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 Posted: Sat Oct 17th, 2009 01:41 pm
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Naim Peress
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I've heard it said that historians have characterized the Confederacy as having died on the altar of states rights.  I've heard about how the governor of North Carolina having withheld troops from the Confederate Army in order to defend his own state.  Are there any other examples?   Do you think there is any credence to that view?   



 Posted: Sun Oct 18th, 2009 12:37 pm
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Mark
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You have a great question that professional historians are still very much debating.  There is a large school of thought that believes the Confederacy crumbled under internal pressures brought on by a weak central government as you have described.  Governors Zebulon Vance (North Carolina) and Joseph Brown (Georgia) were the two worst thorns in Jefferson Davis's side.  I am not sure I subscribe to these view myself.  I think that the internal fissures really only became apparent once external pressure (the Union Army) began winning victories.  However, the clearest explanation of the internal pressure thesis is contained in "Why the South Lost the Civil War" by Beringer, Hattaway, Jones and Still.  They have an entire chapter discussing the inherant incompatability of strong states rights and fighting an external war.  If you would like a shorter explanation (which points out the problems with the internal pressures thesis), check out James McPherson's essay, "Why did the Confederacy Lose," contained in "Drawn with the Sword."  Hope that helps!

-Mark



 Posted: Sun Oct 18th, 2009 11:11 pm
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Naim Peress
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I get the sense that there was this political struggle between Richmond and the states. Clearly, the state governments wanted a return to the Articles of Confederation while Davis wanted Lincoln's powers.



 Posted: Mon Oct 19th, 2009 06:04 pm
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Mark
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The biggest issue the state governers had with the Confederate government was the institution of the draft.  The Federal government wasn't even prepared to go that far in 1862.  In addition, the Davis administration had a hard time convincing the states that the Virginia and Tenessee theaters were the most important.  Its hard to tell the Louisiana governer that RE Lee needs troops in VA when Ben Butler is sitting in New Orleans or tell the South Carolina governer that B Bragg needs Soldiers to invade Kentucky when the Federals are sitting right outside Charleston.  Jeff Davis never really provided a coherant national stratagy that he could get all the states on board with.



 Posted: Tue Oct 20th, 2009 12:08 am
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Naim Peress
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Davis seemed to have a strategy to defend every inch of the Confederacy. Obviously, that wasn't practicable. In the end, the Transmississippi was sacrificed after Vicksburg in favor of the Deep South and Virginia. For that reason, John Reagan from Texas, the Postmaster General, voted against the second invasion of the North which led to Gettysburg.



 Posted: Tue Oct 20th, 2009 12:34 am
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ole
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The concept of independent states was and is incompatible in situations which require pulling together.



 Posted: Wed Oct 21st, 2009 02:27 am
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Mark
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Not necessarily Ole... the 13 colonies did so in the revolution (which the people of the Confederacy were fond of remembering).  I would argue that they were even more divided than the Confederate states were.  It was definitely difficult for the Davis administration, but it was certainly possible with a more coherent strategy.

-Mark



 Posted: Tue Nov 17th, 2009 12:03 am
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DanWalker
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Interesting that you would say Davis wanted "Lincoln's power"

Well -- Davis wanted the White House -- his wife spoke before Lincoln even took office that Davis had plans to invade Washington and take over the White House after Lincoln was sworn in.

 I just finished reading the diary of an ex slave who worked for Mrs. Davis just before Christmas of 1860.   According to her auotbiography, Mrs Davis told her war was coming soon, and that she (Mrs Davis) and Jefferson Davis would be leaving Washington temporarily, but they would occupy the White House in the near future -- because the South was going to secede then invade Washington and take over the seat of government.

Could the slave ( Elizabeth Keckle) be lying in her book "Behind the Scenes" ?  Sure -- but she barely mentioned this aspect, if she was out to deceive the nation about this point, seems she would focus more on it. 

 



 Posted: Tue Nov 17th, 2009 01:45 am
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DanWalker
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Did you know that slave owners -- those who owned over 20 slaves -- were exempt from the draft?   

According to a  J.B. Jones, a clerk who kept a diary in Richmond,  exempting slave owners from the draft doomed the south by creating massive discontent in the troops, who as time went on, were made up more and more of those "without property" meaning, no slaves.    IT became more and more a war fought by the poor, to enrich the rich even more.

The diarist made a distinction between those who fought in 62 - they were property men.   But by 64,  the soldiers were entirely diffent.  They deserted en masse -- a problem far more servere than most people seem to realize. 



 Posted: Thu Nov 19th, 2009 02:00 am
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ThomasWashington
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Naim Peress wrote: I've heard it said that historians have characterized the Confederacy as having died on the altar of states rights.  I've heard about how the governor of North Carolina having withheld troops from the Confederate Army in order to defend his own state.  Are there any other examples?   Do you think there is any credence to that view?   


I think it's the other way around, i.e. too many, like Lee, concurred with the Union in calling the war a rebellion instead of a defense--  thus costing them the defensive advantage that keeps major countries from being taken over even by much larger ones, due to unity, alliances, ruthlessness etc.  that generally accrue to a defense, but do not accrue as much to a rebellion.

That's why the states needed so much help from the French, Germans etc. to beat the British in 1776, but none at all in 1812; it wasn't that the United States had gotten so  much stronger in 36 years, but that it was a defense rather than a rebellion, i.e. they were fighting 100% rather than 30%.

 However there was no question about states' rights in the War of 1812; in fact the Hartford Convention specifically revolved around this fact.

Last edited on Thu Nov 19th, 2009 04:44 am by ThomasWashington



 Posted: Thu Nov 19th, 2009 07:56 pm
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Mark
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TW, I am confused by your post. Are you suggesting that the Confederacy could have been saved by simple semantics? No matter what they called the war Great Britan would never have recognized the Confederacy unless they were dictating terms to Lincoln in the White House, and France would not have recognized unless GB did so. Cheers!

-Mark



 Posted: Fri Nov 20th, 2009 01:50 am
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ThomasWashington
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Not semantics--  on the contrary, FUNDAMENTALS: for a "defense" applies to pre-existing national sovereignty, while rebellion implies sovereignty only in prospect.

Both France and Britain would certainly have recognized the Confederacy if pressed on the issue of sovereignty-- on grounds of the 1783 Paris Peace Treaty, in which both Britain and France had recognized each of the states to free, sovereign and independent-- as they declared themselves to be in 1776. In contrast, the Union claimed national authority over the Confederate states, only on the grounds that none of them had ever been sovereign-- which squarely contradicted the written record of which both France and Britain had both stood part and witness, as sworn on the soveriegnty and honor of each of their nations.

However in their failure to invoke this precedent, the individual states of the Confederacy acquiesced to European betrayal of mutual obligation among sovereign nations, to maintain common recognition of such sovereignty between them, even in neutrality. And thus as a result, both Britain and France enjoyed Union kickback-benefits of trade and tranquility, in exchange for their common silence by which they sold out the sovereignty of the individual Confederate states. 

However the issue of this betrayal was moot, in that the states themselves did not assert their pre-existing sovereignty as a presiding issue, due to their preoccupation with "rebellion" rather, than mere defense of their pre-existing and internationally recognized sovereignty.

Thus,  the states of the Confederacy unwisely abandoned their trump-card of the ultimate law of national sovereignty, in favor of simple truth and principle-- which as any lawyer knows, is the doomed naivete of fools rushing in where angels won't dare.

And indeed, the states had only first triumphed on the mere merits of their claim against the British, solely due to their fortune of having strong allies and lenient enemies-- while in contrast, the Confederates had none of either.

Last edited on Fri Nov 20th, 2009 02:06 am by ThomasWashington



 Posted: Fri Nov 20th, 2009 02:04 am
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ThomasWashington
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*edit

Last edited on Fri Nov 20th, 2009 02:05 am by ThomasWashington



 Posted: Fri Nov 20th, 2009 03:04 pm
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Mark
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TW, the Confederate government was constantly presenting themselves as the true heirs of the American revolution to the Europeans. The closest the Confederacy ever got to recognition was in the fall of 1862 because of labor issues caused by the blockade. Lincoln took recognition out of the picture with the Emancipation Proclamation and the British government found new sources of cotton in India and Eygpt. The British people and thus the government would not support a Confederacy fighting for the institution of slavery and Lincoln forced their hand. France is another matter, but their policy was driven by British policy at the time. There is never anything alutruistic about international politics.



 Posted: Fri Nov 20th, 2009 03:36 pm
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ThomasWashington
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Mark wrote: TW, the Confederate government was constantly presenting themselves as the true heirs of the American revolution to the Europeans.

Yes, but not as pre-existing individual sovereign states, by prior recognition. This would have placed the matter in the realm of defense by sovereign nations against international imperialism, not rebellion by factions within a common state in pursuit of sovereign independence.



 Posted: Sat Nov 21st, 2009 01:25 pm
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Mark
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TW, I see what you are saying in the abstract--I disagree with your premise-- but for the sake of argument, let's say the states of the Confederacy appeal to the Europeans for assistance as independent powers invaded by the United States. What exactly do you think the Europeans are going to do? Do you really think they are going to step in on this side of the Atlantic to support a confederation fighting for the declared right to continue chattel slavery. Remember the British pride themselves on being the leaders of the anti-slavery movement in the western hemisphere. The British have absolutely no motive to do so. The only comparable intervention would be the Crimean War, and they intervened in the Crimea only to secure the Bosphorus straits. The British have no love for the South except as far as cheap cotton will get them. Southerners are the ones who, in their eyes, have upset the balance of power on this side of the Atlantic (filibustering in Central America, the Mexican War, attempting to annex Cuba, etc.) No matter how the Confederacy represents itself, the Europeans are not going to intervene until they have no other choice. Cheers!

-Mark



 Posted: Sat Nov 21st, 2009 02:30 pm
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ThomasWashington
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Mark wrote: TW, I see what you are saying in the abstract--I disagree with your premise-- but for the sake of argument, let's say the states of the Confederacy appeal to the Europeans for assistance as independent powers invaded by the United States. What exactly do you think the Europeans are going to do? Do you really think they are going to step in on this side of the Atlantic to support a confederation fighting for the declared right to continue chattel slavery.

 

There's a lot to consider here about factual history and international law.

First of all, the Confederate states WEREN'T fighting for slavery; they were DEFENDING their sovereign national integrity, against an unprovoked imperialistic invasion thereof in full violation of international law.  And Europe had never sanctioned the south a PENNY for using slave-labor-- they certainly weren't about to start now.

Also, Europe stood to gain significantly from a Southern victory, by eliminating Union tariffs on European imports.

They would definitely engage in sanctions and treaties, and possible military assistance. This would have made victory impossible for the North, since even a military victory would be 100% Phyrric due to resulting trade-sanctions-- which would become full embargoes as the USA became globally recognized as a rogue-imperialist state.

Last edited on Sat Nov 21st, 2009 06:58 pm by ThomasWashington



 Posted: Sun Nov 22nd, 2009 11:36 pm
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There's a lot to consider here about factual history and international law.
Still waiting for the factual history.
First of all, the Confederate states WEREN'T fighting for slavery; they were DEFENDING their sovereign national integrity, against an unprovoked imperialistic invasion thereof in full violation of international law.  And Europe had never sanctioned the south a PENNY for using slave-labor-- they certainly weren't about to start now.

Also, Europe stood to gain significantly from a Southern victory, by eliminating Union tariffs on European imports.

They would definitely engage in sanctions and treaties, and possible military assistance. This would have made victory impossible for the North, since even a military victory would be 100% Phyrric due to resulting trade-sanctions-- which would become full embargoes as the USA became globally recognized as a rogue-imperialist state.

This doesn't include any.

Ole



 Posted: Mon Nov 23rd, 2009 01:01 am
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ThomasWashington
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Take a legal course. Again, the Constitution is not a "For Dummies" book... so you wouln't understand it.

Last edited on Mon Nov 23rd, 2009 01:28 am by ThomasWashington



 Posted: Mon Nov 23rd, 2009 08:03 am
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ThomasWashington,

Otherwise known as [deleted by admin], the "Sovereignty King" over at the History Channel Civil War forum.

First off, the only issue of State sovereignty for the South considered by Europe was that it had to prove itself a sovereign nation, which it did not do, and could not do, according to your theory that each state is in reality, then AND now, sovereign states or nations, and that the United States is not a sovereign nation, even in today's world, correct?

[Part of post deleted by admin. Take personal differences elsewhere.]

Sincerely,

Unionblue




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