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Old May 9th, 2017, 02:24 PM   #1
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Civil War texts from the CSA point of view.


Just picked up five books of interest. "The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government" and "A Short History of the Confederate States of America", both by Jefferson Davis, President of the CSA; "Recollections of Alexander H. Stephens" and ""A Constitutional View of the Late War Between the States" both by the said Alexander H. Stephens, Vice-President of the CSA; and the Constitution of the Confederate States of America.

I have begun reading the "The Rise and Fall...", which is EXTREMELY long, over 1,000 pages. Has anyone else read these documents?

On another note, I personally find myself categorically rejecting the power of an out-of-control Federal Government. I actually find the arguments for the Rights of the Sovereign States far more persuasive, although I freely acknowledge that the institution of slavery was thoroughly vile. But the South, if it had won the Civil War, would have done away with slavery on its own, eventually, just for economic reasons. It was no longer economically viable.

Aside from that, even though Lincoln personally opposed slavery, he made it clear that, to maintain the Union, he would free all slaves, half of them, or none of them. When he DID issue the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863, it initially affected NO ONE, since it only applied to the States "then under rebellion", which he did not then control. It did NOT apply to Delaware, Missouri, or Maryland, which were all slave States loyal to the North, and it ALSO did not apply to the National Capital of Washington, D.C. And his PERSONAL preference was to free them all and then repatriate them to Africa.

So, let's talk. Opinions? Thoughts?
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Old May 9th, 2017, 07:54 PM   #2
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When he DID issue the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863, it initially affected NO ONE, since it only applied to the States "then under rebellion", which he did not then control. It did NOT apply to Delaware, Missouri, or Maryland, which were all slave States loyal to the North, and it ALSO did not

Probably the most successful case of propaganda ever used. He "freed" slaves he didn't have & kept the ones he did enslaved. Changed the public perception of the war from one of states rights to one about slavery. Made the North look like the good guys instead of the invaders they really were. Complete utter spin & people still fall for this crap today.
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Old May 9th, 2017, 08:07 PM   #3
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Probably the most successful case of propaganda ever used. He "freed" slaves he didn't have & kept the ones he did enslaved. Changed the public perception of the war from one of states rights to one about slavery. Made the North look like the good guys instead of the invaders they really were. Complete utter spin & people still fall for this crap today.
My sentiments exactly.
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Old May 9th, 2017, 08:30 PM   #4

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The north were the good guys, the south did rebel out of fear of losing their slaves and spite of not being able to spread their evil to new states.
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Old May 9th, 2017, 08:33 PM   #5
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The north were the good guys, the south did rebel out of fear of losing their slaves and spite of not being able to spread their evil to new states.
See, people still fall for it.
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Old May 9th, 2017, 08:35 PM   #6

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See, people still fall for it.
Amusing isn't it.
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Old May 9th, 2017, 08:49 PM   #7
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Quite amusing. There is of course no doubt that some Southerners did firmly believe in the inequality of the Negro. Alexander H. Stephens was one, and admitted as such in his inaugural speech as Vice-President of the Confederate States of America. Nevertheless, he had been a passionate defender of the Union, and practically BEGGED his home State of Georgia NOT to secede. But when it did, he was loyal. The same was true of Jefferson Davis from Mississippi, and Robert E. Lee of Virginia.

To say that the war was all about slavery, when in fact that was really only one element of it, and a fairly lesser one at that, compared to the rights of Sovereign States, and compared to STRAIGHT UP Yankee aggression, is simply absurd.
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Old May 9th, 2017, 10:09 PM   #8

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To say that the war was all about slavery, when in fact that was really only one element of it, and a fairly lesser one at that, compared to the rights of Sovereign States, and compared to STRAIGHT UP Yankee aggression, is simply absurd.
But it WAS over slavery. Davis's book and others are nothing more than the hallmark lies of the Lost Cause that made it seem like they Civil War was fought over "state's rights." THAT was the lie.

Look at the documents of secession. ALL of them list slavery as the prime if not ONLY reason for secession.

And look back at the history immediately prior to the Civil War. If the South truly valued the rights of states, why would they back things like the Fugitive Slave Act that forbade northern states to emancipate escaped slaves in their territory if they so wished to... and that northern states had to work with slave catchers to return any and all escaped slaves into bondage. In that sense the South was MORE than willing to use Federal Power to crush the rights of states, when it was in THEIR favor. If they were truly wedded to the issue of state's rights, they would have asked the individual Northern states to return escaped slaves to them and accepted whatever answer was given... But they didn't. They favored crushing the Northern states to get what they wanted.

In addition, if they honestly felt people had a right to live "unions" when things didn't go their way, why is that nearly every Confederate issued map of the Confederacy includes West Virginia as part of Virginia when the people in that part of the country seceded from the state of Virginia because they DIDN'T support secession from the Union. If it's OK for Virginia to secede from the US, it's OK for parts of that state to secede from the state and determine their own destiny... Yet, the Confederacy denied "West Virginia" had that right.

And think on the issue logically... If the war was about state's rights, what rights had ANY state lost in 1860? Did any of the Confederate states lose representation in the House or Senate? Did any White southern male lose the right to vote? Were any Southern State governments annulled in the election?

The answer to all of that is: no. The only think that happened in 1860 was that Lincoln won the Presidency on a platform that promised to halt slavery's further spread. In this, if you wish to think slavery wasn't a cause of the war, it's because the Southerners don't like democracy as it lets people they don't like have a chance of winning. And in that they're nothing more than a bunch of people eating sour grapes.

Things like "The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government" talk a lot about the "abstract concepts" that they claimed they stood for, but they NEVER addressed anything immediately prior to the war where the South violated those concepts and neither did it recognize what was written in the documents of secession.

And as for "Yankee aggression..." What Yankee aggression? Sumter was a Federal Fort and owed by the US government. Lincoln had every right to keep troops there. The fact that South Carolina claimed to be an independent country did NOT change the ownership of the fort. For say you live on the border between Iowa and South Dakota, and you own a plot of land that is right on the border. Then in a bizarre vote between the two states, the border moves and part of your land is no in the other state. Do you personally lose the land that is now in the other state or do you still own it because of the title you received when you purchased the land in the first place?

Last edited by Sam-Nary; May 9th, 2017 at 10:14 PM.
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Old May 9th, 2017, 10:25 PM   #9

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Aside from that, even though Lincoln personally opposed slavery, he made it clear that, to maintain the Union, he would free all slaves, half of them, or none of them. When he DID issue the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863, it initially affected NO ONE, since it only applied to the States "then under rebellion", which he did not then control. It did NOT apply to Delaware, Missouri, or Maryland, which were all slave States loyal to the North, and it ALSO did not apply to the National Capital of Washington, D.C.
One must remember that the Emancipation Proclamation was a war measure and one meant to either restore the union as it was or set the war on a position where Britain and or France couldn't enter the war. In this, he needed to make emancipation a war goal of the Union, and the effects of the proclamation on areas already in his control would be irrelevant... or potentially so assuming that Maryland, Kentucky, and Missouri don't also secede as a result.

And even that war measure didn't survive the war given that Lincoln would support the 13th Amendment which outlawed slavery EVERYWHERE in the US and did his best to support the measures to get it passed and sent to the states for ratification before the war ended.
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Old May 10th, 2017, 03:44 AM   #10

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To say that the war was all about slavery, when in fact that was really only one element of it, and a fairly lesser one at that, compared to the rights of Sovereign States, and compared to STRAIGHT UP Yankee aggression, is simply absurd.
The war really was all about slavery. Slavery was the sole cause for the secession of the deep south states, without which there would not have been a Confederacy or a civil war. The states of the deep south even said as much in their declarations of secession, which is why no historian of any note contests slavery's central role in the conflict.

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Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery - the greatest material interest of the world. Its labor supplies the product, which constitutes by far the largest and most important portions of commerce of the earth. These products are peculiar to the climate verging on the tropical regions, and by an imperious law of nature, none but the black race can bear exposure to the tropical sun. These products have become necessities of the world, and a blow at slavery is a blow at commerce and civilization. That blow has been long aimed at the institution, and was at the point of reaching its consummation. There was no choice left us but submission to the mandates of abolition, or a dissolution of the Union, whose principles had been subverted to work out our ruin.
Mississippi Declaration of Secession

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The people of Georgia having dissolved their political connection with the Government of the United States of America, present to their confederates and the world the causes which have led to the separation. For the last ten years we have had numerous and serious causes of complaint against our non-slave-holding confederate States with reference to the subject of African slavery. They have endeavored to weaken our security, to disturb our domestic peace and tranquility, and persistently refused to comply with their express constitutional obligations to us in reference to that property, and by the use of their power in the Federal Government have striven to deprive us of an equal enjoyment of the common Territories of the Republic.
Georgia Declaration of Secession

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We hold as undeniable truths that the governments of the various States, and of the confederacy itself, were established exclusively by the white race, for themselves and their posterity; that the African race had no agency in their establishment; that they were rightfully held and regarded as an inferior and dependent race, and in that condition only could their existence in this country be rendered beneficial or tolerable.

That in this free government all white men are and of right ought to be entitled to equal civil and political rights; that the servitude of the African race, as existing in these States, is mutually beneficial to both bond and free, and is abundantly authorized and justified by the experience of mankind, and the revealed will of the Almighty Creator, as recognized by all Christian nations; while the destruction of the existing relations between the two races, as advocated by our sectional enemies, would bring inevitable calamities upon both and desolation upon the fifteen slave-holding States.

By the secession of six of the slave-holding States, and the certainty that others will speedily do likewise, Texas has no alternative but to remain in an isolated connection with the North, or unite her destinies with the South.
Texas Declaration of Secession

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We affirm that these ends for which this Government was instituted have been defeated, and the Government itself has been made destructive of them by the action of the non-slaveholding States. Those States have assume the right of deciding upon the propriety of our domestic institutions; and have denied the rights of property established in fifteen of the States and recognized by the Constitution; they have denounced as sinful the institution of slavery; they have permitted open establishment among them of societies, whose avowed object is to disturb the peace and to eloign the property of the citizens of other States. They have encouraged and assisted thousands of our slaves to leave their homes; and those who remain, have been incited by emissaries, books and pictures to servile insurrection.

For twenty-five years this agitation has been steadily increasing, until it has now secured to its aid the power of the common Government. Observing the forms of the Constitution, a sectional party has found within that Article establishing the Executive Department, the means of subverting the Constitution itself. A geographical line has been drawn across the Union, and all the States north of that line have united in the election of a man to the high office of President of the United States, whose opinions and purposes are hostile to slavery. He is to be entrusted with the administration of the common Government, because he has declared that that "Government cannot endure permanently half slave, half free," and that the public mind must rest in the belief that slavery is in the course of ultimate extinction.

This sectional combination for the submersion of the Constitution, has been aided in some of the States by elevating to citizenship, persons who, by the supreme law of the land, are incapable of becoming citizens; and their votes have been used to inaugurate a new policy, hostile to the South, and destructive of its beliefs and safety.

On the 4th day of March next, this party will take possession of the Government. It has announced that the South shall be excluded from the common territory, that the judicial tribunals shall be made sectional, and that a war must be waged against slavery until it shall cease throughout the United States.

The guaranties of the Constitution will then no longer exist; the equal rights of the States will be lost. The slaveholding States will no longer have the power of self-government, or self-protection, and the Federal Government will have become their enemy.

Sectional interest and animosity will deepen the irritation, and all hope of remedy is rendered vain, by the fact that public opinion at the North has invested a great political error with the sanction of more erroneous religious belief.

We, therefore, the People of South Carolina, by our delegates in Convention assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, have solemnly declared that the Union heretofore existing between this State and the other States of North America, is dissolved, and that the State of South Carolina has resumed her position among the nations of the world, as a separate and independent State; with full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent States may of right do.
South Carolina Declaration of Secession

Alexander Stephens, the Vice-President of the Confederacy, describes for posterity what ideals separated the Confederacy from the United States:

Quote:
"The new constitution has put at rest, forever, all the agitating questions relating to our peculiar institution African slavery as it exists amongst us the proper status of the negro in our form of civilization. This was the immediate cause of the late rupture and present revolution. Jefferson in his forecast, had anticipated this, as the “rock upon which the old Union would split.” He was right. What was conjecture with him, is now a realized fact. But whether he fully comprehended the great truth upon which that rock stood and stands, may be doubted. The prevailing ideas entertained by him and most of the leading statesmen at the time of the formation of the old constitution, were that the enslavement of the African was in violation of the laws of nature; that it was wrong in principle, socially, morally, and politically. It was an evil they knew not well how to deal with, but the general opinion of the men of that day was that, somehow or other in the order of Providence, the institution would be evanescent and pass away. This idea, though not incorporated in the constitution, was the prevailing idea at that time. The constitution, it is true, secured every essential guarantee to the institution while it should last, and hence no argument can be justly urged against the constitutional guarantees thus secured, because of the common sentiment of the day. Those ideas, however, were fundamentally wrong. They rested upon the assumption of the equality of races. This was an error. It was a sandy foundation, and the government built upon it fell when the “storm came and the wind blew.”

Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its corner- stone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth. This truth has been slow in the process of its development, like all other truths in the various departments of science. It has been so even amongst us. Many who hear me, perhaps, can recollect well, that this truth was not generally admitted, even within their day. The errors of the past generation still clung to many as late as twenty years ago. Those at the North, who still cling to these errors, with a zeal above knowledge, we justly denominate fanatics. All fanaticism springs from an aberration of the mind from a defect in reasoning. It is a species of insanity. One of the most striking characteristics of insanity, in many instances, is forming correct conclusions from fancied or erroneous premises; so with the anti-slavery fanatics. Their conclusions are right if their premises were. They assume that the negro is equal, and hence conclude that he is entitled to equal privileges and rights with the white man. If their premises were correct, their conclusions would be logical and just but their premise being wrong, their whole argument fails. I recollect once of having heard a gentleman from one of the northern States, of great power and ability, announce in the House of Representatives, with imposing effect, that we of the South would be compelled, ultimately, to yield upon this subject of slavery, that it was as impossible to war successfully against a principle in politics, as it was in physics or mechanics. That the principle would ultimately prevail. That we, in maintaining slavery as it exists with us, were warring against a principle, a principle founded in nature, the principle of the equality of men. The reply I made to him was, that upon his own grounds, we should, ultimately, succeed, and that he and his associates, in this crusade against our institutions, would ultimately fail. The truth announced, that it was as impossible to war successfully against a principle in politics as it was in physics and mechanics, I admitted; but told him that it was he, and those acting with him, who were warring against a principle. They were attempting to make things equal which the Creator had made unequal."
Alexander Stephens' Cornerstone Speech

As for Yankee "aggression," the federal government did not mobilize troops until after Ft. Sumter had been fired on by rebel troops. Ft Sumter was also not the first act of aggression from the Confederates. They had previously fired on a ship supplying Ft Sumter, and had for months been seizing federal military arsenals throughout the south and had taken federal troops stationed in the South prisoner. Most nations would have mobilized for war long before.

Like the false claim that the war was not about slavery, the argument from Lost Causers that the war was caused by Yankee aggression is lacking a shred of historical evidence supporting it. It requires ignoring multiple acts of aggression carried out by rebels that occurred between the election of Abraham Lincoln and the surrender of Ft. Sumter.
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