Tiny sombrero party

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  • #36
zoobyshoe
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Quoting from the link above:

"As a panel of historians emphasized in 2011, '...while slavery and its various and multifaceted discontents were the primary cause of disunion, it was disunion itself that sparked the war.'"

See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abolitionism_in_the_United_States for information on the history and impact of the abolitionist movements. I admit it's hardly possible to find a war that did not have economic motivations. But I think it is wrong to totally dismiss the role of human compassion and sense of justice in bringing about the end of slavery and the Civil War and so effectively deny the humanistic impulse any efficacy at all.
There's no doubt in my mind humanistic impulses would eventually have lead to great political conflict over slavery had the war not happened. Regardless, ending slavery was not the North's motivation in taking military action against the South. Had the South had no slaves but decided to secede for some other reasons, the North would have been just as adamant in keeping the union together. It really was a war about state's rights: did individual states have the right to withdraw from the United States and become their own independent countries? Lincoln decided that was not acceptable and went to war to prevent it.
 
  • #37
Evo
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From Evo's link:

This sentence is constructed to sound like all 14,000 youngsters were upset.
But, from your link:

Any article in the press at large that fails to point out that it was an exceptionally tiny fraction of the student body that felt threatened by the Trump graffiti is certainly distorting the story to create the erroneous impression that political correctness has gone out of control on campuses.
I replaced the link with a more accurate Newsweek link.

http://www.newsweek.com/emory-trump-chalk-protests-440618
 
  • #38
Hornbein
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The Northern public was so grossed out by Uncle Tom's Cabin that they formed the Republican party as a one-issue anti-slavery party. It wiped out the Whig party. By the way, it is one of my favorite books. Stowe writes great dialog and has ultrakeen insight into human nature. It was one of the best-selling books of all time.

The South had been openly importing slaves even though it was against the law and had been for fifty years.

After Senator Sumner gave an anti-slavery speech a Southern Congressman beat him up in the Senate cloakroom while another Congressman blocked the doorway. They caused brain damage, and the place was covered with blood.

I've gone over this issue a lot, but the best single piece of evidence is South Carolina's Declaration of Secession, the first state to secede. It's almost entirely about slavery.
 
  • #39
zoobyshoe
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I've gone over this issue a lot, but the best single piece of evidence is South Carolina's Declaration of Secession, the first state to secede. It's almost entirely about slavery.
But had the New England states banded together to secede for some reason of their own that had nothing to do with slavery, would Lincoln have said, "Oh, O.K. As long as it has nothing to do with slavery, go ahead," ? Obviously not.
 
  • #40
Sophia
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Thanks to everyone who replied to my question.
I'll definitely look into American history once I finish my list of books for European history.
It's obviously more complicated than my vague understanding.
 
  • #41
Ben Niehoff
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The "preserve the Union" justification for war was only used because it was politically expedient. While there was a strong Abolitionist movement in the North, there were also plenty of dissenters, and an openly anti-slavery justification would not have gotten through Congress. Basically, Lincoln was a pragmatist, and he stayed silent on slavery in regards to the war until a few years into it.

As it turns out, "preserve the Union" is not such a great rallying cry, and Union morale suffered a lot after a few years in. The Union troops were the invading force, far from home, while the Southerners were defending their homes. Not to mention that it was very costly on both sides, but particularly on the Union side. Near the end of the war (sorry, I forget details), Lincoln and Congress finally decided to make the war about slavery. Now conceiving of themselves as liberators rather than invaders, the Union soldiers' morale improved and they were able to win. Honestly, R. E. Lee was a brilliant and daring general and quite nearly won. The Union generals were mostly ineffective.
 
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  • #43
Ben Niehoff
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Regarding morale, not only were Southerners defending their own homes, they were also in the position of being able to pretend they were having a second American Revolution. This is kind of a Big Deal to Americans. It's really amazing the Union won at all (and I think it was mostly by attrition).
 
  • #44
Tobias Funke
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Basically, Lincoln was a pragmatist, and he stayed silent on slavery in regards to the war until a few years into it.
Yes, he was openly opposed to slavery from a moral standpoint and he stated that he wished for it to die out, which he thought would have been inevitable if it was not allowed to expand with the rest of the country. But I guess politically he had to keep stressing that he had no intention of changing anything, only limiting slavery to where it already existed as the Founding Fathers wanted (and the south of course thought the Foiunding Fathers wanted something else.)

Honestly, R. E. Lee was a brilliant and daring general and quite nearly won. The Union generals were mostly ineffective.
I read a lot of Lincoln's letters and I noticed a pattern: Union generals constantly calling for more men and supplies, which Lincoln mostly couldn't give. Then Lincoln criticizes them for not being aggressive enough and letting opportunities slip away. It happened so often wth so many generals that I wonder if a lot of the blame shouldn't go to Lincoln here, but my Civil War knowledge doesn't go that deep.

It could also be that the south got most of the tiny sombrero hats that we stole from Mexico in the previous war and it boosted their morale.
 
  • #45
Hornbein
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But had the New England states banded together to secede for some reason of their own that had nothing to do with slavery, would Lincoln have said, "Oh, O.K. As long as it has nothing to do with slavery, go ahead," ? Obviously not.

True. There are several different meanings of the word "cause," going all the way back to Aristotle. If a new nation did form, the most likely result was a state of continual warfare as in Europe. This wasn't acceptable.

If you want to be precise, the reason the South was forming a new nation was to keep the price of slaves low. The North would have used the Navy to prevent the long-illegal importing of slaves, which would have caused the price to soar.
 
  • #46
Hornbein
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Yes, he was openly opposed to slavery from a moral standpoint and he stated that he wished for it to die out, which he thought would have been inevitable if it was not allowed to expand with the rest of the country. But I guess politically he had to keep stressing that he had no intention of changing anything, only limiting slavery to where it already existed as the Founding Fathers wanted (and the south of course thought the Foiunding Fathers wanted something else.)

I read a lot of Lincoln's letters and I noticed a pattern: Union generals constantly calling for more men and supplies, which Lincoln mostly couldn't give. Then Lincoln criticizes them for not being aggressive enough and letting opportunities slip away. It happened so often wth so many generals that I wonder if a lot of the blame shouldn't go to Lincoln here, but my Civil War knowledge doesn't go that deep.

It could also be that the south got most of the tiny sombrero hats that we stole from Mexico in the previous war and it boosted their morale.

When the Constitution was signed there was a deal that importing of slaves would be banned after twenty years. The South reneged on the deal and ignored the ban. I think they went to war because the ban was going to be enforced. The price of slaves would rise. The South was already falling behind the North economically. Plantation owners were deeply in debt to Wall Street and the price hike would have made things worse. The South was going to have to give up on the plantation system with big land owners. They preferred to go to war. A bonus was that they could default on their mortgages.

The South was used to being in charge. They'd already lost that. They'd rather be a separate nation than a poor relation. No luck. They remain the poor relation to this day. Perhaps the main thing that keeps some semblance of parity is Federal military spending. Newt Gingrich was all about the concentration of spending on the military. His district was third in the nation on that, after Arlington and Cape Kennedy. (I still think of it as Cape Canaveral. Much better name.)

General McClellan knew that all he had to do was stockpile tiny sombreros and the South would lose. Lincoln insisted that bloody battles be fought, which the unready North didn't win. It was a big military waste, though perhaps a political necessity. McClellan was fired and ran for President in 1864.
 
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  • #47
Tobias Funke
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I forgot about the ban. I read a good deal about the war but it all gets mixed up after a while. Bloody Kansas, Lecompton, Clay's compromise, such-and-such latitude,...

I do remember that the north started doing much better after black soldiers were allowed. I guess those fresh, extra soldiers helped a great deal. Maybe the south would have won if they didn't have such a history of actively pissing off the north: claiming state's rights but wanting a strong federal government for the Fugitive Slave Act (and the whole Anthony Burns fiasco), burying Shaw in a ditch with "his negroes" (not being racists, I believe Shaw's family thought that was proper), Fort Pillow, etc. Stuff like that will give some extra motivation in a tough war I'm sure, although the latter two may have happened when the tide had already turned. Again, it all gets mixed up after a while.
 
  • #48
Hornbein
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In modern war battles don't matter that much. It is supplies that count. If your navy can cut off your opponent's supplies you have a big advantage. The North had the navy, had more population, and could outproduce the South in everything, so victory was pretty much a sure thing if they went the distance.

The South's main chance was to get the British navy to run the blockade. They had every reason to believe that this would happen. Having two warring nations in North America would have weakened both, thus relatively strengthening the UK. I think it is quite likely that the UK promised to support the South. I have read that the only thing that stopped this was that the British public was outraged by Uncle Tom's Cabin, which was very widely read there. British dockworkers refused to load ships headed toward the South. The UK gov't had to abandon its plan in the face of overwhelming public opposition.
 
  • #49
zoobyshoe
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The "preserve the Union" justification for war was only used because it was politically expedient.
However much he disapproved of slavery, Lincoln's war was primarily to prevent the country from splitting into two smaller countries. He didn't foment the Southern rebellion somehow as an excuse to invade and end slavery. The South seceded on its own, forcing him to react to the secession in and of itself. Like I said earlier, he would have invaded New England, where there was no slavery issue, if it had tried to secede for some reason. The secession gave him an excuse to eventually dismantle slavery, yes, but that was not the primary goal of the military action against the South. He would have had to invade the rebellious South and impose Northern rule in the complete absence of Southern slavery.
 
  • #50
Hornbein
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In 1814 there actually was a secession movement in Mass, Conn, and Rhode Island. A federal army was stationed in Albany, presumably to invade if the secession went through. See the "Hartford Convention."
 
  • #51
zoobyshoe
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In 1814 there actually was a secession movement in Mass, Conn, and Rhode Island. A federal army was stationed in Albany, presumably to invade if the secession went through. See the "Hartford Convention."
Amazing. I'd never heard of that.
 

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