News and Notes, December 20, 2013

Elsewhere in the world of history, heritage, and memory, we didn’t want to overlook the following:

4 thoughts on “News and Notes, December 20, 2013

  1. M.D. Blough December 20, 2013 / 10:38 am

    What it boils down to on the study of the declarations regarding secession is that while categories other than slavery were listed, when they set forth the language regarding the other grounds cited they all end up referring to slavery: (1) South Carolina doesn’t see the state’s rights issue involving NY to be NY’s right to determine what happens within its borders. It sees the state’s rights issue in terms of how dare NY limit slaveholders right to transport slaves any where they want. (2) The objection to Lincoln’s election was that he and his party were seen as the tools of the abolitionists.

    I’ve long thought of the cause(s) of the Civil War as being like a wheel. The spokes might be labeled economy, etc. but the hub of the wheel and the rim were composed of slavery.

    • pam December 30, 2013 / 2:50 pm

      Great post. I use the wheel and spoke analogy also. Any issues related to secession and war are a spinoff from the hub.

  2. John Foskett December 20, 2013 / 11:46 am

    That’s an interesting analysis of some of the secession documents. As a limited word study, however, it’s not well-calibrated to determine what was/were the driving issue(s). For example, “state’s rights” appears quite a bit but context clearly reveals that this was a euphemism for, or consequence of, Lincoln’s election and the various impacts it was predicted to have on the “institution”. In fact, the topical breakdown works slavery-aspects into the “non-slavery” topics. Put differently, secession was not an exercise in abstract political theory – it was the response to real and imagined fears about what ultimately would happen to slavery as a result of increased northern/Repubican power in the Congress. The two “real” (as opposed to theoretical) factors were slavery and the Tariff. When measured against each other the latter clearly occupied a background role. Had the “Black Republicans” not won the 1860 election it’s hard to imagine secession during the ensuing winter.

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