Confederate flag fan Andy Hallinan explains what the Civil War was really about

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These guys traveled from the past and would like a word:


How stupid and ignorant does a bigot have to be not to instantly (and of course disingenuously) chant “states’ rights” in answer to that question? We just found out.


Why do we even care what this willfully-ignorant bigot thinks?


They say: It was about state’s rights!

We say: State’s right to what?


Multiply THAT willfully ignorant bigot by several thousand, and you can see the problem. Bigots cannot work up any empathy for people who are not like them. Bigots then come to hate minorities, poor people, city-folk, etc.



That feeling when the teacher calls on you and you’ve got nothing because you’ve spent the entire semester watching catfish noodling videos on your phone under the desk.


There’s an answer to that … :slight_smile:

There was a federal law called the Fugitive Slave Act which required free states to assist in the return of slaves to their self styled “owners”.

Several northern states decided to give only lip service (or none at all) to this law, they looked the other way while the underground railroad did its thing. In other words they exercised their states’ rights.

The slave states’ governments did not like it that the federal government did not override states’ rights in this issue, so they seceded and formed a new federal government of their own. Under their constitution, states were explicitly forbidden from passing their own laws regarding slavery.

So yes, the war was fought for states’ rights. The Union was the pro states’ rights side.

Having said all that - I do think that states, now and then, have the right to secede. Had I been Lincoln I would have let them go, but would have supported “regime change”, by force if necessary, in the south.


He was right. Slavery was one issue in the war but it wasn’t the only. I can name three others very quickly. The US had some trade policies (tariff, don’t know the details) that were hurting cotton revenue. In an era before mass communication, there were big cultural differences (and even language differences which still persist today) between the South and the North. The North had become industrialized and urban while the South remained based on agriculture. It was like a marriage where the two people have drifted too far apart. Disagreement over slavery, and more subtlety, what to do with freed slaves and demographics, was a huge issue but it makes sense to understand it within the context of fundamental economic and cultural differences. The South could understand that slavery was going to end (it was ending at around that time all over the world) but the South and the North had very different ideas about what post-slavery would look like. They still do, I would say.

Slavery was America’s worst mistake, on so many levels. A cheap imported work force made a few people richer but there’s a price to be paid for everything.


It was about states rights. The Free States were enraged by federal laws that forced them to render aid and assistance to slave finders from the slave states.


Wow, even I could remember three bullshit confederate talking points. Hey, at least he recognizes that the war was somewhat about slavery. Progress.

BTW, this is the simplest needle in the balloon counter to this load of crap. The secession declarations of:

South Carolina:

“The people of the State of South Carolina, in Convention assembled, on the 26th day of April, A.D., 1852, declared that the frequent violations of the Constitution of the United States, by the Federal Government, and its 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, she forbore at that time to exercise this right.“


“The people of Georgia having dissolved their political connection with the Government of the United States of America, present to their confederates and the world the causes which have led to the separation. For the last ten years we have had numerous and serious causes of complaint against our non-slave-holding confederate States with reference to the subject of African slavery. They have endeavored to weaken our security, to disturb our domestic peace and tranquility, and persistently refused to comply with their express constitutional obligations to us in reference to that property, and by the use of their power in the Federal Government have striven to deprive us of an equal enjoyment of the common Territories of the Republic.”


“In the momentous step which our State has taken of dissolving its connection with the government of which we so long formed a part, it is but just that we should declare the prominent reasons which have induced our course. Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery-- the greatest material interest of the world.”


“ The people of Virginia, in their ratification of the Constitution of the United States of America, adopted by them in Convention on the twenty-fifth day of June, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty-eight, having declared that the powers granted under the said Constitution were derived from the people of the United States, and might be resumed whensoever the same should be perverted to their injury and oppression; and the Federal Government, having perverted said powers, *not only to the injury of the people of Virginia, but to the oppression of the Southern Slaveholding States.”


“Texas abandoned her separate national existence and consented to become one of the Confederated Union to promote her welfare, insure domestic tranquility and secure more substantially the blessings of peace and liberty to her people. She was received into the confederacy with her own constitution, under the guarantee of the federal constitution and the compact of annexation, that she should enjoy these blessings. 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.”

All of those are the opening sentences of each state’s secession declaration expect Texas’ which reviews the history of annexation first. There is also plenty of anti-states’-rights language in them as well.


Because they vote and some end up in office, where they can make public policy decisions.


Related to slavery.

Related to slavery.

Because of the slave economy.


To facilitate the divine work of job creators by protecting property and allowing them to handle their business as they see fit. /s

This is why there’s so much crossover between “free” market fundies and bigots. Kim Stanley Robinson put it succinctly:

“That’s libertarians for you — anarchists who want police protection from their slaves.”

That’s not the version the bigots use, of course. This mope couldn’t even summon up the bogus version uttered in kneejerk fashion by his fellow racists.

Slavery was the main issue that informed all the others you mention.


I agree with you, but it also doesn’t reduce it to a simple “it was a war to free the slaves”. That’s not it. The North didn’t have a passion for anti-racism and freeing slaves. In fact there were major draft riots in NYC because Irish workers didn’t dream of freeing slaves and having them move to NYC. The North was just as racist as the South, maybe more. I guess I could say slavery was the major cause of the war, but it wasn’t a war of the virtuous North wanting to free the slaves. In fact Lincoln’s idea was to return the freed slaves to Africa. Saying, “it was a war to free the slaves” makes it sound like the North went to war to rescue blacks, which just isn’t true.


Great photo, have posted it myself to several CW threads on various sites.

A couple of decades ago I was in a CW reenactment group (19th Indiana - Up the Black Hat Boys!). We spent a fair amount of time trying to encourage the start of some USCT reenactors in our area. Sadly it never happened - but there are a number of units up and running now.

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He does have a point that the Confederate battle flag means things other than overt racism to some people. Primarily a “rebel” spirit (especially when used by non-southerners), and southern heritage. It also used to be more ubiquitous in the past as more of a. You could find it ads for patches in comic books next to the peace sign and patches making fun of Nixon and other popular culture (i.e. the Dukes of Hazard).

But as things have shifted, the most fervent flag wavers seem to be racists. And one can clearly connect it as a sign of overt racism today.

And certainly he is wrong that the Civil War wasn’t started over slavery. The founders of the CSA made this crystal clear in their letters and new Constitutions. Now many of the southern soldiers may have fought more for their state and family than slavery per se, but their actions none the less supported the government who was fighting to keep their “peculiar institution” alive.


So then why did the war happen? Virtually every grievance the South listed was either about owning slaves or directly secondary to it.

The North was pretty much just like “Yeah, no, you’re not going to form your own little banana republic using our valuable farmland, you slaveowning pricks”.


This guy, a historian: If you’d actually studied the history, you’d know that there were many causes. It wasn’t just slavery.

Interviewer: Oh yeah? What were the other causes?

This guy: How the hell should I know?


The interviewer doesn’t reduce it to that, though. He’s asking what the war was about. That it was about slavery is an inescapable fact no matter how much the bigots try to distract with details and euphemisms.