The Instigator
jbrinson
Pro (for)
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0 Points
The Contender
WinterSterling
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

The Civil War was fought because of slavery

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/27/2015 Category: Politics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,479 times Debate No: 77026
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (20)
Votes (0)

 

jbrinson

Pro

I am arguing that the American Civil War was fought mainly because of slavery.
I'm not saying that the Civil War was about slavery, but that the issue of slavery was the main catalyst for the war.
Round 1: Acceptance
Round 2: Opening Statements
Round 3: Rebuttal
Round 4: Rebuild and Refute
Round 5: Closing Statements
WinterSterling

Con

I agree to your terms and accept your challenge.
I am arguing that slavery was not the "main catalyst" for the war.
Debate Round No. 1
jbrinson

Pro

Thank you to my opponent for accepting my debate, and apologies for the delay.

Opening Statement:
"I've always understood that we went to war on account of the thing we quarreled with the North about. I've never heard of any other cause than slavery"--Confederate Colonel John S. Mosby 1894. [5]

C1) Timeline of events and commencement of the war

Hostilities between the North and the South began on April 12, 1861 when South Carolina opened fire on Fort Sumter. South Carolina opened fire on Fort Sumter because the commander of Fort Sumter remained loyal to the US government after South Carolina had seceded. According to the "Declaration of the Immediate Causes Which Induce and Justify the Secession of South Carolina from the Union":

"The right of property in slaves was recognized by giving to free persons distinct political rights, by giving them the right to represent, and burthening them with direct taxes for three-fifths of their slaves; by authorizing the importation of slaves for twenty years; and by stipulating for the rendition of fugitives from labor... [The non-slaveholding States] have assume the right of deciding upon the propriety of our domestic institutions; and have denied the rights of property established in fifteen of the States and recognized by the Constitution; they have denounced as sinful the institution of slavery; they have permitted open establishment among them of societies, whose avowed object is to disturb the peace and to eloign the property of the citizens of other States. They have encouraged and assisted thousands of our slaves to leave their homes; and those who remain, have been incited by emissaries, books and pictures to servile insurrection." [1]

C2) Other Southern states had a similar views of slavery being the cause for secession:

Mississippi : "Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery--the greatest material interest of the world... 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 has been subverted to work out our ruin" [1]

Georgia: "....we have had numerous and serious causes of complaint against our non-slave-holding confederate States with reference to the subject of African slavery. They have endeavored to weaken our security, to disturb our domestic peace and tranquility, and persistently refused to comply with their express constitutional obligations to us in reference to that property, and by the use of their power in the Federal Government have striven to deprive us of an equal enjoyment of the common Territories of the Republic" [1]

The examples go on.

C3) The south fought to defend slavery, but the North fought to preserve the Union

To say that the North--either collectively in the people, in Congress, in Lincoln's cabinet, or Lincoln himself--waged war to end slavery in the United States is false. There's a well documented history of anti-Black laws passed by the Northern states before the outbreak of the Civil War. In Lincoln's own words: "I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists."

Even the main goal of the Emancipation Proclamation was not to end slavery in the US, but rather to end the rebellion. The ending of slavery was the stick for those states still in rebellion. Had the South acquiesced to Lincoln's earlier call, they would have kept their slaves. Post-Proclamation slavery was still legal in Kentucky, Missouri, Delaware, and parts of Tennessee and Louisiana. Slavery wasn't truly abolished until the ratification of the 13th amendment in 1865.

Despite acknowledging this point, regardless of why the North fought and continued to fight in the Civil War, I maintain that the South"s main reason for fighting and continuing the war was for slavery.

C4) The stronger one"s ties to slavery, the more strongly one supported secession

When examining the original seven states to secede from the union, their connection to slavery, both in the relation to the economy and as a proportion of the population, is clear. Of the four states to eventually join the confederacy, Arkansas, Tennessee, North Carolina, and Virginia, and even among the Border States Kentucky, and Missouri the most ardent secessionist were mostly from areas dominated by slavery.

In Arkansas, secessionist delegates held more slaves than did their opponents. Of the six Arkansas counties that were more slave than free, all of them were represented by secessionist. Twenty-two of the thirty-three counties with less than 25% slave were anti-secessionists. [2]

In Tennessee, support for secession increased closer to the Mississippi river. West Tennessee, which had 70% of the state's slaves, was the most fervent supporters of secession. On the other hand, after the Tennessee decided to secede, East Tennessee seriously considered forming its own state. [3]

In Kentucky, a border state that did not officially secede from the Union, pro-secessionist sentiment was found strongly in Kentucky"s southwest corner, known as the Jackson Purchase. Overall slavery in Kentucky had been on the decline since 1830, but in the Jackson Purchase slavery increased by 41% from 1850-1860 [4]. After failed attempts at secession, Kentuckians from the Purchase considered secession themselves and formed a shadow Confederate government of Kentucky.

In Virginia, slaves made up approximately 30% of the total population in eastern Virginia, while only 4% in western Virginia. Only five of the thirty-one delegates from northwestern Virginia voted for Virginia"s secession after the attack on Fort Sumter. Since western Virginia"s economy wasn"t dominated by slavery like eastern Virginia, the western counties of Virginia organized their own government to remain loyal to the Union. [5]

In North Carolina, most unionists lived in the mountains or along the eastern coast where there were fewer slaves and large planters like in the piedmont. Slavery in Western North Carolina accounted for 11% of the total population but only 5% of the slave population of the state. [6]

C5) Other reasons and causes for the Civil War arose afterwards

The following quotes, one from a contemporary newspaper and another from a Confederate veteran, both center slavery as the cause of the war. Examining the language also indicates that the authors are correcting others from altering the true Southern Cause.

From the Richmond-based Southern Punch in 1864:
"The people of the South," says a contemporary, "are not fighting for slavery but for independence." Let us look into this matter. It is an easy task, we think, to show up this new-fangled heresy " a heresy calculated to do us no good, for it cannot deceive foreign statesmen nor peoples, nor mislead any one here nor in Yankeeland" Our doctrine is this: WE ARE FIGHTING FOR INDEPENDENCE THAT OUR GREAT AND NECESSARY DOMESTIC INSTITUTION OF SLAVERY SHALL BE PRESERVED (emphasized in quote), and for the preservation of other institutions of which slavery is the groundwork" [7]

Confederate veteran Ed Baxter unashamedly told a reunion in1889:
"In a word, the South determined to fight for her property right in slaves; and in order to do so, it was necessary for her resist the change which the Abolitionists proposed to make under the Constitution of the United States as construed by them"Upon this issue the South went to war, I repeat that the people of the South had the right to fight for their property" [7]

Sources:
1)http://www.civilwar.org...
2)https://studycivilwar.wordpress.com...
3)http://library.mtsu.edu...
4)http://wkms.org...
5)http://www.nellaware.com...
6)http://thomaslegion.net...
7)http://www.washingtonpost.com...
WinterSterling

Con

WinterSterling forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
jbrinson

Pro

jbrinson forfeited this round.
WinterSterling

Con

WinterSterling forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
jbrinson

Pro

I was really looking forward to having a good debate. I will probably post a similar debate question once this one terminates, and I will begin with my same arguments from here.
WinterSterling

Con

WinterSterling forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
jbrinson

Pro

jbrinson forfeited this round.
WinterSterling

Con

WinterSterling forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
20 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by KroneckerDelta 2 years ago
KroneckerDelta
So is CON giving up??? Or did they just fail to post a rebuttal in time??
Posted by WinterSterling 2 years ago
WinterSterling
I would just like jbrinson to make their argument, it seems they are prepared. I would rather focus my energy on my opponent.
Posted by KroneckerDelta 2 years ago
KroneckerDelta
@jbrinson

No worries--I love arguing with people so I understand the urge to respond. I really wasn't commenting solely on etiquette--as long as both PRO and CON are OK with commenters debating the debaters, it's fine. Some people are OK with it (like you) and some people are not (just something to be aware of).
Posted by jbrinson 2 years ago
jbrinson
@KroneckerDelta: fair point, I haven't quite mastered all the etiquette on here yet. I initially intended to just give a quick rebuttal, but once I started I couldn't stop. I'll try to refrain, and hurry up and finish this opening statement lol!
Posted by KroneckerDelta 2 years ago
KroneckerDelta
@dotlouisiana and @jbrinson

If PRO doesn't mind, then by all means continue this debate in the comments. However, it's generally discouraged for many reasons. I would caution PRO because you are giving away your arguments (although I suspect PRO is not worried or concerned about that fact). However, it's a two-way street: @dotlouisiana is ALSO influencing CONs arguments (and giving them ideas). Further, comments supporting CON (or PRO) may be considered influencing the debate (i.e. we aren't seeing what the debaters can come up with on their own).

I look forward to this debate and hope that CON is well equipped to debate this topic as it appears PRO certainly is.
Posted by jbrinson 2 years ago
jbrinson
@dotlouisiana - [Part 5/5] - Had that slavery-dominated society of whites perished from the earth after the Civil War or even at the end of Reconstruction, we probably would talk about American history very differently, but it didn"t perish from the Earth. It strongly influenced the subsequent iterations of America"all of America, not just the South"as seen in the Jim Crow laws of the late 19th and first half of the 20th centuries. And as much as I would like to say that the slavery-dominated society"s influence on American society ended after the end of Jim Crow, it didn"t and it continues to affect us today with mass incarceration, Black-White income/wealth gap, the Black-White test gap, gentrification, and on and on and on the list goes.
Posted by jbrinson 2 years ago
jbrinson
@dotlouisiana - [Part 4/5] - Having said all of that, considering now the three groups of slave-owners, White, Black and Native American, the latter two groups did not establish a social hierarchy predicated on slavery; the former did. I offer one of many examples: from the Governor of Georgia Joseph E. Brown " ""the poor white laborer is respected as an equal. His family is treated with kindness, consideration and respect. He does not belong to the menial class. The negro is in no sense of the term his equal. He feels and knows this. He belongs to the only true aristocracy, the race of white men. He black no masters" boots, and bows the knee to no one save God alone. He receives higher wages for his labor than does the laborer of any other portion of the world, and he raises up his children with the knowledge, that they belong to no inferior cast, but that the highest members of the society in which he lives, will, if their conduct is good, respect and treat them as equals." Therefore, regardless of how the Native American slave-owners or the for-profit Black slave-owners viewed their slaves, both of those groups did not establish and maintain a culture, a society or institutions devoted to the oppression of Black people. Native American culture, society and institutions involved slavery in their past but that history cannot be found today. Nor is there a Black aristocracy of former slave-owners.
Posted by jbrinson 2 years ago
jbrinson
@dotlouisiana - [Part 3/5] - (sorry, I eyeballed and was mistaken instead of checking the character count) - In regards to your third question: I was completely aware about Anthony Johnson, the first Black slave-owner and the first slave-owner in what would become the United States period. I"ll do you one better, were you aware that Native Americans also held slaves? I have never heard about the "Blacks selling themselves to white masters to avoid being sent to Africa" though. I would love to see your source on that.
I do not doubt the existence of Black slave-owners in history, but some of these Black "slave-owners" however, were free Blacks who purchased their spouse and children, but I will believe that at some point in time, in some place there were black slave-owners who held slaves for exploitative economic reasons. To say that Black slave-owners were a large portion of either the free-Black population or the slave-owner population is false and I think the same applies to the Native American community.
Posted by jbrinson 2 years ago
jbrinson
@dotlouisiana - [Part 3/5] - (sorry, I eyeballed and was mistaken instead of checking the character count) - In regards to your third question: I was completely aware about Anthony Johnson, the first Black slave-owner and the first slave-owner in what would become the United States period. I"ll do you one better, were you aware that Native Americans also held slaves? I have never heard about the "Blacks selling themselves to white masters to avoid being sent to Africa" though. I would love to see your source on that.
I do not doubt the existence of Black slave-owners in history, but some of these Black "slave-owners" however, were free Blacks who purchased their spouse and children, but I will believe that at some point in time, in some place there were black slave-owners who held slaves for exploitative economic reasons. To say that Black slave-owners were a large portion of either the free-Black population or the slave-owner population is false and I think the same applies to the Native American community.
Posted by jbrinson 2 years ago
jbrinson
@dotlouisiana - [Part 2/3] - In regards to your second question: I have googled, on several occasions, "Black Confederate Soldiers" and on each occasion every reputable source says something to the effect of "yes, an insignificant portion of both the slave population and the Confederate Soldiers were black (soldiers in combat-esque roles rather than laborers, servants, teamsters or indirectly supporting the Confederate cause), but more or less a Black Confederate is tantamount to a Jew who supported the Nazis (which also technically happened)." If you would be so kind as to point me to some of your sources to the contrary, I would be grateful.
Two recent sources that I looked at about Black Confederates:
https://civilwargazette.wordpress.com...
http://www.theroot.com...
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