View single post by ole
 Posted: Wed May 27th, 2009 01:00 am
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Joined: Sun Oct 22nd, 2006
Posts: 2031

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Why did the North (supposedly anti-slavery) want to be reunited with 11 'slave' states?

As you seem to be hinting at a cause, I guess it's not hijacking to respond to this statement. "Supposedly" is exactly right. The various sections had, within their supposed borders, many different attitudes toward slavery. There were even anti-slavery groups in the south; some historians say there were more than in the north.

Why would they want to be reunited? The U.S. was 80 years into a noble experiment that had not been tried before. The experiment worked so well that the U.S. was taking its place among world leaders to the extent that its compliance was sought in international trade and law.

There were more than a few in the north who advised letting them go, but cooler heads prevailed in that the U.S. would no longer be the U.S. without all the parties to ratification of the Constitution. (Here I'm assuming that territories asking admission were actually ratifying it.)
Why was 'Union' valuable to the North, but not to the South?

Your're saying that the Union was not valuable to much of the South? That's pushing supposition a bit far, isn't it?

Let's look at some reasons:

* With secession the South controlled roughly 75% of the coastline.

And it was going to what with that coastline? There was no southern merchant fleet and, with the exception of New Orleans, the ports were substandard. Along that majority of coastline, recount for me the yards capable of building a sea-going vessel.
* The South controlled the outlet of the Mississippi River.

And when the river was closed, the northwestern farmers switched to railroads. The closing was damaging, but not a coup de gras.
* The profits the North derived from trade with the South was cut off-
...several hundred millions per year to zero.

What the North got from the south was cotton, tobacco, rice, and a dab of sugar ... and the shipping and financing thereof. (See above; no southern merchant fleet.) What the South got from the North was everything else, including hay and grain, and including imports, as the foreign trade didn't put into southern ports except to pick up cotton, rice and tobacco. (They had no need of southern sugar.)

I'd agree that Northern income might suffer a dip, which was why the industrialists pleaded with Buchanan and Lincoln to not start a war, (they figured the business would come back), but the north did not live by southern purchases. It would have been inconvenienced, to be sure, but it's a weak argument to conclude that the north went to war because the north wanted to retain the south's business.

Will you be bringing up tariffs next?


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