Skip to comments.Did Abolitionist Hatred of the South Cause the Civil War?
Posted on 07/06/2013 7:37:16 AM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
A Conversation with Thomas Fleming, historian and author of A Disease in the Public Mind: A New Understanding of Why We Fought the Civil War.
Thomas Fleming is known for his provocative, politically incorrect, and very accessible histories that challenge many of the clichés of current American history books. Fleming is a revisionist in the best conservative sense of the word. His challenges to accepted wisdom are not with an agenda, but with a relentless hunger for the truth and a passion to present the past as it really was, along with capturing the attitudes and culture of the times.
In The New Dealers War Fleming exposed how the radical Left in FDRs administration almost crippled the war effort with their utopian socialist experimentation, and how Harry Truman led reform efforts in the Senate that kept production in key materials from collapse.
In The Illusion of Victory, Fleming showed that while liberal academics may rate Woodrow Wilson highly, that he may have been the most spectacularly failed President in history. 100,000 American lives were sacrificed to favor one colonial monarchy over another, all so Wilson could have a seat at the peace table and negotiate The League of Nations. Instead, the result of WWI was Nazism and Communism killing millions for the rest of the century.....
(Excerpt) Read more at pjmedia.com ...
Abolitionists = Liberals
They're itching for a repeat.
BTW I've often wondered why the South didn't make a concerted effort to kill Lincoln, either before he took office, or early in the war. The North would've been left rudderless and most likely would've sued for peace.
Goody two-shoes liberals caused the Civil War. The same Goody Two-shoes white guilt liberal azz- wipes Obama voting idiots who will cause the next one.
All this stuff is false flag liberal stuff designed to create even more division in the USA. PJ Media has too many liberals mixed in.
The Knights of the Golden Circle did. They were unsuccessful until a team led by John Wilkes Booth got him right after the war.
IBTNC ...... almost
As far as slavery goes, I've read where only about 6% of the population in the slave states actually owned and worked them. For a slave owner to work a farm, etc. with virtually free labor competing against non slave holding farmers, I'd imagine that would have developed some deep seeded animosity within the South.
The truth? Well, you'd have to have lived in that era to be sure, I'd think. I only know how history is written by the victors and the press at large. My one anchor point in this is having lived during Kennedy's administration and then to see the last 50 years of pure lying BS put out about the media's darling Camelot.
Nothing new under the sun. Compromisers of principle blaming those who won't compromise principle for the inevitable fruit of their own compromises.
After The North tried to kill Jefferson Davis. He became a target.
After The North tried to kill Jefferson Davis. He became a target.
There are 2 Thomas Flemings.
Caution should be applied because I have mistakenly confused them. They are quite different people.
Most wars are probably not caused by just one thing. Hence it’s easy for the revisionists to say “the civil war was not about slavery”.
Because it was about slavery AND tariffs AND economic resentment AND regional differences that had been present since the beginning AND views about whether a state or states could actually secede AND ....
Not EVERYTHING we were taught in school was wrong. Slavery was the principal driver that led to CW1 - those who would have it otherwise are using the fallacy that would say that since it was not the ONLY factor it was not A factor which is simply not true.
“Did Abolitionist Hatred of the South Cause the Civil War?”
Nope. An overbearing federal government intent on dismantling states rights caused it.....red
“Here we get into the peculiarities of the New England mind. They had a natural tendency to look down on the rest of the country.”
Has anything changed?
From the brief discussion in this article, the arrogance of the north reminds me of the arrogance of King George, and the arrogance of the Obama administration. The arrogance (hatred) of King George led to the first American Revolution. The arrogance (hatred) of the north, based on this read, led to the Civil War. What will the arrogance of the Obama Administration lead us to?
Excellent article. Thanks for posting!
This rings SO true! I would add this emphasis: the South was also motivated by the self-righeousness of the Calvinist Christian. The Ulster spirit that keeps Ireland divided to this day was manifest in them. The Civil War was Cavalier vs. Roundhead only if we remember that Charles I was also inspired by a belief in Divine Right. Jackson would have been a perfect fit in Cromwells New Model Army.
They lusted for the blood of the southern slave holders, and agitated against the CSA separating peacefully.
For a slave owner to work a farm, etc. with virtually free labor competing against non slave holding farmers...
I certainly don't claim to be an authority on slavery, Gaffer, but would be very surprised to learn slave labor was anywhere near "virtually free." I'd guess is was either trivially less expensive than paid labor, or even somewhat more expensive. Why do I say such a thing? Because if slave labor had actually conferred a significant advantage, it surely would have been considerably more extensively used than it was.
I'm reminded of an old Russian saying: "Slaves work only has hard as necessary to avoid beatings."
Slavery was the bone over which the two sides fought, but the real cause was a House divided, as Lincoln pointed out. Each side had too many firebrands who thought that the country had to be either slave or free. It was a clash of absolutes. There were moderates in both North and South, the Southern loyalists in Eastern Tennessee, the Copperheads, of NYC. But with Lincoln determined to hold the two disparate parts together by armed force, and without a decisive victory by either side, the passions boiled over.
I was talking after acquisition costs and the cost of having paid labor. There HAD to be an economic benefit to it else why own slaves at all? Just go out and hire free people.
To me another factor leading to the Civil War was the North was closest to a Democracy which means "a mob." Democracy(a mob) needs a moral crusade to go to war and which preaches a doctrine of annihilation(Sherman!).
Right. Fleming seizes upon the Haitian rebellion as the root of the issue. The British chose right solution, which was to defuse the issue by ending slavery in the Islands, but with compensation. Virginia and the other border areas did not because the Cotton Revolution made slavery profitable once more. But always in the back of their minds, especially after Nat Turner, the South knew it was riding a tiger and that the only way that race war could be avoided was constant expansion. This included expansion west and north of Missouri. The problem was that this brought them into a collision with the band of New England Settlement that extended all the way into Iowa.
Recently re-read Shelby Foote’s multi-volume opus, “The Civil War A Narrative” and while not the direct cause perhaps, his direct citations of the published words of the Northern Abolitionists reveals their total demonization of every citizen of the South, man, woman, and child. Can’t help but see the parallels with the Russian revoution, Third Reich, and the current Democratic party and their adherents. Once that self-righteous rhetoric becomes unchecked and ingrained in the political ethos only tragedy and massive casualties will result.
“...Slavery was the principal driver that led to CW1
those who would have it otherwise are using the fallacy...”
The issue at the time was not about the “rightness or the wrongness” of slavery.
The rightness or wrongness of the use of slave labor
was not a federal issue and the use of slave labor
was not prohibited by the constitution.
The prohibitions and restrictions of the use of slave labor
in the new states and territories being added in the west
were viewed as extra-constitutional,
so the southern states viewed “the contract” as having already been broken.
Neither slavery nor secession were prohibited by the constitution.
Sherman , however, was an admirer of the South. He knew that the only way to conclude the war was by a ruthless application of the sword. What the North cannot understand, and continues to put out of its mind to this day, was the extent of the physical damage in the South and why until this very day people in Georgia hate the names of Sherman and Lincoln. Freedom for the slaves is a shibboleth of the Liberal who seeks to justify his own hatred for —and now envy of the South.
In other words slavery was the linchpin and other issues sprung up around that principal one. To say the real cause was “a house divided” - well OK but what precisely were they divided over?
In some sense - it was like a messy divorce - the fire had to get started somehow but once it did there were all sorts of fuel to keep it going.
Plus you have to clothe and feed them. They are not robots.
Respectfully disagree. It WAS about slavery - among other things. But slavery was first and foremost. You’re obviously correct about slavery not being prohibited by the constitution. If that were not the case there never would have been a union to begin with. But that in no way contradicts the statement that the civil war was fought over slavery.
If you want to make the argument that Lincoln and the north acted extra-legally and extra-constitutionally - no argument from me.
If you want to say that slavery was not the fundamental issue dividing the north and the south - from say 1840 to 1860 - then you’re welcome to your opinion but the facts say otherwise.
Free people don’t want to pick cotton.
Fleming reminds us that politics is not a matter of rational calculation. The minds of an influential minority in both and South were inflamed by clashing ideologies. After the Nat Turner Rebellion, many in the South no longer regarded slavery as a necessary evil but a positive good. The mainline churches split over the issue, and after the Mexican War, the issue of slavery in the territories caused a secessionist movement to arise in the South. As a Texan, I have always wondered what might have happened if Sam Houston, a protege of Jackson and a cunning politician of the first water, had been elected President in 1852 instead of the feckless doughface Franklin Pierce. Certainly there would have been no Jefferson Davis in the Cabinet. Certainly he would not have signed a bill that gave the transcontinental Railway route to Steve Douglas supporters, not at the expense of opening Kansas to slavery.
“... and why until this very day people in Georgia hate the names of Sherman and Lincoln...”
Most people do not understand or will not admit to the southern hatred
that existed after the war
(and still exists now, but to a much lesser extent)
...of all things northern (yankees in general),
...of all things federal (we know what’s best for you),
...and of all things republican (the party of Lincoln).
Most people say,
“That was a long time ago, can’t we just get beyond that, now?”
And as time has passed, the hatred has faded, as the older ones have passed away.
But most people don’t seem to realize just how deep the hatred ran,
and that in the great scheme of things, is really wasn’t “a long time ago”.
My mama still lives at the age of 93.
She was orphaned at a young age, and raised by her grandfather.
He was the son of a wounded confederate veteran.
Oh, the stories she was told (and passed along to me)!
Hummmmm? Lee had no part in the First Battle of Bull Run. He was down in South Carolina and Georgia then overseeing coastal defenses. At First Bull Run, P.T.G. Beauregard and Joseph E. Johnson were in command of the Confederate troops.
I was a boy during World War II. When I visited my grandmother in Mississippi, I would visit the battlefield at Vicksburg. It wa snothing like it is now, because the trees had no grown up to obscure so much, and one can still see the town on the crest of the river and see the depressions in the ground where the entrenchments were. My grandmother lived in a house along the road followed by Grant, differing from the road he us only in being covered by asphalt. My great-grandmother was still alive and remembered the siege; she stayed a while in the caves under the city. One of her uncles decapitated by a cannonball during the Union attack. No wonder that when old people spoke of THE WAR, they did not mean the war against Hitler.
The divisions in the USA are real, nothing can be created when the country is riven form political strife as it is now.
I didn’t deny pre-existing division. It is possible to create more on top of the existing divisions, is what I said there.
Lee was the first commander of the Confederate forces but was somewhat discredited after the Confederate failures in western Virginia. His plan may have been used. He, of course, did not get his chance at active command until Joe Johnston was wounded during the Peninsula Campaign.
Fleming is a revisionist in the best conservative sense of the word.
His challenges to accepted wisdom are not with an agenda, but with a relentless hunger for the truth and a passion to present the past as it really was, along with capturing the attitudes and culture of the times."
What a crock of BS!!
Whatever else he may or may not be, the author is a propagandist for the Confederacy, presenting it in the best possible light while mostly ignoring the other side.
In fact, from Day One of the Republic, the Slave Power was assertive, aggressive, demanding, expansionist, violent and uncompromising on its own basic principles.
There was to be no suggestion -- zero, zip, nada -- of abolishing slavery in the South, and every political negotiation involved questions of where slavery could, or could not, expand to.
The Slave-Power's high-water mark came the 1857 Supreme Court Dred Scott decision, making that question all but answered: slavery was technically legalized everywhere in the United States.
And that is the point when slavery first became intolerable for most Northerners, even at the price of dis-Union.
This is the guy who appears on the History Channel, who has written novels, books on the Revolution, and revisionist studies of Wilson and Roosevelt. It's not the Chronicles guy. They're both kind of cranky, but this guy is sort of the loveable old Irish crank down the street, not the bearded ideological wild man the other one is.
His "new interpretation" goes back to what people were saying a century ago. It was the fault of the abolitionists who upset the political balance. He strongly implies that they were upset at New England's loss of power within the country and were using slavery to get their own back. That was probably what Fleming's teachers learned when they were in college and what they taught him in school.
It's not really a "new interpretation" and it doesn't really engage with what historians have been talking about in recent years. He doesn't take slavery all that seriously, in comparison with more recent writers.
The other half of his argument -- that fear of race war or racial uprising -- was behind Southern thinking and feeling at the time, chimes in all too well with contemporary debate on the causes of the war. I'm not sure how far you want to go down that road though. Fleming does come up with some interesting period details, though.
From a labor productivity standpoint, they were not as valuable as free labor... but. Unlike free labor, they had very high market value -- could be bought, sold or used as collateral and they reproduced at a high rate. You couldn't sell the children of free labor, but you could sell slave children.
So you're in agreement with the author, then.
As with most wars, there were many causes. “Abolitionism” was one of them. The “Tariff of Abominations” was another.
But, underlying all that is a basic disconnect between these two groups. It was this group of Northern, Republican, Industrial, elitists versus the Southern, Democrat, Agrarian, populists. That was the beginning of the shift from an agrarian economy to an industrial economy.
The populists lost and the geography shifted/expanded and conflicts came back with the rise of the great prairie populist democrat Williams Jennings Brian who not only exemplified his economic populism but also later his cultural populism when he prosecuted the Scopes monkey trial.
And eventually, after the Wall street crash and depression, the populists won with Roosevelt and his New Deal.
Not long after that the elitists split with the cultural elitists taking over the dem party while the economic populists stayed in the GOP. Then, using Nixons southern strategy, the GOP brought the cultural populists out of the dem party into the GOP.
Today, those two coalitions of (1)economic elitists & cultural populists in the GOP and (2) cultural elitists and economic populists in the dem party are both wearing thin.
Populists waves come with the changes.
So in the 19th/20th century these changes accompanied the integrating of the national economy and shifting from agrarian to industrial plus advances in communication and transportation.
In the 20th/21st century the changes come with integrating the world economy and shifting from industrial to information technology plus advances in communication and transportation systems.
IIRC, in 1861, he was just one of 5 full generals with Johnston being the most senior.
The "Tariff of Abominations" was 30 years before the Civil War, and even then, the only state that considered it abdominal was South Carolina. The rest of the South was not all that upset about it and certainly not upset enough to consider nullification or disunion as South Carolina did.
Slave Power greed caused the Civil War. Union politicians were willing to give up a great deal on slavery to avoid war, including the Corwin amendment. However, the Slave Power wanted to grab all the territory to the west, settling it with slave owners and their slaves. Breaking up the union and going on a land grab was what caused the Civil War.
This particular great-great-grandpa was buried, along with his wife and children
in the church cemetery that remained after...
“..The church used to stand right here (pointing)
but some of them yankee boys came down here from Indiana and from Pennsylvania
and tore down the church building to use the logs to build a big fence
right over there (pointing again) on the edge of that big gully.”
Great-great-grandpa saw the identification on some of their dead
before he helped to bury them in unmarked graves.
This happened at a minor battle that took place in Griswoldville,
about 10 miles east of Macon, Georgia.
I visit the cemetery a couple of times a year.