Lincoln's War

Discussion in 'Education' started by Kevin_Kennedy, Jan 6, 2009.

  1. Kevin_Kennedy
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    Kevin_Kennedy Defend Liberty

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    I am once again going to argue that the Civil War, or more accurately the War Between the States, was not fought over the issue of slavery. I don’t expect to change anybody’s mind, but hopefully this won’t be dismissed outright. I believe that the war between the states was fought over tariffs, as I’ve said before.

    Lincoln did not recognize the right of the southern states to secede from the Union, and fully intended to wage the Civil War if the southern states would not pay the tariffs and taxes he felt they still owed to the federal government. He stated this in his first Inaugural Address.

    “In doing this there needs to be no bloodshed or violence, and there shall be none unless it be forced upon the national authority. The power confided to me will be used to hold, occupy, and possess the property and places belonging to the Government and to collect the duties and imposts; but beyond what may be necessary for these objects, there will be no invasion, no using of force against or among the people anywhere.” – Abraham Lincoln

    Abraham Lincoln: First Inaugural Address. U.S. Inaugural Addresses. 1989

    The Confederacy “fired the first shots” when they attacked Fort Sumter in South Carolina, this is a historical fact. However, let’s look at the context of why they attacked Fort Sumter. The south did not attack Fort Sumter until Lincoln attempted to re-supply the fort. Lincoln knew they would not stand for this, because he refused to meet with the Confederacy’s delegates when Jefferson Davis sent them to Washington to attempt to pay for the south’s portion of the national debt and to purchase any federal property left in the south.

    Lincoln deliberately attempted to re-supply Fort Sumter knowing that the Confederacy would never allow that to happen. Since we have established that Lincoln had every intention of waging war against the south, we can assume that he wanted to provoke the Confederates into attacking first.

    The reason for this is because a majority of Americans would have, and did, believe in the right of secession. The New England states held a convention to decide whether it would be in their best interest to secede in 1814. They did not debate whether they had the right to do so, and James Madison did not attempt to stop them in any way. Thomas Jefferson and James Madison believed in the right of secession, as evidenced by their Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions. The mayor of New York City wanted to secede from the Union and the state of New York because he realized that protectionism was going to hurt his city the same as it hurt the south.

    Lincoln needed the south to attack first because he knew that nobody would support his war otherwise. He wanted to invoke the patriotism and national pride of the northern states, and he needed the south to attack for that to happen.

    The south fought in the war between the states because they believed in their right of self-governance. They believed in this American tradition as stated in the Declaration of Independence.

    “Governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its power in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.” – Declaration of Independence

    While I am aware that the Declaration has no legal authority, it has the moral authority of the men who founded our nation. The founders believed in the right of self-governance, and it was on that belief that the south chose to secede from a government that they believed was no longer looking out for their best interests. Also, the Constitution does not prohibit the states from seceding, and under the 10th Amendment they retain the right to leave if they wish.

    The south fought for their independence in the Civil War, no less than the colonies fought for their independence in the Revolutionary War. Lincoln waged the Civil War to force the south back into the Union so that they could pay the tariffs he fully intended to force on them.

    I know this issue has been discussed many times over on this board, but I hope that some of you are interested in my argument.
     
  2. Dr Grump
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    Dr Grump Gold Member

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    Most Southerners would agree with you (well, ones that I have spoken to). I'll say this: Do you think there would have been a civil war if there had been no slavery? I think not because without slavery, there would have been no southern economy (well, cotton economy anyway) and therefore no tariff problems. They wanted to secede so they could keep slavery. Period.
     
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  3. glockmail
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    glockmail BANNED

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    I always thought it was about free market economics, of which slavery violated the principles.
     
  4. Kevin_Kennedy
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    Kevin_Kennedy Defend Liberty

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    They would have been allowed to keep slavery had they stayed in the Union, because Lincoln did not support emancipating the slaves. So if slavery was the issue it would have made more sense to stay within the Union. Since the issue was tariffs, and Lincoln ran on a platform of more and higher tariffs, the south seceded.

    Are you suggesting that the government imposed tariffs on the south because of slavery?
     
  5. Kevin_Kennedy
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    Kevin_Kennedy Defend Liberty

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    Slavery violates the principles of liberty.
     
  6. Dr Grump
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    Dr Grump Gold Member

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    A speech he made in 1854 would suggest otherwise (my bold).

    "[The Act has a] declared indifference, but as I must think, covert real zeal for the spread of slavery, I cannot but hate it. I hate it because of the monstrous injustice of slavery itself. I hate it because it deprives our republican example of its just influence in the world — enables the enemies of free institutions, with plausibility, to taunt us as hypocrites — causes the real friends of freedom to doubt our sincerity, and especially because it forces so many really good men amongst ourselves into an open war with the very fundamental principles of civil liberty — criticizing the Declaration of Independence, and insisting that there is no right principle of action but self-interest."
     
  7. Xenophon
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    Xenophon Gone and forgotten

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    The South understood the handwriting was on the wall, the abolitionist were winning the hearts and mind of the US, and it was unlikely any more slave states would be admitted to the Union.

    This was the basis for 'bleeding Kansas' when slavers tried to force slavery on that territory and abolitionists like John Brown fought back.

    Many in the South always claim the 'states rights' argument but the people of the time fully understood that the bases of the war was the fundemental disagreement of slavery, the North felt it incompatible with a growing industrial society while the south lacking population felt it vital for it's agarain society.
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2009
  8. RetiredGySgt
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    RetiredGySgt Platinum Member

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    If Slavery was not the issue explain to us, again, why most of the States leaving the Union LISTED slavery as the Cause for which they were leaving?
     
  9. Kevin_Kennedy
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    Kevin_Kennedy Defend Liberty

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    Quotes by Abraham Lincoln.

    "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."

    "I will say, then, that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races."

    "I am as much as any other man in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race.
     
  10. Kevin_Kennedy
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    Kevin_Kennedy Defend Liberty

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    No, abolitionists were not "winning the hearts and mind of the US." The north was still a very racist place, and probably more dangerous for black people than the south was.

    The war was fought because Lincoln wanted the south back in the Union so that the government could loot them for all they were worth through tariffs and taxes. How could it be about slavery? The Union had 5 slave-states fighting with them during the Civil War.
     

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