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 Posted: Mon Apr 2nd, 2007 01:38 am
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ole
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Texas Defender wrote:   Widow, what you say is quite true. The attempt to preserve a balance in political power went back half a century before the war began. Northerners were against adding new slave states because due to the 3/5 rule, they considered that these states would be overrepresented in Congress. They also resented having to compete with slave labor. Thus, you see an example in the Missouri Compromise of 1820. Missouri was brought in as a slave state and Maine as a free state. In this way, the balance in the Senate was preserved.

The 3/5 rule was not, in my reading, a bone of contention. What the south wanted was the senators -- there'd never be enough slaves in the territories to have much effect on the House, even with the 3/5 rule.

I believe the noise over slaves in the territories was more whipped up than real -- if you have slaves you ain't gonna move to Kansas, or if you don't and want to move to Kansas, your resentment is going to be against the idea that you can't. Kansas was never going to be a slave state, no matter what kind of initial vote was taken.

Competition in labor? Don't see it in the territories. In New York, maybe, and New England, and industrialized areas, but the territories would be agricultural beyond any foreseeable future. Free labor was of concern only when the discussion of emancipation came up -- something the secessionists ignored when stirring up resentment against the north.

It may be true that the secessionists saw the inevitability of losing power on the national scene, but they didn't seek to avoid it through creating new slave states as the apologists would like us to believe. They sought to avoid it by creating a nation of their own design -- one in which they would hold all power and not have to contend with party politics or compromise.

Just a few initial thoughts.

Ole

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