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(Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)   Two interesting first-hand Civil War stories   (post-gazette.com) divider line 50
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11988 clicks; posted to Main » on 16 Apr 2012 at 3:33 AM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-04-16 03:40:36 AM  
"The whole line saw private D do this and another thing similar to it in a very few minutes afterwards," the correspondent wrote. "Sharp shooting is nothing but a sort of a game after all."

badassdigest.com

Disagrees.
 
2012-04-16 03:41:17 AM  
When they kick in your front door
How you gonna come?
With your hands on your head
Or the trigger of your gun?

It's sad in a way, that first story. The brother who loved freedom more than country was shot down by the brother who loved country more than freedom.
 
2012-04-16 03:44:59 AM  
That war was the most bloody, idealistic war ever. and I am sure Abe Lincoln had nothing but haunting of all the countrymen he had to kill to get the peace and reunification of the country, an interesting tidbit, is that it ended at the parlor of a guy who was also at the 2 battles of Gettysburg if i remember, talk about unable to outrun your past.

I would say the Civil war we fought made America stronger, in the long run, but it always has it's protractors and criticizers. As a native American I never saw the point to fight that senseless war, but I am sure it made the country search the very depths of its soul.
 
2012-04-16 03:46:12 AM  

AverageAmericanGuy: The brother who loved freedom


Just once I'd like to see a Civil War thread that doesn't descend into assholes like you picking fights for attention. Go fark yourself with a bayonet.
 
2012-04-16 03:57:16 AM  
Seeing how some people defend the mythical "South" reminds me of 300 when Leonidas says they fight for "Freedom!"

Hahhhahaha oh god, how I laughed at that movie, Spartans as heros!
 
2012-04-16 04:01:43 AM  

evilbryan: Seeing how some people defend the mythical "South" reminds me of 300 when Leonidas says they fight for "Freedom!"

Hahhhahaha oh god, how I laughed at that movie, Spartans as heros!



I thought the same thing when I saw that. On a day by day, "how you live your life" basis; the Persians were a much more free society than the slaves/neighbours of the Spartans - or the Spartans themselves.
 
2012-04-16 04:12:04 AM  

evilbryan: Seeing how some people defend the mythical "South" reminds me of 300 when Leonidas says they fight for "Freedom!"

Hahhhahaha oh god, how I laughed at that movie, Spartans as heros!


Well, they do sync up rather well. The free State's Rights south fighting to keep chattel slavery and the Freedom from Persia Sparta only able to become a military elite on the back of the helots. Plus anyone who wants to equate the south with State's Rights versus just slavery should look at how well those rights are protected by the Fugitive Slave Act.
 
2012-04-16 04:13:02 AM  

evilbryan: Seeing how some people defend the mythical "South" reminds me of 300 when Leonidas says they fight for "Freedom!"

Hahhhahaha oh god, how I laughed at that movie, Spartans as heros!


Why shouldn't a man fight for the freedom of denying other states the right to be non-slave states?
 
2012-04-16 04:21:02 AM  

AverageAmericanGuy: The brother who loved freedom


You mean, he loved the freedom to deprive others of theirs?

PS: The South never stood a snowball's chance, and even if they had pulled a miracle out of their asses and won, they would have been torn apart when the British swept in there to take advantage of their weakened state. F*ckin' cause and effect, how does it work?

...Gods, I can't even remember what I came in here to say now. F*ck you with a splintery baseball bat wrapped with rusty barbed wire. Soaked in lemon juice. And coated with salt.
 
2012-04-16 04:22:12 AM  
"In giving freedom to the slave, we assure freedom to the free. Honorable alike in what we give and what we preserve. We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last, best hope of earth."
President Abraham Lincoln, message to Congress, 1862

The lost of States rights lies firmly on the back of the South who forced the fight to keep the Union. The South was corrupted by Slavery, it was a drug they couldn't get off of, except by force.
 
2012-04-16 04:24:31 AM  
And I'm done, before the trolls get really going.
 
2012-04-16 04:33:24 AM  
Leaving the politics aside for a moment, often the soldiers on both sides joined to be part of an adventure. That feeling was encouraged by the recruiters. Many more were drafted. It was a terrible shock to them to see that the soldiers on the other side knew how to fight too, the battlefields instead of places of glory were slaughter pens and they were stuck, bound by the draft or terms of enlistment.
I tend to see the soldiers of both sides as so often being victims. They saw it that way too, thus you see the saying they had "It is a rich man's war and a poor man's fight."
 
2012-04-16 04:42:20 AM  

DreamSnipers: Leaving the politics aside for a moment, often the soldiers on both sides joined to be part of an adventure. That feeling was encouraged by the recruiters. Many more were drafted. It was a terrible shock to them to see that the soldiers on the other side knew how to fight too, the battlefields instead of places of glory were slaughter pens and they were stuck, bound by the draft or terms of enlistment.
I tend to see the soldiers of both sides as so often being victims. They saw it that way too, thus you see the saying they had "It is a rich man's war and a poor man's fight."


That's most wars. The upper and political classes create the situation in which the war occurs and the people who join generally do because they either have to (conscription), they see it as a patriotic duty, or as an adventure. They suffer and they die and for the most part those that stoked the war barely suffer. How many CSA soldiers even owned slaves? Probably a small percentage of the enlisted levels, but it was presented as something that was worthy of the deprivations they faced. I say most because they were some societies where to get ahead in politics you needed to be in the military and have victories like the Republican Romans.
 
2012-04-16 04:54:19 AM  
When the USA couldn't find anybody to fight with, they kicked their own asses.
 
2012-04-16 05:30:16 AM  

AverageAmericanGuy: When they kick in your front door
How you gonna come?
With your hands on your head
Or the trigger of your gun?

It's sad in a way, that first story. The brother who loved freedom more than country was shot down by the brother who loved country more than freedom.


Loving the freedom to own another person is not loving freedom.
 
2012-04-16 06:23:41 AM  

The Southern Dandy: AverageAmericanGuy: When they kick in your front door
How you gonna come?
With your hands on your head
Or the trigger of your gun?

It's sad in a way, that first story. The brother who loved freedom more than country was shot down by the brother who loved country more than freedom.

Loving the freedom to own another person is not loving freedom.


Why do you hate freedom?
 
2012-04-16 06:25:52 AM  

Gunther: Go fark yourself with a bayonet.


I kind of sort of would agree to a point with the idiot if he wasn't just that, an idiot, but that right there is funny.
 
2012-04-16 06:35:28 AM  
In the course of a certain battle a soldier whose leg had been shot off appealed to another soldier who was hurrying by to carry him to the rear, informing him at the same time of the loss which he had sustained; whereupon the generous son of Mars, shouldering the unfortunate, proceeded to carry out his desire. The bullets and cannon-balls were flying in all directions, and presently one of the latter took the wounded man's head off--without, however, his deliverer being aware of it. In no-long time he was hailed by an officer, who said:

"Where are you going with that carcass?"

"To the rear, sir--he's lost his leg!"

"His leg, forsooth?" responded the astonished officer; "you mean his head, you booby."

Whereupon the soldier dispossessed himself of his burden, and stood looking down upon it in great perplexity. At length he said:

"It is true, sir, just as you have said." Then after a pause he added, "But he TOLD me IT WAS HIS LEG!!!!"

-Mark Twain
 
2012-04-16 08:07:34 AM  
HEY GUYS, WHAT WAS THE CIVIL WAR REALLY ABOUT? I DON'T KNOW AND HAVE NEVER SEEN IT DISCUSSED ON FARK BEFORE.
 
2012-04-16 08:13:05 AM  
So how long before the Blue States finally wise up and secede from Jesusland?

/Why, yes, this IS a tub of popcorn, why do you ask?
 
2012-04-16 08:14:20 AM  

Gunther: AverageAmericanGuy: The brother who loved freedom

Just once I'd like to see a Civil War thread that doesn't descend into assholes like you picking fights for attention. Go fark yourself with a bayonet.


This is why I love Fark.
 
2012-04-16 08:19:00 AM  
Its just comical to me how the side that lost the civil war keeps trying to refight it.
 
2012-04-16 08:29:35 AM  

evilbryan: "In giving freedom to the slave, we assure freedom to the free. Honorable alike in what we give and what we preserve. We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last, best hope of earth."
President Abraham Lincoln, message to Congress, 1862

The lost of States rights lies firmly on the back of the South who forced the fight to keep the Union. The South was corrupted by Slavery, it was a drug they couldn't get off of, except by force.


Which explains why slavery was still AOK in New Jersey at the start of the war.
 
2012-04-16 08:29:36 AM  

Generation_D: Its just comical to me how the side that lost the civil war keeps trying to refight it.


South Postpones Rising Again
 
2012-04-16 08:56:17 AM  

towatchoverme: So how long before the Blue States finally wise up and secede from Jesusland?

/Why, yes, this IS a tub of popcorn, why do you ask?


That would be awesome, but seems pretty unlikely for about a million billion reasons.

Although another civil war within the first half of this century wouldn't surprise me in the least.
 
2012-04-16 09:16:24 AM  

towatchoverme: So how long before the Blue States finally wise up and secede from Jesusland?

/Why, yes, this IS a tub of popcorn, why do you ask?


Hot flash: The Jesus Freaks will gas you, your family, your pets, and burn down your house. Do you actually think you can just walk away with your "Big Brother will give me everything...." wet dream?

Keep in mind that they are the ones who came back from Viet Nam, the Balkans, Iraq and 'Stan with PHDs in advanced slaughter.

Something to consider when you sneer at someone's religious beliefs.

They'll cut your heart out as they give you a chance to "get Right with the Lord..."

 
2012-04-16 09:36:03 AM  
I took a nice walk on the battlefield of Bull Run, yesterday. Well, over the part where the first phase occurred. I also had a quick look around the visitor's center. They have a short but informative graphical presentation on how the first battle unfolded.
 
2012-04-16 09:50:56 AM  
There are some very poor students of history. Slavery wasn't an issue until Lincoln made it one to keep European nations from siding with the South. More is the pity, if the South had won we might not be in the mess we're in now with trillions in debt.
 
2012-04-16 10:22:13 AM  
Gunther

AverageAmericanGuy: The brother who loved freedom

Just once I'd like to see a Civil War thread that doesn't descend into assholes like you picking fights for attention. Go fark yourself with a bayonet.


Feel free to quote the Constitutional clause/article that states the individual States do not have the right to terminate the contract.
 
2012-04-16 10:24:50 AM  
The issue was the expansion of slavery into new states in order to maintain political power in the slave states. The issue developed over time. The gradual abolition of slavery was the foreseeable outcome when slave holding states were in the minority. The perpetuation of slavery in the south was the only reason for secession.
 
2012-04-16 10:28:07 AM  

Spaced Lion: AverageAmericanGuy: The brother who loved freedom

You mean, he loved the freedom to deprive others of theirs?

PS: The South never stood a snowball's chance, and even if they had pulled a miracle out of their asses and won, they would have been torn apart when the British swept in there to take advantage of their weakened state. F*ckin' cause and effect, how does it work?

...Gods, I can't even remember what I came in here to say now. F*ck you with a splintery baseball bat wrapped with rusty barbed wire. Soaked in lemon juice. And coated with salt.


Well, I highly doubt the British would have invaded, but the South would have been an agricultural society based on slavery, with a constitution that prohibited any of its states from abolishing slavery, that unbeknownst at the time, is going to have its major cash crop wiped out by the boll weevel in 20 years time. The North would have already hated it, and as time went on its insistence on preserving slavery would have made it a pariah state among the industrialized countries.

The future wouldn't have looked good.
 
2012-04-16 10:37:43 AM  

daxxenos: towatchoverme: So how long before the Blue States finally wise up and secede from Jesusland?

/Why, yes, this IS a tub of popcorn, why do you ask?

Hot flash: The Jesus Freaks will gas you, your family, your pets, and burn down your house. Do you actually think you can just walk away with your "Big Brother will give me everything...." wet dream? Keep in mind that they are the ones who came back from Viet Nam, the Balkans, Iraq and 'Stan with PHDs in advanced slaughter. Something to consider when you sneer at someone's religious beliefs.They'll cut your heart out as they give you a chance to "get Right with the Lord..."


/checks location.

Sigh. Thanks a lot asshole.
 
2012-04-16 10:39:23 AM  
Just a quick reminder:

The South wanted to expand slavery into new territories so they could keep enough votes in Congress to bully Northern states into passing pro-slavery laws (Fugitive Slave Act: Northerners are required by law to participate in slave hunts). Lincoln won the election so the South violated the Constitution by seceding (there are no provisions for secession aside from dissolving the Constitution, which likely requires a 3/4's majority vote) and began stealing federal weapons. Then they fired on U.S. soldiers.

This thread is now open to trolling. Carry on.
 
2012-04-16 10:54:37 AM  

Spaced Lion: AverageAmericanGuy: The brother who loved freedom

You mean, he loved the freedom to deprive others of theirs?

PS: The South never stood a snowball's chance, and even if they had pulled a miracle out of their asses and won, they would have been torn apart when the British swept in there to take advantage of their weakened state. F*ckin' cause and effect, how does it work?


That's exactly, more or less, what the saner Southern historians like Shelby Foote said. Rough quote: "I think that the North was fighting that war with one hand tied behind it's back, and if the South had won a lot more victories than it did it would've simply brought that other hand around."
 
2012-04-16 11:01:44 AM  

ssssmashing: Slavery wasn't an issue until Lincoln made it one to keep European nations from siding with the South


For Christ's sake dude, read some primary sources; the South was not shy about declaring why they went to war. This revisionist bullshiat about it not being slavery-related didn't even exist until the 20th century.

Here, I'll link you to the text of the Declaration of Causes of Seceding States (new window). This is the confederates' own unaltered words on why they seceded. Spoiler alert: every seceding state gives slavery as their main reason for seceding.
 
2012-04-16 11:07:42 AM  
"I'm fightin' for my rats. All of us here, that's what we're fighting for. "
t1.gstatic.com
"What?"
 
2012-04-16 11:40:18 AM  
We signed up in San Antone my brother Paul and me
To fight with Ben McCulloch and the Texas infantry
Well the poster said we'd get a uniform and seven bucks a week
The best rations in the army and a rifle we could keep
When I first laid eyes on the general I knew he was a fightin' man
He was every inch a soldier every word was his command
Well his eyes were cold as the lead and steel forged into tools of war
He took the lives of many and the souls of many more

Well they marched us to Missouri and we hardly stopped for rest
Then he made this speech and said we're comin' to the test
Well we've got to take Saint Louie boys before the yankees do
If we control the Mississippi then the Federals are through

Well they told us that our enemy would all be dressed in blue
They forgot about the winter's cold and the cursed fever too
My brother died at Wilson's creek and Lord I seen him fall
We fell back to the Boston Mountains in the North of Arkansas

CHORUS
Goddamn you Ben McCulloch
I hate you more than any other man alive
And when you die you'll be a foot soldier just like me
In the devil's infantry

And on the way to Fayetteville we cursed McCulloch`s name
And mourned the dead that we'd left behind and we was carrying the lame
I killed a boy the other night who'd never even shaved
I don't even know what I'm fightin' for I ain't never owned a slave

So I snuck out of camp and then I heard the news next night
The Yankees won the battle and McCulloch lost his life
 
2012-04-16 12:01:04 PM  

McManus_brothers: Generation_D: Its just comical to me how the side that lost the civil war keeps trying to refight it.

South Postpones Rising Again


o.onionstatic.com
The Kentucky state capitol.

Aw, man, not even cool. Uncle Jimbo already scrapped most of that stuff last month.
 
2012-04-16 12:12:01 PM  

Spaced Lion: PS: The South never stood a snowball's chance, and even if they had pulled a miracle out of their asses and won, they would have been torn apart when the British swept in there to take advantage of their weakened state. F*ckin' cause and effect, how does it work?


You don't know a whole lot about what you're talking about, do you? The South came close several times to winning the war. Hell, the very first battle resulted in the mass route of the Union army leaving the way open to Washington. A fair chunk of the population of the capitol fled thinking the rebel army would be there shortly. Had they not been so disorganized, they could have simply walked in, arrested Lincoln and the war ends...right then and there. But they were nearly as clumsy and clueless as the north so they didn't proceed.

Lincoln visited the front lines more than once and on at least one occasion had to be escorted to the rear because southern sharpshooters had killed soldiers just a few minutes before the president's arrival. He also suffered one certain and another possible assassination attempt and, for a time, was in serious jeopardy of being voted out of office during the election of 1864. Had Lincoln ever been extracted from office, either by death or by electoral decision, those who took over almost certainly would have sued for peace with the south. Late in the war, although the North was winning, the sentiment was that they weren't. Sherman was making no progress toward Atlanta, Lee was keeping Grant at bay and it seemed each new battle brought ever larger lists of dead and wounded to a North who had to endure conscription for a war few of the people felt they had any stake in. It literally wasn't until Sherman made it to Savannah on Christmas Day 1864 that the public perception of the war in the North began to change from "we'll never win" to "we're winning".

Finally, there were at least 4 occasions during the battle of Gettysburg that had the other decision been made the South would likely have defeated the Army of the Potomac and had an open road to Washington ahead of them. Had Lee won at Gettysburg, the war would likely have ended within a month. It's not often portrayed in the movies or the popular notions about the battle but the south came way closer than most know to winning that battle. Pickett's Charge was actually the least threatening "what if" that day...and even that nearly succeeded.

As for the British...yeah, put that notion back in your ass where it came from.
 
2012-04-16 12:12:25 PM  

dallylamma: Goddamn you Ben McCulloch


[csb]
There's a park named after him over near Austin (Camp Ben McCulloch), and back when I was in high school it was one of the spots to have parties. The park rangers would let you do whatever the hell you wanted if you slipped them a 50 and stayed away from the tourists' campsites. I smoked a lot of pot, drank a lot of everclear, did a lot of skinny dipping, and took a lot of embarrasing pictures of classmates. Good times.
[/csb]

It amuses me greatly to know that probably would've sent ol' Ben into fits.
 
2012-04-16 01:56:56 PM  
my great-great grandfather fought at shiloh

for the union, of course.
 
2012-04-16 03:12:47 PM  
If a state democratically votes to exit the union the same way it entered, by what right should they be forced against their will to remain? Isn't that tyranny?

/not trolling
 
2012-04-16 07:59:25 PM  

STRYPERSWINE: If a state democratically votes to exit the union the same way it entered, by what right should they be forced against their will to remain? Isn't that tyranny?

/not trolling


It would seem to me that once they signed a declaration of uniting with the other states and forming a country, then trying to remove themselves would be treasonous. Nobody forced them to join, but convince them to. They broke their word by trying to break the young country as soon as it inconvienced their way of life. I see why Sherman felt that way when he took Columbia, SC. I also toured the few houses he didn't burn down and saw the marks his guns made on the capitol building. If not for the racist streak that ran through Sherman's body, I would've really liked the guy.

I have also seen the shacks that slaves were given for homes. I feel it would've been more fitting if Sherman marched the rich folks out of Columbia and gave it to the folks who's hands really built it.
 
2012-04-16 08:50:23 PM  

STRYPERSWINE: If a state democratically votes to exit the union the same way it entered, by what right should they be forced against their will to remain? Isn't that tyranny?

/not trolling


Answer:
I'm pretty sure that if those 40% of the population that were enslaved could vote, they'd vote to stay in the Union, rather than to secede into a new country for the purpose of keeping them enslaved.
 
2012-04-16 10:00:54 PM  

STRYPERSWINE: If a state democratically votes to exit the union the same way it entered, by what right should they be forced against their will to remain? Isn't that tyranny?

/not trolling


No, it's not tyranny. The U.S. Constitution is a universal set of specific laws that all of the states must abide so as to allow for uniform interstate commerce. For example, Minnesota can't mint 'Minnesota Dollars' and prohibit Iowans from using federal treasury notes to buy something when they visit.

The Constitution is explicit in its description of membership rules; individual states cannot create additional members of Congress, mint money, sign foreign treaties, form alliances, etc. Those are the terms everyone agreed to when they signed the compact.

There are no written provisions for cancelling membership, however I can think of two serious ways the South could have legally parted with the federal government. The first is to sue the federal government and receive a ruling via the Supreme Court. Second is to formally dissolve the Constitution by the same means it was ratified: a 2/3's majority vote in the Senate. In 1860 the number of seceding states were far less than a 2/3's majority.

None of this actually matters, however. In reality the South did not pursue either of these two 'legal' options. They didn't even hold an honest national debate and work out an agreement. Instead they unilaterally declared themselves independent, violated Article I of the Constitution by forming an illegal confederacy and then fired cannonballs at U.S. troops. You cannot call the Union's response 'tyranny' if the other side turns a political crisis into a war.

Bottom line, the South had many options but ultimately exercised their democratic right to trial by combat. The Union honored the South's rights and responded with an overwhelming majority of U.S. citizens in blue uniforms.

The Civil War was extremely democratic. If the South wants to cry foul maybe they shouldn't have started it.
 
2012-04-17 10:49:54 AM  
Truth is, via the northern abolitionist movement, the south was being gradually forced into an economic calamity. One of the things most folks (and nearly everyone on Fark) doesn't recall or maybe never knew: the abolitionist movement in the north had no solution to the south's simple and completely understandable question: "suppose we free the slaves...then what?".

The northern states, quite often, had laws barring settlement of blacks in their counties. The northern workers surely weren't interested in an influx of cheap labor that would drive down the wages of all workers in the north. The south lacked many of the institutions we associate with normal economic circumstances: there were very few banks in the south, fewer still were willing to lend money, there wasn't much liquid capital (most of the wealth in the south was in the form of the slaves themselves). The north made few realistic suggestions for how southern slaveowners would be compensated when all their capital was emancipated. In short, absent a reasonable alternative, the south simply couldn't abandon slavery in favor of what the north was doing. It would have been economic Armageddon and the north lacked any substantive solution to it...so they didn't bother. They merely demanded the south free their slaves and the aftermath was entirely their own problem. It's always handy to keep in mind: this was an entirely legal institution at the time. The north wanted to make it illegal but that was the extent of it. No solutions to how do you get from A to B. Just "stop" and then "you deal with the aftermath".

On that basis, more folks would see why the south felt they had little recourse BUT to leave the union. Reconstruction (and the wholesale theft of anything worth any value in the occupied states by Army and crooked northern carpetbaggers) annihilated not just any wealth that existed in the south but also permanently crippled those areas to a degree that is still present today.

I'm not excusing or ignoring the fact that the central subject is human beings held as chattel because that is indeed, by our standards today and by most back then, abhorrent. Still and all, there was the existent fact that had the south completely gone along with voluntary emancipation, there was no way to properly or even humanely handle nearly 4 million newly freed people when the entire population was only 9 million...especially when the northern states were adamant that they wouldn't allow any emigration so as to protect their economies.

It helps to understand that people back then are a lot like people now: they weren't completely unreasonable assholes. If they were resisting the north's suggestions, it's helpful to assume they had a valid reason for doing so. People today just like to assume that people in the south were simply in love with slavery when quite often the opposite was true. Their entire economy was based on it...and love it or hate it, they couldn't ignore that fact.
 
2012-04-17 11:48:55 AM  

craig328: the south simply couldn't abandon slavery in favor of what the north was doing. It would have been economic Armageddon


Firstly, as many economists have pointed out over the years, it often is the case that it is cheaper for prospective slave owners to hire workers than to force slaves to work against their will (you don't need guards, you don't need to buy them, etc). There's a lot of debate as to whether this was true for the South in the mid-19th century (it almost certainly was in other parts of the country), but even if it wasn't. I doubt it would have resulted in "economic Armageddon".

Secondly; the idea that you are justified in enslaving millions of people because not doing so would cost more is morally repugnant.

craig328: Reconstruction (and the wholesale theft of anything worth any value in the occupied states by Army and crooked northern carpetbaggers) annihilated not just any wealth that existed in the south but also permanently crippled those areas to a degree that is still present today.


Yep: it's a really bad idea to pick a fight with someone who is capable of seriously farking you up. I'm not sure how this makes the South's decision to secede and attack the North any more reasonable.

craig328: It helps to understand that people back then are a lot like people now: they weren't completely unreasonable assholes. If they were resisting the north's suggestions, it's helpful to assume they had a valid reason for doing so.


That is a jaw-droppingly inane argument.

If the Soviets invaded Poland, it's helpful to assume they had a valid reason for doing so.
If terrorists blew up the twin towers, it's helpful to assume they had a valid reason for doing so.
If Nazi Germany... OK, I'm gonna stop right there before I Godwin myself, but you get the point.
 
2012-04-17 12:41:54 PM  

Gunther: Firstly, as many economists have pointed out over the years, it often is the case that it is cheaper for prospective slave owners to hire workers than to force slaves to work against their will (you don't need guards, you don't need to buy them, etc). There's a lot of debate as to whether this was true for the South in the mid-19th century (it almost certainly was in other parts of the country), but even if it wasn't. I doubt it would have resulted in "economic Armageddon".


Congrats. You picked a wikipedia article that examines slavery from a "what if" and clinical viewpoint. I'm curious, did you even read your own quoted source there? "In his books, Time on the Cross and Without Consent or Contract: the Rise and Fall of American Slavery, Robert Fogel maintains that slavery was in fact a profitable method of production, especially on bigger plantations growing cotton that fetched high prices in the world market. It gave whites in the South higher average incomes than those in the North, but most of the money was spent on buying slaves and plantations." That's just one author and while he does indeed correctly identify that slavery in the south was a profitable venture (because, well, economies that aren't profitable collapse and disappear...so this seems kind of an obvious point to make) he doesn't address (indeed, as many present-day historians likewise fail to do) that the question presented to the contemporary south (contemporary meaning "at the time") was what I said it was: if slavery disappears tomorrow, then what? You can trot out models and ruminations of academicians all you like but that has ZERO impact on a proper examination of history and what motivated the south to act as it did...which, coincidentally enough, leads to your next "point":

Yep: it's a really bad idea to pick a fight with someone who is capable of seriously farking you up. I'm not sure how this makes the South's decision to secede and attack the North any more reasonable.

That statement works if you're going with the homogenized and ridiculous truncated and dumbed-down middle school history version of events. "The south picked the fight" fairly proves you don't know jack about how events occurred. I'll go ahead and assume you're referring to Fort Sumter as the basis of "pick a fight". If not, feel free to correct me. If so, however, you're deciding to ignore the impending legislative crisis the south was observing unfolding at the time after the election of 1860. They saw the writing on the wall that Congress, when it reconvened, would move to ban slavery and all other sorts of odious measures that, from a southern perspective, would do nothing but cripple their economy and with nearly zero positive benefit to them. Keep in mind, the proposals being floated had northern states assuming little impact aside from speculating that the necessarily higher prices for southern cotton after emancipation could be somewhat offset by importing greater amounts of Egyptian and Indian cotton if it got too expensive. In order for you to fully grasp the implications of all that you'd also need to better understand that the United States back then was, in the eyes of contemporaries, a collection of states rather than the monolithic nation you observe today. I once heard a nice and simple summation of the differences: before the war the "United States" was a plural phrase, after the war a singular.

I mentioned Fort Sumter for a reason though. When the southern states started to secede the federal government voluntarily gave up many facilities, offices, administrative as well as military properties in the south. Now, this was all James Buchanan (another fact most folks, likely you included, aren't aware of) but after Lincoln was elected. Back then, the lame duck period of the preceding president was much longer than it is today. Anyway, the federal government was voluntarily giving over these items and facilities. It was Lincoln who decided to hold Fort Pickens, two other forts in the Florida Keys and Fort Sumter in order to force a confrontation. I mean, were you under the impression that the ONLY federal fort in the entire south JUST HAPPENED to be in the harbor of the capitol of the state that lead secession? Really? Maybe then you weren't aware that both sides then entered into negotiations to turn the fort over and it was Lincoln who decided to resupply and reinforce the fort during the negotiations. Not exactly bargaining in good faith, tampering with the situation when you're supposedly trying to settle it, right? Well, that was because Lincoln WANTED an incident but needed to find a way to force the south to commit the act. That fact has been long known via Lincoln's preserved writings and interviews with contemporaries in a position to know. The south didn't want the fight because in case of a war they knew the score just as well or even better than we do today. You assume mass ignorance on their part...which is fairly ignorant on your part.

craig328: It helps to understand that people back then are a lot like people now: they weren't completely unreasonable assholes. If they were resisting the north's suggestions, it's helpful to assume they had a valid reason for doing so.

That is a jaw-droppingly inane argument.


I've explained at length just how incorrect you are. I agree that there's a level of inanity though. You managed to nail that one fairly square. The south wanted to leave peacefully. Southern diplomatic efforts were ignored and sent home. Buchanan himself tried to furtively reinforce the garrison at Fort Sumter in February as he was leaving office and the effort failed when the boats were discovered and fired upon. They turned and left. South Carolina had seceded more than 4 months previously and yet still tried to negotiate even though they had the ability all along to simply take the fort. Had the south wanted aggression, why wait the four months? Why not simply go grab it in February when the federals tried to sneak in reinforcements despite oaths they would not?

I get it that you don't know much about the subject past what public school taught you...and that's a damn shame. The Civil War really is the most interesting period in the country's history and the way it's taught in schools today ought to be considered criminal. But hey, it's so much easier to say "good" side, "bad" side, guns went off, people died, one side won, the other lost and we're done here. Congrats on your firm grasp on history that didn't happen even remotely close to your version. You're the master of a simplistic falsehood.
 
2012-04-17 09:13:08 PM  

craig328: Congrats. You picked a wikipedia article that examines slavery from a "what if" and clinical viewpoint.


I could have cherry-picked a few academic articles that fall on the "slavery was uneconomical" side, but I decided to go for that wikipedia article because it provides a good overview of the pros and the cons of the theory, and I figured if you actually cared about the issue rather than about making it a "my side / your side" thing, you'd come away a little more educated.

But no, you're gonna focus on cherry-picking quotes from it so you can say "Hah! Your source agrees with me!"

craig328: That statement works if you're going with the homogenized and ridiculous truncated and dumbed-down middle school history version of events. "The south picked the fight" fairly proves you don't know jack about how events occurred.


Oddly enough, in schools I was taught the "both sides were equal and nobody was to blame" crap. It wasn't until I actually started reading primary sources years later that I realized how revisionist our view of the Civil War period is. If you just go by history books, you're going by a century and a half of Northernern historians ignoring the war while Southern historians try to justify it. This is a situation where to be educated you NEED to look at primary sources; read the political speeches, declarations, newspapers, etc of the time. There's been too much effort spent since to muddy the waters.

craig328: . "The south picked the fight" fairly proves you don't know jack about how events occurred. I'll go ahead and assume you're referring to Fort Sumter as the basis of "pick a fight". If not, feel free to correct me.


The South were pushing for a war for months before that. Look at the various anti-abolitionist pieces of legislation like the Fugitive Slave Act (which was, ironically, incredibly anti-state's rights). Read the declarations of secession for South Carolina (a more pugnacious document could hardly be written). You focus on Fort Sumpter, but even then your argument essentially boils down to "the North provoked the South into war by planning to send soldiers to re-inforce a fort months after South Carolina had seceded". Actually think about that for a second.

craig328: Lincoln WANTED an incident but needed to find a way to force the south to commit the act. That fact has been long known via Lincoln's preserved writings and interviews with contemporaries in a position to know


From Lincoln's letter to Horace Greeley (1862):

"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. "

Pretty much every single thing he wrote contradicts the notion that Lincoln was desirous for a war. The idea that he was trying to manipulate the South into starting one is ludicrous. You repeatedly accuse me of ignorance of history when what little knowledge you posess is so biased as to be useless.
 
2012-04-17 10:20:35 PM  

Gunther: Pretty much every single thing he wrote contradicts the notion that Lincoln was desirous for a war. The idea that he was trying to manipulate the South into starting one is ludicrous. You repeatedly accuse me of ignorance of history when what little knowledge you posess is so biased as to be useless.


Check his profile. The man was born into his beliefs; no matter how much you try you won't change them.
 
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