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To historians: Was the civil war mainly a power grab against states rights? - General Civil War Talk - Civil War Talk - Civil War Interactive Discussion Board
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 Posted: Mon Nov 14th, 2011 02:55 pm
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uswgo
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My question is in bold and my comments leading to my theory on the civil war leading up to it are not in bold.

I like to ask a question about the civil war for my non commercial documentary as I have to research all the facts before finishing up on it.

I have a good amount of evidence believing that the civil war was over a power grab for the centralized federal government to dictate over states rights. This is espoecially true with medical Marijuana being legalized in California only for prescription use but the federal government threatened arrests and seizures, then Texas vowing to ban TSA molestation only to get threatened by the federal government into having a no fly zone if they ban the tsa's full body patdowns. Then you have federal judges ruling against states that don't want Obamacare due to the fact that federal regulators are going to force impoverish Americans to pay for health insurance or goto prison which is a cruel usage of federal power and anti states rights. The federal government has become a monster since they won the civil war. Presidents are selected and not elected as FDR said in the 1900's.

I am seeing how states losing the civil war is leading to America's downfall as they have no rights to challenge the all powerful federal government so this is my question I hope you can answer.

Was the whole federal government fighting the civil war more over a power grab by special interests then actually to fight over slavery?

because off the record states actually have the same capability to end slavery as the federal government so the whole civil war and federal acts of aggression didn't make sense to me.



 Posted: Mon Nov 14th, 2011 08:55 pm
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Mark
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I would recommend Gary Gallagher's book, "The Union War" and "The Road to Disunion" by William Freehling. I think you might need to reframe your question, though, if you want your documentary to be taken seriously. Hope that helps.

Mark



 Posted: Mon Nov 14th, 2011 09:43 pm
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HankC
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uswgo wrote: The federal government has become a monster since they won the civil war.
 
You are confusing the civil war with world war 2...



 Posted: Thu Nov 17th, 2011 12:28 am
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Wrap10
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uswgo,

With all due respect, your comments strike me as someone who has developed a theory, and then selectively found evidence to support that theory. Not trying to be inflammatory, but that's what it looks like to me.

I would say that "states rights" has never been, and never was, valued or supported only in the South. Northern states were, and are, just as much states as their southern counterparts, and would oppose a stronger federal government if they felt it was in their own interest to do so.

I'd say it's also true that the South was not always in favor of states rights above all else, despite claims to the contrary. They could fully support or oppose a stronger federal government, just like northern states, depending on the situation.

The classic example to me is the 1850's controversy over fugitive slaves. It's a crystal clear example of the South favoring a stronger federal government at the expense of states rights. Because it was in their own interest to do so. In this case, on the issue of runaway slaves, which of course ties in to the larger issue of slavery itself.

It was also an example of northern states opposing a stronger federal government for exactly the same reason - it was not in their own interest to do otherwise, from their perspective. Some northern states even passed laws intended to defy federal law when it came to recovering and returning fugitive slaves. A federal law that was fully supported by the collective South, despite the obvious damage it did to states rights.

Why would they do this? I think the answer is obvious. In this case, where slavery and states rights clashed, slavery won out in the collective mind of the South. States rights finished second in this two-issue race.

Look into this subject a little, and see what you think. The evidence is incredibly hard to refute.

Also, the North did not start out fighting against slavery, even though slavery was the primary reason why secession took place. And secession is what brought about the war. Slavery was at the heart of the Old South's social and economic existence, or 'way of life' as it's often called. To defend that way of life required defending slavery itself.

This doesn't make the North the bastion of freedom and equality for black people. It wasn't, by and large. The collective North didn't start out to eradicate slavery. That evolved as a war measure, and did so incredibly fast. But even though the North wasn't originally fighting to end slavery, the South was fighting to preserve it. Those might seem like contradictory statements, but they really aren't.

But a war against states rights? Hardly. The federal government of 1860 was nothing compared to what it is today, and could have screamed and hollered for war all it wanted to. It wouldn't have made one lick of difference without the cooperation of the northern states, and northerners in general. It did not possess the power or ability to wage that war on its own. That's a big reason why it's a mistake to characterize the war as being between the South and the federal government. It wasn't. It was between the northern and southern states. And I'm afraid I have to say that it wasn't fought over states rights.

Perry



 Posted: Thu Nov 17th, 2011 03:01 am
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Texas Defender
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Wrap 10-

  While first stating that I agree with much of what you've written above, I have to say that I come to some different conclusions.

  We agree that at different times, some northern states have taken states rights positions on some issues. We agree that in some cases, southern states have opposed what might be called states rights positions. (The Fugitive Slave Law being an example as you stated). We agree that the southern states fought to maintain the institution of slavery since it was so important to their economies. But I would maintain that states rights was in fact the primary issue, when it came to the right of each state to separate itself from the federal government and control its own resources (human and otherwise) and destiny. The southerners fought to free themselves from the authority of the federal government, which they had helped to create.

  Therefore, it is my view that the war WAS between the southern states and the federal government. When the southern states left, the federal government was in effect the government of the northern states. It was the federal government that made the determination to fight a war rather than accept secession. It was the federal government that directed and coordinated the people and the resources of the northern states to fight the war.

  I have stated elsewhere on this forum my opinion that it was the personality of Abraham Lincoln who made the determination that secession would not be allowed to stand. It was the perseverance of Mr. Lincoln that held the northern war effort together and drove the war forward to an eventual military victory. I doubt that any other individual could have achieved that.

  If the federal government had somehow collapsed when the southern states left, its doubtful to me that any individual northern state, or combination of northern states would have prosecuted a war to subjugate the southern states. It was the federal government that was the entity that the southern states wished to be free of, and it was the federal government that prevented them from achieving what they wished for.



 Posted: Sun Nov 20th, 2011 11:52 pm
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csamillerp
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i totally agree with texas defender. Slavery was an indirect cause of the war while states rights was the main cause. It just looked better for the north to call it a war against human oppression. Every state was invited to join the united states during the revolutionary war, so why did they not have the right to leave? If someone invited me to lets say a..... superbowl party, i'll go but only on the confidence that i can leave when i damn well please. just my interpretation on it lol.



 Posted: Sun Nov 20th, 2011 11:52 pm
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csamillerp
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i totally agree with texas defender. Slavery was an indirect cause of the war while states rights was the main cause. It just looked better for the north to call it a war against human oppression. Every state was invited to join the united states during the revolutionary war, so why did they not have the right to leave? If someone invited me to lets say a..... superbowl party, i'll go but only on the confidence that i can leave when i damn well please. just my interpretation on it lol.



 Posted: Mon Nov 21st, 2011 12:36 am
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Mark
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csamiller, very few in the northern states would have called this a "war against human oppression." The vast majority of Federal soldiers would have told you that they were fighting to restore the union. They also would have told you that the Union was made up of citizens rather than states. I'm not saying they were right or wrong, just putting them into their proper context.

Mark



 Posted: Mon Nov 21st, 2011 01:49 am
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csamillerp
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when i said the north i meant washington. it was a propaganda campaign



 Posted: Mon Nov 21st, 2011 04:48 pm
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HankC
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what was a propaganda campaign?



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