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1862...it was a busy year


Subdeacon Joe

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And not a good one.

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Since there has been a lot of second guessing over the Iraq war, I have to wonder about the civil war. What would have happened if the south just quit participating in the federal government instead of starting hostilities?

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Since there has been a lot of second guessing over the Iraq war, I have to wonder about the civil war. What would have happened if the south just quit participating in the federal government instead of starting hostilities?

 

Um...the seven states of deep south did exactly that. Legislatures debated and voted to leave the Union. All according to the accepted view of the Constitution - various New England states had threatened to leave at least three times before 1860, and no one thought that would have been unconstitutional. Unfortunately, New England had a lot of political clout, so after a lot of whining and threatening, the federal government gave those states what they wanted.

 

Lincoln needed the revenue from the south and said he would not invade if the states that had left kept on paying into federal coffers (see his first inaugural address). You know, the way we kept paying taxes to King George after we split from England. He not only refused to remove his troops from a fort in a SC harbor, he sent ships and men to reprovision and reinforce it..

 

When he called for more troops with which to invade the south, four more states left the Union.

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Like many Americans, I have family that fought on both sides and for at least three different reasons.

Strategically, the South lost the war when Lee would not march on DC in 1862 and Jackson could not see beyond a defensive war. By doing so, the Union was allowed to replace leadership that went to the South, build an army and gear up industrially for war.

One has to wonder if slavery had ended a different way, if this would not be a more civil country. Slavery was quickly being replaced by tenant farming due to the economics; another ten years would have likely end the horrible practice. A lot of mistakes wee made following the war that still impact race relationships today.

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Like many Americans, I have family that fought on both sides and for at least three different reasons.

Strategically, the South lost the war when Lee would not march on DC in 1862 and Jackson could not see beyond a defensive war. By doing so, the Union was allowed to replace leadership that went to the South, build an army and gear up industrially for war.

 

 

 

My take on it is that the South had lost when it didn't march on Washington after First Manassas. That got enough people in the North wanting to "teach them a lesson" that a long war was inevitable. Once that happened, the logistical advantage of the heavily populated and highly industrial (comparatively) North made the outcome a foregon conclusion.

 

 

One has to wonder if slavery had ended a different way, if this would not be a more civil country. Slavery was quickly being replaced by tenant farming due to the economics; another ten years would have likely end the horrible practice. A lot of mistakes wee made following the war that still impact race relationships today.

 

Likely it would have taken more than ten years, but certainly before the end of the century. Leaders in the South were already talking quietly among themselves about how to educate the slaves and gradually free them. In "Born in Slavery: Slave Narratives from the Federal Writers' Project, 1936-1938" I've run across a few, not many, but a few, comments by former slaves that they resented how they were turned out, left to fend for themselves with no education, no home, and no idea how to fend for themselves. Many free states had laws on the books prohibiting blacks from moving to and settling in them, which left blacks no place to go other than the economically devastated South.

 

Really, one of the worst things to happen to the South was the murder of Lincoln. He was, or seemed anyway, willing to pretty much go back to more or less normal relations with the former Confederate states. His death, and the means of it, gave those bent on vengeance free rein.

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