“Reflections” on Lincoln by Alexander Stephens

Alexander Stephens (Library of Congress)

It is well known that President Abraham Lincoln and Alexander H. Stephens, who served as Vice President of the Confederacy during the Civil War, were friends despite being on opposite sides of the war. Becoming acquainted during their service in the House of Representatives during the Mexican War, the pair even worked together to get Zachary Taylor elected President.

With this in mind, I found an interesting passage recently in The War Between the States, by Stephens, in which he considered the character of his tall friend.  Stephens made an interesting distinction between the public and private Lincoln. “Lincoln was…kind- hearted.  No man I knew was ever more so,” Stephens said. Then again, so was Julius Caesar, the diminutive Georgian believed. Like Lincoln, Caesar, “was certainly esteemed by many of the best men of his day for some of the highest qualities which dignify and ennoble human nature.” But in public life the two men were alike in that they could be “looked upon as the destroyer[s] of liberties…”[i]

In his memoirs, Stephens wondered how his friend Lincoln might have made different choices if he had heeded the warning of an omen which appeared to the newly nominated Republican candidate for president at his home in Springfield, Illinois. The famous incident is worth recalling before sharing the passage from the Georgian’s work. The following was recorded by Noah Brooks, who heard the story from Lincoln himself.

It was just after my election in 1860, when the news had been coming in thick and fast all day and there had been a great “hurrah, boys,” so that I was well tired out, and went home to rest, throwing myself down on a lounge in my chamber. Opposite where I lay was a bureau with a swinging glass upon it (and here he got up and placed furniture to illustrate the position), and looking in that glass I saw myself reflected nearly at full length; but my face, I noticed had two separate and distinct images, the tip of the nose of one being about three inches from the tip of the other. I was a little bothered, perhaps startled, and got up and looked in the glass, but the illusion vanished. On lying down again, I saw it a second time, plainer, if possible, than before; and then I noticed that one of the faces was a little paler — say five shades — than the other. I got up, and the thing melted away, and I went off, and in the excitement of the hour forgot all about it — nearly, but not quite, for the thing would once in a while come up, and give me a little pang as if something uncomfortable had happened. When I went home again that night I told my wife about it, and a few days afterward I made the experiment again, when (with a laugh), sure enough! the thing came back again; but I never succeeded in bringing the ghost back after that, though I once tried very industriously to show it to my wife, who was somewhat worried about it. She thought it was a “sign” that I was to be elected to a second term of office, and that the paleness of one of the faces was an omen that I should not see life through the last term.[ii]

Lincoln’s Shaving Mirror in Springfield (Photo by author)

Alexander Stephens clearly was struck by the account and adapted the story for his own purposes, to make the point that Lincoln was a better man in private life than he was in public life. This is ironic when you consider that Stephens and Lincoln became friends while working in Congress together – a very public sphere.

From The War between the States:

 

If on the evening of his nomination at Chicago, when the two images of himself were presented in his mirror at Springfield, which ever afterwards so haunted him, it had been told to him, that the “bright” one of these images was but the true likeness of himself in the sphere of private life, and the other – pale, and “statue-like in its frigid insensibility” to all the gentle promptings of his generous heart – was the future image of himself in that official sphere to which he was soon to be elevated: if the curtain of the future had been further raised, and “Death upon his pale horse” had been seen doing his tragical work on the rugged grounds of Manassas, at Oak Hill, at Corinth, on the battle fields around Richmond – at Sharpsburg, Fredericksburg, Murfreesboro, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Vicksburg, and Chickamauga: if the scenes of slaughter and carnage in the Wilderness, at Cold Harbor and Atlanta had been exhibited: if the wails of horror that went up from the crater of the volcanic mine at Petersburg had been heard, even at a distance, commingling with like cries from the dying in the Prisons of Camp Douglas, Rock Island, and Elmira as well as Salisbury and Andersonville, and others of less note; if the devastations in the valley of Virginia by Sheridan, and the conflagrations and desolations by Sherman, through Georgia and the two Carolinas, especially at Columbia, had passed in grand panorama before his vision, reflected from that mirror, and had had been then and there told by some inspired prophet, that all these terrible scenes – these sufferings and woes of millions – these convulsive throes of this our “Nations of Nations” in the days of their agony – would soon be the results of his own acts in his official character, in that higher sphere to which he was to be elevated – represented by the second image thus reflected – he would doubtless  have heard the announcement with no little horror – he would indeed have been “unnerved,” and would have exclaimed, in the language of equal surprise and indignation, with that of Hazael and Elisha! He would have believed , and would have said, with all the emphasis he could have commanded, that it was impossible for him to do such things![iii]

The whole of the tragedy of the Civil War, was laid here solidly at the feet of Abraham Lincoln, as if the Confederacy was blameless. If he had only listened to his mirror, the war may have been averted, Stephens seems to suggest.

The passage also interests me for its mention of prison camps. Having recently penned a book on the Elmira POW camp (HELLMIRA: The Union’s Most Infamous Civil War Prison Camp – Elmira, NY), which Stephens mentions, it is fascinating that he cites three Union camps first – Camp Douglas, Rock Island and Elmira – and only last does he mention Andersonville. This last, of course, was the worst of the worst – a Confederate prison camp in Stephens’ home state of Georgia, with a casualty rate of about thirty percent.

In any case, Stephens’ memoir is largely a predictably self-righteous defense of Georgia and the Confederacy – if a bit hard on Jefferson Davis. Made up of two large volumes, there are some gems to be found – like the one I shared – but it is a slog to read.

Sources:

[i] Alexander Stephens, The War between the States, Volume II. Philadelphia: National Publishing Co., 1870.

[ii] Noah Brooks, Washington in Lincoln’s Time.  New York: The Century Company, 1895.

[iii] Alexander Stephens, The War between the States, Volume II. Philadelphia: National Publishing Co., 1870.

About Derek Maxfield

Associate Professor of History Genesee Community College
This entry was posted in Leadership--Confederate, Leadership--Federal, Lincoln, Politics and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

54 Responses to “Reflections” on Lincoln by Alexander Stephens

  1. Rod says:

    “The whole of the tragedy of the Civil War, was laid here solidly at the feet of Abraham Lincoln, as if the Confederacy was blameless. If he had only listened to his mirror, the war may have been averted, Stephens seems to suggest.”

    The above and last paragraph confirms the bias of the writer. But the quote above is beyond the pale if one drills down to the fundamental cause of the Civil War: a section of the country sought that most basic right framed in the Declaration of Independence – government by consent of the governed. It sought that right because it knew that the detriments of union far outweighed the benefits.

    It had for 70 years called for equitable treatment within the union and felt mostly exploitation. And when an opposing sectional President of a sectional Party aligned against the South was elected. Committed to elevate the exploitation at a time when the addition of new free States had tipped the congressional balance to eliminate the South’s firewall, it was time for the Southern section to leave the union.

    The South knew that “preserving the Union” had no legal justification. It was a euphemism for holding on to the Union’s cash cow. Lincoln was lying when he said he took an oath to preserve the Union. He took no such oath. His oath was to uphold the Constitution which he clearly had no intention of doing having run on a platform of elevating economic exploitation, and especially when he sent provocation for war into Charleston Harbor. The final straw of Constitutional infidelity for the upper South was when he raised troops to invade other States within the Union – the Constitutional definition of “treason” which even Hamilton had considered unthinkable.

    The fundamental cause of the war was Lincoln’s desire to invade fellow American States because in seceding they were exercising that most basic of American rights – government by consent of the governed. It was the essence of human liberty. Lincoln was determined to erect a “Berlin Wall” around the Union and for what – “revenue.” In doing so he turned the agent of the sovereign States into Caesar’s throne of centralized despotism.

    Stephens interpretation of “the omen” was spot on!

    • cmm says:

      A more erudite “lost causer” with a lost mind reinventing history for his own…what?-glorification of the south?

  2. BillF says:

    I think Lincoln’s second inaugural address contains his answer to Stephen’s interpretation: “Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword as was said three thousand years ago so still it must be said ‘the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.”

    • Rod says:

      Unfortunately for Lincoln his attempt at using moral motive in the second inaugural was too late to disguise his true motive for war expressed in his first inaugural, it was all about the revenue. But he certainly was the prototype for the modern Democrat Party using moral platitudes about slavery to cover an ultimate quest for power. When he spoke about the slave not being able to eat the bread his hands had made, Lincoln conveniently ignores the fact that in order to eat the bread his hands had made, the slave needed somewhere to make that bread. Lincoln led the way as a State legislator in Illinois in making sure that black human beings could not migrate into his State to have a place to make bread, along with a multitude of other restrictions on their civil rights. That he saw political and strategic advantage in playing the slavery card by the time of his second inaugural cannot hide his leadership in seeking to rid America of all blacks by colonization. A stance against slavery in the abstract (shared equally by most in the South) could not hide his racist repugnance to living with blacks. Lincoln was one pig that lipstick could not and cannot help.

  3. Lyle Smith says:

    Thanks for sharing your research with us. Good stuff.

  4. “The fundamental cause of the war was Lincoln’s desire to invade fellow American States because in seceding they were exercising that most basic of American rights – government by consent of the governed. It was the essence of human liberty.” Couldn’t agree more! Lincoln made a mockery of the premise of ‘consent by the governed’ by quashing it with military force. Today ‘consent of the governed’ is barely mentioned (except with platitudes every four years) while slavery (over a century and a half ago) is justification for everything from violence to censorship to reparations. Too bad Booth’s derringer didn’t misfire that night. Maybe there would have been an objective critique and personal accountability of his preference & pursuit of war – against half the country he claimed to represent as POTUS.

    • Jon Tracey says:

      I seem to recall a great number of residents of the South that had no ability to vote and a desire to end slavery. Additionally, the South had long exerted political power over Northern states prior to the war.

      • Rod says:

        You forget that those of the same skin color were treated the exact same way and most often worse in the North. They were not granted equal rights in any section of the country, because the prevalent notion both North and South was that they were not to be a part of the polity. So you are skewing the reason for war to fit a modern sensibilities that simply did not exist at that time.

        And in regards to Southern political rule, by the time of the war, the North’s population advantage had long created control over the House of Representatives. It was economic legislation arising from that political branch that caused the South to continually compromise on economic policy that favored the North to the detriment of the South. By the election of 1860, the South’s firewall in the Senate to force compromise had been eliminated by the addition of two additional free States So it found itself facing a sectional President and a sectional Party with no means of defense but secession:

        “And so with the Southern States, towards the Northern States, in the vital matter of taxation. They are in a minority in Congress. Their representation in Congress, is useless to protect them against unjust taxation; and they are taxed by the people of the North for their benefit, exactly as the people of Great Britain taxed our ancestors in the British parliament for their benefit. For the last forty years, the taxes laid by the Congress of the United States have been laid with a view of subserving the interests of the North. The people of the South have been taxed by duties on imports, not for revenue, but for an object inconsistent with revenue–to promote, by prohibitions, Northern interests in the productions of their mines and manufactures… The people of the Southern States are not only taxed for the benefit of the Northern States, but after the taxes are collected, three-fourths of them are expended at the North.” Address of South Carolina to the Slaveholding States Convention, 1860.

  5. Ed Root says:

    wow. so of a population of some 9 million of which some 4 million had so say, tell me again about the consent of the governed……

    • Rod says:

      You impose modern sensibilities on a time when neither North or South believed black human beings were intended to be equal members of the polity. In their minds, the natural rights granted by God were trumped by the political rights granted by man. This is why Lincoln stated that for blacks to have equal rights, they first had to be sent back to Africa:

      “Negroes have Natural Rights, although they cannot enjoy them here, and even Taney once said that ‘though it does not declare that all men are equal in their attainments and social position, yet no sane man will attempt to deny that the African upon his own soil has all the rights that instrument vouchsafes to all mankind.’”

      And Lincoln was quite direct in his position that was shared by the vast majority in the North:

      “Negro equality. Fudge! How long in the Government of a God great enough to make and maintain this universe, shall there continue knaves to vend and fools to gulp, so low a piece of demagoguism as this?” Abraham Lincoln, 1859.

      So you see, primary sources have a way of correcting our imposition of modern sensibilities. Both North and South believed that “government by consent of the governed” applied only to those who were considered to be “the governed.” Only when economic exploitation of the South became threatened by such an ideal did Southern whites become included with all blacks as not allowed gov’t by consent of the governed in the minds of the North.

  6. mattmckeon says:

    “Consent of the governed.” That’s a strange sentiment in defense of a society where forty percent of the population was literally enslaved, who were engaged in a revolt against the government because they feared losing their slaves. The same document states that “all men are created equal.”

    • Rod says:

      From my prior reply above:

      You impose modern sensibilities on a time when neither North or South believed black human beings were intended to be equal members of the polity. In their minds, the natural rights granted by God were trumped by the political rights granted by man. This is why Lincoln stated that for blacks to have equal rights, they first had to be sent back to Africa:

      “Negroes have Natural Rights, although they cannot enjoy them here, and even Taney once said that ‘though it does not declare that all men are equal in their attainments and social position, yet no sane man will attempt to deny that the African upon his own soil has all the rights that instrument vouchsafes to all mankind.’”

      And Lincoln was quite direct in his position that was shared by the vast majority in the North:

      “Negro equality. Fudge! How long in the Government of a God great enough to make and maintain this universe, shall there continue knaves to vend and fools to gulp, so low a piece of demagoguism as this?” Abraham Lincoln, 1859.

      So you see, primary sources have a way of correcting our imposition of modern sensibilities. Both North and South believed that “government by consent of the governed” applied only to those who were considered to be “the governed.” Only when economic exploitation of the South became threatened by such an ideal did Southern whites become included with all blacks as not allowed gov’t by consent of the governed in the minds of the North.

      And if the Southern revolt was “about slavery,” instead of independence from an exploitative Union, why did the CSA begin as early as 1862 to offer to free the slaves in hopes of gaining foreign support in its second war of independence? And this same effort was underway in the Duncan Kenner mission when Lee surrendered. Why would the South give up slavery in hopes of winning the war if slavery was what they were fighting for. The historical evidence denies your premise.

      • mattmckeon says:

        It’s not modern sensibility. Plenty of 19th century people understood that slavery was wrong and Black people deserved better, starting with the millions of Black people.

        The slave states seceded to maintain, protect, and God willing, extend slavery. We know this because they said so over and over again. Lincoln was a threat to the peculiar institution.

        As far as the CSA “offering to free its slaves” the fact is they never did, whatever lies they were willing to tell foreign powers, who had the good sense not to believe them.

        The real “modern sensibility” is trying to find another reason beside slavery for secession. To 19th century slave holders, seceding to protect slavery from the threat of an administration hostile to slavery was a great reason to secede. We don’t think so, but we don’t live in a 19th century slave society.

      • Rod says:

        Both North and South believed slavery wrong in the abstract. But it was the integrated South and not the segregated North that held the predominance of a true moral concern for the slaves. The historical evidence of both North, South, and foreign witnesses is clear on this.

        Having an abstract opposition to slavery does not necessarily include a moral concern for the slave. Northern antislavery was amoral, and except for a small percentage of religious abolitionists, it held no moral concern for the slave. Again the historical evidence abounds regarding this truth.

        The vast majority of the slaves remained loyal to the South. Northern attempts to limit slavery’s expansion had everything to do with political advantage and nothing to do with the welfare of slaves. The South did not seek to expand slavery. The crops which promoted slavery as an institution had long reached their geographical limits. The claim that the South wanted to expand slavey was a Northern scare tactic perpetrated on a racist Northern polity. The South never sought to expand slavery, but explicitly rejected the claim (see The Letter of Southern Delegation to Congress to Their Constituency). The South did however expect Constitutional protected property rights and the equal access of all the States to the enjoyment of the territories to be respected. Herein is a perfect example of how slavery was the “occasion” and not the cause of secession. It was Northern infidelity to the Constitution in regards to equal property rights and access to the commonly owned territories that made the issue a matter of Constitutional fidelity.

        Your entire comment is based on modern political sensibilities/agenda and totally ignores the primary source evidence.

  7. Dan says:

    The CSA didn’t get serious about freeing slaves to fight until the situation was really desperate. And even then, it wasn’t accepted by the south that ALL slaves would be freed.

    And it’s a fallacy to equate anti-slavery with anti-racial equality.

    The original article is interesting, and also not surprising considering how Stephens tried to back-pedal on his Cornerstone speech after the war.

    • Rod says:

      Eight Union congressmen disagree with you idea that the South only considered freeing slaves when they were “desperate.” In a letter to Lincoln in July1862 they wrote explaining why they agreed with his proposal of compensated emancipation in the border slave states:

      “We are the more emboldened to assume this position from the fact, now become history, that the leaders of the Southern rebellion have offered to abolish slavery amongst them as a condition to foreign intervention in favor of their independence as a nation. If they can give up slavery to destroy the Union; We can surely ask our people to consider the question of Emancipation to save the Union.” https://www.loc.gov/resource/mal.1713000/?r=-0.818,-0.749,2.636,3.213,0

      This same kind of Southern effort was still underway in the CS Congressman Duncan Kenner mission of 1864 – 65, and ended only when Lee surrendered at Appomattox. So “desperation” was not the reason for Southern consideration of freeing slaves. Nor would desperation ever be a reason to abandon the cause of war in order to win the war! The fact that the CSA was willing to free slaves to win the war is proof positive that their purpose in secession and war was not slavery. A note sent by CS Secretary Judah Benjamin with Kenner on his mission tells the motive for Southern secession and war:

      “The sole object for which we would ever have consented to commit our all to the hazards of this war, is the vindication of our right to self-government and independence… For that end no sacrifice is too great, save that of honour.” Judah Benjamin to John Slidell, Dec 27, 1864.

      Southern States had previously considered freeing slaves during the antebellum period. What stood in the way was the practical problem of how to afford it economically, and how to do it humanely. Why these were issues was because the North and West offered no help regarding the humanitarian concern of how to accommodate so large a population of landless and penniless people. Both the North and West were determined to keep all blacks both slave and free out of their societies because of racism, and were therefore unwilling to share in the social cost of emancipation. They sought to keep blacks bottled up in the South on a de facto black reservation. When Lincoln freed slaves, it was at no cost whatsoever, especially since he had no plan to accommodate those freed except that they “root hog” or die. For the South to free slaves (who could not be dispersed North or West), was a great economic and humanitarian problem. Not only were there more slaves than could be employed profitably, but who was to care for the elderly and young who could not work? Under slavery, all were required the welfare of the master from cradle to grave. Freedom would mean death to many, just as many did die because of the displacement of Lincoln’s emancipation. It was this concern for the welfare of the slaves that prompted the author of the Mississippi Declaration of Secession to lament that Northern abolitionists wanted to end the slaves present condition without providing a better. Most Northern abolitionism had no concern for the welfare of the slave. They just wanted blacks gone from America. Which is why they either promoted colonization, or the vile proposal of those like Ralph Waldo Emerson who believed if the slaves were cut off from the welfare of the master, they would “die out,” unable to survive and “be destined for museums like the Do Do.”

      That modern historians ignore this side of the story is why there is such a distorted war narrative.

      • Dan says:

        Why would anyone quote Union congressmen regarding the issue of black soldiers for the confederacy? You need to look at the confederate government and southern public opinion to see the opposition to black soldiers and emancipation. It only began to change when the situation became desperate.

        The southern states took the country to war over the slavery dispute. Any narrative that denies that is the true “distorted” narrative.

      • Rod says:

        The quote had nothing to do with black soldiers, it had to do with freeing slaves. You can’t reconcile the fact that the South very early in the war was willing to free the slaves, if their purpose in fighting the war was to preserve and or extend slavery. Those eight Union congressmen had no reason to deceive their President. They were simply stating what they had learned to be a “fact now become history” that the South was willing to end slavery in early 1862 to win independence. And isn’t it a coincidence that they were telling Lincoln about Southern emancipation plans only a few weeks before he surprised his cabinet with his own emancipation plan. Sounds to me like he was trying to head off Southern emancipation with one of his own.

        Twenty more Union loyal congressmen wrote to Lincoln explaining that the seceded States did not secede to protect slavery in that very same week in July of ‘62. Lincoln was trying to persuade them to support compensated emancipation by the claim that if the border slave States ended slavery, it would make the seceded States give up on secession because they would know they could not win without the border slave States on their side. Lincoln claimed slavery was “the leverage of their power” around which they rallied secession. Those twenty Union congressmen wrote back correcting Lincoln, explaining that it was Constitutional infidelity on the part of the North and its centralizing power in DC that was the “leverage” for secession and NOT slavery. Again, these were men on Lincoln’s side in the war. Hear their words:

        “In both houses of Congress we have heard doctrines announced subversive of the principles of the Constitution and seen measure after measure founded in substance on these doctrines proposed and carried through which can have no other effect than to distract and divide all loyal men and to exasperate and drive still further from us and their duty the people of the rebellious states. Military officers following these bad examples have stepped beyond the just limits of their authority in the same direction, until in several instances you have felt the necessity of interfering to arrest them. And even the passage of the resolution to which you refer has been ostentatiously proclaimed as the triumph of a principle which the people of the Southern states regard as ruinous to them. The effect of these measures was foretold, and may now be seen in the indurated state of Southern feeling. To these causes Mr President, and not to our…omission to vote for the resolution recommended by you, we solemnly believe, we are to attribute the terrible earnestness of those in arms against the government and the continuance of the war. Nor do we, permit us to say Mr President with all respect for you agree that the institution of slavery is “the lever of their power” but we are of the opinion that “the lever of their power” is the apprehension that the powers of a common government created for common and equal protection to the interests of all will be wielded against the institutions of the Southern States.” https://cdn.loc.gov/service/mss/mal/170/1708800/1708800.pdf

        Once again, the historical evidence of men who were there are against your narrative! The South’s pro-slavery stance has to be understood in the light of what they did upon seceding. They turnwd down every offer to keep slavery made by Lincoln in both the Corwin Amendment and in the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation. And these Union congressmen confirm why, because slavery was not their cause.

        Actions speak louder (or at least clarify) Southern words. They wanted independence even if it meant ending slavery. Your jumping on the modern claim that the Southern cause was slavery had more to do with modern political sympathies than real history.

  8. mattmckeon says:

    The South was absolutely not willing to free their slaves, and seceded in reaction to the election of a Republican administration that espoused a policy that would have put slavery on the path to “ultimate extinction.” The slave states weren’t looking for a way to emancipate slaves. The slave states seceded to protect slavery: for money and power, and the delicious privileges that came with owning human beings. It was the Union that fought for the Constitution.

    Slavery is of course a terrible cause. But in 1860, it was seen by the secessionists as the social, economic and political bedrock of slave state society and prosperity. A fact that they trumpeted in their secession ordinances.

    It smells pretty bad to us, so some try to hunt around for some other explanation not so rank. That’s modern sensibility: The Lost Cause.

  9. Dan says:

    Rod, give it a rest. No one is buying that Lost Cause stuff anymore, unless they’re brainwashed. This is from a previous ECW post:

    “I have left home and a good situation thrown all peaceful avocations aside and have grasped the weapon of death for the purpose of doing my part in defending and upholding the Integrity Laws and the preservation of my adopted County from a horse of Contemptible traitors, who would if they can accomplish their Hellish designs destroy the best and Noblest Government on Earth. Merely for the purpose of benefiting themselves on the slave question. They want to have a Government of their own whose chief Cornerstone shall be Human Slavery. They say that the reason they have seceded was that the North having elected a man to the Presidential chair who is opposed to slavery, will use his Power to oppose and even crush it.”

    https://emergingcivilwar.com/2020/02/10/a-member-of-the-8th-missouri-infantry-reflects-on-why-he-enlisted/#more-187899

    • Rod says:

      Lost Cause Myth is itself a myth promoted by those who seek to dismiss any defense of the the noble cause of the Confederacy, while uncritically accepting the Northern version of the war as true. Simply adolescent scholarship. You can’t refute my comments, so you resort to the claims of an obscure self-admitted “adopted Southerner,” who held no place of power and purpose in the Confederacy, and whose Northern bias is evident.

      Many will buy what I’m selling if they do not allow unfounded bias to stand in the way of the plain evidence of history. Unfortunately most today are under the influence of Leftist academia that is skewed Left in the History discipline to the tune of a 33:1 ratio.

      I’m still awaiting your scholarly rebuttal to the eight congressmen who told Lincoln in July of 1862 that the CS was seeking to end slavery to gain independence. They called it a “fact now made history.” And where is the rebuttal to the 20 Union congressmen who stated emphatically that slavery was not the cause around which secession occurred? Not to mention that Southern statesmen repeatedly stated that slavery was the mere most recent “occasion” and NOT the cause of secession. It was a mere symptom issue of the more fundamental cause – Northern infidelity to the Constitution for the purpose of political and economic exploitation of the South. Davis stated expressly that the South was “not fighting for slavery” but rather “independence” in an 1863 interview with a Northern columnist. Every action of the seceded South backs up his words.

      Tell me now, just who is it that believes and espouses a “myth.”

  10. nygiant1952 says:

    Stephens answers all of this with his Cornerstone Speech….that the foundation of the Confederacy, and the reason they were leaving the Union….was slavery.

    Anything else is just pure Lost Cause Myth.

    • Rod says:

      Ahhh the Cornerstone Speech. This is the standard “go to” of those who are committed to a superficial understanding of historical evidence. The entire reason the speech is dubbed “The Cornerstone Speech” is evidence that the entire message and context of the speech is ignored to focus on one paragraph that on the surface appears to support modern political sensibilities.

      The message of the speech is how the Confederate Constitution is the old Constitution tweaked to eliminate any possible ambiguities that the North had formerly used for sectional advantage. The orator began with what he considered the most important (as good orators know to do) while you still have the attention of your audience. Good orators know you end a speech with the same purpose in mind. The current day preoccupation with a paragraph stuck in the middle of the speech is evidence of modern historiography’s commitment to view history through the lens of Marxist style analysis – history is reduced to who was the oppressor and who the oppressed and everything else relegated to a lessor importance.

      The context of the “Cornerstone Paragraph,” not to be confused with the speech, is a defense of the constitutional protection of property rights. The particular property right to slaves is incidental to the more important general right itself. Stephens use of the “Cornerstone” analogy is borrowed directly from the opinion of a Northern Supreme Court justice. In Johnson vs. Tompkins, Justice Henry Baldwin said: “Slavery is the cornerstone of the Constitution; the foundations of the government are laid and rest on the right of property in slaves, and the whole structure must fall by disturbing the cornerstone.” This opinion was well known in the South and used as a firewall against Northern infidelity to the Constitutional protection to the right in property. In 1849 John C. Calhoun would reference this opinion in a letter signed off on by 40 Southern Congressmen to their constituency.

      With this context in mind Stephens is emphasizing that the CS Constitution is making explicit what is maintained in the US Constitution. The CS Constitution puts to rest any opposition to legally held property including slaves. He defends the legal right by the long and commonly held view that blacks are inferior to whites. If you read this passage carefully, it is black inferiority that is the “cornerstone,” and slavery therefore a legal corollary.

      Stephens emphasis in the inferiority of blacks is in no way different from that of Lincoln. Only Stephen’s conclusion as to what should be the practical outcome of this inferiority differs from Lincoln. Stephens believes that slavery is the best means to manage this inferior caste until at which time they can be assimilated, by education to feed and clothe themselves, into Christian society. This is the point he makes in the very next paragraph after the cornerstone passage. Lincoln agreed totally with Stephens on the inferiority of blacks. And as did Stephens, Lincoln also took Jefferson to task on the equality of all men:

      “Negro equality. Fudge! How long in the Government of a God great enough to make and maintain this universe, shall there continue knaves to vend and fools to gulp, so low a piece of demagoguism as this?” Abraham Lincoln, 1859.

      “I have said that I do not understand the Declaration of Independence to mean that all men were created equal in all respects. I will say 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. There is a physical difference between the white and black races, which I believe, will forever forbid the two races from living together on terms of social and political equality. And I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race… Negroes have Natural Rights, although they cannot enjoy them here, and even Taney once said that ‘though it does not declare that all men are equal in their attainments and social position, yet no sane man will attempt to deny that the African upon his own soil has all the rights that instrument vouchsafes to all mankind.’”

      These quotes from Lincoln demonstrate clearly that he too disagrees with Jefferson. He agrees completely with Stephens on black inferiority, but diverges on whether it is permanent or not. Lincoln says the inferiority “will forever forbid the two races from living together on terms of social and political equality” and therefore must be deported back to Africa before they can enjoy their natural rights. Stephens believes they can be educated and assimilated into society.

      Now tell me which of these two men’s position has more to do with any moral high ground?

      • nygiant1952 says:

        The Cornerstone Speech continues to be the “document” that those who defend slavery, just have trouble explaining.

        Please..let us put this “sectional” advantage of the North, to rest . Recall that the US Constitution was written by Southerners, and that it protects the institution of slavery.

        1. The 3/5’s clause gives those states in the South a numerical advantage in the House of Representatives, where any anti-slavery bills can be stopped
        2. The 3/5’s Clause gives the Southern states an increase in the Electoral College as opposed to a Northern State with the same number of free people.
        3.The President names SC justices

        So we see how the 3/5’s Clause affects all 3 branches of Government.

        Also be aware of the clauses in the Constitution that allow the continuing of slavery.
        1. Article 1 Section 9, Clause 2…The slave trade can’t be touched until 1808. And even then, it can still continue
        2. Article 5 protects this clause til 1808.
        3. Article 4, Section 3, Clause 3..protects property
        4. Article 4 Section 2, Clause 3
        5. Article 1, Section 8, Clause 15…designed that slave revolts could be suppressed.

        All that was written by Southerners.

        ————————————————————————————————–

        The issue isn’t if Lincoln was a racist. Racism isn’t the issue. There is a difference between being a racist, and slavery. You can be racist and anti-slavery in 1850s America.

        The issue is slavery, and the extension of slavery to the territories. Preventing this expansion of slavery was consistent with the views of the Founding Fathers

        Looks to me, it’s the sectional advantage of the South, which is being threatened by increasing the number of Free states, that threatened the South and their secular institution.

      • Rod says:

        Your entire argument is bogus. There was rarely a time when the South controlled both houses of Congress. The North had a population advantage which gave it dominancy in the House. It was the Senate that had been the South’s firewall against economic exploitation, and compromise had been the means of living in Union with the North. Then came the addition of new free States upsetting the Southern advantage in the Senate, and the sectional election of a sectional party aligned against the South for the purpose of political and economic exploitation. It was this loss of the final firewall that led to secession:

        “And so with the Southern States, towards the Northern States, in the vital matter of taxation. They are in a minority in Congress. Their representation in Congress, is useless to protect them against unjust taxation; and they are taxed by the people of the North for their benefit, exactly as the people of Great Britain taxed our ancestors in the British parliament for their benefit. For the last forty years, the taxes laid by the Congress of the United States have been laid with a view of subserving the interests of the North. South Carolina to the Convention of Slaveholding States, 1860.

        And the question of the meaning of “antislavery” and “proslavery” has everything to do with the debate. Once you rid the discussion of any moral or egalitarian merit attached to the antislavery position, you then see clearly how antislavery was being used for political leverage against the South by the North. It was an immoral rather than moral or even amoral position. For if your antislavery has nothing to do with the welfare of slaves, and everything to do with limiting slave owners so they did not form States in the territories aligned with the South, in order that the North would dominate both houses of Congress for the purpose of exploitation, then your position is one of exploitation and every reason for the Southern States to leave.

      • Rod says:

        Oh and I forgot to mention. Many in the North were just as supportive and committed to the laws protecting slavery at the penning of the Constituion, given the North was heavily involved in the slave trade at that time, and benefitted greatly from the practice. Two of the three States who wrote clauses into their ratification documents providing for their exit from the Union were Northern, and they did so because the slave trade and slave produced staples were vital to their interests.

        So let’s forget any notion that slavery’s protection in the Constitution was a “Southern” effect!

        I’m done with the shallow and adolescent analysis regarding this post. I’m off the pay my respects at the final resting place of Robert Rhett, a great American statesman.

  11. nygiant1952 says:

    Ron, Let’s look at the facts
    1. Pro-slavery Presidents held the White House for 48 out of the first 60 years existence of the United States.
    2. The South didn’t need to control both Chambers of Congress to black anti-slavery legislation….only one chamber was necessary.
    3. The last firewall was the split in the Democratic Party with the realization that the South was not to hold power in the Federal Government to the extent it had.
    4. It was the election of Lincoln that led to secession.

    Taxation is a bogus issue. The South did have representation in the Congress to voice their concerns about taxation. Recall that the colonists had no representation in Parliament. So, comparing the two, is a false comparison.

    The FF meant to limit slavery to the territories. Thats why the North compromised. It allowed slavery to exist in the South in exchange for the passage of the Northwest Ordinance which forbade slavery in that territory.

    Recall that slavery had been abolished in the North and only existed in limited forms in the Border states, by 1861.

    So, by the rules of warfare at the time of the Civil War, Theo one who leaves the battlefield first , is declared the loser.

    Looks like I win!!

    • Rod says:

      Ok I’m back after a day visiting the grand baby and a cemetery full of history. “Let’s look at the facts” you say, but I’m struggling to find pertinent facts regarding what we were discussing???

      1. What has the number of presidents to do with anything we’ve been debating?

      The issue is proslavery and antislavery, and not merely proslavery or antislavery in the abstract. But rather what did these terms mean given the historical context in which they were used. They meant far different things in 1861 than they do today. And if you read primary sources, you’ll find that it was the South that held the moral high ground in taking a proslavery stance given that the North wanted blacks either deported to any place but here, or cut off from the welfare of the master to “die out.” Southerners found both options repulsive. They actually cared for the black folk they had grown up with in intimate social relationships of all manners. Both the North and South held antislavery sentiments in the abstract. But the reality on the ground was there were 4 million blacks in the South, almost half the population and most were destitute slaves. The moral question was how to manage such a large population of landless and penniless people given that the North was doing all it could to prevent any more blacks slave or free from migrating North or West. The South inherited the slave population from prior generations upon which slavery was imposed by the Dutch and Brits along with a lot of help from the Northern slave trade. Proslavery had more to do with managing that population than with any desire to keep a fellow human being enslaved. Even Stephens (whom I notice you abandoned after I unpacked the Cornerstone paragraph) was against slavery in the abstract. In a Texas speech, in 1845, he said: “I am no defender of slavery in the abstract —liberty always had charms for me, and I would prefer to see all the sons and daughters of Adam’s family in the full enjoyment of all the rights set forth in the Declaration of American Independence…”

      The problem with most modern historians is that they are Leftist ideologues. They are incapable of viewing slavery as anything but evil, because abstractly speaking it is. But slavery occurred in human history in differing times and places, some with far different circumstances. For instance, do you think Jews spared certain death in the concentration camps would view their slavery in Oscar Shindler’s munitions factories as an evil?

      Since you brought up the issue… That the South dominated the count of high office holders is no surprise given that for most of the fist 70 years of US existence both sections of the country were primarily Jeffersonian States Rights in their philosophies. It was only when the North realized it held a numerical population advantage that could be used to exploit the South economically by gaining majorities in congress that the North began to abandon Jeffersonian States Rights principles (Suddenly it was centralized power that appealed to the North). Heck it was the North that threatened secession far more than the South during those first 70 years – a very Jeffersonian threat at that! But slavery was not an issue that needed protecting during most of the first 70 years. It was only when Northern politicians realized that slavery was an effective scare tactic in a racist North that could be used to rally a sectional political coalition against the South for economic exploitation that slavery even became an issue. What the South needed a firewall against for most of the first 70 years was Northern economic exploitation which the South fended off by compromise in a divided congress.

      2. True. And the South was able to use a divided gov’t to hold off unconstitutional actions to some degree throughout the first 70 years whether they be later issues regarding slavery or earlier economic issues. What prompted secession is when the Southern vote counters realized that in the 1860 election its firewall had vanished with the addition of new States, and the reigns of government in the control of a sectional party aligned against the South. I’ll repeat this quote here since you must have missed it earlier:

      “And so with the Southern States, towards the Northern States, in the vital matter of taxation. They are in a minority in Congress. Their representation in Congress, is useless to protect them against unjust taxation; and they are taxed by the people of the North for their benefit, exactly as the people of Great Britain taxed our ancestors in the British parliament for their benefit. For the last forty years, the taxes laid by the Congress of the United States have been laid with a view of subserving the interests of the North. The people of the South have been taxed by duties on imports, not for revenue, but for an object inconsistent with revenue–to promote, by prohibitions, Northern interests in the productions of their mines and manufactures… The people of the Southern States are not only taxed for the benefit of the Northern States, but after the taxes are collected, three-fourths of them are expended at the North.” (Address of South Carolina to Slaveholding States Convention of South Carolina,1860.)

      3. True again. But it wasn’t simply the party split that concerned them. It was the growing population of the North that gave control in the House, and a sectional party determined to keep Southerners from creating Southern allied States in the territories, thus establishing Northern control of the Senate. Northern opposition to slavery in the territories was NOT out of its abstract opposition to slavery, much less a nonexistent moral opposition to slavery. It was a political strategy and a racist strategy. Political for the reason just previously mentioned, and racist in order to preserve the West for white yankees. And as my previous primary source quote reveals, the South saw nothing but economic exploitation as its future.

      4. True again. And for all the reasons I just mentioned. A sectional party, a sectional President, and no firewall to oppose the high tariff platform that Party and that President had run on.

      Taxation was not a “bogus issue.” It was a primary issue given the Republican Party platform. And it was THE main motive to secede given the South was now defenseless against high tariffs (see prio quote, and I can provide a library full of just such quotes). The ultimate issue driving secession was the South’s constant struggle to compromise with and defend against a North that had a long history of constitutional infidelity in pursuit of sectional control and exploitation. You can argue all you want that it wasn’t the case, but the South believed it to be the case and what they believed determined the motive of secession and not what we think was true.

      You obviously are missing info about the Northwest territories. That area was ceded by Virginia, under the Articles of Confederation, and it was only because Virginia assented and agreed that slavery was omitted there. There was no such prohibition during the expansion into what would become Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana. This was because the new Constitution acknowledged slavery to be a States Rights issue. Forbidding slavery in the Western territories was a violation of both the equality of the States and the right of property as defined by the new Constitution. The South simply wanted equal access and enjoyment with its legal property in the commonly owned territories. It was a matter of principle; their equality in the Union was under threat. Slavery as an institution wasn’t going into the arid climate of the West. But Southerners saw through the North’s political strategy to keep influential Southerners from settling there and forming pro-Southern philosophically agrarian States.

      “Recall that slavery had been abolished in the North and only existed in limited forms in the Border states, by 1861.” I suppose this is supposed to apply to the discussion?

      Slavery may have been abolished in the North (primarily because it couldn’t be made profitable given the climate), but slaves still existed in Northern States until the 13th Amendment. And quite a few existed in the Northern States when the Constitution was penned which is why the Fugitive Slave Clause was inserted with little opposition. And the North, even though its slave population was minuscule, still allowed a 25 year period to end slavery to avoid any economic cost. And during this period most were sold South to make a profit. So much for any great moral awakening there!

      Ha! And now I read your last comment. Guess I forgot to stay in retreat? But when you have only two days to visit your first grand baby at 8 months, you don’t want to spend yhe day in debate!

      I enjoy the debate, but have only tomorrow to finish seeing the baby so I guess I’ll turn in for the night. Have a good evening and Deo Vindice!

      • Dan says:

        I didn’t read through your post, Rod, because it became fictional so quickly, I just stopped at this part:

        “And if you read primary sources, you’ll find that it was the South that held the moral high ground in taking a proslavery stance given that the North wanted blacks either deported to any place but here, or cut off from the welfare of the master to “die out.” Southerners found both options repulsive. They actually cared for the black folk they had grown up with in intimate social relationships of all manners.”

        That’s false. Read up on the American Colonization Society. The gradual emancipationists in the south definitely wanted to deport free blacks. Colonization was not a purely northern thing.

        And when you talk about intimate relationships of all manners, it just brings to mind all the “mulattoes” that were born from the rape of slave women in the south.

      • Rod says:

        Good morning Dan.

        I did not mean to imply that no one in the South ever considered colonization. Heck, Jefferson himself proposed colonization. But by far the vast majority of Southerners opposed it on familial grounds. You need to recall that 70 to 75% of Southerners did not own slaves. And given the vast distances between farms some did not have intimate contact with black people enough to form the bonds of friendship of which I speak. But the majority of Southerners did have that kind of contact and it produces social bonds that naturally occur under such conditions. Your need to read the vast amount of primary source material that covers this bonding. And I would recommend to you a book “Alternative Americas: A Reading of Antebellum Political Culture” by Dr. Anne Norton. Her research reveals a much different antebellum world than that which is popularized today by modern political agendas. In it she talks about this very repugnance toward colonization that you deem false. She quotes poems from antebellum Southern magazine that decry the notion of colonizing “Uncle Jack, come on now no more of that!”

        It isn’t easy to look beyond our modern conditioning that is more a product of a current industry of racial animosity than it is history. But reading primary sources will certainly remove the blinders; and by primary sources I do not mean the politically motivated claims of radical abolitionists. When you look past the embellished caricature of those sources, there is a wealth of corroborative information that confirms the benevolence of Southern slavery so often disparaged as “Lost Cause Myth.”

        In fact, it is amazing how much so called “Lost Cause Myth” is confirmed by spending time reading those who were there. Hear is a sampling you will not read in our universities:

        From a member of the USCT –
        “That the negroes did not revolt is one of the incomprehensible features of our Civil War. Every chance for success was theirs, nor were they ignorant of their opportunity for striking an effectual and crushing blow against their oppressors. Why was it not done? Several potent causes combined to render any widespread insurrection at that time impossible. There was in the first place a genuine affection for the white race, implanted in hundreds of thousands of negroes by amalgamation, there was, in no less degree, a race love created by the foster parental relations which negro women sustained toward white children; there was also a genuine desire on the part of the negro men to discharge worthy the duties with which they were entrusted by their absent masters. But the supreme and all-pervading influence which restrained them was rooted in their religious convictions; for the slave negro, unlike the modern freedman, was a being in whom religious fervor was intensely and over-whelmingly manifest.” William Hannibal Thomas, 5th United States Colored Troops. The American Negro, published 1901.

        From a neutral foreign source –

        “The prejudice of the race appears to be stronger in the States which have abolished slavery than in those where it still exists. In the South, where slavery still exists, the negroes are less carefully kept apart; they sometimes share the labor and the recreations of the whites; the whites consent to intermix with them. The habits of the Southern people are more tolerant and compassionate.” Alexis de Tocqueville, French Aristocrat who toured the US in 1831.

        From a staunch anti-South Northern architect and travel writer –

        “I am struck with the close cohabitation and association of black and white. Negro women are carrying black and white babies together in their arms; black and white children are playing together. They all talked and laughed together; and the girls munched confectionary out of the same paper, with a familiarity and closeness of intimacy that would have been noticed with astonishment, if not manifest displeasure, in almost any chance company of the North.” Frederick Olmsted.

        From a Northern abolitionist who conducted the only study of slavery in the antebellum South –
        “The impression here made upon me…the slaves were unconscious of any feeling of restraint…they had sources of enjoyment and ways of manifesting it which suggested to a spectator no thought of involuntary servitude.” Nehemiah Adams, 1854 in A Southside View of Slavery.

        To these I would recommend a small work written by a Georgia slave:
        https://docsouth.unc.edu/imls/berry/berry.html

        And to your mulatto comment I will only say that you are certainly indoctrinated by modern politics. Which is probably the “real reason” you did not read my entire comment. I suppose you can’t move past the word “slavery,” and “consent” is thereby erased in your definition of rape. I hope you do realize that many mulattos were free persons in the South as well as in the North? Again you repeat abolitionist nonsense that is the main source of modern slave myths. I’m betting you have no idea that in Southern law slaves were considered human beings and by law the master owned only the labor and not the person of the slave? And why? So that slaves had due process rights in Southern courts where abuse was unlawful. Guess where blacks did not have due process rights in court? Try Lincoln’s Illinois! See how distorted our modern understanding of that time has become???

  12. Ski says:

    “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.”

    This is the oath that senators and congressmen took who represented slave states before they left their seats under their discretion. When they left their seats based on their free will, they became rebels to the union. Those politicans are the ones who decided the Southern States fate in the matter. Southern States that still were part of the union who were held hostage by rebels who were in it for their own self interest. That interest was preservation of their property. Property, who we know full well, to be human beings. Those rebels then proceeded to take federal property that belonged to the people of the United States. They did not offer compensation for their aggressive position. They took it in the name of the rebel nation called the Confederate States of America.

    The federal government, who had legal authority to do so, responded to the aggression by military action to secure federal property and the rights of American citizens who were held against their will by rebel forces. Which again is within the government’s right to do so.

    The war ripped apart our nation’s families, population, and politics. All in the name of rebels who held hostage states that were part of a union for their own personal interests.

    • Rod says:

      And nowhere does it claim to be an oath to “the Union.” Only the later Pledge of Allegiance states that (written by a socialist by the way). The idea of the indivisibility of the Union is nowhere found in the Constitution. Those seceding Congressmen pledged to “uphold the Constitution” and they firmly believed that was what they were doing by seceding. They said often that they were the ones upholding the Union’s Constitution. Their reason for secession was Northern infidelity to the Constitution:

      “We quit the Union, but not the Constitution—this we have preserved. Secession from the old Union on the part of the Confederate States was founded upon the conviction that the time-honored Constitution of our fathers was about to be utterly undermined and destroyed. ” Hon. Alexander H. Stephens to the Virginia Secession Convention, April 23, 1861

    • Rod says:

      “ Those politicans are the ones who decided the Southern States fate in the matter. Southern States that still were part of the union who were held hostage by rebels who were in it for their own self interest.”

      Actually no, that is false. The Southern States exercised their reserved right to secede in the same way that they exercised their voluntary right to accede. They voted in secession conventions based upon referendums of the people. Your take is the old Lincolnian nonsense that totally ignores the fact that the States were sovereign political corporations who ratified a compact around which they as principals formed a central government as their agent for their common benefit. When that Union was no longer beneficial but was rather a detriment, they had every right to secede. There was no legal Berlin Wall ever built around the Union. Nor would there be given that the Founders believed wholeheartedly in “government by consent of the governed.” Your Lincolnian position has no basis in either the history or text of our founding documents. But the right to secede is there explicitly expressed in the 10th Amendment which clearly says that all powers not delegated to the central government or prohibited to the States is a power reserved to the States. The power to secede is neither delegated or prohibited, therefore it is possessed by the States.

      The people of the States expressed their sovereign will in referendum, their state governments then held secession conventions which confirmed to pursue the will of the people. That is as AMERICAN AS IT GETS! They offered to meet with Lincoln to settle up any property expenses even though they need not do so under international law. International law says that any compact voided by breach of that compact renders null and void any contracts made under said compact. For instance South Carolina ceded Fort Sumter to the central government under compact with the Union. Given that the compact was voided, the contractual agreement granting Sumter to the central government was null and void. Yet they offered to pay a anyway and Lincoln refused to meet. It is a shame that Gorbachev wasn’t our President rather than Lincoln. He allowed secession from the Soviet Union without turning guns on the people and killing over a million. How can you not see the reprehensible violation of human rights that was Lincoln’s actions???

      • Ski says:

        The rebels took control of federal forts and arsenals. This is federal property that belongs to the federal government. There is a distinction between what is federal property and what is state property. When rebels took federal property they essentially committed the same offense to the federal government as John Brown did in 1859.

        When rebels took over states, they also took over population loyal to the Union. To refute this would be like saying that in the American Revolution there were no Loyalist to the British crown living in the 13 colonies. The President was within his right to seek assistance to those loyal citizens of the union in their time of need.

        You can not argue the rebels seceded for state’s rights when they themselves did not believe in it. The rebels did not support the right of Northern states to oppose slavery. The Dred Scott ruling supports this.

        You say that President Lincoln violated human rights. That maybe, but if you say he violated human rights while slavery itself is not a violation of human rights, I am going to leave you to do the explaining on that one.

        Again the rebel government took possession of lawful states for the purpose of personal interests. They claimed to carry the banner of what the founders professed in 1776. Yet I feel that is a point which is hard to stand given the fact that Thomas Jefferson believed that government is for “the living and not the dead”. By that time, the spirit of 76 which stood for virtue and service for country had given way to greed and self-interest. The very foundation of the rebel government. In 1860, the southern 4 million slaves were worth 3.5 billion dollars. Worth more than all manufacturing and railroads combined for the time. So you see, the rebel leader’s saw this and when they developed the Confederacy, they choose from the beginning that this is what they were going to build a future off of. A society where one portion of society is enslaved to the other. Something that the founders never had in mind in 1776. For if they did, it would have been all in vain. It wasn’t because we in our free society today, which mind you still needs work to be done, stand as exhibit A of what the founders had envisioned.

      • Rod says:

        Only one problem with your argument. Historical facts refute it. The polities of the sovereign States voted to secede. Less than 25% owned slaves, less than 10% were major slave owners (owning more than five). That 10% did not nor could not force 75% to vote for secession. Your argument is farfetched at best! And when sovereign States secede, all property within their borders revert back to them per international law. The seceded States offered to pay for them anyway, but Lincoln, dead set on maintaining his revenue, took the nation to war to deny the fundamental American right of self-government.

        Regarding the few minority citizens who did not wish to secede, they had every right to relocate to a State remaining in the Union. Last I checked, living in the Union was not a natural right listed in the Bill of Rights. It was a political choice. Last I checked, America was a democratic republic and anything not a natural right was therefore a political right and subject to majority rule. Lincoln took an oath to defend the Constitution. He did not take an oath to “preserve the Union.” The Union was subject to that founding principle of “government by consent of the governed.” Nothing in any of the founding documents declared the Union indivisable.

        Regarding “States Rights,” your comment that the South really did not believe in States Rights is laughable. I hear this argument made often by Righteous Causers and it reflects a drastic ignorance of States Rights within a Constitutional Union. When the States ratified the Constitution, they delegated certain powers to the central government, and prohibited to themselves certain powers. This was the compact by which they all agreed to join the Union. That compact protected the right to property in slaves, and required the return of fugitive slaves. The Southern expectation that the North abide by that contract was in no way a violation of the States Rights principle. The States in their sovereign capacity approved all clauses in the Constitution regarding slavery. Expecting all the States in the Union to abide by the Constitution is not a denial of States Rights. It is an affirmation of States Rights, the right of the States to form a Union based on a common Constitution and their right to expect fidelity to that Constitution. Dred Scott did indeed affirm that if a State ratified the Constitution, it was expected to abide by that Constitution! No denial of States Rights in that ruling.

        I’m not sure where you get that I denied slavery to be a violation of human rights. Slavery considered abstractly is always a violation of human rights. Southerners believed this as much as the North. Stephens, Lee, and even Lincoln stated that Southerners believed this. But slavery isn’t a mere abstraction. It occurs in real world circumstances. And in the real world circumstances can dictate what is right. When Oscar Shindler of WWII fame sought to enslave as many Jews as he could in his munitions factories to protect them from death in the ovens, was slavery in that case a violation of human rights? It is an axiom of moral virtue that we always do good. But in certain real world circumstances you have no choice but to do what causes the most good and least harm. Southerners argued that slavery was a “positive good” because it was a way of managing so large a population of destitute people given the circumstances. The circumstance was that a racist North refused to let any more black people migrate North or West. They wanted their States and the territories reserved for whites only. This left the South to accommodate 4 million black people all on its own. The North was just as culpable for slavery, but wanted no part of the social cost involved to set them free. How could the South accommodate so large a population on its own, and do so humanely without a social and economic disaster? The slavery system the South had inherited was considered to be the best of a bad situation until real world circumstance provided a better solution. You hear this point being made in one line of the Mississippi Declaration of Secession where the writer laments that radical abolitionists seek “not to elevate or to support the slave, but to destroy his present condition without providing a better.” There were too many slaves to employ them all profitably, and for slaves too old or too young to work, who depended on the legally required cradle to grave welfare of the master, what would happen to them? Lincoln gave no consideration to these problems when he executed his emancipation as a “war measure.” His solution to what would become of the freedmen was “root hog or die.” And hundreds of thousands did die because he held no concern or made no plan for them in his emancipation! So tell me again who held the most merit regarding human rights!?! The South saw slavery as protection against Northern schemes of colonization to any godforsaken place but here, or protection against Ralph Waldo Emerson’s group of abolitionists who proposed – cut the slaves off from the welfare of the master to “die out” only to “be found in museums like the DoDo.”

        You say, “ So you see, the rebel leader’s saw this and when they developed the Confederacy, they choose from the beginning that this is what they were going to build a future off of.”

        Did you really write that with a straight face? Do you really think that Southern slave owners were ignorant of the fact that world opinion was turning against slavery, and therefore they would never be able to sustain it into the future? Do you really believe that a people living in a society committed to a Christian ethic desired to keep their fellow humans in bondage??? As I mentioned before even Lincoln did not believe that the South wanted slavery, “I have no prejudice against the Southern people. They are just what we would be in their situation. If slavery did not now exist among them, they would not introduce it.” The South that seceded did not start the institution of slavery in America. They inherited it from previous generations and were seeking to make the best of a bad situation. Their defense of all that money invested in slaves was not out of a desire for slavery. As even a Northerner such as Webster admitted there was a strong move toward emancipation in the South until the radical Northern abolitionists started making irresponsible demands for immediate, uncompensated emancipation backed by terrorist threats. (In spite of the fact that the North gave itself 25 years to end slavery so there would be no monetary impact on Northern slave owners.) Of course in the face of such demands anyone would dig in their heels in resistance. Giving in to such demands would have caused a humanitarian and economic disaster for both slave and free Southerners! Especially if the South was going to be required to accommodate that destitute population all on its own as Northern politicians intended. That the South did not secede to protect slavery is clear given the fact that they turned down every offer from Lincoln to keep slavery, and immediately (1861 as reported in British newspapers) started seeking to end slavery in hopes of gaining foreign support in their second war for independence. As difficult as emancipation would be, there was no sacrifice too great to be independent from a section of the Union that consistently thumbed its nose at the Constitution in its quest for economic exploitation of the South. The Southern effort to gain foreign support by giving up slavery was still being negotiated in 1865 when Lee surrendered. If the South sought independence to protect slavery, why was it willing to end slavery to gain independence? You need a answer to that question to make your myth that the CS cause was about slavery tenable. And don’t try to deny that they were seeking to end slavery almost before the ink dried on the secession documents. I can provide the primary evidence that they were doing just that. Don’t give me that line “the South was desperate” when they sought to end slavery. There was no desperation in ‘61 – ‘62. And even if there was desperation, desperation for what??? To keep slavery??? Isn’t that what you claim they seceded and fought for? Why would desperation make them give up the very thing they were fighting for? As one Confederate General stated, “At any time we could have laid down our arms and kept the slaves.” Slavery was not what they were fighting for.

        Finally, your platitudes about the intent of the founders is ahistorical. They not only founded the Union with slavery intact, they allowed the slave trade to continue for 20 years. Equality in their minds was never intended to apply to blacks. They intended the US to be a white protestant polity as the laws they codified clearly indicate. I’m not agreeing with them, only stating their intent.

      • nygiant1952 says:

        Wow!! So many misconceptions and ahistorical facts!!

        1.The South voted to leave the union, including those who did not own slaves because the entire economy of the South was based on slavery. The North had a much varied economy, but for the South, it was one economy, based on slaves. And those who did not own slaves, lived for they day when they too, could own them.

        2.Cherry picking at its best. The FF intended the Union to be perpetual ( Articles of Confederation gives us their original thoughts). This phrase that you use….“government by consent of the governed”….where is it in the US Constitution? It’s not!…it’s in the Declaration of Independence. Let’s agree that the Constitution is the Law of the Land.. FYI..Nothing in the Constitution says the United States are divisible. Defending the Constitution, means

        3.”When Oscar Shindler of WWII fame sought to enslave as many Jews as he could in his munitions factories to protect them from death in the ovens, was slavery in that case a violation of human rights?” pure fiction and a-historical. Here is the corrections…..In addition to the approximately 1,000 Jewish forced laborers registered as factory workers, Schindler permitted 450 Jews working in other nearby factories to live at Emalia as well. This saved them from the systematic brutality and arbitrary murder that was part of daily life in Plaszow. Live….not slaves

        4. I think the thousands of slaves who were hung by their masters, would disagree with this paragraph.

        5.There was such a late movement for emancipation in the South, that the South kept Lincoln off the ballot! Why? Because the Republican Party was against the expansion of slavery to the territories.

        6.If you ever read the notes taken by Madison regarding the arguments regarding slavery, you would know that the North state against it, but was willing to compromise to keep all the States united and also to obtain support rom the South that the Northwest Territories would not lawfully allow slavery.

        Like I have said One, you can have your own opinion, but you can’t have your own set of facts.

      • Ski says:

        NyGiant1952 go easy on our fellow citizen. He is on to something.

        Rod:
        “Less than 25% owned slaves, less than 10% were major slave owners (owning more than five). That 10% did not nor could not force 75% to vote for secession.”

        Yes they could and did. My argument has always been a small number of Rebels in charge of a Rebel government controlling America’s Southern States.

        “I have no prejudice against the Southern people. They are just what we would be in their situation. If slavery did not now exist among them, they would not introduce it.”

        Yes, Lincoln did not have prejudice against Southern people. His wife’s people were southeners. Even had them to the White House. Even took heat by Radical Republicans for allowing it. He was against the Rebel government not the Southern people loyal to the Union.

        “As even a Northerner such as Webster admitted there was a strong move toward emancipation in the South until the radical Northern abolitionists started making irresponsible demands for immediate, uncompensated emancipation backed by terrorist threats.”

        Yes Rod, Daniel Webster , a Yankee, came to the defense of law abiding Southerners. When the Rebel government came into existence, Webster was dead because his love of drink.

        I still contend, the Rebels took over American Southern States. Their Rebel Government maintained control causing suffering and misery for Southern citizens and the nation that should not be forgotten.

      • Rod says:

        “Less than 25% owned slaves, less than 10% were major slave owners (owning more than five). That 10% did not nor could not force 75% to vote for secession.”

        Ski:
        “Yes they could and did. My argument has always been a small number of Rebels in charge of a Rebel government controlling America’s Southern States.”

        So you are quite prone to believing the impossible? And in spite of the evidence? So just how did they force 75% of the population to vote for secession??? You really are that delusional?!?!?

        “I have no prejudice against the Southern people. They are just what we would be in their situation. If slavery did not now exist among them, they would not introduce it.”

        Ski says:
        Yes, Lincoln did not have prejudice against Southern people. His wife’s people were southeners. Even had them to the White House. Even took heat by Radical Republicans for allowing it. He was against the Rebel government not the Southern people loyal to the Union.

        I see the point I made in quoting Lincoln here went right over your ability to comprehend! Lincoln did indeed know the Southern people, which is why he said they did not want slavery, they inherited it and as he goes on to say if he were in their situation he would not know how to end it either! That was the point made. You reinforced my point by admitting he knew the Southern people!

        “As even a Northerner such as Webster admitted there was a strong move toward emancipation in the South until the radical Northern abolitionists started making irresponsible demands for immediate, uncompensated emancipation backed by terrorist threats.”

        Ski says,
        Yes Rod, Daniel Webster , a Yankee, came to the defense of law abiding Southerners. When the Rebel government came into existence, Webster was dead because his love of drink.

        Again the point made eludes your adolescent abilities. Webster was quite alive in the 1830’s when Northern abolitionists first began their irresponsible and unreasonable assault on the South. It was them that caused the Southern emancipation effort to be quelled. Which is exactly what Webster admitted in his March 7, 1850 speech. The history he stated then had not magically changed in 11 years when the South seceded. My point made using Webster still stands in spite of your shallow argument against it.

        Ski says,
        “I still contend, the Rebels took over American Southern States. Their Rebel Government maintained control causing suffering and misery for Southern citizens and the nation that should not be forgotten.”

        What you “contend” is so much ahistorical bloviation checked out from your anal/rectal library. It simply cannot stand up to historical scrutiny. When you can provide historical evidence for what you “contend,” I will not dignify your comments with a response.

      • Ski says:

        Well Rod, in our country you are allowed to have public discourse. It is not about everyone agreeing at the end of the day.

        I mean how do you think they voted in the 1860’s? Was it viva voca or paper ballots ripped from a newspaper or handed to someone with specific instructions? How were the votes validated? Were the votes counted by rebels or unionists? Do you really think they were legitimate results representative of the people? What yeoman farmer is going to take time away from tasks on the farm? Slave holders have a whole lot of extra time on their hands to vote, does that tell you something? Plus everyone knows that South Carolina’s government had a history of aristocracy of the slave holders don’t they? When you consider that populations in places like South Carolina were predominantly enslaved African Americans whose vote doesn’t count anyway, how does the vote sound legitimate? When yeoman farmers are brought up in their bare minimum of education because it was to costly and time consuming in an agrarian society, do you think they were able to understand the ballot they were voting for or was any old ballot placed in front of them to vote on?

        Now I know you don’t think to much of my historical analysis but is that the your point to begin with? You are to concerned with a narrative that supports Rod that you pick up from watching Ken Burns Civil War or you saw in a text book from the 60s. Now of course you may think I am discrediting the resources, but I am not. They have some valuable historical context and perspectives to them. Yet, history is evolving. How do I know this? We are humans. Diaries are found in attaics. Historical accounts are given to historians for further analysis. Things are being found everyday that are perceived unimportant at first but after analysis bring about new information for record.

        Yet I am just a humble student of history compared to you the narrator.

      • Rod says:

        My my are you really into fanciful speculation! Many of the larger slave holding planters did not want to secede. They presented no united front for secession compared to the average Southerner who paid inflated prices because of Northern promoted tariffs. And they saw the North’s desire to centralize power as a promise of more of the same. This is why Southern referendums were vastly in favor of secession.

        There is no speculation that I have ever seen in the historical documents that question the legitimacy of the secession votes. Blacks in both the North and South were denied the right to vote. What has the number of blacks in any antebellum polity have to do with whether the vote was legit among the legal voting polity.

        And finally, you need to spend some time examining the census records rather than depending on wild notions created by an image that was true of the post war South, but certainly not the pre war South. Antebellum Southerners were more educated per capita than the North, and sent more of their children to college than did the North. They were able to because of the affluence existing in the antebellum South due to King Cotton. The poorest State in the antebellum South (Arkansas) had a higher per capita income than did the richest State in the North (Connecticut). It also had a thriving middle class that historians overlook. You would be well served to read “Time on the Cross” by Engels and Fogleman. This is suppressed by modern historians because it doesn’t serve their narrative.

  13. Dan says:

    Rod, you cite flawed works, cherry-pick quotes, and ignore the historical reality. If southern whites considered freed blacks as family, they sure had an odd way of showing it before, during, and after the war. People are done accepting the Lost Cause as history. It’s been a long enough time since the war for everyone to accept the truth about that period, and stop spinning in the interest of reconciliation.

    The confederate apologists who don’t feel reconciled by now are never going to feel reconciled. But time will reduce their numbers, and the real history will prevail.

    • Rod says:

      Now Dan I expected a better response than that on this forum. That is the typical response of someone with no argument. “Cherry-picked,” “flawed,” “ignore historical reality.” It was historical reality that led me out of the shallow adolescent modern historical narrative that has more to do with modern ideological agendas than historical truth. I was a “false storyite” like yourself until I could no longer deny the historical reality I was finding by delving into primary sources. It wasn’t easy, but I had to relinquish my long held belief in the myth of the “lost cause myth” which had long propped up my belief in the real myth, that of American Exceptionalism, a myth that falsely informs our national identity.

      I did not cherry-pick from flawed sources. I posted quotes of people who had no reason to skew the truth. That they counter your carefully guarded modern ideological bias does not make them flawed. You are in bed with the odd coupling of neocons on the right and postmodern neo-Marxists on the Left. Both champion the historical myths you hold dear but for different reasons. Those on the right cling to that national identity guarded by the ideology of American Exceptionism. Those on the Left cling to a Marxist reduction of history viewed through the narrow lens of oppressor vs oppressed, of a virtue seeking defense of victimization.

      Had I posted quotes from Southern apologists who lived during that time you would have dismissed them as “Lost Cause Myth.” Because you could not dismiss the quotes I presented, you resort to “cherry-picked” and “flawed.” Do you not see your lack of objectivity in all that?!?

      You then resort to the standard conflation of antebellum race relations with those post-bellum/post-reconstruction as if they were one and the same. They were not. The good race relations corroborated by the sampling of witnesses I quoted was greatly impacted by the deliberate actions of the radical Republicans to dissolve those good race relations for political ambitions. Jim Crow was not a continuum of racial attitudes pre-war. As a matter of fact, as Dr. C. Van Woodward pointed out in his classic “The Strange Career of Jim Crow,” it wasn’t until after the war generation had begun to age and die out that Jim Crow was able to gain a real foothold in the South. Jim Crow Laws were imposed on the South to supply Massachusetts Mill’s with cotton DURING the Civil War by the Union Army. The most egregious lie told about Reconstruction is that Jim Crow was created by resurgent Confederates to suppress and dominate Black people. A close examination shows this not only to be incorrect, but almost diametrically the opposite of what really happened.

      Here’s you another “cherry-picked” quote from the first black congressman who witnessed first hand the destruction of what were good race relations in the South by the political ambitions of Republicans:

      “Since reconstruction, the masses of my people have been enslaved in mind by unprincipled adventurers, who, caring nothing for country, were willing to stoop to anything, no matter how infamous, to secure power to themselves and perpetuate it. My people are naturally republicans and always will be, but as they grow older in freedom so do they in wisdom. A great portion of them have learned that they were being used as mere tools… My people have been told by these schemers when men were placed upon the ticket who were notoriously corrupt and dishonest, that they must vote for them; that the salvation of the party depended upon it; that the man who scratched a ticket was not a republican. This is only one of the many means these unprincipled demagogues have devised to perpetuate the intellectual bondage of my people… We do not believe that republicanism means corruption, theft, and embezzlement. These three offenses have been prevalent among a great portion of our office-holders… The bitterness and hate created by the late civil strife has, in my opinion, been obliterated in this State, except, perhaps, in some localities, and would have long since been entirely obliterated were it not for some unprincipled men who would keep alive the bitterness of the past and inculcate a hatred between the races, in order that they may aggrandize themselves by office and its emoluments to control my people, the effect of which is to degrade them… As an evidence that party-lines in this State have been obliterated, men were supported without regard to their party affiliations, their birth, or their color by those who heretofore have acted with the democratic party, by this course giving an evidence of their sincerity that they have abandoned the political issues of the past, and were only desirous of inaugurating an honest State government and restoring a mutual confidence between the races (note he says ‘restoring a mutual confidence between the races’). If the State administration had adhered to republican principles, advanced patriotic measures, appointed only honest and competent men to office, and sought to restore confidence between the races, blood-shed would have been unknown, peace would have prevailed, Federal interference been unthought of; harmony, friendship, and mutual confidence would have taken the place of the bayonet. In conclusion, let me say to you, and through you, to the great republican party of the North, that I deemed it my duty, in behalf of my people, that I present these facts in order that they and the white people (their former owners) should not suffer the misrepresentations which certain demagogues seemed desirous of encouraging.” Hiram Rhodes Revels, in a letter to President Grant, 1874.

      Wow! Don’t you hate it when primary sources stand in the way of a deeply held narrative. There are more I could quote many more that corroborate this primary source evidence of what destroyed Southern race relations leading to the oppression of Jim Crow. But I think you have had enough of my “cherries” to prove my point. Yes I know this flies in the face of the modern narrative that is a product of the history discipline being dominated by Leftists at a ratio 33:1. But truth should ways trump political agenda.

      • Dan says:

        Rod, I’ve read enough primary sources to know that your interpretation is skewed fake history.

        “Postmodern neo-Marxist?” Anyone with a half-functioning BS detector knows your full of it.

      • nygiant1952 says:

        Ron,

        Go back and read what the Rebels wrote before the war, instead of the excuses they made after the war.Take Stephens. Before the war, int was slavery as the cause. After the war, it was States Rights.

        As far as Jim Crow is concerned, read about the 5 SCOTUS cases of the early 1880s…five legal cases that the U.S. Supreme Court consolidated (because of their similarity) into a single ruling on October 15, 1883, in which the court declared the Civil Rights Act of 1875 to be unconstitutional and thus spurred Jim Crow laws that codified the previously private, informal, and local practice of racial segregation in the United States. In an 8–1 decision, the landmark ruling struck down the critical provision in the Civil Rights Act prohibiting racial discrimination in public places (such as hotels, restaurants, theatres, and railroads), what would later be called “public accommodations.”

      • Rod says:

        My, my, my do you want me to post a sampling of pre-war quotes that show it was Northern infidelity to the Constitution and not a desire to preserve and extend slavery that led to secession? Slavery issues, economic issues, and political issues were merely the “occasions” that exposed Northern contempt for the Constitution and its use by the South to protect itself against Northern exploitation. As I said in a previous comment, you cannot understand the meaning of “proslavery” or “antislavery” without understanding these terms in the political context in which they existed. Secession had everything to do with wanting separation from a section of the country that would not let the Constitution stand in the way of a determination to dominate the country politically and economically. Secession was about leaving a section of the country that sought to centralize power in DC where its majority could be used for exploitation. Therefore secession was about a Jeffersonian States Rights doctrine that was America, being replaced by a centralized sovereignty that transformed a confederation of federated republics called States into a unitary consolidated nation.

        “This consolidation of the states has been the obiet of several men in this country for some time past. Weather such a change can ever be effected in any manner whether it can be effected without convulsions and civil wars, whether such a change will not totally destroy the liberties of this country time can only determine.” Richard Henry Lee 1787

        “If centralism is ultimately to prevail; if our entire system of free Institutions as established by our common ancestors is to be subverted, and an Empire is to be established in their stead; if that is to be the last scene of the great tragic drama now being enacted: then, be assured, that we of the South will be acquitted, not only in our own consciences, but in the judgment of mankind, of all responsibility for so terrible a catastrophe, and from all guilt of so great a crime against humanity.”
        Alexander Stephens The Vice-President of the Confederacy.

        “Overthrow the present form of Federal-republican government, and to establish a strong centralized government in its stead…national banks, bankrupt laws, a vast and permanent public debt, high tariffs, heavy direct taxation, enormous expenditure, gigantic and stupendous peculation . . . a consolidated monarchy or vast centralized military despotism… instead of crushing out the rebellion, the effort has been to crush out the spirit of liberty… “ Clement L. Vallandigham D-Ohio.

        “If they (the North) prevail, the whole character of the Government will be changed, and instead of a federal republic, the common agent of sovereign and independent States, we shall have a central despotism, with the notion of States forever abolished, deriving its powers from the will, and shaping its policy according to the wishes, of a numerical majority of the people; we shall have, in other words, a supreme, irresponsible democracy. The Government does not now recognize itself as an ordinance of God…They are now fighting the battle of despotism. They have put their Constitution under their feet; they have annulled its most sacred provisions; The future fortunes of our children, and of this continent, would then be determined by a tyranny which has no parallel in history.” Dr. James Henly Thornwell, 1862.

        ”Let us consider for a moment the results of a consolidated government, resting on force, as proposed by the dominate party at the north….a consolidated despotism, upheld by the sword and cemented by fear….now it [the union ] has been seized upon by a sectional party, it is claimed that its powers are omnipotent, it s will absolute, and it must and will maintain its supremacy, in spite of states and people, at the point of the sword…it is organizing fleets and armies to wage war upon the authors of its being [the states].” Richmond Whig Editorial A Government of Force April j10 1861.

        “To nationalize as much as possible, even currency, so as to make men love country first before their states, all private interest, local interests, all banking interests, the interests of individuals everything should be subordinate now to the interests of the government” Senator John Sherman of Ohio.

        “When all government domestic and forighn in little as in great things shall be drawn to Washington as the source of all power. It will render powerless the checks provided of one government [states] on another, and will become as vegal and oppressive as the government which we have separated” Thomas Jefferson.

        “The one great evil, from which all other evils have flowed, is the overthrow of the Constitution of the United States. The Government of the United States is no longer the government of Confederated Republics, but of a consolidated Democracy. It is, in face such a Government as Great Britain attempted to set over our Fathers; and which was resisted and defeated by a seven years’ struggle for independence. ….The great object of the Constitution of the United States, in its internal operation, was, doubtless, to secure the great end of the Revolution — –a limited free Government– — a Government limited to those matters only, which were general and common to all portions of the United States. All sectional or local interests were to be left to the States…. the limitations in the Constitution have been swept away; and the Government of the United States has become consolidated, with a claim of limitless powers in its operations. “ (Address of South Carolina to Slave-holding States Convention of South Carolina 1860).

        That last quote says it specifically, that the foundational evil was the overthrow of the Constitution. From that evil flowed slavery issues, tariff issues, internal improvement issues, bounty and subsidy issues. “And the war came” Lincoln said. Don’t look at me it just came. No Lincoln, it did not just come. You chose war to deny government by consent of the governed.

  14. nygiant1952 says:

    Dan and Ski make some great points!

    Ron, realize that NO foreign country recognized the existence of the Confederacy, that Lincoln and the Congress never recognized the existence of the Confederacy. The land was still the United States, no matter how much was occupied by the Rebels.

    And when you are comparing Lincoln and the South , with Gorbachov and the Soviet Union…well…you had better check world history. The Soviet Union dissolved because of economic reasons.

    The South went to war, and lost.

    • Rod says:

      Wow, do you miss the point. The Soviet comparison was applicable because regardless of the cause of Soviet secession (your claim of economic reasons being narrow at best), Gorbachev did not resort to a reprehensible and inhumane war as did Lincoln. And it is quite true that the South seceded because of economic reasons, so the analogy stands anyway. Had the Northeast and Pacific coast decided to secede upon Trump’s election, and Trump sent in troops to “restore the Union” killing 1/3rd of the men of military age in those States, the world would have looked upon it as a reprehensible crime against humanity. Yet you give Lincoln a pass!

      The fact that no gov’t recognized the CS in no way invalidates the right of those States to secede. It wasn’t a denial of a right to self-government that formed the reason for a lack of foreign recognition. And it certainly wasn’t the place of countries whose polities are “subjects” and not citizens to judge the actions of a people that complied with their founding philosophy of “government by consent of the governed! The entire mess was best defined by the distinguished British statesman Lord Acton who exclaimed that Lincoln’s invasion was an “awful crime.”

      Sorry, but you can in no way justify Lincoln’s war against self-government by either the history or the text of the Constitution. No way!

  15. nygiant1952 says:

    Ron you can have your own opinion, but you can’t have your own set of facts.

    There is no comparison between the South and the break-up of the Soviet Union.

    The South was never recognized, because no matter the economic impact of the lack of cotton importation, no country could fight for a slave government after abolishing slavery.

    Since you like quotes…here is what Stephens said…”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.”

    • Rod says:

      Now that’s original… my own set of facts. I suppose quoting primary sources are my own facts. And did you not read my analysis of Stephens in an earlier comment. He stated explicitly that he opposed slavery in the abstract. .But slavery exists in the real world in real world context that you ignore to arrive at superficial conclusions.

      ”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.”

      Why do you think he calls slavery “the immediate cause” and not simply “the cause?” It is because he is alluding to a long list of causes that preceded slavery issues that also contributed to secession. Men in those days chose their words carefully, and it is a good thing because of how superficially people today read them! Regarding slavery he does not say it is a desire to preserve or extend slavery that are the “agitating questions.” You have to read that bias into the text. His plain meaning is that slavery issues raised questions of constitutionality that were ignored by the North in order to use slavery for political leverage. That slavery is “the proper status of the negro in our form of civilization” is nothing different from what Lincoln believed and stated plainly. But unlike Lincoln, Stephens believed that the slave could be educated to assimilate into our civilization. He says that plainly. Lincoln believed that as long as the negro was here, he would have to remain an inferior caste: “ “What then free them all and keep them among us as underlings? Is it quite certain that this betters their condition?” He is saying if they stay here they might as well remain slaves. Lincoln just wanted them gone. Stephens never had that ambition.

      You are entitled to your bias, but that does not substitute for the facts!

      • nygiant1952 says:

        Ron, we’ve already had to correct soon the facts. Comparing the USSR with the South?
        Comparing Lincoln with Gorbachov?
        Come on man.

        Your analysis is, to use your word…bogus and basically wrong. It’s nothing but the defense of slavery
        You comment about slavery existing every-where…thats also called What-about-ism.

        Lincoln’s election was immediate cause of secession. The reason they left, was because of slavery. Lincoln was elected to stop the expansion of slavery to the territories.

        Nice try at revisionism.

        Yea, so many slaves were educated. sarcasm font off.

        As you don’t seem to be able to grasp, Lincoln’s attitude towards slaves changed. During his presidency, Lincoln took a reasoned course which helped the federal government both destroy slavery and advance the cause of black suffrage. For a man who had denied both reforms four years earlier, Lincoln’s change in attitude was rapid and decisive. He was both open-minded and perceptive to the needs of his nation in a postwar era. Once committed to a principle, Lincoln moved toward it with steady, determined progress.

      • Rod says:

        First- Gorbachev’s decision to loosen the Soviet yoke on the countries of Eastern Europe created an independent, democratic momentum that led to the collapse of the Berlin Wall in November 1989, and then the overthrow of Communist rule throughout Eastern Europe. This momentum carried into the Soviet Union itself when Gorbachev’s decided to allow elections with a multi-party system and create a presidency for the Soviet Union. Then began a slow process of democratization that eventually destabilized Communist control and the collapse of the Soviet Union. Amazing what a desire for self-government will do after 70 years of dissatisfaction in trying to make a Union work where there was a discontent. Seems I’ve heard that story before… in the US after 70 years of attempting to make Union work! And I certainly didn’t compare Lincoln with Gorbachev. Gorbachev had too much respect for human rights to be anything like Lincoln!

        Second- I did not say anything about “slavery existing everywhere.” I made a distinction between slavery in the abstract and slavery in reality. I have multiple degrees in Philosophy, but I thought I was simplifying the terms so anyone could understand. Evidently the point went right over your head. I will not attempt to explain the point again.

        Third- Lincoln’s election was indeed the “immediate cause of secession,” but the point is it was not the only cause. Nor was slavery. There was no a desire on the part of the South to expand slavery into a geographical area not conducive to the institution of slavery. Lincoln used the myth of expanding slavery as a means to revive a moribund political career among a racist constituency. But it was a fabrication. What did matter to the South was Lincoln’s policy was a direct violation of the Constitution’s right to property, and to the Constitution’s requirement that all States in the Union be treated equally. Banning the right of Southerners to equal property rights in the territories, and equal enjoyment of the commonly owned territories, was a direct Constitutional violation that relegated the Southern States to a less than equal status. Therefore it was Lincoln’s violation of Southern Constitutional rights in the territories, and even more so his running on a platform of high protective tariffs which the South considered a violation of the Constitutional requirement of equal taxation, that made his election the immediate ( but not the only) cause of secession. If you like I can supply primary sources to back up my claim. It all boiled down to a sectional Party electing a sectional President whose purpose was more of the same Constitutional infringements the South had been contesting since the Union was formed.

        If the South seceded over any real desire to expand slavery into the territories, how did seceding from any claim to the territories promote the outcome they desired? Can you not see the absolute disconnect in your myth!?!

        And what about the upper South. If slavery was the cause of secession, why didn’t those States secede when Lincoln was elected? Again, a logical disconnect in your modern myth.

        Fourth- “Yea, so many slaves were educated. sarcasm font off.” Obviously you know little about history. Jeff Davis and his brother wrote a manual for slave masters on how to instruct slaves to prepare them for assimilation when freed. Alex Stephens paid college tuition for one of his slaves. And educating slaves was only curtailed in the South when abolitionists started flooding the South with pamphlets attempting to promote slave insurrections and terrorist tactics.

        Fifth- and perhaps most absurd of all: “Lincoln’s attitude towards slaves changed.” Obviously you haven’t read the evidence uncovered in foreign archives that reveal Lincoln was looking to colonize all blacks out of the country up to the week he died. Read the book “Colonization After Emanxipation” by Dr’s Magness and Page. We now know General Butler was right when he stated that in an 1865 conversation with Lincoln the President expressed his ongoing effort to find a place to deport ALL, not just some but ALL, blacks out of the US. I can’t believe you are not aware of this research! Only one scholar I know of (Guelzo) tried to refute it but got schooled by the facts in a response by Dr. Magness.

        And regarding Lincoln’s very limited and begrudgingly approval of black suffrage, surely you know he went to that extreme only as a compromise with the radicals in his party who wanted to dissolve the legislature Lincoln had helped put un place in Louisiana. Given the fact that Lincoln was still planning on colonizing all blacks out of the country, he knew it would be a temporary compromise at best.

        Sorry to burst your Lincoln bubble, and disrupt your fixation on slavery as the cause of secession, but some myths need to be obliterated by facts.

        Just drive 6 hours from Charleston to Knoxville, so I’m turning in. I must admit I enjoy debating with someone who knows how to keep it civil!

      • nygiant1952 says:

        1.Wrong. The Soviets could no longer support the entire Communist economy. And you compared Gorbechev with Lincoln. Sorry.
        2.Wrong.”But slavery exists in the real world in real world “.
        3. Wrong again.The South desired to take slavery into the West. As did the North. The Republican Party and Lincoln opposed the expansion of slavery to the territories.
        4.Wrong. Slaves were not educated. The fact is slavery separated families.
        5.Wrong. Lincoln ‘s attitude changed. Thats a fact. He went form just stopping slavery to allowing Blacks to vote.

        Nice try.

      • Rod says:

        Profound rebuttal??

        1- “the Soviets could no longer support the entire communist community.” The communist community had always been self-supporting! It never reached more than 5% of the US GNP, but that didn’t lead to their dissolution. They had existed for 70 years with the same economic challenges. What had changed was the political reforms instituted by Gorbachev. The experts disagree with you. And your economic claims makes no sense. But irregardless of the cause of the secession of the Soviet States, the point is they were allowed to secede and pursue self-government without the powerful Soviet Army being turned on them.

        2. Again, how does distinguishing between slavery in the abstract and slavery in reality equate to your claim that I “comment about slavery existing every-where…thats also called What-about-ism.”
        Never said anything about “slavery existing everywhere.” You just do not get it.

        3. Show me where any Southern statesman said the South desired to take the institution of slavery into the territories. I’ll wait… The climate was not conducive to plantation slavery. In 1854 there were only 60 slaves in all the Kansas territory, and by 1860 only 2. Slavery wasn’t going West, but denying the right to take a slave there was disparate treatment of the South in a Union whose Constitution mandated the equality of the States. The South wanted equal Constitutional rights in the territories, including their legal right to property in slaves, a far different thing from wanting to “expand slavery into the territories.” The latter was a scare tactic used by Northern politicians to rally a racist North and West against the South. Hear the words of 40 Southern congressmen to their constituency in 1849:

        “Their object, they allege, is to prevent the extension of slavery, and ours to extend it, thus making the issue between them and us to be the naked question, shall slavery be extended or not… So far from maintaining the doctrine, which the issue implies, we hold that the Federal Government has no right to extend or restrict slavery, no more than to establish or abolish it; nor has it any right whatever to distinguish between the domestic institutions of one State, or section, and another, in order to favor one and discourage the other. As the federal representative of each and all the States, it is bound to deal out, within the sphere of its powers, equal and exact justice and favor to all. To act otherwise, to undertake to discriminate between the domestic institutions of one and another, would be to act in total subversion of the end for which it was established–to be the common protection and guardian of all. Entertaining these opinions, we ask not, as the North alleges we do, for the extension of slavery. That would make a discrimination in our favor, as unjust and unconstitutional as the discrimination they ask against us in their favor. It is not for them, nor for the Federal Government to determine, whether our domestic institution is good or bad; or whether it should be repressed or preserved. It belongs to us, and us only, to decide such questions. What then we do insist on, is, not to extend slavery, but that we shall not be prohibited from immigrating with our property, into the Territories of the United States, because we are slaveholders; or, in other words, that we shall not on that account be disfranchised of a privilege possessed by all others, citizens and foreigners, without discrimination as to character, profession, or color. All, whether savage, barbarian, or civilized, may freely enter and remain, we only being excluded.“

        Note again the words, “Their object, they allege, is to prevent the extension of slavery, and ours to extend it, thus making the issue between them and us to be the naked question, shall slavery be extended or not… we ask not, as the North alleges we do, for the extension of slavery.” Extending slavery was not the intent of the South and never was! But the principle of equal rights in the territories was everything to the South. The above letter was penned by none other than John C. Calhoun, and signed by 40 Southern Congressmen.

        4. A Georgia slave by the name of Harrison Berry’s book proves you wrong. Not all slaves were educated by any means, nor were all whites, nor did I say that. But Southern statesmen did anticipate educating slaves to be assimilated into American society when circumstances did not counter mend setting them free. And what in the world does separating slave families have to do with anything? Especially their being educated??? But since you bring it up I will point out that according to “A Southside View of Slavery,” the only study of slavery in the antebellum period which was written and published by an abolitionist from Boston, Southern law mandated that slave children not be separated from their parents until they reached the age that offspring would normally leave the nest. And every effort was to be made to keep married slaves together. What you do not understand is slavery like any human institution evolved over time and by the 19th century had been made to align with the Southern Christian ethic.

        5. So I guess factual evidence means nothing to you? Read “Colonization After Emancipation.” Then decide whether you will cling to the biases and myths of your cherished but fabricated historical narrative in the face of facts.

        Thanks for continuing the debate! It allows me opportunity to get much needed information out that is otherwise suppressed by modern politically correct historians.

        I’d love to continue the debate, but I do have a life and other Righteous Causers to fry.

        Later…

  16. nygiant1952 says:

    Ron.
    1. Wrong. The Soviet economy could no longer support the entire Eastern Bloc of Communist countries. In other words they ran out of everyone else’s money.

    2. Your words..”.But slavery exists in the real world”…aka what-about-ism. Nice try though.

    3.I suggest toured about bleeding Kansas, and the reasons behind it. Also suggest reading about popular sovereignty.

    4. Thats didn’t happen in real life though, did it.

    5.A better book is Battle Cry of Freedom.

    Might I suggest a few programs for youth partake? The CNN presentation on Lincoln. And the Foner course at Columbia on the Civil War era. .

    The one who leaves the battlefield first, is the loser .

    I win again! Boy , I’m getting tired of all this winning!

    next time, please stick around longer.

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