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Old 04-22-2010, 04:55 AM   #1
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was the civil war inevitable?

Now for something different.

I'm just curious as to how others on the board think about this. Yes it is a very specific topic, and an old one at that, but we encompass a large swath of the nation on this board and I'm just curious as what peoples views are.

You don't have to agree with me but I'm curious what peoples arguments are that it was or wasn't.
ie: It wasnt inevitable because most of europe had gotten rid of slavery by this point and it was only a matter of time before the trend crossed the ocean.

or: It could have been avoided if the north would have allowed the south to fall away and waited till they, the south, realized they couldnt support them selves and came back asking for help.

You dont have to stick to slavery as the only reason for the war either. Me personally I think it was an unavoidable war.

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Old 04-22-2010, 06:48 AM   #2
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IMHO, i don't believe for one second that the war was about slavery. i understand, and can sympathize with both sides, but i think that the Confederation was the lesser of 2 evils.

here we have the south. going about things the way the country always has since its foundation. now the north..mainly the federal government, for the first time ever, starts telling the states what they can and can't do. the south was correct in telling the government to shove it up their a**. the south also HAD THE RIGHT to band together and leave the Union. they did nothing wrong here.

with that being said, according to the Constitution, the government has a right to protect American citizens' rights. so the central government was ALSO correct in telling states slavery isn't right, and should be outlawed.

so as the story goes, the south unified, succeeded, and founded a new country. they drafted a constitution, and appointed their first president. at this point, everything should have come to a screeching halt, and The Confederation vs. The United States SHOULD have been fought in the Supreme Court.

instead, the Union declairs war on the Confederation. Lincoln COMPLETELY ignored the RIGHT of the southern states to succeed, calling in an act of treason and rebellion. war should have never happened. so for the very first time in American history, we see the Feds step over the line, and take away rights, using brute force in the process. this as you can see now looking back over a century, opened up the door to a massive amount of problems with large expansions of government, transforming this country forever, and pretty much setting a new standard and new role of the central government.

slavery was and is wrong. however, the flexing of muscle by the Federal Government was also wrong. IMO, we would be better off today if the south had won. our government would be potentially powerless as it was intended by our Founders, and i'm 100% sure slavery would have been outlawed by the 1900's, one state at a time.

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Old 04-22-2010, 06:55 AM   #3
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If the U.S. Govt. would not have acted so fast to abolish slavery the war would not have happened. Slavery would have faded out over time on its own. Then the aftermath that followed the war with carpetbaggers, the Klan ect. wouldn't have happened which some historians say was worse than slavery.
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Old 04-22-2010, 07:39 AM   #4
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THE SOUTH WILL RISE AGAIN! LOL

You know...some say Lincoln was the best or one of the best Presidents of all time.....but I think he is the worst. He declared war on his own country. Say what you will....(the Confederacy was its own Country)....sure...but it was never going to last.

The war was not about slavery no matter how much some people say it was.....it was about the states rights to do what they want to do...within reason. The government wanted to control everything....kind of like now? EVERY state.....even the union states had slaves...so quite the whiny slavery BS.

The war in all could have and should have been avoided. The Brits got rid of slavery in 1833...and the US should have followed suit. They problem was that when most of the US presidents had slaves of their own....why would they abolish it? Thomas Jefferson wasnt the only one...so dont believe it.

I am originally from Texas....so I know all about the confederacy....and being the only state with the current right to succeed, I know about succession. I live in Wisconsin now...and granted Wisconsin even WAY THE F up north it was a borderline state. They wanted slavery and had slaves but wanted to stay with the union....I have been able to experience both sides of it....granted 150 years later.....

So the South was right....the SOUTH WON THE WAR.....(hence 300k dead for north vs 150k for south) and the US government should have let states have their own laws and rights....kind of like now!!!!
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Old 04-22-2010, 08:49 AM   #5
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If the U.S. Govt. would not have acted so fast to abolish slavery the war would not have happened. Slavery would have faded out over time on its own. Then the aftermath that followed the war with carpetbaggers, the Klan ect. wouldn't have happened which some historians say was worse than slavery.
states started to to secede from the union in Dec, 1860 (what some say is the start of the civil war)

in 1861, confederate troops opened attacked fort sumpter in SC (first fight of the civil war)

1863, president lincoln delivers the emancipation proclamation, "freeing" all slaves

the war was already swinging with full force when slavery was abolished.........
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Old 04-22-2010, 08:55 AM   #6
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IMHO, i don't believe for one second that the war was about slavery. i understand, and can sympathize with both sides, but i think that the Confederation was the lesser of 2 evils.

here we have the south. going about things the way the country always has since its foundation. now the north..mainly the federal government, for the first time ever, starts telling the states what they can and can't do. the south was correct in telling the government to shove it up their a**. the south also HAD THE RIGHT to band together and leave the Union. they did nothing wrong here.

with that being said, according to the Constitution, the government has a right to protect American citizens' rights. so the central government was ALSO correct in telling states slavery isn't right, and should be outlawed.

so as the story goes, the south unified, succeeded, and founded a new country. they drafted a constitution, and appointed their first president. at this point, everything should have come to a screeching halt, and The Confederation vs. The United States SHOULD have been fought in the Supreme Court.

instead, the Union declairs war on the Confederation. Lincoln COMPLETELY ignored the RIGHT of the southern states to succeed, calling in an act of treason and rebellion. war should have never happened. so for the very first time in American history, we see the Feds step over the line, and take away rights, using brute force in the process. this as you can see now looking back over a century, opened up the door to a massive amount of problems with large expansions of government, transforming this country forever, and pretty much setting a new standard and new role of the central government.

slavery was and is wrong. however, the flexing of muscle by the Federal Government was also wrong. IMO, we would be better off today if the south had won. our government would be potentially powerless as it was intended by our Founders, and i'm 100% sure slavery would have been outlawed by the 1900's, one state at a time.
the union never actually declared war on the confederacy because that meant they would be admitting that the confederacy was a separate nation.

union troops were not mobilized till after the confederacy attacked fort sumter
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Old 04-22-2010, 09:00 AM   #7
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wait, where do the Jedi's fit into this?
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Old 04-22-2010, 09:02 AM   #8
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wait, where do the Jedi's fit into this?
according to my notes, they came in round 1864 and waged a huge gorilla war against all the is evil.
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Old 04-22-2010, 09:05 AM   #9
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The Emancipation Proclamation only specifically named 10 states in freeing of the slaves in 1863, all in the south and all have yet to come back to the "Union". Slaverywas still legal in the United States until the 13 admendment late in 1865. So to say the "cause" of the war was slavery is far from the truth, but it is those "damn" yankees writing the history books too....

and for another rant.... it's the CSS Virginia... not the Merrimack... the Merrimack was a wooden vessel abandoned by the Union navy in a Portsmouth ship yard....
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Old 04-22-2010, 09:05 AM   #10
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according to my notes, they came in round 1864 and waged a huge gorilla war against all the is evil.
and the sith's?
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Old 04-22-2010, 09:07 AM   #11
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schutzy's points are all correct. In fact a northern state tried to split in the 30's I believe and I think it was new hampshire. But the southern government who was in control of the goverment by populace put together a force and forced them to stay in the union. The constitution also states that the union is propetual meaning never ending so succesion was technically illegal. But the big thing was that the war had started way before the slaves were freed and the south fired the first shot. In fact Lincoln's stance was to tolerate slavery in the south but not allow it in the newly aquired western territories. The south split before lincoln was even sworn into office. I agree though the war is about more then slavery. So lets explore those in the debate as well. Hence the second argument I put in my first post. My second point also shows how war could of been avoided. The south was a agricultural society with only a hand full of large cities and an even smaller amount of manufacturing and transportaion infasctructure (railroads) This would have subjected the south's majority to a very poor life.
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Old 04-22-2010, 09:14 AM   #12
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Thats the hard thing about this topic for discussion. It automatically focuses on the causes of the war. not whether the war could have been avoided or not. While I understand they are hand in hand, they are also separate.

Such as: The southern war hawks that forced the war of 1812 also forced the mexican war of the 1850' (an often forgotten war) where america got texas and west. The southerns hoped to move slavery into those area so they could increase their production with the increased land mass (see the tie in's there, lol.). They were then pissed that the north was trying to force those areas to be free soil territories. The south got mad when when lincoln got elected thinking that they no longer controlled all branchs of government; lincoln was the first non southern president in a long time. Thinking they had lost all control they packed up and went home.

anything I put in here isn't necesarily my opinion but me just being devils advocate.
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Old 04-22-2010, 09:38 AM   #13
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The war was completely avoidable. Lincoln was a lousy diplomat.
The war was about slavery but was not fought to free slaves.
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Old 04-22-2010, 09:55 AM   #14
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Having a civil discussion of the Civil War is fine. Lets keep it friendly folks.

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Old 04-22-2010, 10:33 AM   #15
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The war was completely avoidable. Lincoln was a lousy diplomat.
The war was about slavery but was not fought to free slaves.
Agree with both of these points. I think it;'s hard to argue the war being avoidable since it happened.

It could have been a lack of fast communication as well. If they would have had a method to talk about the problems in a faster method then letters it may have been avoidable, thus making lincoln a better diplomat. But Lincoln may have botched that as well.
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Old 04-22-2010, 12:22 PM   #16
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It wasn't about that slavery was good or bad (well of course it was bad, but you know what I'm saying).
It was that slavery was a huge part of the southern economies. Without slavery, they would not only lose huge amounts of money, but there would also be the chance that the ex-slaves would rebel. The ratio was about 3 slaves to 1 white person (sometimes a lot higher in some areas). Rebellion was another fear of the whites at the time. I think slavery did have a part in it, but it was more for economical reasons than ethics at the time.
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Old 04-22-2010, 01:06 PM   #17
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and the sith's?
they are the evil bit silly

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Old 04-22-2010, 01:26 PM   #18
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I think some of you are putting too much emphasis on President Lincoln, and too little on the times at hand.

Events leading up to the election of Lincoln were all about the increased tensions of the time. The start of a new political party, the resurgence of another (the "Know-Nothings" which is an awesome name!). Huge political compromises around allowing new states into the Union. Supreme Court decisions that inflamed the North. Actual fistfights in the halls of Congress. The administrations of both Pierce and Buchanan, as they tried to walk-the-line and keep it all together (Buchanan gets listed frequently as one of the worst president's, as his policies were seen as head-in-the-sand).

Lincoln ran on a platform of "let's give this one last try" but it was pretty obvious to everyone where he stood, and it showed in the Cabinet and power-structure he put together.

Doris Kearns Goodwin has a fantastic book out about Lincoln, called Team of Rivals. I highly recommend it.
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Old 04-22-2010, 03:16 PM   #19
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Why would a 30 yr old still be in school but ya I am.

It was a question asked in class, and I was the only one to say anything so obviously I have my opinions. But I'm curious as to what others think becasue I like to expand my brain that way. I'm a gatherer of info. I do lots of reading before I commit one way or another and in fact probably do to much, but then again I am a history major. That's why I was hoping some of the southerners would chime in. I grew up in maryland a "southern" state but I know maryland skews more northern then southern.

I think in the end the war would have happened one way or another but my teacher insisted on saying that it could have been avoided, she is a pretty liberal person so this may have been her being a pacifist, or it could have been her trying to get us to think. But like I said I was the only one to say anything and that never gives a whole story.

Back to topic though....
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Old 04-22-2010, 04:37 PM   #20
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Sort of back on topic. (but not really)

What I really find amazing is the break up of the Soviet Union without a cival war.
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Old 04-22-2010, 04:52 PM   #21
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Having a civil discussion of the Civil War is fine. Lets keep it friendly folks.

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Old 04-22-2010, 04:58 PM   #22
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I'm just glad Frodo tossed that damn ring into the fire to end it all.

Although, at that giant White Castle thing in Richmond, When Grant's "Ghost" battalion swept in... Man, that was AWESOME!

I just would like to know where the Yankees got those giant Elephant things and why they don't have them in any Zoos around here?

Oh wait... Yeah, that's how I remember it.

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Old 04-22-2010, 05:52 PM   #23
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I think in the end the war would have happened one way or another but my teacher insisted on saying that it could have been avoided, .
ANY war could be avoided.

Hell, the French avoided world war II altogether (and every other war since Napoleon).
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Old 04-22-2010, 06:04 PM   #24
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Man, you guys give good reason that i should have paid attention in history class all those years ago !

I'm headed out to Gettysburg next weekend maybe i'll learn something ! Hmm, i wonder if they have any trails out there ? Sorry, i got off topic.
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Old 04-22-2010, 06:07 PM   #25
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ANY war could be avoided.

Hell, the French avoided world war II altogether (and every other war since Napoleon).
They hosted a lot of it on their home field.
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Old 04-22-2010, 06:51 PM   #26
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They hosted a lot of it on their home field.
Na, just WWI mostly. WWII only got "hosted" there on D Day onward (they surrendered to us on June 7th but couldn't convince their buddies to do the same and pull back)
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Old 04-23-2010, 06:01 AM   #27
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Sort of back on topic. (but not really)

What I really find amazing is the break up of the Soviet Union without a cival war.
It def. applies. How is it that they managed no civil war when they split but we couldnt?

I contest that the war wasnt avoidable just for the pure fact that slavery was to much a part of the south's lively hood at that time, and the north was asking them to give it up out west and succumb to a slow suffocation of it in the south with out the expansion. That basically paraphrasing lincoln's own words. But could anything have been done to avoid it like the russians did? or the french?
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Old 04-23-2010, 10:29 AM   #28
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When Hungary tried to secede from the Soviet Union, there was definitely a war. And the Soviets held their union together with a vast military threat. The Georgians didn't stay Soviet because of good negotiating skills.

When the entire thing collapsed it had more to do with a totally hollowed-out central structure, and total loss of popular support for the government. It wasn't anything to do with a civil war between the various states.



I think you're looking at the South pulling out of the Union due to a long chain of various decisions and events (the election of Lincoln was just one of those events). And forcing Lincoln to react: would he be the President that saw the disintegration of the union on his watch, or the one that used force to keep it together?

Was there any way to keep the Union together with compromises? They had been trying for years with little success.

Was there any way to allow the separation of the Union and the forming of two countries? Of course. Would the North have allowed that? If Lincoln had allowed it, would the next administration been more warlike? (Keep in mind that if there had been a separation, the United States would be made up of only northern voters!).
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Old 04-23-2010, 11:16 AM   #29
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Many things could have been done to prevent the war. A full discussion of the possibilities would require a rather lengthy discussion of our history to well before we even became a nation.
The primary cause of the civil war however, in my opinion, was Lincolns willingness to engage in war, and his poor ability as a diplomat.
This begs the question, was the war preferable to allowing slavery to continue?

Comparing the breakup of the Soviet union and the American civil war is an apples and oranges argument. The Soviet Union was a collection of nations generally forced into unity. Communism can't sustain itself in isolation, it must expand or it dies because it eventually runs out of other peoples money. Our policy of containment and escalation during the cold war broke them financially. They couldn't afford a conventional war with us and they were smart enough to recognize that a nuclear engagement would destroy them. They had no real choice but to allow their subjugated states to break away.

The American south on the other hand had no powerful ally that would come to their defense and it was in the north's economic best interest to retain the south as a part of the union.

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Old 04-23-2010, 11:20 AM   #30
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+1 to all of this.
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Many things could have been done to prevent the war. A full discussion of the possibilities would require a rather lengthy discussion of our history to well before we even became a nation.
The primary cause of the civil war however, in my opinion, was Lincolns willingness to engage in war, and his poor ability as a diplomat.
This begs the question, was the war preferable to allowing slavery to continue?

Comparing the breakup of the Soviet union and the American civil war is an apples and oranges argument. The Soviet Union was a collection of nations generally forced into unity. Communism can't sustain itself in isolation, it must expand or it dies because it eventually runs out of other peoples money. Our policy of containment and escalation during the cold war broke them financially. They couldn't afford a conventional war with us and they were smart enough to recognize that a nuclear engagement would destroy them. They had no real choice but to allow their subjugated states to break away.

The American south on the other hand had no powerful ally that would come to their defense and it was in the north's economic best interest to retain the south as a part of the union.

When you compromise with evil, the only winner is evil.

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