Eyes That See

“I Once Was Blind”

Slavery and the Civil War

civilwar

Those who claim that the Civil War was not fought over slavery have to also claim that neither the Missouri Compromise nor the Kansas-Nebraska Act had anything to do with slavery.

The Missouri Compromise stated that Missouri would be allowed to enter the Union as a “slave state” on the condition that all future states above the “Missouri Compromise Line” would be “free states.” (in other words, the Missouri Compromise was entirely about slavery)

The Kansas-Nebraska Act allowed Kansas and Nebraska to vote on whether to enter the Union as either slave or free states, in violation of the Missouri Compromise. (in other words, the Kansas-Nebraska Act was entirely about slavery)

Republican Senator Charles Sumner made a famous anti-slavery speech, was nearly beaten to death by a pro-slavery, Democratic congressman (known as “The Caning of Charles Sumner“), and the Republican Party was founded in response to the violation of the Missouri Compromise, which also violated the “balance of power” between free and slave states. (side note: the Republican Party was founded on two key platforms: the sanctity of life [regardless of skin color – aka abolishing slavery] and the sanctity of marriage [in opposition to polygamy, which apparently was gaining steam at the time]. Today, two key planks in the Republican Party platform remain the sanctity of life [from conception to natural death] and the sanctity of marriage)

Pro-slavery, southern Democrats sought to influence the vote in Kansas, killed some abolitionists, some abolitionists killed some pro-slavery folks, a Republican abolitionist was elected president (Lincoln), several southern, Democratic states seceded from the Union, the Civil War happened, the Union Army won, slavery was abolished, and the southern states rejoined the Union.

Yes, the Civil War was fought over “states’ rights.” Namely, states’ rights to determine whether they would have slavery or not. And yes, the Civil War was fought over economic issues. Namely, the economic impact abolishing slavery would have on plantation-heavy, slave states. But saying that the Civil War was fought over states’ rights and economic issues, rather than over slavery, is foolishness, because slavery was central to both the states’ rights and economic arguments that are peddled as alternative, non-slavery explanations for the War.

Anyway, one of my favorite parts of the story is this: the aforementioned Charles Sumner, who was nearly beaten to death after hisĀ anti-slavery speech, gave another speech after the Civil War. This speech welcomed the first black United States senator – Republican Hiram Revels from Mississippi – after he was confirmed with unanimous support from Senate Republicans over and against unanimous opposition from Senate Democrats.

If my political party’s history consisted of defending slavery, seceding from the Union over slavery, unanimously opposing the confirmation of the first black U.S. senator, creating the KKK, enacting the “Jim Crow laws,” poll taxes, literacy tests, etc., etc., etc., then I’d probably invent a myth about the two parties playing some magical, fairy dust game of political “red rover,” too.

April 21, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment