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Old March 20th, 2017, 03:23 PM   #1
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Why the South seceded


When I took American History in high school in 11th grade back in the 90s, it appeared to me that I could teach both my teacher and the authors of my American History textbook more about American history than they could teach me. My teacher just taught no more or less than what was in the textbook. The textbook did not cover the events leading to the Civil War very well. I wish I remembered the title of the textbook. I am going to cover why the South seceded.

The South seceded largely because the North banned the expansion of slavery into the territories. Antebellum white southerners wanted slavery to be allowed in the territories for three main reasons: 1# white southerners saw a ban on the expansion of slavery into the territories as step 1 on the way to total abolition of slavery everywhere in America. White southerners knew that most free-soilers saw slavery as an immoral institution, and most free-soilers wanted slavery to be totally abolished eventually. Lincoln's election was a sign that the balance of power was swinging into the free-soilers side. Before Lincoln's election in 1860, the South generally was as powerful politically or even more powerful politically as the North. Lincoln's election was a sign that was changing against white southerners. 2# white southerners thought that an outright ban on slavery in the territories meant that southerners were second class citizens in America. White southerners frequently pointed out that if slavery was banned in all the territories, that would mean that a man from the North could bring all his property to the territories, but a southern man could not bring all his property to his territories. Southerners thought this constituted second class citizenship. Antebellum white southerners thought that all citizens should have equal rights in the territories since the whole nation owned the territories, not any one state. Antebellum white southerners often stated that a ban on slavery in the territories would mean that white southerners were "shut out" from the territories or "excluded" from the territories. If the South seceded, southern secession itself would not make slavery allowed in the territories. But that was rarely mentioned because if the South seceded, it would solve the problem of southerners being second class citizens in their own country. #3 antebellum white southerners also were in favor of having slavery allowed in the territories because southerners thought that a ban on slavery in the territories would make slave rebellions more dangerous and more frequent. White southerners' logic was that if slavery was banned in the territories, that would concentrate more slaves in the southern states. The slave population was growing faster than the white population. Non-slaveholding white southerners would migrate to the territories, but no slaves would go to the territories. Therefore, the ratio of slaves to white southerners would increase. This would make white southerners more vulnerable to slave rebellions.

I have frequently read and heard people say that the South must not have seceded over slavery since 90% of white southerners did not own slaves. These same people also frequently state that most Confederate soldiers must not have been fighting for slavery since 90% of white southerners did not own slaves. The biggest reason that people believe this misconception is that people don't understand that the reason that antebellum white southerners wanted slavery was only half economic. Half the reason that antebellum white southerners wanted to keep slavery was for white supremacy. Antebellum southern newspapers were usually owned by members of the slavocracy. Antebellum southern newspaper editors made all sorts of wild prophecies in their newspapers saying that if the slaves were freed, the former slaves would rape a lot of white women, and the newspaper editors would also say that the former slaves would commit all types of mayham and violent crimes against white southerners. I remember one antebellum southern newspaper article saying something like "white southerners are also fighting for the safety of our fairs ones too." The newspaper articles would often prophesize that if the slaves were freed, the former slaves and their abolitionist allies would wage a war of genocide against white southerners. The newspaper articles would state that the poor whites would be most vulnerable to this because the southern aristocracy would have the money and means to move, while the poor whites would not have the money and means to escape this genocide. Another prophecy that antebellum southern newspapers would sometimes make was that if the slaves were freed, the Republicans, with the help of the former black slaves, would enslave white southerners. Because of this, sometimes Confederate soldiers said and wrote that Confederate soldiers were fighting against (white) slavery. Neither my American history textbook nor my American history textbook mentioned these wild prophesies that the antebellum southern newspapers made about what would happen in the slaves were freed. Once you read antebellum southern newspaper articles about this, you will understand why poor whites supported the institution of slavery so much. My history teacher portrayed poor white southerners' support of slavery as being all about economics. My history teacher said that the non-slaveholding whites supported the institution of slavery largely so that they could become slaveholders themselves one day. Although this is part of it, most of the reason that the non-slaveholding whites supported slavery was due to white supremacy.

Does anyone have any comments or questions?

Do you disagree with anything that I said? If so, what do you disagree with me about specifically?

Last edited by grey fox; March 20th, 2017 at 03:34 PM.
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Old March 20th, 2017, 04:37 PM   #2

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The people who were against slavery were against it because they reckoned that it was the hallmark of savage ignorance.

The people who owned slaves knew that they were regarded that way and they took it personal. They didn't want to "live in the same house" with the Yankees anymore.

So they seceded.
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Old March 20th, 2017, 05:05 PM   #3
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White southerners' not wanting to "live in the same house" as northerners who regarded them as the hallmark of savage ignorance was only a tiny part of the reason the south seceded. It was far more about the things that I mentioned in the original post. When secessionism was a matter of "not wanting to live in the same house" as northerners, it was far more about the fact that southerners thought they were second class in America b/c southerners could not bring all their property into the territories. IMO, southerners were not overly concerned about what northerners thought about slaveholders in terms of morality.

Does not wanting to be a part of the same nation as people who regarded them as the hallmark of savage ignorance really sound like something that you would wage a war over? Do you really think southerners manipulated the situation so their children would die for that? No. Southerners waged the bloodiest war in American history for things more substantial than that. The South seceded because white southerners thought that if slavery was abolished, white southerners' daughters/wives would be raped by former slaves, white southerners would be enslaved by Republicans and former slaves, and former slaves would wage a war of annihilation against white southerners. Read antebellum southern newspapers. If you read antebellum southern newspapers, the newspaper editors don't emphasize that the South should secede so the South could split with people who regard white southerners as savage ignorant people.

Last edited by grey fox; March 20th, 2017 at 05:13 PM.
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Old March 20th, 2017, 05:26 PM   #4
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In terms of the question of which of these two situations did more to cause secessionism, northern attitudes towards the morality of southern slaveholders or the ban on the expansion of slavery in the territories, the timing of southern secession is telling. Many abolitionists had been condemning slavery and slaveholders for years before the South seceded in 1860-1861. Uncle Tom's Cabin (which condemned slavery and slaveholders) was published in 1852, and while there was a demonstrable increase in anti-slavery sentiment in the North in 1852, there was no major increase in secessionism in the South in 1852. Conversely, when Lincoln was elected President in 1860 (which meant slavery was not going to be allowed to expand into the territories), the South did secede in response to a ban on the expansion of slavery into the territories.

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P.S. if you're viewing this thread, please comment. Some might agree with me. Some might totally disagree. Some might largely agree with me with some nuanced differences. I would like to hear from all of you. Opinion are like gold here.

Last edited by grey fox; March 20th, 2017 at 05:32 PM.
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Old March 20th, 2017, 06:03 PM   #5

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See also -

https://www.theatlantic.com/business...merica/373288/
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Old March 20th, 2017, 06:17 PM   #6

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Click the image to open in full size.

(more like fiftieth)
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Old March 20th, 2017, 06:43 PM   #7
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Viperlord, what's this "we" stuff? This is the first time I have created a thread about why the South seceded. The closest thread I have made to this topic before is the thread "No big secession movement between 1830s and 1856", but that thread was about whether or not there was a big secession movement between the 1830s and 1856. "No big secession movement between 1830s and 1856" was not about why the South seceded. It was just about when there was a secession movement.

I defy you to name a thread I made before this one that is strictly about why the South seceded.
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Old March 21st, 2017, 05:02 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grey fox View Post
I defy you to name a thread I made before this one that is strictly about why the South seceded.
This one is a mere 162 pages. It covers quite a range of attempts to find non-slavery causes, though I don't remember who started it.

Do you think slavery was the "cause" of the civil war?
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Old March 21st, 2017, 05:05 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grey fox View Post
The South seceded largely because the North banned the expansion of slavery into the territories.
I would be interested to learn exactly how "the north" banned the expansion of slavery into the territories? Would the Northwest Ordinances be an example?
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Old March 21st, 2017, 05:10 AM   #10

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Quote:
Originally Posted by grey fox View Post
Viperlord, what's this "we" stuff? This is the first time I have created a thread about why the South seceded. The closest thread I have made to this topic before is the thread "No big secession movement between 1830s and 1856", but that thread was about whether or not there was a big secession movement between the 1830s and 1856. "No big secession movement between 1830s and 1856" was not about why the South seceded. It was just about when there was a secession movement.

I defy you to name a thread I made before this one that is strictly about why the South seceded.
Its more we see this topic once a month
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