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Andrew Jackson, Anti-States Rights Nationalist
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There’s been a lot of ignorant commentary lately about Donald Trump’s speculation that Andrew Jackson wouldn’t have let the Civil War happen. Doesn’t Trump know that Jackson died 16 years before Fort Sumter?!?

But Trump was right to point to Jackson’s successful handling of South Carolina’s secessionist movement in the 1830s, which was led by Jackson’s initial vice president, the formidable pro-slavery intellectual John C. Calhoun.

The ostensible subject was South Carolina being anti-tariff, but as Calhoun admitted privately in 1830, the ultimate cause was that South Carolina’s “peculiar domestick institution” had made South Carolina different enough that economic policy that was in the national interest would generally not be in South Carolina’s interest.

The crisis began around 1830 with a famous debate in the U.S. Senate between the southerner Hayne and the New Englander Webster:

The debate presented the fullest articulation of the differences over nullification, and 40,000 copies of Webster’s response, which concluded with “liberty and Union, now and forever, one and inseparable”, were distributed nationwide.

Many people expected the states’ rights Jackson to side with Hayne. However once the debate shifted to secession and nullification, Jackson sided with Webster. On April 13, 1830 at the traditional Democratic Party celebration honoring Thomas Jefferson’s birthday, Jackson chose to make his position clear. In a battle of toasts, Hayne proposed, “The Union of the States, and the Sovereignty of the States.” Jackson’s response, when his turn came, was, “Our Federal Union: It must be preserved.” To those attending, the effect was dramatic. Calhoun would respond with his own toast, in a play on Webster’s closing remarks in the earlier debate, “The Union. Next to our liberty, the most dear.” Finally Martin Van Buren would offer, “Mutual forbearance and reciprocal concession. Through their agency the Union was established. The patriotic spirit from which they emanated will forever sustain it.”

Van Buren wrote in his autobiography of Jackson’s toast, “The veil was rent – the incantations of the night were exposed to the light of day.” Senator Thomas Hart Benton, in his memoirs, stated that the toast “electrified the country.”[67] Jackson would have the final words a few days later when a visitor from South Carolina asked if Jackson had any message he wanted relayed to his friends back in the state. Jackson’s reply was:

“ Yes I have; please give my compliments to my friends in your State and say to them, that if a single drop of blood shall be shed there in opposition to the laws of the United States, I will hang the first man I can lay my hand on engaged in such treasonable conduct, upon the first tree I can reach.[68]

Jackson’s uncompromising stand in favor of Union, and willingness to use federal might on the side of nationalism, combined with his lack of enthusiasm for tariffs, gave him the opportunity to turn what had looked like a national crisis into routine political horse-trading, with tariffs being reduced enough to allow South Carolinians to climb down from the perch they had gotten out on.

Jackson’s proteges, such as Sam Houston who had fought under Jackson during the War of 1812, and gone on to be governor of Tennessee, President of the Republic of Texas, and finally governor of Texas, tended to be exactly the type of pro-Union Southerners that Lincoln needed more of. In 1861, Houston was deposed as governor of Texas by secessionists because he refused to take a loyalty oath to the Confederacy.

Similarly, Lincoln chose Andrew Johnson, a Jackson-like Tennessee Democrat pro-Union man, as his running mate in 1864.

My personal feeling is that a military confrontation between the Union and South Carolina, font of the ideology that a slave owning oligarchy was the highest form of society, was inevitable at some point in the 19th Century. The big question was how many other states would ally with the South Carolina firebreathers?

Jackson had adeptly kept Calhoun’s South Carolina malcontents isolated by focusing on the key issue of Union.

Moreover, the class ideology of Jacksonism tended to be somewhat averse to slavery. Calhounism favored a slave-owning oligarchy that had little need for a flourishing class of white yeomen, except to fight for the oligarchs. The Western-oriented populist Jeffersonian-Jacksonian mindset, however, was largely about small farmers and remained an important force outside of cotton, rice, and sugar country, where black laborers less vulnerable to warm-weather diseases like malaria were crucial.

Cotton plantations worked by slaves were so profitable in the deep South that the six Cotton Belt states followed South Carolina, but further north, the Jefferson/Jackson social matrix was stronger. For example, the furthest north Confederate state, Virginia, suffered secession by its hillbilly northwest into the Union state of West Virginia (another reason why belated secession by Virginia seems like such an avoidable tragedy).

A climate map of the United States shows that the rain-watered cotton belt runs out in East Texas, while independent white farmers raising corn, wheat, and cattle can flourish further west the further north you go because cooler northern latitudes need less rain. Inevitably, a pro-Western policy like Jackson’s was going to be, on net, unenthusiastic about slavery.

When it came to the crisis after the 1860 election, South Carolina seceded first, followed quickly by six deep Southern slave states that largely depended upon King Cotton.

But then nothing happened for months, with the other 8 slave states uncertain what to do. Unfortunately, Lincoln didn’t seem to perceive the significance of the national crisis, devoting much of his energy during his first six weeks in the White House to interviewing Republican volunteers seeking local postmaster jobs.

Lincoln’s unreadiness for the big time drove William Seward, Lincoln’s more experienced secretary of state, crazy. Seward put forward a plan to re-unite the Union by taking exception to how France and Spain were violating the Monroe Doctrine in response to internal American disarray by colonizing Mexico and the Dominican Republic, respectively. But Lincoln saw Seward’s clever idea as a personal diss and shut down all consideration of it.

Eventually, the Union managed to hang on to four slave states, including crucial Kentucky. But after Fort Sumter, it lost four states to the Confederacy, including Jackson’s old state of Tennessee, where much of the Civil War was fought, and, catastrophically, Virginia, which became the main battlefront. Virginia is further north than any other secessionist state, so it should have stayed in the Union with Kentucky and Missouri. But Lincoln’s belated initiatives to hold Virginia, such as offering Robert E. Lee command of the Union Army, didn’t come until after Virginia had finally voted for secession.

What should have been a quick war thus turned into a 4 year long ordeal that killed 750,000 Americans, largely fought in Jackson’s state of Tennessee and heavily Scots-Irish Virginia.

Sherman’s army didn’t penetrate into South Carolina until 1865. They torched everything in their way, seeing the South Carolinians as the cause of the four year war. As soon as Sherman’s army crossed the border into North Carolina, they stopped burning barns, farmhouses, and towns. The Union soldiers saw North Carolinians as worthy foes who had reluctantly made a wrong choice, but who were fundamentally less culpable for the war than the firebreathing South Carolinians.

I laid out this perspective in more detail in Taki’s Magazine on the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg.

 
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  1. Calhounism updated as Clintonism, only with figureheads now instead of more substantial characters. They don’t make ’em as good as they used to, seems to be a trend whether politics or college students.

    Has there been any new development in keeping Jackson on the twenty?

    • Replies: @Judah Benjamin Hur
    @Ivy


    Has there been any new development in keeping Jackson on the twenty?
     
    I don't care how often Trump says he loves Andrew Jackson, I just want to know if he keeps him on the $20. If not, we'll know Trump is 100% phony.

    Replies: @Dan Hayes

  2. Unfortunately, Lincoln didn’t seem to perceive the significance of the national crisis, devoting much of his energy during his first six weeks in the White House to interviewing Republican volunteers seeking local postmaster jobs.

    The more I study this period, the more I lean toward the view that Lincoln actually wanted a war and, to that end, snookered the South into firing on Sumter and then called for 75,000 volunteers while knowing full well that doing so would cause the border states to secede.

    The “mournful” Lincoln whom everyone thinks of in connection with the war came later, when he realized that he had launched a bloody mess that was vastly more horrific than he had ever imagined. IMO.

    • Agree: Autochthon
    • Replies: @Massimo Heitor
    @Clark Westwood



    The more I study this period, the more I lean toward the view that Lincoln actually wanted a war and, to that end, snookered the South into firing on Sumter and then called for 75,000 volunteers while knowing full well that doing so would cause the border states to secede.
     
    It's obvious and widely accepted that Lincoln had already abandoned serious efforts at peace negotiations and deliberately baited the Confederates into firing on Sumter to make them seem the aggressors. If the Confederates had more shrewd diplomacy skills they wouldn't have taken the bait.

    What might not be obvious to casual observers, Sumter was deep in South Carolina. It's not like the Confederates were launching attacks on other states, they were just trying to establish their own sovereignty in their own states.

    It seems most wars could have been avoided in hindsight, and the American Civil War or War Between States was definitely one that could have been avoided.

    The moral high ground for the Union would have been to allow secession and independence under conditions of abolition of slavery.

    The premise of engaging in full blown savage ruthless horrific warfare involving widespread indiscriminate murder, rape, starvation, then establishing permanent dominion over your enemy, and then do some after the fact moralization of the whole thing seems completely outrageous.

    Trump is actually very wise to suggest that ideally that horrific war could have been avoided through better diplomacy, and I believe he is right.

    Replies: @Gringo, @syonredux

    , @RonaldB
    @Clark Westwood

    How did Lincoln "snooker" a sophisticated, politically-experienced leader like Jefferson Davis to attack? This was Davis blunder. Davis was warned to his face by Robert Toombs that attacking
    Fort Sumter would destroy the confederacy they had worked so hard to establish.

    The best and only strategy for the Confederacy was to avoid war with the much more populous and industrialized North. The loss of the Confederacy can be laid directly at Davis doorstep.

    Replies: @CAL, @Clark Westwood

    , @Millennial
    @Clark Westwood

    Did Lincoln "snooker" the Citadel cadets into firing on the Star of the West, months before he even took office?

  3. A great historical analysis. Even within the States that seceded there was a large pro-union segment of the population. Besides the secession of West Virginia from Virginia, I know that Alabaman and Georgian regiments fought in the federal armies. I’d bet there were many other union regiments from other Confederate States. Lincoln is grotesquely over-rated as a President. A better, more perspicacious President could probably have avoided the Civil War entirely.

    • Replies: @Opinionator
    @Jus' Sayin'...

    A better, more perspicacious President could probably have avoided the Civil War entirely.

    A moral man would have permitted the Southern states to secede.

    Replies: @syonredux, @Joe Franklin, @Reg Cæsar, @Corvinus

    , @syonredux
    @Jus' Sayin'...


    Besides the secession of West Virginia from Virginia, I know that Alabaman and Georgian regiments fought in the federal armies. I’d bet there were many other union regiments from other Confederate States.
     
    25,000 men from North Carolina fought for the Union.So did 42,000 from Tennessee


    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southern_Unionist

    Replies: @The Man From K Street

  4. Lincoln’s heavy handed demand for 75,000 troops after Fort Sumter, basically drove the states of the upper/border south into the arms of the confederacy.

    A war was probably unavoidable, but Lincoln’s early misteps made it a much larger and bloodier affair than it had to be.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    @Sandy Berger's Socks

    Somebody once said to Lincoln, "May you have God on your side."

    He replied, "I'd like to have God on my side, but I must have Kentucky on my side."

    He should have thought about that logic earlier when Tennessee and Virginia hadn't yet gone over to the other side.

    I mean, back then part of Virginia (now in West Virgina) went as far north as Pittsburgh. Losing Virginia to the Confederacy was a giant botch.

    Replies: @Sandy Berger's Socks

    , @Opinionator
    @Sandy Berger's Socks

    A war was probably unavoidable

    Um, no. You don't force a people and their territory to be under your thumb without their consent. Pretty basic. Totally avoidable, unless imperialism is your bedrock premise.

    Replies: @syonredux

    , @RonaldB
    @Sandy Berger's Socks

    "A war was probably unavoidable..."

    Why?

    The Northern population was very divided on hostilities. Lincoln needed a rallying point to actually initiate a war, whatever his inclinations. The abominable diplomatic moves by Jefferson Davis gave Lincoln exactly what he needed.

    In fact, Fort Sumter was no threat. It was staffed by less than 100 men who had to be supplied by rowboat. Lincoln had already agreed to not reinforce the garrison. The proper move would have been for the Confederacy to supply food and living provisions to the men at Fort Sumter, denying them additional men or military supplies.

    The Confederacy leadership was feeling its oats, making impulsive, irrational decisions, and it cost them the Confederacy.

    Replies: @Opinionator

  5. okie says:

    Remember that there were 5 months before inauguration back then. Sumter happened only a month after AL took office. A lot of the twitter snark i saw today about this was Buchanan bashing, which is probably right. If you think Ryan or McConnell is king log, he was them with executive power he neglected to use.

    • Replies: @syonredux
    @okie


    Remember that there were 5 months before inauguration back then. Sumter happened only a month after AL took office. A lot of the twitter snark i saw today about this was Buchanan bashing, which is probably right
     
    Buchanan was Gay.....

    Replies: @okie, @Basil ransom

  6. res says:

    It is commonplace to note how much larger the Union economy was than the Confederate economy. But I haven’t seen much (quantitative) about how important the Virginia economy was to the Confederacy (the info may be out there, I am not an expert in this). A quick glance at this page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economy_of_the_Confederate_States_of_America#Manufacturing
    gives a qualitative idea of Virginia’s economic importance to the Confederacy. Given the economic, manpower, and leadership contributions of Virginia would the Confederacy have been able to wage an effective war without it? (especially if it was on the opposite side!)

    However, I wonder how possible it would have been to keep Virginia in the Union given Albion’s Seed type cultural issues?

  7. I always like pointing out South Carolina’s demographics in 1860:

    Enslaved: 402,406
    Free: 301,302

    • Agree: syonredux
    • Replies: @Alden
    @Mark Caplan

    I wonder how many of the free were free blacks, mixed and almost White.

  8. Clark Westwood wrote:

    The more I study this period, the more I lean toward the view that Lincoln actually wanted a war…

    I’m afraid that is true: the best academic study I know of the crisis is Ken Stampp’s And The War Came: The North and The Secession Crisis, 1860-1861. Stampp seems to be pro-Lincoln, but reluctantly so.

    An interesting, popular, polemical look is Charles Adams’ When In the Course of Human Events: Arguing the Case for Southern Secession. As the title indicates, Adams makes no pretense of being even-handed, and I find some of his conclusions unconvincing. But, he does have a lot of factual details that are rarely presented elsewhere.

    As Clark suggests, the grain of truth in the “mournful Lincoln” image is that neither Lincoln nor the Southern firebreathers had any sense of the scale of the bloodbath they were unleashing.

    Two readable, insightful, and mercifully brief books on the large-scale political events leading up to the crisis are Michael Holt’s The Political Crisis of the 1850s and The Fate of Their Country.

    Holt’s thesis in a nutshell is that Douglas was too clever by half in the game he played with Kansas-Nebraska (“popular sovereignty” and all that). That misstep, combined with other issues, notably including the debate over immigration (!) , destroyed the national two-party system that had held the country together, leading to the triumph of a purely sectional party, the Republicans, resulting in secession.

    Holt is a highly respected (and quite readable) academic historian. He convinced me.

    Dave Miller in Sacramento

    • Replies: @Opinionator
    @PhysicistDave


    The more I study this period, the more I lean toward the view that Lincoln actually wanted a war…
     
    Which may equivalent to saying Lincoln wanted the Southerners' territory. This was a land grab.

    Replies: @syonredux

    , @Clark Westwood
    @PhysicistDave

    Thanks for the reading suggestions.

    , @RonaldB
    @PhysicistDave

    I haven't read the books.

    Yet, from my reading, I think tariffs and abolition were not reasonable causes for secession. The tariffs before secession were actually very low, and higher tariffs would never have gotten through congress if the representatives from the Confederate states had remained in the US Congress.

    Similarly, with the abolition laws, the Fugitive Slave act, and the Dred Scott decision, and the vow of Lincoln to preserve slavery in slave states, slavery was simply not threatened where it already existed.

    Paradoxically, slavery itself may have been supported by the large landowners at the expense of the small, yeoman subsistence farmer, but it was those farmers that were the heart of the Confederate army. This implies that in a few years, the South would have been much less capable of defending itself, as the small farmers were forced off the land by the cotton plantations...and conceivably, the Confederacy itself would have become unstable by the social dislocation of impoverishing the small farmers.

    My feeling is that slavery would have lasted no more than 10 or 15 years from 1860. Besides the technological advancements making slavery unprofitable, the Southern leadership was educated and in tune with Western civilization. They would have simply abolished slavery and bought out the slaves, as England had done. Many slaves were dragooned into serving the union army after capture. All in all, almost nobody would have been worse off had the Civil War been avoided.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer, @Opinionator, @Corvinus, @PhysicistDave

  9. I saw one of CNN’s anchor morons, Don Lemon, leading a discussion about how stupid Trump was to think that Jackson could have prevented the Civil War. Of course, rather than actually discuss the matter, the conversation consisted mainly of reaffirming how evil Old Hickory was.

    For the record, Jackson was surely no saint (a point I am sure he would have confirmed!). Yes, he was a slaveowner, was beastly to Amerindians, etc. But, that was not the point Trump made or that the Lemon and his panelists claimed to be discussing.

    Dave

    • Replies: @Ivy
    @PhysicistDave

    Any stick to beat a dead white man. Now that Fox News has had its upheavals, when will Don Lemon's CNN and Rachel Maddow's MSNBC get targeted? It seems like a matter of time until all the good thinking folks turn on each other.

    , @RonaldB
    @PhysicistDave

    I love the term "Amerindians".

    Replies: @Opinionator

  10. The upcoming French election is a good reminder that if the US had a runoff system Lincoln would have been crushed by Douglas 60-40 in a second round of voting.

  11. The ostensible subject was South Carolina being anti-tariff, but as Calhoun admitted privately in 1830, the ultimate cause was that South Carolina’s “peculiar domestick institution” had made South Carolina different enough that economic policy that was in the national interest would generally not be in South Carolina’s interest.

    John Calhoun was not always anti-tariff. He voted in favor of the Tariff of 1816.

    The tariff of 1816 was the first – and last – protective tariff that received significant Southern support during the “thirty-year tariff war” from 1816 to 1846. A number of historical factors were important in shaping Southern perceptions of the legislation. Acknowledging the need to provide sufficient government funding, and with no adequate alternative propositions, the South felt compelled to consider protection. Southern support of the tariff was not demonstrably linked to any significant trend towards industry in the South, or to the existence of textile mills in the Congressional districts of Southern representatives.[26]

    Southern legislators were keenly aware that British merchants were engaging in off-loading manufactured goods on the US market in an effort to cripple emerging American industries. The Southern patriots – War Hawks[27] – had been some of the most strident foes of British aggression and fierce champions of the national government. Among these statesmen were Speaker of the House Henry Clay of Kentucky, Henry St. George Tucker, Sr. of Virginia and Alexander C. Hanson of Maryland all supporting the tariff as a war measure.[28]

    There were well-founded fears that British economic warfare would lead to a resumption of armed conflict. In that event, a healthy US manufacturing base – including war industries – would be vital to the survival of the American republic. Rejecting doctrinaire anti-Federalism, Representative John C. Calhoun of South Carolina called for national unity through interdependence of trade, agriculture and manufacturing. Recalling how poorly prepared the United States had been for war in 1812, he demanded that American factories be provided protection.[ John Quincy Adams, as US minister to Great Britain, concurred with Calhoun, discerning a deep hostility from the capitols of Europe towards the fledgling United States .

    The article points out that the Federalists- strong in New England and weak in the South, voted 25-23 for the Tariff of 1816 . The Republicans, much stronger in the South, voted 63-31 for the Tariff of 1816.

    One would have thought that the South had some inherent advantages compared to New England in developing a textile industry. The Fall Line from the Piedmont to the Coastal Plain provided a good source of hydropower to run the factories. Textile factories in the South were closer to cotton. But it didn’t work out that way. For one thing, free labor in New England was more efficient than slave labor in the South.

    Regarding Calhoun and “national unity.” recall that until recently there was a Calhoun college at Yale.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    @Gringo

    John Calhoun was not always anti-tariff. He voted in favor of the Tariff of 1816.

    One of the tragedies of the 19th Century was that slavery increasingly turned out to be extremely profitable. Early in the 19th Century, slavery was associated with tobacco growing, which exhausted the soil and wasn't that much of a growth industry. The latitudes west of Virginia weren't particularly for slave economies.

    But then cotton came along as Americans poured into the inland Cotton Belt, with the steam engine driving British demand for cotton. Cotton prices kept going up to 1859, giving Southerners a King Cotton self-confidence that there'd never be a recession in cotton prices. But the English stockpiling cotton from the South and looking around for new sources in Egypt, India, and Brazil. So when the South blockaded themselves in 1861 to hurt British industry to bring the Royal Navy into the war on the side of the South, it backfired hugely on the South and new sources of cotton were quickly developed.

    My guess is that the King Cotton bubble and accompanying Slavery Uber Alles bubble would have popped at some point in the 1860s or 1870s and then a quick civil war of pretty much everybody versus South Carolina would have brought about the advantages of a four year Civil War at the peak of the King Cotton bubble with an order of magnitude fewer deaths.

    Obviously, that's speculative, but it seems worth discussing.

    Replies: @AnotherDad, @Basil ransom, @RonaldB, @Rapparee

  12. Ironically, these leftist journalists are most likely ignorant of this history. To leftists, these nineteenth century statesmen and politicians are just racist white guys who aren’t worth reading about because they didn’t believe in racial equality, LGBT rights, and feminism.

    • Agree: Almost Missouri
  13. @PhysicistDave
    I saw one of CNN's anchor morons, Don Lemon, leading a discussion about how stupid Trump was to think that Jackson could have prevented the Civil War. Of course, rather than actually discuss the matter, the conversation consisted mainly of reaffirming how evil Old Hickory was.

    For the record, Jackson was surely no saint (a point I am sure he would have confirmed!). Yes, he was a slaveowner, was beastly to Amerindians, etc. But, that was not the point Trump made or that the Lemon and his panelists claimed to be discussing.

    Dave

    Replies: @Ivy, @RonaldB

    Any stick to beat a dead white man. Now that Fox News has had its upheavals, when will Don Lemon’s CNN and Rachel Maddow’s MSNBC get targeted? It seems like a matter of time until all the good thinking folks turn on each other.

  14. One of Trump’s admirable qualties (he has some less-than-admirable ones) is that he is willing to go against the conventional wisdom. In this case he is correct, and Steve’s column is correct.

    All effort should have been made to avoid the Civil War, a bloody tragedy in which 700,000 young soldiers were killed, soldiers who overwhelmingly had nothing against each other and who in many cases were even friends and relatives.

    When South Carolina and the other gulf states like Georgia and Mississippi seceded, the key was whether the more populous and more reasonable states like Virginia, North Carolina and Tennessee would join them. Seward, a far stronger abolitionist than Lincoln, advocated negotiation with these border states, and if necessary letting the gulf states depart without violence, suggesting telling them, “Go in peace, wayward sisters.”

    Steve is right that Lincoln rejected this approach, and that in the first five months after his election (in those days the presidential inauguration was not until March), concentrated on appointing postmasters rather than negotiating to keep Virginia in the Union.

    In all countries of the world except the US (some would argue also Haiti), slavery was abolished without war or significant violence. (In Haiti, under Toussaint Louverture, the slaves were freed, but the French later viciously counterattacked to slaughter and recapture them.) In the English colonies, for example, slavery was abolished under a compromise arrangement where the government compensated the slaveowners for their financial loss.

    If just the gulf states had been allowed to leave without violence, there is no way slavery could have continued there very long, as the only place in the world.

    Trump was making a reasonable point. What’s happening here, of course, is the media jumping on any unconventional thing Trump says to make him out an idiot. And the “historians” who are weighing in to support this effort are either dissembling or are themselves quite ignorant on this issue.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    @Darwin

    The main way the South could have won the Civil War was if Robert E. Lee's Virginians broke into, say, Pennsylvania, won a giant battle at, say, Gettsyburg, and then descended upon a defenseless Washington DC (or Philadelphia or New York).

    As it turned out that almost happened on the first and third days of Gettysburg.

    But if Lincoln had kept Virginia in the Union, then the border would have been North Carolina, and maybe North Carolina could have been kept out of the Confederacy, putting the border not right outside Washington DC, but outside of Charleston.

    Replies: @AnotherDad, @Charles Erwin Wilson, @Lot

    , @Opinionator
    @Darwin

    All effort should have been made to avoid the Civil War, a bloody tragedy

    Including letting Southern States go in peace.

    The war was not fought to free the slaves.

    Replies: @syonredux

    , @syonredux
    @Darwin


    In the English colonies, for example, slavery was abolished under a compromise arrangement where the government compensated the slaveowners for their financial loss.
     
    The UK compensated slave-owners to the tune of 20 million pounds (40% of the government's total annual expenditure). What would it have cost to do something similar in the South?

    Replies: @ziel, @Peripatetic commenter

    , @Whoever
    @Darwin


    All effort should have been made to avoid the Civil War, a bloody tragedy in which 700,000 young soldiers were killed, soldiers who overwhelmingly had nothing against each other and who in many cases were even friends and relatives.
     
    And after that massive extermination, to replace all those young men and the generations they would have fathered, we imported masses of Ellis Island types who radically changed the nature of our population and turned our cities into islands of aliens.
    I don't have any direct ancestors who fought in the Civil War, as far as I know, but I do know of one on the direct line to me who set out for the east, determined to enlist and fight the seccesh, but he never got farther than Nebraska, the cavalry unit he joined ending up fighting in the Indian War of 1864-65.
    Had he succeeded in his ambition to join "General Crook's boys," he might well have become one of the fallen among the countless young men who perished in now-forgotten battles and I would never have been born.
    Multiply that little fact by hundreds of thousands of young men dead before they could become fathers and extend it down through the generations to today. Then we see what a terrible tragedy the Civil War truly was, and what monstrous criminals were those who allowed such a pointless, unnecessary war to take place.

    Replies: @Hibernian

  15. Anon • Disclaimer says:

    I wonder…

    how much was the issue really about slavery or how much was it about race?

    Did the South secede because slavery was so profitable?
    But imagine if southern whites had enslaved other whites, like Russian elites had used Russian serfs and Spartans had used Greek helots.
    Would they have kept with slavery just for the sake of profits?

    Or suppose white southerners had ruled over people like smaller and weaker people like the Gomezian Mexicans. Would they have been so afraid ending slavery? After all, Latin American whites in Haciendas proved that you don’t need to keep people as slaves to exploit them economically.

    So, why was the South so adamant about maintaining its form of slavery?
    Was it not because Southern whites knew, deep in their heart, that the Negro was bigger and stronger and more aggressive? Unlike freed whites or freed Mexicans, the freed Negro might go wild and act crazy like in Griffith’s BIRTH OF A NATION?

    The white fear of the Negro was like the Chinese fear of the unruly Mongols. China built a massive wall just to keep the Mongol horsemen raiders out.

    Freeing and then exploiting Guillermo or Nguyen is one thing. Even as free people, they will look up to Gringo as leader. It’s like the Ramone guy in Big Country. He’s a free Mexican but he serves the gringo.

    But free the Negro, and he might not listen. He get unruly and uppity and punkass and stuff. And that is what happened.

    • Replies: @Desiderius
    @Anon

    The word you're looking for is dominant.

    , @jtgw
    @Anon

    Regarding exploitation in Latin American, I read that the issue was how white landowners got huge tracts of land through royal grants from the Spanish crown and then treated those Indians and mestizos who actually worked the land as mere tenants, even though the landowners' rights to the property were quite spurious, while the peasants as the original tillers of the soil were the rightful owners (from a Lockean natural law perspective). So it was similar to the situation of Negro slaves in the South, as it was the Negroes who worked the land and had natural rights to own it. The slavery of the Indians was constructed somewhat differently in law (as debt peonage rather than outright chattel slavery), but you're right that the effect was largely the same.

  16. @Gringo
    The ostensible subject was South Carolina being anti-tariff, but as Calhoun admitted privately in 1830, the ultimate cause was that South Carolina’s “peculiar domestick institution” had made South Carolina different enough that economic policy that was in the national interest would generally not be in South Carolina’s interest.

    John Calhoun was not always anti-tariff. He voted in favor of the Tariff of 1816.


    The tariff of 1816 was the first – and last – protective tariff that received significant Southern support during the “thirty-year tariff war” from 1816 to 1846. A number of historical factors were important in shaping Southern perceptions of the legislation. Acknowledging the need to provide sufficient government funding, and with no adequate alternative propositions, the South felt compelled to consider protection. Southern support of the tariff was not demonstrably linked to any significant trend towards industry in the South, or to the existence of textile mills in the Congressional districts of Southern representatives.[26]

    Southern legislators were keenly aware that British merchants were engaging in off-loading manufactured goods on the US market in an effort to cripple emerging American industries. The Southern patriots – War Hawks[27] - had been some of the most strident foes of British aggression and fierce champions of the national government. Among these statesmen were Speaker of the House Henry Clay of Kentucky, Henry St. George Tucker, Sr. of Virginia and Alexander C. Hanson of Maryland all supporting the tariff as a war measure.[28]

    There were well-founded fears that British economic warfare would lead to a resumption of armed conflict. In that event, a healthy US manufacturing base – including war industries – would be vital to the survival of the American republic. Rejecting doctrinaire anti-Federalism, Representative John C. Calhoun of South Carolina called for national unity through interdependence of trade, agriculture and manufacturing. Recalling how poorly prepared the United States had been for war in 1812, he demanded that American factories be provided protection.[ John Quincy Adams, as US minister to Great Britain, concurred with Calhoun, discerning a deep hostility from the capitols of Europe towards the fledgling United States .
     

    The article points out that the Federalists- strong in New England and weak in the South, voted 25-23 for the Tariff of 1816 . The Republicans, much stronger in the South, voted 63-31 for the Tariff of 1816.

    One would have thought that the South had some inherent advantages compared to New England in developing a textile industry. The Fall Line from the Piedmont to the Coastal Plain provided a good source of hydropower to run the factories. Textile factories in the South were closer to cotton. But it didn't work out that way. For one thing, free labor in New England was more efficient than slave labor in the South.

    Regarding Calhoun and "national unity." recall that until recently there was a Calhoun college at Yale.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer

    John Calhoun was not always anti-tariff. He voted in favor of the Tariff of 1816.

    One of the tragedies of the 19th Century was that slavery increasingly turned out to be extremely profitable. Early in the 19th Century, slavery was associated with tobacco growing, which exhausted the soil and wasn’t that much of a growth industry. The latitudes west of Virginia weren’t particularly for slave economies.

    But then cotton came along as Americans poured into the inland Cotton Belt, with the steam engine driving British demand for cotton. Cotton prices kept going up to 1859, giving Southerners a King Cotton self-confidence that there’d never be a recession in cotton prices. But the English stockpiling cotton from the South and looking around for new sources in Egypt, India, and Brazil. So when the South blockaded themselves in 1861 to hurt British industry to bring the Royal Navy into the war on the side of the South, it backfired hugely on the South and new sources of cotton were quickly developed.

    My guess is that the King Cotton bubble and accompanying Slavery Uber Alles bubble would have popped at some point in the 1860s or 1870s and then a quick civil war of pretty much everybody versus South Carolina would have brought about the advantages of a four year Civil War at the peak of the King Cotton bubble with an order of magnitude fewer deaths.

    Obviously, that’s speculative, but it seems worth discussing.

    • Replies: @AnotherDad
    @Steve Sailer


    One of the tragedies of the 19th Century was that slavery increasingly turned out to be extremely profitable.
     
    Cheap labor, the gift that keeps on stealing.

    Replies: @jtgw, @athEIst

    , @Basil ransom
    @Steve Sailer

    That's an interesting question. No doubt it would've been hard for the confederacy to weather a continuing "cotton economy "especially since there were so much increased foreign competition, native soil depletion and Future infestations of the cotton weevil.

    How much was the abolishment of slavery in evitable because of technology and increased efficiency? Hard to say. "Time on the cross"authors suggest that slavery was profitable and that better industrial machinery could/would've made it even more profitable. Also slave countries like Cuba in Brazil started to utilize industrial technology prior to the abolition of slavery. Had the Brazilian emperor not been a staunch abolitionist, it's doubtful slavery would've been abolished there.

    All in all, it's difficult to say whether slavery could've survived the 20th century
    If the south won the war. However, the real history of what happened was tragic enough.

    , @RonaldB
    @Steve Sailer

    " quick civil war of pretty much everybody versus South Carolina ..."

    The Civil War was in no way conceived, begun, or fought to end slavery. Why would a war against South Carolina have been initiated to end slavery?

    Western civilization was universally against slavery. South Carolina was not a bunch of hicks. The Northern citizens were almost violently against slavery. It would have been a natural matter for the states surrounding South Carolina to simply not purchase or ship any slave-produced materials, return any escaped slaves, or withhold lending for slave-related project. That is in addition to the fact that any small farmers in South Carolina, the basis of any self-defense force, would themselves be decimated and unenthusiastic at defending slavery.

    I think your timeline for the withering and disappearance of slavery was right on, except it would come without fighting.

    Replies: @Autochthon

    , @Rapparee
    @Steve Sailer

    At the very latest, the 1890s arrival of the boll weevil would have killed off King Cotton for good.

    One odd thing about contemporary debates over the Late Unpleasantness is how partisans on both sides have almost completely reversed their justifications from 1861. A typical half-educated fan of the Blue Bellies in 2017 will justify the war on the grounds that slavery was obviously the Worst Thing Ever to Happen to Anybody, and military measures were clearly justified in suppressing it, while defenders of Dixie today like to point to every cause other than the Peculiar Institution. Antebellum Americans were nearly the opposite- paranoid Fire-Eaters smelled a sinister Yankee plot afoot to confiscate their lawful property, while the vast majority of Northerners couldn't have cared less about the status of enslaved blacks in South Carolina, and viewed the small minority of abolitionists as irritating and troublesome radical lunatics whose irresponsible antics endangered precious American unity. (Even in New England, abolitionist songs at concerts sometimes triggered angry riots). Up to the very brink of war, Northern supermajorities were happily willing to endorse the pro-slavery Corwin Amendment as a concession to forestall disunity.

  17. My personal feeling is that a military confrontation between the Union and South Carolina, font of the ideology that a slave owning oligarchy was the highest form of society, was inevitable at some point in the 19th Century

    Steve,

    Your post betrays a highly biased point of view. You seem to assume that the Northern states had some kind legal or moral authority to invade the South, subjugate it, and force it into the Empire. They had no such thing. As such, no confrontation was “necessary” because secession was a legal and natural right of the Southern people that did not harm the North. They should have had an amicable separation, with both sides enjoying greater independence and sovereignty.

    Why did the Union have to stay as it was? Why force people to live together if they don’t want to?

    • Replies: @syonredux
    @Opinionator


    Steve,

    Your post betrays a highly biased point of view. You seem to assume that the Northern states had some kind legal or moral authority to invade the South, subjugate it, and force it into the Empire. They had no such thing. As such, no confrontation was “necessary” because secession was a legal and natural right of the Southern people
     
    Dunno. There's no unilateral exit clause in the Constitution (something that the Anti-Federalists kept pointing out). As for "natural rights," Madison noted that, obviously, states could rebel in the name of the extra-Constitutional right of revolution, but that right could only be invoked in cases of tyranny.....And it would be pretty hard for the South to claim that as justification....

    that did not harm the North. They should have had an amicable separation, with both sides enjoying greater independence and sovereignty.
     
    Dunno. Given the actions of the French in Mexico, I'm fairly sure that splitting Anglo-America up into two rival power blocs would have meant big trouble.....

    Why did the Union have to stay as it was? Why force people to live together if they don’t want to?
     
    Why didn't the Confederacy accept secession in Tennessee?

    Replies: @Opinionator, @anonymous

  18. @Sandy Berger's Socks
    Lincoln's heavy handed demand for 75,000 troops after Fort Sumter, basically drove the states of the upper/border south into the arms of the confederacy.

    A war was probably unavoidable, but Lincoln's early misteps made it a much larger and bloodier affair than it had to be.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer, @Opinionator, @RonaldB

    Somebody once said to Lincoln, “May you have God on your side.”

    He replied, “I’d like to have God on my side, but I must have Kentucky on my side.”

    He should have thought about that logic earlier when Tennessee and Virginia hadn’t yet gone over to the other side.

    I mean, back then part of Virginia (now in West Virgina) went as far north as Pittsburgh. Losing Virginia to the Confederacy was a giant botch.

    • Replies: @Sandy Berger's Socks
    @Steve Sailer

    Yes, Virginia was a prize; strategically and economically. But, the greatest prize for the confederacy, though, might have been the services of Robert E Lee.

    Despite all of Lincoln's mistakes at the onset, George McClellan was at the gates of Richmond in 1862, with only, the less than aggressive, Jon Johnston, between him and fall of the Confederate capital.

  19. @Jus' Sayin'...
    A great historical analysis. Even within the States that seceded there was a large pro-union segment of the population. Besides the secession of West Virginia from Virginia, I know that Alabaman and Georgian regiments fought in the federal armies. I'd bet there were many other union regiments from other Confederate States. Lincoln is grotesquely over-rated as a President. A better, more perspicacious President could probably have avoided the Civil War entirely.

    Replies: @Opinionator, @syonredux

    A better, more perspicacious President could probably have avoided the Civil War entirely.

    A moral man would have permitted the Southern states to secede.

    • Replies: @syonredux
    @Opinionator


    A better, more perspicacious President could probably have avoided the Civil War entirely.

    A moral man would have permitted the Southern states to secede.
     
    Moral men wouldn't have attempted to secede in the first place....

    Replies: @Opinionator, @jtgw

    , @Joe Franklin
    @Opinionator


    A better, more perspicacious President could probably have avoided the Civil War entirely.

    A moral man would have permitted the Southern states to secede.

     

    An intelligent and moral man would have first purchased freedom for chattel slaves, and then prohibited all future slave immigration to the US.

    It was much less expensive to buy slaves freedom than to fight a war against slavery.

    Lincoln chose instead to go to war primarily to prevent secession, not slavery.

    A slew of noxious constitutional amendments were also a result of Lincoln's warmongering.

    The 14th amendment in particular is frequently construed by leftist to mean unlimited federal entitlements for special people.

    Perhaps that was Lincoln's real intent?

    Federal warmongering dressed up as saving the union seems to be a constant excuse for destroying the people's liberties.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer, @Almost Missouri, @Gringo

    , @Reg Cæsar
    @Opinionator


    A moral man would have permitted the Southern states to secede.
     
    South Carolina had had a black majority since the 1820 census. A sane man would have expelled the damned place on those grounds alone. It was the Puerto Rico of the 19th century.
    , @Corvinus
    @Opinionator

    "A moral man would have permitted the Southern states to secede."

    Moral men, dare I say Christians who owned slaves, would have freed their "property".

    Replies: @JSM, @Opinionator

  20. @PhysicistDave
    Clark Westwood wrote:

    The more I study this period, the more I lean toward the view that Lincoln actually wanted a war...
     
    I'm afraid that is true: the best academic study I know of the crisis is Ken Stampp's And The War Came: The North and The Secession Crisis, 1860-1861. Stampp seems to be pro-Lincoln, but reluctantly so.

    An interesting, popular, polemical look is Charles Adams' When In the Course of Human Events: Arguing the Case for Southern Secession. As the title indicates, Adams makes no pretense of being even-handed, and I find some of his conclusions unconvincing. But, he does have a lot of factual details that are rarely presented elsewhere.

    As Clark suggests, the grain of truth in the "mournful Lincoln" image is that neither Lincoln nor the Southern firebreathers had any sense of the scale of the bloodbath they were unleashing.

    Two readable, insightful, and mercifully brief books on the large-scale political events leading up to the crisis are Michael Holt's The Political Crisis of the 1850s and The Fate of Their Country.

    Holt's thesis in a nutshell is that Douglas was too clever by half in the game he played with Kansas-Nebraska ("popular sovereignty" and all that). That misstep, combined with other issues, notably including the debate over immigration (!) , destroyed the national two-party system that had held the country together, leading to the triumph of a purely sectional party, the Republicans, resulting in secession.

    Holt is a highly respected (and quite readable) academic historian. He convinced me.

    Dave Miller in Sacramento

    Replies: @Opinionator, @Clark Westwood, @RonaldB

    The more I study this period, the more I lean toward the view that Lincoln actually wanted a war…

    Which may equivalent to saying Lincoln wanted the Southerners’ territory. This was a land grab.

    • Replies: @syonredux
    @Opinionator


    Which may equivalent to saying Lincoln wanted the Southerners’ territory. This was a land grab.
     
    Other way around, surely. Secession was an attempt to take territory away from the USA.

    Replies: @Opinionator

  21. @Sandy Berger's Socks
    Lincoln's heavy handed demand for 75,000 troops after Fort Sumter, basically drove the states of the upper/border south into the arms of the confederacy.

    A war was probably unavoidable, but Lincoln's early misteps made it a much larger and bloodier affair than it had to be.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer, @Opinionator, @RonaldB

    A war was probably unavoidable

    Um, no. You don’t force a people and their territory to be under your thumb without their consent. Pretty basic. Totally avoidable, unless imperialism is your bedrock premise.

    • Replies: @syonredux
    @Opinionator


    A war was probably unavoidable

    Um, no. You don’t force a people and their territory to be under your thumb without their consent. Pretty basic. Totally avoidable, unless imperialism is your bedrock premise.
     
    Unless they are slaves.....Or pro-Union counties in Tennessee....

    Replies: @Opinionator, @anonymous

  22. @Darwin
    One of Trump's admirable qualties (he has some less-than-admirable ones) is that he is willing to go against the conventional wisdom. In this case he is correct, and Steve's column is correct.

    All effort should have been made to avoid the Civil War, a bloody tragedy in which 700,000 young soldiers were killed, soldiers who overwhelmingly had nothing against each other and who in many cases were even friends and relatives.

    When South Carolina and the other gulf states like Georgia and Mississippi seceded, the key was whether the more populous and more reasonable states like Virginia, North Carolina and Tennessee would join them. Seward, a far stronger abolitionist than Lincoln, advocated negotiation with these border states, and if necessary letting the gulf states depart without violence, suggesting telling them, "Go in peace, wayward sisters."

    Steve is right that Lincoln rejected this approach, and that in the first five months after his election (in those days the presidential inauguration was not until March), concentrated on appointing postmasters rather than negotiating to keep Virginia in the Union.

    In all countries of the world except the US (some would argue also Haiti), slavery was abolished without war or significant violence. (In Haiti, under Toussaint Louverture, the slaves were freed, but the French later viciously counterattacked to slaughter and recapture them.) In the English colonies, for example, slavery was abolished under a compromise arrangement where the government compensated the slaveowners for their financial loss.

    If just the gulf states had been allowed to leave without violence, there is no way slavery could have continued there very long, as the only place in the world.

    Trump was making a reasonable point. What's happening here, of course, is the media jumping on any unconventional thing Trump says to make him out an idiot. And the "historians" who are weighing in to support this effort are either dissembling or are themselves quite ignorant on this issue.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer, @Opinionator, @syonredux, @Whoever

    The main way the South could have won the Civil War was if Robert E. Lee’s Virginians broke into, say, Pennsylvania, won a giant battle at, say, Gettsyburg, and then descended upon a defenseless Washington DC (or Philadelphia or New York).

    As it turned out that almost happened on the first and third days of Gettysburg.

    But if Lincoln had kept Virginia in the Union, then the border would have been North Carolina, and maybe North Carolina could have been kept out of the Confederacy, putting the border not right outside Washington DC, but outside of Charleston.

    • Replies: @AnotherDad
    @Steve Sailer


    As it turned out that almost happened on the first and third days of Gettysburg.
     
    I've generally seen the 2nd day as the South's "almost" high water mark. If Longstreet could have turned the Union left where the Corps commander Sickles had pushed too far west to the peach orchard, the South might have been able to rout the Union army. And it seems like it was a close run thing with a lot of early success destroying Sickles corps in the Peach Orchard and Wheatfield and getting onto the edge of Cemetery Ridge before Union reinforcements arrive, and a famously close run thing further right at Little Round Top. The 3rd day in contrast just a debacle for the South--huge mistake by Lee.

    My 10,000 foot take however, is that this stuff wasn't really the point. The South wasn't going to win a manpower/GDP war. If Southerners really wanted secession they needed a better political approach
    --secession a fundamental right of all peoples, a requirement for freedom, analogies to revolution
    -- we're better off separated; we can both get what we want without continual fighting
    -- we can be friends, or even brothers living in separate houses; friendly resolution of issues like Mississippi river shipping; we'll work well together; and if it seems more beneficial later to each of us to rejoin, we can do so
    Instead the SC hotheads fired on Fort Sumter.

    My 100,000 foot take. Secession was stupid. The South would have had to become an absolute police state to make slavery work with such a long an near border. Anyone with any sense of "where things were heading" with the steam engine, railroads, the industrial revolution, would see that slavery was a dying system.

    The South unfortunately had short-sighted, greedy, pompous leadership willing to destroy the nation to keep their cheap labor jollies going. Come to think of it ... exactly like the leadership of the US today!

    Replies: @Opinionator, @Lot

    , @Charles Erwin Wilson
    @Steve Sailer


    The main way the South could have won the Civil War was if Robert E. Lee’s Virginians broke into, say, Pennsylvania, won a giant battle at, say, Gettsyburg, and then descended upon a defenseless Washington DC (or Philadelphia or New York).
     
    But you also need Grant to fail at Vicksburg. The Confederates had no imperial ambitions, and would not have leveraged a DC-Phila-NY victory into a boot-on-the-neck conquest.

    But if both Meade and Grant had lost, the Union might have retreated, and Lincoln could have lost the 64 election.

    I love southerners, and the South, and lost causes. But any possible Confederate victory has too many Hail-Mary wins to be plausible.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer

    , @Lot
    @Steve Sailer


    if Robert E. Lee’s Virginians broke into, say, Pennsylvania, won a giant battle at, say, Gettsyburg, and then descended upon a defenseless Washington DC (or Philadelphia or New York).
     
    Philadelphia was protected by the Susquehanna River, which is up to a mile wide. Philadelphia had a population of about 600,000 at the time, Lee's army was 70,000 at the start of the battle. Even if he had won, getting there and winning the city seems implausible. He lacked the resources to occupy Pennsylvania, so at best he could have done is pillaged and burned it. The predictable response to this, however, would be to do the same to the South. In particular, with control of the sea, the Union would have been able to burn down in retaliation Norfolk, Wilmington, Charleston, Savannah, Pensacola, Mobile, Gulfport, New Orleans, and Galveston.
  23. A Virginia state convention voted against secession in early April 1861.

    Sentiment in both Virginia and North Carolina turned against remaining in the union only after Lincoln’s demand for troops to attack the seceding sister states.

    The seceding states could not amount to much militarily without Virginia and North Carolina.

    Lincoln should have played on the strong sentiment in those states in favor of staying in the union and the proud memories of the Virginians and North Carolinians of their role in the Revolution and establishing the USA in order to keep them in the fold. Instead, he provoked them into seceding.

    Of course, at the time the ancestors of our current moral teachers in academia, publishing and the media were still living in the shtetls of Eastern Europe and played no role in the conflict. But no doubt a war that took the lives of 750,000 white Christians and impoverished half the nation must seem to them quite a small price to pay in order to end slavery a little more quickly in the USA than in the rest of the hemisphere which managed it without such a war.

  24. @Darwin
    One of Trump's admirable qualties (he has some less-than-admirable ones) is that he is willing to go against the conventional wisdom. In this case he is correct, and Steve's column is correct.

    All effort should have been made to avoid the Civil War, a bloody tragedy in which 700,000 young soldiers were killed, soldiers who overwhelmingly had nothing against each other and who in many cases were even friends and relatives.

    When South Carolina and the other gulf states like Georgia and Mississippi seceded, the key was whether the more populous and more reasonable states like Virginia, North Carolina and Tennessee would join them. Seward, a far stronger abolitionist than Lincoln, advocated negotiation with these border states, and if necessary letting the gulf states depart without violence, suggesting telling them, "Go in peace, wayward sisters."

    Steve is right that Lincoln rejected this approach, and that in the first five months after his election (in those days the presidential inauguration was not until March), concentrated on appointing postmasters rather than negotiating to keep Virginia in the Union.

    In all countries of the world except the US (some would argue also Haiti), slavery was abolished without war or significant violence. (In Haiti, under Toussaint Louverture, the slaves were freed, but the French later viciously counterattacked to slaughter and recapture them.) In the English colonies, for example, slavery was abolished under a compromise arrangement where the government compensated the slaveowners for their financial loss.

    If just the gulf states had been allowed to leave without violence, there is no way slavery could have continued there very long, as the only place in the world.

    Trump was making a reasonable point. What's happening here, of course, is the media jumping on any unconventional thing Trump says to make him out an idiot. And the "historians" who are weighing in to support this effort are either dissembling or are themselves quite ignorant on this issue.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer, @Opinionator, @syonredux, @Whoever

    All effort should have been made to avoid the Civil War, a bloody tragedy

    Including letting Southern States go in peace.

    The war was not fought to free the slaves.

    • Replies: @syonredux
    @Opinionator


    All effort should have been made to avoid the Civil War, a bloody tragedy

    Including letting Southern States go in peace.
     
    Or maybe not attempting to secede....

    The war was not fought to free the slaves.
     
    Got there pretty quickly, though....
  25. @Clark Westwood

    Unfortunately, Lincoln didn’t seem to perceive the significance of the national crisis, devoting much of his energy during his first six weeks in the White House to interviewing Republican volunteers seeking local postmaster jobs.
     
    The more I study this period, the more I lean toward the view that Lincoln actually wanted a war and, to that end, snookered the South into firing on Sumter and then called for 75,000 volunteers while knowing full well that doing so would cause the border states to secede.

    The "mournful" Lincoln whom everyone thinks of in connection with the war came later, when he realized that he had launched a bloody mess that was vastly more horrific than he had ever imagined. IMO.

    Replies: @Massimo Heitor, @RonaldB, @Millennial

    The more I study this period, the more I lean toward the view that Lincoln actually wanted a war and, to that end, snookered the South into firing on Sumter and then called for 75,000 volunteers while knowing full well that doing so would cause the border states to secede.

    It’s obvious and widely accepted that Lincoln had already abandoned serious efforts at peace negotiations and deliberately baited the Confederates into firing on Sumter to make them seem the aggressors. If the Confederates had more shrewd diplomacy skills they wouldn’t have taken the bait.

    What might not be obvious to casual observers, Sumter was deep in South Carolina. It’s not like the Confederates were launching attacks on other states, they were just trying to establish their own sovereignty in their own states.

    It seems most wars could have been avoided in hindsight, and the American Civil War or War Between States was definitely one that could have been avoided.

    The moral high ground for the Union would have been to allow secession and independence under conditions of abolition of slavery.

    The premise of engaging in full blown savage ruthless horrific warfare involving widespread indiscriminate murder, rape, starvation, then establishing permanent dominion over your enemy, and then do some after the fact moralization of the whole thing seems completely outrageous.

    Trump is actually very wise to suggest that ideally that horrific war could have been avoided through better diplomacy, and I believe he is right.

    • Replies: @Gringo
    @Massimo Heitor

    The moral high ground for the Union would have been to allow secession and independence under conditions of abolition of slavery.

    My understanding of your statement is that the Union should have informed South Carolina and other seceding states ,"We will allow you to peacefully leave the Union if you abolish slavery."

    Given the overriding desire to maintain slavery that permeates the South Carolina Declaration of Secession, the response of the fire-eaters in South Carolina to the above condition would have been a hearty horselaugh. The response in other Southern stats would probably have been similar.

    Granted, at the end of the war there were some on the Confederate side who proposed abolishing slavery, but nothing ever came of that. Patrick Cleburne, a Confederate general born in Ireland, was one of the first Confederates to propose emancipation. ( Al Striklin, one the "piano pounders" for Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys, was from Cleburne, Texas. )

    Replies: @Massimo Heitor

    , @syonredux
    @Massimo Heitor


    The moral high ground for the Union would have been to allow secession and independence under conditions of abolition of slavery.
     
    Which the South would never have done.....
  26. Lincoln’s unreadiness for the big time drove William Seward, Lincoln’s secretary of state, crazy. Seward put forward a plan to re-unite the Union by taking exception to how France and Spain were violating the Monroe Doctrine in response to internal American disarray by colonizing Mexico and the Dominican Republic, respectively. But Lincoln saw Seward’s clever idea as a personal diss and shut down all consideration of it.

    Always been iffy on that idea, Steve. The big danger facing the Union was foreign intervention on the side of the Confederacy. If the Union tried to confront say, France, ……..Well, maybe Napoleon III might have decided to back the South….

  27. “ Yes I have; please give my compliments to my friends in your State and say to them, that if a single drop of blood shall be shed there in opposition to the laws of the United States, I will hang the first man I can lay my hand on engaged in such treasonable conduct, upon the first tree I can reach.[68]

    Jackson must have been referring to nullification, which was a violation of the laws of the United States, and not secession, which wasn’t.

    • Replies: @anonymous
    @Opinionator

    Madison and jefferson were clear in their respective resolutions they wrote that nullification was essential to any law that was not made in persuance of the constitution. That's why the new england states were correct to threaten both secession and an absolute refusal to comply in a potential draft or war against britain. Or that is why wisconsin was correct to nullify and refuse to enforce the fugitive slave act, at an individual sheriff and jury level and all of the way up to the state supreme court. Keep in mind wisconsin was nullifying the fugitive slave act years before lincoln continued to enforce it during the middle of war!

    Replies: @josh

  28. @Opinionator
    @Sandy Berger's Socks

    A war was probably unavoidable

    Um, no. You don't force a people and their territory to be under your thumb without their consent. Pretty basic. Totally avoidable, unless imperialism is your bedrock premise.

    Replies: @syonredux

    A war was probably unavoidable

    Um, no. You don’t force a people and their territory to be under your thumb without their consent. Pretty basic. Totally avoidable, unless imperialism is your bedrock premise.

    Unless they are slaves…..Or pro-Union counties in Tennessee….

    • Replies: @Opinionator
    @syonredux

    The war wasn't fought to free the slaves. Don't be obtuse.

    And the states, not their counties, were the fundamental sovereign political unit, whether facing the federal government or the citizens of the states.

    Replies: @syonredux

    , @anonymous
    @syonredux

    The escaped slaves lincoln had caught and returned back to their masters even during the war, or the future slaves lincoln wanted to forever be adopted into the constitution?

    Replies: @syonredux

  29. @Opinionator
    @PhysicistDave


    The more I study this period, the more I lean toward the view that Lincoln actually wanted a war…
     
    Which may equivalent to saying Lincoln wanted the Southerners' territory. This was a land grab.

    Replies: @syonredux

    Which may equivalent to saying Lincoln wanted the Southerners’ territory. This was a land grab.

    Other way around, surely. Secession was an attempt to take territory away from the USA.

    • Replies: @Opinionator
    @syonredux

    The people of North Carolina had a stronger claim to the territory of North Carolina than did people in Maine.

    Replies: @Autochthon

  30. @Steve Sailer
    @Sandy Berger's Socks

    Somebody once said to Lincoln, "May you have God on your side."

    He replied, "I'd like to have God on my side, but I must have Kentucky on my side."

    He should have thought about that logic earlier when Tennessee and Virginia hadn't yet gone over to the other side.

    I mean, back then part of Virginia (now in West Virgina) went as far north as Pittsburgh. Losing Virginia to the Confederacy was a giant botch.

    Replies: @Sandy Berger's Socks

    Yes, Virginia was a prize; strategically and economically. But, the greatest prize for the confederacy, though, might have been the services of Robert E Lee.

    Despite all of Lincoln’s mistakes at the onset, George McClellan was at the gates of Richmond in 1862, with only, the less than aggressive, Jon Johnston, between him and fall of the Confederate capital.

  31. @PhysicistDave
    Clark Westwood wrote:

    The more I study this period, the more I lean toward the view that Lincoln actually wanted a war...
     
    I'm afraid that is true: the best academic study I know of the crisis is Ken Stampp's And The War Came: The North and The Secession Crisis, 1860-1861. Stampp seems to be pro-Lincoln, but reluctantly so.

    An interesting, popular, polemical look is Charles Adams' When In the Course of Human Events: Arguing the Case for Southern Secession. As the title indicates, Adams makes no pretense of being even-handed, and I find some of his conclusions unconvincing. But, he does have a lot of factual details that are rarely presented elsewhere.

    As Clark suggests, the grain of truth in the "mournful Lincoln" image is that neither Lincoln nor the Southern firebreathers had any sense of the scale of the bloodbath they were unleashing.

    Two readable, insightful, and mercifully brief books on the large-scale political events leading up to the crisis are Michael Holt's The Political Crisis of the 1850s and The Fate of Their Country.

    Holt's thesis in a nutshell is that Douglas was too clever by half in the game he played with Kansas-Nebraska ("popular sovereignty" and all that). That misstep, combined with other issues, notably including the debate over immigration (!) , destroyed the national two-party system that had held the country together, leading to the triumph of a purely sectional party, the Republicans, resulting in secession.

    Holt is a highly respected (and quite readable) academic historian. He convinced me.

    Dave Miller in Sacramento

    Replies: @Opinionator, @Clark Westwood, @RonaldB

    Thanks for the reading suggestions.

  32. @syonredux
    @Opinionator


    A war was probably unavoidable

    Um, no. You don’t force a people and their territory to be under your thumb without their consent. Pretty basic. Totally avoidable, unless imperialism is your bedrock premise.
     
    Unless they are slaves.....Or pro-Union counties in Tennessee....

    Replies: @Opinionator, @anonymous

    The war wasn’t fought to free the slaves. Don’t be obtuse.

    And the states, not their counties, were the fundamental sovereign political unit, whether facing the federal government or the citizens of the states.

    • Replies: @syonredux
    @Opinionator


    The war wasn’t fought to free the slaves. Don’t be obtuse.

     

    Dear fellow, I'm simply noting that the Confederates were not fighting in the name of freedom...

    And the states, not their counties, were the fundamental sovereign political unit, whether facing the federal government or the citizens of the states.
     
    Who says? Why can't units within a state attempt to secede?

    Replies: @Opinionator, @Opinionator

  33. @Opinionator
    @Jus' Sayin'...

    A better, more perspicacious President could probably have avoided the Civil War entirely.

    A moral man would have permitted the Southern states to secede.

    Replies: @syonredux, @Joe Franklin, @Reg Cæsar, @Corvinus

    A better, more perspicacious President could probably have avoided the Civil War entirely.

    A moral man would have permitted the Southern states to secede.

    Moral men wouldn’t have attempted to secede in the first place….

    • Replies: @Opinionator
    @syonredux

    moral wouldn’t have attempted to secede in the first place….


    Political independence and sovereignty is immoral? Uh, okay.

    Replies: @syonredux, @Ian M.

    , @jtgw
    @syonredux

    What if both are true at the same time? That Southerners (or anyone) had the right to unilaterally secede from the Union, but also that slaves had the right to stop working for their masters and to demand compensation for their time as slaves?

  34. @syonredux
    @Opinionator


    Which may equivalent to saying Lincoln wanted the Southerners’ territory. This was a land grab.
     
    Other way around, surely. Secession was an attempt to take territory away from the USA.

    Replies: @Opinionator

    The people of North Carolina had a stronger claim to the territory of North Carolina than did people in Maine.

    • Replies: @Autochthon
    @Opinionator

    I just want to observe before I leave off for work that reading your exchanges with Syonredux is hilarious. It is like watching a twelve-year-old, who, having once completed a course in first aid and now having a grossly mistaken estimation of his own faculties (Syonredux) argue about the beat practices for treating trauma with a veteran combat surgeon now serving as the chief of the emergency room in a gang-riddled corner of southern Chicago.

    If the guy weren't so smug, it'd be gauche of you, but under the circumstances, it is hilarious. Well played, sir.

    Replies: @Opinionator

  35. @syonredux
    @Opinionator


    A better, more perspicacious President could probably have avoided the Civil War entirely.

    A moral man would have permitted the Southern states to secede.
     
    Moral men wouldn't have attempted to secede in the first place....

    Replies: @Opinionator, @jtgw

    moral wouldn’t have attempted to secede in the first place….

    Political independence and sovereignty is immoral? Uh, okay.

    • Replies: @syonredux
    @Opinionator


    moral wouldn’t have attempted to secede in the first place….

    Political independence and sovereignty is immoral? Uh, okay.
     
    Treason is always immoral, dear fellow....

    Replies: @PhysicistDave, @Autochthon, @The Anti-Gnostic

    , @Ian M.
    @Opinionator


    Political independence and sovereignty is immoral? Uh, okay.
     
    Yes, if it involves rebelling against a legitimate sovereign authority, which the U.S. government was. The principles of consent of the governed, popular sovereignty, and self-determination are all liberal poppycock.

    The 19th-century conservative Catholic writer Orestes Brownson preferred the society and culture of the South to that of the North, but nevertheless wrote in The American Republic that the North's defeat of the South was a victory for legitimate authority against rebellion. Quite so.

    Replies: @Opinionator

  36. @Opinionator
    My personal feeling is that a military confrontation between the Union and South Carolina, font of the ideology that a slave owning oligarchy was the highest form of society, was inevitable at some point in the 19th Century

    Steve,

    Your post betrays a highly biased point of view. You seem to assume that the Northern states had some kind legal or moral authority to invade the South, subjugate it, and force it into the Empire. They had no such thing. As such, no confrontation was "necessary" because secession was a legal and natural right of the Southern people that did not harm the North. They should have had an amicable separation, with both sides enjoying greater independence and sovereignty.

    Why did the Union have to stay as it was? Why force people to live together if they don't want to?

    Replies: @syonredux

    Steve,

    Your post betrays a highly biased point of view. You seem to assume that the Northern states had some kind legal or moral authority to invade the South, subjugate it, and force it into the Empire. They had no such thing. As such, no confrontation was “necessary” because secession was a legal and natural right of the Southern people

    Dunno. There’s no unilateral exit clause in the Constitution (something that the Anti-Federalists kept pointing out). As for “natural rights,” Madison noted that, obviously, states could rebel in the name of the extra-Constitutional right of revolution, but that right could only be invoked in cases of tyranny…..And it would be pretty hard for the South to claim that as justification….

    that did not harm the North. They should have had an amicable separation, with both sides enjoying greater independence and sovereignty.

    Dunno. Given the actions of the French in Mexico, I’m fairly sure that splitting Anglo-America up into two rival power blocs would have meant big trouble…..

    Why did the Union have to stay as it was? Why force people to live together if they don’t want to?

    Why didn’t the Confederacy accept secession in Tennessee?

    • Replies: @Opinionator
    @syonredux

    Dunno. There’s no unilateral exit clause in the Constitution (something that the Anti-Federalists kept pointing out).

    The Constituition is a document of enumerated federal powers. The South had the far better legal argument, based on the constitutional structure, the Tenth Amendment, unilateral right to treaty withdrawal under international law, and common law contract and joint venture law (at-will right of withdrawal as default; right of withdrawal with money damages otherwise).

    As for “natural rights" Madison noted that, obviously, states could rebel in the name of the extra-Constitutional right

    This is secession, not rebellion.

    Replies: @syonredux, @Mark Caplan

    , @anonymous
    @syonredux


    As for “natural rights,” Madison noted that, obviously, states could rebel in the name of the extra-Constitutional right of revolution, but that right could only be invoked in cases of tyranny…..And it would be pretty hard for the South to claim that as justification….
     
    You mean like when lincoln threatened full military invasion of any state not collecting the full tariff rate during his Inaugural Address? Or shutting down newspapers who disagreed with him? Or intercepting letters critical of him? Or arresting people and having them thrown in jail without charge or trial for speaking out against him? Or signing an arrest warrant for a sitting supreme court judge?

    I am sure madison and jefferson would have welcomed such behavior with open arms!

    Replies: @Alden

  37. @Darwin
    One of Trump's admirable qualties (he has some less-than-admirable ones) is that he is willing to go against the conventional wisdom. In this case he is correct, and Steve's column is correct.

    All effort should have been made to avoid the Civil War, a bloody tragedy in which 700,000 young soldiers were killed, soldiers who overwhelmingly had nothing against each other and who in many cases were even friends and relatives.

    When South Carolina and the other gulf states like Georgia and Mississippi seceded, the key was whether the more populous and more reasonable states like Virginia, North Carolina and Tennessee would join them. Seward, a far stronger abolitionist than Lincoln, advocated negotiation with these border states, and if necessary letting the gulf states depart without violence, suggesting telling them, "Go in peace, wayward sisters."

    Steve is right that Lincoln rejected this approach, and that in the first five months after his election (in those days the presidential inauguration was not until March), concentrated on appointing postmasters rather than negotiating to keep Virginia in the Union.

    In all countries of the world except the US (some would argue also Haiti), slavery was abolished without war or significant violence. (In Haiti, under Toussaint Louverture, the slaves were freed, but the French later viciously counterattacked to slaughter and recapture them.) In the English colonies, for example, slavery was abolished under a compromise arrangement where the government compensated the slaveowners for their financial loss.

    If just the gulf states had been allowed to leave without violence, there is no way slavery could have continued there very long, as the only place in the world.

    Trump was making a reasonable point. What's happening here, of course, is the media jumping on any unconventional thing Trump says to make him out an idiot. And the "historians" who are weighing in to support this effort are either dissembling or are themselves quite ignorant on this issue.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer, @Opinionator, @syonredux, @Whoever

    In the English colonies, for example, slavery was abolished under a compromise arrangement where the government compensated the slaveowners for their financial loss.

    The UK compensated slave-owners to the tune of 20 million pounds (40% of the government’s total annual expenditure). What would it have cost to do something similar in the South?

    • Replies: @ziel
    @syonredux

    As late as December 1862 Lincoln was offering a buyout, and made a rather elaborate demographic argument to justify its affordability in his state of the union address. The south was not interested - one of the dumber decisions in the annals of American history, if not world history.

    Replies: @Opinionator

    , @Peripatetic commenter
    @syonredux

    I actually think that they should not have compensated anyone for engaging in an immoral trade.

    They probably should have hanged the slave traders as well.

  38. Anon • Disclaimer says:

    I remember reading that there was a fair amount of pro-Union sentiment in the South up until Lincoln called for enlistment of troops and the invasion of the South. This action shocked a lot of Southerners. Up until then, many Southerns had assumed Lincoln would deal with the attack on Ft. Sumter much like a local police action. Send enough muscle to defend the fort, and take into custody the attackers and try them in court, then send them to jail. Instead, the call for troops and invasion of the South stunned many Southerners, who only then realized they were being dealt with like a foreign enemy according to the rules of war, not as a people who were considered sovereign citizens of the same nation. Lincoln’s actions were seen as simply outrageous and a tremendous overreach of authority. As soon as the word of Lincoln’s actions spread, many Southerners who had been pro-Union did a 180-turn and became violently pro-secession in fury at Lincoln’s actions. I think Lincoln could have handled the situation far better and with much greater tact.

  39. @okie
    Remember that there were 5 months before inauguration back then. Sumter happened only a month after AL took office. A lot of the twitter snark i saw today about this was Buchanan bashing, which is probably right. If you think Ryan or McConnell is king log, he was them with executive power he neglected to use.

    Replies: @syonredux

    Remember that there were 5 months before inauguration back then. Sumter happened only a month after AL took office. A lot of the twitter snark i saw today about this was Buchanan bashing, which is probably right

    Buchanan was Gay…..

    • Replies: @okie
    @syonredux

    Yes, but other than the very obvious that he didn't have a stake in the next generation ( Which is a valid argument you can use against the nihilism of today's homos, but i a not so sure in those days where your extended family was so vital), that doesn't change the fact that he was Elected in 56 because neither north or south could pin a view on him and for Four years ( as undeclared war raged in KS) he stood idly by.

    You cant blame that on his bedroom habits, you can blame that on that he was, in a era where the old dems were dominant, he was the all purpose establishment pol, who made a virtue out of inaction. I think the McConnell analogy is apt as both are Washington creatures and Mitch's Spouse (a two time cabinet sec) may be a match to whomever JB had in the closet.

    , @Basil ransom
    @syonredux

    Andrew Jackson's nicknames for lifelong bachelor James Buchanan and his good friend/roommate Rufus king was: "aunt nancy and miss fancy".

  40. @Jus' Sayin'...
    A great historical analysis. Even within the States that seceded there was a large pro-union segment of the population. Besides the secession of West Virginia from Virginia, I know that Alabaman and Georgian regiments fought in the federal armies. I'd bet there were many other union regiments from other Confederate States. Lincoln is grotesquely over-rated as a President. A better, more perspicacious President could probably have avoided the Civil War entirely.

    Replies: @Opinionator, @syonredux

    Besides the secession of West Virginia from Virginia, I know that Alabaman and Georgian regiments fought in the federal armies. I’d bet there were many other union regiments from other Confederate States.

    25,000 men from North Carolina fought for the Union.So did 42,000 from Tennessee

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southern_Unionist

    • Replies: @The Man From K Street
    @syonredux


    25,000 men from North Carolina fought for the Union.So did 42,000 from Tennessee
     
    In fact, every seceding state (with the exception of South Carolina) fielded at least one white regiment (and in some cases several) that fought on the Union side. And it wasn't just eastern TN or western NC--there were huge areas of northern Alabama, the Texas Hill Country, and even the rugged parts of northern Georgia, that were essentially no-go zones for CSA authorities.

    These Unionist areas were, of course, the parts of the South where black slavery was much rarer.
  41. Why not negotiate a treaty with the Confederacy and let it go? Was the country really not big enough for both of them?

    My paternal great grandfather came from Norway to take advantage of the homestead act. Not to free the slaves. He got as far as Illinois where he was inducted into the Union Army. He lived to stake his claim minus his right leg below the knee. He was lucky. The war between the states was a gigantic bloody fuck up. It happened on Lincoln’s watch. Federalism remained enshrined in the constitution after being nullified at Appomattox. These United States became The United States. Lincoln was an Imperialist in my view.

    Jackson fought the previous incarnation of the FED and won. Wilson, another great American Imperialist, resurrected the bank, and gave us WWI and the IRS.

    Thanks for a great read.

  42. @Darwin
    One of Trump's admirable qualties (he has some less-than-admirable ones) is that he is willing to go against the conventional wisdom. In this case he is correct, and Steve's column is correct.

    All effort should have been made to avoid the Civil War, a bloody tragedy in which 700,000 young soldiers were killed, soldiers who overwhelmingly had nothing against each other and who in many cases were even friends and relatives.

    When South Carolina and the other gulf states like Georgia and Mississippi seceded, the key was whether the more populous and more reasonable states like Virginia, North Carolina and Tennessee would join them. Seward, a far stronger abolitionist than Lincoln, advocated negotiation with these border states, and if necessary letting the gulf states depart without violence, suggesting telling them, "Go in peace, wayward sisters."

    Steve is right that Lincoln rejected this approach, and that in the first five months after his election (in those days the presidential inauguration was not until March), concentrated on appointing postmasters rather than negotiating to keep Virginia in the Union.

    In all countries of the world except the US (some would argue also Haiti), slavery was abolished without war or significant violence. (In Haiti, under Toussaint Louverture, the slaves were freed, but the French later viciously counterattacked to slaughter and recapture them.) In the English colonies, for example, slavery was abolished under a compromise arrangement where the government compensated the slaveowners for their financial loss.

    If just the gulf states had been allowed to leave without violence, there is no way slavery could have continued there very long, as the only place in the world.

    Trump was making a reasonable point. What's happening here, of course, is the media jumping on any unconventional thing Trump says to make him out an idiot. And the "historians" who are weighing in to support this effort are either dissembling or are themselves quite ignorant on this issue.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer, @Opinionator, @syonredux, @Whoever

    All effort should have been made to avoid the Civil War, a bloody tragedy in which 700,000 young soldiers were killed, soldiers who overwhelmingly had nothing against each other and who in many cases were even friends and relatives.

    And after that massive extermination, to replace all those young men and the generations they would have fathered, we imported masses of Ellis Island types who radically changed the nature of our population and turned our cities into islands of aliens.
    I don’t have any direct ancestors who fought in the Civil War, as far as I know, but I do know of one on the direct line to me who set out for the east, determined to enlist and fight the seccesh, but he never got farther than Nebraska, the cavalry unit he joined ending up fighting in the Indian War of 1864-65.
    Had he succeeded in his ambition to join “General Crook’s boys,” he might well have become one of the fallen among the countless young men who perished in now-forgotten battles and I would never have been born.
    Multiply that little fact by hundreds of thousands of young men dead before they could become fathers and extend it down through the generations to today. Then we see what a terrible tragedy the Civil War truly was, and what monstrous criminals were those who allowed such a pointless, unnecessary war to take place.

    • Replies: @Hibernian
    @Whoever

    "And after that massive extermination, to replace all those young men and the generations they would have fathered, we imported masses of Ellis Island types who radically changed the nature of our population and turned our cities into islands of aliens."

    Mass immigration and urbanization were already well underway before 1860; Chicago went from the wild wild West to the site of Lincoln's nomination in 12 years, 1848-1860, with many German and Irish immigrants. Many German and a fair number of Irish immigrants served on the Union side.

    Replies: @Whoever

  43. Sean says:

    I have read that the Civil war was lost in the West to a greater extent than is generally realized. There are a few things about South Carolina that may have bearing on why firebrands were listened to. First, Carolina had many rice plantations, which were so labour intensive that nonslave labour was unprofitable, Also, a lot of originally good land in the state had been so depleted by the long standing plantations that it was being abandoned for clearance of the swamps. Cleared swamps retained malarial mosquitoes and only blacks with their resistance could work there at all . So there were severe woes afflicting the planters of South Carolina , in addition to price fluctuation, which the tariffs could be blamed for. Basically the most successful plantation owners were not in South Carolina, and lot of self styled aristocrats in the state were disgruntled that the state seemed to be losing ground.

    Sparely populated Mississippi, where the land was still being brought into the plantation system, was the biggest cotton producing state before the Civil war, and it had the wealthiest plantation owner in Northerner Steven Duncan–an opponent of secession who retired to the North at the outbreak of the war having made over a million dollars (safely invested in the North) out of his Southern business. Basically the most successful plantation owners were not in South Carolina, and lot of self styled aristocrats in the state were disgruntled that the state seemed to be losing ground. The South Carolina rich and aspiring to be rich, were not getting much richer, and so they looked for a solution.

    Asabiyyah comes from being up against it, the poor believe in national community because they might need help, the rich do not. As for Virginia, in which there was a great deal of relative poverty, I think it just considered itself part of the South. John Mosby a Virginian officer in the Confederate army during the American Civil War and the leader of the “Mosby’s Rangers” said ” I am not ashamed of having fought on the side of slavery, a soldier fights for his country, right or wrong, he is not responsible for the political merits of the course he fights in. The South was my country.”.

  44. okie says:
    @syonredux
    @okie


    Remember that there were 5 months before inauguration back then. Sumter happened only a month after AL took office. A lot of the twitter snark i saw today about this was Buchanan bashing, which is probably right
     
    Buchanan was Gay.....

    Replies: @okie, @Basil ransom

    Yes, but other than the very obvious that he didn’t have a stake in the next generation ( Which is a valid argument you can use against the nihilism of today’s homos, but i a not so sure in those days where your extended family was so vital), that doesn’t change the fact that he was Elected in 56 because neither north or south could pin a view on him and for Four years ( as undeclared war raged in KS) he stood idly by.

    You cant blame that on his bedroom habits, you can blame that on that he was, in a era where the old dems were dominant, he was the all purpose establishment pol, who made a virtue out of inaction. I think the McConnell analogy is apt as both are Washington creatures and Mitch’s Spouse (a two time cabinet sec) may be a match to whomever JB had in the closet.

  45. @Opinionator
    @Jus' Sayin'...

    A better, more perspicacious President could probably have avoided the Civil War entirely.

    A moral man would have permitted the Southern states to secede.

    Replies: @syonredux, @Joe Franklin, @Reg Cæsar, @Corvinus

    A better, more perspicacious President could probably have avoided the Civil War entirely.

    A moral man would have permitted the Southern states to secede.

    An intelligent and moral man would have first purchased freedom for chattel slaves, and then prohibited all future slave immigration to the US.

    It was much less expensive to buy slaves freedom than to fight a war against slavery.

    Lincoln chose instead to go to war primarily to prevent secession, not slavery.

    A slew of noxious constitutional amendments were also a result of Lincoln’s warmongering.

    The 14th amendment in particular is frequently construed by leftist to mean unlimited federal entitlements for special people.

    Perhaps that was Lincoln’s real intent?

    Federal warmongering dressed up as saving the union seems to be a constant excuse for destroying the people’s liberties.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    @Joe Franklin

    During the War, Lincoln brought up buying out slaveholders in Union slave states like Kentucky, but his initiative didn't seem to go anywhere.

    Replies: @Opinionator, @MC

    , @Almost Missouri
    @Joe Franklin

    The importation of additional slaves had been prohibited by Congress since 1808, 45 years prior to the Emancipation Proclamation.

    Otherwise, I agree with your comment.

    , @Gringo
    @Joe Franklin


    An intelligent and moral man would have first purchased freedom for chattel slaves, and then prohibited all future slave immigration to the US.
     
    1.In 1860, slaveholders weren't about to sell their slaves. Read the South Carolina Declaration of Secession and then tell me that those who wrote that document would have been willing to sell their slaves at market price in exchange for an end to slavery. :) The overriding theme of the document is the desire to preserve slavery- not to get a fair market price for their slaves in exchange for an end to slavery.

    A lot of the disagreements between North and South in the 1850s came from the South wanting to expand slavery into the West. That doesn't sound like people willing to abolish slavery and get paid market price for their freed slaves. I suggest you read about Bloody Kansas. Robert May's book, The Southern Dream of a Caribbean Empire, 1854-1861, documents the effort of slavery expansionists to extend US territory to the Caribbean- territory which would then become new territory for slaveholders. Attempts were made to purchase Cuba from Spain. Robert Walker's filibuster attempts to take over Nicaragua also included a proclamation to re-establish slavery.

    2. Importation of slaves into the US was prohibited effective January 1, 1808. Look it up.


    It was much less expensive to buy slaves freedom than to fight a war against slavery.
     
    You are correct. At the end of the war, many former slaveholders probably regretted that they hadn't sold their slaves instead of engaging in a ruinous war. However, very few slaveholders in 1861 were willing to sell their slaves at fair market price in exchange for an end to slavery. Read the South Carolina Declaration of Secession.

    Lincoln chose instead to go to war primarily to prevent secession, not slavery.
     
    Correct. Recall what Lincoln said.

    "If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that."
     

    Replies: @Steve Sailer, @res

  46. @syonredux
    @Opinionator


    Steve,

    Your post betrays a highly biased point of view. You seem to assume that the Northern states had some kind legal or moral authority to invade the South, subjugate it, and force it into the Empire. They had no such thing. As such, no confrontation was “necessary” because secession was a legal and natural right of the Southern people
     
    Dunno. There's no unilateral exit clause in the Constitution (something that the Anti-Federalists kept pointing out). As for "natural rights," Madison noted that, obviously, states could rebel in the name of the extra-Constitutional right of revolution, but that right could only be invoked in cases of tyranny.....And it would be pretty hard for the South to claim that as justification....

    that did not harm the North. They should have had an amicable separation, with both sides enjoying greater independence and sovereignty.
     
    Dunno. Given the actions of the French in Mexico, I'm fairly sure that splitting Anglo-America up into two rival power blocs would have meant big trouble.....

    Why did the Union have to stay as it was? Why force people to live together if they don’t want to?
     
    Why didn't the Confederacy accept secession in Tennessee?

    Replies: @Opinionator, @anonymous

    Dunno. There’s no unilateral exit clause in the Constitution (something that the Anti-Federalists kept pointing out).

    The Constituition is a document of enumerated federal powers. The South had the far better legal argument, based on the constitutional structure, the Tenth Amendment, unilateral right to treaty withdrawal under international law, and common law contract and joint venture law (at-will right of withdrawal as default; right of withdrawal with money damages otherwise).

    As for “natural rights” Madison noted that, obviously, states could rebel in the name of the extra-Constitutional right

    This is secession, not rebellion.

    • Replies: @syonredux
    @Opinionator


    The Constituition is a document of enumerated federal powers. The South had the far better legal argument, based on the constitutional structure, the Tenth Amendment, unilateral right to treaty withdrawal under international law, and common law contract and joint venture law (at-will right of withdrawal as default; right of withdrawal with money damages otherwise).
     
    And yet nobody bothered to insert language on the topic of unilateral secession in the Constitution,,,,And people (the Anti-Federalists) complained about the absence....

    As for “natural rights” Madison noted that, obviously, states could rebel in the name of the extra-Constitutional right

    This is secession, not rebellion.
     
    Potato, potahto, dear fellow. Revolution is only justified in the context of tyranny.....

    Replies: @Opinionator

    , @Mark Caplan
    @Opinionator

    Lincoln the lawyer argued the states had entered into a contract with the Union. It was called the Constitution. To dissolve the contract, both sides would have to agree to the new terms. One side isn't free to unilaterally reneg on a contract without penalties.

    Replies: @Opinionator

  47. “Any people, anywhere, being inclined and having the power, have the right to rise up and shake off the existing government, and form a new one that suits them better. This is a most valuable and most sacred right – a right which we hope and believe is to liberate the world. Nor is this right confined to cases in which the whole people of an existing government may choose to exercise it. Any portion of such people that can, may revolutionize, and make their own, of so many of the territory as they inhabit.”

    Abraham Lincoln
    January 12, 1848

    The South took Lincoln at his word. More fools they, I guess.

    • Replies: @Luke Lea
    @johnmark7

    I don't believe Lincoln said that. Google it.

    Replies: @PhysicistDave, @johnmark7

  48. @syonredux
    @Darwin


    In the English colonies, for example, slavery was abolished under a compromise arrangement where the government compensated the slaveowners for their financial loss.
     
    The UK compensated slave-owners to the tune of 20 million pounds (40% of the government's total annual expenditure). What would it have cost to do something similar in the South?

    Replies: @ziel, @Peripatetic commenter

    As late as December 1862 Lincoln was offering a buyout, and made a rather elaborate demographic argument to justify its affordability in his state of the union address. The south was not interested – one of the dumber decisions in the annals of American history, if not world history.

    • Replies: @Opinionator
    @ziel

    Tragic.

  49. @syonredux
    @Opinionator


    A better, more perspicacious President could probably have avoided the Civil War entirely.

    A moral man would have permitted the Southern states to secede.
     
    Moral men wouldn't have attempted to secede in the first place....

    Replies: @Opinionator, @jtgw

    What if both are true at the same time? That Southerners (or anyone) had the right to unilaterally secede from the Union, but also that slaves had the right to stop working for their masters and to demand compensation for their time as slaves?

  50. @Ivy
    Calhounism updated as Clintonism, only with figureheads now instead of more substantial characters. They don't make 'em as good as they used to, seems to be a trend whether politics or college students.

    Has there been any new development in keeping Jackson on the twenty?

    Replies: @Judah Benjamin Hur

    Has there been any new development in keeping Jackson on the twenty?

    I don’t care how often Trump says he loves Andrew Jackson, I just want to know if he keeps him on the $20. If not, we’ll know Trump is 100% phony.

    • Replies: @Dan Hayes
    @Judah Benjamin Hur

    Judah Benjamin Hur:

    Here's my response to your statement regarding Trump: he is 100% phony.

    Replies: @Autochthon

  51. @Steve Sailer
    @Gringo

    John Calhoun was not always anti-tariff. He voted in favor of the Tariff of 1816.

    One of the tragedies of the 19th Century was that slavery increasingly turned out to be extremely profitable. Early in the 19th Century, slavery was associated with tobacco growing, which exhausted the soil and wasn't that much of a growth industry. The latitudes west of Virginia weren't particularly for slave economies.

    But then cotton came along as Americans poured into the inland Cotton Belt, with the steam engine driving British demand for cotton. Cotton prices kept going up to 1859, giving Southerners a King Cotton self-confidence that there'd never be a recession in cotton prices. But the English stockpiling cotton from the South and looking around for new sources in Egypt, India, and Brazil. So when the South blockaded themselves in 1861 to hurt British industry to bring the Royal Navy into the war on the side of the South, it backfired hugely on the South and new sources of cotton were quickly developed.

    My guess is that the King Cotton bubble and accompanying Slavery Uber Alles bubble would have popped at some point in the 1860s or 1870s and then a quick civil war of pretty much everybody versus South Carolina would have brought about the advantages of a four year Civil War at the peak of the King Cotton bubble with an order of magnitude fewer deaths.

    Obviously, that's speculative, but it seems worth discussing.

    Replies: @AnotherDad, @Basil ransom, @RonaldB, @Rapparee

    One of the tragedies of the 19th Century was that slavery increasingly turned out to be extremely profitable.

    Cheap labor, the gift that keeps on stealing.

    • Replies: @jtgw
    @AnotherDad

    Except slaves had to be kept at their jobs by force, while immigrants remain voluntarily. I feel that if you entered the cost of keeping slaves on the plantations and hunting down fugitives, it wouldn't have been so profitable. Other whites had to be conscripted to ride posse.

    Replies: @Opinionator

    , @athEIst
    @AnotherDad

    while immigrants remain voluntarily.
    So they can voluntarily eat.

  52. @ziel
    @syonredux

    As late as December 1862 Lincoln was offering a buyout, and made a rather elaborate demographic argument to justify its affordability in his state of the union address. The south was not interested - one of the dumber decisions in the annals of American history, if not world history.

    Replies: @Opinionator

    Tragic.

  53. Based on the smug responses I see to Trump’s “what if” history I get the impression the average person thinks the civil war started because Lincoln signed the emancipation proclamation

    • Agree: Opinionator
    • Replies: @anonymous
    @Erik L

    At least 95% of the general public believe lincoln freed the slaves with the emancipation proclamation. Not until one actually reads the exemptions given to any area not controlled by the north down to a county level does one realize how hilarious this propaganda repeated in the media and in public schools is. Read it for yourself to see what I mean.

    , @res
    @Erik L

    Well, if that's essentially what they are being taught in school it is hard to blame them too much.

  54. And, BTW this kind of discussion, by people who clearly know far more about history than I, is exactly what the response should have been (in my idealized world).

    Imagine if, in place of comedians doing jokes about Trump being an idiot, we had shows in which historians for teams to debate this? Ok, fine crap ratings but could be good

    • Replies: @johnmark7
    @Erik L

    In the early days of TV, they used to have such kind of shows where eggheads would discuss topics like this.

    Early TV needed content badly and turned to Broadway-like drama for teleplays (Rod Serling, Paddy Chayevski et al) intellectual game shows (The "rigged" $64,000 Question), and talking egghead panels among all the other dreck it offered.

    People were smarter (and better informed) about culture then. Anyone with a high school education knew who Hemingway and Robert Frost were, even if they were future gear heads in auto shop.

    Movies for the hoi polloi assumed a much higher level of common cultural markers that could be alluded to.

    Replies: @Hibernian

  55. @Joe Franklin
    @Opinionator


    A better, more perspicacious President could probably have avoided the Civil War entirely.

    A moral man would have permitted the Southern states to secede.

     

    An intelligent and moral man would have first purchased freedom for chattel slaves, and then prohibited all future slave immigration to the US.

    It was much less expensive to buy slaves freedom than to fight a war against slavery.

    Lincoln chose instead to go to war primarily to prevent secession, not slavery.

    A slew of noxious constitutional amendments were also a result of Lincoln's warmongering.

    The 14th amendment in particular is frequently construed by leftist to mean unlimited federal entitlements for special people.

    Perhaps that was Lincoln's real intent?

    Federal warmongering dressed up as saving the union seems to be a constant excuse for destroying the people's liberties.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer, @Almost Missouri, @Gringo

    During the War, Lincoln brought up buying out slaveholders in Union slave states like Kentucky, but his initiative didn’t seem to go anywhere.

    • Replies: @Opinionator
    @Steve Sailer

    Southerners may have perceived the slavery issue as a sign of things to come, evidence of a trend toward the gradual erosion--and eventual loss--of their sovereignty as the North filled up with people.

    Replies: @syonredux, @Reg Cæsar

    , @MC
    @Steve Sailer

    Buying out slaveowners was part of Joseph Smith's (quixotic) presidential campaign platform in 1844, the year he was killed.
    https://www.lds.org/ensign/2009/02/joseph-smith-campaign-for-president-of-the-united-states?lang=eng

  56. @Clark Westwood

    Unfortunately, Lincoln didn’t seem to perceive the significance of the national crisis, devoting much of his energy during his first six weeks in the White House to interviewing Republican volunteers seeking local postmaster jobs.
     
    The more I study this period, the more I lean toward the view that Lincoln actually wanted a war and, to that end, snookered the South into firing on Sumter and then called for 75,000 volunteers while knowing full well that doing so would cause the border states to secede.

    The "mournful" Lincoln whom everyone thinks of in connection with the war came later, when he realized that he had launched a bloody mess that was vastly more horrific than he had ever imagined. IMO.

    Replies: @Massimo Heitor, @RonaldB, @Millennial

    How did Lincoln “snooker” a sophisticated, politically-experienced leader like Jefferson Davis to attack? This was Davis blunder. Davis was warned to his face by Robert Toombs that attacking
    Fort Sumter would destroy the confederacy they had worked so hard to establish.

    The best and only strategy for the Confederacy was to avoid war with the much more populous and industrialized North. The loss of the Confederacy can be laid directly at Davis doorstep.

    • Replies: @CAL
    @RonaldB

    The argument of party X tricked (or forced, snookered, etc.) party Y into doing something is the worst sort of history. It is an attempt to make party X look like some 10th dimensional chess player manipulating the innocent and naive rubes of the other side. It's like conspiracy theories that involve the collusion of hundreds or thousands of people.

    Anyways, Lincoln's policy, right or wrong, was to let the South rant and rave while the Federal gov't continued to maintain and protect Federal property in the South. He hoped the South would just tire out and then things could be settled without dissolving the Union.

    Besides material considerations, the South lost the war because Jeff Davis was a horrible leader. He started the war. He allowed threats to Midwest agricultural shipments down the Mississippi to happen instead of doing everything in his power to allay such fears. Except for Lee he was horrible at choosing generals. The cotton embargo was a disaster. It was one mis-step after another.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer, @RonaldB

    , @Clark Westwood
    @RonaldB


    How did Lincoln “snooker” a sophisticated, politically-experienced leader like Jefferson Davis to attack? This was Davis blunder.
     
    Of course it was a blunder. That's my point. Lincoln outmaneuvered the Southern leaders so that he'd get the war he wanted while also being able to claim that the South "fired the first shots" -- a propaganda coup that has served the establishment well ever since, by the way.

    Replies: @Opinionator

  57. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Incidentally, Jacksonianism was at odds with the protectionist and pro-banking positions, represented by Bannon and Kushner/Cohn, respectively, that seem to dominate the Trump administration. From Rothbard’s A History of Money and Banking in the United States: The Colonial Era to World War II:

    Indeed, no movement in American politics has been as flagrantly
    misunderstood by historians as the Jacksonians. They
    were emphatically not, as historians until recently have
    depicted, either “ignorant anti-capitalist agrarians,” or “representatives
    of the rising entrepreneurial class,” or “tools of the
    inflationary state banks,” or embodiments of an early proletarian
    anticapitalist movement or a nonideological power group or
    “electoral machine.” The Jacksonians were libertarians, plain
    and simple. Their program and ideology were libertarian; they
    strongly favored free enterprise and free markets, but they just
    as strongly opposed special subsidies and monopoly privileges
    conveyed by government to business or to any other group.
    They favored absolutely minimal government, certainly at the
    federal level, but also at the state level. They believed that government
    should be confined to upholding the rights of private
    property. In the monetary sphere, this meant the separation of
    government from the banking system and a shift from inflationary
    paper money and fractional reserve banking to pure
    specie and banks confined to 100-percent reserves.

  58. anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @syonredux
    @Opinionator


    Steve,

    Your post betrays a highly biased point of view. You seem to assume that the Northern states had some kind legal or moral authority to invade the South, subjugate it, and force it into the Empire. They had no such thing. As such, no confrontation was “necessary” because secession was a legal and natural right of the Southern people
     
    Dunno. There's no unilateral exit clause in the Constitution (something that the Anti-Federalists kept pointing out). As for "natural rights," Madison noted that, obviously, states could rebel in the name of the extra-Constitutional right of revolution, but that right could only be invoked in cases of tyranny.....And it would be pretty hard for the South to claim that as justification....

    that did not harm the North. They should have had an amicable separation, with both sides enjoying greater independence and sovereignty.
     
    Dunno. Given the actions of the French in Mexico, I'm fairly sure that splitting Anglo-America up into two rival power blocs would have meant big trouble.....

    Why did the Union have to stay as it was? Why force people to live together if they don’t want to?
     
    Why didn't the Confederacy accept secession in Tennessee?

    Replies: @Opinionator, @anonymous

    As for “natural rights,” Madison noted that, obviously, states could rebel in the name of the extra-Constitutional right of revolution, but that right could only be invoked in cases of tyranny…..And it would be pretty hard for the South to claim that as justification….

    You mean like when lincoln threatened full military invasion of any state not collecting the full tariff rate during his Inaugural Address? Or shutting down newspapers who disagreed with him? Or intercepting letters critical of him? Or arresting people and having them thrown in jail without charge or trial for speaking out against him? Or signing an arrest warrant for a sitting supreme court judge?

    I am sure madison and jefferson would have welcomed such behavior with open arms!

    • Replies: @Alden
    @anonymous

    Lincoln signed an arrest warrant for a suprem court judge? Good for him!!!

  59. @Judah Benjamin Hur
    @Ivy


    Has there been any new development in keeping Jackson on the twenty?
     
    I don't care how often Trump says he loves Andrew Jackson, I just want to know if he keeps him on the $20. If not, we'll know Trump is 100% phony.

    Replies: @Dan Hayes

    Judah Benjamin Hur:

    Here’s my response to your statement regarding Trump: he is 100% phony.

    • Replies: @Autochthon
    @Dan Hayes

    Exactly. Jackson will be unpersoned exactly as planned despite Trump's election. The most recent nonsense (it is flying fast and furiously, so it can be hard to spot it all...) is the statement that NATO, obsolete a few short months ago, is now no longer obsolete.


    I said it was obsolete; it's no longer obsolete.
     
    Those are his recent words, verbatim. They insult the listener's intelligence, being nonsense to anyone who has the slightest understanding of the word's meaning. Alternatively, the statement suggests the speaker himself has no idea what "obsolete" means. (Quaere: Which is worse...?

    During a long drive I recently explained the life and works of Mr. Jackson to my fiancée, a foreigner unfamiliar with such matters, and her astonishment and admiration amounted to, "How is this man not on the $1.00 note? How come he doesn't have a big memorial in Washington like these other presidents?!"

    The answer, in my opinion, is simple: He was a white southerner, and he didn't write the Declaration of Independence nor serve as the first president – which singular distinctions have so far made it effectively impossible to throw Jefferson and Washington under the bus, but not for want of effort! I predict the statues of Jefferson Davis, Nathan Forrest, Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson, and Robert Lee being dismantled today as those great men are unpersoned will be soon enough followed by the similar unpersoning of Jefferson and Washington.
  60. Slavery was obviously a yuge mistake. I think we can all agree on that now.

  61. @Sandy Berger's Socks
    Lincoln's heavy handed demand for 75,000 troops after Fort Sumter, basically drove the states of the upper/border south into the arms of the confederacy.

    A war was probably unavoidable, but Lincoln's early misteps made it a much larger and bloodier affair than it had to be.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer, @Opinionator, @RonaldB

    “A war was probably unavoidable…”

    Why?

    The Northern population was very divided on hostilities. Lincoln needed a rallying point to actually initiate a war, whatever his inclinations. The abominable diplomatic moves by Jefferson Davis gave Lincoln exactly what he needed.

    In fact, Fort Sumter was no threat. It was staffed by less than 100 men who had to be supplied by rowboat. Lincoln had already agreed to not reinforce the garrison. The proper move would have been for the Confederacy to supply food and living provisions to the men at Fort Sumter, denying them additional men or military supplies.

    The Confederacy leadership was feeling its oats, making impulsive, irrational decisions, and it cost them the Confederacy.

    • Replies: @Opinionator
    @RonaldB

    The Confederacy leadership was feeling its oats, making impulsive, irrational decisions, and it cost them the Confederacy.

    Did thr "Confederacy leadership" really author the firing on Fort Sumter?

    And the firing on Fort Sumter did not justify the killing of 650,000 of the country's best young men.

    Replies: @syonredux

  62. anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Serious question for everyone here, especially the defenders of lincoln: why do you think lincoln is loved by open marxist and neocon intellectuals at an almost universal level? Or why is he practically worshipped by the american. mainstream media? The same people who despise sites like unz, despise vdare, despise any call to restrict borders or not engage in war abroad, promote multi gender and transexual nonsense, worship israel, etc.

    Why do you think this is the case, especially considering the negative views these groups tend to have about thomas jefferson and even madison?

  63. @Steve Sailer
    @Joe Franklin

    During the War, Lincoln brought up buying out slaveholders in Union slave states like Kentucky, but his initiative didn't seem to go anywhere.

    Replies: @Opinionator, @MC

    Southerners may have perceived the slavery issue as a sign of things to come, evidence of a trend toward the gradual erosion–and eventual loss–of their sovereignty as the North filled up with people.

    • Replies: @syonredux
    @Opinionator


    Southerners may have perceived the slavery issue as a sign of things to come, evidence of a trend toward the gradual erosion–and eventual loss–of their sovereignty as the North filled up with people.
     
    Or, perhaps Southern elites simply thought that slavery was really great. Cf Alexander Stephens "Cornerstone" speech:

    But not to be tedious in enumerating the numerous changes for the better, allow me to allude to one other though last, not least. The new constitution has put at rest, forever, all the agitating questions relating to our peculiar institution African slavery as it exists amongst us the proper status of the negro in our form of civilization. This was the immediate cause of the late rupture and present revolution. Jefferson in his forecast, had anticipated this, as the “rock upon which the old Union would split.” He was right. What was conjecture with him, is now a realized fact. But whether he fully comprehended the great truth upon which that rock stood and stands, may be doubted. The prevailing ideas entertained by him and most of the leading statesmen at the time of the formation of the old constitution, were that the enslavement of the African was in violation of the laws of nature; that it was wrong in principle, socially, morally, and politically. It was an evil they knew not well how to deal with, but the general opinion of the men of that day was that, somehow or other in the order of Providence, the institution would be evanescent and pass away. This idea, though not incorporated in the constitution, was the prevailing idea at that time. The constitution, it is true, secured every essential guarantee to the institution while it should last, and hence no argument can be justly urged against the constitutional guarantees thus secured, because of the common sentiment of the day. Those ideas, however, were fundamentally wrong. They rested upon the assumption of the equality of races. This was an error. It was a sandy foundation, and the government built upon it fell when the “storm came and the wind blew.”
     
    , @Reg Cæsar
    @Opinionator


    evidence of a trend toward the gradual erosion–and eventual loss–of their sovereignty as the North filled up with people...
     
    ...while the South filled up with Negroes.

    Replies: @Opinionator, @syonredux

  64. @RonaldB
    @Sandy Berger's Socks

    "A war was probably unavoidable..."

    Why?

    The Northern population was very divided on hostilities. Lincoln needed a rallying point to actually initiate a war, whatever his inclinations. The abominable diplomatic moves by Jefferson Davis gave Lincoln exactly what he needed.

    In fact, Fort Sumter was no threat. It was staffed by less than 100 men who had to be supplied by rowboat. Lincoln had already agreed to not reinforce the garrison. The proper move would have been for the Confederacy to supply food and living provisions to the men at Fort Sumter, denying them additional men or military supplies.

    The Confederacy leadership was feeling its oats, making impulsive, irrational decisions, and it cost them the Confederacy.

    Replies: @Opinionator

    The Confederacy leadership was feeling its oats, making impulsive, irrational decisions, and it cost them the Confederacy.

    Did thr “Confederacy leadership” really author the firing on Fort Sumter?

    And the firing on Fort Sumter did not justify the killing of 650,000 of the country’s best young men.

    • Replies: @syonredux
    @Opinionator


    The Confederacy leadership was feeling its oats, making impulsive, irrational decisions, and it cost them the Confederacy.

    Did thr “Confederacy leadership” really author the firing on Fort Sumter?
     
    They were stupid enough to fire the first shot, dear fellow. Lincoln proved the superior strategist....

    And the firing on Fort Sumter did not justify the killing of 650,000 of the country’s best young men.
     
    The Confederate desire to kill in the name of slavery was pretty strong...

    Replies: @Reg Cæsar, @Opinionator

  65. Interesting. I have never heard these ideas expressed before, especially regarding Lincoln’s tardiness in heading off the crisis. It it original?

    • Replies: @PhysicistDave
    @Luke Lea

    Luke Lea asked:


    Interesting. I have never heard these ideas expressed before, especially regarding Lincoln’s tardiness in heading off the crisis. It it original?
     
    Among people with a serious interest in American history, all of this discussion has been going on for a very long time: I remember some of it from my high-school days five decades ago (I have changed some of my opinions since: I am now both more critical of Lincoln and more sympathetic to the abolitionists).

    As you can see, the issues are quite complex: possible parallel histories, various alternative policies, arguments about the motives of the various players, debates about the legal/constitutional issues, etc.

    Of course, such a discussion can only occur among people who agree that these issues are debatable, which our current popular culture will not concede.

    Dave
  66. @Steve Sailer
    @Darwin

    The main way the South could have won the Civil War was if Robert E. Lee's Virginians broke into, say, Pennsylvania, won a giant battle at, say, Gettsyburg, and then descended upon a defenseless Washington DC (or Philadelphia or New York).

    As it turned out that almost happened on the first and third days of Gettysburg.

    But if Lincoln had kept Virginia in the Union, then the border would have been North Carolina, and maybe North Carolina could have been kept out of the Confederacy, putting the border not right outside Washington DC, but outside of Charleston.

    Replies: @AnotherDad, @Charles Erwin Wilson, @Lot

    As it turned out that almost happened on the first and third days of Gettysburg.

    I’ve generally seen the 2nd day as the South’s “almost” high water mark. If Longstreet could have turned the Union left where the Corps commander Sickles had pushed too far west to the peach orchard, the South might have been able to rout the Union army. And it seems like it was a close run thing with a lot of early success destroying Sickles corps in the Peach Orchard and Wheatfield and getting onto the edge of Cemetery Ridge before Union reinforcements arrive, and a famously close run thing further right at Little Round Top. The 3rd day in contrast just a debacle for the South–huge mistake by Lee.

    My 10,000 foot take however, is that this stuff wasn’t really the point. The South wasn’t going to win a manpower/GDP war. If Southerners really wanted secession they needed a better political approach
    –secession a fundamental right of all peoples, a requirement for freedom, analogies to revolution
    — we’re better off separated; we can both get what we want without continual fighting
    — we can be friends, or even brothers living in separate houses; friendly resolution of issues like Mississippi river shipping; we’ll work well together; and if it seems more beneficial later to each of us to rejoin, we can do so
    Instead the SC hotheads fired on Fort Sumter.

    My 100,000 foot take. Secession was stupid. The South would have had to become an absolute police state to make slavery work with such a long an near border. Anyone with any sense of “where things were heading” with the steam engine, railroads, the industrial revolution, would see that slavery was a dying system.

    The South unfortunately had short-sighted, greedy, pompous leadership willing to destroy the nation to keep their cheap labor jollies going. Come to think of it … exactly like the leadership of the US today!

    • Replies: @Opinionator
    @AnotherDad

    My 100,000 foot take. Secession was stupid. The South would have had to become an absolute police state to make slavery work with such a long an near border. Anyone with any sense of “where things were heading” with the steam engine, railroads, the industrial revolution, would see that slavery was a dying system.

    The writing was on the wall with the population explosion in the North. Remaining in the Union meant eventual de facto loss of sovereignty, territory, peoplehood. If true, it cannot be said that secession was stupid, although the way they went about it can be criticized.

    Perhaps the situation is not so unlike the one prevailing in the United States today, given mass immigration.

    Replies: @syonredux

    , @Lot
    @AnotherDad

    Well said. The South could have saved itself from demographic disaster, one fifth of its military-age white male population killed fighting an unwinnable war, and prolonged its profitable system of slavery a few more decades, ending with the same gradual emancipation that ended slavery in Pennsylvania and a few other Northern states. The fortune spent on civil war could instead have been used for African repatriation.

    Replies: @Mark Caplan

  67. anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @Erik L
    Based on the smug responses I see to Trump's "what if" history I get the impression the average person thinks the civil war started because Lincoln signed the emancipation proclamation

    Replies: @anonymous, @res

    At least 95% of the general public believe lincoln freed the slaves with the emancipation proclamation. Not until one actually reads the exemptions given to any area not controlled by the north down to a county level does one realize how hilarious this propaganda repeated in the media and in public schools is. Read it for yourself to see what I mean.

  68. @PhysicistDave
    Clark Westwood wrote:

    The more I study this period, the more I lean toward the view that Lincoln actually wanted a war...
     
    I'm afraid that is true: the best academic study I know of the crisis is Ken Stampp's And The War Came: The North and The Secession Crisis, 1860-1861. Stampp seems to be pro-Lincoln, but reluctantly so.

    An interesting, popular, polemical look is Charles Adams' When In the Course of Human Events: Arguing the Case for Southern Secession. As the title indicates, Adams makes no pretense of being even-handed, and I find some of his conclusions unconvincing. But, he does have a lot of factual details that are rarely presented elsewhere.

    As Clark suggests, the grain of truth in the "mournful Lincoln" image is that neither Lincoln nor the Southern firebreathers had any sense of the scale of the bloodbath they were unleashing.

    Two readable, insightful, and mercifully brief books on the large-scale political events leading up to the crisis are Michael Holt's The Political Crisis of the 1850s and The Fate of Their Country.

    Holt's thesis in a nutshell is that Douglas was too clever by half in the game he played with Kansas-Nebraska ("popular sovereignty" and all that). That misstep, combined with other issues, notably including the debate over immigration (!) , destroyed the national two-party system that had held the country together, leading to the triumph of a purely sectional party, the Republicans, resulting in secession.

    Holt is a highly respected (and quite readable) academic historian. He convinced me.

    Dave Miller in Sacramento

    Replies: @Opinionator, @Clark Westwood, @RonaldB

    I haven’t read the books.

    Yet, from my reading, I think tariffs and abolition were not reasonable causes for secession. The tariffs before secession were actually very low, and higher tariffs would never have gotten through congress if the representatives from the Confederate states had remained in the US Congress.

    Similarly, with the abolition laws, the Fugitive Slave act, and the Dred Scott decision, and the vow of Lincoln to preserve slavery in slave states, slavery was simply not threatened where it already existed.

    Paradoxically, slavery itself may have been supported by the large landowners at the expense of the small, yeoman subsistence farmer, but it was those farmers that were the heart of the Confederate army. This implies that in a few years, the South would have been much less capable of defending itself, as the small farmers were forced off the land by the cotton plantations…and conceivably, the Confederacy itself would have become unstable by the social dislocation of impoverishing the small farmers.

    My feeling is that slavery would have lasted no more than 10 or 15 years from 1860. Besides the technological advancements making slavery unprofitable, the Southern leadership was educated and in tune with Western civilization. They would have simply abolished slavery and bought out the slaves, as England had done. Many slaves were dragooned into serving the union army after capture. All in all, almost nobody would have been worse off had the Civil War been avoided.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    @RonaldB

    Southerners were much more apologetic about slavery earlier in the century.

    Replies: @syonredux, @johnmark7

    , @Opinionator
    @RonaldB

    Yet, from my reading, I think tariffs and abolition were not reasonable causes for secession.

    What cause is needed besides the desire for independence?

    Replies: @RonaldB

    , @Corvinus
    @RonaldB

    "My feeling is that slavery would have lasted no more than 10 or 15 years from 1860."

    And be forced to pay wages to emancipated, uneducated, unassimilable blacks? The southern plantation big-wigs would have their profit margins significantly cut.

    "Besides the technological advancements making slavery unprofitable, the Southern leadership was educated and in tune with Western civilization."

    Would this "enlightened" group been likely to grant citizenship rights to former slaves who constituted the majority of the population?

    "All in all, almost nobody would have been worse off had the Civil War been avoided."

    Except southern freed blacks. Would southern governments have likely provided services to them? educational opportunities? political rights?

    Replies: @RebelWriter

    , @PhysicistDave
    @RonaldB

    RonaldB wrote to me:


    Similarly, with the abolition laws, the Fugitive Slave act, and the Dred Scott decision, and the vow of Lincoln to preserve slavery in slave states, slavery was simply not threatened where it already existed.
     
    In the short term, I agree.

    However, given that a Northern sectional party that was unfriendly to slavery had taken control of the national government, I think it was reasonable for Southern supporters of slavery to suppose that, sooner or later, the Republicans would succeed in extinguishing slavery. Of course, the act of secession ended up guaranteeing that it would be "sooner" rather than "later."

    In short, Southern supporters of slavery made a reasonable gamble (given their values, which I do not share) but lost.

    RonaldB also wrote:

    My feeling is that slavery would have lasted no more than 10 or 15 years from 1860.
     
    Well, maybe. Hard to say even with the advantage of hindsight. I suppose the secessionists reached a different conclusion.

    I agree with you that tariffs were not the central issue. On the other hand, we are talking about decisions made by hundreds of thousands of people to support secession, and, no doubt, different people had different motives and many people had mixed motives.

    I myself suspect that the most important motive may simply have been a sense of Southern pride: most Southerners would not tolerate being pushed around by Yankees, whatever the detailed policy issues.

    Dave

    N.B. To everyone: I am not condoning slavery or the decision to secede. I am merely trying to understand, along with RonaldB, why the South made a decision that ultimately proved catastrophic even from the Southern perspective.

    Replies: @Autochthon

  69. @PhysicistDave
    I saw one of CNN's anchor morons, Don Lemon, leading a discussion about how stupid Trump was to think that Jackson could have prevented the Civil War. Of course, rather than actually discuss the matter, the conversation consisted mainly of reaffirming how evil Old Hickory was.

    For the record, Jackson was surely no saint (a point I am sure he would have confirmed!). Yes, he was a slaveowner, was beastly to Amerindians, etc. But, that was not the point Trump made or that the Lemon and his panelists claimed to be discussing.

    Dave

    Replies: @Ivy, @RonaldB

    I love the term “Amerindians”.

    • Replies: @Opinionator
    @RonaldB

    Why?

    Replies: @RonaldB

  70. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    If you recall Ron Paul was mocked in 2008 or 2012 for saying that the Civil War was unnecessary. Of course the guy who asked the question did so to deliberately make Paul look like a fool. I mean what other presidential candidate in recent history has been asked for his views on the Civil War.

    In response to such an irrelevant question Paul stated that the Union should have purchased the slaves from their owners and attempted to end slavery without a war. He pointed out this had been done in the British West Indies. Of course Paul was torched. He was asked if he knew how much money it would have costed? He replied that it would have been far less than the 600K killed and the untold property damage done as well as the damage done in the relations among the states.

    • Replies: @Charles Erwin Wilson
    @Anonymous


    He replied that it would have been far less than the 600K killed and the untold property damage done as well as the damage done in the relations among the states.
     
    And he was right.
  71. @Steve Sailer
    @Gringo

    John Calhoun was not always anti-tariff. He voted in favor of the Tariff of 1816.

    One of the tragedies of the 19th Century was that slavery increasingly turned out to be extremely profitable. Early in the 19th Century, slavery was associated with tobacco growing, which exhausted the soil and wasn't that much of a growth industry. The latitudes west of Virginia weren't particularly for slave economies.

    But then cotton came along as Americans poured into the inland Cotton Belt, with the steam engine driving British demand for cotton. Cotton prices kept going up to 1859, giving Southerners a King Cotton self-confidence that there'd never be a recession in cotton prices. But the English stockpiling cotton from the South and looking around for new sources in Egypt, India, and Brazil. So when the South blockaded themselves in 1861 to hurt British industry to bring the Royal Navy into the war on the side of the South, it backfired hugely on the South and new sources of cotton were quickly developed.

    My guess is that the King Cotton bubble and accompanying Slavery Uber Alles bubble would have popped at some point in the 1860s or 1870s and then a quick civil war of pretty much everybody versus South Carolina would have brought about the advantages of a four year Civil War at the peak of the King Cotton bubble with an order of magnitude fewer deaths.

    Obviously, that's speculative, but it seems worth discussing.

    Replies: @AnotherDad, @Basil ransom, @RonaldB, @Rapparee

    That’s an interesting question. No doubt it would’ve been hard for the confederacy to weather a continuing “cotton economy “especially since there were so much increased foreign competition, native soil depletion and Future infestations of the cotton weevil.

    How much was the abolishment of slavery in evitable because of technology and increased efficiency? Hard to say. “Time on the cross”authors suggest that slavery was profitable and that better industrial machinery could/would’ve made it even more profitable. Also slave countries like Cuba in Brazil started to utilize industrial technology prior to the abolition of slavery. Had the Brazilian emperor not been a staunch abolitionist, it’s doubtful slavery would’ve been abolished there.

    All in all, it’s difficult to say whether slavery could’ve survived the 20th century
    If the south won the war. However, the real history of what happened was tragic enough.

  72. @AnotherDad
    @Steve Sailer


    As it turned out that almost happened on the first and third days of Gettysburg.
     
    I've generally seen the 2nd day as the South's "almost" high water mark. If Longstreet could have turned the Union left where the Corps commander Sickles had pushed too far west to the peach orchard, the South might have been able to rout the Union army. And it seems like it was a close run thing with a lot of early success destroying Sickles corps in the Peach Orchard and Wheatfield and getting onto the edge of Cemetery Ridge before Union reinforcements arrive, and a famously close run thing further right at Little Round Top. The 3rd day in contrast just a debacle for the South--huge mistake by Lee.

    My 10,000 foot take however, is that this stuff wasn't really the point. The South wasn't going to win a manpower/GDP war. If Southerners really wanted secession they needed a better political approach
    --secession a fundamental right of all peoples, a requirement for freedom, analogies to revolution
    -- we're better off separated; we can both get what we want without continual fighting
    -- we can be friends, or even brothers living in separate houses; friendly resolution of issues like Mississippi river shipping; we'll work well together; and if it seems more beneficial later to each of us to rejoin, we can do so
    Instead the SC hotheads fired on Fort Sumter.

    My 100,000 foot take. Secession was stupid. The South would have had to become an absolute police state to make slavery work with such a long an near border. Anyone with any sense of "where things were heading" with the steam engine, railroads, the industrial revolution, would see that slavery was a dying system.

    The South unfortunately had short-sighted, greedy, pompous leadership willing to destroy the nation to keep their cheap labor jollies going. Come to think of it ... exactly like the leadership of the US today!

    Replies: @Opinionator, @Lot

    My 100,000 foot take. Secession was stupid. The South would have had to become an absolute police state to make slavery work with such a long an near border. Anyone with any sense of “where things were heading” with the steam engine, railroads, the industrial revolution, would see that slavery was a dying system.

    The writing was on the wall with the population explosion in the North. Remaining in the Union meant eventual de facto loss of sovereignty, territory, peoplehood. If true, it cannot be said that secession was stupid, although the way they went about it can be criticized.

    Perhaps the situation is not so unlike the one prevailing in the United States today, given mass immigration.

    • Replies: @syonredux
    @Opinionator


    The writing was on the wall with the population explosion in the North. Remaining in the Union meant eventual de facto loss of sovereignty, territory, peoplehood. If true, it cannot be said that secession was stupid, although the way they went about it can be criticized.
     
    And, of course, Southern "peoplehood" was based on slavery.....

    Perhaps the situation is not so unlike the one prevailing in the United States today, given mass immigration.
     
    With the South being like the pro-immigration activists. Cf their desire for more and more Blacks....In 1860, Mississippi was 55% Black....

    Replies: @Opinionator

  73. anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @Opinionator

    “ Yes I have; please give my compliments to my friends in your State and say to them, that if a single drop of blood shall be shed there in opposition to the laws of the United States, I will hang the first man I can lay my hand on engaged in such treasonable conduct, upon the first tree I can reach.[68]
     
    Jackson must have been referring to nullification, which was a violation of the laws of the United States, and not secession, which wasn't.

    Replies: @anonymous

    Madison and jefferson were clear in their respective resolutions they wrote that nullification was essential to any law that was not made in persuance of the constitution. That’s why the new england states were correct to threaten both secession and an absolute refusal to comply in a potential draft or war against britain. Or that is why wisconsin was correct to nullify and refuse to enforce the fugitive slave act, at an individual sheriff and jury level and all of the way up to the state supreme court. Keep in mind wisconsin was nullifying the fugitive slave act years before lincoln continued to enforce it during the middle of war!

    • Replies: @josh
    @anonymous

    Was the fugitive slave act in violation of the constitution?

  74. @AnotherDad
    @Steve Sailer


    One of the tragedies of the 19th Century was that slavery increasingly turned out to be extremely profitable.
     
    Cheap labor, the gift that keeps on stealing.

    Replies: @jtgw, @athEIst

    Except slaves had to be kept at their jobs by force, while immigrants remain voluntarily. I feel that if you entered the cost of keeping slaves on the plantations and hunting down fugitives, it wouldn’t have been so profitable. Other whites had to be conscripted to ride posse.

    • Replies: @Opinionator
    @jtgw

    Except slaves had to be kept at their jobs by force, while immigrants remain voluntarily.

    Some did, certainly. We know this simply from the fact there were fugitives. But did all of them? And did it vary by state?

    Replies: @jtgw, @johnmark7

  75. @syonredux
    @Opinionator


    A war was probably unavoidable

    Um, no. You don’t force a people and their territory to be under your thumb without their consent. Pretty basic. Totally avoidable, unless imperialism is your bedrock premise.
     
    Unless they are slaves.....Or pro-Union counties in Tennessee....

    Replies: @Opinionator, @anonymous

    The escaped slaves lincoln had caught and returned back to their masters even during the war, or the future slaves lincoln wanted to forever be adopted into the constitution?

    • Replies: @syonredux
    @anonymous


    The escaped slaves lincoln had caught and returned back to their masters even during the war, or the future slaves lincoln wanted to forever be adopted into the constitution?
     
    Dear fellow, no one ever said that the Confederates were smart; it's pretty amazing how they created conditions that made abolition inevitable...

    Replies: @anonymous

  76. Random thoughts:

    The sheer weight of South Carolina in the whole affair has always struck me- I think the poster speculating that SC was losing economic ground and desparate for something may have a point. I suspect the Low Country was getting its soil pretty exhausted by 1860, and the upcountry didn’t offer the prospect of long-term cotton farming.

    The sheer hotheadedness of SC’s fire eaters is pretty “colorful”- think of Preston Brooks beating Charles Sumner on the Senate floor unconcious, or a general named “States Rights Gist”. Strom Thurmond (from the same district as Brooks) doing his 100 pushups on the Senate floor kept that tradition going.

    There was some resentment of Virginia, too- to the point where South Carolinian Wade Hampton requested “southern” cavalry, rather than “virginia” cavalry. Lee was not particularly popular with SC people, apparantly.

    The underrated William Rosecrans did a lot of good the first half of the war, basically defeating Lee and freeing up Western Virginia, and taking a chunk of Tennessee in the Tullahoma campaign.

    I’m split on Lincoln. I increasingly agree that he really bungled the start of the war, but turned out to be an effective strategist once it got going.

    By late 1863, Davis should have turned over the Western theater to Longstreet or Pat Cleburne. Turning over an army to a physically and emotionally wounded man like John Bell Hood was disastrous. Three of my ancestors came back cripples after surviving his tenure.

    I’m surprised libs haven’t discovered Union General August Willich- German immigrant, communist, abolitionist, very successful. He makes a good contrast to his fellow Prussian, Confederate Heros von Borke.

    I find Steve’s analysis to be interesting and plausible.

    Let’s face it, it’s been 150 years, and talking about the Civil War is still f’in cool.

  77. The War was “about” slavery (or “States Rights” for that matter) in the same sense that WWI was “about” the assasination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. Yes, that’s what they ended up fighting “about” but “why” they fought “about” it, which is the real question, is an entirely separate issue (but one that the popular narrative attempts to conflate for obvious Who/Whom reasons).

    Was it inevitable? I tend to think not, if only due to the example of Britain and Brazil, which managed to end their own similarly deeply entwined relationships with The Peculiar Institution without wars that killed hundreds of thousands, albeit on different timelines. But it’s worth remembering that in 1860 the South (at least the Deep South like SC) was at least as different from The North as The American Colonies were from Great Britain in 1776.

  78. @syonredux
    @okie


    Remember that there were 5 months before inauguration back then. Sumter happened only a month after AL took office. A lot of the twitter snark i saw today about this was Buchanan bashing, which is probably right
     
    Buchanan was Gay.....

    Replies: @okie, @Basil ransom

    Andrew Jackson’s nicknames for lifelong bachelor James Buchanan and his good friend/roommate Rufus king was: “aunt nancy and miss fancy”.

  79. jtgw:

    In the recent past a University of Chicago historian has made the argument that American slavery made economic sense.

    Probably one of the reasons he was able to make the argument was that he as a white man was married to negress.

  80. @Erik L
    Based on the smug responses I see to Trump's "what if" history I get the impression the average person thinks the civil war started because Lincoln signed the emancipation proclamation

    Replies: @anonymous, @res

    Well, if that’s essentially what they are being taught in school it is hard to blame them too much.

  81. This is simply an outstanding article(!) and excellent responsive comments! Thanks to all!

  82. @RonaldB
    @PhysicistDave

    I love the term "Amerindians".

    Replies: @Opinionator

    Why?

    • Replies: @RonaldB
    @Opinionator

    Because it's a relatively innocuous term that tells you exactly who the writer is talking about, without ponderous qualifications. The term "Indians" perfectly confounds the prior inhabitants of the Americans with the present inhabitants of, and immigrants from, India.

    Replies: @Autochthon

  83. @Mark Caplan
    I always like pointing out South Carolina's demographics in 1860:

    Enslaved: 402,406
    Free: 301,302

    Replies: @Alden

    I wonder how many of the free were free blacks, mixed and almost White.

  84. @Steve Sailer
    @Gringo

    John Calhoun was not always anti-tariff. He voted in favor of the Tariff of 1816.

    One of the tragedies of the 19th Century was that slavery increasingly turned out to be extremely profitable. Early in the 19th Century, slavery was associated with tobacco growing, which exhausted the soil and wasn't that much of a growth industry. The latitudes west of Virginia weren't particularly for slave economies.

    But then cotton came along as Americans poured into the inland Cotton Belt, with the steam engine driving British demand for cotton. Cotton prices kept going up to 1859, giving Southerners a King Cotton self-confidence that there'd never be a recession in cotton prices. But the English stockpiling cotton from the South and looking around for new sources in Egypt, India, and Brazil. So when the South blockaded themselves in 1861 to hurt British industry to bring the Royal Navy into the war on the side of the South, it backfired hugely on the South and new sources of cotton were quickly developed.

    My guess is that the King Cotton bubble and accompanying Slavery Uber Alles bubble would have popped at some point in the 1860s or 1870s and then a quick civil war of pretty much everybody versus South Carolina would have brought about the advantages of a four year Civil War at the peak of the King Cotton bubble with an order of magnitude fewer deaths.

    Obviously, that's speculative, but it seems worth discussing.

    Replies: @AnotherDad, @Basil ransom, @RonaldB, @Rapparee

    ” quick civil war of pretty much everybody versus South Carolina …”

    The Civil War was in no way conceived, begun, or fought to end slavery. Why would a war against South Carolina have been initiated to end slavery?

    Western civilization was universally against slavery. South Carolina was not a bunch of hicks. The Northern citizens were almost violently against slavery. It would have been a natural matter for the states surrounding South Carolina to simply not purchase or ship any slave-produced materials, return any escaped slaves, or withhold lending for slave-related project. That is in addition to the fact that any small farmers in South Carolina, the basis of any self-defense force, would themselves be decimated and unenthusiastic at defending slavery.

    I think your timeline for the withering and disappearance of slavery was right on, except it would come without fighting.

    • Replies: @Autochthon
    @RonaldB

    Thank you. It's either hilarious or disappointing to see how many people in this thread are all in the old "The noble north fought a war to free the slaves from the meanie South!" macguffin. The casus belli was never slavery. The retconning began with Lincoln himself, as he schemed, among other things, to gain European sympathies, or at least neutrality.

    Replies: @Captain Tripps

  85. @Anon
    I wonder...

    how much was the issue really about slavery or how much was it about race?

    Did the South secede because slavery was so profitable?
    But imagine if southern whites had enslaved other whites, like Russian elites had used Russian serfs and Spartans had used Greek helots.
    Would they have kept with slavery just for the sake of profits?

    Or suppose white southerners had ruled over people like smaller and weaker people like the Gomezian Mexicans. Would they have been so afraid ending slavery? After all, Latin American whites in Haciendas proved that you don't need to keep people as slaves to exploit them economically.

    So, why was the South so adamant about maintaining its form of slavery?
    Was it not because Southern whites knew, deep in their heart, that the Negro was bigger and stronger and more aggressive? Unlike freed whites or freed Mexicans, the freed Negro might go wild and act crazy like in Griffith's BIRTH OF A NATION?

    The white fear of the Negro was like the Chinese fear of the unruly Mongols. China built a massive wall just to keep the Mongol horsemen raiders out.

    Freeing and then exploiting Guillermo or Nguyen is one thing. Even as free people, they will look up to Gringo as leader. It's like the Ramone guy in Big Country. He's a free Mexican but he serves the gringo.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bEA-o4IJAic

    But free the Negro, and he might not listen. He get unruly and uppity and punkass and stuff. And that is what happened.

    Replies: @Desiderius, @jtgw

    The word you’re looking for is dominant.

  86. @RonaldB
    @PhysicistDave

    I haven't read the books.

    Yet, from my reading, I think tariffs and abolition were not reasonable causes for secession. The tariffs before secession were actually very low, and higher tariffs would never have gotten through congress if the representatives from the Confederate states had remained in the US Congress.

    Similarly, with the abolition laws, the Fugitive Slave act, and the Dred Scott decision, and the vow of Lincoln to preserve slavery in slave states, slavery was simply not threatened where it already existed.

    Paradoxically, slavery itself may have been supported by the large landowners at the expense of the small, yeoman subsistence farmer, but it was those farmers that were the heart of the Confederate army. This implies that in a few years, the South would have been much less capable of defending itself, as the small farmers were forced off the land by the cotton plantations...and conceivably, the Confederacy itself would have become unstable by the social dislocation of impoverishing the small farmers.

    My feeling is that slavery would have lasted no more than 10 or 15 years from 1860. Besides the technological advancements making slavery unprofitable, the Southern leadership was educated and in tune with Western civilization. They would have simply abolished slavery and bought out the slaves, as England had done. Many slaves were dragooned into serving the union army after capture. All in all, almost nobody would have been worse off had the Civil War been avoided.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer, @Opinionator, @Corvinus, @PhysicistDave

    Southerners were much more apologetic about slavery earlier in the century.

    • Replies: @syonredux
    @Steve Sailer


    Southerners were much more apologetic about slavery earlier in the century.
     
    Indeed. In the late 18th-early 19th centuries, defenders of slavery spoke in terms of slavery being a "necessary evil." Virtually no one attempted a positive defense of the institution. That changed as the years rolled on. JQ Adams has a passage in his diaries where he notes his shock when he heard John C Calhoun speak of slavery as a positive, beneficial force.....

    Replies: @RonaldB, @Almost Missouri

    , @johnmark7
    @Steve Sailer

    Prior to the Nat Turner slave revolt (massacre of whites), the South had more abolition groups than the North. Little known fact.

    Nat Turner changed all that, and laws regarding the travel of slaves and many other things like schooling followed.

    When Haiti erupts in your neighborhood, apartheid and Jim Crow suddenly seem a bit more urgent.

  87. @Joe Franklin
    @Opinionator


    A better, more perspicacious President could probably have avoided the Civil War entirely.

    A moral man would have permitted the Southern states to secede.

     

    An intelligent and moral man would have first purchased freedom for chattel slaves, and then prohibited all future slave immigration to the US.

    It was much less expensive to buy slaves freedom than to fight a war against slavery.

    Lincoln chose instead to go to war primarily to prevent secession, not slavery.

    A slew of noxious constitutional amendments were also a result of Lincoln's warmongering.

    The 14th amendment in particular is frequently construed by leftist to mean unlimited federal entitlements for special people.

    Perhaps that was Lincoln's real intent?

    Federal warmongering dressed up as saving the union seems to be a constant excuse for destroying the people's liberties.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer, @Almost Missouri, @Gringo

    The importation of additional slaves had been prohibited by Congress since 1808, 45 years prior to the Emancipation Proclamation.

    Otherwise, I agree with your comment.

  88. @anonymous
    @syonredux


    As for “natural rights,” Madison noted that, obviously, states could rebel in the name of the extra-Constitutional right of revolution, but that right could only be invoked in cases of tyranny…..And it would be pretty hard for the South to claim that as justification….
     
    You mean like when lincoln threatened full military invasion of any state not collecting the full tariff rate during his Inaugural Address? Or shutting down newspapers who disagreed with him? Or intercepting letters critical of him? Or arresting people and having them thrown in jail without charge or trial for speaking out against him? Or signing an arrest warrant for a sitting supreme court judge?

    I am sure madison and jefferson would have welcomed such behavior with open arms!

    Replies: @Alden

    Lincoln signed an arrest warrant for a suprem court judge? Good for him!!!

  89. Sailer continues to chart a course back to a real, American Left for those Progressives smart enough to see through the globohomo corporate bullshit.

    • Agree: Whoever
  90. @jtgw
    @AnotherDad

    Except slaves had to be kept at their jobs by force, while immigrants remain voluntarily. I feel that if you entered the cost of keeping slaves on the plantations and hunting down fugitives, it wouldn't have been so profitable. Other whites had to be conscripted to ride posse.

    Replies: @Opinionator

    Except slaves had to be kept at their jobs by force, while immigrants remain voluntarily.

    Some did, certainly. We know this simply from the fact there were fugitives. But did all of them? And did it vary by state?

    • Replies: @jtgw
    @Opinionator

    Well, being bound to your jobs by the threat of force is what slavery is essentially, and my understanding is all slaves were threatened with force if they chose to leave their jobs. So even if hypothetically a slave would have remained at his job without the threat of force, it's difficult to discount it when evaluating the slaves' actual preferences.

    Replies: @Opinionator

    , @johnmark7
    @Opinionator

    Most slaves had no problem with being slaves, and there were systems in place to reward slaves for working well -- clothes and geegaws for women, money for men and such. The slaves didn't work as hard as often depicted, or punished as much (since no one wanted another Nat Turner except in French Louisiana where they, as in South America and elsewhere, worked male slaves to death -- while miscegenating with the women).

    Slavery is profitable. Cheap labor always seems to be so.

    ***

    WPA interviews with former slaves in the 1930s showed that over 80% said their masters and lives were fine when interviewed by whites. Negroes objected, saying the former slaves were afraid to speak ill of white masters.

    So they sent out black interviewers, and got an over 60% positive response to their former life and their white masters.

    Aristotle pointed out that some people are natural slaves and happiest in that station. The problem, he figured, was in determining those who weren't natural slaves and letting those go their own way, thus avoiding a world of trouble.

    ***

    When Northern soldiers "liberated" plantations in the South, particularly the Carolinas, they were astonished to find the blacks as dark and African as could be. They had been taught to believe that the slavemasters raped all the black women and produced lighter skinned and more Americanized offspring.

    The fact is that apart from the French and Spanish, white Protestant Southerners don't find black women attractive. (See rape stats today).

    It was after the War when blacks were freed and the women had to fend for themselves and became prostitutes that so much white genetic material entered black bloodstreams (whereas the French and Spanish in Louisiana had been at it for quite a while).

    ***

    It's a sick and pernicious myth that white men slaver over the idea of sex with hot exotic "brown sugar". Whereas the reverse is true. Black men are crazy for white girls.

    Replies: @RonaldB, @Uncle Remus

  91. @Whoever
    @Darwin


    All effort should have been made to avoid the Civil War, a bloody tragedy in which 700,000 young soldiers were killed, soldiers who overwhelmingly had nothing against each other and who in many cases were even friends and relatives.
     
    And after that massive extermination, to replace all those young men and the generations they would have fathered, we imported masses of Ellis Island types who radically changed the nature of our population and turned our cities into islands of aliens.
    I don't have any direct ancestors who fought in the Civil War, as far as I know, but I do know of one on the direct line to me who set out for the east, determined to enlist and fight the seccesh, but he never got farther than Nebraska, the cavalry unit he joined ending up fighting in the Indian War of 1864-65.
    Had he succeeded in his ambition to join "General Crook's boys," he might well have become one of the fallen among the countless young men who perished in now-forgotten battles and I would never have been born.
    Multiply that little fact by hundreds of thousands of young men dead before they could become fathers and extend it down through the generations to today. Then we see what a terrible tragedy the Civil War truly was, and what monstrous criminals were those who allowed such a pointless, unnecessary war to take place.

    Replies: @Hibernian

    “And after that massive extermination, to replace all those young men and the generations they would have fathered, we imported masses of Ellis Island types who radically changed the nature of our population and turned our cities into islands of aliens.”

    Mass immigration and urbanization were already well underway before 1860; Chicago went from the wild wild West to the site of Lincoln’s nomination in 12 years, 1848-1860, with many German and Irish immigrants. Many German and a fair number of Irish immigrants served on the Union side.

    • Replies: @Whoever
    @Hibernian

    You are correct, but I was thinking of -- and I should have been clearer -- the eastern and southern Europeans who came in great numbers after the Civil War. Would we have had so much need of them had we not killed so many of our own? I suppose we could quibble over exactly who "our own" were.... Just a stray thought.
    Germans had been immigrating to America in some numbers since at least the beginning of the 18th century and comprised about 10 percent of the white population at the beginning of the Revolutionary War, in which they distinguished themselves, most particularly at the Battle of Oriskany.
    Hadn't the Irish been integrating into American life for some time, too, by the time the war began? But had the ethnicities of the Russian and Mediterranean lands -- and weren't they a lot different from more traditional immigrants (the Hajnal line and so forth, though I see the Irish are excluded from that...) ?

  92. @RonaldB
    @PhysicistDave

    I haven't read the books.

    Yet, from my reading, I think tariffs and abolition were not reasonable causes for secession. The tariffs before secession were actually very low, and higher tariffs would never have gotten through congress if the representatives from the Confederate states had remained in the US Congress.

    Similarly, with the abolition laws, the Fugitive Slave act, and the Dred Scott decision, and the vow of Lincoln to preserve slavery in slave states, slavery was simply not threatened where it already existed.

    Paradoxically, slavery itself may have been supported by the large landowners at the expense of the small, yeoman subsistence farmer, but it was those farmers that were the heart of the Confederate army. This implies that in a few years, the South would have been much less capable of defending itself, as the small farmers were forced off the land by the cotton plantations...and conceivably, the Confederacy itself would have become unstable by the social dislocation of impoverishing the small farmers.

    My feeling is that slavery would have lasted no more than 10 or 15 years from 1860. Besides the technological advancements making slavery unprofitable, the Southern leadership was educated and in tune with Western civilization. They would have simply abolished slavery and bought out the slaves, as England had done. Many slaves were dragooned into serving the union army after capture. All in all, almost nobody would have been worse off had the Civil War been avoided.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer, @Opinionator, @Corvinus, @PhysicistDave

    Yet, from my reading, I think tariffs and abolition were not reasonable causes for secession.

    What cause is needed besides the desire for independence?

    • Replies: @RonaldB
    @Opinionator

    I wasn't clear. I meant that the reasons often cited for the secession were the south's complaints over tariffs and slavery. The fact that neither of these actually presented a threat to the south meant that there was indeed something else motivating the south to declare independence. It might have been simply a feeling their culture was so divergent from the culture of the north that it was no longer profitable to attempt to function within a unified government.

    I'm not making a value judgement on the reasoning, but simply trying to discern what it was.

    In point of fact, the Confederacy was just as protective of civil liberties as the US, except for slaves, of course. If Jefferson Davis had not been so moronic as to attack a federal installation, and if he had taken minimal steps to avoid belligerence, I think the two countries would have gotten on quite well.

  93. @Opinionator
    @RonaldB

    Why?

    Replies: @RonaldB

    Because it’s a relatively innocuous term that tells you exactly who the writer is talking about, without ponderous qualifications. The term “Indians” perfectly confounds the prior inhabitants of the Americans with the present inhabitants of, and immigrants from, India.

    • Replies: @Autochthon
    @RonaldB

    I use "Amerindians" all the time for these reasons.

    If I wish to be a bit more colourful, I will sometimes use "Indians" with the appropriate qualifier: "dots; not feathers" or "feathers; not dots."

    Replies: @peterike

  94. @Joe Franklin
    @Opinionator


    A better, more perspicacious President could probably have avoided the Civil War entirely.

    A moral man would have permitted the Southern states to secede.

     

    An intelligent and moral man would have first purchased freedom for chattel slaves, and then prohibited all future slave immigration to the US.

    It was much less expensive to buy slaves freedom than to fight a war against slavery.

    Lincoln chose instead to go to war primarily to prevent secession, not slavery.

    A slew of noxious constitutional amendments were also a result of Lincoln's warmongering.

    The 14th amendment in particular is frequently construed by leftist to mean unlimited federal entitlements for special people.

    Perhaps that was Lincoln's real intent?

    Federal warmongering dressed up as saving the union seems to be a constant excuse for destroying the people's liberties.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer, @Almost Missouri, @Gringo

    An intelligent and moral man would have first purchased freedom for chattel slaves, and then prohibited all future slave immigration to the US.

    1.In 1860, slaveholders weren’t about to sell their slaves. Read the South Carolina Declaration of Secession and then tell me that those who wrote that document would have been willing to sell their slaves at market price in exchange for an end to slavery. 🙂 The overriding theme of the document is the desire to preserve slavery- not to get a fair market price for their slaves in exchange for an end to slavery.

    A lot of the disagreements between North and South in the 1850s came from the South wanting to expand slavery into the West. That doesn’t sound like people willing to abolish slavery and get paid market price for their freed slaves. I suggest you read about Bloody Kansas. Robert May’s book, The Southern Dream of a Caribbean Empire, 1854-1861, documents the effort of slavery expansionists to extend US territory to the Caribbean- territory which would then become new territory for slaveholders. Attempts were made to purchase Cuba from Spain. Robert Walker’s filibuster attempts to take over Nicaragua also included a proclamation to re-establish slavery.

    2. Importation of slaves into the US was prohibited effective January 1, 1808. Look it up.

    It was much less expensive to buy slaves freedom than to fight a war against slavery.

    You are correct. At the end of the war, many former slaveholders probably regretted that they hadn’t sold their slaves instead of engaging in a ruinous war. However, very few slaveholders in 1861 were willing to sell their slaves at fair market price in exchange for an end to slavery. Read the South Carolina Declaration of Secession.

    Lincoln chose instead to go to war primarily to prevent secession, not slavery.

    Correct. Recall what Lincoln said.

    “If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that.”

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    @Gringo

    Slaveowners in the early 19th Century tended to be apologetic about slavery. There wasn't a lot of money in slavery and people assumed it would fade out. Tobacco growing wore out the soil, and it wasn't such a hard job that only slaves would do it, and tobacco grew far enough north that Virginia and North Carolina weren't deadly for white workers.

    Then cotton opened up into an immensely profitable business and pretty much drove out other economic activities from much of the south. For example, a Southern business magazine that had been founded to encourage industrialization went out of business because there was less and less point in doing anything besides farming cotton. The more money there was in cotton harvested by slaves, the more Southerners stopped apologizing about slavery and started boasting about it and plotting to maintain political control in Washington and to extend it.

    But if there had eventually come along a cotton recession, then RW Emerson's plan to raise $2 billion from the sale of western lands to buy out slaveowners would have seemed less like an insult to Southerners and more like a deal that would help them out.

    Replies: @res, @Ian M.

    , @res
    @Gringo


    The overriding theme of the document is the desire to preserve slavery
     
    This.

    A lot of the disagreements between North and South in the 1850s came from the South wanting to expand slavery into the West.
     
    And this. There was great concern in the South about losing political support for slavery through non-slave state expansion. I think it's fair to say they considered the expansion of slavery an existential battle at the time.

    Does anyone talking about how the Civil War was not because of slavery (yes, I know and agree it was not fought "to free the slaves" and there were other significant issues involved) honestly believe the North/South conflicts were irreconcilable if slavery had been removed from the equation? Asking questions like this starts to become "alternate history", which isn't really taken seriously by professional historians AFAICT, but has anyone done a thoughtful examination of this premise? As support for my position, I'll note that with slavery eliminated the USA has endured without internal war for 150 more years despite many of those other issues remaining, as is made abundantly clear by our electoral maps over that time.

    IMHO the South fought largely to preserve its lifestyle--and considered slavery an integral (and non-negotiable) part of that. I think avoiding a war over this was a low probability event, but as discussed here having a less traumatic war was a real possibility.
  95. @Steve Sailer
    @Darwin

    The main way the South could have won the Civil War was if Robert E. Lee's Virginians broke into, say, Pennsylvania, won a giant battle at, say, Gettsyburg, and then descended upon a defenseless Washington DC (or Philadelphia or New York).

    As it turned out that almost happened on the first and third days of Gettysburg.

    But if Lincoln had kept Virginia in the Union, then the border would have been North Carolina, and maybe North Carolina could have been kept out of the Confederacy, putting the border not right outside Washington DC, but outside of Charleston.

    Replies: @AnotherDad, @Charles Erwin Wilson, @Lot

    The main way the South could have won the Civil War was if Robert E. Lee’s Virginians broke into, say, Pennsylvania, won a giant battle at, say, Gettsyburg, and then descended upon a defenseless Washington DC (or Philadelphia or New York).

    But you also need Grant to fail at Vicksburg. The Confederates had no imperial ambitions, and would not have leveraged a DC-Phila-NY victory into a boot-on-the-neck conquest.

    But if both Meade and Grant had lost, the Union might have retreated, and Lincoln could have lost the 64 election.

    I love southerners, and the South, and lost causes. But any possible Confederate victory has too many Hail-Mary wins to be plausible.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    @Charles Erwin Wilson

    "But you also need Grant to fail at Vicksburg."

    Getting to Vicksburg by disappearing off the river into the state of Mississippi, popping up hundreds of miles inland and winning a battle at Jackson, then backtracking to the river ... that's not the least risky plan in military history. It worked for Grant, though.

    Anyway, the point is that if Lincoln had managed to hang on to not just 4 but all 8 of the slave states still in the Union on his inauguration day, he wouldn't have needed close run victories like Vicksburg and Gettysburg to win.

    For example, on Aril 4, 1861 Virginia voted down immediate secession 88-45. Following the outbreak fighting at Fort Sumter it voted 2 weeks later to secede, although not by a huge margin.

    The secession of Virginia was a giant disaster.

    Replies: @res

  96. @Steve Sailer
    @Joe Franklin

    During the War, Lincoln brought up buying out slaveholders in Union slave states like Kentucky, but his initiative didn't seem to go anywhere.

    Replies: @Opinionator, @MC

    Buying out slaveowners was part of Joseph Smith’s (quixotic) presidential campaign platform in 1844, the year he was killed.
    https://www.lds.org/ensign/2009/02/joseph-smith-campaign-for-president-of-the-united-states?lang=eng

  97. @Gringo
    @Joe Franklin


    An intelligent and moral man would have first purchased freedom for chattel slaves, and then prohibited all future slave immigration to the US.
     
    1.In 1860, slaveholders weren't about to sell their slaves. Read the South Carolina Declaration of Secession and then tell me that those who wrote that document would have been willing to sell their slaves at market price in exchange for an end to slavery. :) The overriding theme of the document is the desire to preserve slavery- not to get a fair market price for their slaves in exchange for an end to slavery.

    A lot of the disagreements between North and South in the 1850s came from the South wanting to expand slavery into the West. That doesn't sound like people willing to abolish slavery and get paid market price for their freed slaves. I suggest you read about Bloody Kansas. Robert May's book, The Southern Dream of a Caribbean Empire, 1854-1861, documents the effort of slavery expansionists to extend US territory to the Caribbean- territory which would then become new territory for slaveholders. Attempts were made to purchase Cuba from Spain. Robert Walker's filibuster attempts to take over Nicaragua also included a proclamation to re-establish slavery.

    2. Importation of slaves into the US was prohibited effective January 1, 1808. Look it up.


    It was much less expensive to buy slaves freedom than to fight a war against slavery.
     
    You are correct. At the end of the war, many former slaveholders probably regretted that they hadn't sold their slaves instead of engaging in a ruinous war. However, very few slaveholders in 1861 were willing to sell their slaves at fair market price in exchange for an end to slavery. Read the South Carolina Declaration of Secession.

    Lincoln chose instead to go to war primarily to prevent secession, not slavery.
     
    Correct. Recall what Lincoln said.

    "If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that."
     

    Replies: @Steve Sailer, @res

    Slaveowners in the early 19th Century tended to be apologetic about slavery. There wasn’t a lot of money in slavery and people assumed it would fade out. Tobacco growing wore out the soil, and it wasn’t such a hard job that only slaves would do it, and tobacco grew far enough north that Virginia and North Carolina weren’t deadly for white workers.

    Then cotton opened up into an immensely profitable business and pretty much drove out other economic activities from much of the south. For example, a Southern business magazine that had been founded to encourage industrialization went out of business because there was less and less point in doing anything besides farming cotton. The more money there was in cotton harvested by slaves, the more Southerners stopped apologizing about slavery and started boasting about it and plotting to maintain political control in Washington and to extend it.

    But if there had eventually come along a cotton recession, then RW Emerson’s plan to raise $2 billion from the sale of western lands to buy out slaveowners would have seemed less like an insult to Southerners and more like a deal that would help them out.

    • Replies: @res
    @Steve Sailer


    But if there had eventually come along a cotton recession, then RW Emerson’s plan to raise $2 billion from the sale of western lands to buy out slaveowners would have seemed less like an insult to Southerners and more like a deal that would help them out.
     
    That is an interesting hypothetical. I wonder if major economic issues would have been enough to persuade Southern slaveholders to be bought out thus changing their lifestyle? Any thoughts on how the fault lines between non/slaveholders and coastal/mountain people would have played out in this scenario? Would the abolitionists have been willing to go along rather than using a moment of economic power to crush the hated slaveholders?

    How much of politics is just kicking the can down the road hoping something like that happens? And how many wars are started when something different happens instead?
    , @Ian M.
    @Steve Sailer

    Ulysses S. Grant corroborates this in his personal memoirs:


    There was a time when slavery was not profitable, and the discussion of the merits of the institution was confined almost exclusively to the territory where it existed. The States of Virginia and Kentucky came near abolishing slavery by their own acts, one State defeating the measure by a tie vote and the other only lacking one. But when the institution became profitable, all talk of its abolition ceased where it existed; and naturally, as human nature is constituted, arguments were adduced in its support. The cotton-gin probably had much to do with the justification of slavery.
     
    He also writes that in the lead-up to the Civil War, some slavery partisans had convinced themselves that slavery was a 'Divine' institution:

    It was very much discussed whether the South would carry out its threat to secede and set up a separate government, the corner-stone of which should be, protection to the "Divine" institution of slavery. For there were people who believed in the "divinity" of human slavery, as there are now people who believe Mormonism and Polygamy to be ordained by the Most High. We forgive them for entertaining such notions, but forbid their practice.
     
    And:

    They convinced themselves, first, of the divine origin of the institution and, next, that that particular institution was not safe in the hands of any body of legislators but themselves.
     

    Replies: @Opinionator

  98. jtgw says:
    @Opinionator
    @jtgw

    Except slaves had to be kept at their jobs by force, while immigrants remain voluntarily.

    Some did, certainly. We know this simply from the fact there were fugitives. But did all of them? And did it vary by state?

    Replies: @jtgw, @johnmark7

    Well, being bound to your jobs by the threat of force is what slavery is essentially, and my understanding is all slaves were threatened with force if they chose to leave their jobs. So even if hypothetically a slave would have remained at his job without the threat of force, it’s difficult to discount it when evaluating the slaves’ actual preferences.

    • Replies: @Opinionator
    @jtgw

    There is something to what you say, but your reasoning seems circular in that it relies on two premises: a definition and a factual assertion that resembles the conclusion you are seeking to prove.

    Empirically, were all slaves so unhappy with their lives that they would have run away if given the chance to do so without repercussion from the slave owners?

    Replies: @jtgw, @Autochthon

  99. @Anonymous
    If you recall Ron Paul was mocked in 2008 or 2012 for saying that the Civil War was unnecessary. Of course the guy who asked the question did so to deliberately make Paul look like a fool. I mean what other presidential candidate in recent history has been asked for his views on the Civil War.

    In response to such an irrelevant question Paul stated that the Union should have purchased the slaves from their owners and attempted to end slavery without a war. He pointed out this had been done in the British West Indies. Of course Paul was torched. He was asked if he knew how much money it would have costed? He replied that it would have been far less than the 600K killed and the untold property damage done as well as the damage done in the relations among the states.

    Replies: @Charles Erwin Wilson

    He replied that it would have been far less than the 600K killed and the untold property damage done as well as the damage done in the relations among the states.

    And he was right.

  100. @jtgw
    @Opinionator

    Well, being bound to your jobs by the threat of force is what slavery is essentially, and my understanding is all slaves were threatened with force if they chose to leave their jobs. So even if hypothetically a slave would have remained at his job without the threat of force, it's difficult to discount it when evaluating the slaves' actual preferences.

    Replies: @Opinionator

    There is something to what you say, but your reasoning seems circular in that it relies on two premises: a definition and a factual assertion that resembles the conclusion you are seeking to prove.

    Empirically, were all slaves so unhappy with their lives that they would have run away if given the chance to do so without repercussion from the slave owners?

    • Replies: @jtgw
    @Opinionator

    My point is that it is difficult to impossible to determine "empirically" whether slaves would have, in a hypothetical universe, run away or not run away given the chance. All we know is that, legally, they were under threat of violence if they tried to leave.

    Replies: @Opinionator

    , @Autochthon
    @Opinionator

    Many, many slaves implored their former masters to be permitted to stay on as workers or servants following manumission, and even, later, emancipation.

    Many a slave's life, perhaps most, was horrible. But aside from the abstract idea of liberty (which I by no means discount!), in practice many a slave had a more salubrious and free life than many a drudge in the mills of New England.

  101. jtgw says:
    @Anon
    I wonder...

    how much was the issue really about slavery or how much was it about race?

    Did the South secede because slavery was so profitable?
    But imagine if southern whites had enslaved other whites, like Russian elites had used Russian serfs and Spartans had used Greek helots.
    Would they have kept with slavery just for the sake of profits?

    Or suppose white southerners had ruled over people like smaller and weaker people like the Gomezian Mexicans. Would they have been so afraid ending slavery? After all, Latin American whites in Haciendas proved that you don't need to keep people as slaves to exploit them economically.

    So, why was the South so adamant about maintaining its form of slavery?
    Was it not because Southern whites knew, deep in their heart, that the Negro was bigger and stronger and more aggressive? Unlike freed whites or freed Mexicans, the freed Negro might go wild and act crazy like in Griffith's BIRTH OF A NATION?

    The white fear of the Negro was like the Chinese fear of the unruly Mongols. China built a massive wall just to keep the Mongol horsemen raiders out.

    Freeing and then exploiting Guillermo or Nguyen is one thing. Even as free people, they will look up to Gringo as leader. It's like the Ramone guy in Big Country. He's a free Mexican but he serves the gringo.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bEA-o4IJAic

    But free the Negro, and he might not listen. He get unruly and uppity and punkass and stuff. And that is what happened.

    Replies: @Desiderius, @jtgw

    Regarding exploitation in Latin American, I read that the issue was how white landowners got huge tracts of land through royal grants from the Spanish crown and then treated those Indians and mestizos who actually worked the land as mere tenants, even though the landowners’ rights to the property were quite spurious, while the peasants as the original tillers of the soil were the rightful owners (from a Lockean natural law perspective). So it was similar to the situation of Negro slaves in the South, as it was the Negroes who worked the land and had natural rights to own it. The slavery of the Indians was constructed somewhat differently in law (as debt peonage rather than outright chattel slavery), but you’re right that the effect was largely the same.

  102. @Charles Erwin Wilson
    @Steve Sailer


    The main way the South could have won the Civil War was if Robert E. Lee’s Virginians broke into, say, Pennsylvania, won a giant battle at, say, Gettsyburg, and then descended upon a defenseless Washington DC (or Philadelphia or New York).
     
    But you also need Grant to fail at Vicksburg. The Confederates had no imperial ambitions, and would not have leveraged a DC-Phila-NY victory into a boot-on-the-neck conquest.

    But if both Meade and Grant had lost, the Union might have retreated, and Lincoln could have lost the 64 election.

    I love southerners, and the South, and lost causes. But any possible Confederate victory has too many Hail-Mary wins to be plausible.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer

    “But you also need Grant to fail at Vicksburg.”

    Getting to Vicksburg by disappearing off the river into the state of Mississippi, popping up hundreds of miles inland and winning a battle at Jackson, then backtracking to the river … that’s not the least risky plan in military history. It worked for Grant, though.

    Anyway, the point is that if Lincoln had managed to hang on to not just 4 but all 8 of the slave states still in the Union on his inauguration day, he wouldn’t have needed close run victories like Vicksburg and Gettysburg to win.

    For example, on Aril 4, 1861 Virginia voted down immediate secession 88-45. Following the outbreak fighting at Fort Sumter it voted 2 weeks later to secede, although not by a huge margin.

    The secession of Virginia was a giant disaster.

    • Replies: @res
    @Steve Sailer


    The secession of Virginia was a giant disaster.
     
    Does anyone here know how Lincoln thought about this? Was he so caught up with Maryland and Kentucky that he deprioritized Virginia? I have a sense that keeping Maryland would have been a requirement for keeping Virginia (though I think the Virginians had an independent streak, so who knows). Not to mention the DC problem if MD seceded.

    More about the MD timeline: http://teaching.msa.maryland.gov/000001/000000/000017/html/t17.html

    P.S. Twinkie, are you out there? I assume this thread is probably rehashing issues you have thought about deeply. Can you offer any thoughts?
  103. @Massimo Heitor
    @Clark Westwood



    The more I study this period, the more I lean toward the view that Lincoln actually wanted a war and, to that end, snookered the South into firing on Sumter and then called for 75,000 volunteers while knowing full well that doing so would cause the border states to secede.
     
    It's obvious and widely accepted that Lincoln had already abandoned serious efforts at peace negotiations and deliberately baited the Confederates into firing on Sumter to make them seem the aggressors. If the Confederates had more shrewd diplomacy skills they wouldn't have taken the bait.

    What might not be obvious to casual observers, Sumter was deep in South Carolina. It's not like the Confederates were launching attacks on other states, they were just trying to establish their own sovereignty in their own states.

    It seems most wars could have been avoided in hindsight, and the American Civil War or War Between States was definitely one that could have been avoided.

    The moral high ground for the Union would have been to allow secession and independence under conditions of abolition of slavery.

    The premise of engaging in full blown savage ruthless horrific warfare involving widespread indiscriminate murder, rape, starvation, then establishing permanent dominion over your enemy, and then do some after the fact moralization of the whole thing seems completely outrageous.

    Trump is actually very wise to suggest that ideally that horrific war could have been avoided through better diplomacy, and I believe he is right.

    Replies: @Gringo, @syonredux

    The moral high ground for the Union would have been to allow secession and independence under conditions of abolition of slavery.

    My understanding of your statement is that the Union should have informed South Carolina and other seceding states ,”We will allow you to peacefully leave the Union if you abolish slavery.”

    Given the overriding desire to maintain slavery that permeates the South Carolina Declaration of Secession, the response of the fire-eaters in South Carolina to the above condition would have been a hearty horselaugh. The response in other Southern stats would probably have been similar.

    Granted, at the end of the war there were some on the Confederate side who proposed abolishing slavery, but nothing ever came of that. Patrick Cleburne, a Confederate general born in Ireland, was one of the first Confederates to propose emancipation. ( Al Striklin, one the “piano pounders” for Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys, was from Cleburne, Texas. )

    • Replies: @Massimo Heitor
    @Gringo


    My understanding of your statement is that the Union should have informed South Carolina and other seceding states ,”We will allow you to peacefully leave the Union if you abolish slavery.”

    Given the overriding desire to maintain slavery that permeates the South Carolina Declaration of Secession, the response of the fire-eaters in South Carolina to the above condition would have been a hearty horselaugh. The response in other Southern stats would probably have been similar.
     
    Yes, the slave-holding elite of South Carolina would have rejected that at least initially.

    So, either isolate the slavery supporters, and pressure them to concede their morally ridiculous point without large scale war.

    Or, if there is war, at least make it a noble war against the supporters of slavery and not against the people who have a more reasonable support of sovereignty and secession rights and devolution of power.

    States like North Carolina and Virginia that seceded only when demanded that they help fight against other states for seceding would have switched sides. Robert E Lee would have switched and sided in favor of the right of secession and sovereignty but against slavery. William Tecumseh Sherman would have switched sides and fought against the right of secession but for the right of slavery. Some of the slave states that fought for the union may have switched sides and fought for slavery if that's what they knew they were fighting about.

    Replies: @CAL, @Autochthon

  104. Isn’t a nationalist anti-states’ rights by definition? After all, if the nation is the only source of political authority and sovereignty, then any local subdivision is strictly an administrative unit of the national government and can have no “rights” in opposition to the national government.

  105. From Wikipedia:

    “Kentucky was a border state of key importance in the American Civil War. President Abraham Lincoln recognized the importance of the Commonwealth when he declared “I hope to have God on my side, but I must have Kentucky.”[1] In a September 1861 letter to Orville Browning,[2] Lincoln wrote:

    “I think to lose Kentucky is nearly the same as to lose the whole game. Kentucky gone, we cannot hold Missouri, nor Maryland. These all against us, and the job on our hands is too large for us. We would as well consent to separation at once, including the surrender of this capitol.[3][4]”

    Kentucky has the same southern border as Virginia and Virginia had about 45% more people.

    The four states that seceded after Lincoln came to office had almost as large a population as the 7 that had already seceded. They probably had about as many white men to fight as the first 7.

    As Lincoln grew into his job he became obsessed with hanging onto the last 4 slave states and successfully did so. But it would have been a lot easier if he’d held onto the previous 4, especially onto Virginia.

    • Replies: @XYZ
    @Steve Sailer

    I think Kentucky in 1860 had 1,155,684 people (20-25% slave) and (without-West) Virginia at 1,219,63 (33% slave). The states that left after Fort Sumter were key but a completely hostile state south of the Ohio River would have screwed the union. Having a decently populated slave state fighting for the union also helped greatly in keeping other union slaves states in the fold.

    So yes, Kentucky was absolutely essential to a union victory.

  106. anon • Disclaimer says:

    Something big had to happen, but it didn’t have to be the Civil War we got. I will start with Steve’s comment about ‘Peak Cotton’. Slaves were the primary form of wealth in the South — like home equity now, but on steroids. A lot of slaves were sold West to the newly booming Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia, as it simply wasn’t working all that well on the east coast. Furthermore, the obvious exit strategy was to breed them and sell them West. Hence the South’s obsession with keeping the West slave states. And this was wrecking Manifest Destiny, Continental Railroad, Homesteading, etc. The Union was determined to expand and the South were gumming up the works.

    Meanwhile, I used to believe that abolishing slavery was such a positive for the South that the Union did them a favor. However, they did have a Plan B. Namely expanding South. Take over Cuba, the Caribbean, a chunk of Mexico, Central America. It sounds sort of crazy, but maybe it would have worked. Or at least for a while.

    Virginia was toying with the idea of abolishing slavery, but couldn’t come to grips with what to do with ‘former slaves’. If they had kept the Virginia and Kentucky in the Union, there would have been at least the possibility of unloading their slaves to a Southward expanding South. I suppose Texas was up for grabs also.

    I have descendants that were in Mississippi. The interesting thing was that they weren’t there very long. 20 years at the most. After the Civil War, everyone just went West. If Texas is West. If they had any money and didn’t own a plantation. In 1830, it had 136,621 residents. By 1860, it had 791,305.

    But Lincoln actually was what the left are claiming Trump is. Habeas Corpus, Press Censorship, and whatever else was convenient. Not to mention the Log Cabin Republicans. They managed to rehabilitate him as an uber President. And they did manage to turn large chunks of the South into the Sunbelt. That plus air conditioning and eradicating malaria with DDT after WW 2. And the 20th century versions of Lincoln and Lee were vaguely compatible. As long as nuance and detail are ignored.

    As bad as the Civil War was, it wasn’t much worse than the Crimean War. The Crimean War was not remotely inevitable and they perfected the Minie Ball ammunition which made both wars more bloody. Tactics lagged technology.

    Peak Cotton would have collapsed and I don’t see the Confederacy — especially without the border states — working very well. The most certain thing that can be said about war is that it turns out to be vastly more expensive than the original plan. Which was true for the Civil War.

    • Replies: @res
    @anon

    Interesting comment. One question regarding


    Virginia was toying with the idea of abolishing slavery, but couldn’t come to grips with what to do with ‘former slaves’. If they had kept the Virginia and Kentucky in the Union, there would have been at least the possibility of unloading their slaves to a Southward expanding South. I suppose Texas was up for grabs also.
     
    Given a hypothetical like that, and assuming the separation was at least somewhat acrimonious, do you think it would have been possible to avoid a later war between the adjacent countries? A North America like that looks a lot more like Europe to me and I think has some serious fault lines (e.g. see Albion's Seed). The South had/has a militaristic streak that makes them formidable opponents, and I don't think that would have been conducive to being good neighbors. Then there is the moralistic streak of the North...

    For war-provoking causes, competitive westward expansion leaps to mind.

    Replies: @anon

  107. I disagree that Lincoln didn’t perceive the significance of the national crisis or that he was “unready” for the big time. Consider these words with which he closed his Lyceum Address when still a young man:

    “But, it may be asked, why suppose danger to our political institutions? Have we not preserved them for more than fifty years? And why may we not for fifty times as long?

    We hope there is no sufficient reason. We hope all dangers may be overcome; but to conclude that no danger may ever arise, would itself be extremely dangerous. There are now, and will hereafter be, many causes, dangerous in their tendency, which have not existed heretofore; and which are not too insignificant to merit attention. That our government should have been maintained in its original form from its establishment until now, is not much to be wondered at. It had many props to support it through that period, which now are decayed, and crumbled away. Through that period, it was felt by all, to be an undecided experiment; now, it is understood to be a successful one.–Then, all that sought celebrity and fame, and distinction, expected to find them in the success of that experiment. Their all was staked upon it:– their destiny was inseparably linked with it. Their ambition aspired to display before an admiring world, a practical demonstration of the truth of a proposition, which had hitherto been considered, at best no better, than problematical; namely, the capability of a people to govern themselves. If they succeeded, they were to be immortalized; their names were to be transferred to counties and cities, and rivers and mountains; and to be revered and sung, and toasted through all time. If they failed, they were to be called knaves and fools, and fanatics for a fleeting hour; then to sink and be forgotten. They succeeded. The experiment is successful; and thousands have won their deathless names in making it so.

    But the game is caught; and I believe it is true, that with the catching, end the pleasures of the chase. This field of glory is harvested, and the crop is already appropriated. But new reapers will arise, and they, too, will seek a field. It is to deny, what the history of the world tells us is true, to suppose that men of ambition and talents will not continue to spring up amongst us. And, when they do, they will as naturally seek the gratification of their ruling passion, as others have so done before them.

    The question then, is, can that gratification be found in supporting and maintaining an edifice that has been erected by others? Most certainly it cannot. Many great and good men sufficiently qualified for any task they should undertake, may ever be found, whose ambition would inspire to nothing beyond a seat in Congress, a gubernatorial or a presidential chair; but such belong not to the family of the lion, or the tribe of the eagle. What! think you these places would satisfy an Alexander, a Caesar, or a Napoleon?–Never! Towering genius disdains a beaten path. It seeks regions hitherto unexplored.–It sees no distinction in adding story to story, upon the monuments of fame, erected to the memory of others. It denies that it is glory enough to serve under any chief. It scorns to tread in the footsteps of any predecessor, however illustrious. It thirsts and burns for distinction; and, if possible, it will have it, whether at the expense of emancipating slaves, or enslaving freemen. Is it unreasonable then to expect, that some man possessed of the loftiest genius, coupled with ambition sufficient to push it to its utmost stretch, will at some time, spring up among us? And when such a one does, it will require the people to be united with each other, attached to the government and laws, and generally intelligent, to successfully frustrate his designs.

    Distinction will be his paramount object, and although he would as willingly, perhaps more so, acquire it by doing good as harm; yet, that opportunity being past, and nothing left to be done in the way of building up, he would set boldly to the task of pulling down.

    Here, then, is a probable case, highly dangerous, and such a one as could not have well existed heretofore.”

    He knew the effect his House Divided speech would have. And he felt guilty (“rank is my offense”).

    • Replies: @Luke Lea
    @Luke Lea

    The point of my quote from Lincoln's Lyceum speech, given when he was 28, is that he was an extraordinarily ambitious man, for whom "merely" being president would not suffice. Unless you can grasp this aspect of his personality, and for most people such ambition is quite literally incredible, you do not know your man. That's why I question Steve Sailer's speculation that he was "not ready for the big time." Furthermore, Lincoln was an extraordinarily clever man, especially when it came to human (or at least male) psychology. He pretty much knew what he was doing when he started the Civil War. He wanted it to be the central event in American history, which meant that it had to be big. And he succeeded. His whole life was a work of art.

  108. I disagree that Lincoln didn’t perceive the significance of the national crisis or that he was “unready” for the big time. Consider these words with which he closed his Lyceum Address when still a young man:

    “But, it may be asked, why suppose danger to our political institutions? Have we not preserved them for more than fifty years? And why may we not for fifty times as long?

    We hope there is no sufficient reason. We hope all dangers may be overcome; but to conclude that no danger may ever arise, would itself be extremely dangerous. There are now, and will hereafter be, many causes, dangerous in their tendency, which have not existed heretofore; and which are not too insignificant to merit attention. That our government should have been maintained in its original form from its establishment until now, is not much to be wondered at. It had many props to support it through that period, which now are decayed, and crumbled away. Through that period, it was felt by all, to be an undecided experiment; now, it is understood to be a successful one.–Then, all that sought celebrity and fame, and distinction, expected to find them in the success of that experiment. Their all was staked upon it:– their destiny was inseparably linked with it. Their ambition aspired to display before an admiring world, a practical demonstration of the truth of a proposition, which had hitherto been considered, at best no better, than problematical; namely, the capability of a people to govern themselves. If they succeeded, they were to be immortalized; their names were to be transferred to counties and cities, and rivers and mountains; and to be revered and sung, and toasted through all time. If they failed, they were to be called knaves and fools, and fanatics for a fleeting hour; then to sink and be forgotten. They succeeded. The experiment is successful; and thousands have won their deathless names in making it so. But the game is caught; and I believe it is true, that with the catching, end the pleasures of the chase. This field of glory is harvested, and the crop is already appropriated. But new reapers will arise, and they, too, will seek a field. It is to deny, what the history of the world tells us is true, to suppose that men of ambition and talents will not continue to spring up amongst us. And, when they do, they will as naturally seek the gratification of their ruling passion, as others have so done before them. The question then, is, can that gratification be found in supporting and maintaining an edifice that has been erected by others? Most certainly it cannot.

    Many great and good men sufficiently qualified for any task they should undertake, may ever be found, whose ambition would inspire to nothing beyond a seat in Congress, a gubernatorial or a presidential chair; but such belong not to the family of the lion, or the tribe of the eagle. What! think you these places would satisfy an Alexander, a Caesar, or a Napoleon?–Never! Towering genius distains a beaten path. It seeks regions hitherto unexplored.–It sees no distinction in adding story to story, upon the monuments of fame, erected to the memory of others. It denies that it is glory enough to serve under any chief. It scorns to tread in the footsteps of any predecessor, however illustrious. It thirsts and burns for distinction; and, if possible, it will have it, whether at the expense of emancipating slaves, or enslaving freemen.

    Is it unreasonable then to expect, that some man possessed of the loftiest genius, coupled with ambition sufficient to push it to its utmost stretch, will at some time, spring up among us? And when such a one does, it will require the people to be united with each other, attached to the government and laws, and generally intelligent, to successfully frustrate his designs.

    Distinction will be his paramount object, and although he would as willingly, perhaps more so, acquire it by doing good as harm; yet, that opportunity being past, and nothing left to be done in the way of building up, he would set boldly to the task of pulling down.

    Lincoln knew the effect his House Divided speech would have. And he felt guilty about what he had done (“rank is my offense”).

  109. @AnotherDad
    @Steve Sailer


    One of the tragedies of the 19th Century was that slavery increasingly turned out to be extremely profitable.
     
    Cheap labor, the gift that keeps on stealing.

    Replies: @jtgw, @athEIst

    while immigrants remain voluntarily.
    So they can voluntarily eat.

  110. @johnmark7
    “Any people, anywhere, being inclined and having the power, have the right to rise up and shake off the existing government, and form a new one that suits them better. This is a most valuable and most sacred right – a right which we hope and believe is to liberate the world. Nor is this right confined to cases in which the whole people of an existing government may choose to exercise it. Any portion of such people that can, may revolutionize, and make their own, of so many of the territory as they inhabit.”

    Abraham Lincoln
    January 12, 1848

    The South took Lincoln at his word. More fools they, I guess.

    Replies: @Luke Lea

    I don’t believe Lincoln said that. Google it.

    • Replies: @PhysicistDave
    @Luke Lea

    Luke Lea wrote:


    I don’t believe Lincoln said that. Google it.
     
    Here it is: Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, p.438.

    Seems he did say it.

    I'll give a more lengthy quote, since his additional comments about minority rights are also relevant:


    Any people anywhere, being inclined and having the power, have the right to rise up, and shake off the existing government, and form a new one that suits them better. This is a most valuable,---a most sacred right---a right, which we hope and believe, is to liberate the world. Nor is this right confined to cases in which the whole people of an existing government, may choose to exercise it. Any portion of such people that can, may revolutionize, and make their own, of so much of the teritory [sic] as they inhabit. More than this, a majority of any portion of such people may revolutionize, putting down a minority, intermingled with, or near about them, who may oppose their movement.
     
    Not that Lincoln was either the first or the last politician to be guilty of inconsistency...

    Dave

    , @johnmark7
    @Luke Lea

    Here's the entire speech in the House where he said it:

    http://teachingamericanhistory.org/library/document/the-war-with-mexico-speech-in-the-united-states-house-of-representatives/

    Replies: @Luke Lea

  111. @Opinionator
    @Darwin

    All effort should have been made to avoid the Civil War, a bloody tragedy

    Including letting Southern States go in peace.

    The war was not fought to free the slaves.

    Replies: @syonredux

    All effort should have been made to avoid the Civil War, a bloody tragedy

    Including letting Southern States go in peace.

    Or maybe not attempting to secede….

    The war was not fought to free the slaves.

    Got there pretty quickly, though….

  112. @Massimo Heitor
    @Clark Westwood



    The more I study this period, the more I lean toward the view that Lincoln actually wanted a war and, to that end, snookered the South into firing on Sumter and then called for 75,000 volunteers while knowing full well that doing so would cause the border states to secede.
     
    It's obvious and widely accepted that Lincoln had already abandoned serious efforts at peace negotiations and deliberately baited the Confederates into firing on Sumter to make them seem the aggressors. If the Confederates had more shrewd diplomacy skills they wouldn't have taken the bait.

    What might not be obvious to casual observers, Sumter was deep in South Carolina. It's not like the Confederates were launching attacks on other states, they were just trying to establish their own sovereignty in their own states.

    It seems most wars could have been avoided in hindsight, and the American Civil War or War Between States was definitely one that could have been avoided.

    The moral high ground for the Union would have been to allow secession and independence under conditions of abolition of slavery.

    The premise of engaging in full blown savage ruthless horrific warfare involving widespread indiscriminate murder, rape, starvation, then establishing permanent dominion over your enemy, and then do some after the fact moralization of the whole thing seems completely outrageous.

    Trump is actually very wise to suggest that ideally that horrific war could have been avoided through better diplomacy, and I believe he is right.

    Replies: @Gringo, @syonredux

    The moral high ground for the Union would have been to allow secession and independence under conditions of abolition of slavery.

    Which the South would never have done…..

  113. @Opinionator
    @syonredux

    The war wasn't fought to free the slaves. Don't be obtuse.

    And the states, not their counties, were the fundamental sovereign political unit, whether facing the federal government or the citizens of the states.

    Replies: @syonredux

    The war wasn’t fought to free the slaves. Don’t be obtuse.

    Dear fellow, I’m simply noting that the Confederates were not fighting in the name of freedom…

    And the states, not their counties, were the fundamental sovereign political unit, whether facing the federal government or the citizens of the states.

    Who says? Why can’t units within a state attempt to secede?

    • Replies: @Opinionator
    @syonredux

    Dear fellow, I’m simply noting that the Confederates were not fighting in the name of freedom…

    That is precisely what they were fighting for.

    , @Opinionator
    @syonredux

    Who says? Why can’t units within a state attempt to secede?

    The counties are creatures of the states.

    Replies: @Reg Cæsar

  114. @Opinionator
    @syonredux

    moral wouldn’t have attempted to secede in the first place….


    Political independence and sovereignty is immoral? Uh, okay.

    Replies: @syonredux, @Ian M.

    moral wouldn’t have attempted to secede in the first place….

    Political independence and sovereignty is immoral? Uh, okay.

    Treason is always immoral, dear fellow….

    • Replies: @PhysicistDave
    @syonredux

    syonredux wrote:


    Treason is always immoral, dear fellow…
     
    The South maintained that the Union was an association similar to today's United Nations.

    Would you call it "treason" if the US withdrew from the UN?

    Please note: I am on the side neither of the Union politicians nor the Confederate politicians; my sympathies are with the slaves and all the men who were maimed or killed. I realize that the Constitution is ambiguous on the basic legal issues.

    But, let's not pretend those legal issues are open and shut. The Constitution is ambiguous -- perhaps intentionally.

    Surely, the "moral" course would have been to try to avoid the American Holocaust.

    Dave

    Replies: @Hibernian

    , @Autochthon
    @syonredux

    This position is inconsistent with the very existence of the U.S.A., as it follows that you deem Washington, Jefferson, Franklin, Adams, Madison, Monroe, Paine, and all the rest traitors as well.

    Other lousy traitors in your paradigm include Símon Bolívar, Spartacus, and Charles de Gaulle.

    (Your writing "dear fellow" in this context is just dopey and pretentious.)

    Replies: @Ian M.

    , @The Anti-Gnostic
    @syonredux

    Sovereignty's always up for grabs. If you can take it, and keep it, it's yours.

  115. XYZ says:
    @Steve Sailer
    From Wikipedia:

    "Kentucky was a border state of key importance in the American Civil War. President Abraham Lincoln recognized the importance of the Commonwealth when he declared "I hope to have God on my side, but I must have Kentucky."[1] In a September 1861 letter to Orville Browning,[2] Lincoln wrote:

    "I think to lose Kentucky is nearly the same as to lose the whole game. Kentucky gone, we cannot hold Missouri, nor Maryland. These all against us, and the job on our hands is too large for us. We would as well consent to separation at once, including the surrender of this capitol.[3][4]"

    Kentucky has the same southern border as Virginia and Virginia had about 45% more people.

    The four states that seceded after Lincoln came to office had almost as large a population as the 7 that had already seceded. They probably had about as many white men to fight as the first 7.

    As Lincoln grew into his job he became obsessed with hanging onto the last 4 slave states and successfully did so. But it would have been a lot easier if he'd held onto the previous 4, especially onto Virginia.

    Replies: @XYZ

    I think Kentucky in 1860 had 1,155,684 people (20-25% slave) and (without-West) Virginia at 1,219,63 (33% slave). The states that left after Fort Sumter were key but a completely hostile state south of the Ohio River would have screwed the union. Having a decently populated slave state fighting for the union also helped greatly in keeping other union slaves states in the fold.

    So yes, Kentucky was absolutely essential to a union victory.

  116. Lot says:
    @AnotherDad
    @Steve Sailer


    As it turned out that almost happened on the first and third days of Gettysburg.
     
    I've generally seen the 2nd day as the South's "almost" high water mark. If Longstreet could have turned the Union left where the Corps commander Sickles had pushed too far west to the peach orchard, the South might have been able to rout the Union army. And it seems like it was a close run thing with a lot of early success destroying Sickles corps in the Peach Orchard and Wheatfield and getting onto the edge of Cemetery Ridge before Union reinforcements arrive, and a famously close run thing further right at Little Round Top. The 3rd day in contrast just a debacle for the South--huge mistake by Lee.

    My 10,000 foot take however, is that this stuff wasn't really the point. The South wasn't going to win a manpower/GDP war. If Southerners really wanted secession they needed a better political approach
    --secession a fundamental right of all peoples, a requirement for freedom, analogies to revolution
    -- we're better off separated; we can both get what we want without continual fighting
    -- we can be friends, or even brothers living in separate houses; friendly resolution of issues like Mississippi river shipping; we'll work well together; and if it seems more beneficial later to each of us to rejoin, we can do so
    Instead the SC hotheads fired on Fort Sumter.

    My 100,000 foot take. Secession was stupid. The South would have had to become an absolute police state to make slavery work with such a long an near border. Anyone with any sense of "where things were heading" with the steam engine, railroads, the industrial revolution, would see that slavery was a dying system.

    The South unfortunately had short-sighted, greedy, pompous leadership willing to destroy the nation to keep their cheap labor jollies going. Come to think of it ... exactly like the leadership of the US today!

    Replies: @Opinionator, @Lot

    Well said. The South could have saved itself from demographic disaster, one fifth of its military-age white male population killed fighting an unwinnable war, and prolonged its profitable system of slavery a few more decades, ending with the same gradual emancipation that ended slavery in Pennsylvania and a few other Northern states. The fortune spent on civil war could instead have been used for African repatriation.

    • Replies: @Mark Caplan
    @Lot

    The South almost won the "unwinnable" war, as I understand it. The North was on the verge of throwing in the towel. The unexpected victory at Gettysburg hardened Northern resolve and led to Lincoln's reelection. Or is that just another quaint national myth?

    Replies: @Reg Cæsar, @Captain Tripps

  117. @Opinionator
    @syonredux

    Dunno. There’s no unilateral exit clause in the Constitution (something that the Anti-Federalists kept pointing out).

    The Constituition is a document of enumerated federal powers. The South had the far better legal argument, based on the constitutional structure, the Tenth Amendment, unilateral right to treaty withdrawal under international law, and common law contract and joint venture law (at-will right of withdrawal as default; right of withdrawal with money damages otherwise).

    As for “natural rights" Madison noted that, obviously, states could rebel in the name of the extra-Constitutional right

    This is secession, not rebellion.

    Replies: @syonredux, @Mark Caplan

    The Constituition is a document of enumerated federal powers. The South had the far better legal argument, based on the constitutional structure, the Tenth Amendment, unilateral right to treaty withdrawal under international law, and common law contract and joint venture law (at-will right of withdrawal as default; right of withdrawal with money damages otherwise).

    And yet nobody bothered to insert language on the topic of unilateral secession in the Constitution,,,,And people (the Anti-Federalists) complained about the absence….

    As for “natural rights” Madison noted that, obviously, states could rebel in the name of the extra-Constitutional right

    This is secession, not rebellion.

    Potato, potahto, dear fellow. Revolution is only justified in the context of tyranny…..

    • Replies: @Opinionator
    @syonredux

    And yet nobody bothered to insert language on the topic of unilateral secession in the Constitution,,,,And people (the Anti-Federalists) complained about the absence….

    No need. Not with its being a contract of enumerated federal powers, the background contract common law and international law, and the Tenth Amendment. The burden is on the party thst wants a contract to coercively bind the other party to a relationship for ever and ever to state so explicitly.

    At most, money damages could have been paid for any injury to the North.

    All contracts allow withdrawal, with money damages for injury.

  118. @Opinionator
    @Steve Sailer

    Southerners may have perceived the slavery issue as a sign of things to come, evidence of a trend toward the gradual erosion--and eventual loss--of their sovereignty as the North filled up with people.

    Replies: @syonredux, @Reg Cæsar

    Southerners may have perceived the slavery issue as a sign of things to come, evidence of a trend toward the gradual erosion–and eventual loss–of their sovereignty as the North filled up with people.

    Or, perhaps Southern elites simply thought that slavery was really great. Cf Alexander Stephens “Cornerstone” speech:

    But not to be tedious in enumerating the numerous changes for the better, allow me to allude to one other though last, not least. The new constitution has put at rest, forever, all the agitating questions relating to our peculiar institution African slavery as it exists amongst us the proper status of the negro in our form of civilization. This was the immediate cause of the late rupture and present revolution. Jefferson in his forecast, had anticipated this, as the “rock upon which the old Union would split.” He was right. What was conjecture with him, is now a realized fact. But whether he fully comprehended the great truth upon which that rock stood and stands, may be doubted. The prevailing ideas entertained by him and most of the leading statesmen at the time of the formation of the old constitution, were that the enslavement of the African was in violation of the laws of nature; that it was wrong in principle, socially, morally, and politically. It was an evil they knew not well how to deal with, but the general opinion of the men of that day was that, somehow or other in the order of Providence, the institution would be evanescent and pass away. This idea, though not incorporated in the constitution, was the prevailing idea at that time. The constitution, it is true, secured every essential guarantee to the institution while it should last, and hence no argument can be justly urged against the constitutional guarantees thus secured, because of the common sentiment of the day. Those ideas, however, were fundamentally wrong. They rested upon the assumption of the equality of races. This was an error. It was a sandy foundation, and the government built upon it fell when the “storm came and the wind blew.”

  119. @Opinionator
    @RonaldB

    The Confederacy leadership was feeling its oats, making impulsive, irrational decisions, and it cost them the Confederacy.

    Did thr "Confederacy leadership" really author the firing on Fort Sumter?

    And the firing on Fort Sumter did not justify the killing of 650,000 of the country's best young men.

    Replies: @syonredux

    The Confederacy leadership was feeling its oats, making impulsive, irrational decisions, and it cost them the Confederacy.

    Did thr “Confederacy leadership” really author the firing on Fort Sumter?

    They were stupid enough to fire the first shot, dear fellow. Lincoln proved the superior strategist….

    And the firing on Fort Sumter did not justify the killing of 650,000 of the country’s best young men.

    The Confederate desire to kill in the name of slavery was pretty strong…

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
    @syonredux


    The Confederate desire to kill in the name of slavery was pretty strong…
     
    Do we have to use such harsh terms as "slavery"? I prefer to think of it as diversity. Multiculturalism.
    , @Opinionator
    @syonredux

    The Confederate desire to kill in the name of slavery was pretty strong…

    No Southerner killed in the name of slavery.

    Replies: @anonymous

  120. @Opinionator
    @syonredux

    Dunno. There’s no unilateral exit clause in the Constitution (something that the Anti-Federalists kept pointing out).

    The Constituition is a document of enumerated federal powers. The South had the far better legal argument, based on the constitutional structure, the Tenth Amendment, unilateral right to treaty withdrawal under international law, and common law contract and joint venture law (at-will right of withdrawal as default; right of withdrawal with money damages otherwise).

    As for “natural rights" Madison noted that, obviously, states could rebel in the name of the extra-Constitutional right

    This is secession, not rebellion.

    Replies: @syonredux, @Mark Caplan

    Lincoln the lawyer argued the states had entered into a contract with the Union. It was called the Constitution. To dissolve the contract, both sides would have to agree to the new terms. One side isn’t free to unilaterally reneg on a contract without penalties.

    • Replies: @Opinionator
    @Mark Caplan

    Very well. I don't think you picked up on my reference to contract law in the post you are replying to. Lincoln is hoisted on his own petard here. Lacking a defined time period and no-exit clause, the constitutional contract was "at will" and could be exited at any time.

    Even if it had not been "at will", it could still be exited at any time and any "penalty" would generally be limited to proven injury and paid in money, not by specific performance. It is my understanding that the South offered to compensate the North for federal property that could not be returned to the North.

    Replies: @RonaldB, @res

  121. @syonredux
    @Opinionator


    The war wasn’t fought to free the slaves. Don’t be obtuse.

     

    Dear fellow, I'm simply noting that the Confederates were not fighting in the name of freedom...

    And the states, not their counties, were the fundamental sovereign political unit, whether facing the federal government or the citizens of the states.
     
    Who says? Why can't units within a state attempt to secede?

    Replies: @Opinionator, @Opinionator

    Dear fellow, I’m simply noting that the Confederates were not fighting in the name of freedom…

    That is precisely what they were fighting for.

  122. @Opinionator
    @Jus' Sayin'...

    A better, more perspicacious President could probably have avoided the Civil War entirely.

    A moral man would have permitted the Southern states to secede.

    Replies: @syonredux, @Joe Franklin, @Reg Cæsar, @Corvinus

    A moral man would have permitted the Southern states to secede.

    South Carolina had had a black majority since the 1820 census. A sane man would have expelled the damned place on those grounds alone. It was the Puerto Rico of the 19th century.

  123. @syonredux
    @Opinionator


    The Confederacy leadership was feeling its oats, making impulsive, irrational decisions, and it cost them the Confederacy.

    Did thr “Confederacy leadership” really author the firing on Fort Sumter?
     
    They were stupid enough to fire the first shot, dear fellow. Lincoln proved the superior strategist....

    And the firing on Fort Sumter did not justify the killing of 650,000 of the country’s best young men.
     
    The Confederate desire to kill in the name of slavery was pretty strong...

    Replies: @Reg Cæsar, @Opinionator

    The Confederate desire to kill in the name of slavery was pretty strong…

    Do we have to use such harsh terms as “slavery”? I prefer to think of it as diversity. Multiculturalism.

  124. @Opinionator
    @AnotherDad

    My 100,000 foot take. Secession was stupid. The South would have had to become an absolute police state to make slavery work with such a long an near border. Anyone with any sense of “where things were heading” with the steam engine, railroads, the industrial revolution, would see that slavery was a dying system.

    The writing was on the wall with the population explosion in the North. Remaining in the Union meant eventual de facto loss of sovereignty, territory, peoplehood. If true, it cannot be said that secession was stupid, although the way they went about it can be criticized.

    Perhaps the situation is not so unlike the one prevailing in the United States today, given mass immigration.

    Replies: @syonredux

    The writing was on the wall with the population explosion in the North. Remaining in the Union meant eventual de facto loss of sovereignty, territory, peoplehood. If true, it cannot be said that secession was stupid, although the way they went about it can be criticized.

    And, of course, Southern “peoplehood” was based on slavery…..

    Perhaps the situation is not so unlike the one prevailing in the United States today, given mass immigration.

    With the South being like the pro-immigration activists. Cf their desire for more and more Blacks….In 1860, Mississippi was 55% Black….

    • Replies: @Opinionator
    @syonredux

    And, of course, Southern “peoplehood” was based on slavery

    Totally false.

    Replies: @Corvinus

  125. @Opinionator
    @Steve Sailer

    Southerners may have perceived the slavery issue as a sign of things to come, evidence of a trend toward the gradual erosion--and eventual loss--of their sovereignty as the North filled up with people.

    Replies: @syonredux, @Reg Cæsar

    evidence of a trend toward the gradual erosion–and eventual loss–of their sovereignty as the North filled up with people…

    …while the South filled up with Negroes.

    • Agree: syonredux
    • Replies: @Opinionator
    @Reg Cæsar

    The importation of slaves from Africa had long since been prohibited. It is unlikely it would have been revived by the CSA.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer, @Reg Cæsar

    , @syonredux
    @Reg Cæsar


    evidence of a trend toward the gradual erosion–and eventual loss–of their sovereignty as the North filled up with people…

    …while the South filled up with Negroes.
     
    Call me crazy, but I'll take Germans and Irish over Blacks.......
  126. @anonymous
    @syonredux

    The escaped slaves lincoln had caught and returned back to their masters even during the war, or the future slaves lincoln wanted to forever be adopted into the constitution?

    Replies: @syonredux

    The escaped slaves lincoln had caught and returned back to their masters even during the war, or the future slaves lincoln wanted to forever be adopted into the constitution?

    Dear fellow, no one ever said that the Confederates were smart; it’s pretty amazing how they created conditions that made abolition inevitable…

    • Replies: @anonymous
    @syonredux

    So your response to pointing out that lincoln continued to support slavery during the war is to say the south wasn't smart? Lincoln made sure to have fugitive slaves caught and returned back to the masters in pro union slave states, supported forever allowing slavery, and refused to do anything about slaves in areas the north had captured down to the county level by exempting them in the EP. It would seem lincoln was not very smart by your logic.

    Abolition would not have been possible had lincoln gotten his constitutional amendment forever allowing it.

  127. @Gringo
    @Massimo Heitor

    The moral high ground for the Union would have been to allow secession and independence under conditions of abolition of slavery.

    My understanding of your statement is that the Union should have informed South Carolina and other seceding states ,"We will allow you to peacefully leave the Union if you abolish slavery."

    Given the overriding desire to maintain slavery that permeates the South Carolina Declaration of Secession, the response of the fire-eaters in South Carolina to the above condition would have been a hearty horselaugh. The response in other Southern stats would probably have been similar.

    Granted, at the end of the war there were some on the Confederate side who proposed abolishing slavery, but nothing ever came of that. Patrick Cleburne, a Confederate general born in Ireland, was one of the first Confederates to propose emancipation. ( Al Striklin, one the "piano pounders" for Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys, was from Cleburne, Texas. )

    Replies: @Massimo Heitor

    My understanding of your statement is that the Union should have informed South Carolina and other seceding states ,”We will allow you to peacefully leave the Union if you abolish slavery.”

    Given the overriding desire to maintain slavery that permeates the South Carolina Declaration of Secession, the response of the fire-eaters in South Carolina to the above condition would have been a hearty horselaugh. The response in other Southern stats would probably have been similar.

    Yes, the slave-holding elite of South Carolina would have rejected that at least initially.

    So, either isolate the slavery supporters, and pressure them to concede their morally ridiculous point without large scale war.

    Or, if there is war, at least make it a noble war against the supporters of slavery and not against the people who have a more reasonable support of sovereignty and secession rights and devolution of power.

    States like North Carolina and Virginia that seceded only when demanded that they help fight against other states for seceding would have switched sides. Robert E Lee would have switched and sided in favor of the right of secession and sovereignty but against slavery. William Tecumseh Sherman would have switched sides and fought against the right of secession but for the right of slavery. Some of the slave states that fought for the union may have switched sides and fought for slavery if that’s what they knew they were fighting about.

    • Replies: @CAL
    @Massimo Heitor


    So, either isolate the slavery supporters, and pressure them to concede their morally ridiculous point without large scale war.

    Or, if there is war, at least make it a noble war against the supporters of slavery and not against the people who have a more reasonable support of sovereignty and secession rights and devolution of power.
     
    That's a dubious assertion. The South was claiming the right to secede for whatever reason. Saying they can secede as long as they abolish or do X defeats their original argument. It's the equivalent of saying you have free speech as long as you don't say anything hateful. The South would have quickly turned the argument around as an example of the despotic nature of the Federal gov't.

    Second, everyone knew that slavery was the thorn that led to the war and that was driven by the Southern planter class. The North however was not motivated by slavery per se but by Union. There were legitimate fears that a second gov't would result in European powers playing everyone off of each other until it turned into the chaos of a mini-Europe with multiple states vying for power.

    States like North Carolina and Virginia that seceded only when demanded that they help fight against other states for seceding would have switched sides. Robert E Lee would have switched and sided in favor of the right of secession and sovereignty but against slavery. William Tecumseh Sherman would have switched sides and fought against the right of secession but for the right of slavery. Some of the slave states that fought for the union may have switched sides and fought for slavery if that’s what they knew they were fighting about.
     
    Or they could have simply acted like Kentucky and declared neutrality. Virginia and NC simply decided to choose sides once the bullets were flying. Secession and slavery were intertwined. You can't simply wish away that fact. Any attempt at secession would be tied to the reasons for seceding. This Gordian knot is made of iron and you can't cut it for a wishful solution.
    , @Autochthon
    @Massimo Heitor

    Maybe. Lee's decision would almost certainly have hinged entirely on what Virginia qua Virginia did; he would never have lifted a finger against the Commonwealth.

    One thing people today consistently fail to understand, much less appreciate, is that before the war people in the U.S.A., especially in the south, but elsewhere too, very much counted themselves as citezens of their states first and foremost, and as Americans (i.e., citizens of the U.S.A. writ large) as an extremely distant second. One was a Georgian, a Pennsylvanian, etc.

    The mutineering regiment from Maine in The Killer Angels is illustrative: they did not much give a hoot in Hell about "The Union" as such, and their new commanding officer recognised and acknowledged that to actually hang, whip, or otherwise severely punish them would mean his effective exile from Maine.

    There is a reason we no longer have regiments organised according to their states of origin....

    Replies: @Hibernian

  128. @Mark Caplan
    @Opinionator

    Lincoln the lawyer argued the states had entered into a contract with the Union. It was called the Constitution. To dissolve the contract, both sides would have to agree to the new terms. One side isn't free to unilaterally reneg on a contract without penalties.

    Replies: @Opinionator

    Very well. I don’t think you picked up on my reference to contract law in the post you are replying to. Lincoln is hoisted on his own petard here. Lacking a defined time period and no-exit clause, the constitutional contract was “at will” and could be exited at any time.

    Even if it had not been “at will”, it could still be exited at any time and any “penalty” would generally be limited to proven injury and paid in money, not by specific performance. It is my understanding that the South offered to compensate the North for federal property that could not be returned to the North.

    • Replies: @RonaldB
    @Opinionator

    " Lacking a defined time period and no-exit clause, the constitutional contract was “at will” and could be exited at any time."

    Unfortunately, the initiation of hostilities by the idiotic Jefferson Davis nullified all legal arguments. The North could claim with some justification that they retained ownership over federal property in the Confederate states. Once they decided to settle the matter by force, there was no legal argument, in my opinion, against the North continuing the war to its conclusion.

    , @res
    @Opinionator

    Interesting argument. Thanks. Any (other?) lawyers care to comment?

    Replies: @Clark Westwood

  129. @syonredux
    @Opinionator


    The writing was on the wall with the population explosion in the North. Remaining in the Union meant eventual de facto loss of sovereignty, territory, peoplehood. If true, it cannot be said that secession was stupid, although the way they went about it can be criticized.
     
    And, of course, Southern "peoplehood" was based on slavery.....

    Perhaps the situation is not so unlike the one prevailing in the United States today, given mass immigration.
     
    With the South being like the pro-immigration activists. Cf their desire for more and more Blacks....In 1860, Mississippi was 55% Black....

    Replies: @Opinionator

    And, of course, Southern “peoplehood” was based on slavery

    Totally false.

    • Replies: @Corvinus
    @Opinionator

    "And, of course, Southern “peoplehood” was based on slavery. Totally false."

    No, completely accurate. Southerners labeled their slaves as "subhuman", yet demanded they count toward representation. 3/5 of a person, now what they hell does that even mean? Well, a "person" in that historical context referred to as an "a man of European descent".

    Replies: @RebelWriter, @Opinionator

  130. @Lot
    @AnotherDad

    Well said. The South could have saved itself from demographic disaster, one fifth of its military-age white male population killed fighting an unwinnable war, and prolonged its profitable system of slavery a few more decades, ending with the same gradual emancipation that ended slavery in Pennsylvania and a few other Northern states. The fortune spent on civil war could instead have been used for African repatriation.

    Replies: @Mark Caplan

    The South almost won the “unwinnable” war, as I understand it. The North was on the verge of throwing in the towel. The unexpected victory at Gettysburg hardened Northern resolve and led to Lincoln’s reelection. Or is that just another quaint national myth?

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
    @Mark Caplan


    The unexpected victory at Gettysburg hardened Northern resolve and led to Lincoln’s reelection. Or is that just another quaint national myth?
     
    The "peace Democrats" thought their proposals to sue for peace at the low points would resonate with exhausted Union soldiers. Instead, it did the opposite, and offended them. They had sacrificed too much to turn back now.

    Not that many of those soldiers could vote, but they did write a lot of letters home to those that did.

    Replies: @Captain Tripps, @RebelWriter

    , @Captain Tripps
    @Mark Caplan

    It was really Pemberton's unexpected surrender at Vicksburg a day later on July 4th that gave Lincoln and other Northern leaders confidence; at that point, Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana become "separated" from the rest of the CSA. Gettysburg was considered a "victory" because the Union Army still held the high ground, while the Confederate Army withdrew back into Maryland/Virginia. But it was seen as a bloody and hard victory (bulk of Union casualties sustained on Day 1 and 2; bulk of Confederate casualties on Day 2 and 3), not the prompt to give Lincoln the confidence to press ahead with the war to a successful conclusion; Vicksburg, combined with Gettysburg, gave him that. Most don't know/realize or have forgotten that antiwar sentiment in both the North and South was rising; the New York City draft riots were two weeks later.

  131. @Reg Cæsar
    @Opinionator


    evidence of a trend toward the gradual erosion–and eventual loss–of their sovereignty as the North filled up with people...
     
    ...while the South filled up with Negroes.

    Replies: @Opinionator, @syonredux

    The importation of slaves from Africa had long since been prohibited. It is unlikely it would have been revived by the CSA.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    @Opinionator

    Some Southrons were talking about reviving the slave trade. In general, the Southerners were pretty politically dominant up until the 1860 election, so they were always looking around for new extremist positions to take to outrage the Northrons, like the NRA is always trying to find a law somewhere that, say, bans circus employees from packing heat while hanging around with chimps.

    Replies: @Opinionator, @Autochthon, @res, @Jenner Ickham Errican, @Peripatetic commenter

    , @Reg Cæsar
    @Opinionator


    The importation of slaves from Africa had long since been prohibited. It is unlikely it would have been revived by the CSA.
     
    They didn't neuter the slaves they had, though.

    It's what's called a "renewable resource".
  132. anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    D*&&^%n those evil white Americans! They’ve made Puerto Rico go broke. They exploited Puerto Rico mercilessly by brain-draining their smart fraction:

    “Puerto Rico Declares a Form of Bankruptcy”, MARY WILLIAMS WALSH, New York Times, MAY 3, 2017:

    “…the “brain drain” the island has been suffering as professionals move to the mainland could intensify.”

    If only the NY Times had been able to defeat those evil white KKKers who were making Puerto Rico suffer so by aiding and abetting their immigration to the mainland. There was probably even had some sort of underground railway to siphon off the best Puerto Rican brains.

    But, if those white folks don’t fix the suffering, there’s always the veiled threat, the uncontrolled immigration weapon could intensity, presumably with negative consequences that we want to avoid.

    • Replies: @res
    @anonymous

    It is amazing that so much of the Puerto Rico conversation revolves around arguments (this and independence) that have most people here (I think) saying "please, please, please don't throw me into one of those briar patches" (i.e. allowing independence or shutting off immigration).

  133. @Steve Sailer
    @RonaldB

    Southerners were much more apologetic about slavery earlier in the century.

    Replies: @syonredux, @johnmark7

    Southerners were much more apologetic about slavery earlier in the century.

    Indeed. In the late 18th-early 19th centuries, defenders of slavery spoke in terms of slavery being a “necessary evil.” Virtually no one attempted a positive defense of the institution. That changed as the years rolled on. JQ Adams has a passage in his diaries where he notes his shock when he heard John C Calhoun speak of slavery as a positive, beneficial force…..

    • Replies: @RonaldB
    @syonredux

    Very interesting.

    As I recall from history classes, Calhoun defended slavery from a quasi-Marxist point of view. He argued, that in the North, the work was the unit of commerce, so factory owners would pay only what they had to to get workers. It was immaterial to them if the wages were sufficient to keep the workers alive, as long as there were workers to replace the ones that died.

    Under slavery, it was the slave that was the unit of commerce, and if a slave were killed or incapacitated, the owner lost value. Therefore, according to Calhoun, the wealthy owner class was more motivated to see to the welfare of slaves in the South, than the owners were to see to the welfare of the workers in the North.

    I don't know if Calhoun advocated the resumption of the slave trade, or if he simply defended the system as it was.

    For sure, the slavery economy was self-defeating. The more slaves, the more the small farmers were displaced and impoverished. The small farmers were the backbone of the confederate army.

    , @Almost Missouri
    @syonredux

    Do you think that any of the mid-19th century neo-enthusiasm about slavery came from the 19th century's Darwinian/scientific worldview replacing the 18th century's Christian worldview? In other words, is this change in attitude at all due to a materialist racial classification replacing the men-are-brothers-in-Christ religious view?

  134. @syonredux
    @Opinionator


    The Confederacy leadership was feeling its oats, making impulsive, irrational decisions, and it cost them the Confederacy.

    Did thr “Confederacy leadership” really author the firing on Fort Sumter?
     
    They were stupid enough to fire the first shot, dear fellow. Lincoln proved the superior strategist....

    And the firing on Fort Sumter did not justify the killing of 650,000 of the country’s best young men.
     
    The Confederate desire to kill in the name of slavery was pretty strong...

    Replies: @Reg Cæsar, @Opinionator

    The Confederate desire to kill in the name of slavery was pretty strong…

    No Southerner killed in the name of slavery.

    • Replies: @anonymous
    @Opinionator

    By syon's logic, the north also killed in the name of slavery considering lincoln continued to enforce the fugitive slave act during the war, and supported a constitutional amendment forever allowing a right to slavery. The emancipation proclamation did not apply to areas the north had under control - which meant lincoln refused to do anything about slavery while at the same time he was shutting down newspapers and throwing people in jail without charge or trial for political speech opposing his invasion, so he wasn't exactly binding himself to the confines of the constitution.

  135. @Reg Cæsar
    @Opinionator


    evidence of a trend toward the gradual erosion–and eventual loss–of their sovereignty as the North filled up with people...
     
    ...while the South filled up with Negroes.

    Replies: @Opinionator, @syonredux

    evidence of a trend toward the gradual erosion–and eventual loss–of their sovereignty as the North filled up with people…

    …while the South filled up with Negroes.

    Call me crazy, but I’ll take Germans and Irish over Blacks…….

  136. @syonredux
    @Opinionator


    The Constituition is a document of enumerated federal powers. The South had the far better legal argument, based on the constitutional structure, the Tenth Amendment, unilateral right to treaty withdrawal under international law, and common law contract and joint venture law (at-will right of withdrawal as default; right of withdrawal with money damages otherwise).
     
    And yet nobody bothered to insert language on the topic of unilateral secession in the Constitution,,,,And people (the Anti-Federalists) complained about the absence....

    As for “natural rights” Madison noted that, obviously, states could rebel in the name of the extra-Constitutional right

    This is secession, not rebellion.
     
    Potato, potahto, dear fellow. Revolution is only justified in the context of tyranny.....

    Replies: @Opinionator

    And yet nobody bothered to insert language on the topic of unilateral secession in the Constitution,,,,And people (the Anti-Federalists) complained about the absence….

    No need. Not with its being a contract of enumerated federal powers, the background contract common law and international law, and the Tenth Amendment. The burden is on the party thst wants a contract to coercively bind the other party to a relationship for ever and ever to state so explicitly.

    At most, money damages could have been paid for any injury to the North.

    All contracts allow withdrawal, with money damages for injury.

  137. @syonredux
    @Opinionator


    The war wasn’t fought to free the slaves. Don’t be obtuse.

     

    Dear fellow, I'm simply noting that the Confederates were not fighting in the name of freedom...

    And the states, not their counties, were the fundamental sovereign political unit, whether facing the federal government or the citizens of the states.
     
    Who says? Why can't units within a state attempt to secede?

    Replies: @Opinionator, @Opinionator

    Who says? Why can’t units within a state attempt to secede?

    The counties are creatures of the states.

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
    @Opinionator


    The counties are creatures of the states.
     
    True. But the colonies were creatures of the Crown.

    Replies: @Opinionator

  138. @Hibernian
    @Whoever

    "And after that massive extermination, to replace all those young men and the generations they would have fathered, we imported masses of Ellis Island types who radically changed the nature of our population and turned our cities into islands of aliens."

    Mass immigration and urbanization were already well underway before 1860; Chicago went from the wild wild West to the site of Lincoln's nomination in 12 years, 1848-1860, with many German and Irish immigrants. Many German and a fair number of Irish immigrants served on the Union side.

    Replies: @Whoever

    You are correct, but I was thinking of — and I should have been clearer — the eastern and southern Europeans who came in great numbers after the Civil War. Would we have had so much need of them had we not killed so many of our own? I suppose we could quibble over exactly who “our own” were…. Just a stray thought.
    Germans had been immigrating to America in some numbers since at least the beginning of the 18th century and comprised about 10 percent of the white population at the beginning of the Revolutionary War, in which they distinguished themselves, most particularly at the Battle of Oriskany.
    Hadn’t the Irish been integrating into American life for some time, too, by the time the war began? But had the ethnicities of the Russian and Mediterranean lands — and weren’t they a lot different from more traditional immigrants (the Hajnal line and so forth, though I see the Irish are excluded from that…) ?

  139. @Opinionator
    @Reg Cæsar

    The importation of slaves from Africa had long since been prohibited. It is unlikely it would have been revived by the CSA.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer, @Reg Cæsar

    Some Southrons were talking about reviving the slave trade. In general, the Southerners were pretty politically dominant up until the 1860 election, so they were always looking around for new extremist positions to take to outrage the Northrons, like the NRA is always trying to find a law somewhere that, say, bans circus employees from packing heat while hanging around with chimps.

    • Replies: @Opinionator
    @Steve Sailer

    I think I may be a little too slow or underinformed to grasp the analogy.

    Are you saying Southrons would have postured to revive importation in order to inflame the North, in order to ... ?

    (The gist of my original comment was that I don't believe the Southern states would have revived it once they were firmly established and independent. Admittedly, I haven't offered evidence but intuition tells me that there would have been enough very very strong opposition within the Southern states to prevent a push from succeeding.)

    , @Autochthon
    @Steve Sailer

    With respect, sir, if not meant to be wry humour, this statement seems disingenuous. Do you really mean to say irritating northerners was some kind of hobby and recreation for southerners? The very idea is cartoonish. ("Well, I could focus on the matters pressing to my constituents to ensure re-election, but to Hell with that; the real fun will be in doing something to piss off people in Connecticut I have no connection with whatsoever!") Or even that the NRA is goofily findings tempists in teapots – when you live in a state where it is effectively illegal to so much as walk across the street to your neighbour's house or drive down the road with a loaded weapon, and therefore effectively impossible to defend oneself with a firearm outside one's home?

    , @res
    @Steve Sailer

    But were those positions simply outrage fodder or bargaining chips? What did they really want?

    I think the best argument for the South not reviving slave importation is my perception (accurate?) that the Southern elites were doing quite well raising and selling slaves without external competition. Not angering the British was also relevant.

    , @Jenner Ickham Errican
    @Steve Sailer


    Southerners (…) were always looking around for new extremist positions to take to outrage the Northrons, like the NRA is always trying to find a law somewhere …
     
    You have it reversed. The NRA is better compared to true-believer staunch Abolitionists. Abolitionists aren’t going to be satisfied with a compromise on slavery anywhere within the Union. Free the guns and the non-criminals who want them!

    … that, say, bans circus employees from packing heat while hanging around with chimps.
     
    Chimps and guns in the same environment could backfire, so it would behoove humans to wear safety-equipped chimp blasters in (concealed) police-style retention holsters. Then when someone’s face gets chomped, the muncher can be instantly retired. Of course, best not to hang around chimps in the first place, but that’s another discussion.
    , @Peripatetic commenter
    @Steve Sailer

    Did you mean to refer to the SPLC always looking for Jewish cemeteries suffering from neglect and blaming it on the KKK or Nazis and Anti-Semites under the bed?

  140. @Mark Caplan
    @Lot

    The South almost won the "unwinnable" war, as I understand it. The North was on the verge of throwing in the towel. The unexpected victory at Gettysburg hardened Northern resolve and led to Lincoln's reelection. Or is that just another quaint national myth?

    Replies: @Reg Cæsar, @Captain Tripps

    The unexpected victory at Gettysburg hardened Northern resolve and led to Lincoln’s reelection. Or is that just another quaint national myth?

    The “peace Democrats” thought their proposals to sue for peace at the low points would resonate with exhausted Union soldiers. Instead, it did the opposite, and offended them. They had sacrificed too much to turn back now.

    Not that many of those soldiers could vote, but they did write a lot of letters home to those that did.

    • Replies: @Captain Tripps
    @Reg Cæsar


    Not that many of those soldiers could vote, but they did write a lot of letters home to those that did.
     
    Yes, but you have to balance that with all the mothers whose views on the war were colored by the death/disfigurement of their sons. Antiwar sentiment was rising in the North; the South had momentum going into the Gettysburg campaign. Lee and Jackson had stopped the Union Army cold at Fredericksburg in December 1862, and had just decisively run them off the field at Chancellorsville in early May 1863, two months before Gettysburg/Vicksburg. Antiwar sentiment peaked two weeks after Gettysburg in the New York City draft riots (it was so bad Lincoln had to divert significant numbers of Federal troops away from pursuing Lee back to Virginia); it subsided after that as strategic momentum decisively shifted to the North, but never really went away. Concurrently, antiwar sentiment began rising in the South until the collapse 18 months later in early 1865.

    Replies: @Reg Cæsar

    , @RebelWriter
    @Reg Cæsar

    Facts are that peace "resonated" with some and "offended" others. George McClellan was the Democrat nominee for president in 1864, and was quite popular among the troops, and he ran on a peace platform. To the best of my knowledge no one has yet investigated that election thoroughly to prove it was an honest election. It's hard to imagine it was, as the Lincoln administration was so thorough in punishing prominent anti-war newspapers, journalists, and politicians, even going so far as to banish a sitting Congressman from the United States.

    There were at least two times the CSA had a chance at winning a peace which would have resulted in a separate nation, but I'm no so sure Gettysburg was one of those. The news of a Confederate victory at Gettysburg, had it occurred, would have been offset by the news of the fall of Vicksburg, which gave the US control of the Mississippi River from one end to the other.

  141. @Clark Westwood

    Unfortunately, Lincoln didn’t seem to perceive the significance of the national crisis, devoting much of his energy during his first six weeks in the White House to interviewing Republican volunteers seeking local postmaster jobs.
     
    The more I study this period, the more I lean toward the view that Lincoln actually wanted a war and, to that end, snookered the South into firing on Sumter and then called for 75,000 volunteers while knowing full well that doing so would cause the border states to secede.

    The "mournful" Lincoln whom everyone thinks of in connection with the war came later, when he realized that he had launched a bloody mess that was vastly more horrific than he had ever imagined. IMO.

    Replies: @Massimo Heitor, @RonaldB, @Millennial

    Did Lincoln “snooker” the Citadel cadets into firing on the Star of the West, months before he even took office?

  142. @Opinionator
    @Reg Cæsar

    The importation of slaves from Africa had long since been prohibited. It is unlikely it would have been revived by the CSA.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer, @Reg Cæsar

    The importation of slaves from Africa had long since been prohibited. It is unlikely it would have been revived by the CSA.

    They didn’t neuter the slaves they had, though.

    It’s what’s called a “renewable resource”.

  143. @Opinionator
    @syonredux

    Who says? Why can’t units within a state attempt to secede?

    The counties are creatures of the states.

    Replies: @Reg Cæsar

    The counties are creatures of the states.

    True. But the colonies were creatures of the Crown.

    • Replies: @Opinionator
    @Reg Cæsar

    And the States had a stronger claim to independence than the colonies did.

    In any case, I am not taking the position that a political subunit or other territory should never gain independence from a State.

  144. @Reg Cæsar
    @Opinionator


    The counties are creatures of the states.
     
    True. But the colonies were creatures of the Crown.

    Replies: @Opinionator

    And the States had a stronger claim to independence than the colonies did.

    In any case, I am not taking the position that a political subunit or other territory should never gain independence from a State.

  145. Lot says:
    @Steve Sailer
    @Darwin

    The main way the South could have won the Civil War was if Robert E. Lee's Virginians broke into, say, Pennsylvania, won a giant battle at, say, Gettsyburg, and then descended upon a defenseless Washington DC (or Philadelphia or New York).

    As it turned out that almost happened on the first and third days of Gettysburg.

    But if Lincoln had kept Virginia in the Union, then the border would have been North Carolina, and maybe North Carolina could have been kept out of the Confederacy, putting the border not right outside Washington DC, but outside of Charleston.

    Replies: @AnotherDad, @Charles Erwin Wilson, @Lot

    if Robert E. Lee’s Virginians broke into, say, Pennsylvania, won a giant battle at, say, Gettsyburg, and then descended upon a defenseless Washington DC (or Philadelphia or New York).

    Philadelphia was protected by the Susquehanna River, which is up to a mile wide. Philadelphia had a population of about 600,000 at the time, Lee’s army was 70,000 at the start of the battle. Even if he had won, getting there and winning the city seems implausible. He lacked the resources to occupy Pennsylvania, so at best he could have done is pillaged and burned it. The predictable response to this, however, would be to do the same to the South. In particular, with control of the sea, the Union would have been able to burn down in retaliation Norfolk, Wilmington, Charleston, Savannah, Pensacola, Mobile, Gulfport, New Orleans, and Galveston.

  146. @Steve Sailer
    @Opinionator

    Some Southrons were talking about reviving the slave trade. In general, the Southerners were pretty politically dominant up until the 1860 election, so they were always looking around for new extremist positions to take to outrage the Northrons, like the NRA is always trying to find a law somewhere that, say, bans circus employees from packing heat while hanging around with chimps.

    Replies: @Opinionator, @Autochthon, @res, @Jenner Ickham Errican, @Peripatetic commenter

    I think I may be a little too slow or underinformed to grasp the analogy.

    Are you saying Southrons would have postured to revive importation in order to inflame the North, in order to … ?

    (The gist of my original comment was that I don’t believe the Southern states would have revived it once they were firmly established and independent. Admittedly, I haven’t offered evidence but intuition tells me that there would have been enough very very strong opposition within the Southern states to prevent a push from succeeding.)

  147. I detect an underlying assumption by many commenters (including Steve) that continuation of the Union in the 1860s is something to be happy about and to celebrate. But how many here are happy about the trajectory we are now on or about the terrible wars of the 20th Century (including the Holocaust)?

    Wouldn’t things likely have turned out better if the South had been freed to leave in peace?

    • Replies: @Gringo
    @Opinionator

    Wouldn’t things likely have turned out better if the South had been freed to leave in peace?

    That phrasing is rather ironic, given the great emphasis on preserving slavery that is in the South Carolina Declaration of Secession (for link, see my comments 91 and 100). Freedom for me, but not for thee. I am also reminded of the argument that States' Rights was a big motivator for secession. In the 1850s, the slaveholders were quite content in using federal power to usurp the powers of the northern states in enforcing the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850. See the South Carolina Declaration of Secession. State's Rights for me, but not for thee.

    Replies: @res, @Opinionator

    , @anonymous
    @Opinionator

    The main problem is the rather cartoonish story offered up by the media and cultural marxist historian class that is repeated over and over in the school system and on tv. How many americans believe lincoln fought the war to fight racism, freed the slaves with the Emancipation Proclamation, opposed slavery, and was a believer in equality as opposed to the racists in the south? The people on this site do not bother to question the official storyline of lincoln and the war from the same cultural marxists who demonize Steve sailer, vdare, anyone opposed to mass third world immigration, anyone who quotes fbi crime stats regarding race, anyone who quotes charles murray ahout IQ, etc. Just as those who oppose the civil rights act, the 65 immigration act, hate speech laws, or mass amnesty for illegals are terrible ignorant racists who deserve an obama drone strike, those who take issue with the end result of lincoln's actions are evil white privileged racist scumbags.

    Why is it that the same media/political/academic types who are detested by sites like this for promoting the destruction of western civilization via third world mass immigration and other cultural movements are united in their worship of lincoln? The cultural marxists, the actual marxists - including marx himself - the SJW types, the neo cons, etc - why do they all love lincoln and his actions so much? Is it maybe because they recognize he single handedly changed our form of government to eventually becoming the strong, centralized state that is basically at war with working class and middle class whites that it is now?

    Maybe they recognize that all sorts of things would not be possible had it not been for lincoln: ending freedom of association, Presidents starting foreign wars on their own, mass third world immigration, a gigantic welfare state, the coming hate speech laws like europe has, Presidents like obama making up amnesty laws out of thin air, men claiming to be women legally being able to use locker rooms with young girls, states being forced to accept gay marriage, states being forced to accept mass immigration and pay for them even if they voted against it (prop 187), etc. Because without the threat of secession and a dramatically stronger centralized government, what can stop the federal government from being so hostile to the very type of people this nation was created to protect?

    Replies: @Opinionator

    , @res
    @Opinionator


    Wouldn’t things likely have turned out better if the South had been freed to leave in peace?
     
    As bad as the Civil War was, I'm not convinced that follows. See my earlier comment about potential future North/South relations.

    Replies: @Opinionator

  148. @Luke Lea
    Interesting. I have never heard these ideas expressed before, especially regarding Lincoln's tardiness in heading off the crisis. It it original?

    Replies: @PhysicistDave

    Luke Lea asked:

    Interesting. I have never heard these ideas expressed before, especially regarding Lincoln’s tardiness in heading off the crisis. It it original?

    Among people with a serious interest in American history, all of this discussion has been going on for a very long time: I remember some of it from my high-school days five decades ago (I have changed some of my opinions since: I am now both more critical of Lincoln and more sympathetic to the abolitionists).

    As you can see, the issues are quite complex: possible parallel histories, various alternative policies, arguments about the motives of the various players, debates about the legal/constitutional issues, etc.

    Of course, such a discussion can only occur among people who agree that these issues are debatable, which our current popular culture will not concede.

    Dave

  149. @syonredux
    @Opinionator


    moral wouldn’t have attempted to secede in the first place….

    Political independence and sovereignty is immoral? Uh, okay.
     
    Treason is always immoral, dear fellow....

    Replies: @PhysicistDave, @Autochthon, @The Anti-Gnostic

    syonredux wrote:

    Treason is always immoral, dear fellow…

    The South maintained that the Union was an association similar to today’s United Nations.

    Would you call it “treason” if the US withdrew from the UN?

    Please note: I am on the side neither of the Union politicians nor the Confederate politicians; my sympathies are with the slaves and all the men who were maimed or killed. I realize that the Constitution is ambiguous on the basic legal issues.

    But, let’s not pretend those legal issues are open and shut. The Constitution is ambiguous — perhaps intentionally.

    Surely, the “moral” course would have been to try to avoid the American Holocaust.

    Dave

    • Replies: @Hibernian
    @PhysicistDave

    "Would you call it 'treason' if the US withdrew from the UN?"

    I wouldn't, but you better believe the entire MSM and the rest of the Left would, in unison, and very loudly. It would make Brexit look like a picnic.

  150. @Luke Lea
    @johnmark7

    I don't believe Lincoln said that. Google it.

    Replies: @PhysicistDave, @johnmark7

    Luke Lea wrote:

    I don’t believe Lincoln said that. Google it.

    Here it is: Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, p.438.

    Seems he did say it.

    I’ll give a more lengthy quote, since his additional comments about minority rights are also relevant:

    Any people anywhere, being inclined and having the power, have the right to rise up, and shake off the existing government, and form a new one that suits them better. This is a most valuable,—a most sacred right—a right, which we hope and believe, is to liberate the world. Nor is this right confined to cases in which the whole people of an existing government, may choose to exercise it. Any portion of such people that can, may revolutionize, and make their own, of so much of the teritory [sic] as they inhabit. More than this, a majority of any portion of such people may revolutionize, putting down a minority, intermingled with, or near about them, who may oppose their movement.

    Not that Lincoln was either the first or the last politician to be guilty of inconsistency…

    Dave

  151. CAL says:
    @RonaldB
    @Clark Westwood

    How did Lincoln "snooker" a sophisticated, politically-experienced leader like Jefferson Davis to attack? This was Davis blunder. Davis was warned to his face by Robert Toombs that attacking
    Fort Sumter would destroy the confederacy they had worked so hard to establish.

    The best and only strategy for the Confederacy was to avoid war with the much more populous and industrialized North. The loss of the Confederacy can be laid directly at Davis doorstep.

    Replies: @CAL, @Clark Westwood

    The argument of party X tricked (or forced, snookered, etc.) party Y into doing something is the worst sort of history. It is an attempt to make party X look like some 10th dimensional chess player manipulating the innocent and naive rubes of the other side. It’s like conspiracy theories that involve the collusion of hundreds or thousands of people.

    Anyways, Lincoln’s policy, right or wrong, was to let the South rant and rave while the Federal gov’t continued to maintain and protect Federal property in the South. He hoped the South would just tire out and then things could be settled without dissolving the Union.

    Besides material considerations, the South lost the war because Jeff Davis was a horrible leader. He started the war. He allowed threats to Midwest agricultural shipments down the Mississippi to happen instead of doing everything in his power to allay such fears. Except for Lee he was horrible at choosing generals. The cotton embargo was a disaster. It was one mis-step after another.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    @CAL

    The South's self-embargo on cotton exports to Britain was one of those 19th Century trade policies that are pretty baffling in retrospect.

    Replies: @Hibernian

    , @RonaldB
    @CAL

    "Except for Lee he was horrible at choosing generals."

    Lee, who threw away the last chance for the Confederacy on a mystical fatalist determination to go through with Picket's charge, rather than follow the sound advice of Longstreet to simply bypass Gettysburg and directly threaten Washington DC?

    Replies: @Diversity Heretic

  152. If Andrew Jackson was anything, in this context he was an anti-states-rights activist, not a rights activist who was anti-state.

    Are you unaware that the maximum number of permissible hyphens is not actually one? (Have you never suffered ice-cream-headache-like symptoms?)

  153. @CAL
    @RonaldB

    The argument of party X tricked (or forced, snookered, etc.) party Y into doing something is the worst sort of history. It is an attempt to make party X look like some 10th dimensional chess player manipulating the innocent and naive rubes of the other side. It's like conspiracy theories that involve the collusion of hundreds or thousands of people.

    Anyways, Lincoln's policy, right or wrong, was to let the South rant and rave while the Federal gov't continued to maintain and protect Federal property in the South. He hoped the South would just tire out and then things could be settled without dissolving the Union.

    Besides material considerations, the South lost the war because Jeff Davis was a horrible leader. He started the war. He allowed threats to Midwest agricultural shipments down the Mississippi to happen instead of doing everything in his power to allay such fears. Except for Lee he was horrible at choosing generals. The cotton embargo was a disaster. It was one mis-step after another.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer, @RonaldB

    The South’s self-embargo on cotton exports to Britain was one of those 19th Century trade policies that are pretty baffling in retrospect.

    • Replies: @Hibernian
    @Steve Sailer

    Didn't the blockade runners get around this just as they did with the Federal blockade? I remember reading that the Bahamas were a major transhipment area for Southern cotton.

  154. @Luke Lea
    I disagree that Lincoln didn’t perceive the significance of the national crisis or that he was "unready" for the big time. Consider these words with which he closed his Lyceum Address when still a young man:

    "But, it may be asked, why suppose danger to our political institutions? Have we not preserved them for more than fifty years? And why may we not for fifty times as long?

    We hope there is no sufficient reason. We hope all dangers may be overcome; but to conclude that no danger may ever arise, would itself be extremely dangerous. There are now, and will hereafter be, many causes, dangerous in their tendency, which have not existed heretofore; and which are not too insignificant to merit attention. That our government should have been maintained in its original form from its establishment until now, is not much to be wondered at. It had many props to support it through that period, which now are decayed, and crumbled away. Through that period, it was felt by all, to be an undecided experiment; now, it is understood to be a successful one.--Then, all that sought celebrity and fame, and distinction, expected to find them in the success of that experiment. Their all was staked upon it:-- their destiny was inseparably linked with it. Their ambition aspired to display before an admiring world, a practical demonstration of the truth of a proposition, which had hitherto been considered, at best no better, than problematical; namely, the capability of a people to govern themselves. If they succeeded, they were to be immortalized; their names were to be transferred to counties and cities, and rivers and mountains; and to be revered and sung, and toasted through all time. If they failed, they were to be called knaves and fools, and fanatics for a fleeting hour; then to sink and be forgotten. They succeeded. The experiment is successful; and thousands have won their deathless names in making it so.

    But the game is caught; and I believe it is true, that with the catching, end the pleasures of the chase. This field of glory is harvested, and the crop is already appropriated. But new reapers will arise, and they, too, will seek a field. It is to deny, what the history of the world tells us is true, to suppose that men of ambition and talents will not continue to spring up amongst us. And, when they do, they will as naturally seek the gratification of their ruling passion, as others have so done before them.

    The question then, is, can that gratification be found in supporting and maintaining an edifice that has been erected by others? Most certainly it cannot. Many great and good men sufficiently qualified for any task they should undertake, may ever be found, whose ambition would inspire to nothing beyond a seat in Congress, a gubernatorial or a presidential chair; but such belong not to the family of the lion, or the tribe of the eagle. What! think you these places would satisfy an Alexander, a Caesar, or a Napoleon?--Never! Towering genius disdains a beaten path. It seeks regions hitherto unexplored.--It sees no distinction in adding story to story, upon the monuments of fame, erected to the memory of others. It denies that it is glory enough to serve under any chief. It scorns to tread in the footsteps of any predecessor, however illustrious. It thirsts and burns for distinction; and, if possible, it will have it, whether at the expense of emancipating slaves, or enslaving freemen. Is it unreasonable then to expect, that some man possessed of the loftiest genius, coupled with ambition sufficient to push it to its utmost stretch, will at some time, spring up among us? And when such a one does, it will require the people to be united with each other, attached to the government and laws, and generally intelligent, to successfully frustrate his designs.

    Distinction will be his paramount object, and although he would as willingly, perhaps more so, acquire it by doing good as harm; yet, that opportunity being past, and nothing left to be done in the way of building up, he would set boldly to the task of pulling down.

    Here, then, is a probable case, highly dangerous, and such a one as could not have well existed heretofore."

    He knew the effect his House Divided speech would have. And he felt guilty ("rank is my offense").

    Replies: @Luke Lea

    The point of my quote from Lincoln’s Lyceum speech, given when he was 28, is that he was an extraordinarily ambitious man, for whom “merely” being president would not suffice. Unless you can grasp this aspect of his personality, and for most people such ambition is quite literally incredible, you do not know your man. That’s why I question Steve Sailer’s speculation that he was “not ready for the big time.” Furthermore, Lincoln was an extraordinarily clever man, especially when it came to human (or at least male) psychology. He pretty much knew what he was doing when he started the Civil War. He wanted it to be the central event in American history, which meant that it had to be big. And he succeeded. His whole life was a work of art.

  155. Lessons from history, huh?
    So . . . losing Virginia was a huge botch. Hmm.

    Look at the number of hostile foreigners (moslems and other immigrants) pouring into Virginia right now (Not to mention Georgia and Texas)

    How many electoral votes in those states?

    What way do those foreigners vote?

    How long does Historic America have?

    When do we shut down immigration, in order to save the nation?

  156. @Opinionator
    @Jus' Sayin'...

    A better, more perspicacious President could probably have avoided the Civil War entirely.

    A moral man would have permitted the Southern states to secede.

    Replies: @syonredux, @Joe Franklin, @Reg Cæsar, @Corvinus

    “A moral man would have permitted the Southern states to secede.”

    Moral men, dare I say Christians who owned slaves, would have freed their “property”.

    • Replies: @JSM
    @Corvinus

    Only after they transported them back to West Africa.

    Replies: @Corvinus

    , @Opinionator
    @Corvinus

    Is it not worse to kill people than to have a relationship of master-servant with people?

    Replies: @Corvinus

  157. @Opinionator
    @jtgw

    There is something to what you say, but your reasoning seems circular in that it relies on two premises: a definition and a factual assertion that resembles the conclusion you are seeking to prove.

    Empirically, were all slaves so unhappy with their lives that they would have run away if given the chance to do so without repercussion from the slave owners?

    Replies: @jtgw, @Autochthon

    My point is that it is difficult to impossible to determine “empirically” whether slaves would have, in a hypothetical universe, run away or not run away given the chance. All we know is that, legally, they were under threat of violence if they tried to leave.

    • Replies: @Opinionator
    @jtgw

    The way you phrased this:

    Except slaves had to be kept at their jobs by force

    made it sound like you were making an empirical claim.

    It may be difficult to obtain a sense of the degree of compulsion, but it is not impossible. Things that would be relevant:

    --Where did former slaves go after manumission and what did they do? Did they make big changes?
    --What sort of relationship (if any) did manumitted slaves maintain with their former owners?
    --Escape was undoubtedly often dangerous but it was also not always prohibitively so (judging by the fact that it was attempted). What percentage of slaves sought to escape and why was it at that level?
    --What were slaves' life outcomes like versus those of a menial laborer in the North at the time (and versus African American life outcomes after slavery). One surprising statistic is that out of wedlock are something like 10X greater than they were.

  158. @Mark Caplan
    @Lot

    The South almost won the "unwinnable" war, as I understand it. The North was on the verge of throwing in the towel. The unexpected victory at Gettysburg hardened Northern resolve and led to Lincoln's reelection. Or is that just another quaint national myth?

    Replies: @Reg Cæsar, @Captain Tripps

    It was really Pemberton’s unexpected surrender at Vicksburg a day later on July 4th that gave Lincoln and other Northern leaders confidence; at that point, Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana become “separated” from the rest of the CSA. Gettysburg was considered a “victory” because the Union Army still held the high ground, while the Confederate Army withdrew back into Maryland/Virginia. But it was seen as a bloody and hard victory (bulk of Union casualties sustained on Day 1 and 2; bulk of Confederate casualties on Day 2 and 3), not the prompt to give Lincoln the confidence to press ahead with the war to a successful conclusion; Vicksburg, combined with Gettysburg, gave him that. Most don’t know/realize or have forgotten that antiwar sentiment in both the North and South was rising; the New York City draft riots were two weeks later.

  159. @Opinionator
    I detect an underlying assumption by many commenters (including Steve) that continuation of the Union in the 1860s is something to be happy about and to celebrate. But how many here are happy about the trajectory we are now on or about the terrible wars of the 20th Century (including the Holocaust)?

    Wouldn't things likely have turned out better if the South had been freed to leave in peace?

    Replies: @Gringo, @anonymous, @res

    Wouldn’t things likely have turned out better if the South had been freed to leave in peace?

    That phrasing is rather ironic, given the great emphasis on preserving slavery that is in the South Carolina Declaration of Secession (for link, see my comments 91 and 100). Freedom for me, but not for thee. I am also reminded of the argument that States’ Rights was a big motivator for secession. In the 1850s, the slaveholders were quite content in using federal power to usurp the powers of the northern states in enforcing the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850. See the South Carolina Declaration of Secession. State’s Rights for me, but not for thee.

    • Replies: @res
    @Gringo


    State’s Rights for me, but not for thee.
     
    All the Democratic blather about Calexit is hilarious in this context.
    , @Opinionator
    @Gringo

    It is ironic that despite your virtue signaling you are unable to appreciate Southerners' desire for independence and for freedom from imperialism.

    Replies: @Gringo, @Gringo

  160. @Reg Cæsar
    @Mark Caplan


    The unexpected victory at Gettysburg hardened Northern resolve and led to Lincoln’s reelection. Or is that just another quaint national myth?
     
    The "peace Democrats" thought their proposals to sue for peace at the low points would resonate with exhausted Union soldiers. Instead, it did the opposite, and offended them. They had sacrificed too much to turn back now.

    Not that many of those soldiers could vote, but they did write a lot of letters home to those that did.

    Replies: @Captain Tripps, @RebelWriter

    Not that many of those soldiers could vote, but they did write a lot of letters home to those that did.

    Yes, but you have to balance that with all the mothers whose views on the war were colored by the death/disfigurement of their sons. Antiwar sentiment was rising in the North; the South had momentum going into the Gettysburg campaign. Lee and Jackson had stopped the Union Army cold at Fredericksburg in December 1862, and had just decisively run them off the field at Chancellorsville in early May 1863, two months before Gettysburg/Vicksburg. Antiwar sentiment peaked two weeks after Gettysburg in the New York City draft riots (it was so bad Lincoln had to divert significant numbers of Federal troops away from pursuing Lee back to Virginia); it subsided after that as strategic momentum decisively shifted to the North, but never really went away. Concurrently, antiwar sentiment began rising in the South until the collapse 18 months later in early 1865.

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
    @Captain Tripps


    Yes, but you have to balance that with all the mothers whose views on the war were colored by the death/disfigurement of their sons.
     
    Mothers didn't vote in federal elections anywhere in the US until Wyoming's statehood in 1890.

    (Except perhaps for widowed mothers in New Jersey, before 1807, whose property was returned to their name. And only for the US House.)

    Replies: @Captain Tripps

  161. @Opinionator
    @RonaldB

    Yet, from my reading, I think tariffs and abolition were not reasonable causes for secession.

    What cause is needed besides the desire for independence?

    Replies: @RonaldB

    I wasn’t clear. I meant that the reasons often cited for the secession were the south’s complaints over tariffs and slavery. The fact that neither of these actually presented a threat to the south meant that there was indeed something else motivating the south to declare independence. It might have been simply a feeling their culture was so divergent from the culture of the north that it was no longer profitable to attempt to function within a unified government.

    I’m not making a value judgement on the reasoning, but simply trying to discern what it was.

    In point of fact, the Confederacy was just as protective of civil liberties as the US, except for slaves, of course. If Jefferson Davis had not been so moronic as to attack a federal installation, and if he had taken minimal steps to avoid belligerence, I think the two countries would have gotten on quite well.

    • Agree: Opinionator
  162. @Corvinus
    @Opinionator

    "A moral man would have permitted the Southern states to secede."

    Moral men, dare I say Christians who owned slaves, would have freed their "property".

    Replies: @JSM, @Opinionator

    Only after they transported them back to West Africa.

    • Replies: @Corvinus
    @JSM

    "Only after they transported them back to West Africa."

    How southronish for you to say.

  163. @CAL
    @RonaldB

    The argument of party X tricked (or forced, snookered, etc.) party Y into doing something is the worst sort of history. It is an attempt to make party X look like some 10th dimensional chess player manipulating the innocent and naive rubes of the other side. It's like conspiracy theories that involve the collusion of hundreds or thousands of people.

    Anyways, Lincoln's policy, right or wrong, was to let the South rant and rave while the Federal gov't continued to maintain and protect Federal property in the South. He hoped the South would just tire out and then things could be settled without dissolving the Union.

    Besides material considerations, the South lost the war because Jeff Davis was a horrible leader. He started the war. He allowed threats to Midwest agricultural shipments down the Mississippi to happen instead of doing everything in his power to allay such fears. Except for Lee he was horrible at choosing generals. The cotton embargo was a disaster. It was one mis-step after another.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer, @RonaldB

    “Except for Lee he was horrible at choosing generals.”

    Lee, who threw away the last chance for the Confederacy on a mystical fatalist determination to go through with Picket’s charge, rather than follow the sound advice of Longstreet to simply bypass Gettysburg and directly threaten Washington DC?

    • Replies: @Diversity Heretic
    @RonaldB

    I'm no Civil War expert but I don't see how the Army of Northern Virginia could simply have bypassed the entire Army of the Potomac, leaving their lines of communication vulnerable to northern counterattack, to attack the bristling defenses of Washington. The 1862 Battle of Chantilly had ended in a Confederate defeat, leading Lee to march north into Maryland. Pickett's Charge was certainly a disaster, but a similar frontal attack had succeeded at the Battle of Solferino, so Lee was not totally without justification in trying the tactic.

  164. @RonaldB
    @Clark Westwood

    How did Lincoln "snooker" a sophisticated, politically-experienced leader like Jefferson Davis to attack? This was Davis blunder. Davis was warned to his face by Robert Toombs that attacking
    Fort Sumter would destroy the confederacy they had worked so hard to establish.

    The best and only strategy for the Confederacy was to avoid war with the much more populous and industrialized North. The loss of the Confederacy can be laid directly at Davis doorstep.

    Replies: @CAL, @Clark Westwood

    How did Lincoln “snooker” a sophisticated, politically-experienced leader like Jefferson Davis to attack? This was Davis blunder.

    Of course it was a blunder. That’s my point. Lincoln outmaneuvered the Southern leaders so that he’d get the war he wanted while also being able to claim that the South “fired the first shots” — a propaganda coup that has served the establishment well ever since, by the way.

    • Replies: @Opinionator
    @Clark Westwood

    a propaganda coup that has served the establishment well ever since, by the way.

    How has it served the establishment?

    Replies: @Clark Westwood

  165. I read Steve’s blog posts every day, but when I began reading this one I got a knot in my belly. “Here we go again,” I thought. I’ve rarely read an article on this part of history with which I’ve agreed, save in some very old magazines which published articles by seasoned historians without an ideological bone to pick. The whole affair is misunderstood entirely, because people attempt to inject their own prejudices into the thoughts and motivations of these two men.

    Calhoun (whose home I grew up just a few miles away from) was the ideologue of the two. Jackson reminds me of Trump, or vice versa, in that he put far more importance on personal loyalty than on a person’s ideologies. In fact, if he had not been elected president, I believe we would have had a ‘civil war’ much earlier, and perhaps a real one at that, rather than a failed separatist war.

    Jackson would have backed Calhoun to the hilt if it were not for two things; one of which was the Peggy Eaton Affair. Google it, if you’re curious. Jackson felt betrayed by Calhoun because Calhoun didn’t force his wife to invite to Washington parties the barroom floozy cabinet member John Eaton had married. As Jackson was widowed, Mrs. Calhoun acted as First Lady in Washington society.

    The other went all the way back to the time when Calhoun was Secretary of War under President Monroe. Jackson attacked and defeated Spanish troops in Florida, and almost brought the two countries to war. Calhoun supposedly suggested punishing Jackson to appease Spain. Jackson found out about this during the Eaton Affair, and considered it yet another betrayal. At this point if Calhoun had proposed moving the Capital to the Hermitage, Jackson would have opposed him.

    Calhoun was an ardent Unionist, and always had been. Nullification was an attempt to settle the issue without secession; secession being the wish of many a South Carolinian at the time. Too many people blame him for laying the seeds of civil war, when all his energies were spent avoiding one.

    This was also not the first, but rather the second major secession crises in the history of the US. Some would say it was the third. The first was during the War of 1812, when several New England states considered secession, and discussed it at the Hartford Convention, as the war was disastrous for New England commerce.

    • Replies: @res
    @RebelWriter

    Thanks for your interesting and informative comment(s).


    I’ve rarely read an article on this part of history with which I’ve agreed, save in some very old magazines which published articles by seasoned historians without an ideological bone to pick.
     
    Any suggestions for references? Books (e.g. collections including good articles) would be even more welcome since they are usually easier to chase down.

    Replies: @RebelWriter, @Clark Westwood

  166. @syonredux
    @Steve Sailer


    Southerners were much more apologetic about slavery earlier in the century.
     
    Indeed. In the late 18th-early 19th centuries, defenders of slavery spoke in terms of slavery being a "necessary evil." Virtually no one attempted a positive defense of the institution. That changed as the years rolled on. JQ Adams has a passage in his diaries where he notes his shock when he heard John C Calhoun speak of slavery as a positive, beneficial force.....

    Replies: @RonaldB, @Almost Missouri

    Very interesting.

    As I recall from history classes, Calhoun defended slavery from a quasi-Marxist point of view. He argued, that in the North, the work was the unit of commerce, so factory owners would pay only what they had to to get workers. It was immaterial to them if the wages were sufficient to keep the workers alive, as long as there were workers to replace the ones that died.

    Under slavery, it was the slave that was the unit of commerce, and if a slave were killed or incapacitated, the owner lost value. Therefore, according to Calhoun, the wealthy owner class was more motivated to see to the welfare of slaves in the South, than the owners were to see to the welfare of the workers in the North.

    I don’t know if Calhoun advocated the resumption of the slave trade, or if he simply defended the system as it was.

    For sure, the slavery economy was self-defeating. The more slaves, the more the small farmers were displaced and impoverished. The small farmers were the backbone of the confederate army.

  167. @Opinionator
    @Mark Caplan

    Very well. I don't think you picked up on my reference to contract law in the post you are replying to. Lincoln is hoisted on his own petard here. Lacking a defined time period and no-exit clause, the constitutional contract was "at will" and could be exited at any time.

    Even if it had not been "at will", it could still be exited at any time and any "penalty" would generally be limited to proven injury and paid in money, not by specific performance. It is my understanding that the South offered to compensate the North for federal property that could not be returned to the North.

    Replies: @RonaldB, @res

    ” Lacking a defined time period and no-exit clause, the constitutional contract was “at will” and could be exited at any time.”

    Unfortunately, the initiation of hostilities by the idiotic Jefferson Davis nullified all legal arguments. The North could claim with some justification that they retained ownership over federal property in the Confederate states. Once they decided to settle the matter by force, there was no legal argument, in my opinion, against the North continuing the war to its conclusion.

  168. @RonaldB
    @PhysicistDave

    I haven't read the books.

    Yet, from my reading, I think tariffs and abolition were not reasonable causes for secession. The tariffs before secession were actually very low, and higher tariffs would never have gotten through congress if the representatives from the Confederate states had remained in the US Congress.

    Similarly, with the abolition laws, the Fugitive Slave act, and the Dred Scott decision, and the vow of Lincoln to preserve slavery in slave states, slavery was simply not threatened where it already existed.

    Paradoxically, slavery itself may have been supported by the large landowners at the expense of the small, yeoman subsistence farmer, but it was those farmers that were the heart of the Confederate army. This implies that in a few years, the South would have been much less capable of defending itself, as the small farmers were forced off the land by the cotton plantations...and conceivably, the Confederacy itself would have become unstable by the social dislocation of impoverishing the small farmers.

    My feeling is that slavery would have lasted no more than 10 or 15 years from 1860. Besides the technological advancements making slavery unprofitable, the Southern leadership was educated and in tune with Western civilization. They would have simply abolished slavery and bought out the slaves, as England had done. Many slaves were dragooned into serving the union army after capture. All in all, almost nobody would have been worse off had the Civil War been avoided.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer, @Opinionator, @Corvinus, @PhysicistDave

    “My feeling is that slavery would have lasted no more than 10 or 15 years from 1860.”

    And be forced to pay wages to emancipated, uneducated, unassimilable blacks? The southern plantation big-wigs would have their profit margins significantly cut.

    “Besides the technological advancements making slavery unprofitable, the Southern leadership was educated and in tune with Western civilization.”

    Would this “enlightened” group been likely to grant citizenship rights to former slaves who constituted the majority of the population?

    “All in all, almost nobody would have been worse off had the Civil War been avoided.”

    Except southern freed blacks. Would southern governments have likely provided services to them? educational opportunities? political rights?

    • Replies: @RebelWriter
    @Corvinus

    " Would southern governments have likely provided services to them? educational opportunities? political rights?"

    Perhaps at least as much as the Northern US states offered freedmen before and after the war, which was, not much. Yet there were many in the South with enlightened attitudes toward blacks, who were in favor of, for example, educating them. Some educated their slaves in spite of it being against the law.

    I really wish I hadn't read this blog post; it's bait I bite too easily. Most of you irritate me to the core, as 21st Century people sitting today in judgment of 19th century Southerners. What I read here is a lot of modern virtue signaling, with no real attempt at understanding the people of the period.

    Many of you even believe the North acted out of altruism, rather than hypocrisy. Altruism demands some sort of sacrifice; acting against your own interests in the interests of the greater good. The fact is that abolition was born in New England AFTER slavery was no longer profitable for these same people. New England profited immensely from the slave trade in the Colonial Era, right up until, and even after, it was outlawed.

    I invite you to spend some time reading on slavenorth dot com to get a better picture of the reality of slavery in the North, and the North's participation in the slave trade. North and South alike, as long as there was money to be made, few had a problem with slavery. How is that different from other human beings at any point in time in history? It's not, is it?

    Abolition was minority movement adopted by politicians who sought to curb the power of the Planter class in Washington, as that class was the only real impediment to "internal improvement" bills which intended to use Federal funds (mostly paid by Southern planters) to improve roads, canals, ports, and build railways that benefitted Northern industrial interests. Yet if the war didn't happen when it did, over what it did, it would have happened eventually over something else.

    Replies: @Clark Westwood, @res, @Peripatetic commenter, @Corvinus

  169. @Reg Cæsar
    @Mark Caplan


    The unexpected victory at Gettysburg hardened Northern resolve and led to Lincoln’s reelection. Or is that just another quaint national myth?
     
    The "peace Democrats" thought their proposals to sue for peace at the low points would resonate with exhausted Union soldiers. Instead, it did the opposite, and offended them. They had sacrificed too much to turn back now.

    Not that many of those soldiers could vote, but they did write a lot of letters home to those that did.

    Replies: @Captain Tripps, @RebelWriter

    Facts are that peace “resonated” with some and “offended” others. George McClellan was the Democrat nominee for president in 1864, and was quite popular among the troops, and he ran on a peace platform. To the best of my knowledge no one has yet investigated that election thoroughly to prove it was an honest election. It’s hard to imagine it was, as the Lincoln administration was so thorough in punishing prominent anti-war newspapers, journalists, and politicians, even going so far as to banish a sitting Congressman from the United States.

    There were at least two times the CSA had a chance at winning a peace which would have resulted in a separate nation, but I’m no so sure Gettysburg was one of those. The news of a Confederate victory at Gettysburg, had it occurred, would have been offset by the news of the fall of Vicksburg, which gave the US control of the Mississippi River from one end to the other.

  170. @Opinionator
    @syonredux

    And, of course, Southern “peoplehood” was based on slavery

    Totally false.

    Replies: @Corvinus

    “And, of course, Southern “peoplehood” was based on slavery. Totally false.”

    No, completely accurate. Southerners labeled their slaves as “subhuman”, yet demanded they count toward representation. 3/5 of a person, now what they hell does that even mean? Well, a “person” in that historical context referred to as an “a man of European descent”.

    • Replies: @RebelWriter
    @Corvinus

    They did not label an individual as 3/5's of a person, but rather 3/5's of the population as a whole was counted, as they could not vote. The Southern states wanted to count them all, and the North wanted none of them counted, and this was the compromise.

    Replies: @res, @peterike, @Corvinus, @Reg Cæsar

    , @Opinionator
    @Corvinus

    I concede that one conception of Southern peoplehood did not include slaves (although the two populations were closer to each other than popular representations would have you believe). That does not mean the conception was "based on" slavery.

  171. CAL says:
    @Massimo Heitor
    @Gringo


    My understanding of your statement is that the Union should have informed South Carolina and other seceding states ,”We will allow you to peacefully leave the Union if you abolish slavery.”

    Given the overriding desire to maintain slavery that permeates the South Carolina Declaration of Secession, the response of the fire-eaters in South Carolina to the above condition would have been a hearty horselaugh. The response in other Southern stats would probably have been similar.
     
    Yes, the slave-holding elite of South Carolina would have rejected that at least initially.

    So, either isolate the slavery supporters, and pressure them to concede their morally ridiculous point without large scale war.

    Or, if there is war, at least make it a noble war against the supporters of slavery and not against the people who have a more reasonable support of sovereignty and secession rights and devolution of power.

    States like North Carolina and Virginia that seceded only when demanded that they help fight against other states for seceding would have switched sides. Robert E Lee would have switched and sided in favor of the right of secession and sovereignty but against slavery. William Tecumseh Sherman would have switched sides and fought against the right of secession but for the right of slavery. Some of the slave states that fought for the union may have switched sides and fought for slavery if that's what they knew they were fighting about.

    Replies: @CAL, @Autochthon

    So, either isolate the slavery supporters, and pressure them to concede their morally ridiculous point without large scale war.

    Or, if there is war, at least make it a noble war against the supporters of slavery and not against the people who have a more reasonable support of sovereignty and secession rights and devolution of power.

    That’s a dubious assertion. The South was claiming the right to secede for whatever reason. Saying they can secede as long as they abolish or do X defeats their original argument. It’s the equivalent of saying you have free speech as long as you don’t say anything hateful. The South would have quickly turned the argument around as an example of the despotic nature of the Federal gov’t.

    Second, everyone knew that slavery was the thorn that led to the war and that was driven by the Southern planter class. The North however was not motivated by slavery per se but by Union. There were legitimate fears that a second gov’t would result in European powers playing everyone off of each other until it turned into the chaos of a mini-Europe with multiple states vying for power.

    States like North Carolina and Virginia that seceded only when demanded that they help fight against other states for seceding would have switched sides. Robert E Lee would have switched and sided in favor of the right of secession and sovereignty but against slavery. William Tecumseh Sherman would have switched sides and fought against the right of secession but for the right of slavery. Some of the slave states that fought for the union may have switched sides and fought for slavery if that’s what they knew they were fighting about.

    Or they could have simply acted like Kentucky and declared neutrality. Virginia and NC simply decided to choose sides once the bullets were flying. Secession and slavery were intertwined. You can’t simply wish away that fact. Any attempt at secession would be tied to the reasons for seceding. This Gordian knot is made of iron and you can’t cut it for a wishful solution.

  172. @Corvinus
    @RonaldB

    "My feeling is that slavery would have lasted no more than 10 or 15 years from 1860."

    And be forced to pay wages to emancipated, uneducated, unassimilable blacks? The southern plantation big-wigs would have their profit margins significantly cut.

    "Besides the technological advancements making slavery unprofitable, the Southern leadership was educated and in tune with Western civilization."

    Would this "enlightened" group been likely to grant citizenship rights to former slaves who constituted the majority of the population?

    "All in all, almost nobody would have been worse off had the Civil War been avoided."

    Except southern freed blacks. Would southern governments have likely provided services to them? educational opportunities? political rights?

    Replies: @RebelWriter

    ” Would southern governments have likely provided services to them? educational opportunities? political rights?”

    Perhaps at least as much as the Northern US states offered freedmen before and after the war, which was, not much. Yet there were many in the South with enlightened attitudes toward blacks, who were in favor of, for example, educating them. Some educated their slaves in spite of it being against the law.

    I really wish I hadn’t read this blog post; it’s bait I bite too easily. Most of you irritate me to the core, as 21st Century people sitting today in judgment of 19th century Southerners. What I read here is a lot of modern virtue signaling, with no real attempt at understanding the people of the period.

    Many of you even believe the North acted out of altruism, rather than hypocrisy. Altruism demands some sort of sacrifice; acting against your own interests in the interests of the greater good. The fact is that abolition was born in New England AFTER slavery was no longer profitable for these same people. New England profited immensely from the slave trade in the Colonial Era, right up until, and even after, it was outlawed.

    I invite you to spend some time reading on slavenorth dot com to get a better picture of the reality of slavery in the North, and the North’s participation in the slave trade. North and South alike, as long as there was money to be made, few had a problem with slavery. How is that different from other human beings at any point in time in history? It’s not, is it?

    Abolition was minority movement adopted by politicians who sought to curb the power of the Planter class in Washington, as that class was the only real impediment to “internal improvement” bills which intended to use Federal funds (mostly paid by Southern planters) to improve roads, canals, ports, and build railways that benefitted Northern industrial interests. Yet if the war didn’t happen when it did, over what it did, it would have happened eventually over something else.

    • Replies: @Clark Westwood
    @RebelWriter


    ” Would southern governments have likely provided services to them? educational opportunities? political rights?”

    Perhaps at least as much as the Northern US states offered freedmen before and after the war, which was, not much.
     

    This is an important point that is too often overlooked. Modern Americans have a tendency to think that being anti-slavery was the same as being pro-equality. But in the Civil War era, the vast majority of abolitionists did not favor full civil rights for blacks. They felt strongly that slavery was bad and needed to be ended, but that did not mean that they wanted or expected freed slaves (or free-born blacks) to be given all the rights of white citizens. This point tends to be ignored because it cuts away at the North's moral high ground.

    Replies: @Corvinus

    , @res
    @RebelWriter


    I really wish I hadn’t read this blog post; it’s bait I bite too easily. Most of you irritate me to the core, as 21st Century people sitting today in judgment of 19th century Southerners. What I read here is a lot of modern virtue signaling, with no real attempt at understanding the people of the period.
     
    Understandable. I hope you can look on it as an opportunity to educate an audience which is probably more willing to consider your arguments on their merits than most audiences in 21st century America. Especially since I think you hold positions which are dramatically underrepresented in current discourse.

    Despite a moral aversion to slavery (sorry, I have to "virtue signal" a little, but I hope there is more to my position than that) I am sympathetic to many of your arguments (and they are critical to understanding Southerners [both 19th century and current IMHO] as real people and not caricatures). I appreciate your website reference (not sure why you chose not to link directly, but I will respect that and do the same). The question there is how much time to spend. The front page looked thoughtful so I expect to read more.

    Coming up with hypothetical situations for developing the American South without African slavery given the pre-20th century medical state of the art is more difficult than most people think IMHO. Can you recommend any thoughtful examinations of that question?

    Replies: @RebelWriter

    , @Peripatetic commenter
    @RebelWriter


    Abolition was minority movement adopted by politicians who sought to curb the power of the Planter class in Washington,
     
    Think of all the modern movements in the same vein:

    - Anti-tobacco movements
    - Anti-oil movements ...

    and soon enough the anti-robot movement.
    , @Corvinus
    @RebelWriter

    "Yet there were many in the South with enlightened attitudes toward blacks, who were in favor of, for example, educating them. Some educated their slaves in spite of it being against the law."

    Enlightened attitudes...by having their slaves being able to read and write to primarily function for their tasks on the plantation, not as individual pursuits.

    "The fact is that abolition was born in New England AFTER slavery was no longer profitable for these same people. New England profited immensely from the slave trade in the Colonial Era, right up until, and even after, it was outlawed."

    Indeed, northern merchants and ship captains also bear significant blame here for perpetuating slavery. The roots of abolition were actually borne during the Enlightenment period (1740's-1750's), with Delaware (1776) and Virginia (1778) barring the importation of African slaves; Vermont abolishing it (1777); and Pennsylvania putting forth gradual emancipation in 1780.

    "I invite you to spend some time reading on slavenorth dot com to get a better picture of the reality of slavery in the North, and the North’s participation in the slave trade. North and South alike, as long as there was money to be made, few had a problem with slavery. How is that different from other human beings at any point in time in history? It’s not, is it?"

    Exactly.

  173. @Corvinus
    @Opinionator

    "And, of course, Southern “peoplehood” was based on slavery. Totally false."

    No, completely accurate. Southerners labeled their slaves as "subhuman", yet demanded they count toward representation. 3/5 of a person, now what they hell does that even mean? Well, a "person" in that historical context referred to as an "a man of European descent".

    Replies: @RebelWriter, @Opinionator

    They did not label an individual as 3/5’s of a person, but rather 3/5’s of the population as a whole was counted, as they could not vote. The Southern states wanted to count them all, and the North wanted none of them counted, and this was the compromise.

    • Replies: @res
    @RebelWriter


    The Southern states wanted to count them all, and the North wanted none of them counted, and this was the compromise.
     
    It is funny how many moderns bring up that compromise as evidence of Southerners being evil when in fact they agree with the Southern position (simply stated). Of course, I assume all of us here are knowledgeable enough to understand the political reasons behind the positions and compromise. I am always intrigued when people come to identical conclusions for arguably opposite reasons.
    , @peterike
    @RebelWriter


    The Southern states wanted to count them all, and the North wanted none of them counted, and this was the compromise.
     
    Precisely. Though in schools today, the chilluns are taught that those racist Southerners only saw blacks as 3/5 human. The reality is entirely inverted.
    , @Corvinus
    @RebelWriter

    From what I read, southern delegates demanded that all slaves of a particular state are to be counted as three-fifths of a white person. That is, one black slave = 3/5 white person. Thus, the population of slaves would be counted as three-fifths in total when apportioning Representatives, as well as Presidential electors and taxes.

    Replies: @res

    , @Reg Cæsar
    @RebelWriter


    The Southern states wanted to count them all...
     
    ...which was cheating, pure and simple. Why not include dairy cattle as well? That would have multiplied Vermont's representation, and greatly countrified New York's.
  174. @Dan Hayes
    @Judah Benjamin Hur

    Judah Benjamin Hur:

    Here's my response to your statement regarding Trump: he is 100% phony.

    Replies: @Autochthon

    Exactly. Jackson will be unpersoned exactly as planned despite Trump’s election. The most recent nonsense (it is flying fast and furiously, so it can be hard to spot it all…) is the statement that NATO, obsolete a few short months ago, is now no longer obsolete.

    I said it was obsolete; it’s no longer obsolete.

    Those are his recent words, verbatim. They insult the listener’s intelligence, being nonsense to anyone who has the slightest understanding of the word’s meaning. Alternatively, the statement suggests the speaker himself has no idea what “obsolete” means. (Quaere: Which is worse…?

    During a long drive I recently explained the life and works of Mr. Jackson to my fiancée, a foreigner unfamiliar with such matters, and her astonishment and admiration amounted to, “How is this man not on the $1.00 note? How come he doesn’t have a big memorial in Washington like these other presidents?!”

    The answer, in my opinion, is simple: He was a white southerner, and he didn’t write the Declaration of Independence nor serve as the first president – which singular distinctions have so far made it effectively impossible to throw Jefferson and Washington under the bus, but not for want of effort! I predict the statues of Jefferson Davis, Nathan Forrest, Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, and Robert Lee being dismantled today as those great men are unpersoned will be soon enough followed by the similar unpersoning of Jefferson and Washington.

    • Agree: Dan Hayes
  175. I’m not sure what’s meant exactly by suggsting speculation that Jackson would have prevented the War of Northern Aggression is ignorant; such Monday morning quarterbacking about complex historical developments is almost always inherently ignorant (though often fun if undertaken with any understanding it is impossible to say with any certainty what might have been…). With that disclaimer in mind: Jackson, were he alive and serving as president at the time matters came to a head, may well have prevented war. His story is that of the overwhelming majority of southerners: a poor white man without a pot to piss in or a window to throw it out of, he was not one of the very few elite born onto a plantation and inured to its often decadent ways. Sure, he made good for himself eventually, but he never lost touch with his roots (speaking of comparisons and contrasts with Trump…).
    He ameliorated the Tariff of Abominations somewhat via the slightly less preposterous Tariff of 1832, and he made many efforts, as Steve notes, to reconcile northern interests with those of free, white yeomen in the south (again, the vast majority of southerners, who never owned a slave in their lives…). He certainly would not have farted around with appointments to the post office under the the spoils system – largely a creation of his own! – while ignoring more pressing matters.

    Very few southern leaders, and fewer southern citizens, wanted war. It came about only after unending insults and injuries were heaped upon them relentlessly, with no quarter despite efforts by reasonable men on both sides to avoid bloodshed and agree to compromises. Jackson was such a man; Lincoln was not; the latter’s hagiography is much misplaced but inevitable because it justifies the war and its outcome in the eyes of the victors, and all the more so because Diversity and The Present Year….

  176. anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @Opinionator
    @syonredux

    The Confederate desire to kill in the name of slavery was pretty strong…

    No Southerner killed in the name of slavery.

    Replies: @anonymous

    By syon’s logic, the north also killed in the name of slavery considering lincoln continued to enforce the fugitive slave act during the war, and supported a constitutional amendment forever allowing a right to slavery. The emancipation proclamation did not apply to areas the north had under control – which meant lincoln refused to do anything about slavery while at the same time he was shutting down newspapers and throwing people in jail without charge or trial for political speech opposing his invasion, so he wasn’t exactly binding himself to the confines of the constitution.

  177. @syonredux
    @Opinionator


    moral wouldn’t have attempted to secede in the first place….

    Political independence and sovereignty is immoral? Uh, okay.
     
    Treason is always immoral, dear fellow....

    Replies: @PhysicistDave, @Autochthon, @The Anti-Gnostic

    This position is inconsistent with the very existence of the U.S.A., as it follows that you deem Washington, Jefferson, Franklin, Adams, Madison, Monroe, Paine, and all the rest traitors as well.

    Other lousy traitors in your paradigm include Símon Bolívar, Spartacus, and Charles de Gaulle.

    (Your writing “dear fellow” in this context is just dopey and pretentious.)

    • Replies: @Ian M.
    @Autochthon


    [I]t follows that you deem Washington, Jefferson, Franklin, Adams, Madison, Monroe, Paine, and all the rest traitors as well.
     
    Washington, Jefferson, Franklin, Adams, Madison, Monroe, Paine, and all the rest were traitors.
  178. res says:
    @Gringo
    @Joe Franklin


    An intelligent and moral man would have first purchased freedom for chattel slaves, and then prohibited all future slave immigration to the US.
     
    1.In 1860, slaveholders weren't about to sell their slaves. Read the South Carolina Declaration of Secession and then tell me that those who wrote that document would have been willing to sell their slaves at market price in exchange for an end to slavery. :) The overriding theme of the document is the desire to preserve slavery- not to get a fair market price for their slaves in exchange for an end to slavery.

    A lot of the disagreements between North and South in the 1850s came from the South wanting to expand slavery into the West. That doesn't sound like people willing to abolish slavery and get paid market price for their freed slaves. I suggest you read about Bloody Kansas. Robert May's book, The Southern Dream of a Caribbean Empire, 1854-1861, documents the effort of slavery expansionists to extend US territory to the Caribbean- territory which would then become new territory for slaveholders. Attempts were made to purchase Cuba from Spain. Robert Walker's filibuster attempts to take over Nicaragua also included a proclamation to re-establish slavery.

    2. Importation of slaves into the US was prohibited effective January 1, 1808. Look it up.


    It was much less expensive to buy slaves freedom than to fight a war against slavery.
     
    You are correct. At the end of the war, many former slaveholders probably regretted that they hadn't sold their slaves instead of engaging in a ruinous war. However, very few slaveholders in 1861 were willing to sell their slaves at fair market price in exchange for an end to slavery. Read the South Carolina Declaration of Secession.

    Lincoln chose instead to go to war primarily to prevent secession, not slavery.
     
    Correct. Recall what Lincoln said.

    "If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that."
     

    Replies: @Steve Sailer, @res

    The overriding theme of the document is the desire to preserve slavery

    This.

    A lot of the disagreements between North and South in the 1850s came from the South wanting to expand slavery into the West.

    And this. There was great concern in the South about losing political support for slavery through non-slave state expansion. I think it’s fair to say they considered the expansion of slavery an existential battle at the time.

    Does anyone talking about how the Civil War was not because of slavery (yes, I know and agree it was not fought “to free the slaves” and there were other significant issues involved) honestly believe the North/South conflicts were irreconcilable if slavery had been removed from the equation? Asking questions like this starts to become “alternate history”, which isn’t really taken seriously by professional historians AFAICT, but has anyone done a thoughtful examination of this premise? As support for my position, I’ll note that with slavery eliminated the USA has endured without internal war for 150 more years despite many of those other issues remaining, as is made abundantly clear by our electoral maps over that time.

    IMHO the South fought largely to preserve its lifestyle–and considered slavery an integral (and non-negotiable) part of that. I think avoiding a war over this was a low probability event, but as discussed here having a less traumatic war was a real possibility.

  179. @Steve Sailer
    @Opinionator

    Some Southrons were talking about reviving the slave trade. In general, the Southerners were pretty politically dominant up until the 1860 election, so they were always looking around for new extremist positions to take to outrage the Northrons, like the NRA is always trying to find a law somewhere that, say, bans circus employees from packing heat while hanging around with chimps.

    Replies: @Opinionator, @Autochthon, @res, @Jenner Ickham Errican, @Peripatetic commenter

    With respect, sir, if not meant to be wry humour, this statement seems disingenuous. Do you really mean to say irritating northerners was some kind of hobby and recreation for southerners? The very idea is cartoonish. (“Well, I could focus on the matters pressing to my constituents to ensure re-election, but to Hell with that; the real fun will be in doing something to piss off people in Connecticut I have no connection with whatsoever!”) Or even that the NRA is goofily findings tempists in teapots – when you live in a state where it is effectively illegal to so much as walk across the street to your neighbour’s house or drive down the road with a loaded weapon, and therefore effectively impossible to defend oneself with a firearm outside one’s home?

  180. anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @syonredux
    @anonymous


    The escaped slaves lincoln had caught and returned back to their masters even during the war, or the future slaves lincoln wanted to forever be adopted into the constitution?
     
    Dear fellow, no one ever said that the Confederates were smart; it's pretty amazing how they created conditions that made abolition inevitable...

    Replies: @anonymous

    So your response to pointing out that lincoln continued to support slavery during the war is to say the south wasn’t smart? Lincoln made sure to have fugitive slaves caught and returned back to the masters in pro union slave states, supported forever allowing slavery, and refused to do anything about slaves in areas the north had captured down to the county level by exempting them in the EP. It would seem lincoln was not very smart by your logic.

    Abolition would not have been possible had lincoln gotten his constitutional amendment forever allowing it.

  181. @Opinionator
    @syonredux

    The people of North Carolina had a stronger claim to the territory of North Carolina than did people in Maine.

    Replies: @Autochthon

    I just want to observe before I leave off for work that reading your exchanges with Syonredux is hilarious. It is like watching a twelve-year-old, who, having once completed a course in first aid and now having a grossly mistaken estimation of his own faculties (Syonredux) argue about the beat practices for treating trauma with a veteran combat surgeon now serving as the chief of the emergency room in a gang-riddled corner of southern Chicago.

    If the guy weren’t so smug, it’d be gauche of you, but under the circumstances, it is hilarious. Well played, sir.

    • Replies: @Opinionator
    @Autochthon

    Thanks

  182. res says:
    @Steve Sailer
    @Gringo

    Slaveowners in the early 19th Century tended to be apologetic about slavery. There wasn't a lot of money in slavery and people assumed it would fade out. Tobacco growing wore out the soil, and it wasn't such a hard job that only slaves would do it, and tobacco grew far enough north that Virginia and North Carolina weren't deadly for white workers.

    Then cotton opened up into an immensely profitable business and pretty much drove out other economic activities from much of the south. For example, a Southern business magazine that had been founded to encourage industrialization went out of business because there was less and less point in doing anything besides farming cotton. The more money there was in cotton harvested by slaves, the more Southerners stopped apologizing about slavery and started boasting about it and plotting to maintain political control in Washington and to extend it.

    But if there had eventually come along a cotton recession, then RW Emerson's plan to raise $2 billion from the sale of western lands to buy out slaveowners would have seemed less like an insult to Southerners and more like a deal that would help them out.

    Replies: @res, @Ian M.

    But if there had eventually come along a cotton recession, then RW Emerson’s plan to raise $2 billion from the sale of western lands to buy out slaveowners would have seemed less like an insult to Southerners and more like a deal that would help them out.

    That is an interesting hypothetical. I wonder if major economic issues would have been enough to persuade Southern slaveholders to be bought out thus changing their lifestyle? Any thoughts on how the fault lines between non/slaveholders and coastal/mountain people would have played out in this scenario? Would the abolitionists have been willing to go along rather than using a moment of economic power to crush the hated slaveholders?

    How much of politics is just kicking the can down the road hoping something like that happens? And how many wars are started when something different happens instead?

  183. @RebelWriter
    @Corvinus

    " Would southern governments have likely provided services to them? educational opportunities? political rights?"

    Perhaps at least as much as the Northern US states offered freedmen before and after the war, which was, not much. Yet there were many in the South with enlightened attitudes toward blacks, who were in favor of, for example, educating them. Some educated their slaves in spite of it being against the law.

    I really wish I hadn't read this blog post; it's bait I bite too easily. Most of you irritate me to the core, as 21st Century people sitting today in judgment of 19th century Southerners. What I read here is a lot of modern virtue signaling, with no real attempt at understanding the people of the period.

    Many of you even believe the North acted out of altruism, rather than hypocrisy. Altruism demands some sort of sacrifice; acting against your own interests in the interests of the greater good. The fact is that abolition was born in New England AFTER slavery was no longer profitable for these same people. New England profited immensely from the slave trade in the Colonial Era, right up until, and even after, it was outlawed.

    I invite you to spend some time reading on slavenorth dot com to get a better picture of the reality of slavery in the North, and the North's participation in the slave trade. North and South alike, as long as there was money to be made, few had a problem with slavery. How is that different from other human beings at any point in time in history? It's not, is it?

    Abolition was minority movement adopted by politicians who sought to curb the power of the Planter class in Washington, as that class was the only real impediment to "internal improvement" bills which intended to use Federal funds (mostly paid by Southern planters) to improve roads, canals, ports, and build railways that benefitted Northern industrial interests. Yet if the war didn't happen when it did, over what it did, it would have happened eventually over something else.

    Replies: @Clark Westwood, @res, @Peripatetic commenter, @Corvinus

    ” Would southern governments have likely provided services to them? educational opportunities? political rights?”

    Perhaps at least as much as the Northern US states offered freedmen before and after the war, which was, not much.

    This is an important point that is too often overlooked. Modern Americans have a tendency to think that being anti-slavery was the same as being pro-equality. But in the Civil War era, the vast majority of abolitionists did not favor full civil rights for blacks. They felt strongly that slavery was bad and needed to be ended, but that did not mean that they wanted or expected freed slaves (or free-born blacks) to be given all the rights of white citizens. This point tends to be ignored because it cuts away at the North’s moral high ground.

    • Replies: @Corvinus
    @Clark Westwood

    "This is an important point that is too often overlooked. Modern Americans have a tendency to think that being anti-slavery was the same as being pro-equality. But in the Civil War era, the vast majority of abolitionists did not favor full civil rights for blacks."

    No, abolitionists tended to be in support of political rights for freed slaves...in their own communities. They favored social separation, and certainly not race mixing. Lincoln was a product of the times, promoting the idea that freed blacks ought to be able to pursue "life, liberty, and happiness", just not near whites.

  184. @RonaldB
    @Opinionator

    Because it's a relatively innocuous term that tells you exactly who the writer is talking about, without ponderous qualifications. The term "Indians" perfectly confounds the prior inhabitants of the Americans with the present inhabitants of, and immigrants from, India.

    Replies: @Autochthon

    I use “Amerindians” all the time for these reasons.

    If I wish to be a bit more colourful, I will sometimes use “Indians” with the appropriate qualifier: “dots; not feathers” or “feathers; not dots.”

    • Replies: @peterike
    @Autochthon


    I will sometimes use “Indians” with the appropriate qualifier: “dots; not feathers” or “feathers; not dots.”
     
    That formulation is out of date. We now use "feathers, not tech support," or the reverse.
  185. res says:
    @Steve Sailer
    @Charles Erwin Wilson

    "But you also need Grant to fail at Vicksburg."

    Getting to Vicksburg by disappearing off the river into the state of Mississippi, popping up hundreds of miles inland and winning a battle at Jackson, then backtracking to the river ... that's not the least risky plan in military history. It worked for Grant, though.

    Anyway, the point is that if Lincoln had managed to hang on to not just 4 but all 8 of the slave states still in the Union on his inauguration day, he wouldn't have needed close run victories like Vicksburg and Gettysburg to win.

    For example, on Aril 4, 1861 Virginia voted down immediate secession 88-45. Following the outbreak fighting at Fort Sumter it voted 2 weeks later to secede, although not by a huge margin.

    The secession of Virginia was a giant disaster.

    Replies: @res

    The secession of Virginia was a giant disaster.

    Does anyone here know how Lincoln thought about this? Was he so caught up with Maryland and Kentucky that he deprioritized Virginia? I have a sense that keeping Maryland would have been a requirement for keeping Virginia (though I think the Virginians had an independent streak, so who knows). Not to mention the DC problem if MD seceded.

    More about the MD timeline: http://teaching.msa.maryland.gov/000001/000000/000017/html/t17.html

    P.S. Twinkie, are you out there? I assume this thread is probably rehashing issues you have thought about deeply. Can you offer any thoughts?

  186. Many things to ponder about this time. One indicator of just how weak the popular support for secession was in pre Sumter days was the fact that the gulf states that seceded didn’t allow a popular referendum on actual secession. The obvious reason for this is that the outcome was uncertain. In elections for delegates in Georgia and Louisiana for the secession conventions the unionist side (conditional or otherwise) came close to victory. Had the people directly voted on the issue, who knows what would have happened.
    We do know that when voters in North Carolina, Tennessee and Arkansas voted about secession in pre Sumter days they voted against it.
    Prof Freehling’s book argues that the deep South states were concerned that the new President would succeed in building up the new Republican Party in the upper South, and that sooner or later (sooner in their worst case scenarios) a newly empowered Republican Party would start abolition efforts in the state legislatures of Missouri, Maryland, Delaware (barely a slave state anyway) Kentucky and then soon after Virginia. In Missouri there already was a small group of Republican state legislators from St Louis area districts, and Seward in pre war days referred to victory in Kansas as conquering an outpost, but Missouri being the fort that they (Republicans) really hoped to conquer. With every passing year the St Louis area was growing in voters and influence with most being anti-slavery to one extent or another.
    Another thought, if confederacy doesn’t fire the first shot at Sumter, what happens? A drawn out cold war, with Lincoln gradually trying to subvert the confederacy and entice states back into the union?

  187. @Opinionator
    @jtgw

    There is something to what you say, but your reasoning seems circular in that it relies on two premises: a definition and a factual assertion that resembles the conclusion you are seeking to prove.

    Empirically, were all slaves so unhappy with their lives that they would have run away if given the chance to do so without repercussion from the slave owners?

    Replies: @jtgw, @Autochthon

    Many, many slaves implored their former masters to be permitted to stay on as workers or servants following manumission, and even, later, emancipation.

    Many a slave’s life, perhaps most, was horrible. But aside from the abstract idea of liberty (which I by no means discount!), in practice many a slave had a more salubrious and free life than many a drudge in the mills of New England.

  188. @syonredux
    @Jus' Sayin'...


    Besides the secession of West Virginia from Virginia, I know that Alabaman and Georgian regiments fought in the federal armies. I’d bet there were many other union regiments from other Confederate States.
     
    25,000 men from North Carolina fought for the Union.So did 42,000 from Tennessee


    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southern_Unionist

    Replies: @The Man From K Street

    25,000 men from North Carolina fought for the Union.So did 42,000 from Tennessee

    In fact, every seceding state (with the exception of South Carolina) fielded at least one white regiment (and in some cases several) that fought on the Union side. And it wasn’t just eastern TN or western NC–there were huge areas of northern Alabama, the Texas Hill Country, and even the rugged parts of northern Georgia, that were essentially no-go zones for CSA authorities.

    These Unionist areas were, of course, the parts of the South where black slavery was much rarer.

  189. res says:
    @anon
    Something big had to happen, but it didn't have to be the Civil War we got. I will start with Steve's comment about 'Peak Cotton'. Slaves were the primary form of wealth in the South -- like home equity now, but on steroids. A lot of slaves were sold West to the newly booming Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia, as it simply wasn't working all that well on the east coast. Furthermore, the obvious exit strategy was to breed them and sell them West. Hence the South's obsession with keeping the West slave states. And this was wrecking Manifest Destiny, Continental Railroad, Homesteading, etc. The Union was determined to expand and the South were gumming up the works.

    Meanwhile, I used to believe that abolishing slavery was such a positive for the South that the Union did them a favor. However, they did have a Plan B. Namely expanding South. Take over Cuba, the Caribbean, a chunk of Mexico, Central America. It sounds sort of crazy, but maybe it would have worked. Or at least for a while.

    Virginia was toying with the idea of abolishing slavery, but couldn't come to grips with what to do with 'former slaves'. If they had kept the Virginia and Kentucky in the Union, there would have been at least the possibility of unloading their slaves to a Southward expanding South. I suppose Texas was up for grabs also.

    I have descendants that were in Mississippi. The interesting thing was that they weren't there very long. 20 years at the most. After the Civil War, everyone just went West. If Texas is West. If they had any money and didn't own a plantation. In 1830, it had 136,621 residents. By 1860, it had 791,305.

    But Lincoln actually was what the left are claiming Trump is. Habeas Corpus, Press Censorship, and whatever else was convenient. Not to mention the Log Cabin Republicans. They managed to rehabilitate him as an uber President. And they did manage to turn large chunks of the South into the Sunbelt. That plus air conditioning and eradicating malaria with DDT after WW 2. And the 20th century versions of Lincoln and Lee were vaguely compatible. As long as nuance and detail are ignored.

    As bad as the Civil War was, it wasn't much worse than the Crimean War. The Crimean War was not remotely inevitable and they perfected the Minie Ball ammunition which made both wars more bloody. Tactics lagged technology.

    Peak Cotton would have collapsed and I don't see the Confederacy -- especially without the border states -- working very well. The most certain thing that can be said about war is that it turns out to be vastly more expensive than the original plan. Which was true for the Civil War.

    Replies: @res

    Interesting comment. One question regarding

    Virginia was toying with the idea of abolishing slavery, but couldn’t come to grips with what to do with ‘former slaves’. If they had kept the Virginia and Kentucky in the Union, there would have been at least the possibility of unloading their slaves to a Southward expanding South. I suppose Texas was up for grabs also.

    Given a hypothetical like that, and assuming the separation was at least somewhat acrimonious, do you think it would have been possible to avoid a later war between the adjacent countries? A North America like that looks a lot more like Europe to me and I think has some serious fault lines (e.g. see Albion’s Seed). The South had/has a militaristic streak that makes them formidable opponents, and I don’t think that would have been conducive to being good neighbors. Then there is the moralistic streak of the North…

    For war-provoking causes, competitive westward expansion leaps to mind.

    • Replies: @anon
    @res


    Given a hypothetical like that, and assuming the separation was at least somewhat acrimonious, do you think it would have been possible to avoid a later war between the adjacent countries?
     
    No. Some war was inevitable, but certainly not the war that we got. The US had only polished off its European rivals in 1850. Spain, France, and Britain were out of the current North America. Manifest Destiny had a compelling logic. The US had the most secure borders of any nation. The Atlantic and Pacific. The North was on the right side of economic history, as concentration on industrialization would have inevitably led to economic domination. And then I think the South would have had difficulty creating a sufficiently unified nation to become a global power. The scheme to grow further South is interesting, and was was compelling in a certain sense. They had to do something and succession was a way of resolving the problem of Westward expansion. There were numerous schemes to carve up Mexico, and why would Brazil be worse than Montana and Idaho? But this would have left them with an agrarian economic base, with a similar result.

    My opinion was that the war was about slavery. Namely, how eliminate it. It would have been cheaper to simply hire black farm labor than to keep slaves, but that wasn't an attractive notion in states with white minorities. There simply wasn't a way to transition out of it without unacceptable disruption. The South was at its relative economic peak. And the cotton boom was simply another example of success ending up in tragedy. In terms of alternative histories, if slavery hadn't been dying in the rest of the world and if there were a global market, the obvious solution would have been to export them.

    But this is simply speculative musings and I'm far from an expert on this subject.
  190. @RonaldB
    @Steve Sailer

    " quick civil war of pretty much everybody versus South Carolina ..."

    The Civil War was in no way conceived, begun, or fought to end slavery. Why would a war against South Carolina have been initiated to end slavery?

    Western civilization was universally against slavery. South Carolina was not a bunch of hicks. The Northern citizens were almost violently against slavery. It would have been a natural matter for the states surrounding South Carolina to simply not purchase or ship any slave-produced materials, return any escaped slaves, or withhold lending for slave-related project. That is in addition to the fact that any small farmers in South Carolina, the basis of any self-defense force, would themselves be decimated and unenthusiastic at defending slavery.

    I think your timeline for the withering and disappearance of slavery was right on, except it would come without fighting.

    Replies: @Autochthon

    Thank you. It’s either hilarious or disappointing to see how many people in this thread are all in the old “The noble north fought a war to free the slaves from the meanie South!” macguffin. The casus belli was never slavery. The retconning began with Lincoln himself, as he schemed, among other things, to gain European sympathies, or at least neutrality.

    • Replies: @Captain Tripps
    @Autochthon

    True enough. To the victor belongs the spoils, including writing the history of the thing. Only historians of antiquity remember the losers, such as the Samnites or the Carthaginians. Same with modern historians writing on the Civil War; its just easier for the majority of folks, with less keen interest and minds, to go with the simple North - Good Guys/South - Evil Guys cartoon understanding, than wrap their heads around the actual complexity of the event, and the moments where it was "a close run thing". Eventually, though, the winners come full circle and are, themselves, the losers (hello Roman Empire! How are you doing these days?). The decades ahead may entail much wailing, sorrow, mothers and fathers weeping over the graves of their children.

    Or hopefully not. I still retain a touch of optimism from my youth that my children (and hopefully their children, should we be blessed), will find a smart, peaceful way out of the inevitable Decline of Empire phase that we must go through, and that doesn't involve surrendering their (through many generations) hard-earned liberty.

  191. @Opinionator
    @Mark Caplan

    Very well. I don't think you picked up on my reference to contract law in the post you are replying to. Lincoln is hoisted on his own petard here. Lacking a defined time period and no-exit clause, the constitutional contract was "at will" and could be exited at any time.

    Even if it had not been "at will", it could still be exited at any time and any "penalty" would generally be limited to proven injury and paid in money, not by specific performance. It is my understanding that the South offered to compensate the North for federal property that could not be returned to the North.

    Replies: @RonaldB, @res

    Interesting argument. Thanks. Any (other?) lawyers care to comment?

    • Replies: @Clark Westwood
    @res


    Interesting argument. Thanks. Any (other?) lawyers care to comment?
     
    The best presentation of the pro-secession legal arguments I've read is the first volume of Alexander Stephens's Constitutional View of the War between the States. It's available free on Google books and elsewhere on the net. I read it after reading Edmund Wilson's praise of it in Patriotic Gore.

    Replies: @res

  192. anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @Opinionator
    I detect an underlying assumption by many commenters (including Steve) that continuation of the Union in the 1860s is something to be happy about and to celebrate. But how many here are happy about the trajectory we are now on or about the terrible wars of the 20th Century (including the Holocaust)?

    Wouldn't things likely have turned out better if the South had been freed to leave in peace?

    Replies: @Gringo, @anonymous, @res

    The main problem is the rather cartoonish story offered up by the media and cultural marxist historian class that is repeated over and over in the school system and on tv. How many americans believe lincoln fought the war to fight racism, freed the slaves with the Emancipation Proclamation, opposed slavery, and was a believer in equality as opposed to the racists in the south? The people on this site do not bother to question the official storyline of lincoln and the war from the same cultural marxists who demonize Steve sailer, vdare, anyone opposed to mass third world immigration, anyone who quotes fbi crime stats regarding race, anyone who quotes charles murray ahout IQ, etc. Just as those who oppose the civil rights act, the 65 immigration act, hate speech laws, or mass amnesty for illegals are terrible ignorant racists who deserve an obama drone strike, those who take issue with the end result of lincoln’s actions are evil white privileged racist scumbags.

    Why is it that the same media/political/academic types who are detested by sites like this for promoting the destruction of western civilization via third world mass immigration and other cultural movements are united in their worship of lincoln? The cultural marxists, the actual marxists – including marx himself – the SJW types, the neo cons, etc – why do they all love lincoln and his actions so much? Is it maybe because they recognize he single handedly changed our form of government to eventually becoming the strong, centralized state that is basically at war with working class and middle class whites that it is now?

    Maybe they recognize that all sorts of things would not be possible had it not been for lincoln: ending freedom of association, Presidents starting foreign wars on their own, mass third world immigration, a gigantic welfare state, the coming hate speech laws like europe has, Presidents like obama making up amnesty laws out of thin air, men claiming to be women legally being able to use locker rooms with young girls, states being forced to accept gay marriage, states being forced to accept mass immigration and pay for them even if they voted against it (prop 187), etc. Because without the threat of secession and a dramatically stronger centralized government, what can stop the federal government from being so hostile to the very type of people this nation was created to protect?

    • Replies: @Opinionator
    @anonymous

    Good questions.

  193. @anonymous
    D*&&^%n those evil white Americans! They've made Puerto Rico go broke. They exploited Puerto Rico mercilessly by brain-draining their smart fraction:

    "Puerto Rico Declares a Form of Bankruptcy", MARY WILLIAMS WALSH, New York Times, MAY 3, 2017:


    "...the “brain drain” the island has been suffering as professionals move to the mainland could intensify."

     

    If only the NY Times had been able to defeat those evil white KKKers who were making Puerto Rico suffer so by aiding and abetting their immigration to the mainland. There was probably even had some sort of underground railway to siphon off the best Puerto Rican brains.

    But, if those white folks don't fix the suffering, there's always the veiled threat, the uncontrolled immigration weapon could intensity, presumably with negative consequences that we want to avoid.

    Replies: @res

    It is amazing that so much of the Puerto Rico conversation revolves around arguments (this and independence) that have most people here (I think) saying “please, please, please don’t throw me into one of those briar patches” (i.e. allowing independence or shutting off immigration).

  194. res says:
    @Steve Sailer
    @Opinionator

    Some Southrons were talking about reviving the slave trade. In general, the Southerners were pretty politically dominant up until the 1860 election, so they were always looking around for new extremist positions to take to outrage the Northrons, like the NRA is always trying to find a law somewhere that, say, bans circus employees from packing heat while hanging around with chimps.

    Replies: @Opinionator, @Autochthon, @res, @Jenner Ickham Errican, @Peripatetic commenter

    But were those positions simply outrage fodder or bargaining chips? What did they really want?

    I think the best argument for the South not reviving slave importation is my perception (accurate?) that the Southern elites were doing quite well raising and selling slaves without external competition. Not angering the British was also relevant.

  195. @Opinionator
    I detect an underlying assumption by many commenters (including Steve) that continuation of the Union in the 1860s is something to be happy about and to celebrate. But how many here are happy about the trajectory we are now on or about the terrible wars of the 20th Century (including the Holocaust)?

    Wouldn't things likely have turned out better if the South had been freed to leave in peace?

    Replies: @Gringo, @anonymous, @res

    Wouldn’t things likely have turned out better if the South had been freed to leave in peace?

    As bad as the Civil War was, I’m not convinced that follows. See my earlier comment about potential future North/South relations.

    • Replies: @Opinionator
    @res

    Would the outcome of World War 1 have been the same if the South had been allowed to secede? Would England have been able to stay in without private and tacit official support from the US juggernaut? Would either of the Union or CSA have entered the war? Would their entry have been so decisive? Would the Virginian Woodrow Wilson have been elected president of the more miltarily and industrially strong North? (Would WW 1 even have started?)

    The rest is history.

  196. @Gringo
    @Opinionator

    Wouldn’t things likely have turned out better if the South had been freed to leave in peace?

    That phrasing is rather ironic, given the great emphasis on preserving slavery that is in the South Carolina Declaration of Secession (for link, see my comments 91 and 100). Freedom for me, but not for thee. I am also reminded of the argument that States' Rights was a big motivator for secession. In the 1850s, the slaveholders were quite content in using federal power to usurp the powers of the northern states in enforcing the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850. See the South Carolina Declaration of Secession. State's Rights for me, but not for thee.

    Replies: @res, @Opinionator

    State’s Rights for me, but not for thee.

    All the Democratic blather about Calexit is hilarious in this context.

  197. res says:
    @RebelWriter
    I read Steve's blog posts every day, but when I began reading this one I got a knot in my belly. "Here we go again," I thought. I've rarely read an article on this part of history with which I've agreed, save in some very old magazines which published articles by seasoned historians without an ideological bone to pick. The whole affair is misunderstood entirely, because people attempt to inject their own prejudices into the thoughts and motivations of these two men.

    Calhoun (whose home I grew up just a few miles away from) was the ideologue of the two. Jackson reminds me of Trump, or vice versa, in that he put far more importance on personal loyalty than on a person's ideologies. In fact, if he had not been elected president, I believe we would have had a 'civil war' much earlier, and perhaps a real one at that, rather than a failed separatist war.

    Jackson would have backed Calhoun to the hilt if it were not for two things; one of which was the Peggy Eaton Affair. Google it, if you're curious. Jackson felt betrayed by Calhoun because Calhoun didn't force his wife to invite to Washington parties the barroom floozy cabinet member John Eaton had married. As Jackson was widowed, Mrs. Calhoun acted as First Lady in Washington society.

    The other went all the way back to the time when Calhoun was Secretary of War under President Monroe. Jackson attacked and defeated Spanish troops in Florida, and almost brought the two countries to war. Calhoun supposedly suggested punishing Jackson to appease Spain. Jackson found out about this during the Eaton Affair, and considered it yet another betrayal. At this point if Calhoun had proposed moving the Capital to the Hermitage, Jackson would have opposed him.

    Calhoun was an ardent Unionist, and always had been. Nullification was an attempt to settle the issue without secession; secession being the wish of many a South Carolinian at the time. Too many people blame him for laying the seeds of civil war, when all his energies were spent avoiding one.

    This was also not the first, but rather the second major secession crises in the history of the US. Some would say it was the third. The first was during the War of 1812, when several New England states considered secession, and discussed it at the Hartford Convention, as the war was disastrous for New England commerce.

    Replies: @res

    Thanks for your interesting and informative comment(s).

    I’ve rarely read an article on this part of history with which I’ve agreed, save in some very old magazines which published articles by seasoned historians without an ideological bone to pick.

    Any suggestions for references? Books (e.g. collections including good articles) would be even more welcome since they are usually easier to chase down.

    • Replies: @RebelWriter
    @res

    I appreciate the kind reply.

    The best magazine article written on the affair is from American History Illustrated, Feb. 1975, written by Lowell Harrison, entitled, "A Cast-Iron Man; John C. Calhoun." My uncles, a history teacher, gave me his collection of magazines before he died, and I still have this one copy.

    There are many editions of Calhoun's writings, including "The Essential Calhoun," by Clyde Wilson, which I recommend. His "Expositions on Government," proved too much for me, and I never finished it. I was severely impressed with his writing and sharp thinking, but the subject couldn't hold my interest. Perhaps the American Portrait, one of a series on prominent Americans, written by Margaret L. Coit, would be as good as any. I've never read the 1994 biography by Bartlett.

    The Calhoun family is revered among the people of the SC Upstate. They and the closely related Pickens family are perhaps our most famous pioneer families, both of which were Scotch-Irish.

    Replies: @res

    , @Clark Westwood
    @res

    I'd recommend the first two volumes of James Ford Rhodes's massive History of the United States from the Compromise of 1850 to the McKinley-Bryan Campaign of 1896. They were published in the 1890s but are still (quietly) considered valuable sources by professional historians. They're available free on the net.

    I'd also recommend The Children of Pride (Yale 1972), which contains letters among members of a prominent Georgia slave-owning family before, during, and after the war. For someone like me, born and raised and schooled in the North, it's mind-bending to see the times through the eyes of pro-slavery individuals.

    Replies: @RebelWriter, @res

  198. res says:
    @RebelWriter
    @Corvinus

    " Would southern governments have likely provided services to them? educational opportunities? political rights?"

    Perhaps at least as much as the Northern US states offered freedmen before and after the war, which was, not much. Yet there were many in the South with enlightened attitudes toward blacks, who were in favor of, for example, educating them. Some educated their slaves in spite of it being against the law.

    I really wish I hadn't read this blog post; it's bait I bite too easily. Most of you irritate me to the core, as 21st Century people sitting today in judgment of 19th century Southerners. What I read here is a lot of modern virtue signaling, with no real attempt at understanding the people of the period.

    Many of you even believe the North acted out of altruism, rather than hypocrisy. Altruism demands some sort of sacrifice; acting against your own interests in the interests of the greater good. The fact is that abolition was born in New England AFTER slavery was no longer profitable for these same people. New England profited immensely from the slave trade in the Colonial Era, right up until, and even after, it was outlawed.

    I invite you to spend some time reading on slavenorth dot com to get a better picture of the reality of slavery in the North, and the North's participation in the slave trade. North and South alike, as long as there was money to be made, few had a problem with slavery. How is that different from other human beings at any point in time in history? It's not, is it?

    Abolition was minority movement adopted by politicians who sought to curb the power of the Planter class in Washington, as that class was the only real impediment to "internal improvement" bills which intended to use Federal funds (mostly paid by Southern planters) to improve roads, canals, ports, and build railways that benefitted Northern industrial interests. Yet if the war didn't happen when it did, over what it did, it would have happened eventually over something else.

    Replies: @Clark Westwood, @res, @Peripatetic commenter, @Corvinus

    I really wish I hadn’t read this blog post; it’s bait I bite too easily. Most of you irritate me to the core, as 21st Century people sitting today in judgment of 19th century Southerners. What I read here is a lot of modern virtue signaling, with no real attempt at understanding the people of the period.

    Understandable. I hope you can look on it as an opportunity to educate an audience which is probably more willing to consider your arguments on their merits than most audiences in 21st century America. Especially since I think you hold positions which are dramatically underrepresented in current discourse.

    Despite a moral aversion to slavery (sorry, I have to “virtue signal” a little, but I hope there is more to my position than that) I am sympathetic to many of your arguments (and they are critical to understanding Southerners [both 19th century and current IMHO] as real people and not caricatures). I appreciate your website reference (not sure why you chose not to link directly, but I will respect that and do the same). The question there is how much time to spend. The front page looked thoughtful so I expect to read more.

    Coming up with hypothetical situations for developing the American South without African slavery given the pre-20th century medical state of the art is more difficult than most people think IMHO. Can you recommend any thoughtful examinations of that question?

    • Replies: @RebelWriter
    @res

    "Can you recommend any thoughtful examinations of that question?"

    I'm not aware of anyone having seriously tackled that. I've always been more interested in what happened than what might have happened.

    Slavery was widespread in the New World, and there wasn't a colony anywhere in North America where it didn't exist at one time or another. It did not prove to be profitable in the Northern climes, but did in those further South, where rice, cotton, indigo, and tobacco flourished. Large scale slave operations came here via Barbados, where they were used to grow sugar cane. Charleston was largely settled by immigrants from Barbados, not from England, though they were English. It was this system which became the plantation system we think of when we think of Southern black slavery.

    Yet they were a small minority of the people of the state. The planters themselves were maybe 3% of the population of SC, and a mere 3/4 of 1% of the South as a whole. What screwed the South, in my opinion, was the deference white yeomen paid to them throughout history up until the late 19th Century.

    Few Southern whites were educated, and the planters sent their sons to Yale, Harvard, Oxford, and Cambridge. Common Southerners depended on a sense of noblesse oblige which sometimes didn't exist. South Carolina was, by and large, a one party state ruled by an oligarchy consisting of slave owners. Every man who signed the Ordinance of Secession was a slave owner. They were elected to do this, however, by the average South Carolinian, along with planters and other slave owners.

    If you're at all interested in a book on this subject I highly recommend, "South Carolina; A History," by Dr. Walter Edgar, professor of history, University of South Carolina.

  199. @res
    @Opinionator

    Interesting argument. Thanks. Any (other?) lawyers care to comment?

    Replies: @Clark Westwood

    Interesting argument. Thanks. Any (other?) lawyers care to comment?

    The best presentation of the pro-secession legal arguments I’ve read is the first volume of Alexander Stephens’s Constitutional View of the War between the States. It’s available free on Google books and elsewhere on the net. I read it after reading Edmund Wilson’s praise of it in Patriotic Gore.

    • Replies: @res
    @Clark Westwood

    Thanks for this and your other recommendations in this thread!

  200. res says:
    @RebelWriter
    @Corvinus

    They did not label an individual as 3/5's of a person, but rather 3/5's of the population as a whole was counted, as they could not vote. The Southern states wanted to count them all, and the North wanted none of them counted, and this was the compromise.

    Replies: @res, @peterike, @Corvinus, @Reg Cæsar

    The Southern states wanted to count them all, and the North wanted none of them counted, and this was the compromise.

    It is funny how many moderns bring up that compromise as evidence of Southerners being evil when in fact they agree with the Southern position (simply stated). Of course, I assume all of us here are knowledgeable enough to understand the political reasons behind the positions and compromise. I am always intrigued when people come to identical conclusions for arguably opposite reasons.

  201. @res
    @RebelWriter

    Thanks for your interesting and informative comment(s).


    I’ve rarely read an article on this part of history with which I’ve agreed, save in some very old magazines which published articles by seasoned historians without an ideological bone to pick.
     
    Any suggestions for references? Books (e.g. collections including good articles) would be even more welcome since they are usually easier to chase down.

    Replies: @RebelWriter, @Clark Westwood

    I appreciate the kind reply.

    The best magazine article written on the affair is from American History Illustrated, Feb. 1975, written by Lowell Harrison, entitled, “A Cast-Iron Man; John C. Calhoun.” My uncles, a history teacher, gave me his collection of magazines before he died, and I still have this one copy.

    There are many editions of Calhoun’s writings, including “The Essential Calhoun,” by Clyde Wilson, which I recommend. His “Expositions on Government,” proved too much for me, and I never finished it. I was severely impressed with his writing and sharp thinking, but the subject couldn’t hold my interest. Perhaps the American Portrait, one of a series on prominent Americans, written by Margaret L. Coit, would be as good as any. I’ve never read the 1994 biography by Bartlett.

    The Calhoun family is revered among the people of the SC Upstate. They and the closely related Pickens family are perhaps our most famous pioneer families, both of which were Scotch-Irish.

    • Replies: @res
    @RebelWriter

    Thanks for all of your recommendations. Between you and Clark Westwood my Amazon wish list (where I track books I'm considering reading) has gotten a workout. I wish my library had that magazine article. That sounds like an excellent starting point.

    You and others here might appreciate this American History Magazine index: http://www.american-history-magazine.com/default.asp?year=1975

    Having just read Albion's Seed, it is amazing how good a lens it provides for looking at America and its history.

  202. @res
    @RebelWriter

    Thanks for your interesting and informative comment(s).


    I’ve rarely read an article on this part of history with which I’ve agreed, save in some very old magazines which published articles by seasoned historians without an ideological bone to pick.
     
    Any suggestions for references? Books (e.g. collections including good articles) would be even more welcome since they are usually easier to chase down.

    Replies: @RebelWriter, @Clark Westwood

    I’d recommend the first two volumes of James Ford Rhodes’s massive History of the United States from the Compromise of 1850 to the McKinley-Bryan Campaign of 1896. They were published in the 1890s but are still (quietly) considered valuable sources by professional historians. They’re available free on the net.

    I’d also recommend The Children of Pride (Yale 1972), which contains letters among members of a prominent Georgia slave-owning family before, during, and after the war. For someone like me, born and raised and schooled in the North, it’s mind-bending to see the times through the eyes of pro-slavery individuals.

    • Replies: @RebelWriter
    @Clark Westwood

    Mary Chestnut's, "A Diary from Dixie," is, in my opinion, the best journal ever written from the perspective of a Southern Planter family. It's eye-opening in a lot of ways. For instance, she recounts the tale of a male slave who wanted to marry a female slave on a nearby plantation. After discussing it with her owners, they agreed not only to the marriage, but to allow the couple to choose on which plantation they would live. She felt absolutely betrayed that they chose the wife's plantation, rather than hers, and the degree of drama she brought to the tale surprised me.

    I've also read the majority of the Slave Narratives from South and North Carolina, and do highly recommend those to anyone interested. Of all the stories there is one line that has stuck with me through the years. An old black man told his interviewer that, "Slavery and freedom was two heads of the same snake, and they both bit the black man."

    I tend to view it as proof that the fate of blacks wasn't the real concern of Northerners by the fact that they seemed not to have considered the fate of freed slaves at all, save in rare instances, such as the schools at Beaufort, SC. Most of the Northern states prohibited blacks from settling within their borders for a long time after the war, with laws against them staying longer than a certain period of time. "Free them and forget them" was hardly the attitude of someone concerned about their fates.

    Replies: @Clark Westwood

    , @res
    @Clark Westwood

    Am I correct in understanding your recommendation is for the full 1800+ page The Children of Pride? Any thoughts on how that compares to the 700+ page abridged version from 1987?

    I need to get around to reading my copy of Mary Chestnut's Diary first, I think.

    Replies: @Clark Westwood

  203. @Steve Sailer
    @Gringo

    John Calhoun was not always anti-tariff. He voted in favor of the Tariff of 1816.

    One of the tragedies of the 19th Century was that slavery increasingly turned out to be extremely profitable. Early in the 19th Century, slavery was associated with tobacco growing, which exhausted the soil and wasn't that much of a growth industry. The latitudes west of Virginia weren't particularly for slave economies.

    But then cotton came along as Americans poured into the inland Cotton Belt, with the steam engine driving British demand for cotton. Cotton prices kept going up to 1859, giving Southerners a King Cotton self-confidence that there'd never be a recession in cotton prices. But the English stockpiling cotton from the South and looking around for new sources in Egypt, India, and Brazil. So when the South blockaded themselves in 1861 to hurt British industry to bring the Royal Navy into the war on the side of the South, it backfired hugely on the South and new sources of cotton were quickly developed.

    My guess is that the King Cotton bubble and accompanying Slavery Uber Alles bubble would have popped at some point in the 1860s or 1870s and then a quick civil war of pretty much everybody versus South Carolina would have brought about the advantages of a four year Civil War at the peak of the King Cotton bubble with an order of magnitude fewer deaths.

    Obviously, that's speculative, but it seems worth discussing.

    Replies: @AnotherDad, @Basil ransom, @RonaldB, @Rapparee

    At the very latest, the 1890s arrival of the boll weevil would have killed off King Cotton for good.

    One odd thing about contemporary debates over the Late Unpleasantness is how partisans on both sides have almost completely reversed their justifications from 1861. A typical half-educated fan of the Blue Bellies in 2017 will justify the war on the grounds that slavery was obviously the Worst Thing Ever to Happen to Anybody, and military measures were clearly justified in suppressing it, while defenders of Dixie today like to point to every cause other than the Peculiar Institution. Antebellum Americans were nearly the opposite- paranoid Fire-Eaters smelled a sinister Yankee plot afoot to confiscate their lawful property, while the vast majority of Northerners couldn’t have cared less about the status of enslaved blacks in South Carolina, and viewed the small minority of abolitionists as irritating and troublesome radical lunatics whose irresponsible antics endangered precious American unity. (Even in New England, abolitionist songs at concerts sometimes triggered angry riots). Up to the very brink of war, Northern supermajorities were happily willing to endorse the pro-slavery Corwin Amendment as a concession to forestall disunity.

  204. @res
    @RebelWriter


    I really wish I hadn’t read this blog post; it’s bait I bite too easily. Most of you irritate me to the core, as 21st Century people sitting today in judgment of 19th century Southerners. What I read here is a lot of modern virtue signaling, with no real attempt at understanding the people of the period.
     
    Understandable. I hope you can look on it as an opportunity to educate an audience which is probably more willing to consider your arguments on their merits than most audiences in 21st century America. Especially since I think you hold positions which are dramatically underrepresented in current discourse.

    Despite a moral aversion to slavery (sorry, I have to "virtue signal" a little, but I hope there is more to my position than that) I am sympathetic to many of your arguments (and they are critical to understanding Southerners [both 19th century and current IMHO] as real people and not caricatures). I appreciate your website reference (not sure why you chose not to link directly, but I will respect that and do the same). The question there is how much time to spend. The front page looked thoughtful so I expect to read more.

    Coming up with hypothetical situations for developing the American South without African slavery given the pre-20th century medical state of the art is more difficult than most people think IMHO. Can you recommend any thoughtful examinations of that question?

    Replies: @RebelWriter

    “Can you recommend any thoughtful examinations of that question?”

    I’m not aware of anyone having seriously tackled that. I’ve always been more interested in what happened than what might have happened.

    Slavery was widespread in the New World, and there wasn’t a colony anywhere in North America where it didn’t exist at one time or another. It did not prove to be profitable in the Northern climes, but did in those further South, where rice, cotton, indigo, and tobacco flourished. Large scale slave operations came here via Barbados, where they were used to grow sugar cane. Charleston was largely settled by immigrants from Barbados, not from England, though they were English. It was this system which became the plantation system we think of when we think of Southern black slavery.

    Yet they were a small minority of the people of the state. The planters themselves were maybe 3% of the population of SC, and a mere 3/4 of 1% of the South as a whole. What screwed the South, in my opinion, was the deference white yeomen paid to them throughout history up until the late 19th Century.

    Few Southern whites were educated, and the planters sent their sons to Yale, Harvard, Oxford, and Cambridge. Common Southerners depended on a sense of noblesse oblige which sometimes didn’t exist. South Carolina was, by and large, a one party state ruled by an oligarchy consisting of slave owners. Every man who signed the Ordinance of Secession was a slave owner. They were elected to do this, however, by the average South Carolinian, along with planters and other slave owners.

    If you’re at all interested in a book on this subject I highly recommend, “South Carolina; A History,” by Dr. Walter Edgar, professor of history, University of South Carolina.

  205. @RebelWriter
    @Corvinus

    They did not label an individual as 3/5's of a person, but rather 3/5's of the population as a whole was counted, as they could not vote. The Southern states wanted to count them all, and the North wanted none of them counted, and this was the compromise.

    Replies: @res, @peterike, @Corvinus, @Reg Cæsar

    The Southern states wanted to count them all, and the North wanted none of them counted, and this was the compromise.

    Precisely. Though in schools today, the chilluns are taught that those racist Southerners only saw blacks as 3/5 human. The reality is entirely inverted.

  206. As a side note to this excellent discussion, I highly recommend Ang Lee’s much missed film “Ride with the Devil.” It is probably the most fair-minded film about the Civil War ever made, and maybe it took an outsider to do it. It’s also beautifully shot, has a superb cast and terrific dialogue, and you get to see most of Jewel’s boob. Which isn’t nothing.

    • Replies: @Hereward
    @peterike

    I second your recommendation of that excellent film. It was adapted from the novel "Woe to Live On," by Daniel Woodrell, who also wrote "Winter's Bone."

  207. @anonymous
    @Opinionator

    Madison and jefferson were clear in their respective resolutions they wrote that nullification was essential to any law that was not made in persuance of the constitution. That's why the new england states were correct to threaten both secession and an absolute refusal to comply in a potential draft or war against britain. Or that is why wisconsin was correct to nullify and refuse to enforce the fugitive slave act, at an individual sheriff and jury level and all of the way up to the state supreme court. Keep in mind wisconsin was nullifying the fugitive slave act years before lincoln continued to enforce it during the middle of war!

    Replies: @josh

    Was the fugitive slave act in violation of the constitution?

  208. @Clark Westwood
    @res

    I'd recommend the first two volumes of James Ford Rhodes's massive History of the United States from the Compromise of 1850 to the McKinley-Bryan Campaign of 1896. They were published in the 1890s but are still (quietly) considered valuable sources by professional historians. They're available free on the net.

    I'd also recommend The Children of Pride (Yale 1972), which contains letters among members of a prominent Georgia slave-owning family before, during, and after the war. For someone like me, born and raised and schooled in the North, it's mind-bending to see the times through the eyes of pro-slavery individuals.

    Replies: @RebelWriter, @res

    Mary Chestnut’s, “A Diary from Dixie,” is, in my opinion, the best journal ever written from the perspective of a Southern Planter family. It’s eye-opening in a lot of ways. For instance, she recounts the tale of a male slave who wanted to marry a female slave on a nearby plantation. After discussing it with her owners, they agreed not only to the marriage, but to allow the couple to choose on which plantation they would live. She felt absolutely betrayed that they chose the wife’s plantation, rather than hers, and the degree of drama she brought to the tale surprised me.

    I’ve also read the majority of the Slave Narratives from South and North Carolina, and do highly recommend those to anyone interested. Of all the stories there is one line that has stuck with me through the years. An old black man told his interviewer that, “Slavery and freedom was two heads of the same snake, and they both bit the black man.”

    I tend to view it as proof that the fate of blacks wasn’t the real concern of Northerners by the fact that they seemed not to have considered the fate of freed slaves at all, save in rare instances, such as the schools at Beaufort, SC. Most of the Northern states prohibited blacks from settling within their borders for a long time after the war, with laws against them staying longer than a certain period of time. “Free them and forget them” was hardly the attitude of someone concerned about their fates.

    • Replies: @Clark Westwood
    @RebelWriter


    I tend to view it as proof that the fate of blacks wasn’t the real concern of Northerners by the fact that they seemed not to have considered the fate of freed slaves at all, save in rare instances, such as the schools at Beaufort, SC. Most of the Northern states prohibited blacks from settling within their borders for a long time after the war, with laws against them staying longer than a certain period of time. “Free them and forget them” was hardly the attitude of someone concerned about their fates.
     
    Yup. And it was very easy for the North to downplay the problems posed by the freed slaves because, until the Great Migration, Northerners rarely had occasion to think about blacks at all.
  209. @Autochthon
    @RonaldB

    Thank you. It's either hilarious or disappointing to see how many people in this thread are all in the old "The noble north fought a war to free the slaves from the meanie South!" macguffin. The casus belli was never slavery. The retconning began with Lincoln himself, as he schemed, among other things, to gain European sympathies, or at least neutrality.

    Replies: @Captain Tripps

    True enough. To the victor belongs the spoils, including writing the history of the thing. Only historians of antiquity remember the losers, such as the Samnites or the Carthaginians. Same with modern historians writing on the Civil War; its just easier for the majority of folks, with less keen interest and minds, to go with the simple North – Good Guys/South – Evil Guys cartoon understanding, than wrap their heads around the actual complexity of the event, and the moments where it was “a close run thing”. Eventually, though, the winners come full circle and are, themselves, the losers (hello Roman Empire! How are you doing these days?). The decades ahead may entail much wailing, sorrow, mothers and fathers weeping over the graves of their children.

    Or hopefully not. I still retain a touch of optimism from my youth that my children (and hopefully their children, should we be blessed), will find a smart, peaceful way out of the inevitable Decline of Empire phase that we must go through, and that doesn’t involve surrendering their (through many generations) hard-earned liberty.

  210. @syonredux
    @Steve Sailer


    Southerners were much more apologetic about slavery earlier in the century.
     
    Indeed. In the late 18th-early 19th centuries, defenders of slavery spoke in terms of slavery being a "necessary evil." Virtually no one attempted a positive defense of the institution. That changed as the years rolled on. JQ Adams has a passage in his diaries where he notes his shock when he heard John C Calhoun speak of slavery as a positive, beneficial force.....

    Replies: @RonaldB, @Almost Missouri

    Do you think that any of the mid-19th century neo-enthusiasm about slavery came from the 19th century’s Darwinian/scientific worldview replacing the 18th century’s Christian worldview? In other words, is this change in attitude at all due to a materialist racial classification replacing the men-are-brothers-in-Christ religious view?

  211. @Clark Westwood
    @res


    Interesting argument. Thanks. Any (other?) lawyers care to comment?
     
    The best presentation of the pro-secession legal arguments I've read is the first volume of Alexander Stephens's Constitutional View of the War between the States. It's available free on Google books and elsewhere on the net. I read it after reading Edmund Wilson's praise of it in Patriotic Gore.

    Replies: @res

    Thanks for this and your other recommendations in this thread!

  212. res says:
    @RebelWriter
    @res

    I appreciate the kind reply.

    The best magazine article written on the affair is from American History Illustrated, Feb. 1975, written by Lowell Harrison, entitled, "A Cast-Iron Man; John C. Calhoun." My uncles, a history teacher, gave me his collection of magazines before he died, and I still have this one copy.

    There are many editions of Calhoun's writings, including "The Essential Calhoun," by Clyde Wilson, which I recommend. His "Expositions on Government," proved too much for me, and I never finished it. I was severely impressed with his writing and sharp thinking, but the subject couldn't hold my interest. Perhaps the American Portrait, one of a series on prominent Americans, written by Margaret L. Coit, would be as good as any. I've never read the 1994 biography by Bartlett.

    The Calhoun family is revered among the people of the SC Upstate. They and the closely related Pickens family are perhaps our most famous pioneer families, both of which were Scotch-Irish.

    Replies: @res

    Thanks for all of your recommendations. Between you and Clark Westwood my Amazon wish list (where I track books I’m considering reading) has gotten a workout. I wish my library had that magazine article. That sounds like an excellent starting point.

    You and others here might appreciate this American History Magazine index: http://www.american-history-magazine.com/default.asp?year=1975

    Having just read Albion’s Seed, it is amazing how good a lens it provides for looking at America and its history.

  213. @Autochthon
    @RonaldB

    I use "Amerindians" all the time for these reasons.

    If I wish to be a bit more colourful, I will sometimes use "Indians" with the appropriate qualifier: "dots; not feathers" or "feathers; not dots."

    Replies: @peterike

    I will sometimes use “Indians” with the appropriate qualifier: “dots; not feathers” or “feathers; not dots.”

    That formulation is out of date. We now use “feathers, not tech support,” or the reverse.

  214. @Clark Westwood
    @res

    I'd recommend the first two volumes of James Ford Rhodes's massive History of the United States from the Compromise of 1850 to the McKinley-Bryan Campaign of 1896. They were published in the 1890s but are still (quietly) considered valuable sources by professional historians. They're available free on the net.

    I'd also recommend The Children of Pride (Yale 1972), which contains letters among members of a prominent Georgia slave-owning family before, during, and after the war. For someone like me, born and raised and schooled in the North, it's mind-bending to see the times through the eyes of pro-slavery individuals.

    Replies: @RebelWriter, @res

    Am I correct in understanding your recommendation is for the full 1800+ page The Children of Pride? Any thoughts on how that compares to the 700+ page abridged version from 1987?

    I need to get around to reading my copy of Mary Chestnut’s Diary first, I think.

    • Replies: @Clark Westwood
    @res

    It's probably a good idea to tackle the Chesnut diary first, if only because it's better known and cited much more frequently.

    The only copy of Children of Pride that I have is the big boy. I've never looked at the abridged version to see what kinds of things they cut. I have to admit that there are a few long stretches in the 1800+ page version that I found very tedious (especially most of the love letters, some of which seem to go on forever), but on the other hand, not everyone may be interested in the parts that I found particularly engaging (such as discussions of the family's business dealings).

  215. @RebelWriter
    @Clark Westwood

    Mary Chestnut's, "A Diary from Dixie," is, in my opinion, the best journal ever written from the perspective of a Southern Planter family. It's eye-opening in a lot of ways. For instance, she recounts the tale of a male slave who wanted to marry a female slave on a nearby plantation. After discussing it with her owners, they agreed not only to the marriage, but to allow the couple to choose on which plantation they would live. She felt absolutely betrayed that they chose the wife's plantation, rather than hers, and the degree of drama she brought to the tale surprised me.

    I've also read the majority of the Slave Narratives from South and North Carolina, and do highly recommend those to anyone interested. Of all the stories there is one line that has stuck with me through the years. An old black man told his interviewer that, "Slavery and freedom was two heads of the same snake, and they both bit the black man."

    I tend to view it as proof that the fate of blacks wasn't the real concern of Northerners by the fact that they seemed not to have considered the fate of freed slaves at all, save in rare instances, such as the schools at Beaufort, SC. Most of the Northern states prohibited blacks from settling within their borders for a long time after the war, with laws against them staying longer than a certain period of time. "Free them and forget them" was hardly the attitude of someone concerned about their fates.

    Replies: @Clark Westwood

    I tend to view it as proof that the fate of blacks wasn’t the real concern of Northerners by the fact that they seemed not to have considered the fate of freed slaves at all, save in rare instances, such as the schools at Beaufort, SC. Most of the Northern states prohibited blacks from settling within their borders for a long time after the war, with laws against them staying longer than a certain period of time. “Free them and forget them” was hardly the attitude of someone concerned about their fates.

    Yup. And it was very easy for the North to downplay the problems posed by the freed slaves because, until the Great Migration, Northerners rarely had occasion to think about blacks at all.

  216. @Clark Westwood
    @RonaldB


    How did Lincoln “snooker” a sophisticated, politically-experienced leader like Jefferson Davis to attack? This was Davis blunder.
     
    Of course it was a blunder. That's my point. Lincoln outmaneuvered the Southern leaders so that he'd get the war he wanted while also being able to claim that the South "fired the first shots" -- a propaganda coup that has served the establishment well ever since, by the way.

    Replies: @Opinionator

    a propaganda coup that has served the establishment well ever since, by the way.

    How has it served the establishment?

    • Replies: @Clark Westwood
    @Opinionator


    How has it served the establishment?
     
    If you view the Civil War as a great victory for the federal government and for centralizing tendencies in American politics (as I do), then anything that helps promote the narrative of North=Good, South=Bad helps the political establishment. The fact that the South fired the first shots in the first major engagement of the war makes it easy for the narrative-pushers to foreclose debate by simply saying "the South started it!"

    Replies: @Opinionator

  217. @res
    @Clark Westwood

    Am I correct in understanding your recommendation is for the full 1800+ page The Children of Pride? Any thoughts on how that compares to the 700+ page abridged version from 1987?

    I need to get around to reading my copy of Mary Chestnut's Diary first, I think.

    Replies: @Clark Westwood

    It’s probably a good idea to tackle the Chesnut diary first, if only because it’s better known and cited much more frequently.

    The only copy of Children of Pride that I have is the big boy. I’ve never looked at the abridged version to see what kinds of things they cut. I have to admit that there are a few long stretches in the 1800+ page version that I found very tedious (especially most of the love letters, some of which seem to go on forever), but on the other hand, not everyone may be interested in the parts that I found particularly engaging (such as discussions of the family’s business dealings).

  218. @Autochthon
    @syonredux

    This position is inconsistent with the very existence of the U.S.A., as it follows that you deem Washington, Jefferson, Franklin, Adams, Madison, Monroe, Paine, and all the rest traitors as well.

    Other lousy traitors in your paradigm include Símon Bolívar, Spartacus, and Charles de Gaulle.

    (Your writing "dear fellow" in this context is just dopey and pretentious.)

    Replies: @Ian M.

    [I]t follows that you deem Washington, Jefferson, Franklin, Adams, Madison, Monroe, Paine, and all the rest traitors as well.

    Washington, Jefferson, Franklin, Adams, Madison, Monroe, Paine, and all the rest were traitors.

  219. @Steve Sailer
    @Gringo

    Slaveowners in the early 19th Century tended to be apologetic about slavery. There wasn't a lot of money in slavery and people assumed it would fade out. Tobacco growing wore out the soil, and it wasn't such a hard job that only slaves would do it, and tobacco grew far enough north that Virginia and North Carolina weren't deadly for white workers.

    Then cotton opened up into an immensely profitable business and pretty much drove out other economic activities from much of the south. For example, a Southern business magazine that had been founded to encourage industrialization went out of business because there was less and less point in doing anything besides farming cotton. The more money there was in cotton harvested by slaves, the more Southerners stopped apologizing about slavery and started boasting about it and plotting to maintain political control in Washington and to extend it.

    But if there had eventually come along a cotton recession, then RW Emerson's plan to raise $2 billion from the sale of western lands to buy out slaveowners would have seemed less like an insult to Southerners and more like a deal that would help them out.

    Replies: @res, @Ian M.

    Ulysses S. Grant corroborates this in his personal memoirs:

    There was a time when slavery was not profitable, and the discussion of the merits of the institution was confined almost exclusively to the territory where it existed. The States of Virginia and Kentucky came near abolishing slavery by their own acts, one State defeating the measure by a tie vote and the other only lacking one. But when the institution became profitable, all talk of its abolition ceased where it existed; and naturally, as human nature is constituted, arguments were adduced in its support. The cotton-gin probably had much to do with the justification of slavery.

    He also writes that in the lead-up to the Civil War, some slavery partisans had convinced themselves that slavery was a ‘Divine’ institution:

    It was very much discussed whether the South would carry out its threat to secede and set up a separate government, the corner-stone of which should be, protection to the “Divine” institution of slavery. For there were people who believed in the “divinity” of human slavery, as there are now people who believe Mormonism and Polygamy to be ordained by the Most High. We forgive them for entertaining such notions, but forbid their practice.

    And:

    They convinced themselves, first, of the divine origin of the institution and, next, that that particular institution was not safe in the hands of any body of legislators but themselves.

    • Replies: @Opinionator
    @Ian M.

    They convinced themselves, first, of the divine origin of the institution and, next, that that particular institution was not safe in the hands of any body of legislators but themselves.

    Reminds one of another group's "light unto nations" agenda.

  220. @Massimo Heitor
    @Gringo


    My understanding of your statement is that the Union should have informed South Carolina and other seceding states ,”We will allow you to peacefully leave the Union if you abolish slavery.”

    Given the overriding desire to maintain slavery that permeates the South Carolina Declaration of Secession, the response of the fire-eaters in South Carolina to the above condition would have been a hearty horselaugh. The response in other Southern stats would probably have been similar.
     
    Yes, the slave-holding elite of South Carolina would have rejected that at least initially.

    So, either isolate the slavery supporters, and pressure them to concede their morally ridiculous point without large scale war.

    Or, if there is war, at least make it a noble war against the supporters of slavery and not against the people who have a more reasonable support of sovereignty and secession rights and devolution of power.

    States like North Carolina and Virginia that seceded only when demanded that they help fight against other states for seceding would have switched sides. Robert E Lee would have switched and sided in favor of the right of secession and sovereignty but against slavery. William Tecumseh Sherman would have switched sides and fought against the right of secession but for the right of slavery. Some of the slave states that fought for the union may have switched sides and fought for slavery if that's what they knew they were fighting about.

    Replies: @CAL, @Autochthon

    Maybe. Lee’s decision would almost certainly have hinged entirely on what Virginia qua Virginia did; he would never have lifted a finger against the Commonwealth.

    One thing people today consistently fail to understand, much less appreciate, is that before the war people in the U.S.A., especially in the south, but elsewhere too, very much counted themselves as citezens of their states first and foremost, and as Americans (i.e., citizens of the U.S.A. writ large) as an extremely distant second. One was a Georgian, a Pennsylvanian, etc.

    The mutineering regiment from Maine in The Killer Angels is illustrative: they did not much give a hoot in Hell about “The Union” as such, and their new commanding officer recognised and acknowledged that to actually hang, whip, or otherwise severely punish them would mean his effective exile from Maine.

    There is a reason we no longer have regiments organised according to their states of origin….

    • Replies: @Hibernian
    @Autochthon

    "There is a reason we no longer have regiments organised according to their states of origin…."

    You're forgetting the National Guard.

    Replies: @Autochthon

  221. @JSM
    @Corvinus

    Only after they transported them back to West Africa.

    Replies: @Corvinus

    “Only after they transported them back to West Africa.”

    How southronish for you to say.

  222. @Opinionator
    @syonredux

    moral wouldn’t have attempted to secede in the first place….


    Political independence and sovereignty is immoral? Uh, okay.

    Replies: @syonredux, @Ian M.

    Political independence and sovereignty is immoral? Uh, okay.

    Yes, if it involves rebelling against a legitimate sovereign authority, which the U.S. government was. The principles of consent of the governed, popular sovereignty, and self-determination are all liberal poppycock.

    The 19th-century conservative Catholic writer Orestes Brownson preferred the society and culture of the South to that of the North, but nevertheless wrote in The American Republic that the North’s defeat of the South was a victory for legitimate authority against rebellion. Quite so.

    • Replies: @Opinionator
    @Ian M.

    Yes, if it involves rebelling against a legitimate sovereign authority, which the U.S. government was. The principles of consent of the governed, popular sovereignty, and self-determination are all liberal poppycock.


    Interesting. From where does an "authority" acquire its "legitimacy" and its "sovereignty"?

    Replies: @Ian M.

  223. @syonredux
    @Darwin


    In the English colonies, for example, slavery was abolished under a compromise arrangement where the government compensated the slaveowners for their financial loss.
     
    The UK compensated slave-owners to the tune of 20 million pounds (40% of the government's total annual expenditure). What would it have cost to do something similar in the South?

    Replies: @ziel, @Peripatetic commenter

    I actually think that they should not have compensated anyone for engaging in an immoral trade.

    They probably should have hanged the slave traders as well.

  224. It’s obvious and widely accepted that Lincoln had already abandoned serious efforts at peace negotiations and deliberately baited the Confederates into firing on Sumter to make them seem the aggressors. If the Confederates had more shrewd diplomacy skills they wouldn’t have taken the bait.

    Sumter never made much of a bloody shirt, anyway. What was the death toll, again? A mule?

    I always like pointing out South Carolina’s demographics in 1860:

    Enslaved: 402,406
    Free: 301,302

    Other interesting stats:
    # of States that entered the Union not knowing about South Carolina’s slaves:
    0
    # of ratifiers of the Constitution who didn’t know about South Carolina’s slaves:
    0

    Etc.

    Your post betrays a highly biased point of view. You seem to assume that the Northern states had some kind legal or moral authority to invade the South, subjugate it, and force it into the Empire.

    But, but, but slavery! Civil rights! LGBT! Treatment of homos! Diversity!

    Dunno. There’s no unilateral exit clause in the Constitution (something that the Anti-Federalists kept pointing out).

    The Constitution declares the powers of the federal gov’t. All other powers are reserved to the States. The federal gov’t is what’s lacking any power in this matter. Funny how your bias makes the obvious obscure to you…

    Moral men wouldn’t have attempted to secede in the first place….

    “If she didn’t want me to beat her, she shouldn’t have tried to file them thar divorce papers…”

    The war wasn’t fought to free the slaves. Don’t be obtuse.

    He can’t help his positions, they aren’t arrived at by choice. The Yankees invaded the South, he’s a Loyal Yankee, end of story. Like most Yankees, he conflates loyalty to the US to loyalty to Yankeeland, but his motivation isn’t loyalty to the US, it’s loyalty to Yankeeland.

    Dear fellow, I’m simply noting that the Confederates were not fighting in the name of freedom…

    Right. If only they had known to cook up some BS about saving the Yankees from their oppression of homosexuals, oppression of women, oppression of Blacks, appalling lack of diversity, etc., etc., etc…

    Revolution is only justified in the context of tyranny…..

    More Yankee Loyalty talking. This is basically the same as the female rationalization hamster. I have done a bad thing, ergo, I must make it a good thing.

    They were stupid enough to fire the first shot, dear fellow. Lincoln proved the superior strategist….

    If by “the superior strategist” you mean “to be richer, with a much bigger population,” then I agree.

    The Confederate desire to kill in the name of slavery was pretty strong…

    Scratch a Yankee, and you’ll always find a leftist eventually.

  225. Federal warmongering dressed up as saving the union seems to be a constant excuse for destroying the people’s liberties.

    Yankees never stop with this stuff. They’re perpetually in need of a village to save by burning it. Save the Afghan women and homos from the Taliban, save the Iraqis from the Baathis Reich, save the Libyans, save the Syrians, save the Vietnamese, Save Europe, save the babies of the Congo, save the segregated negroes, save the negro slaves, etc. What’s the common factor? War and destruction, or simple occupation (at best). And lots of egregious mismanagement to follow.

    Pray the Yankees never want to save you, liberate your land, etc.

    The only people they don’t want to save are the Palestinians.

  226. If slavery makes all the Confederacy’s talk of freedom and liberty a lie, then it makes all the American talk of freedom and liberty prior to 1865 lies, too. The Constitution, the Declaration, etc.: all shambolic.

  227. @RonaldB
    @CAL

    "Except for Lee he was horrible at choosing generals."

    Lee, who threw away the last chance for the Confederacy on a mystical fatalist determination to go through with Picket's charge, rather than follow the sound advice of Longstreet to simply bypass Gettysburg and directly threaten Washington DC?

    Replies: @Diversity Heretic

    I’m no Civil War expert but I don’t see how the Army of Northern Virginia could simply have bypassed the entire Army of the Potomac, leaving their lines of communication vulnerable to northern counterattack, to attack the bristling defenses of Washington. The 1862 Battle of Chantilly had ended in a Confederate defeat, leading Lee to march north into Maryland. Pickett’s Charge was certainly a disaster, but a similar frontal attack had succeeded at the Battle of Solferino, so Lee was not totally without justification in trying the tactic.

  228. No need. Not with its being a contract of enumerated federal powers, the background contract common law and international law, and the Tenth Amendment. The burden is on the party thst wants a contract to coercively bind the other party to a relationship for ever and ever to state so explicitly.

    At most, money damages could have been paid for any injury to the North.

    All contracts allow withdrawal, with money damages for injury.

    Funny, Syon serially responds to half the comments in the thread, but he conveniently missed this one. Because he doesn’t want to acknowledge the absolute basics of the Constitution, which even children in elementary school should know.

    • Agree: Autochthon
  229. @RebelWriter
    @Corvinus

    " Would southern governments have likely provided services to them? educational opportunities? political rights?"

    Perhaps at least as much as the Northern US states offered freedmen before and after the war, which was, not much. Yet there were many in the South with enlightened attitudes toward blacks, who were in favor of, for example, educating them. Some educated their slaves in spite of it being against the law.

    I really wish I hadn't read this blog post; it's bait I bite too easily. Most of you irritate me to the core, as 21st Century people sitting today in judgment of 19th century Southerners. What I read here is a lot of modern virtue signaling, with no real attempt at understanding the people of the period.

    Many of you even believe the North acted out of altruism, rather than hypocrisy. Altruism demands some sort of sacrifice; acting against your own interests in the interests of the greater good. The fact is that abolition was born in New England AFTER slavery was no longer profitable for these same people. New England profited immensely from the slave trade in the Colonial Era, right up until, and even after, it was outlawed.

    I invite you to spend some time reading on slavenorth dot com to get a better picture of the reality of slavery in the North, and the North's participation in the slave trade. North and South alike, as long as there was money to be made, few had a problem with slavery. How is that different from other human beings at any point in time in history? It's not, is it?

    Abolition was minority movement adopted by politicians who sought to curb the power of the Planter class in Washington, as that class was the only real impediment to "internal improvement" bills which intended to use Federal funds (mostly paid by Southern planters) to improve roads, canals, ports, and build railways that benefitted Northern industrial interests. Yet if the war didn't happen when it did, over what it did, it would have happened eventually over something else.

    Replies: @Clark Westwood, @res, @Peripatetic commenter, @Corvinus

    Abolition was minority movement adopted by politicians who sought to curb the power of the Planter class in Washington,

    Think of all the modern movements in the same vein:

    – Anti-tobacco movements
    – Anti-oil movements …

    and soon enough the anti-robot movement.

  230. 700k white men dead to free 4m black slaves (stopping secession wasn’t worth 1 American life). Do Yankees just suck at math?

    • Replies: @Opinionator
    @Svigor

    No need to be callous or indifferent to the condition of African Americans or to their fate.

  231. @RebelWriter
    @Corvinus

    They did not label an individual as 3/5's of a person, but rather 3/5's of the population as a whole was counted, as they could not vote. The Southern states wanted to count them all, and the North wanted none of them counted, and this was the compromise.

    Replies: @res, @peterike, @Corvinus, @Reg Cæsar

    From what I read, southern delegates demanded that all slaves of a particular state are to be counted as three-fifths of a white person. That is, one black slave = 3/5 white person. Thus, the population of slaves would be counted as three-fifths in total when apportioning Representatives, as well as Presidential electors and taxes.

    • Replies: @res
    @Corvinus

    That was a compromise position. If I understand correctly, the proposers of the compromise, James Wilson and Roger Sherman, were from PA and CT respectively. What would have been your favored position? Slaves counted fully? If so, welcome to the Southern cause.
    http://constitution.laws.com/three-fifths-compromise

    Replies: @Corvinus

  232. Cheap labor, the gift that keeps on stealing.

    Yeah, let’s not even get started on how after this conversation is over, the Yankee apologists here will go back to treating the fruits of emancipation as a disaster. The worst is when they blame the American Black disaster on the South, like the South invaded itself and just turned all the Blacks loose, willy-nilly. Yankees can drone on all day about who’s to blame for Blacks being on the continent in the first place (lots of blame to go around there), but it was Yankees who turned their presence into a disaster, period, full stop. It was Yankees who put the dream of repatriation into its grave.

    The Yankee argument is the equivalent of taking over a prison by force and releasing all the prisoners, then blaming the guards for the resulting crime wave. Yeah, maybe you should have thought it through first, dummies.

    • Replies: @res
    @Svigor


    It was Yankees who put the dream of repatriation into its grave.
     
    I think John Wilkes Booth (a Southern sympathizer) gets an (dis)honorable mention there.
  233. @RebelWriter
    @Corvinus

    " Would southern governments have likely provided services to them? educational opportunities? political rights?"

    Perhaps at least as much as the Northern US states offered freedmen before and after the war, which was, not much. Yet there were many in the South with enlightened attitudes toward blacks, who were in favor of, for example, educating them. Some educated their slaves in spite of it being against the law.

    I really wish I hadn't read this blog post; it's bait I bite too easily. Most of you irritate me to the core, as 21st Century people sitting today in judgment of 19th century Southerners. What I read here is a lot of modern virtue signaling, with no real attempt at understanding the people of the period.

    Many of you even believe the North acted out of altruism, rather than hypocrisy. Altruism demands some sort of sacrifice; acting against your own interests in the interests of the greater good. The fact is that abolition was born in New England AFTER slavery was no longer profitable for these same people. New England profited immensely from the slave trade in the Colonial Era, right up until, and even after, it was outlawed.

    I invite you to spend some time reading on slavenorth dot com to get a better picture of the reality of slavery in the North, and the North's participation in the slave trade. North and South alike, as long as there was money to be made, few had a problem with slavery. How is that different from other human beings at any point in time in history? It's not, is it?

    Abolition was minority movement adopted by politicians who sought to curb the power of the Planter class in Washington, as that class was the only real impediment to "internal improvement" bills which intended to use Federal funds (mostly paid by Southern planters) to improve roads, canals, ports, and build railways that benefitted Northern industrial interests. Yet if the war didn't happen when it did, over what it did, it would have happened eventually over something else.

    Replies: @Clark Westwood, @res, @Peripatetic commenter, @Corvinus

    “Yet there were many in the South with enlightened attitudes toward blacks, who were in favor of, for example, educating them. Some educated their slaves in spite of it being against the law.”

    Enlightened attitudes…by having their slaves being able to read and write to primarily function for their tasks on the plantation, not as individual pursuits.

    “The fact is that abolition was born in New England AFTER slavery was no longer profitable for these same people. New England profited immensely from the slave trade in the Colonial Era, right up until, and even after, it was outlawed.”

    Indeed, northern merchants and ship captains also bear significant blame here for perpetuating slavery. The roots of abolition were actually borne during the Enlightenment period (1740’s-1750’s), with Delaware (1776) and Virginia (1778) barring the importation of African slaves; Vermont abolishing it (1777); and Pennsylvania putting forth gradual emancipation in 1780.

    “I invite you to spend some time reading on slavenorth dot com to get a better picture of the reality of slavery in the North, and the North’s participation in the slave trade. North and South alike, as long as there was money to be made, few had a problem with slavery. How is that different from other human beings at any point in time in history? It’s not, is it?”

    Exactly.

  234. From what I read, southern delegates demanded that all slaves of a particular state are to be counted as three-fifths of a white person. That is, one black slave = 3/5 white person. Thus, the population of slaves would be counted as three-fifths in total when apportioning Representatives, as well as Presidential electors and taxes.

    This is always waved around out of context by mouth-breathers (not saying you’re doing so); “they said they were less than human!” But unless I’m mistaken, the Yankees wanted them counted as 0 persons.

  235. @Clark Westwood
    @RebelWriter


    ” Would southern governments have likely provided services to them? educational opportunities? political rights?”

    Perhaps at least as much as the Northern US states offered freedmen before and after the war, which was, not much.
     

    This is an important point that is too often overlooked. Modern Americans have a tendency to think that being anti-slavery was the same as being pro-equality. But in the Civil War era, the vast majority of abolitionists did not favor full civil rights for blacks. They felt strongly that slavery was bad and needed to be ended, but that did not mean that they wanted or expected freed slaves (or free-born blacks) to be given all the rights of white citizens. This point tends to be ignored because it cuts away at the North's moral high ground.

    Replies: @Corvinus

    “This is an important point that is too often overlooked. Modern Americans have a tendency to think that being anti-slavery was the same as being pro-equality. But in the Civil War era, the vast majority of abolitionists did not favor full civil rights for blacks.”

    No, abolitionists tended to be in support of political rights for freed slaves…in their own communities. They favored social separation, and certainly not race mixing. Lincoln was a product of the times, promoting the idea that freed blacks ought to be able to pursue “life, liberty, and happiness”, just not near whites.

  236. Slavery was obviously a yuge mistake. I think we can all agree on that now.

    The Civil War and Emancipation were a even bigger mistakes. ZFG as to how much agreement there is.

  237. @Gringo
    @Opinionator

    Wouldn’t things likely have turned out better if the South had been freed to leave in peace?

    That phrasing is rather ironic, given the great emphasis on preserving slavery that is in the South Carolina Declaration of Secession (for link, see my comments 91 and 100). Freedom for me, but not for thee. I am also reminded of the argument that States' Rights was a big motivator for secession. In the 1850s, the slaveholders were quite content in using federal power to usurp the powers of the northern states in enforcing the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850. See the South Carolina Declaration of Secession. State's Rights for me, but not for thee.

    Replies: @res, @Opinionator

    It is ironic that despite your virtue signaling you are unable to appreciate Southerners’ desire for independence and for freedom from imperialism.

    • Replies: @Gringo
    @Opinionator

    It is ironic that despite your virtue signaling you are unable to appreciate Southerners’ desire for independence and for freedom from imperialism.

    I repeat my suggestion that you read the South Carolina Declaration of Secession. I further suggest you refer to my comment #94 about Robert Mays's book The Southern Dream of a Caribbean Empire 1854-1861, Southerners wanted "freedom from imperialism" to quote you, yet also wanted to acquire a slave empire in the Caribbean. Perhaps that makes sense to you, but it doesn't make sense to me.

    For more information on the Southern dream of a slave empire, Spengler refers to May's book .


    Professor Robert E May demonstrated this in The Southern Dream of a Caribbean Empire (1973). Of hundreds of newspaper citations in May's book, here is one: "The Memphis Daily Appeal, December 30, 1860, wrote that a slave 'empire' would arise 'from San Diego, on the Pacific Ocean, thence southward, along the shore line of Mexico and Central America, at low tide, to the Isthmus of Panama; thence South - still South! - along the western shore line of New Granada and Ecuador, to where the southern boundary of the latter strikes the ocean; thence east over the Andes to the head springs of the Amazon; thence down the mightiest of inland seas, through the teeming bosom of the broadest and richest delta in the world, to the Atlantic Ocean'." (page 237 in May)
     
    If one then claims that the desire to acquire a slave empire in the Caribbean was the the hope of a small minority of Southerners, my reply is that "small minority" included Jefferson Davis and other leaders in Congress. Spengler writes:

    ... it suffices to observe that Lincoln easily could have averted the war by agreeing to let the South acquire slave territories outside of the continental United States. His 1860 election victory (by a minority of votes in a four-way race) provoked a crisis. Future Confederate president Jefferson Davis supported a compromise that would have allowed the South to acquire slave territories to the south. Georgia senator Robert Toombs, along with Davis, the South's main spokesman, pleaded for the compromise that would have given the North "the whole continent to the North Pole" and the South "the whole continent to the South Pole", as Professor May reports. (Toombs quote on page 231 in May)

    It was Lincoln, not the Southerners, who shot down the compromise. "A year will not pass, till we shall have to take Cuba as a condition upon which they will stay in the Union ... There is in my judgment, but one compromise which would really settle the slavery question, and that would be a prohibition against acquiring any more territory," he wrote (cited in Robert May )
     

    Jefferson Davis and other Southern leaders were willing to stay in the United States if future annexations to the US to the south of current borders were permitted to become slaveholding areas. "Freedom from imperialism," my foot.

    From my point of view, anyone who wanted to acquire a slave empire in the Caribbean was very much an imperialist. You can't simultaneously want to have "freedom from imperialism" and have the desire to acquire a slave empire in the Caribbean.

    Also note that Lincoln supported a compromise which would have "a prohibition against acquiring any more territory." That sounds rather anti-imperialist to me. Recall that Lincoln was against the Mexican War, which he saw as a land grab, while the South supported the Mexican War.

    , @Gringo
    @Opinionator

    It is ironic that despite your virtue signaling you are unable to appreciate Southerners’ desire for independence and for freedom from imperialism.

    I merely pointed out there is a bit of a contradiction when one talks about the South being "freed to leave in peace" when the primary purpose for leaving was to preserve the institution of slavery. Preserving the institution of slavery was what the South Carolina Declaration of Secession was all about. Free to enslave. Apparently you don't like being reminded of that contradiction.

    Regarding Southerners’ "desire... for freedom from imperialism," I refer you to my comment #94, where I discuss Robert May's book The Southern Dream of a Caribbean Empire, 1854-1861, which documents the efforts to extend US slaveholding territory to the Caribbean. That sounds rather imperialistic to me. Trying to establish a slave empire south of the US doesn't sound at all like wanting "freedom from imperialism."
    Spengler discusses May's book.


    Had the South formed an independent state, it would have embarked on a campaign of conquest and imposed slavery on the whole southern half of the Western Hemisphere.

    Professor Robert E May demonstrated this in The Southern Dream of a Caribbean Empire (1973). Of hundreds of newspaper citations in May's book, here is one: "The Memphis Daily Appeal, December 30, 1860, wrote that a slave 'empire' would arise 'from San Diego, on the Pacific Ocean, thence southward, along the shore line of Mexico and Central America, at low tide, to the Isthmus of Panama; thence South - still South! - along the western shore line of New Granada and Ecuador, to where the southern boundary of the latter strikes the ocean; thence east over the Andes to the head springs of the Amazon; thence down the mightiest of inland seas, through the teeming bosom of the broadest and richest delta in the world, to the Atlantic Ocean'." page 237 in May
     

    One may claim that this desire for a slave empire to the south was just an outlier, that mainstream Southerners didn't want a slave empire to extend southward. Spengler and May point out that such thinking was rather mainstream among the powerholders in the South at the time.

    ...it suffices to observe that Lincoln easily could have averted the war by agreeing to let the South acquire slave territories outside of the continental United States. His 1860 election victory (by a minority of votes in a four-way race) provoked a crisis. Future Confederate president Jefferson Davis supported a compromise that would have allowed the South to acquire slave territories to the south. Georgia senator Robert Toombs, along with Davis, the South's main spokesman, pleaded for the compromise that would have given the North "the whole continent to the North Pole" and the South "the whole continent to the South Pole", as Professor May reports. (Toombs quote: May, page 231)
     
    Far from wanting "freedom from imperialism," the powerholders in the South included many who wanted to acquire a slave empire to the south of the US- which rather readily can be called imperialism.

    Spengler points out that Lincoln was against the Crittenden Compromise because it laid open the possibility of acquiring slave territory to the South.


    It was Lincoln, not the Southerners, who shot down the compromise. "A year will not pass, till we shall have to take Cuba as a condition upon which they will stay in the Union ... There is in my judgment, but one compromise which would really settle the slavery question, and that would be a prohibition against acquiring any more territory," he wrote (cited in Robert May). (page 219 of May)
     
    Lincoln was against expanding the territory of the US. That sounds rather anti-imperialistic to me. Which further points out the oxymoron of your claim that the Southerners wanted "freedom from imperialism," considering that they wanted to expand US territory to the South, and Lincoln didn't. Recall that Lincoln was also against the Mexican War, because he saw it as a land grab , whereas the South was for the Mexican War. Who was the imperialist?

    Regarding Southern "desire for independence," I see that as a case of taking one's ball and going home because one didn't like the outcome of the game. Before 1860, the South could control national affairs to its favor. Consider all the Southern Presidents. Consider the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850. By 1860, immigration to the North had changed the game that so that a President could be elected without support from the South.

    Regarding your charge of "virtue signaling," I will merely point out that I am the product of a North-South marriage and have split my life between North and South. While my Southern ancestors may have been mistaken about the Civil War, I still honor their effort and valor and realize that my descendants 150 years hence may also consider me to have been mistaken.

    (all blockquotes from Spengler's article)

    Replies: @Peripatetic commenter

  238. @anonymous
    @Opinionator

    The main problem is the rather cartoonish story offered up by the media and cultural marxist historian class that is repeated over and over in the school system and on tv. How many americans believe lincoln fought the war to fight racism, freed the slaves with the Emancipation Proclamation, opposed slavery, and was a believer in equality as opposed to the racists in the south? The people on this site do not bother to question the official storyline of lincoln and the war from the same cultural marxists who demonize Steve sailer, vdare, anyone opposed to mass third world immigration, anyone who quotes fbi crime stats regarding race, anyone who quotes charles murray ahout IQ, etc. Just as those who oppose the civil rights act, the 65 immigration act, hate speech laws, or mass amnesty for illegals are terrible ignorant racists who deserve an obama drone strike, those who take issue with the end result of lincoln's actions are evil white privileged racist scumbags.

    Why is it that the same media/political/academic types who are detested by sites like this for promoting the destruction of western civilization via third world mass immigration and other cultural movements are united in their worship of lincoln? The cultural marxists, the actual marxists - including marx himself - the SJW types, the neo cons, etc - why do they all love lincoln and his actions so much? Is it maybe because they recognize he single handedly changed our form of government to eventually becoming the strong, centralized state that is basically at war with working class and middle class whites that it is now?

    Maybe they recognize that all sorts of things would not be possible had it not been for lincoln: ending freedom of association, Presidents starting foreign wars on their own, mass third world immigration, a gigantic welfare state, the coming hate speech laws like europe has, Presidents like obama making up amnesty laws out of thin air, men claiming to be women legally being able to use locker rooms with young girls, states being forced to accept gay marriage, states being forced to accept mass immigration and pay for them even if they voted against it (prop 187), etc. Because without the threat of secession and a dramatically stronger centralized government, what can stop the federal government from being so hostile to the very type of people this nation was created to protect?

    Replies: @Opinionator

    Good questions.

  239. How exactly would Lincoln have stopped Virginia from seceding? The political and military elite were for it, most of the prominent officers of the CSA were Virginian and the secession convention was headed by a former President of the United States, John Tyler.

    The public were all for war after Fort Sumter and there was a post secession referendum which ratified the decision to leave by a massive margin. More fool them.

  240. @res
    @Opinionator


    Wouldn’t things likely have turned out better if the South had been freed to leave in peace?
     
    As bad as the Civil War was, I'm not convinced that follows. See my earlier comment about potential future North/South relations.

    Replies: @Opinionator

    Would the outcome of World War 1 have been the same if the South had been allowed to secede? Would England have been able to stay in without private and tacit official support from the US juggernaut? Would either of the Union or CSA have entered the war? Would their entry have been so decisive? Would the Virginian Woodrow Wilson have been elected president of the more miltarily and industrially strong North? (Would WW 1 even have started?)

    The rest is history.

  241. @Corvinus
    @Opinionator

    "And, of course, Southern “peoplehood” was based on slavery. Totally false."

    No, completely accurate. Southerners labeled their slaves as "subhuman", yet demanded they count toward representation. 3/5 of a person, now what they hell does that even mean? Well, a "person" in that historical context referred to as an "a man of European descent".

    Replies: @RebelWriter, @Opinionator

    I concede that one conception of Southern peoplehood did not include slaves (although the two populations were closer to each other than popular representations would have you believe). That does not mean the conception was “based on” slavery.

  242. The Confederacy leadership was feeling its oats, making impulsive, irrational decisions, and it cost them the Confederacy.

    Pretty sure the Union’s invasion cost them the Confederacy. Unless Yankees are like Blacks, and lack agency.

  243. Treason is always immoral, dear fellow….

    Up with the Soviet Union! Up with Nazi Germany!

    Treason is often a moral imperative.

  244. @jtgw
    @Opinionator

    My point is that it is difficult to impossible to determine "empirically" whether slaves would have, in a hypothetical universe, run away or not run away given the chance. All we know is that, legally, they were under threat of violence if they tried to leave.

    Replies: @Opinionator

    The way you phrased this:

    Except slaves had to be kept at their jobs by force

    made it sound like you were making an empirical claim.

    It may be difficult to obtain a sense of the degree of compulsion, but it is not impossible. Things that would be relevant:

    –Where did former slaves go after manumission and what did they do? Did they make big changes?
    –What sort of relationship (if any) did manumitted slaves maintain with their former owners?
    –Escape was undoubtedly often dangerous but it was also not always prohibitively so (judging by the fact that it was attempted). What percentage of slaves sought to escape and why was it at that level?
    –What were slaves’ life outcomes like versus those of a menial laborer in the North at the time (and versus African American life outcomes after slavery). One surprising statistic is that out of wedlock are something like 10X greater than they were.

  245. @Corvinus
    @Opinionator

    "A moral man would have permitted the Southern states to secede."

    Moral men, dare I say Christians who owned slaves, would have freed their "property".

    Replies: @JSM, @Opinionator

    Is it not worse to kill people than to have a relationship of master-servant with people?

    • Replies: @Corvinus
    @Opinionator

    "Is it not worse to kill people than to have a relationship of master-servant with people?"

    It was not a "relationship" in the conventional sense. Plantation owners had demanded "gimme dats" in the form of slave labor. When their "servants" refused, they generally beat them.

    Replies: @Opinionator

  246. abolitionists tended to be in support of political rights for freed slaves

    That depends on what you mean by “political rights.” Before the adoption of the Civil War amendments to the Constitution, only one state — Maine — gave blacks all the same rights as white citizens. Only Maine and a few other states allowed blacks to vote. Most of the northern states also had laws restricting the free movement of blacks.

  247. @syonredux
    @Opinionator


    moral wouldn’t have attempted to secede in the first place….

    Political independence and sovereignty is immoral? Uh, okay.
     
    Treason is always immoral, dear fellow....

    Replies: @PhysicistDave, @Autochthon, @The Anti-Gnostic

    Sovereignty’s always up for grabs. If you can take it, and keep it, it’s yours.

  248. @peterike
    As a side note to this excellent discussion, I highly recommend Ang Lee's much missed film "Ride with the Devil." It is probably the most fair-minded film about the Civil War ever made, and maybe it took an outsider to do it. It's also beautifully shot, has a superb cast and terrific dialogue, and you get to see most of Jewel's boob. Which isn't nothing.

    Replies: @Hereward

    I second your recommendation of that excellent film. It was adapted from the novel “Woe to Live On,” by Daniel Woodrell, who also wrote “Winter’s Bone.”

  249. @Ian M.
    @Steve Sailer

    Ulysses S. Grant corroborates this in his personal memoirs:


    There was a time when slavery was not profitable, and the discussion of the merits of the institution was confined almost exclusively to the territory where it existed. The States of Virginia and Kentucky came near abolishing slavery by their own acts, one State defeating the measure by a tie vote and the other only lacking one. But when the institution became profitable, all talk of its abolition ceased where it existed; and naturally, as human nature is constituted, arguments were adduced in its support. The cotton-gin probably had much to do with the justification of slavery.
     
    He also writes that in the lead-up to the Civil War, some slavery partisans had convinced themselves that slavery was a 'Divine' institution:

    It was very much discussed whether the South would carry out its threat to secede and set up a separate government, the corner-stone of which should be, protection to the "Divine" institution of slavery. For there were people who believed in the "divinity" of human slavery, as there are now people who believe Mormonism and Polygamy to be ordained by the Most High. We forgive them for entertaining such notions, but forbid their practice.
     
    And:

    They convinced themselves, first, of the divine origin of the institution and, next, that that particular institution was not safe in the hands of any body of legislators but themselves.
     

    Replies: @Opinionator

    They convinced themselves, first, of the divine origin of the institution and, next, that that particular institution was not safe in the hands of any body of legislators but themselves.

    Reminds one of another group’s “light unto nations” agenda.

  250. @Ian M.
    @Opinionator


    Political independence and sovereignty is immoral? Uh, okay.
     
    Yes, if it involves rebelling against a legitimate sovereign authority, which the U.S. government was. The principles of consent of the governed, popular sovereignty, and self-determination are all liberal poppycock.

    The 19th-century conservative Catholic writer Orestes Brownson preferred the society and culture of the South to that of the North, but nevertheless wrote in The American Republic that the North's defeat of the South was a victory for legitimate authority against rebellion. Quite so.

    Replies: @Opinionator

    Yes, if it involves rebelling against a legitimate sovereign authority, which the U.S. government was. The principles of consent of the governed, popular sovereignty, and self-determination are all liberal poppycock.

    Interesting. From where does an “authority” acquire its “legitimacy” and its “sovereignty”?

    • Replies: @Ian M.
    @Opinionator

    This is a big topic, but briefly: An authority derives its legitimacy from its ability to symbolize justice in the minds of its subjects. When a governing body has become sufficiently established such that it is seen as the representative and dispenser of justice to a community, it has real authority. This was undoubtedly true of the American government at the time of the Civil War.

    This is different from consent of the governed. A man can recognize his government's legitimate authority without ever having consented to obey it, just as a son can recognize his father's legitimate authority without ever having consented to obey him.

    Once the southern states seceded, the United States government had a moral right to wage war on them. (Whether or not this was a prudent course of action is a different question).

    By the way, the United States does not derive her authority from the Constitution. For the Constitution to have had any binding force in the first place, America must have already had a sense of her prior legitimacy. The Constitution derives its legitimacy from the authority of the United States, not vice-versa.

  251. @Corvinus
    @RebelWriter

    From what I read, southern delegates demanded that all slaves of a particular state are to be counted as three-fifths of a white person. That is, one black slave = 3/5 white person. Thus, the population of slaves would be counted as three-fifths in total when apportioning Representatives, as well as Presidential electors and taxes.

    Replies: @res

    That was a compromise position. If I understand correctly, the proposers of the compromise, James Wilson and Roger Sherman, were from PA and CT respectively. What would have been your favored position? Slaves counted fully? If so, welcome to the Southern cause.
    http://constitution.laws.com/three-fifths-compromise

    • Replies: @Corvinus
    @res

    "That was a compromise position."

    Indeed. The Founding Fathers were masters of give and take. Consensus and consideration dominated—refer to the Virginia Plan. James Madison had the votes, but understood that “forcing it down the throats” of small states would undermine the credibility of the delegates in light of the principles espoused during the Revolution. A commitment to a strong central government, but not with big states in control.

    Slavery as a commercial tool was addressed without specific reference as to its morality despite significant personal reservations. An effort was made by Charles Pinckney (South Carolina) to overturn committee recommendations on this issue, fearing potential northern imperialistic behaviors in the future, but he was rebuffed by his southern brethren who acknowledged the concerns--“a deal is a deal”.

    Replies: @res

  252. @Svigor

    Cheap labor, the gift that keeps on stealing.
     
    Yeah, let's not even get started on how after this conversation is over, the Yankee apologists here will go back to treating the fruits of emancipation as a disaster. The worst is when they blame the American Black disaster on the South, like the South invaded itself and just turned all the Blacks loose, willy-nilly. Yankees can drone on all day about who's to blame for Blacks being on the continent in the first place (lots of blame to go around there), but it was Yankees who turned their presence into a disaster, period, full stop. It was Yankees who put the dream of repatriation into its grave.

    The Yankee argument is the equivalent of taking over a prison by force and releasing all the prisoners, then blaming the guards for the resulting crime wave. Yeah, maybe you should have thought it through first, dummies.

    Replies: @res

    It was Yankees who put the dream of repatriation into its grave.

    I think John Wilkes Booth (a Southern sympathizer) gets an (dis)honorable mention there.

  253. @res
    @Corvinus

    That was a compromise position. If I understand correctly, the proposers of the compromise, James Wilson and Roger Sherman, were from PA and CT respectively. What would have been your favored position? Slaves counted fully? If so, welcome to the Southern cause.
    http://constitution.laws.com/three-fifths-compromise

    Replies: @Corvinus

    “That was a compromise position.”

    Indeed. The Founding Fathers were masters of give and take. Consensus and consideration dominated—refer to the Virginia Plan. James Madison had the votes, but understood that “forcing it down the throats” of small states would undermine the credibility of the delegates in light of the principles espoused during the Revolution. A commitment to a strong central government, but not with big states in control.

    Slavery as a commercial tool was addressed without specific reference as to its morality despite significant personal reservations. An effort was made by Charles Pinckney (South Carolina) to overturn committee recommendations on this issue, fearing potential northern imperialistic behaviors in the future, but he was rebuffed by his southern brethren who acknowledged the concerns–“a deal is a deal”.

    • Replies: @res
    @Corvinus

    No comment about how your initial sentence in comment 230 was wrong? And since you started by criticizing the three fifths compromise, what position would you have preferred? That's going to be my go to question whenever an SJW brings up that issue from now on. And since you enjoy playing an SJW here...

    P.S. Do you really think your topic changing fools anyone here?

    Replies: @Corvinus

  254. @Svigor
    700k white men dead to free 4m black slaves (stopping secession wasn't worth 1 American life). Do Yankees just suck at math?

    Replies: @Opinionator

    No need to be callous or indifferent to the condition of African Americans or to their fate.

  255. @Steve Sailer
    @Opinionator

    Some Southrons were talking about reviving the slave trade. In general, the Southerners were pretty politically dominant up until the 1860 election, so they were always looking around for new extremist positions to take to outrage the Northrons, like the NRA is always trying to find a law somewhere that, say, bans circus employees from packing heat while hanging around with chimps.

    Replies: @Opinionator, @Autochthon, @res, @Jenner Ickham Errican, @Peripatetic commenter

    Southerners (…) were always looking around for new extremist positions to take to outrage the Northrons, like the NRA is always trying to find a law somewhere …

    You have it reversed. The NRA is better compared to true-believer staunch Abolitionists. Abolitionists aren’t going to be satisfied with a compromise on slavery anywhere within the Union. Free the guns and the non-criminals who want them!

    … that, say, bans circus employees from packing heat while hanging around with chimps.

    Chimps and guns in the same environment could backfire, so it would behoove humans to wear safety-equipped chimp blasters in (concealed) police-style retention holsters. Then when someone’s face gets chomped, the muncher can be instantly retired. Of course, best not to hang around chimps in the first place, but that’s another discussion.

  256. @Opinionator
    @Clark Westwood

    a propaganda coup that has served the establishment well ever since, by the way.

    How has it served the establishment?

    Replies: @Clark Westwood

    How has it served the establishment?

    If you view the Civil War as a great victory for the federal government and for centralizing tendencies in American politics (as I do), then anything that helps promote the narrative of North=Good, South=Bad helps the political establishment. The fact that the South fired the first shots in the first major engagement of the war makes it easy for the narrative-pushers to foreclose debate by simply saying “the South started it!”

    • Replies: @Opinionator
    @Clark Westwood

    Helpful, thanks. I sense that the establishment is hugely invested in a particular civil war narrative for amoral political purposes. I think this is a partial explanation at least, although I am not sure you have captured the entirety of the motivations.

  257. @Opinionator
    @Corvinus

    Is it not worse to kill people than to have a relationship of master-servant with people?

    Replies: @Corvinus

    “Is it not worse to kill people than to have a relationship of master-servant with people?”

    It was not a “relationship” in the conventional sense. Plantation owners had demanded “gimme dats” in the form of slave labor. When their “servants” refused, they generally beat them.

    • Replies: @Opinionator
    @Corvinus

    Is it not worse to kill people than to treat people as slaves?

    Replies: @Corvinus

  258. @Corvinus
    @Opinionator

    "Is it not worse to kill people than to have a relationship of master-servant with people?"

    It was not a "relationship" in the conventional sense. Plantation owners had demanded "gimme dats" in the form of slave labor. When their "servants" refused, they generally beat them.

    Replies: @Opinionator

    Is it not worse to kill people than to treat people as slaves?

    • Replies: @Corvinus
    @Opinionator

    "Is it not worse to kill people than to treat people as slaves?"

    You are desperately trying to make one thing appear to be "less inhumane" than another thing. Both are clearly immoral. When you kill someone, you end their "suffering". When you enslave someone, you put them through continued misery and despair, especially if the "master" ripped a free person from their homeland.

    Replies: @Opinionator

  259. res says:
    @Corvinus
    @res

    "That was a compromise position."

    Indeed. The Founding Fathers were masters of give and take. Consensus and consideration dominated—refer to the Virginia Plan. James Madison had the votes, but understood that “forcing it down the throats” of small states would undermine the credibility of the delegates in light of the principles espoused during the Revolution. A commitment to a strong central government, but not with big states in control.

    Slavery as a commercial tool was addressed without specific reference as to its morality despite significant personal reservations. An effort was made by Charles Pinckney (South Carolina) to overturn committee recommendations on this issue, fearing potential northern imperialistic behaviors in the future, but he was rebuffed by his southern brethren who acknowledged the concerns--“a deal is a deal”.

    Replies: @res

    No comment about how your initial sentence in comment 230 was wrong? And since you started by criticizing the three fifths compromise, what position would you have preferred? That’s going to be my go to question whenever an SJW brings up that issue from now on. And since you enjoy playing an SJW here…

    P.S. Do you really think your topic changing fools anyone here?

    • Replies: @Corvinus
    @res

    Yes, thanks for the catch. I would have preferred counting slaves as a full person. 1 for 1. Slaves were people and part of the southern population, regardless if they were considered property.

    "And since you enjoy playing an SJW here…"

    False characterization on your part. Politically, I am a moderate.

    Replies: @Peripatetic commenter, @res

  260. @Clark Westwood
    @Opinionator


    How has it served the establishment?
     
    If you view the Civil War as a great victory for the federal government and for centralizing tendencies in American politics (as I do), then anything that helps promote the narrative of North=Good, South=Bad helps the political establishment. The fact that the South fired the first shots in the first major engagement of the war makes it easy for the narrative-pushers to foreclose debate by simply saying "the South started it!"

    Replies: @Opinionator

    Helpful, thanks. I sense that the establishment is hugely invested in a particular civil war narrative for amoral political purposes. I think this is a partial explanation at least, although I am not sure you have captured the entirety of the motivations.

  261. Calhounism favored a slave-owning oligarchy that had little need for a flourishing class of white yeomen, except to fight for the oligarchs.

    Well, that statement is easily updatable to include the modern oligarchs against the white/blue collar workers.

    • Replies: @Peripatetic commenter
    @teo toon

    Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

  262. @Steve Sailer
    @Opinionator

    Some Southrons were talking about reviving the slave trade. In general, the Southerners were pretty politically dominant up until the 1860 election, so they were always looking around for new extremist positions to take to outrage the Northrons, like the NRA is always trying to find a law somewhere that, say, bans circus employees from packing heat while hanging around with chimps.

    Replies: @Opinionator, @Autochthon, @res, @Jenner Ickham Errican, @Peripatetic commenter

    Did you mean to refer to the SPLC always looking for Jewish cemeteries suffering from neglect and blaming it on the KKK or Nazis and Anti-Semites under the bed?

  263. @RonaldB
    @PhysicistDave

    I haven't read the books.

    Yet, from my reading, I think tariffs and abolition were not reasonable causes for secession. The tariffs before secession were actually very low, and higher tariffs would never have gotten through congress if the representatives from the Confederate states had remained in the US Congress.

    Similarly, with the abolition laws, the Fugitive Slave act, and the Dred Scott decision, and the vow of Lincoln to preserve slavery in slave states, slavery was simply not threatened where it already existed.

    Paradoxically, slavery itself may have been supported by the large landowners at the expense of the small, yeoman subsistence farmer, but it was those farmers that were the heart of the Confederate army. This implies that in a few years, the South would have been much less capable of defending itself, as the small farmers were forced off the land by the cotton plantations...and conceivably, the Confederacy itself would have become unstable by the social dislocation of impoverishing the small farmers.

    My feeling is that slavery would have lasted no more than 10 or 15 years from 1860. Besides the technological advancements making slavery unprofitable, the Southern leadership was educated and in tune with Western civilization. They would have simply abolished slavery and bought out the slaves, as England had done. Many slaves were dragooned into serving the union army after capture. All in all, almost nobody would have been worse off had the Civil War been avoided.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer, @Opinionator, @Corvinus, @PhysicistDave

    RonaldB wrote to me:

    Similarly, with the abolition laws, the Fugitive Slave act, and the Dred Scott decision, and the vow of Lincoln to preserve slavery in slave states, slavery was simply not threatened where it already existed.

    In the short term, I agree.

    However, given that a Northern sectional party that was unfriendly to slavery had taken control of the national government, I think it was reasonable for Southern supporters of slavery to suppose that, sooner or later, the Republicans would succeed in extinguishing slavery. Of course, the act of secession ended up guaranteeing that it would be “sooner” rather than “later.”

    In short, Southern supporters of slavery made a reasonable gamble (given their values, which I do not share) but lost.

    RonaldB also wrote:

    My feeling is that slavery would have lasted no more than 10 or 15 years from 1860.

    Well, maybe. Hard to say even with the advantage of hindsight. I suppose the secessionists reached a different conclusion.

    I agree with you that tariffs were not the central issue. On the other hand, we are talking about decisions made by hundreds of thousands of people to support secession, and, no doubt, different people had different motives and many people had mixed motives.

    I myself suspect that the most important motive may simply have been a sense of Southern pride: most Southerners would not tolerate being pushed around by Yankees, whatever the detailed policy issues.

    Dave

    N.B. To everyone: I am not condoning slavery or the decision to secede. I am merely trying to understand, along with RonaldB, why the South made a decision that ultimately proved catastrophic even from the Southern perspective.

  264. @PhysicistDave
    @RonaldB

    RonaldB wrote to me:


    Similarly, with the abolition laws, the Fugitive Slave act, and the Dred Scott decision, and the vow of Lincoln to preserve slavery in slave states, slavery was simply not threatened where it already existed.
     
    In the short term, I agree.

    However, given that a Northern sectional party that was unfriendly to slavery had taken control of the national government, I think it was reasonable for Southern supporters of slavery to suppose that, sooner or later, the Republicans would succeed in extinguishing slavery. Of course, the act of secession ended up guaranteeing that it would be "sooner" rather than "later."

    In short, Southern supporters of slavery made a reasonable gamble (given their values, which I do not share) but lost.

    RonaldB also wrote:

    My feeling is that slavery would have lasted no more than 10 or 15 years from 1860.
     
    Well, maybe. Hard to say even with the advantage of hindsight. I suppose the secessionists reached a different conclusion.

    I agree with you that tariffs were not the central issue. On the other hand, we are talking about decisions made by hundreds of thousands of people to support secession, and, no doubt, different people had different motives and many people had mixed motives.

    I myself suspect that the most important motive may simply have been a sense of Southern pride: most Southerners would not tolerate being pushed around by Yankees, whatever the detailed policy issues.

    Dave

    N.B. To everyone: I am not condoning slavery or the decision to secede. I am merely trying to understand, along with RonaldB, why the South made a decision that ultimately proved catastrophic even from the Southern perspective.

    Replies: @Autochthon

  265. @Autochthon
    @Opinionator

    I just want to observe before I leave off for work that reading your exchanges with Syonredux is hilarious. It is like watching a twelve-year-old, who, having once completed a course in first aid and now having a grossly mistaken estimation of his own faculties (Syonredux) argue about the beat practices for treating trauma with a veteran combat surgeon now serving as the chief of the emergency room in a gang-riddled corner of southern Chicago.

    If the guy weren't so smug, it'd be gauche of you, but under the circumstances, it is hilarious. Well played, sir.

    Replies: @Opinionator

    Thanks

  266. @res
    @Corvinus

    No comment about how your initial sentence in comment 230 was wrong? And since you started by criticizing the three fifths compromise, what position would you have preferred? That's going to be my go to question whenever an SJW brings up that issue from now on. And since you enjoy playing an SJW here...

    P.S. Do you really think your topic changing fools anyone here?

    Replies: @Corvinus

    Yes, thanks for the catch. I would have preferred counting slaves as a full person. 1 for 1. Slaves were people and part of the southern population, regardless if they were considered property.

    “And since you enjoy playing an SJW here…”

    False characterization on your part. Politically, I am a moderate.

    • Replies: @Peripatetic commenter
    @Corvinus

    The time for moderates has long since passed:

    The Wrath of the Woke Saxon

    Replies: @Corvinus

    , @res
    @Corvinus


    I would have preferred counting slaves as a full person. 1 for 1. Slaves were people and part of the southern population, regardless if they were considered property.

     

    So you do support the same position as the Southerners. Interesting. How would you have felt about the increased political power accruing to the South as a result?

    “And since you enjoy playing an SJW here…”

    False characterization on your part. Politically, I am a moderate.
     
    Poor reading comprehension on your part. Note bolding added as clarification.

    And I'm curious why as a moderate you spend so much time here. Surely the large numbers of leftists in the mass media comment sections can benefit from your "moderate"ness? How about showing the liberal NYT commenters the error of their ways? Their reasoning skills appear somewhat deficient so your false equivalences and strawmen might have a better chance of working there.

    Replies: @Corvinus

  267. @Opinionator
    @Ian M.

    Yes, if it involves rebelling against a legitimate sovereign authority, which the U.S. government was. The principles of consent of the governed, popular sovereignty, and self-determination are all liberal poppycock.


    Interesting. From where does an "authority" acquire its "legitimacy" and its "sovereignty"?

    Replies: @Ian M.

    This is a big topic, but briefly: An authority derives its legitimacy from its ability to symbolize justice in the minds of its subjects. When a governing body has become sufficiently established such that it is seen as the representative and dispenser of justice to a community, it has real authority. This was undoubtedly true of the American government at the time of the Civil War.

    This is different from consent of the governed. A man can recognize his government’s legitimate authority without ever having consented to obey it, just as a son can recognize his father’s legitimate authority without ever having consented to obey him.

    Once the southern states seceded, the United States government had a moral right to wage war on them. (Whether or not this was a prudent course of action is a different question).

    By the way, the United States does not derive her authority from the Constitution. For the Constitution to have had any binding force in the first place, America must have already had a sense of her prior legitimacy. The Constitution derives its legitimacy from the authority of the United States, not vice-versa.

  268. @teo toon

    Calhounism favored a slave-owning oligarchy that had little need for a flourishing class of white yeomen, except to fight for the oligarchs.
     
    Well, that statement is easily updatable to include the modern oligarchs against the white/blue collar workers.

    Replies: @Peripatetic commenter

    Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

  269. @Corvinus
    @res

    Yes, thanks for the catch. I would have preferred counting slaves as a full person. 1 for 1. Slaves were people and part of the southern population, regardless if they were considered property.

    "And since you enjoy playing an SJW here…"

    False characterization on your part. Politically, I am a moderate.

    Replies: @Peripatetic commenter, @res

    The time for moderates has long since passed:

    The Wrath of the Woke Saxon

    • Replies: @Corvinus
    @Peripatetic commenter

    "The time for moderates has long since passed: The Wrath of the Woke Saxon"

    Why don't you show us then how much you "hate" rather than link to a poem. Another armchair warrior.

    Replies: @Peripatetic commenter

  270. res says:
    @Corvinus
    @res

    Yes, thanks for the catch. I would have preferred counting slaves as a full person. 1 for 1. Slaves were people and part of the southern population, regardless if they were considered property.

    "And since you enjoy playing an SJW here…"

    False characterization on your part. Politically, I am a moderate.

    Replies: @Peripatetic commenter, @res

    I would have preferred counting slaves as a full person. 1 for 1. Slaves were people and part of the southern population, regardless if they were considered property.

    So you do support the same position as the Southerners. Interesting. How would you have felt about the increased political power accruing to the South as a result?

    “And since you enjoy playing an SJW here…”

    False characterization on your part. Politically, I am a moderate.

    Poor reading comprehension on your part. Note bolding added as clarification.

    And I’m curious why as a moderate you spend so much time here. Surely the large numbers of leftists in the mass media comment sections can benefit from your “moderate”ness? How about showing the liberal NYT commenters the error of their ways? Their reasoning skills appear somewhat deficient so your false equivalences and strawmen might have a better chance of working there.

    • Replies: @Corvinus
    @res

    "So you do support the same position as the Southerners. Interesting. How would you have felt about the increased political power accruing to the South as a result?"

    Power to the people, right?

    "Poor reading comprehension on your part. Note bolding added as clarification."

    No. The implication was clear. You got outed.

    "And I’m curious why as a moderate you spend so much time here."

    I'm here for the snacks.

    "Their reasoning skills appear somewhat deficient so your false equivalences and strawmen might have a better chance of working there."

    LOL. The train is fine, the train is fine.

    Replies: @res

  271. N.B. To everyone: I am not condoning slavery

  272. No need to be callous or indifferent to the condition of African Americans or to their fate.

    I think it’s The Narrative that is callous or indifferent to those 700k White men. Were the slaves dying in large numbers? No. Were they fed, clothed, and housed? Yes. This necessitates 700k White men dead in the bloodiest war in American history how?

    It was not a “relationship” in the conventional sense.

    Yes, it was. Go look the word up; enemies have a relationship, in a conventional sense. Someone who misspells and misuses words (to say nothing of grammar) as often as you do should tread lightly.

    When their “servants” refused, they generally beat them.

    You know the unknowable, because Teh Narrative. Did you see that in a double feature next to Underworld once?

    False characterization on your part. Politically, I am a moderate.

    Nonsense. You’re a leftist with an odd personality tic about claiming to be a moderate.

  273. “I myself suspect that the most important motive may simply have been a sense of Southern pride: most Southerners would not tolerate being pushed around by Yankees, whatever the detailed policy issues.”

    Mark Twain blamed Sir Walter Scott for secession- the Fire-Eaters boasted, bragged, and threatened for so long that they felt their manly honor demanded they follow through on their threats, however foolish. Scott’s novels certainly were incredibly popular in the Antebellum South.

    “I think it was reasonable for Southern supporters of slavery to suppose that, sooner or later, the Republicans would succeed in extinguishing slavery.”

    Congress offered Southerners the Corwin Amendment precisely to assuage this exact fear. By that point, nobody was really listening, though. Still, it’s pretty overwhelming proof that most Northern politicians were willing to ignore slavery to protect the Union.

  274. @Luke Lea
    @johnmark7

    I don't believe Lincoln said that. Google it.

    Replies: @PhysicistDave, @johnmark7

    • Replies: @Luke Lea
    @johnmark7

    I agree I was mistaken. In the context of the Mexican war I guess it makes more sense.

  275. @Erik L
    And, BTW this kind of discussion, by people who clearly know far more about history than I, is exactly what the response should have been (in my idealized world).

    Imagine if, in place of comedians doing jokes about Trump being an idiot, we had shows in which historians for teams to debate this? Ok, fine crap ratings but could be good

    Replies: @johnmark7

    In the early days of TV, they used to have such kind of shows where eggheads would discuss topics like this.

    Early TV needed content badly and turned to Broadway-like drama for teleplays (Rod Serling, Paddy Chayevski et al) intellectual game shows (The “rigged” $64,000 Question), and talking egghead panels among all the other dreck it offered.

    People were smarter (and better informed) about culture then. Anyone with a high school education knew who Hemingway and Robert Frost were, even if they were future gear heads in auto shop.

    Movies for the hoi polloi assumed a much higher level of common cultural markers that could be alluded to.

    • Replies: @Hibernian
    @johnmark7

    "Anyone with a high school education knew who Hemingway and Robert Frost were, even if they were future gear heads in auto shop.

    Possibly a slight exaggeration, but what do I know, since my own high school dayys were about 10-15 years in the future.

  276. @Steve Sailer
    @RonaldB

    Southerners were much more apologetic about slavery earlier in the century.

    Replies: @syonredux, @johnmark7

    Prior to the Nat Turner slave revolt (massacre of whites), the South had more abolition groups than the North. Little known fact.

    Nat Turner changed all that, and laws regarding the travel of slaves and many other things like schooling followed.

    When Haiti erupts in your neighborhood, apartheid and Jim Crow suddenly seem a bit more urgent.

  277. @Opinionator
    @jtgw

    Except slaves had to be kept at their jobs by force, while immigrants remain voluntarily.

    Some did, certainly. We know this simply from the fact there were fugitives. But did all of them? And did it vary by state?

    Replies: @jtgw, @johnmark7

    Most slaves had no problem with being slaves, and there were systems in place to reward slaves for working well — clothes and geegaws for women, money for men and such. The slaves didn’t work as hard as often depicted, or punished as much (since no one wanted another Nat Turner except in French Louisiana where they, as in South America and elsewhere, worked male slaves to death — while miscegenating with the women).

    Slavery is profitable. Cheap labor always seems to be so.

    ***

    WPA interviews with former slaves in the 1930s showed that over 80% said their masters and lives were fine when interviewed by whites. Negroes objected, saying the former slaves were afraid to speak ill of white masters.

    So they sent out black interviewers, and got an over 60% positive response to their former life and their white masters.

    Aristotle pointed out that some people are natural slaves and happiest in that station. The problem, he figured, was in determining those who weren’t natural slaves and letting those go their own way, thus avoiding a world of trouble.

    ***

    When Northern soldiers “liberated” plantations in the South, particularly the Carolinas, they were astonished to find the blacks as dark and African as could be. They had been taught to believe that the slavemasters raped all the black women and produced lighter skinned and more Americanized offspring.

    The fact is that apart from the French and Spanish, white Protestant Southerners don’t find black women attractive. (See rape stats today).

    It was after the War when blacks were freed and the women had to fend for themselves and became prostitutes that so much white genetic material entered black bloodstreams (whereas the French and Spanish in Louisiana had been at it for quite a while).

    ***

    It’s a sick and pernicious myth that white men slaver over the idea of sex with hot exotic “brown sugar”. Whereas the reverse is true. Black men are crazy for white girls.

    • Replies: @RonaldB
    @johnmark7

    For JohnnyMark7

    I see some problems right off with your narrative.

    If most of the slaves were fine being slaves, then why was there such an effort to keep slaves with the owner, capture runaway slaves, and recover slaves from the North? Why was there so much effort and expense involved in keeping slaves who were OK with being slaves? So, the narrative that slaves were satisfied does not stand up logically. Besides, the war was not fought to free slaves. Non-slave states did not want the institution to spread. Perhaps they didn't want masses of uneducated black slaves being spread over non-southern states and territories.

    Another of your constructions that does not stand up logically is your narrative that white slave owners and whites in general weren't interested in slave women. Your timeline is: white slave owners were not interested in sex with the slave women they could have for free. Once the slaves were freed, the black women became prostitutes and brought white genes into the black population. So, the whites paid to have sex with women they ignored when they could have had the women for free. And this brought white genetic material into the black gene pool.

    See the problem?

    , @Uncle Remus
    @johnmark7

    Speaking of white genetic material entering the black bloodstreams, little attention is ever paid
    to the rape of black women by white Union troops. This is a verboten topic apparently, contrary
    to the virtuous Yankee myth. It would be interesting to have some evidence as to the Northern
    contribution to the whitening of American blacks.

  278. Your post needs to qualifiy ‘slaves’ with ‘slaves owned by white Northwest European Christians’. Slaves of Africans, Arabs, and Aztecs not so much.

    For a first hand account of slavery in Africa for the slaves not sold to the White man:
    Memoirs of the Reign of Bossa Ah dee, King of Dahomy

    Search text for ‘skulls’, ‘sacrifice’, and ‘eunuch’.

  279. @res
    @Corvinus


    I would have preferred counting slaves as a full person. 1 for 1. Slaves were people and part of the southern population, regardless if they were considered property.

     

    So you do support the same position as the Southerners. Interesting. How would you have felt about the increased political power accruing to the South as a result?

    “And since you enjoy playing an SJW here…”

    False characterization on your part. Politically, I am a moderate.
     
    Poor reading comprehension on your part. Note bolding added as clarification.

    And I'm curious why as a moderate you spend so much time here. Surely the large numbers of leftists in the mass media comment sections can benefit from your "moderate"ness? How about showing the liberal NYT commenters the error of their ways? Their reasoning skills appear somewhat deficient so your false equivalences and strawmen might have a better chance of working there.

    Replies: @Corvinus

    “So you do support the same position as the Southerners. Interesting. How would you have felt about the increased political power accruing to the South as a result?”

    Power to the people, right?

    “Poor reading comprehension on your part. Note bolding added as clarification.”

    No. The implication was clear. You got outed.

    “And I’m curious why as a moderate you spend so much time here.”

    I’m here for the snacks.

    “Their reasoning skills appear somewhat deficient so your false equivalences and strawmen might have a better chance of working there.”

    LOL. The train is fine, the train is fine.

    • Replies: @res
    @Corvinus


    Power to the people, right?
     
    I know you are joking, but surely you see the irony in how taking a theoretically "good" (slaves are people and deserve to be counted) argument might result in slavery receiving more political support? This sort of thing is one of my biggest complaints about SJWs. The utter lack of reflection about the possible unintended consequences of translating virtue signalling into reality. It's a terribly geeky thing to admit, but one of the things that best illustrated this to me was seeing Star Trek's "The City on the Edge of Forever" as a child.

    No. The implication was clear. You got outed.
     
    My best assessment of you right now is that you have somewhat moderate views (perhaps more discordant between typical right and left than actually moderate), but delight in playing devil's advocate and for some reason find iSteve a good place to do it. The devil's advocacy is often done by presenting a trollish caricature of SJW views in opposition to comments here. It might be entertaining, or even interesting, if you were better at it and argued "your side" with a bit less disingenuousness and didn't rely quite so much on false equivalences between the left and the right (e.g. the respective media, protesters, etc.). That's a long winded way of saying--hardly outed, but perhaps I should have been more specific than "playing an SJW."

    Your last comment was at least somewhat funny overall, and I really should have given you credit earlier for owning your mistake.

    I am intrigued at how much you complain about figures like Vox Day (IIRC) and the PUAs while demonstrating good knowledge of their work. For example, I guess I am not worthy since I had to search to understand your last line: http://voxday.blogspot.com/2015/11/when-i-say-it-its-funny.html

    TL;DR Come on Corvinus, you can do better!

    Replies: @Corvinus

  280. anon • Disclaimer says:
    @res
    @anon

    Interesting comment. One question regarding


    Virginia was toying with the idea of abolishing slavery, but couldn’t come to grips with what to do with ‘former slaves’. If they had kept the Virginia and Kentucky in the Union, there would have been at least the possibility of unloading their slaves to a Southward expanding South. I suppose Texas was up for grabs also.
     
    Given a hypothetical like that, and assuming the separation was at least somewhat acrimonious, do you think it would have been possible to avoid a later war between the adjacent countries? A North America like that looks a lot more like Europe to me and I think has some serious fault lines (e.g. see Albion's Seed). The South had/has a militaristic streak that makes them formidable opponents, and I don't think that would have been conducive to being good neighbors. Then there is the moralistic streak of the North...

    For war-provoking causes, competitive westward expansion leaps to mind.

    Replies: @anon

    Given a hypothetical like that, and assuming the separation was at least somewhat acrimonious, do you think it would have been possible to avoid a later war between the adjacent countries?

    No. Some war was inevitable, but certainly not the war that we got. The US had only polished off its European rivals in 1850. Spain, France, and Britain were out of the current North America. Manifest Destiny had a compelling logic. The US had the most secure borders of any nation. The Atlantic and Pacific. The North was on the right side of economic history, as concentration on industrialization would have inevitably led to economic domination. And then I think the South would have had difficulty creating a sufficiently unified nation to become a global power. The scheme to grow further South is interesting, and was was compelling in a certain sense. They had to do something and succession was a way of resolving the problem of Westward expansion. There were numerous schemes to carve up Mexico, and why would Brazil be worse than Montana and Idaho? But this would have left them with an agrarian economic base, with a similar result.

    My opinion was that the war was about slavery. Namely, how eliminate it. It would have been cheaper to simply hire black farm labor than to keep slaves, but that wasn’t an attractive notion in states with white minorities. There simply wasn’t a way to transition out of it without unacceptable disruption. The South was at its relative economic peak. And the cotton boom was simply another example of success ending up in tragedy. In terms of alternative histories, if slavery hadn’t been dying in the rest of the world and if there were a global market, the obvious solution would have been to export them.

    But this is simply speculative musings and I’m far from an expert on this subject.

  281. res says:
    @Corvinus
    @res

    "So you do support the same position as the Southerners. Interesting. How would you have felt about the increased political power accruing to the South as a result?"

    Power to the people, right?

    "Poor reading comprehension on your part. Note bolding added as clarification."

    No. The implication was clear. You got outed.

    "And I’m curious why as a moderate you spend so much time here."

    I'm here for the snacks.

    "Their reasoning skills appear somewhat deficient so your false equivalences and strawmen might have a better chance of working there."

    LOL. The train is fine, the train is fine.

    Replies: @res

    Power to the people, right?

    I know you are joking, but surely you see the irony in how taking a theoretically “good” (slaves are people and deserve to be counted) argument might result in slavery receiving more political support? This sort of thing is one of my biggest complaints about SJWs. The utter lack of reflection about the possible unintended consequences of translating virtue signalling into reality. It’s a terribly geeky thing to admit, but one of the things that best illustrated this to me was seeing Star Trek’s “The City on the Edge of Forever” as a child.

    No. The implication was clear. You got outed.

    My best assessment of you right now is that you have somewhat moderate views (perhaps more discordant between typical right and left than actually moderate), but delight in playing devil’s advocate and for some reason find iSteve a good place to do it. The devil’s advocacy is often done by presenting a trollish caricature of SJW views in opposition to comments here. It might be entertaining, or even interesting, if you were better at it and argued “your side” with a bit less disingenuousness and didn’t rely quite so much on false equivalences between the left and the right (e.g. the respective media, protesters, etc.). That’s a long winded way of saying–hardly outed, but perhaps I should have been more specific than “playing an SJW.”

    Your last comment was at least somewhat funny overall, and I really should have given you credit earlier for owning your mistake.

    I am intrigued at how much you complain about figures like Vox Day (IIRC) and the PUAs while demonstrating good knowledge of their work. For example, I guess I am not worthy since I had to search to understand your last line: http://voxday.blogspot.com/2015/11/when-i-say-it-its-funny.html

    TL;DR Come on Corvinus, you can do better!

    • Replies: @Corvinus
    @res

    "I know you are joking..."

    Actually, I am quite serious.

    "but surely you see the irony in how taking a theoretically “good” (slaves are people and deserve to be counted) argument might result in slavery receiving more political support?"

    Indeed. But despite my reservations, I have to be philosophically consistent. Each slave is a person and must count toward the total population. Southern delegates to the Constitutional Convention were justified in making this argument, even if it meant that they would increase their political power at the expense of the North. But the North could "even things out" by "importing" immigrants, especially those dirty Irish Catholics and beer swilling Krauts. You know, to dilute our original national character.

    "My best assessment of you right now is that you have somewhat moderate views (perhaps more discordant between typical right and left than actually moderate), but delight in playing devil’s advocate and for some reason find iSteve a good place to do it."

    Not somewhat moderate, moderate. And I am actually a bee in several bonnets. iSteve has several unique cast of characters, you included.

    "The devil’s advocacy is often done by presenting a trollish caricature of SJW views in opposition to comments here."

    Indeed, I play devil's advocate, and generally do quite well despite your Sherlock Holmes inquisition that I constantly run afoul of fallacies.

    "I am intrigued at how much you complain about figures like Vox Day (IIRC) and the PUAs while demonstrating good knowledge of their work."

    Because it's called being well versed with opposing sides.

    Replies: @res

  282. @Opinionator
    @Corvinus

    Is it not worse to kill people than to treat people as slaves?

    Replies: @Corvinus

    “Is it not worse to kill people than to treat people as slaves?”

    You are desperately trying to make one thing appear to be “less inhumane” than another thing. Both are clearly immoral. When you kill someone, you end their “suffering”. When you enslave someone, you put them through continued misery and despair, especially if the “master” ripped a free person from their homeland.

    • Replies: @Opinionator
    @Corvinus

    Answer the question.

    Replies: @Corvinus

  283. @Opinionator
    @Gringo

    It is ironic that despite your virtue signaling you are unable to appreciate Southerners' desire for independence and for freedom from imperialism.

    Replies: @Gringo, @Gringo

    It is ironic that despite your virtue signaling you are unable to appreciate Southerners’ desire for independence and for freedom from imperialism.

    I repeat my suggestion that you read the South Carolina Declaration of Secession. I further suggest you refer to my comment #94 about Robert Mays’s book The Southern Dream of a Caribbean Empire 1854-1861, Southerners wanted “freedom from imperialism” to quote you, yet also wanted to acquire a slave empire in the Caribbean. Perhaps that makes sense to you, but it doesn’t make sense to me.

    For more information on the Southern dream of a slave empire, Spengler refers to May’s book .

    Professor Robert E May demonstrated this in The Southern Dream of a Caribbean Empire (1973). Of hundreds of newspaper citations in May’s book, here is one: “The Memphis Daily Appeal, December 30, 1860, wrote that a slave ’empire’ would arise ‘from San Diego, on the Pacific Ocean, thence southward, along the shore line of Mexico and Central America, at low tide, to the Isthmus of Panama; thence South – still South! – along the western shore line of New Granada and Ecuador, to where the southern boundary of the latter strikes the ocean; thence east over the Andes to the head springs of the Amazon; thence down the mightiest of inland seas, through the teeming bosom of the broadest and richest delta in the world, to the Atlantic Ocean’.” (page 237 in May)

    If one then claims that the desire to acquire a slave empire in the Caribbean was the the hope of a small minority of Southerners, my reply is that “small minority” included Jefferson Davis and other leaders in Congress. Spengler writes:

    … it suffices to observe that Lincoln easily could have averted the war by agreeing to let the South acquire slave territories outside of the continental United States. His 1860 election victory (by a minority of votes in a four-way race) provoked a crisis. Future Confederate president Jefferson Davis supported a compromise that would have allowed the South to acquire slave territories to the south. Georgia senator Robert Toombs, along with Davis, the South’s main spokesman, pleaded for the compromise that would have given the North “the whole continent to the North Pole” and the South “the whole continent to the South Pole”, as Professor May reports. (Toombs quote on page 231 in May)

    It was Lincoln, not the Southerners, who shot down the compromise. “A year will not pass, till we shall have to take Cuba as a condition upon which they will stay in the Union … There is in my judgment, but one compromise which would really settle the slavery question, and that would be a prohibition against acquiring any more territory,” he wrote (cited in Robert May )

    Jefferson Davis and other Southern leaders were willing to stay in the United States if future annexations to the US to the south of current borders were permitted to become slaveholding areas. “Freedom from imperialism,” my foot.

    From my point of view, anyone who wanted to acquire a slave empire in the Caribbean was very much an imperialist. You can’t simultaneously want to have “freedom from imperialism” and have the desire to acquire a slave empire in the Caribbean.

    Also note that Lincoln supported a compromise which would have “a prohibition against acquiring any more territory.” That sounds rather anti-imperialist to me. Recall that Lincoln was against the Mexican War, which he saw as a land grab, while the South supported the Mexican War.

  284. You are desperately trying to make one thing appear to be “less inhumane” than another thing. Both are clearly immoral. When you kill someone, you end their “suffering”. When you enslave someone, you put them through continued misery and despair, especially if the “master” ripped a free person from their homeland.

    Well, that’s The Narrative, anyway. Evidence for it: 0.

    • Replies: @Peripatetic commenter
    @Svigor

    As we now know, Muslim slavery was more enlightened than Western slavery:

    https://books.google.com/books?id=00ZuXUdx2GgC&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q=XII&f=false


    On the other hand, slaves’ lives were made more bearable by the peculiarities of Muslim social development.
     
  285. P.S., practically none of the slaves in America fit your “especially” category. Almost all were captured by Blacks, enslaved by Blacks, and then later sold to Whites.

  286. I think John Wilkes Booth (a Southern sympathizer) gets an (dis)honorable mention there.

    Perhaps. I think “Lincoln was going to repatriate all the Blacks” belongs in the “if only Stalin knew” category.

  287. @Corvinus
    @Opinionator

    "Is it not worse to kill people than to treat people as slaves?"

    You are desperately trying to make one thing appear to be "less inhumane" than another thing. Both are clearly immoral. When you kill someone, you end their "suffering". When you enslave someone, you put them through continued misery and despair, especially if the "master" ripped a free person from their homeland.

    Replies: @Opinionator

    Answer the question.

    • Replies: @Corvinus
    @Opinionator

    "Answer the question".

    I did, you just don't like the response. It is immoral to kill people AND to treat people as slaves. Neither one is "worse". Both are equally heinous.

    You are desperately trying to make one thing appear to be "less inhumane" than another thing. If you are a Christian, seek forgiveness from the Lord for your utter lack of disregard for human life.

    Replies: @Opinionator

  288. @johnmark7
    @Luke Lea

    Here's the entire speech in the House where he said it:

    http://teachingamericanhistory.org/library/document/the-war-with-mexico-speech-in-the-united-states-house-of-representatives/

    Replies: @Luke Lea

    I agree I was mistaken. In the context of the Mexican war I guess it makes more sense.

  289. @johnmark7
    @Opinionator

    Most slaves had no problem with being slaves, and there were systems in place to reward slaves for working well -- clothes and geegaws for women, money for men and such. The slaves didn't work as hard as often depicted, or punished as much (since no one wanted another Nat Turner except in French Louisiana where they, as in South America and elsewhere, worked male slaves to death -- while miscegenating with the women).

    Slavery is profitable. Cheap labor always seems to be so.

    ***

    WPA interviews with former slaves in the 1930s showed that over 80% said their masters and lives were fine when interviewed by whites. Negroes objected, saying the former slaves were afraid to speak ill of white masters.

    So they sent out black interviewers, and got an over 60% positive response to their former life and their white masters.

    Aristotle pointed out that some people are natural slaves and happiest in that station. The problem, he figured, was in determining those who weren't natural slaves and letting those go their own way, thus avoiding a world of trouble.

    ***

    When Northern soldiers "liberated" plantations in the South, particularly the Carolinas, they were astonished to find the blacks as dark and African as could be. They had been taught to believe that the slavemasters raped all the black women and produced lighter skinned and more Americanized offspring.

    The fact is that apart from the French and Spanish, white Protestant Southerners don't find black women attractive. (See rape stats today).

    It was after the War when blacks were freed and the women had to fend for themselves and became prostitutes that so much white genetic material entered black bloodstreams (whereas the French and Spanish in Louisiana had been at it for quite a while).

    ***

    It's a sick and pernicious myth that white men slaver over the idea of sex with hot exotic "brown sugar". Whereas the reverse is true. Black men are crazy for white girls.

    Replies: @RonaldB, @Uncle Remus

    For JohnnyMark7

    I see some problems right off with your narrative.

    If most of the slaves were fine being slaves, then why was there such an effort to keep slaves with the owner, capture runaway slaves, and recover slaves from the North? Why was there so much effort and expense involved in keeping slaves who were OK with being slaves? So, the narrative that slaves were satisfied does not stand up logically. Besides, the war was not fought to free slaves. Non-slave states did not want the institution to spread. Perhaps they didn’t want masses of uneducated black slaves being spread over non-southern states and territories.

    Another of your constructions that does not stand up logically is your narrative that white slave owners and whites in general weren’t interested in slave women. Your timeline is: white slave owners were not interested in sex with the slave women they could have for free. Once the slaves were freed, the black women became prostitutes and brought white genes into the black population. So, the whites paid to have sex with women they ignored when they could have had the women for free. And this brought white genetic material into the black gene pool.

    See the problem?

  290. @res
    @Corvinus


    Power to the people, right?
     
    I know you are joking, but surely you see the irony in how taking a theoretically "good" (slaves are people and deserve to be counted) argument might result in slavery receiving more political support? This sort of thing is one of my biggest complaints about SJWs. The utter lack of reflection about the possible unintended consequences of translating virtue signalling into reality. It's a terribly geeky thing to admit, but one of the things that best illustrated this to me was seeing Star Trek's "The City on the Edge of Forever" as a child.

    No. The implication was clear. You got outed.
     
    My best assessment of you right now is that you have somewhat moderate views (perhaps more discordant between typical right and left than actually moderate), but delight in playing devil's advocate and for some reason find iSteve a good place to do it. The devil's advocacy is often done by presenting a trollish caricature of SJW views in opposition to comments here. It might be entertaining, or even interesting, if you were better at it and argued "your side" with a bit less disingenuousness and didn't rely quite so much on false equivalences between the left and the right (e.g. the respective media, protesters, etc.). That's a long winded way of saying--hardly outed, but perhaps I should have been more specific than "playing an SJW."

    Your last comment was at least somewhat funny overall, and I really should have given you credit earlier for owning your mistake.

    I am intrigued at how much you complain about figures like Vox Day (IIRC) and the PUAs while demonstrating good knowledge of their work. For example, I guess I am not worthy since I had to search to understand your last line: http://voxday.blogspot.com/2015/11/when-i-say-it-its-funny.html

    TL;DR Come on Corvinus, you can do better!

    Replies: @Corvinus

    “I know you are joking…”

    Actually, I am quite serious.

    “but surely you see the irony in how taking a theoretically “good” (slaves are people and deserve to be counted) argument might result in slavery receiving more political support?”

    Indeed. But despite my reservations, I have to be philosophically consistent. Each slave is a person and must count toward the total population. Southern delegates to the Constitutional Convention were justified in making this argument, even if it meant that they would increase their political power at the expense of the North. But the North could “even things out” by “importing” immigrants, especially those dirty Irish Catholics and beer swilling Krauts. You know, to dilute our original national character.

    “My best assessment of you right now is that you have somewhat moderate views (perhaps more discordant between typical right and left than actually moderate), but delight in playing devil’s advocate and for some reason find iSteve a good place to do it.”

    Not somewhat moderate, moderate. And I am actually a bee in several bonnets. iSteve has several unique cast of characters, you included.

    “The devil’s advocacy is often done by presenting a trollish caricature of SJW views in opposition to comments here.”

    Indeed, I play devil’s advocate, and generally do quite well despite your Sherlock Holmes inquisition that I constantly run afoul of fallacies.

    “I am intrigued at how much you complain about figures like Vox Day (IIRC) and the PUAs while demonstrating good knowledge of their work.”

    Because it’s called being well versed with opposing sides.

    • Replies: @res
    @Corvinus


    Actually, I am quite serious.
     
    Fair enough. I think it's reasonable to interpret your use of "power to the people" as a humorous way of stating your (serious) point. It was also reasonable to misread my statement as if it was saying you were being insincere.

    Not somewhat moderate, moderate.
     
    Are you the One true Moderate?
    Joking aside (but there is a serious point in the joke), I'm not sure how you define "moderate", but when seeking rigor I tend towards something about seeking a midpoint on the spectrum of commonly held beliefs in one's community (for me meaning the US). My recollection of the views you have owned to explicitly is that they were more a mishmash of somewhat extremes than a collection of midpoints (not to mention the positions you take as part of your persona here). To be fair, I might be being influenced by projection here.

    I am actually a bee in several bonnets.
     
    It would be interesting to see how your arguments in those places compare to those used here. Are you willing to point us to any?

    iSteve has several unique cast of characters
     
    Indeed. That is a good reason.

    I play devil’s advocate, generally do quite well despite your Sherlock Holmes inquisition that I constantly run afoul of fallacies.
     
    You have gotten better (e.g. the ratio of content to strawmen has increased greatly). But I am serious about the false equivalences. It might be funny to pretend the puncher and punchee are equivalent (or more accurately groups doing more/less of the protest punching are equivalent) or that the NYT (and rest of the mass media) and alt-right blogs have comparable impact in the media world, but after a while it just makes you look stupid and/or extremely biased.

    My idea of a good devil's advocate also involves engaging with your opponent's best arguments and acknowledging their strength while arguing against their weakness.

    Your approach seems more akin to the MSM habit of leaving opposing comments which are offensive, inarticulate, weakly argued, etc. up while moderating away the well argued data rich opposition.

    Because it’s called being well versed with opposing sides.
     
    Also fair enough. If you want to be perceived as a moderate it might be better to stay away from their specific lingo since you will either be perceived as agreeing with them or poking fun at them (then again, rereading this that sounds like exactly what you want, so carry on).

    Replies: @Corvinus

  291. @Peripatetic commenter
    @Corvinus

    The time for moderates has long since passed:

    The Wrath of the Woke Saxon

    Replies: @Corvinus

    “The time for moderates has long since passed: The Wrath of the Woke Saxon”

    Why don’t you show us then how much you “hate” rather than link to a poem. Another armchair warrior.

    • Replies: @Peripatetic commenter
    @Corvinus


    Why don’t you show us then how much you “hate” rather than link to a poem. Another armchair warrior.
     
    Sigh. You seem permanently unable to understand the difference between a warning and a desire.

    Or perhaps you are simply disingenuous.

    Replies: @Corvinus

  292. Yeah you’re moderate all right. Moderately insane. No normal person trucks as intimately with dishonesty as you do (the alternative being you’re too bonkers to even know how dishonest you are).

  293. @Opinionator
    @Gringo

    It is ironic that despite your virtue signaling you are unable to appreciate Southerners' desire for independence and for freedom from imperialism.

    Replies: @Gringo, @Gringo

    It is ironic that despite your virtue signaling you are unable to appreciate Southerners’ desire for independence and for freedom from imperialism.

    I merely pointed out there is a bit of a contradiction when one talks about the South being “freed to leave in peace” when the primary purpose for leaving was to preserve the institution of slavery. Preserving the institution of slavery was what the South Carolina Declaration of Secession was all about. Free to enslave. Apparently you don’t like being reminded of that contradiction.

    Regarding Southerners’ “desire… for freedom from imperialism,” I refer you to my comment #94, where I discuss Robert May’s book The Southern Dream of a Caribbean Empire, 1854-1861, which documents the efforts to extend US slaveholding territory to the Caribbean. That sounds rather imperialistic to me. Trying to establish a slave empire south of the US doesn’t sound at all like wanting “freedom from imperialism.”
    Spengler discusses May’s book.

    Had the South formed an independent state, it would have embarked on a campaign of conquest and imposed slavery on the whole southern half of the Western Hemisphere.

    Professor Robert E May demonstrated this in The Southern Dream of a Caribbean Empire (1973). Of hundreds of newspaper citations in May’s book, here is one: “The Memphis Daily Appeal, December 30, 1860, wrote that a slave ’empire’ would arise ‘from San Diego, on the Pacific Ocean, thence southward, along the shore line of Mexico and Central America, at low tide, to the Isthmus of Panama; thence South – still South! – along the western shore line of New Granada and Ecuador, to where the southern boundary of the latter strikes the ocean; thence east over the Andes to the head springs of the Amazon; thence down the mightiest of inland seas, through the teeming bosom of the broadest and richest delta in the world, to the Atlantic Ocean’.” page 237 in May

    One may claim that this desire for a slave empire to the south was just an outlier, that mainstream Southerners didn’t want a slave empire to extend southward. Spengler and May point out that such thinking was rather mainstream among the powerholders in the South at the time.

    …it suffices to observe that Lincoln easily could have averted the war by agreeing to let the South acquire slave territories outside of the continental United States. His 1860 election victory (by a minority of votes in a four-way race) provoked a crisis. Future Confederate president Jefferson Davis supported a compromise that would have allowed the South to acquire slave territories to the south. Georgia senator Robert Toombs, along with Davis, the South’s main spokesman, pleaded for the compromise that would have given the North “the whole continent to the North Pole” and the South “the whole continent to the South Pole”, as Professor May reports. (Toombs quote: May, page 231)

    Far from wanting “freedom from imperialism,” the powerholders in the South included many who wanted to acquire a slave empire to the south of the US- which rather readily can be called imperialism.

    Spengler points out that Lincoln was against the Crittenden Compromise because it laid open the possibility of acquiring slave territory to the South.

    It was Lincoln, not the Southerners, who shot down the compromise. “A year will not pass, till we shall have to take Cuba as a condition upon which they will stay in the Union … There is in my judgment, but one compromise which would really settle the slavery question, and that would be a prohibition against acquiring any more territory,” he wrote (cited in Robert May). (page 219 of May)

    Lincoln was against expanding the territory of the US. That sounds rather anti-imperialistic to me. Which further points out the oxymoron of your claim that the Southerners wanted “freedom from imperialism,” considering that they wanted to expand US territory to the South, and Lincoln didn’t. Recall that Lincoln was also against the Mexican War, because he saw it as a land grab , whereas the South was for the Mexican War. Who was the imperialist?

    Regarding Southern “desire for independence,” I see that as a case of taking one’s ball and going home because one didn’t like the outcome of the game. Before 1860, the South could control national affairs to its favor. Consider all the Southern Presidents. Consider the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850. By 1860, immigration to the North had changed the game that so that a President could be elected without support from the South.

    Regarding your charge of “virtue signaling,” I will merely point out that I am the product of a North-South marriage and have split my life between North and South. While my Southern ancestors may have been mistaken about the Civil War, I still honor their effort and valor and realize that my descendants 150 years hence may also consider me to have been mistaken.

    (all blockquotes from Spengler’s article)

    • Replies: @Peripatetic commenter
    @Gringo

    Regarding Southerners’ “desire… for freedom from imperialism,” I refer you to my comment #94, where I discuss Robert May’s book The Southern Dream of a Caribbean Empire, 1854-1861, which documents the efforts to extend US slaveholding territory to the Caribbean.

     A more honest title would have been: Some Southerners Dream of a Caribbean Empire

  294. res says:
    @Corvinus
    @res

    "I know you are joking..."

    Actually, I am quite serious.

    "but surely you see the irony in how taking a theoretically “good” (slaves are people and deserve to be counted) argument might result in slavery receiving more political support?"

    Indeed. But despite my reservations, I have to be philosophically consistent. Each slave is a person and must count toward the total population. Southern delegates to the Constitutional Convention were justified in making this argument, even if it meant that they would increase their political power at the expense of the North. But the North could "even things out" by "importing" immigrants, especially those dirty Irish Catholics and beer swilling Krauts. You know, to dilute our original national character.

    "My best assessment of you right now is that you have somewhat moderate views (perhaps more discordant between typical right and left than actually moderate), but delight in playing devil’s advocate and for some reason find iSteve a good place to do it."

    Not somewhat moderate, moderate. And I am actually a bee in several bonnets. iSteve has several unique cast of characters, you included.

    "The devil’s advocacy is often done by presenting a trollish caricature of SJW views in opposition to comments here."

    Indeed, I play devil's advocate, and generally do quite well despite your Sherlock Holmes inquisition that I constantly run afoul of fallacies.

    "I am intrigued at how much you complain about figures like Vox Day (IIRC) and the PUAs while demonstrating good knowledge of their work."

    Because it's called being well versed with opposing sides.

    Replies: @res

    Actually, I am quite serious.

    Fair enough. I think it’s reasonable to interpret your use of “power to the people” as a humorous way of stating your (serious) point. It was also reasonable to misread my statement as if it was saying you were being insincere.

    Not somewhat moderate, moderate.

    Are you the One true Moderate?
    Joking aside (but there is a serious point in the joke), I’m not sure how you define “moderate”, but when seeking rigor I tend towards something about seeking a midpoint on the spectrum of commonly held beliefs in one’s community (for me meaning the US). My recollection of the views you have owned to explicitly is that they were more a mishmash of somewhat extremes than a collection of midpoints (not to mention the positions you take as part of your persona here). To be fair, I might be being influenced by projection here.

    I am actually a bee in several bonnets.

    It would be interesting to see how your arguments in those places compare to those used here. Are you willing to point us to any?

    iSteve has several unique cast of characters

    Indeed. That is a good reason.

    I play devil’s advocate, generally do quite well despite your Sherlock Holmes inquisition that I constantly run afoul of fallacies.

    You have gotten better (e.g. the ratio of content to strawmen has increased greatly). But I am serious about the false equivalences. It might be funny to pretend the puncher and punchee are equivalent (or more accurately groups doing more/less of the protest punching are equivalent) or that the NYT (and rest of the mass media) and alt-right blogs have comparable impact in the media world, but after a while it just makes you look stupid and/or extremely biased.

    My idea of a good devil’s advocate also involves engaging with your opponent’s best arguments and acknowledging their strength while arguing against their weakness.

    Your approach seems more akin to the MSM habit of leaving opposing comments which are offensive, inarticulate, weakly argued, etc. up while moderating away the well argued data rich opposition.

    Because it’s called being well versed with opposing sides.

    Also fair enough. If you want to be perceived as a moderate it might be better to stay away from their specific lingo since you will either be perceived as agreeing with them or poking fun at them (then again, rereading this that sounds like exactly what you want, so carry on).

    • Replies: @Corvinus
    @res

    "It would be interesting to see how your arguments in those places compare to those used here. Are you willing to point us to any?"

    My argument style is similar. No thanks.

    "It might be funny to pretend the puncher and punchee are equivalent (or more accurately groups doing more/less of the protest punching are equivalent)..."

    They are equivalent. It depends upon the context.

    "or that the NYT (and rest of the mass media) and alt-right blogs have comparable impact in the media world.

    They do have a similar impact. Both are rooted in confirmation bias and seek to generate a narrative to their wide audiences.

    "Your approach seems more akin to the MSM habit of leaving opposing comments which are offensive, inarticulate, weakly argued, etc. up while moderating away the well argued data rich opposition."

    When required, I attack that "data rich opposition" with the facts, figures, and quotations.

  295. @johnmark7
    @Opinionator

    Most slaves had no problem with being slaves, and there were systems in place to reward slaves for working well -- clothes and geegaws for women, money for men and such. The slaves didn't work as hard as often depicted, or punished as much (since no one wanted another Nat Turner except in French Louisiana where they, as in South America and elsewhere, worked male slaves to death -- while miscegenating with the women).

    Slavery is profitable. Cheap labor always seems to be so.

    ***

    WPA interviews with former slaves in the 1930s showed that over 80% said their masters and lives were fine when interviewed by whites. Negroes objected, saying the former slaves were afraid to speak ill of white masters.

    So they sent out black interviewers, and got an over 60% positive response to their former life and their white masters.

    Aristotle pointed out that some people are natural slaves and happiest in that station. The problem, he figured, was in determining those who weren't natural slaves and letting those go their own way, thus avoiding a world of trouble.

    ***

    When Northern soldiers "liberated" plantations in the South, particularly the Carolinas, they were astonished to find the blacks as dark and African as could be. They had been taught to believe that the slavemasters raped all the black women and produced lighter skinned and more Americanized offspring.

    The fact is that apart from the French and Spanish, white Protestant Southerners don't find black women attractive. (See rape stats today).

    It was after the War when blacks were freed and the women had to fend for themselves and became prostitutes that so much white genetic material entered black bloodstreams (whereas the French and Spanish in Louisiana had been at it for quite a while).

    ***

    It's a sick and pernicious myth that white men slaver over the idea of sex with hot exotic "brown sugar". Whereas the reverse is true. Black men are crazy for white girls.

    Replies: @RonaldB, @Uncle Remus

    Speaking of white genetic material entering the black bloodstreams, little attention is ever paid
    to the rape of black women by white Union troops. This is a verboten topic apparently, contrary
    to the virtuous Yankee myth. It would be interesting to have some evidence as to the Northern
    contribution to the whitening of American blacks.

  296. The ostensible subject was South Carolina being anti-tariff, but as Calhoun admitted privately in 1830, the ultimate cause was that South Carolina’s “peculiar domestick institution” had made South Carolina different enough that economic policy that was in the national interest would generally not be in South Carolina’s interest.

    Just saw this on GAB:

    https://gab.ai/Crew/posts/7547717

    We are told that: “On the other hand, slaves’ lives were made more bearable by the peculiarities of Muslim social development.”

    If only the Confederacy had adopted Islam, all would have been forgiven!

    https://books.google.com/books?id=00ZuXUdx2GgC&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q=XII&f=false

  297. @Gringo
    @Opinionator

    It is ironic that despite your virtue signaling you are unable to appreciate Southerners’ desire for independence and for freedom from imperialism.

    I merely pointed out there is a bit of a contradiction when one talks about the South being "freed to leave in peace" when the primary purpose for leaving was to preserve the institution of slavery. Preserving the institution of slavery was what the South Carolina Declaration of Secession was all about. Free to enslave. Apparently you don't like being reminded of that contradiction.

    Regarding Southerners’ "desire... for freedom from imperialism," I refer you to my comment #94, where I discuss Robert May's book The Southern Dream of a Caribbean Empire, 1854-1861, which documents the efforts to extend US slaveholding territory to the Caribbean. That sounds rather imperialistic to me. Trying to establish a slave empire south of the US doesn't sound at all like wanting "freedom from imperialism."
    Spengler discusses May's book.


    Had the South formed an independent state, it would have embarked on a campaign of conquest and imposed slavery on the whole southern half of the Western Hemisphere.

    Professor Robert E May demonstrated this in The Southern Dream of a Caribbean Empire (1973). Of hundreds of newspaper citations in May's book, here is one: "The Memphis Daily Appeal, December 30, 1860, wrote that a slave 'empire' would arise 'from San Diego, on the Pacific Ocean, thence southward, along the shore line of Mexico and Central America, at low tide, to the Isthmus of Panama; thence South - still South! - along the western shore line of New Granada and Ecuador, to where the southern boundary of the latter strikes the ocean; thence east over the Andes to the head springs of the Amazon; thence down the mightiest of inland seas, through the teeming bosom of the broadest and richest delta in the world, to the Atlantic Ocean'." page 237 in May
     

    One may claim that this desire for a slave empire to the south was just an outlier, that mainstream Southerners didn't want a slave empire to extend southward. Spengler and May point out that such thinking was rather mainstream among the powerholders in the South at the time.

    ...it suffices to observe that Lincoln easily could have averted the war by agreeing to let the South acquire slave territories outside of the continental United States. His 1860 election victory (by a minority of votes in a four-way race) provoked a crisis. Future Confederate president Jefferson Davis supported a compromise that would have allowed the South to acquire slave territories to the south. Georgia senator Robert Toombs, along with Davis, the South's main spokesman, pleaded for the compromise that would have given the North "the whole continent to the North Pole" and the South "the whole continent to the South Pole", as Professor May reports. (Toombs quote: May, page 231)
     
    Far from wanting "freedom from imperialism," the powerholders in the South included many who wanted to acquire a slave empire to the south of the US- which rather readily can be called imperialism.

    Spengler points out that Lincoln was against the Crittenden Compromise because it laid open the possibility of acquiring slave territory to the South.


    It was Lincoln, not the Southerners, who shot down the compromise. "A year will not pass, till we shall have to take Cuba as a condition upon which they will stay in the Union ... There is in my judgment, but one compromise which would really settle the slavery question, and that would be a prohibition against acquiring any more territory," he wrote (cited in Robert May). (page 219 of May)
     
    Lincoln was against expanding the territory of the US. That sounds rather anti-imperialistic to me. Which further points out the oxymoron of your claim that the Southerners wanted "freedom from imperialism," considering that they wanted to expand US territory to the South, and Lincoln didn't. Recall that Lincoln was also against the Mexican War, because he saw it as a land grab , whereas the South was for the Mexican War. Who was the imperialist?

    Regarding Southern "desire for independence," I see that as a case of taking one's ball and going home because one didn't like the outcome of the game. Before 1860, the South could control national affairs to its favor. Consider all the Southern Presidents. Consider the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850. By 1860, immigration to the North had changed the game that so that a President could be elected without support from the South.

    Regarding your charge of "virtue signaling," I will merely point out that I am the product of a North-South marriage and have split my life between North and South. While my Southern ancestors may have been mistaken about the Civil War, I still honor their effort and valor and realize that my descendants 150 years hence may also consider me to have been mistaken.

    (all blockquotes from Spengler's article)

    Replies: @Peripatetic commenter

    Regarding Southerners’ “desire… for freedom from imperialism,” I refer you to my comment #94, where I discuss Robert May’s book The Southern Dream of a Caribbean Empire, 1854-1861, which documents the efforts to extend US slaveholding territory to the Caribbean.

    A more honest title would have been: Some Southerners Dream of a Caribbean Empire

  298. @Corvinus
    @Peripatetic commenter

    "The time for moderates has long since passed: The Wrath of the Woke Saxon"

    Why don't you show us then how much you "hate" rather than link to a poem. Another armchair warrior.

    Replies: @Peripatetic commenter

    Why don’t you show us then how much you “hate” rather than link to a poem. Another armchair warrior.

    Sigh. You seem permanently unable to understand the difference between a warning and a desire.

    Or perhaps you are simply disingenuous.

    • Replies: @Corvinus
    @Peripatetic commenter

    "Sigh. You seem permanently unable to understand the difference between a warning and a desire."

    Warning or desire, the poem clearly states the intent for whites to display their hate in a most violent fashion. So, when this race war begins, will you be front and center or in back of the line?

    "Or perhaps you are simply disingenuous."

    That would be you.

  299. @Peripatetic commenter
    @Corvinus


    Why don’t you show us then how much you “hate” rather than link to a poem. Another armchair warrior.
     
    Sigh. You seem permanently unable to understand the difference between a warning and a desire.

    Or perhaps you are simply disingenuous.

    Replies: @Corvinus

    “Sigh. You seem permanently unable to understand the difference between a warning and a desire.”

    Warning or desire, the poem clearly states the intent for whites to display their hate in a most violent fashion. So, when this race war begins, will you be front and center or in back of the line?

    “Or perhaps you are simply disingenuous.”

    That would be you.

  300. @Opinionator
    @Corvinus

    Answer the question.

    Replies: @Corvinus

    “Answer the question”.

    I did, you just don’t like the response. It is immoral to kill people AND to treat people as slaves. Neither one is “worse”. Both are equally heinous.

    You are desperately trying to make one thing appear to be “less inhumane” than another thing. If you are a Christian, seek forgiveness from the Lord for your utter lack of disregard for human life.

    • Replies: @Opinionator
    @Corvinus

    One act ends human life and cuts off forever the potential future lives of descendants. The other, as it existed in the United States, was reflected in a system that generally provided cradle-to-grave food and shelter, saw slaves wed and have families, and witnessed an extraordinary natural increase in the population.

    Please explain why the former is not more morally blameworthy than the latter.

    Replies: @Corvinus

  301. @Corvinus
    @Opinionator

    "Answer the question".

    I did, you just don't like the response. It is immoral to kill people AND to treat people as slaves. Neither one is "worse". Both are equally heinous.

    You are desperately trying to make one thing appear to be "less inhumane" than another thing. If you are a Christian, seek forgiveness from the Lord for your utter lack of disregard for human life.

    Replies: @Opinionator

    One act ends human life and cuts off forever the potential future lives of descendants. The other, as it existed in the United States, was reflected in a system that generally provided cradle-to-grave food and shelter, saw slaves wed and have families, and witnessed an extraordinary natural increase in the population.

    Please explain why the former is not more morally blameworthy than the latter.

    • Replies: @Corvinus
    @Opinionator

    For a third time, I will beat it into that pointed your pointed head. Killing people and enslaving people are both morally repugnant. They are on the same level of inhumanity.

    Cradle-to-grave fear and terror by masters toward their slaves. Rare opportunities by slaves to enjoy the exact type of freedom as their masters. Perpetually stripped of their worth and dignity were slaves. Finally, their ancestors had been removed by force from their homeland without their consent.

    If you are a Christian, seek forgiveness from the Lord for your utter lack of disregard for human life.

    Replies: @Opinionator

  302. @Opinionator
    @Corvinus

    One act ends human life and cuts off forever the potential future lives of descendants. The other, as it existed in the United States, was reflected in a system that generally provided cradle-to-grave food and shelter, saw slaves wed and have families, and witnessed an extraordinary natural increase in the population.

    Please explain why the former is not more morally blameworthy than the latter.

    Replies: @Corvinus

    For a third time, I will beat it into that pointed your pointed head. Killing people and enslaving people are both morally repugnant. They are on the same level of inhumanity.

    Cradle-to-grave fear and terror by masters toward their slaves. Rare opportunities by slaves to enjoy the exact type of freedom as their masters. Perpetually stripped of their worth and dignity were slaves. Finally, their ancestors had been removed by force from their homeland without their consent.

    If you are a Christian, seek forgiveness from the Lord for your utter lack of disregard for human life.

    • Replies: @Opinionator
    @Corvinus

    What does the Bible say about slavery, Corvinus? What does it say about killing people?

  303. @res
    @Corvinus


    Actually, I am quite serious.
     
    Fair enough. I think it's reasonable to interpret your use of "power to the people" as a humorous way of stating your (serious) point. It was also reasonable to misread my statement as if it was saying you were being insincere.

    Not somewhat moderate, moderate.
     
    Are you the One true Moderate?
    Joking aside (but there is a serious point in the joke), I'm not sure how you define "moderate", but when seeking rigor I tend towards something about seeking a midpoint on the spectrum of commonly held beliefs in one's community (for me meaning the US). My recollection of the views you have owned to explicitly is that they were more a mishmash of somewhat extremes than a collection of midpoints (not to mention the positions you take as part of your persona here). To be fair, I might be being influenced by projection here.

    I am actually a bee in several bonnets.
     
    It would be interesting to see how your arguments in those places compare to those used here. Are you willing to point us to any?

    iSteve has several unique cast of characters
     
    Indeed. That is a good reason.

    I play devil’s advocate, generally do quite well despite your Sherlock Holmes inquisition that I constantly run afoul of fallacies.
     
    You have gotten better (e.g. the ratio of content to strawmen has increased greatly). But I am serious about the false equivalences. It might be funny to pretend the puncher and punchee are equivalent (or more accurately groups doing more/less of the protest punching are equivalent) or that the NYT (and rest of the mass media) and alt-right blogs have comparable impact in the media world, but after a while it just makes you look stupid and/or extremely biased.

    My idea of a good devil's advocate also involves engaging with your opponent's best arguments and acknowledging their strength while arguing against their weakness.

    Your approach seems more akin to the MSM habit of leaving opposing comments which are offensive, inarticulate, weakly argued, etc. up while moderating away the well argued data rich opposition.

    Because it’s called being well versed with opposing sides.
     
    Also fair enough. If you want to be perceived as a moderate it might be better to stay away from their specific lingo since you will either be perceived as agreeing with them or poking fun at them (then again, rereading this that sounds like exactly what you want, so carry on).

    Replies: @Corvinus

    “It would be interesting to see how your arguments in those places compare to those used here. Are you willing to point us to any?”

    My argument style is similar. No thanks.

    “It might be funny to pretend the puncher and punchee are equivalent (or more accurately groups doing more/less of the protest punching are equivalent)…”

    They are equivalent. It depends upon the context.

    “or that the NYT (and rest of the mass media) and alt-right blogs have comparable impact in the media world.

    They do have a similar impact. Both are rooted in confirmation bias and seek to generate a narrative to their wide audiences.

    “Your approach seems more akin to the MSM habit of leaving opposing comments which are offensive, inarticulate, weakly argued, etc. up while moderating away the well argued data rich opposition.”

    When required, I attack that “data rich opposition” with the facts, figures, and quotations.

  304. @Svigor

    You are desperately trying to make one thing appear to be “less inhumane” than another thing. Both are clearly immoral. When you kill someone, you end their “suffering”. When you enslave someone, you put them through continued misery and despair, especially if the “master” ripped a free person from their homeland.
     
    Well, that's The Narrative, anyway. Evidence for it: 0.

    Replies: @Peripatetic commenter

    As we now know, Muslim slavery was more enlightened than Western slavery:

    https://books.google.com/books?id=00ZuXUdx2GgC&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q=XII&f=false

    On the other hand, slaves’ lives were made more bearable by the peculiarities of Muslim social development.

  305. @Captain Tripps
    @Reg Cæsar


    Not that many of those soldiers could vote, but they did write a lot of letters home to those that did.
     
    Yes, but you have to balance that with all the mothers whose views on the war were colored by the death/disfigurement of their sons. Antiwar sentiment was rising in the North; the South had momentum going into the Gettysburg campaign. Lee and Jackson had stopped the Union Army cold at Fredericksburg in December 1862, and had just decisively run them off the field at Chancellorsville in early May 1863, two months before Gettysburg/Vicksburg. Antiwar sentiment peaked two weeks after Gettysburg in the New York City draft riots (it was so bad Lincoln had to divert significant numbers of Federal troops away from pursuing Lee back to Virginia); it subsided after that as strategic momentum decisively shifted to the North, but never really went away. Concurrently, antiwar sentiment began rising in the South until the collapse 18 months later in early 1865.

    Replies: @Reg Cæsar

    Yes, but you have to balance that with all the mothers whose views on the war were colored by the death/disfigurement of their sons.

    Mothers didn’t vote in federal elections anywhere in the US until Wyoming’s statehood in 1890.

    (Except perhaps for widowed mothers in New Jersey, before 1807, whose property was returned to their name. And only for the US House.)

    • Replies: @Captain Tripps
    @Reg Cæsar

    Quite true, but they exercised soft power by bending the ears of their husbands, brothers and fathers who did vote.

  306. @RebelWriter
    @Corvinus

    They did not label an individual as 3/5's of a person, but rather 3/5's of the population as a whole was counted, as they could not vote. The Southern states wanted to count them all, and the North wanted none of them counted, and this was the compromise.

    Replies: @res, @peterike, @Corvinus, @Reg Cæsar

    The Southern states wanted to count them all…

    …which was cheating, pure and simple. Why not include dairy cattle as well? That would have multiplied Vermont’s representation, and greatly countrified New York’s.

  307. @Corvinus
    @Opinionator

    For a third time, I will beat it into that pointed your pointed head. Killing people and enslaving people are both morally repugnant. They are on the same level of inhumanity.

    Cradle-to-grave fear and terror by masters toward their slaves. Rare opportunities by slaves to enjoy the exact type of freedom as their masters. Perpetually stripped of their worth and dignity were slaves. Finally, their ancestors had been removed by force from their homeland without their consent.

    If you are a Christian, seek forgiveness from the Lord for your utter lack of disregard for human life.

    Replies: @Opinionator

    What does the Bible say about slavery, Corvinus? What does it say about killing people?

  308. @Reg Cæsar
    @Captain Tripps


    Yes, but you have to balance that with all the mothers whose views on the war were colored by the death/disfigurement of their sons.
     
    Mothers didn't vote in federal elections anywhere in the US until Wyoming's statehood in 1890.

    (Except perhaps for widowed mothers in New Jersey, before 1807, whose property was returned to their name. And only for the US House.)

    Replies: @Captain Tripps

    Quite true, but they exercised soft power by bending the ears of their husbands, brothers and fathers who did vote.

  309. Quite true, but they exercised soft power by bending the ears of their husbands, brothers and fathers who did vote.

    Swiss women, who got the vote in the ’70s– the 1970s— liked to say, “We vote in bed.”

  310. @PhysicistDave
    @syonredux

    syonredux wrote:


    Treason is always immoral, dear fellow…
     
    The South maintained that the Union was an association similar to today's United Nations.

    Would you call it "treason" if the US withdrew from the UN?

    Please note: I am on the side neither of the Union politicians nor the Confederate politicians; my sympathies are with the slaves and all the men who were maimed or killed. I realize that the Constitution is ambiguous on the basic legal issues.

    But, let's not pretend those legal issues are open and shut. The Constitution is ambiguous -- perhaps intentionally.

    Surely, the "moral" course would have been to try to avoid the American Holocaust.

    Dave

    Replies: @Hibernian

    “Would you call it ‘treason’ if the US withdrew from the UN?”

    I wouldn’t, but you better believe the entire MSM and the rest of the Left would, in unison, and very loudly. It would make Brexit look like a picnic.

  311. @Steve Sailer
    @CAL

    The South's self-embargo on cotton exports to Britain was one of those 19th Century trade policies that are pretty baffling in retrospect.

    Replies: @Hibernian

    Didn’t the blockade runners get around this just as they did with the Federal blockade? I remember reading that the Bahamas were a major transhipment area for Southern cotton.

  312. @Autochthon
    @Massimo Heitor

    Maybe. Lee's decision would almost certainly have hinged entirely on what Virginia qua Virginia did; he would never have lifted a finger against the Commonwealth.

    One thing people today consistently fail to understand, much less appreciate, is that before the war people in the U.S.A., especially in the south, but elsewhere too, very much counted themselves as citezens of their states first and foremost, and as Americans (i.e., citizens of the U.S.A. writ large) as an extremely distant second. One was a Georgian, a Pennsylvanian, etc.

    The mutineering regiment from Maine in The Killer Angels is illustrative: they did not much give a hoot in Hell about "The Union" as such, and their new commanding officer recognised and acknowledged that to actually hang, whip, or otherwise severely punish them would mean his effective exile from Maine.

    There is a reason we no longer have regiments organised according to their states of origin....

    Replies: @Hibernian

    “There is a reason we no longer have regiments organised according to their states of origin….”

    You’re forgetting the National Guard.

    • Replies: @Autochthon
    @Hibernian

    No; I'm all too aware of those guys, having had to occassionally work with them whilst on active duty. That's all I'll say about their importance to major conflicts and any threat they pose to the unified regular (federal) forces in the event of divided loyalties. Draw your own conclusions.

  313. @johnmark7
    @Erik L

    In the early days of TV, they used to have such kind of shows where eggheads would discuss topics like this.

    Early TV needed content badly and turned to Broadway-like drama for teleplays (Rod Serling, Paddy Chayevski et al) intellectual game shows (The "rigged" $64,000 Question), and talking egghead panels among all the other dreck it offered.

    People were smarter (and better informed) about culture then. Anyone with a high school education knew who Hemingway and Robert Frost were, even if they were future gear heads in auto shop.

    Movies for the hoi polloi assumed a much higher level of common cultural markers that could be alluded to.

    Replies: @Hibernian

    “Anyone with a high school education knew who Hemingway and Robert Frost were, even if they were future gear heads in auto shop.

    Possibly a slight exaggeration, but what do I know, since my own high school dayys were about 10-15 years in the future.

  314. @Hibernian
    @Autochthon

    "There is a reason we no longer have regiments organised according to their states of origin…."

    You're forgetting the National Guard.

    Replies: @Autochthon

    No; I’m all too aware of those guys, having had to occassionally work with them whilst on active duty. That’s all I’ll say about their importance to major conflicts and any threat they pose to the unified regular (federal) forces in the event of divided loyalties. Draw your own conclusions.

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