Options

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

1356

Posts

  • Options
    JacobkoshJacobkosh Gamble a stamp. I can show you how to be a real man!Moderator mod
    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. :-)

    Completely wrong about what? Every time someone replies to one of your posts, you back off, claiming "that's not what I said."

    Well what on earth did you say? Why don't you actually try making some concrete assertions and then own up to what you've said?

    The careful reader may have noticed I said exactly nothing about the distribution of slaves. That's your own tree you're barking up.

    Jacobkosh on
  • Options
    Irond WillIrond Will WARNING: NO HURTFUL COMMENTS, PLEASE!!!!! Cambridge. MAModerator mod
    edited February 2010
    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.

    Brazil was a system in which a small number of white-descended people owned slaves that were drawn from non-white races. The key difference between Brazil and the southern US is that humans of a "slave race" made up maybe one fifth of the population in the US but probably 90% of Brazil. This changes the dynamics of the institution enormously.

    As for the rest, your central contention is that internal progressive movements and international pressure would be the central factors in abolishing slavery. But the south has been ridiculously resistant to both even after being defeated in the civil war. Why do you think they would have behaved differently if the war hadn't happened.

    Irond Will on
    Wqdwp8l.png
  • Options
    LawndartLawndart 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.

    Except that you're using Lee's supposed opinions of slavery as evidence supporting your claim that the Confederacy would have gotten rid of slavery.
    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.

    Then why again do they not outweigh Robert E. Lee?
    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.

    Except that in the context of the Civil War, ending slavery entailed granting citizenship to all freed slaves. There's absolutely no guarantee that would have happened anytime soon in a theoretical post-1865 Confederacy. That puts claims that said theoretical Confederacy would have eventually abolished slavery in a much different context.

    Lawndart on
  • Options
    Solomaxwell6Solomaxwell6 Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    jacobkosh wrote: »
    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. :-)

    Completely wrong about what? Every time someone replies to one of your posts, you back off, claiming "that's not what I said."

    Well what on earth did you say? Why don't you actually try making some concrete assertions and then own up to what you've said?

    The careful reader may have noticed I said exactly nothing about the distribution of slaves. That's your own tree you're barking up.

    I've been making concrete assertions! It's not my fault if people are blatantly misrepresenting what I said.

    Here's a play by play of this exchange...

    1. Scalfin claimed that most Southerners had at least one slave.
    2. Seeing that as an untruth, I corrected him, using an argument to show why most Southerners wouldn't have slaves.
    3. You attacked my argument.
    4. After a couple of exchanges, I decided to do a search of the 1860 Census so I could show hard evidence. It was pretty impossible for the average Southerner to own a slave, since there was a far greater than 1:1 free:slave ratio.

    If you weren't saying anything about the distribution of slaves, then your arguments were completely irrelevant. Because that's what we were discussing.

    Solomaxwell6 on
  • Options
    PantsBPantsB Fake Thomas Jefferson 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.

    No most people didn't own a slave. But ~1/3 of Southern households owned at least one slave. And those that didn't largely didn't because of economic, rather than political reasons. Slaves were beyond the means of many Southerners. But an underclass of slaves also provided a lower caste that gave someone for even dirt poor subsistence farmers to look down on. Taking that away from them would not be something they'd simply accept readily or quickly - see Jim Crowe.

    PantsB on
    11793-1.png
    day9gosu.png
    QEDMF xbl: PantsB G+
  • Options
    JacobkoshJacobkosh Gamble a stamp. I can show you how to be a real man!Moderator mod
    edited February 2010
    If you weren't saying anything about the distribution of slaves, then your arguments were completely irrelevant. Because that's what we were discussing.

    You were propagating the silly goose meme that slavery was somehow uneconomical. I corrected that. That was the beginning and end of my involvement in the discussion.

    Jacobkosh on
  • Options
    ScalfinScalfin __BANNED USERS 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?

    Technically, Brown's actions were in response to a previous attack and a plan to attack his family.

    Scalfin on
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
    The rest of you, I fucking hate you for the fact that I now have a blue dot on this god awful thread.
  • Options
    Solomaxwell6Solomaxwell6 Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Except that you're using Lee's supposed opinions of slavery as the sole bit of evidence supporting your claim that the Confederacy would have gotten rid of slavery.

    Not sole at all! I was essentially saying that there would be both internal and external pressures. As I've already mentioned a few times, the external pressures were caused by western cultures that were pretty unanimously anti-slavery and resisted true friendship with the Confederacy as a result. If countries like Britain and France see the CSA as barbarous and refuse to help them as much as they otherwise would've, it puts the CSA at a disadvantage in foreign politics. That's not to say Britain and France would've been vehemently opposed to the existence of the Confederacy or anything, but you're still going to see the CSA looked down upon and not have particularly favorable relations.

    The internal factor was primarily those who viewed slavery as a necessary evil. I was just giving Lee as an example of that group; specifically, as an example of a Southern aristocrat who didn't see slavery as a really good thing. It was a fairly sizable minority. And I feel that the minority would just grow larger with time. As international opposition to slavery increases, as it did IRL, I see no reason why it wouldn't grow in the South as well. At a slower rate, sure, but there's still going to be cultural exchange between the South and Europe (and especially with the US). And as that minority gets bigger, and becomes a majority in some of the states (IIRC, it was already the "standard" view in the upper South, although I'd have to look that up), you're no longer going to see the same support for slavery. If slavery becomes less economical, or even damaging, the people who see it as a necessary evil aren't really going to be supporting it anymore. The "necessary" part of their views is going to be weakened and superseded by the "evil" part.

    Again, I'm only talking long term. I'm not assuming the South will suddenly drop slavery in 1865, without the North marching in and getting rid of it by force, or even during the 19th century. Support for slavery will oh so slowly, but surely, be chipped away.
    Then why again do they not outweigh Robert E. Lee?

    See my paragraph above. In the short term, yes, they certainly do outweigh him. In the long term, the people who aren't truly supportive of slavery are going to begin to outnumber and outweigh those who believe it is a genuinely good thing.

    I also feel that if an attempt to remove slavery is made from the inside, you're not going to see the same sort of opposition. Sure, there'll be plenty of it; slavery will be untouchable for quite a while and still hard to shake after that, but there isn't going to be a huge amount of armed resistance like there was when people thought the federal government would take their slaves away.
    Except that in the context of the Civil War, ending slavery entailed granting citizenship to all freed slaves. There's absolutely no guarantee that would have happened anytime soon in a theoretical post-1865 Confederacy. That puts claims that said theoretical Confederacy would have eventually abolished slavery in a much different context.

    Sure. But as I was saying above, there's a difference between de facto and de jure slavery. I'm only arguing that they'd get rid of de jure slavery. As for de facto slavery... Not so much. I think that a 2010 Confederacy would look a lot like the segregation-era South. Maybe a bit more so, maybe a bit less (I've seen some reasonably convincing arguments that a lot of Southern ill will towards blacks was the result of the loss of the Civil War... how a South without the Civil War would've turned out depends a lot on whether you agree with it or not.... I don't really agree with it, but I do see it as sort of a possibility).


    Edit: Something else that might be worthwhile to add... The end of sharecropping. Historically, sharecropping started to really lose value as farm work became more and more mechanized. If one person with the right equipment can do the work of 20, why keep paying for those 20? Smaller farms won't need slaves at all. Larger plantations will only need a small handful, instead of dozens. Maids and other servants will still have the same demand, but that's not going to be enough to counteract the sudden loss of demand of farm hands (plus, most farm hands aren't going to be capable of working in a "cultured" job, which limits their possibilities further). As the rural south no longer needs its slaves, they're going to be sold to factories--where they'll also slowly lose their value as tech innovations increase the productivity of single slaves in the factories. Not to mention agitation of white men who are suddenly losing their jobs in droves, similar to our own current agitation about illegal Mexican workers and outsourcing.

    Hell, as long as we're talking in absolutes like "the south will not get rid of its slaves," giving us an infinite timeline to work with, what about robots? With small need for slaves in non-menial factory jobs, and the creation of robots which are capable of doing those menial factory jobs for even less of an investment than a slave, they'll lose their value almost entirely.

    Solomaxwell6 on
  • Options
    Solomaxwell6Solomaxwell6 Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    jacobkosh wrote: »
    If you weren't saying anything about the distribution of slaves, then your arguments were completely irrelevant. Because that's what we were discussing.

    You were propagating the silly goose meme that slavery was somehow uneconomical. I corrected that. That was the beginning and end of my involvement in the discussion.

    Naw. I was arguing from the context of almost everyone owning a slave. From that context, I think it would be uneconomical. For a plantation owner or factory owner, yeah, it's great. But they don't make up the majority of the population. If we assume everyone owns a slave, even the fairly large Southern lower class, no so much. Slavery would be pretty useless for a farmer without enough land to require a slave, or for a factory grunt, or a clerk, etc etc. If I can barely afford food for my family as it is, spending a fuck ton of cash for a slave and then providing for his upkeep (which wouldn't be a lot, but would still be necessary) probably wouldn't be worth all that much. If I don't have any sort of use for another pair of arms, I wouldn't even be getting any sort of returns on the investment.

    Slavery is economical in some situations, but isn't worth it for everyone, was my argument.

    Solomaxwell6 on
  • Options
    November FifthNovember Fifth Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    I think war was inevitable. Even if the Union had allowed the Confederate states to go their merry way, the control of several states and territories would have remained disputed (e.g. West Virginia, Oklahoma, Missouri, Arizona, New Mexico).

    If they had managed to resolve this issue, I believe westward Confederate growth would have been checked, and that the South would have tried to expand their slave owning empire into the Caribbean and Latin America.

    Slavery would have persisted for a much longer period with bloody uprisings becoming more common as the hope of abolition faded. Slave owners would exploit fears of these uprisings to weaken any lingering abolitionist sentiments amongst the confederate population.

    The European powers would be quick to economically isolate the Confederate states and there would be the possibility for military conflicts in the Caribbean over sugar producing islands.

    The post war African American population migrations never happen, leading to a much whiter Union. Southern urbanization is delayed. Public education is even poorer and reinforces Confederate propaganda.
    The establishment of technical and engineering colleges in the South is delayed.

    In the Union, no Grange movement, weaker progressive politics initially delaying women's suffrage. The gilded age would have been worse and the backlash would have been more extreme leading to more popular socialists and communist movements.

    It's all butterflies after WWI.

    November Fifth on
  • Options
    Solomaxwell6Solomaxwell6 Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    In the Union, no Grange movement, weaker progressive politics initially delaying women's suffrage. The gilded age would have been worse and the backlash would have been more extreme leading to more popular socialists and communist movements.

    It's all butterflies after WWI.

    Why do you say this? Everything else I can at least understand the rationale of, but that bit I don't really follow. Without the conservative, traditional south weighing down the social progress of the rest of the nation, I would imagine stronger progressive politics.

    Solomaxwell6 on
  • Options
    November FifthNovember Fifth Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    In the Union, no Grange movement, weaker progressive politics initially delaying women's suffrage. The gilded age would have been worse and the backlash would have been more extreme leading to more popular socialists and communist movements.

    It's all butterflies after WWI.

    Why do you say this? Everything else I can at least understand the rationale of, but that bit I don't really follow. Without the conservative, traditional south weighing down the social progress of the rest of the nation, I would imagine stronger progressive politics.

    Somewhat ironically, one of the most important progressive organizations of the late 19th century was the Grange, which was born in the wake of the Civil War to advance farmer's causes. They advocated Rural Free Delivery and Extension services as well as prohibition, direct election of senators and women's suffrage. Without the war this organization might not have existed and would have been weaker without the agrarian South.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_National_Grange_of_the_Order_of_Patrons_of_Husbandry

    Secondly, the popularity of progressive politics of this era was partially based on blocking African Americans from resettling in the north and reducing their political power. This was one of the reasons that they wanted women to vote.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Progressive_Era

    November Fifth on
  • Options
    SpoitSpoit *twitch twitch* Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    OK, ignoring the whole demographic tilt towards an agrarian society and all, can someone explain to me why the south wouldn't just use slaves as factory workers once they did start to industrialize?

    Spoit on
    steam_sig.png
  • Options
    IncenjucarIncenjucar VChatter Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Spoit wrote: »
    OK, ignoring the whole demographic tilt towards an agrarian society and all, can someone explain to me why the south wouldn't just use slaves as factory workers once they did start to industrialize?

    Because that is what 10 year old Chinese kids are for.

    Incenjucar on
  • Options
    LoserForHireXLoserForHireX Philosopher King The AcademyRegistered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Scalfin wrote: »
    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?

    Technically, Brown's actions were in response to a previous attack and a plan to attack his family.

    Was this before or after he butchered the families of a bunch of pro-slavery guys in Kansas?

    LoserForHireX on
    "The only way to get rid of a temptation is to give into it." - Oscar Wilde
    "We believe in the people and their 'wisdom' as if there was some special secret entrance to knowledge that barred to anyone who had ever learned anything." - Friedrich Nietzsche
  • Options
    Solomaxwell6Solomaxwell6 Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Spoit wrote: »
    OK, ignoring the whole demographic tilt towards an agrarian society and all, can someone explain to me why the south wouldn't just use slaves as factory workers once they did start to industrialize?

    Two reasons.

    1) They primarily used white men for those jobs. Once you start to see factory owners use the influx of incredibly cheap slave labor in the 30s or so when sharecropping (slavecropping?) dies down, there's going to be a hell of a lot of agitation against that. I compared it earlier to modern illegal immigrants and outsourcing; the traditional labor source is going to be pissed off at outsiders taking their jobs, not to mention the racial issue.

    2) Just as the farms mechanize, the factories will require fewer and fewer people to run. With the southern lower class already around, and an influx of even cheaper labor, there's just not going to be enough jobs to go around.

    Solomaxwell6 on
  • Options
    enlightenedbumenlightenedbum Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    A few words now to Republicans. It is exceedingly desirable that all parts of this great Confederacy shall be at peace, and in harmony, one with another. Let us Republicans do our part to have it so. Even though much provoked, let us do nothing through passion and ill temper. Even though the southern people will not so much as listen to us, let us calmly consider their demands, and yield to them if, in our deliberate view of our duty, we possibly can. Judging by all they say and do, and by the subject and nature of their controversy with us, let us determine, if we can, what will satisfy them.

    Will they be satisfied if the Territories be unconditionally surrendered to them? We know they will not. In all their present complaints against us, the Territories are scarcely mentioned. Invasions and insurrections are the rage now. Will it satisfy them, if, in the future, we have nothing to do with invasions and insurrections? We know it will not. We so know, because we know we never had anything to do with invasions and insurrections; and yet this total abstaining does not exempt us from the charge and the denunciation.

    The question recurs, what will satisfy them? Simply this: We must not only let them alone, but we must somehow, convince them that we do let them alone. This, we know by experience, is no easy task. We have been so trying to convince them from the very beginning of our organization, but with no success. In all our platforms and speeches we have constantly protested our purpose to let them alone; but this has had no tendency to convince them. Alike unavailing to convince them, is the fact that they have never detected a man of us in any attempt to disturb them.

    These natural, and apparently adequate means all failing, what will convince them? This, and this only: cease to call slavery wrong, and join them in calling it right. And this must be done thoroughly - done in acts as well as in words. Silence will not be tolerated - we must place ourselves avowedly with them. Senator Douglas' new sedition law must be enacted and enforced, suppressing all declarations that slavery is wrong, whether made in politics, in presses, in pulpits, or in private. We must arrest and return their fugitive slaves with greedy pleasure. We must pull down our Free State constitutions. The whole atmosphere must be disinfected from all taint of opposition to slavery, before they will cease to believe that all their troubles proceed from us.

    From Lincoln's second best (to the 2nd Inaugural, Gettysburg is third) speech. John Brown and everything else is largely a red herring. Radical anti-slavery types like John Brown didn't have so much to do with it as fear of them losing their ability to kill anti-slavery bills in the Senate, which is why expanding slavery to the territories was vital. The War itself was inevitable as soon as the Kansas - Nebraska Act was passed.

    Of course, there's probably a slight bias in my reading of history because fuck the Senate, but still.

    enlightenedbum on
    Self-righteousness is incompatible with coalition building.
  • Options
    IncenjucarIncenjucar VChatter Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    edited February 2010
    I expect that slaves would eventually be placed largely in positions which are taken up by illegal immigrants and positions that absolutely nobody wants.

    And the recreational and status uses of slaves would remain even if they were no longer of any economic benefit whatsoever.

    Incenjucar on
  • Options
    Kipling217Kipling217 Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    First off, International pressure ending slavery? Bullshit. The South had been under international pressure since 1800. Slavery had been outlawed by Britain and France . It had been under northern pressure since the founding of the republic. Neither had stopped slavery or dissuaded them from fighting to keep it.

    Secondly Robert E. Lee belived that slavery should exist as long as "god wills it". In other words slavery should exist until go gave the signal to end it. I don't know about you, but god has been pretty stingy with the signs in the last thousand years. Not a lot of Burning bushes around.

    Thirdly. Why would anyone pay for poor whites to stand on an assembly line, when you can use cheaper slaves. Its not like working for the Ford motor company required a lot of skill back in the day.

    Kipling217 on
    The sky was full of stars, every star an exploding ship. One of ours.
  • Options
    Dis'Dis' Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    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
    .

    Except Brazil was different, the majority of slaves in Brazil were employed in sugar production, which tends to kill people. Thus the population of slaves would fall over time and new africans would need to be imported, however in the middle to late 19th century the slave trade was stopped dead by the Royal Navy, thus the price of Brazilian slaves shot through the roof and they pretty much gave up on the idea as unprofitable. Also in Brazil they're rather less racially divided, so releasing slaves into free society wasn't seen a problem.

    In the American South slaves worked in cotton and other non-lethal activities, and thus their population was increasing naturally, and wouldn't face the supply problem that made Brazil end things. Slavery would still be amazingly profitable in cotton until automation and the boll weevil destroy it in the 1920s.
    Irond Will wrote: »
    Brazil was a system in which a small number of white-descended people owned slaves that were drawn from non-white races. The key difference between Brazil and the southern US is that humans of a "slave race" made up maybe one fifth of the population in the US but probably 90% of Brazil. This changes the dynamics of the institution enormously.

    Um, your right about the dynamics being different but rather worng about Brazil: blacks are about 7% and mixed is about 40% today, and the numbers were even lower back in the 19th (20 and 20 roughly, portuguese Brazilians have always been the majority), also a number of the large landowners were black or mixed to boot.

    Dis' on
  • Options
    QinguQingu Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    PantsB wrote: »
    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.
    I just want to make clear: I don't think slaves were "just as bad" under Jim Crowe. Freedom offered huge improvements to the lives of African Americans, despite inequality that persisted.

    For me, the question is simply, are these improvement worth killing like a million people. Is a most difficult question to answer. And it depends largely on if you think such improvements would have happened eventually, regardless of war.

    Qingu on
  • Options
    LawndartLawndart Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    I also feel that if an attempt to remove slavery is made from the inside, you're not going to see the same sort of opposition. Sure, there'll be plenty of it; slavery will be untouchable for quite a while and still hard to shake after that, but there isn't going to be a huge amount of armed resistance like there was when people thought the federal government would take their slaves away.

    Except that every single reform movement in the South was met with both violent resistance and propaganda blaming those movements on "outside agitators". Even if the Confederacy was able to survive into the 20th Century (which again, I highly doubt for a number of reasons), you'd simply be stretching out the armed resistance to reform over a century rather than over 5 years.
    Sure. But as I was saying above, there's a difference between de facto and de jure slavery. I'm only arguing that they'd get rid of de jure slavery. As for de facto slavery... Not so much. I think that a 2010 Confederacy would look a lot like the segregation-era South. Maybe a bit more so, maybe a bit less (I've seen some reasonably convincing arguments that a lot of Southern ill will towards blacks was the result of the loss of the Civil War... how a South without the Civil War would've turned out depends a lot on whether you agree with it or not.... I don't really agree with it, but I do see it as sort of a possibility).

    Assuming the Confederacy survived to 2010, it'd look more like Apartheid-era South Africa than the segregation-era South.

    Also, Southern ill will towards black people was an inherent part of plantation slavery and the Antebellum culture that it created. It was completely acceptable to inflict hideous levels of violence and degradation onto black slaves, especially those who defied white supremacy in any way.
    Edit: Something else that might be worthwhile to add... The end of sharecropping. Historically, sharecropping started to really lose value as farm work became more and more mechanized. If one person with the right equipment can do the work of 20, why keep paying for those 20? Smaller farms won't need slaves at all. Larger plantations will only need a small handful, instead of dozens. Maids and other servants will still have the same demand, but that's not going to be enough to counteract the sudden loss of demand of farm hands (plus, most farm hands aren't going to be capable of working in a "cultured" job, which limits their possibilities further). As the rural south no longer needs its slaves, they're going to be sold to factories--where they'll also slowly lose their value as tech innovations increase the productivity of single slaves in the factories. Not to mention agitation of white men who are suddenly losing their jobs in droves, similar to our own current agitation about illegal Mexican workers and outsourcing.

    Hell, as long as we're talking in absolutes like "the south will not get rid of its slaves," giving us an infinite timeline to work with, what about robots? With small need for slaves in non-menial factory jobs, and the creation of robots which are capable of doing those menial factory jobs for even less of an investment than a slave, they'll lose their value almost entirely.

    Oh, I'm sure that if the Confederacy survived past 1861 that they'd eventually get rid of the economic institution of plantation slavery but would continue to hold on to the culture of white rule and non-white disenfranchisement that plantation slavery thrived on. We're not talking about a century of Jim Crow, we're talking about a century or more of Apartheid where only white folks get to vote.

    Lawndart on
  • Options
    QinguQingu Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Something I've noticed—I think everyone on this thread has made very good points, but this is probably where I disagree most on a "metaphysical" level—there is a temptation to see history as a "race" where the "good guys" need to grab power and resources before the "bad guys" do.

    This is probably an oversimplification of your positions, but I've seen several people imply that, for example, the U.S. needed to be united so we could survive and be strong to win World War I and II. Or, that it was important for the U.S. as a whole to engender manifest destiny instead of two political rivals acting as expansionary "squabbling sibblings"—and that any weakness shown by the north to the confederacy would have empowered them, as the "bad guys."

    I guess I don't think goodness and badness, (in a historical progressive sense we're talking about here), are concentrated in cultures. I think the emergence of progressive morality is much more chaotic and diffuse than that.

    This isn't to say that nothing is worth fighting for because eventually progressive morals will evolve; I'm not that much of a hippie. But I also wonder to what extent eschewing war—even if it means messy, bitter political and moral rivalvies—enables progressive morals to evolve.

    Qingu on
  • Options
    big lbig l Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Qingu wrote: »
    Something I've noticed—I think everyone on this thread has made very good points, but this is probably where I disagree most on a "metaphysical" level—there is a temptation to see history as a "race" where the "good guys" need to grab power and resources before the "bad guys" do.

    This is probably an oversimplification of your positions, but I've seen several people imply that, for example, the U.S. needed to be united so we could survive and be strong to win World War I and II. Or, that it was important for the U.S. as a whole to engender manifest destiny instead of two political rivals acting as expansionary "squabbling sibblings"—and that any weakness shown by the north to the confederacy would have empowered them, as the "bad guys."

    I guess I don't think goodness and badness, (in a historical progressive sense we're talking about here), are concentrated in cultures. I think the emergence of progressive morality is much more chaotic and diffuse than that.

    This isn't to say that nothing is worth fighting for because eventually progressive morals will evolve; I'm not that much of a hippie. But I also wonder to what extent eschewing war—even if it means messy, bitter political and moral rivalvies—enables progressive morals to evolve.

    I think the reason people were saying "it was important for the U.S. as a whole to engender manifest destiny instead of two political rivals acting as expansionary 'squabbling siblings'"is that in the case of two squabbling siblings, there would be lots of wars and conflicts over border issues and expansion - who gets California, who gets Oregon, Nevada, etc, and that keeping the nation united avoids the war and bloodshed that would result from such conflict, war and bloodshed that could be expected to be greater in magnitude than that of the Civil War. This statement can be made without making any judgement on who is the good guy and who is bad guy.

    big l on
  • Options
    SynthesisSynthesis Honda Today! Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Robman wrote: »
    Wasn't this a Harry Turtledove book or something? I can't quite remember any details from his books, because old men with big beards writing graphic sex scenes creep me the fuck out.

    His alt history was the South won, after which he decided to fight the exact same wars Europe fought but only in North America because that's fascinating! He even named the sneak attack Blackbeard or something instead of Barbarossa. Ugh.

    Yeah. And it was launched on the very same day as Barbarossa. They kind of fuse the Eastern and Western fronts in the beginning (blitzkrieg on the Midwest = France, but the Battle of Pittsburgh = Stalingrad (or Leningrad? can't remember). Later on, it turns into the later stages of the Civil War (the March on Atlanta -> March to the Sea).

    Wow. I wonder if it could be as horrible as it sounds.

    I agree with the view of apartheid South Africa. Especially given the sort of social stratification you can find in the South presently (or at least in Georgia, where I live), and to some degree throughout the United States as a whole.

    Synthesis on
  • Options
    LawndartLawndart Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Qingu wrote: »
    Something I've noticed—I think everyone on this thread has made very good points, but this is probably where I disagree most on a "metaphysical" level—there is a temptation to see history as a "race" where the "good guys" need to grab power and resources before the "bad guys" do.

    This is probably an oversimplification of your positions, but I've seen several people imply that, for example, the U.S. needed to be united so we could survive and be strong to win World War I and II. Or, that it was important for the U.S. as a whole to engender manifest destiny instead of two political rivals acting as expansionary "squabbling sibblings"—and that any weakness shown by the north to the confederacy would have empowered them, as the "bad guys."

    I guess I don't think goodness and badness, (in a historical progressive sense we're talking about here), are concentrated in cultures. I think the emergence of progressive morality is much more chaotic and diffuse than that.

    Oh, so this is all about cultural relativism?

    I guess we'll have to agree to disagree, since I have absolutely no problem describing a government and culture that's founded on and dedicated to preserving an institution as monstrous as plantation slavery as being "bad".
    Qingu wrote: »
    This isn't to say that nothing is worth fighting for because eventually progressive morals will evolve; I'm not that much of a hippie. But I also wonder to what extent eschewing war—even if it means messy, bitter political and moral rivalvies—enables progressive morals to evolve.

    Except "progressive morals" were under direct attack by the governments and citizenry of the Southern states before the Civil War. Abolitionist literature was official censored, abolitionists were threatened with violent reprisal, and freed slaves were hunted down and re-enslaved.

    Lawndart on
  • Options
    QinguQingu Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Lawndart wrote: »
    Oh, so this is all about cultural relativism?

    I guess we'll have to agree to disagree, since I have absolutely no problem describing a government and culture that's founded on and dedicated to preserving an institution as monstrous as plantation slavery as being "bad".
    Hold on. I am manifestly not a cultural relativist in the sense you are using the term here. You will get no argument from me that the north was more progressive than the south, or that the south was "monstrous" even by the morally lax standards of the day.

    My point was that I don't think the process of moral progress, over time, is "locked" onto certain cultures. I agree that at any given point in history, certain areas and cultures are "better" than others; what I am disputing is the importance of the "better cultures" to gain ground in order to spread their progressive morals.

    I suppose another way of putting it is: look at the difference between soft power and hard power in the middle east. I think western secular culture is far, far better and more moral than the Salafi Islamic culture in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere: but is it necessary to go to war to spread the memes of our progressive culture? Can war even have a backlash, breeding reactionary backwards cultural memes? What I'm wondering here is, could the North have used a "soft power" approach to, over time, improve the morals of the South. (And the phenomenon of "soft power" seems to happen on its own, anyway, as communication increases between cultures—which is what I meant as moral progress happening in diffuse and unexpected ways.)

    Qingu on
  • Options
    enlightenedbumenlightenedbum Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    big l wrote: »
    Qingu wrote: »
    Something I've noticed—I think everyone on this thread has made very good points, but this is probably where I disagree most on a "metaphysical" level—there is a temptation to see history as a "race" where the "good guys" need to grab power and resources before the "bad guys" do.

    This is probably an oversimplification of your positions, but I've seen several people imply that, for example, the U.S. needed to be united so we could survive and be strong to win World War I and II. Or, that it was important for the U.S. as a whole to engender manifest destiny instead of two political rivals acting as expansionary "squabbling sibblings"—and that any weakness shown by the north to the confederacy would have empowered them, as the "bad guys."

    I guess I don't think goodness and badness, (in a historical progressive sense we're talking about here), are concentrated in cultures. I think the emergence of progressive morality is much more chaotic and diffuse than that.

    This isn't to say that nothing is worth fighting for because eventually progressive morals will evolve; I'm not that much of a hippie. But I also wonder to what extent eschewing war—even if it means messy, bitter political and moral rivalvies—enables progressive morals to evolve.

    I think the reason people were saying "it was important for the U.S. as a whole to engender manifest destiny instead of two political rivals acting as expansionary 'squabbling siblings'"is that in the case of two squabbling siblings, there would be lots of wars and conflicts over border issues and expansion - who gets California, who gets Oregon, Nevada, etc, and that keeping the nation united avoids the war and bloodshed that would result from such conflict, war and bloodshed that could be expected to be greater in magnitude than that of the Civil War. This statement can be made without making any judgement on who is the good guy and who is bad guy.

    Right, the Manifest Destiny bit of the continental US had already happened, but if you create a new rival right on the border with the same worldview that led to that expansionism, I suspect you'd see a whole new set of wars. And as the two became imperial powers (probably fighting for influence in Latin America) there would be a whole new set of wars we never got to experience. This is turn probably makes the European wars even bloodier. It's not a value judgment about the governments involved (though obviously the best case for the Confederacy is apartheid South Africa which was an evil government), but a judgment that one incredibly bloody war is better than three or four even bloodier wars.

    enlightenedbum on
    Self-righteousness is incompatible with coalition building.
  • Options
    QinguQingu Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    It is depressing to think that a war killing a million people was necessary to prevent even worse wars in the future.

    Qingu on
  • Options
    IncenjucarIncenjucar VChatter Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Qingu wrote: »
    It is depressing to think that a war killing a million people was necessary to prevent even worse wars in the future.

    You either make peace with your enemy, absorb them, or erase them. Any other option leads to larger wars in the future as the population expands and new technologies are developed.

    Incenjucar on
  • Options
    Ed321Ed321 Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Okay so I'm sure nobody cares but said I'd try and find some of the relevent passages from Dangerous Nation (I havn't read it in over a year so I literally just flipped it open now):
    Mainstream opinion in the North professed to want to only preserve the status quo achieved by the Missouri Compromise of 1820 and to leave slavery alone where it existed. But Southerners understood as well as their Northern compatriots that the status quo established in 1820 was fraught with danger for slavery, especially if some influential northerners were bent on a more aggressive anti-slavery policy. Although southerners reviled the abolitionists, they knew that their problems with the north extended beyond the radicals.
    At the most fundamental level, southerners generally agreed that containment of slavery over time likely spelled doom for the institution and the southern way of life. Thanks to the rapid growth of the North, "the long standing sectional equilibrium within the Union was disappearing and the South was declining into a minority status. The growing North was only part of the problem. In the Upper South the commitment to slavery was dwindling. Albert Gallatin Brown of Mississippi pointed out that New York and Pennsylvania had once been slave states, too, but had sent slaves south-ward and then freed the remainder. "Virginia, Maryland, and the border states are now undergoing the same process," Brown warned. Maintainence of the preponderant power of the slaveholders - even within the South - required the acquisition of new slave states where slavery was known to be viable. If Southern expansion was blocked by the North, James Hammond of South Carolina warned, the North would "ride over us rough-shod" in Congress, "proclaim freedom or something equivalent to it to our slaves and reduce us to the condition of Hayti" Southern security, Hammond declared in 1846 lay in "equality of POWER [sic]. If we do not act now, we deliberately consign...our children to the flames". Territorial expanion was necessary, therefore, if only to bring new slave states into the Union to make up for the declining power of slavery within the South itself.

    pp. 230-231, "Manifest Destinies"
    Ever since the Missouri crisis slaveholders had argued, and had no doubt largely persuaded themselves, that the institution of slavery was both necessary and a positive good. They built a entire ideology around the idea that slavery was the best possible organization of human society, for both whites and blacks. To acquiese in containment would be to abandon their carefully constructed worldview and to adopt the northern view that slavery was, in fact, evil - too evil to be allowed to spread. For reasons of politics, economics, honour, and ideology, many Southerners had come to believe that if the North insisted on containing the spread of slavery, the southern states must equally insist on its expansion.

    p. 232, Ibid
    What had emerged in the America of the 1840s was not a unifying spirit of confidence and a consensus on the nation's destiny, therefore. Rather there was a fierce clash between two diametrically opposed visions of that destiny, which in turn produced two distinct foreign policies aimed primarily not at the external world but at each other.

    pp. 232-233, Ibid

    These quotes are all seperated by quite a few paragraphs, and I really wanted to get some quotes from the next sub-chapter; "The Southern Dream of Tropical Empire", but I'm unsure how much you're legally allowed to take from published works. I also wanted to take a lot of stuff from the chapter "War and Progress", which goes into more detail on the subject of "ordinary" Union and Confederate soldiers, as well as the generals. Put very simply -
    "John Keegan has called the Union and Confederate armies among the most '"ideological"' armies in human history. James M. McPhearson, in a study of the letters of more than six hundred Union soldiers, has discovered that while not all cared about the ideological issues at stake in the war, a substantial number did believe they were fighting for a moral and ideological cause beyond themselves.

    p. 267, "War and Progress"


    So anyhoo make of that what you will. I'd really recommend buying the book though. I wasn't remotely interested in pre-Cold War American History until I read it.

    Ed321 on
  • Options
    Dis'Dis' Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Why assume a world with a lack of civil war would produce the same World War conflicts? With a Confederacy assisting Napoleon III might succeed in Mexico and not fall for Bismarcks gambit, leading to no Franco-Prussian war or WWI as we knew it.

    You cannot assuage your horror at the violence and say the Civil War prevented a worse war later on, history is much too chaotic (in the sense of producing nonlinear results from very small effect) to predict like that.

    Dis' on
  • Options
    Alistair HuttonAlistair Hutton Dr EdinburghRegistered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Random interjection. How are oil reserves geographically distributed in the US? Would the development of the oil industry have any significant effect?

    Alistair Hutton on
    I have a thoughtful and infrequently updated blog about games http://whatithinkaboutwhenithinkaboutgames.wordpress.com/

    I made a game, it has penguins in it. It's pay what you like on Gumroad.

    Currently Ebaying Nothing at all but I might do in the future.
  • Options
    IncenjucarIncenjucar VChatter Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Given the South's culture, the benefits of their existence as a power is likely to be outweighed by the harm. We can see this even today, despite the loss of power. Even if not outright wars, the peacetime living conditions would likely head in the direction of D: .

    Incenjucar on
  • Options
    TeucrianTeucrian Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Qingu wrote: »
    Something I've noticed—I think everyone on this thread has made very good points, but this is probably where I disagree most on a "metaphysical" level—there is a temptation to see history as a "race" where the "good guys" need to grab power and resources before the "bad guys" do.

    This is probably an oversimplification of your positions, but I've seen several people imply that, for example, the U.S. needed to be united so we could survive and be strong to win World War I and II. Or, that it was important for the U.S. as a whole to engender manifest destiny instead of two political rivals acting as expansionary "squabbling sibblings"—and that any weakness shown by the north to the confederacy would have empowered them, as the "bad guys."

    I guess I don't think goodness and badness, (in a historical progressive sense we're talking about here), are concentrated in cultures. I think the emergence of progressive morality is much more chaotic and diffuse than that.

    This isn't to say that nothing is worth fighting for because eventually progressive morals will evolve; I'm not that much of a hippie. But I also wonder to what extent eschewing war—even if it means messy, bitter political and moral rivalvies—enables progressive morals to evolve.

    I don't think the question of whether Abraham Lincoln himself should have instigated the war to preserve the Union has anything to do with good guys or bad guys. He was the President of the United States and it would have been a shirking of his Constitutional responsibility if he allowed the union to break apart. As others in the thread have shown, a union which allows secession and nullification is no true union and it's hard to see how the United States could have persisted in a meaningful way long term if states could secede without consequence. There is no basis on which the president could have allowed the south to leave short of wholesale sabotage of his own government.

    As for whether his decision to eschew war would engender progressive growth in some universal way, do you have any evidence that it might have? While it's an appealing idea that simple pacifism can have the additional positive consequence of spreading progressive morals I'm not exactly sure why it would be true. I suppose that pacifism itself is a worthwhile moral stance, but as you say yourself you're not enough of a hippie to believe it's a cure-all.

    The question of whether the world would be better off today if the United States had broken up in 1861 is based in so much guesswork and inherent bias that it's not terribly interesting to me.

    Teucrian on
  • Options
    IncenjucarIncenjucar VChatter Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Historically, most progress has come at the hand of violence or economic pressure (which tends to LEAD to violence), with the peacemakers being embraced in order to END the violence.

    Incenjucar on
  • Options
    LawndartLawndart Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Dis' wrote: »
    Why assume a world with a lack of civil war would produce the same World War conflicts? With a Confederacy assisting Napoleon III might succeed in Mexico and not fall for Bismarcks gambit, leading to no Franco-Prussian war or WWI as we knew it.

    You cannot assuage your horror at the violence and say the Civil War prevented a worse war later on, history is much too chaotic (in the sense of producing nonlinear results from very small effect) to predict like that.

    Except that there had already been at least one proxy war between the North and the South in "Bloody Kansas" before the Civil War, meaning that the process of westward expansion would have made war between the Union and the Confederacy inevitable.

    Lawndart on
  • Options
    enlightenedbumenlightenedbum Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Dis' wrote: »
    Why assume a world with a lack of civil war would produce the same World War conflicts? With a Confederacy assisting Napoleon III might succeed in Mexico and not fall for Bismarcks gambit, leading to no Franco-Prussian war or WWI as we knew it.

    You cannot assuage your horror at the violence and say the Civil War prevented a worse war later on, history is much too chaotic (in the sense of producing nonlinear results from very small effect) to predict like that.

    Bismarck was already maneuvering towards German unification which would have triggered a European war regardless of the outcome in America. Hell, without the Civil War to demonstrate how horrifying war was becoming with more accurate rifles and what not it was probably more likely.

    But more to the point, I don't see how the competing imperial powers in the UK, France, Germany, Austria, Russia, Japan, and North America don't end up fighting a war sometime between 1890 and 1920.

    enlightenedbum on
    Self-righteousness is incompatible with coalition building.
  • Options
    override367override367 ALL minions Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Lawndart wrote: »
    Dis' wrote: »
    Why assume a world with a lack of civil war would produce the same World War conflicts? With a Confederacy assisting Napoleon III might succeed in Mexico and not fall for Bismarcks gambit, leading to no Franco-Prussian war or WWI as we knew it.

    You cannot assuage your horror at the violence and say the Civil War prevented a worse war later on, history is much too chaotic (in the sense of producing nonlinear results from very small effect) to predict like that.

    Except that there had already been at least one proxy war between the North and the South in "Bloody Kansas" before the Civil War, meaning that the process of westward expansion would have made war between the Union and the Confederacy inevitable.


    A war in which the confederacy, with a population 1/4 that of the union and only a tiny fraction of the infrastructure, would have lost just as badly

    I've seen it said here that if the war was later the confederacy could have won. I seriously doubt this, the confederacy was at such an absurd disadvantage to begin with.

    override367 on
  • Options
    enlightenedbumenlightenedbum Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Lawndart wrote: »
    Dis' wrote: »
    Why assume a world with a lack of civil war would produce the same World War conflicts? With a Confederacy assisting Napoleon III might succeed in Mexico and not fall for Bismarcks gambit, leading to no Franco-Prussian war or WWI as we knew it.

    You cannot assuage your horror at the violence and say the Civil War prevented a worse war later on, history is much too chaotic (in the sense of producing nonlinear results from very small effect) to predict like that.

    Except that there had already been at least one proxy war between the North and the South in "Bloody Kansas" before the Civil War, meaning that the process of westward expansion would have made war between the Union and the Confederacy inevitable.


    A war in which the confederacy, with a population 1/4 that of the union and only a tiny fraction of the infrastructure, would have lost just as badly

    I've seen it said here that if the war was later the confederacy could have won. I seriously doubt this, the confederacy was at such an absurd disadvantage to begin with.

    They could have won if it were earlier, later is speculation though the Union probably wins. But it would have been bloodier. Would have been awful if there were full machine guns involved and trench warfare.

    The thing is the Confederacy very nearly forced a peace twice.

    enlightenedbum on
    Self-righteousness is incompatible with coalition building.
Sign In or Register to comment.