Free and Proper Elections

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  • Don't call me dude says:

    No. It wasn’t because of any “incivility” or “argument” that the war to establish a modern nation occurred. There were physical and economic reasons that it was inevitable. While the manufacturers, traders and bankers, who ran the North, rejected the abolitionists’ holy war against slavery (I would support it, myself – but that’s a different question), the slaveowners, who ran the South, wanted to extend their system into the new territories. The slavers were in firm control of the Supreme Court, and prior to the 1860 election held at least the balance of power if not always outright control of the White House. Their political power in the Senate was weakening, although still dominant, as new states from the West joined the Union. In the House of Representatives, it was weakening faster as the populations of the West and North grew. If their system was extended into the new states, they would get a burst of new political strength they could use against the financial power of the Northern capitalists. A number of legal loopholes allowed Southern planters to get all sorts of advantages in financial dealings with banks and other businesses. Since the First Revolution, the War of Independence, the United States had been politically dominated by Southern slaver interests. If this continued, the capitalist economy of the North and the West was threatened. And since the slavery-based Southern plantation economy was inefficient and could not sustain itself without that political advantage, the slavers would fight rather than give it up, “democracy” or no. No, the war couldn’t have been prevented. The worst president the United States ever had (yes, even worse than Bush 2!) James Buchanan, tried to paper over the differences, and the slavers’ preparations to secede continued anyway. Slaver politicos, scorning democracy if they couldn’t continue to dominate it, announced that if Lincoln was elected, they would rebel. He was. And they did. A serious argument can be made that the Northern capitalists fought reluctantly, only because they felt forced. But a Second Revolution, a war against the slaveowners, was going to happen no matter what. And regardless of the personal feelings of many of those involved on both sides, it had to end with the destruction of slavery-based economy. In essence, IF you accept the slaveowners and the capitalists as the “legitimate” rulers of their regions, it was exactly as Lincoln described it – one third of the population making war on the other two thirds. If you count the interests of the slaves in the South, since northern-style economics would have led to their freedom, that ratio would go up to one quarter vs. three quarters. Besides the economic aspect, a regional aspect that folks don’t like to deal with is that the whole South did not support the slaver “government.” The hill areas in Alabama, for instance, and large parts of Virginia, as well as parts of Georgia, Mississippi, Arkansas and Louisiana, were dangerous for “Confederate” officials to travel in. In Alabama, pro-Union guerrillas used to regularly hang “Confederate” tax collectors. Florida only got a majority vote to join the secession because pro-Union representatives, legally elected by Florida voters, were physically prevented from entering a meeting hall by armed mobs financed by the slavers. The Union Army had at least one battalion from every Southern state except for North Carolina. The western counties of Virginia revolted against the “Confederacy” and joined the Union as the separate state of West Virginia. Many white Southerners from all walks of life opposed slavery and the slaveowning dictators, and supported the Union. Who do you think helped Harriet Tubman run the Underground Railroad? And, unfortunately, in the North, racist pro-secessionist mobs rampaged. In New York City on two occasions rioters burned down draft offices and attacked black neighborhoods. The mayor of New York even talked publicly about seceding and setting up an independent city-state, controlling its own port and harbor. Lincoln’s reply to these comments was something to the effect that if the country was like a house, he wasn’t about to let the front door (New York City) set up housekeeping on its own. At one point Union Army troops were sent to occupy the island of Manhattan. Even if the secessionists had succeeded in separating their rump of a “nation,” that “nation” would have eventually faced a civil war itself between pro- and anti-slavery factions. Just as the First Revolution was a classic war of national liberation, the Second Revolution was a classic class struggle. An army made up of proletarians and peasants and led by petit bourgeoisie, fighting for the big bourgeoisie on the Union side, beat an army of peasants led by fake patricians, that was fighting for the slaveowners. The conflict was inevitable. And so was its outcome. And when the Third Revolution comes, it will also be a class struggle. The proletarians and petit bourgeoisie will go up against the big bourgeoisie. And the outcome of that will be inevitable, too.

    August 19, 2013 at 3:20 am
  • You with the face! says:

    Thats where you get form argueing.

    August 19, 2013 at 9:16 am
  • Rainbow says:

    With all due respect, why is this question posted in Gender and Women’s Studies? Shouldn’t you repost it in politics or history or something? But to answer your question, I think the evil of slavery would have ultimately been abolished through more peaceful means.

    August 19, 2013 at 10:27 am
  • Redeemer says:

    The Civil War was unavoidable ever since the Missouri Compromise was established. Ever since then, the inevitable has been delayed.

    August 19, 2013 at 12:18 pm
  • sincityq says:

    Slavery was an established institution in the United States that began long before the Civil War. It was recognized as an evil long before Fort Sumter was fired upon, opening the war. In fact, the US Civil War was not begun nor fought over slavery until Lincoln announced the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863. For the greater part of the former Confederacy, slaves were something that only the wealthy had and in some (though not all by any stretch) cases, the slaveholders were northerners who had large plantation investments in the south. It was, like illegal immigration today, a shortcut around paying a decent wage and reaping huge profits on the backs of others. Depending on one’s political slant and spin on history, it can be argued that slavery would have ended by without having the issue solved at the end of the war. Lee was openly opposed to it and Lincoln would have allowed it to remain in place if it could have saved the union the conflict. My personal view is that yes, it would have necessarily died regardless of the US Civil War or who won it in the end. …

    August 19, 2013 at 3:58 pm
  • Daniel C says:

    The Civil War (or the War of Northern Aggression) was not about slavery. That was, at best, a side issue. The North had a larger population and used that to pack the House of Reps, passing laws that were unfavorable to the South and favored the North. Slavery was never an issue except as a way to incite the emotions of people to get them behind the war effort.

    August 19, 2013 at 8:16 pm
  • Thomas V says:

    It is difficult to see how the problem could have been resolved peacefully! The problem was that the southern states thought their property rights (slavery!) should be respected north of the Mason-Dixon line as well. Abolitionists obviously disagreed (since “property rights” basically extended slavery north). And the constitutionality of this question was at the core of the South’s desire to secede. Given that the North refused both slavery and secession, and the South refused to give up slavery, I don’t think this was a problem of people arguing too much. The problem had to be decided one way or another, and each side had much to lose. There is a great book on the Civil War by James McPherson called “Battle Cry of Freedom.” I’ve heard other historians refer to it as the best one-volume history of the Civil War. It is respected for its proper placement of the war in the broader social context. It’s one of the better history books I’ve ever read.

    August 19, 2013 at 11:04 pm
  • Laela (Layla) says:

    Slavery wasn’t the only reason as to why the Civil War got started. The Mexican War Ended – 1848, Fugitive Slave Act – 1850, Uncle Tom’s Cabin Was Released, Bleeding Kansas shocked Northerners, Charles Sumner is Attacked by Preston on the Floor of the Senate, Dred Scott Decision, Lecompton Constitution Rejected, John Brown Raided Harper’s Ferry, Abraham Lincoln Was Elected President are the actual reasonings as to why the real war started. What you’re talking about is, taking that the northern states are men and the southern states are women, not the evils of slavery, but the “evils” of “oppression”. Life tells us either you fight or you get trampled on, get used; have people walk all over you. It all goes with the territory they say.

    August 20, 2013 at 2:38 am
  • Born-Again Libertarian says:

    The war was a ploy on Lincoln’s part to create the American Empire. No, he could not have preserved the Union, and that was the point. The revolutionary thing about America (read Toqueville) was that everyone willingly joined. Also, Lincoln was a lobbyist so it was in his best interests to increase government power through taxing: more jingle for his railroad pals. Compensated manumission would have done the job peacefully, without destroying the South and without this level of lasting racism. If we’d done that, slaves would have been freed once they reached a certain age -the usual thing was 18 for women and 21 for men- paid for their labor, and freed. That way, the plantation owners could turn to new ways of work and the former slaves could go off with some money in their pockets. It must also be remembered that Lincoln himself was a racist bastard who wanted to ship all the slaves out to Liberia, and opposed the three-fifths clause because it gave the South too much representation. He was a sectional candidate who didn’t receive a single vote from the South. The Fugitive Slave Act crippled the Underground Railroad, and the Emancipation Proclamation freed the slaves he couldn’t get at and kept in bondage the ones within his reach. I believe it was Tocqueville who remarked that racism in the North was worse than racism in the South. At one point, North Carolina (it may have been South Carolina) had more blacks than whites. Living with different kinds of people makes you learn to shut up and leave people alone, whereas staying in your own little group lets you limit yourself to thinking that you’re just the greatest. He was also a dictator who suspended habeas corpus and micromanaged the killing of innocent Southern civilians. I don’t mean 14-year old boys who joined the Confederate Army; I mean 14-year old boys who had the gall to be born in Georgia. The North and South have had opposing interests since the beginning of the country. Tariffs usually helped the North since they had an active smuggling industry -and as they were the manufacturers of the nation, it gave them a virtual monopoly- while Southerners who depended on foreign markets got pretty screwed. This idea of the ‘enlightened North’ is such a giggle to anyone who’s done some research. You could bring your slaves to New York City for your vacation as long as you registered them. Ever heard of Five Points? Besides, the earliest calls for secession came from Northern newspapers and the earliest secession movement was the Hartford Convention of 1815. As in Hartford, Connecticut. Northern state. Not sure why this is in this section, but whatever. Fun to answer. I’m expecting about 10 TDs. Let’s see how it goes.

    August 20, 2013 at 4:55 am
  • Baba Yaga says:

    Reported.

    August 20, 2013 at 9:06 am

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