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Author Topic: The South's reasonings for seceding in the American Civil War  (Read 3190 times)

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Offline Trieste

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Re: The South's reasonings for seceding in the American Civil War
« Reply #25 on: May 21, 2010, 01:59:10 PM »
In 1950 1850, the Fugitive Slave Act was passed.  It made it Illegal for Federal employees to not turn in a slave or face fines.  And made it illegal to hide a slave, that a slave was still a slave no matter if he or she was in a free state or a slave state.  This act, along with the publication of Uncle Tom's Cabin cause many antislavery proponents to increase their call for the end to slavery.

(Correction is mine.)

The act you describe was passed over 60 years earlier. The act of 1850 was the one that allowed black free men and women to be abducted from their free state homes and sent to the deep south to live in abject poverty and the squalor in which slaves were kept. Why? Because they might vaguely resemble an escaped slave (by being black, presumably). The 1850 Act was what caused the Underground Railroad to need an extension into Canada. It furthered tensions because people in northern states, states that rejected the idea of slavery, began to see neighbors and friends hauled off on suspicion of being escaped slaves. There was no recourse for these people. We are better than that.

its not like the North NEEDED the South for much

Erm.

Where do you suppose the North got its raw supplies for its factories? There are no cotton fields in Massachusetts, my dear. :)

Offline Torch

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Re: The South's reasonings for seceding in the American Civil War
« Reply #26 on: May 21, 2010, 02:36:34 PM »
Where do you suppose the North got its raw supplies for its factories? There are no cotton fields in Massachusetts, my dear. :)

Or tobacco fields, or rice fields, etc.

The Confederate states' reliance on their rich agrarian economy was a double edged sword. It brought them immense wealth, while at the same time insuring their downfall as the North moved towards industrialization.

Offline Oniya

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Re: The South's reasonings for seceding in the American Civil War
« Reply #27 on: May 21, 2010, 03:08:01 PM »
Learned something there - I didn't realize we had rice in the US that early.

But yes, the South's agriculture and the North's industry were quite firmly linked in the infamous 'Triangle Trade'. 

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: The South's reasonings for seceding in the American Civil War
« Reply #28 on: May 21, 2010, 03:38:45 PM »
The North and the South had always been at odds.  Since the creation of the country the two sides were always arguing with one another.  Similar to now really except with less violence.  Reports leading up to the Civil War involved violence between Congress men and I believe at least one shooting in the House.  The two had vastly different cultures and were nearly their own separate countries at the point the Civil War began.  The North was beginning to switch to an industrial nation while the South remained agricultural.  So each had different economic pressures on them, which slavery was one of those pressures.  Please do not insist that the North cared about slavery as a whole from some desire to save humanity.  They did not fight the South because “friends” were being dragged away from slave hunters.

If you want an interesting and different look at the economics at the time, read “The Declining Significance of Race” by William Julius Wilson.  He looks a great deal into industrialization and the effects of slavery on industrialization.  With so many immigrant workers coming into the Northern cities looking for factory jobs, the slave became a problem to the “white” immigrant workers.  A slave was free labor, no immigrant can compete with that wage.  As a store owner why would you hire an Irishman to shine shoes when your black slave does so for free.  There was a lot of infighting and violence at that time against slaves.  Hence why slaves were not allowed in some areas of the North.

This is not to say there were not people fighting for the rights of slaves, but they were on both sides of the line.  Southerners were fighting to free them just as Northerners were as well.  The North simply had an economic reason to be done with slavery since it was steadily putting their people out of work and causing rampant poverty.  A prime example of this is the mass exodus that happened after the Civil War.  Whether this is irony or not, the North made a huge push on blacks to move back to the South and take up their jobs as agriculture workers.  The sad humor is that these people then became share croppers and were essentially locked into contractual slavery with…wait for it…Northern business owners that were now buying the property. 

People from the North like to use slavery as a moral high ground argument, but it simply falls short of the facts.

Offline Torch

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Re: The South's reasonings for seceding in the American Civil War
« Reply #29 on: May 21, 2010, 03:49:11 PM »
Learned something there - I didn't realize we had rice in the US that early.

Oh yes, major cash crop even before the Revolutionary War. The rice fields of the Low Country in the Carolinas produced some of the highest quality rice grains in the world. But rice farming was also very labor intensive, and one of the major contributors to the plantation system that developed in that part of the South.

Offline Trieste

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Re: The South's reasonings for seceding in the American Civil War
« Reply #30 on: May 21, 2010, 03:52:18 PM »
William Julius Wilson has some fabulous work, and it's interesting to read. However, his life's work and every single book he's written has been based on the sociological tenet that it's socioeconomics and NOT race that has determined the vast extent of history and the poorer class. The fact that the poorer classes tend to be minorities is apparently useless. I respect his writings, but I find his claims of classism over racism to be just a little suspect and self-serving in this case.

I do agree with you that it's an interesting take on history, but then again I also think that steampunk is interesting, too.

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: The South's reasonings for seceding in the American Civil War
« Reply #31 on: May 21, 2010, 04:21:43 PM »
Well, the man is a Conflict Theorist which means he definitely believes in the prevalence of class over race.  Reading that book in more detail would bring someone to the eventual assertion of class over race reflected in the status of modern African-Americans in the work force and affirmative action.  I suppose the facthe packs each of his works with exhaustive data gathered from a myriad of resources should give him some preference over a steampunk novel.  That he is considered in many circles to be the premier authority on African-American studies and one of the most prevalent Conflict Theorists in the country if not the world should bring him above such a comment.  In all honesty making such a comparison is in the realm of comparing Stephen Hawkins’s work to fan fiction Star Wars novels.

This thread though is not a discussion on class versus race, but a discussion on the aspects beginning the Civil War.  That there is disagreement over the preference of class and race does not detract from the well resourced depiction of the economic status at that moment in history.  That many countries entering their industralization age also did away with slavery also serves to enhance his position.

Offline Trieste

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Re: The South's reasonings for seceding in the American Civil War
« Reply #32 on: May 21, 2010, 04:45:39 PM »
The comment was meant to imply "it's interesting, but I don't buy it". It was not meant to so offend your sensibilities.

Y'all have fun, now. ;)

Offline DarklingAlice

Re: The South's reasonings for seceding in the American Civil War
« Reply #33 on: May 21, 2010, 05:25:07 PM »
Well at a practical level I still don't see why they didn't just let the states go its not like the North NEEDED the South for much and slavery would have died out of natural causes, since no major power except Spain would have traded with them for long. England, France and even Mexico banned slavery among others.

This argument about the slave trade dying out is completely ignorant of the fact that a substantial number of slaves were not African and needed no importation. About 1 in 4 slaves, particularly in California and the Southwest, was Native American. There is no reason to think that in a South cut off from any outside slave trade this percentage would not have grown.