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 Posted: Fri Apr 17th, 2009 11:56 am
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barrydancer
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Captain Crow wrote: I wonder how people who vilify the Southern states decision to secede (from a union they no longer desired to be a part of and had every legal right to leave)feel about the near Secession of the New England states during the war of 1812. Would they have been so broad brush castigated as evil or is there an inherent regional arrogance involved in the ever present need to perpetrate the myth of the heroic North vs. the oppressive South. The root cause of the war for both sides was cold hard economics...the North couldn't afford to lose the massive amounts of duties collected from the southern states as well as their vast natural resources. And of course the south was not ready to consider parting with her peculiar institution and it's inherent benefits to her economy. I have always had a hard time buying into the "knight in shining armor to the rescue of the poor slaves" image so often adopted by many folks.
I mean seriously...the country that stole half of Mexico at gun point, not to mention perpetrated countless atrocities against the Indians in the name of manifest destiny is suddenly concerned about emancipation of millions of slaves who will then be free to compete for jobs? Sorry if I offend anyone but I just don't buy the simple party line when it comes to things of such magnitude. Lincoln had an empire to protect and he found the perfect means to do so.

I think New England in 1812 was just as wrong and misguided as the South in 1860.  Though they wanted to leave for different reasons, the end result was the same:  disunion.  I don't agree that the South had a legal right to secede.  At best, I would say the issue was a gray area, as the Constitution is silent on the matter.  But while the perpetuality of the Union is in no way expressed by the Constitution, it is certainly implied.  What government makes provision for its own dissolution? 

I think the "knight in shining armor" mentality is out there, but its popular imagery.  At least as far as the secession crisis and early days of the war are concerned.  I agree with Professor Foner in that the majority of Northerners were antislavery, meaning that they didn't wish to see the institution expand into to new territories and compete with free labor.  Only a small minority, though, was actually fully abolitionist.  Initial Union war aims were, rightly or wrongly, not concerned with interfering with slavery.  This certainly changed as the war progressed, and transformed the meaning of the struggle, but I would say that quelling the rebellion was the initial priority of the federal government.

What do you mean by "Lincoln had an empire to protect and he found the perfect means to do so?"



 Posted: Fri Apr 17th, 2009 01:27 pm
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Johan Steele
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Well said Barrydancer. The US was never an Empire, never has been and I pray to God it never becomes one. The words: "Lincoln had an empire to protect and he found the perfect means to do so?" is mere rhetoric w/ very little bassis in fact.

Secession and all of its evils/good are not my forte; it stinks too much of corrupt politics ministered by professional politicians. I prefer the words of the men who were there, not the Lost Causers or Radical Republican fanatics who came after. The words of the men of the day are enough to hang most of the Secessionist fire eaters in my mind. And I fully know that neither side was as pure as the driven snow. When politicians get involved everything goes to... pot. I grow weary of the South good North evil or North good South evil crap. And as I fear that is where this thread will go I choose to let other less jaded minds throw their coin in the pot. I chose to let the men of the day have their say; their words are quite damning as to slavery being the root cause of the ruckus. For me, sorry slavery is wrong and an evil for which there is no extenuating circumstance. I'm all for honoring and respecting the soldier of the CS, just not the dogs that sent him into harms way in a bid for power and the protection of slavery.



 Posted: Fri Apr 17th, 2009 02:08 pm
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PvtClewell
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Henry wrote:
Mark- Please read Lincoln's message to the special session of Congress, July 4, 1861.This will have to do for a formal declaration of war on the part of the Federal Government. It is out there on the net.

There was never a Federal formal declaration of war. To do so would recognize the legitimacy of the Confederate nation. Lincoln's call for a special session of congress was to define the national emergency and to find a way to confront it and finance it. And if you do define it as a declaration of war, why wait three months after Ft. Sumter? Conversely, the Provisional Congress of the Confederacy passed a bill on May 6, 1861, recognizing a state of war existed between the United States and the Confederate States.

The Emancipation Proclamation, while alluded to in three Lincoln speeches of 1862, did not stand on its own documentation until January of 1863. This after the writ of Habeas Corpus abolishment, Baker Laws and Military Draft made voicing anything but party line a bit "career limiting", shall we say.

Habeas Corpus was never abolished. It was suspended. You might note also that the Confederate Congress authorized the suspension of the writ of Habeas Corpus five days after Jefferson Davis' inaugural address for areas 'in danger of attack by the enemy.'

The Confederacy also instituted a national conscription act in April, 1862, nearly a full year before the Union. Who's limiting who?


I restate my assertion that the abolision of the institution of slavery, under attack since 1800 in the U.S.,

Why do you suppose this is?


was a factional motive, not a motive of the general U.S. population of the time.

In my opinion, the Missouri Compromise, the Kansas-Nebraska Act, the Fugitive Slave Laws, Dred Scott all punctuated the issue of slavery for the general public

That slavery had become a moral issue and illegal in many parts of the world by the time of secession is the single greatest cause for the failure of the Confederacy.

I can accept that, to a degree.

Sirs, though the issue be clouded by time, and the motives alien to me, I would never slander the contestants. It's been my observation that God and Country and all the laws ever written are reduced to those of your crew when it comes down to it.

If you are speaking in generic terms, I agree. If you are speaking in specific terms to a specific audience, then what about those of your crew?



 Posted: Fri Apr 17th, 2009 06:37 pm
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ole
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Uncharacteristic silence. Will leave the responses to kinder, gentler people.

Ole



 Posted: Sat Apr 18th, 2009 01:00 am
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Mark
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"Sirs, though the issue be clouded by time, and the motives alien to me, I would never slander the contestants. It's been my observation that God and Country and all the laws ever written are reduced to those of your crew when it comes down to it."
-CPT Crow, I agree with you in some respects, however, I think there is a difference between what keeps a man in the firing line during the battle, and what keeps a man from deserting after the battle. I would argue that love of comrades and a fear of dishonor is more prevalent in the former, and love of "the cause" (whatever it may be) is more important in the latter. I speak only to my own experience here, so I may be completely off base, but J. McPherson's book "For Cause and Comrades," tends to support my conclusion.



 Posted: Sat Apr 18th, 2009 03:41 am
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Proud Pa
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Hey y'all. This is my first post on this board and I apologize if I offend anyone, but I figured I'd just jump right in. The bottomline here is that this was not a war of good vs. evil. Yes, any reasonable person can see that slavery and the history of racism that followed was evil, but outside of a few evangelicals in New England, Slavery was hardly considered morally evil anywhere in the 1860s. Heck, this was a time when even children were often forced to work 12-14 hour days under brutal conditions for little pay. Additionally, freedmen in many Northern states were often treated as little more than slaves, often whipped for minor offenses. Understand this, because if it wasn't a moral crusade against slavery that motivated the North, then how are they any more righteous? Freedmen in antebellum New Orleans could testify against whites that had perpetrated a crime against them and though they couldn't vote and they certainly weren't equals but, blacks in the South could mingle with whites on railcars and in markets at a time when such things were unheard of in the North. This is not to say that life was peaches and cream, but it certainly paints a different picture. Frankly, I can't imagine how terrible it must have been to be a black man, free or slave, anywhere in America during the 19th century. As for Southern black codes and Jim Crow and all that. Black codes were a yankee import and Jim Crow was essentially the same thing. I can't imagine if the war had gone the other way that it would have been much different in many Northern states, especially the border states. Even in real life, Yankee California kept its anti-miscegenation laws until the late 60s. So, the point here is that racism and white supremacy is not the history of the South, but unfortunately, the history of America. Luckily, for the most part, things have improved and I wouldn't want to live anywhere else. As for Southern patriots, there's close to half a million you've likely never heard of. Here's a quote from one:      

 "After the day was over, we gathered at Oddity Hall and the subject discussed bythe senators became the subject of our discussion. It became quite a heated conversation as father was a strong pro-slavery man, as were Mr. Stockett and Brother John. However, neither Joe nor I believed in the institution of slavery, and so we took opposite sides. We both declared that we would never own slaves, yet at the same time, we denounced the fanatical ideas of the North as unjust and unfair. The abolitionists never showed a way to get rid of slavery, nor a way to provide for the negroes after they were free... "

-Daniel Holt 16th Mississippi Infantry

Last edited on Sat Apr 18th, 2009 04:20 am by Proud Pa



 Posted: Sat Apr 18th, 2009 04:16 am
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ole
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Thst'd gonns tske a bit more time than I have. Film at 11.



 Posted: Sun Apr 19th, 2009 01:13 am
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barrydancer
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Proud Pa wrote:

"Yes, any reasonable person can see that slavery and the history of racism that followed was evil, but outside of a few evangelicals in New England, Slavery was hardly considered morally evil anywhere in the 1860s."

Quite the contrary.  While for most of human history few people thought there was anything wrong with keeping humans as slaves, by the 18th century abolitionist sentiment had been growing rapidly throughout the western world for a number of reasons, Enlightenment theory, an increase in religious fervor, etc.  There is a long history of abolitionism in Great Britain, which finally freed its Caribbean slaves in 1833.  France soon followed.  Furthermore, I would argue the Northern states would never had provided for the emancipation of their own slaves were it not for people thinking there was a problem with holding other humans in bondage.  By 1860 there were a great many people the world over who thought there was something morally evil about slavery.




 Posted: Sun Apr 19th, 2009 03:07 am
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19bama46
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barrydancer wrote: Proud Pa wrote:

"Yes, any reasonable person can see that slavery and the history of racism that followed was evil, but outside of a few evangelicals in New England, Slavery was hardly considered morally evil anywhere in the 1860s."

Quite the contrary.  While for most of human history few people thought there was anything wrong with keeping humans as slaves, by the 18th century abolitionist sentiment had been growing rapidly throughout the western world for a number of reasons, Enlightenment theory, an increase in religious fervor, etc.  There is a long history of abolitionism in Great Britain, which finally freed its Caribbean slaves in 1833.  France soon followed.  Furthermore, I would argue the Northern states would never had provided for the emancipation of their own slaves were it not for people thinking there was a problem with holding other humans in bondage.  By 1860 there were a great many people the world over who thought there was something morally evil about slavery.
Sir can yu show statistics or refrences for your statements?




 Posted: Sun Apr 19th, 2009 03:55 am
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barrydancer
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"Sir can yu show statistics or refrences for your statements?"

I'm not sure what you're asking for. A list of works on British abolitionism? French? A list of every person in the world in 1860 who though slavery was wrong?

I had a wonderful graduate course on comparative slavery and abolition. If you're interested in the topic, here's a few places to start.

Moral Capital: Foundations of British Abolitionism, by Christopher Brown.

A Colony of Citizens: Revolution and Slave Emancipation in the French Caribbean, by Laurent Dubois

The Mighty Experiment: Free Labor Versus Slavery in British Emancipation

Ideas of Slavery from Aristotle to Augustine, by Peter Garnsey

Capitalism and Slavery, by Eric Williams



 Posted: Sun Apr 19th, 2009 06:15 am
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Proud Pa
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barrydancer wrote:

 Quite the contrary.  While for most of human history few people thought there was anything wrong with keeping humans as slaves, by the 18th century abolitionist sentiment had been growing rapidly throughout the western world for a number of reasons, Enlightenment theory, an increase in religious fervor, etc.  There is a long history of abolitionism in Great Britain, which finally freed its Caribbean slaves in 1833.  France soon followed.  Furthermore, I would argue the Northern states would never had provided for the emancipation of their own slaves were it not for people thinking there was a problem with holding other humans in bondage.  By 1860 there were a great many people the world over who thought there was something morally evil about slavery.

You are correct, I should have said, "anywhere in the United States." The point is the same. Yes, some folks were beginning to question it, mostly in Europe and New England, but the overwhelming majority of Americans, Northern and Southern, viewed blacks as inferior beings and viewed slavery as little more than a necessary evil, and were perfectly content to let it exist in the South until it threatened to hinder the advancement of white settlers looking to head west. Even the most die-hard abolitionists didn't think blacks should be treated as equals.

"when was it ever known that liberation from bondage was accompanied by recognition of political equality?"

-William Lloyd Garrison

 

                                                                               






 Posted: Sun Apr 19th, 2009 12:04 pm
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Johan Steele
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Proud Pa; I would disgree w/ the "overwhelming majority" portion of the statement. Those who believed slavery wrong may not have been the majority; but they certainly weren't the minority. They had enough sympathy to have those w/ anti slavery leaning elected throughout the US. IMO the majority were apathetic of Americans were apathetic towards slavery as they had never seen it... when they did they often became quite abolitionist in leaning.



 Posted: Sun Apr 19th, 2009 12:30 pm
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PvtClewell
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Proud Pa wrote:
The point is the same. Yes, some folks were beginning to question it, mostly in Europe and New England, but the overwhelming majority of Americans, Northern and Southern, viewed blacks as inferior beings and viewed slavery as little more than a necessary evil, and were perfectly content to let it exist in the South until it threatened to hinder the advancement of white settlers looking to head west. Even the most die-hard abolitionists didn't think blacks should be treated as equals.

"when was it ever known that liberation from bondage was accompanied by recognition of political equality?"

-William Lloyd Garrison

 


The issue of slavery in this country, of course, is long, complicated, embarrassing, hypocritical and involved.

It's also difficult to remove a 19th century viewpoint and criticize it in the 21st century. We are still dealing with with issues of race to this day. Being imperfect humans, I suspect most likely we always will.

We can see now that Garrison was clearly (and ironically) wrong. He made his statement in 1864. And yet, only six years later, the 15th amendment is ratified.

This country has long recognized the horror and indignity of slavery and sought ways to resolve the issue. In 1776, the Quakers (of which Garrison could trace roots) required their members to free their slaves or face expulsion; in 1777, Vermont's constitution prohibits slavery; 1785 Alexander Hamilton joins John Jay's Manumission Society of New York; in 1780, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts begin gradual emancipation, setting off a string of similar actions by most of the northern states well into the 1800s.

Ignobly, slavery was protected by the U.S. Constitution (Article 4, Section 2, Clause 3) in states where it existed, pretty much handcuffing (in my view) presidential administrations up to and including Lincoln in dealing with the slavery question.

My point being that, yes, blatant prejudice existed in all areas of the country. But it was also recognized by many as a hypocrisy and attempts were made to alter the situation through legislation as early as the 1770s, if not earlier. Somebody was paying attention.



 Posted: Sun Apr 19th, 2009 07:50 pm
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Proud Pa
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PvtClewell wrote: Proud Pa wrote:
The point is the same. Yes, some folks were beginning to question it, mostly in Europe and New England, but the overwhelming majority of Americans, Northern and Southern, viewed blacks as inferior beings and viewed slavery as little more than a necessary evil, and were perfectly content to let it exist in the South until it threatened to hinder the advancement of white settlers looking to head west. Even the most die-hard abolitionists didn't think blacks should be treated as equals.

"when was it ever known that liberation from bondage was accompanied by recognition of political equality?"

-William Lloyd Garrison

 


The issue of slavery in this country, of course, is long, complicated, embarrassing, hypocritical and involved.

It's also difficult to remove a 19th century viewpoint and criticize it in the 21st century. We are still dealing with with issues of race to this day. Being imperfect humans, I suspect most likely we always will.

We can see now that Garrison was clearly (and ironically) wrong. He made his statement in 1864. And yet, only six years later, the 15th amendment is ratified.

This country has long recognized the horror and indignity of slavery and sought ways to resolve the issue. In 1776, the Quakers (of which Garrison could trace roots) required their members to free their slaves or face expulsion; in 1777, Vermont's constitution prohibits slavery; 1785 Alexander Hamilton joins John Jay's Manumission Society of New York; in 1780, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts begin gradual emancipation, setting off a string of similar actions by most of the northern states well into the 1800s.

Ignobly, slavery was protected by the U.S. Constitution (Article 4, Section 2, Clause 3) in states where it existed, pretty much handcuffing (in my view) presidential administrations up to and including Lincoln in dealing with the slavery question.

My point being that, yes, blatant prejudice existed in all areas of the country. But it was also recognized by many as a hypocrisy and attempts were made to alter the situation through legislation as early as the 1770s, if not earlier. Somebody was paying attention.
Emancipation in the North can be largely attributed to the ARW. As New England was attacked by Tories for demanding freedom while enslaving a whole race was seen as obviously hypocritcal to many Loyalists, to gain support for the cause many New Englanders began to free their slaves not entirely because it was seen as morally repulsive. Additionally, the price of importing slaves went up in the 1770s and the war itself saw many blacks fleeing to the British side. My point is, that emancipation only occured in the North after they had no economic stake in the institution. Following emancipation, the North inacted numerous policies designed to keep black folks oppressed and most northern states inacted laws designed to prevent blacks from entering them. This is not to say there were no Americans in favor of equality for blacks, but I still believe they were unfortunately a minority.



 Posted: Mon Apr 20th, 2009 02:18 am
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As a southener who is proud of the Confederate forces, I say thank God for Lincoln. He did step over the limitations of the office of president in the call-up of troops, ordering their payment, basically declaring a war, all without the conscent of Congress, he did preserve the nation. The war can be laid directly at the feet of two weak administrations before 1860 and the radical abolutionists and hard headed southern Democrats.



 Posted: Mon Apr 20th, 2009 03:17 pm
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19bama46 wrote: swampfox wrote: So I live in the south, and I am aware of its intolerant history in many aspects, but it is hard for me to accept that the South was soley fighting to preserve slavery. I understand racism and slavery were and still are wrong, but were there not some Confederates who wanted to have an idealistic southern republic to fight the corrupt Federal government, or am I just trying to make a flawed cause seem more heroic than it is portrayed by our history books?
Swampfox:


That slavery was a cause cannot be denied, as Johan has pointed out often!

there were many many reasons why men fought. some for slavery, some for their homes,wives and girlfriends...remember, the war was fought mostly in the south, literally in the front yards of some of the soldiers. Others fought because of the adventure, or because their best friend jined up...much like young men (and now women) do today... some joioned because of conscription...were there some confederates who "wanted to have an idealistic southern republic to fight the corrupt Federal government,"... yes I am sure they were...



Confusing a war's causes and the reasons people serve is an easy thing. Patriotism, ego, opportunity, and others play parts.
 
After all, many joined the service in the week after Pearl Harbor, but Pearl Harbor did not cause World War II...
 
 
HankC



 Posted: Mon Apr 20th, 2009 03:27 pm
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HankC
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Proud Pa wrote: Emancipation in the North can be largely attributed to the ARW. As New England was attacked by Tories for demanding freedom while enslaving a whole race was seen as obviously hypocritcal to many Loyalists, to gain support for the cause many New Englanders began to free their slaves not entirely because it was seen as morally repulsive. Additionally, the price of importing slaves went up in the 1770s and the war itself saw many blacks fleeing to the British side. My point is, that emancipation only occured in the North after they had no economic stake in the institution. Following emancipation, the North inacted numerous policies designed to keep black folks oppressed and most northern states inacted laws designed to prevent blacks from entering them. This is not to say there were no Americans in favor of equality for blacks, but I still believe they were unfortunately a minority.

 
Correct, much of the Northern antipathy to slavery comes down to basic economic self-interest. Remember, very few were in favor of the abolition of slavery but most were in favor of the containment of slavery where it would not conflict with free labor.
 
Seward and Chase were fringe abolitionists; Lincoln took the more centrist containment approach. He appealed to a broader swath of Northern voters. However, no Republican was palatable to the slave state voters.
 
 
HankC

 



 Posted: Mon Apr 20th, 2009 06:06 pm
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A new book if anyone is interested:

http://www.amazon.com/Clash-Extremes-Economic-Origins-Civil/dp/080909536X/ref=wl_it_dp?ie=UTF8&coliid=IZQ9S353KEDXM&colid=2RJ69OGXQ1JA0



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 Posted: Tue Apr 21st, 2009 03:17 pm
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HankC wrote: Proud Pa wrote: Emancipation in the North can be largely attributed to the ARW. As New England was attacked by Tories for demanding freedom while enslaving a whole race was seen as obviously hypocritcal to many Loyalists, to gain support for the cause many New Englanders began to free their slaves not entirely because it was seen as morally repulsive. Additionally, the price of importing slaves went up in the 1770s and the war itself saw many blacks fleeing to the British side. My point is, that emancipation only occured in the North after they had no economic stake in the institution. Following emancipation, the North inacted numerous policies designed to keep black folks oppressed and most northern states inacted laws designed to prevent blacks from entering them. This is not to say there were no Americans in favor of equality for blacks, but I still believe they were unfortunately a minority.

 
Correct, much of the Northern antipathy to slavery comes down to basic economic self-interest. Remember, very few were in favor of the abolition of slavery but most were in favor of the containment of slavery where it would not conflict with free labor...
 
HankC

 

Well said...



 Posted: Wed Apr 22nd, 2009 09:08 pm
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“The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions that I wish it to be always kept alive.”-Thomas Jefferson

"hen in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it..."

I respect those who argue against slavery, as I am in their ranks. However, the Union weren't the great liberators our biased history books portray them to be. Many African American heroes served with the south. The deal is the North was equally racist. There is no good or bad side, I'm sorry. At the root of the southern cause were thousands of soldiers who were too poor to afford slaves. I have a feelign that the rich wanted preservation of slavery. Lincoln was no friend to the slaves. He was a white supremacist, and used many racial ideas in his earlier speeches. his wife's family in kentucky were proud slave owners, and didn't have to give such slaves up because the Emancipation freed slaves in the south, not the border states. I believe that prejudice was rampant, and never justified. Eventually, if the south had won, I would hope the people would see that God did create all men equal, and would abolish slavery and institue equality in the Southern Nation. This would have to have happened. I mean it was going on the 20th century. That institution wouldn't last long-north or south run, civil war or not.

Last edited on Wed Apr 22nd, 2009 09:09 pm by swampfox



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