Why don't people believe the Civil War was over Slavery?

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  • SiavaSiava Posts: 32Registered Users
    cysyca wrote: »
    Because most Americans will continue to live in denial and movies involving slavery will never win any top awards because it they did then most Americans will at least have to acknowledge slavery and the consequences of how slavery affect black Americans today.

    What denial? It's blasted in everyone's faces almost every single day. There is no denying slavery took place and continues to cripple this nation's citizens.

    The book Roots won a Pulitzer prize. Sorry it's not a movie, but the series won serveral awards including the DGA, Emmy, Golden Globe, Humanitas, Peabody, and Anniversary. Another series that won an Emmy was Africans in America: Journey Through Slavery. What specific highly advertised movies have been made that focus solely on slavery because not everyone watches the IFC? There are movies that involve it, but don't focus (i.e. Gone With the Wind comes to mind), but I'd love to watch some that show a true portrayal.

    While surfing, I came across an interesting site of a woman's finding that her Northern family was the largest slave traders in the U.S. so she made a documentary. I'd very much like to see it because the questions the site claims the documentary poses are the ones I have always been curious about:

    "The issues the DeWolf descendants are confronted with dramatize questions that apply to the nation as a whole: What, concretely, is the legacy of slavery—for diverse whites, for diverse blacks, for diverse others? Who owes who what for the sins of the fathers of this country? What history do we inherit as individuals and as citizens? How does Northern complicity change the equation? What would repair—spiritual and material—really look like and what would it take?" - quoted from the site: http://www.tracesofthetrade.org/synopsis/
  • AmandacurlsAmandacurls Posts: 6,252Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    I don't think the Civil War was fought solely over slavery, nor was it solely about states rights. It was a combination of the two and other things. Yes, slavery was a big reason, but it wasn't the only reason.
  • cysycacysyca Posts: 362Registered Users
    Siava,

    Thanks for the website and I'll try to be more objective when I say most people don't acknowledge slavery.
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  • SuburbanbushbabeSuburbanbushbabe Posts: 15,402Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    I learned a lot from NCC's posts. Very insightful and knowledgeable.
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  • EilonwyEilonwy Posts: 12,391Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    In my case, the bowdlerized version of history that we learned in elementary school was that the Civil War was entirely about the morality of slavery. Then, in middle and high school, we learned about the economic and political factors that played major roles.
  • ItsiRCItsiRC Posts: 335Registered Users
    my $.02, the civil war as we know it would not have taken place had slavery not been in exsistence. it was not the only factor that lead to the civil war, but it's economic impact was a big reason for it.

    off topic: if the northern states were against spreading slavery into new territories, there was technically nothing they could do. slaves were property, and the dred scott decision said that you can take your property wherever, and they're still your property whether in the north or south.
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  • curlygirl81curlygirl81 Posts: 127Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    The point of the Civil War was to impose Federal Rule upon the states, and it worked. In fact, it worked so well that it's still going on today, in spite of the 10th amendment. Slavery was just the excuse. The original intent of our system of government was to have a body of completely independent 'countries' (states) in one union. Not one country made up of 'states'.

    Before the Civil War the north had slaves too. But politically, behind the scenes, it was decided to impose a Federal Rule OVER the states, so they had to find a way to dis-empower the states, hence the war over states rights.

    Ever wonder why California voters can vote to legalize marijuana, actually pass the law, and then the feds can come in and overturn it?

    You got it - a direct result of the Civil War.
  • AngularScienceAngularScience Posts: 844Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    KookyCurl wrote: »
    Nappy_Curly_Crown...I just want to say thank you. Your facts are well laid out and clear. (I'm an aspiring historian so I really appreciate it.)

    I also just wanted to point out that the Emancipation Proclamation only freed the slaves in the states in rebellion. It didn't touch slavery in the border states that remained in the Union.
    "That on the first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, all persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free;"

    It clearly laid out the areas to which it applied. Note the areas in the south to which it did not.
    "Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana, (except the Parishes of St. Bernard, Plaquemines, Jefferson, St. John, St. Charles, St. James Ascension, Assumption, Terrebonne, Lafourche, St. Mary, St. Martin, and Orleans, including the City of New Orleans) Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia, (except the forty-eight counties designated as West Virginia, and also the counties of Berkley, Accomac, Northampton, Elizabeth City, York, Princess Ann, and Norfolk, including the cities of Norfolk and Portsmouth[)], and which excepted parts, are for the present, left precisely as if this proclamation were not issued."
    I snipped this portion because it's very true. If Lincoln really believed in freeing all the slaves, he would have done so for all slaves, not just the rebelling ones.
    Myradella3 wrote: »
    So it was over the right to own, sell, control, and determine the lives of slaves and the benefits from them, but it wasn't over slavery. Got it.

    Many people belive that the north wanted slaves free....which isn't true. They just didn't want slavery to expand to new states entering the union. The south didn't leave the union because they thought the north was going to end slavery (which they knew it wasn't) they left because they were about to lose thier political standing in congress. The north went to war with the south not over the issue of slavery, but because they felt that the states didn't have to right to succede and wanted to preserve the union.

    Again, if the war had been over slavery, then the course of history would be much different. The Emancipation Proclaimation would have been delivered earlier. Slavery in the border states would have been banned as well.

    To say that it was just over slavery is too simplistic and if you havn't been able to get that from the information that was posted, then i'm not really sure how else to explain it so that it is clear.

    Part of this attitude came about as a result of the 3/5 clause that was voted on during the Constitution Convention. During the convention, free-staters (states w/o large slave populations or with out any slaves) wanted only free people to count as population to determine the number of representatives in Congress. And the other argument at the time was determining how one would represent people in congress: by population (the House) or an equal number of reps per state (Senate). The eventual compromise was a congress consisting of both the House and Senate, but that left southern states at a representative disadvantage, because northern states had the edge when it came to the number of free persons. Therefore they lobbied that slaves count as fractions of people (despicable thing to say, but that's what happened).

    Allowing new territories to become slave states would give even more power to slave owning states, and free states did not want that, as their interests were opposite of the slave owning states (e.g. industrial v. agrarian).
    misspam wrote: »
    I agree with Myradella3, that if the issue were that clear, we would not be asking the question still today. Many Civil War historians disagree on the true cause.

    States rights and slavery were most certainly factors, but in my opinion, preserving the Union was the principal reason for going to war. As the President of the United States, Lincoln took the Oath of Office at his inauguration. From Article II, Section I of the U.S. Constitution:

    "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."

    I'm not totally agreeing or disagreeing with anyone here. But I do think there are many schools of thought. From everything I have read about Lincoln, his overriding concern came down to preserving, protecting and defending the United States of America.

    From what I've read about Lincoln, I got the impression that he was a big racist, and that yes, his primary goal was preserving the union.
  • LatinaCurlsLatinaCurls Posts: 11Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    Lincoln was racist. He didn't think that black people should be slaves, but he didn't think they were as good as white men. He even wrote about how horrible it would be if a white person and a black person should ever marry.
  • curlygirl81curlygirl81 Posts: 127Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    So let me pose this question to those of you that believe that the civil war was over slavery (be it economic or moral). How then do you reconcile the fact that a civil war was fought over slavery, thousands of people lost thier lives on both sides of the battle, yet racism and general hate towards blacks (ie Jim Crow, voter intimidation, ect.) was openly practiced in the south and many areas of the north with out the Federal government stepping in? Wouldn't it seem logical that if they were willing to fight to free the slaves, they would push to ensure equality for those slaves once free, espically since the south was defeated in the war?

    Absolutely. Every point you make your posts back up clearly and logically. I am highly impressed with, what I consider to be, your expert knowledge of the subject. I agree with all of your conclusions too. Thanks for being on this site.
  • YolyCYolyC Posts: 3,758Registered Users
    KookyCurl wrote: »
    Nappy_Curly_Crown...I just want to say thank you. Your facts are well laid out and clear. (I'm an aspiring historian so I really appreciate it.)

    I also just wanted to point out that the Emancipation Proclamation only freed the slaves in the states in rebellion. It didn't touch slavery in the border states that remained in the Union.
    "That on the first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, all persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free;"

    It clearly laid out the areas to which it applied. Note the areas in the south to which it did not.
    "Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana, (except the Parishes of St. Bernard, Plaquemines, Jefferson, St. John, St. Charles, St. James Ascension, Assumption, Terrebonne, Lafourche, St. Mary, St. Martin, and Orleans, including the City of New Orleans) Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia, (except the forty-eight counties designated as West Virginia, and also the counties of Berkley, Accomac, Northampton, Elizabeth City, York, Princess Ann, and Norfolk, including the cities of Norfolk and Portsmouth[)], and which excepted parts, are for the present, left precisely as if this proclamation were not issued."
    I snipped this portion because it's very true. If Lincoln really believed in freeing all the slaves, he would have done so for all slaves, not just the rebelling ones.

    Many people belive that the north wanted slaves free....which isn't true. They just didn't want slavery to expand to new states entering the union. The south didn't leave the union because they thought the north was going to end slavery (which they knew it wasn't) they left because they were about to lose thier political standing in congress. The north went to war with the south not over the issue of slavery, but because they felt that the states didn't have to right to succede and wanted to preserve the union.

    Again, if the war had been over slavery, then the course of history would be much different. The Emancipation Proclaimation would have been delivered earlier. Slavery in the border states would have been banned as well.

    To say that it was just over slavery is too simplistic and if you havn't been able to get that from the information that was posted, then i'm not really sure how else to explain it so that it is clear.

    Part of this attitude came about as a result of the 3/5 clause that was voted on during the Constitution Convention. During the convention, free-staters (states w/o large slave populations or with out any slaves) wanted only free people to count as population to determine the number of representatives in Congress. And the other argument at the time was determining how one would represent people in congress: by population (the House) or an equal number of reps per state (Senate). The eventual compromise was a congress consisting of both the House and Senate, but that left southern states at a representative disadvantage, because northern states had the edge when it came to the number of free persons. Therefore they lobbied that slaves count as fractions of people (despicable thing to say, but that's what happened).

    Allowing new territories to become slave states would give even more power to slave owning states, and free states did not want that, as their interests were opposite of the slave owning states (e.g. industrial v. agrarian).
    misspam wrote: »
    I agree with Myradella3, that if the issue were that clear, we would not be asking the question still today. Many Civil War historians disagree on the true cause.

    States rights and slavery were most certainly factors, but in my opinion, preserving the Union was the principal reason for going to war. As the President of the United States, Lincoln took the Oath of Office at his inauguration. From Article II, Section I of the U.S. Constitution:

    "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."

    I'm not totally agreeing or disagreeing with anyone here. But I do think there are many schools of thought. From everything I have read about Lincoln, his overriding concern came down to preserving, protecting and defending the United States of America.

    From what I've read about Lincoln, I got the impression that he was a big racist, and that yes, his primary goal was preserving the union.


    I picked up a book called Stupid history which mentioned this. I googled and this is the quote I found.


    Abraham Lincoln's initial definition of' the Union cause was given its most simple and direct statement in a letter to Horace Greeley, editor of the New York Tribune, on Augiist 22, 1862. Greeley had published an open letter to the president, urging him to declare that the liberation of slaves was the fundamental cause for which the North was fighting. Lincoln's letter was his careful reply.
    [Letter to Horace Greeley, August 22, 1862] I would save the Union. I would save it the shortest way under the Constitution. The sooner the national authority can be restored, the nearer the Union will be "the Union as it was." If' there be those who would not save the Union, unless they could at the sarne tirne save slavery, I do not agree with them. If there be those who would not save the Union unless they could at the same time destroy slavery, I do not agree with thein. My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and it is not either to save nor destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing all slaves, I would do it; and if I could do it by freeing some and leaving others alone, I would also do that . . .
    I have here stated my purpose according to my view of my official duty; and I intend no modification of my oft-expressed personal wish that all men every where could be free.


    So surprised, and I must say disappointed.
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  • SuburbanbushbabeSuburbanbushbabe Posts: 15,402Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    . My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and it is not either to save nor destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing all slaves, I would do it; and if I could do it by freeing some and leaving others alone, I would also do that . . .

    That's powerful. He was focused on his primary goal.
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  • YolyCYolyC Posts: 3,758Registered Users
    . My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and it is not either to save nor destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing all slaves, I would do it; and if I could do it by freeing some and leaving others alone, I would also do that . . .
    That's powerful. He was focused on his primary goal.


    It is. I guess my disappointment was more because in school, we learned about how wonderful he was because he freed the slaves. Turns out it was just incidental.
    Location: Chicago

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    "If you don't stand for something you will fall for anything."
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  • BoomygrrlBoomygrrl Posts: 4,940Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    I minored in history in college. Thanks for the refresher crash course.

    The North states had slaves and were by no means egalitarian. Yes, there were abolitionists, but the over all attitude in the North wasn't to free the slaves.
    I doubt the average white man in the North would've given up his life to free the slaves. I wish they were that noble. It truly was to preserve the Union.
    Luckily, freeing the slaves was a by-product of the war.

    I had forgotten that the states were considered their own sovereign territories that were united, rather than a country with separate states.

    So, even though the Civil War wasn't technically over slavery. Slavery played an integral part in it.

    And although there are areas of the south that is still racist, I think it's too simplistic to say the south is racist. Racism is alive and well everywhere, north and south. I think rather than looking at geography, we need to look at people's attitudes and behaviors and address them.

    I honestly think most slave-owners did not have a moral problem with slavery. Yes, they justified slavery with greed. I agree. but I really think they saw black people as animals. I really do. I think they felt okay owning black people, just like someone today feels okay owning a pet or a work horse. It's sad, but I really think they had to think that way in order to continue slavery. I wasn't around back then, so I don't know for sure. But I don't see how you can raise your children around slaves without telling these children that the slaves are not really human, that they don't deserve human rights, that they are doing them a favor by buying them, feeding them, and letting them earn their keep.

    Just my two cents.
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  • legendslegends Posts: 3,073Registered Users
    My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and it is not either to save nor destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing all slaves, I would do it; and if I could do it by freeing some and leaving others alone, I would also do that . . .
    I've read that before. Also, and I haven't looked it up to know if it's true, I've read that the Emancipation Proclamation wasn't about freeing the slaves, exactly. What it states is that any confederate state that rejoined the union could keep its slaves; those states refused, so that's why slavery ended. Again, I don't know if that's true, but considering Lincoln's views, it wouldn't be surprising.

    ETA: According to wikipedia:
    The Emancipation Proclamation consists of two executive orders issued by United States President Abraham Lincoln during the American Civil War. The first one, issued September 22, 1862, declared the freedom of all slaves in any state of the Confederate States of America that did not return to Union control by January 1, 1863. The second order, issued January 1, 1863, named the specific states where it applied.
    The Emancipation Proclamation was widely attacked at the time as freeing only the slaves over which the Union had no power. In practice, it committed the Union to ending slavery, which was a controversial decision in the North. Lincoln issued the Executive Order by his authority as "Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy" under Article II, section 2 of the United States Constitution.
    The proclamation did not free any slaves of the border states (Kentucky, Missouri, Maryland, Delaware, and West Virginia), or any southern state (or part of a state) already under Union control. It first directly affected only those slaves who had already escaped to the Union side. Hearing of the Proclamation, more slaves quickly escaped to Union lines as the Army units moved South. As the Union armies conquered the Confederacy, thousands of slaves were freed each day until nearly all (approximately 4 million, according to the 1860 census[1]) were freed by July 1865.
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  • fraufrau Posts: 6,130Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    if the war was fought over slavery most white northerners wouldn't have participated.
    as one Army of the Potomac officer put it: "We'll take care of the secessionists first and worry about the ngers later."
  • BoomygrrlBoomygrrl Posts: 4,940Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    frau wrote: »
    if the war was fought over slavery most white northerners wouldn't have participated.
    as one Army of the Potomac officer put it: "We'll take care of the secessionists first and worry about the ngers later."

    Sad but true.
    I'm just glad that ending slavery was at least the by-product of the war.
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