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The Civil War as an Economic Conflict: Smackdown, Round II : Swingers Discussion 99660
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TOPIC: The Civil War as an Economic Conflict: Smackdown, Round II
Created by: sappholovers
Original Starting post for this thread:
Challenged by PerfectMatch to a Smackdown over our rival views of the Civil War, I assumed we would follow normal debating procedure and each make Opening Statement of our case. I did so in a substantial paragraph. Alas, Perfect Match declined to make such an Opening Statement, claiming that “I’m well aware that you write far better than I do.” Instead he offered a few squibs of statements, and a mess of facts, almost all unrelated to his case. Most of his excuse for a statement were pot shots at my statement, not a presentation of his own case.

Bereft of a worthy adversary, I’ve decided to script Perfect Match’s “Opening Statement” for him in a bravura display of my capacity to see things from more than one point of view (a capacity developed of course by being bi and not locked into seeing anyting in a simple, straight, undaring way).

So in Posts #2-3 in this thread, I will present PM’s Opening Statement as if he might have written it if he had my writing skills (and my command of historical information about antebellum America). Post #4-5 will be a re-presentation of my own Opening Statement and a new statement to begin countering the statement I drafted for PM. Post #6 will be PM’s own pathetic excuse for an opening statement. Posts # 7 & 8 will be supporting reference source material for my argument. I’ll let PM support “his own” statement.

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Bump for PerfectMatch to respond to the challenge represented in this thread.

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From the reference source that Lucky prefers: The Enyclopedia Britannica:

The secession of the Southern states (in chronological order, South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, Virginia, Arkansas, Tennessee, and North Carolina) in 1860–61 and the ensuing outbreak of armed hostilities were the culmination of decades of growing sectional friction over the related issues of slavery, trade and tariffs, and the doctrine of states' rights. This friction arose out of fundamental differences between the economies of the Northern and Southern states. The North had a growing manufacturing sector and small farms using free labour, while the South's economy was based on large farms (plantations) using slave labour.

In the 1840s and '50s the Northern states wanted to prohibit slavery in the western territories that would eventually become new states. The Southern states opposed all efforts to block the expansion of slavery and feared that the North's stance would eventually endanger existing slaveholdings in the South itself. By the 1850s, some Northerners had begun calling for the complete abolition of slavery, while several Southern states threatened to secede from the Union as a means to protect their right to keep slaves.

When Abraham Lincoln, the candidate of the antislavery Republican Party, was elected president in late 1860, the Southern states carried out their threat and seceded, organizing as the Confederate States of America.

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Support from Reference Sources for Sappholovers' View of the Causes of the Civil War #3

From "Causes of the Civil War: A Balanced View" (a website0

Conclusion . So-was the war about slavery? Of course.

If there had been no disagreement over the issue of slavery, the South would probably not have discerned a threat to its culture and the southern politicians would have been much less likely to seek "their right to secede."

But was it only about slavery? No.

It was also about the constitutional argument over whether or not a state had a right to leave the Union, and--of primary concern to most southern soldiers--the continuation of antebellum southern culture.

Although the majority of Southerners had little interest in slaves, slavery was a primary interest of Southern politicians--and consequently the underlying cause of the South's desire to seek independence and state rights.

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Support from reference sources for Sappholovers' View of the Causes of the Civil War #2

From World Book Encylopedia:

Historians have long debated the causes of the Civil War. Many of them maintain that slavery was the root cause. In his second inaugural address in 1865, Lincoln said of slavery: "All knew that this interest was, somehow, the cause of the war." But most historians agree that the war had a number of causes. They note, for example, that the northern and southern states had been drifting apart because of sectional differences, dissimilarities between the two areas in culture and economy. They also point to ongoing tensions between the federal government and the states over the extent of the federal government's powers. They mention the disorder in the American political party system of the 1850's. Yet slavery emerges as the most serious single cause. All explanations for the causes of the war have always involved or revolved around that issue.

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Support from Reference Sources for Sappholovers' View of the Civil War: #1

From World Book Encyclopedia:

"Yet slavery emerges as the most serious single cause. All explanations for the causes of the war have always involved or revolved around that issue."

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Clarification Regarding the Nullification Crisis: (Note in particular the final paragraph_

From Wikipedia:

The Nullification Crisis was a sectional crisis during the presidency of Andrew Jackson created by the Ordinance of Nullification, an attempt by the state of South Carolina to nullify a federal law passed by the United States Congress. The highly protective Tariff of 1828 (also called the "Tariff of Abominations") was enacted into law in 1828 during the presidency of John Quincy Adams.

Opposed in the South and parts of New England, the expectation of the tariff’s opponents was that with the election of Jackson the tariff would be significantly reduced.[1] The crisis was over, and both sides could find reasons to claim victory. The tariff rates were reduced, but the states’ rights doctrine of nullification had been rejected by the nation.

**** While tariff policy would continue to be a national political issue between Democrats and the newly emerged Whig Party, by the 1850s the intertwined issues of slavery and territorial expansion would become the most significant and sectionally divisive issue in the nation.*****

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PerfectMatch's Excuse of an Opening Statement: The Original from the Horses's Mouth:

C'mon dude. I'm well aware that you write far better than I do.

The honest fact is that if the South had caved in and paid the tariffs there would have been no war....not at that time anyway. Jefferson Davis did speak of slavery. I never said it wasn't AN issue, it just wasn't THE issue. I look at the facts and have completely shot down all your arguements, including your soundbite from Jefferson Davis. Nobody here is fool enough to see that you have twisted your original stance into a broad, all encompassing statement involving slavery. Your position in the past, especially in the beginning was the Civil war was fought to end slavery, then it changed to the political economy of slavery (which I pointed out), now it's so broad it's undefinable. It's a pretty smooth tactic....but I'm no fool. I've seen many LOSERS do the same.

-In Davis's own words the war was over tarriffs and state's rights. -In Lincoln's words he would have not freed a single slave if it meant he could save the union. -Lincoln said time and time again that slavery in the South was Constitutional. - Lincoln also said the negro was an inferior race and his plan was to send them back to Africa and Haiti. -Dred Scott was the LAW of the Land Emancipation didn't happen until 1863 and ONLY affected the slaves in the Confederate states -There was almost a Civil war and sucession just 10 years earlier, when troops were sent to SC over Nulification. -Lincoln was poised to sign the Morrill tariff, a very high tariff, which was already passed in Congress -Ft Sumter was a tariff Collection station -Lincoln was elected by about 40% of the vote -Lincoln had endless opportunities to free slaves as the war progressed and chose not to.

Now you can eloquently SPIN these facts, but you can't change them. Any logical person can see that the MAIN cause of the Civil War was not slavery. I doubt you'll get it because logic eludes you wn Perfect Match is the dumb fool.

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Sappho's Original Opening Statement on the Causes of the Civil War:

Slavery in all of its ramifications--political, economic, religious, social, cultural--was at the heart and soul of the conflict between the North and South, and the conflict over the slavery, including the political economy of slavery, was the primary reason for the Secession of the South and the onset of the Civil War. From 1850-1860, every major political event that absorbed the public's attention was over slavery in one way or the other: The Compromise of 1850, the Dred Scott decision, the popularity of Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin, the Kansas-Nebraska Act, Bloody Kansas, the caning of Charles Sumner on the Senate floor by Preston Brookes, and John Brown's raid on Harper's Ferry, and the formation of the Republican Party, which chose as its president nominee Lincoln.

Lincoln and the Republican Party--which won the presidency in 1860--was adamantly opposed to the expansion of slavery into new states, and this issue--the extension of slavery--became the key focus in the years leading up to the Civil War, as a balance of power between North and South was at issue. With Lincoln election, the South saw the beginning of the end. Lincoln was personally opposed to slavery, and he had been denouncing it as a violation of the Declaration and morality, in major public speeches. More important, the South feared that majority power of the North, and seceded to protect its "peculiar intstitution" so connected to its way of life and economy. Lincoln intially declared his intention in fighting the Civil War was to hold the Union together, as he knew the Constitution protected slavery in the South, but the Civil War, under his guidance became during its course a quest to end slavery, with the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863, a key moment.

Throughout the 1850s, Americans understood the nature of the irrepressible conflict between North and South, and what was making the Union a House divided against itself. It was slavery, the issue of "transcendent magnitude" in Jefferson Davis' words, and, as Lincoln declared in 1865 in his Second Inaugural Address, everyone knew all along the conflict was about slavery first and foremost. Any attempt to deny this is to participate in the discredited Confederate Pride school of Civil War history and to be considered an apologist for slavery or a dumb fool who does not know what he or she doesn't know. A wise fool knows what he doesn't know, and in this debate-smackdo Sappy

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Initial Rebuttal or Qualification Regarding Perfect Match's Opening Statement:

Now, this is a fine story, but it neglects one detail: The agricultural economy of the South involving cotton, ride, sugar and tobacco, which was worth an estimated “thousands of millions of dollars” according to Jefferson Davis, was deeply dependent on slave labor, and thus the protection of this form of labor became, in Davis’s words, the interest of “transcendent magnitude” in the conflict between North and the South.

The economic interests of the South were inevitably entangled or invested in the political economy of slavery, and it was the Northern moral condemnation of slavery as evil, beginning more strongly in the 1830s and intensifying deeply in the 1850s, after the Mexican American War and the Compromise of 1850, that led to the election of Lincoln and the correct perception that with Lincoln’s election, the balance of power had shifted to the North, which, given, the North’s opposition to the expansion of slavery into new territories, meant the beginning of the end of slavery.

To protect the political economy of slavery, the South first depended on a political solution, and the acceptance of the right of nullification and State’s Rights, but with that theory rejected and the federal government claiming supremacy over the states, the South seceded to protect its economy based so much on slave labor.

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My Draft for Perfect Match's Opening Statement, Part 2

In 1861, a similar situation arose to that of 1828, as the South feared that Lincoln, as president, would impose on the South another burdensome tax (the Morrill Tariff), and in a pre-emptive move against this tariff, the South decided to secede as they knew that Nullifcation of this law on the basis of State’s Rights would not be accepted in principle by the North or the federal government. The Civil War can thus be seen as arising from a justified rebellion of Southern states against Northern tyranny, just as the Colonies themselves revolted in 1776 over burdensome taxes unfairly imposed on them by King George III and Parliament. Or to translate into contemporary terms, the North was a tyrannical tax federation, led by a Darth Vader figure—Abraham Lincoln—and the South was defended and led by the equivalent of Luke Skywalker and Hans Solo: Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee. The “force” behind them was the force of the Spirit of 1776: Resistance to taxes is obedience to Obi Wan Kenobi. The South, to protect its economy from the ravages of tariff and taxation, had no choice but to secede.

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TOPIC: The Civil War as an Economic Conflict: Smackdown, Round II