Ken Burns, The Civil War, Robert E. Lee and Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain

Jan 2010
4,439
Atlanta, Georgia USA
#91
But tariffs were not an issue the South was actually FIGHTING over. It was indeed an issue they were concerned on politically, but for the most part their answers and actions on the various tariff issues had been with ballots rather than bullets. In that sense they were more than willing to trust the democratic process with regard to that issue. And for the most part that measure worked out well for them. No one was shooting each other over tariffs in the years in the build up to the Civil War, and while there were various northern politicians that favored raising tariffs, they generally didn't succeed in those efforts all that much. People may point to the "tariff of abominations" and then the Morrill Tariff... But the former didn't last for very long, and latter only passed because the South seceded and the Senators from those states all went back to their states, largely leaving the northern Republicans to pass the Morrill Tariff in what was a pretty straightmo party-line vote. Meaning, had those southern Democrats stayed, the Morrill Tariff would have failed to pass TWICE in the same year.

The use of tariffs as a cause for secession, and thus the war, was brought in after the war, primarily by many of the former Confederate leaders looking through at the war with the advantage of hindsight. They knew they had lost the war. They knew that the North and Lincoln had gained a great deal of personal sympathy for the Emancipation Proclamation combined with Booth shooting him at the end of the war, and knew that if they tried to repeat the Cornerstone speech or frame the history of the war as a revolt purely to protect slavery... they would lose the hearts and minds of people in later generations. For doing so would only make them come off as sore losers.

Thus the distraction. For if we believe that the war had a thousand causes, the issue that was stated as the cause for secession in 1860 would be ignored as one cause among many. And people would speculate that even if slavery weren't an issue that there still would have been a war because these other causes.
then, to go back to the original post in this thread, you believe R E Lee’s motive for joining and fighting for the Confederacy t was to defend slavery because that is the only motive that presented itself to southerners in 1860?
 
Feb 2019
774
Pennsylvania, US
#92
My 1774 party is over... so back to the 1860's. Most of what I was going to reply to Fiver's thoroughly-researched response has already been said.

Tariffs originally were unconstitutional - at some point after the government was formed, this was amended (which just could be seen as renigging on the original terms if your main beef with England was ... taxes).

Also, you have to analyze the entirety of each statement of secession (they all mention slavery and states rights... and Lincoln as reasons... so yes, they will all have statements about slavery in there). This chart helps scale the amount of rhetoric addressing each issue for 4 states. Most give slavery a bigger slice - but it had also become the breaking point issue between political parties (much like guns, abortion, etc is now). You did have anti-war and anti-slavery groups in the north (mostly among Democrats), like Sons of Liberty and Knights of the Golden Circle. pie-charts-700x_0.jpg

The most interesting and compelling (to me) part of this is that Lincoln didn't start the war over slavery... it was about preserving the Union. In the documentary this thread is about, the quote about his stance on slavery and the war is used: “If I could save the union without freeing any slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that." If the South was fighting to keep slaves 100% (and no other issue) and the leadership of the North was not fighting 100% to free them... then what was the war about? Then there's also the issue that the Confederacy destroyed cotton to try to force England and France to come in on their side... and many see the emancipation of slaves as Lincoln safeguarding the war from Europe's meddling... as they'd never fight against the Union if it were anti-slavery. If it was about slavery from the start, Europe would have never had their prime minister speaking out for mediation and splitting the Confederacy off, because that would mean they sided with a pro-slavery belligerent (an illegal institution in Britian, and rightly seen as evil)... and it would also mean that the British blockage runners were exporting goods against the will of an anti-slavery government, which would seem completely unconscionable.
 

Fiver

Ad Honorem
Jul 2012
3,741
#93
Tariffs originally were unconstitutional - at some point after the government was formed, this was amended (which just could be seen as renigging on the original terms if your main beef with England was ... taxes)..
I have already quoted the Constituion showing that tariffs were always legal under the Constitution. The only change the Confederates made to that part of their Constitution was they also allowed tariffs on exports.
 

Viperlord

Ad Honorem
Aug 2010
8,109
VA
#94
Niobe said:
The most interesting and compelling (to me) part of this is that Lincoln didn't start the war over slavery... it was about preserving the Union
Lincoln didn't fire on Fort Sumter. The Southerners rebelling in order to spread a slave empire across the Americas started the war. Your entire post is based on a patently dishonest premise.
 

Viperlord

Ad Honorem
Aug 2010
8,109
VA
#95
That chart is also some of the most absurdly dishonest presentation I've ever seen. As if "slavery" was a separate issue from states' rights or economics or Lincoln. When Southerners talked about economics in the secession declarations (which I linked the actual text of already, so we're not actually stuck taking your word for it as you seem to imagine), what were they talking about? Slavery! When Southerners were talking about Lincoln, why were they opposing him? Because he was threatening the institution of slavery! When they referred to states' rights, what rights were they claiming that the North was preventing them from exercising? Their right to their slaves! What was most of the "context" about? Northern states refusing to enforce the Fugitive Slave Act, abetting runaways, and engaging in anti-slavery agitation!

This is an obvious bad-faith argument.

Avalon Project - Confederate States of America - Declaration of the Immediate Causes Which Induce and Justify the Secession of South Carolina from the Federal Union

Georgia Declaration of Secession

DECLARATION OF CAUSES: February 2, 1861 A declaration of the causes which impel the State of Texas to secede from the Federal Union. | TSLAC

Avalon Project - Confederate States of America - Mississippi Secession
 
#96
A common soldier might (stress: might) not be aware of the larger implications of his actions, but educated politicians and upper-level commanders in the South, like Robert E. Lee, almost definitely would have been. They fully understood that slavery caused untold suffering and death, and that the South was bent on not just preserving but expanding this hellish institution. And they decided that loyalty to the white people in their state was more important.
 
Jun 2017
398
maine
#97
So you focus on just Maine soldiers letters, etc.? That's a pretty exciting niche! I'm only slightly obsessed with the Chamberlains... ;) Apparently Joshua's home is a museum and I almost went to see it last summer (maybe this year). It would be interesting to learn more about his life outside of the war... from some references in his letters it seems like he may have had some uncommon understanding of roses!
Missed this earlier--sorry! I am a computer illiterate for sure! My late father lived in Brunswick (home of Bowdoin College from which Gen. Chamberlain graduated and of which he was president after the war--as well as governor of Maine) and he also became obsessed with him. He nearly became a minister which (looking at the war from a very local point of view) might have changed the course of the war. I have read that his death (1914) was partly due to complications from old war injuries--so, in a way, he was a war casualty. I hope you do get to visit the museum.
 
Feb 2019
774
Pennsylvania, US
#98
Missed this earlier--sorry! I am a computer illiterate for sure! My late father lived in Brunswick (home of Bowdoin College from which Gen. Chamberlain graduated and of which he was president after the war--as well as governor of Maine) and he also became obsessed with him. He nearly became a minister which (looking at the war from a very local point of view) might have changed the course of the war. I have read that his death (1914) was partly due to complications from old war injuries--so, in a way, he was a war casualty. I hope you do get to visit the museum.
The wound he got sounded HORRENDOUS. A bullet passing through both hips and nicking your bladder would be difficult to heal - and it sounded like he had to have subsequent surgeries after his Maine surgeon stepped in an initially saved him (J.L. was promoted, everyone thinking it would be a sort of death bed promotion, until T. D. Chamberlain got their surgeon involved and saved his brother)... but bullet wounds tend to cause recurrent infections, on account of their needing to close from the inside-out... every time the skin closes over the wound it could potentially trap infection and cause problems. He must have been in awful pain (scar tissue on your bladder would probably hurt every time those muscles flexes), with possible fever and fatigue from low-level infection... risk of sepsis... I don't know how he served out the end of the war. Also, it seems to be very telling of the character of the guy that he was heartbroken at being rejected for service in the Spanish-American War when he probably was still living with the agony of this old wound. I can't even imagine.

He outlived almost all of his younger brothers with their mysterious lung complaints (hemorrhaging, almost reminiscent of some of the symptoms associated autoimmune disease), so that is something!
 
Feb 2019
774
Pennsylvania, US
#99
A common soldier might (stress: might) not be aware of the larger implications of his actions, but educated politicians and upper-level commanders in the South, like Robert E. Lee, almost definitely would have been. They fully understood that slavery caused untold suffering and death, and that the South was bent on not just preserving but expanding this hellish institution. And they decided that loyalty to the white people in their state was more important.
The slave trade was already illegal in the States by the time of the Civil War... the slave trade was absolutely inhuman with its ships, chains, torture, wanton death... people were still illegally importing slaves through Texas... just minutia, I know, but those ships where a horrible percentage of people died or suffered unimaginable things were illegal for like 30 some years prior to the war. But then you had these chief justices saying 'a black man had no rights a white man need to honor' in the case of Dred Scott. So even if you were not being actively transported in a manner unfitting for even an animal, you were being held in a supposedly "free" country that didn't see you as having any human rights.
 
Feb 2019
774
Pennsylvania, US
That chart is also some of the most absurdly dishonest presentation I've ever seen. As if "slavery" was a separate issue from states' rights or economics or Lincoln. When Southerners talked about economics in the secession declarations (which I linked the actual text of already, so we're not actually stuck taking your word for it as you seem to imagine), what were they talking about? Slavery! When Southerners were talking about Lincoln, why were they opposing him? Because he was threatening the institution of slavery! When they referred to states' rights, what rights were they claiming that the North was preventing them from exercising? Their right to their slaves! What was most of the "context" about? Northern states refusing to enforce the Fugitive Slave Act, abetting runaways, and engaging in anti-slavery agitation!

This is an obvious bad-faith argument.

Avalon Project - Confederate States of America - Declaration of the Immediate Causes Which Induce and Justify the Secession of South Carolina from the Federal Union

Georgia Declaration of Secession

DECLARATION OF CAUSES: February 2, 1861 A declaration of the causes which impel the State of Texas to secede from the Federal Union. | TSLAC

Avalon Project - Confederate States of America - Mississippi Secession

Lincoln actually violated his campaign promises by emancipating the slaves... he was not an abolitionist and actually talked about "colonizing" slaves somewhere other than the US (essentially deportation). So the "Lincoln" complaint may have had more to do with the fact he was the first Republican president running against two Democrats (Republicans being a brand new party that was liberal, whereas the Democrats were conservative at the time) - and his name didn't even appear on the ballot in like 10 states. 10 States!!! So suddenly having a president that was never on your ballot could be ... alarming (a case of an electoral majority vote, which vexes the populous today as well).

And please, Viperlord, I don't mean to insult your intelligence... I'm sorry if I offended you just chucking a chart in there... please feel free to ask me and I can give you sources for stuff... though my sources are basically top tier Google search returns, which I know is rather lame, but I don't really support the Confederate cause enough to remember the key data, ergo, Google.

Reasons for Secession - Source of the offending chart

Lincoln's True Stance on Slavery
 

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