Suppressed Information

Code Blue

Ad Honorem
Feb 2015
4,403
Caribbean
That's a nice rebuttal.
:)
I gave your idea some consideration. It's complicated.

I would add some history. I am not sure it is "suppressed," but you can't find all these episodes in any one book that I know of. There is clearly a history of people seeking to exercise their right of political self-determination in North American during this time.

Let me add to your post, it wasn't merely the War of 1812 driving the New England Secessionists to the Hartford Convention. Before that, it was the Embargo Act, and before that it was the Louisiana Purchase, and throughout it was anyone who didn't want to go to war with France, like that "Jacobin" Jefferson driving secession talk. As early as 1796, a Massachusetts politician said they should secede if Jefferson wins. Earlier than that, it was Delaware seceding from Pennsylvania and New Hampshire seceding from a combination of New York, Vermont and Canada. Later on, it was Texas and two other Mexican states seceding from Mexico, and discussion of forming a separate Mid-Atlantic Confederacy. So, it's sort-of 'in the blood.'

1. Without slavery, what economic impetus is strong enough to split the United States? Tariffs?
2. And what is the status of black people in your hypothesis? There weren't any because slavery disappeared ca 1800 or never happened? Thye are free and as of when? Do they have their own territory? Or are the moving from one place to another and getting someone angry?
 
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Feb 2011
1,120
Scotland
Not quite. It's not just threat in the abstract, but unconstitutional threat - as MacPherson pointed out. Northerners causing insurrection was another perceived threat mentioned in two documents (like John Brown).

Also, your link includes the Virginia Ordinance which is not one of the four "causes" documents per se, and does not cite protecting her institution of slavery as a cause of secession.
It was certainly perceived to be sufficient threat to precipitate rapid secession.
The fear of insurrection such as John Brown, was simply a concomitant of slavery- Brown's action, the fighting in Kansas, the fear of slave rebellion fostered from without.
None of the documents of causes of ordinances of secession mention tariffs, regional feeling (except with regard to slavery) or any other major factor.

There are five documents giving causes of secession including Virginia, which does indeed contain protection of slavery with this clause (italicised in the document source)-

"The people of Virginia, in their ratification of the Constitution of the United States of America, adopted by them in Convention on the twenty-fifth day of June, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty-eight, having declared that the powers granted under the said Constitution were derived from the people of the United States, and might be resumed whensoever the same should be perverted to their injury and oppression; and the Federal Government, having perverted said powers, not only to the injury of the people of Virginia, but to the oppression of the Southern Slaveholding States.

Now, therefore, we, the people of Virginia, do declare and ordain that the ordinance adopted by the people of this State in Convention....."

It is made absolutely clear in each case that the defense of the institution of slavery is the purpose of each relevant ordinance of secession.

Alexander Stephens' Cornerstone Speech of the same period supports these documents of cause and enunciates the core dogma of the entire Confederacy; itself supported by Frederick Douglass' comment in 1863 that-
""Stephens has stated, with the utmost clearness and precision, the difference between the fundamental ideas of the Confederate Government and those of the Federal Government. One is based on the idea that colored men are an inferior race who may be enslaved and plundered forever and to the hearts content of any men of different complexion..."
 

betgo

Ad Honorem
Jul 2011
6,441
The type of insurrections they were concerned with were slave insurrections. The stated reason was slavery. There were other issues, such as economic issues, the power of the south in the federal government, and the power of the slave owning oligarchy locally and nationally. However, it isn't correct to cast it in current terms about limiting the power of the federal government and so on.

The south was not very democratic. The southern Congressmen were blocking homesteading and land grant colleges. They were also blocking measures like tariffs favored by northern businesses. There were related economic issues.

I can see why some would think it would have better if the Confederacy won, but I would not idealize the Confederacy or the reasons for secession.
 
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Code Blue

Ad Honorem
Feb 2015
4,403
Caribbean
It is made absolutely clear in each case that the defense of the institution of slavery is the purpose of each relevant ordinance of secession
I think they made it clear that they oppose the perversion of federal powers to the point of injury and oppression. That is why I list them as one the 7 that didn't cite slavery as a cause - 9 if you count the 2 occupation governments. I agree none of the 4 causes docs cite tariffs, but Lincoln does. lol
 

Code Blue

Ad Honorem
Feb 2015
4,403
Caribbean
The stated reason was slavery.
But not just slavery. The Republicans were not going to respect the Constitution re slavery or land.

All four causes documents cite the plan to deny southerners full access to the western territories. That's an unconstitutional land grab. It's not just mere nullification of the FSA and the Supreme Court any more. Most of the blood that helped pay for that territory was southern blood. Every Republican Senator voted against giving the south even 1/4 of the land. And no compensation for their loss.

They seceded because the Republicans were going to illegally deprive them of their property, and yes, much of the property was rights to slave labor.

George Washington said there needed to be a system of abolition. As usual, George was right. The lack of a system cost $8 Billion dollars and 700,000 lives.
 
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betgo

Ad Honorem
Jul 2011
6,441
Yes, the main issue causing the war was slavery in the territories. The Republicans wanted all the territories to be free states. That would cause the slave states to become a small minority, and might eventually lead to the abolition of slavery. The slave states had a lot of power in the federal government, even recently at the time in the Buchanan Administration and the Dred Scott Decision of 1858. The federal government was likely to be permanently in control of anti-slavery forces. This effected regional power and economic issues also, so I agree it wasn't totally about slavery even though slavery was the issue discussed.
 

Code Blue

Ad Honorem
Feb 2015
4,403
Caribbean
Yes, the main issue causing the war was slavery in the territories. The Republicans wanted all the territories to be free states. That would cause the slave states to become a small minority, and might eventually lead to the abolition of slavery.
That was a perception and likely to come about. Slavery would be isolated (by prohibition in the western lands), marginalized (as free state population rose) and eventually forced out of existence - and this is the part that is "suppressed" - without a "system" as Washington advocated, a plan of compensation, for the former slave owners or former slaves. Because the northern whites didn't just want to keep slavery out of the west, they wanted to keep blacks out of the west. That's why the Wilmot Proviso was nicknamed The White Man's Proviso.

[QUOTE="betgo, post: 3214133, member: 11624"The slave states had a lot of power in the federal government, even recently at the time in the Buchanan Administration and the Dred Scott Decision of 1858. The federal government was likely to be permanently in control of anti-slavery forces. This effected regional power and economic issues also, so I agree it wasn't totally about slavery even though slavery was the issue discussed.[/QUOTE]It wasn't that slave states had a lot of power, it was reciprocal. Congress could not force it either way: force free states to become slave states nor force slave states to become free.

It's like a cake. The flour may be the weightiest ingredient, but you need them all and a heat source.
 
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Dec 2017
272
Florida
:)
I gave your idea some consideration. It's complicated.

I would add some history. I am not sure it is "suppressed," but you can't find all these episodes in any one book that I know of. There is clearly a history of people seeking to exercise their right of political self-determination in North American during this time.

Let me add to your post, it wasn't merely the War of 1812 driving the New England Secessionists to the Hartford Convention. Before that, it was the Embargo Act, and before that it was the Louisiana Purchase, and throughout it was anyone who didn't want to go to war with France, like that "Jacobin" Jefferson driving secession talk. As early as 1796, a Massachusetts politician said they should secede if Jefferson wins. Earlier than that, it was Delaware seceding from Pennsylvania and New Hampshire seceding from a combination of New York, Vermont and Canada. Later on, it was Texas and two other Mexican states seceding from Mexico, and discussion of forming a separate Mid-Atlantic Confederacy. So, it's sort-of 'in the blood.'

1. Without slavery, what economic impetus is strong enough to split the United States? Tariffs?
2. And what is the status of black people in your hypothesis? There weren't any because slavery disappeared ca 1800 or never happened? Thye are free and as of when? Do they have their own territory? Or are the moving from one place to another and getting someone angry?
Right, it's this regionalism that has a strong impact on American history. I mean this regionalism goes back to the founding of the states here. I think Fischer was onto something with his Albion's Seed theory concerning the diverse immigration into the territories at the start. I think there is a discussion to be had over how unified was the United States before the Civil War and I think after as well, though I am sure some historians probably think this extreme fracturing (?) ended with the war. I am not so sure. You could certainly make the case that the regionalism changed to Midwest (farmers, industrialists etc) and East/West Coast elites but that is past the time we are discussing.

Concerning your questions:

1. I think tariffs are a strong impetus especially since they target the South more heavily than the North. I also think public works and infrastructure programs that were more active in the North were funded by taxes from the South. So not only is the South funding all these projects, they aren't even benefitting from them. Couple this with the severe disadvantage of lacking industry, and the costly, inefficient method of slavery, I don't know, am I truly crazy to think that the South would get upset about this to the point where they were willing to leave a system they thought was rigged against them? Cotton exportation was slowly dwindling, and the wheat of the Midwest was becoming the true cash crop of the US. The traditional lifestyle of the South just seemed to be dying. Again, is it really that wild to think that the South would have done something to try to conserve this lifestyle?

2. If I am understanding your question correctly, you are asking what would happen to African-Americans who weren't slaves (ever or after the banning of the trade)? Probably the same experience they had in the North; exclusion laws which prevented them from being true citizens, owning land, having the ability to vote, etc. You can see this in Illinois before the war where they were actively trying to keep blacks out of the state. It's not like all the racist people were in the South. The North had psuedo-Jim Crow laws long before they appeared in the South because they didn't have slavery so they needed some method to control the black population.
 

Code Blue

Ad Honorem
Feb 2015
4,403
Caribbean
Right, it's this regionalism that has a strong impact on American history. I mean this regionalism goes back to the founding of the states here. I think Fischer was onto something with his Albion's Seed theory concerning the diverse immigration into the territories at the start. I think there is a discussion to be had over how unified was the United States before the Civil War and I think after as well, though I am sure some historians probably think this extreme fracturing (?) ended with the war. I am not so sure. You could certainly make the case that the regionalism changed to Midwest (farmers, industrialists etc) and East/West Coast elites but that is past the time we are discussing.

Concerning your questions:

1. I think tariffs are a strong impetus especially since they target the South more heavily than the North. I also think public works and infrastructure programs that were more active in the North were funded by taxes from the South. So not only is the South funding all these projects, they aren't even benefitting from them. Couple this with the severe disadvantage of lacking industry, and the costly, inefficient method of slavery, I don't know, am I truly crazy to think that the South would get upset about this to the point where they were willing to leave a system they thought was rigged against them? Cotton exportation was slowly dwindling, and the wheat of the Midwest was becoming the true cash crop of the US. The traditional lifestyle of the South just seemed to be dying. Again, is it really that wild to think that the South would have done something to try to conserve this lifestyle?

2. If I am understanding your question correctly, you are asking what would happen to African-Americans who weren't slaves (ever or after the banning of the trade)? Probably the same experience they had in the North; exclusion laws which prevented them from being true citizens, owning land, having the ability to vote, etc. You can see this in Illinois before the war where they were actively trying to keep blacks out of the state. It's not like all the racist people were in the South. The North had psuedo-Jim Crow laws long before they appeared in the South because they didn't have slavery so they needed some method to control the black population.
It is still hard to see. I think politicians throughout the ages would say that ruling is like riding horse. The horse fights the saddle at first, but eventually he gets used to being ridden. Yes, I am talking about the tariff. The other states didn't rush to South Carolina's aid - and then eventually the same Great Compromiser who part of the original bill of abonomations, eased off on the spurs and appeased South Carolina.

The same thing happened earlier in New England. The Pelham Papers started their fire-easting secession editorials as far back as 1795. Near the end of his term, Jefferson said he had to "preserve the union," which meant Republicans would have to back off the Embargo to appease New England. The Hartford Convention published resolves that the Constitution should be amended to prevent consecutive Presidents from the same state. But when Monroe made it a Republican hat trick, there was no more big noise. There just weren't enough these guys or they were too old - or they just didn't have an Embargo Act or a War of 1812 to bitch about anymore

So yes, trade issues created tension, but it hard to seem them splitting the union - which everyone knows is a big deal.

And as to the blacks, that is why I through in the question of when. If slavery ends in 1776 or 1787, then there are never 4 million slaves.
 

betgo

Ad Honorem
Jul 2011
6,441
I mostly agree. The issue was slavery in the territories. The seceding states perceived a long term threat to slavery. They were also concerned about attempts like John Brown's, that fugitive slaves what not be returned, and that there would be continuous attacks on slavery in Congressional debates and so on.

I would assume there were economic issues implied, such as the south would lose in Congress on tariffs, homesteading, the location of the transcontinental railroad, etc. The slave owning states would be a minority, and the north would control the national government.

There are also issues of racial equality which were discussed in southern newspapers etc. For example, there were statements that without secession black men would marry white women. There were also fears that anti-slavery forces would gain strength in the south and planters would lose control of state governments. These issues were eluded to in secession debates with discussion that Republican patronage positions would be appointed in the south under the Lincoln Administration if the south did not secede.

From the northern side, there was conflict with people wanting free or cheap land without competition with slave labor, and from businesses that wanted tariffs etc.

So I agree that it was not entirely about slavery. However, I would not cast the issues in modern terms about the power of the federal government and other current issues, as has been done in pro Confederate web sites and so on.
 
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