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When did it become popular in America to eat pancakes with your fingers, with extra syrup and sand, and then touch every millimeter of surface area on a rental DVD?

J

I just laughed out loud in class and got stared at. :lol:

People need to wash their grubby little fingers. Seriously...

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  • 14 years later...

I found some old letters that discuss the Confederacy and the Civil War. Peter

From: "George H. Smith" To: "*Atlantis" Subject: ATL: Re: American Civil War Date: Mon, 30 Apr 2001 17:01:31 -0500. Erik Herbertson wrote: "The issue I´m concerned with here is not really the right of secession as such, but the *motive(s)* for the South to secede. I would have wanted "pro-Confederates" using much more comments like the above in assessing secession. All too often I have read texts where libertarians elevate the Confederacy to the status of freedom fighters like the revolutionaries of 1776. I don´t think this is a reasonable position for the very reasons pointed out in Sandefeur´s article. Also, the Confederacy established in their Constitution the explicit right to own slaves. Many of the original Founding fathers had doubts about slavery, as most of us know, and wanted an end to it. George Mason called slavery "diabolical in itself and disgraceful to mankind". After nearly one hundred years of agitation against slavery as a violation of the American principles of self-determination, the CSA gives slavery constitutional protection. Some freedom! CSA was not more noble than the USA. Habeas corpus was suspended in the CSA as well, draft was introduced and civilian property was stolen. CSA had rotten elements just like USA had (and has). You don´t need to inform me about Lincoln´s actions."

It is misleading to say that most of America's founding fathers wanted to end slavery. Many supported it, and virtually all of those who opposed it were gradualists who took a position akin to that of St. Augustine's prayer, "Lord, give me chastity, but not yet." There was a widespread belief that slavery was economically inefficient compared to free labor, so the South would eventually be forced to abandon slavery out of self-interested motives. As far as political measures to end slavery were concerned, the original strategy (embodied in the Constitution) was to prohibit the slave trade (not slavery itself) 20 years after ratification, in the hope that a purely domestic supply of slaves would be unable to maintain the "peculiar institution."

Eric is right to point out that many founding father at least had serious "doubts" about slavery. Eric, for example, quotes George Mason's polemic against slavery, but he fails to mention that Mason himself was a slaveowner who said he would never free his slaves. He also conceded this was a contradiction which he would not attempt to rationalize or justify.

As for the Southern "motive" for secession, this can be a difficult thing to get a handle on, because "motives" pertain only to individuals, not to collective entities, such as states. Although most southerners did not own slaves (and many commoners resented the slaveowning aristocracy), it is clear that for many southerners the issue of slavery lit the fuse that would eventually ignite the struggle for independence.

Nevertheless, the official southern rationale was independence. Likewise, the official northern rationale was the argument that secession is illegitimate. Lincoln was very clear about this: "My paramount object in this struggle *is* to save the Union, and is *not* either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing *any* slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing *all* the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone, I would also do that. What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union....." (Lincoln went on to note that this was his *official* position; personally, he would like to see all slaves set free.)

Two other things should be kept in mind. First, the Union itself contained four slave states. Second, the Emancipation  Proclamation "liberated" only those slaves in rebellious states; it did not free the slaves in the four Union border states, nor in those southern territories that had been conquered by Union armies. It is was simply and solely a war measure designed to weaken the South. (For more on this, see Jeff Hummel's excellent book, *Emancipating Slaves, Enslaving Free Men,* which Eric also mentioned.)

Eric correctly notes that slavery was explicitly sanctioned by the Confederate Constitution, But slavery had long been legally sanctioned in the Union, not only by provisions in the Constitution (such as the fugitive slave clause and the notorious three-fifths provision), but by federal and Supreme Court decisions as well.

Slavery aside, southerners had a number of legitimate grievances, such as the propensity of northerners to impose high tariffs that benefited northern manufacturing at the expense of southern agriculture. But we should have no illusions about the fact that the slavery controversy did play an important role in how some southerners thought about independence.

But whatever the motives of some southerners may have been (and they were complex, sometimes having as much to do with cultural as with political reasons), both sides agreed that the Civil War was being fought over the right of secession. There are some parallels here with the American Revolution. The physician Benjamin Rush (the guy who convinced Thomas Paine to write "Common Sense") estimated that the motives of around one-third of the American revolutionaries were less than noble. (Some, for example, wished to escape the responsibility of paying their debts to British merchants, whereas others did not like the restraints imposed upon them to protect Indians.) Moreover, the British (for military reasons similar to those later invoked by Lincoln) offered to free any slaves that fought on the British side, and it is scarcely coincidental that most Indian tribes sided with the British as well.

Thus, in the American Revolution as in the Southern Revolution, the motives of individuals were often varied and mixed. Lysander Spooner dealt with this troublesome issue by clearly distinguishing the right of secession from the motives that may impel some people to demand secession. Thus, although Spooner had long been a  vehement abolitionist, he defended the southern cause, claiming it was as legitimate as the American  revolution had been. I agree with him on this.  Slavery was sanctioned and flourished much longer under the Union flag that it did under the Confederate flag. We should therefore take them both down, everywhere and permanently. If we must have a national symbol, then let us salute the old revolutionary flag with a coiled snake and the motto, "Don't tread on me." This would be a clear indication that Americans oppose all forms of slavery, both chattel and political, and regardless of whether the tyrant prefers to be called "Master" or "Mister President." Ghs

From: Michael Hardy To: atlantis Subject: ATL: Re: American Civil War -- answer to George Smith Date: Wed, 2 May 2001 16:09:27 -0400 (EDT)  I am surprised that George Smith doubts that the desire to maintain slavery was the major motive for secessions of the southern states.  The conventions that decided to secede published their reasons.

The official "Declaration of the Immediate Causes which Induce and Justify the Secession of the State of Mississippi from the Federal Union" states that "Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery-- the greatest material interest of the world," and goes on to enumerate various threats to that institution. The official "Declaration of the Immediate Causes Which Induce and Justify the Secession of South Carolina from the Federal Union" complains at length about the refusal of northern states to enforce the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, the harboring of slaves charge with murder or with inciting servile insurrection, etc.  It states over and over and over and over that it was from the "non-slave-holding states" that the state of South Carolina wished to be separated.

Why just those ones?  Why not all of the other states? George, how do you answer that?  Did South Carolina have various separate grievances, unrelated to slavery, against precisely those states that, by some strange coincidence, also happened to be non- slave-holding states?  And did they then refer to them by means of that coincidence without suspecting that they were setting themselves up to be misunderstood as acting for the purpose of preserving slavery?

The "Declaration of the Causes which Impel the State of Texas to Secede from the Federal Union" makes much of the ""beneficent and patriarchal system of African slavery." Below I quote from the official Declaration of Causes of Secession of the state of Georgia.

These documents are at <http://sunsite.utk.edu/civil-war/reasons.html>. Mike Hardy

<< A similar provision of the Constitution requires them to surrender fugitives from labor.This  provision and the one last referred to were our main inducements for confederating with the Northern  States. Without them it is historically true that we would have rejected the Constitution. In the fourth year of the Republic Congress passed a law to give full vigor and efficiency to this important provision. This act depended to a considerable degree upon the local magistrates  in the  several  States  for its efficiency. The non-slave-holding States generally repealed all laws intended to aid the execution of that act, and imposed penalties upon those citizens whose loyalty to the Constitution and their oaths might induce them to discharge their  duty.

Congress then passed the act of 1850, providing for the complete execution of this duty by Federal officers. This law, which their own bad faith rendered absolutely indispensable for the protection of constitutional rights, was instantly met with ferocious revilings and all conceivable  modes  of  hostility.  The Supreme Court unanimously, and their own local courts with equal unanimity (with the single and temporary exception of the supreme court of Wisconsin), sustained its constitutionality in all of its provisions. Yet it stands today a dead letter for  all practicable purposes in every non-slave-holding State in the Union. We have their covenants, we have their oaths to keep and observe it, but the unfortunate claimant, even accompanied by a Federal officer with the mandate of the highest judicial  authority in  his hands, is everywhere met with fraud, with force, and with legislative enactments to elude, to resist, and  defeat  him.   Claimants are  murdered with impunity; officers of the law are beaten by frantic mobs instigated by  inflammatory  appeals  from  persons  holding  the highest  public  employment in these States, and supported by legislation in conflict with the clearest provisions of the Constitution, and even the ordinary principles of humanity. >>

From: "George H. Smith" To: "*Atlantis" Subject: ATL: Re: American Civil War -- answer to George Smith Date: Wed, 2 May 2001 17:30:07 -0500 Mike Hardy wrote: "I am surprised that George Smith doubts that the desire to maintain slavery was the major motive for secessions of the southern states.  The conventions that decided to secede published their reasons."

Mike then quotes from the Declaration of Immediate Causes from Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas, and Georgia, all of which refer to slavery in some fashion. I never denied that slavery played a significant role in secession -- indeed, I specifically stated that "we should have no illusions about the fact that the slavery controversy did play an important role in how some southerners thought about independence." But the issue is more complex that Mike has indicated. Secession occurred in two waves. Seven slave states seceded within three months of Lincoln's election, even though, apart from his opposition to the extension of slavery into the territories, Lincoln had pledged not to tamper with the peculiar institution.

The second wave occurred after the Fort Sumter incident, when Lincoln had refused to evacuate Union troops from Charleston Harbor. This was the spark that caused four additional states -- Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Arkansas -- to join the rebellion. The Governor of Virginia (who had previously been critical of South Carolina's actions) flatly refused Lincoln's order to muster militia for to the purpose of forcing the rebellious states back into the Union, and he accused Lincoln of starting a civil war for the purpose of subjugating the South. As Jeff Hummel puts it: "Previously unwilling to secede over the issue of slavery, these four states were now ready to fight for the ideal of a voluntary union." (*Emancipating Slaves, Enslaving Free Men,* p. 141.)

This is what I meant in saying that the motives for secession were varied and complex. But it would be silly to say that slavery was the fundamental issue that was contested during in the Civil War (even if it was the motive that caused *some* southerners to demand independence), since neither side was calling for its abolition. (As I pointed out before, slavery was legal in four border states within the Union itself.) Rather, the fundamental issue had to do with the right of secession. This is an issue that had been debated in the United States for many years. Btw, I have no sympathy with either side in that bloody and senseless war. Ghs

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