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Causes of Southern Seccession- the Upper South

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  • The Upper South

    “Upper south, which had cried equally against coercion as succession”
    -E Merton Coulter The Confederate States of America Louisiana State university Press

    There were really two major successions from the union. The original seven “Cotton states” [AL, MS,TX,SC,FL,GA,LA] and later the upper south secession of [VA, NC, TENN, ARK, Pro south MO, KY]. The upper south states of VA,NC,Tenn and Ark alone had a larger free population than the deep south representing the majority. There was a difference in general between the The original seven seceding “cotton states” of the deep south, and of the remaining upper southern states. When historians and textbooks talk of the reasons for secession, they almost unanimous point to the cotton states and sadly, the upper south is almost always unrepresented.

    Lincolns Call For Volunteers/ Self Government/ State Sovereignty

    “The South maintained with the depth of religious conviction that the Union formed under the Constitution was a Union of consent and not of force; that the original States were not the creatures but the creators of the Union; that these States had gained their independence, their freedom, and their sovereignty from the mother country, and had not surrendered these on entering the Union; that by the express terms of the Constitution all rights and powers not delegated were reserved to the States; and the South challenged the North to find one trace of authority in that Constitution for invading and coercing a sovereign State.-the one for liberty in the union of the States, the other for liberty in the independence of the States.”
    -John B Gordon Confederate General Reminiscences of the Civil War

    The single most important event that caused the upper south to join the confederacy was Lincolns call for volunteers to “suppress” the seven cotton states of the confederacy. Lincoln spoke loud by his actions when he called for volunteers to invade the confederacy of the deep south. His opinion was not that America was a collection of sovereign self governing States joined in a voluntary union by a constitution, but a centralized nation or empire. He made it very clear the deep south could not self govern themselves but were subject to their master the federal government. Lincoln in his inaugural address stated the union created the states, not the states ratifying the union [a very blatant rewrite of history] thus the power and authority lay with the federal government. The upper south and many in the north for example saw Lincolns call for volunteers against the cotton states as a major violation of the constitution, a violation of those states sovereignty and a main cause for secession. For example

    “opposing secession changes the nature of government from a voluntary one, in which the people are sovereigns, to a despotism were one part of the people are slaves”
    -New York Journal of commerce 1/12/61

    “The great principles embodied by Jefferson in the declaration is... that governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed” Therefore if the southern states wish to secede, “they have a clear right to do so”
    -New York tribune 2/5/61

    Secession is “the very germ of liberty...the right of secession inheres to the people of every sovereign state”
    -Kenosha Wisconsin Democrat 1/11/61

    “the leading and most influncial papers of the union believe that any state of the union has a right to secede”
    -Davenport Iowa Democrat and news 11/17/60

    The upper south was the most dedicated to state sovereignty, they voted largely for John Bells constitution party in 1860 that stated “the rights of the People and of the States re-established.” The southern states and most in the north saw themselves as a collection of sovereign states joined by a contract [The constitution] and if that contract was violated or not upheld, it could and should be discarded. When the southern states felt there contract was violated by the federal government, they felt they had every right to leave. Most both north and south felt no war would come from what was seen by many as a legal right to secession by sovereign states. To the upper south this was a war of self government of sovereign states vs a federal government that was willing to use military force to control its populous by forcing the states to stay in the union. We would no longer be a self governing populous and collection of states, but a nation controlled by a powerful centralized federal government.

    "What we call liberty our founders called bondage...we have not freed the slaves we have extended the plantation, know, we are all slaves"
    -Peter Marshall JR The Great War Debate

    The war “Destroyed voluntary union of the founders and mad all Americans servants rather than masters of their own government”
    -Thomas Dilorenzo author of The Real Lincoln and Lincoln Unmasked

    This also confirmed many southerners fear that Lincoln and the “radical” republicans would drastically transform the American republic. This is why many in the south saw the American civil war as their second war for independence.

    “Southerners would have told you they were fighting for self government. They believed the gathering of power in Washington was against them… When they entered into that Federation they certainly would never have entered into it if they hadn’t believed it would be possible to get out. And when the time came that they wanted to get out, they thought they had every right”
    -Historian Shelby Foote

    Some in the north recognized that this war was one of self governing states vs a controlling central federal government. Before being deported by Lincoln, A northern politician saw Lincolns war and purpose of the war as to

    “Overthrow the present form of Federal-republican government, and to establish a strong centralized government in its stead...national banks, bankrupt laws, a vast and permanent public debt, high tariffs, heavy direct taxation, enormous expenditure, gigantic and stupendous peculation . . . No more state lines, no more state governments, but a consolidated monarchy or vast centralized military despotism.” later saying “instead of crushing out the rebellion,” the “effort has been to crush out the spirit of liberty” in the Northern states.
    -Northern Congressman Clement L. Vallandigham D-Ohio spoke of the Reason for Lincolns war 1863

    Each of the upper south states made it clear by their actions and words that Lincolns call for volunteers, state sovereignty, and self government, were the major cause of secession. Slavery was at this time equally protected weather these states joined the union, or the confederacy, in fact as we will see later, more so had they joined the north.

    “The Majority sentiment in the upper south had been unionist until Lincolns call for troops”
    -E. merton Coulter The confederate States of America Louisiana State University Press

    Arkansas Declaration

    “[upper south]Forced to chose between Lincolns demand and what they believed to be morally correct and Honorable..seceded as well”
    -Brevin Alexander Historian Professor of History at Longwood University

    “This convention pledging the State of Arkansas to resist to the last extremity any attempt on the part of such power to coerce any State that had seceded from the old Union, proclaimed to the world that war should be waged against such States until they should be compelled to submit to their rule, and large forces to accomplish this have by this same power been called out, and are now being marshaled to carry out this inhuman design; and to longer submit to such rule, or remain in the old Union of the United States, would be disgraceful and ruinous to the State of Arkansas”

    “The people of this commonwealth are free men not slaves, and will defend to the last extremity, their honor, lives, and property, against northern mendacity and usurpation”
    -Arkansas Governor Henry Rector Response to Lincolns call for Volunteers

    Before Lincolns call for volunteers the people of Arkansas voted to stay in the union by a vote of 23,600 to 17,900. Than on March 4 1861 the Arkansas convention voted 40-35 to stay in the union with the president of the convention a unionist. On May 6th 1861 After Fort Sumtner and Lincolns call for men, Arkansas regathered this time only 5 votes went against secession, 4 of them would relent and join in succession in a short time. The before and after votes, as well as the Arkansas declaration for secession give the clear reasons for joining the confederacy.


    “Tennessee will not Furnish a man for purposes of coercion, but 50,000 if necessary for the defense of our rights, and those of our southern brothers” -Tennessee Governor Isham Harris Response to Lincoln Calling on Tennessee for aid to Suppress the Rebellion in the Cotton States

    On February the 9th the same day that Mississippi left the union, Tennessee voters turned down secession by a 4-1 margin. However after Lincolns call to volunteers Governor Isham Harris wrote President Lincoln saying if the federal government was going to “coerce” the seceded states into returning, Tennessee had no choice but to join its Southern neighbors. Harris recalled the Tennessee legislature on May 6 for another vote this time to join the confederacy. Than on June 8 voters approved the measure by a 2-1 margin.


    “The principle now in contest between north and south is simply that of state sovereignty”
    Richmond Examiner Sep 11 1862

    “A union that can be only maintained by swords and bayonets... has no charm for me”
    -Robert E Lee

    Before Lincolns call for volunteers with slavery equally safe in the north or south, the slave state of Virginia on April 4th 1861 voted by a 2-1 margin to stay in the union. After Lincolns call for volunteers Virginia gathered again and by a vote of 126,000 to 20,400 Virginia left the union. In the minds of Virginians, that reason was Lincolns call to volunteers and the violation of state sovereignty. Virginia did not give a lengthy declaration of why it left the union [The voting showed already] just a short ordinance of secession.

    “the Constitution of the United States has invested Congress with the sole power "to declare war," and until such declaration is made, the President has no authority to call for an extraordinary force to wage offensive war against any foreign Power: and whereas, on the 15th inst., the President of the United States, in plain violation of the Constitution, issued a proclamation calling for a force of seventy-five thousand men, to cause the laws of the United states to be duly executed over a people who are no longer a part of the Union, and in said proclamation threatens to exert this unusual force to compel obedience to his mandates; and whereas, the General Assembly of Virginia, by a majority approaching to entire unanimity, declared at its last session that the State of Virginia would consider such an exertion of force as a virtual declaration of war, to be resisted by all the power at the command of Virginia; and subsequently the Convention now in session, representing the sovereignty of this State, has reaffirmed in substance the same policy, with almost equal unanimity; and whereas, the State of Virginia deeply sympathizes with the Southern States in the wrongs they have suffered, and in the position they have assumed; and having made earnest efforts peaceably to compose the differences which have severed the Union, and having failed in that attempt, through this unwarranted act on the part of the President; and it is believed that the influences which operate to produce this proclamation against the seceded States will be brought to bear upon this commonwealth, if she should exercise her undoubted right to resume the powers granted by her people, and it is due to the honor of Virginia that an improper exercise of force against her people should be repelled. Therefore I, JOHN LETCHER, Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia, have thought proper to order all armed volunteer regiments or companies within this State forthwith to hold themselves in readiness for immediate orders, and upon the reception of this proclamation to report to the Adjutant-General of the State their organization and numbers, and prepare themselves for efficient service. Such companies as are not armed and equipped will report that fact, that they may be properly supplied.
    In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the Commonwealth to be affixed, this 17th day of April, 1861, and in the eighty-fifth year of the Commonwealth.
    Governor of Virginia JOHN LETCHER”.

    Virginia ordinance of secession

    “Declared that the powers granted under the said Constitution were derived from the people of the United States, and might be resumed whensoever the same should be perverted to their injury and oppression; and the Federal Government, having perverted said powers, not only to the injury of the people of Virginia, but to the oppression of the Southern Slaveholding States” [Cotton States the original succession states]

    “It was not for slavery that she [Virginia] deliberately resolved to draw the sword...but for this cornerstone [States Sovereignty] of all constitutional liberty north and south”
    -R.L Dabney 1867 A Defense of Virginia and the South


    Kentucky originally acted on its sovereignty and remained neutral, however events forced it to join the war. The official Kentucky government was pro north by about about a 3-1 margin but chose to keep its neutrality. However there was gaining support for the south When Lincoln called for volunteers. The Kentucky Governor wrote "President Lincoln, I will send not a man nor a dollar for the wicked purpose of subduing my sister southern states.” Later neutrality would be violated by southern troops and the state would join the union, however a pro south Kentucky government was set up and was accepted by Jeff Davis into the confederacy on December the 10th as the 13th confederate state. States rights was the main cause for the pro south Kentucky government reason for secession.

    Kentucky Declaration For Leaving The Union

    “Whereas, the Federal Constitution, which created the Government of the United States, was declared by the framers thereof to be the supreme law of the land, and was intended to limit and did expressly limit the powers of said Government to certain general specified purposes, and did expressly reserve to the States and people all other powers whatever, and the President and Congress have treated this supreme law of the Union with contempt and usurped to themselves the power to interfere with the rights and liberties of the States and the people against the expressed provisions of the Constitution, and have thus substituted for the highest forms of national liberty and constitutional government a central despotism founded upon the ignorant prejudices of the masses of Northern society, and instead of giving protection with the Constitution to the people of fifteen States of this Union have turned loose upon them the unrestrained and raging passions of mobs and fanatics, and because we now seek to hold our liberties, our property, our homes, and our families under the protection of the reserved powers of the States, have blockaded our ports, invaded our soil, and waged war upon our people for the purpose of subjugating us to their will; and  Whereas, our honor and our duty to posterity demand that we shall not relinquish our own liberty and shall not abandon the right of our descendants and the world to the inestimable blessings of constitutional government: Therefore, .... because we may choose to take part in a cause for civil liberty and constitutional government against a sectional majority waging war against the people and institutions of fifteen independent States of the old Federal Union, and have done all these things deliberately against the warnings and vetoes of the Governor and the solemn remonstrances of the minority in the Senate and House of Representatives: Therefore, .....have a right to establish any government which to them may seem best adapted to the preservation of their rights and liberties.”

    North Carolina

    North Carolina will “Be no party to this wicked violation of the laws of the country, and to this war upon the liberties of a free people”
    -North Carolina Governor John Ellis

    Having previously turned down even voting on secession, North Carolina responded to Lincolns call for volunteers by than unanimously adopted a secession ordinance, showing the impact it had on the state.

    “Lincoln has made a call for 75,000 men to be employed for the invasion of the peaceful homes of the South, and for the violent subversion of the liberties of a free people.. whereas, this high-handed act of tyrannical outrage is not only in violation of all constitutional law, in utter disregard of every sentiment of humanity and Christian civilization, and conceived in a spirit of aggression unparalleled by any act of recorded history, but is a direct step towards the subjugation of the whole South, and the conversion of a free Republic, inherited from our fathers, into a military despotism, to be established by worse than foreign enemies on the ruins of our once glorious Constitution of Equal Rights. Now, therefore, I, John W. Ellis, Governor of the State of North-Carolina, for these extraordinary causes, do hereby issue this, my Proclamation, notifying and requesting the Senators and Members of the House of Commons of the General Assembly of North-Carolina, to meet in Special Session at the Capitol, in the City of Raleigh, on Wednesday, the first day of May next. And I furthermore exhort all good citizens throughout the State to be mindful that their first allegiance is due to the Sovereignty which protects their homes and dearest interests, as their first sevice is due for the sacred defence of their hearths, and of the soil which holds the graves of our glorious dead.United action in defence of the sovereignty of North-Carolina and of the rights of the South, becomes now the duty of all.the 17th Day of April, A. D., 1861, and in the eight-fifth year of our independence.JOHN W. ELLIS


    “Your requisition is illegal, unconstitutional, revolutionary, inhuman, diabolical, and cannot be complied with”
    -Missouri Governor Jackson Response to Lincolns call for Volunteers

    The slave state of Missouri was almost universally pro union. When the south sent delegates to try and convince the state to join the south, they were booed and jeered so that the CSA delegate could not even be heard. On March 21 1861 the Missouri convention voted 98-1 against secession, but in its sovereignty, kept its neutrality. Later many in the state became angry and felt their state sovereignty was violated during the “Camp Jackson Affair” with General Lyon capturing the arsenal in St Louis and when union soldiers opened fire on civilians and pro confederates killing dozens. Many felt the federal government was violating the states neutral position and support for secession grew rapid in the state. Lyon would than push the official Governor and state legislature out of Jefferson city.

    “The events in St Louis pushed many conditional unionist into the ranks of secessionist”
    -James McPherson Battle Cry of Freedom

    This led to a end to neutrality and both a pro confederate and pro union government in the state. Missouri was accepted on November 28th as the 12th confederate state. Pro south Missouri reasons for secession, centered around constitutional violations of the Lincoln administration.

    Missouri Declaration For leaving The Union

    “Has wantonly violated the compact originally made between said Government and the State of Missouri, by invading with hostile armies the soil of the State, attacking and making prisoners the militia while legally assembled under the State laws, forcibly occupying the State capitol, and attempting through the instrumentality of domestic traitors to usurp the State government, seizing and destroying private property, and murdering with fiendish malignity peaceable citizens, men, women, and children, together with other acts of atrocity, indicating a deep-settled hostility toward the people of Missouri and their institutions; and Whereas the present Administration of the Government of the United States has utterly ignored the Constitution, subverted the Government as constructed and intended by its makers, and established a despotic and arbitrary power instead thereof: Now, therefore, Be it enacted by the general assembly of the State of Missouri, That all political ties of every character new existing between the Government of the United States of America and the people and government of the State of Missouri are hereby dissolved, and the State of Missouri, resuming the sovereignty granted by compact to the said United States upon admission of said State into the Federal Union, does again take its place as a free and independent republic amongst the nations of the earth.” 

    Preserving America Constitutional Republic

    “The South's concept of republicanism had not changed in three-quarters of a century; the North's had. With complete sincerity the South fought to preserve its version of the republic of the Founding Fathers--a government of limited powers"
    -James M. McPherson Ante-bellum Southern Exceptionalism

    “The war was over the nature of the union”
    -Clyde Wilson professor of History University of South Carolina

    “State sovereignty died at Appomattox”
    -Supreme Court Justice Salmon P Chase 1864-73

    "All that the South has ever desired was the Union as established by our forefathers should be preserved and that the government as originally organized should be administered in purity and truth."
     -Gen. Robert E. Lee Quoted in The enduring Relevance of Robert E Lee

    Lincoln and the republican party had set out to transform the union from a confederation of sovereign states, to a centralized nation controlled by the federal government. Lincoln also sought to expand the central government far beyond the scope of what was intended by the founders. He was dedicated to higher tariffs, centralization, national bank, internal improvements, vast expansion of the central government, and an overall disregard for the 9th/10th amendments and state sovereignty.

    “When the South raised its sword against the Union’s Flag, it was in defense of the Union’s Constitution.”
    -Confederate General John B. Gordon

    “Southerners persistently claim that their rebellion is for the purpose of preserving this form of government”
    -Private John Harper 17 Maine regiment

    It was commonly believed in the south, that it was the north that should secede. As Henry Wise of Virginia said “Logically the union belongs to those who have kept, not those who have broken, its covenants...the north should do the seceding for the south represented more truly the nation which the federal government had set up in 1789.” They saw the growing majority of the north interfering with their culture within their states and violating the constitution. They feared democracy would rule and mod rule would take over America. So they wished to restore America to its original Constitution republic of confederated states as originally created to safeguard individuals liberty from mob rule and democracy. As president pierce said in 1855 “the power is in states alone.”

    “I love the Union and the Constitution, but I would rather leave the Union with the Constitution than remain in the Union without it.”
    -Confederate President Jefferson Davis

    “If centralism is ultimately to prevail; if our entire system of free Institutions as established by our common ancestors is to be subverted, and an Empire is to be established in their stead; if that is to be the last scene of the great tragic drama now being enacted: then, be assured, that we of the South will be acquitted, not only in our own consciences, but in the judgment of mankind, of all responsibility for so terrible a catastrophe, and from all guilt of so great a crime against humanity.”
    -The Vice-President of the Confederacy, Alexander Stephens

    “If they (the North) prevail, the whole character of the Government will be changed, and instead of a federal republic, the common agent of sovereign and independent States, we shall have a central despotism, with the notion of States forever abolished, deriving its powers from the will, and shaping its policy according to the wishes, of a numerical majority of the people; we shall have, in other words, a supreme, irresponsible democracy. The Government does not now recognize itself as an ordinance of God...They are now fighting the battle of despotism. They have put their Constitution under their feet; they have annulled its most sacred provisions; The future fortunes of our children, and of this continent, would then be determined by a tyranny which has no parallel in history.”
    -Dr. James Henly Thornwell of South Carolina 

    “States are sovereign, there was a time when none denied it”
    -Jefferson Davis Farewell speech to senate

    “Northern States of a political school which has persistently claimed that the government thus formed was not a compact between States, but was in effect a national government, set up above and over the States...The creature has been exalted above its creators; the principals have been made subordinate to the agent appointed by themselves.”
    -Jefferson Davis Message to confederate Congress April 29, 1861

    “It is said slavery is all we are fighting for, and if we give it up we give up all.  Even if this were true, which we deny, slavery is not all our enemies are fighting for.  It is merely the pretense to establish sectional superiority and a more centralized form of government, and to deprive us of our rights and liberties.”  
    -Confederate General Patrick Claiborne 1864 

    Slavery's Impact on the Upper South

    “Secessionists were well aware that slavery was under no immediate threat within the Union. Indeed, some anti-secessionists, especially those with the largest investment in slave property, argued that slavery was safer under the Union than in a new experiment in government.”
    -Clyde Wilson distinguished Professor Emeritus of History at the University of South Carolina 

    “The condition of slavery in the several states would remain just the same weather it [the rebellion] succeeds or fails”
    -Secretary Seward to US Ambassador to France

    With slavery equally protected north or south and even more so in the north, the upper south states of VA, NC, TENN, ARK, KY, MO makes it hard to conclude slavery had much or anything to do with their reasons for leaving. When the original deep south states left the union, there were more slaves and more slave states remaining in the union, than within the newly formed confederacy. Most upper south state declarations did not even mention slavery or only in passing, and that usually associated with violations of states rights or the constitution. But they heavily spoke on states rights, states sovereignty and Lincolns call for volunteers as the reason for secession. Those states chose to stay with the union before Lincolns call for volunteers, that they saw as a massive violation of state sovereignty.

    “So far from engaging in a war to perpetuate slavery, I am rejoiced that slavery is abolished. I believe it will be greatly for the interests of the South. So fully am I satisfied of this, as regards Virginia especially, that I would cheerfully have lost all I have lost by the war, and have suffered all I have suffered, to have this object attained.”
    -Robert E Lee 1870

    Overstating the Case for Slavery as the Sole Cause of Secession

    “It was necessary to put the South at a moral disadvantage by transforming the contest from a war waged against states fighting for their Independence into a war waged against states fighting for the maintenance and extension of slavery…and the world, it might be hoped, would see it as a moral war, not a political; and the sympathy of nations would begin to run for the North, not for the South.”
    -Woodrow Wilson, “A History of The American People”

    I think people who teach that the sole cause of southern secession was slavery are very much overstating their case. They usually will refer to sections of South Carolina, Texas and Mississippi declarations on secession and a misunderstanding of Stevens cornerstone speech, as well as some other isolated statements. They do prove that slavery was a cause or at least an occasion of secession for some, but it would be false to conclude its the sole cause of secession for the entire confederacy, or even the cotton states.

    Slavery was Safer in the Union Than the Confederacy

    “Howard county [MO] is true to the union” “our slaveholders think it is the sure bulwark of our slave property”
    -Abeil Lenord Whig party leader at the onset of the war

    Slavery in fact was safer in the union than had the confederacy been allowed to form. Slavery was in both the northern and southerner states for the entire civil war. It was constitutionally protected, Lincoln and the north supported the Corwin amendment that would have protected slavery forever in the the U.S constitution.

    “No amendment shall be made to the Constitution which will authorize or give to Congress the power to abolish or interfere, within any State, with the domestic institutions thereof[ slavery], including that of persons held to labor or service by the laws of said State.”
    -Corwin Amendment

    The united states supreme court had ruled in favor of the fugitive slave laws and the use of federal agents to return runaway slaves to their masters. A confederacy would have no protection for runaways north. Slavery was as secure as it had ever been for those southern slave states. Lincoln and the north did not invade the south to end slavery. Lincoln had no problem with the upper south slave states in the union such as Virginia as he called for volunteers to attack the deep south to repress the rebellion [not slavery]. The 1860 republican platform plank 4 said slavery was a state issue and they would not interfere with slavery. Lincoln also said the states had the right to chose on slavery and he would not interfere with slavery.

    “I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere Untitled with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so”
    -Abraham Lincoln Inaugural address

    After the deep south left the union the federal government decided it would not end slavery in the house on Feb 1861 and senate march 2 1861. On July 22 1861 congress declared “This war is not waged , nor purpose of overthrowing or interfering with the rights or established institutions [slavery] of those states.” October 8th 1861 the newspaper Washington D.C National Intelligence said “The existing war had no direct relation to slavery.”

    “Seven-tenths of our people owned no slaves at all, and to say the least of it, felt no great and enduring enthusiasm for its [slavery’s] preservation, especially when it seemed to them that it was in no danger.’ ”
    -John G. Barrett, The Civil War in North Carolina

    Fight to Maintain Slavery? Or put Down Arms to Maintain Slavery?

    “As for the South, it is enough to say that perhaps eighty per cent. 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.”
    -Confederate Major General John B. Gordon Causes of the Civil War

    If the south fought only for slavery,it only had to not fight the war. Slavery was protected and not under attack by Lincoln in the states it already existed. At any time as Lincoln promised, the south just had to lay down arms and come back into the union with slavery intact, yet they chose to fight for another cause.

    “The emancipation proclamation was actually an offer permitting the south to stop fighting and return to the union by January 1st and still keep its slaves”
    -John Canaan The Peninsula campaign

    “We were not fighting for the perpetuation of slavery, but for the principle of States Rights and Free Trade, and in defense of our homes which were being ruthlessly invaded.” -Moses Jacob Ezekiel

    Virginia alone freed more slaves prior to civil war than NY, NJ, Pennsylvania,and New England put together. South Carolinian Mary Chestnut said slavery was a curse, yet she supported secession. She and others hoped the war would end with a “Great independent country with no slavery.” On June 1861 Mary Chestnut said “Slavery has got to go of course.”

    Jefferson Davis CSA President/ Abraham Lincoln USA President

    “The North was mad and blind; it would not let us govern ourselves, and so the war came, and now it must go on unless you acknowledge our right to self government. We are not fighting for slavery. We are fighting for Independence.”
    -President Jefferson Davis, CSA

    It is interesting that both the CSA and USA presidents would agree that the war was not over slavery. Yet today we are told slavery was the sole cause of the war. In Jefferson Davis's farewell address to the US congress, his inaugural address in Montgomery as confederate president and second inaugural in Richmond, he explained liberty, states rights, tariffs and the founders were the main reason for states leaving the union. Jefferson barley mention slavery and only in passing in just one of the three important speeches. The south was leaving because Davis said the north fell to simple majority [Democracy not constitutional republic] what Davis called the “Tyranny of unbridled majority.” Near the end of the war Jefferson Davis sent a diplomat to both France and England to try and convince them to recognize the confederacy offering the confederacy would abolish slavery, yet keep their country. Instead what we are told to focus on is not the CSA presidents important speeches, but a speech by vice president Stevens as the sole cause for southern secession. Few things Jeff Davis and Abraham Lincoln would agree upon, but one is the war was not over slavery.

    “So long as I am president . It shall be carried on for the sole purpose of restoring the union”
    -Abraham Lincoln Aug 15 1864

    Europe's Opinion

    “[T]he contest is really for empire on the side of the North, and for independence on that of the South, and in this respect we recognize an exact analogy between the North and the Government of George III, and the South and the Thirteen Revolted Provinces. These opinions…are the general opinions of the English nation.”
    -London Times, November 7, 1861

    “I saw in State Rights the only availing check upon the absolutism of the sovereign will, and secession filled me with hope, not as the destruction but as the redemption of Democracy.”
    -British Lord Action Correspondence with Robert E Lee

    The vast majority in Europe at the time of the civil war believed the war was not over slavery but either tariffs or states rights. In the book The glittering illusion: English sympathy for the Southern Confederacy [ ]

    its shows how the majority of lay people in England supported the confederacy and believed the war was not over slavery. Englishman Sir John Dalberacton convinced many in England to feel sympathy for the CSA because he said they were fighting a tyrannical government and defending states rights. English statesman Richard Cobden pointed out in December 1861, the British “are unani-mous and fanatical”; that subject was free trade.

    Confederate Soldiers

    The confederate solder “Fought because he was provoked, intimidated, and ultimately invaded” -James Webb Born Fighting a History of the Scoth-Irish in America

    “To tar the sacrifices of the Confederate soldier as simple acts of racism, and reduce the battle flag under which he fought to nothing more than the symbol of a racist heritage, is one of the great blasphemies of our modern age”.
    -James Webb-Secretary of Navy And Assistant Secretary of Defense

    To think the southern armies were full of non slave owning soldiers leaving their families and risking there lives so a few rich slave owners could keep there slaves is ridiculous. 80% of southern soldiers did not own slaves. In every major battle there were slave owning union soldiers fighting for the north, and non slave owning southern soldiers fighting for the south. In the book What They Fought For, 1861–1865 by James McPherson reported on his reading of hundreds of letters and diaries written by soldiers on both sides of the war on the question of what they believed they were fighting for. McPherson concluded that nearly all Confederate soldiers believed they “fought for liberty and independence from what they regarded as a tyrannical government.”As one Illinois officer explained, “We are fighting for the Union . . . a high and noble sentiment, but after all a sentiment. They are fighting for independence, and are animated by passion and hatred against invaders” “The letters and diaries of many Confederate soldiers bristled with the rhetoric of liberty and self-government and with expressions of a willingness to die for the cause.” An Alabamian solider wrote “When a Southerner homes is threatened the spirit of resistance is irresistible.”

    “Southerners also fought for abstracts- state sovereignty, the right of secession, the constitution as they interpreted it, the concept of a southern nation different from the American nation whose values had been corrupted by Yankees”
    -James McPherson Battle Cry of freedom

    “The south was fighting for independence, the north to restore the union...young southerners rushed to arms to defend home and family while like their revolutionary grandfathers- seeking a new Independence ”
    -James Robertson The Untold civil War Exploring The Human Side Of War National geographic

    In The Confederate war by Gary W Gallagher he quotes multiple soldiers letters home as saying the reason they were fighting was because of what they saw as northern tyranny, oppression and northern invasion. In the book the common solider of the civil war, The average southern soldiers diaries and letters to home barley even mentioned slavery, much less as a reason for fighting. It was because they were defending their homes and families and country, a few said because of power of government. Thousands of Californians [non slave owning state] volunteered for the confederacy. New jersey supplied at least two confederate generals. The confederate soldiers flags mottos talked of liberty, justice, freedom, and god, not of slavery as reason to fight.

    “Believe me no solider on either side gave a damn about slaves, they were fighting for other reasons entirely in their minds. Southerns thought they were fighting the second American revolution norther's thought they were fighting to hold the union together [With a few abolitionist and fire eaters on both sides].”
    -Historian Shelby Foote

    “I was fighting for my home, and he had no business being there”
    -Virginia confederate Solider Frank Potts

    Main References

    -Secession Acts of the Thirteen Confederate States
    -Confederate States of America - Declaration of the Immediate Causes Which Induce and Justify the Secession of South Carolina from the Federal Union
    -Abraham Lincoln First Inaugural Address Monday, March 4, 1861
    -Jefferson Davis' First Inaugural Address Alabama Capitol, Montgomery, February 18, 1861
    -Jefferson Davis' Second Inaugural Address Virginia Capitol, Richmond, February 22, 1862
    -Confederate States of America - Message to Congress April 29, 1861 (Ratification of the Constitution)
    -The confederate constitution -The Confederate States of America, 1861--1865: A History of the South by E.Merton coulter 1950 -The Confederate Constitution of 1861: An Inquiry Into American Constitutionalism  By Marshall L. DeRosa University of Missouri Press -Redeeming American Democracy Lessons from the confederate constitution Marshall L. Derosa Pelican press 2007 -The Constitution Of The Confederate States Of America Explained A Clause By Clause Study Of The Souths Magna Carta Lochlainn Seabrook Sea Raven Press 2012
    -From Union to Empire Clyde Wilson The Foundation for American Education Columbia SC 2003
    -The Great Civil War Debate hosted by american vision c-span Peter Marshall Jr. vs Steve Wilkin s
    -The federalist papers
    -Nullification How to resits Federal tyranny in the 21st Century Thomas Woods Regnery Publishing inc Washington D.C 2010
    -The Yankee Problem An American dilemma Clyde N Wilson Shotwell Publishing Columbia South Carolina 2016
    -The fourteenth amendment -Thomas woods

    -The Real Lincoln Thomas J Dilorenzo Three Rivers press NY NY 2002
    - Lincoln Unmasked what your not suppose to know about Dishonest Abe Thomas J Dilorenzo Three rivers Press Crown Forum 2006
    -Lincolns Marxists Al Benson Jr and Walter Kennedy Pelican Press 2011
    -From Union to Empire essays in the Jeffersonian Tradition Clyde Wilson The Foundation for American Education Columbia South Carolina 2003
    -Battle Hymns The Power And Popularity Of Music In The Civil War By Christian Mcwhirter The University Of North Carolina press 2012
    -The states rights tradition nobody knows Thomas Woods

    -Battle Cry of Freedom James McPherson Oxford university Press
    Gary Gallagher the American civil war great courses in modern history lecture series Teaching company 2000 
    -Without Consent or Contract The Rise and Fall of American Slavery Robert William Fogel W.W Norton and company NY London 1989
    -America Civil war Magazine -
    -Robert E Lee letter to his wife 1856
    -The life and death of Jefferson Davis 1959
    -Robert E Lee correspondence with British Lord action
    -Woodrow Wilson, A History of The American People 1902

    "How do you like this are coming back into the union"
    Confederate solider to Pennsylvanian citizen before Gettysburg

    "No way sherman will go to hell, he would outflank the devil and get past havens guard"
    southern solider about northern general sherman

    "Angels went to receive his body from his grave but he was not there, they left very disappointed but upon return to haven, found he had outflanked them and was already there".
    northern newspaper about the death of stonewall jackson

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