The Instigator
theunionforever61
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
JamesChance
Con (against)
Winning
3 Points

Slavery was the primary reason the South seceded

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after 1 vote the winner is...
JamesChance
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/12/2014 Category: Politics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,336 times Debate No: 52297
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (8)
Votes (1)

 

theunionforever61

Pro

I have challenged several neo-confederates like bettabreeder to this debate without success. I hope to have better luck by having an open challenge.

The South did secede in order to protect their peculiar institution. First round for acceptance and a brief statement that outlines your position. Keep in mind you have 48 hours to post arguments. Please only serious debaters, thanks.
JamesChance

Con

I am presuming that your topic, "Slavery was the primary reason the South Seceded" is your stance. And only upon further reading in first round explanation did I read yet another statement "The South did secede in order to protect their peculiar institution." Another statement very generalized in the fundamental core of succession of the Union (as per the Confederate labeling of our Federal government).

First and foremost, what might have been a better debate topic: Did the South secede due to slavery as their primary reason?

Citing of course, as you did in your first round, as the reason why was due to their peculiar institution. Let us not confuse peculiar institution: Is the act of slave ownership as property among white land owners the institution you speak of or an institution designed to separate from the 'Union' on political, economic, and values held against class-ism of the North?

When you don't define the terms of the side you hold the discussion for, how can one actually debate?

When you generalize and use an over-arching explanation in one sentence, and oddly describe it so openly that someone is unable to even oppose your idea as a whole, how can this be a debate?

I have plenty to share on the topic and willing to do so, but until you clarify the points in which brings you to the position you have, since it is so generalized and leaves me a bit confused to the use of "institution" in your one sentence I await your response.

In short, I am aware slavery was involved in the secession of the south, but the primary reason has a list longer than one to two paragraphs of round by round debates. Academically giving the primary reason of the south's secession is like asking How do you jump rope? And someone says JUMP.

Respectfully,
James
Debate Round No. 1
theunionforever61

Pro

Sorry for the ambiguity, I am not that experienced in debates. Peculiar institution is another way to say slavery. It was and is, just another way to say slavery. Peculiar institution = slavery. I thought another civil war buff would accept my debate, and would know that peculiar institution is just another name for slavery. I don't see the need to write the debate topic as a question since I firmly believe that the primary reason for the secession for the southern states was slavery. You will just argue that the primary reason was not slavery.
here's the definition of primary: first or highest in rank or importance (from dictionary.com)
I don't think that the "primary reason has a list longer than one to two paragraphs of round by round debates". We are simply debating the most important reason the South seceded, which by definition will not be a list, just the most important reason.
Many civil war historians such as Gary Gallagher, James M. McPherson, Drew Gilpin Faust, Eric Foner, Walter Edgar, Edna Medford and many others agree that slavery was the primary cause of the secession of the southern states. So, I must disagree with your assessment that, "Academically giving the primary reason of the south's secession is like asking How do you jump rope? And someone says JUMP." In fact, academically, the primary reason has been pretty much settled as slavery.

Looking at what southern leaders before and during the secession crisis gives us ample evidence of this.

Alexander Stephens, the VP of the Confederacy stated in his famous "Cornerstone speech" that:

"The new Constitution has put at rest forever all the agitating questions relating to our peculiar institutions"""African slavery as it exists among us"""the proper status of the negro in our form of civilization. This was the immediate cause of the late rupture and present revolution. Jefferson, in his forecast, had anticipated this, as the "rock upon which the old Union would split." He was right. What was conjecture with him, is now a realized fact. But whether he fully comprehended the great truth upon which that rock stood and stands, may be doubted. The prevailing ideas entertained by him and most of the leading statesmen at the time of the formation of the old Constitution were, that the enslavement of the African was in violation of the laws of nature; that it was wrong in principle, socially, morally and politically. It was an evil they knew not well how to deal with; but the general opinion of the men of that day was, that, somehow or other, in the order of Providence, the institution would be evanescent and pass away... Those ideas, however, were fundamentally wrong. They rested upon the assumption of the equality of races. This was an error. It was a sandy foundation, and the idea of a Government built upon it"""when the "storm came and the wind blew, it fell.
Our new Government is founded upon exactly the opposite ideas; its foundations are laid, its cornerstone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery, subordination to the superior race, is his natural and moral condition." March 1861 (note the use of "peculiar institution")(http://www.fordham.edu...)

In January 1861, soon-to-be Confederate President Jefferson Davis said that his state had seceded because "She has heard proclaimed the theory that all men are created free and equal, and this made the basis of an attack upon her social institutions [slavery]; and the sacred Declaration of Independence has been invoked to maintain the position of the equality of the races." Davis was referring to well-known speeches by Lincoln and other Republicans citing the Declaration in criticism of slavery. (http://www.volokh.com...)

These two documents speak for themselves as to what the two future leaders of the Confederacy felt the reason for secession was.

The last ditch efforts at compromise, all of which deal with slavery, also point to slavery as the primary cause of southern secession.
One last ditch effort was the Crittenden Compromise, which stated:
The Crittenden proposal consisted of the following six amendments to the Constitution:

1. Slavery would be prohibited in all territory of the United States "now held, or hereafter acquired," north of latitude 36 degrees 30 minutes. In territory south of this line, slavery was "hereby recognized" and could not be interfered with by Congress. Further, property in slaves was to be "protected by all the departments of the territorial government during its continuance." States would be admitted to the Union from any territory with or without slavery as their constitutions provided.
2. Congress was forbidden to abolish slavery in places under its jurisdiction within a slave state, such as a military post.
3. Congress could not abolish slavery in the District of Columbia so long as it existed in the adjoining states of Virginia and Maryland, and without the consent of the District's inhabitants. Compensation would be given to owners who refused consent to abolition.
4. Congress could not prohibit or interfere with the interstate slave trade.
5. Congress would provide full compensation to owners of rescued fugitive slaves. Congress was empowered to sue the county in which obstruction to the fugitive slave laws took place to recover payment; the county, in turn, could sue "the wrong doers or rescuers" who prevented the return of the fugitive.
6. No future amendment of the Constitution could change these amendments, or authorize or empower Congress to interfere with slavery within any slave state. (http://www.tulane.edu...)

Another proposed compromise was the Corwin amendment which shield "domestic institutions" of the states (which in 1861 included slavery) from the constitutional amendment process and from abolition or interference by Congress.
(http://philmagness.com...)

These two last ditch compromise efforts deal only with slavery. No other issue is addressed, because no other issue was as important in prompting the Southern secession than slavery. Lincoln rejected the Crittenden compromise since it would extend slavery into the territories, and the South rejected the Corwin Amendment, since it did not guarantee slavery in the Western territories.

I await your response to my arguments and hope I have cleared up all ambiguities.
JamesChance

Con


Thank you for clarifying you position and I will do my best to elaborate on "a long list of reasons".
*minutes throughout will be attached to excerpts related to this video link: https://www.youtube.com...

The Pro in this debate openly shared half a dozen historians and further ambiguously identified 'many others' who support the primary cause for secession of the southern states to be that of slavery. The debate as to the primary reason or fervor behind the secession of the south is NOT settled and widely discussed as to having layer upon layers (this point I will further clarify below). If this primary reason was "settled", as the Pro would suggest, we wouldn't still have discussion or debate as to the reasons of secession. Furthermore, this topic is not and can not be simplified through two documents as to what led the confederacy to secession. Slavery did exist in the southern states, a undertone and political beckoning to go to war and to avoid war were herald, but what drove the south secession was not over slavery, but a complete change to the way of life, a way of values, a principle that involved slavery and abolitionists to call upon the obscenity and torment to those who had no direct comprehension of it's short or long term truths.

Jefferson Davis, in January 1861, would try to capture with a dignified reserve in saying:

"The south is now confronted by a common foe, the south should, by the instinct of self-preservation be united. The recent declaration of the candidate and leaders of the "black republican party" must suffice to convince many whom have formerly doubted the purpose to attack the institution of slavery in the States. The undying opposition to slavery in the United States means war upon it where it is, not where it is not. That is, the republican's did not simply oppose slavery in the territories, they oppose slavery in the slave States, and they would not stop until they would have obliterated it. The time is at hand when the great battle is to be fought by the defenders of the constitution government and the votary's of mob rule, fanaticism, and anarchy." (0:50 - 2:54)

Clearly, he was advocating a sand in the line was drawn, and that those who stood with the Confederate's were being lobbied by a Northern movement to change generations of land owners and agricultural norms into anarchy. Oddly, a rhetoric we wildly hear claimed today in our current political landscape, and playing into the views that his reference of "defenders of the constitution" was his, or the southern states who should secede, as the moral right in his justification.

After the Civil War, Davis wrote one of the longest rebuttal to what "many" would claim to be "a failed political revolution". He titled it "The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government" publishing it in 1882, arguing-touring, the war had nothing to do with slavery:

"Slavery was in no wise the cause of the conflict, but only an incident. Generally, African's were born slaves of barbarian masters and taught in all the useful arts and occupations, reared in heathen darkness, and sold by heathen masters. They were transferred to shores enlightened by rays of Christianity. Blacks have been put to servitude, trained in the gentle arts of peace, order, and civilization..." (4:00 - 5:50)

The passage continues on and on, and lends credibility to, as the Pro would generally reference "neo-confederates" in his first round, Why might you ask would Davis dismiss the idea of what the Civil War was about, that it had anything at all to do with slavery. As contradicting as it may sound to the point I am making, I share it to clearly showcase how even Davis was a proponent to the layer upon layers of what the south's secession was truly about. Indeed, it was misleading, and to save face in the defeat of the overall idea of secession, but it clearly showcases this layer of layers that enveloped the reasoning behind the south secession as a whole.

Frederick Douglas would finalize in the mid 1880's that the war was between "men of thought, as well as of action, and in dead earnest for something beyond the battlefield...the war was about ideas." In February 1961, he would write "What is this but a premium to insolence, a petition for increased contempt, and humble solicitation to be kicked again? Faith, the human flesh-mongers see at every step the effect of their medicine, and every day they “down with another dose.” First they talk of the slow process of “co-operation” as a condition to breaking up the Union; then they talk of the right of individual States to secede; and finding both Government and people appalled with fear, they fall to seizing forts, arsenals, arms and ammunition, capturing Custom Houses, Post Offices, tearing down the national flag, and firing upon an unarmed Government vessel, with the national flag flying at her mast-head." - http://gathkinsons.net... -

Douglas would speak about slavery very directly based on his own personal experiences and attempt to generalize with great effort the truth of secession throughout many passages was that of fear and a value system broken by perception of slavery truly represented not just to our nation, but internationally to those who hypocritically branded the United States. Again the south seceded on the idea that either they stood for their values and rights or they fall victim to condemnation.

Over and Over again you also find the rhetoric of the word submission or to submit when discussing secession. One example of this, written by the editor of the Charleston Mercury, Robert Rhett Jr. , were a series of articles written under the heading "Terrors of Submission":

"If the South, once submits to the rule of abolitionists, by the general government, there is probably an end of all peaceful separation of the Union. We can only escape the ruin they meditate for the South by war. The ruin by the South of the emancipation of her slaves is not like the ruin of any other people, it is not a mere loss of liberty, but it is a lost of liberty, property, home, country, everything that makes life worth living." (13:50 - 15:15)

Summarizing slavery to be about the secession is not inaccurate from the views of those who didn't see the end of a way of life, but layer upon layers that led, formalized, and drove the instability that led to the Confederate's overall need and desire to seek secession was the objective to unify the cause against the Union. A strategy to deceive, to bring about fear, to generate the political Crittenden Compromise and the Corwin Amendment, as shared by the Pro in this debate, was an objective from a Northern stance made to enforce abolitionists need for authority and used for leverage for the purpose to ultimate secession of the south.

It is too easy for the North, or the Pro, to declare the answer to be of simply slavery (or to just JUMP) as the answer to secession. The Civil War was fought with the primary idea of slavery in mind, and after a century of debates in depth of the subject, long-winded discussion citing this answer to the question of secession to be simplified from a perspective that plays to the need of the requirement of a solid, defined answer, like any war in our nation's history has seemingly required. For those in the South at the time of conception, and for those behind the philosophy of the secession, knowing even at that time the cards were stacked against them, the question of What was the primary reason the South Seceded? (or How do you jump rope?) requires something more than just a solid, simplified reason as to why half of our country would make such a "leap".

The Pro is confusing the primary reason of the Civil War was over slavery with the need and values in question of the South's secession.. The War and what preluded it is not for the same primary reason. The South didn't secede DUE TO slavery; they became acustomed too and provided whtat they truly believed to be the spirit of their planter culture. Ultimately, the secession was about showing the Federal government how truly serious their ideology was on the topic.
Debate Round No. 2
theunionforever61

Pro

"The debate as to the primary reason or fervor behind the secession of the south is NOT settled "
I agree that there are still contrasting viewpoints on the primary reason for the southern secession, or else I would not have held this debate. I was reffering to a quote in your previous argument where you said ""Academically giving the primary reason of the south's secession is like asking How do you jump rope? And someone says JUMP." You were in essence saying that professional, academic historians would not subscribe to a "JUMP" theory, when in fact many do agree that slavery was the primary cause of the war. I in no way meant to say that the issue was closed, but was simply stating that most serious academic historians disagree with your assessment, and that the sisue has been settled in their minds.
"Ultimately, the secession was about showing the Federal government how truly serious their ideology was on the topic. "
If I understand you correctly, then you are arguing that the primary reason for secession of the South was not to protect slavery, but to show the government how committed they were to slavery.
According to this theory (if I understand it correctly), the South seceded and started a war that claimed over 600,000 lives in order to show the Gov. how committed they were to slavery, and that also means that slavery was not the primary cause of secession. I admit ignorance as to what you are trying to say with this statement.

Confusingly to me, you also go into some detail about a "layer upon layers of what the South's secession was truly about" theory. I failed to see you explain what other layers there were to this controversy other than slavery. Jeff Davis's quote lent no credence to this "layer upon layer theory" either. In his quote, he simply denies slavery was the cause of the war and lists the ways Africans benefited from slavery. What other layers were mentioned in this quote? Davis in fact does not give his reason for secession in the quote (even though he was very clear about what it was during the crisis, as can be seen by my quote above). It was simply, as you said, "a way to save face in the defeat of the overall idea of secession".

"but what drove the south secession was not over slavery, but a complete change to the way of life, a way of values, a principle that involved slavery and abolitionists to call upon the obscenity and torment to those who had no direct comprehension of it's short or long term truths."
According to this third theory of yours, the South seceded in order to protect their way of life... a way of life that was based entirely on slavery.
Your three theories about the primary cause of the Civil War seem to contradict each other, and I would appreciate any clarification.
You quote Frederick Douglass in order to back up your "layer upon layers" theory, but on the same website that you cited Douglass from, it says, "February, 1861: Frederick Douglass – “Slavery is the disease, and its abolition in every part of the land is essential to the future quiet and security of the country... It is a matter of life and death. Slavery must be all in the Union, or it can be nothing. This is fully understood by the slaveholders of the cotton States and hence they can accept no compromise, no concession, no settlement that does not exalt slavery above every other interest in the country. ”
Douglass is saying that Slavery was the primary cause of the cotroversey with the South (it was the disease), and in order to get rid of that controversey, you must abolish slavery (cure the disease).
"Over and Over again you also find the rhetoric of the word submission or to submit when discussing secession."
The one example you cited in respect to this statement has everything to do with slavery (which seems to contradict your "layers upon layers" theory). It even says "The ruin by the South of the emancipation of her slaves is not like the ruin of any other people, it is not a mere loss of liberty, but it is a lost of liberty, property, home, country, everything that makes life worth living." He is literally saying that without slavery, life is not worth living. This shows the fanaticism with which southerners regarded slavery, and also should prove that they were willing to secede and go to war for it.

"A strategy to deceive, to bring about fear, to generate the political Crittenden Compromise and the Corwin Amendment, as shared by the Pro in this debate, was an objective from a Northern stance made to enforce abolitionists need for authority and used for leverage for the purpose to ultimate secession of the south."

How did these two proslavery compromises have anything to do with abolitionists, who wanted to see slavery eliminated entirely ? In other words, how did they, "enforce abolitionists need for authority"? You also seem to suggest that the North was trying to somehow deceive the South with these two amendments, but I'm not entirely sure what you are trying to say (any clarification would be helpful), though that does not make any sense, and there is no evidence for it.
"It is too easy for the North, or the Pro, to declare the answer to be of simply slavery (or to just JUMP) as the answer to secession.The Civil War was fought with the primary idea of slavery in mind, and after a century of debates in depth of the subject, long-winded discussion citing this answer to the question of secession to be simplified from a perspective that plays to the need of the requirement of a solid, defined answer, like any war in our nation's history has seemingly required."
Your reasoning here seems to be that we needed a single, clear answer as to what the Civl War was about, and we wrongly came up with slavery. You say that that the answer of slavery is too easy and simple. Why must an explanation be complicated and difficult? In any case, the Southern states certainly came up with the too-easy, too-simple answer of slavery as the primary cause of secession:
Mississippi:
"Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery-- the greatest material interest of the world. Its labor supplies the product which constitutes by far the largest and most important portions of commerce of the earth. These products are peculiar to the climate verging on the tropical regions, and by an imperious law of nature, none but the black race can bear exposure to the tropical sun. These products have become necessities of the world, and a blow at slavery is a blow at commerce and civilization. That blow has been long aimed at the institution, and was at the point of reaching its consummation. There was no choice left us but submission to the mandates of abolition, or a dissolution of the Union, whose principles had been subverted to work out our ruin."
Georgia:
"The people of Georgia having dissolved their political connection with the Government of the United States of America, present to their confederates and the world the causes which have led to the separation. 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...

The prohibition of slavery in the Territories, hostility to it everywhere, the equality of the black and white races, disregard of all constitutional guarantees in its favor, were boldly proclaimed by its leaders and applauded by its followers.

With these principles on their banners and these utterances on their lips the majority of the people of the North demand that we shall receive them as our rulers."

Texas:

"In all the non-slave-holding States, in violation of that good faith and comity which should exist between entirely distinct nations, the people have formed themselves into a great sectional party, now strong enough in numbers to control the affairs of each of those States, based upon an unnatural feeling of hostility to these Southern States and their beneficent and patriarchal system of African slavery, proclaiming the debasing doctrine of equality of all men, irrespective of race or color-- a doctrine at war with nature, in opposition to the experience of mankind, and in violation of the plainest revelations of Divine Law. They demand the abolition of negro slavery throughout the confederacy, the recognition of political equality between the white and negro races, and avow their determination to press on their crusade against us, so long as a negro slave remains in these States."

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... The General Government, as the common agent, passed laws to carry into effect these stipulations of the States. For many years these laws were executed. But an increasing hostility on the part of the non-slaveholding States to the institution of slavery, has led to a disregard of their obligations, and the laws of the General Government have ceased to effect the objects of the Constitution... A geographical line has been drawn across the Union, and all the States north of that line have united in the election of a man to the high office of President of the United States, whose opinions and purposes are hostile to slavery. He is to be entrusted with the administration of the common Government, because he has declared that that "Government cannot endure permanently half slave, half free," and that the public mind must rest in the belief that slavery is in the course of ultimate extinction."

I await your arguments and clarifications.
JamesChance

Con

I will not elaborate further on the prose of Douglas or Davis. Interpretation of the passion and meaning behind the whole IDEA had more to do than the constant use of slavery being written again and again. The Pro would like us all to be subjected to the idea secession itself had a one word that set all of this into motion. The Pro also gave us historians that support this claim from our most modern era disregarding the ample amount of historians that saw a wider justification for secession, the many factors that contributed to secession, and who had access to a generation still aware of their personal account to what a southerner faced. The Pro confuses my point by claiming that Robert Rhett Jr. was writing only about slavery. I do hope the Pro recognizes the threat through the use of the Alien and Sedition Act on a whole way of life, not just the Pro's need for one aspect of life, but those he loved and the assets the Pro worked hard to gain were threatened.

Some historians of modern era are also quickly to dismiss Charles Beard's economic burden theory simply due to him claiming that "slavery had nothing to do with the Civil War". Beard provides a depth of knowledge on the North's need for expansion of their industrial economy, pressing further and further prior to secession and war. Again, I will make clear, because the Pro continues to write as if I don't comprehend slavery had a role to play in all of this, but as Charles Beard lays out, political strategy and the ways in which pieces are moved and considered at such a high office (balancing economy, State or National budgets, or potential projects) consider heavily on strategy rather the people directly. In conjunction with my point, your link: http://sunsite.utk.edu...
has historical reference and makes complete sense when read thoroughly leading to the secession of these States. The economic issues, the agriculture economy that thrived in the south were pressing matters a decade prior. I doubt those opposing or for secession simply orated/lectured slavery as the PRIMARY reason?

The falling out of the Compromise of 1850 (laying the groundwork for the freedom to choose to be a free state), the bitterness left from the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 giving popular sovereignty (a strategy that 1850 began to bounce around), undermining the Missouri Compromise of 1820, would politically and economically draw misconceptions as to the intent the Federal Government truly had for the future of southern, planter life and the values. It could also be questioned endlessly that the first shot and battle of the War was based on the commitment of the current southern secession. Though I digress, because I wish to clarify largely on the Northern, democratic strategy leading up to southern secession.

I present this link to represent the political need to avoid secession of the States, to curb any skirmishes that already caused strive over racial freedoms that caused a serious fear for "the way of life" in our nation. For an entire decade the whole coordination of how we would be headed as a nation revolved around the respect of economy, way of life for north and south, and as this historian echoes, "the seeds that would be planted". https://www.youtube.com... (6:54 - 12:26)

The Pro is welcome to cherry pick this IDEA that slavery was the primary reason for secession, but clearly as we see in many wars leading back before our own Declaration of Independence the majority of a governing authority needs a one sentence strategy to pursue bloodshed and perception that rallies the people behind a cause. What better way then to use the prose of Frederick Douglas, to promote writer's such as Whitman and others as the Northern led President Lincoln would no longer tolerate slavery. Washing away the agony and need for white southern way of life as a force that would not economically suffice the future of our nation.

As the linked video shares in the last minute the same point driven by the historian in this video that uttered the words "the seed was planted". The political fight was lost on a national level, and one of many factors that would cause the secession for the south now was not a long term fear of losing a way of life, but due to the eroding political support and compromise, a short term political and economic fear set in. I hold no doubt that the Civil War for the North and the slaves who fought or enslaved in southern states would find this as a war to end slavery, and require no other need of asking what led to this war to be that of slavery in itself. The passion and desires of the men and families of the southern states can be further supported by the many points I have made through this article.
http://www.civilwarhome.com...

Inside it gives a clear perception, among them slavery is capsulized, but from their point of view, the secession goes beyond slavery. The Pro would have you believe that by pulling forward paragraphs that articulate slavery is supporting clearly his primary reason theory; if you read carefully with an analytic mind politics and economics, fear and a way of life, the need for resistance and avoidance of submission becomes the primary attitude. This brings me to further support the confusion the Pro openly shares on the point I made in round 2 where I stated: "A strategy to deceive, to bring about fear, to generate the political Crittenden Compromise and the Corwin Amendment, as shared by the Pro in this debate, was an objective from a Northern stance made to enforce abolitionists need for authority and used for leverage for the purpose to ultimate secession of the south."

The Pro asked me: "How did these two proslavery compromises have anything to do with abolitionists, who wanted to see slavery eliminated entirely ? In other words, how did they, "enforce abolitionists need for authority"? You also seem to suggest that the North was trying to somehow deceive the South with these two amendments, but I'm not entirely sure what you are trying to say (any clarification would be helpful), though that does not make any sense, and there is no evidence for it."

The evidence is not only in this excerpt from the linked article above:

"The collapse of the Crittenden Compromise in late December eliminated the already slim possibility that the drive toward secession might end with the withdrawal of South Carolina. Still, when Lincoln took office on March 4, the Republicans had reason to believe that the worst of the crisis was oven February elections in the Upper South had resulted in Unionist victories. In January the legislatures of five states-- Arkansas, Virginia, Missouri, Tennessee, and North Carolina--had issued calls for conventions. The secessionists suffered a sharp setback in all the elections..."

"...A final factor accounting for the Unionist victories in the upper South was the meeting in Washington of the so-called Peace Convention called by the Virginia legislature. The delegates spent most of February debating various proposals for additional guarantees for slave property in an effort to find some basis for a voluntary reconstruction of the Union. Although boycotted by some of the Northern states and all of the states that had already seceded, the convention raised hopes of a national reconciliation and thereby strengthened the hand of the Unionists in the upper South. In the end, however, the convention was an exercise in futility. All it could come up with was a modified version of the Crittenden Compromise. Just before Lincolns inauguration, Republican votes in the Senate killed the proposal."

The evidence is also in the political weaving of the last decade. Weaving strongly this mounting ideal that slavery was the only point of contention is not why the south seceded, but in the political and big business attributes that southerner's opposed. Multiple States had already seceded from the Union. The modified version of this compromise sounds much like the previous misdirection and prose used by politicians for a decade. I stand firmly behind my statement and specifically behind the pulled quote of "enforce abolitionists need for authority". The compromise was a reaction ill-conceived and for the prosperity of one-side in the eyes of the secession.

What I find most profound is how The Pro has not provided in this discussion the facts that separate the notion that if you asked a southern white man or family of the 1850's the question he would personalize and condemn the value in his way of life supporting the need for secession and not a simple answer as slavery. Supporting this example I share with you this link: https://www.youtube.com... (specifically from 20:46 - 27:18)

Professor Blight at Yale University does say that this perception is not any longer AS popular as a reason for secession, but as above talking about northern political strategy and posturing, the southern secession put a face on the movement for further States to secede from the Union. At 22:51 he shares points of the Confederate anthem, not Dixie, but the Bonnie Blue Flag. The Professor further critically explains the honor in which men held for their way of life.

I await The Pro to prove to all of us, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that secession should be represented in our historical references as the disillusion of what people in the south were faced with, as narrowly as they may have viewed it, to subtract the culture and tradition of the justification of secession is as misleading as slopping mud on a canvas and calling it a masterpiece. Let it be clear, I am not the one attempting to convince you that secession had nothing to do with slavery, I am only asking you to step into the shoes of how the southerner would agree and stand by secession after a previous century unchanged by their way of life.

Debate Round No. 3
theunionforever61

Pro

"I will not elaborate further on the prose of Douglas or Davis. Interpretation of the passion and meaning behind the whole IDEA had more to do than the constant use of slavery being written again and again."
There is nothing to elaborate on. They were very clear in what they were saying. Davis's "prose", as you said, "was misleading, and to save face in the defeat of the overall idea of secession," not much to elaborate on there. As for Douglass, as can be seen in my argument above, identified slavery as the main cause of secession. There is no need to reach back into their arguments for some sort of hidden meaning as to what they thought the South seceded for. Just read the words on the page.

"I do hope the Pro recognizes the threat through the use of the Alien and Sedition Act on a whole way of life, not just the Pro's need for one aspect of life, but those he loved and the assets the Pro worked hard to gain were threatened."

What does the Alien and Sedition Act, a law passed in 1798 and subsequently repealed in 1802, have to do with Southern Secession? I don't even know what you mean by the second part of that statement.

"Beard provides a depth of knowledge on the North's need for expansion of their industrial economy, pressing further and further prior to secession and war. Again, I will make clear, because the Pro continues to write as if I don't comprehend slavery had a role to play in all of this, "

The "North's need for expansion of their industrial economy" was not mentioned by any Southern state or leader as a reason for secession. You seem to write as if you do not think it matters what Southern leaders or Southern States said their reasons for seceding were.

You do acknowledge slavery as having a large part to play in the Secession, but have yet to give me a concrete example or examples of what the primary reason for secession was, like tariffs. You do not come out clearly and say "I believe that the primary reason(s) for the secession of the South was...". You instead came up first with a "layers upon layers" theory, then proceeded to say that "but what drove the south secession was not over slavery, but a complete change to the way of life, a way of values," and finally you said that "Ultimately, the secession was about showing the Federal government how truly serious their ideology was on the topic." (you also did not clarify what you meant by this, so I am assuming my interpretation, which is above, is correct). You have now moved on to an economics theory, that states that the south seceded because of fear of an industrial north, but you then (again) fail to provide any primary source documentation that supports your point, while I amply backed up my arguments with Southern secession documents.

You did not respond to the Declarations of Secession by the 4 Southern States and why Jeff Davis and Alexander Stephens identify the main cause of secession was slavery (as can be seen in my previous arguments) and not "North's need for expansion of their industrial economy".

"The Pro is welcome to cherry pick this IDEA that slavery was the primary reason for secession"
I firmly believe that the secession of the south was caused by slavery, just as you firmly believe that it was not. I did not "cherry pick" slavery, but am merely repeating what the Southern states and leaders themselves said. You on the other hand, refuse to even engage why they would cite slavery as the main cause of their secession in their secession documents.

"we see in many wars leading back before our own Declaration of Independence the majority of a governing authority needs a one sentence strategy to pursue bloodshed and perception that rallies the people behind a cause. What better way then to use the prose of Frederick Douglas, to promote writer's such as Whitman and others as the Northern led President Lincoln would no longer tolerate slavery. Washing away the agony and need for white southern way of life as a force that would not economically suffice the future of our nation."
I am assuming that you are saying here that the Southern States cited slavery as the primary cause of their secession in order to rally the populace behind them. So, I suppose you are also saying that the average Southern White man would fight for slavery. This seems to contradict a later statement you make: "What I find most profound is how The Pro has not provided in this discussion the facts that separate the notion that if you asked a southern white man or family of the 1850's the question he would personalize and condemn the value in his way of life supporting the need for secession and not a simple answer as slavery." I will answer this charge later.

"The Pro would have you believe that by pulling forward paragraphs that articulate slavery is supporting clearly his primary reason theory; if you read carefully with an analytic mind politics and economics, fear and a way of life, the need for resistance and avoidance of submission becomes the primary attitude. "

You list very generic reasons involved with most wars, but refuse to explain the underlying tensions behind these generic causes. Every single thing you listed there "politics and economics, fear and a way of life, the need for resistance and avoidance of submission" has to do with slavery, and are not reasons within themselves. Politics is always involved with war, but the politics of slavery drove the controversy of the civil war. The economics of slavery, " the greatest material interest of the world." was also present. The South's way of life was based entirely upon slavery, as can be seen by the your primary source: "The ruin by the South of the emancipation of her slaves is not like the ruin of any other people, it is not a mere loss of liberty, but it is a lost of liberty, property, home, country, everything that makes life worth living." Their whole society would collapse without slavery. Your last point, "the need for resistance and avoidance of submission" is perhaps your weakest. The South did not resist for the sake of resistance, but resisted because they thought they were going to have to submit to abolitionists and give up their slaves: "If the South, once submits to the rule of abolitionists, by the general government, there is probably an end of all peaceful separation of the Union." You do not list a single reason that does not have slavery as the root cause of it.

"This brings me to further support the confusion the Pro openly shares on the point I made in round 2...The evidence is not only in this excerpt from the linked article above:"

based upon the quote you provided, you seem to be saying that The North proposed these amendments in order to lure the South back to the North and encourage unionist sentiment in the South. How is this deceiving the South? The compromises were supposed to get the South back in the Union by addressing their main cause for secession: slavery. You also fail again, to explain how this "enforces abolitionists need for authority".

"Weaving strongly this mounting ideal that slavery was the only point of contention is not why the south seceded, but in the political and big business attributes that southerner's opposed. Multiple States had already seceded from the Union. The modified version of this compromise sounds much like the previous misdirection and prose used by politicians for a decade."

Are you suggesting here that the politicians of the 1850s purposefully deceived the entire US into thinking that slavery was the only point of contention? You also seem to say that the two compromises were out of touch with the South's real grievances, and instead reflect the deceived state of affairs that the politicians of the 1850s set up. This does not make any sense, since the South could have easily told the north what they wanted, and then the northern politicians could have written an appropriate compromise. You also, again, fail to provide any primary source documentation to backup your claim that politicians tricked the entire US in the 1850s (if I am understanding you correctly).

"The compromise was a reaction ill-conceived and for the prosperity of one-side in the eyes of the secession."

How could they possibly view the compromises as one sided in favor of the North? In fact the opposite was true, the compromises gave everything to the slavery and the South while not giving anything to the free North. That is very clear if you would go back and read the documents.

"What I find most profound is how The Pro has not provided in this discussion the facts that separate the notion that if you asked a southern white man or family of the 1850's the question he would personalize and condemn the value in his way of life supporting the need for secession and not a simple answer as slavery."
The average Southern white man was more than willing to fight and die for racial inequality and slavery. "During the 1850"s, pro-slavery arguments from the churches became especially strident. A preacher in Richmond exalted slavery as "the most blessed and beautiful form of social government known; the only one that solves the problem, how rich and poor may dwell together; a beneficent patriarchate." The Central Presbyterian affirmed that slavery was "a relation essential to the existence of civilized society." By 1860, Southern preachers felt comfortable advising their parishioners that "both Christianity and Slavery are from heaven; both are blessings to humanity; both are to be perpetuated to the end of time. A Southern commissioner wrote, 'The slave holder and non-slaveholder must ultimately share the same fate; all be degraded to a position of equality with free negroes, stand side by side with them at the polls, and fraternize in all the social relations of life, or else there will be an eternal war of races." (http://www.civilwar.org...)
JamesChance

Con

The Pro continues to write without actually taking into account the resources I have used to support the claims that Secession...let me say that again...Secession of the South had multiple reasons for taking place. The Pro would like all of us to believe the more he asks questions about how confused he is and the more he repeats himself that he will not only further convince himself that the Pro advocates for the "Union", and not the historical facts in which clearly have, for over 150 years, been present beyond the half a dozen historians he proceeded to give credit too. The Pro never diligently provide cited material to support where they ever claimed any statement referencing this "primary reason".

It should also be noted the Pro understands little of political strategy and propaganda beyond what his fingertips and mouse click tells him directly. Sadly, and unfortunate, that analytic capabilities seem to not challenge the depth of the Pro to counter claim any point except to cherry pick.

Cherry Picking - Cherry picking, suppressing evidence, or the fallacy of incomplete evidence is the act of pointing to individual cases or data that seem to confirm a particular position, while ignoring a significant portion of related cases or data that may contradict that position. It is a kind of fallacy of selective attention, the most common example of which is the confirmation bias. [1] Cherry picking may be committed intentionally or unintentionally. This fallacy is a major problem in public debate.

I don't believe the Pro intentionally cherry picked, given his critical thinking skills on the topic and the obvious repetitive nature in being subjective to his passionate envisioning of what The Civil War was about. Though this topic was not about the Civil War and it was about the reason behind the South Secession. Their secession was objectively debated about from my position, and not subjectively driven as the Pro continued to mix his comprehension of War and secession.

I would like to conclude bringing forward the Pro's last linked source. Right above his "cherry picked" church excerpt you find printed in clear English, concise to the atmosphere that secession, and eventual war no matter the politics laid before representatives, became no other option:

"The South felt increasingly beleaguered as the North increased its criticism of slavery. Abolitionist societies sprang up, Northern publications demanded the immediate end of slavery, politicians waxed shrill about the immorality of human bondage, and overseas, the British parliament terminated slavery in the British West Indies. A prominent historian accurately noted that “by the late 1850’s most white Southerners viewed themselves as prisoners in their own country, condemned by what they saw as a hysterical abolition movement.”

As Southerners became increasingly isolated, they reacted by becoming more strident in defending slavery. The institution was not just a necessary evil: it was a positive good, a practical and moral necessity. Controlling the slave population was a matter of concern for all Whites, whether they owned slaves or not. Curfews governed the movement of slaves at night, and vigilante committees patrolled the roads, dispensing summary justice to wayward slaves and whites suspected of harboring abolitionist views. Laws were passed against the dissemination of abolitionist literature, and the South increasingly resembled a police state. A prominent Charleston lawyer described the city’s citizens as living under a “reign of terror.” - http://www.civilwar.org... -

I would like to conclude no differently than I had in Round 3:

I await The Pro to prove to all of us, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that secession should be represented in our historical references as the disillusion of what people in the south were faced with, as narrowly as they may have viewed it, to subtract the culture and tradition of the justification of secession is as misleading as slopping mud on a canvas and calling it a masterpiece. Let it be clear, I am not the one attempting to convince you that secession had nothing to do with slavery, I am only asking you to step into the shoes of how the southerner would agree and stand by secession after a previous century unchanged by their way of life.

I would like to thank my opponent for holding this debate.

Debate Round No. 4
8 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 8 records.
Posted by JamesChance 2 years ago
JamesChance
The debate is over, settle down...allow the members here to vote based on the material presented. I didn't write my final statement to personally come after you. I was professionally debating the points as I saw them; and would have said it the same if I was face to face at a podium.

As for your ranting questions about running out of space...it requires a bit of fore thought as to how you lay out your argument. I refuted your sources, you obviously choose not to rebut because you were to busy asking questions about my summary of the sources I was posting and not engaging the argument as it was unfolding.

To try and pass blame, or for what ever reason or purpose behind your comments related to my last statement is someone who has no respect for the debate as a whole.

In a real debate, if I have the last statement, for you to spout off at the mouth the way you get too in these comments...continuing the debate is unprofessional. Please, if your going to debate, have some respect for the process and frankly pay closer attention to the pace in which you got to set since you kicked this off and were able to have the first argument.
Posted by theunionforever61 2 years ago
theunionforever61
JamesChance, I never said that slavery was the ONLY issue that was bothering the South. I said slavery was the primary reason the South seceded (I even provided a definition of primary). You also say I cherry picked only sources that agreed with my position. Not even discussing the fact that most of the primary sources mention slavery as a primary cause (go back and read them if you want), was it not your job to come up with primary documents that went against my position? Finally, you mention that I cherry picked a quote from an Article entitled "Why non-slaveholding Southerners fought" I ran out of characters and could not cite anymore (though how this constitutes cherry picking since the entire article agrees with my position is unclear to me). Anyway did you not also cherry pick when you cited Frederick Douglass?
Posted by theunionforever61 2 years ago
theunionforever61
Did you read the secession documents I provided? It seems that the South was obsessed with slavery. Even Con's sources, especially the editorial on the Charleston Mercury show that the South was obsessed with slavery.
Posted by subgenius 2 years ago
subgenius
A modest research into history reveals that several events, policies, and cultural conflicts were at the root of secession....he snowball rolling towards the Civil War picked up slavery along the way, as a convenience for the North and as another straw-upon-the-camel's-back for the South. One thing is unmistakable, the "Union" clearly saw only political and economic opportunity with slavery, not some noble "equality".
Posted by JamesChance 2 years ago
JamesChance
"I personally do believe that preserving the union (and freeing 4 million human beings after 1862 and the Emancipation Proclamation, which eventually led to the 13th amendment which you conveniently forget to mention) was worth 620,000 lives. If you do not, then please explain to me how a Confederate victory would have been better than a Union one (assuming of course you believe slavery is wrong)."

Slavery was wrong and will always be wrong. When you become of age and must fight and see others die for a cause lives lost over economic aspirations will have a clearly different point of view. You are mixing the war with secession and not fairly understanding the political and economic landscape of the time frame. You can't use modern ideology and pretend to disregard the reality of the daily struggles beyond slavery that existed; that in turn led to a drastic change in political capitalism.

You're so head strong to condemn slavery and not putting the effort into recognizing the nationalism and that the country faced prior to the war. The Civil War is not captured by a sentence like "The Primary reason..." No war or opposition of authority laid before a civilization has ever just had ONE REASON.
Posted by theunionforever61 2 years ago
theunionforever61
Well axman123, I have encountered a lot of people who say slavery had nothing to do with the secession of the South, and I did not go into this thinking I was "cherry picking the easy question". Slavery was not dying naturally in the south when Lincoln took office, and it was in the South's best economic interest to not let it die, obviously. I personally do believe that preserving the union (and freeing 4 million human beings after 1862 and the Emancipation Proclamation, which eventually led to the 13th amendment which you conveniently forget to mention) was worth 620,000 lives. If you do not, then please explain to me how a Confederate victory would have been better than a Union one (assuming of course you believe slavery is wrong). Those 4 states had the most contact with the north and also had almost no dependence on slavery for the well being of their economy. The deep south states, like Mississippi and South Carolina, depended almost virtually on slavery for their economies. They were had far more to lose when, as they believed, the Republican admn. was going to set their slaves free. So they seceded immediately, while their neighbors to the north still thought a compromise over slavery could be worked out. When the call for troops after Ft. Sumter happened, they knew that know compromise would be reached, and elected to cast their lot with the south, their sister slave states. By the time Hampton Roads (February 1st), the South was on the verge of collapse. The 13th amendment (which banned slavery) had been passed in the House on January 31st and was slated to pass the senate easily since the Republicans had a super majority, so slavery was doomed to extinction if the South rejoined the Union. Their only hope of preserving it was to become independent. I never thought about number 5). I'll try it sometime, thanks for the idea.

I hope that answered all your questions.
Posted by Hematite12 2 years ago
Hematite12
No, it was obviously for freedom.

I mean, of course those responsible for enslaving an entire other race have a great sense of freedom and rights.

/sarcasm
Posted by ax123man 2 years ago
ax123man
You cherry pick the easy question. Why not debate:
1) why didn't Lincoln choose to simply let slavery die naturally like it did everywhere else in the world (except Haiti)
2) was preservation of the Union worth the lives of 620,000 people?
3) if the South was all about secession over slavery, what about the 4 states that delayed secession until Lincoln called out troops over the other 7?
4) What about he Hampton Roads conference, where confederate leaders made it clear they had no interest in slavery, only in sovereignty?
5) Why don't you have a debate where you claim the union had a right to prevent secession?

Of course the nice thing about Lincoln for his supporters is that he lied so much, you can always just claim he was lying if you don't like what he said.

And your resolution is worded like a true statist: "the south did secede". What "south"? There were individual states and individual people. But then, given your goal of defending the union and Lincoln, first you must make up this concept of a single unified "south" which then became a unified, mythological, "peoples".
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by subgenius 2 years ago
subgenius
theunionforever61JamesChanceTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: history is written by the victor. Pro had a narrow premise but broad and ambiguous references. The assumption that the South was singularly obsessed with slavery is a common fallacy.