Stupid Things People Say About the Civil War: Part 2

Well, I must say it was easy to find part two of this series. It literally found me. In the comments section of the last post, Mr/s. Caldwell says:

Kinda funny to think that a nation in which slavery was perfectly legal, like the U.S.A, would fight a war to eradicate slavery in a nation in which slavery was also perfectly legal. Postively[sic] hilarious, in fact. So the absurd, laughable, and ridiculous notion that slavery was the cause of the war is thoroughly negated. The Southern States declared their independence, just like the slave owning, slave-trading British colonies declared their independence.

Thoughts? Observations?

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15 thoughts on “Stupid Things People Say About the Civil War: Part 2

  1. Austin

    Looks like unassailable and flawless reasoning. Slavery was, in fact, perfectly legal in Kentucky, Missouri, Maryland, Delaware, and West Virginia was later admitted to the Union as a slave state. Abraham Lincoln said over, and over, and over again that the war was for Union, and he explicitly rejected the idea that it was for the purpose of emancipating slaves. Insofar as the comparison with the slave colonies is concerned, that too is accurate. As they seceded from the British Empire, the colonies protested that their rights and liberties were being trampled upon. Nevertheless, they continued to inflict the most cruel, merciless, and barbaric injustices and human rights abuses upon Africans and African-Americans. What, exactly, are you disputing?

    PS- I noticed the “sic” for the misspelled word in the original post. You might want to check the subtitle at the top of this page.”Interactoin” is misspelled. It should be “Interaction”.

    1. It’s bad reasoning and bad logic. Slavery was, in fact, perfectly legal in numerous states. But that did not stop Southern states from feeling a threat towards that institution, and seceding because of it.

      Abraham Lincoln said over, and over, and over again that the war was for Union, and he explicitly rejected the idea that it was for the purpose of emancipating slaves.

      No one has ever disputed this. Yet for some reason, people think because the Union’s war policy was preservation of the Union, then the South’s was not about slavery, which is inaccurate. Two countries can have policies at opposition with one another without those policies being direct opposites.

      The colonies did not “secede” from the British Empire, as they were colonial holdings and not “states” with a voice in parliament. That is why they declared independence, through revolution, not secession. They also never entered into the British Empire through legislation, the British Empire created them giving them no legal right to withdraw by secession. This is a really dull argument that is being passed around as of late, and it is full of holes.

      Nevertheless, they continued to inflict the most cruel, merciless, and barbaric injustices and human rights abuses upon Africans and African-Americans. What, exactly, are you disputing?

      This is such a tu quoque argument and to be honest it is unclear who you are referring to. Who is “they”? The colonies? That was the last thing mentioned. Or the British Empire? Or are you talking about the Union?

      P.S. Thanks for the heads up, recently changed the URL, and hurried trying to set things back up.

  2. Austin

    A few comments:
    1. Again, slavery was legal in both the United States and the Confederate States. It had absolutely nothing to do with why the United States waged war against the Confederate States.

    2. The Declarations of Secession by the respective Confederate States were not Declarations of War against the United States, just as the Declaration of Independence was not a Declaration of War against the Crown. Like the colonists, the Confederates did not want war, they wanted only to be let alone.

    3.What’s tiresome and dull, is this notion that secession has anything to do with Statehood, Parliament, or Congress, and that “revolution” is somehow mutually exclusive to “secession”. “To secede” simply means “to withdraw”. Accordingly, the colonies most certainly did secede from the British Empire. Indeed, even the Senior Fellow historian from the Cato institute, whose video Brooks posted on his blog, plainly stated in that video, that the colonies seceded from Britain.

    4. A “tu quoque” argument? Patently absurd. The expression, and concept, you actually need is “incipit vobisum”. Ever hear of the Middle Passage and the New England slave traders?

    PS- I get it. Your misspelled word is to be minimized and excused, but someone else’s misspelled word is subject to a snarky and mean-spirited “sic”. How quaint.

    1. Just a few things:

      1.) Perhaps you are having trouble reading this, let me comment again. I said: No one has ever disputed this. Yet for some reason, people think because the Union’s war policy was preservation of the Union, then the South’s was not about slavery, which is inaccurate. Two countries can have policies at opposition with one another without those policies being direct opposites. Lincoln’s policy of preserving the Union, does not define the South’s policy.

      2.) No, but the ordinances list the direct causes of secession for which they intended to defend. Jefferson Davis said as much in his inaugural speech, and commented on the defense of the agrarian society. The Confederate states then set about seizing Federal property at gun point throughout the South.

      3.)Brooks posted the video of the Cato institute on his blog for observation and comments, but he never endorsed it. If you truly read his blog, you see Brooks discussed this issue in-depth in a post entitled The American Revolution, Not the American Secession To ‘secede’ means to withdraw formally from an organization, membership or alliance. None of these things were afforded to the Colonies because they were imperial holdings, not members. Also, no one said that secession is mutually exclusive to revolution, though I do see a lot of heritage advocates say otherwise. Revolution, has with it the recognition of treason. My favorite quote from Brooks on this matter,

      Those who claim that the American Revolution was an act of secession are simply seeking legitimacy for their position at the expense of an understanding of history and political philosophy. One need not treat the content of their argument seriously one must understand instead the extent to which some people will go in their effort to make a case that pleases their personal preferences, desires, and needs.

      Seems like he has a point there.

      5.) I think what you mean is “incipit vobisCum.” Yet again, what does that have to do with Union in the Civil War?

      P.S. To put “sic” is to point out that a quote was taken “as is.” It points out that the mistake is not my own, and that I did not alter the quote in any way.

  3. Austin

    Here goes:

    1. How can you possibly look past the fact that secession was a deliberate effort to secure peace and avoid war. If, as you preposterously assert, the Confederates were fighting for slavery, what was the point of seceding? Why not just declare war and open fire? The historical facts are compellingly clear; the Confederates announced their independence, and fought to defend it.

    2. The Confederate States rightfully and properly assumed ownership of Confederate property. In instances where that ownership was lawlessly resisted, appropriate force was applied.

    3. It is more than a little silly to suggest that the colonies were not in an alliance with the Brithish Empire. Ludicrous, in fact. So when the Declaration was issued, the colonists had executed a textbook secession. As for Brooks’ commentary, it actually directly applies to himself and those who would deny that the American Colonies seceded from the British Empire. Indeed, just place the word “not” in front of “an act of secession…”, in the first sentence, and it works perfectly.

    4.In addition to a history primer, you need a Latin refresh. “Incipit vobiscum” is correct.

    1. This is the last time I will respond to you, since you are obviously here to troll.

      1.) The South, based on a plethora of historical evidence, seceded because of a perceived threat towards slavery. Jefferson Davis himself said,

      There can be no cause to doubt that the courage and patriotism of the people of the Confederate States will be found equal to any measure of defense which may be required for their security. Devoted to agricultural pursuits, their chief interest is the export of a commodity required in every manufacturing country. (my emphasis)

      Yes, the historical facts are compellingly clear. That is why my analysis runs linear to historians in the field rather than your analysis. The reason: because of the documents, such as Davis’s statement above. If you don’t like the reasons, take it up with Davis; he said it, not me.

      2.) The problem with that is, those properties, were properties of the Federal government. One cannot simply assume ownership of something, especially if it is in use by the owners. However, that statement, is probably going to be part 3 so thank you for that. I guess they did a great job on that “appropriate force” though. If their efforts were to “secure peace and avoid war,” as you say, they sure had an off way of going about it.

      3.) The colonies were not in an alliance. They were colonial holdings of an empire. It’s amazing you are actually arguing this. I guess when Brooks posts something you wrongly presume to be right, you use it. But when he posts something that contradicts your statement, you ignore it. Interesting use of historical analysis.

      4.) Perhaps you are having trouble reading. You did not answer the question, twice I might add (further proof that you are a troll), and you also did not accurately spell the Latin phrase you wished to add. You said, The expression, and concept, you actually need is “incipit vobisum” See the error? Even so, it does not dismiss the fact that your tu quoque fallacy dismisses the issue at hand in order to finger point.

      I must say, it is exhausting and time consuming to acknowledge these same categorically wrong arguments over and over again. I guess Park Ranger Jonathan Winskie was right in saying,

      Honestly, I’m tired of trying to convince people of their idiocy when they seem so intent on wallowing in the lunacy of their claims. The documentary evidence supporting the true causes of the war is out there, cited a plethora of times by those of us that actually care about historical accuracy.

      You’re done on this thread. Be sure to visit again. 🙂

  4. George Purvis

    Davis quote does not say we are ighting a war to preserve slavery.My challenge to you is stillopen. Find one document that states the South went to war to preserve slavery. In fact the North may have went to war to preserve slavery as it was a legal institution.

    I really have no concern what a NPS park ranger has to say, in fact I urge you to invite him here. Surely the two of you can provide one document that says the South went to war to preserve slavery.

    “My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave 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. What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union; and what I forbear,”

    A. Lincoln

    There is only one cause of the war and that is Anderson in Fort Sumter. Nothing more nothing less.

    George Purvis
    Southern Heritage Adsvancement Prreservation and Education

    1. George, war is a continuation of policy by other means. The South’s policy, through secession, was the preservation of slavery. They said so in numerous docuemnts. Davis said so in his inaugural speech:

      Montgomery, Alabama, February 1861.

      Sustained by a consciousness that our transition from the former Union to the present Confederacy has not proceeded from any disregard on our part of our just obligations, or any failure to perform every constitutional duty — moved by no intention or design to invade the rights of others — anxious to cultivate peace and commerce with all nations — if we may not hope to avoid war, we may at least expect that posterity will acquit us of having needlessly engaged in it. We are doubly justified by the absence of wrong on our part, and by wanton aggression on the part of others. There can be no cause to doubt that the courage and patriotism of the people of the Confederate States will be found equal to any measure of defence which may be required for their security. Devoted to agricultural pursuits, their chief interest is the export of a commodity required in every manufacturing country. Our policy is peace, and the freest trade our necessities will permit. It is alike our interest, and that of all those to whom we would sell and from whom we would buy, that there should be the fewest practicable restrictions upon interchange of commodities. There can be but little rivalry between us and any manufacturing or navigating community, such as the Northwestern States of the American Union.
      It must follow, therefore, that mutual interest would invite good will and kindness between them and us. If, however, passion or lust of dominion should cloud the judgment and inflame the ambition of these States, we must prepare to meet the emergency, and maintain, by the final arbitrament of the sword, the position we have assumed among the nations of the earth. We have now entered upon our career of independence, and it must be inflexibly pursued.
      (my emphasis)

      The South’s agricultural pursuits involved a system of slavery, hence the use of the word. The South fought in a war to preserve the foundations of their secession, and the foundations of their country (which VP Stephens rightly pointed out).

      Davis reiterates these notions and declared, after Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, that it(the EP) has established a state of thing to but one of three possible consequences: the extermination of the slaves, the exile of the whole white population from the Confederacy, or absolute and total separation of these States from the United States. (Jefferson Davis’ Address to the Confederate Congress, January 12, 1863. Official Records, Series 4, Vol. 2, p336-350.)

      It’s pretty cut and dry. According to Davis, if there are to be white citizens in the South, slavery must exist. If not, then dis-union. Hence, why they were fighting. To maintain their agricultural pursuits (Davis), against a government that, sought to conceal its purposes by every variety of artful device and by the perfidious use of the most solemn and repeated pledges on every possible occasion. (Davis, in reference to Lincoln’s prior promises not to touch slavery, and how the EP contradicts those promises)

      Saying the North went to war to preserve slavery is simply ignorant. Nowhere is preservation of slavery relatively close to the Union’s war time policy. Thanks for showing up again George, and randomly posting the same cut and paste jobs you’ve done so many times before.

  5. Pingback: Stupid Things People Say About the Civil War: Part 3 | The Historic Struggle

  6. Caldwell is trying to construct a straw man that only those who don’t know anything about what the Civil War was about will believe. The secessionists were very clear in telling us why they seceded. They did so to protect slavery from a perceived threat. “Perceived” is the key word, as Lincoln had promised not to interfere with slavery in the states in which it existed. His aim was to cut off slavery’s expansion. In order to do so, he would have to persuade the Congress to pass such a law, and he would have to persuade the Supreme Court to go along with it from a constitutional standpoint. But Lincoln’s merely being an antislavery president was enough for the secessionists to see a threat to slavery and to seek independence to avoid that threat.

    The fact that the goal of the Federals was to preserve the Union does not change the fact that the confederates wanted their independence in order to protect slavery. Yes, slavery was legal in the United States. The confederates wanted their independence because they feared it would soon no longer be legal in the United States. Ironically, it was their action in seceding and starting the war that led to slavery’s abolition. Thanks, guys, we couldn’t have done it without you.

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