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[The Civil War], HOOH! What was it good for?

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    EmperorSethEmperorSeth Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Robman wrote: »
    Why bother with alternate histories when the real history is so fascinating and opaque as it is?

    Real history has nowhere near enough zeppelins?

    And alien races dumber and bigger jerks than us? Please, we could go on forever listing those. Klingons (and pretty much all Star Trek Races other than Vulcans and the various demigods,) Kilrathi, Irkans, those guys from Independence Day...

    The only thing they need to be smarter than us for is propulsion, or they wouldn't even be here really. Assuming we don't find them first in that story.

    EmperorSeth on
    You know what? Nanowrimo's cancelled on account of the world is stupid.
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    Jealous DevaJealous Deva Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    jedijz wrote: »
    jedijz wrote: »

    Fascism would have probably risen in the South since it shared similar conditions as other fascist states. A weak lower class, a practically nonexistent middle class, and a strong, landed aristocratic upper class. If you want to learn more about the rise of democratic, fascist, and communist states read up on this guy's work: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barrington_Moore,_Jr.

    I don't know about that. The South had a natural distrust of a strong centralized government. It also doesn't have the same revanchism as Germany (which wanted revenge for WWI), or the cultural tendency towards authority as Japan. A fascist leader would only really have fear of the US to exploit, which may or may not be possible, depending on historical circumstances. Since we're assuming no Civil War here, it'd pretty difficult to say "Look at that evil country to the north which, ya know, freely let us go about our business when we decided to leave. They're a massive threat to our independence!"

    I agree that they would have distrusted a strong centralized government but a fascist leader could easily exploit racist fears and point to the North as abolitionists who want to upend their way of life.

    Eh. You're talking about a guy coming along and trying to completely bypass a cultural fear (that of strong government) by exploiting another cultural fear (abolition). I don't really see it as working. Why would they give in to something they're very opposed to to only remove the threat of something else they're very opposed to? Doesn't really make sense to me. Only real possibility I see is if they see a massive threat of enforced abolition from the North, but I don't really think we'd see that here. The North peacefully let them go in this timeline, and plus a lot of Southerners weren't really massively pro-slavery, either. Many in the upper South (which would've been the political center of the CS) were either opposed to it or saw it as a necessary evil. The real bugbear for them was unnecessary government interference... Precisely what a fascist leader would bring about.

    I honestly think slavery would have ended before the depression, anyway. It ended in Brazil, after all, and eventually there would be a tipping point where the south would have more to gain from industrialization and trade than slavery (one of the big reasons it ended in Brazil was international pressure). Now, I could see an apartheid state happening, but that's not exactly something that at the time would draw international criticism or even be looked at as odd.

    Jealous Deva on
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    Kipling217Kipling217 Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Then I should post a picture of myself, since I was obviously to dumb to get the joke.

    Kipling217 on
    The sky was full of stars, every star an exploding ship. One of ours.
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    OptimusZedOptimusZed Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Any alternate history lacking Lizardpeople is one I'll pass on, thanks.

    OptimusZed on
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    Ed321Ed321 Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Kipling217 wrote: »
    Then I should post a picture of myself, since I was obviously to dumb to get the joke.

    You got the joke. Neanderthals are popularly associated with low intelligence and tribal warfare. But you had to go and analyse it :?

    Ed321 on
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    Solomaxwell6Solomaxwell6 Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    jedijz wrote: »
    jedijz wrote: »

    Fascism would have probably risen in the South since it shared similar conditions as other fascist states. A weak lower class, a practically nonexistent middle class, and a strong, landed aristocratic upper class. If you want to learn more about the rise of democratic, fascist, and communist states read up on this guy's work: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barrington_Moore,_Jr.

    I don't know about that. The South had a natural distrust of a strong centralized government. It also doesn't have the same revanchism as Germany (which wanted revenge for WWI), or the cultural tendency towards authority as Japan. A fascist leader would only really have fear of the US to exploit, which may or may not be possible, depending on historical circumstances. Since we're assuming no Civil War here, it'd pretty difficult to say "Look at that evil country to the north which, ya know, freely let us go about our business when we decided to leave. They're a massive threat to our independence!"

    I agree that they would have distrusted a strong centralized government but a fascist leader could easily exploit racist fears and point to the North as abolitionists who want to upend their way of life.

    Eh. You're talking about a guy coming along and trying to completely bypass a cultural fear (that of strong government) by exploiting another cultural fear (abolition). I don't really see it as working. Why would they give in to something they're very opposed to to only remove the threat of something else they're very opposed to? Doesn't really make sense to me. Only real possibility I see is if they see a massive threat of enforced abolition from the North, but I don't really think we'd see that here. The North peacefully let them go in this timeline, and plus a lot of Southerners weren't really massively pro-slavery, either. Many in the upper South (which would've been the political center of the CS) were either opposed to it or saw it as a necessary evil. The real bugbear for them was unnecessary government interference... Precisely what a fascist leader would bring about.

    I honestly think slavery would have ended before the depression, anyway. It ended in Brazil, after all, and eventually there would be a tipping point where the south would have more to gain from industrialization and trade than slavery (one of the big reasons it ended in Brazil was international pressure). Now, I could see an apartheid state happening, but that's not exactly something that at the time would draw international criticism or even be looked at as odd.

    Yes, I agree, but I don't really see that as the main block for fascism. The main reason is cultural, as I've said, not because of poor timing.

    Solomaxwell6 on
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    SurikoSuriko AustraliaRegistered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Turtledove's 'thing' with the alien race in Colonization was that they progressed slowly due to being incredibly careful with the impact of any new technology, and IIRC didn't really engage in many fuckass huge wars like we managed to get ourselves into periodically. The other two races they've conquered, the Rabotevs and whateverthefuckelsetheywere, seemed to be essentially Neanderthals that were were given most of their civilization from the main alien race. It was a blatant submission to the humans=innovative trope, but it was explained.

    I liked the books.

    Edit: aaaaand solo made the point much better than I. Doh.

    Suriko on
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    FencingsaxFencingsax It is difficult to get a man to understand, when his salary depends upon his not understanding GNU Terry PratchettRegistered User regular
    edited February 2010
    The thing I always wondered about Turtledove was that if you want to write a fictionalized account of WWII or the second Russian revolution, why not just write a fictionalized account of WWII or the second Russian revolution?

    He did that too. And aliens invaded in 1942. And ginger was cocaine to them.

    Or something.

    I actually really liked this series. >_>

    Kind of annoying how he portrays humans as being ridiculously innovative when compared to alien races. They take tens of thousands of years to adapt new technology, rather than only a few years like humans.

    How does that work, exactly? Does it take tens of thousands of years for an innovative alien to come along or are there obstacles to progress inherent in their culture?

    Also, I'm all for killing a guy in order to free slaves, especially if he's consented to warfare in the name of keeping people enslaved. It's only a tricky question in the insane hypothetical situation where I'd have to kill someone who's unconnected with the issue. Even then, my feeling is that slavery is worse than death, so even then I'd kill the guy. I'd just be stumped as to whether or not it was moral to do so.

    Technically, the guys that were actually doing a bulk of the dying on the Confederate side owned no slaves, in general.

    Fencingsax on
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    Robos A Go GoRobos A Go Go Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Fencingsax wrote: »
    The thing I always wondered about Turtledove was that if you want to write a fictionalized account of WWII or the second Russian revolution, why not just write a fictionalized account of WWII or the second Russian revolution?

    He did that too. And aliens invaded in 1942. And ginger was cocaine to them.

    Or something.

    I actually really liked this series. >_>

    Kind of annoying how he portrays humans as being ridiculously innovative when compared to alien races. They take tens of thousands of years to adapt new technology, rather than only a few years like humans.

    How does that work, exactly? Does it take tens of thousands of years for an innovative alien to come along or are there obstacles to progress inherent in their culture?

    Also, I'm all for killing a guy in order to free slaves, especially if he's consented to warfare in the name of keeping people enslaved. It's only a tricky question in the insane hypothetical situation where I'd have to kill someone who's unconnected with the issue. Even then, my feeling is that slavery is worse than death, so even then I'd kill the guy. I'd just be stumped as to whether or not it was moral to do so.

    Technically, the guys that were actually doing a bulk of the dying on the Confederate side owned no slaves, in general.

    That really doesn't make a difference. They were still fighting on behalf of slavery, in most cases because they saw its preservation as being essential to their own well-being, even if they didn't own slaves. Even in those rare cases where a Southerner did not believe in slavery but fought anyway, as was supposedly the case with Robert E. Lee (I've heard this, but never investigated), their actions nonetheless functioned toward that end.

    Robos A Go Go on
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    big lbig l Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    The thing I always wondered about Turtledove was that if you want to write a fictionalized account of WWII or the second Russian revolution, why not just write a fictionalized account of WWII or the second Russian revolution?

    He did that too. And aliens invaded in 1942. And ginger was cocaine to them.

    Or something.

    I actually really liked this series. >_>

    Kind of annoying how he portrays humans as being ridiculously innovative when compared to alien races. They take tens of thousands of years to adapt new technology, rather than only a few years like humans.

    And then the aliens capture humans and force them to have sex? What stupid nerd porn.

    big l on
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    Casual EddyCasual Eddy The Astral PlaneRegistered User regular
    edited February 2010
    the south wouldn't give up slavery willingly. even if it 'petered out' it would have been legal for an outrageously long period of time. the elite went to war to defend slaveowning, they wouldn't have given it up easily.

    Casual Eddy on
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    Casual EddyCasual Eddy The Astral PlaneRegistered User regular
    edited February 2010
    i love how we're all talking about how humans aren't smart on the internet

    Casual Eddy on
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    FencingsaxFencingsax It is difficult to get a man to understand, when his salary depends upon his not understanding GNU Terry PratchettRegistered User regular
    edited February 2010
    That really doesn't make a difference. They were still fighting on behalf of slavery, in most cases because they saw its preservation as being essential to their own well-being, even if they didn't own slaves. Even in those rare cases where a Southerner did not believe in slavery but fought anyway, as was supposedly the case with Robert E. Lee (I've heard this, but never investigated), their actions nonetheless functioned toward that end.
    I agree with you, I was just saying.

    Fencingsax on
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    ScalfinScalfin __BANNED USERS regular
    edited February 2010
    Fencingsax wrote: »
    The thing I always wondered about Turtledove was that if you want to write a fictionalized account of WWII or the second Russian revolution, why not just write a fictionalized account of WWII or the second Russian revolution?

    He did that too. And aliens invaded in 1942. And ginger was cocaine to them.

    Or something.

    I actually really liked this series. >_>

    Kind of annoying how he portrays humans as being ridiculously innovative when compared to alien races. They take tens of thousands of years to adapt new technology, rather than only a few years like humans.

    How does that work, exactly? Does it take tens of thousands of years for an innovative alien to come along or are there obstacles to progress inherent in their culture?

    Also, I'm all for killing a guy in order to free slaves, especially if he's consented to warfare in the name of keeping people enslaved. It's only a tricky question in the insane hypothetical situation where I'd have to kill someone who's unconnected with the issue. Even then, my feeling is that slavery is worse than death, so even then I'd kill the guy. I'd just be stumped as to whether or not it was moral to do so.

    Technically, the guys that were actually doing a bulk of the dying on the Confederate side owned no slaves, in general.

    That really doesn't make a difference. They were still fighting on behalf of slavery, in most cases because they saw its preservation as being essential to their own well-being, even if they didn't own slaves. Even in those rare cases where a Southerner did not believe in slavery but fought anyway, as was supposedly the case with Robert E. Lee (I've heard this, but never investigated), their actions nonetheless functioned toward that end.

    I'd read that the bulk of the south owned at least one slave, but almost all the slaves belonged to a few families because those families owned enough slaves to populate small cities.

    I find the claim that slavery would have died out fairly dubious, given all the sharecropping that continued in the south and the popularity of child labor in factories in the industrialized north, both of which lasted until legislated away.

    Scalfin on
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    LordSolarMachariusLordSolarMacharius Red wine with fish Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Kipling217 wrote: »

    Actually neanderthals where quite intelligent with a rich and varied culture. They buried their dead ceremonialy and created art(cave paintings ftw).

    I know no one cares, but the general wisdom is that Neanderthal did not create cave paintings, or art in general.

    Edit: Well, some sculpture and there's that flute. But cave paintings are pretty Homo Sapien.

    LordSolarMacharius on
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    Ed321Ed321 Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Kipling217 wrote: »

    Actually neanderthals where quite intelligent with a rich and varied culture. They buried their dead ceremonialy and created art(cave paintings ftw).

    I know no one cares, but the general wisdom is that Neanderthal did not create cave paintings, or art in general.

    Uh oh

    Ed321 on
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    Solomaxwell6Solomaxwell6 Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Scalfin wrote: »
    That really doesn't make a difference. They were still fighting on behalf of slavery, in most cases because they saw its preservation as being essential to their own well-being, even if they didn't own slaves. Even in those rare cases where a Southerner did not believe in slavery but fought anyway, as was supposedly the case with Robert E. Lee (I've heard this, but never investigated), their actions nonetheless functioned toward that end.

    I'd read that the bulk of the south owned at least one slave, but almost all the slaves belonged to a few families because those families owned enough slaves to populate small cities.

    I find the claim that slavery would have died out fairly dubious, given all the sharecropping that continued in the south and the popularity of child labor in factories in the industrialized north, both of which lasted until legislated away.

    I disagree with both. IIRC, the majority of Southerners didn't own slaves. Owning slaves was the sign of an elite. Dirt farmers in eastern Tennessee wouldn't have been able to afford them. Steel workers in Richmond or Atlanta wouldn't have needed them (and probably couldn't afford them, either). Slaves were pretty damn expensive, all things considered. You need to pay their own upkeep (the less you pay, the shitter their conditions, the likelier they'll rebel), you need to hire overseers or pay extra to ensure loyal slaves, they're a remarkable investment to purchase in the first place. And since most people besides aristocratic plantation or factory owners had very little use for them, why pay all that money?

    As for slavery dying out, it's inevitable (de jure slavery, anyway... de facto slavery would've been around for quite a while). By the 1860s, slavery was either dead or about to go fairly shortly in every Western nation. The last holdout was Brazil, which gave up slavery in the 1880s. The main problem is, most countries already tended to find slavery pretty distasteful. One of the big reasons Britain didn't give as much support to the South as it could've was because of the slavery issue. With most potential allies hesitant to support the south because of slavery, you're going to start seeing it slowly dying. There were already a lot of people in the upper south opposed to slavery (as someone mentioned earlier, Robert E Lee was morally opposed to slavery...he wouldn't have achieved the same level of fame without the Civil War, but it illustrates the issue). Virginia would've given up slavery some time within the next couple of decades. Texas had very few slaves, and most likely would've given it up fairly quickly, as well. After that, the rest of the states would fall like dominoes. You might see a couple of holdouts in the deep South, but they'll eventually succumb to pressure and give up slavery, too.

    Solomaxwell6 on
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    IncenjucarIncenjucar VChatter Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    edited February 2010
    It's really kind of hard to say that slavery would peter out, considering slavery is still going strong in other countries.

    Incenjucar on
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    LawndartLawndart Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    So when the Confederacy tried to take over a Union fort by force, Lincoln should have just shrugged his shoulders and let them?

    Not to mention that relations between the North and the South weren't all peaceful happy fun times before the Civil War. "Bleeding Kansas" alone made it pretty damn obvious that war was inevitable. If Lincoln had been inept enough to be yet another Buchanan, the Civil War would simply have shifted even later and almost certainly have been even bloodier since Mexico would almost certainly be involved.

    Lawndart on
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    JacobkoshJacobkosh Gamble a stamp. I can show you how to be a real man!Moderator mod
    edited February 2010
    Slaves were pretty damn expensive, all things considered. You need to pay their own upkeep (the less you pay, the shitter their conditions, the likelier they'll rebel), you need to hire overseers or pay extra to ensure loyal slaves, they're a remarkable investment to purchase in the first place. And since most people besides aristocratic plantation or factory owners had very little use for them, why pay all that money?

    I imagine you heard this argument somewhere and thought it sounded keen - it has a slippery gloss like that - but dude, think about it for like five seconds. Every job pays for the upkeep of the person who performs it. If you can live doing one job, then your employer is paying for your food, your transportation, your taxes, your housing, your clothes, your health and your leisure time.

    If your employer could ensure that you didn't pay taxes, never bought new clothes, had no leisure time, ate exactly as many calories as you needed to work, never traveled and "lived" in about twelve square feet of space, they would be thrilled. They would save a lot of money. Slavery is always a money-saving proposition when unskilled labor is concerned; how on earth would it not be? Literally the only correct phrase in the entire quoted section is "they're a remarkable investment" and that and the difficulty of replacing skilled labor with slaves are the only two reasons the institution wasn't more widespread than it was.

    Jacobkosh on
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    enlightenedbumenlightenedbum Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Lawndart wrote: »
    So when the Confederacy tried to take over a Union fort by force, Lincoln should have just shrugged his shoulders and let them?

    Not to mention that relations between the North and the South weren't all peaceful happy fun times before the Civil War. "Bleeding Kansas" alone made it pretty damn obvious that war was inevitable. If Lincoln had been inept enough to be yet another Buchanan, the Civil War would simply have shifted even later and almost certainly have been even bloodier since Mexico would almost certainly be involved.

    And again, if they were smart, the South frees the slaves and then starts the war. France/UK probably at least break the blockade in that case.

    enlightenedbum on
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    EmperorSethEmperorSeth Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    jacobkosh wrote: »
    Slaves were pretty damn expensive, all things considered. You need to pay their own upkeep (the less you pay, the shitter their conditions, the likelier they'll rebel), you need to hire overseers or pay extra to ensure loyal slaves, they're a remarkable investment to purchase in the first place. And since most people besides aristocratic plantation or factory owners had very little use for them, why pay all that money?

    I imagine you heard this argument somewhere and thought it sounded keen - it has a slippery gloss like that - but dude, think about it for like five seconds. Every job pays for the upkeep of the person who performs it. If you can live doing one job, then your employer is paying for your food, your transportation, your taxes, your housing, your clothes, your health and your leisure time.

    If your employer could ensure that you didn't pay taxes, never bought new clothes, had no leisure time, ate exactly as many calories as you needed to work, never traveled and "lived" in about twelve square feet of space, they would be thrilled. They would save a lot of money. Slavery is always a money-saving proposition when unskilled labor is concerned; how on earth would it not be? Literally the only correct phrase in the entire quoted section is "they're a remarkable investment" and that and the difficulty of replacing skilled labor with slaves are the only two reasons the institution wasn't more widespread than it was.

    Well, I suppose there's the "constantly keeping your employees from escaping" fee, but I see your point.

    EmperorSeth on
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    Solomaxwell6Solomaxwell6 Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    jacobkosh wrote: »
    Slaves were pretty damn expensive, all things considered. You need to pay their own upkeep (the less you pay, the shitter their conditions, the likelier they'll rebel), you need to hire overseers or pay extra to ensure loyal slaves, they're a remarkable investment to purchase in the first place. And since most people besides aristocratic plantation or factory owners had very little use for them, why pay all that money?

    I imagine you heard this argument somewhere and thought it sounded keen - it has a slippery gloss like that - but dude, think about it for like five seconds. Every job pays for the upkeep of the person who performs it. If you can live doing one job, then your employer is paying for your food, your transportation, your taxes, your housing, your clothes, your health and your leisure time.

    If your employer could ensure that you didn't pay taxes, never bought new clothes, had no leisure time, ate exactly as many calories as you needed to work, never traveled and "lived" in about twelve square feet of space, they would be thrilled. They would save a lot of money. Slavery is always a money-saving proposition when unskilled labor is concerned; how on earth would it not be? Literally the only correct phrase in the entire quoted section is "they're a remarkable investment" and that and the difficulty of replacing skilled labor with slaves are the only two reasons the institution wasn't more widespread than it was.

    That's completely true, but completely irrelevant.

    How many people are actually employers? Again, if I'm some steel worker in Virginia, what use do I have for a slave? Since only a small minority of people in the cities needed slaves, and only a small minority of people in the country had a big enough farm to be able to justify the cost of owning them, there's no reason for "the bulk of the south [owning] at least one slave."

    Solomaxwell6 on
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    Irond WillIrond Will WARNING: NO HURTFUL COMMENTS, PLEASE!!!!! Cambridge. MAModerator mod
    edited February 2010
    I disagree with both. IIRC, the majority of Southerners didn't own slaves. Owning slaves was the sign of an elite. Dirt farmers in eastern Tennessee wouldn't have been able to afford them. Steel workers in Richmond or Atlanta wouldn't have needed them (and probably couldn't afford them, either). Slaves were pretty damn expensive, all things considered. You need to pay their own upkeep (the less you pay, the shitter their conditions, the likelier they'll rebel), you need to hire overseers or pay extra to ensure loyal slaves, they're a remarkable investment to purchase in the first place. And since most people besides aristocratic plantation or factory owners had very little use for them, why pay all that money?

    As for slavery dying out, it's inevitable (de jure slavery, anyway... de facto slavery would've been around for quite a while). By the 1860s, slavery was either dead or about to go fairly shortly in every Western nation. The last holdout was Brazil, which gave up slavery in the 1880s. The main problem is, most countries already tended to find slavery pretty distasteful. One of the big reasons Britain didn't give as much support to the South as it could've was because of the slavery issue. With most potential allies hesitant to support the south because of slavery, you're going to start seeing it slowly dying. There were already a lot of people in the upper south opposed to slavery (as someone mentioned earlier, Robert E Lee was morally opposed to slavery...he wouldn't have achieved the same level of fame without the Civil War, but it illustrates the issue). Virginia would've given up slavery some time within the next couple of decades. Texas had very few slaves, and most likely would've given it up fairly quickly, as well. After that, the rest of the states would fall like dominoes. You might see a couple of holdouts in the deep South, but they'll eventually succumb to pressure and give up slavery, too.

    So even granting your premise for the moment that slavery was and would continue to be economically unproductive, there is simply no way that the South would have eliminated the institution of slavery. Why would they? The very principal of subjugating an "inferior" race was institutionalized in slavery and entrenched in southern attitudes.

    Irond Will on
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    JacobkoshJacobkosh Gamble a stamp. I can show you how to be a real man!Moderator mod
    edited February 2010
    Again, if I'm some steel worker in Virginia, what use do I have for a slave?

    To have someone lower on the totem pole than you. This is pretty basic soc-sci stuff that has been known for decades.

    Jacobkosh on
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    Solomaxwell6Solomaxwell6 Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Irond Will wrote: »
    I disagree with both. IIRC, the majority of Southerners didn't own slaves. Owning slaves was the sign of an elite. Dirt farmers in eastern Tennessee wouldn't have been able to afford them. Steel workers in Richmond or Atlanta wouldn't have needed them (and probably couldn't afford them, either). Slaves were pretty damn expensive, all things considered. You need to pay their own upkeep (the less you pay, the shitter their conditions, the likelier they'll rebel), you need to hire overseers or pay extra to ensure loyal slaves, they're a remarkable investment to purchase in the first place. And since most people besides aristocratic plantation or factory owners had very little use for them, why pay all that money?

    As for slavery dying out, it's inevitable (de jure slavery, anyway... de facto slavery would've been around for quite a while). By the 1860s, slavery was either dead or about to go fairly shortly in every Western nation. The last holdout was Brazil, which gave up slavery in the 1880s. The main problem is, most countries already tended to find slavery pretty distasteful. One of the big reasons Britain didn't give as much support to the South as it could've was because of the slavery issue. With most potential allies hesitant to support the south because of slavery, you're going to start seeing it slowly dying. There were already a lot of people in the upper south opposed to slavery (as someone mentioned earlier, Robert E Lee was morally opposed to slavery...he wouldn't have achieved the same level of fame without the Civil War, but it illustrates the issue). Virginia would've given up slavery some time within the next couple of decades. Texas had very few slaves, and most likely would've given it up fairly quickly, as well. After that, the rest of the states would fall like dominoes. You might see a couple of holdouts in the deep South, but they'll eventually succumb to pressure and give up slavery, too.

    So even granting your premise for the moment that slavery was and would continue to be economically unproductive, there is simply no way that the South would have eliminated the institution of slavery. Why would they? The very principal of subjugating an "inferior" race was institutionalized in slavery and entrenched in southern attitudes.

    Difference between de jure and de facto slavery. The South can do what essentially happened historically; replace slavery with a system of sharecropping that was essentially slavery, but involved (technically) free men. Getting rid of slavery was cultural anathema in a lot of situations, but that anathema would've slowly worn down. There would be strong resistance towards abolition, but Southern society would slowly begin to accept a shift towards de facto slavery instead of de jure.

    Didn't say slavery was or would be economically unproductive. That's a gross misreading of my paragraph. But the cons would far outweigh the pros, in the long term. If all the world's greatest economies refused to treat your nation as an equal because of one institution which a sizable minority is opposed to and the majority has no use for and can be replaced with something that is roughly as economical, it's going to eventually go. There were a decent number of southern abolitionists already, and that number would just continue growing. Virginia, at the very least, was moving towards abolition historically, and a free Virginia would've been a huge coup for southern abolitionism.



    Here, let me rephrase what you said slightly....

    "So even granting your premise for the moment that slavery was and would continue to be economically unproductive, there is simply no way that Brazil would have eliminated the institution of slavery. Why would they? The very principal of subjugating an "inferior" race was institutionalized in slavery and entrenched in southern attitudes."

    Except Brazil did get rid of slavery.

    Solomaxwell6 on
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    ScalfinScalfin __BANNED USERS regular
    edited February 2010
    Scalfin wrote: »
    That really doesn't make a difference. They were still fighting on behalf of slavery, in most cases because they saw its preservation as being essential to their own well-being, even if they didn't own slaves. Even in those rare cases where a Southerner did not believe in slavery but fought anyway, as was supposedly the case with Robert E. Lee (I've heard this, but never investigated), their actions nonetheless functioned toward that end.

    I'd read that the bulk of the south owned at least one slave, but almost all the slaves belonged to a few families because those families owned enough slaves to populate small cities.

    I find the claim that slavery would have died out fairly dubious, given all the sharecropping that continued in the south and the popularity of child labor in factories in the industrialized north, both of which lasted until legislated away.

    I disagree with both. IIRC, the majority of Southerners didn't own slaves. Owning slaves was the sign of an elite. Dirt farmers in eastern Tennessee wouldn't have been able to afford them. Steel workers in Richmond or Atlanta wouldn't have needed them (and probably couldn't afford them, either). Slaves were pretty damn expensive, all things considered. You need to pay their own upkeep (the less you pay, the shitter their conditions, the likelier they'll rebel), you need to hire overseers or pay extra to ensure loyal slaves, they're a remarkable investment to purchase in the first place. And since most people besides aristocratic plantation or factory owners had very little use for them, why pay all that money?

    As for slavery dying out, it's inevitable (de jure slavery, anyway... de facto slavery would've been around for quite a while). By the 1860s, slavery was either dead or about to go fairly shortly in every Western nation. The last holdout was Brazil, which gave up slavery in the 1880s. The main problem is, most countries already tended to find slavery pretty distasteful. One of the big reasons Britain didn't give as much support to the South as it could've was because of the slavery issue. With most potential allies hesitant to support the south because of slavery, you're going to start seeing it slowly dying. There were already a lot of people in the upper south opposed to slavery (as someone mentioned earlier, Robert E Lee was morally opposed to slavery...he wouldn't have achieved the same level of fame without the Civil War, but it illustrates the issue). Virginia would've given up slavery some time within the next couple of decades. Texas had very few slaves, and most likely would've given it up fairly quickly, as well. After that, the rest of the states would fall like dominoes. You might see a couple of holdouts in the deep South, but they'll eventually succumb to pressure and give up slavery, too.

    Most of the south was agrarian, so there was plenty of use for an unwilling slavehand. The vast majority of slave owners had one to four slaves. My memory's a little fuzzy, but I'm pretty sure they made up around half of the free population.

    Lee was never against slavery. The stories of his opposition are a mix of obfuscation and confusion due to his primary reason being loyalty.

    Scalfin on
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    The rest of you, I fucking hate you for the fact that I now have a blue dot on this god awful thread.
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    Solomaxwell6Solomaxwell6 Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    jacobkosh wrote: »
    Again, if I'm some steel worker in Virginia, what use do I have for a slave?

    To have someone lower on the totem pole than you. This is pretty basic soc-sci stuff that has been known for decades.

    Here. We can argue as much as we want over whether the majority of Southerners owned slaves or not, and without real evidence, it's not going to change either of our minds.

    However...

    http://www2.census.gov/prod2/decennial/documents/1860d-13.pdf

    There's some information on the number of slaves and the actual population of each state. In 1860, there were 3.95 million slaves. There were 12.24 million people, or 8.29 free men (because of the term "inhabitants" I'm assuming that's counting each slave as 1 inhabitant... if not, the difference is even more pronounced). That adds up to less than one slave for every other person, if the slaves were perfectly spread, which they definitely were not; there would be plantations with hundreds of slaves supporting a family of four. So if you look at the hard data, the position that every one owned a slave doesn't hold up.

    Solomaxwell6 on
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    IncenjucarIncenjucar VChatter Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    edited February 2010
    It is already understood that slaves were largely owned by wealthy landowners. It is not an elite status symbol if everyone has one.

    Slaves are more like fancy wolf hounds and less like iPods.

    Incenjucar on
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    Solomaxwell6Solomaxwell6 Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Scalfin wrote: »

    Lee was never against slavery. The stories of his opposition are a mix of obfuscation and confusion due to his primary reason being loyalty.

    He wasn't against it, per se, but he thought of slavery as a necessary evil, which was a fairly common view. That view would ultimately help bring down slavery; if people see it as something that's wrong but necessary, but get pressure that makes abolition a better option, you're going to see those people flocking towards abolitionism.

    Solomaxwell6 on
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    Casual EddyCasual Eddy The Astral PlaneRegistered User regular
    edited February 2010
    My AV/Sig had the right idea.

    Casual Eddy on
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    Solomaxwell6Solomaxwell6 Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Incenjucar wrote: »
    It is already understood that slaves were largely owned by wealthy landowners. It is not an elite status symbol if everyone has one.

    Slaves are more like fancy wolf hounds and less like iPods.

    Certainly. But Scalfin said otherwise, I corrected him, and then jacobkosh decided to join in, as well. So I decided to show hard evidence that they're completely wrong. Just trying to spread a little knowledge. :-)

    Solomaxwell6 on
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    Casual EddyCasual Eddy The Astral PlaneRegistered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Scalfin wrote: »

    Lee was never against slavery. The stories of his opposition are a mix of obfuscation and confusion due to his primary reason being loyalty.

    He wasn't against it, per se, but he thought of slavery as a necessary evil, which was a fairly common view. That view would ultimately help bring down slavery; if people see it as something that's wrong but necessary, but get pressure that makes abolition a better option, you're going to see those people flocking towards abolitionism.

    'necessary evil' had nothing to do with ending it. it was radical anti-slavery that drove the south into a frenized terror, so much so they felt they had no other recourse than to take up arms when lincoln was elected.

    Casual Eddy on
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    Solomaxwell6Solomaxwell6 Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Scalfin wrote: »

    Lee was never against slavery. The stories of his opposition are a mix of obfuscation and confusion due to his primary reason being loyalty.

    He wasn't against it, per se, but he thought of slavery as a necessary evil, which was a fairly common view. That view would ultimately help bring down slavery; if people see it as something that's wrong but necessary, but get pressure that makes abolition a better option, you're going to see those people flocking towards abolitionism.

    'necessary evil' had nothing to do with ending it. it was radical anti-slavery that drove the south into a frenized terror, so much so they felt they had no other recourse than to take up arms when lincoln was elected.

    I'm talking the long run. Radical anti-slavery, people like the your friend John Brown, wouldn't have gotten the job done. More and more people seeing slavery as evil, necessary or otherwise, is what would wear away at it over the next few decades.

    Solomaxwell6 on
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    Casual EddyCasual Eddy The Astral PlaneRegistered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Scalfin wrote: »

    Lee was never against slavery. The stories of his opposition are a mix of obfuscation and confusion due to his primary reason being loyalty.

    He wasn't against it, per se, but he thought of slavery as a necessary evil, which was a fairly common view. That view would ultimately help bring down slavery; if people see it as something that's wrong but necessary, but get pressure that makes abolition a better option, you're going to see those people flocking towards abolitionism.

    'necessary evil' had nothing to do with ending it. it was radical anti-slavery that drove the south into a frenized terror, so much so they felt they had no other recourse than to take up arms when lincoln was elected.

    I'm talking the long run. Radical anti-slavery, people like the your friend John Brown, wouldn't have gotten the job done. More and more people seeing slavery as evil, necessary or otherwise, is what would wear away at it over the next few decades.

    there was no long run. slavery ended in a bloody mess. or are you talking hypothetically?

    Casual Eddy on
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    Solomaxwell6Solomaxwell6 Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Scalfin wrote: »

    Lee was never against slavery. The stories of his opposition are a mix of obfuscation and confusion due to his primary reason being loyalty.

    He wasn't against it, per se, but he thought of slavery as a necessary evil, which was a fairly common view. That view would ultimately help bring down slavery; if people see it as something that's wrong but necessary, but get pressure that makes abolition a better option, you're going to see those people flocking towards abolitionism.

    'necessary evil' had nothing to do with ending it. it was radical anti-slavery that drove the south into a frenized terror, so much so they felt they had no other recourse than to take up arms when lincoln was elected.

    I'm talking the long run. Radical anti-slavery, people like the your friend John Brown, wouldn't have gotten the job done. More and more people seeing slavery as evil, necessary or otherwise, is what would wear away at it over the next few decades.

    there was no long run. slavery ended in a bloody mess. or are you talking hypothetically?

    Hypothetically. Had there been no Civil War, slavery would've still ended, regardless. It just would've taken longer. Scalfin was saying the South would've never gotten rid of slavery. I was disagreeing, which is why I brought up Robert E Lee (the archetypal Southern gentleman) as seeing slavery as evil.

    Solomaxwell6 on
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    LawndartLawndart Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Hypothetically. Had there been no Civil War, slavery would've still ended, regardless. It just would've taken longer. Scalfin was saying the South would've never gotten rid of slavery. I was disagreeing, which is why I brought up Robert E Lee (the archetypal Southern gentleman) as seeing slavery as evil.

    Except that even if you believe that Robert E Lee was somehow an abolitionist, there are the scores of other archetypal Southern gentlemen that supported the institution of plantation slavery so vehemently that they seceded from the United States in order to protect it.

    I can see plantation slavery being replaced by plantation sharecropping, but there's absolutely no way I can see the un-Reconstructed Confederacy granting citizenship to freed black slaves anytime soon after 1861.

    Lawndart on
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    PantsBPantsB Fake Thomas Jefferson Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Scalfin wrote: »

    Lee was never against slavery. The stories of his opposition are a mix of obfuscation and confusion due to his primary reason being loyalty.

    He wasn't against it, per se, but he thought of slavery as a necessary evil, which was a fairly common view. That view would ultimately help bring down slavery; if people see it as something that's wrong but necessary, but get pressure that makes abolition a better option, you're going to see those people flocking towards abolitionism.

    Lee's views on slavery may have been even more abhorrent than the standard pro-slavery position. He thought slavery was an evil on white men because blacks were forcing whites to enslave them and that whites were the aggrieved party.
    There are few, I believe, in this enlightened age, who will not acknowledge that slavery as an institution is a moral and political evil. It is idle to expatiate on its disadvantages. I think it is a greater evil to the white than to the colored race & while my feelings are strongly enlisted in behalf of the latter, my sympathies are more strong for the former. ...How long their servitude may be necessary is known and ordered by a merciful Providence. Their emancipation will sooner result from the mild and melting influences of Christianity than from the storm and tempest of fiery controversy. This influence, though slow, is sure. The doctrines and miracles of our Saviour have required nearly two thousand years to convert but a small portion of the human race, and even among Christian nations what gross errors still exist!
    . . . Is it not strange that the descendants of those Pilgrim Fathers who crossed the Atlantic to preserve their own freedom have always proved the most intolerant of the spiritual liberty of others?
    Qingu wrote: »
    It's really hard to make such a huge generalization of whether or not the civil war was worth it, because we don't know exactly what would have happened if they had seceded. It's quite possible that had we let it happen, there would have been an even greater war farther down the road, and on top of that it's possible the United States would not have been able to deal with both World War 1 and 2. The South at the time could have united with Germany during either great war ( the Germans had already shown support for them during the Civil War) and we would have an even greater war on our own land to deal with.
    It is true, there is no telling what would happen just from history; hindsight is not 20/20.

    I guess a better perspective, to ask the question from is: if you were Abraham Lincoln and had only his knowledge at the time, would you have declared war or allowed secession? I would have allowed it.

    Of course I would have.

    First, you have the obvious moral requirement. Those states are pushing to retain slavery as a fundamental right - and indeed under the central political concept of the Confederacy the only fundamental right as it rejected "all men are created equal" explicitly. Not only would such a nation restart the slave trade in Africa and Caribbean, but expanding this practice westward. The long term conservative abolitionist strategy of allowing slavery to choke itself out would no longer be possible. With an open door to the west, there's nothing to stop slavery continuing for many generations more as more farmland becomes available and without the influence of the north and west. The idea that they would be just as bad off under Jim Crowe is a modern fallacy (sharecropping and Jim Crowe wasn't as bad as slavery even if horrible, its a justification by those who would defend the Confederacy) that would under your own rules not be available to Lincoln anyway.

    Second, allowing the secession of the states would destroy the United States. If states can secede simply because they don't like an election and/or that a state can ignore federal law with no response you have doomed your government forever as toothless and impotent. You suddenly have to negotiate any law not only within the legislature but with any political unit that might decide they don't want to listen. You can't abolish slavery because the border states could then just say no, or secede. The Articles of Confederacy would have looked well run in comparison. If you are unwilling to enforce your fundamental sovereignty, you are no longer a legitimate government.

    Third, by allowing the Confederacy to split you would have been splitting the largest economy in the world with an entire continent to expand into and no realistic threat on this side of the ocean into two countries competing for the same territory with an antagonistic populace pushing for war from both sides. You've split the country and gone from an emerging power to one of a pair of squabbling siblings, guaranteed to fight and compete constantly as they expand.

    The South sucks. But deciding it would have been better for Lincoln to let them secede is childish thinking. It would have not only been morally reprehensible but it would have been political and geo-political suicide for the US. If Lincoln had followed Buchanan's lead (widely considered the worst President) the United States - and likely the Confederacy based on their form of government - may not have lived to 1870

    PantsB on
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    Solomaxwell6Solomaxwell6 Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Lawndart wrote: »
    Hypothetically. Had there been no Civil War, slavery would've still ended, regardless. It just would've taken longer. Scalfin was saying the South would've never gotten rid of slavery. I was disagreeing, which is why I brought up Robert E Lee (the archetypal Southern gentleman) as seeing slavery as evil.

    Except that even if you believe that Robert E Lee was somehow an abolitionist,

    No one's claiming that.
    there are the scores of other archetypal Southern gentlemen that supported the institution of plantation slavery so vehemently that they seceded from the United States in order to protect it.

    No one's claiming there weren't.
    I can see plantation slavery being replaced by plantation sharecropping, but there's absolutely no way I can see the un-Reconstructed Confederacy granting citizenship to freed black slaves anytime soon after 1861.

    No one's claiming that, either.

    Solomaxwell6 on
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    BubbaTBubbaT Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Qingu wrote: »
    Another argument is that the war preserved the Union. I say, this was obviously not worth fighting a war over. The South remains a drain on both our economy and our political system. To this day, we are probably among the most divided first-world countries. If Texas of whoever wanted, or tried to, secede now, I sure as hell wouldn't stop them using force.

    That would effectively neuter the federal government's authority if anyone could just run away when DC pissed them off. Why should California ($0.78 received from federal govt per $1 of federal taxes paid) or Illinois ($0.75) or New York ($0.79) stick around and subsidize West Virginia ($1.76) or North Dakota ($1.68) or New Mexico ($2.03) with their tax dollars, if there's no penalty for leaving?


    edit: gah! beat'd by PantsB

    BubbaT on
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