The Civil War was about Slavery

I am just dumbfounded that I’m having this debate with people.

Apparently it’s a wide spread belief that it wasn’t about slavery.  Today it was someone on Twitter.

The other day it one of the young ones at work.  Hates Trump but was one of the not-a-racist but don’t spread hate people.  So naturally, I shared my thoughts.

In that conversation, he came to the civil war wasn’t about slavery because the emancipation proclamation didn’t happen before the war.

I’m not going to preach that the Union was filled with social justice warriors.  But I’m not going to back down from the reality – Slavery was the crux of the matter.  The push to end slavery caused the south to secede.

Just a taste of the primary document evidence

It was slavery.  The mechanism that many people use is “it was about state’s rights.”  Yeah.  It was about the state’s right to keep slavery legal.  The issue was not just some nebulous state rights vs Federal encroachment.  It was very specific to the slavery issue.  Calling it state’s rights is a careful misconstruction of the root cause.

I don’t even understand how we are debating this in 2017.  What I find interesting is that in debating it, there is a sense in which the person who insists it wasn’t about slavery is implicitly suggesting that slavery should have just kept going.

You MIGHT be able to convince me that in an alternate universe, Buchanan managed a compromise that led to the slow phase out of slavery.  But that is not how capitalism works in this universe.  Capitalism always leverages itself for money and easily reweaves it’s morality around acquiring and keeping more money.  And slavery was a money accumulator.  Even if you ignore the deep cost savings of near free labor, there was an entire economy around the slave trade.  Capitalism was the biggest chain around slavery and the only thing that was going to break that chain was a strong clear cut.

In any case, Buchanan did not achieve his compromise and Lincoln had no stomach for it and the South knew it.

S. C. Posey, Lauderdale County, Alabama, speaking to the Alabama Secession Convention on Jan. 25, 1861:  “Mr. President, the fierce strife we have had with the Northern States, which has led to the disruption of the Government, is a trumpet-tongued answer to this question.  They have declared, by the election of Lincoln, “There shall be no more slave territory–no more slave States.”

Southern states seceded because of the issue of slavery.  Their economy, their culture and their identity was deeply tied to the institution of slavery.  They were willing to fight to keep them.


One thought on “The Civil War was about Slavery

  1. You’re right, of course. It was about slavery. Period. The far right can rant all they want to about things like “state’s rights”, but it wasn’t. But they have this tendency to try to re-write history to support their own ideas, turning the founding fathers into devout protestants, which they weren’t (Thomas Jefferson thought the Holy Trinity, one of the primary tenants of Christianity, was just plain silly, for just one example). Or proclaiming Reagan was some kind of tax cutting economic genius when his economic policies almost bankrupted the country and he he actually raised taxes about eleven times.

    Liked by 2 people

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