Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A Rebuttal to E.J. Dionne About the Civil War Causes

“Grandpa, there is an article in the Washington Post about the cause of the Civil war written by E.J. Dionne and claims that slavery was the reason for the Civil war. How does that affect our conclusions that we have come to from our own research? Is he right or wrong?”

Grandpa sat down in front of the computer and began reading the article that I had brought up entitled, Don't Spin The Civil War. When he had finished reading he turned and looked at me with a smile upon his face. Then he asked me a couple of questions.

“Boy, the man is guilty of doing exactly what he accuses others of doing in regards to this issue of cause. First of all who were the men he quoted as to justify his claim?

I reread the article and said, “one of the men he quoted was Alexander Stephans who was the Vice President of the newly formed Confederacy, grandpa and the other one was Jefferson Davis, the President of the Confederacy.”

Grandpa then asked, “Boy, there is always two sides to every war do you see any quotes from anyone that would be representative of the Northern side?”

I only shook my head so as to indicate that there was no quotes as asked about.

“ That in itself would indicate a biased opinion, boy and that is the first thing you should notice in any opinion piece that is written.  Be very wary of these type of arguments.  They only reveal half of the story.

Alright, boy, let's examine those quotes and see if they are pertinent to the actual cause of the war. First of all the vice President's quote was referring to a past event not a future event. Thus the “late” rupture that he refers to is the secession of the southern States from the Union not the war itself and these are two different issues even though one led to the other. That speech was given in March of 1861 and the war did not start until April of that year.

In the quote of Jefferson Davis one can see very clearly that he was referring to the issue of secession and not the war. Given these facts we can only conclude that Douglas Egerton doesn't understand his own facts when he declared that the position of the cause of the war kept changing. Both, Davis and Stephans were being consistent in their words because they were addressing one issue, secession and their reasons for secession, prior to the war and another issue after the war, the reason of the war itself.

From our own research, boy, we know that slavery was not the primary concern for President Lincoln, maintaining the Union as it existed was his concern as we discussed in a previous post. We also learned that the federal government at that time recognized that slavery was a State's right when the Corwin amendment was proposed. And we can declare this as a truth from the fact that 16 States by their own power and authority outlawed slavery. We must concede that without the power and authority to do so then slavery would have been legal in every State not just in those southern States.

So, boy, given this, who is spinning the cause of the Civil War, Dionne or those he accuses of spinning the war? Remember, boy, you should not believe everything you read. Learn to ascertain the difference between opinion and facts and just believe the facts.  And don't  forget to get both sides of the story before making a decision on issues.  Lastly, don't allow your feelings about a certain issue corrupt your thinking in regards to the events of history. A biased viewpoint will never reveal the whole truth, and this is especially true in politics"

I just grinned and smiled as my faith in the wisdom of grandpa was renewed.


Gorges Smythe said...

Now there you go - letting facts get in the way of revisionist propaganda!

msladyDeborah said...

This seems to be one of the greatest myths about the Civil War.

As I understand the reasons for the war, it was primarily to hold the union intact. That was Abe's major priority.

And wasn't there a ban placed on how far the practice of slavery could extend in the United States?

I don't have time to look it up, but I do rememer that Lincoln's Adminstration is credited for drawing terriritorial lines in the West that prohibted slavery past a certain point.

Stogie said...

Excellent article. E.J. Dionne is a leftist, so you have to reverse the meaning to understand the true message. When Dionne says "Let's not spin the Civil War," he really means, "Let's continue spinning the Civil War in favor of the North, just as we have been doing for 150 years."

The Griper said...

i believe you are referring to The Crittenden Compromise (December 18, 1860) which failed to pass.
he grins. yup facts are very bothersome to those who like to mislead people, aren't they?
that is one of the problems with every war. the winner gets to put their spin on history without consideration to all of the facts.

Always On Watch said...

I note that these liberal and leftist columnists avoid quoting material such as this 1858 statement by Abraham Lincoln:

"I will say then that I am not, nor ever have been in favor of bringing about in anyway the social and political equality of the white and black races - that I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race. I say upon this occasion I do not perceive that because the white man is to have the superior position the negro should be denied everything."

They also avoid this 1862 statement by Lincoln:

"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; and what I forbear, I forbear because I do not believe it would help to save the Union. I shall do less whenever I shall believe what I am doing hurts the cause, and I shall do more whenever I shall believe doing more will help the cause."

The Griper said...

so true and i used one of those quotes in my series of posts back in 11/22 also.

they treat the South as if they were the aggressive side of the war rather than the defensive side.

tweetey30 said...

hey happy new year my friend..

SjP said...

hmmmm.... I know that my memory is not as good as it use to be, but I don't recall any war ever being fought because of "man's inhumanity to man". Seems to me that I learned somewhere that all wars have been about land, money, and/or natural resources. Saying that the CW was fought because of slavery just makes the Yankees and the Rebels feel better.

The Griper said...

"Seems to me that I learned somewhere that all wars have been about land, money, and/or natural resources."

these are just particular issues within the issue of State Rights.

"but I don't recall any war ever being fought because of "man's inhumanity to man"."

to understand this one must examine the reasons that each side proclaims for the justification of their participation in a war.

and in this nation the Legislature is the place to look for that reasoning for only they can give the President the power and authority to lead our troops into wars.
and if you examine the resolution of the Iraq war you'll see that reasoning that you are looking for.

Tim Shey said...

Very good, thought-provoking post.

The Griper said...

thank you Tim, I was going to say something along the lines of this on your post of Lincoln's inaugeral address but see you found it on your own. :)


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