I have here stated my purpose according to my view of official duty; and I intend no modification of my oft-expressed personal wish that all men every where could be free ~ Abraham Lincoln (2/12/1809 to 4/15/1865) the 16th president (3/4/1861 to 4/15/1865) as quoted in a 8/22/1862 letter to the New York Tribune. This section of Lincoln's letter follows the more often quoted portion that reads "If I could save the Union without freeing any slave, I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves, I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone, I would also do that".
As commander of the Northern forces during the Civil War, Ulysses S. Grant apparently said "The sole object of the war is to restore the Union. Should I become convinced it has any other object, or that the government designs using its soldiers to execute the wishes of the abolitionists... I would resign my commission and carry my sword to the other side".
Or maybe he didn't say that. None-the-less the Libertarian blogger Willis Hart cites this quote as proof that the civil was wasn't about slavery - and on this matter commenter Rusty Schmuckelford whole-heartedly agrees, saying (2 comments)...
|Rusty Schmuckelford: As I said before... the Civil War began over states rights... slavery was a secondary issue. [AND] Its unfortunate there are still american's suffering from a bad case of "white guilt". These deluded folks see a racial aspect in everything. They cant fathom the civil war being fought for anything but slavery... of course they are dead wrong, yet due to their guilt cannot accept the truth. (3/18/2014 at 8:42pm AND 3/9/2014 at 12:12pm).|
Rusty may have said it before, but he was as dead wrong then as he is now. And a schmuck for thinking "white guilt" is any kind of factor for those who acknowledge the facts. Fortunately bullplop like Rusty's is pretty easy to disprove - all one has to do is take a look at the Declaration of Causes of Seceding States which all cite slavery as their reason for leaving the union. And, as pointed out in a 2/25/2011 WP opinion piece by the historian James W. Loewen "Confederate states did claim the right to secede, but no state claimed to be seceding for that right. In fact, Confederates opposed states' rights — that is, the right of Northern states not to support slavery".
Between 12/20/1860 and 11/20/1861 13 states ratified ordinances of secession, with four states - "Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Texas also issued separate declarations of causes, in which they explained their reasons for secession". (quoted from Wikipedia).
What follows are brief excepts from the Declaration of Causes documents issued by the four previously mentioned states...12/20/1860, South Carolina: The Constitution of the United States, in its fourth Article, provides as follows: "No person held to service or labor in one State, under the laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in consequence of any law or regulation therein, be discharged from such service or labor, but shall be delivered up, on claim of the party to whom such service or labor may be due". [complaint about the North not returning escaped slaves, as per the 4th amendment's Fugitive Slave Clause].
1/19/1861, Georgia: For the last ten years we have had numerous and serious causes of complaint against our non-slave-holding confederate States with reference to the subject of African slavery. They have endeavored to weaken our security, to disturb our domestic peace and tranquility, and persistently refused to comply with their express constitutional obligations to us in reference to that property... [another complaint about the North not returning escaped slaves].
2/1/1861, Texas: [Texas] was received as a commonwealth holding [into the Confederated Union], maintaining and protecting the institution known as negro slavery - the servitude of the African to the white race... a relation that had existed from the first settlement of her wilderness by the white race, and which her people intended should exist in all future time.
6/6/1861, Mississippi: ...the prominent reasons which have induced our course. Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery...
As you can plainly see, all four documents cite slavery as the reason the state in question decided to leave the union. None cited States' Rights as a determining factor, or any kind of factor at all. The Civil War was fought because of slavery; case closed. Also, in regards to that "quote" from Ulysses S. Grant - there is serious doubt as to whether or not he actually said it.
The words have been removed from Wikiquote, with the remover giving the reason of... "I hate to admit it but Grant did not say [it]". Also, on the website Dead Confederates: A Civil War Era Blog, blog proprietor Andy Hall concludes that the quote is "given as a years-old reminiscence by a third party and printed in The Democratic Speaker's Handbook [and that no] serious person can attribute [it] as an actual quote, in good faith". (Note: "Dead Confederates" is listed on the Center for Civil War Research's resources page. The Center was established by the University of Mississippi in 2009).
Finally, in regards to the assertion by the blogger being rebutted here that "we could have done what England did and purchased the freedom of the slaves"... compensated emancipation was proposed by Lincoln in a 3/6/1862 message to Congress, but "the southern states, now in full rebellion, ignored the proposals" (source: Wikipedia).
Doesn't the fact that such a proposal was offered by Lincoln pretty much prove that the Civil War was fought over African Americans in bondage and forced servitude? I mean, here Lincoln is specifically offering a solution to the succession problem that phases out slavery. And Lincoln's message to Congress also points to that Grant quote being almost certainly false as well. Are we to believe that Grant was unaware of Lincoln's proposal? If the quote were true wouldn't Grant have resigned his commission and carried his sword to the other side? (Note: both Lincoln's message to Congress on compensated emancipation and the supposed Grant quote have a date of 1862 attached to them).
So that, I believe, pretty much debunks and refutes all (or most of) the nonsense about the Civil War not being fought because of slavery but because of tariffs or States' Rights from the blog of Will Hart. Both assertions are false and a disservice to those who seek an honest accounting of history. Because without such an honest accounting we cannot acknowledge our mistakes and learn from them - which is exactly what many who dissemble on this issue desire. They don't want us to learn from history. Their desire is that minorities should continue to be discriminated against and deprived of their voting rights.
I'm not saying this is Mr. Hart's motivation, but he surely is not a part of the solution with his recent (and numerous) Ahistorical commentaries on the subject of the Civil War and slavery.