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    Thread: Why did the North fight the Civil War?

    1. #1
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      Why did the North fight the Civil War?

      With the 150th anniversary of the War Between the States coming up, it occurs to me that I am somewhat ignorant as to the exact causes. The common supposition is that the Civil War was "fought over slavery". That is, that the South wanted slaves and the North wanted to abolish it. The South seceeded, and the North fought to "preserve the Union" and out of pure compassion for the enslaved.

      There are problems with this, of course. For one thing, there are quotes like this one, from Abraham Lincoln:

      "I will say then that I am not, nor ever have been in favor of bringing about in anyway the social and political equality of the white and black races - that I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race."
      Then there is the fact that the Emancipation Proclamation was not issued until three years into the war. Even then, it did not free the slaves living in the Northern states of Missouri, Kentucky, Maryland, the counties that later became West Virginia, or Delaware. Worse, it did not free the slaves living parts of Texas, Louisiana, or any of Tennesse, because by the time it was enacted those places had fallen into the hands of the Union! This proclamation, once studied, can only be seen as a war strategy, intended to attract the support of slaves who didn't realize the limitations. Also, it appears that the North saw the abolition of slavery as a means of disrupting the Southern economy.

      The Confederate State of America seems to have many reasons for leaving the Union, including the size and intrusion of the central Federal government into the lives of the people. Also was the issue of State's Rights, putting a more local government above rather than below a more distant government of Washington beurocrats. Of course, the issue of slavery cannot be entirely ignored, as it was a large factor in many Southerners for wanting to leave the Union.

      I can see why the Confederates fought agains the invasion of the Union army. They likely saw the war as a protection of their homeland. But why did the North fight? Based on my research, slavery could not have been the reason for the North to want to wage such a violent and bloody war. And could Lincoln have really wanted to kill so many Americans simply to preserve the Union, less than a century after the nations secession from England?
      Last edited by cedward1; 04-09-2011 at 05:44 PM.

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      This makes my personal argument better than I could.

      The Truth in the Story of Secession

      True, the north still held the black person in contempt. Women, Irish, Disabled were all on the shit list and probably more. People have been fighting against the overwhelming arrogance of rich white males for centuries. Abraham Lincoln happened to be one of those rich white men. I am not familiar with that quote or the specifics of this historical time period. Here is what I do know: Congress was considering abolishing slavery. The motivations could have been varied. Cotton was the south's cash crop produced almost exclusively by slave labor. The north was trying to bring under its control the trade of cotton in order to expand their own interests. There were many motivations crossed paths of economic fates. However, the blatant defense and admiration of slavery by southern leaders is evidence enough.
      In my mind it breaks down like this. People are pissed about slavery. Congress says it will do something. South says, thats bs because that will ruin our entire way of life.

      1870, 15th amendment says there shall be no discrimination by color regarding the right to vote. Ironically, women got the right to vote in this country 50 years later.

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      war of compromises. there was no one reason, but at the end of it everyone was compromising with each other. biggest reason was representation between the big states and small states.

      we're not doing your homework for you. >:{

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      We fought the civil war because at the time, a huge chunk of the economy was based on the cotton, hemp, and tobacco, which was largely done in the south. We needed them at the time. If they want to try to leave again, I would be for letting them go.

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      Abraham Lincoln was a major abolitionist. He adamantly opposed slavery and ran for president on the promise that he would end slavery if elected. However, he still said racist things against black people while maintaining that they have rights and need to be treated humanely. I think he said the racist stuff to win over racist votes. Politicians have always played games like that. By conceding a little, you win people from the other side. I think that's all he was doing, probably.

      The Civil War was fought for a lot of reasons. The top three issues were secession, states' rights, and slavery. Harriet Beecher Stowe's book Uncle Tom's Cabin was one of the final instigators of the war, and the book is about the horrors of slavery. Slavery is also what fueled the states' rights debate, which resulted in the South's secession. Slavery was an enormous issue in the Civil War, but there were others, most of which were connected to the slavery issue.
      Quote Originally Posted by really View Post
      God cannot destroy himself because He is Omnipotent.


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      Hey I'm not sure if any of you have heard of George Fitzhugh but he was one of the lead spokesman for the slave owner's in the south during the time of the civil war. He offered quite possibly some of the strongest arguments for the black slave trade, and some of them are quite interesting. For instance in his book Cannibals All!(Here's a nice excerpt Pro Slavery Argument from Cannibals All! | Teach US History) he basically says look, the reason you northerners are against slavery is because you're anti-negro racists. We are not racist, we think you should take care of your subject, so we treat them nicely. We even do this on economic grounds because they are our capital.

      To make an analogy out of it, say you go rent a car and I buy the exact same car, and in a year we meet up and compare the condition of the two cars. Who's is going to be in better shape? Well mine, because I bought it and I own mine so I'm going to take care of it. Not yours because you just rent yours and you can just throw it out and get another one.

      So he's saying look we own people, you just rent them. And because we own them we treat them nicely, and you treat yours like tools under wage slavery and they're much worse off. So we're the ones who are moral and you're the ones who are immoral.

      Sorry if it's a little off topic but I just get so excited about this kind of stuff.

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      I suggest Thomas DiLorenzo's The Real Lincoln: A New Look at Abraham Lincoln, His Agenda, and an Unnecessary War.
      Through extensive historical investigation, DiLorenzo shows that the high tariff pushed by Northern industries, at the expense of Southern agriculture, was the main cause of the sectional conflict. Further, Lincoln's goal in preventing Southern secession was the consolidation of federal power and the collection of revenue, not the elimination of slavery.

      From Walter E. Williams:

      "As DiLorenzo documents – contrary to conventional wisdom, books about Lincoln, and the lessons taught in schools and colleges – the War between the States was not fought to end slavery; Even if it were, a natural question arises: Why was a costly war fought to end it? African slavery existed in many parts of the Western world, but it did not take warfare to end it. Dozens of countries, including the territorial possessions of the British, French, Portuguese, and Spanish, ended slavery peacefully during the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Countries such as Venezuela and Colombia experienced conflict because slave emancipation was simply a ruse for revolutionaries who were seeking state power and were not motivated by emancipation per se.

      Abraham Lincoln’s direct statements indicated his support for slavery; He defended slave owners’ right to own their property, saying that "when they remind us of their constitutional rights [to own slaves], I acknowledge them, not grudgingly but fully and fairly; and I would give them any legislation for the claiming of their fugitives" (in indicating support for the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850)."
      Last edited by BLUELINE976; 04-15-2011 at 03:01 AM.
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      SpecialInterests, that is an interesting point, but I think owning people against their will qualifies as not treating them nicely.

      BLUELINE, if Lincoln was pro-slavery, why did he sign the Emancipation Proclamation? I know a lot of countries ended slavery without war, but the U.S. didn't know how to. The South was dead set on keeping it going.
      Quote Originally Posted by really View Post
      God cannot destroy himself because He is Omnipotent.


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      Quote Originally Posted by Universal Mind View Post
      BLUELINE, if Lincoln was pro-slavery, why did he sign the Emancipation Proclamation? I know a lot of countries ended slavery without war, but the U.S. didn't know how to. The South was dead set on keeping it going.
      Walter Williams:

      Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation was little more than a political gimmick, and he admitted so in a letter to Treasury Secretary Salmon P. Chase: "The original proclamation has no...legal justification, except as a military measure." Secretary of State William Seward said, "We show our sympathy with slavery by emancipating slaves where we cannot reach them and holding them in bondage where we can set them free. " Seward was acknowledging the fact that the Emancipation Proclamation applied only to slaves in states in rebellion against the United States and not to slaves in states not in rebellion.

      DiLorenzo:

      He [Lincoln] was glad to accept on behalf of the Republican Party any votes from abolitionists, but real abolitionists despised him. William Lloyd Garrison, the most prominent of all abolitionists, concluded that Lincoln "had not a drop of anti-slavery blood in his veins."

      Garrison knew Lincoln well. He knew that Lincoln stated over and over again for his entire adult life that he did not believe in social or political equality of the races, he opposed inter-racial marriage, supported the Illinois constitution's prohibition of immigration of blacks into the state, once defended in court a slaveowner seeking to retrieve his runaway slaves but never defended a runaway, and that he was a lifelong advocate of colonization — of sending every last black person in the U.S. to Africa, Haiti, or central America — anywhere but in the U.S.

      Garrison and other abolitionists were also keenly aware that the January 1863 Emancipation Proclamation freed no one since it specifically exempted all the areas that at the time were occupied by federal armies. That is, all areas where slaves could actually have been freed.
      The worst thing that can happen to a good cause is, not to be skillfully attacked, but to be ineptly defended. - Frédéric Bastiat
      I try to deny myself any illusions or delusions, and I think that this perhaps entitles me to try and deny the same to others, at least as long as they refuse to keep their fantasies to themselves. - Christopher Hitchens

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      So Lincoln ended slavery in most American slave states just for a political gimmick? That might be true. Politicians are interested in power above all else. But I do give him credit for ending the slavery he ended, no matter how selfish his real motives were.
      Quote Originally Posted by really View Post
      God cannot destroy himself because He is Omnipotent.


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      Well obviously slavery came to an end, just not in the way we all learned in school. The credit you give him shouldn't be worth much.
      The worst thing that can happen to a good cause is, not to be skillfully attacked, but to be ineptly defended. - Frédéric Bastiat
      I try to deny myself any illusions or delusions, and I think that this perhaps entitles me to try and deny the same to others, at least as long as they refuse to keep their fantasies to themselves. - Christopher Hitchens

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      So...the north wanted the south's awesome shit and beautiful women...The south said hell no and got their asses handed to them.

      Meanwhile on the other side of town thousands of people who had more right to the land than anyone were being marched across the countryside to the high desert in Oklahoma.

      And just to show you how people thought then about warfare. Northern snobs set up picnic tables to watch the first battle of the war. Hilariously, the southern soldiers overran that position within hours. I think the only thing I can agree on is that it was a useless war.

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      It was also an illegal war. Imagine if Germany finally said forget the EU, because the EU is holding them back and hurting their economy because of the stuff in Spain and Greece, and they quit. Then the EU invaded Germany and forced them to stay. That is what basically happened.

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      Quote Originally Posted by Alric View Post
      It was also an illegal war. Imagine if Germany finally said forget the EU, because the EU is holding them back and hurting their economy because of the stuff in Spain and Greece, and they quit. Then the EU invaded Germany and forced them to stay. That is what basically happened.
      Comparing the EU to the US is just wrong all over.
      Spartiate likes this.

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