GEN-MEDIEVAL-L ArchivesArchiver > GEN-MEDIEVAL > 2008-03 > 1206213307
From: "Ray O'Hara" <>
Subject: Re: Abraham Lincoln waged The War Between The States to SAVE THEUNION and not to free the slaves!
Date: Sat, 22 Mar 2008 15:12:16 -0500
<> wrote in message
On Mar 17, 4:35 pm, Vince <> wrote:
Causes of the Civil War
by Randy Golden
exclusively for About North Georgia
...and they [Yankees] are marked ... with such a perversity of
character, as to constitute, from that circumstance, the natural
division of our parties
Some say simplistically that the Civil War was fought over slavery.
Unfortunately, there is no "simple" reason. The causes of the war were
a complex series of events, including slavery, that began long before
the first shot was fired. Competing nationalisms, political turmoil,
the definition of freedom, the preservation of the Union, the fate of
slavery and the structure of our society and economy could all be
listed as significant contributing factors in America's bloodiest
Complaints of Georgians
Many of the problems Georgians saw more than one hundred fifty years
ago are being reiterated today. The "oppressive" federal government.
High taxes(tariffs before the war). A growing government unwilling to
listen to law abiding citizens. Sound familiar? They were complaints
levied from 1816 on in Georgia.
People argued about the meaning of the Constitution since its infancy.
>From a legal standpoint, the document defines the relationship between
the people of the United States and the federal government, detailing
the powers and responsibilities of each. In 1828 Vice-president John
C. Calhoun said if a state felt a federal law extended beyond the
Constitutional rights of the government that state had the right to
ignore(or "nullify") the law. This concept dated back the Articles of
Confederation. President Andrew Jackson felt the federal government
was the highest authority(Article VI, Section 2) and the states had to
abide by its law.
Tariffs and the Nullification Crisis
As industry in the North expanded it looked towards southern markets,
rich with cash from the lucrative agricultural business, to buy the
North's manufactured goods. However, it was often cheaper for the
South to purchase the goods abroad. In order to "protect" the northern
industries Jackson slapped a tariff on many of the imported goods that
could be manufactured in the North. When South Carolina passed the
Ordinance of Nullification in November 1832, refusing to collect the
tariff and threatening to withdraw from the Union, Jackson ordered
federal troops to Charleston. A secession crisis was averted when
Congress revised the Tariff of Abominations in February 1833.
The rhetoric changes
However, the political climate changed during this "Nullification
Crisis." Designations of States Rightist, Pro-Union, loose or strict
constructionalist became more important than Whig or Democrat. In
North Georgia when John Thomas, a local politician, was asked what to
name a new county he said, "Name it Union, for none but Union-like men
live here." Most of the northern tier of Georgia counties remained pro-
Union until the outbreak of war almost 30 years later. From this point
on factional politics would play an increasing part in the division of
Economic changes affect society
The Panic of 1837 and the ensuing depression began to gnaw like a
hungry animal on the flesh of the American system. The disparity
between northern and southern economies was exacerbated. Before and
after the depression the economy of the South prospered. Southern
cotton sold abroad totaled 57% of all American exports before the war.
The Panic of 1857 devastated the North and left the South virtually
untouched. The clash of a wealthy, agricultural South and a poorer,
industrial North was intensified by abolitionists who were not above
using class struggle to further their cause.
The breakdown of the political system
The ugliness of the political process quickly began to show as parties
turned upon themselves and politics on a national level were more like
local Georgia politics. Feuds and fights in political arenas were
common. From 1837 until 1861 eight men became president, but no man
served more than a single term in office. One sitting president was
not renominated by his own party and another withdrew his name after
being nominated. New political parties were created with names like
Constitutional Union, American, Free-Soilers and Republican. In
Georgia, Democrats were strong, but factional fighting broke the party
along pro-Union and States Rights lines.
With the disintegration of the Whig party in the early 1850's the
political turmoil increased. Howell Cobb, former Speaker of the House,
molded pro-Union Democrats, mostly from North Georgia, with former
Whigs to grab the governorship in 1851. His attempts to help slaves
fell on the deaf ears of our state legislature. Although Georgia began
to prosper during his first year the coalition fell apart as the
Democrats reunited. The increasing power of the West and self-serving
politicians like Stephen A. Douglas churned the political environment
as the North and South battled for philosophic control.
By the time Buchanan was elected(1856) the country was divided on many
issues, including slavery. Former Governor Cobb spoke in the North as
a moderate Southerner for Buchanan and served on his cabinet. Over the
next 4 years Cobb changed from pro-Union to secessionist. A similar
process occurred across much of Georgia. In 1860 the state was equally
divided between secessionist and pro-Union.
A concise history of slavery
At Jamestown, Va. in 1611 a group of Scottish women and children were
sold as slaves. 7 years later in Jamestown the first Africans were
sold in slavery. From 1611 until 1865 people from virtually every
society on earth were sold into slavery in North America. Citizens in
each of the thirteen colonies enslaved people, but slavery was viewed
as a southern institution after the early 1800's. Along the coastal
areas of the South a majority of the slaves were black. In some inland
areas whites and Native Americans outnumbered black slaves. Slavery is
still legal in the United States as a criminal punishment, but is not
In 1789 Georgians, as did much of the rest of the country, saw slavery
as a dying institution. Eli Whitney's stolen modification of the
cotton gin(1793) created a greater demand for slaves, so rather than
"wither on the vine" the institution prospered. The Northwest
Ordinance, adopted in 1787 banned the practice in the Northwest
Territories. In 1798 Georgia forbid further importation of slaves and
the Constitution allowed Congress to outlaw importation of slaves in
1808, which they did. Over the next 40 years lesser skirmishes were
fought over slavery including the Compromise of 1820. In North Georgia
slavery was not widespread and a majority of the slaves were of Native
American, Scottish or Irish descent.
Slaves often spoke of "our cotton" or "our cattle". The only item they
would concede was the master's carriage. Trusted slaves were permitted
to go to town unescorted. Others suffered horribly. Conditions in
northern factories were as bad or worse than those for a majority of
the slaves, but it would be 40 years after the war when they were
Beginning in the late 1840's the conflict over slavery began to boil
over. The Compromise of 1850 contributed heavily to the split in
Georgia's Democratic Party. On a national scale David Wilmot, Lloyd
Garrison, and Harriet Beecher Stowe enflamed the abolitionists. James
G. Birney and Theodore Weld were more effective against slavery. The
Dred Scot decision, Kansas-Nebraska Act, and harsher Fugitive Slave
Laws gave the South some redress.
The new Republican Party became a home to the alienated abolitionists.
Although they totaled less than 3% of the population at large, they
formulated the Republican platform to include the abolition of slavery
as a plank. The party then nominated Abraham Lincoln for president.
Few gave him any chance of success, but 3 other candidates split the
popular vote and Lincoln won. Convinced that Lincoln would ruin the
South economically, possibly by freeing the slaves, the heartland of
the South withdrew from the Union. Shortly thereafter the upper south
joined them. The attack on Fort Sumter launched America's bloodiest
So what caused the war?
The United States had been moving towards a fractured, divisive
society for a number of years. Cultural and economic differences
served to widen the rift. Battles among North, South, and West grew
more heated, especially after 1850. Politicians and the judiciary sent
conflicting signals trying to appease each of the groups involved, yet
all remained dissatisfied. Georgians saw a federal government
controlled by Northern industrialists who were unresponsive to the
problems of their state. Tariffs paid by Georgians bought improvements
in northern and western states. Now the federal government, they
thought, was going to take away personal property without
compensation, a clear violation of their Fourth Amendment rights.
The South was wrong to assume Lincoln intended to free the slaves. He
had never advocated action to abolish slavery nor did he speak out
against the Illinois rules prohibiting blacks from testifying against
whites. The true abolition candidate, Gerrit Smith of New York drew
few votes. In his inaugural address Lincoln made it clear he would not
interfere with slavery where it existed. Even though he made this
speech after the South seceded he left the door open for their return.
During the war
Southerners abolished the African slave trade in the Confederate
Constitution. In the North "Preserve the Union" was the battlecry and
Lincoln quoted "...a house divided shall not stand..." from the Bible.
In fact the Emancipation Proclamation(1862), a foreign affair ploy,
cost Republicans control of the legislature that November. A year
later Lincoln restated why the war was fought when he said, dedicating
a cemetery at Gettysburg "..for those who here gave their lives that
this nation might live." During the Draft Riots in New York City 88
blacks were lynched.
After the war
Phil Sheridan, George Armstrong Custer and others adapted very quickly
from killing rebels to the genocide of Native Americans. The South was
"reconstructed" for the next 87 years. Southerners formed
"brotherhoods" that featured white robes, lynchings and unanimous
support for Democratic candidates in the South and West. Confederate
General John B. Gordon, reputed leader of this Ku Klux Klan, was
elected governor of Georgia. Blacks struggled for nearly one hundred
years to gain legal and economic equality.
no slavery ,no war. that is the bottom line.
|Re: Abraham Lincoln waged The War Between The States to SAVE THEUNION and not to free the slaves! by "Ray O'Hara" <>|