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Old November 22nd, 2012, 04:42 AM   #1
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The myth that the ACW exonerated the North from the crime of slavery


How do you go back in time to a certain era, lasting a few years or a few decades, and decide who in a society should be vilified, or blamed for all of the failings of a nation. I find that it is pretty easy to scapegoat the South on the issue of slavery, because the North fought a war to end slavery. But did they really? Are they absolved of their entire history? Does anyone believe that slavery could have existed without the explicit participation of the majority of the country, which was the North?
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Old November 22nd, 2012, 04:57 AM   #2

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Originally Posted by Virgil View Post
How do you go back in time to a certain era, lasting a few years or a few decades, and decide who in a society should be vilified, or blamed for all of the failings of a nation. I find that it is pretty easy to scapegoat the South on the issue of slavery, because the North fought a war to end slavery. But did they really? Are they absolved of their entire history? Does anyone believe that slavery could have existed without the explicit participation of the majority of the country, which was the North?
I don't know of anyone who does. I guess I haven't heard this myth before.
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Old November 22nd, 2012, 05:08 AM   #3
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I don't know of anyone who does. I guess I haven't heard this myth before.
That is because you associate with intelligent people, and you are an intelligent man. What of so many who do not share your intelligence? Why does a situation exist in which a thread called "The myth that the ACW was not about slavery" continue for so long? Why are there southerners who deny that the war was basically over slavery? The war was fought over slavery, there was plenty of blame to go around, and if you look at how the NAACP type crowd views things, they are going after Southerners because the North will not defend us. We have been thrown to the wolves long ago, the chickens have come home to roost, and the general idea is that northerners were against slavery, southerners were for it, and southerners were and ARE to blame.
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Old November 22nd, 2012, 05:15 AM   #4

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That is because you associate with intelligent people, and you are an intelligent man. What of so many who do not share your intelligence? Why does a situation exist in which a thread called "The myth that the ACW was not about slavery" continue for so long? Why are there southerners who deny that the war was basically over slavery? The war was fought over slavery, there was plenty of blame to go around, and if you look at how the NAACP type crowd views things, they are going after Southerners because the North will not defend us. We have been thrown to the wolves long ago, the chickens have come home to roost, and the general idea is that northerners were against slavery, southerners were for it, and southerners were and ARE to blame.
OK, so intelligent people understand that the entire nation was responsible for slavery. Stupid people believe that Southerners alone "were and ARE to blame". Well, stupid people believe a lot of stupid things. Who cares? And what can anyone do about it anyway? Stupid people will believe stupid things because they're... well... stupid.
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Old November 22nd, 2012, 05:20 AM   #5
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OK, so intelligent people understand that the entire nation was responsible for slavery. Stupid people believe that Southerners alone "were and ARE to blame". Well, stupid people believe a lot of stupid things. Who cares? And what can anyone do about it anyway? Stupid people will believe stupid things because they're... well... stupid.
Good point, if the perpetrators of such ideas were not in charge of our education system and our media today, it seems. Maybe I am wrong, but I get hit with that battering ram far too often to ignore it.
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Old November 22nd, 2012, 05:47 AM   #6

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Does anyone believe that slavery could have existed without the explicit participation of the majority of the country, which was the North?
Contemporary abolitionists did not just blame the South.

"I John Brown am now quite certain that the crimes of this guilty land: will never be purged away; but with Blood."

"You have seen, it is to be feared, but the beginning of sorrows. All the blood which has been shed will be required at your hands. At your hands alone? No—but at the hands of the people of New-England and of all the free states. The crime of oppression is national. The south is only the agent in this guilty traffic" - William Loyd Garrison

"I join my friend from New Hampshire in thanking the senator from South Carolina for adducing this instance; for it gives me an opportunity to say, that the northern merchants, with homes in Boston, Bristol, Newport, New York, and Philadelphia, who catered for slavery during the years of the slave trade, are the lineal progenitors of the northern men, with homes in these places, who lend themselves to slavery in our day; and especially that all, whether North or South, who take part, directly or indirectly, in the conspiracy against Kansas, do but continue the work of the slave-traders, which you condemn." - Charles Sumner

"The Almighty has His own purposes. "Woe unto the world because of offenses; for it must needs be that offenses come, but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh." If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offenses which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offense came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to Him?" - Abraham Lincoln

Last edited by Fiver; November 22nd, 2012 at 05:59 AM.
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Old November 22nd, 2012, 08:09 AM   #7

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Slavery in the US was a combined, moneyed, prosperous effort by the whole nation for
hundreds of years, blame should not be saddled on the Deep South alone. Blame for
slavery is an albatross that rest on the shoulders of America as a whole.
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Old November 22nd, 2012, 08:30 AM   #8

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Slavery in the US was a combined, moneyed, prosperous effort by the whole nation for
hundreds of years, blame should not be saddled on the Deep South alone. Blame for
slavery is an albatross that rest on the shoulders of America as a whole.
This has been stated 50 times, with sources, on every slavery/CW thread.
The South has not had sole blame for the institution of slavery placed on it in any of these recent threads, in fact multiple contemporary sources have been posted showing just the opposite. Straw man.

However, it has been shown that "states rights", tariffs and the like were, at best, an afterthought when it came to secession. The South seceded to protect and expand slavery.
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Old November 22nd, 2012, 09:40 AM   #9
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I can't believe this argument is still going, but then again, nothing ever dies on the internet.

I have to confess an interest in this subject, however. How is it possible to believe that the Civil War was not caused by slavery? I am sympathetic to the secessionist cause, because they were fighting against a "foreign" invader - that's the way it was seen by the Confederate troops in the field. They fought excellently. Heroism in the name of a bad cause is still heroism. It is possible to admire their heroism, without endorsing their political objectives. The political cause of secession was a desperate attempt to preserve slavery. End of story.

Some can never accept this, it seems. They want to admire the efforts of Confederate troops (there is a lot to admire), but the knowledge that these efforts were made in order to preserve slavery ruins their admiration. How can you admire people who fought to preserve slavery, no matter how well they fought? That is their line of thinking, I guess.

That is a simple-minded way to look at things. I admire the heroism of Nazi troops, without agreeing with their goal. I admire Russia's heroic defense against these troops, without admiring Stalinism.
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Old November 22nd, 2012, 10:27 AM   #10

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Heroism in the name of a bad cause is still heroism. It is possible to admire their heroism, without endorsing their political objectives.
"I felt like anything rather than rejoicing at the downfall of a foe who had fought so long and valiantly, and had suffered so much for a cause, though that cause was, I believe, one of the worst for which a people ever fought, and one for which there was the least excuse. I do not question, however, the sincerity of the great mass of those who were opposed to us." - US Grant
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