"The American Civil War"

Discuss Greece or ancient Rome - or maybe the history of the United States.

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Country-at-Heart
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"The American Civil War"

Postby Country-at-Heart » Sun May 24, 2009 4:21 pm

... if that's what you want to call it, I believe "The War Between the States" is more correct.
Anyway, since I am your resident Civil War expert, I figure I need to have a place where any of yall folks can ask me in person about anything concerning this particular conflict.
Leah Kathryn

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Jon49522
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Postby Jon49522 » Sun Mar 11, 2012 9:54 pm

I'm curious as to what your thoughts are on why it was actually started? The general consensus seems to be that it was mainly over slavery, but I'm not convinced. Seems to me a main reason for the war was states' rights and government intrusion. I could be wrong though... any opinion?

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Postby Theodore » Mon Mar 12, 2012 2:50 pm

The North was using its huge numerical voting advantage to dictate to the South. In this case, to try to set free all the slaves without paying anything for them, which would have crashed the Southern economy because virtually all slaveowners were in debt. The ironic thing is that a lot of Northern slaveowners had sold their slaves over the border just before slavery became illegal there, so a lot of them had been compensated. And Britain had ended slavery in their territories just a few decades before and more or less without bloodshed because they were willing to pay for the slaves they set free.

So the South seceded not so much over slavery per se, but over lack of representation and to prevent an economic crash. The average soldier on the Southern side owned no slaves and had no personal stake in perpetuating slavery. The North didn't want to let them go, because it would have meant losing a massive chunk of the Union, and the average soldier on the Northern side was fighting to end slavery. So both sides were perhaps fighting for the right reasons, regardless of the fact that slavery was obviously wrong.

In any case, whichever side had European support was probably going to win, and Lincoln knew this, so he set up some bait in the form of resupplying Fort Sumter. He knew that the Southern mentality wouldn't allow them to take a more peaceful or subtle approach, and firing on Fort Sumter would make it seem like they were the aggressors. It worked, and the South lost European support. This was a major problem because the North had virtually all of the manufacturing, and the Southern economy depended on trading their cotton overseas for goods there. We all know how it turned out.

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Postby Jon49522 » Mon Mar 12, 2012 5:29 pm

Great points there; I hadn't really thought of the cause of the war in so much detail. That'll have me ruminating for a while!


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