Taken from the Confederate Flag thread in Politics...
All of the "deep south" states seceded immediatly following Lincoln's election. The four "border states" that did not secede did not secede precisely because there was no clear preference for slavery in those states. Delaware had few slaves, so never considered secession, and the other 3 states have major internal conflicts over the issue.Art said:If slavery was the key issue than why did several slave states fight on the union side? Also I believe (per the History channel) there were actually more slaves in the northern states than in the southern states at the beginning of the war.
I disagree, but eh - this is an issue that has been debated for 150 years and will likely be debated for another 150 years.selfAdjoint said:The sides really were passionate about the constitutional issues States' rights versus Preservation of the Union, your idea that it was a secondary idea after the war started is wrong, I believe.
That is, of course, true, but that doesn't have anything to do with the fact that the slave states seceded immediately following Lincoln's election and South Carolina's Ordinance of Secession specifically mentions slavery as the "states rights" issue at issue.There was nothing constitutional that Lincoln as President could do about slavery, whatever his opinions might be. A constitutional amendment would be required, with its supermajority requirements at the state level, which Dixie still had enough states to block.
[Ordinance of Secession]But an increasing hostility on the part of the non-slaveholding States to the institution of slavery, has led to a disregard of their obligations, and the laws of the General Government have ceased to effect the objects of the Constitution.
The main difference between large and small, agricultural and mercantile was slavery. While I know slavery wasn't specifically at issue in the Great Compromise (it was a basic power struggle), slavery was one of the prime characteristics that differentiated the states. There were two other compromises (3/5 compromise and the putting off on slave import regulations until 1808) that took a fair bit of negotiation to solve.I think your statement about slavery making it hard to establish the constitution is overstated too. Both Massachusetts leaders like Hamilton and Adams and slave owning Virginia ones like Madison and Jefferson were proponents, and the difficulty was not between slave and free states but between small and large, and agricultural and mercantile.
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