"For those who plan to respond, as they always do, to discussions about this topic with emails regurgitating neo-Confederate talking points about the Civil War being a conflict about state’s rights rather than slavery, let me state up front that I’m not buying it and neither is any other serious student of history. The Civil War did hinge in part on constitutional questions but the notion that slavery was incidental to the outbreak of the conflict is simply absurd. Without slavery, there would have been no war. The south seceded because it feared limits on the expansion of slavery would eventually doom the institution. To protect a heritage built on the uncompensated labor of slaves and their vast investment in human “property,” the states that formed the Confederacy waged a bloody war that costs hundreds of thousands of American lives and left the south in ruins. It would take a century for the region to recover completely."
Tobin, you are not a serious student of history. You are a serious apologist for Northern aggression and are largely ignorant of the history of the Civil War. If you disagree, then I formally challenge you to debate the issue: RESOLVED, that the Civil War was not fought to end slavery. Stop hiding behind your masthead where you can't be held accountable for your error. I'll give you a few hints of your coming beat down in this article.
1. Without slavery there would have been no war. Not true. Without the Northern invasion, there would have been no war. Lincoln invaded, not because of slavery, but because if the South left the Union, it would end the North's protective tariffs on foreign goods, substantially damaging the Northern economy. Lincoln made it clear that slave emancipation was not his goal or his motivation:
My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that.--Letter to Horace Greeley" (August 22, 1862)
2. The south seceded because it feared limits on the expansion of slavery would eventually doom the institution. This statement is sheer nonsense. If the South seceded, it would no longer have access to the new western territories, and no place to expand slavery to. How do you explain that, genius? Was the South going to start plantations in the Atlantic Ocean?
3. To protect a heritage built on the uncompensated labor of slaves and their vast investment in human “property,” the states that formed the Confederacy waged a bloody war that costs hundreds of thousands of American lives and left the south in ruins. So much is wrong with this statement. I have these points in rebuttal:
a. Slave labor was not uncompensated. Slaves were given food, housing, clothing and medical care, even after they became too old to work. According to Fogel and Engerman's Time on the Cross, The Economics of American Negro Slavery (1974), slaves consumed 90% of everything they produced.
b. The South's "vast investment in human property" included many millions of dollars paid to Northern slave traders. The North had no qualms about selling Africans into slavery when it was enriching them, and they continued the slave trade in foreign markets when it was outlawed in the U.S. in 1808. For every slave Yankees sold to the South, they sold about 20 more to Cuba, Brazil and the West Indies. The North ended slavery in its states primarily by selling its slaves to the South, not by emancipating them. Further, slavery continued in states loyal to the North after the Civil War began, in Delaware, Maryland, Kentucky, and West Virginia. Tell me again, Tobin, about Yankee moral superiority.
c. The South waged a defensive war against a ruthless invader that made total war on the Southern population, who burned homes, farms, universities and public buildings to the ground, killed livestock and burned crops, used Confederate prisoners as human shields against artillery, and lobbed shells into downtown Charleston to randomly kill civilians. But you, Tobin, act as if the South started the war, instead of the other way around. The shame of the carnage is totally on the backs of the Northern invaders, and those who rationalize their aggression. There is absolutely NOTHING honorable about the Northern aggression on the South.
You, Jonathan Tobin, really should read a long essay that deals with the subject thoroughly. It is "Why the Civil War Was Not About Slavery," by Professor Donald Livingston of Emory University. I'm sure you'll find it uncomfortable having all of your prized myths exploded before your very eyes. I am also sure that you will not be able to offer any serious rebuttal.
Let your education begin, Jonathan Tobin, at the following link.
And I'll be waiting to hear from you about that debate.