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Why many Southerners in the Civil War era deserve empathy and complex historical understanding : Swingers Discussion 98192
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TOPIC: Why many Southerners in the Civil War era deserve empathy and complex historical understanding
Created by: sappholovers
Original Starting post for this thread:
Lucky2 declared in another post: "I have never in my life supported the south and will never do so....."

Well, if Lucky2 is not going to speak up in any supportive way for the South--or for some Southerners--during the Civil War, then I must

First, I am assuming Lucky in the sentence quoted is just talking about the "South" during the era of slaveholding or the Civil War. (My sister lives in Georgia, and two of my beloved nephews and nieces live there, and I hate to see them tarred with a blunt brush of regional criticism or prejudice.)

So let me make a case for why I can approach the figure of Johnny Reb during the Civil War with empathy, or with charity, not malice (echoing Lincoln's call in his 2nd Inaugural for malice for none and charity for all).

Thomas Jefferson and James Madison were slaveholders, but I love and deeply respect much about them (or everything about them except their slave ownership). Jefferson gave us the Declaration, and Madison gave us the original draft of the Constitution and the brilliance of his contributions to the Federalist Papers. Jefferson also gave us Monticello (with its slave quarters) and the 10,000 books from his personal library that formed the basis of the Library of Congress.

Not all Southerners were defenders of slavery, and, yes, many were not slaveholders. It was the mean of wealth and power who owned slaves, and it was their defense of their property--their plantations, their economy and their property (including their property in slaves)--that led them to secede from the union to protect their property and political economy and their right to own and enslave human beings.

I really don't know why so many poorer, lower class Southerners were willing to fight and die for the the intersts of the men of power in the South or to become cannon fodder. I have some ideas about this, but I also see it as deeply tragic that poor Southerners aligned their interests with the slave masters rather than the slaves. It would have saved many of their lives if they did not march so willingly--or out of obligation and threat and a sense of duty and pride--under the command of Pickett and other Southern generals.

Their loyalty was to a home and a place, I think, in many cases rather than to defending slavery. If those poor people without slaves had just shot some of the slaveholders rather than at Northerners, the Civil War would have ended sooner and been less bloody. Indeed, those poor white men should have shot the slaveholding masters and then divided up the plantation lands among the poor, both black and white.

I feel sorry for poor people fighting a war to protect imperial economic interests. Right now the American Military is a volunteer army, and its lowest ranks are filled by people from the middle and lower classes. I don't see many upper class people fighting and dying in Iraq. The military is one of the best jobs open to people with just a high school educaton.

I wonder what the approval rating for the war and George W. Bush would be if the sons and daughters of the upper class--all those who particularly benefitted from his tax cuts--had to fight a war that has driven us into a massive debt, whose burden of repayment will fall on the middle class.

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you know sappho there are civil war forums out there...................

PG

Louisville KY
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debjack " Sapp, why do you tell Dan that he is wrong and slavery was the cause? It is all you do."

Again, your post is full of baloney. I spend a lot of time pointing out your baloney, your inaccuracies, your untruths, and I spend some time calling upon you to support stuff you say with fact, evidence, support.

I've also started up various threads on a range of topics. Of course, thanks to you, Destin, and Perfect Match, the threads get diverted from the topic and filled with your farting around. At least Perfect Match tries to get out of the dunce corner by citing a fact or two, or he repeats what I've supplied in terms of evidence and tries to reconfigure it or torture it to make it conform to his bias, his ideology, his baloney.

Los Angeles CA
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I for one feel proud for every soldier that sees combat, true Patriots, hero's, the reason there is an America and the reason it is free today.

Destin FL
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Sorrty to be a latecomer, but I just now found this thread. The Civil War was fought for the same reason all wars are fought - the policiticans wanted to beat on their chests and prove that play "my boys can beat up your boys."

The power struggle in Congress was between the manufacturing states (North, mostly Northeast) and the farming states (mostly southern). Those groups had substantially different economic interests.

Perhaps Eli Whitney is as responsible for the Civil War as anyone. When he invented the cotton gin it turned the South into the world's major cotton producing area. The South's economy became tremendously dependent on that single crop - cotton. Growing cotton was labor intensive, but with the cotton gin a single slave could turn out 100 times as much cotton in a day as before the cotton gin. It made the value of each slave jump dramatically, and by so doing left the Southern cotton farmer - the landed gentry - with a heavy investment in his slaves.

After that it was a continuing contest to keep slavery in the South and ban it in the North, with additional states added to the Union in pairs so as to keep the balance between Free States and Slave States intact.

As has been well pointed out previously in this thread, the war was fought mostly by non slave-owning men - and boys. As Shelby Foote pointed out in his renowned trilogy on the Civil War, when a Confederate prisoner was asked by a Union soldier "Why are you fighting for n*****s," he replied "I aint' fightin' for no ni****s. I'm fighting because YOU'RE down HERE!"

That was sufficient reason. Union armies were invading Confederate states. In those days one's primary allegiance - both North and South - was to their STATE. Few people ever even traveled 20 miles from home in those days in their entire lifetimes, let alone were familiar with other states and with allegiance to something bigger than their own state.

Like all wars, it was a rich man's war and a poor man's fight. We should all feel sad for every soldier who sees combat.

Jim

South Riding VA
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debjack: "Sapp, your continued claims that slavery was the sole cause of the CW....."

Baloney, lie, distortion--another gaseous fart from debjack proving that he can't read.

Show me where I've said that slavery was the sole cause of the Civil War. Cite any words to that support your allegation.

I've argued that slavery was at the heart of the conflict, but that the conflict is more complex than just slavery, as the conflict over slavery became cultural, religious, economic, political.

Jefferson Davis gives a set of reasons for Southern secession, not all related to slavery, in his 1861 message to the Confederate Congress, and I take his word about how other issues are involved in the conflict, but Davis says in that speech slavery was the interest of "transcendent magnitude."

Anyone who tries to deny that slavery was at the heart of the conflict is involved, in my view, of a racist rewriting of history that involves a denial of the reasons for the Civil War.....

Similarly, I would distrust a German who tried to deny the Holocaust and suspect anti-semitism as lying behind that denial.

So debjack: What do you think led to the Civil War? What is your argument for why the South split from the Union?

Los Angeles CA
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sap/jnm are race baiters, speaking about things they know nothing about, spewing communist and socialist propaganda!

Destin FL
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PerfectMatch:

The immediate issue of the Civil War--the reason the South split--was over the election of Lincoln and his commitment to end the expansion of slavery, so the South split first and foremost over the issue of slavery, and that was the issue of transcendent magnitude between North and South.

Show me where Lincoln or Jefferson Davis said the paramount issue of the Civil War was taxes and tariffs.

You can't get it through your thick, thick, thick skull that the Civil War could be first and foremost about slavery, even if Lincoln was originally fighting in his words to hold the Union together and prevent the spread of slavery into new states. The whole conflict--called the irrepressible conflict--between North and South from 1848-1960 hinged around slavery, and only a dummy with a discredited Confederate Pride view of the Civil War would argue otherwise.

Why do you have troubles recognizing slavery at the heart of the Civil War conflict?

Why do you have trouble finding sources and historians and websites and encylopedia articles to support your point of view?

Because it's wrong.

Los Angeles CA
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zing is pathetic, report him, he will be banned the next time they get the communist liberal

Destin FL
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Perfect, the libs are commies, not worth the time, we need to purge them!

Destin FL
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Lincoln said as president in 1861, that his intention in fighting the Civil War and as president was not to free the slaves in the South. But his intention was to bring an end to the expansion of slavery. So he was not lying in his 1861 letter, but one also has to read that letter--and Lincoln--as the South read and judged Lincoln, as someone personally opposed to slavery in general, as he declared many times in major speeches, and someone adamantly opposed to the extension of slavery into the West.

I've deeply immersed my mind in a long and careful study of many voices from the antebellum era, including reading extensively in Lincoln's writings, so now I am not brainwashed in the least: My thoughts have been shaped by the deep immersion on the language and history of the Civil War era, and my thoughts have been checked and balanced by the study of other authors who have researched even more deeply than I have done into Lincoln, the issue of slavery, and the Civil War.

You have proven, yourself, time and again, to be a bonehead in understanding the Civil War, Lincoln's writings, and you are still in the dunce corner for not having done enough homework to check contemporary history or to read carefully, it seems, the Message of Jefferson Davis in 1861.

At best, your are something of a magpie who has found a shiny piece or two to attract your attention, but you ignore and filter out historical fact and evidence with a closed-mindedness that disturbs as you blind yourself to the true nature of the Civil War and thus misread its legacy and the subsequent history of the USA, leaving you wanking off by yourself or with Lucky and some others who admire the Confederate flag as a symbol of a tax-tariff revolt, when it is the icon of an defense of a slavery and white supremacy and thus up there with the Nazi flag as something to detest.

Los Angeles CA
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TOPIC: Why many Southerners in the Civil War era deserve empathy and complex historical understanding