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Let's talk about that ever popular topic, the Civil War.

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Let's talk about that ever popular topic, the Civil War.

I've seen arguments over whether the war was about slavery. Would it be accurate to say that the South's secession was over slavery, but the war was over secession?

Back in high school, I was told that Britain was seriously considering aiding the South. Is that true? If Britain had joined the war, could the South have won?
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The South secession was hugely motivated by slavery, but the North was largely motivated by the need to keep the South for revenue purposes. At the time, the South was paying well over half of the tax, and there were also concerns of the Mississippi River being closed to Midwest shipping.

An interesting thing to me is the South's formation in the context of the age of Nationalism- the South was beginning to think of itself as an independent section with its own culture and traditions around the same time Germany and Italy were pursuing unification. The war accelerated this process, so that what started as a bunch of independent-minded states ended up with a very firm national identity as one unified South, and the effects of that continued for a century.

As for winning with British intervention, well yeah. It's unlikely the Union would realistically even try to continue in the face of British opposition. The French were even more eager to intervene and held back primarily due to British intransigence, so any intervention would likely have had them too.

I suspect it's to the detriment of both the North and South that they weren't able to resolve their problems peacefully with a velvet divorce. The "Culture war" that engrosses American politics would largely dissipate if the South was its own country today.
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confederates did nothing wrong
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>>24158

Let's learn a little about American slavery first, shall we?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ao7FKReHYKY
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>>24158
I was taught many things over the years, though the Civil War in general seems super incongruent and inconsistent.

For example, people say a lot that the war was purely over slavery, but to be honest that doesn't really jive well with me.

I've also been told that the succession resulted more because of the results of the presidential election. Because Lincoln won the presidency without a single southern electoral vote. And to be honest that seems to make a whole lot more sense to me.

After that the south attempted to secede amicably, but the north didn't want it. Relations worsened considerably until war was ultimately declared. Lincoln issued the emancipation proclamation as something to bring the north together against the south. Instead of it just being about dividing the union and hemorrhaging territory, the popular front war becomes focused on "freeing the oppressed slaves" instead.

That's my understanding of the situation. Feel free to call me out and critique me on this though, since I willingly admit that I know nothing about this.

As far as I'm concerned, slavery wasn't as big of an issue until after war was declared. The north might not have been as pro slave as the south was, but they weren't exactly anti slave either.
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>>25494
>For example, people say a lot that the war was purely over slavery, but to be honest that doesn't really jive well with me

You mean something that doesn't fit your incorrect world view makes you feel weird.

>I've also been told that the succession resulted more because of the results of the presidential election. Because Lincoln won the presidency without a single southern electoral vote. And to be honest that seems to make a whole lot more sense to me.

They believed Lincoln would free the slaves, even when he was specifically smart enough to not promise that during his campaign. They lost and got asspained, typical South behavior.

>After that the south attempted to secede amicably

Yeah Fort Sumter just ran into those cannonballs.

> Instead of it just being about dividing the union and hemorrhaging territory, the popular front war becomes focused on "freeing the oppressed slaves" instead.
There is some truth to this but it is intentional. The Civil War was over slavery. Look at the speech of the Vice President of the CSA, claiming that the foundations of the Confederacy lies on white supremacy and the moral right to slavery. The North however, was not initially fighting for this. They were fighting to save the Union. This obviously changed a bit in 1863.

But slavery, and the South's paranoia started the war.

>The north might not have been as pro slave as the south was, but they weren't exactly anti slave either.

Well considering the institution of slavery was banned in the North, I'd say they were anti-slave. They were not pro-black, however.
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>>25494
The North was increasingly anti-slave. The South grew increasingly defensive and paranoid, and felt their fears were justified by the Northern celebration of the Harper's Ferry raid.

The South greatly feared becoming an underrepresented minority. The largest reason they feared this was fear that slavery would be tampered with. (These fears were largely justified.)

Another reason was that their culture and civilization had grown along a different path to the other states and they had an emerging national identity as something other than just Americans, but that also owes heavily to slavery.

It's hard to escape slavery being a large root cause to the South's actions, although I don't see where that excuses the North's subsequent invasion, subjugation and occupation.,

t. Southerner
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>>24158

the south fought for actual freedom and selfdetermination

the north fought for economic integration and political hegemony

this is simply an undeniable truth
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>>26516
It is certainly true that Stanton made some bad faith lies with the Confederate commissioners about how Sumter was being evacuated and that time was needed while deliberately pursuing a policy of reinforcing said fort.

Of course, the South was impetuous and shouldn't have been so horrifically eager to start a war with someone three times their size, but Sumpter was a fort in South Carolina's waters, and South Carolina had ceded the land and paid for its construction. The North had little reason to maintain a fort in a crucial commercial harbor of a separate country, and there was every reason to resolve it peacefully.
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>>26516
>You mean something that doesn't fit your incorrect world view makes you feel weird.

It means that I don't have the full picture and generalizations and oversimplifications make me kinda skittish, especially when those things paint negatives on one side over the other as if the issues were clear cut and black and white.

I do appreciate the critique though. I'm just a biased northerner I guess.
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>>25494
>Because Lincoln won the presidency without a single southern electoral vote. And to be honest that seems to make a whole lot more sense to me.

To be fair, no Southern state even put Lincoln on the ballot
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>>27076
Virginia did. For states whose secession was murkier, Missouri and Kentucky did as well.

Lincoln wasn't excluded as part of an undemocratic process- he just had no voter base or support to speak of.
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>>24158
I'm not that knowledgeable in the US civil war, but I'm not sure if the war was only about slavery itself, but maybe because of the consequences of it.

The North was industrialising while the south was mostly rural, filled with plantations where the slaves worked. This alone has a lot of implications when it comes to macroeconomic policies. An industrialising economy would want to raise tariffs for some time in order to make the international prices of manufactored goods artificially high so their homemade goods could be able to compete with them in the internal market, this however is a huge liability to the plantation owner as he has to pay more for everyday needs of the farm. Also, the dollar being strong in relation to the pound would have contrasting effects in that case.

Appears to me that the south was constantly trying to get more political influence as a way to keep up with the booming north, the fact that the latter had way more population than the former probably made them worried.

Does any of you know a book that investigates these economical and political aspects behind the American Civil War? I'm really interested
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>>27315
These are good points, although the North's "boom" is overstated.

The South was very wealthy, and would never again be so wealthy relevant to the rest of the nation after the conflict as before. It seems strange now, but cash-crop agriculture was a lucrative alternative to industrialization in the economic climate of the 1830-60s. It was only around 1860 that a corner was finally turning and industrialization's efficiencies began to really tell.

As a second aside, the South was not -completely- unindustrialized; it was competitive with contemporaries like Sweden or Austria, as a country tertiary to but not yet extensively participating in the industrial revolution.
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>>27437
>As a second aside, the South was not -completely- unindustrialized; it was competitive with contemporaries like Sweden or Austria, as a country tertiary to but not yet extensively participating in the industrial revolution.

I thought that much (Sweden and Austria, really?), but the industry wasn't the main focus of the South, these were probably local and most factories weren't that big either. If needed, like in a war, the south wouldn't be able to outproduce the north, nor make goods with the same quality as the Yankees. Imports would be also be reduced because the northerners had a better navy, since the colonial times there were ship parts manufactories there.

With boom I was mostly referring to the population, as the north had three times the population at the time, like someone here said earlier. Slavery didn't promote immigration at the time, it was a deterrent. Now, compare that with the whole advertisement of the "infinite" amount of land for the European serfs to work on.
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>>27694
That's fair. It might have gotten even more pronounced had peace continued- it's impossible to know how many people avoided immigrating because of the war, or how many immigrants the South received post 1865 might not have done so had it been the Confederate States of America.

The demographics are interesting to consider, but probably the South would've ended up a comfy country with a comparatively small population and a mostly anglo/african split instead of the very diverse community the Northern and Western states are today.
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>>24158
If the war was truly about slavery, then the war would have started a good 60 years before it did when the slave trade was ended.
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Read "apostles of disunion." short, sweet, and to the point.
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>>30376
The South broadly supported banning the slaver trade though, for various reasons.

1) The South was actually more in favor of gradual abolition at that time, with attitudes subsequently hardening due to Northern extremism. There were very few "Positive Good" proponents of slavery at this time, and Southerners were prepared to support the ban on humanitarian grounds.

2) Banning the trade increased the value of slaves, which were the single largest asset most of the Southern voting/lawmaking class.

3) The main people the ban did injury to were were the maritime slave traders, who were overwhelmingly Yankees.
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>>30460
What does the author defend in his text?
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>>30504
>single largest asset most of the Southern voting/lawmaking class

You may have a point that many southern lawmakers benefited from slavery. But the vast majority of the voting class did not have slaves nor benefited from increased value of slaves.
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>>30807
In 1807, when the slave trade was outlawed, the entire South with the exception of Kentucky had strong property qualifications in right to vote that shut out about half of white males.

The remaining portion that could vote did not all own slaves, but many did.

The "Most Southerners didn't even have slaves" is true and all, but "Most Southerners" don't enter into the Southern political scene in 1807, and those who had slaves were the very most active and influential in political life.
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>>24158
>Back in high school, I was told that Britain was seriously considering aiding the South. Is that true?
The Trent Affair was the closest Britain would have come to actually aiding the South and it obviously didn't work out that way. Aiding the South would have been a political and social nightmare for the British.


>If Britain had joined the war, could the South have won?
How invested in the war are they? If they just gave piddly support to the South it would only postpone the inevitable Union victory. If they went all-in to support the Confederacy then it's possible they could have forced the United States to accept CSA independence, but the benefits wouldn't outweigh the cost at that point.
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>>31024
Breaking the blockade and supplying a bunch of artillery while terrorizing the Union coast seems like a fairly "low investment" strategy.

Also, the Union public was at times very tepid in its support of the war while being asked to bear comparatively light wartime burdens. War with England amounts to the end of an external market for goods and the bane of all New England shipping, while simultaneously moving the goalposts for winning the war quite a ways.

I find it hard to imagine the Union would go on in such a scenario, without bringing any British boots on the ground into the question,
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>>31087
To add to that, this would've strengthened the South's currency enormously while weakening the dollar. The latter doesn't matter much except for war weariness, but the South's own support for its war effort and effective capability to prosecute it would be enormously boosted by the legitimacy of foreign recognition and the world's leading nation as a creditor.
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>>31024
I think that this is a balanced and fair response. I am inclined to agree.
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>>31185
>>31087
If the British became more involved militarily I think you're right. I don't believe the Union possessed the military and industrial power necessary to contend with both the Confederacy and the British. Even if the British only provided naval support to break the Union blockade, the recognition and trade would likely bolster the Confederacy's ability to fight back. That said, the Confederacy had a considerable disadvantage in terms of infrastructure and the war was essentially a countdown to Union victory without foreign support.

If the British recognized the CSA in the early years of the war then even minimal support could change the course of the war. Toward the mid or later parts of the war, though, I don't believe the Confederacy would have the ability to continue to defend itself even with a stronger currency and naval support. Lincoln said in a few of his letters that he was willing to risk a war against Britain in order to maintain the Union. Bluff or not, if the war was going in favor of the Union by that point he likely would have tried to press it as long as possible in the hopes of forcing Confederate surrender.


I think the more important part of OP's question is whether or not Britain would have even joined the war in the first place. British support would provide the CSA with a major advantage that it lacked in real life, but what alternate circumstances would make the British decide that supporting the CSA was worth all the moral qualms and economic cost? Supporting the Confederacy was a risk. It would have ruined relations between the United States and Britain and there's no guarantee that the CSA would survive past the war's conclusion even if it retained its independence.
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>>24397
>saying its a shame the south isn't its own country because of death toll and culture war

The world would be very different if America wasn't unified in the 1900's. Also, there would probably be slaves still and if not slaves segregation or probably something more extreme. I don't know, the south might have enforced mass emigration if for some reason they magically had to get rid of slavery.
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>>27031
>It means that I don't have the full picture and generalizations and oversimplifications make me kinda skittish, especially when those things paint negatives on one side over the other as if the issues were clear cut and black and white.

Well any simplification should make you skittish then, but why is the civil war's purpose always behind discussion? People don't ask why we are talking about it.

You could probably say it's because of cultural identity, even now southerners identify with their region over the country itself, but I think it's a little more than that. I think Americans have a denial of guilt about it. You're going to say "nobody's saying slavery wasn't bad", but what I mean is a lot of people treat slavery as like, a fact of life for a southerner. Like a modern man needing a car to commute to work. Yeah, it was their culture and economy, but that's not an excuse for saying the confederacy wasn't a piece of shit. It is quite black and white, more black and grey, but there's a clear bad guy, and for that moment we were able to know it was us.

Because, in all honesty, the civil war was about a lot more than slavery, but seeing people squirm when we say slavery is the main reason why everything happened makes us realize that there are people today still struggling with that reality. there are people in this thread saying we would be better off if the south was sovereign. That's why we have this conversation.

Pick apart that generalization, but feel free to make your own, whatever helps you sleep at night.
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It was simply a clash of civilizations, the North and South were (and still are) vastly different places, slavery of course being one of the main differences. The South at that time was much more wealthy than the North and paid much of the national tax. The South got pretty asspained when they did pretty much all they could do to defeat Lincoln's campaign and responded by leaving the Union. The North got pretty asspained when their cash cow left and so they invaded in order to bring the South back into the fold. Lincoln declared the slaves free as part of a grander military strategy and after the war the North decided they'd further humiliate the South in loss by making that abolition permanent, forcing Southerners to live with the slaves they once owned.
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>>32939
The only reason the north got rid of slavery was because they secured the economic routes to allow them to do it. If there was any cooperation in the economic development in the first place, it would not have been an issue. There were assholes in both the N and the S who kept that from happening.
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>>24397
Really good explanation here. I'm stealing that.

>>26516
Lincoln was setting up a nice piece of bait with Fort Sumter. He was actively reinforcing it because he wanted the south to attack. He wanted to make the south be the aggressors, so he could keep other great powers out. The war needed a better callus beli than just secession. Too bad all this did was make Lincoln look like a tyrant to several more states, causing them to pull out of the union.

>>31755
The CSA had to start building war related infrastructure during the war. Lots of the gunpowder and artillery pieces were made around 1862-1863.

>>32939

I'd say the war is more blue and grey. Too sides fought and died for a war that shouldn't have happened. Nothing matters now though, It's a sad truth here that the regional autonomy will eventually die here in the south with immigration.
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Something close to nearly all, if not most of the confederate states in their declarations of secession cited slavery as a/the primary reason for seceding.

revisionists like to take the narrative away from slaves being a key part. You get >muh state rights, >muh self determination, >muh economy, which are all valid points, but rather painting a different picture with the same colors.

It would be intellectually irresponsible to say that slavery was the only reason the North and the South went to war. As it would be to claim that slavery ultimately had nothing to do with it. The North, while being anti-slavery, for the most part did not truly care for the emancipation of blacks in the south, and even if they did want to see them free, they ended up treated them just as badly as southerners (see:boston and the rest of NE). You had border states like maryland that were allowed to keep slaves in order to keep their support in the war. And the emancipation proclamation itself was a political tool used to divert and snuff any european support that might be given to the south.

Of course the average southerner(american) didn't have slaves. Most of America didn't give a fuck about black people at the time(they still don't). However the ultimate reason the secession and the war came to be was slavery. Understand the nuance in that statement.

tl;dr, the war was about slavery, but wasn't fought to END slavery. If that makes sense.
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>>35755
Lincoln supplied Sumter with food, that was pretty much it. The south was aggregating weapons and claiming forts all around Sumter, even months before Lincoln got involved the situation looked like a siege. Sumter was a disaster waiting to happen, it was just a bad situation.
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baka desu senpai
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>>24158
The war was about states' rights.
If Britain fully commited herself, the Yanks would've gotten BTFO.
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>>37650
To claim that
>Most of America didn't give a fuck about black people
and that the issues surrounding slavery which combined resulted in the ultimate escalation were not the substance of the situation is disingenuous. There were abolitionists all over America. They were able to gain more political and social sway in the N because the economy was a non-issue in that regard. This led to all other issues.
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>first general Civil War thread on /his/ I see
>actually pretty good

Cool shit.

And on the question of Britain OP, it was a passing fancy at best. People cite the Trent Affair as a possible point of British intervention, though all that would likely cause is financial dire straits for the USA and Britain due to the expenses of war, and the war itself taking longer with Canada possibly being occupied. Britain would at best send a few troops to North America, and would likely just rely on its navy to fight the Union's.

France under Napoleon III was much more interested in aiding the CSA however. Napoleon III was interested in it not out of genuine care for the CSA and its policies, but more as a way to weaken the USA and give him breathing room to establish French interests in Mexico. Britain's own lack of support for the CSA kept Napoleon III from making anything of this interest if he ever actually would have committed to it. I find it always weird how Civil War alternate history mostly just ignores how the French might've intervened, in fact the only one that does mention them I think is the CSA movie, and that's hardly intended to be a truly 'realistic' alternate history.
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>>37876
Lincoln definitely understood the importance of Fort Sumter. It was a strategic location in the middle of Charleston's port, and the fort was designed to protect the harbor from British ships. He definitely wanted to keep the fort there because it would have rekt any Union ship, and he would have wanted to keep the option at any time to stop the most rebellious city in the union.

It's also very symbolic because it's hard to claim your independent when you have a foreign fort right outside your house. He knew S.C would try something or die out and rejoin.
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>>37876
An attempt to resupply a fort that is illegally occupied in the first place is an act of war, particularly since every opportunity and active negotiation to release the occupied fort was rebuffed. To claim that warning shots were the first sign of aggression is a piece of propaganda, and a weak one at that.
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