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End the lies: The Confederacy was about slavery

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The Cat-Tribe
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End the lies: The Confederacy was about slavery

Postby The Cat-Tribe » Mon Apr 05, 2010 1:22 pm

(Before launching into my main tirade I will note that I am not planning on returning to regular posting, although frequent lurking has led me to believe these forums have improved since I last posted here.)

That said, my purpose is to try to put to rest the continual reappearance of revisionist lies about the Confederacy and the Civil War -- i.e., "the war wasn't about slavery," "the issue was state's rights," "the Confederates were fighting for freedom/limited government," etc.

This bullshit is clearly and unequivocally contradicted by the historical record.

1. Declarations of Secession

Just as the Declaration of Independence gave the reasons for the American Revolution, the Southern Declarations of Secession gave the reasons behind the forming of the Confederacy. You will find little in this documents about "state's rights" -- other than those related to slavery -- or individual freedom -- except the right to own slaves. To the contrary, you will find consistent complaints about failures of the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT to FORCE new states to accept slavery or to REQUIRE free states to return slaves.

But let's let these fine documents speak for themselves:

A Declaration of the Immediate Causes which Induce and Justify the Secession of the State of Mississippi from the Federal Union.

Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery...


Declaration of the Immediate Causes Which Induce and Justify the Secession of South Carolina from the Federal Union

...We affirm that these ends for which this Government was instituted have been defeated, and the Government itself has been made destructive of them by the action of the non-slaveholding States. Those States have assume the right of deciding upon the propriety of our domestic institutions; and have denied the rights of property established in fifteen of the States and recognized by the Constitution; they have denounced as sinful the institution of slavery; they have permitted open establishment among them of societies, whose avowed object is to disturb the peace and to eloign the property of the citizens of other States. They have encouraged and assisted thousands of our slaves to leave their homes; and those who remain, have been incited by emissaries, books and pictures to servile insurrection.

For twenty-five years this agitation has been steadily increasing, until it has now secured to its aid the power of the common Government. Observing the *forms* [emphasis in the original] of the Constitution, a sectional party has found within that Article establishing the Executive Department, the means of subverting the Constitution itself. A geographical line has been drawn across the Union, and all the States north of that line have united in the election of a man to the high office of President of the United States, whose opinions and purposes are hostile to slavery. He is to be entrusted with the administration of the common Government, because he has declared that that "Government cannot endure permanently half slave, half free," and that the public mind must rest in the belief that slavery is in the course of ultimate extinction.

...

We, therefore, the People of South Carolina, by our delegates in Convention assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, have solemnly declared that the Union heretofore existing between this State and the other States of North America, is dissolved, and that the State of South Carolina has resumed her position among the nations of the world, as a separate and independent State; with full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent States may of right do.


Georgia

The people of Georgia having dissolved their political connection with the Government of the United States of America, present to their confederates and the world the causes which have led to the separation. For the last ten years we have had numerous and serious causes of complaint against our non-slave-holding confederate States with reference to the subject of African slavery. ...


A Declaration of the Causes which Impel the State of Texas to Secede from the Federal Union.

We hold as undeniable truths that the governments of the various States, and of the confederacy itself, were established exclusively by the white race, for themselves and their posterity; that the African race had no agency in their establishment; that they were rightfully held and regarded as an inferior and dependent race, and in that condition only could their existence in this country be rendered beneficial or tolerable.

That in this free government *all white men are and of right ought to be entitled to equal civil and political rights* [emphasis in the original]; that the servitude of the African race, as existing in these States, is mutually beneficial to both bond and free, and is abundantly authorized and justified by the experience of mankind, and the revealed will of the Almighty Creator, as recognized by all Christian nations; while the destruction of the existing relations between the two races, as advocated by our sectional enemies, would bring inevitable calamities upon both and desolation upon the fifteen slave-holding states.


2. Constitution of the Confederate States of America

The CSA Constitution is nearly identitical to that of the the U.S. Constitution at the time of secession. Curiously, however, you will search in vain for any significant increase in the rights of states or individuals under the CSA Constitution. Four very, very minor differences are made regarding the powers of states -- the power to enter into treaties with other states to regulate waterways, the power to tax foreign and domestic ships that use their waterways, the power to impeach federally-appointed state officials, and the power to distribute "bills of credit." These are hardly major victories for state's rights. Furthermore, nothing in the CSA makes any provision for secession.

On the other hand, sweeping new powers are granted to the CSA federal government. Foremost, is that states are REQUIRED to allow slavery. And any new state joining the Confederacy is to be a SLAVE state. So much for state's rights on that issue. Four different clauses stop just short of making owning slaves mandatory.

3. Confederate Vice-President Alexander Stephen's Cornerstone Speech

...

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 institution—African slavery as it exists amongst 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 that time. The constitution, it is true, secured every essential guarantee to the institution while it should last, and hence no argument can be justly urged 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 government built upon it fell when the "storm came and the wind blew."

Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; 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 normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth. This truth has been slow in the process of its development, like all other truths in the various departments of science. It has been so even amongst us. Many who hear me, perhaps, can recollect well, that this truth was not generally admitted, even within their day. The errors of the past generation still clung to many as late as twenty years ago. Those at the North, who still cling to these errors, with a zeal above knowledge, we justly denominate fanatics. All fanaticism springs from an aberration of the mind—from a defect in reasoning. It is a species of insanity. One of the most striking characteristics of insanity, in many instances, is forming correct conclusions from fancied or erroneous premises; so with the anti-slavery fanatics. Their conclusions are right if their premises were. They assume that the negro is equal, and hence conclude that he is entitled to equal privileges and rights with the white man. If their premises were correct, their conclusions would be logical and just—but their premise being wrong, their whole argument fails. I recollect once of having heard a gentleman from one of the northern States, of great power and ability, announce in the House of Representatives, with imposing effect, that we of the South would be compelled, ultimately, to yield upon this subject of slavery, that it was as impossible to war successfully against a principle in politics, as it was in physics or mechanics. That the principle would ultimately prevail. That we, in maintaining slavery as it exists with us, were warring against a principle, a principle founded in nature, the principle of the equality of men. The reply I made to him was, that upon his own grounds, we should, ultimately, succeed, and that he and his associates, in this crusade against our institutions, would ultimately fail. The truth announced, that it was as impossible to war successfully against a principle in politics as it was in physics and mechanics, I admitted; but told him that it was he, and those acting with him, who were warring against a principle. They were attempting to make things equal which the Creator had made unequal.

In the conflict thus far, success has been on our side, complete throughout the length and breadth of the Confederate States. It is upon this, as I have stated, our social fabric is firmly planted; and I cannot permit myself to doubt the ultimate success of a full recognition of this principle throughout the civilized and enlightened world.

....
(emphasis added)

I'll note that Stephens is specific that "the immediate cause of the late rupture and present revolution" was the issue of slavery.

4. Statements by Confederate President Jefferson Davis

Jefferson Davis praised slavery as a worthy institution by which "a superior race" had transformed "brutal savages into docile, intelligent and civilized agricultural laborers." See, e.g., Message of Jefferson Davis to the Provisional Congress of the Confederate States of America, Montgomery, April 29, 1861.;

Jefferson Davis' reply in the Senate to William H. Seward, February 29, 1860

The condition of slavery with us is, in a word, Mr. President, nothing but the form of civil government instituted for a class of people not fit to govern themselves. It is exactly what in every State exists in some form or other. It is just that kind of control which is extended in every northern State over its convicts, its lunatics, its minors, its apprentices. It is but a form of civil government for those who by their nature are not fit to govern themselves. We recognize the fact of the inferiority stamped upon that race of men by the Creator, and from the cradle to the grave, our Government, as a civil institution, marks that inferiority.



5. Apostles of Disunion

I highly recommend reading "Apostles of Disunion: Southern Secession Commissioners and the Causes of the Civil War" by Charles B. Dew. Although the language below is taken from this source and this source, I have read Dr. Dew's remarkable book.

Dew teaches history at Williams College in Massachusetts. But he is a son of the South with a family tree full of Rebel ancestors. Dew uses the words of real Confederates to rebut the neo-Confederates. The historian explained that after the Rebels lost the Civil War, many of their civilian and military leaders wrote their memoirs, in which they maintained "that slavery had absolutely nothing to do with the South's drive for independence." He added that their whitewash is being applied by white guy "neo-Confederate writers and partisans of the present day.

Dew focused his book on a group of state-appointed commissioners who made the rounds of the slave states in 1860 and early 1861. They preached the same racist line: the only way to keep Lincoln and the Yankee "Black Republicans" from destroying slavery and white supremacy was to start a new Southern nation.

"Our fathers made this a government for the white man, rejecting the negro, as an ignorant, inferior, barbarian race, incapable of self-government, and not, therefore, entitled to be associated with the white man upon terms of civil, political or social equality," a Mississippi commissioner said.

Likewise, a Kentucky-born Alabama commissioner to Kentucky pleaded that secession was the only way the South could sustain "the heaven-ordained superiority of the white over the black race." Another Alabama ambassador said ideas that slavery was immoral and that God created all people the same were rooted in "an infidel theory [that] has corrupted the Northern heart."

Dew concluded, "By illuminating so clearly the racial content of the secession persuasion, the commissioners would seem to have laid to rest, once and for all, any notion that slavery had nothing to do with the coming of the Civil War."

6. Views of "ordinary soldiers"

John S. Mosby, A Confederate Soldier’s Thoughts on the Civil War, 1907:

"The South went to war on account of slavery. South Carolina went to war – as she said in her [2] Secession proclamation – because slavery wd. not be secure under Lincoln. South Carolina ought to know what was the cause for her seceding."


Chandra Manning in her book What This Cruel War Was Over: Soldiers, Slavery, and the Civil War:

has looked at a remarkable wealth of letters, diaries, and regimental newspapers, assembling data on what 657 Union soldiers and 477 Confederate soldiers thought they were doing over the four years of combat, rather than what some of them wrote in hazy, embittered, or sentimental retrospect. ....

Her conclusion is that the Americans who fought the Civil War overwhelmingly thought they were fighting about slavery, and that we should take their word for it.

It is perhaps not surprising that in 1864 the black men of the Fourteenth Rhode Island Heavy Artillery reminded one another that “upon your prowess, discipline, and character; depend the destinies of four millions of people.” It may be more surprising to find a white Union soldier writing in 1862 that “the fact that slavery is the sole undeniable cause of this infamous rebellion, that it is a war of, by, and for Slavery, is as plain as the noon-day sun.” That same year a soldier on the other side, in Morgan’s Confederate Brigade, wrote that “any man who pretends to believe that this is not a war for the emancipation of the blacks . . . is either a fool or a liar.” Manning can and does multiply these examples, and she finds that they vastly outweigh the evidence for any other dominant motive among the combatants.
[cite]

I could go on and on and on and on, but have already written more than is necessary to prove my point. Can we now here no more disingenious defenses of the Confederacy?
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Palledonia
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Postby Palledonia » Mon Apr 05, 2010 1:23 pm

Who on here is defending the Confederacy?
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Because it's NSG.

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Postby North Wiedna » Mon Apr 05, 2010 1:25 pm

Palledonia wrote:Who on here is defending the Confederacy?

You'd be surprised.
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Postby Conserative Morality » Mon Apr 05, 2010 1:25 pm

Palledonia wrote:Who on here is defending the Confederacy?

*bad Yankee Impression of a Southern Accent* Them theya with some southrun pride left 'n 'em!
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Postby Nanatsu no Tsuki » Mon Apr 05, 2010 1:26 pm

Before I read your post... *huggles* :hug:
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North Suran
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Postby North Suran » Mon Apr 05, 2010 1:29 pm

Only partially related, but God damn, the Confederacy sure loved its Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness:

A Declaration of the Immediate Causes which Induce and Justify the Secession of the State of Mississippi from the Federal Union
Neu Mitanni wrote:As for NS, his latest statement is grounded in ignorance and contrary to fact, much to the surprise of all NSGers.


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Postby Rolling squid » Mon Apr 05, 2010 1:30 pm

North Suran wrote:Only partially related, but God damn, the Confederacy sure loved its Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness:

A Declaration of the Immediate Causes which Induce and Justify the Secession of the State of Mississippi from the Federal Union


It was the 1800's. Everybody wrote like that.
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Postby Farnhamia » Mon Apr 05, 2010 1:30 pm

North Suran wrote:Only partially related, but God damn, the Confederacy sure loved its Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness:

A Declaration of the Immediate Causes which Induce and Justify the Secession of the State of Mississippi from the Federal Union

It was the 19th century. Everything was slower and people had time to come up with things like that.
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Postby Jello Biafra » Mon Apr 05, 2010 1:33 pm

Is there a way to bookmark threads? This would be a good one to do.

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Cons Canuckistan
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Postby Cons Canuckistan » Mon Apr 05, 2010 1:33 pm

Yes, the Civil War was about slavery. But on a similar note, free blacks did serve in the confederate army, most likely several thousand.

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North Suran
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Postby North Suran » Mon Apr 05, 2010 1:34 pm

Rolling squid wrote:
North Suran wrote:Only partially related, but God damn, the Confederacy sure loved its Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness:

A Declaration of the Immediate Causes which Induce and Justify the Secession of the State of Mississippi from the Federal Union


It was the 1800's. Everybody wrote like that.

Which is why we need to build a global time machine to reverse the entire planet back to that awesome century. If the South was to secede from the USA today, its declaration would no doubt go something like this:

Just Sayin', We're Leaving Those Lieberal Dumbocrat CommuNazis And Shit
Last edited by North Suran on Mon Apr 05, 2010 1:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Post-Unity Terra » Mon Apr 05, 2010 1:34 pm

Jello Biafra wrote:Is there a way to bookmark threads? This would be a good one to do.


Ego search.

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Postby Farnhamia » Mon Apr 05, 2010 1:37 pm

North Suran wrote:
Rolling squid wrote:
North Suran wrote:Only partially related, but God damn, the Confederacy sure loved its Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness:

A Declaration of the Immediate Causes which Induce and Justify the Secession of the State of Mississippi from the Federal Union


It was the 1800's. Everybody wrote like that.

Which is why we need to build a global time machine to reverse the entire planet back to that awesome century. If the South was to secede from the USA today, its declaration would no doubt go something like this:

Just Sayin', We're Leaving Those Lieberal Dumbocrat CommuNazis And Shit

Heh, yeah. With maybe a "YOU LIE!!" thrown in for good measure.
Freedom ... or cake. ~ Ashmoria (RIP)
Make Earth Great Again: Stop Continental Drift!
And Jesus was a sailor when he walked upon the water ...
"Make yourself at home, Frank. Hit somebody." RIP Don Rickles
My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right. ~ Carl Schurz
<Sigh> NSG...where even the atheists are Augustinians. ~ The Archregimancy
Now the foot is on the other hand ~ Kannap
RIP Dyakovo

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North Suran
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Postby North Suran » Mon Apr 05, 2010 1:39 pm

Farnhamia wrote:
North Suran wrote:
Rolling squid wrote:
North Suran wrote:Only partially related, but God damn, the Confederacy sure loved its Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness:

A Declaration of the Immediate Causes which Induce and Justify the Secession of the State of Mississippi from the Federal Union


It was the 1800's. Everybody wrote like that.

Which is why we need to build a global time machine to reverse the entire planet back to that awesome century. If the South was to secede from the USA today, its declaration would no doubt go something like this:

Just Sayin', We're Leaving Those Lieberal Dumbocrat CommuNazis And Shit

Heh, yeah. With maybe a "YOU LIE!!" thrown in for good measure.

That would be included in the speech of Confederate Vice-President Rush Limbaugh.
Neu Mitanni wrote:As for NS, his latest statement is grounded in ignorance and contrary to fact, much to the surprise of all NSGers.


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Postby Yootopia » Mon Apr 05, 2010 1:42 pm

That was an exceptionally cool story.
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Farnhamia
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Postby Farnhamia » Mon Apr 05, 2010 1:46 pm

North Suran wrote:
Farnhamia wrote:
North Suran wrote:
Rolling squid wrote:
North Suran wrote:Only partially related, but God damn, the Confederacy sure loved its Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness:

A Declaration of the Immediate Causes which Induce and Justify the Secession of the State of Mississippi from the Federal Union


It was the 1800's. Everybody wrote like that.

Which is why we need to build a global time machine to reverse the entire planet back to that awesome century. If the South was to secede from the USA today, its declaration would no doubt go something like this:

Just Sayin', We're Leaving Those Lieberal Dumbocrat CommuNazis And Shit

Heh, yeah. With maybe a "YOU LIE!!" thrown in for good measure.

That would be included in the speech of Confederate Vice-President Rush Limbaugh.

And their motto might be "No, You Can't!"
Freedom ... or cake. ~ Ashmoria (RIP)
Make Earth Great Again: Stop Continental Drift!
And Jesus was a sailor when he walked upon the water ...
"Make yourself at home, Frank. Hit somebody." RIP Don Rickles
My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right. ~ Carl Schurz
<Sigh> NSG...where even the atheists are Augustinians. ~ The Archregimancy
Now the foot is on the other hand ~ Kannap
RIP Dyakovo

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Panzerjaeger
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Postby Panzerjaeger » Mon Apr 05, 2010 1:48 pm

Farnhamia wrote:
North Suran wrote:
Rolling squid wrote:
North Suran wrote:Only partially related, but God damn, the Confederacy sure loved its Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness:

A Declaration of the Immediate Causes which Induce and Justify the Secession of the State of Mississippi from the Federal Union


It was the 1800's. Everybody wrote like that.

Which is why we need to build a global time machine to reverse the entire planet back to that awesome century. If the South was to secede from the USA today, its declaration would no doubt go something like this:

Just Sayin', We're Leaving Those Lieberal Dumbocrat CommuNazis And Shit

Heh, yeah. With maybe a "YOU LIE!!" thrown in for good measure.

BABY KILLER!
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Postby Gravlen » Mon Apr 05, 2010 1:50 pm

The Cat-Tribe wrote:(Before launching into my main tirade I will note that I am not planning on returning to regular posting, although frequent lurking has led me to believe these forums have improved since I last posted here.)

Nah, they haven't.

That said, it's fun to see you, and I agree with your viewpoints here. :)
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Postby Tekania » Mon Apr 05, 2010 1:56 pm

North Suran wrote:Only partially related, but God damn, the Confederacy sure loved its Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness:

A Declaration of the Immediate Causes which Induce and Justify the Secession of the State of Mississippi from the Federal Union


The Declaration of Independence was written like that.... Politicians back then and earlier liked big words, helped to distinguish themselves from the masses (also, look at Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation).
Such heroic nonsense!

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Camcuda
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more to the point

Postby Camcuda » Mon Apr 05, 2010 2:10 pm

The southern states had thier own economy and did not think the government should medal in their affairs, anymore than the southern states had the right to tell the north how things should be done. The south was outraged and claimed that each states had the right to govern themselvles. The war was about slavery but it was more about the southern economy and a way of life for these people. The south did not feel that anyone should stand in judgement of the southern culture and cried for successtion.

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Panzerjaeger
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Postby Panzerjaeger » Mon Apr 05, 2010 2:11 pm

Camcuda wrote:The southern states had thier own economy and did not think the government should medal in their affairs, anymore than the southern states had the right to tell the north how things should be done. The south was outraged and claimed that each states had the right to govern themselvles. The war was about slavery but it was more about the southern economy and a way of life for these people. The south did not feel that anyone should stand in judgement of the southern culture and cried for successtion.

What medal did the North get? Gold, Silver or Bronze?
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Phenia
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Postby Phenia » Mon Apr 05, 2010 2:13 pm

Palledonia wrote:Who on here is defending the Confederacy?


after reading the OP I don't think anybody could possibly make a reasonable argument that the Confederacy wasn't about slavery. So I think in this thread, the answer will be either no-one or people who simply ignore/dismiss the entire OP. or trolls.

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Postby UNIverseVERSE » Mon Apr 05, 2010 2:18 pm

Camcuda wrote:The southern states had thier own economy and did not think the government should medal in their affairs, anymore than the southern states had the right to tell the north how things should be done. The south was outraged and claimed that each states had the right to govern themselvles.


This is proved false in the OP, as the constitution the south adopted gave no extra power to the states for self government.

Camcuda wrote:The war was about slavery but it was more about the southern economy and a way of life for these people.


Which, at the time, were both synonymous with slavery.

Camcuda wrote:The south did not feel that anyone should stand in judgement of the southern culture and cried for successtion.


Because of slavery. It all boils down to slavery.
Fnord.

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My 3rd Floor Flat
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Ex-Nation

Postby My 3rd Floor Flat » Mon Apr 05, 2010 2:21 pm

I can actually raise an, admittedly cynical, defense in the Confederations name. And it can be summed up like this:

U.S.A: Attention Great Britain! All men are born free and equal! And we are entitled to our independance!
Britain: No! You dastardly colonies! Come back here!

*fight ensues*

USA: Aha! Liberty and freedom triumphs!

*later*

CSA: Attention U.S.A! Whilst we don't generally think that all men are born free and equal the ruling class certainly thinks it applies to us! We don't agree with your rules like you didn't agree to Britains and now we demand our independance. G'day.
U.S.A: How dare you! You dastardly states! Get back here!

*fight ensues*

U.S.A: Aha! We have crushed the seperatists! And as an unexpected side benefit promoted freedom!
C.S.A: But what about our right to self determination and independance?
U.S.A: Oh screw that, were taking the profitering hippocritical route!

In summary. Why, pray, did the U.S.A consider itself as having a right to secede over a disagreement with it's governing body when the Southern states were not considered to have the right to secede because of a disagreement with it's governing body.

Seems dam hippocritical to me. And yes, i'm British.
Nadkor wrote: One of the things you'll notice about the BBC is that it gets accused of bias by everyone.

Mad hatters in jeans wrote:
Crabulonia wrote:^ Very pleased that 3rd Floor Flat is voting same as I.

3rd floor flat is pretty sharp so you can count yourself lucky.

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Lacadaemon
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Founded: Aug 26, 2004
Ex-Nation

Postby Lacadaemon » Mon Apr 05, 2010 2:22 pm

Yah. I'm sure like all big wars, there was more than one single ultimate cause. I mean, WWI was about more than just Russia wanting an ice-free port yanno. And likewise, though slavery was a big part, and one of the major rallying cries on both sides, I think with a moment or two of introspection you'll see that there were other issues floating around at that time too.

Whatever, tho, it's all in the past. And the only thing we learn from history is that people do not learn from history. So it's not worth getting yourself in a lather about.
The kind of middle-class mentality which actuates both those responsible for strategy and government has little knowledge of the new psychology and organizing ability of the totalitarian States. The forces we are fighting are governed neither by the old strategy nor follow the old tactics.

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