone, and I believe that such is the national feeling. This feeling assumes various shapes, but always comes back to that of Union. Once admit the Union, once more acknowledge the authority of the national Government, and, instead of devoting your houses and streets and roads to the dread uses of war, I and this army become at once your protectors and supporters, shielding you from danger, let it come from what quarter it may. I know that a few individuals cannot resist a torrent of error and passion, such as swept the South into rebellion, but you can point out, so that we may know those who desire a government, and those who insist on war and its desolation.

You might as well appeal against the thunder-storm as against these terrible hardships of war. They are inevitable, and the only way the people of Atlanta can hope once more to live in peace and quiet at home, is to stop the war, which can only be done by admitting that it began in error and is perpetuated in pride.

We don't want your Negroes, or your horses, or your lands, or any thing you have, but we do want and will have a just obedience to the laws of the United States. That we will have, and if it involved the destruction of your improvements, we cannot help it.

You have heretofore read public sentiment in your newspapers, that live by falsehood and excitement; and the quicker you seek for truth in other quarters, the better. I repeat then that, by the original compact of government, the United States had certain rights in Georgia, which have never been relinquished and never will be; that the South began the war by seizing forts, arsenals, mints, custom-houses, etc., etc., long before Mr. Lincoln was installed, and before the South had one jot or title of provocation. I myself have seen in Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Mississippi, hundreds and thousands of women and children fleeing from your armies and desperadoes, hungry and with bleeding feet. In Memphis, Vicksburg, and Mississippi, we fed thousands and thousands of the families of rebel soldiers left on our hands, and whom we could not see starve. Now that war comes to you, you feel very different. You deprecate its horrors, but did not feel them when you sent car-loads of soldiers and ammunition, and moulded shells and shot, to carry war into Kentucky and Tennessee, to desolate the homes of hundreds and thousands of good people who only asked to live in peace at their old homes, and under the Government of their inheritance. But these comparisons are idle. I want peace, and believe it can only be reached through union and war, and I will ever conduct war with a view to perfect an early success.

But, my dear sirs, when peace does come, you may call on me for any thing. Then will I share with you the last cracker, and watch with you to shield your homes and families against danger from every quarter.

Now you must go, and take with you the old and feeble, feed and nurse them, and build for them, in more quiet places, proper habitations to shield them against the weather until the mad passions of men cool down, and allow the Union and peace once more to settle over your old homes in Atlanta. Yours in haste,

W.T. Sherman, Major-General commanding

Zoe
10-11-2007, 05:19 AM
Sampiro, to the best of my knowledge, Middle and the southern part of East Tennessee were both involved in the war. There was the Battle of Lookout Mountain in East Tennessee. Much of the Battle of Nashville was not far from where I live. There was the Battle of Franklin about twenty miles away and the Battle of Stones River about thirty-five miles away. Shiloh is further toward the west. It may actually be in West Tennessee.

Maybe I misunderstood your post.

Eleanor, most Southerners aren't into the Confederate flag all that much. It makes me wince when I see it used. But I can certainly understand the interest in the history. The battles were fought in our neighborhoods. Our churches served as hospitals. Many of our homes were occupied by our ancestors. We can compare notes and stories and letters and trace common threads even with new friends.

I think most high schools and universities have gotten away from using the Confederate flag, the Rebel figure, and playing "Dixie." (The later is a shame. That was a good song.) Are there any that still do?

My grandfather was a Confederate soldier, but he knew that the right side won. His participation has had a direct influence on my life even though I never knew him.

Jackmannii
10-11-2007, 09:02 AM
Talk about your mixed blessing! Am I right, rest of the world, or am I right?Except other nations would inevitably have gotten enmeshed in alliances with either side that would have made more widespread war likely (Britain dabbled in this with its Southern strategy during the Civil War).

And without a united American intervention in World Wars I and II the world map would probably look a bit different now, and not in a blessed sort of way.

An Arky
10-11-2007, 09:45 AM
I think this issue could be more honestly debated if we lose the smug Yankee denial as well as the stubborn Southern pride.

Freddy the Pig
10-11-2007, 09:51 AM
Most soldiers on both sides served because they were drafted, end of story.Rather then being "end of story", this is a false statement. Approximately 2% of Union soldiers were draftees, and another 6% were substitutes hired by draftees. About 20% of Confederate soldiers were drafted. Slavery was on the way out, anyway, and the Civil War could have been avoided, had cooler heads prevailed.You've got to be kidding. The American slave population increased by 23%, from 3.2 million to 3.95 million, during the 1850's, and white Southerners were as fanatically devoted to it in 1860 as they had been at any time in American history. The number of slaves, the acreage worked by slaves, and the value of slaves were all trending upward in the 1850's, and slaves were being employed in increasing numbers as factory laborers, especially in the upper South. The South had their eyes on the remaining western territories, Cuba, the Caribbean, and central America as fields for further expansion. Nobody, north or south, black or white, thought slavery was dying in 1860.

smiling bandit
10-11-2007, 10:01 AM
I had one more skin cancer removed yesterday morning; it left a hole about the size of a quarter in the side of my neck. To say I was feeling cranky when I posted what I did doesn't cut it nor does it excuse my combativeness re your post.

DOn't worry about the comments. I don't hold grudges. And I sincerely hope your mdical problems turn out AOK.

I still dispute the claims that the majority of southern hard scrabble farmers lusted after slaves, though. [snip]

First, a great many non-slaveholding/poir soil areas were centers of pro-union sentiment. This is true. However, their impact and power was essentially nil. They had no political, economic, or cultural heft.

As to Time-Life purporting to accurately report on conditions and [snip] I don't think they are beyond telling those potential customers what they want to hear.

You can argue that, but their information is all cited and sourced propely and does not disagree with any other sources I have read. Sure, there are some small discrepancies for differing levels of analysis, but no more than I would expect from any two seperate publications.

I don't remember Ken Burns stating that the average poor white lusted or honed or hankered for slaves and I haven't read your other source. I remain unconvinced on that score.

Actually, that was a source for the Civil War generally. Honesatly, I've read more than I can count and would have to start tracking the titles down at the library if you wanted specific cites. McPherson's Battle Cry of Freedom does a very good job of exploring the causes of the war and notes the influence of the planting classes. I recommend it for almost any Civil War purpose; it's just that good.

As for your claim that vast numbers of poor whites did end up buying slaves to get ahead, I simply don't see vast numbers of them overcoming poverty to that extent; slaves were much more expensive than most farmers of that time earned in several years; see Sampiro's excellent post regarding prices of slaves vs livestock vs real property.

I didn't say they could afford it easily, but take a look at the settlement of Arkansas, Mississippi, and Louisiana* in the Antebellum era. Relkatively poor individuals borrowed money, invested in land, and began cotton and sugar production. It was simply the only way to get ahead. And this affected everyone.

*Louisiana, of course, was settled long before, but the Antebelum era and statehood brought many new settlers and vastly expanded the populated area of the state.

Note how few economic alternatives the South had - few cotton mills, few industries, almost all manufactured goods bouthg from the north, fewer higher education institutions (though some very high quality ones). If you wantd to get ahead or leave poverty, slavery was the way to do it. And this is backed up by the extensive family networks which developed. A rich planter most likely had fairly close poor relatives. Mary Chestnut (rich planter lady) and another-Civil-War diarist-whose-name-I-can't-recall-(but who was a city-dwelling middle-classer) and-will-try-to-look-up had many of the same names in their journals and grieved for the same people of different social classes altogether. Many of them came from the lower classes and worked their way up (which, intrinsically, I think is a good thing) and retained their family ties.

This generally was a time of great economic expansion and huge opportunities. You see the expansion of the US itself, the rise of big business. Look at Lincoln's rise from farmer to country lawyer to local politician to state politician to president. Jefferson Davis's ancestors weren't terribly wealthy, but through hard work and connections he obtained a plantation and some wealth through it.

Maus Magill
10-11-2007, 10:27 AM
I am of two minds regarding Sherman.

On the one hand, his men burned an ancestor's farm in Eastern North Carolina. She was a Quaker whose husband volunteered to provide medical assistance to the militia. She probably would have provided supplies and quarters had she been asked. According to her diary, they just took and burned.

On the other hand, he prevented his men from rioting and burning occupied Raleigh when news of Lincoln's assassination reached them.

I am glad the North won the war. The Union was stronger as a result. Reconstruction could have gone a lot better. On a more personal note, had the south won, I doubt very much my "Connecticut Yankee" Mother would probably not have gone to college in North Carolina where she met my Father.

As for the OP - I wonder when they'll get to the "the blacks had it better as slaves" bit?An argument could be made that life under slavery was better than life under Jim Crow.

Of course, one could also argue that having your face smashed in by a jackboot is better than having your back broken by a baseball bat.

percypercy
10-11-2007, 11:43 AM
I think Sampiro was saying that the people in middle in middle and east TN actually formed union regiments. The battle of Shiloh was fought in West TN, near the MS border, not too far from Jackson, TN.

smiling bandit
10-11-2007, 11:51 AM
On the one hand, his men burned an ancestor's farm in Eastern North Carolina. She was a Quaker whose husband volunteered to provide medical assistance to the militia. She probably would have provided supplies and quarters had she been asked. According to her diary, they just took and burned.

That wa the point. They weren't after plunder, exactly, or even shelter, or food. They were after the total economic destruction of the South, and to punish South Carolina (it's possible they got confused about their location, and generally respected property in North Calorina). It was a method of total war in order to not-entirely-figuratively break the back of the the Confederacy. It denied civilians the means to resist by guerrilla warfare, forced them to leave union-controlled areas and thereby increase resources strain else, destroy the resources which existed, starve the armies of men and materials, cut and destroy transportation, and obliterate civilian morale.

It worked, and at a suprisingly low level of civilian casualties, too.

Bridget Burke
10-11-2007, 12:27 PM
He didn't really burn it, for that matter. The South did as much damage by firing the ammo deposits and depot when they withdrew; most of Sherman's damage was caused with his shelling, but even after both Sherman and the Rebs had done their damage most of the city was still standing. (The most impressive thing Sherman did was completely evacuate the city of civilians.)

Today there are a handful- between three and twelve antebellum buildings in Atlanta (the variance depending on the count and on how you define "antebellum" and how you define "Atlanta"). The most often heard explanation for this lack of historical preservation is Sherman, but the truth is that the ones that didn't fall down from age were torn down to build newer and bigger buildings, so you're left with a city of 4 million with streets and plazas named after peachtrees where there are no peachtrees and after GWTW characters where there's nothing anybody from that book would have recognized left standing. (That'd be a cool idea for a play- Scarlett falls through a timewarp and goes from 1872 Atlanta to a gay bar in midtown built on the site of Kennedy's Lumber- but of course the Mitchell family would sue.)

Hey--Atlanta was already burning when Rhett & Scarlett left. That was before Sherman arrived.

"Historical preservation" is an afterthought in busy, growing cities. (As a Houstonian, I ought to know.) Quaint Old Buildings survive longer in sleepy, stagnant backwaters.

I like many things about the South, but the War of Northern Aggression stories nauseate me. Fortunately, Quaint Old Ideas are also less relevant in non-stagnant areas.

dropzone
10-11-2007, 01:08 PM
I'm a direct descendant of ... [look of distaste] So what you're saying is, you're Irish? [/look of distaste]








d&r

CarnalK
10-11-2007, 01:54 PM
Except other nations would inevitably have gotten enmeshed in alliances with either side that would have made more widespread war likely (Britain dabbled in this with its Southern strategy during the Civil War).

And without a united American intervention in World Wars I and II the world map would probably look a bit different now, and not in a blessed sort of way.
Oh yeah. I somehow managed to forget for 2 seconds how you saved all our butts in WW2. Anyways, this is a convo more suited to a thread on Harry Turtledove. ;)

Sampiro
10-11-2007, 03:06 PM
[look of distaste] So what you're saying is, you're Irish? [/look of distaste]


My ancestry, near as I can tell, is Irish, German, English, French, and African. Our family motto is "Erin uber bloody alles mon nizzles".

MrDibble
10-11-2007, 03:14 PM
My ancestry, near as I can tell, is Irish, German, English, French, and African. Our family motto is "Erin uber bloody alles mon nizzles".
:)
although, that should be "mes nizzles", shouldn't it?

Sampiro
10-11-2007, 03:28 PM
:)
although, that should be "mes nizzles", shouldn't it?

My ancestors left before they worked out the conjugations and case and tense and all.

SnakesCatLady
10-11-2007, 06:24 PM
Sampiro, those of us in the MMP are anxiously awaiting your short story about Scarlett, the time machine and the gay bar in Buckhead. We promise not to share it with the Mitchell estate.

You do still have my e-mail address, don't you?

Cervaise
10-11-2007, 06:37 PM
I have no particular dog in this fight, but I must say I'm amused that Bricker keeps saying "succession" instead of "secession." :)

Sampiro
10-11-2007, 06:50 PM
Sampiro, those of us in the MMP are anxiously awaiting your short story about Scarlett, the time machine and the gay bar in Buckhead. We promise not to share it with the Mitchell estate.


Not to spoil, but it answers her unasked question from the book, "Why the hell does Ashley keep trying to build a time machine?"

SnakesCatLady
10-11-2007, 06:53 PM
Not to spoil, but it answers her unasked question from the book, "Why the hell does Ashley keep trying to build a time machine?"

*snicker*

Jackmannii
10-11-2007, 07:16 PM
(regarding the "mixed blessing" of the U.S. avoiding dissolution into two weaker nations as a result of the Civil War): Except other nations would inevitably have gotten enmeshed in alliances with either side that would have made more widespread war likely (Britain dabbled in this with its Southern strategy during the Civil War).

And without a united American intervention in World Wars I and II the world map would probably look a bit different now, and not in a blessed sort of way.Oh yeah. I somehow managed to forget for 2 seconds how you saved all our butts in WW2.Gosh, I must have missed the fact that you're a touchy Euro, given that your "Location" field is blank, as is (struggles, successfully avoids gratuitous insult).

Actually I was thinking more of WWI. Without American intervention, the Allies and the Huns might be hunkering in their trenches to this very day.

LouisB
10-11-2007, 07:50 PM
I had a dog in this fight but it died in the jaws of logical thinking and authenticated cites. I've got to stop responding to threads like this in knee jerk fashion. I hereby surrender except for one thing: Sampiro said it and I second it; the flag everyone gets so hot about is not and never was the Confederate Flag.

eleanorigby
10-11-2007, 07:57 PM
Oh, God-not THAT again....


<keels over>








I want to hear more about this time machine.

Clothahump
10-11-2007, 08:08 PM
A not uncommon bumper sticker in the South, back when people used bumper stickers-

"Lee Surrendered. I did not. :) "

I always liked:

Save Your Dixie Cups. The South Will Rise Again!

Zsofia
10-12-2007, 08:39 AM
Sampiro, when I was a kid my mom and dad went on a genealogy kick and we went through all the old wills - all my ancestors left their slaves, and their bed and bedding. Yours must have been a stingy bastard not to part with a few straw tick mattresses, eh? ;)

The thing is, it is in living memory, for extended meanings of the same, and it does sometimes affect daily life. I have a somewhat unusual last name, and I've never met another white person who shared it who wasn't related to me. Met more than a few black people with it; I'm sure you know why. That's kind of uncomfortable, you know?

burundi
10-12-2007, 08:53 AM
Originally posted by Zsofia
I have a somewhat unusual last name, and I've never met another white person who shared it who wasn't related to me. Met more than a few black people with it; I'm sure you know why. That's kind of uncomfortable, you know?
A few years ago, my white sister-in-law went a statewide conference for Spanish teachers. When she went to check in, the organizers said, "But you've already picked up your materials." Turns out there was also a black woman at the conference with the same first and (uncommon) last name who was also a Spanish teacher, who'd grown up in the same county that my in-laws are from. It was both kind of neat (that they'd both wound up in the same profession) and a touch awkward.

My father-in-law periodically mentions wanting to go to a family reunion of the black LastNames. My husband tries to point out that they would probably rather not have him there.

plnnr
10-12-2007, 08:55 AM
"Bless your heart" which is sooooo condescending.


Sorry to burst your bubble, but having Southerner say "Bless Your Heart" to you is not condescending. They're actually saying, "Fuck you" in no uncertain terms.

GomiBoy
10-12-2007, 08:56 AM
Forgive me, I haven't read the whole thread, but this just jumped out at me (and apologies for the slight hijack):
I am a little surprised to hear you argue that "whatever is not mandatory is forbidden" in the Constitution <snip>

Whoever is arguing this is wrong, plain and simple. The state has differentiated rights which are explicitly granted. In other words - you only ever need a law to restrict you from doing something, not allow you to do something. The Constitution does not grant rights; it guarantees some, but the rights not explicitly guaranteed are not touched either.

This applies to state's rights in the same way - any right not explicitly granted to the Federal Government is implicitly granted to the individual states; the basis of the Constitution (and the Bill of Rights for that matter) is exactly the opposite of 'whatever is not mandatory is forbidden' - whatever is not protected is also allowed unless explicitly dis-allowed.

TPWombat
10-12-2007, 09:22 AM
And where's our fucking tea, you bastards???

villa
10-12-2007, 09:34 AM
Whoever is arguing this is wrong, plain and simple. The state has differentiated rights which are explicitly granted. In other words - you only ever need a law to restrict you from doing something, not allow you to do something. The Constitution does not grant rights; it guarantees some, but the rights not explicitly guaranteed are not touched either.

This applies to state's rights in the same way - any right not explicitly granted to the Federal Government is implicitly granted to the individual states; the basis of the Constitution (and the Bill of Rights for that matter) is exactly the opposite of 'whatever is not mandatory is forbidden' - whatever is not protected is also allowed unless explicitly dis-allowed.

Actually, states don't have rights. They have powers. Individuals have rights.

dropzone
10-12-2007, 10:42 AM
My ancestry, near as I can tell, is Irish... Like I said, Irish, though I might've zoned out if your list were longer than that. ;)...the flag everyone gets so hot about is not and never was the Confederate Flag. Nope, just the flag of traitors and scoundrels. Lots of glory in that! :rolleyes: And where's our fucking tea, you bastards??? At the bottom of Boston Harbor, where we left it. You should know that. It was in all the papers, though I doubt it gets as prominent a place in American history texts as it did when I was young. :D

GomiBoy
10-12-2007, 11:28 AM
Actually, states don't have rights. They have powers. Individuals have rights.
:smack:

Knew I was getting something slightly wrong, but couldn't for the life of me think of the language...

You're absolutely right, but the concept still pertains. State powers are guaranteed by the Constitution, not limited. It's a subtle but critical difference.

villa
10-12-2007, 11:37 AM
Not sure I fully agree. By providing a floor of protected individual rights, the Constitution limits the powers of the states as to how they can treat their citizens. By carving out a realm for the federal government it limits the powers of the states to act in certain ways regarding their relationships with other states, or with other foreign governments.

I think you are more trying to say that state powers exist independent of the Constitution, rather than being granted by it. As such the Constitution explicitly does limit state powers.

Lightray
10-12-2007, 12:12 PM
I'm marrying a transplanted Texan, who family is from Georgia. Both of our fathers are big history buffs, particularly about the civil war. Both know a lot about their ancestors. I naively suggested this as a topic they could talk about. I thought it would be cool if they figured out if our ancestors fought at any of the same battles.

My fiance looks at me, dead serious, and says, "They didn't march with Sherman, did they?"
On one of my first trips to Georgia for business, I was in a more rural portion of the state for several days. One of the administrative assistants at the place I was visiting, on my last day there, declaired that she was glad that I turned out to be "one of those nice Yankees whose ancestors didn't burn down the South."

:dubious:

I -- politely -- informed her that, in fact, one of my ancestors was one of Sherman's cavalry generals. He had, indeed, burned down the South. A rather wide swath of it, really. He was also vilified as a senator, by DW Griffith, to make the KKK hero of "Birth of a Nation" look better.

It was worth it just to see her mouth gaping open like some overfed koi. Had she not been so stupid about the whole thing, I would have been perfectly content to let that particular sleeping dog lie -- 'cause my ancestor apparently was a bit of a carpetbagging bastard, leading to his being portrayed as the "evil senator" less virtuous than the KKK. But damn if I was going to admit as much to that rude wench.

muldoonthief
10-12-2007, 01:49 PM
Not sure I fully agree. By providing a floor of protected individual rights, the Constitution limits the powers of the states as to how they can treat their citizens. By carving out a realm for the federal government it limits the powers of the states to act in certain ways regarding their relationships with other states, or with other foreign governments.

I think you are more trying to say that state powers exist independent of the Constitution, rather than being granted by it. As such the Constitution explicitly does limit state powers.

I have zero dog in this fight (all my ancestors were in Europe during the Civil War), but it's helpful to read&cite the Constitution when arguing about it.

Section 10 (http://www.usconstitution.net/const.html#A1Sec10) does specifically prevent the States from doing certain things, such as entering into treaties with other countries, granting titles of Nobility, etc. However, the Tenth Amendment (http://www.usconstitution.net/const.html#Am10) states:

"The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

So there are some things the States are explicitly prohibited from doing, but any powers that aren't granted to the Feds default to the States.

Freddy the Pig
10-12-2007, 01:51 PM
Had she not been so stupid about the whole thing, I would have been perfectly content to let that particular sleeping dog lie -- 'cause my ancestor apparently was a bit of a carpetbagging bastard, leading to his being portrayed as the "evil senator" less virtuous than the KKK.Who was he, if I may ask?

villa
10-12-2007, 01:58 PM
I have zero dog in this fight (all my ancestors were in Europe during the Civil War), but it's helpful to read&cite the Constitution when arguing about it.

Section 10 (http://www.usconstitution.net/const.html#A1Sec10) does specifically prevent the States from doing certain things, such as entering into treaties with other countries, granting titles of Nobility, etc. However, the Tenth Amendment (http://www.usconstitution.net/const.html#Am10) states:

"The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

So there are some things the States are explicitly prohibited from doing, but any powers that aren't granted to the Feds default to the States.

How is that in any way contradictory to what I said?

And they don't default to the states, they are "reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

Lightray
10-12-2007, 02:07 PM
Who was he, if I may ask?
He's in "Birth of a Nation" as "Evil Senator Stoneman" -- although the character is supposed to be based on somebody else. And...

hey! There's a wiki article on George Stoneman (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Stoneman), I'll be damned. I'm amused that it seems to match up on his military record pretty closely to family history, but that the family lore on his political career may have had some wild stories mixed in...

Too bad most of my relatives who knew this stuff have passed on. And they were still incensed at Griffith's slander from probably their parent's time.

(dude had nice hair... not so sure about the beard, though)

jsgoddess
10-12-2007, 02:28 PM
On one of my first trips to Georgia for business, I was in a more rural portion of the state for several days. One of the administrative assistants at the place I was visiting, on my last day there, declaired that she was glad that I turned out to be "one of those nice Yankees whose ancestors didn't burn down the South."

When I was a kid I remember being somewhere in the south (yeah, good memory, huh?) when the waitress asked where we were from. My dad said and the waitress actually asked to be removed from our table.

We were from Sherman's hometown. I have no idea how common knowledge his hometown was/is, but that waitress knew it.

I'm thinking it was in Tennessee.

Lamar Mundane
10-12-2007, 02:28 PM
He's in "Birth of a Nation" as "Evil Senator Stoneman" -- although the character is supposed to be based on somebody else. And...

hey! There's a wiki article on George Stoneman (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Stoneman), I'll be damned. I'm amused that it seems to match up on his military record pretty closely to family history, but that the family lore on his political career may have had some wild stories mixed in...

Too bad most of my relatives who knew this stuff have passed on. And they were still incensed at Griffith's slander from probably their parent's time.

(dude had nice hair... not so sure about the beard, though)
"Virgil Caine is the name, and I served on the Danville train,
'till Stoneman's cavalry came and tore up the tracks again..."

Emilio Lizardo
10-12-2007, 03:40 PM
My wife hails from Vicksburg Mississippi, site of a protracted siege (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siege_of_Vicksburg) near the end of the war. When my mother-in-law told me the town was looking for a new slogan to update their image, I suggested "Vicksburg: We're not eating rats anymore!" She was not amused.

Lightray
10-12-2007, 03:47 PM
"Virgil Caine is the name, and I served on the Danville train,
'till Stoneman's cavalry came and tore up the tracks again..."
Silly thing is, that "rock and roll" song was about something that happened 104 years earlier! No way that either the performers or their intended audience were personally effected. Or their parents either.

Sampiro
10-12-2007, 03:54 PM
We were from Sherman's hometown. I have no idea how common knowledge his hometown was/is, but that waitress knew it.

I would not imagine that 1 person in 100, even along the path of and descendants of people directly affected by his march, would know Sherman's hometown. (I knew he was from Ohio, I even knew the names of his foster parents and his wife and kids and why he had the middle name Tecumseh, but I had to look up his hometown.)

jsgoddess
10-12-2007, 04:01 PM
I would not imagine that 1 person in 100 would know Sherman's hometown. (I knew he was from Ohio, I even knew the names of his foster parents and his wife and kids and why he had the middle name Tecumseh, but I had to look up his hometown.)

That's what I would have expected, and why that memory is so strange to me.

Bridget Burke
10-12-2007, 05:40 PM
Silly thing is, that "rock and roll" song was about something that happened 104 years earlier! No way that either the performers or their intended audience were personally effected. Or their parents either.

Robbie Robertson wrote "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Night_They_Drove_Old_Dixie_Down#_note-0)." He's Canadian.

Robertson claimed that he had the music to the song in his head but had no idea what it was to be about. "At some point [the concept] blurted out to me. Then I went and I did some research and I wrote the lyrics to the song." Robertson continued, "When I first went down South, I remember that a quite common expression would be, 'Well don't worry, the South's gonna rise again.' At one point when I heard it I thought it was kind of a funny statement and then I heard it another time and I was really touched by it. I thought, 'God, because I keep hearing this, there's pain here, there is a sadness here.' In Americana land, it's a kind of a beautiful sadness."

Not every song is based on the songwriters's personal experience. It's a damn fine song.

eleanorigby
10-12-2007, 05:46 PM
When I was a kid I remember being somewhere in the south (yeah, good memory, huh?) when the waitress asked where we were from. My dad said and the waitress actually asked to be removed from our table.




Wow. To me, this says that this waitress (at least) knows how to hold a protracted grudge. To keep this sort of bile alive takes some effort--seeing as how there is no repeated offenses happening. :rolleyes: Thankfully, I am sure she's a rarity.

dropzone
10-12-2007, 06:04 PM
"Virgil Caine is the name, and I served on the Danville train,
'till Stoneman's cavalry came and tore up the tracks again..."One of Joan Baez's crimes against humanity was singing, "'till StoneWALL's cavalry came and tore up the tracks again..." Stupid on many levels, and a lesson in why you should learn the historical context before you sing a song about history.

Tuckerfan
10-12-2007, 06:11 PM
Silly thing is, that "rock and roll" song was about something that happened 104 years earlier! No way that either the performers or their intended audience were personally effected. Or their parents either.And like the fuckwits in the Balkans claiming to be avenging an 11th Century (or earlier) injustice, neither that, nor the fact that it was written by a Canadian, will matter to people who are so wrapped up in the Civil War that they think it's still 1861. To some folks, the fact that a Canuck wrote it will be seen as more evidence that their misguided cause is somehow "just." Because a Canuck wouldn't have been influenced by the eeeevil Yankee controlled edumactional system in the US, which distorts the "true" history of the South and the Civil War as a way of justifying the continued oppression the North exerts on the South today. Note to any Southerners who might be reading this and are actually convinced that this is the case, the simple fact of the matter is 99% of the north doesn't give a shit about the Civil War. In history classes, we spent more time talking about Abe Lincoln (and since it was Ohio) why McClellan wasn't the idiot most historians say he was (and, of course, most of them, are, in fact right, he was an idiot) than the Civil War in general.

Freddy the Pig
10-12-2007, 06:11 PM
One of Joan Baez's crimes against humanity was singing, "'till StoneWALL's cavalry came and tore up the tracks again..." Stupid on many levels, and a lesson in why you should learn the historical context before you sing a song about history.I always heard (and read) it as so much cavalry, which is lame, but not necessarily wrong.

And at least she took out the incorrect date for the fall of Richmond. And made it "the Robert E. Lee", which was a steamboat which could have been seen in Tennessee, as opposed to the general himself, who never was.

Yllaria
10-12-2007, 07:37 PM
I always heard (and read) it as so much cavalry, which is lame, but not necessarily wrong . . .
You beat me to it. And it fits well enough to not be lame. Glad to know the true lyrics, though.

Jackmannii
10-12-2007, 09:24 PM
My wife hails from Vicksburg Mississippi, site of a protracted siege (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siege_of_Vicksburg) near the end of the war. When my mother-in-law told me the town was looking for a new slogan to update their image, I suggested "Vicksburg: We're not eating rats anymore!" She was not amused.How about "Out of the caves, and into the casinos!"?

Speaking of uplifting tunes:

"I wanna go back to Dixie,
Take me back to dear ol' Dixie,
That's the only li'l ol' place for li'l ol' me.
Ol' times there are not forgotten,
Whuppin' slaves and sellin' cotton,
And waitin' for the Robert E. Lee.
(It was never there on time.)"

- Tom Lehrer

Lumpy
10-13-2007, 01:24 AM
If you ever want to be provokingly insulting, you can always say "You do know, don't you, that the Union would have been within it's rights to hang every man who ever wore rebel grey?"

OtakuLoki
10-13-2007, 07:57 AM
If you ever want to be provokingly insulting, you can always say "You do know, don't you, that the Union would have been within it's rights to hang every man who ever wore rebel grey?"


In a similar vein, it might be amusing to ask what would they suggest what a proper punishment for John Walker Lindh (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Walker_Lindh) might be?

Then ask why that punishment shouldn't have been applied to those who wore rebel grey.

I imagine it should lead to some interesting mental explosions.

And get you labeled as a jerk of the first water. ;)

Sampiro
10-13-2007, 11:00 AM
If you ever want to be provokingly insulting, you can always say "You do know, don't you, that the Union would have been within it's rights to hang every man who ever wore rebel grey?"

Can't speak for others, but my response would be "Then why didn't they bring Davis to trial? Many southerners as well as northerners would have loved to see him hang and according to you it was an open-shut case."

Sampiro
10-13-2007, 11:03 AM
In a similar vein, it might be amusing to ask what would they suggest what a proper punishment for John Walker Lindh (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Walker_Lindh) might be?

Then ask why that punishment shouldn't have been applied to those who wore rebel grey.



Can't speak for others, but my response would be "How about those who wore Continental Army blue? If your answer is "no", then why not? They were by their own admission in rebellion against their formerly sworn sovereign and empire. If you answer yes, then are you saying that no new nation should ever be allowed to be formed- that the founders of Israel and Pakistan should have been executed? Or that the victorious army should always have the right to punish the vanquished? If yes, activate Godwin torpedo.

Captain Amazing
10-13-2007, 11:13 AM
Can't speak for others, but my response would be "Then why didn't they bring Davis to trial? Many southerners as well as northerners would have loved to see him hang and according to you it was an open-shut case."

Well, they did, or at least they started to, but there was some question as to whether it was allowed after the passage of the 14th amendmebnt, and eventually the government figured it wasn't worth the bother. It's a shame, really. The man should have been "shot trying to escape".

Lust4Life
10-13-2007, 12:16 PM
I'm only a Limey but I was under the impression that the South seceded because with its relatively small VOTING population as compared with the industrialised North it had a lot less influence in forming policy .

The slavery issue made for a good rallying point but the fact is that when the Civil war started there were slave states fighting for the North.

It seems to be one of those historical things that everyone assumes that they know about but are often in error ,like the Europeans starting African slavery and that the Russian Revolution was the communists fighting against the Czar's rule instead of the reality of the revolt being against an elected assembly called the Dumas as I recall,the Czar having abdicated previously.

If you're going to argue your case make sure that you're in the right argument.

Paul in Qatar
10-13-2007, 12:49 PM
THe American Constitution counted each slave (and "Indian not taxed") as 2/3 of a person for the purposes of representation. Oddly the slaves and Indians did not get to do 2/3 of the voting. The South was over-represented in Congress.

villa
10-13-2007, 12:51 PM
Well, Lust4Life, the first thing is that "the South" didn't secede. A bunch of individual states seceded, and each had its own reasons for doing so. Now while Northern states, most northern soldiers, and northern politicians did not go to war to free the slaves, the evidence suggests that one of the primary motivations for secession was the preservation of slavery.

And also there were two Russian Revolutions in 1917, February and October.

Sampiro
10-13-2007, 12:56 PM
The CSA is a wonderful lesson in how to and how not to use diplomacy. I think what ultimately damned them was not racism or any issue of morality or even military/population inferiority (militarily they were actually pretty impressive; it's amazing how long they kept armies in the field with no money and increasingly destroyed infrastructure). I think their doom was sealed by the selection of Jefferson Davis as president: arrogant, classist, incapable of admitting error, ridiculously unrealistic in his expectations (surprising from a man who had actually kicked ass as Secretary of War) and with a refusal to consent to any compromise on the issue of slavery.

Had the South had a more pragmatic leader they would have pressed the North for peace talks in 1862, when they had several impressive victories under their belt and both sides were beginning to think "this is going to be one helluva bloody war"- the south seeing that the North wasn't going to let them leave peacefully and the north seeing that the Southerners were a force to be reckoned with who even if defeated would cause billions in national debt and lives/livelihoods to northern men by the tens of thousands. They should have agreed to end slavery in a tiered process (its moral evil had been written of for well over 200 years before the War, practically all of the slaveowning Founders acknowledged its unjustness, and even Robert E. Lee and [millionaire slavetrader] Nathan Forrest, neither of them liberal in their racial views even by the standards of their day, admitted it's moral wrong, but it was also damned near impossible to end without destroying an economy. A compromise whereby children born to enslaved mothers on or after the 1st day of X of 186_ were to be considered free, with all slavery to end on or before January 1st of 18___ (say, 1885), with the meantime spent preparing socially and economically for the change, BUT IN EXCHANGE FOR WHICH the tariff situation on imported goods would be changed to be more favorable to the South- the North would almost certainly have gone for it. There is evidence that such talks were offered but Davis refused to consider anything where abolition, even remote, was on the table.

Davis was the quintessential patricial asshole plutocrat and should have been hanged, not for Constitutional reasons so much as he was the quintessential asshole patrician plutocrat.

Jackmannii
10-13-2007, 01:04 PM
I'm only a Limey but I was under the impression that the South seceded because with its relatively small VOTING population as compared with the industrialised North it had a lot less influence in forming policy.As noted earlier, there was no pre-war governmental initiative to ban slavery (or for that matter to pass any legislation significantly influencing the South's "traditions" or economy). Major frictions involved Northern resistance to allowing slavery to become established in territories as well as resentment over private moves against slavery (like John Brown's raid).

The first and foremost reason for secession was the protection of slavery. The foremost reason for the North going to war after the attack on Fort Sumter was preservation of the Union. It seems to be one of those historical things that everyone assumes that they know about but are often in errorHistorical revisionism can be a problem, but it's gotten a lot less prevalent on the Dope since I started posting here.

Jackmannii
10-13-2007, 01:06 PM
I'm only a LimeyAnd now thanks to you, I've got "Just A Gigolo" going through my head.

You must hang.

smiling bandit
10-13-2007, 02:06 PM
I'm only a Limey but I was under the impression that the South seceded because with its relatively small VOTING population as compared with the industrialised North it had a lot less influence in forming policy .

More information: Voting population is irrelevant. Represenatation was 2 men per state in Senate and based on population in the House. The population figure normally included everyone. (This is the default, and includes nonvoters, which at the time meant women, many poor whites, and slaves). The anti-slavery Founding Fathers managed to bargain them down so that only a fraction of the slaves were counted in the House of Reps. This was a major victory.

However, The South was still large and influential and dominated American politics in the early years of the republic. In fact, it was not until the South managed to piss of the entire rest of the country so much that it basically said "fuck you" and elected Lincoln almost unaminously (barring one or two tiny states which went with Douglas, IIRC). Then the SOuth said basically adopted the whiner's position and declared that if they could rule the country they'd leave. State's Rights and all.

Of course, they had no problem with using the Federal Government to screw other people over. And in a much worse fashion, frankly, than the Republican party had any intention of messing with the South. So it was a game of "if I can't win I won't play! Nyah nyah nyah!"

Freddy the Pig
10-13-2007, 04:09 PM
I'm only a Limey but I was under the impression that the South seceded because with its relatively small VOTING population as compared with the industrialised North it had a lot less influence in forming policy.Um, yeah, and what types of "policy" were they especially interested in? Well, judging by the blow-ups over admitting California as a free state, and bleeding Kansas, and the agitation for a slave code in the territories, they had an unusual degree of interest in policies concerning slavery.
It seems to be one of those historical things that everyone assumes that they know about but are often in error ,like the Europeans starting African slavery and that the Russian Revolution was the communists fighting against the Czar's rule instead of the reality of the revolt being against an elected assembly called the Dumas as I recall,the Czar having abdicated previously.No, the idea that contoversy over slavery brought about the American Civil War is one of the things that everybody assumes they know about that are correct.

Sampiro
10-13-2007, 04:16 PM
Um, yeah, and what types of "policy" were they especially interested in? Well, judging by the blow-ups over admitting California as a free state, and bleeding Kansas, and the agitation for a slave code in the territories, they had an unusual degree of interest in policies concerning slavery.

This is very true. One of the most common things heard down here (and really, the Civil War is NOT a common topic of conversation- it mainly comes up when the flag is in the news or whatever once every couple of years) is "The Civil War was not about slavery, it was about state's rights". This is true in a way, but it was over state's rights to condone slavery- not a very subtle distinction. Most people who say this have never read the Cornerstone Speech (http://www.teachingamericanhistory.org/library/index.asp?documentprint=76) or the Confederate Constitution (http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/csa/csa.htm) (which is basically the Bill of Rights + line-item veto + slavery in every other sentence) or any other primary documents and they're parroting what their dads or coaches or even in some cases (including mine) schoolteachers taught.

OtakuLoki
10-13-2007, 04:54 PM
Can't speak for others, but my response would be "How about those who wore Continental Army blue? If your answer is "no", then why not? They were by their own admission in rebellion against their formerly sworn sovereign and empire. If you answer yes, then are you saying that no new nation should ever be allowed to be formed- that the founders of Israel and Pakistan should have been executed? Or that the victorious army should always have the right to punish the vanquished? If yes, activate Godwin torpedo.


Well, frankly, without meaning to diss those in the Continental Army, I'd like to point out that I expect that large numbers of the officer corps, at least, would have been hanged, had the British succeeded in putting down the rebellion. By the lights of the British, they were subjects of the crown in armed rebellion against the lawful authorities. That they did win the struggle meant they got to define their actions as patriotism, instead of treason. Which is just as true for the 'freedom fighters' in Israel and Pakistan, had they lost.

The old joke about 'an it prosper, none dare call it treason,' does have a hard core of truth to it.

Honestly, as much badwill as had been engendered by the actions of Reconstruction, things would have been infinately worse had the sort of Spartacus-like reprisals we're talking about been taken. So, I am quite comfortable with how things worked out, vis-a-vis the nominal treason of the soldiers of the CSA, and Navy.

But that recognition of moral and social consequences doesn't change that taking up arms against one's country, whether one likes that country, or not, is usually prima facie evidence of treason. Once the fighting is over, at least.

I know I'm coming close to saying, in my usual long-winded manner, that might makes right, and that I'm certainly saying that victors write the histories. But both those cliches are based on certain hard facts - with sufficient might one can define, at least in courts, what right might be; and especially in the wake of a hard fought war, the victors will define the terms of the history. What else was the 1918 Treaty of Versailles, but a cold-blooded attempt to do just that?

The history we know after that disasterous treaty goes a long way to showing the potential costs of stretching definitions too far, but it remains a vivid example of how victors do define things in the wake of victory. For that matter, so do the Nuremburg, and other WWII war crimes trials. I believe that the Nuremburg trials are justified, but they were imposed upon those called before them willy-nilly, with many of the terms used in the trials defined at them, not before the actions which they were convened to judge.

A victorious army, and it's civil authority, have the ability to punish anything they like. This does not make that action moral, but it is not unheard of for such to define things as legal, and do it anyways.

In the real world, things complicate the issue of treason for "every man in rebel grey" anyways. At which point would the individual be required, legally, to rebell against the duly, and legally, appointed authorities above him. I'm not an expert but my impression had been that there were Confederate troops who were just as conscripted as some Union troops.

So, I guess I'm stepping on your Godwin torpedo. Do I live?

Lumpy
10-13-2007, 05:14 PM
Can't speak for others, but my response would be "Then why didn't they bring Davis to trial? Many southerners as well as northerners would have loved to see him hang and according to you it was an open-shut case."The Union could easily have done so, but it was useful not to. The threat that the Union could have tried and hanged for treason half the men in the South and virtually all it's ruling class was pretty much the impetus for the south accepting the Union's terms, including Reconstruction and the post-war constitutional amendments.

Jackmannii
10-13-2007, 11:17 PM
The threat that the Union could have tried and hanged for treason half the men in the South and virtually all it's ruling class was pretty much the impetus for the south accepting the Union's terms.Except Ulysses Grant took the steam out of much of that implied threat by granting generous terms to Lee's defeated soldiers at Appomattox.

Threats weren't needed, not when Sherman could march his troops through the South with no viable army to stop them.

And the sooner the South agreed to terms, the sooner Federal troops would leave and allow good times to resume. :rolleyes:

MEBuckner
10-14-2007, 01:20 AM
Can't speak for others, but my response would be "How about those who wore Continental Army blue? If your answer is "no", then why not? They were by their own admission in rebellion against their formerly sworn sovereign and empire. If you answer yes, then are you saying that no new nation should ever be allowed to be formed- that the founders of Israel and Pakistan should have been executed? Or that the victorious army should always have the right to punish the vanquished? If yes, activate Godwin torpedo.
We had a GD thread not too long ago, Robert E. Lee- Brilliant tactician or traitor? (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=434737), in which we chewed over some of those issues. A point several of us made is that "treason" is a very loaded term that people often give a lot of emotional weight to, when objectively traitors have been all over the map, ethically speaking. George Washington would have been a traitor to the crown of Virginia, by any reasonable standard, except he won. Benedict Arnold was a traitor against the traitors; if the British had won, he could have been lauded as a patriot who helped defend King and Country against the rebel scum.
I'm only a Limey but I was under the impression that the South seceded because with its relatively small VOTING population as compared with the industrialised North it had a lot less influence in forming policy .

The slavery issue made for a good rallying point but the fact is that when the Civil war started there were slave states fighting for the North.

It seems to be one of those historical things that everyone assumes that they know about but are often in error ,like the Europeans starting African slavery and that the Russian Revolution was the communists fighting against the Czar's rule instead of the reality of the revolt being against an elected assembly called the Dumas as I recall,the Czar having abdicated previously.

If you're going to argue your case make sure that you're in the right argument.
From South Carolina's declaration of independence (http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/csa/scarsec.htm):
...In the present case, that fact is established with certainty. We assert that fourteen of the States have deliberately refused, for years past, to fulfill their constitutional obligations, and we refer to their own Statutes for the proof.

The Constitution of the United States, in its fourth Article, provides as follows: "No person held to service or labor in one State, under the laws thereof, escaping 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 service or labor may be due."

....A geographical line has been drawn across the Union, and all the States north of that line have united in the election of a man to the high office of President of the United States, whose opinions and purposes are hostile to slavery. He is to be entrusted with the administration of the common Government, because he has declared that that "Government cannot endure permanently half slave, half free," and that the public mind must rest in the belief that slavery is in the course of ultimate extinction....
(They did present a fairly lengthy defense of states' rights and secession in the abstract before getting down to brass tacks about the fugitive slave clause and those anti-slavery Republicans.)

From Mississippi's declaration of independence (http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/csa/missec.htm):
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....
From Georgia's declaration of independence (http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/csa/geosec.htm):
...[B]y their declared principles and policy they have outlawed $3,000,000,000 of our property in the common territories of the Union....
(That "$3,000,000,000 of our property" was not a reference to mutual funds.)

From Texas' declaration of independence (http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/csa/texsec.htm):
...We hold as undeniable truths that the governments of the various States, and of the confederacy itself, were established exclusively by the white race, for themselves and their posterity; that the African race had no agency in their establishment; that they were rightfully held and regarded as an inferior and dependent race, and in that condition only could their existence in this country be rendered beneficial or tolerable.

That in this free government all white men are and of right ought to be entitled to equal civil and political rights; that the servitude of the African race, as existing in these States, is mutually beneficial to both bond and free, and is abundantly authorized and justified by the experience of mankind, and the revealed will of the Almighty Creator, as recognized by all Christian nations; while the destruction of the existing relations between the two races, as advocated by our sectional enemies, would bring inevitable calamities upon both and desolation upon the fifteen slave-holding states....
THe American Constitution counted each slave (and "Indian not taxed") as 2/3 of a person for the purposes of representation. Oddly the slaves and Indians did not get to do 2/3 of the voting. The South was over-represented in Congress.
3/5, actually. (http://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/constitution.articlei.html#section2)

smiling bandit
10-14-2007, 10:24 AM
Except Ulysses Grant took the steam out of much of that implied threat by granting generous terms to Lee's defeated soldiers at Appomattox.

Threats weren't needed, not when Sherman could march his troops through the South with no viable army to stop them.

And the sooner the South agreed to terms, the sooner Federal troops would leave and allow good times to resume. :rolleyes:

This just begs the question. It was ALREADY policy not to inflict damages, carry out executions, or otherwise further harm the defeated South. Grant was not making things up as he went but obeyed Lincoln's policy. It certainly had some opponents, but even the Radical Republicans weren't out for blood in the matter.

And in any case, the soldiers wouldn't have been the targets. As irritating as the better Confederate generals were, they were not interesting compared to the political leaders (many of whom lived long, comfortable lives justifying their actions).

Paul in Qatar
10-14-2007, 10:59 AM
Oddly not Jefferson Davis. He retired to Briarwood, his wife's plantation and lived a long life. Although he never took the oath of allegiance to the US, by the end of his life, he called for all Southerners to be good Americans.

Alessan
10-14-2007, 05:21 PM
Can't speak for others, but my response would be "How about those who wore Continental Army blue? If your answer is "no", then why not? They were by their own admission in rebellion against their formerly sworn sovereign and empire. If you answer yes, then are you saying that no new nation should ever be allowed to be formed- that the founders of Israel and Pakistan should have been executed? Or that the victorious army should always have the right to punish the vanquished? If yes, activate Godwin torpedo.

Because neither Israel, nor Pakistan, nor the Thirteen Colonies had representatives at Parliament. They were prevented from using democracy to adress their grievences, so they were forced to resort to war. The southern states, on the other hands, were fully represented - over-represented, in fact - in Congress, and yet they chose to ignore the legal means they had at their hands.
Instead of playing by the rules, they decided to tip over the board.

OtakuLoki
10-14-2007, 05:33 PM
Because neither Israel, nor Pakistan, nor the Thirteen Colonies had representatives at Parliament. They were prevented from using democracy to adress their grievences, so they were forced to resort to war. The southern states, on the other hands, were fully represented - over-represented, in fact - in Congress, and yet they chose to ignore the legal means they had at their hands.
Instead of playing by the rules, they decided to tip over the board.


Alessan, respectfully, even though the South was over-represented in Congress, they had run out of legal means to force their views on the rest of the country. They were locked into the idea that slavery, and its expansion, was a necessity for their way of life. With the election of 1860, someone had been elected to the Presidency without any support in the South.

Whatever Lincoln would or wouldn't have done was immaterial - he didn't agree that slavery had to expand as the US borders expanded, and so they had no way to force a policy that they felt was absolutely necessary for their survival.

I don't believe that there was any way to play "within the rules" to achieve the objective that they believed was a necessity.

That I believe that their goals were wrong-headed, stupid, and evil doesn't change that part of the equation.



Also, while you and I may agree that some kind of democratic government is the best available, it doesn't change, to my mind, that there are other forms of legitimate governments out there. i.e. While the colonies, Palestine, and Pakistan were all barred from representation in Parliament doesn't change that Parliament was recognized by many other nations as being the legitimate authority for those areas.

Paul in Qatar
10-15-2007, 12:26 AM
As a rule, using violence when peaceful, democratic means have not been exhausted is wrong.

control-z
10-15-2007, 03:58 PM
You still don't mention Sheridan in the Shenandoah Valley either.

GomiBoy
10-16-2007, 08:30 AM
Apologies for the slight hijack...

I think you are more trying to say that state powers exist independent of the Constitution, rather than being granted by it. As such the Constitution explicitly does limit state powers.

THat is what I am saying, exactly, so I think we're agreeing with each other. The Constitution protects some individual rights and state powers, limits others, but anything not explicitly either granted in the Constitution or outlawed in the Constitution is allowed, not limited...

Jackmannii
10-16-2007, 09:13 AM
It was ALREADY policy not to inflict damages, carry out executions, or otherwise further harm the defeated South. Grant was not making things up as he went but obeyed Lincoln's policy...And in any case, the soldiers wouldn't have been the targets.My understanding is that there was no established Union policy for dealing with Southern military leaders at the time of Appomattox. As noted on this site (http://www.csamerican.com/Doc.asp?doc=Grant):

"President Lincoln had authorized Grant to treat on military matters, retaining to himself the right to dictate political terms, which were not the immediate issue.

Armed with this authority, Grant was able to extend to his former enemy a level of courtesy and respect equal to that for which Lee himself was renowned. Despite his reputation for demanding unconditional surrender from his foes, Grant's terms were remarkably lenient and signaled the wish, at least on the part of the Army of the Potomac, to put aside the grievances of the War...

Grant's Surrender Terms At Appomattox
April 9, 1865

Head Quarters of the Armies of the United States
Appomattox C.H. Va. Apl 9th 1865

(To) Gen. R. E. Lee
Comd'g C.S.A.
General,

In accordance with the substance of my letter to you of the 8th inst., I propose to receive the surrender of the Army of N. Va. on the following terms to wit;

Rolls of all the officers and men be made in duplicate, one copy to be given to an officer to be designated by me, the other to be retained by such officer or officers as you may designate. The officers to give their individual paroles not to take up arms against the Government of the United States until properly exchanged, and each company or regimental commander to sign a like parole for the men of their commands -

The arms, artillery and public property to be parked and stacked and turned over to the officer appointed by me to receive them. This will not embrace the side arms of the officers nor their private horses or baggage. This done each officer and man will be allowed to return to their homes, not to be disturbed by United States authority as long as they observe their parole and the laws in force where they may reside"

That last sentence in particular set precedent that might never have happened without Grant's actions.

smiling bandit
10-16-2007, 10:07 AM
It's irrelevant. We know that Lincoln had already put aside the idea of hanging confederates in favor of voluntary reconstruction and trying to bind them back to the Union. Grant's terms were following Lincoln's lead.

In fact, your own cite supports this, as Grant was not permitted to do more or less anything Lincoln didn't want, and unlike some generals, he obeyed (and, as commonly happens, got more flexibility in exchange). He did as Lincoln wished, and while Lincoln may not have specified every term, he had already ruled out mass executions or war guilt.

vibrotronica
10-16-2007, 12:40 PM
"The best way to destroy an enemy is to make him a friend"
-Abraham Lincoln