The Times They Are A-Changin’ – Civil War, Secession, and Slavery
It has come to my attention that our nation is changing, I mean…how can you miss it?
Statues of Confederate leaders are being torn down and vandalized left and right.
Even in Richmond, Virginia, a statue of General Robert E. Lee, that has been standing since 1890, was taken down and it is now being replaced with a statue of a different kind.
The statue replacing it is that of a woman holding a baby and a document, and a shirtless man who was a slave standing while chains are falling from his hands.
This is intended to represent the freedom that African Americans received after the abolition of slavery following the Civil War.
Many may have a different opinion, but I’ve never understood why we have statues of Confederate soldiers if the war was about slavery and that the Confederacy wanted to keep it.
The historical view is that the war was over slavery, but that’s not the only view. There is also the view that the war was about the states’ rights to govern themselves.
I don’t intend on this article to give a full explanation of the latter view, but here are a few quotes to chew on:
“…everybody still professes to disapprove of slavery. Of course, so in that cant of the day runs, slavery is a very dreadful thing, and everybody the South above all, would be glad to see it abolished; but slavery has nothing to do with the present war.” – British Correspondent “The Outlook of the War”
“As a rule, the great mass of the public expenditures were made from th3e North, not in the South, so that Southerners found themselves doubly taxed; taxed first for the benefit of the Northern manufacturers, and then, in the disbursement of the public funds, denied an equal participation in the benefits accruing therefrom.” – The Weekly Athenaeum (May 1865)
And even Abraham Lincoln, the champion who abolished slavery…how did he feel about it all?
“I will say then that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races, [applause]-that I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of negr**s, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race.”
And from the New Orleans Daily Crescent on January 21, 1861:
They know that it is their import trade that draws from the people’s pockets sixty or seventy millions of dollars per annum, in the shape of duties, to be expended mainly in the North, and in the protection and encouragement of Northern interests. They know that it is the export of Southern productions, and the corresponding import of foreign goods, that gives profitable employment to their shipping. They know that the bulk of the duties is paid by the Southern people, though first collected at the North, and that, by the iniquitous operation of the Federal Government, these duties are mainly expended among the Northern people. They know that they can plunder and pillage the South, as long as they are in the same Union with us, by other means, such as fishing bounties, navigation laws, robberies of the public lands, and every other possible mode of injustice and peculation. They know that in the Union they can steal Southern property in slaves, without risking civil war, which would be certain to occur if such a thing were done from the independent South. And, above and beyond all this, is the Puritanic love of mean tyranny and cold-blooded, inexorable oppression, which the Union enables them to cherish and reduce to practice—coupled with the Pharisaical boast of “holier than thou,” which they are constantly uttering as a reproach to the South—both of which feelings are innate in the descendants of the Pilgrims, and have become a part of their nature, which they could not get rid of it they wished.
These are the reasons why these people do not wish the South to secede from the Union. They are enraged at the prospect of being despoiled of the rich feast upon which they have so long fed and fattened, and which they were just getting ready to enjoy with still greater gout and gusto. They are mad as hornets because the prize slips them just as they are ready to grasp it.
Again, this is just one view. I’m not saying it’s right or wrong or even the whole story.
The other view is of course that it was over slavery. I’m not going to go in-depth with this one because most of us are familiar enough with this view and I will say that one thing that you can reference the secession documents that was issued by the states and what they said about slavery.