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Civil war lessons often depend on where the classroom is

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By WILL WEISSERT

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I understand some slaves escaped and made it to Florida and were assimilated with Seminole Indians. That period in American history is very interesting, and one could spend their whole academic life studying all the various threads. Slavery was a big theme but certainly not the only theme.

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That war was multiple reasons added up over the decades that broke the camel's back

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I moved between a number of different states and was exposed to different "state histories" - which is a mandated 1 semester class in every public school. Different states teach that class in different grades. I had 2 southern state versions and 1 "territory" version (it wasn't a state at the time) and then had to take another southern state version in college - it was a liberal college, for the south.

It has been many, many, many years, so my memory is probably off, but I remember it this way:

In the north, we were taught the war was about slavery and that the federal govt was ruling over the states.

In the south, we were taught the war was about economics and states rights. The "Confederate States of America" provides a hint.

Both usually mixed the slavery with economics, but to a different degree.

Imagine you were a corn or wheat farmer today and you were told that using combines and other truck-based tools to farm wasn't going to be allowed. And you have 100-250 workers to keep employed and their families are dependent on your farm being profitable. Think you might be mad? Basically, there was no way at the time to get the farming done in an economically viable way, as the southern land owners saw it. Slaves were seen as horses, with a duty to care for them as best you could, while they earned their keep.

The northern states were trying to control what southern states could do economically, which was against the constitution. The federal govt was supposed to deal with foreign issues, not internal issues for each state. Southern states sold their agri-products around the world.

From the northern viewpoint, people should never "own" other people and they saw southern people as unsophisticated, uneducated, farmers. That would be true at the time. Plus, the question about whether the federal govt was "over" all state govts was still a question in the south. It is still an issue today, at least for me.

There were certainly other aspects. I just don't recall them all these decades later. Plus, my family wasn't in the USA during the war, so I never felt any family connection. Some of my neighbors today did have ancestors in the Civil War with stories, letters, and other memorabilia passed down through the generations. It is personal heritage for them.

I would think that Japanese can understand this. We don't blame the soldiers from Japan in WW2. We blame the leadership. Monuments honoring a soldier have a place, regardless of which side one. Placement of monuments honoring the leadership of the "wrong side" (whatever that means), are a local decision. Should Florida tell Wyoming which monuments they should have?

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That war was multiple reasons added up over the decades that broke the camel's back

No, it was and always has been about slavery. Every alternative excuse that has been given leads back to slavery. The enslavement of African Americans meant money for both the Southerners and Northerners. They were both fighting over money and the source of that money was enslavement of African Americans.

The actual declaration for secession has no reference to taxes, tariffs, or anything else. It's all about state's rights to have slaves. For example, the biggest issue named in South Carolina's declaration of secession was the north not enforcing the fugitive slave act. So they once again seceded over slavery.

Technically, it should be called a War of Secession. The South's power lied in their slave labor, and the North wanted to take that power away from them; thus, they would have to get inline with the centralized government.

From mouth of a vet, professional historian, and professional instructor:

http://www.upworthy.com/this-west-point-colonel-will-tell-you-what-the-civil-war-was-really-about

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Most people are ignorant of the fact that Lincoln didn't free a single slave. States loyal to the Union were exempt from the Emancipation Proclamation. It was a political document to free slaves in the confederacy only, and the the states had already seceded, so he had no authority over the states that seceded.

He had no authority to do most of what he did. There was and is no constitutional restriction against states secededing. The Declaration of Independence was all about seceding.

Southern states were being taxed more than northern states by the New England "elite." There was no constitutional authority for many of the taxes.

There was no single nation - it was a collection of independent states. King George signed individual peace treaties with each of the states.

The concept of individual states was written specifically to prevent what you see today in the US - the overreach of a single authority to control, which leads to a disfunctional government led by a disfuncitonal class of people who act as royalty.

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Most people are ignorant of the fact that Lincoln didn't free a single slave. States loyal to the Union were exempt from the Emancipation Proclamation. It was a political document to free slaves in the confederacy only, and the the states had already seceded, so he had no authority over the states that seceded.

Of course, Emancipation had to be a military policy. Regardless of Lincoln's moral objection to slavery, he couldn't change it because it was sanctioned by the highest law in the land, the Constitution.

Actually, it has been documented that Lincoln wasn't sure how to deal with slavery. His solutions was a process that evolved over time throughout the war and his presidency.

I would think that Japanese can understand this. We don't blame the soldiers from Japan in WW2. We blame the leadership. Monuments honoring a soldier have a place, regardless of which side one. Placement of monuments honoring the leadership of the "wrong side" (whatever that means), are a local decision. Should Florida tell Wyoming which monuments they should have?

Yes, but you don't see statues of individual war criminals built in Japan or Germany. Washington, Jefferson and other flawed founders built the United States. Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis and other rebels tried to tear it apart by trying to maintain the immoral act of chattel slavery. Therefore, it would make sense to tear them.

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the issue for the south was slavery, all of the, states, who published causes of secession stated it. however, this article is guilty of a bit of revision. it never states the south was in fact the Democrat party going to war to keep slaves, something left out in history books, this article also links today's conservatives to the Confederacy, by stating Davis mentions small government implying today's conservative is racist and supported Davis. a complete fabrication. so if you write an article pointing out how education is teaching misinformation, don't spread your own misinformation.

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The war, in the South, is often referred to as The Northern War of Aggression, despite the fact that Southern forces ignited the conflagration by attacking Fort Sumter in South Carolina. If hotheads in The South had been able to refrain from attacking Northern forces, the whole war could have been avoided. Up until that incident, Lincoln was not ready to go to war.

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Lincoln had no moral objection to slavery. His record is clear, but his history was rehabilitated for political expediency.

He wanted all freed slaves returned to Africa.

He said he would ensure no freed slaves ever settled in Illinois, his home state.

He stated that the races could never live together.

He didn't lift a finger to advance the 14th Ammendment.

He was a tyrant who used federal troops to close newspapers that published opinion critical of him and the war.

He physically exiled editors out of the US for allowing newspaper articles critical of him.

Lincoln was a monster and so was the death and destruction he brought.

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Lincoln had no moral objection to slavery. His record is clear, but his history was rehabilitated for political expediency.

That's wrong! In a three-hour speech in Peoria, Illinois, in the fall of 1854, Lincoln presented more clearly than ever his moral, legal and economic opposition to slavery—and then admitted he didn’t know exactly what should be done about it within the current political system.

He initially didn't think blacks should hold office or vote in America. What he did believe was that, like all men, blacks had the right to improve their condition in society and to enjoy the fruits of their labor. In this way they were equal to white men, and for this reason slavery was inherently unjust.

However, Lincoln’s position on social and political equality for African-Americans would evolve over the course of his presidency. In the last speech of his life, delivered on April 11, 1865, he argued for limited black suffrage, saying that any black man who had served the Union during the Civil War should have the right to vote.

How is it clear? Have any real proof?

He wanted all freed slaves returned to Africa.

Lincoln first publicly advocated for colonization in 1852, and in 1854 said that his first instinct would be “to free all the slaves, and send them to Liberia (the African state founded by the American Colonization Society in 1821) or Central America.

As Lincoln edited the draft of the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation in August of 1862, Lincoln hosted a delegation of freed slaves at the White House in the hopes of getting their support on a plan for colonization in Central America. Given the “differences” between the two races and the hostile attitudes of whites towards blacks, Lincoln argued, it would be “better for us both, therefore, to be separated.” Lincoln’s support of colonization provoked great anger among black leaders and abolitionists, who argued that African-Americans were as much natives of the country as whites, and thus deserved the same rights. After he issued the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, Lincoln never again publicly mentioned colonization, and a mention of it in an earlier draft was deleted by the time the final proclamation was issued in January 1863.

Lincoln was a monster and so was the death and destruction he brought.

The Southern forces started the war by attacking Fort Sumter in South Carolina. Who was worse Lincoln or the monsters that fought to continue chattel slavery?

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@Todd Topolski

this article also links today's conservatives to the Confederacy, by stating Davis mentions small government implying today's conservative is racist and supported Davis.

That's a huge leap in logic!

Confederate President Jefferson Davis' inaugural address, which did not mention slavery and instead endorsed small-government values still popular with many conservatives today.

Where is the implication that conservatives are racist? If you believe in small government then you have some beliefs in common with Davis. That's a stretch!

it never states the south was in fact the Democrat party going to war to keep slaves, something left out in history books

Have any proof of that?

Because we learned in school the American political parties, now called Democrats and Republicans, switched platform planks, ideologies, and members many times in American history.

These switches were typically spurred on by major legislative changes and events, such as the Civil War in the 1860’s, and Civil Rights in the 1960’s. When many Southern Democrats, dissatisfied with the policies of desegregation enacted during the administration of Democratic President Harry Truman, switched to Republican. For example, Strom Thurmond, a hypocrite with his secret black daughter, led the charge for conservative Democrats to become Republicans.

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Lincoln and the U.S. Congress publicly declared that their invasion of the southern states was not about slavery but “saving the union.” The Northern-controlled House and Senate had also passed a proposed constitutional amendment (the Corwin Amendment) in March of 1861 that would have prohibited the federal government from ever interfering with slavery. Lincoln endorsed this amendment in his first inaugural address, saying that he had no opposition to making the protection of slavery “express and irrevocable” (his exact words) in the text of the Constitution.

So if the North was unequivocally not fighting to end slavery, how could it be that the South went to war only to protect slavery?

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The Northern-controlled House and Senate had also passed a proposed constitutional amendment (the Corwin Amendment) in March of 1861 that would have prohibited the federal government from ever interfering with slavery.

The final proclamation was issued in January 1863. Two years after the Corwin amendment. It is quite obvious from Lincoln's speeches and actions that his views changed over time.

So if the North was unequivocally not fighting to end slavery, how could it be that the South went to war only to protect slavery?

Simple, the South states told us with their own words!

The original documents of the Confederacy show quite clearly that the war was based on one thing: slavery.

1) For example, in its declaration of secession, Mississippi explained, "Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery — the greatest material interest of the world … a blow at slavery is a blow at commerce and civilization."

2) In its declaration of secession, South Carolina actually comes out against the rights of states to make their own laws — at least when those laws conflict with slaveholding. " In the State of New York even the right of transit for a slave has been denied by her tribunals," the document reads. The right of transit was the right of slaveholders to bring their slaves along with them on trips to non-slaveholding states.

4) In its justification of secession, Texas sums up its view of a union built upon slavery: "We hold as undeniable truths that the governments of the various States, and of the confederacy itself, were established exclusively by the white race, for themselves and their posterity; that the African race had no agency in their establishment; that they were rightfully held and regarded as an inferior and dependent race, and in that condition only could their existence in this country be rendered beneficial or tolerable."

They said it was about slavery. It is a fact!

The myth that the war was not about slavery seems to be a self-protective one for many people.

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For generations, the so-called Lincoln scholars claimed without any documentation that Lincoln suddenly gave up on his “dream” of deporting all the black people sometime in the middle of the war, even though he allocated millions of dollars for a “colonization” program in Liberia during his administration.

But the book Colonization After Emancipation by Phillip Magness and Sebastian Page, drawing on documents from the British and American national archives, proved that Lincoln was hard at work until his dying day plotting with Secretary of State William Seward the deportation of all the freed slaves.

The documents produced in this book show Lincoln’s negotiations with European governments to purchase land in Central America and elsewhere for “colonization.” They were even counting how many ships it would take to complete the task.

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@domtoldi

For generations, the so-called Lincoln scholars claimed without any documentation that Lincoln suddenly gave up on his “dream” of deporting all the black people sometime in the middle of the war, even though he allocated millions of dollars for a “colonization” program in Liberia during his administration.

But the book Colonization After Emancipation by Phillip Magness and Sebastian Page, drawing on documents from the British and American national archives, proved that Lincoln was hard at work until his dying day plotting with Secretary of State William Seward the deportation of all the freed slaves.

The documents produced in this book show Lincoln’s negotiations with European governments to purchase land in Central America and elsewhere for “colonization.” They were even counting how many ships it would take to complete the task.

You are not telling me anything new because I said in a previous post that:

After he issued the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, Lincoln never again publicly mentioned colonization, and a mention of it in an earlier draft was deleted by the time the final proclamation was issued in January 1863.

There were some freed slaves that agreed with the idea too. However, none of these extra details take away from the fact that the South started the "War of Succession" because they wanted to maintain and expand slavery, and they told us in their own words specifically in their declaration of succession that it was because of slavery. Those are the facts!

Some people, not particularly you, can't deal with the fact that are on the morally wrong side of this debate just like the white woman on TV who cried as a distraction because she couldn't defend the bad decisions made by Trump regarding Charlottesville and white supremacists.

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@domtoldi

Also Philip Magness wrote:

More importantly, we must recognize that Lincoln’s views on colonization were sincerely held, even if this complicates our assessment of his racial legacy. His motive, though misguided, came from his profound personal fear about the oppression of the freedmen at the hands of their former masters in a post-war South. Whether he intended to pursue colonization in his second term may provoke controversy, but we must also remember that the answer to that question died with Lincoln, and unexpectedly so. Lincoln displayed a remarkable capability for personal growth during the war, and the particulars of his approach to colonization are among the policies that evolved with him. Knowing that this evolution was still ongoing at his death, it may be placing an unfair burden on him to expect rigid consistency in his racial views or their final reconciliation with modern egalitarian ideals. At minimum, the complex and human Lincoln this leaves us with is more interesting to study.

http://blogs.britannica.com/2011/04/lincoln-blackcolonization-emancipation/

Once again, it supports my statement that his views about race evolved throughout his presidency.

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The secession document of South Carolina reads as a defense of the powers of states and not as a defense of slavery.

Here is the document:

http://teachingamericanhistory.org/library/document/south-carolina-declaration-of-causes-of-secession/

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@domtoldi

From your link:

http://teachingamericanhistory.org/library/document/south-carolina-declaration-of-causes-of-secession/

In the present case, that fact is established with certainty. We assert, that fourteen of the States have deliberately refused for years past to fulfil their constitutional obligations, and we refer to their own Statutes for the proof.

> The Constitution of the United States, in its 4th Article, provides as follows:

“No person held to service or labor in one State, under the laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in consequence of any law or regulation therein, be discharged from such service or labor, but shall be delivered up, on claim of the party to whom such service or labor may be due.”

This stipulation was so material to the compact, that without it that compact would not have been made. The greater number of the contracting parties held slaves, and they had previously evinced their estimate of the value of such a stipulation by making it a condition in the Ordinance for the government of the territory ceded by Virginia, which now composes the States north of the Ohio river.

The same article of the Constitution stipulates also for rendition by the several States of fugitives from justice from the other States.

The General Government, as the common agent, passed laws to carry into effect these stipulations of the States. For many years these laws were executed. But an increasing hostility on the part of the non-slaveholding States to the Institution of Slavery has led to a disregard of their obligations, and the laws of the general government have ceased to effect the objects of the Constitution. The States of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin and Iowa, have enacted laws which either nullify the Acts of Congress or render useless any attempt to execute them. In many of these states the fugitive is discharged from service or labor claimed, and in none of them has the state government complied with the stipulation made in the Constitution. The State of New Jersey, at an early day, passed a law in conformity with her constitutional obligation; but the current of anti-slavery feeling has led her more recently to enact laws which render inoperative the remedies provided by her own law and by the laws of Congress. In the State of New York even the right of transit for a slave has been denied by her tribunals; and the States of Ohio and Iowa have refused to surrender to justice fugitives charged with murder, and with inciting servile insurrection in the State of Virginia. Thus the constitutional compact has been deliberately broken and disregarded by the non-slaveholding States, and the consequence follows that South Carolina is released from her obligation.

Unless you can't read very well, they are talking about slavery. The first paragraph says it all! Doesn't it seem strange to be mentioning slavery alot, but it is not the reason for succession? Thank you for proving my point for me!

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