Confederate Cause

Causes of the War - Was Secession an act to perpetuate slavery?

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Why was there war?  Was it to perpetuate slavery?

By 1860, though slavery was eventually doomed by virtue of Christian conscience and simple economics, it was thoroughly entrenched politically.  The U.S. Supreme Court in Dred Scott v. Sanford,had ruled slavery legal and Fugutive Slave laws enforceable.  Congress had passed a constitutional amendment (yet to be ratified) to protect slavery.  Lincoln, though many Southerners didn't trust him, had expressly promised not to intefere with slavery "directly or indirectly, in the states where it exists."  Had the Southern States remained in the Union, slavery would be protected for at least several decades to come.  A three-fourths majority is required to send a Constitutional Amendment proposal to the states---a majority that could not be reached without cooperation by southern states.  Accordingly, it cannot be argued that the perpetuation of slavery was the driving issue for secession.

By seceding, the Southern states were forfeiting any rights and claims on the remaining territories of the west.  The slave-or-free status of the western territories had long been in dispute in the United States, but the Dred Scott decision had removed any legal impediments to slave owners moving west into the new territories.  By leaving the United States, the Confederate States forfeited all claims to the western territories and therefore, slavery could not be expanded unless other western territories declared independence from the United States and petitioned to join the Confederacy.

Let us keep in mind that, according to census records, only six percent of the Southern people owned slaves.  Of those, only three percent were wealthy.  The other three percent were working families who owned less than ten slaves and who worked along-side their slaves to make a living.  Stated another way, 94 percent of the citizens in the South did not own slaves.

Not many people would voluntarily send their husbands, brothers and sons into battle against a foe who outnumbered them three to one for the sake of preserving someone else's right to hold slaves.

Now let's put American slavery in perspective relative to the worldwide tragedy of slavery.  We begin that in Section 6.

Section 5: Causes of the war?

....under construction

  1. What does the Confederate flag represent?
  2. Conclusions

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