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Old December 15th, 2012, 06:17 AM   #1

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Kansas-Nebraska Act


Do you think that if it wasn't passed then the Civil war would not have happened
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Old December 15th, 2012, 06:46 AM   #2

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No, the Civil War would still have happened. The root cause of the Civil War was the issue of the expansion of slavery. Kansas-Nebraska was a proposed "solution" to this issue. It didn't work, and it ended up in disaster.

But saying that Kansas-Nebraska caused the Civil War would be like saying an ineffective dose of aspirin caused the headache. The Southern slavocracy insisted on expanding slavery to preserve the institution and their way of life, and the rest of the country insisted that slavery should be confined to where it already existed, for political, social, economic, and moral reasons. Unless one side chose to give, conflict was inevitable.
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Old December 15th, 2012, 07:29 AM   #3

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rongo View Post
.. The Southern slavocracy insisted on expanding slavery to preserve the institution and their way of life, and the rest of the country insisted that slavery should be confined to where it already existed, for political, social, economic, and moral reasons. Unless one side chose to give, conflict was inevitable.
I agree with the first half of your posting, but not the latter.
I would not go as far as saying 'the rest of the country insisted that slavery be confined'.
I don't see the rest of the nation wailing at night, grinding of teeth, dumping ashes on their heads, or cutting their hair over slavery.
I see it as the Republican Party's agenda coming into the election as making it their top priority to choke slavery to death, and when the nation split, the North wanted the
Southern states back, and as you well know, it was to preserve the Union, not to end slavery. But maybe you're right and I'm wrong that
the Northern states voted the Republicans into power, not so much Lincoln, but to block
the expansion.

Let me ask a question. Now before everyone gets in line to attack me for daring to
think differently, just cool your jets. I'm asking this in all fairness with an open mind
as I've pondered this question before and it relates to the thread question.
"Just like the Kansas-Nebraska Act, and the Missouri Compromise before it, dealt
with slavery, do you see another deal made between the two sides to avoid the
Civil War or were the Republicans willing to spin the nation into civil war
over containing slavery since they knew the mood of the slave states?"
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Old December 15th, 2012, 08:51 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rongo View Post
No, the Civil War would still have happened. The root cause of the Civil War was the issue of the expansion of slavery. Kansas-Nebraska was a proposed "solution" to this issue. It didn't work, and it ended up in disaster.

But saying that Kansas-Nebraska caused the Civil War would be like saying an ineffective dose of aspirin caused the headache. The Southern slavocracy insisted on expanding slavery to preserve the institution and their way of life, and the rest of the country insisted that slavery should be confined to where it already existed, for political, social, economic, and moral reasons. Unless one side chose to give, conflict was inevitable.
The root cause of the Civil War was the threat of dissolution of the Union. Slavery was a moral-emotional trigger, but it was of less importance than the South's perception of its influence in national affairs and policy, and what the South felt they needed to do about that.

IMO the Southern states that seceded jumped the gun and gave up their considerable influence in Congress. Kansas-Nebraska was sort of another compromise (rather negated those of 1820; 1850) over the "moral-emotional" issue, but compromises were becoming frustrating. The South had become more emotional about their perceived lack of political influence in the United States. Popular sovereignty - with the bulk of the enfranchised population in the North - seemed to doom the South politically.

Could it have put off the crisis? I don't know (I do agree the war was inevitable at some point).
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Old December 15th, 2012, 08:52 AM   #5

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Originally Posted by tjadams View Post
I agree with the first half of your posting, but not the latter.
I would not go as far as saying 'the rest of the country insisted that slavery be confined'.
I don't see the rest of the nation wailing at night, grinding of teeth, dumping ashes on their heads, or cutting their hair over slavery.
I see it as the Republican Party's agenda coming into the election as making it their top priority to choke slavery to death, and when the nation split, the North wanted the
Southern states back, and as you well know, it was to preserve the Union, not to end slavery. But maybe you're right and I'm wrong that
the Northern states voted the Republicans into power, not so much Lincoln, but to block
the expansion.
Oops, I have to slightly modify one thing I said. When I said "the rest of the country insisted that slavery should be confined", I really should have said "the majority of the rest of the country..." I think the vast majority of people who voted Republican in 1860 were voting against the expansion of slavery. It was far and away their biggest campaign issue. However, there were still many Northerners and Westerners who voted against the Republicans in the 1860 election as well.

Among those who did vote for the Republicans, I wouldn't say that they were all "wailing at night", etc., about slavery. The majority of them seemed perfectly content to turn a blind eye to it as long as it stayed in the South. But the Fugitive Slave Law brought the injustice of it right up to their doorsteps, to where many of them could no longer turn a blind eye. And the expansion of slavery into the territories was an even bigger issue. There were many reasons to oppose it.

Quote:
Let me ask a question. Now before everyone gets in line to attack me for daring to
think differently, just cool your jets. I'm asking this in all fairness with an open mind
as I've pondered this question before and it relates to the thread question.
"Just like the Kansas-Nebraska Act, and the Missouri Compromise before it, dealt
with slavery, do you see another deal made between the two sides to avoid the
Civil War or were the Republicans willing to spin the nation into civil war
over containing slavery since they knew the mood of the slave states?"
Well, I personally think this is a great question and one that really cuts right to the crux of the matter. By 1860 the belief was that all compromises had failed, and there was little hope that any new compromises could succeed. This was true on both sides. Going into the 1860 election, the people of the North and West had been told clearly by the leaders of the South that electing a Republican as President could lead to secession, and possibly to war. They understood this when they cast their ballots. I think many of them thought that this was a bluff, but they were prepared to call it. As Lincoln said in his Cooper Union address:


Quote:
All they ask, we could readily grant, if we thought slavery right; all we ask, they could as readily grant, if they thought it wrong. Their thinking it right, and our thinking it wrong, is the precise fact upon which depends the whole controversy. Thinking it right, as they do, they are not to blame for desiring its full recognition, as being right; but, thinking it wrong, as we do, can we yield to them? Can we cast our votes with their view, and against our own? In view of our moral, social, and political responsibilities, can we do this?

Wrong as we think slavery is, we can yet afford to let it alone where it is, because that much is due to the necessity arising from its actual presence in the nation; but can we, while our votes will prevent it, allow it to spread into the National Territories, and to overrun us here in these Free States? If our sense of duty forbids this, then let us stand by our duty, fearlessly and effectively. Let us be diverted by none of those sophistical contrivances wherewith we are so industriously plied and belabored - contrivances such as groping for some middle ground between the right and the wrong, vain as the search for a man who should be neither a living man nor a dead man - such as a policy of "don't care" on a question about which all true men do care - such as Union appeals beseeching true Union men to yield to Disunionists, reversing the divine rule, and calling, not the sinners, but the righteous to repentance - such as invocations to Washington, imploring men to unsay what Washington said, and undo what Washington did.

Neither let us be slandered from our duty by false accusations against us, nor frightened from it by menaces of destruction to the Government nor of dungeons to ourselves. LET US HAVE FAITH THAT RIGHT MAKES MIGHT, AND IN THAT FAITH, LET US, TO THE END, DARE TO DO OUR DUTY AS WE UNDERSTAND IT.


- Abraham Lincoln, Febrary 27, 1860

Source: Abraham Lincoln's Cooper Union Address
This, by the way, was the speech that propelled Lincoln back into the national limelight and made him a contender for the Presidency. But there were certainly many Northerners and Westerners who did not approve of this kind of talk.
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Old December 15th, 2012, 10:55 AM   #6
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Not passing the Kansas-Nebraska Act would have not changed the fact that two groups, one Southern and one Northern, were competing for the settlement of Kansas. The fight was inevitable.
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Old December 15th, 2012, 12:47 PM   #7

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rongo View Post
This, by the way, was the speech that propelled Lincoln back into the national limelight and made him a contender for the Presidency. But there were certainly many Northerners and Westerners who did not approve of this kind of talk.
Thanks for the friendly response. I usually get replies so tightly wrapped
around a pro-Union-Lincoln cult, that there is no room at all for a nice, chat
between a person asking a question and being told that they are
a Lost-Cause-racist-Confederate-unpatriotic rebel. I enjoyed your answer Rongo.
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Old December 15th, 2012, 12:59 PM   #8

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My pleasure, TJ.
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Old December 16th, 2012, 08:26 PM   #9
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It didn't help that two competing rail lines were suporting the two sides and poring money into the conflict.
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Old December 16th, 2012, 10:26 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tjadams View Post
I agree with the first half of your posting, but not the latter.
I would not go as far as saying 'the rest of the country insisted that slavery be confined'.
I don't see the rest of the nation wailing at night, grinding of teeth, dumping ashes on their heads, or cutting their hair over slavery.
It very increasingly was. The attitudes of ambivalence or conciliation towards slavery that had existed in the 1830's were dying or disappearing by the end of the 1850's. They certainly existed, and in numbers, but were a pale shadow of the force they had been decades before.

I actually just recently finished a book on antebellum Free Soilers and it made it abundantly clear that Northern voters -- Democrat and Whig -- were losing patience with the slavery question and wanted to do whatever was necessary to settle it. Containment seemed the best answer, the possible answer, when abolition was a much more divisive, idealistic possibility.
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