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Interpretation of Stonewall Jackson - Thomas Stonewall Jackson - The Participants of the War - Mikitary & Civilian - Civil War Interactive Discussion Board
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 Posted: Thu Apr 9th, 2009 07:15 pm
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barrydancer
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ginnie61:

I'm going to have to chome in agreement with Doc C. As one of my friends once said, there's not a cause for war you can mention that, when scratched, doesn't reveal slavery under the surface. Tarrif, states' rights, territorial expansion, etc.

I think it's a fallacy (is that the word I want) to assume that, because the majority of Southerners did not own slaves, that they had no stake in the perpetuation of the system. It was the basis of the Southern economy and racial slavery was one the key compnents of suthern society. There's a reason why Confederate vice-president Alexander Stephens declared in March 1861 that the new confederacy's "foundations are laid, its corner- stone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery—subordination to the superior race—is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth." Strangely, Stephens then spent his post-war years claiming that slavery had nothing to do with secession!

Stephens wasn't alone, a number of political and social leaders expressed similar views during the secession crisis and founding of the Confederacy. Look at the secession ordinances of the Southern states. It's no coincindence that federal interference in slave matters is at the top of all their lists of grievances. Perhaps most convincing is the words of the secession commissioners, the men sent out by South Carolina, Mississippi, Alabama, etc., to sell secession to their fellow Southerners. They weren't preaching about grand constitutional principles. They were whipping up fears that Lincoln and the Northerners were going to free all the slaves, and let them marry and rape all your wives and daughters. (Charles B. Dew's Apostles of Disunion is one the best works of history I've read, and presents the secession commissioners in their own words.) Many other figures' post-war pronouncements of how slavery was irrelevant to the conflict, as one poster in another thread here mentioned, don't hold water when compared to their antebellum views and statements.


The people of the time had no problem in telling anyone who would listen why they were doing what they were doing. It was only after the war, when the South lost and the historys began to be written, that slavery's role in the conflict was pushed to the rear.

That doesn't mean that the common soldier was fighting to directly ensure slavery's survival, he likely had a whole host of reasons of his own, but indirectly, he surely was.

Sorry to go on a seeming rant. The subject is one of my interests. But Susan probably summed it up nicely above with the McPherson quote.



 Posted: Thu Apr 9th, 2009 07:54 pm
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susansweet3
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Barry first of all thanks for the compliment.  second you really did a good job of summarizing the facts of the case .  What was said before and during the war was much more important to why the war was fought than what was said AFTER the war.  Jubal Early and his Lost Cause started changing the facts that are right in the Confederate Constitution. 

Good job!!!

Susan



 Posted: Thu Apr 9th, 2009 09:49 pm
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borderuffian
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Doc C wrote: Gin

Since I am a southerner I will be as tactfull as can be. WHERE DID YOU ATTEND SCHOOL. Your comment "south didnot go to war for slavery" is blatantly wrong. True the majority of southern soldiers didn't own slaves but the indirectly or directly, slavery was the basis of the cw. Do you really believe that the cw would have occurred if slavery didn't exist? I usually show restraint in my comments but comments like that really irritate me.

Doc C

There are several statements which give us good reason to doubt that view:

"Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled...:
ARTICLE THIRTEEN, No amendment shall be made to the Constitution which will authorize or give to Congress the power to abolish or interfere, within any State, with the domestic institutions thereof, including that of persons held to labor or service by the laws of said State."

Proposed amendment to the United States Constitution, March 1861 (passed by a Northern dominated Congress after several Southern states had seceded).

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"I understand a proposed amendment to the Constitution...has passed Congress, to the effect that the Federal Government shall never interfere with the domestic institutions of the States, including that of persons held to service....I have no objection to its being made express and irrevocable." (my emphasis)

Abraham Lincoln, Inaugural Address, March 4, 1861

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"...this war is not waged upon our part...for any purpose of conquest or subjugation, nor purpose of overthrowing or interfering with the rights or established institutions of those States; but to defend and maintain the supremacy of the Constitution, and to preserve the Union..."

Resolution passed by the United States House of Representatives, July 22, 1861 (Vote: 117-2). Similar resolution passed by the Senate, July 25, 1861 (Vote: 30-5).

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"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."

Abraham Lincoln to Horace Greeley, August 22, 1862



 Posted: Thu Apr 9th, 2009 10:18 pm
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barrydancer
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borderuffian:

That proposed amendment passed the House, but died in the Senate. As it was designed as a way to placate the South on slavery, preventing further secessions and to bring those that had back into the fold, I don't see how it contradicts Doc C's point about slavery. If a constitutional amendment designed to protect slavery was proposed to head off secession and restore union, then it serves that the bone of contention between the sections was slavery itself.

Your other selections seem to mirror an argument that I see a number of people make. Since initial Union war aims were not directed towards aboloshing or interfering with slavery, then slavery could have had nothing to do with the war. The problem with such as an argument is that ignores the Confederacy and it's reasonings behind secession and war, while placing the blame for agression on the North.

Lincoln's famous letter to Greeley is interesting. At the very time he was writing it a draft of the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation was sitting in his desk. While saying one thing to Greeley, he was simulatneously preparing quite a different course of action behind the scenes.



 Posted: Thu Apr 9th, 2009 10:58 pm
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Doc C
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Borderuffian

Your post, I feel, does nothing to change my view that the institution of slavery didn't contribute to the cw. The first 13th ammendment was a failed attempt to end the war. This ammendment (Corwin) passed both chambers (24/12 in the senate) but since the only states remaining in the union were northern, these states refused to vote on it. Again, as I pointed out earlier, would the cw have occurred if slavery did not exist. Probably not, (I refrain from using the word certainly because as the old saying goes, "theres only 2 things certain in life - death and what's, ugh, coming up next Wednesday". The differences between the 2 regions could probably have been rssolved without violence. I agree that initially Lincoln only cared for the preservation of the union. However, carefully read his speeches and letters after the emanicipation proclamation. His views changed. Yes, the average soldier probably wasn't fighting for or against slavery but his opinion didn't really account for much.

Doc C



 Posted: Thu Apr 9th, 2009 11:01 pm
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javal1
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I'm goimg to ask that we not let a Stonewall thread meander into yet another thread on causation. There's plenty of those already on this board. Thanks....



 Posted: Fri Apr 10th, 2009 12:02 am
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barrydancer
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Javal: You are, of course, correct. It's so easy to get off on a tangent... :). Back to Jackson.



 Posted: Sat Apr 11th, 2009 05:39 pm
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borderuffian
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"If the North triumphs....

It is the triumph of commerce. The banks, factories."

-Stonewall Jackson (from Gods and Generals)

I'm not a student of Stonewall so I don't know if he actually said this (does anyone know?) but whatever the case I am in perfect agreement with it.

Last edited on Sat Apr 11th, 2009 05:41 pm by borderuffian



 Posted: Sat Apr 11th, 2009 09:13 pm
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ole
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Probably not, but it was very Jeffersonian of him, if he did say that.

Somewhere in the past 200 years, Jefferson's idyllic vision of an agrarian America faded away.There simply isn't enough arable land for 300 million people to live off their own piece of it. And I'm certain most of us wouldn't care to.

But the idea of an agrarian America was alive and well when Stonewall was alive. And, as he made a living teaching,and not farming, such a statement coming from him would be foolish.

Old habits die hard. So we still blame the banks and factories for our ills. If we only stayed on the farm ....



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