The Confederate Leviathan

|

confederate conscription

Last night I was dining with an acquaintance who hails from the North and who is an amateur historian specializing in the Grand Army of the Republic. My acquaintance is often asked to lecture on the GAR at Civil War meetings and reenactments. He claimed that most Civil War buffs are chiefly focused on Confederate armies and interest in Union armies is minimal. 

We got to talking about the Confederate battle flag and what is symbolizes today. Some people wave it around as a symbol of states rights, which I take to refer to the rights and political powers that individual states possess in relation to the federal government. Supporters of the states rights doctrine aim to restrict the growing powers of the federal government and the often unstated implication is that states are better guarantors of individual rights than is the federal government.

As our discussion continued, my dinner companion asked, "Did you know that the Confedaracy introduced conscription well before the Union did?" I admitted that I did not know that. We kept talking about various violations of liberty–other than the horrific atrocity of slavery– pioneered by the Confederacy. For a quick summary, my companion directed my attention to the blog Civil War Memory run by local historian Kevin Levin. In a recent post, Levin asks, 

… is the record of the Confederacy one of limited government and respect for individual rights?

The answer is, no. As evidence, Levin lists the following Confederate violations of liberty: 

  • Conscription (before the United States)
  • Tax-In-Kind
  • Tariff (higher than the 10 to 15 percent rate proposed by Hamilton in his Report on Manufacturers (1791)
  • Confederate National Investment in Railroads (amounting to 2.5 million in loans, $150,000 advanced, and 1.12 million appropriated)
  • Confederate Quartermasters leveled price controls on private mills and were later authorized to impress whatever supplies they needed.
  • Government ownership of key industries
  • Government regulation of commerce
  • Suspension of habeas corpus (According to historian, Mark Neely, 4,108 civilians were held by military authorities)

So, to repeat Levin's question to would-be defenders of states rights: Are you sure that you're waving the right flag?&tag=reasonmagazinea-20#160;

Addendum: Take a look at the 2004 Reason column "Wrong Song of the South: The dangerous fallacies of Confederate multiculturalism" by David Beito and Charles Nuckolls. They correctly conclude:

If the Confederate multiculturalists believe in liberty, as many of them assert, they will stop waving the Confederate Battle Flag, abandon the cause of a nation state that championed an unforgivable violation of inalienable rights, and embrace the rich American heritage of individualism.

Disclosure: I was born in Texas and grew up in the Appalachian mountains of Virginia. 

NEXT: I Left My Soda Tax in San Francisco

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. The Confederacy was, initially, all about States’ Rights, but lost sight of it very quickly. Personally, I think those folks should be waving the Bonnie Blue Flag, since it was a flag used with the original intent of freedom and hasn’t been co-opted by racist elements in society.

    Yet, anyways.

  2. LibertyMike appearing and defending the Cause in 3, 2, 1…

  3. The answer is, no.

    Surprised the question even needed to be asked. The South’s political leanings in my entire lifetime have been one of spending and subsidies. They’ve been solidly Democrat-And-Bush: government spending and sabre-rattling to the hilt. Some things never change.

  4. There were some staunch states’ rights politicians throughout the CSA’s existence, most notably the Confederate VP, Alexander Stephens.

  5. I hear the Confederacy was a government.

  6. As a native Alabamian, I’ve always interpreted the term “states’ rights” – as it applies to the Civil War – as a state has a right to leave a union which it enters voluntarily.

    For the Confederacy, the outcome of the war was all or nothing. I’m not surprised to find that some civil liberties were violated as the country struggled for its life.

    For me, the flag of the Confederacy represents a group of states that attempted to leave the union and were violently reconquered. States join the union voluntary, they should be allowed to leave the union voluntary.

    Before anyone else mentions it, of course I think slavery is evil and I’m not a racist.

  7. Sorry, Tom, but the BBF has indeed been coopted by neoconfederates and sympathizers as a stealth way of recognizing friendlies.

    Pretty much, we’re going to have to develop our own iconography, as opposed to recycling historical icons, to avoid even the hint of racist baggage. And probably do some serious IP work to keep this from being coopted by racists, or worse used in false flag ops by Acorn et als.

    And yes, it’s a shame about the Gadsden flag, but that too has been tainted.

  8. ” Supporters of the states rights doctrine aim to restrict the growing powers of the federal government”

    How’s that working out?

  9. The Confederacy was created to defend slavery and all the economic, lifestyle, political, cultural, etc. habits, etc. associated with slavery. End of story.

  10. Not to defend the Confederacy whatsoever, but you do have to understand the CSA was fighting for its survival for the duration of its existence. All else being equal, a polity conceived in the midst of such a war is going to have a different nature than one conceived during a time of peace.

  11. Seward, if that’s the case, why were 4 slave states (Missouri, Kentucky, Maryland, Delaware) fighting on the Union side?

  12. And yes, it’s a shame about the Gadsden flag, but that too has been tainted.

    Urkobold in 3, 2, 1…

    You know what? Taint or no, i’m still rolling one wide under the Gadsden flag. Fuck states’ rights, yo. Individual rights, motherfucker.

  13. “For me, the flag of the Confederacy represents a group of states that attempted to leave the union and were violently reconquered. States join the union voluntary, they should be allowed to leave the union voluntary.”

    Of course if they had been allowed to leave, the South would have continued to be a slave holding hell hole rather than the great place it is today. Every Southerner owes the GAR a large debt for saving them from themselves.

    “He claimed that most Civil War buffs are chiefly focused on Confederate armies and interest in Union armies is minimal.”

    Hanibol, Napoleon, Rommel, Robert E.Lee… When it comes to generals history loves a loser.

  14. “Did you know that the Confedaracy introduced conscription well before the Union did?”

    Yeah, it was also referred to as Slavery.

  15. Hanibol? What about Julius Seizure?

  16. RB is shilling for Big Union.

  17. Tariff (higher than the 10 to 15 percent rate proposed by Hamilton in his Report on Manufacturers (1791)

    But were the tariffs non-uniform? Because that would have been unconstitutional:

    …nor shall any duties or taxes on importations from foreign nations be laid to promote or foster any branch of industry…

    Tariffs qua tariffs are an issue of tax efficiency. Only differential tariffs are illiberal.

  18. Of course if they had been allowed to leave, the South would have continued to be a slave holding hell hole rather than the great place it is today. Every Southerner owes the GAR a large debt for saving them from themselves.

    I swear, you are like bizarro Joe sometimes. Seems that every other nation managed to end slavery peacefully, but those backwards Southerners needed to be murdered by the righteous Northerners to see the light. I expect nothing less from someone who admires the murderous traitor Abraham Lincoln, whose main contribution was to end the Constitution and make way for the unitary Executive.

  19. You know what? Taint or no, i’m still rolling one wide under the Gadsden flag. Fuck states’ rights, yo. Individual rights, motherfucker.

    Keep it real, X. Smallest minority, etc.

  20. The stars and stripes is used by racists too. Why is that still an acceptable symbol for decent people to use?

    And this:

    Xeones | September 18, 2009, 2:15pm | #

    “Fuck states’ rights, yo. Individual rights, motherfucker.”

  21. As young teenagers, we waved the rebel flag to signify rebellion against authority, not pro-slavery. Once it was used against in protest of civil rights marches, not so much.

  22. “Seems that every other nation managed to end slavery peacefully, but those backwards Southerners needed to be murdered by the righteous Northerners to see the light. I expect nothing less from someone who admires the murderous traitor Abraham Lincoln, whose main contribution was to end the Constitution and make way for the unitary Executive.”

    Every nation? Really? I think the Hatians might disagree with you on that. And it is easy for you to sit here free and rich and say that the Southern slaves should have remained in bondage for just a generation or two more so we could avoid a unitary exectutive.

    Slavery was the most horrible immoral instutition this country has ever had. Had the Southernerns not been slave holders, there wouldn’t have been a civil war. It is their fault. Further, had Southerners accepted the result of the war and not instituted Jim Crow, we wouldn’t have needed a civil rights movement and all of the expansion of federal power that entailed.

    I blame the South and their refusal to give up state sponsored racism for most of the problems we have today.

  23. Every nation? Really? I think the Hatians might disagree with you on that.

    Don’t forget the Ethiopians. They had slavery until Italy, under Mussolini, banned it after invading.

    Plus most the rest of Africa and much of Asia.

  24. Tariffs qua tariffs are an issue of tax efficiency. Only differential tariffs are illiberal.

    Okay, I take that back. Tariffs are illiberal as a matter of course. Every tariff is a differential tariff compared to domestic production that does not suffer the tariff.

  25. “Southerners needed to be murdered by the righteous Northerners to see the light.”

    I come from Kansas, were Southern terrorists came accross the border and tried to force slavery in by force. The Southerners were violent and imperialistic as hell. They didn’t want to be a wayward sister who went her way. They wanted to spread slavery throughout the west and conquer Latin America. The antebellum South were a bunch of assholes. And they are completely different and removed from the South today. I will never understand why people defend them so much.

  26. John | September 18, 2009, 2:15pm | #
    “For me, the flag of the Confederacy represents a group of states that attempted to leave the union and were violently reconquered. States join the union voluntary, they should be allowed to leave the union voluntary.”

    Of course if they had been allowed to leave, the South would have continued to be a slave holding hell hole rather than the great place it is today. Every Southerner owes the GAR a large debt for saving them from themselves.

    Is this sarcasm, or do you really think there would still be slaves today?

  27. I know more about the 30 Years War than the Civil War, so don’t expect me to know anything about the political situation in the south versus the north. I’d just like to point out that symbols change over time. Nobody would wave a flag with a swastika these days to profess good luck and happiness, and by the same token people who wave the Confederate battle flag (I do know enough to recognize that the original Confederate flag is different) may simply honestly think they are showing their support for greater state rights.

  28. And it is easy for you to sit here free and rich and say that the Southern slaves should have remained in bondage for just a generation or two more so we could avoid a unitary exectutive.

    So the unitary executive and everything it brings is ok with you? The civil war was to prevent states rights, it had nothing to do with slavery. Lincoln would have enshrined it in the Constitution if he could have.

    As Lincoln wrote to Horace Greeley on Aug. 22, 1862: “My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and it is not either to save or destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave, I would do it”

    Lincoln’s objection was to the loss of tax revenue, not slavery. Sorry to have to tell you the truth about your hero. If it makes you feel better, if he were alive today, he’d be in favor of a missile defense shield.

    Slavery was the most horrible immoral instutition this country has ever had. Had the Southernerns not been slave holders, there wouldn’t have been a civil war. It is their fault. Further, had Southerners accepted the result of the war and not instituted Jim Crow, we wouldn’t have needed a civil rights movement and all of the expansion of federal power that entailed.

    So if the Southerners never threatened to leave, and Lincoln enshrined slavery in the Constiution like he wanted to, where would we be?

    I blame the South and their refusal to give up state sponsored racism for most of the problems we have today.

    I blame public school for producing legions of Lincoln worshippers.

  29. Slavery in the traditional sense does still exist today in some pockets in the Sahel of Africa. And that’s not counting the theft and conscription of boys into the various fighting forces over there, or sexual slavery (like with the help of ACORN) that occurs throughout the world to some degree.

  30. Defending the Confederacy is like defending Sarah Palin (with the caveat that Palin of course has never done anything remotely as awful as some of the things the CSA did) — the demonizations are so cartoonish and hateful that you find yourself arguing against them just on the general principle of truthfulness

  31. “Is this sarcasm, or do you really think there would still be slaves today?”

    No, there wouldn’t be. But chances are very good slavery would have ended badly for them. The Southern economic system was awful. A few millionaires owned everything and everyone else white or black was screwed. They didn’t call the Civil War a “rich man’s war and a poor man’s fight” in the South for nothing. The price of slaves in the 1850s was higher than it ever was. People were starting to use slaves in industrial production. States like Virginia exported more slaves to other states than they did crops.

    How would that of all ended? I can’t imagine a western country in the 20th century owning slaves. But I can’t imagine the South giving them up either. So there either would have been a successful revolt and the place would have ended up like Haiti. Or the whole world would have refused to trade with the South and the CSA would have ended up like South Africa. Either way, the South we have today is a lot better.

  32. Institution of slavery = bad.
    Lincoln = bad.

    OK?

  33. Seward, if that’s the case, why were 4 slave states (Missouri, Kentucky, Maryland, Delaware) fighting on the Union side?

    Missouri’s a poor case since the legislature voted articles of secession but were unable to enforce them due to some shenanigans of an anti-slavery faction of urban businessmen. Before anyone could get reorganized the Feds had occupied the state and installed an anti slavery legislature.

    In Delaware slavery was pretty much a dead issue. There were hardly any slaves left in the stae IIANM. Also, barely a hundred men from DE volunteered to fight for the south while thousands did so from the othe border states, including whole batallions raised and financed by local governments.

    Lincoln would have enshrined it in the Constitution if he could have.

    [citation needed]

    There are a number of letters that show that Lincoln was a far more radical abolitionist in the late 1850s than was previously believed. He soft-pedalled his radicalism in public speeches and debates but made no secret of it in communications with other Radical Republicans.

    Anything he wrote to Greeley, or anyone else, suggesting moderation was basically a lie. But he could never have gotten elected without those lies.

  34. “As Lincoln wrote to Horace Greeley on Aug. 22, 1862: “My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and it is not either to save or destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave, I would do it”

    You can read that letter two ways. Either Lincoln was telling the truth and wasn’t really an abolotionist or he was lying for political purposes and was an abolitionist. Either way, the South looks terrible. If Lincoln really had no intention of ending slavery, then why did the South go crazy and start shooting? Why did the South feel so threatened that they had to murder thousands of people in Kansas and eventually rebell if as you say Lincoln intended to enshrined in the Constitution as you say? If you are right, then the South were a bunch of lunatics who over reacted and started shooting over a threat that wasn’t really there.

    If Lincoln was lying, then he didn’t intend to enshrine slavery into the Constiution and you don’t have an argument. Regardless, Lincoln never would have been President and we wouldn’t be debating this if the South had like the North given up Slavery.

    Furhter, when the war was over, Lincoln was dead. It wasn’t Lincoln’s fault that the South refused to accept the result of the war and instituted Jim Crow. We could not have a country where 1/3 of it treats blacks as less than citizens. Something had to be done. And the South refused to do it. So as a result, we got the civil rights acts and all that expansion of federal power because those fucking racist assholes couldn’t treat black people as full human beings. Thanks a lot.

    “the demonizations are so cartoonish and hateful that you find yourself arguing against them just on the general principle of truthfulness”

    What exactly do you find cartoonish and hateful about objecting to the enslavement of an entire race of people? There were millions of people who lived and died in bondage in the South. They were sold like animals and separated from their families. They started working from the time they were five. They could never live where they wanted to live, marry who they wanted to marry or see their children grow up. It was an unimaginable nightmare. And we are still feeling the effects of it today. How exactly is pointing that out hatful and cartoonish?

  35. The reason slaves were worth more than ever in 1850 is because at this point, it had been illegal to import slaves from another country for 40 years. Not because of a sudden spike in demand.

    I’m not trying to defend the old south, but when people just put up ridiculous caricatures as argument, it just makes me want to argue back. Personally, I’m from Texas, and here we don’t really think about ourselves as “southerners” but as “Texans.” The lion share of the population of Texas is primarily either born in another state or another country within the previous generation or two. Demographically, the state today is completely different from what it was even fifty years ago, let alone 150. 80% of our population is urban, too. Not rural. So we’re also culturally different. Right now, Texas has the best economy in the country. Perhaps people should re-evaluate their image of Texas that they have in their minds.

  36. For what it’s worth, I belong to the Lincoln should have allowed a negotiated secession school. Then a later president and Congress would have have to deal with readmitting the filed states once the collapsed.

    It is also not beyond the realm of possibility that some of the collapses would have come about through slave rebellions which may have been proportionally more bloody and destructive than the Civil War itself.

    The fact is that the Confederacy would have found itself at war with someone eventually.

    Either 1) Due to a slave rebellion which they would have blamed on northern abolitionists.

    2) A war with the north over territorial expansion to the west.

    or 3) A war with Mexico (which depending on how the north and European powers reacted, might have been the bloodiest of all) as it tried to expand into latin America.

  37. “What exactly do you find cartoonish and hateful about objecting to the enslavement of an entire race of people? There were millions of people who lived and died in bondage in the South. They were sold like animals and separated from their families. They started working from the time they were five. They could never live where they wanted to live, marry who they wanted to marry or see their children grow up. It was an unimaginable nightmare. And we are still feeling the effects of it today. How exactly is pointing that out hatful and cartoonish?”

    What’s cartoonish is the fact that you equate all of this with the south, but pretend that the North was this non-racist Utopia. The vast majority of northerners didn’t care about slavery. REAL racism evolved in the North as many saw Blacks as labor competition.

    The vast majority of people who fought on the Union side were forced to fight. Remember the draft riots in New York? The war in the North was the epitome of a “rich man’s war, but a poor man’s fight.” Why do you pretend that the South was evil and the North “saved” them from themselves? The North didn’t care about anything except money and nationalism.

  38. tkwelge,

    I love the South. I lived in Texas for years and Atlanta for over a year. I would move back to either place in a minute. But as you rightly point out, Atlanta today is about as far away from the Atlanta that Sherman burned as Rome is to what it was under the Ceasers. It is a totally different place with different people.

    It bugs me how people downplay the horrible nature of slavery. I am sorry but evil associated with the bondage of 1/3rd of the population is a lot greater than losing states rights. I wish the civil war hadn’t happened. But if it not happening had to mean slavery for another God knows how many years, I will take what we have.

  39. “What’s cartoonish is the fact that you equate all of this with the south, but pretend that the North was this non-racist Utopia. The vast majority of northerners didn’t care about slavery. REAL racism evolved in the North as many saw Blacks as labor competition.”

    I never said anything about the North. You just think I did. Sure the north was racist. But, they were not slave owners. And it wasn’t them who were fighting to keep slaves. Just because the North was not without sin, doesn’t in anyway justify slavery or make the elimination of it anything but a good result.

  40. “Why do you pretend that the South was evil and the North “saved” them from themselves? The North didn’t care about anything except money and nationalism.”

    The letters and books written by the people who fought it say otherwise. Further, I don’t care what evils you can pin on the North. Those evils don’t in anyway relieve the South for the responsibility for slavery and are in now way equal to the evil that was slavery.

    To put it in another context, just because the British were fighting to save their empire, doesn’t make the Germans anything other than what they were.

  41. You can read that letter two ways. Either Lincoln was telling the truth and wasn’t really an abolotionist or he was lying for political purposes and was an abolitionist.

    Lincoln apologists will go to no end to defend their guy. What about these speeches then:

    Lincoln’s Cooper Union Speech: “As those fathers marked it, so let it be again marked, as an evil not to be extended, but to be tolerated and protected only because of and so far as its actual presence among us makes that toleration and protection a necessity. Let all the guarantees those fathers gave it, be, not grudgingly, but fully and fairly, maintained.”

    Lincoln’s first inaugural address: “I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so.”

    Secretary of State William Seward: “the motive of those who protested against the extension of slavery had always really been concern for the welfare of the white man, and not an unnatural sympathy for the Negro.”

    This was Lincoln’s promise that Northern whites wouldn’t have to compete against slave labor.

    Lincoln’s debate with Stephen Douglas: “I, as well as Judge Douglas, am in favor of the race to which I belong having the superior position.”

    And so on.

    We could not have a country where 1/3 of it treats blacks as less than citizens. Something had to be done. And the South refused to do it.

    That is only true if you believe that slavery would never have ended otherwise. Just FYI, the US is the only country that has associated violence with the end of slavery. Besides, we weren’t going to have that type of country. 1/3 were going to leave, nothing needed to be done except follow the US Constitution and let them secede.

  42. The Confederacy was created to defend slavery and all the economic, lifestyle, political, cultural, etc. habits, etc. associated with slavery. End of story.

    Seward, I’m sorry that the educational system has failed you so that you don’t understand the real cause of the US Civil War.

    The CSA was formed to protect the rights of the states against the federal government. Yes, slavery was one of those “rights,” but equally as importand were duties and tariffs which effectively forced southern cotton growers to sell to the mills of the industrialized north instead of the mills of England and France, and laid heavy duties on imported goods from England and France.

    The North was industrialized and had transport infrastructure in the form of railroads and canals, the south was agrarian and most transport infrastructure was natural (rivers).

    If the USA was so intent on ending slavery, why did it take President Lincoln from Dec 1860 (SC secession, Fort Sumter) to Sep 1862 to issue the Emancipation Proclamation?

    DISCLAIMER (that I shouldn’t have to give, but do out of an abundance of caution): I’m not a confederate sympathizer; slavery has always been a bad thing.

    Zee: THanks for noticing my “taint.”

  43. “That is only true if you believe that slavery would never have ended otherwise. Just FYI, the US is the only country that has associated violence with the end of slavery. Besides, we weren’t going to have that type of country. 1/3 were going to leave, nothing needed to be done except follow the US Constitution and let them secede.”

    I wasn’t talking about Slavery. I was talking about Jim Crow. Also, all of your evidence that Lincoln wasn’t really an abolotionist, as I pointed out above, just make the South look that much worse. If Lincoln never intended to end slavery, why did they go crazy and start shooting?

    Further, as Isaac Bartram pointed out above, it is very unlikely the North and the South would have remained at peace had the South left. It is also very unlikly that things would have turned out well for the South. Again, the South is lucky they lost the war.

  44. Tonio,

    Even if you buy the “the civil war was all about tarrifs” argument, which I don’t, how do you explain the South’s agreesiveness towards the western territories? If it was all about tarriffs, why did the South care so much that Kansas and the other Western Territories become slave states?

  45. “To put it in another context, just because the British were fighting to save their empire, doesn’t make the Germans anything other than what they were.”

    It was the Germans who invaded the Brits. So in your analogy, the North would be the Germans. It’s a little early to be that drunk….

    Also, I’m sorry, but I wasn’t trying to “defend” the South. I was simply stating that any admiration for the North over the South is unfounded. Many in the North, probably most, if their rights to dissent weren’t stripped away by the government during the war especially, didn’t give a damn about slavery. This was not a war to end slavery at all. Of course your “books” probably say something different. I’m sorry, but in an internet debate, you can’t simply reference “books.” Doesn’t work that way.

  46. Slavery would have ended on its own within a generation after the invention of the Cotton Gin. Prior to this, the seeds had to be removed from the cotton bolls by hand, a very labor-intensive process that kept the slaves busy for months after the cotton was harvested. With the Cotton Gin the entire crop could be processed in a matter or weeks, not months.

    All hail Eli Whitney, who unintentionally made slavery economically unfeasible.

    And talk about a failure in nation-building, Lincoln had no plan whatsoever for educating the newly-freed slaves and integrating them into American society. A greater evil ended, a smaller evil created.

    1. Tonio,

      “Slavery would have ended on its own within a generation after the invention of the Cotton Gin. ”

      While this seems to be logical to me, the third paragraph of this article credited the invention of the cotton gin with an increase in demand for cotton, and thus slaves.

      I found this article several months ago when I was trying to answer for myself whether or not the Civil War was fought over slavery or states’ rights. Of course the answer is both, but the slave trade at about the time of the beginning of the civil war was worth about $10 trillion in 2011 dollars. The pressure on the south to protect this vast amount of wealth is most likely (in my mind) the main reason behind the civil war.

      1. Shit, just realized that this post is 5 years old. I’ll just leave now.

  47. “I never said anything about the North. You just think I did. Sure the north was racist. But, they were not slave owners. And it wasn’t them who were fighting to keep slaves. Just because the North was not without sin, doesn’t in anyway justify slavery or make the elimination of it anything but a good result.”

    And I’m not defending the South or slavery. My point is that two wrongs don’t make a right. Everybody acting like jackasses doesn’t fix the problem of one person acting like a jackass.

  48. tkwelge,

    I would point you to Bruce Catton’s trilogy on the War. Catton is the Northern version of Shelby Foote. He gives a very even handed account of the North and why it fought. To charactarize the Northern cause as a bunch of racist workers drafted into bondage by greedy evil industrialists is just rediculous and committing the same sin of cartoonish criticism you accuse other people of doing.

    It shocks the transnationalist mind, but some people really did love the country and wanted to keep it together. Also, a lot of people did sincerly object to slavery. The abolitionist movement was a big deal because a lot of people agreed with it. The South didn’t feel so threatened and go crazy and start shooting because everyone in the North thought slavery was just a-ok.

    Lastly, you shouldn’t forget Dred Scott. The Dred Scott case ruled that a slave state citizen could take his slave to a free state and that slave remained a slave. That meant universal slavery. If I live in Maryland and can take my slave and have him work on my farm accross the border in Pennsylvania and he remains a slave in Pennsylvania, how is Pennsylvania in anyway a free state? Northerners did care about slavery and that is why Dred Scott did a lot to cause the war.

  49. “Everybody acting like jackasses doesn’t fix the problem of one person acting like a jackass.”

    Sure, just let a few million people live in slavery for a few more generations. That sounds like a much better plan.

  50. “It bugs me how people downplay the horrible nature of slavery. I am sorry but evil associated with the bondage of 1/3rd of the population is a lot greater than losing states rights. I wish the civil war hadn’t happened. But if it not happening had to mean slavery for another God knows how many years, I will take what we have.”

    However, it could be argued that like the cultural and social ramifications of the Iraq war are going to alter Iraq for generations to come, the South inherited severe social pressures as a result of the destruction to the South during the war. The conditions of occupation were also harsh enough to make the situation even worse. It’s no wonder the South considered themselves the victims of a war of Northern aggression of generations after the war. The war was big cause of the southern racism that existed for more than a century after the war. Slavery did continue to exist anyway under the sharecropping system. Pretty much the same thing. Many would argue that economic slavery for blacks basically continued until certain technological breakthroughs made slavery less profitable. The need for armies of black “slaves” probably didn’t end until the 1950’s when machines completely replaced them on many farms. This “slavery” of blacks sure wasn’t true slavery, but there were cultural and social institutions (even government institutions) that kept blacks de facto slaves.

  51. Also, all of your evidence that Lincoln wasn’t really an abolotionist, as I pointed out above, just make the South look that much worse. If Lincoln never intended to end slavery, why did they go crazy and start shooting?

    For the 10 millionth time: It was about states rights, NOT SLAVERY.

    Further, as Isaac Bartram pointed out above, it is very unlikely the North and the South would have remained at peace had the South left. It is also very unlikly that things would have turned out well for the South. Again, the South is lucky they lost the war.

    There’s nothing to say when someone can rationalize the acts of a war criminal, shredding the constitution, and murdering fellow citizens, while willfully ignoring that the North wasn’t this pristine all-welcoming place for blacks.

  52. Lincoln would have enshrined it in the Constitution if he could have.

    [citation needed]

    In his first inaugural address, Lincoln said: “I understand a proposed amendment to the Constitution-which amendment, however, I have not seen-has passed Congress, to the effect that the Federal Government shall never interfere with the domestic institutions of the States, including that of persons held to service. To avoid misconstruction of what I have said, I depart from my purpose not to speak of particular amendments so far as to say that, holding such a provision to now be implied constitutional law, I have no objection to its being made express and irrevocable.”

    This means he was perfectly willing to see an amendment enshrining slavery in the constitution, but it’s a bit of an exaggeration to say that he had a positive intention to enshrine it.

  53. John, John, John…

    how do you explain the South’s agreesiveness towards the western territories? If it was all about tarriffs, why did the South care so much that Kansas and the other Western Territories become slave states?

    Very easily, thank you. The Slave States had a huge economic and political interest in ensuring that any newly-admitted states were “slave states” to preserve the balance of power in the US Senate. Slaves states were more likely to vote against abolition than non-slave states.

    And I never said it was ALL about tariffs. Again, and please read for comprehension this time:

    The CSA was formed to protect the rights of the states against the federal government. Yes, slavery was one of those “rights,” but equally as important were duties and tariffs.

    See, it all reduces to economics…

  54. Tonio, while I too believe that slavery would have probably died out on its own in a few more generations, it has nothing to do with the cotten gin, which was invented in 1793. In fact it was the invention of the cotton gin that made cotten growing incrediably profitable and expanded the need for slaves as farmhands to pick more cotten and tend larger fields.

  55. “Sure, just let a few million people live in slavery for a few more generations. That sounds like a much better plan.”

    They did live in slavery for a few more generations. And the people who cared about slavery in the North only cared for economic reasons. They wanted slavery to remain in the South so that they could reap the benefit of some cheap goods, but they wanted the North to remain slave free to protect their labor. They sure didn’t want Blacks living as their neighbors or co workers.

  56. Sorry to break up this North-South pissing match (which has actually been pretty good reading), but back on the subject of co-opted symbols:

    The Gadsden (and the First Navy Jack) has been used frequently at US national team soccer matches (men’s team) by the largest organized supporters’ groups. It’s also been used at the club level quite a bit, especially in Columbus, whose colors are yellow and black. No one has accused the broader US soccer community of being racists that I’ve heard of.

    Also, the rattlesnake and “Don’t Tread On Me” have been used by USSF and Nike (especially for the 2006 World Cup) in a series of marketing campaigns and apparel for the team. They’ve actually done a pretty damn good job for the most part. So if Nike has engaged in using something that has been construed by some as having a racist tinge, they must not be worried too much, and the actual co-option by actual racists is probably vastly overstated.

    Cue sneering comments about how soccer isn’t important enough to warrant such consideration…

  57. If Lincoln never intended to end slavery, why did they go crazy and start shooting?

    Who’s “they”? The Southerners? Two possibilities come to mind: (1) because they thought Lincoln was lying when he said he had no interest in abolishing slavery in the states; or (2) because they thought that, even if Lincoln was telling the truth when he said that all he wanted to do was exclude slavery from the territories, that would eventually result in the end of slavery in the states.

  58. Oh, and John, since I answered your question, please answer mine:

    If the USA was so intent on ending slavery, why did it take President Lincoln from Dec 1860 (SC secession, Fort Sumter) to Sep 1862 to issue the Emancipation Proclamation?

  59. The cotton gin’s invention (in 1794, by the way) is generally recognized as having expanded slavery, not shrank it, due to more land being dedicated to cotton cultivation.

  60. “The war was big cause of the southern racism that existed for more than a century after the war.”

    So the slaveholding white supremicist South wasn’t racist until after the war? The big cause of the racism that existed in the South for a hundred years after the war because the South was racist.

    Slavery did continue to exist anyway under the sharecropping system. Pretty much the same thing. Many would argue that economic slavery for blacks basically continued until certain technological breakthroughs made slavery less profitable. The need for armies of black “slaves” probably didn’t end until the 1950’s when machines completely replaced them on many farms. This “slavery” of blacks sure wasn’t true slavery, but there were cultural and social institutions (even government institutions) that kept blacks de facto slaves.”

    One of the reasons why blacks ended up in such bad shape was because Reconstruction ended. Why did reconstruction end? Because the South insisted on it as a condition of ending the 1876 election deadlock. Why was reconstruction so harsh? Because the Southerners launched a guirilla war and refused to accept that they lost the war. And they continued to terrorize and oppress black people. They have no one to blame but themselves for the occupation.

    The North was racist, but it never ended slavery on its own and never had Jim Crow. The fact that the South didnt’ do the same is the South’s fault not the North.

    It amazes me how many defenders and excuse makers for Southern racism and slavery you find on a libertarian web site.

  61. My point is that even after slavery “ended,” conditions in the South actually became culturally worse for blacks and whites. The South was a tumultuous place populated by disenfranchised and marginalized people living under occupation after the war. You’re basically giving the thumbs up to war on moralistic grounds (even if the war is fought for less than moral reasons in a less than moral way). I wonder if you are a big Iraq war supporter… (I’m also not defending Saddam’s Iraq, which was also a bad place.)

  62. “The Southerners? Two possibilities come to mind: (1) because they thought Lincoln was lying when he said he had no interest in abolishing slavery in the states; or (2) because they thought that, even if Lincoln was telling the truth when he said that all he wanted to do was exclude slavery from the territories, that would eventually result in the end of slavery in the states.”

    That is exactly correct. It was a mixture of both. The idea that the war for the South was about anything noble like states rights and not about defending slavery is complete revisionist horseshit.

  63. Sure the north was racist. But, they were not slave owners. And it wasn’t them who were fighting to keep slaves.

    Bull. Shit. Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, Pennsylvania, and Illinois were all once slave states. In fact, NYC was a huge trading center for slaves that entered through New York, Providence, and Boston harbors. Don’t look for this in public school textbooks.

  64. “They have no one to blame but themselves for the occupation.”

    Even the people who never owned slaves? Once again, change “the south” to “Iraq” in a few of John’s comments and he sounds like the biggest neo con ever. I’m actually loving this. John, nobody here is defending slavery, we’re just pointing out that it’s not that black and white. Nothing ever is.

  65. tkwelge,

    It is very easy for you to say that things were worse for blacks in the south post slavery. I doubt many of the people who were actually slaves would agree with you. And yes, I think ending slavery is a positive moral justification for a war.

  66. It was the Germans who invaded the Brits.

    I don’t think that happened any time later than the 5th century (and we generally call those invaders the “Anglo-Saxons” rather than Germans).

  67. “Even the people who never owned slaves? Once again, change “the south” to “Iraq” in a few of John’s comments and he sounds like the biggest neo con ever. I’m actually loving this. John, nobody here is defending slavery, we’re just pointing out that it’s not that black and white. Nothing ever is.”

    You are not defending slavery. You are just saying that ending it was not worth fighting a war over, which is pretty rich comeing from a white person living in the freest and richest country in history. I defy you to find a black person who thinks that states rights are more important than ending slavery and that the North was somehow just as evil as the South for ending it. The whole argument is just gross.

  68. Timon, all I can say is that your soccer team and Nike have either been incredibly lucky, or somehow gotten a pass, on the use of the Gadsden flag. Or maybe that those who see racism in everything don’t follow sports.

    Sure, the Gadsden flag is not as universally associated with racism as is the dixie cross. But the feds also have the GF flagged (pun!) as a marker for domestic terrorists. That’s why I suggested completely new iconography.

  69. There are a number of letters that show that Lincoln was a far more radical abolitionist in the late 1850s than was previously believed. He soft-pedalled his radicalism in public speeches and debates but made no secret of it in communications with other Radical Republicans.

    I don’t think that Radical Republicans such as Salmon P. Chase really thought Lincoln was one of them. They supported him once he got the nomination, but only because they had to to beat Breckinridge and Douglas.

  70. Slavery is evil and all. But damn, we can’t lose our states rights over ending it or have any white people suffer. Jesus, no wonder black people don’t trust libertarians.

  71. “I don’t think that happened any time later than the 5th century (and we generally call those invaders the “Anglo-Saxons” rather than Germans).”

    I was referring to a bad WW2 analogy that was made above. It was the Germans who were the aggressors against the UK in WW2. Equating the Nazis with the South of the US was stupid, because the North invaded the South, not the other way around.

  72. “I don’t think that Radical Republicans such as Salmon P. Chase really thought Lincoln was one of them. They supported him once he got the nomination, but only because they had to to beat Breckinridge and Douglas.”

    I think you are right about that. Of course they destroyed Johnson once he wouldn’t go along with the program.

  73. The cotton gin’s invention (in 1794, by the way) is generally recognized as having expanded slavery, not shrank it, due to more land being dedicated to cotton cultivation.

    Sir, I stand corrected. Should have left this out of my earlier posts as it was both wrong, and only tangential to my greater argument.

    “Not so bad once you get past the feathers…”

  74. “You are not defending slavery. You are just saying that ending it was not worth fighting a war over, which is pretty rich comeing from a white person living in the freest and richest country in history. I defy you to find a black person who thinks that states rights are more important than ending slavery and that the North was somehow just as evil as the South for ending it. The whole argument is just gross.”

    Well, it would have been different if the North actually fought a truly righteous war in the defense of freedom for Blacks without turning their own country into an all powerful war state. I’m not saying that slavery isn’t worth fighting for, but i believe in individual action, not massive immorally fought wars. The ends never morally justify the means. If I could flip a switch and make all the slavery and problems that exist in the world today go away, I would, but fighting moralistic wars that make things worse isn’t the answer. Just look at Iraq. It doesn’t matter how right we may have been(not suggesting that we were,just that many people believed so), the war’s results show you exactly why the ends never justifies the means, especially if the ends are no where in sight.

  75. And yes, I think ending slavery is a positive moral justification for a war.

    So you’d be OK with Italy invading Ethiopia in order, among other things, to abolish slavery? Or for that matter, for the European colonization of sub-Saharan Africa for the same purpose? (If so, then maybe the French should have stayed in Mauretania, and the Brits in the Sudan, to make sure it stayed abolished.)

  76. Yes, I would actually say that the conditions for tumult in the post war South were probably worse than post war Iraq. They just didn’t have the weaponry to cause the level of violence they do today. Also, the war probably harshened cultural divisions rather than mend them. Kinda like how the war in Iraq divided sunnis and shiites further.

  77. Tkelge,

    AGain, go tell a black person that you are sorry, but it was a real mistake to have a big immoral war to free his ancestors.

    Pacifism in the face of evil end up abetting that evil. I would reccomend Orwell’s pacifism and the war.

    http://www.orwell.ru/library/articles/pacifism/english/e_patw

    Granted slavery is not the holocaust. But, the principles of people excuse and downplaying evil in the name of pacifism are the same.

  78. I love “alternative history” debates concerning the War for Southern Independence.
    If R.E. Lee hadn’t wasted his army’s strength in needless offenses, the South had a pretty fair chance of winning. (The lads killed and maimed at Sharpsburg, and the Seven Days Battles alone could have turned the Gettysburg defeat around.) So, if the South had won, how long would slavery have lasted? Do you think their European allies would have stood with them very long as the 20th century approached?
    I think there would have been a program of gradual manumission (perhaps tied to milestone birthdays) that would have ended slavery within several decades, wthout the rancor and “lost cause” nonsense that actually resulted.

  79. I think you are right about that. Of course they destroyed Johnson once he wouldn’t go along with the program.

    It’s not clear they wouldn’t have tried to destroy Lincoln if he’d lived. Presidential reconstruction and congressional reconstruction were on a collision course even before April 1865.

  80. “Jesus, no wonder black people don’t trust libertarians.”

    Dude, slavery is the greatest affront to private property rights. The entire cornerstone of libertarian thought is that all people should have the right to private property. And slavery was supported……. by government!

  81. “So you’d be OK with Italy invading Ethiopia in order, among other things, to abolish slavery? Or for that matter, for the European colonization of sub-Saharan Africa for the same purpose? (If so, then maybe the French should have stayed in Mauretania, and the Brits in the Sudan, to make sure it stayed abolished.)”

    If those places were a part of the US, absolutely. If you could show me that our invading actually had a good chance of ending slavery there perminently without a perminant occupation, not just ending it for a while until our forces went away, and that we had international support to do so, yes I would support it. But since we would have neither support to invade those countries nor any realistic chance of ending slavery perminantly once we did, then I would say invasion would be a bad option.

  82. One of the reasons why blacks ended up in such bad shape was because Reconstruction ended. Why did reconstruction end? Because the South insisted on it as a condition of ending the 1876 election deadlock. Why was reconstruction so harsh? Because the Southerners launched a guirilla war and refused to accept that they lost the war. And they continued to terrorize and oppress black people. They have no one to blame but themselves for the occupation.

    The U.S. government killed of one out of four Southern men of military age. Reconstruction was much of the north carrying off tens of millions of dollars in private property (according to accounts of Sherman’s march). Not to mention that adult male ex-slaves were registered to vote Republican, and helped the Republican Party loot the South with massive tax increases. So you have no industrial base, a collapsed economy, looted wealth, and little infrastructure. What the hell do you think the attitude toward the North would be? They weren’t white knights in shining armor like you tell yourself they are.

    The North was racist, but it never ended slavery on its own and never had Jim Crow. The fact that the South didnt’ do the same is the South’s fault not the North.

    Many of the New England states were slave states and slave trading grounds. But since slavery was uneconomical in the North before it was in the South, then it’s the South’s fault? Right.

    That is exactly correct. It was a mixture of both. The idea that the war for the South was about anything noble like states rights and not about defending slavery is complete revisionist horseshit.

    You are the last MF on the face of the earth who should use the word revisionist. You have presented zero proof of anything else other than ‘because I think so’. Both Lincoln and the Northerners were pro-slavery no matter how much you want to pretend otherwise.

  83. “Dude, slavery is the greatest affront to private property rights. The entire cornerstone of libertarian thought is that all people should have the right to private property. And slavery was supported……. by government!”

    Talk is cheap. You have stated over and over again that the evil of government action and war is greater than the evil of slavery. Ultimatley, if you don’t think ending slavery is worth any sacrifice or shedding of blood, you really don’t think slavery is that evil.

  84. “The U.S. government killed of one out of four Southern men of military age. Reconstruction was much of the north carrying off tens of millions of dollars in private property (according to accounts of Sherman’s march). Not to mention that adult male ex-slaves were registered to vote Republican, and helped the Republican Party loot the South with massive tax increases. So you have no industrial base, a collapsed economy, looted wealth, and little infrastructure. What the hell do you think the attitude toward the North would be? ”

    So clearly the sollution was to form the KKK and terrorize black people. Seriously, how can you defend these people?

  85. Timon, all I can say is that your soccer team and Nike have either been incredibly lucky, or somehow gotten a pass, on the use of the Gadsden flag. Or maybe that those who see racism in everything don’t follow sports.

    The US National Team isn’t just my team. They actually represent the United States in international competition, so they’re yours too.

    Anyway, Nike and the USSF used the “Don’t Tread On Me” legend and the rattlesnake motif, not the Gadsden specifically. The fans themselves have taken to using the Gadsden quite a bit. To the best of my knowledge, no one has thrown any fits or accusations their way, which is a bit surprising, because there’s a higher proportion of ultra-concerned leftists among soccer fans than the general population.

    Sure, the Gadsden flag is not as universally associated with racism as is the dixie cross. But the feds also have the GF flagged (pun!) as a marker for domestic terrorists. That’s why I suggested completely new iconography.

    Christ. So Sam’s Army and the American Outlaws, et. al., and the Nordecke in Columbus are potential domestic terrorists? I guess I’ll be on the lookout for the FBI, ATF and ICE on my next trip to Crew Stadium.

  86. “If those places were a part of the US, absolutely. If you could show me that our invading actually had a good chance of ending slavery there perminently without a perminant occupation, not just ending it for a while until our forces went away, and that we had international support to do so, yes I would support it. But since we would have neither support to invade those countries nor any realistic chance of ending slavery perminantly once we did, then I would say invasion would be a bad option.”

    Oh so you’re a “smart” hawk…. lol Okay, this is a little surreal. Anyway, things were hardly peach keen after the war, and Lincoln never laid out such a detailed case for war, and there was never much action taken by foreign governments (many of which actually began to court the South once it looked like they actually might win). So, what is you’re argument again..?

    Checkmate.

  87. “Talk is cheap. You have stated over and over again that the evil of government action and war is greater than the evil of slavery. Ultimatley, if you don’t think ending slavery is worth any sacrifice or shedding of blood, you really don’t think slavery is that evil.”

    The best way to end slavery is with different kinds of slavery? Ending slavery is worth shedding blood, but I can only make that point for me. I can’t say that my morals are worth shedding your blood. Or can I?

  88. “So clearly the sollution was to form the KKK and terrorize black people. Seriously, how can you defend these people?”

    No, our entire point was that people like the KKK appeared because of the harsh aftermath of the war. Kind of like how terrorist organizations are drawing strength from the chaos of the war in the middle east…

  89. “If you could show me that our invading actually had a good chance of ending slavery there perminently without a perminant occupation,…”

    Slavery didn’t end in the South with the war.

  90. “The best way to end slavery is with different kinds of slavery? Ending slavery is worth shedding blood, but I can only make that point for me. I can’t say that my morals are worth shedding your blood. Or can I?”

    They are not “your morals”. They are morals in the universal sense. And further, if any part of the US held slaves today I would support making war against that part regardless of international support. We are a greater moral duty to take care of our own business than we owe to take care of the rest of the world’s business.

    In the end, you sit here free and rich and tell the world that it was wrong to engage in a war that freed millions of people from slavery. You are no different from any other pacifist. You end up abetting the evil you claim to object to.

  91. It’s not every day you get to call a leftist a “hawk” these days.

  92. “Slavery didn’t end in the South with the war.”

    Yes it did. Sharecropping was not slavery. Peopld didn’t bread their sharecroppers or take their children.

  93. So clearly the sollution was to form the KKK and terrorize black people. Seriously, how can you defend these people?

    Again, you have no point whatsoever. No one is defending the KKK. You choose to ignore the atrocities committed on the South while continuing to delude yourself by saying that everything is the Southerners’ fault.

    You need to educate yourself:

    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0230605923/reasonmagazinea-20/

    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0307338428/reasonmagazinea-20/

    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0761526463/reasonmagazinea-20/

  94. Yes it did. Sharecropping was not slavery. Peopld didn’t bread their sharecroppers or take their children.

    You are fucking delusional to the point of hallucination.

  95. Tulpa,

    In the case of Maryland it was due to the intervention of the federal government.

    In the case of Missouri and Kentucky, the answer can be found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Missouri_Secession

    In the case of Delaware, it hardly had any slaves at all (so not much of a slave state).

  96. Disclosure: I was born in Texas and grew up in the Appalachian mountains of Virginia.

    Yeah, a lot of the Appalachian folk in NC, VA, etc. didn’t own slaves, didn’t like their state governments, and didn’t see the point in fighting for rich men’s slaves nor the civil liberty violations that the Confederacy engaged in. That’s why those areas were Republican even after the Civil War and since.

  97. “And further, if any part of the US held slaves today I would support making war against that part regardless of international support. We are a greater moral duty to take care of our own business than we owe to take care of the rest of the world’s business.”

    Okay, so basically, your argument is that because these were states of the Union, the union has a right to use violent aggression to preserve the Union. If you wouldn’t support an unpopular war against another country even on moral grounds, why would you support a war against your own people? Anyway, the South thought of themselves as different countries, and the law of voluntary association protects that right. Unpopular wars of aggression are bad. Regardless of “context.”

    Your argument:
    Slavery is so bad it should be ended at all costs. Well, unless it’s occurring in ANOTHER country.

  98. Dave B

    You are an ubelievable ignoramous. Do you have any idea how slavery worked? They forced people to marry each other to have children. When children reached a certain age, they sold them. Slave marriages were allowed to be ended when one party got sold. People were sold in one state and sent to another and never saw their families again. Slave owners raped and sexually abused their slaves.

    I just can’t beleive anyone could compare share cropping to that or somehow think the slave owners were the victims. That is just sick shit. The only way you could think that is because you just don’t consider the suffering of black people to be of the same gravity of that of white people.

  99. In the case of Maryland it was due to the intervention of the federal government.

    Yes. Several of the states were closer than others or could have gone either way. In the case of North Carolina, North Carolina didn’t vote to secede until after the rest of the Confederacy had, the state was in the middle, and Lincoln asked to raise troops from North Carolina to put the other states down. We all know about the creation of West Virginia.

    Delaware had slaves, too, as Joe Biden boasted about last year, when explaining why he could garner appeal in the ex-Confederacy.

  100. “Your argument:
    Slavery is so bad it should be ended at all costs. Well, unless it’s occurring in ANOTHER country.”

    No. There is something called sovereignty which means our government has more authority and more of an obligation to end evils that occur on its soil than it does to do so in other countries. That doesn’t mean it should never act in other countries. It just means that within its own borders, it has a greater obligation and authority.

  101. “I just can’t beleive anyone could compare share cropping to that or somehow think the slave owners were the victims. That is just sick shit. The only way you could think that is because you just don’t consider the suffering of black people to be of the same gravity of that of white people.”

    You are delusional! Nobody has protected slave owners. At most people have protected the south or southerners, but nobody here has said anything protection slavery or slave owners.

  102. John Thacker,

    North Carolina kind of got screwed. They were not pro succession. But after all the states around them went, they kind of got forced into doing it.

    And the moutains have never gotten along with the low country going all the way back to the Revolutionary War. One of the reasons why the British were able to occupy Savanah and Charleston was because the people in the moutains refused to come down and fight for the Rice Kings in the low country.

  103. “You are delusional! Nobody has protected slave owners. At most people have protected the south or southerners, but nobody here has said anything protection slavery or slave owners.”

    No. You just think they should have been allowed to form their own country and that it isn’t worth lifting a finger to stop them or do anything to end slavery.

  104. “You are an ubelievable ignoramous. Do you have any idea how slavery worked? They forced people to marry each other to have children. When children reached a certain age, they sold them. Slave marriages were allowed to be ended when one party got sold. People were sold in one state and sent to another and never saw their families again. Slave owners raped and sexually abused their slaves.”

    All of this continued after slavery “ended.” The North didn’t “fix” the South with a war. All they did was move things around a bit and leave a disenfranchised people with a huge mess on their hands.

  105. “No. You just think they should have been allowed to form their own country and that it isn’t worth lifting a finger to stop them or do anything to end slavery.”

    I never said that it wasn’t worth lifting a finger to end slavery! Oh my god! IF you want to end something, go end it! Go lobby! Get your word out! Gain followers! Don’t turn the country into a warzone/police state built on shitty intentions.

  106. “All of this continued after slavery “ended.” The North didn’t “fix” the South with a war. All they did was move things around a bit and leave a disenfranchised people with a huge mess on their hands.”

    None of that stuff, the buying and the selling and forcible moving of people continued after slavery ended. You are just being stupid. The blacks who migrated to the North after the Civil War were not escaped sharecroppers.

  107. or sexual slavery (like with the help of ACORN)

    Funny, but disingenuous. You’re not helping your cause. Much more truthful would be to refer to sexual slavery with the (former) help of Diner’s Club International.

  108. “I never said that it wasn’t worth lifting a finger to end slavery! Oh my god! IF you want to end something, go end it! Go lobby! Get your word out! Gain followers! Don’t turn the country into a warzone/police state built on shitty intentions.”

    Oh those poor Southerners. I doubt their slaves were too worried about things becoming a war zone. Blacks just hated the fact that we had a war to free them. That is why they voted Republican from 1865 all the way until the 1930s. They just were so mad at the North for launching that horrible war.

    You are pathetic. You are free, fat dumb and happy. It is easy for you to talk shit about how we needed to go slowly and get followers to end slavery. If you had ever been on the other end of things, you wouldn’t see it that way.

  109. All of this continued after slavery “ended.” ””

    Sorry, what I meant to say is that blacks were still moved around and fucked with very much under the sharecropping system. Just because slavery ended that didn’t mean that black families were all hunky dory. Most of the worst practices under slavery ended when the supply of cheap slaves ended. As slavery became more epensive, slave owners began to allow slaves to marry and form church’s. This was still evil, and they only did it to encourage slaves not to run away, because they were too expensive to replace.

  110. The only way you could think that is because you just don’t consider the suffering of black people to be of the same gravity of that of white people.

    I’m a black person, so you can’t tell me a goddamn thing about the suffering of black people. When slavery was abolished, the uneducated slaves had nowhere else to turn to but their former slavemasters. Do you really think that anything changed because it was now called sharecropping?

  111. “I’m a black person, so you can’t tell me a goddamn thing about the suffering of black people. When slavery was abolished, the uneducated slaves had nowhere else to turn to but their former slavemasters. Do you really think that anything changed because it was now called sharecropping?”

    I think a lot of it changed. And if you are a black person and you think that slavery wasn’t worse than sharecropping, you need to put the crackpipe down. Yeah, things still sucked for blacks in the South after reconstruction ended. Why was that? Because Southerners were racist pieces of shit who wouldn’t treat blacks fairly.

  112. “Most of the worst practices under slavery ended when the supply of cheap slaves ended. As slavery became more epensive, slave owners began to allow slaves to marry and form church’s. This was still evil, and they only did it to encourage slaves not to run away, because they were too expensive to replace.”

    That is a myth. The worst practices of slavery continued right up until the very end. There is a reason why 1000s of slaves followed the Union Army through the South. It wasn’t because they were having a great time up on Sewanne.

  113. “Oh those poor Southerners. I doubt their slaves were too worried about things becoming a war zone. Blacks just hated the fact that we had a war to free them. That is why they voted Republican from 1865 all the way until the 1930s. They just were so mad at the North for launching that horrible war.”

    It doesn’t surprise me that blacks voted that way. It doesn’t even surprise that blacks don’t shed a tear for the South, I’d probably feel the same way if I were black. Ending slavery was a great thing. I’m glad that slavery was at least forced to hide itself in the system of sharecropping and racism that was left in the wake of the war. But this has nothing to do with that. I am talking about the rights of all people. The ends never justify the means. Maybe slavery may have ended in a more peaceful true way had the South been allowed to abandon slavery on its own (with some encouragement from the North of course, had the North taken more of an activistic position rather than a military one). The fact of the matter is that the essence of slavery and racism were not ended but probably perpetuated by the war and the occupation.

  114. Economics Nobelist Robert Fogel and and historian Stanley Engerman’s Time on the Cross made the point that slavery was indeed economically efficient and it would have continued indefinitely if the war had not been fought. (Reason reviewed the book at least a decade ago; the review’s not online.)

    Virginia Postrel referenced it here, however.

  115. No. You just think they should have been allowed to form their own country and that it isn’t worth lifting a finger to stop them or do anything to end slavery.

    No one had the right to stop them according to the United States Constitution! Please point out where Lincoln was authorized to use force to prevent secession. But since you so firmly believe that using political power to do The Right Thing is so important, you don’t have a goddamn thing to say when these politicians want to run your life.

    Blacks just hated the fact that we had a war to free them. That is why they voted Republican from 1865 all the way until the 1930s.

    [Citation Needed] Oh, I already gave you one. Blacks voted Republican because whites registered them Republican en masse during Reconstruction. Or do you think that blacks just freely went to their local polling place and registered themselves?

  116. “That is a myth. The worst practices of slavery continued right up until the very end. There is a reason why 1000s of slaves followed the Union Army through the South. It wasn’t because they were having a great time up on Sewanne.”

    I’m sure that many of the worst practices were carried out to the very end, but the vast majority didn’t treat their slaves like dogs, but as servants. Still not good. But calling the sharecropping system a true departure from this system is a joke.

    I’m sure that many blacks did fight to end slavery. For THEM it was an issue of freeing their people. Their fight was meaningful and courageous. I agree. I still don’t like war, but I agree. But that doesn’t make the North or the war “moral.”

  117. Buffs may know this one: There’s a late-in-the-war quote from Jefferson Davis, expressing the belief that believers in state’s rights had made it impossible to rule the confederacy properly and win the war. Something like: For the sake of a principle we’ve lost a nation. Or something like that.

  118. “Why was that? Because Southerners were racist pieces of shit who wouldn’t treat blacks fairly.”

    Sure, they were primitive, but lets look at another group of backwards people who were recently the victims of aggression and violence and see how they are doing. Like, the IRAQIS. I don’t mean to say that the Iraqis are backwards, but they are at least as backwards as the southerners were (more technologically advanced though) and we are seeing sectarian violence. Hmmm maybe there is a pattern.

  119. But calling the sharecropping system a true departure from this system is a joke.

    To the extent that black public opinion in the antebellum period can be known, people who lived under both systems appear to have believed there was a big difference between the two.

  120. “Blacks voted Republican because whites registered them Republican en masse during Reconstruction. Or do you think that blacks just freely went to their local polling place and registered themselves?”

    Becuase they really had no idea who freed them and were just dying to vote for Souther Democrats of the era who supported Jim Crow. Come on.

  121. That racism was probably a result of the aggression that they had just faced combined with their already low view of blacks that had existed. The aggression really put the racism into overdrive.

  122. “Buffs may know this one: There’s a late-in-the-war quote from Jefferson Davis, expressing the belief that believers in state’s rights had made it impossible to rule the confederacy properly and win the war. Something like: For the sake of a principle we’ve lost a nation. Or something like that.”

    The states never got along. Virginia wouldn’t let its militia fight to defend other states. So, Lee could never do a tactical retreat into the Carolinas and ended up in a seige at Pettersbugh. The South never really had a chance in that war.

  123. “That racism was probably a result of the aggression that they had just faced combined with their already low view of blacks that had existed. The aggression really put the racism into overdrive.”

    that is utterly rediculous.

  124. …nothing needed to be done except follow the US Constitution and let them secede.

    Say there dave b., how about you quote the clause in the Constitution that says you can secede. Doesn’t seem to be in my copy.

    The South started the Civil War, fired the first shots, declared secession, etc. Now, if you are a believer in Clausewitz, I suppose that is perfectly okay; but you can’t ignore the consequences – particularly when you LOSE.

  125. “To the extent that black public opinion in the antebellum period can be known, people who lived under both systems appear to have believed there was a big difference between the two.”

    I recognize that there was a difference! Of course they were different, but I would hardly call the period of sharecropping the age of black ascendancy. The sharecropping system represented the fact that the south was not done with slavery. They still wanted a large supply of cheap labor to do menial work in return for little and sometimes nothing more than they had under slavery conditions. Racism, probably accelerated by the war backed up the sharecropping system. Did conditions get better, yes.

  126. The aggression really put the racism into overdrive.”

    that is utterly rediculous.

    Because the aggression in iraq really quieted things down there….

  127. Because Southerners were racist pieces of shit who wouldn’t treat blacks fairly.

    As opposed to the kind Northerners:

    “Many New England slave owners did not free their young slaves upon reaching age 21 or 25, but sold them to Southern plantation owners. Slavery may have ended, but these men did not free their slaves.”

    “A complicated system of seizures, fines, whippings, and other punishments for a legion of illegal activities” was imposed, Stalin-style, on the small number of free blacks in New England”

    “Freed slaves were denied titles to property, which tended to pauperize them. Then vagrancy laws were passed so that various communities could deport as many free blacks as possible from their midst. Free blacks were routinely accused of “disturbing the peace” and subsequently deported out of their communities.”

    “Free blacks in New England in the first half of the nineteenth century were lampooned and savagely ridiculed publicly, urged to leave the country, attacked, rioted against, excluded from juries, and even from cemeteries. Black graves were dug up so that white cemeteries would not be “tainted.” “The corpses of people of color seem to have become a target of grave robbers. Black children were excluded from most public schools, even though their working parents were taxpayers.”

    This is where you come in, it’s like a direct view into your feeble brain:

    “The degraded situation of the poor, hapless ex-slaves of New England was a direct result of both slavery and the savage, institutionalized discrimination against them by new Englanders. By 1853 Frederick Douglas would observe the situation in New England and ask, “What stone has been left unturned to degrade us? What hand has refused to inflame the popular prejudice against us? What whit has not laughed at us in our wretchedness?”

    “New England Yankees did not blame any of this on themselves. The reason why New England’s black population was in such dire straights, they said, was Southern slavery. This makes no sense at all, but it was repeated often enough that the idea apparently took hold.”

    Source 1

    Source 2

    Are you going to ever counter with facts, or just the tired, revisionist ‘it was about slavery’ and ‘it’s the south’s fault, the northerners are the great white knights’ bullshit?

  128. I love “alternative history” debates concerning the War for Southern Independence.
    If R.E. Lee hadn’t wasted his army’s strength in needless offenses, the South had a pretty fair chance of winning. (The lads killed and maimed at Sharpsburg, and the Seven Days Battles alone could have turned the Gettysburg defeat around.)

    I have to disagree. The US Civil War was an early example of modern warfare, where the population and industrial base of the warring states is more important that tactics or strategy. The Confederate states simply did not have the industrial output or population base to keep fighting nearly as long as the Union states, especially with the Union blockade. The Confederates lost when Lincoln called South Carolina’s bluff at Fort Sumter.

    I’m a southerner, but my family is from Winston County, and was nearly exterminated during the war by Confederate “home guard” who thought that shooting unarmed women in the back was an honourable means of defense.

    As far as I’m concerned, the Confederacy can go fuck itself.

  129. No one had the right to stop them according to the United States Constitution!

    You keep saying that but I do not think it means what you think it does.

    Or, to be absolutely precise…

    “No state shall, without the consent of Congress, lay any duty of tonnage, keep troops, or ships of war in time of peace, enter into any agreement or compact with another state, or with a foreign power, or engage in war, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent danger as will not admit of delay.”

    Article I, Section 10, U.S. Constitution

  130. dammit – where is that preview button when you need it.

  131. Juris, the Tenth Amendment states that any powers not granted to the federal government revert to the states or people. The Constitution does not say anything about prohibiting nullification/secession, nor does it grant to the federal government any power to suppress peaceful secession. You’re arguing against Thomas Jefferson and James Madison here (Kentucky Resolution).

  132. “I have to disagree. The US Civil War was an early example of modern warfare, where the population and industrial base of the warring states is more important that tactics or strategy. The Confederate states simply did not have the industrial output or population base to keep fighting nearly as long as the Union states, especially with the Union blockade. The Confederates lost when Lincoln called South Carolina’s bluff at Fort Sumter.”

    I agree. What they never talk about is the war in the West. While R.E> Lee was charging around Virginia, Grant and Sherman were splitting the CSA in two and making the war a closed case. Once the South lost the Mississipi and Eastern Tennessee, it was no longer a viable country and the war was lost.

    And while I am not a Southerner, I have spent a fair amount of my life there. I love the South. But like you, I say the Confederacy can go fuck itself.

  133. Yo, J. take a look at the section of the Constitution that I quoted.

    Arguably, Congress could consent to secession, but a state was never allowed to secede on it’s own.

    It’s stupid to argue that a power to secede was implicitly part of the 10th Amdt, when Article I, Section 10 plainly states what a state is NOT allowed to do.

  134. Say there dave b., how about you quote the clause in the Constitution that says you can secede. Doesn’t seem to be in my copy.

    Sorry, I guess you are one of the sheeple who believes that the constitution tells us what rights we have instead of what rights the government has. The question you should be asking is where does it say that the Federal Government can prevent secession.

    Tenth Amendment, which specifies, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

    The U.S. Constitution affirms that the federal government’s authority is both “enumerated” and “delegated,” while the powers of the states are “reserved.” This means that the states are the boss of the union.

    Thomas Jefferson, author of the United States Constitution: “If there be any among us who wish to dissolve the Union or to change its republican form, let them stand undisturbed, as monuments of the safety with which error of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left free to combat it.”

    “Whether we remain one confederacy, or form into Atlantic and Mississippi confederacies, I believe not very important to the happiness of either part. Those of the western confederacy will be as much our children & descendants as those of the eastern.”

    James Madison: “where powers were assumed by the national government which had not been granted by the states, nullification is the rightful remedy,” and that every state has a right to “nullify of its own authority all assumptions of power by others. . .”

  135. The Southerners were violent and imperialistic as hell

    Now we only have one violent, imperialistic government. I suppose that makes things more efficient.

  136. Lincoln was a terrorist. As Ron Paul has pointed out, other countries simply bought out the slaves. No other country went to war over this issue; Lincoln decided to go to war and cause/allow the slaughter of 600,000.

  137. If those places were a part of the US, absolutely.

    That sorta begs the question of whether the Confederate states were or were not part of the U.S., doesn’t it? The answer to the question of whether they could legally secede doesn’t turn on the reasons for which they were seceding.

  138. Well argued John. I get the sense that John is not arguing that the white Northerners were somehow noble white knights who welcomed former slaves with open arms, but that slavery, on the scale of evilness, by far outweighed the racism or indifference of northerners.

    Sure there were asshole northerners. But that pales in comparison with the concept that another human being is nothing more than a chattel.

    And John, remember our debate about graphic pictures? Had the civil war happened with current technology, I would have wanted graphic pictures of slaves being beaten and children being ripped from their mother to be seen. If southerners were so fucking proud of their institutuion, then they’d not have any problems with those sorts of pictures.

  139. What do you expect? The confederates were all democrats after all.

  140. The automatic linkage, which Levin seemingly makes, between states rights and limited government/respect for individual rights is a false one. Support for local autonomy/decentralized power doesn’t presuppose a respect for limited government. I know plenty of lefties, in my rural Virginia county, who support “state rights” or what they term localism, but still love all-powerful county government.

    It’s kind of a big leap to make…

  141. Jefferson didn’t write the Constitution, he was out of the country at the time, and his sympathies were with the Anti-Federalists. He wrote the Declaration of Independence. As for the issue at hand, the Confederacy doesn’t deserve a kind word. Ethically one could use violence in certain situations to fight against slavery, unfortunately a government fighting a war (which involved levying taxes, drafting soldiers, destroying the property of non slaveholding non combatants, destroying civil liberties, and treating slavery as a secondary or tertiary concern) doesn’t meet those conditions. Pointing out the evil of the north and going so far as to claim that the northern war effort was unjust is not the same as romanticizing an evil regime in the south.

  142. The Confederacy was created to defend slavery and all the economic, lifestyle, political, cultural, etc. habits, etc. associated with slavery. End of story.

    “Seward, I’m sorry that the educational system has failed you so that you don’t understand the real cause of the US Civil War.”

    Screw the textbooks, I’d ask the CSA founders in their independence declarations how important it was:

    “The people of Georgia . . . present … the causes which have led to the separation. For the last ten years we have had numerous and serious causes of complaint against our non-slave-holding confederate States with reference to the subject of African slavery. They . . persistently refused to comply with their express constitutional obligations to us in reference to that property”

    Mississippi

    “In the momentous step which our State has taken . . ., it is but just that we should declare the prominent reasons which have induced our course. Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery– the greatest material interest of the world.

    South Carolina

    “The Constitution of the United States, in its fourth Article, provides as follows: “No person held to service . . escaping into another, shall, in consequence of any law or regulation therein, be discharged from such service or labor, but shall be delivered up,. . .” This stipulation was so material to the compact, that without it that compact would not have been made. The greater number of the contracting parties held slaves,. . .

    Texas:

    “The controlling majority of the Federal Government . . has so administered the same as to exclude the citizens of the Southern States . . from all the immense territory owned in common by all the States on the Pacific Ocean, for the avowed purpose . . .to use it as a means of destroying the institutions of Texas and her sister slaveholding States. .. [T]he servitude of the African race, as existing in these States, is mutually beneficial to both bond and free, and is abundantly authorized and justified . . ”

    Not just the Yankified textbook, it’s in the source.

  143. Lincoln bashing and recognizing (and railing against) the key cultural, economic, and political role slavery played in the Confederacy needn’t be mutually exclusive. We don’t have to set up a binary opposition between an evil corporatist north and a misunderstood classically liberal at its core south. We can recognize that both sides were awful, that Lincoln was a dick and that Robert E Lee wasn’t an exemplar of virtue.

  144. “The question you should be asking is where does it say that the Federal Government can prevent secession.”

    Perhaps this:

    “Section 4 – Republican government

    The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened) against domestic Violence.”

    It’s hard to imagine how the Federal government can enforce that if there is a right to secede.

    Of course, the other part of the problem is secession was one those issues like slavery that the Constitutional Convention did it’s best not to address directly, as it was rather divisive.

  145. The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened) against domestic Violence.

    It’s hard to imagine how the Federal government can enforce that if there is not a right to secede.

    The republican governments of the seceding states chose to secede. By abrogating that choice, the US denied the very responsibility it has under this clause. Furthermore, neither the Legislature nor the Executive of the seceding states asked for such intervention. It was utterly unconstitutional.

  146. By the way, I am in the “the free states should have seceded” camp.

  147. It’s always hilarious to see a bunch of snobs that aren’t Southerners go on and on about what Southern culture is.

    Also, most Southerners look at the stars ‘n’ bars as just a symbol of the South. It just means “home”. People in the Northeast would wave a flag if they had one.

  148. Thomas Jefferson, author of the United States Constitution

    TJ wrote the DofI. He was ambassador to France when the Constitution was written.

    That’s okay dave b. you’re doing the best you can.

    The question you should be asking is where does it say that the Federal Government can prevent secession.

    Article I, Section 10. What a state may NOT do WITHOUT consent of Congress.

    Does the Constitution really need to say “you are not allowed to foment revolution against your lawful govt” for you ‘tards to fucking get it?

  149. Not in so many words. But since they went to all the trouble of telling the states what they couldn’t do while part of the United States, and gave no mechanism for becoming not part of the United States, you’d think they’d include that little bit about seceding if they meant it.

  150. Here, let’s parse it out for the pea-brains…

    No state shall[1], without the consent of Congress[2], lay any duty of tonnage, keep troops, or ships of war in time of peace, enter into any agreement or compact with another state, or with a foreign power[3], or engage in war, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent danger as will not admit of delay.

    And, in case you morons think the 10th Amdt modifies this…

    The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.

    [1] This means states, like Virginia, Georgia, etc.
    [2] This means unless Congress agrees. So in theory, a state could vote to secede and if Congress agreed, it could peacefully happen.
    [3] This would be forming a new “country” with one or more other states (or foreign countries).

  151. But since they went to all the trouble of telling the states what they couldn’t do while part of the United States, and gave no mechanism for becoming not part of the United States, you’d think they’d include that little bit about seceding if they meant it.

    Have you ever read the Articles of Confederation fer chrissakes? The Union described therein is for “perpetuity”. The Constitution says, if Congress agrees, you may do these various things, which arguably would include secession. What a state was not allowed to do is exactly what the southern bastards did – decide all on their own to pick up their marbles and go home.

    Now of course if they had won and written the histories it would all be different.

  152. Odd, then, with such language of perpetuity in the Articles of Confederation, they didn’t put any into the Constitution.

    By the admission of their constitutionally guaranteed republican governments, the seceding states were no longer states in the United States.

    Why would the Constitution apply to them?

  153. Does the Constitution really need to say “you are not allowed to foment revolution against your lawful govt” for you ‘tards to fucking get it?

    By the way, since it had been only 11 years since the ‘tards patriots who wrote the Constitution fomented revolution against their lawful government, don’t you think they’d have remembered to include such language if they’d wanted to?

  154. Screw the textbooks, I’d ask the CSA founders in their independence declarations how important it was: . . .

    That kind of language wasn’t in Virginia’s ordinance of secession. Virginia didn’t secede over slavery; Virginia seceded because it didn’t want to provide troops to suppress the Confederacy.

  155. A pox on both their houses.

    There are many things about the Confederacy that I like, and there is no real doubt that those states had the legal right to secede and that policies enacted in war time while fighting for their very existence should not be taken as a sign of their ultimate intentions (similar steps were taken during the American Revolution as well, including widespread appropriation of tory properties at the end of the war, under the reasonable conclusion that the British government had done the same to patriots throughout the war and it made no sense to protect the property of their enemies at the expense of their friends).

    That said, neither the Union nor the Confederacy – as a whole – nor the majority of the participants in the war – really gave a damn about the rights and freedoms of anyone but themselves. The Confederates – by and large – wanted to exploit African slaves, and the people of the Union wished to exploit ALL the citizens of the Southern states.

    There were exceptions, of course: Southerners who were merely defending their country even though they opposed Slavery (and this number included Robert E. Lee), and Northerners (mostly from the midwest) who were genuinely opposed to African Slavery to the point that they were willing to fight to end it (although their actions, of course, introduced a more universal slavery to the United States). But these were exceptions, not the rule. There is plenty of historical evidence that most Northerners approved of the war because it would “preserve the Union” and their economic subjugation of the Southern states, and many – perhaps most – Southerners were primarily interested in preserving African slavery, either for economic reasons or to preserve their own social status as members of the dominant class.

    There just weren’t many heroes in that war.

  156. And to add to the pox on both the Union and Confederate houses, the freest nation on earth in 1860 was arguably the United Kingdom.

    If liberty was the goal of either, both North and South should have disbanded the United States and applied for Reunion with Mother England.

  157. They were all about a states’ rights to keep slaves, whether or not that meant that they supported states rights is another question.

  158. To address some of the points brought up in the thread I would point out that combatants needn’t agree over what they are fighting about. Many in the south were fighting to defend slavery, that was the primary motive for the southern cause (though there were other reasons too.) But the fact that the south saw its struggle as one to preserve slavery does not mean that the north was fighting to end it. That was the cause some northern soldiers saw themselves as fighting for, while many others would have deserted if the conflict had been depicted that way to them.

    As to the constitutionality of secession, I for one think it is only of academic interest. If the constitution denies a population the right to declare itself independent, it is not fit to exist. But if said population decides to deny a huge portion of its population equal treatment, its institutions are similarly unfit. The Confederacy was horrible to the point of being essentially indefensible, but the Union was no better. The Union (except for the border states) was without slavery not because of some elevated sense of morality, but because its agricultural operations wouldn’t benefit from it the same way the southern plantations would, and slavery and an industrial economy don’t mix well. The north could more easily afford to be against slavery, the extent to which this opposition was directed by proper moral sentiment no doubt varied by the individual.

    One of the generally accepted narratives is that the war, from the northern perspective, became about slavery. This is not entirely untrue, but I would offer that this changing rationale bore a resemblance to the ever shifting rationale for our Middle Eastern adventurism (it’s about terrorism, no it’s about WMD, no it’s about spreading democracy, no it’s about terrorism again.)

  159. My point all along was that both sides and even people not involved, were fuck ups. The war ended the institution of slavery, but it did nothing to unravel the economic, social, and cultural paradigm in which such treatment of a minority of race takes place. Because of this, forms of slavery and tribalism continued well into the next century. The racism may even have been accelerated by the cultural and social damage caused by the war. Everyone involved was incredibly crazy/drunk/stupid.

    Remember, we’re talking about dead people who are gone and will never come back. That time and its people are gone and will never come back, thank God. My belief is that the farther you look back through history, the dumber and more violent people were. Seriously, statistics show that, even counting deaths from warfare as “murder,” murder rates have dropped as human civilizations have progressed (hunter gatherer societies having the highest murder rates). It blows my mind to run into people today who wish that they lived in the past…

    FYI John is a hawk, apparently.

  160. The ends never morally justify the means. I may like that slavery was ended, but the way that it was ended was in no way morally defendable. I’m just glad that the war and slavery are both over.

  161. “Remember, we’re talking about dead people who are gone and will never come back. That time and its people are gone and will never come back, thank God.”

    sorry, long night.

  162. I have never lived anywhere outside the historical borders of the CSA, and spent 95% of my formative years in the state that started it all. With that in mind, I will just chime in briefly among those who say that the whole “states’ rights” thing had little or nothing to do with the motivation for secession. It was a play by illiberal people to maintain an illiberal policy. It was feudalism, plain and simple. While Lincoln’s sins were many, they in no way take away from the fact that the CSA was rotten to the core.

    Also the Unitary presidency was well on its way with Jackson, a hero among many Southerners, so again, no cultural opposition to central authority, except when central authority was doing something they didn’t like.

  163. Much, I might add, like GOP critters turning all ‘Limited Government’ now that the government they wish to limit is out of their control. Uttering the terms ‘limits to federal power’ 4 years ago got you labeled a traitor by most of those employing the term today.

  164. Good thread. What an ugly time in history.

  165. First of all, this has been an awesome thread.

    Secondly, much of the commentary so far seems to assume that the defense of “state’s rights” in the face of an aggressive federal government somehow represents a defense of the individual rights so treasured by the libertarian movement.

    I am not, strictly speaking, a libertarian – so I ask, why is this assumption so prevalent? Before the Bill of Rights was incorporated (partially) universally across the union, state governments were not constitutionally obligated to follow the guarantors of individual freedom which the said amendments represented. In fact, many state governments pursued policies which were far more intrusive into the lives of their citizens than those of the federal government in our nation’s formative years.

  166. The first problem I have with this post is that you fail to mention that the confederacy was born into war. As a libertarian, I am very hesitant to approve any of the measures by government mentioned in you post. But, to this day, I believe the if Congress invokes the declaration clause, civil life ends and rights are suspended. It is the price we pay for living in a civil society. The South was born into a war and could not be expected to be some bastion of civil liberties or personal freedom when their very existence was challenged from the start.

  167. nyu law,

    Never mind that their atrocious civil rights record was part of the reason they were “born into war” in the first place.

  168. “The republican governments of the seceding states chose to secede. By abrogating that choice, the US denied the very responsibility it has under this clause.”

    That does not logically follow. If the Federal government has the authority to alter state governments it deems not suffuciently “republican”, it’s hard to see how that works with an absolute right to secession. Secondly, there is the fact that what would constitute a legitimate secession is nowhere spelled out, because the Framers punted on that question. And don’t forget there were several months where nobody on either side was sure what to do or what would be the outcome until the hotheads in South Carolina decided firing on a Federal military base was a good idea. They destroyed any notion that the crisis could be resolved peacefully. Whether or there was a right to secede, the South gave the Union a legitimate casus belli.

  169. “Uttering the terms ‘limits to federal power’ 4 years ago got you labeled a traitor by most of those employing the term today.”-lunchstealer

    Who said that and when? Names please.

    On the other hand high-ranking Deomcrats who were loving free speech and dissent under a GOP administration are openly saying that disagreeing with Obama is unpatriotic, such people include Nancy Pelosi and Howard Dean. These people are not saying this in “code” or “hidden meanings”, but outright and in plain language.

  170. People I have ever met in my life who actually believed in “state’s rights” when the state disagreed with them and the feds were on their side: 0

    I’m sure there are some out there, but they’re sort of like people who claim “tolerance” as a doctrine.

  171. That does not logically follow. If the Federal government has the authority to alter state governments it deems not suffuciently “republican”, it’s hard to see how that works with an absolute right to secession.

    Since “republican” means made up of representatives of the state itself, this clause guarantees that the federal government won’t install a government from outside or allow a foreign government to take over a state. In no way does it abrogate the legitimate powers of the properly elected government of a state. If that properly elected government’s last action as one of the United States is to secede, that decision must be respected.

    Whether or there was a right to secede, the South gave the Union a legitimate casus belli.

    Don’t forget the little bit about the Union occupying territory of the sovereign State of South Carolina.

    But, yes, South Carolina did itself no favors with its reaction. Cooler heads would have handled the whole affair as a friendly occupation rather than a siege and blockade.

    “I eat breakfast 300 yards from 4000 South Carolinians who are trained to kill me.” — Major Robert Anderson

  172. There is hardly a difference between the Confederacy under Jefferson Davis and Cuba under Fidel Castro.

  173. To add my own perspective to this vigorous debate, I quote from Reveille in Washington by Margaret Leech, a book detailing the various political intrigues and battles in the capital and the way various residents of Washington DC behaved during the Civil War. On page 241, it offers up this explanation of Lincoln’s motives:

    “In contrast to the demagogues and fanatics of his party, Lincoln viewed the slavery problem as a statesman. Above all things, he desired to save the Union, and in his mind emancipation was always subsidiary to this great central ambition. Neither sentimentality nor vindictiveness blinded him to the social upheaval which a sudden overthrow of the institution would entail. He had repeatedly voiced his cherished hope that the loyal slave-holding States would voluntarily adopt some plan of gradual emancipation, with compensation to the owners from the Federal Government.

    In March, 1862, to the accompaniment of heated oratory, the Senate took up the bill for emancipation of the District. The slaves were to be freed immediately, but loyal masters were to receive compensation at an average of three hundred dollars per slave. Moreover, an amendment appropriated money for a project dear to Mr. Lincoln’s heart, one to which he strongly adhered and with which he unsuccessfully experimented–the colonization of such freed blacks as might wish to leave the country.”

    In view of this, and other items mentioned in the book, such as the racism common to many in the North, especially in DC and especially among the Northern Democrats (who furiously opposed this bill) what I can say of Lincoln is that his plan for the country was indeed one of emancipation, but of the compensated, gradual kind both England and France’s abolitionist politicians had achieved with their buyout programs. When the South blew its collective stack at Lincoln (and his corrupt predecessor Buchanan) and seceded, preserving the Union took priority.

    It’s worth remembering that the secession was not a clean break by any means, that many at the time of Lincoln’s inauguration believed the secessionists were mostly a rag-tag band of high-spirited hicks blowing off some steam and that the South would eventually “come to its senses” and return to the House and Senate in DC where, thanks to its many sympathizing politicians in the North, its elitist political class had a strangle hold on virtually all legislation concerning slavery. Lincoln may well have thought he could push for gradual emancipation later once these squabbling secessionists and their petty rebellion were put down.

    The history of the Civil was as presented in Leech’s book is a tale of one cruel irony after another, and of the South making many foolish political blunders. As mentioned, had the South remained in the Union, it could have maintained its strangle hold on Congress. Had the loyal slave holders agreed to Lincoln’s plan in the form their states offered it to them (as each of them did), they might have had compensation for their loss; instead, they rejected all these plans and ultimately had emancipation for no compensation imposed on them instead. Only in DC itself did Lincoln actually get to enact his plan, which freed a total of some three thousand slaves.

    Assassinating Lincoln also proved a terrible mistake, as Lincoln had been inclined to be more lenient toward the South than his Radical Republican allies, and his death left them more vindictive than ever against the South and in a far better position to take their revenge. Had Booth held his fire, Lincoln might not be as kindly remembered as he is today, since he was rather unpopular near the end of his second term.

    In short, the South bears much of the blame for the war and its aftermath, as well as the corruption of the North. Had cooler heads prevailed and Southerners not been so enamored of their peculiar institution, the whole war–and loss of liberties because of it–need not have happened. States’ rights might also have more respect in people’s eyes now had the Southerners not wedded them almost exclusively to slavery. (A casual reading through the Southern states’ rough equivalents to the Declaration of Independence gives the lie to any notions that they were all that interested in any state’s right but the right to perpetual slavery.)

    One good the war accomplished that I see little noted here is that it exterminated so many of the South’s elitist political class, consigning most of the survivors to ultimate exile and disgrace. Modern Southerners should be grateful for this much: thanks to the Union troops, the “crackers” have inherited the South. The North, meanwhile, is currently overrun with the very same kind of smug, oppressive elitists, especially in New England. In show of gratitude, I think the South should consider returning the favor whenever we have our next Civil War.

  174. I’ll ask again: whats with the conflation of protecting states’ rights and libertarianism?

  175. In general, libertarians would say that the autonomy of the individual is maximized when trade and migration blocs are as large as possible while political blocs are as small as possible.

    Under that principle people have more choice what the government they live under will look like. Simple construction tells you that a society where a large federal government provides a more (classically) liberal regime than some constituent states will include more states that are at least as liberal as that code. People who want a more liberal regime can move to those states, and libertarians believe that the liberal regimes will prosper more than the illiberal regimes and simply outcompete them.

    Of course there are federal powers that libertarians are happy with. One example is incorporation under the 14th Amendment, because the vast majority of what is incorporated are actual rights and due process protections. Another is the interstate commerce clause as originally intended because that requires free trade between states. But many libertarians would say that, overall, the federal government does more damage to liberty by abrogating the sovereignties of the states than it does good by guaranteeing liberty within the states. See for example the interstate commerce clause as exercised today.

    Alternatively, libertarians, being optimists, may well believe that constituent states have gotten past their prior prejudices and that the grave emergency that required the federal government’s abrogating their legitimate powers has passed: Those powers should again be in their hands until such time as they again abuse them in large scale.

  176. [Scene: Reason editorial headquarters]

    GILLESPIE: We need to spice up the discussion at H&R. We need some topic which will provoke numerous comments.

    CHAPMAN: How about a zombie thread? That is always a good producer of comments.

    BALKO: No, we want even more comments than a zombie thread. How about police abuse?

    KMW: We just did one of those. Police abuse threads will always be with us. But I was hoping for something different.

    GILLESPIE: So . . . the Civil War?

    KMW: Naturally.

  177. Thanks MikeP, that was very well said indeed.

  178. IMO, the better flag for states’ rights is the first navy jack or the Gadsden flag

  179. More liberal lies. States rights are of the utmost import to the very existence of this nation. That is why I am trying to have the name of this country changed from the United States ( which means a union of states), to the Confederate States of America ( a loosely aligned every man for himself type of country). Please support me in this cause, so we can all be divided as a country, and come together against these libs. A constitutional amendment to rename the country to the good old CSA. Long live conservatives. There’s no change like no change. I want my country back???????????????????.

  180. “That kind of language wasn’t in Virginia’s ordinance of secession.”

    None of the ordinances of secession offered up any reasons for why the Southern states were seceding at all. The ordinances simply stated WHAT the states were choosing to do, not WHY. Whatever reasons Virginia had for seceding cannot be discerned from it ordinance.

    Only four Confederate states issued declarations of cause, spelling out their reasons WHY they were seceding. And all four, as quoted above, clearly identified slavery as why.

  181. Since I’m coming late to the party, I may be repeating something someone has already said, but conscription wasn’t the Confederacy’s worst offence–that would be slavery. Unless, of course, you believe that only white people have rights.

  182. Michael said: “There is hardly a difference between the Confederacy under Jefferson Davis and Cuba under Fidel Castro.”

    Very true. A racist and fascist regime with a huge black population, all of which are denied their basic rights as human beings. And the leader is white.

  183. With many new announcement about the wizard of oz movies in the news, you might want to consider starting to obtain Wizard of Oz book series either as collectible or investment at RareOzBooks.com.

  184. hi,
    everybody, take your time and a little bit.hglity

  185. Slavery itself only benefited a few landowners, the Civil War or “War for Southern Independence” was a struggle against an overreaching federal government.

    I’m sick of southern-bashing literature, how come the liberal media doesn’t admit the following.

    1. Blacks and whites fought TOGETHER for the south in desegregated units.

    2. Confederate President Davis and his wife adopted a black foster child which was kidnapped by yankee soldiers after the war.

    3. While the confederate battle flag is labeled “racist,” the only flag flown by slave ships was old glory, that’s right, the US flag.

    4.Abraham Lincoln was a racist who wanted to deport blacks to Africa. Read “Lincoln’s White Dream.”

    5. If the south is so racist, why do blacks keep coming here?

    It makes me sick that’s it’s politically incorrect for me to celebrate my southern heritage while everyone else gets their MINORITY History Month.

    Palestinian Wall of Lies Draws Scorn.
    http://libertarians4freedom.bl…..draws.html

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.