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  #51  
Old 09-12-2019, 05:58 PM
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As others have pointed out, states’ rights were a more effective instrument against slavery than for it. Secession included. For example, wise abolitionists such as Garrison advocated for secession.
I believe his slogan was, "No union with slaveholders!" And when secession began, some Northerners said, "Wayward sisters, depart in peace." Which might have happened, had anyone less dedicated to the Union than Lincoln been president at the time. Then there would have been two big North American republics, and the biggest point of conflict between them would have been runaway slaves seeking asylum in the U.S. Which might well have led to war eventually. The Underground Railroad was never really a threat to Southern slavery, it never freed more than a trickle of slaves every year, but its very existence made Southern pols furious.
  #52  
Old 09-12-2019, 06:17 PM
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I believe his slogan was, "No union with slaveholders!" And when secession began, some Northerners said, "Wayward sisters, depart in peace." Which might have happened, had anyone less dedicated to the Union than Lincoln been president at the time. Then there would have been two big North American republics, and the biggest point of conflict between them would have been runaway slaves seeking asylum in the U.S. Which might well have led to war eventually. The Underground Railroad was never really a threat to Southern slavery, it never freed more than a trickle of slaves every year, but its very existence made Southern pols furious.
Might have led to war> Civil War
  #53  
Old 09-12-2019, 06:35 PM
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Might have led to war> Civil War
Well, I don't know about that. Once the principle of secession were established as legitimate, both the USA and CSA would have become very fragile unions, liable to fragmentation at any time, and that could have led to a lot of wars. I'm glad I'm living on a politically unified landmass, unlike Europe.
  #54  
Old 09-12-2019, 06:51 PM
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Well, I don't know about that. Once the principle of secession were established as legitimate, both the USA and CSA would have become very fragile unions, liable to fragmentation at any time, and that could have led to a lot of wars. I'm glad I'm living on a politically unified landmass, unlike Europe.
Two things, Will will not mind fragile unions. He never stops complaining about "statists" and likes a weak government. Also, he's the only libertarian around who thinks slavery isn't that big a deal. He worries more about taxes than slavery
  #55  
Old 09-12-2019, 06:57 PM
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Two things, Will will not mind fragile unions. He never stops complaining about "statists" and likes a weak government.
State fragmentation does not necessarily produce weak government -- consider the antebellum South, where the state governments tyrannized over the localities. And even a city-state can have oppressive government -- consider Sparta. Or any Western where the local bully "runs this town" (don't know how often that actually happened in the Old West). Or feudal Europe, where every landlord was tyrant of his manor.

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  #56  
Old 09-12-2019, 07:03 PM
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Doesn't matter. That still makes it easier to move to another nation, which is Will's go to answer on how to deal with tyranny.
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Old 09-12-2019, 11:15 PM
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Lincoln wasn't even on the ballot in most southern states. Southerners felt, with some justification, that he was being rammed down their throats in a rigged election. And Lincoln's party was, at that point, a single-issue one: No slavery in the new territories. Saying he wasn't yet an abolitionist is like saying Elizabeth Warren isn't primarily coming for your guns.
But he kinda wasn't. Look, yes, no new slave states. But then what? No one was seriously proposing freeing all the slaves.

What had been proposed was making a law that reversed the Dred Scott dec and the Fugitive slave act- in other words, if a slave got to a Free state he'd be safe. That was about it.

There was some talk about stopping the slave trade- selling of slaves. But no one was seriously talking about freeing all the slaves with a stroke of the pen.

Nibbles, but pretty much every white plantation owner would be able to keep, beat and rape his slaves during his lifetime.
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Old 09-12-2019, 11:18 PM
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It was specifically about a state’s right to secede. There is really no getting around that.
Not in the least. It was 99.99% about slavery.
  #59  
Old 09-13-2019, 01:19 AM
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It was specifically about a state’s right to secede. There is really no getting around that.
Then why did the Confederate Constitution forbid secession?
  #60  
Old 09-13-2019, 03:45 AM
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Then why did the Confederate Constitution forbid secession?
Yeah not to put too fine of a point on it but remember what I said earlier?

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But yes, well-recognized, the cause of the The War To Preserve And Expand Slavery was slavery. There is no serious dispute about this among historians and anyone claiming otherwise should be seen as deeply suspect, as though they had insisted that there were no mass killings at Auschwitz. This is extremely well-trodden ground.
It is a fundamentally unserious argument that does not hold up to scrutiny in any way, shape, or form. The list of things wrong with it is virtually endless - the only right they cared about was the right to own slaves; every conversation about it in the historical record boils down to slavery rather than "states rights"; various southern states wanted to enforce slavery on the free states; et cetera.

I will not speculate on why WillFarnaby insists on taking this throughly unserious line of argumentation. I will, however, insist that it is not worth taking seriously, akin to someone going into a thread about evolution and insisting that the earth is 6,000 years old.
  #61  
Old 09-13-2019, 10:09 AM
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Not in the least. It was 99.99% about slavery.
I think it's a good point to make that the Union id NOT fight the war as some sort of anti-slavery crusade. From the Federal perspective, it was more of a combination of putting down a rebellion and preserving the union. Slavery was a distant third- there were slave states that remained within the Union.

For the Confederacy, they seceded because that they felt that they were going to be denied what they felt their was their "right" to own slaves- that was pretty much the only right that they were concerned with when they talked about states' rights being denied.

The Union war was NOT a crusade against slavery, which is something that needs to be said. By saying that "it was all about slavery", it leads people to believe that the Union was animated by that more than the other concerns, which is not true.
  #62  
Old 09-13-2019, 10:17 AM
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Then why did the Confederate Constitution forbid secession?
That would be glorious hypocrisy if true, but my Google and a skim of the CC does not find it.
  #63  
Old 09-13-2019, 10:51 AM
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That would be glorious hypocrisy if true, but my Google and a skim of the CC does not find it.
The preamble to the CC does say "We, the people of the Confederate States, each State acting in its sovereign and independent character, in order to form a permanent federal government, establish justice, insure domestic tranquillity, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity..." which may be what kirkrapine had in mind.
  #64  
Old 09-13-2019, 10:53 AM
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The Confederate Constitution didn't explicitly forbid secession; on the other hand, it didn't explicitly protect any right of states to secede either. (Even Joseph Stalin stuck a clause in the 1936 Soviet Constitution claiming that "To every Union Republic is reserved the right freely to secede from the USSR", which clause was carried forward to each of the USSR's subsequent constitutions.) Like the U.S. Constitution (which the Confederate Constitution was a close adaptation of) the Confederate Constitution simply doesn't say anything about the issue of state secession one way or the other.

On balance, the Confederate Constitution doesn't seem to have been much more protective of "states' rights" than the pre-Reconstruction U.S. Constitution was (and in a few areas was arguably somewhat more centralized). The Confederate Constitution did have much more explicit and considerably stronger protections for slavery than did even the pre-Reconstruction U.S. Constitution.


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The preamble to the CC does say "We, the people of the Confederate States, each State acting in its sovereign and independent character, in order to form a permanent federal government, establish justice, insure domestic tranquillity, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity..." which may be what kirkrapine had in mind.
It's kind of a funny "gotcha", but that arguably simply meant that this was the "permanent federal government" as opposed to the "provisional" Confederate Constitution (which was explicitly time limited to a maximum of one year).
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  #65  
Old 09-13-2019, 11:01 AM
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It's kind of a funny "gotcha", but that arguably simply meant that this was the "permanent federal government" as opposed to the "provisional" Confederate Constitution (which was explicitly time limited to a maximum of one year).
Ah, that makes sense.
  #66  
Old 09-13-2019, 11:08 AM
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And a "permanent federal government" says nothing about whether any individual state has to remain under its jurisdiction. It just means that as long as there's a Confederacy, here's what the federal government is.
  #67  
Old 09-13-2019, 11:45 AM
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I think it's a good point to make that the Union id NOT fight the war as some sort of anti-slavery crusade. From the Federal perspective, it was more of a combination of putting down a rebellion and preserving the union. Slavery was a distant third- there were slave states that remained within the Union.

For the Confederacy, they seceded because that they felt that they were going to be denied what they felt their was their "right" to own slaves- that was pretty much the only right that they were concerned with when they talked about states' rights being denied.

The Union war was NOT a crusade against slavery, which is something that needs to be said. By saying that "it was all about slavery", it leads people to believe that the Union was animated by that more than the other concerns, which is not true.
The United States was fighting because it was attacked. By a country that was attacking them in order to defend slavery.

It's like World War II. Germany attacked Poland because it wanted more territory. So Poland wasn't seeking territorial expansion - but territorial expansion was still the reason why Poland was fighting.

So to sum up: slavery slavery slavery slavery slavery.
  #68  
Old 09-13-2019, 12:05 PM
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On balance, the Confederate Constitution doesn't seem to have been much more protective of "states' rights" than the pre-Reconstruction U.S. Constitution was (and in a few areas was arguably somewhat more centralized). The Confederate Constitution did have much more explicit and considerably stronger protections for slavery than did even the pre-Reconstruction U.S. Constitution.
The one difference I noticed which does seem like a big deal, is that the CC allowed the states to apply taxes to ships from other states. ISTM, allowing trade wars between states would have led to a much less economically united country. And since tariffs were an important part of government revenue at the time, likely seen as giving noticeable more power to the states. (though the ability to lay duties was subservient to federal treaties)
  #69  
Old 09-13-2019, 12:25 PM
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The United States was fighting because it was attacked. By a country that was attacking them in order to defend slavery.
The federal position all along was that the rebel states did not secede, and couldn't (even if they said they did), and were not a separate country, but that it was simply an insurrection that needed to be suppressed as the Constitution provided. The rebels committed the first acts of aggression, yes, but that's what made it an insurrection instead of posturing. What would have happened if the secession declarations had not been followed by insurrection is an interesting hypothetical, beyond noting that those states would have abandoned their federal representation and negotiating power entirely.

Preserving the union and ending slavery were both Union goals, the first one being at least partly a cover story for the second one until it became a generally held enough position for it to be stated more openly. Lincoln's own often-quoted statements were those of a politician who knew he couldn't get too far ahead of his people - he most certainly was an abolitionist, but he couldn't get abolition done without the slave states first losing their ability to resist it.
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Old 09-13-2019, 12:36 PM
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I think it's a good point to make that the Union id NOT fight the war as some sort of anti-slavery crusade. From the Federal perspective, it was more of a combination of putting down a rebellion and preserving the union. Slavery was a distant third- there were slave states that remained within the Union.

For the Confederacy, they seceded because that they felt that they were going to be denied what they felt their was their "right" to own slaves- that was pretty much the only right that they were concerned with when they talked about states' rights being denied.
....e.
It was all about slavery, since without slaves the South would not have seceded in the first place. No secession, no Civil war.

And of course Lincoln wasnt going to take their slaves away anyway.
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Old 09-13-2019, 01:24 PM
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Preserving the union and ending slavery were both Union goals, the first one being at least partly a cover story for the second one until it became a generally held enough position for it to be stated more openly. Lincoln's own often-quoted statements were those of a politician who knew he couldn't get too far ahead of his people - he most certainly was an abolitionist, but he couldn't get abolition done without the slave states first losing their ability to resist it.
Viewed from the genuine abolition ground, Mr. Lincoln seemed tardy, cold, dull, and indifferent; but measuring him by the sentiment of his country, a sentiment he was bound as a statesman to consult, he was swift, zealous, radical, and determined.
—Frederick Douglass, 1876
  #72  
Old 09-13-2019, 01:25 PM
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Lincoln explained it better than any of us here:
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One eighth of the whole population were colored slaves, not distributed generally over the Union, but localized in the Southern part of it. These slaves constituted a peculiar and powerful interest. All knew that this interest was, somehow, the cause of the war. To strengthen, perpetuate, and extend this interest was the object for which the insurgents would rend the Union, even by war; while the government claimed no right to do more than to restrict the territorial enlargement of it. Neither party expected for the war, the magnitude, or the duration, which it has already attained. Neither anticipated that the cause of the conflict might cease with, or even before, the conflict itself should cease. Each looked for an easier triumph, and a result less fundamental and astounding. Both read the same Bible, and pray to the same God; and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God's assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men's faces; but let us judge not that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered; that of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes. "Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!" If we shall suppose that American Slavery is one of those offences which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South, this terrible war, as the woe due to those by whom the offence came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a Living God always ascribe to Him? Fondly do we hope -- fervently do we pray -- that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue, until all the wealth piled by the bond-man's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash, shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said "the judgments of the Lord, are true and righteous altogether".
  #73  
Old 09-13-2019, 01:56 PM
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It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God's assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men's faces; but let us judge not that we be not judged.
That's some magnificent snark right there.
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Old 09-13-2019, 03:18 PM
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That would be glorious hypocrisy if true, but my Google and a skim of the CC does not find it.
This is interesting because I had heard it explictly stated too, but also looked at the Confederate constitution after you posted and did not see any clause prohibiting secession. Apparently there was a proposed amendment to add a clause explicitly allowing secession, but it was voted done. Some of the commentary on it theorizes that the drafters felt that if they wrote a clause explicitly allowing secession but otherwise used the language of the US constitution, they were effectively saying "the US constitution doesn't allow secession, it would requires a clause like the one we added" which contradicted their argument that they were legally separating themselves from a compact.
  #75  
Old 09-13-2019, 03:28 PM
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Then why did the Confederate Constitution forbid secession?
A person can believe the right to secede is present under the US Constitution, fight to defend said right, and still believe that secession should be outlawed in the Confederate Constitution.
  #76  
Old 09-13-2019, 03:32 PM
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It was all about slavery, since without slaves the South would not have seceded in the first place. No secession, no Civil war.

And of course Lincoln wasnt going to take their slaves away anyway.
Without boats there would have been no slaves in the Americas, I guess it was all about boats.
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Old 09-13-2019, 03:37 PM
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Well, I don't know about that. Once the principle of secession were established as legitimate, both the USA and CSA would have become very fragile unions, liable to fragmentation at any time, and that could have led to a lot of wars. I'm glad I'm living on a politically unified landmass, unlike Europe.
Yes Europe was much better when people were fighting to unify it?

No. Decentralized Europe saw the flowering of Western Civilization. Yes i’ll take the Renaissance over WWII and the Soviet Union.

Last edited by WillFarnaby; 09-13-2019 at 03:41 PM.
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Old 09-13-2019, 03:38 PM
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It was all about slavery, since without slaves the South would not have seceded in the first place. No secession, no Civil war.

And of course Lincoln wasnt going to take their slaves away anyway.
Well yeah, but the North didn't go to war to abolish slavery. That's what I'm trying to say; they weren't concerned enough with the slave issue to go to war except that the South was seceding as a result of it.

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  #79  
Old 09-13-2019, 03:47 PM
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A person can believe the right to secede is present under the US Constitution, fight to defend said right, and still believe that secession should be outlawed in the Confederate Constitution.
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Old 09-13-2019, 03:52 PM
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Did Confederates claim a right to secession under the Constitution? Of course. Dispute?

Did they defend the right when challenged? Of course. Dispute?

Did they outlaw secession in the Confederacy? Of course. Dispute?
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Old 09-13-2019, 03:53 PM
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This is interesting because I had heard it explictly stated too, but also looked at the Confederate constitution after you posted and did not see any clause prohibiting secession. Apparently there was a proposed amendment to add a clause explicitly allowing secession, but it was voted done. Some of the commentary on it theorizes that the drafters felt that if they wrote a clause explicitly allowing secession but otherwise used the language of the US constitution, they were effectively saying "the US constitution doesn't allow secession, it would requires a clause like the one we added" which contradicted their argument that they were legally separating themselves from a compact.
But they did add language strengthening the Fugitive Slave Clause, and additionally added an entirely new provision explicitly stating that
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The Confederate States may acquire new territory; and Congress shall have power to legislate and provide governments for the inhabitants of all territory belonging to the Confederate States, lying without the limits of the several Sates; and may permit them, at such times, and in such manner as it may by law provide, to form States to be admitted into the Confederacy. In all such territory the institution of negro slavery, as it now exists in the Confederate States, shall be recognized and protected be Congress and by the Territorial government; and the inhabitants of the several Confederate States and Territories shall have the right to take to such Territory any slaves lawfully held by them in any of the States or Territories of the Confederate States.
Before the war, the pro-slavery side contended that the U.S. Congress had no power to ban slavery from the territories, which view was affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court in the infamous Dred Scott decision. By entrenching that decision in their new constitution you could argue, if you squint at it just the right way, that the Confederacy was admitting that Dred Scott was on shaky ground, constitutionally speaking, or why else would the Confederate States have needed to explicitly make such changes to their new constitution?


Before the war the pro-slavery side was also quite indignant at "personal liberty laws" in the free states, regarding them as a clear violation of those states' obligations under the Fugitive Slave Clause of the U.S. Constitution. South Carolina's secession declaration proclaims those personal liberty laws of the free states to be a major grievance and cause of secession:
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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."

This stipulation was so material to the compact, that without it that compact would not have been made. The greater number of the contracting parties held slaves, and they had previously evinced their estimate of the value of such a stipulation by making it a condition in the Ordinance for the government of the territory ceded by Virginia, which now composes the States north of the Ohio River.
And they go on for another solid paragraph on the subject.

Not only did the new Confederate Constitution strengthen the language of its own Fugitive Slave Clause (adding the words "or lawfully carried" to the original language about slaves "escaping into another" state) but they also added completely new language that citizens of one of the Confederate States
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shall have the right of transit and sojourn in any State of this Confederacy, with their slaves and other property; and the right of property in said slaves shall not be thereby impaired.
Again, does this mean they were implicitly conceding that the antebellum personal liberty laws were maybe not unconstitutional under the pre-Reconstruction U.S. Constitution after all?


It would be an exceedingly odd argument to make to say that the Confederacy did take the opportunity to "clarify" the provisions of the old constitution relating to slavery, but did not do so with respect to secession, so therefore the really important point, from their point of view, must have been the right of secession.
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Old 09-13-2019, 04:00 PM
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If the North had allowed the secession to occur there would have been no war. The idea that two nations existing next to each other must have conflict is nonsense. There has been more political violence within the US than between the US and Canada. The Civil War also trumps the sum total of conflict between not only Mexico and the US, but between every country in the Western Hemisphere.

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Old 09-13-2019, 05:02 PM
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Without boats there would have been no slaves in the Americas, I guess it was all about boats.
What boats? The slave trade was abolished in 1807. Slavery was getting along just fine in 1860 without any boats.
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Old 09-13-2019, 05:06 PM
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If the North had allowed the secession to occur there would have been no war. The idea that two nations existing next to each other must have conflict is nonsense.
If the United States had allowed other countries to declare war on it without responding there would have been no... wait no, there still would have been a war.

Obviously two nations can exist next to each other without conflict. But when one of those nations (the Confederate States of America) declares war on another nation (the United States of America) then there's going to be a conflict.

That's how wars work. Either side can start one and the other side can't say no.
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Old 09-13-2019, 05:16 PM
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Did Confederates claim a right to secession under the Constitution? Of course. Dispute?

Did they defend the right when challenged? Of course. Dispute?

Did they outlaw secession in the Confederacy? Of course. Dispute?
They didn't outlaw secession. That was the point of the post above yours and mine quoted within it. And your "hey, that's not rank hypocrisy " post was ridiculous regardless.

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Old 09-13-2019, 05:42 PM
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If the North had allowed the secession to occur there would have been no war. The idea that two nations existing next to each other must have conflict is nonsense. There has been more political violence within the US than between the US and Canada. The Civil War also trumps the sum total of conflict between not only Mexico and the US, but between every country in the Western Hemisphere.
Why do you ignore the slavery stuff? Institutionalized involuntary slavery has got to be the epitome of wrongness in a libertarian society. Why is state's right to secede so much more important than thousands of people in chains?

Why do always ponder "If the North had allowed secession" but are never curious about "If the South had just accepted the winds of change"?

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  #87  
Old 09-13-2019, 06:14 PM
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Well yeah, but the North didn't go to war to abolish slavery. That's what I'm trying to say; they weren't concerned enough with the slave issue to go to war except that the South was seceding as a result of it.
That's true, it was a side bonus, but when Lincoln saw his chance and knew the war was being won, he jumped on it. It also made sure GB wasnt going to aid the CSA anymore.
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Old 09-13-2019, 06:16 PM
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If the North had allowed the secession to occur there would have been no war. ....
The South, along with Han- shot first.
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Old 09-13-2019, 07:41 PM
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Originally Posted by bump View Post
Well yeah, but the North didn't go to war to abolish slavery. That's what I'm trying to say; they weren't concerned enough with the slave issue to go to war except that the South was seceding as a result of it.
That's true, it was a side bonus, but when Lincoln saw his chance and knew the war was being won, he jumped on it. It also made sure GB wasnt going to aid the CSA anymore.
The North didn't need to start a war to end slavery. Slavery was ending without one. In fact, this brings us right back to the impetus for the conflict: Southern states seceded to protect slavery.
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Old 09-13-2019, 08:20 PM
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The North didn't need to start a war to end slavery. Slavery was ending without one. In fact, this brings us right back to the impetus for the conflict: Southern states seceded to protect slavery.
Very stupidly, since there was no plans to end slavery within the Southern aristocrats lifetimes. It would have been a slow , step by step process starting with the Fugitive Slave act.

I suspect that it would have taken half a century to end slavery.
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Old 09-13-2019, 09:28 PM
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Well, I don't know about that. Once the principle of secession were established as legitimate, both the USA and CSA would have become very fragile unions, liable to fragmentation at any time, and that could have led to a lot of wars. I'm glad I'm living on a politically unified landmass, unlike Europe.
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Old 09-13-2019, 10:16 PM
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Well yeah, but the North didn't go to war to abolish slavery. That's what I'm trying to say; they weren't concerned enough with the slave issue to go to war except that the South was seceding as a result of it.
The North certainly didn't go to war to abolish slavery, but the people of the Northern states were concerned enough with the slave issue to elect a President of the United States (and a large number of Congressmen) from the Republican Party; the Republican Party was not in favor in immediate abolitionism (and was very careful to say so), but there was no question that it was a party that (as my own state said) was "admitted to be an anti-slavery party":
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...anti-slavery is [the Republican Party's] mission and its purpose. By anti-slavery it is made a power in the state.
Of course that's a polemic document by a bunch of Slave Power secessionists. The 1860 Republican Party platform was strongly Unionist, denouncing the rising talk of secession and explicitly disavowing any idea of trying to overturn "the right of each State to order and control its own domestic institutions according to its own judgment", and (without actually using his name) denounced John Brown's raid ("we denounce the lawless invasion by armed force of the soil of any State or Territory, no matter under what pretext, as among the gravest of crimes"). The 1860 Republican Platform nonetheless declared
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That the normal condition of all the territory of the United States is that of freedom; That as our Republican fathers, when they had abolished slavery in all our national territory, ordained that "no person should be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law," it becomes our duty, by legislation, whenever such legislation is necessary, to maintain this provision of the Constitution against all attempts to violate it; and we deny the authority of Congress, of a territorial legislature, or of any individuals, to give legal existence to Slavery in any Territory of the United States.
The 1856 Republican Platform had referred to slavery as a "relic of barbarism". This was the party which a majority of the citizens of the free states of the North had just voted into office.
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Old 09-14-2019, 02:55 PM
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The North certainly didn't go to war to abolish slavery, but the people of the Northern states were concerned enough with the slave issue to elect a President of the United States (and a large number of Congressmen) from the Republican Party; the Republican Party was not in favor in immediate abolitionism (and was very careful to say so), but there was no question that it was a party that was "admitted to be an anti-slavery party":
True nor is there a reason I can see to reject the statements in secession declarations, SC's, the first, particularly that they thought Lincoln and the Republicans abolitionists.

"On the 4th day of March next, this party will take possession of the Government. It has announced that the South shall be excluded from the common territory, that the judicial tribunals shall be made sectional, and that a war must be waged against slavery until it shall cease throughout the United States."
https://avalon.law.yale.edu/19th_cen...sa_scarsec.asp

That was overdramatization taken literally, but the constant repetition that the Union didn't fight to abolish slavery is mainly about current day debates* I think, just like the more ridiculous assertion that the war wasn't over slavery from the secessionist POV. The idea it wasn't about slavery from unionist POV is not *as* wrong, but still not really accurate. If the secessionists had had some other central reason to want to leave it's plausible that unionist sentiment might still have been similar, especially post-Sumter. However in real history like you say a Northern plurality elected a leader and party which had tended to soft pedal in public statements its later manifest opposition to slavery itself, as a compromise w/ Southern sensibilities while the Union still seemed salvageable by peaceful means. But the Republicans were basically hostile to slavery. That statement in the SC declaration was an exaggeration of the facts of December 1860, but not baseless paranoia about the potential implication for slavery of Republican political domination.

Both revisions de-emphasizing slavery have more truth at the individual level. A lot or perhaps most Confederate soldiers were motivated by defense of their state**, not necessarily support of slavery per se. And relatively few individual Union soldiers were principally motivated by abolitionism. Still, slavery was the central issue for secessionist leaders, which they openly said. But opposition to slavery was also important on the Union side, at least indirectly at first, and more directly later in the war.

*about a US societal or 'white' historical debt to African Americans, and opposition to the idea that grievous Union casualties in the ACW did anything to pay it.
**also a lot of the later secession declarations gave heavy emphasis to Sumter, an abuse of Federal power in their view. That feeling was also real, though slavery was still the underlying cause of the confrontation.
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Old 09-14-2019, 03:23 PM
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The South seceded to protect slavery. The north committed to war because:

1. Their property was seized

2. To maintain the Union.
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Old 09-14-2019, 03:25 PM
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That's some magnificent snark right there.
The Facebook litmus test as to whether or not Lincoln or Twain actually said something is: Can you immediatly understand it without reading the sentence twice? Then they didn't say it.
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Old 09-14-2019, 03:34 PM
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It could not have been. Southern states started announcing their secession immediately after Lincoln was elected -- before he had actually done anything to threaten their internal autonomy -- before he had even taken office. And Lincoln was not really an abolitionist. If they had not seceded, he would not have done anything to threaten their peculiar institution -- at most, he would have vetoed admission of any new slave states to the Union. The Southern elites must have known that, but they didn't care; they simply did not care to remain in the Union under a president whose party included an abolitionist wing.
The Civil War was about preserving states' rights... to implement slavery.

Lincoln probably wouldn't have abolished slavery, but he did oppose the admission of new slave states. This would have culminated in a majority-abolitionist Congress. Therefore the South decided that if they wanted to continue slavery, they needed to start a war before they were outnumbered by other states (even more badly than they already were).
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Old 09-14-2019, 04:39 PM
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The South seceded to protect slavery. The north committed to war because:

1. Their property was seized

2. To maintain the Union.
But the seceding states must have been protecting slavery from something, unless the whole thing was a big misunderstanding.

Unless the SC secessionists were suffering a paranoid delusion they saw a serious trend toward abolitionism in the election of Lincoln. And seems in the simplistic terms you might prefer, the SC secessionists have to be judged correct in their claim: slavery was abolished under "that party" (see quote above) within a few years. In today's still not quite as divisive US politics, does one side take the soft 'general election' type rhetoric of the other about its more controversial positions at face value? Are they necessarily delusional if they don't?

Also consider how the Union war effort was sustained under Republican political dominance through serious military setbacks over four years if assuming that opposition to slavery was not a significant motivation in Union leadership and society at any level. Again, for the individual racing to volunteer after Sumter, slavery wasn't necessarily a major personal motivation (seldom on Union side, but often not on Confederate side either, at individual soldier level). But at the big picture level there's a logical limit to how much we can de-emphasize hostility to slavery on Union side and still say 'protecting slavery' didn't just mean 'paranoid delusion' on the Southern side. The secessionists were protecting slavery from a real threat, an anti-slavery sentiment which gradually revealed itself as a significant factor sustaining the war effort to victory on the Northern side. IOW it's not as simple as you say.

Last edited by Corry El; 09-14-2019 at 04:44 PM.
  #98  
Old 09-14-2019, 04:40 PM
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The Facebook litmus test as to whether or not Lincoln or Twain actually said something is: Can you immediatly understand it without reading the sentence twice? Then they didn't say it.
Here's a bit of advice: cynicism isn't a substitute for intelligence or knowledge.
https://en.m.wikisource.org/wiki/Abr...ugural_Address
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Old 09-14-2019, 05:37 PM
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A person can believe the right to secede is present under the US Constitution, fight to defend said right, and still believe that secession should be outlawed in the Confederate Constitution.
Of course. Hypocrisy is a standard human trait.
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Old 09-14-2019, 06:44 PM
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Then why did the Confederate Constitution forbid secession?
Probably in expectation of the confederate states, if they managed to secure their independence from the north, inevitably going to war with each other.
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