The American Civil War, the independence of the Southern States, Abraham Lincoln's election, slavery, emancipation of the slaves, dominance of the white race
Although historians now agree that there were many causes for the American Civil War, one of these causes remains the desire of the Confederacy to defend the institution of slavery against what they perceived to be an attack by the Northern states. By electing Lincoln as President, the South believed, the North had asserted its power and its desire to end slavery (even though Lincoln never publicly expressed a desire to end slavery outright), and so they were forced to drastic action which led, eventually, to their total defeat, and no doubt accelerated the complete end of legal slavery. The reasons the South was forced to cling so self-destructively to the defense of slavery are complex and varied.
[...] Pole, J. R. The Pursuit of Equality in American History. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1978. [...]
[...] So much of their society and sense of self- worth depended upon the peculiar institution, they could not afford to feel it threatened at all. Works Cited Blumrosen, Alfred W. and Ruth G. Slave Nation: How Slavery United the Colonies & Sparked the American Revolution. Naperville, IL: Sourcebooks, Inc Johannsen, Robert W. "Stephen A. Douglas and the South." The Journal of Southern History 33 (February 1967): 26-50. Phillips, Jerry. "The Theory of the Master Class: A Veblenian Perspective on the Antebellum South." International Journal of Politics, Culture and Society 13 (Spring 2000): 499-513. [...]
[...] The economic issues are what remain to discuss, and they are huge. First of all, the South argued that their system of slavery was superior to any other system of labor from the economic perspective of the slave or worker. Pro-slavery advocates argued that slavery "makes it economically irrational for a master to ignore the well-being of his servants" (Phillips 508). John C. Calhoun believed that slavery "presented an attractive alternative to the economic tyranny of the factory system" (Pole 163). [...]
[...] The economy of this State rested heavily on exporting its own slaves to other Southern States. Certainly this could never survive the abolition of slavery, or even its containment, as some more centrist Northern anti-slavery advocates sought. Thus the South had many reasons to defend slavery. It supported the Southern economy in more ways than one; it provided an economic system which they believed benefited the slave and slaveowner alike; it held up the slaveowner at the top of an aristocratic hierarchy, and the white man at the top of a racial hierarchy; and its defeat would mean a defeat of their rights as sovereign States. [...]
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