Slavery or Independence

Slavery or Independence

Question.

If the South was primarily or essentially more about the preservation of slavery than anything else then why, when offered the chance by the Lincoln administration to have the US Constitution amended to include a clear affirmation of the inviolability of slavery as the cost of peace and reunification, did the South not jump on it?

As Major General John B. Gordon so aptly stated:

As for the South, it is enough to say that perhaps eighty [percent] of her armies were neither slave-holders, nor had the remotest interest in the institution. No other proof, however, is needed than the undeniable fact that at any period of the war from its beginning to near its close the South could have saved slavery by simply laying down its arms and returning to the Union.

The answer is simple and obvious. They wanted their liberty and independence more than slavery. For them the union, though asserted via a noble compact, had failed. They desired to establish a government more conducive in their own estimation, and by their own consent, to the preservation of their liberties and way of life.

Deo Vindice

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2 Responses to “Slavery or Independence”

  1. BIlly says:

    The south stood for slavery back in the day because we used cotton, tobacco an grain as our “cash crops” it’s not that we took advantage of the slaves untill 15-20 years afterwords then we got overzealous in what we called “freedom” But fact of the matter is that we used what we had to get by an we stood our ground no matter what. Blacks “African Americans” complain today about having “little, to no rights” still (No Comment) yet they can do things because they had there leaders as well. Rosa Parks started the Martin Luther Kings Movement of anti slavery so everything is what it seems. Only tomorrow we can honestly believe in is what we make out of today.

  2. Billy,

    Thank you for reading and taking the time to dialog. However,I am having a hard time following your thoughts here. What is it you are trying to say, exactly?

    Btw, there is no denying that slavery existed and was important to the Southern cause. Unfortunate (to our sensibilities), but true. Nevertheless, slavery was incidental to the real premise or principle behind the war, which was more political and philosophical. The fact that these two issues were so entwined at the time makes it nearly impossible for people to see that slavery, though an underlying cause, was not really the point.

    Gordon’s quote above helps bring clarity to the matter. If slavery itself was the driving force of Southern secessionism they only had to accept Lincoln’s offer to make it legally inviolable, and thereby could have avoided the whole bloody mess. The fact that they didn’t speaks to the reality that more was at stake in the Southern mind and heart than the “peculiar institution”.

    Yes, slavery was a huge part, but for incidental reasons. The same break could have and probably would have come eventually anyhow. It just so happened that the abolitionist movements influence on the political landscape forced the division to the top in connection with slavery — something that likely would have ended naturally in the South anyhow, without the use of force.

    The North also did not enter the fight, illegally invading the South, to end slavery. They did it for political greed. It was however convenient to adopt the abolitionist cause and sentiment, in order to give them the “moral high ground” argument for their political propaganda.

    Alas, I ramble on. I could do this all day. Ha! Please though, clarify your comments. I’d like to understand what it is you are trying to say.

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