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Talk:American Civil War

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Underscore slavery but not the only cause?[edit]

I do recall hearing credible information that there was not a single Southern state (or seceding state at least), which gave votes to Abraham Lincoln. I believe that such an impetus would be scary for those states that depended upon slavery. Basically, they were already scared of anti-slavery movements, but then they found out that they were not even in any way necessary to elect the president. >_< Imagine the fright that their voice was ignored and likely to continue to be ignored opposed to the anti-slavery movement that didn't even need any part of your supporting states to get things done. It's pretty clear that their action to secede would obviously precipitated in such an environment. Fear + an event that shows that your fears might be possible = do anything you can to save yourself. --Eira omtg! The Goat be praised. 10:18, 2 May 2008 (EDT)

While that sounds like an interesting "impetus", it is still basically slavery-based, right? Down South, of course, many people don't think slavery was the reason for the Secession/Civil War at all. But they are just letting their "patriotism" blind them. humanUser talk:Human 20:36, 2 May 2008 (EDT)
While at its core it is still slavery based, it would be a bit deeper than that. Basically, a lot of states suddenly realize that they have no meaningful voice in the government, and if they had their own particular issue that the others didn't like (say, like slavery) then it could be dismissed. It's kind of the same fearful reaction that many minorities would be expected to hold in a pure democracy. If we didn't have our Supreme Court protecting us, we'd all be creationist spouting christian idiots, like they are on CP. >_< I hate to think of a world like that. --Eira omtg! The Goat be praised. 11:37, 3 May 2008 (EDT)
Your point about a functioning democracy is quite correct, I agree. A better example (to divorce it from slavery) would be agricultural vs. industrial economies - I think one big Southern issue was tariffs, which helped the burgeoning Northern industrial base at the expense of Southern cotton exports. Anyway, are there sources of people at least voicing that perspective between, say, 1850-1860? Especially if those people were also anti-slavery? humanUser talk:Human 13:33, 3 May 2008 (EDT)
I'm not a history geek... that's why I didn't fight it on the mainspace article. However, it's pretty clear from timing and everything that the election of Abraham Lincoln without any votes from the southern states precipitated the war... mostly because well... that's when they decided to secede. The reasons for anything else are unclear, but it's pretty clear that the "last straw" on the llama's back was that they realized they didn't have a snowballs chance in hell against the north in a "free" and "fair" election. >_< --Eira omtg! The Goat be praised. 19:21, 4 May 2008 (EDT)
Oh, also, this is an issue that comes up again from time to time - anytime the electoral college, at least, gets "ossified" or "stratified" it can be a danger. The old "red state-blue state" map can show this. It might not be a political disaster right now, but the "empty" states (Dakotas, etc.) wield vastly out of proportion influence in the Pres. election (and the amendment process), and can be used as leverage to put together a coalition that does not really represent "America". Cf., I once analyzed the Senate, and of the 2004 class, the 44 Dems represented 50.4% of the people, due to basically the same phenomenon. humanUser talk:Human 13:51, 3 May 2008 (EDT)


I don't see the issue with this paragraph:

The institution of slavery is at the core of the origins of the war. However, the historical view that the North and South fought the war over the moral issue of slavery has long since been laid to rest. Instead, slavery as a cause manifests itself in different ways, for example, the expansion of slavery into the territories, which the North opposed for economic rather than moral reasons.

If you would like to create a section discussing the differences in culture between the North and South, the Stephens quote would fit. However, the quote does not in any way reinforce the notion that the war was "about slavery." It was, to be sure, but the quote has little to do with it. Lyra § talk 03:47, 6 August 2010 (UTC)

So you don't want to put to rest, in totally inarguable terms (as opposed to "SOMEONE ON THE INTERNET SAID SO OK?") a very damaging, racist myth of "the noble south" fighting for it's states rights? I will reserve judgement on how that reflects on you, lest I be banned.UncleHo (talk) 09:27, 11 August 2010 (UTC)
The war did not begin as an abolitionist crusade. Please get that through your head. And you will never be banned for expressing your opinion here (not by me, anyway). Lyra § talk 01:40, 12 August 2010 (UTC)

As a history student, the idea that the war was primarily about slavery makes me a sad panda. Slavery was a cause of the war. 'A' cause, in that there was more than one. Okay? Get that through your head, Internet. Life is not black and white, there is no clear-cut good or evil, and wars do not start for one lone solitary reason. Not ever. Was the war about slavery? Sure it was. But it was also about ideology, economic disparity, cultural and societal differences, power, money, and all manner of other issues. Claiming that it was about slavery and only slavery oversimplifies the issue to an insulting degree. I Eat Glue (talk) 01:46, 12 August 2010 (UTC)

And this does not change the fact that the vice-president of the CSA, a man who knew far more about their motivations than you, me or any historian, said that slavery was the cornerstone upon which their nation was built. My primary goal is to destroy the notion of the noble south, valiantly fighting the North for their freedom, and stress that their primary motivations (Again, this is right from the mouth of one of the founders of the nation) were preserving slavery and racism.UncleHo (talk) 06:51, 12 August 2010 (UTC)
Facepalm.pngNobody is trying to argue the South wasn't founded on preserving slavery. The idea is that the North did not invade specifically to end slavery, though eventually abolition started playing a role in the war. Seme Blue 20:24, 7 November 2010 (UTC)
The Simpsons on this issue. --Xyr (talk) 03:43, 12 August 2010 (UTC)

If there is another civil war[edit]

Just let the south go. They can take their STD's, teen pregnancies, and diabetes with them. Oh, and their bibles too. Senator Harrison (talk) 21:20, 14 March 2011 (UTC)

Hey... ТyTalk. 21:44, 14 March 2011 (UTC)
Nice. Proof that bigotry is not exclusive to the southern states. PACODOGwoof, bitches 22:35, 14 March 2011 (UTC)
Why would there be another one? Seme Blue 21:37, 14 March 2011 (UTC)
I don't know. There probably won't be, unfortunately. Senator Harrison (talk)
Does everyone understand that I'm not talking about black people? How am I being bigoted? Senator Harrison (talk) 23:59, 27 July 2011 (UTC)

Yankee regionalism versus Good Ole Southern Pride is essentially white people arguing about white pride issues, because all up and down the East Coast of the US, people of color actually have it the same: awful.Andrewstewart1 (talk) 04:42, 14 June 2013 (UTC)

A problem with Zinn's theory[edit]

If the 'real' cause of the Civil War was to undermine the southern elite, why were they treated so even-handedly after the Civil War? They were stripped of slaves, sure, but certainly not of power. It'd be a much more believable conspiracy theory if the southern elite were killed Jacobian France style or if the North got to permanently seize their assets. Considering that they were fighting a regime that ranked in evilness between Nazi Germany and the Spanish Inquisition, it's not like anyone would've really objected to them completely upending the southern aristocratic order. More than they ended up doing, I mean. --Dr. Swordopolis (talk) 14:49, 10 December 2011 (UTC)

Because first of all, Lincoln was a moderate, and when he was assassinated, Johnson (basically a Southern sympathizer) came to power and issued tons of pardons. Uke Blue 19:26, 10 December 2011 (UTC)

Yeah, the idea Zinn had is actually more correct by the views of most Lincoln biographers, including Lerone Bennett Jr, who wrote a book about Lincoln's racism. The fact is that Lincoln said he would keep slavery in all the states to keep the Union, he only was about the Union. What Zinn doesn't make as clear is that Northern bankers replaced the Southern business infrastructure (carpet baggers) but the Johnston administration ruined Reconstruction. The thing you are forgetting is that the Abolitionist movement was Church based, and they took over the PR machine for the war like the American Evangelicals did for Bush's Wars, to the point it was an international cause that prevented the UK and France from recognizing the Confederacy. However, it was a Church-based war promotion campaign, so it was apocalyptic in some minds, which is when Lincoln and the rest of the GOP (except the Radicals led by Thaddeus Stevens) threw up their hands and said "Oh shit well we've turned the asylum over to the patients, we're basically being cornered into this". Ergo, the reason Frederick Douglas (who fucking loathed Lincoln) said "He was preeminently the white man’s President, entirely devoted to the welfare of white men. He was ready and willing at any time during the first years of his administration to deny, postpone, and sacrifice the rights of humanity in the colored people to promote the welfare of the white people of this country. In all his education and feeling he was an American of the Americans. He came into the Presidential chair upon one principle alone, namely, opposition to the extension of slavery.”Andrewstewart1 (talk) 04:35, 14 June 2013 (UTC)

One exceptionally annoying thing about American Civil War historical perspectives.[edit]

I'm not even talking about Lost Cause of the South Crap. I mean mainstream historians. There's always this hemming and hawing about how the American Civil War could have been prevented with better political skills or whatever, but it completely misses the point that there was a system in place that allowed and facilitated the torture and rape of millions of human beings known as slavery. When people say shit like 'slavery would've died out in 20 years, war or no' it engenders this weird sort of (chiefly American) denialism about just how evil slavery really was, as if the American Civil War was sooooo horrible that rescuing an entire generation of people from those hellish conditions was not worth it. And while I'm on my soapbox, the wage slavery/chattel slavery comparison is extremely annoying and reeks of privilege. Even non-morons like Upton Sinclair and H. L. Mencken have said stupid shit like that. Dr. Swordopolis (talk) 12:32, 29 April 2012 (UTC)


"The second was the Dred Scott decision which made it impossible for any state to legally abolish slavery. In both these cases the South was complaining that states shouldn't have certain rights."

This is inaccurate. The Dred Scott decision said that the federal government could not ban slavery in a territory. It did not prevent States from banning slavery. — Unsigned, by: / talk / contribs 00:12, 17 July 2013‎

Even a bit more nuanced than that. Essentially is said that black men could not be citizens of America (though, it is questionable if it allowed black individuals to be citizens of states but not country as a whole through the "Damn this shit is complicated" loophole), and therefore had no standing to sue in federal court. Which is again weird, because if the court is going to say "You don't have standing" they would normally just throw out the lawsuit and not at the same time affirm the suit from the lower court. I might work on this a bit when I get home tonight. But, yes, a state could still outlaw slavery, but the federal government wouldn't suddenly recognize black individuals as citizens purely based on them being slaves. --ShadowofLords (talk) 15:42, 17 July 2013 (UTC)

Irony in Howard Zinn's view on the American Civil War[edit]

I for one find Zinn's view exceptionally ironic. A historian universally considered to be a marxist if not an outright communist essentially accuses the north of staring the war. You might ask, what other prominent Marxists wrote about the American Civil War? Well, a prominent marxists by the name of Karl Heinrich Marx wrote about the war AS IT WAS HAPPENING (spoiler alert: he was pro-Union). Most far leftists and communists are rightly offended by people assuming that they regard all of Karl Marx's work as dogma but I nevertheless find it supremely ironic that the founder of the very intellectual movement Howard Zinn is identified with wrote stuff that directly contradicts his view of the war. Alsto003 (talk) 19:50, 23 July 2014 (UTC) Alex