Through mid-1865, secession was 100% legal. At the U. S. Military Academy, the constitutional law book the cadets studied, "A View of the Constitution of the United States" by William Rawle, a Philadelphia abolitionist and Supreme Court Justice, taught that states had a right to secede: "To deny this right would be inconsistent with the principle on which all our political systems are founded, which is, that the people have in all cases, a right to determine how they will be governed."The Southern states simply withdrew peacefully from what they believed was a voluntary union. The U.S. remained and the government in Washington remained. No Confederate official or military officer was ever tried for treason because no treason had been committed.
"If you bring these leaders to trial, it will condemn the North, for by the Constitution, secession is not a rebellion. His [Jefferson Davis] capture was a mistake. His trial will be a greater one. We cannot convict him of treason." -- Salmon P. Chase, Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court, 1867
You can't argue with the recorded words of a US Supreme Court Justice who says secession was legal, and not treason.The only thing settled about secession by the War was that it could be reversed at the point of a bayonet.
Time to move on. Enjoy the summer!
Slavery caused secession. The south infringed more on the rights of northern states than the vice versa. Lincoln was not against slavery. He opposed the extension of slavery into the territories where it was prohibited by the Missouri Compromise - He hotly opposed the repeal of that compromise. The Dred Scott decision actually made slavery legal everywhere imposing it on the northern states. The Fugitive Slave Law was also imposed by the southern states on the northern states.
Secession caused the war. It was illegal. No government could survive if a state could leave that government whenever it wanted to and that's why Lincoln said it "shall not perish from the earth." It's sort of ironic that even the Confederate Constitution did not allow secession.
The North initially fought to preserve the union. And then later after the trauma of heavy combat union soldiers supported fighting to end slavery for good, it was the cause of their suffering - in other words it was THE CAUSE OF THE WAR.
Not to mention most union soldiers were appalled by the conditions in which slaves had to live especially in the deep south.
1861, Victoria was over 95% in favor of the Confederacy; it's about the same today.
Here are some great quotes by famous people. Canister shot, if you will, to mow down the facetious anti-South nonsense:
Union General Ulysses S. Grant is widely quoted as having written, in an 1862 letter to the Chicago Tribune, that "the sole object of this war is to restore the Union. Should I become convinced it has any other object, or that the Government designs its soldiers to execute the wishes of the Abolitionists, I pledge you my honor as a man and a soldier I would resign my commission and carry my sword to the other side."
Even the editors of the London Times acknowledged this to be true when they stated on 7 November 1861: The contest is really for empire on the side of the North and for independence on that of the South..."
"The Northern onslaught upon slavery was no more than a piece of specious humbug designed to conceal its desire for economic control of the Southern states."--Charles Dickens.
"The Gettysburg speech was at once the shortest and the most famous oration in American history... the highest emotion reduced to a few poetical phrases. Lincoln himself never even remotely approached it. It is genuinely stupendous. But let us not forget that it is poetry, not logic; beauty, not sense. Think of the argument in it. Put it into the cold words of everyday. The doctrine is simply this: that the Union soldiers who died at Gettysburg sacrificed their lives to the cause of self-determination -- that government of the people, by the people, for the people, should not perish from the earth. It is difficult to imagine anything more untrue. The Union soldiers in the battle actually fought against self-determination; it was the Confederates who fought for the right of their people to govern themselves." ~ H. L. Mencken
And now for the coup de grace:On the 25th of July, 1861, both Houses of Congress with but a few dissenting votes adopted a joint resolution which declared: "This war is not waged, on our part, in any spirit of oppression, not for any purpose of conquest or subjugation, nor purpose of overthrowing or interfering with the rights or established institutions of those States; but to defend and maintain the supremacy of the constitution, and to preserve the Union, with all the dignity, equality and rights of the several States unimpaired; that, as soon as these objects are accomplished, the war ought to cease."
You can't argue with the US Congress' words, which are permanently entered in the Congressional Record and cannot be rewritten by anyone. They declared in no uncertain terms that the War was NOT about slavery, it was about preserving the Union.
Case closed. Mods, close this comment section.
The war was a conflict between nationalism and federalism. Regardless of which side you agree with, the events are so important to understanding America today you owe it to yourself to get up to speed on what really happened, as opposed to the Hollywood version or the PC crowd's revisionist version.
I've chosen four short books that will help. The best short overall history of the politics and the war is "North Against South," by Ludwell H. Johnson, published by the Foundation for American Education. A more recent book, "The Real Lincoln," by Thomas DiLorenzo, published by Prima Publishing, is a devastating critique of the man who literally destroyed constitutional government in America and foreshadowed the modem Machiavellian politicians.
"When in the Course of Human Events," by Charles Adams, a Northern historian, will disavow you of the notion the war was about freeing slaves and preserving the union. It was about money and control of territory and resources. The publisher is Rowman and Littlefield.
Finally, Eric Foner's "A Short History of Reconstruction" will show you how the modem world and many of its problems were created. The publisher is Harper Perennial, and the author is no friend of the South, but he is honest and keeps to the facts, no matter how unflattering to any side of the issue.
Fact is, that no matter how one tries to reconcile the "causes" of the Civil War, JameB is dishing up a rancid stew of neo-Confederate propaganda. The only state right the South was interested in was the right to own and control their slave chattel property. If you're looking for a money trail to follow this is the one to travel. Millions of dollars in slave property owned mainly by the wealthiest of Southern Culture who feared that Lincoln--irregardless of his protestations to the contrary--would seize without compensation. That this was not his intent is shown in that he did not call for his 75,000 volunteers until after the Confederates shelled Fort Sumter into submission and began to secede.
Why am I harping on this? Because this neo-Confederate ideology is at the heart of the Tea Party's belief system. The more I listen to and read what TPers' have to say, the more I'm convinced they are not interested in our present Constitution, but they would rather have some combination of the Articles of Confederation and the Confederate States constitution. They are no more interested in original intent than a dog is interested in bird seed.
Consequently if we want our federal republican democracy to survive, we cannot allow the Tea Partiers to gain total control of our nation.
Here we go again. Everyone accusing each other of 'rewriting' history. Plain and simple - you CANNOT look at past events with today's eyes - people thought and acted differently years ago.
There were MANY factors that caused the Civil War, slavery was a HUGE part of it - but other things contributed. In order, in my opinion (and supported by facts you can research):
1. The North and the South were based on completely different social and economic structures. and becoming more polarized every year. North was based on industry/city life; South was agriculture/rural. The economy of the South depended on a large, cheap manual labor force, and that lower class was supressed socially; the North was integrating more social classes within city life.2. There were emerging conflicts regarding states rights. When northern states and/or the federal govt tried to make/enforce laws that were in direct opposition to what southern states wanted/needed to survive - the question arose "can they tell us what to do?" Who has the final authority - national interests or individual states? This question could NOT go unanswered.3. Slavery was losing support and faced growing moral opposition - BUT WAS NOT the only cause of the war. Uncle Tom's Cabin, the revolt at Harpers Ferry, Dred Scott... all led up to more conflict. Abolitionists were all over the media in the north - and that's where the federal govt was headquartered.4. Lincoln got elected. Southern states felt like he was anti-slavery and against states rights. They felt like they had been betrayed - now their national 'leader' was actively against them. It would be like working for a boss that hated you - and uses his authority to make you miserable - you try to function, but after a while quitting your job starts to look pretty good...5. Finally, states began to secede. The Union was starting to fall apart. There was gonna be an argument. There was gonna be a fight. The schoolyard couldn't function with 2 bullies with different agendas.
Was slavery morally wrong? Yes, we see that now. But at the time, slaves were simply considered property. Please don't try and paint all southerers as 'evil' (enuf with the Nazi references) - it was just a way of life to them.
Was slavery A cause of the Civil War? Yes.
Was slavery THE CAUSE for the Civil War? NO. there is more to that story. As with most wars, it was more about power, money and preservation of the status quo - not about human rights.
but you knew that already.
'Read "The South Was Right", the memoirs of Admiral Semmes, the memoirs of Alexander Stephens'
I would fully expect a confederate admiral and politician to give an unbiased view on the civil war.
Enlighten us, what state right of southern states was being denied ?
Just how much is a human being worth in terms of property? Is it based on the amount of labor they can do vs. the amount of food they eat? What was the Property Tax on a family of 5? Was there a tax break if you kept the family together? Is the right to own a person one of the State's Rights that the War of Northern Aggression was fought over and killed more Americans than any war in out history?
It's unfortunatethat some people are unable to deal with facts. Read "The South Was Right", the memoirs of Admiral Semmes, the memoirs of Alexander Stephens, "The South Under Siege" by Frank Conner, "Southern By The Grace Of God" and some other books. Then you won't sound so ignorant when you speak badly about the nation that fought to defend itself from illegal invaders, to keep the original Constitution, and not to change the government into a Federal-centered power structure. bl is just regurgitating the same old tired lies. Do some research! You'll find that the South Was Right. This also shows that the public schools aren't doing their job of teaching true history. Revisionists say "it was all about slavery" even though all the facts show it wasn't so. Records show there were about 90,000 blacks who fought for the South as soldiers. Thousands and thousands of Cajuns, Jews, Italians, Chicanos and other nationalities wore the grey, and several tribes of Narive Americans fought for the South. The last general to surrender was a Native American -- Stand Watie. BTW, the WW2 Germans studied and copied Sherman's "burn it all and kill the civilians" tactics for their attacks. The Nazis loved the Union. For some good info and answers to FAQs, check with HK Edgerton, a former president of the Asheville, NC NAACP: http://www.southernheritage411.com/in... If anyone is worried about slavery, use your energy to free the 24 million slaves in the world today.
So true Robert, so true...
Alexander Stephens was misquoted? Yeah right, and the civil war was not about slavery read this from the man himself.
“The new constitution has put at rest, forever, all the agitating questions relating to our peculiar institution African slavery as it exists amongst us the proper status of the negro in our form of civilization. This was the immediate cause of the late rupture and present revolution. Jefferson in his forecast, had anticipated this, as the "rock upon which the old Union would split." He was right. What was conjecture with him, is now a realized fact.
The constitution, it is true, secured every essential guarantee to the institution while it should last, and hence no argument can be justly urged against the constitutional guarantees thus secured, because of the common sentiment of the day. Those ideas, however, were fundamentally wrong. They rested upon the assumption of the equality of races. This was an error. It was a sandy foundation, and the government built upon it fell when the "storm came and the wind blew."
Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its corner- stone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth.
Many governments have been founded upon the principle of the subordination and serfdom of certain classes of the same race; such were and are in violation of the laws of nature. Our system commits no such violation of nature's laws. With us, all of the white race, however high or low, rich or poor, are equal in the eye of the law. Not so with the negro. Subordination is his place. He, by nature, or by the curse against Canaan, is fitted for that condition which he occupies in our system.”
even the nazis thought they were right
"Article I Section 10 - Powers prohibited of StatesNo State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation;"
WOW James!That was quite a feat of historical revision--so concise, and so chock full of neo-Confederate propaganda. Not only was the war over slavery, it was over the illegality of secession. Both of which were proven to be morally wrong.
Comments by borglord point out the need for a proper education in the true facts of the War of Northern Aggression. The Southern states peacefully and legally seceded from the US, as was their right guaranteed under the Constitution. Other states had almost seceded in the past, yet the US never invaded and subjugated them by force of arms. It was all about money, like all wars. The tariffs on Southern exports supplied about 75% of the North's budget, and Lincoln could not let that money strem dry up. He provoked a war, in several ways, including an armed invasion of a Florida fort in which many Southerners were killed; this took place before the Ft. Sumter incident. Ft. Sumter was never a federal property, as proved by an 1805 contract of the fort's construction. Union Major Anderson led his men to invade South Carolina property in late December 1860, just days after South Carolina seceded. They refused to leave, which was another act of war against the State. Lincoln tried to resupply the fort several times; each time was an act of war. Finally, after the CSA was formed, the invaders had to be driven off Southern soil, without any loss of life. At that time, April 6 1861, there were more slave-holding states in the North than in the South. If it had been "all about slavery", the Corwin Amendment would have guaranteed slavery in the entire US forever; since it was not at all about slavery, the amendment was rejected, so Lincoln started an illegal war. After the war, the US Supreme Court said there was no treason on the part of the south, but if Jefferson Davis was put on trial, facts would come out that would prove the North was guilty of that crime, so there was no trial. Stephenson was misquoted, he never said the "cornerstone" sentence that so many people erroneously attribute to him. A lone newspaper reporter garbled his notes very badly, and stephenson issued many corrections, including in his memoirs, which are reprinted today. Stephenson actually was quoting a US Supreme Court judge in a Pennsyvania case around 1834; that judge was the one that said "slavery is the cornerstone of the nation", not Stephenson. Try reading "The South Was Right" by the Kennedy brothers, for starters. And no, there was absolutely no comparison between the Nazis and the CSA. It's more appropriate to parallel the Nazis with the Yankees who burned their way through the South, raping and stealing, and murdering civilians.
Having been born a son of the South with Confederate ancestors, one might expect me to be all on board for the "Lost Cause" resulting from the "War of Northern Aggression," which was "really" fought over "States Rights" and not slavery. But sorry, I'm not.
This is too much like Reagan going with Helmut Kohl to visit the SS cemetery in Germany during the WW II commemorations he participated in.
Yes, these Confederates are my ancestors, but not ancestors of whom I am proud. The only State Right they were really fighting for was to own and enslave African American people to preserve their Southern and genteel way of life. How is this different than Nazis enslaving Jews and other undesirables to either work them to death or eliminate them as enemies of the state? It may differ in details, but not in ultimate intent. Vice President Stephens of the CSA was very plain about the short lived nation's purpose--to preserve and build a society in which slavery is seen as a positive good for maintaining the prosperity of the South.
So, putting aside all the talk about Southern heritage, and honor etc. What are we really doing when we celebrate the Lost Cause? We are showing honor to traitors who wanted to destroy the Union and the cause of Liberty for all just to hold another group of people as slaves for their--the white folks--benefit.
Any time we fly any version of the Confederate States Of America's flag or celebrate their heritage, we are giving aid and comfort to the memory of treasonous, over privileged white people from the past and encouraging other modern white discontents to take up a dead cause with no penalty to themselves but with great harm to others.
O' that the Lost Cause, would truly be forever lost!
out of all the history in this area / state / country to celebrate/remember, people choose such a dark, terrible time
I didn't know that, thanks for sharing.
Sylvia Garza, the individual interviewed, also shared with the reporter for the Advocate that there were thousands of Mexican and Tejano soldiers who participated in the Civil War. The Confederate Army recruited many Mexicans from Mexico to fight in the War and many Tejanos (from Texas). So, there are individuals in Mexico today, who have ancestors who fought in the Civil War in our Country...also, the ceremony was attended by the Granddaughters in honor of the Rubio Grandfather who served and is buried in Goliad. We must not forget that Tejanos also served - a history which needs further exploration.