Civil War wasn’t about slavery?

Published 9:44 am Saturday, August 13, 2011

by James D. ‘Archie’ Howell

The Civil War was about property rights.

When a citizen of the Southern states woke up and found their property (maybe a mule, cow, wagon or human being) had somehow gotten loose during the night and wandered off, only to be found later in the next state or country, that property was not returned.

Maybe the mule, cow or wagon made it back to its rightful owner, but, increasingly during the 1840s and ’50s, the human being wasn’t returned. Owners were downright angry.

After all, it was agreed, nationally, that their property would be returned. Since 1808 the supply of human beings had been seriously curtailed, and the Southern states needed to keep all they had. It got so bad that South Carolina, fed up with the violations, seceded from the Union of States.

They figured the individual states had the right to enter into treaties and trade agreements with whomever they wished. Maybe one of those trade agreements could be to a country that would satisfy their desires for chattel human beings.

* South Carolina Articles of Secession — “Encroachments upon the reserved rights of the states, fully justified this state in then withdrawing from the Federal Union, but in deference to the opinions and wishes of the other slaveholding states…” and “the state of South Carolina having resumed her separate and equal place among nations….”

* Mississippi Articles were not so circumspect. “Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery — the greatest material interest of the world” and “a blow at slavery is a blow at commerce and civilization.” “It [hostility toward slavery] advocates negro equality, socially and politically, and promotes insurrection and incendiarism in our midst.”

* Alabama’s Ordinance —“Sectional [Lincoln’s Republican] party, avowedly hostile to the domestic institutions [slavery] and to the peace and security of the people of the State of Alabama….”

* Texas tells it like it is: “Evident that the power of the federal government is sought to be made a weapon with which to strike down the interests and property of the people of Texas, and her sister slave-holding states…” and “She was received as a commonwealth holding, maintaining and protecting the institution known as negro slavery — the servitude of the African to the white race within her limits — a relation that had existed from the first settlement of her wilderness by the white race, and which her people intended should exist in all future time.

“Her institutions and geographical position established the strongest ties between her and other slaveholding states of the confederacy. Those ties have been strengthened by association. But what has been the course of the government of the United States, and of the people and authorities of the non-slave-holding states, since our connection with them?”

Texas further explains, “the controlling majority of the federal government, under various pretences and disguises, has so administered the same as to exclude the citizens of the Southern states, unless under odious and unconstitutional restrictions, from all the immense territory owned in common by all the states on the Pacific Ocean, for the avowed purpose of acquiring sufficient power in the common government to use it as a means of destroying the institutions of Texas and her sister slaveholding States.

More from Texas —“They demand the abolition of negro slavery throughout the Confederacy, the recognition of political equality between the white and negro races, and avow their determination to press on their crusade against us, so long as a negro slave remains in these states.”

The Texas articles hold “that in this free government all white men are and of right ought to be entitled to equal civil and political rights; that the servitude of the African race, as existing in these states, is mutually beneficial to both bond and free, and is abundantly authorized and justified by the experience of mankind, and the revealed will of the Almighty Creator, as recognized by all Christian nations, while the destruction of the existing relations between the two races, as advocated by our sectional enemies, would bring inevitable calamities upon both and desolation upon the fifteen slave-holding states.”

Applause to Texas for telling it like it is.

The Civil War was not about slavery, and when Neil Armstrong stepped down from the landing module, he discovered that the moon was indeed green cheese.