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View Full Version : Was the Civil War necessary to end Slavery?



Laisrean
November 9th, 2007, 02:07 AM
Many people argue that the civil war was a necessary evil to end slavery, but was it really the best way to do it? Britain banned slavery in 1809 (I believe) and Mexico had banned it well before we went to war against them. Brazil was the last nation to ban it in the western hemisphere in the 1880s or something. But of all the slavery nations, only the U.S. ended it with a civil war.

From various things I've read on the subject, the civil war wasn't really about slavery anyway, or at least that wasn't why it started. There was some heavy tariffs and so on being levied against the south which were being used to subsidize things like railroads in the North. That was the main reason the south rebelled. Slavery was basically a secondary issue to that.

But my point is, even though slavery was ended quicker than it probably otherwise would have, the civil war was not fought for that reason and it seems to me that the civil war was a very bad way to end slavery, because it left some really bad scars which still linger to this day. These scars would not exist if the civil war had not been fought and if slavery had been brought to an end more peaceably. One example if the Ku Klux Klan. This organization was founded after the civil war by former confederates. Well, if there was no civil war then its doubtful the KKK would exist. Maybe all the racial turmoil that existed from that point until the civil rights era might not have happened either, or at least not have been as intense.

So how could slavery have ended without fighting a war over it? The civil war was EXTREMELY expensive. For far less money, the government could have compensated slave owners so they wouldn't rebel when their slaves were emancipated. This means no civil war.

But Slavery was doomed to end anyway. Public opposition to it had been growing stronger even before the civil war began. Look at Harper's Ferry and various other incidents. Eventually the pressure would have become too much and governments would move to ban it. Also, advances in agriculture with threshing machines and so on would inevitably made slavery obsolete anyway.

So IMHO the Civil War was NOT necessary. It could have been averted, and if it had been averted the nation wouldn't have as many scars as it does today. I believe slavery could have (and should have) been ended in a less violent fashion.

Thoughts?

Tanya
November 9th, 2007, 05:11 AM
of course not! noone who really has read any history at all believe the civil war was about slavery.

Brightshores
November 9th, 2007, 08:42 AM
The problem was - those scars existed even before the Civil War. Part of the reason that the war was fought was based on the fact that the cultural, social, political, and economic differences between the Northern and Southern states were very strong, and were becoming more pronounced all the time. The South felt that the North was trying to push their laws and ways of life onto the South, and the North felt that the South was not cooperating in matters of common interest. Slavery was only one of those cultural differences in play. The war was fought more over a clash of cultures and perspectives, often referred to as "states rights vs. federalism" in history classes.

So - no, the Civil War was not necessary to end slavery. However - for other reasons, the Civil War may have been inevitable in terms of the relationships between the States as they were in the early 19th century.

Raven Mystic
November 14th, 2007, 01:33 PM
So - no, the Civil War was not necessary to end slavery. However - for other reasons, the Civil War may have been inevitable in terms of the relationships between the States as they were in the early 19th century.

Agreed. Slavery was clearly on the way out. However, the war itself was manufactured by the North, not the South. The South repeatedly tried to forge a peaceful independence. All the blood, all the death and suffering is on the head of Lincoln. Period.

Tanya
November 14th, 2007, 05:56 PM
Well, I wouldn't put it all on Lincoln, and cerainly slavey is a nasty business, that none of us would now condone... I ask myself how would I feel if this happened now...

I would support the South in its desire for self determination....

however..... as far as human rights go..... YIKES!.... we are looking at a situation not unlike the Sudan I would imagine.

lets keep in mind too that human rights in the North were pretty non-existant for folks like my ansestors, Polish and Irish immigrants working in factories (often with their children as young as 6!) and mines 12-14 hours a day 6 days a week, and not being able to earn enough to keep the house warm or the kids in milk....there's no nice snappy word like 'slavery' to describe that kind of abuse....but it doens't mean they weren't essentially slaves as well.


Raven, look into a book called "Confederates in the Attic" by Tony Horowitz, I think you would enjoy it.

phoenixrising
November 14th, 2007, 06:19 PM
From what I understand slavery is the straw that broke the camels back. The civil war was about state rights.

banondraig
November 14th, 2007, 06:58 PM
.

lets keep in mind too that human rights in the North were pretty non-existant for folks like my ansestors, Polish and Irish immigrants working in factories (often with their children as young as 6!) and mines 12-14 hours a day 6 days a week, and not being able to earn enough to keep the house warm or the kids in milk....there's no nice snappy word like 'slavery' to describe that kind of abuse....but it doens't mean they weren't essentially slaves as well.



Wage slavery.


From what I understand slavery is the straw that broke the camels back. The civil war was about state rights.

Absolutely. The Emancipation Proclamation -- written and signed in the middle of the Civil War, mind you -- was one of the greatest political sleights of hand ever.

Laisrean
November 14th, 2007, 07:08 PM
It's important to note that not all slave states left the union. Also, union states had laws condoning the institution of slavery, by forcing runaway slaves to return and so on.

The point is that even though most slavery was in the confederate states, not all of it was. The union has some slavery blood on its hands as well, though certainly not as much...

wolfjan1
November 14th, 2007, 07:19 PM
Well, I wouldn't put it all on Lincoln, and cerainly slavey is a nasty business, that none of us would now condone... I ask myself how would I feel if this happened now...

I would support the South in its desire for self determination....

however..... as far as human rights go..... YIKES!.... we are looking at a situation not unlike the Sudan I would imagine.

lets keep in mind too that human rights in the North were pretty non-existant for folks like my ansestors, Polish and Irish immigrants working in factories (often with their children as young as 6!) and mines 12-14 hours a day 6 days a week, and not being able to earn enough to keep the house warm or the kids in milk....there's no nice snappy word like 'slavery' to describe that kind of abuse....but it doens't mean they weren't essentially slaves as well.


Raven, look into a book called "Confederates in the Attic" by Tony Horowitz, I think you would enjoy it.
Yes, The mining companies had paid horrendous wages that could only be spent at "the company store," who often took the money owed out of the miner's pay before they ever saw it. So, the Miners were basically slave labor.
Like all wars, the bottom line was money. The south seceding because they did not want to pay tarifs on their own goods REALLY pissed off the northern "business concerns." (see a pattern here?) Plus the were really attached to their slaves, but some southern plantations paid their "slaves" and gave them good housing and food and treated theith respect. Of course, there were others who hung on to the human trafficking. You can never get rid of assholes, no matter what spray you use.

The KKK would exist no matter what. there is a mindset there.

banondraig
November 14th, 2007, 07:21 PM
Note also that the plantation system simply wouldn't have worked in most of the northern states. It wasn't only moral repugnance in the North that caused the Southern states to be the bulk of slave states.

wolfjan1
November 14th, 2007, 07:24 PM
Note also that the plantation system simply wouldn't have worked in most of the northern states. It wasn't only moral repugnance in the North that caused the Southern states to be the bulk of slave states.
No, it wouldn't have, so it wouldn't have brought the northern "business concerns" any profit. that is probably why the high tarifs were introduced, even if they did their own slave trafficing in the mines. So one was innocent then or now.

Laisrean
November 14th, 2007, 07:45 PM
The KKK would exist no matter what. there is a mindset there.

Something like it probably would have sprung up, but the KKK was founded after the war by former confederates as a sort of fraternity or whatever. If the Civil War didn't happen, then the KKK wouldn't have been founded. But something similar to it probably would have...

But the KKK was insanely popular back in the early 1900s, especially in the south. It wasn't just a racist organization, but also an Anti-Catholic organization in those days and they would go after Irish and Italians as often as Negros.

But would the equivalent of the KKK have become as popular if the civil war had not been fought? I think it probably wouldn't have, because the bitterness over the North burning and devastating the South in the war wouldn't have happened so Southerners probably wouldn't have as much hatred as they did.

wolfjan1
November 14th, 2007, 07:49 PM
Actually, I correct myself, Laisrean, you are probably right. But what I said about Assholes still applies. They are everywhere and hate everybody different from themselves.
The destruction is also a BIG factor. That was totally unnecessary. But the Northerners did it to cut off the food supply, create chaos and humiliation, therefore making life and fighting back harder. One of the first strategies of war.
Be prepared, by the way.

SSanf
November 14th, 2007, 07:58 PM
The War of Yankee Agression was about state's rights.

monsnoleedra
November 14th, 2007, 08:25 PM
The KKK was initially formed as a group called The Knights of the White Chamela. At its inception it was more aligned to guard Southern property owners rights. Ironically both black and white from the influx of Carpetbaggers and Scalliwaggs.

It was only as the group became corupted and became more aligned towards white only interest that it changed.

If Lincoln had survived the outcome may have been dramatically different. He wanted to allow the states to return unpunished but many of his officals wanted to extract vengence against the south. Secretery Suart (Sp) wanted to bring major obstocles before the reunification of the states.

Maryland was a confirmed Slave state at the begining of the war and initialy agreed to suceed from the Union however, massive military forces where inserted into Maryland to prevent that from occuring. The Union figured it would not be to popular to have the capital in Southern Boundaries.

Slavery was also not an issue at the begining as Lincoln's desire was to maintain the union. Many Northern states and political figures stated that should slavery be listed as a reason they would refuse to provide troops or suport to the union government. Large scale riots occured in New York as word leaked out that slavery was the reson for the war.

Their is a frame of though that the freeing of the slaves after Gettysburg was actually a means to increase the manpower pool available to the military services.

That slavery was fading is apparent from many of the last will and testiments from the time. Many were being written to free thier slaves as they reached a given age.

Additionally this thread has failed to touch upon the number of Black slave owners that lived in the south. A search of 1850 / 1860 census records shows many costal states had large populations of slaves that where owned by black or mulato families.

Their where also many accounts during the war of Black units and individuals that faught on the side of the South against the Union. One of the most listed sharpshooter at Fredericksburg Virginia was a blackman.

Unfortunatley thier stories are lost to the history of the 54th Mass. And its not politically correct to show that thier where blacks that opposed the union stories and war.

WokeUpDead
November 14th, 2007, 11:33 PM
The South felt that the North was trying to push their laws and ways of life onto the South, and the North felt that the South was not cooperating in matters of common interest.Sounds familiar.

Tanya
November 14th, 2007, 11:43 PM
slavery was free labour.... who wants your enemy in a war to have free labour?


Anyone ever read "Lies My teacher Told Me"?

There's a big chapter about the 'packaging' of the civil war to make the north look good.. its revolting how much crap gets poured in kids ears!!!

and I just want to add... I don't think slavery and 'human trafficing' are two different things... or that slavery isn't reprehensible, no matter how 'nice' or 'fond' a family was concerning their slaves... sometimes that gets a bit glossed over in the south....

we in the north were self interested bastards..... people who clung to slavery were self interested bastards as well.....

that one self interested bastard beat another doesn't mean much about the morality of either position does it?

Laisrean
November 15th, 2007, 02:11 AM
slavery was free labour.... who wants your enemy in a war to have free labour?

Its not *really* free, but extremely low cost I guess you could say. It was still important to feed, clothe, and house your slaves. It made no economic sense to work them until they died. Plus you had to buy them initially anyway. So costs WERE involved in that.

In the end, I don't know if there was that big of a difference between the cost of a slave and the extremely low wages of an unskilled worker...

After the slaves were freed, the situation wasn't changed very much. Former slaves became sharecroppers, and mostly remained that way until the great depression when many blacks moved to urban centers in the North. With the rise of threshing machines and the like, I don't think there was much profit in slavery anymore because one machine could do more than like 20 slaves, plus no need to feed, clothe, etc.

Slavery would have ended for that reason if nothing else. Its demise was inevitable, war or no war.

Valnorran
November 15th, 2007, 12:19 PM
Its not *really* free, but extremely low cost I guess you could say. It was still important to feed, clothe, and house your slaves. It made no economic sense to work them until they died. Plus you had to buy them initially anyway. So costs WERE involved in that.
Yep. Cost is why only about 20% of the Southern population owned slaves, and most of those owned only a few and had to work side by side with them in the fields.

Agree with everything you've said in this thread. I particularly like what you said about the KKK because it's something I've wondered about. If there had been no war and slavery had just died a quiet death, there would've been no resentment. No resentment, no impetus to form a hate group, and the history of race relations (Jim Crow, Plessy vs Furgeson, civil rights movement, etc) might very well have been very, very different. Just think of it; it could've completely eliminated Al Sharptons whole career.

David19
November 15th, 2007, 12:58 PM
Something like it probably would have sprung up, but the KKK was founded after the war by former confederates as a sort of fraternity or whatever. If the Civil War didn't happen, then the KKK wouldn't have been founded. But something similar to it probably would have...

But the KKK was insanely popular back in the early 1900s, especially in the south. It wasn't just a racist organization, but also an Anti-Catholic organization in those days and they would go after Irish and Italians as often as Negros.

But would the equivalent of the KKK have become as popular if the civil war had not been fought? I think it probably wouldn't have, because the bitterness over the North burning and devastating the South in the war wouldn't have happened so Southerners probably wouldn't have as much hatred as they did.

Just wanted to say, targeting Irish and Italian Catholics does make the KKK a racist organisation.

IMO, I think the KKK would've still have formed and been popular 'cause racists always want to brand together, and while I don't know how whites in the South viewed blacks, I'm going to guess they would've still seen them as "other" and kept separate from them.

Laisrean
November 15th, 2007, 08:10 PM
Yep. Cost is why only about 20% of the Southern population owned slaves, and most of those owned only a few and had to work side by side with them in the fields.

Yeah. And apparently there were many poor southerners who were willing to fight for the confederacy even though they themselves didn't own slaves. Not all southerners were wealthy plantation owners, and as you said that number was probably 20%, which is a small amount. Those who were wealthy and owned slaves just tended to own a very large number of them...

But the point is, even southerners who did NOT own slaves apparently wanted to secede from the Union. I point that out to anyone who insists the war was just about Slavery.


Agree with everything you've said in this thread. I particularly like what you said about the KKK because it's something I've wondered about. If there had been no war and slavery had just died a quiet death, there would've been no resentment. No resentment, no impetus to form a hate group, and the history of race relations (Jim Crow, Plessy vs Furgeson, civil rights movement, etc) might very well have been very, very different. Just think of it; it could've completely eliminated Al Sharptons whole career.

There are many multi-racial nations in the world who didn't/don't have the racial turmoil we had/have. Look at Canada just above us. They don't have as many black citizens as we do, but they still have a fair amount because of the underground railroad and so on. Why didn't they ever have to deal with things like the KKK and civil rights problems? Why don't they have an equivalent of Al Sharpton?

I think the reason for that is simply the Civil War. America is probably the only multi-racial nation on Earth that ended its slavery thanks to a bloody civil war. If it weren't for that, our race relations would probably not be too different than it is in Canada.

Laisrean
November 15th, 2007, 08:17 PM
Just wanted to say, targeting Irish and Italian Catholics does make the KKK a racist organisation.

IMO, I think the KKK would've still have formed and been popular 'cause racists always want to brand together, and while I don't know how whites in the South viewed blacks, I'm going to guess they would've still seen them as "other" and kept separate from them.

I said in my post that something like the KKK would have probably sprung up regardless. But the KKK itself wouldn't have existed, because it was founded after the war by former Confederates, and they dressed in sheets because they seen themselves as confederate ghosts.

But I agree something else would have been created, but it would have took on a different and hopefully less popular form.

Rick
November 16th, 2007, 03:23 AM
The Emancipation Proclamation -- written and signed in the middle of the Civil War, mind you -- was one of the greatest political sleights of hand ever.
Yep... Lincoln thought that, if he freed the slaves, they'd rise in revolt against the South, and rush to join the Union army. In actuality, the Emancipation Proclamation only truly freed slaves in the Union states, not in the Confederacy (that'd be like the U.S. passin' a law sayin', oh, like, it's illegal for people of Mexican descent to eat tortillas, & expectin' people in Mexico to comply). Slaves in the Southern states weren't too much effected unil the war ended. Then they mostly became wage slaves.

Windygo
November 16th, 2007, 04:23 AM
Yep... Lincoln thought that, if he freed the slaves, they'd rise in revolt against the South, and rush to join the Union army. In actuality, the Emancipation Proclamation only truly freed slaves in the Union states, not in the Confederacy (that'd be like the U.S. passin' a law sayin', oh, like, it's illegal for people of Mexican descent to eat tortillas, & expectin' people in Mexico to comply). Slaves in the Southern states weren't too much effected unil the war ended. Then they mostly became wage slaves.

The Emancipation Proclomation said that any state which failed to be a part of the union by a certain deadline would loose slavery, those who joined could keep their slaves. So it was more like saying "We're taking over Mexico, and if they surrender and join us we'll let them eat tortillas afterward. If we have to use force, they don't get them at all."

Laisrean
November 16th, 2007, 05:08 AM
The Emancipation Proclomation said that any state which failed to be a part of the union by a certain deadline would loose slavery, those who joined could keep their slaves. So it was more like saying "We're taking over Mexico, and if they surrender and join us we'll let them eat tortillas afterward. If we have to use force, they don't get them at all."

That's correct. The emancipation proclamation actually didn't free a single slave.

Lincoln didn't have that authority anyway. He was not a king and couldn't issue decrees and proclamations that had any teeth. It was the Legislature which ended slavery with the passage of a constitutional amendment.

Lincoln's ghost would probably be delighted that so many people today think he is such a saint -- or at least he would be delighted if he wasn't roasting in some deep part of hell for all the people he killed in his war. He was assassinated for a reason, and it wasn't because someone was pissed off that their slaves were emancipated by his proclamation.

omar
November 16th, 2007, 06:58 PM
Before the Civil War the Southerners in the US Congress tryed to get the US Government to by the slaves from the Southern slave owners. After all they payed a lot of money for these slaves to do there farm work. It would only be the fair thing to have done. But the congress refused. But just a few years ago the US Government bought out the dairy farmers cows with tax dollers. The US Government back then could have done the same & avioded the Civil War. But it did not. Also the war was being pushed by companies that wanted war to get rich. They got there wish. DuPont became the richest man in America selling gun powder to the Union Army,so did many other companies.