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History Teaching in American Schools.

Discussion in 'The Stump' started by Hilts, Mar 11, 2010.

  1. Hilts

    Hilts Member

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    Well, The American Civil War actually.................

    In England, the general view is, a good thing the Union won, slavery went and the Union was preserved.

    But it can't be quite that simple in the States, can it? I mean, those years from a southern perspective must be viewed differently from a Northern Standpoint? And weren't States like Delaware, Maryland & Kentucky, union states that had slavery, or have I got that wrong...........??

    I'd be interested to hear the colonial views. :)
     
  2. C.Evans

    C.Evans Expert

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    Actually, the SOuth was in the thinking process of doing away with slavery. What irked us the most was when they came onto our lands and tried to force us to live their way-which really wasnt much different. Feelings about the old south still run very strong with some of us. Has nothing to do with slavery-just our way of life.
     
  3. Hilts

    Hilts Member

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    Thanks C. (I always hear your posts in John Wayne's voice!!) but am I correct, did slave states stay in the Union................???
     
  4. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Yes, Maryland (kind of forced though), Kentucky, and possibly another (blanking right now but thought I remembered 3 staying with the union. Florida perhaps?
     
  5. C.Evans

    C.Evans Expert

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    thanks for the compliment and, the slave states broke away for the war but since we lost-they were readmitted back into the union.
     
  6. C.Evans

    C.Evans Expert

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    Names unseen but, the CSA had 13 states and sopme were:

    Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia, North and South Carolina, Virginia, Tenneessee, Arkanses, etc ;-))
     
  7. Biak

    Biak Adjutant Patron  

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    Illinois was technically "Slave Free" but any escaped slaves were returned. I remember something on the "Ordinance of 1787" that dealt with this.
     
  8. brndirt1

    brndirt1 Saddle Tramp

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    I believe you are thinking of the five border states "Hilts", and don't forget that there were also two territories which hadn't become states yet in which slavery was permitted, New Mexico and what would become Oklahoma.

    This is "wiki", but still true.

    In the context of the American Civil War, the term border states refers to the five slave states of Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, and West Virginia, which bordered a free state and were aligned with the Union.

    (it’s Wiki, but…) See:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Border_states_(American_Civil_War)

    That is what is generally taught in American schools, or it was the last time I had a kid in school under the collegiate level. I pointed out the delicate language which Lincoln used when he published the Emancipation Proclaimation, he was a lawyer afterall. The wording didn't free any slaves in the border states, since those states weren't in "rebellion" against the Union.

    Pretty nice set of "loop-holes" actually.

     
  9. Mussolini

    Mussolini Gaming Guru WW2|ORG Editor

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    I'm pretty sure that the American Civil War actually had little to do with Slavery (which is what things seem to focus on for some reason) and that 'Honest Abe' was actually a rather terrible president (I mean, under his term a revolution occurred!). I don't know that much about the specifics, but my coworker gets real hot headed when you mention that the Civil War was about Slavery.
     
  10. brndirt1

    brndirt1 Saddle Tramp

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    It wasn't about "slavery" per se, the south seceeded when an anti-slavery Lincoln was elected however, so one must assume that the "peculiar institution" of enslaved humans had something to do with it.

    That is (BTW) the single "states right" which is mentioned in the orders of secession, and also the only "states right" which is specifically mentioned nine times in the Confederacy's Constitution. In fact, that is the only variation from the original Constitution of the USA.

    Lincoln himself said if he could preserve the Union by freeing all the slaves, he would. If he could save the Union by freeing some of the slaves, he would. If he could save the Union by not freeing any of the slaves, he would.

    It was the South which seceeded over the slavery issue, and the slavery issue alone. Eventhough the greater percentage of the southern population didn't own slaves, they were outnumbered by the persons of African decent in their territory, and the idea of loosing their economic advantage by the use of slavery was a driving force.

    An agrarian society which depends on cheap or "free" labor needs to keep production of the product cost down as far as possible to stay viable, where the more industrialized north is not under the same constraints.
     
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  11. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Prior to the civil war there was no state of West Virginia. Indeed some still maintain that it's formation was unconstitutional.
     
  12. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    There's a real question of where the labor was the cheapest. If you look at the value of a slave in 1860 it was a considerable amount for the time. On the other hand newly emigrated labor in the north was very cheap and represented almost no investment cost.
     
  13. brndirt1

    brndirt1 Saddle Tramp

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    I'm not disputing that, the fact is though that agrarian product is "labor intensive" to a much greater degree than manufactured goods. It was the loss of the ability to use the slave in the labor intensive production which was an advantage to the south. A slave couldn't refuse to do the work and quit, while an immigrant (no matter the inexpense of his/her labor), would not allow themselves to be whipped and beaten to perform the labor. They would also not allow their families to be broken up and 'sold off" to increase the profit of their masters.

    Cost of cheap labor isn't the whole issue here, the fact the laborer is the property of the employer is.
     
  14. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

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    Here are a few excerpts that examine the causes of secession and the Civil War:

    The term secession had been used as early as 1776. South Carolina threatened separation when the Continental Congress sought to tax all the colonies on the basis of a total population count that would include slaves.

    As modernization began to take hold in the United States, differences between the two major sections grew more pronounced: a plantation cotton culture worked by slave labor became concentrated in the South and industrial development featuring free labor in the North. A wave of reform activity in Europe and the United States made the abolition or at least the restriction of slavery a significant goal in the free states. Since abolition struck at the labor system as well as the social structure of the slave states, threats of secession punctuated the political dialogue from 1819 through 1860

    The South was committed to an agrarian way of life. It was a land where profitable and efficient plantations worked by slave labor produced cotton for the world market. It was also a land where a majority of its white population was made up of subsistence farmers who lived isolated lives on the edge of poverty and whose literacy rates were low compared with those in the more densely populated North.

    Concerned about the loyalty of the border states of Virginia, Maryland, Missouri, and Kentucky, the new administration went so far as to offer the slave states an amendment to the Constitution that would guarantee slavery where it legally existed. Lincoln himself in his inaugural address pledged only to hold federal property that was in the possession of the Union on March 4, 1861.


    Secession — History.com Articles, Video, Pictures and Facts
    Bold is my addition.

    While certainly not the only reason for secession, it would appear that slavery was central to the thinking of the Southern states in their decision to try to leave the Union.
     
  15. Biak

    Biak Adjutant Patron  

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    There were many "reasons and situations" leading up to the Civil War. One being the banking failure of 1857. Individual States Rights; the Missouri Compromise of 1820 which declared any forthcoming States of the Louisiana Purchase to be slave free; the Compromise of 1850, which declared some states to be "free"and gave back choice to others; the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854. The "Bleeding Kansas" 1854-1858 conflict could be considered one of the first battles, albeit a non-declared war, leading to the Civil War. It appears that there were many "compromises" covering nearly 50 years before the secession of the Southern States. Slavery was but one aspect and probably received a higher profile due to the attitudes found in later years as opposed to thoughts during and immediately after the War.
     
  16. brndirt1

    brndirt1 Saddle Tramp

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    It was the desire of West Virginia to remain in the Union which created the state. They didn't forgo slavery, they simply didn't wish to seceed from the Union. They split off from Virginia, not the Union, and not unconstitutional.

    I believe that provision of a "new state" creating itself out of existing states was a precedent left over from the dispute between New Hampshire/New York over the territory between the areas.

    Vermont became a separate state after both New Hampshire and New York fought over the area, and the people in Vermont didn't want to belong to either.

    Just what I recall from years ago, don't hold me to it.
     
  17. Hilts

    Hilts Member

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    Thanks for the views guys, if any members are of high school age here, I'd like to hear from them as well! :)
     
  18. A-58

    A-58 Cool Dude

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    No, I'm not of school age, but just wanted to add that there were just as many reasons for the South leaving the Union as there were reasons for each individual soldier to fight. The most common reason for the war was slavery, which was intermingled with "states rights".

    The Southern planters and politicians were concerned with the fact that if slavery was abolished overnight, the Southern economy (and their pocket books) would be wrecked just as if the petro-chemical industry of today was forced out. The Southern economy almost entirely agrarian and was slave-based. Not saying that slavery was a good thing, but like it or not, at the time it was a legal institution. Some sort of manumission would have to be worked out in order to keep some sort of economy going, in both the North and South.

    There were a lot of protective tariffs assessed on imported goods that the South could get cheaper from Europe than from the North. That really didn't set well with Southerners either.

    Last but not least, sectionalism was alive and well, probably much more in the South than up North. All these major factors, and hundreds of smaller un-mentioned ones combined into the powder keg that went off on April 12, 1861.

    After the war commenced, all these things were topics of discussions amongst those so inclined to discuss the ideas and issues of the day. As the war drug on, and the wide scale destruction and casualty lists increased, the war deteriorated into what can be described as the classic example of a "rich man's war and a poor man's fight". And we all know how that sort of thing plays out.
     
  19. Anderan

    Anderan Member

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    The Civil War wasn't at all about slavery until the Emancipation Proclamation, which made the war about slavery, though it was simply done to make sure that Britain and France didn't step in and make the Union recognize the Confederacy. After all, at the point if they did they would appear to be supporting slavery, and they were nations that had abolished slavery by that point. Though this caused a lot of desertion from the ranks of the Union army by soldiers who could have cared less about slavery or freeing the slaves.
     
  20. Stefan

    Stefan Cavalry Rupert

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    I hate to say it but I firmly believe it came down to slavery, it was brewing for years and slavery was always the crux of the matter, look at the issues around Kansas, if that was just about states rights why attempt to rig a vote? As has been said, the right to own slaves was the 'states right' in question and if it was about wider matters then why make owning slaves the issue you focus on?

    Even if you accept it was about states rights, the war was fought about the rights of people in southern state to own slaves, now whether the north should have tried to force abolition upon the south was wrong or not, the fact remains that owning slaves was wrong.

    That said, Lincoln was very clever about the way he 'liberated' slaves, allowing them to get involved in the war effort and looking after the border states etc. He also safeguarded his reputation well, I genuinely believe he was trying to preserve the union though.

    As for the south intending to get rid of slavery anyhow, I have never seen any serious evidence of this, I've seen lots for the opposite POV though.
     

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