The Instigator
Virgil.Cain
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
000ike
Con (against)
Winning
19 Points

The South was justified in leaving the Union prior to the Civil War.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
000ike
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/23/2011 Category: Politics
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 14,639 times Debate No: 17621
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (8)
Votes (3)

 

Virgil.Cain

Pro

My Opponent has the full burden of proof. He must show that the south leaving the Union was unjust. If I refute his arguments, I win. I do not have to post my own.
000ike

Con

I'll start off right away by saying that the burden of proof is not the decision of the instigator, but rather the decision of the topic he chooses. This topic requires shared burden of proof because refuting that something is not unjust does not automatically mean that it is just. It can be in the middle. If pro insists that he does not have to prove anything, I hope the reading audience and voters will side with me, and take that into account when voting.

Since pro did not begin his opening argument, I'll just use this as a round for acceptance. I look forward to a very interesting debate.
Debate Round No. 1
Virgil.Cain

Pro

Sorry, for what will (most likely) be a poor quality argument, I have very little time and I thought iyt would be unfair to my Opponent if I just forfeited.

The South was justified in leaving the Union because, at the time, the action of seccession was legal. It was not until after the War between the states that the Supreme Court atually debated the issue and ruled against it. However, since we live in a commonlaw society al that is not early against the law is legal. So if it's shown that the South had valid reasons to leave, than its desicion was jutified.

Indeed, the North was quite clearly trying to assert it's hegemony over the South. After the disasterous (for the South) Missouri Compromise, and the domination of free state power in thehouse of representatives, it became quite clear that the two cultures, North and South, could no longer live in harmony. The North was slowly chipping away at the institution of slavery which was, at the time, extremely important to the economy of the South. Indeed such as the necessity of slavery that after the war the South's economy wwas utterly destroyed, and its culture repressed. Like I said previously, the South knew that if they stayed in the Union it would lead to war. The South's leaving of the Union was not only an act of self preservation, but a (a the time) legal act of peace. I know not what would've happened had the North let the South remain as it's own, but I can assure you that it would not lead to the deaths of over 500,000 great young men, and the systematic destruction of an entire culture. Anyone who believes that the North/South could have peacefully remained as a single entity at this time is fooling themselves.

While slavery is surely unjust, do not think for even a moment that the North was for equal rights/freedom or anything like that. The North's primary goal in abolishing slavery was to economically weaken the South. "Honest" Abe himself even campiagned that he had no interest in abolishing slavery, he only did so as a way to punish the South for it's seccession. So while the institution of slavery was an unjust one, the North was not well intentioned and thus the South as justified in leaving the Union.

At the very least, the South was honest about how they felt about the Negro's. The North, sadly, was not.

000ike

Con

Nearly every statement in pro's argument was riddled with fallacy and subjective conclusions. I will address each one by quote. This will be my negation of pro's arguments. Afterwards, I will provide my own case as to why secession was not justified legally OR morally.

Negation

1) "The South was justified in leaving the Union because, at the time, the action of seccession was legal"

1N) AT THE TIME, secession was actually unconstitutional and hence illegal.

Article 1, Section 10 of the United States Constitution (1):

" No State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation"



2) " The North was slowly chipping away at the institution of slavery which was, at the time, extremely important to the economy of the South"

2N) FALSE. the South was trying to EXTEND slavery to the new territories, but the North would not allow it. In the events leading up to secession, slavery in the states that ALREADY had slavery was unchallenged. The North, while many individuals wanted slavery gone all together, was still not fighting for the eradication of slavery, rather, it was fighting against the SPREAD of slavery to the territories gained from the Mexican-American War. The Compromise of 1850 and the Wilmot proviso were among the proposed legislative plans to arbitrate the controversey of spreading slavery. Therefore, the argument that the North was clipping away at slavery is historially and completely factually incorrect.



3) "The South's leaving of the Union was not only an act of self preservation, but a (a the time) legal act of peace"

3N) FALSE. There was nothing peaceful about the southern secession. They forcefully attempted to rob a fort from the federal government of the United States. That led to a battle we recognize as the battle of Fort Sumter, the spark of the civil war. In a peaceful secession the South would not have attempted to claim a fort that belonged to America. That fort was on southern land, but rightfully so, because that southern land is U.S land first and foremost. Secession did not imply that federal institutions situated on that land became the property of the Confederation. That is theft.



4) "While slavery is surely unjust, do not think for even a moment that the North was for equal rights/freedom or anything like that. The North's primary goal in abolishing slavery was to economically weaken the South."

4N) Here is the first example of a subjective conclusion from pro. He has made an assumption that is not only historically unsupported but very prone to challenge and defeat. Hence I will challenge and defeat it. The North was truely against slavery because it was not a part of their society. This fact allowed them to see slavery through an eye of ethicality. Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe is one of the many northern attempts to attack slavery from a moral perspective. Had the North only cared about destroying southern economy, (an argument that makes no sense since the South, after all, is still a part of America), then they would have only gone about doing so on a legislative and Congressional basis. They even helped free slaves to Liberia and the Northern states. It is an imperceptive conclusion to assert that the north genuinely did not care about the morality of this subject, when their actions and history suggest otherwise.

Furthermore, it is ubsurd and frankly quite asinine to believe that the north was only interested in destroying Southern economy. That would be a suicide mission as the distruction of southern economy would also mean the harming of American economy, and transitively the harming of Northern economy. Pro forgets that the U.S is still ONE country even though there is sectionalism.



5) ""Honest" Abe himself even campiagned that he had no interest in abolishing slavery, he only did so as a way to punish the South for it's seccession."

5N) Lincoln did infact use the emancipation proclamation to punish the south, but to declare that he had no interest in abolishing slavery is PARTLY false. He did not want to abolish slavery, yes, but only because of the fragility and political implications of such an action. By theory and belief, Lincoln was strongly opposed to slavery. He was a member of the Republican party which did not like slavery. If slavery was not so firmly attached to southern life, Lincoln would have attacked it politically. Basically, pro is trying to make it seem as if the north and the president didn't really genuinely care about the morality of slavery, and that, as I have proven, is very false.


6) "At the very least, the South was honest about how they felt about the Negro's. The North, sadly, was not."

6N) As I have proven in the last 2 negations, this statement is false. Furthermore, for the progression of this debate I will have to request that my opponent refrain from using the offensive and provocative gutter language of the South at the time unless used in the context of a quote FROM a southerner of that time. The use of the word "Negro" is not politically correct, appropriate, or of good taste and conduct even in a debate pertaining to slavery. Thank you.


Proof

Why did the south secede? Because they feared the republicans would abolish slavery, so states seceded the minute a republican president (Abraham Lincoln) was elected. This was unjustified on a legal and moral basis.

1) Secession is illegal

Article 4, Section 3 of the United States Constitution (2):
"The Congress shall have Power to dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the United States"

It is the implication and subtext of this excerpt that the territory occupied by the United States belongs to the country as a whole ("the country as a whole" being represented by the federal government), and no particular state individually. The limited jurisdiction of the states over the political map does not imply ownership of the land thereof.

1. THEREFORE, the land of the states by geography are subject to regulation and authority by the federal government through CONSTITUTIONAL DECREE.

2. Secession would lift this authority

3. Lifting of said authority is illegal

4. Secession is Illegal.


5. And I will refer again to the constitution saying that no state can join another Confederation.


2) The south's reasoning for seceding was not moral.

1. They wanted to keep slavery, one of the most immoral practices in human history. They seceded to do evil. This is not proper reasoning for leaving the Union.

2. The very fact that the south seceded to keep slavery is sufficient proof that their reasoning is not morally justified.


In conclusion, the south indeed was NOT JUSTIFIED in seceding.

Debate Round No. 2
Virgil.Cain

Pro

Con says that secession was illegal because of Article 1, Section 10. That's very interesting, however it is false because when the South left the Union...they were no longer states! Remember, the legality of seccession was, at this point, unclear and as such the legality of it could not be assessed. Article one aplies to only states, the CSA was a different country.

Con states that the South was trying to extend slavery. True, and the North was trying to keep it from the new territories. It is interesting that he claims the North had no intetion of abolishing slavery, yet they fought so hard to keep it from spreading? Why wuld they do so if they were indifferent to it? That makes no sense.

He also disputes the peaceful intentions of the South. He states that the attack on Fort Sumter shows that the South wanted war. This is a poor objection for two reasons. 1. Because secession was arguably illegal at the time, fort sumter belonged to the CSA and the presence of Northern troops there was an act of war. 2. The CSA did not immediately attack. They gave the North the ability to surrender peacefully.(1)

Con says that the North disliked slavery because of the moral aspects of it. Ironically, president Lincoln (a very good representative of the North) supported, prior to the War Between the States, the deportation of all negroes to Africa(2). That is very immoral. Many of them would have probaby died, and the slaves did not WANT to be sent to a foriegn continent. So we can see that for the majority of those in the North, morality was not a reaso for opposing slavery. So what than was the reason? For many, it was a desire for hegemony over the South. Tensions between the North and South had existed even before the revolution. Many wanted to impose their way of life oto the South in order to unite the country. For others, it was viewed as an issue of states rights and they wanted more power to the federal governmnt. Others wanted a pure white nation with no colored people in it, and still others opposed it because t kept negroes down south so they could not be used as a cheap labor supply for Northern factories.

Con states that Lincoln did not abolish slavery to punish the south. I concede that Lincoln was opposed to slavery. That is however, irrelevant. What is relevant is that he did not abolish it until the War had begun to punish the South.

Con asks me not to say the word "negroes". I shall not submit. The word "negro" is not, in general, offensive and I mean no offense by it. It is just a phrase from my boy-hood. I have a hard time saying "black" or "african-ameican" simply because it was not what I was taught to do. Con states that the language is provacative, however I do not mean it to be so even one bit. Conversely, Con's request for me to be "politically correct" is offensive to me because he is implying that my diction is inferior to his, and that I must live up to his standards. I would ask my Opponent to not say such provovative things. Thank you.

Con states that Article 4, section 3 of the Constitution prohibits secession because

"It is the implication and subtext of this excerpt that the territory occupied by the United States belongs to the country as a whole ("the country as a whole" being represented by the federal government), and no particular state individually. The limited jurisdiction of the states over the political map does not imply ownership of the land thereof"

This is false because that territory NO LONGER BELONGED TO THE UNITED STATES! Using my Opponents logic, Cuba or the Phillipines (which were U.S. possessions at one time) should not be allowed to be nations because the authority of the United States to make regulations to this territory would be lifted. My Opponent has thus far provided no place in the constitution where secession is prohibited.

Con states that the Souths desire to keep slavery was immoral. I agree. And the Norths desire to send negroes to Africa where they would be hopelessly lost and likely die was more immoral. Therefore the South was justified in taking the lesser of two evils.

Vote Pro.

1. http://en.wikipedia.org...
2. http://en.wikipedia.org...
000ike

Con

I thank my opponent for what is revealing to be a very entertaining debate.

DEBATE DIRECTION

1. My opponent's resolution was that southern secession was justified. Justification, for simplicity's sake, comes in 2 forms: moral justification, and legal justification..

2. My opponent, In round 3, has conceded that the south did indeed secede to keep slavery, and slavery is immoral, ergo he concedes that southern secession was not morally justified. It is not my intention to put words in his mouth, but by agreeing to the 2 mentioned points, there leaves nothing more to debate. If something is immoral, then the action of doing it is immoral as well. His only defense on this point was that the north was not morally justified either, but as you can see, that is not the subject of this debate, so that point has no warrant.

3. Therefore, the remainder of the debate will consist of proving whether or not the south was legally justified. I will only refute my opponents points that pertain to secession legality because that is all that is required, from here and on for me to prove that the south was not justified, and hence all that is needed for me to win.


REFUTATIONS

MY RESOLUTION: Secession was and has always been illegal through retroactive court rule and interpretation of the Constitution.

"Con says that secession was illegal because of Article 1, Section 10. That's very interesting, however it is false because when the South left the Union...they were no longer states! Remember, the legality of seccession was, at this point, unclear and as such the legality of it could not be assessed. Article one aplies to only states, the CSA was a different country."


1. The CSA did not exist as a recognized and legal entity. The states did not have the power or legal right to form the CSA. Why:

a. RETROACTIVE SupCT. case Texas v. White. Chief Justice Salmon Chase (1869)[1]:

"The Union of the States never was a purely artificial and arbitrary relation. It began among the Colonies, and grew out of common origin, mutual sympathies, kindred principles, similar interests, and geographical relations. It was confirmed and strengthened by the necessities of war, and received definite form and character and sanction from the Articles of Confederation. By these, the Union was solemnly declared to "be perpetual." And when these Articles were found to be inadequate to the exigencies of the country, the Constitution was ordained "to form a more perfect Union." It is difficult to convey the idea of indissoluble unity more clearly than by these words. What can be indissoluble if a perpetual Union, made more perfect, is not?"

1. It was the RETROACTIVE rule of this court that secession is an act that contradicts the intent of the Constitution. Their reasoning stemed from the quoted introductory phrase of the Constitution "to form a more perfect Union". They proved that it was never legal to secede.

2. While my opponent may disagree with this ruling, it still stands, as the Supreme Court is the highest court and the judicial power affirming what is legal in the United States, and what is not. Because of the, again RETROACTIVE, ruling of Texas v. White, it is the irrefutable, unnegatable, and irrepressable truth that by law, it was indeed illegal to secede.

3. Something cannot be illegal, yet legally justified. HENCE, the south was not legally justified in seceding either.

4. The remainder of PRO's points are either without warrant, or irrelevant to the topic of secession legality, so they need not be negated.


SUMMARY

MORALITY JUSTIFICATION

1. PRO and I agree that slavery is immoral.

2. PRO and I agree that the South seceded to keep slavery.

3. Therefore, PRO and I agree that the South seceded to do something immoral.

4. An action cannot be immoral, but morally justified. It is a contradiction.

5. THEREFORE, PRO and I agree that secession was not morally justified.


LEGAL JUSTIFICATION

1. The Supreme Court interprets the Constitution and decides what is and is not legal. Unless the case involves amending the Constitution and referring to that new addition, the rule is RETROACTIVE (key word here).

2. Since the decision of Texas v. White was retroactive, it means that secession was NEVER legal.

3. Something cannot be illegal, yet legally justified. It is a contradiction.

4. Secession was and always will be illegal.


CONCLUSION

Since PRO and I transitively agree that secession was not morally justified, and I proved in an irrefutable and final way (by referring to the ultimate source of proof) that secession is not legally justified, I urge that the South was not justified in seceding.

Vote CON.




* On a side note

About the "negro" comment. I will ask you once more to refrain from using that word. It shows very poor conduct. It is irrelevant whether that is a word you grew up hearing, I ask you to conform to the rules of common society and this website, not my own rules. It is incredibly vulgar to use a racial epithet of such negative history in a civil debate. If you continue, you may be penalized by the voters.



[1] Texas v. White, 74 U.S. 700 (1868) at Cornell University Law School Supreme Court collection
Debate Round No. 3
Virgil.Cain

Pro

Virgil.Cain forfeited this round.
000ike

Con

The resolution stands.The supreme court ruled that secession was illegal. The supreme court is the ultimate proof, right by the Constitution, of what is and is not legal in the United States. If the Supreme Court rules that an action is illegal, then by its Constitutional authority, that action IS illegal. Therefore, the south was not legally justified.

The resolution stands. The south seceded to keep slavery. Slavery is immoral. The South was not morally justified.



Given that southern secession was not justified in either faction of the concept of "justification," I urge that the South was not justified at all in seceding.

Vote CON. Thankyou for reading.
Debate Round No. 4
8 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 8 records.
Posted by SuperRobotWars 6 years ago
SuperRobotWars
Tracked.
Posted by 000ike 6 years ago
000ike
It is not rudeness. Simply shouting "rudeness" does not mean what was written was truly rude. It is the truth. However, I will indeed apologize for my saying so, I'm very impatient.
Posted by Virgil.Cain 6 years ago
Virgil.Cain
Your rudeness is un-called for.
Posted by 000ike 6 years ago
000ike
"Sorry, for what will (most likely) be a poor quality argument, I have very little time and I thought iyt would be unfair to my Opponent if I just forfeited. "

Why wasn't THAT your first round first sentence? I would not have accepted this If I knew it wouldn't be taken seriously, and even more annoying is the 3 days its taking to respond per round.
Posted by VocMusTcrMaloy 6 years ago
VocMusTcrMaloy
Burden of proof is definitely with pro!
Posted by 000ike 6 years ago
000ike
dude, can you please respond within 24 hours for each round? There's no reason why it should take this long to post your argument.
Posted by Mestari 6 years ago
Mestari
I agree with Double_R. It's rather hard to prove something unjust when there is not an established reason why it is just. This is because there are norms of justice while the very definition of injustice is to not be just.
Posted by Double_R 6 years ago
Double_R
Complete turn of the Burden of Proof. Don't know if the voters will buy it, especially because of the resolution. It is logically impossible to prove that a justified reason to leave the union does not exist. You should focus on proving that a justified reason does exist, or face a semantic battle that you will be surely voted against.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by kohai 6 years ago
kohai
Virgil.Cain000ikeTied
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Total points awarded:07 
Reasons for voting decision: FF and a solid case from con
Vote Placed by Cerebral_Narcissist 6 years ago
Cerebral_Narcissist
Virgil.Cain000ikeTied
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Total points awarded:06 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro is completely justified in giving the burden of proof to Con, however his belated rejection of the terms of the debate was not challenged by PRO. Throughout the debate CON consistently outclasses PRO, he breaks his points down excellently and they are not refuted. Con should lose conduct for accepting a debate without accepting the terms and for his dishonest attack on PRO for using the term negro which is a perfectly acceptable term albeit slightly archaic. Pro however forfeited.
Vote Placed by SuperRobotWars 6 years ago
SuperRobotWars
Virgil.Cain000ikeTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Con FTW, Pro's arguments were clearly refuted, Con did use more sources [he cited documents instead of URL links which is quite uncommon on here] and Pro forfeited a round.