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1999 Closed threads from 1999 (read only)

 
 
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Old 10 August 1999, 01:07 AM   #11 (permalink)
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As Shaggy would say on Scooby-Doo... "Like WOW, man!" You're related to Captain John Parker? WAY cool.

"...but if they want to have a war, let it begin here!" That one took some major big cajones, considering it was a bunch of armed citizens taking on the best infantry on the planet. Anti-gun censors hate this one, but it's still true... an armed, motivated populace will defeat the mightiest army every time. Ask the Viet Namese, Afghanistan, American Patriots of the Revolution, etc., etc., the list goes on.

Rich, the Gettysburg battlefield was amazing as well preserved, but without tons of study in advance it was hard to take it all in. So much happened over such a large area. Compare that to Cowpens, where a visitor can stand almost anywhere and see the entire field from one end to the other. For a one day visit, it was perfect. From the standpoint of an amateur historian, it was mentally manageable. Besides, I'm a patriotic sorta dude... in the historically accurate sense.

Hey... a nagging problem about the Civil War. Although the north was certainly correct in its purpose and position, did it have the constitutional right to force any state to stay within the union against its will? From the beginning, the colonies were a voluntary union... forcing me to say to myself... "hmmmmm."
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Old 10 August 1999, 02:05 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Stephen

"Although the North was certainly correct in its purpose and position...."

What do you feel the purpose and position of the North actually was?

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Old 10 August 1999, 02:53 AM   #13 (permalink)
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No historical revisionism here, please. The roots of the war were, indeed, in slavery, and more importantly, the economic impact of the lack of a slave trade in the south. The execution of the war itself was an effort to keep the union from splitting over the economic results of emancipation, which had been inevitable since the signing of the Declaration which gave equal freedom and liberty to all citizens. (And don't start with the "founding fathers were all slave owners" stuff. In an entire world economy based on the profuse and prolific use of slavery, the founders as a whole were in favor of emancipation. Indeed, it would have been mentioned in the Declaration itself but the wording was stricken at the last minute for the sake of unity when a single state expressed opposition. Jefferson was outspoken against it. Washington favored emancipation... he even divided portions of his estate amongst his slaves and freed them as an act of his final will and testament).

So, at the risk of being truthful and politically incorrect, the Civil War was about slavery and the division of the union that it would have resulted from the dispute. Modern day efforts to twist that truth originated with special interest groups who have an axe to grind.

And now, we return you to our regularly scheduled question...
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Old 10 August 1999, 08:11 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Stephen,
The reason the war started was obviously the right of States to cecede from the Union. Since the Constitution made no provision for cecession, but did state that it was "the law of the land", the Southern states' actions were legitimately construed as a violation of the constitution, ergo a rebellion against the central authority of the Federal government.
If you view the Constitution as a binding contract, freely entered into by the individual states, it would require mutual consent between an individual State and the Constitutional authority (i.e. Washington) to terminate that contract.
The Slavery issue was the catalyst, not the basic reason.
That's my 2 zlotys worth.
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Old 10 August 1999, 09:20 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Stephen

I asked only to learn your thoughts and you immediately take an adversarial stance. I'm through with the forum.

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Old 10 August 1999, 12:16 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Stephen,
The reason the South seceeded was they felt the North (Washington) was trying to dictate how they were supposed to live (abolition of slavery). The Constitution of the United States DOES give the right of secession to individual states. At the time the South seceeded they actually had a richer economy, than did the Northern States who depended on them for cotton for the textile mills. The Federal Government (Washington) didn't want to lose all the revenue that the Southern States provided so hence the war to keep the union together. The slavery issue really was a negligible part and it became a 'bandwagon' proviso to sway many of the people in the North to fight. If you will note the Emancipation Proclamation freed slaves south of the Mason Dixon line, and still left the issue of the slaves in Maryland in question at that time. The South was in the right for the reasons of their secession, and the Federal Government DID wage a war of Aggression for its purported "lofty ideals". But I am not here to re-write history, just to give all the facts fair focus.
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Old 10 August 1999, 02:25 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Mike has a good take on this issue. (WW I content: what would the CSA have done? I've seen a paperback novel with a N.17 bearing the Stars & Bars!) Not that it matters, but the US Govt cannot have it both ways: for the duration of the Cold War, Washington insisted that the Soviet Union subjugated formerly independent republics and kept them unwillingly in "the union" at bayonet point. Any objective assessment of Reconstruction must concede that the US did exactly that to the former Confederate states.
Regardless of the seminal issues of slavery, economics, state's rights, etc--regardless of who was right and who was wrong--the fact remains that 1/4 of the states opted out of the union because they wished to be free of the federal government, just as the 13 colonies wished to be free of London. The shotgun wedding at Appomattox restored "the ties that bind" but did so against the will of the bride!
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Old 10 August 1999, 04:46 PM   #18 (permalink)
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"The slavery issue really was a negligible part..." - JimACE, 10 Aug 1999

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

Our new Government is founded upon exactly the opposite ideas; its foundations are laid, its cornerstone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery, subordination to the superior race, is his natural and moral condition. This, our new Government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth." - Andrew Stephens, Vice President, Confederate States of America, 21 March 1861

I would lean toward believing Stephens myself...

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Old 10 August 1999, 05:17 PM   #19 (permalink)
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I also felt that Gettysburg was a bit much to take in in a single visit - even compared to other ACW battlefields! It sprawls over such a large area that, even if you know the basic outline of those 3 days' events, it can still be overwhelming.

I certainly did not mean to belittle the importance of Cowpens - quite the opposite. I just find it fascinating that so much was decided on such a small field, by a relatively tiny number of men (in the grand scheme of things, Cowpens was one of a chain of events which led inexorably to the British defeat at Yorktown). As I said, I really do plan to return again soon.

Among ACW fields, I think my favorite is Antietam. One can take in most of the battlefield from one or two vantage points, and see the major landmarks, from the Miller cornfield to the Sunken Road (Bloody Lane). In the distance, from the visitor's center, you can see the South Mountain passes, through which the armies passed (and where they fought) prior to the battle. One thing that surprised me the most, when I saw it, was how SMALL "Burnside's Bridge" is, considering how long that an entire Union Corps was prevented from crossing, by a few hundred Georgians. This battle was also an example of how inept McClellan could be, even when the entire Confederate battle plan (wrapped around 3 cigars) fell into his lap! The battle along Antietam Creek, on 17 September 1862, remains the single bloodiest day in American history.

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Old 10 August 1999, 05:45 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Rich,
Allow me to clarify! Most of the Northern states had the impression that all slave owners were like Simon Legree in Uncle Tom's Cabin. However if you have any knowledge of business sense you would find that the opposite would be closer to fact. How could slave owners expect to beat and maim their slaves and still get their product to market when the method of gathering the crop was down with injuries. I'm NOT saying that slavery was a morally right thing, what I am saying is that it wasn't the basis for the split, nor the subsequent war. You would do well to purchase the book 'The South Was Right' and read the Southern point of view for the war. I have found that by reading it, the history that has been taught to us over the years isn't exactly 100% pure fact. It is the Northern version of events. A person must be objective and open-minded enough to read both viewpoints and draw their own conclusions. Barrett was correct about the shotgun wedding analogy, the South was forcibly taken back to the fold against their will. Slavery was nothing more than a popular rallying point for the Northern Abolitionists to rally behind. They are much the same as the bleeding heart Liberal of today. The Negroes were treated worse in the North than they ever were in the south that is FACT. Recall the race riots in New York when Lincoln decided to draft blacks into the Union Army in 1864. Several blacks were beaten and killed by whites who thought that they weren't good enough to serve in the Union Uniform. The ones that did serve in the Union Army were paid less than white troops, and subject to various forms of descrimination for many years. They were in segregated units until after the Second World War. Slavery was not something that was started by the Southern whites, it WAS started by African tribes themselves a long time ago. It was a matter of profit for the South, and although it wasn't morally correct, the Southern States felt that the Northern Federal Government didn't have the right to tell them how to live their lives. The original system of the constitution was NOT based on a strong central government, rather it was based more on individual states rights. The chief fear of the founding fathers, was for a government that would end up being as oppressive as that monarchist government which they had just won their freedom from. So the chief reason for the Southern secession was State's Rights, and the Federal Government's was for the revenue that would be lost if the South had won their independence.
VBR,
Jim
 
 

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