“Ninety-eight Percent of Texas Confederates Never Owned a Slave”

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  1. Avatar Mike Schilling
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    says:

    Texas is, of course, the only state to secede in order to preserve slavery twice.Report

    • Avatar Andy Hall in reply to Mike Schilling
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      That’s a reasonable interpretation of the Texas Revolution. In the Texas General Land Office museum, on the grounds of the Capitol in Austin, there’s an exhibit on a free black man who assisted in the Texas Revolution, but who had to get (literally) and act of the Republic of Texas Congress to be exempted from having his resulting land grant taken from him in the years that followed.

      Texas was especially strident about the presence of free African Americans. Between 1850 and 1860, the number of free colored persons in Texas dropped from 397 to 355, a decline of 10%, while the slave population more than tripled.

      In 1860 there were ten times as many free colored persons in Charleston County, South Carolina as in all of Texas. You could put the entire free black population of Texas in 1860 inside a middle school auditorium, and have lots of empty seats remaining.Report

  2. Avatar Burt Likko
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    …But, but, but! Not a word about oppressive tariffs!Report

  3. Avatar Kolohe
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    Another great post. Speaking of maps this one http://www.history-map.com/picture/004/Population-Slave-Map-001.htm which a lot of people probably have already seen really shows that upland/lowland split you refer to. It was one of the first use of ‘heat mapping’ (i.e. shading to represent geographically tagged data) and one of the first uses of mapping what would be called now ‘human terrain’Report

  4. Avatar BSK
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    “Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery– the greatest material interest of the world. Its labor supplies the product which constitutes by far the largest and most important portions of commerce of the earth. These products are peculiar to the climate verging on the tropical regions, and by an imperious law of nature, none but the black race can bear exposure to the tropical sun. These products have become necessities of the world, and a blow at slavery is a blow at commerce and civilization. That blow has been long aimed at the institution, and was at the point of reaching its consummation. There was no choice left us but submission to the mandates of abolition, or a dissolution of the Union, whose principles had been subverted to work out our ruin.”
    – Mississippi’s Declaration of Secession

    “The constitution, it is true, secured every essential guarantee to the institution while it should last, and hence no argument can be justly urged against the constitutional guarantees thus secured, because of the common sentiment of the day. Those ideas, however, were fundamentally wrong. They rested upon the assumption of the equality of races. This was an error. It was a sandy foundation, and the government built upon it fell when the “storm came and the wind blew.” Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its corner- stone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth…”
    – Vice President of Confederacy

    From http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2011/04/lies-damn-near-everyone-told-me/237244/Report

    • Avatar Andy Hall in reply to BSK
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      It’s important, though, to distinguish between national objectives and motives going into a conflict, and those of individual soldiers. The latter were driven by many motivations, often by multiple ones at once, and sometimes for reasons they themselves have difficulty making clear. True now, true then.

      What I’m getting at here is a little different, though, and served to push back (I hope) against the widespread notion that only a tiny fraction of Confederate soldiers owned slaves, and therefore defending it could not have been their motive. The “peculiar institution” was as much a part of Southern life as heat in the summer and red clay in Georgia; it was, culturally and economically, part of the established order of things. Confederate apologists invariably argue that those men went to war to defend their homes, but “home” was inextricably bound up in slavery — if not literally their home, then their neighbors.

      Damn, I should’ve put that last line in the post.Report

      • Avatar BSK in reply to Andy Hall
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        says:

        Andy-

        Great point. I knew I was a bit tangential, and you are right that national objectives need not align with individual motives.

        Something I love to do with Confederacy/Civil War apologists is compare them to insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan. They often argue that most of the soldiers had no interest or involvement in slavery and were instead defending their homelands against an invading army. I note that many people in Iraq and Afghanistan are in the same situation, having had nothing to do with terrorism but are simply defending their homes and people. The comparison may not be perfectly apt, and an intelligent person could probably argue against it convincingly. But most of the Civil War apologists, who often harbor a certain degree of racism, simply freak out at the idea that their beloved heroes could be compared to the Muslamic barbarians!Report

        • Avatar BSK in reply to BSK
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          Andy-

          To follow up, while I do agree that mutually exclusive motivations can still make for strange bedfellows, we cannot divorce people from the consequences of their actions. While an individual soldier may have had no relationship to slavery outside of it’s impact on his state’s economy, the fact remains is that he fought for a cause that was explicitly dedicated to the protection of slavery. There is no getting around that. As far as I’m concerned, he can’t stand up and say, “Well, that’s not why I’M fighting…” And even if he were to genuinely contend that, I would question the moral center of a man who would go to war to defend his home but otherwise has no issue with the enslavement of humans.Report

          • Avatar Andy Hall in reply to BSK
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            Sorry for not replying sooner. It’s a tough and complex problem, isn’t it? Obviously people can think and speak of their forebearers any way they want, but if you’re going to label it “history,” you’ve got to look at them in all their dimensions.Report

  5. Avatar Mark Thompson
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    Andy:

    Obviously, I really enjoyed this post. 😉

    But while you’re here, I have a bleg for you (and really anyone else)…. alright, two blegs.

    Do you know of any good books dealing heavily with New Jersey’s role in the war, both militarily and as a bastion of Copperheadism? That I have lived in this state most of the last 30 years and never read up on this is borderline criminal.

    Also, are there any materials you know of, whether primary sources or secondary sources, that talk about Canadians who enlisted in the Union Army, especially in the NY regiments?Report

    • Avatar greginak in reply to Mark Thompson
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      Interesting question. NJ’s role in the CW was never discussed in school when i grew up in NJ. We had tons of Rev War stuff, but nothing on the CW.Report

      • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to greginak
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        Moi aussi. I suspect it has something to do with the State gummint being unofficially ashamed of the whole “We voted for McClellan!” thing. But it’s an extraordinarily important part of the state’s history, just as it was for any state on either side of the Mason-Dixon line.

        About a decade ago, I read a series of mediocre historical fiction novels about two brothers from New Brunswick who, the story went, found themselves fighting for opposite sides and indeed looking into each other’s eyes on Cemetery Ridge (the backstory was that one of the brothers got sent to VMI after a lovers’ quarrel or somesuch). It tried to give some discussion of why NJ was the way it was, but the treatment was about as useful as you’d expect in a piece of mediocre historical fiction (I can’t remember if it was also Confederate-apologia historical fiction, though). The battle history of one of the Jersey regiments was kind of fun, though.Report

    • Avatar Andy Hall in reply to Mark Thompson
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      says:

      Mark, I don’t have any insight on those, sorry.Report

  6. Avatar RTod
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    says:

    So this week we have two posts on the civil war with an insinuation that slavery existed and was bad; and two posts about The Birth Certificate.

    Has the editorship of the League decided its mission is to makes Bob’s head explode?Report

    • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to RTod
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      I can neither confirm nor deny these allegations at this time.Report

    • Avatar Pat Cahalan in reply to RTod
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      Bob has been awful quiet this week. Mebbe his ‘ead already ‘sploded.Report

      • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to Pat Cahalan
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        Hello Pat, no I’m here and earlier today went to Andy’s site and signed up and was saddened to learn he doesn’t allow secessionist discussions.
        With that said I’m not sure what Andy’s point is here. No legitimate student of the Late Unpleasantness argues that African slaves didn’t impact, not just the Southern economy, but the American economy as well. And, if a twenty year old Rebel says he doesn’t own a slave, well, he’s got no reason to lie. I’m not sure that if his daddy might own three or ten has much to do with the young soldier. This blog and Andy’s site appears to be the sad effort of a rather intelligent gentleman to rid himself of self-preceived and unnecessary guilt. The lost soul of the derailed librul.
        Right now I’m more interested in the dramatic change in gummint that occurred with the rise of Lincoln, the proverbial 800 lb. gorilla that nobody want to see. I’m patiently waiting for the loquacious Mr. Jason to reply to my earlier comment.Report

        • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to Robert Cheeks
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          I do want to take a moment to express my gratitude to the LOOG, its editorial leadership, and its brilliant, and sometimes sarcastic commentors, for a great deal of pleasure these past several months and particularly this past week or so.
          Significantly, I haven’t been ejected from the League by you know who and my comments have yet to be deleted. I must proclaim that free speech still reins/rains/reigns here at the League. And, for Bp “your/you’re” continue to be of little concern for me, particularly since I now know how much they hinder you from abiding…”The Earth Abides.”Report

        • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Robert Cheeks
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          I’m not sure that if his daddy might own three or ten has much to do with the young soldier.

          Right, it’s not as if he’s fighting for his family (whose livelihood depends on slavery) or his home (which is built on slavery.) He’s fighting for an abstract concept of states’ rights.Report

          • Avatar RTod in reply to Mike Schilling
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            Just as folks in countries we occupy fight us because they want to contribute to the collective competition of differing civilization viewpoints with an eye toward future global hegemonic visions.Report

          • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to Mike Schilling
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            I dunno Mike, I think the point for our Confederate friends was to resist the efforts of a foreign invader to conquer and surpress his people and his country. The real question is why Lincoln felt it necessary to start a war to surpress a people who only wanted to be free of his statist machinations. It certainly wasn’t about African chattel slavery; at least that’s what Father Abraham proclaimed.Report

            • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to Robert Cheeks
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              says:

              Like any great politician, Lincoln could be perfectly disingenuous at times.Report

            • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Robert Cheeks
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              says:

              The real question is why Lincoln felt it necessary to start a war to surpress a people who only wanted to be free of his statist machinations.

              They also wanted to be free to enslave other human beings. You know that as well as I do.Report

            • Avatar Chris in reply to Robert Cheeks
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              When one side fires at the other, it seems strange to say that other side started the war.Report

              • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to Chris
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                says:

                My god man, you’re a libertarian, or at least you say you are. No libertarian with an ounce of sense or an IQ above 56 supports the immoral, barbarous actions of a man who initiated hostilities with the intent of waging a total war against a people who had voted in convention to disassociate themselves freely from these manufacturers and Eastern monied interests. Lincoln gave birth to the modern American state and in that act he opened the door for permitting and justifying any act of the general gummint.
                First they came for the South and in disallowing them their constitutional and moral and legal right to secede from a voluntary compact they no longer believed in they established just cause to pursue anyone or any part of the people they choose, for any reason; the Tea Partiers, the Black Panthers, the Jews, the Gays.
                It appears, given your opinions on these matters, that Cato and Libertarianism are either little more than epigones of the central state or intellectually unable to address the question of authority.Report

              • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to Robert Cheeks
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                says:

                As bad as he often was, nothing Lincoln ever came anywhere near enslaving four million people, enshrining protections for slavery in a nation’s founding document, and waging a war to protect the slave power.

                I’ve already explained why the South’s act of secession is morally very different from that of the American colonies. Pretending not to have seen that argument is a cheap way of addressing it, but not one by any means beneath you.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Jason Kuznicki
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                says:

                “Pretending not to have seen that argument is a cheap way of addressing it, but not one by any means beneath you.”

                Ok Jason, but you’ve tried that move once or twice yourself. In particular, that’s what teed me off on this thread:

                ordinary-gentlemen.com/blog/2011/01/26/texas-welfare-queen/Report

              • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to Jason Kuznicki
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                Jason, you’re embarrassing yourself. Of course I read your childish ‘explanation’. Pathetic. It’s something I’d expect from a state educated third grader.Report

              • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to Chris
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                says:

                Chris, the above is for our atrabilious interlocutor, Jason.
                For you and your ‘starting the war’ comment, this: South Carolina legally seceded, the CSA tried to send commissioners to Washington City to negotiate the withdrawal of federal personnel and the payment for the seizure of what had been federal properties. Lincoln would have none of it. The CSA was within it’s rights to force the Yankees out.
                Father Abraham’s 1sth inaugural remarks tells you all you need to know about his sneaky intentions: “The power confided in me, will be used to hold, occupy, and possess the property, and places belonging to the government, to COLLECT DUTIES AND IMPOSTS;…”
                Obviously federal troops at Fort Sumter were tresspassers and their gummint had been given adequate time to remove them from foreign territory. In fact Lincoln was trying to re-victualize the post as the batteries opened.
                You know, from the remarks here of many/most of my interlocutors, I find great fault with the American, public educational system and believe I must join with Ohio’s beloved Governor, John Kasich in eliminating collective bargaining right for teachers, who it appears, have not done a very good job of teaching.Report

              • Avatar Andy Hall in reply to Robert Cheeks
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                Yeah, Lincoln was so “sneaky” he put those words in his inaugural address. Bet he never expected anyone to find them there. Who knew anyone might be taking notes?

                That brief line about collecting duties and imposts is often cited as evidence of Lincoln’s warlike intentions. Brag Bowling even called the address a “sabre-rattling speech.” But it’s a dishonest, Breitbart-style bit of selective editing that masks the whole tenor of the speech. Look at that quote in context of the entire passage:

                In doing this there needs to be no bloodshed or violence, and there shall be none unless it be forced upon the national authority. The power confided to me will be used to hold, occupy, and possess the property and places belonging to the Government and to collect the duties and imposts; but beyond what may be necessary for these objects, there will be no invasion, no using of force against or among the people anywhere. Where hostility to the United States in any interior locality shall be so great and universal as to prevent competent resident citizens from holding the Federal offices, there will be no attempt to force obnoxious strangers among the people for that object. While the strict legal right may exist in the Government to enforce the exercise of these offices, the attempt to do so would be so irritating and so nearly impracticable withal that I deem it better to forego for the time the uses of such offices.

                And of course, Lincoln closes with the famous lines,

                In your hands, my dissatisfied fellow-countrymen, and not in mine, is the momentous issue of civil war. The Government will not assail you. You can have no conflict without being yourselves the aggressors. You have no oath registered in heaven to destroy the Government, while I shall have the most solemn one to “preserve, protect, and defend it.

                and

                We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.

                Saber-rattling war monger, indeed.Report

              • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to Andy Hall
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                Andy, I thought you didn’t discuss ‘secession?’ We coulda had this discussion on your website.
                Re: Father Abraham, he was indeed a brilliant mouthpiece, thinker, and bootlick for big bidness. He was also a brilliant rhetorican, but he was so corrupt. You can see the burden of guilt in those old photos of him as the war progresses.
                He’d have done or said anything to keep the South in the Union, including guaranteeing slavery for the next millennium.
                Now Andy, you’re a smart feller and perhaps an honest one. Tell me why, in your opinion, Mr. Lincoln wanted, at any cost, to keep the South in the union?
                Andy, please feel free to continue with snark and smart-assed comments, I actually kinda enjoy the repartee, but coming from you it very much mimics those comments by the wacky, contemporary rebels of whom you so often complain. I think you can do better, perhaps I’m wrong.Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to Robert Cheeks
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                Bob, see Andy’s post, but of course I know the history behind the start of the war, and of course, you know the southern myth. So why bother, eh?Report

            • Avatar BSK in reply to Robert Cheeks
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              says:

              “I think the point for our Confederate friends was to resist the efforts of a foreign invader to conquer and surpress his people and his country.”

              Sort of like Iraqi or Afghani insurgents? I suppose you believe their efforts to be noble?Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Robert Cheeks
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              The North was fighting to defend the Union.
              The South was fighting to defend slavery.

              You ought not be surprised that people keep wanting to bring up the South’s wicked intentions despite your wanting to focus on the North’s wicked intentions.Report

              • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to Jaybird
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                JB, you’re a smart dude, yet you and Jason seem determined to ignore the question of the change of gummint brought about by the Lincoln regime. I had thought as Libertarians yous guys would be most interested in the how and why of those events and, yes, I am a bit surprised that you aren’t.
                Lincoln did not institute war to ‘free’ the slaves; at least he said he didn’t. Consequently, the South was defending her territory from an aggressive large scale invasion by an army of over 100k troops. Morally, the South (CSA) had every right to defend herself aganist a rapacious invader.
                The question of African chattel slavery was decided a long time ago, no one argues it was immoral and wrong. Should I say that at every ‘comment?’
                What is curious is that my pals in the Libertarian Wing of the LOOG, seems to have no interest in discussing the who, what, and why of the change in gummint brought about by the Lincoln regime and its supporters, the bankers/Eastern manufacturers?
                As a Paleo interested in any discussion centered on politcal philosophy I’m really disappointed in the Cato Institute and Libertarianism in general.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Robert Cheeks
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                I am 100% aware of the government changes brought about by Lincoln.

                Yet I remain 100% aware that Individuals have Rights and States do not. The moment you start talking about the motivations of Lincoln, you open the door to talking about the motivations of the Confederacy.

                The moment you start talking about the excesses of Lincoln, you open the door to talking about the excesses of the Confederacy.

                When we talk about anything when it comes to the Civil War, we cannot talk about any given trait of the North without also talking about the sister trait of the Confederacy and it requires a level of absurd abstraction to wave away what the status quo actually entailed when discussing the “Right” of the Confederacy to maintain the status quo.

                I am not a fan of the fact that we moved from “these United States” to “The United States”. That said, the option of keeping to “these” entailed options that I am not only “not a fan” of, but things to which I am wholeheartedly opposed.

                As a Libertarian, I cannot wave away chattel slavery. I can come up with a hundred thousand things that Lincoln would’ve/should’ve/could’ve done better… but I know that that opens the door to talking about the list of things that the Confederacy has. At the top of that list is, of course, slavery-related topics.

                As a Libertarian, the slavery thing is a camel I cannot swallow and keep down long enough to engage in gnat-sorting.Report

              • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                Thanks JB, well said. But, I think there were better ways, that did not include an horrific war, the Soviet style repression of a region, and a change of gummint from a federated constitutional republic, to a unitary consolidated nationalist state, to free the slaves. Though admittedly it would have been later than 1865.
                My point is that the construct and form of government affects all Americans. A consolidate, statist, regime offers easier access to tyranny, for all Americans.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Robert Cheeks
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                the Soviet style repression of a region

                Now you’re whining about Brown vs. Board of Education, I see.Report

              • Avatar RTod in reply to Robert Cheeks
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                “the Soviet style of repression”

                I am wondering if this hyperbole comes from not knowing what living in the Soviet Union was like, not knowing what living in the US today is really like, or not knowing what those words mean.Report

              • Avatar BSK in reply to Robert Cheeks
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                “But, I think there were better ways, that did not include an horrific war, the Soviet style repression of a region, and a change of gummint from a federated constitutional republic, to a unitary consolidated nationalist state, to free the slaves.”

                Easy to say for someone who has never been a slave.Report

              • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to Robert Cheeks
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                says:

                [Y]ou and Jason seem determined to ignore the question of the change of gummint brought about by the Lincoln regime. I had thought as Libertarians yous guys would be most interested in the how and why of those events and, yes, I am a bit surprised that you aren’t.

                Lincoln had taken an oath to defend the United States Constitution, and if this oath didn’t include defending it against traitors, then it would be entirely meaningless. The South did not have a legitimate right of secession, because it was not seceding for a legitimate purpose. They were traitors, then, and nothing more.

                This would remain entirely true even if Lincoln had never, ever freed any slaves, and even if we still had slavery today.Report

              • Avatar RTod in reply to Jason Kuznicki
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                says:

                At what point does trying to talk to Bob about why it isn’t the worst tragedy ever that the “South didn’t win/issues of slavery/Obama’s grandmother’s unedited interview” stop being a good try at making a point, and start being the myth of Sisyphus?

                I appreciate your tenacity and everything, but at this point why are you even bothering with Bob about these particular issues?Report

              • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to RTod
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                TVD, I’ma sticking with my position re: West Virginia.
                I’ve always agreed that TJ thought secession should only be done for the most serious of reasons. Lincoln’s (siding with the Hamiltonians in destroying Jefferson’s own position re: the ‘compact’ theory) is, in fact, a coup de tat where the republican, federated form of gummint is destroyed and replaced with the unitary, consolidated nationalist regime, a statist regime. TJ was very much opposed to Hamilton/Madison’s form of gummint and he would have encouraged Southern secession for that reason, in order to save republicanism somewhere on the American continent.Report

              • Avatar tom van dyke in reply to RTod
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                RC:

                a) Jefferson had nothing to do with the Constitution. He was in Europe at the time. I don’t find his ideas on the constitution particularly inspiring except that it should be followed, nor do I think his general ideas on structuring government were borne out as Madison’s were.

                b) There is a point to be made about the post-Lincoln US gov’t killing federalism. But it was the South that made it an either/or decision by rebelling against a justly constituted regime.

                The Founding has been my area of study, the Civil War not terribly of interest. But as Messrs. Wall and Hall’s posts have played out, and you taking the South’s case, I must say that it’s my opinion and judgment that the Founding and immediate post-Founding principles were not on the South’s side.

                There may have come a time and circumstance when the fed gov’t acted unconstitutionally and justified rebellion, but that time and circumstance had not yet arrived at the time of initiation of hostilities.

                After hostilities were initiated by the South, all bets were off, and although I’m not into the finger-pointing thing, it’s the South that woke Leviathan.

                And since I believe you’re comfortable with putting abortion and slavery in the same basket, let me say that the South couldn’t expect the people of the North, the Underground Railroad types, to cooperate with Dred Scott and the Fugitive Slave Act against their consciences. The South had a legitimate legal complaint there, but not one that any morality could honor.

                And had I been a western Virginian, conscience could have permitted me no other course than the one they took.Report

              • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to RTod
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                TVD, with all due respect, I think you’ve got it pretty much backwards. If I may, allow me to suggest a delightful tome “Secession, State, and Liberty,” a series of essays edited by David Gordon, by Transactions Press, I believe.
                Again the position of TJ and his fellow republicans, including the heroic ‘Tertium Quids’ (Madison, the political whore, vascillated between TJ and Hamilton, a low man) is the classic agrarian, federated republic that most poorly educated or politically indifferent Americans believe they are pledging allegiance to.
                Hamilton on the other hand, requiring a strong centralized general gummint to fullfil his vision of the American system, called for “… (1) a central government with plenary power over the States. (2) a “national” bank, i.e., a cartel of private banks able to inflate the currency to fund open ended projects of “national” greatness (and be bailed out by tax payers when they failed); (3) subsidies for politically well connected business corporations; and (4) a high protective tariff for Northern manufacturing. Jeffersonians rejected all of these, and their decentralist vision more or less dominated the Union from 1800 to 1860.”
                As you can see Hamilton’s vision provided for little or no oversight of the central gummint and consequently was always in danger of moving toward tyranny, which came to fruition under the Lincoln regime. On the other hand, the central gummint was limited by the Constitution (you might gain insight by reading the Constitution as a document that limits the general gummint and leaves most/the vast majority of ‘rights’ to the state and the people).
                TVD, I think you come the closest to understanding the historical connection between the founding age and eighty years later when the conflict between Jefferson and Hamilton reached fruition in the War of Northern Aggression.
                Lincoln won, we lost the republic and, unfortunately, gained an empire.Report

              • Avatar tom van dyke in reply to RTod
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                Oh, RC, thx for the props but I wish you’d have addressed my arguments instead of adding new ones of your own.

                For reasons given, your legal/constitutional argument does not hold: there were no non-light and non-transient grounds for secession.

                And morally, per the Fugitive Slave Act, I don’t see how a gentleman of your convictions can disagree either, that no moral or ethical code permits complicity with evil. The people of the North, most of ’em anyway, couldn’t give the South what it was legally entitled to, the return of its escaped slaves.

                Now, that’s more a societal/philosophical problem. But no gov’t is powerful enough for long enough to get its people to violate their consciences forever. The South was on the losing side of the battle for public opinion, the battle for the human moral conscience. And sometimes, you just have to take your lumps and go on. That’s democracy and that’s a republic, and that’s what the states of the South agreed to at Ratification.

                Because while the argument that Jefferson’s vision of an agrarian society with a weak central gov’t prevailed holds some truth, it doesn’t hold it fully, as evidenced by Andrew Jackson and the

                http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nullification_Crisis

                “I consider, then, the power to annul a law of the United States, assumed by one State, incompatible with the existence of the Union, contradicted expressly by the letter of the Constitution, unauthorized by its spirit, inconsistent with every principle on which It was founded, and destructive of the great object for which it was formed.”

                Further, I find the Jefferson/Hamilton weak/strong dichotomy far too facile and inaccurate: each man was a constitutionalist in the best sense, that the central government had only its enumerated powers, not carte blanche. [Hamilton had reservations about the constitutionality of the fed gov’t building canals, for instance.] Their differences were in what those enumerated powers allowed and did not. Neither was a “living constitutionalist,” and either would be congenial to some sort of “originalism.”

                As for the post-Lincoln Leviathan, again, it was the South that woke it, and Leviathan was righteously pissed off at slavery and race, hence Reconstruction. As somewhat of a moralist yrself, you should understand.

                And after the South recovered much of its autonomy in the Tilden-Hayes deal, they went right back to oppressing the black man. They got a second bite at the apple of federalism status quo ante but fucked it up again with Jim Crow, etc.

                It wasn’t Lincoln that screwed up federalism, Bob, it was the South and its racism.

                And for the GOP, nominating Barry Goldwater in 1964, one of the few Republicans who filibustered the Civil Rights Act. Now “states’ rights” is a dirty word. [Actually, it’s 2 words, but you know what I mean.] And so is GOP, to most persons of color.

                Nice job, paleo-cons. Nothing personal, Bob, but I can’t wait until they all die off like the Dixiecrats did eventually. Racism was exactly the wrong hill to die on for federalism.

                David Gordon is a personal acquaintance, BTW. Should you find yourself in LA, I’ll take you to dinner together. He is a gentle and gracious man and of course an estimable scholar. If anyone else is reading this, I daresay his counsel on any serious research would be invaluable, and that he would be kind enough to lend it. And if you haven’t treated me too shabbily around here, I’ll even introduce you.Report

              • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to RTod
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                says:

                TVD, it seems we are too much separated to have a meaningful discussion and mores the pity. I think it is very difficult for Americans to realize that they are citizens, not of a grand republic, but rather of a statist regime.
                If you have made a study of the founding era and you see no contest between TJ’s agrarian republicanism and Hamilton’s support for a centralized, consolidated gummint, then I’m not sure what literature you’re studying.
                Please, send my regards to Mr. Gordon. I believe we’re f/b friends.Report

              • Avatar tom van dyke in reply to RTod
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                says:

                RC, I want the republic, per federalism, restored.

                Defending the Confederacy ain’t gonna get it done. Neither was it statesmanlike for Goldwater to fall on his sword over the Civil Rights Act. A true statesman knows, and prudence dictates, when to bend his rules and principles for what is clearly a greater good.

                For rules and laws are not inherently wise but only reflections of wisdom, and principles can quickly ossify into mere ideology.

                Further, Robert, “all men are created equal” is a higher principle than federalism. I desire federalism, but it’s not the only legitimate form of government.

                That all men are created equal is the only legitimate principle of government.

                As a scholar of the South, surely you’re familiar with John Pettit’s [in]famous and oft-repeated “proposition”: that “all men are created equal” is “a self-evident lie.”

                You can make your bed with Pettit, or with Lincoln and Fourscore and Seven Years Ago.

                The rest is nuance, and it’s political theory, and it is bullshit, Bob. It is not wisdom.

                C’mon, dude. Get your Everett Dirksen on.

                http://www.milestonedocuments.com/documents/view/everett-dirksens-an-idea-whose-time-has-come-speech/textReport

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to RTod
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                says:

                Defending the Confederacy ain’t gonna get it done. Neither was it statesmanlike for Goldwater to fall on his sword over the Civil Rights Act.

                Both of which claim to be highly principled and amount to “fish the blacks.” Really, what are the odds of that?Report

              • Avatar tom van dyke in reply to RTod
                Ignored
                says:

                From what I know of him, Mr. Schilling, Goldwater was not about “fishing the blacks.” Pls let’s not muddy the waters.

                And pls do read up on Sen. Dirksen. I put him #3 behind MLK and LBJ in passing the Civil Rights Act, and it might not have got done without all three. Just give the proposition a roadtest at least is all I ask. Me, the speech takes my breath away as persuasion and statesmanship, esp in the context when and where it was given. By many accounts, it turned the tide.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to RTod
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                says:

                Agreed that Goldwater wasn’t, but lots of his supporters were. Neither was Ron Paul, but look at what his name got put on when he wasn’t paying attention. The libertarian message has been very attractive to bigots ever since the government started to protect people they’d rather see defenseless.

                And I agree that 100% Dirksen is unjustly forgotten.Report

              • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to RTod
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                says:

                TVD, do you really want a return to ‘federalism?’
                I appreciate you providing me with examples of Mr. Lincoln’s beautiful rhetoric but plz be aware that Father Abraham was a master of the abstract and a brilliant and gifted orator/rhetorican/lawyer. Here’s some more quotes from Mr. Lincoln you may not be so familiar with:
                “In September 18, 1858, Lincoln said in a debate with Stephen Douglas: ”I will say then that I am not, nor ever have been in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races, that I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of Negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people.” He went further declaring there was a “physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality.” And this demands that “there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race.”
                Now I can supply you with even more racist quotes by a man who at times worked assiduously to ‘solve’ the problem of what to do with African-Americans. But let me leave you with this one:
                ““What then? Free them all, and keep them among us as underlings? Is it quite certain that this betters their condition?” Given the degraded condition of free blacks in Illinois, he could see that it did not. “What next? Free them, and make them politically and socially our equals? My own feelings will not admit of this … and we well know that those of the great mass of white people will not …. We cannot, then, make them equals.”
                But if neither of these alternatives is acceptable, what solution did Lincoln offer? He had none. And said so: “If all earthly power were given to me, I should not know what to do, as to the existing institution.” Deportation of Africans out of the United States was the only solution Lincoln ever proposed. He introduced a bill to fund deportation out of Illinois, and as President placed black colonization at the top of his agenda. He engaged the State Department to arrange treaties with European colonial powers to secure land for free Negroes throughout the western hemisphere, and was discussing (three days before his death) deportation plans for blacks freed after the war. ”
                It seems Mr. TVD that you are supporting and honoring a predatory, centralized state led by a racist dictator? On the other hand, I’m acknowledging that the American version of ‘republicanism’ reached its zenith with the Montgomery Convention and the publication of the Constitution of the Confederate States of America (we can discuss how the ‘rebels’ of 1860 improved on the ideas of constitutionalism and federated gummint if you’d like). We can both be offended with African chattel slavery. In fact, I’ll go even further and be offended with the dominate racism that permeated the entire American white society, North and South at that time. And, I’ll assume that you too are offended by the blatant racism of your Northern forebearors?
                However, our antipathy toward slavery doesn’t answer the question, Why did the North invade the South? Perhaps Father Abraham, himself, answered that question when he was asked (on three different occasions) why didn’t he just “let the South go?” He responded, “Where shall we get our revenue?”
                TVD, dude you’re way to good an historian to believe the myth that the ‘civil’ war was fought “to free the slaves.” The sad truth is that very few whites gave a damn about the enslaved Africans. Wars were not about abstract ideas until the rise of unitary, ideological, statist regimes of the 20th century and even then, with all these derailed/disordered ideas (socialism, communism, fascism, etc.), there’s always an economic component to war.
                As an objective historian, TVD, you’re going to have to ask yourself, What were the economic reasons behind the Southern secession and the Northern invasion?
                The reasons for the War of Northern Aggression are complex.Report

              • Avatar tom van dyke in reply to RTod
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                says:

                RC, you sorely ill-use me on Lincoln. I argued explicitly that his campaign rhetoric [that you attempt to use against me here] gave no indication that he would unconstitutionally ban slavery, hence secession was unjustified. Again, your own evidence supports my argument.

                I’m not arguing with you for hollow debating points; I am quite sincere. And you have got a pretty fair hearing around here with very little dealing from the bottom of the deck.

                And even an unsympathetic but attentive reader like Mr. Schilling recognizes that the greatness from that era lies buried with Everett Dirksen, not Barry Goldwater. Fuck states’ rights if they oppress our fellow man, Bob. Damn them to hell.

                Goddamnit, Robert, read the damn Dirksen speech, and look how you’ve brought me to swear. But so be it. If you don’t come away with tears in your eyes, then you are one of those Men Without Chests CS Lewis wrote about, in the aptly named Abolition of Man. You abolish your own humanity arguing ideology and politics over the greatest political proposition of all.

                For there is nothing in Goldwater that can touch a man’s heart, and everything in Dirksen. As our mutual friend Chesterton wrote:

                “Reason is always a kind of brute force; those who appeal to the head rather than the heart, however pallid and polite, are necessarily men of violence. We speak of ‘touching’ a man’s heart, but we can do nothing to his head but hit it. ”

                And our friend Voegelin would agree as well, Bob, and you know it. It is the moderns who are such men of violence; I believe you are not such a man.Report

              • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to RTod
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                says:

                TVD, this conversation has grown weirder and weirder and more pointless. My only comment would be that you having a conversation with Dr. Gordon on this quesition may be fruitful for you, at least in grasping certain aspects of American history. I know I wouldn’t mind talking with him.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to RTod
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                says:

                The Dirksens of this world are always about 20 years ahead of their time. I was a Goldwater man, back in the day, to my lasting shame. But so were my Dad and Mom, and I thought the world of them. My parents were my heroes and hero-worship is seldom a good thing. I went off to fight the Commies and they blessed me before I left. Must have done some good: I came back in one piece.

                Let history show the South fired the first volleys of the Civil War. After Bleeding Kansas and Fort Sumter, let us have no fatuous and rhetorical questions about Why the North Invaded the South. He who has thrown the spear of war must not complain overmuch when that spear is subsequently pushed between his own ribs. The Confederacy stupidly provoked a war it could not win and that is the sum of it.

                We may thank Button Gwinnett for the Constitution’s failure to address the issue of slavery. The problem could have been solved directly, by the general manumission of the slaves with compensation for the owners.

                Slavery was a wretched predicament for everyone involved: with the invention of the cotton gin in the 1780s, the slave trade exploded. The economics overwhelmed people’s consciences: in the 1780s, slavery in the USA was a much more humane thing, slaves raised wheat and tobacco. By the 1820s, the slaves were literally being worked to death, a godawful situation, but everyone was doing it.

                Among the letters of Thomas Clarkson is an account of the Marquis de Lafayette: “[Lafayette] has freed all his slaves in French Cayenne, who had come to him by inheritance, in 1785, and shewed me all his rules and regulations for his estate when they were emancipated. I was with him no less than four different times in Paris. He was a real gentleman, and of soft and gentle manners. I have seen him put out of temper, but never at any time except when slavery was the subject. He has said, frequently, ‘I would never have drawn my sword in the cause of America, if I could have conceived that thereby I was founding a land of slavery.’ How would the people of Fayette County like to hear this? — to hear their land cursed by the man who gained it for them?”

                Not sure why I’m writing this. RC will go on trolling us forever and aye about this cock and bull rant about the Invasion of the Glorious South. It was a wretched place for the most part, a throwback to the world of the Romans, featuring coloni and servi at work in the great latifundia plantations of Italy, the captives of war and their children. Seen from above, those great estates must have seemed orderly and prosperous, the great houses with their frescoes and mosaic floors and baths. In a world without machinery, the slave was the engine which powered their civilization.

                Aristotle said the slave was a possession with a soul. The South presumed to take the soul from the slave and reduced him to a mere possession, a fraction of a man. The South, for all its culture and refinements, was a stupid, intransigent thing and the steamroller of history destroys the intransigent.Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to RTod
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                says:

                Bob, the “revenue” quote is almost certainly apocryphal. In addition to the fact that there are about 10 different versions of it, there’s never a source. But hey, you keep reading those southern pride websites, and the books that confirm the opinions you started with, and things will be juuuuuust fiiiiiine.Report

              • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to Jason Kuznicki
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                says:

                Jason, you miss the point entirely, perhaps it’s willful ignorance.
                The question isn’t “Why did the South secede,” the question is, “Why did the North invade?” Now, I really don’t think you can afford to answer that question honestly simply because it reveals that you’re living a lie in your support for the establishment of the modern American police state.
                I do love the irony.Report

              • Avatar Pat Cahalan in reply to Robert Cheeks
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                says:

                I dunno, Bob, I think the Jason’s assertion: “South did not have a legitimate right of secession” sort of answers the “Why did the North invade?” question.

                You might take umbrage at that characterization of the South’s right of succession, but clearly it’s unremarkable for a national leader to take military action against someone attempting to trump sovereignty.Report

              • Avatar tom van dyke in reply to Robert Cheeks
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                says:

                RC, Mr. Cahalan gets at the point that’s been nagging me: SC seceded before Lincoln was even inaugurated.

                I can’t support that secession was a right retained by the states, the option to leave the Union depending on the result of each election. No reasonable person at the time of the Ratification could have imagined that you can run a nation—or a republic, or even a confederation—that way.

                As for the slavery part, I found Mr. Hall’s observation that West Virginia, holder of few slaves, seceded from West Virginia and stayed true to the Union quite persuasive and have put it on my list to research further.Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to Robert Cheeks
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                says:

                I want to develop a world-view in which anyone who disagrees with me is merely biased or deceived by the Man, so that I don’t actually have to consider any of their views, much less any “facts” that get in my way. I wonder, if I did that, would I become as cantankerous, or worse, as credulous as Bob, though? It seems like a necessary side effect.

                Tom, while you’re researching West Virginia, you might also research East Tennessee. That part of the state very nearly seceded from the rest of the state, as West Virginia did from Virginia, after Tennessee as a whole seceded from the Union. East Tennessee, of course, is made up primarily of mountains.Report

              • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to Robert Cheeks
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                says:

                Pat, why wouldn’t the South, or the New England states during the War of 1812, or any of the other states that threatened secession, engaged in state interposition, and threaten nullification of federal law secede. Each state is/was a sovereign, independent political entity defined by a constitution conceived and executed by convention of the people. These sundry states choose to engage in a voluntary compact that established a general gummint defined and limited by first, The Articles of Confederation, and then by the Constitution. Jefferson, Madison, Lincoln and many others all agreed that this was a ‘voluntary’ compact and should any state or states choose to “govern themselves” that state(s) has that God given right. Remember, the founders established a voluntary Republic, not a highly centralized, consolidated, general gummint (empire).
                Snark or no snark, I’m pleased that a few of you show an interest. Now, if we can honestly say, that for whatever reason, these Southern states choose to GOVERN THEMSELVES, then the question, the real question, in this little debate falls on why did Father Abraham send his armies into the South. He, sure as hell, was putting down a rebellion, for the South had acted legitimately.
                Now I know why but I’d really like to know if youns can tell me.
                Why was there no ‘Civil’ war when Norway peacefully seceded from Sweden in 1905, Singapore from the Malaysian federation in 1965? And, as you know fifteen legitimate, constitutional, Russian states peacefully seceded from the former Soviet Union, and many other cases could be mentioned, all without war.
                TVD, you and I agree on many things because we are ‘conservative.’ We disagree on the historical establishment of the nation. I’m a Tertium Quid and you’re a nationalist GOP Republican. Now, that’s fine, everyone has a POV but I would suggest, should you be interested, in reviewing the contest between Jefferson and Hamiliton because that’s the political ground of the debate we’re having.
                Chris, you’re about half way educated. Why don’t you go all the way?Report

              • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to Robert Cheeks
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                says:

                Correction: Lincoln did not embrace the “compact” theory, he did support the right of revolution. And, the sentence should read, “He, sure as hell, WASN’T putting down a rebellion….” Actually, Lincoln’s armies were invaders, making total war on a peaceful people who only wanted to govern themselves.Report

              • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to Robert Cheeks
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                says:

                Pat Cahalan is right. That’s how I think as well.Report

              • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to Robert Cheeks
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                says:

                a peaceful people who only wanted to govern themselves.

                And the millions they kept in chains.Report

              • Avatar tom van dyke in reply to Robert Cheeks
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                says:

                RC, more relevant is how Madison talked Jefferson down from a nullification position during the

                http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kentucky_and_Virginia_Resolutions

                mess. [You’d have to dig deeper than Wiki to get what I’m referring to here.]

                I’m no Jefferson man, and I cite Madison often not out of authority [although he carries some, surely], but out of his wisdom and clarity.

                No, there was no right to secede at will. Your argument would hold had the federal gov’t unconstitutionally banned slavery in the slave states, but it didn’t, so it doesn’t.

                As for you & I both being conservatives, that’s relative to the context. My biggest laugh is that I like Reason a lot, but the libertarians here are far more attracted to the paleo American Conservative, and cite it far more often and approvingly.

                Me, I’d rather vote for Obama than Buchanan, and any relation between me and the AmCon crowd is nominal and cosmetic.Report

              • Avatar Scott in reply to Robert Cheeks
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                says:

                Tom:

                So WVA gets kudos and has the right to secede from VA, but VA who along with the other states who created the union in the first place can’t decide to peacefully leave the union? Sounds like two standards to me.Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to Robert Cheeks
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                says:

                Scott, you’re thinking about this wrong: The residents of West Virginia had the right not to commit treason in defense of slavery; the residents of the rest of Virginia did not have the right to commit treason in defense of slavery. It’s the same standard applied to two different, and in fact opposite actions.Report

              • Avatar tom van dyke in reply to Robert Cheeks
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                says:

                I love agreeing with Chris.

                Quite right. I’m all about the federalism, but loyalty to my state does not oblige me to take up arms against my country. It does not oblige me to secede from my country. Even back in that day, and all the way back to the Founding. Federalism was never that.Report

              • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to Robert Cheeks
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                says:

                TVD, Jefferson always proclaimed that the reason(s) for secession should always be very serious. Re: Madison, he was a little, draft dodging trimmer who set the bar very low for future American politicos, think: Lincoln, Wilson, FDR, LBJ, Nixon, Bubba, Carter, Bush, and Obama. He jumped between Jefferson and Hamilton whenever it served his purpose. Re: your analysis of federalism, I think you are perfectly wrong. Federalism works and stands against the unitary nationalist gummint, only in so far as the states are able to restrain the general gummint. In your system that’s impossible. And, finally you might want to read what the founding generation said in re: to the power, obligations, and potential usurpations of the general gummint.
                Thanks for clarifying our political differences.
                The secession of West Virginia from Virginia was illegal because it was not executed by a ‘state’ but rather by a group of counties who do not, under the American system, have the political ability to establish a constitution by convention. The ‘State” (Virginia, in this instance) is the ground of a constitutional entity. Lincoln, was participating in illegal activities, again.Report

              • Avatar tom van dyke in reply to Robert Cheeks
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                says:

                RC, your cite of Jefferson’s D of I actually supports my own point.

                Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes…

                The election of Lincoln was indeed a transient cause: he would not be president forever [hadn’t even been inaugurated yet], and it was unknown if he could succeed in unconstitutionally banning slavery in the slave states. Even if he was going to try, which is unknown, and is unsupported by even his campaign rhetoric.

                So this falls below the threshold of even “light.” The casus belli is non-existent at this point, as are the justifications for making war on Ft. Sumter.

                As for West Virginia, my survey of the legalities indicates they’re sticky. However, there was nothing in secession that resembled the ratification process of the original constitution of 1787, where consent of the governed was secured. An argument from the Federalist Papers is that not only the states but the people were part of the ratification process. Whether this holds as a strictly legal point, it certainly holds philosophically. Secession from the Union and being joined instead to a different nation, the CSA, did not have the consent of the people of western Virginia, as was manifested by their [re-]joining the Union.

                Being forced to stay with the Confederacy, a union they never consented to and which they found repulsive from the first—now there is cause for separation instead, a cause that is neither light nor transient!Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Robert Cheeks
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                says:

                Jefferson always proclaimed that the reason(s) for secession should always be very serious.

                Which is why in each state that seceded, a vigorous debate was held, ensuring the participation of all affected parties. Then a bill of secession was written, explaining the justifications for it, because a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires more than “He’s gonna take our n***rs away”.

                Once a vote of two-thirds of each house was recorded, the bill of secession was sent to the governor for his signature. After all, secession is a serious thing, and requires every bit as much process as a tax hike.Report

  7. Avatar Lyle
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    says:

    If you look at the maps of Tx in terms of slavery I doubt one feature of the maps (or at least the significance of it), Pretty much west of San Antonio and Austin, settlements were very new, and subject to Comanche raids at any time. The claim that the last tier of counties had a large number of slave holders seems strange, given that cotton does not grow there without irrigation, and transport in the hill country at the time was very hard. On a specific point the German Hill country Gillespie county, parts of Kendal County and the like were opposed to the sucession, and in fact a large number of guys got killed trying to get to Mexico to beat the confederate draft. (True to the Union monument Comfort, Tx).Report

    • Avatar Andy Hall in reply to Lyle
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      says:

      Yes, exactly so — there’s a glitchy thing in the map generator, rather than the data, for those frontier counties. I mentioned this (maybe not clearly) in the second graph below the table. The actual 1860 numbers for Gillespie County are:

      Total Pop: 2,736
      Families: 565
      Slaveholders: 7
      Slaves: 33Report

  8. Avatar Matt
    Ignored
    says:

    Texas’ resolution reminds me of the assertion that Planned Parenthood isn’t primarily about abortion because 97% of it’s services are not abortions.

    Both share the same falsity and the same fallacy: they both assume that numbers and percentages in isolation can stand in for wholistic understandings of intentions and priorities. Without slavery, Texas would not have seceded. Without abortion, PP would not exist, or at least not in anywhere near the way they exist now.Report

    • Avatar BSK in reply to Matt
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      says:

      Planned Parenthood would prefer to never have to conduct another abortion. Ideally, every pregnancy would be intended. However, because the need for abortions exists, they see fit to offer safe access to them. Planned Parenthood spends 97% of their money trying to avoid having to spent 3% of it on abortions. The 98% of Texans who didn’t have slaves weren’t actively trying to end slavery.Report

    • Avatar RTod in reply to Matt
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      says:

      Your general argument about how we perceive the importance of certain data is a good one, especially with the example you used. But this: “Without abortion, PP would not exist” – you’re just pulling that out of your ass. If the vast preponderance of financing comes from non-abortion related sources, and the vast preponderance of the people that it serves have nothing to do with abortion, how is this anything but a “my-side-doesn’t-like-planned-parenthood-so-there” statement? What data could you possibly come up with to support this?

      Again, really good overall point. Sorry you then went and politicized it.Report

  9. Avatar Mike
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    says:

    The largest slave plantation in Louisiana was owned BY A BLACK MAN.

    Eight million people lived in the states where slavery was legal.
    Less than 385,000 actually owned slaves.

    Of 10,689 free blacks in New Orleans in 1860, over 3,000 of them owned slaves.

    In other words: 28% of free blacks in the South owned slaves while less than 5% of whites did.

    They also disproportionately owned slaves in large numbers (10 or more), putting the lie to the history book fairy-tale that “most” freed blacks owning slaves were merely “buying back their family members.”

    Where do these numbers come from? The tireless history work of Duke University professor John Hope Franklin.

    But why let facts get in the way of your propaganda?Report

    • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to Mike
      Ignored
      says:

      A few reactions.

      First, New Orleans is not a good proxy for the South. Demographically they were always quite distinct, so you can’t generalize from the one to the other.

      Second, what’s the definition being used for “free blacks”? If we’re going by the one-drop rule, then it’s true but trivial, because by that rule, many, many “whites” were really “free blacks.”

      This was one reason why the antebellum South actually never used the one-drop rule. Everyone knew that everyone else’s racial history was mixed, and so was their own. It took until several generations after the Civil War for the myth of white southern racial purity to solidify.

      Third, what in the above are you calling “propaganda”? It looks to me like research, using the historian’s ordinary methods.Report

  10. Avatar Chris
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    says:

    That has to be the strangest defense of the South I’ve ever seen. First, extrapolating from New Orleans to the rest of the South is silly. New Orleans, as Jason notes, was a strange city, slave-wise. It was a center of the slave trade while slaves were still being imported, but it never had a large slave population within the city. It was, however, surrounded by a large slave population working on plantations outside of the city. One of the strange demographic facts this created was a larger number of free black people than slaves within the city limits. In fact, if I’m not mistaken, in the 1830s, almost all of the free black people in Louisiana were in New Orleans (Louisiana, as a state, wasn’t big on having free blacks around). However, if you look outside of New Orleans (even immediately outside of New Orleans), you’ll find that the slave population in Louisiana vastly outnumbered the free population (including the free blacks in New Orleans). In fact, the slave population of Louisiana, by 1850, damn near outnumbered the white population (this was a big fear in Louisiana: that slaves would soon outnumber whites, making revolt more likely and more dangerous). I don’t have the percentage of white Louisiana residents who owned slaves in that year, though I don’t doubt that it was relatively low, but the fact is, the vast majority of the slave population was owned by whites, and outside of New Orleans, there were almost no free blacks in Louisiana. What’s more, outside of New Orleans, where almost all work was agricultural, there were no white people who were not in direct contact with slavery, and whose livelihood was not in some way dependent on it.

    If you look at studies of other areas of the south (since you’re a John Hope Franklin fan, Mike, you might check out his book on free black people in North Carolina, where only a small number of free blacks owned slaves), you’ll find that the numbers don’t fit so well with your thesis, or with the idea that white slave ownership, and it’s importance to the South (it was the backbone of the South’s economy), is “propaganda.” In fact, you might even learn that, to achieve a certain level of economic success in the South, it was necessary to own slaves, which is why it’s not so surprising, or even scandalous, that free blacks trying to get in on the South’s economic game owned slaves. But I’m sure your ancestors were brave warriors who fought for a noble cause, and the fact that you favor the side that lost has nothing to do with race.Report

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