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 Posted: Sat Nov 28th, 2009 10:10 am
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Unionblue
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19bama46 wrote: Blue,

I intended to get back to you yesterday, but alas, life interveined!
19bama46, I understand about life, no problem with waiting for you to deal with it, I assure you.You aksed earlier what if any rights of the south had been trampled by the north to the extent that disunion could and should be claimed... (paraphrasd and summarized...accurately, I hope)

I am not sure I can asnswer the question because looking at the question from the position of hindsight here in the 21st century the reasons seem to us to be trivial and silly. Certainly there was an economic factor, there was a loss or the fear of loss of influence and power aas non slave states would be admitted to the union upsetting the balance of power.... This, I suspect, was a major fear. And of course, there is the whole issue of slavery. to go into all the aspects of this issue would take volumes and they are well known to all who read these words.
That is exactly what I asked and you have summarized my question very well.  Now let me address the rest of your above paragraph, if I may.  Yes, we have the position of hindsight here in the 21st century with much of historical fact at our fingertips.  With that historical hindsight, I myself discount the economic factor, as I can find no real historical evidence to support it.  As to the loss of political power, I feel you may have something there, as the slave states were losing out to the greater population of the North and representation in the House of Representatives.  There may have been even more apprehension in the South with the issue of closing the federal territories to slavery, but I tend to lean towards the idea THE issue was slavery.
I maintain however that it is not for us to enumerate these greviences,  but rather it was sufficient that they knew, articulated or not, what they meant . The perception of a wrong can be just as powerful as the wrong itself...
And here is where I part company, sort-of-speak.  I think it is absolutely essential that we do list the greviences these men presented and examine them to see if there were any REAL wrongs vice perceptions of wrong.  The leadership of the South, in their State governments and in their representatives in the Congress and federal government, were not fools, stupid or without knowledge over the issues facing them at that time.  The only preception that I can find that these men had was a precption of a danger to slavery.  To my mind, they listed this danger, over and over again, at the expense of any other grevience or factor.  I see no "wrongful" perception made by the South and its leadership.  They decided what the issue was, how important it was to them, and then pronounced loud and clear for all to hear.
In any event, they felt wronged, believed the bond was broken and pulled out. ..
But were they justified in taking the course they did before they exhausted other, peaceful means?  In my own view, no, they were not, because they had not been wronged, either in perception or in reality.
Therre are many would say the DOI is/was a document written for that moment in time and its value to day is historical only. I am not among them. I look at the document and see a superbly crafted statement or series of statements that lay out the rights, duties, and responsibilities of a free people..here or elsewhere. I believe the document was just as valid in 1860 as it was in 1776 and its validity continues to this day and beyond.
I agree.
Look if you will about what the DOI says about government, rights duties and responsibility.

That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

What could be clearer? Governments are formed to secure the rights of its citizens. Was the government of King George  securing th rights of the colonists, how about the government of the US in 1860...or more important today?... Opinions will vary won't they...whose opinion counts and whose does not??
My problem in comparing the Revolution of 1776 with the Rebellion of 1861 is in the causes that made each come about.  Were the reasons the colonists of 1776 used in justifying their rebellion the same as those who rebelled in 1861?  In my view, when viewing the Declaration of Independence with the Declarations of Secession or Ordinances of Secession, there is no real comparison.  I agree that opinions will vary, but examing history and the reasons given for the two Rebellions offer clear differences, again, in my own opinion.
 That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Here the DOI tells us what our rights are relative to our governemnt when we no longer believe the current government becomes destructive to the purposed under which it was founded. Notice there are no conditions or miminum  greviences laid out, but rather it is left to the people to decide for themselves when the threashold has been met and passed.
Agreed.
But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

Here we are told that when the threshold of tyrrany has been breached, it is our DUTY to throw off the governemnt and replace it. Once again the minimum number of greviences is not listed but is left to the people to come to that conclusion as best they can..
Here again we must part company.  The Declaration was written with the intent of explaining WHY the American colonies were separating from England and the document included a number of greviences, even though as you point out no set number was listed.  The people, through their representatives, were listing the wrongs done to them to show the justification for the action they were taking.
Were the secessionists right or wrong?  I would argue that their minds, according to their value structures and looking at things from their selifish interests, they acted justly. Looking at things from the comfort of my living room in the 21st century, it is easy to see that they acted incorrectly...
Which in my view is what history is all about.  We learn from history, we look at the past in order to apply to the future, to avoid past mistakes if at all possible.  I believe it is entirely possible to look at the minds, the values, and the justifications of the secessionists and find them wrong, even from my 21st century computer keyboard.  I also feel that a majority of 19th century Americans, both in the North and South, found these men wrong and wanting in their reasons for rebellion.  History shows us that secession was debated and warned against many times before 1861 and we have the historical results of two rebellions to compare with one another.  I see major differences and justifications for each, some justifiable and some very much wanting.
What about the future? Will this nation ever again struggle over this issue? What criteria would we use? Who would be to say if the decisions arrived at were ritht or wrong?

To me, this document is eternal...crafted by man, but holding eternal truths
I contend, as you do, Ed, that the people of this country will have to decide if they ever feel justified in using the DOI for any future struggle over its principles and its spirit of intent.  And I also feel that history will be the judge, as it is now, if that struggle will be right or wrong.  I do agree with you that the document is eternal and is one of the most amazing documents ever created by man.

 

Ed


I enjoyed our exchange, Ed, and I am looking forward to discussing it more with you and our fellow forum members.


Until our next post.

Sincerely,

Unionblue

Last edited on Sat Nov 28th, 2009 10:12 am by Unionblue



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Belief does not make truth. Evidence makes truth. And belief does not make evidence.
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