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 Posted: Tue Dec 11th, 2007 01:33 pm
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39th Miss. Walker
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Ole, I'm not going to get into a tit for tat with you. You have your opinions and seem to enjoy tearing apart what I have posted. A good way to piss someone off and send him from the forum.
What you have written, particularly in rebuttal, can not always stand close scrutiny. Many volumes have tried to cover what we are discussing in a few short paragraphs.
While I think you and I are in general agreement with the basic premise, we differ in many opinions.
Maybe the solution is not to post on any possible opinionated subjects.


I think, particularly as it effected the rice and cotton culture in South Carolina, you need to re-evaluate the concepts of slave vs hired labor. Hired labor was tried with no success. I at no time alluded to working in the sun, where did you get this? Are you twisting this to try and show a possible racial bias on my part? I did point out that the slave labor was more suited for working in the Lowcountry due to his inherited trait in many of an immunity to malaria.

Conviction is not fact;

Insistence is not proof;

Opinion is not evidence.

I thought it was worth mentioning.

A little condescending?



 Posted: Tue Dec 11th, 2007 06:26 pm
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ole
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No offense intended, Walker. As you said, we're talking opinion and interpretation, both of which can be changed. Don't know as we'll ever see any real facts on what we're talking about.

I think, particularly as it effected the rice and cotton culture in South Carolina, you need to re-evaluate the concepts of slave vs hired labor. Hired labor was tried with no success. I at no time alluded to working in the sun, where did you get this? Are you twisting this to try and show a possible racial bias on my part? I did point out that the slave labor was more suited for working in the Lowcountry due to his inherited trait in many of an immunity to malaria.


I'm unfamiliar with when hired labor was tried with no success; perhaps you can help me with this?

Working in the sun and a genetic resistance to semitropical diseases are both part of the same myth that the black man must be used because he is better suited to the conditions. No. I'm not implying a racial bias -- just probing the long-accepted idea that black labor was necessary because it was genetically more capable of withstanding the conditions.  It might be true, but I've never seen the idea challenged. It's something that is said, accepted and passed over.

Finally, "condescending"? That wasn't the intention. I found the statement very pointed and wished only to share it. It applies to me as well as to you and everyone else. I draw a hard line between what is my opinion and what is a fact. Everything I say ought to be understood as my opinion, unless I come up with a number or a page in a book that shows it to be a fact.

We're in an area where there are no facts. I'm here to have my opinions challenged and to challenge the opinions of others. This is a kitchen-table thread. Nevermind the stove; dinner is in there.

ole



 Posted: Wed Dec 12th, 2007 01:36 pm
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For a pretty good discussion of the history of slavery and the use of Indian, black, and white labor the book, "Black Majority by Peter Wood, 1974" should fill in most of the cracks. He also details the history of the Rice Culture.

For a discussion of tariffs, industrialization and the agricultural south; "The Economic Divide, Northern Industrialization in America. Rickard Klineman, 1978"

For a history of rice in South Carolina; David Doar, History of Rice in South Carolina, I believe is the title.

For a discussion of slave productivity try "Agricultural Productivity in the Lower South 1720-1800 Joshua Rosenbloom"

Finally an interesting book that contrasts the non-slaveholding yeoman farmer to the slave holder is "The Free State of Jones" Byrnum I think I have her spelling correct.

I can get you more if you want but I think most will back up my basic premise.



 Posted: Wed Dec 12th, 2007 03:13 pm
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Thanks for the list. abebooks will be my next stop.

ole



 Posted: Thu Dec 13th, 2007 11:57 pm
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Has anybody seen the latest issue of North & South (Vol. 10, No. 4)?

There's a short study three-page study by Joanie's favorite historian, James McPherson, titled 'Central to the War' in which he discusses Civil War soldiers' motives for fighting and seems to fit into this thread as if he were contributing his own post. Near the end of the piece he writes:

'Whether or not they fought consciously to defend slavery, Confederate soldiers undeniably fought to defend a slave society from perceived or threatened destruction. The American Civil War would not have occurred without the existence of slavery.'

Well, there you have it. Case settled.

McPherson goes on to write:

"That institution (slavery) was by far the most valuable form of property in the entire United States — let alone the slave states. The market value of the four million slaves in 1860 was close to $3 billion — more than the value of land, of cotton, or of anything else in the slave states, and more than the amount of capital invested in manufacturing and railroads combined in the whole United States. No wonder Jefferson Davis justified secession in 1861 as an act of self-defense against the incoming Lincoln administration, whose announced policy of excluding slavery from the territories would make "property in slaves so insecure as to be comparatively worthless...thereby annihilating in effect property worth thousands of millions of dollars."

Sidebar: I greatly enjoy each issue of N&S, but McPherson's story had three glaring typos in it. Lincoln, for example, was spelled 'Lincooln.'Also, several letters in the mailbag also had a few typos, which is uncharacteristic of this magazine. Who's not using the spellchecker, I wonder.



 Posted: Fri Dec 14th, 2007 03:05 am
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Texas Defender
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PvtClewell,

  I'm sure glad that you finally settled the question. We'll have to take your word for it taking McPherson's word for it.  ;)



 Posted: Fri Dec 14th, 2007 08:53 pm
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'Whether or not they fought consciously to defend slavery, Confederate soldiers undeniably fought to defend a slave society from perceived or threatened destruction. The American Civil War would not have occurred without the existence of slavery.'

I can agree whole-heartedly with the first sentence.  I mean, ding-dong, could anything be more obvious?  It is the whole thing about "the poor man fighting the rich man's war" perhaps for separate, but merging, (and manipulated) purposes.  As Ole pointed out to me earlier in this thread, that concept is just plain cliche. 

I still do not agree with the second sentence.

Geez, has anyone noticed, that James Mcpherson seems kind of biased? =+++

I wonder, if he weren't writing about slavery, could he write about anything at all?  Not that there is anything wrong with writing about slavery, to the contrary:  "lest we forget..."  But why is he saying he is CW historian, when he is a socialogist studying slavery?

JoanieReb

Last edited on Fri Dec 14th, 2007 08:56 pm by JoanieReb



 Posted: Sat Dec 15th, 2007 07:05 pm
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To quote a member of this board who shall remain anonymous, "Geez."

Being a little harsh on the boy, no?

"I wonder, if he weren't writing about slavery, could he write about anything at all?

Hmm, let's see.

1. 'For Cause and Comrade: Why Men Fought in the Civil War' (1998) is a nice, insightful look at what caused men to continue fighting despite killing themselves in the hundreds of thousands. Think this book also won the Lincoln Prize.

2. 'Crossroads of Freedom: Antietam' (2004) examines why the Battle of Antietam was a pivotal moment in the Civil War as well as the nation's history.

3.'Drawn With the Sword: Reflections on the American Civil War' (1997) is a collection of essays looking at various issues about the war. The last chapter is a neat one entitled 'What's the Matter with History?' where he questions the direction in which modern narrative history is heading.

4. 'Abraham Lincoln and the Second American Revolution' (1992) looks at Lincoln as commander in chief as well as communicator, the slew of new laws passed in his administration and the consequences of the war on the south.

5. 'This Mighty Scourge: Perspectives on the Civil War' (2007) is another collection of essays, including one of Lincoln's use of presidential war powers, which seems somehow timely. There's also a short chapter on Jesse James.

6. 'Battle Cry of Freedom' (1988). All you have to say here is Pulitzer Prize. Unless, of course, you want to start a movement to revoke it. Good luck.

These are his books in my library and not one puts its entire focus on slavery. I guess he can handle more than just the slavery issue.

Sociologist or historian? Splitting hairs. What does it matter as long as his body of work has made a significant contribution to our understanding of the war, or given us cause to look at the war with different perspectives? I've never heard him call himself a historian. He' been introduced as a historian, he taught history at Princeton, he won his Pulitzer for history, so I'll go with the flow on that one. 'Battle Cry of Freedom' is generally regarded as his seminal work that brought a scholarly look at the war to the masses in a way most other authors have not.

One synonym for cliche is 'truism.' Another is 'maxim.' Sometimes a cliche, no matter how tired or trite, is all that is really needed to make a point anyway.



 Posted: Sat Dec 15th, 2007 08:49 pm
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64thNYDrummer
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Twenty one members of the Confederate Congress did not own any slaves, a fact which seems to have some relevance to this discussion.

Dennis Conklin



 Posted: Sat Dec 15th, 2007 10:43 pm
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Thank you, Dennis, that is definitely a relevant and important fact, in my book.

Whew!  Pvt Clewell, I sure am glad you posted your last post here, and re-raised the bar to your ususal standards!

I was concerned.  I mean, that statement of Mc's: 'Whether or not they fought consciously to defend slavery, Confederate soldiers undeniably fought to defend a slave society from perceived or threatened destruction.'  gets my award for "DUH!!!! Statement of 2007".  Maybe he has just been quoting himself for so long that he has forgotten, in the immortal words of another icon, David St. Hubbins:  "It's such a fine line between stupid, and clever."

I was going to help you out by pointing out that one historian whom has my highest respect, Bruce Catton, also believes that there would have been no war without slavery.  (He and I disagree, as well, =+++. )

But you seem to have recovered and gone back to your sharp-minded and articulate, ways, so I will just focus on what you have said for now.

"Scuse me, I have some chewing on your post to do now....(munch, munch, munch...)

Joanie



 Posted: Sat Dec 15th, 2007 11:13 pm
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IMHO, the Southern states without slavery look pretty much like the Northern states west of the Appalachians.

None of them were lining up to secede.

In the absence of slavery, what are the compelling reasons for southern secession that do not also look good to Ohioans and Iowans?

 

HankC



 Posted: Sat Dec 15th, 2007 11:24 pm
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64thNYDrummer wrote: Twenty one members of the Confederate Congress did not own any slaves, a fact which seems to have some relevance to this discussion.



and since only 25% of Southerners owned slaves, we can deduce that there were 7 slave-holding members of the Confederate Cogress...

 

HankC



 Posted: Sun Dec 16th, 2007 01:19 pm
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Hank, Don't know quite what your comment means but for the sake of compleatness The slaveholdings of 24 members are unknown, more than 40 0wned 5 or less, while 122 possessed between 5 and 60 negroes. Only 7 members owned between 216 and 500 slaves.
Dennis Conklin



 Posted: Sun Dec 16th, 2007 02:06 pm
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HankC
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In other words, the south's population is 75% non-slaveholding but the Confederate Congress is at least 79% slave-holding, or more.

Definitely a relevant and important fact...


HankC



 Posted: Sun Dec 16th, 2007 04:05 pm
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Thats one way of looking at it, however I still find it intersting that 21 men with no financial interest in preserving slavery were willing to make the sacrifice of traveling to Richmond and maintaing themselves there for months in order to represent thier ststes in the Confederate
Congress. At least for these 21 there must have been something other than slavery at stake.

Dennis Conklin







R



 Posted: Sun Dec 16th, 2007 04:55 pm
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How were the 21 not involved in slavery? Do we know they were not lawyers involved w/ many slave holding clients etc? Just a thought.



 Posted: Sun Dec 16th, 2007 05:42 pm
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While the main cause of the war was the slavery issue it was not the only reason many served in many different capacities.
Patriotism for their country or state. Up until the war the central government was the weaker and the allegiance of most was to their state, not the country. In the North many signed up were immigrants because for the first time in their life they finally saw the hope promised by this nation and were willing to fight for it.
Many politicians were driver as they are today for power.
There were many reasons for serving.
One mistake many of us make is equating the slavery issue, as the cause of the war, to the reason the individual served his country, when in fact the reasons could be totally divergent.



 Posted: Sun Dec 16th, 2007 06:57 pm
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At least for these 21 there must have been something other than slavery at stake.

Perhaps. Maybe the families of a few were planters. Maybe the close friends of a few were slaveowners. Maybe, like many of the non-slaveowners, they simply wanted to keep the slave in his place. Maybe some of them feared slave rebellions. Maybe they were from border states and had long since sold their slaves down river.

Hank's point is pertinent: Include the 24 whose ownership is unknown and there are 45, of 214 in Congress. That's a skosh over 21 percent nonowners and almost 79 percent owners. On the surface, it would appear that the non-slaveowners were seriously underrepresented.

Obviously, those with time to represent their constituencies would tend to be the wealthier class; i.e., slaveowners. Maybe we can assume that the secession conventions might have a similar ratio?

Just a thought.

ole



 Posted: Sun Dec 16th, 2007 07:24 pm
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One mistake many of us make is equating the slavery issue, as the cause of the war, to the reason the individual served his country, when in fact the reasons could be totally divergent.
I don't recollect anyone declaring that Johnny fought for slavery or that Billy fought to free the slaves. According to -- close your eyes, Joanie -- McPherson's For Cause and Comrades, and -- you can open them now -- Chandra Manning, more than a few did.

When western Billy, who had likely never seen a black (free or slave) got into slave territory, he soon realized that the peculiar institution had to go: winning the war and leaving slavery intact would lead only to another war. He evinced this idea many months before Lincoln acted on that feeling.

Johnny, of course, didn't own a single slave, so he couldn't have been fighting for slavery. Channing and McPherson (don't tell Joanie) take it a bit further. Possibly most fought for the adventure, the pay, an obligation to friends and family -- maybe even a few to protect their home; but a good many did join to keep alive the idea that one day they would be wealthy enough to own a slave, or simply because they feared having free blacks loose among them. -- the old and more modern argument that the black man wants nothing so much as he wants to marry your wives and daughters.

But Johnny knew, even before Billy did, that the war was about preserving slavery. He might not have liked that, but now he was in and couldn't very well walk out.



 Posted: Sun Dec 16th, 2007 09:35 pm
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JoanieReb
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But Johnny knew, even before Billy did, that the war was about preserving slavery. He might not have liked that, but now he was in and couldn't very well walk out.

Yes, the war undeniably became about slavery.  Duh, Emancipation Proclamation following the politically decisive-enough victory at Sharps-tietum, where the North didn't actually lose (because, even if Lee had personally delivered his battle-plan to McClellan, LIttle Mac would not have used it to decisive advantage, such a gentleman was Little Mac! - but that's another thread.)

So it became about slavery.  I'm Still Not Convinced that it wouldn't have occurred....

BTW Ole, I'm glad you have found an author to back up McPherson, although I'll have to take a lookie-see for myself.  Allt this McPherson quoting just isn't going anywhere with me. =+++!

You know, you can actually go to any one of the Icons (Catton, Foote, and McPherson, in alphabetical order) in order to back up your arguments, just not so rabidly, and with greater total insight.  And, I can argue with all three of 'em when called on to do so.  In fact, I believe Catton makes the argument for the statement that I quoted at the beginning of this post very nicely in his preface to a book of his essays that I can't find right now - get back with ya on that...

Hmmmm....see there are five or six other posts above yours for me to take umbrage with, or some such thing....



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