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

No, but it all relates back to the enslavement of human beings. That’s simple enough.

Yes, I know. They were copperhead democrats, who were lynching black men. They didn’t want the slave trade to end due to their being afraid of competition for jobs - and likely they feared losing jobs due to a swift end to the slave economy and the impact that would have, given how intimate the northern and southern economies were. And I’m fully aware that the north was just as racist as the south. No one is saying that the entire north to a man was full of enlightened people, but that they were indeed part of the discussion over slavery for various reasons.

Still about slavery. The wealth of the entire country, the industrial economy, debates over labor patterns, all about slavery. Ignoring that means ignoring the reality of antebellum America.


Actually, it’s been made more ambiguous now, but it’s reappearance in public spaces relate directly to racism.


Every major grievance the South had against the North was either directly or indirectly related to slavery.




The South seceded almost as soon as Lincoln was inaugurated, and yet he was in favor of allowing slavery to continue in the South, even though he was morally opposed to it. So where is this “tyranny” you speak of?


Yup. You can see a modern parallel in the “Should we do something about the human rights abuses in North Korea” question, especially when it comes to “Hmm yeah nobody wants to absorb their health-damaged, uneducated, socially screwed up population and have to deal with it entering their job market”.

Basically saying “Yeah let’s ignore the horrifying human rights problem as long as it doesn’t bother us too much”.


Pretty much…


This is what historian Ken Burns, creator of the most highly acclaimed Civil War documentary series of all time, recently had to say on that subject:


Antebellum America was kind of the same way, but I’m sure you’re already aware of it - the war was put off for a loooooooong time, right up until the South realized that they were finally going to lose their delicate power balance in Congress, so said “Fuck it, let’s go to war to try and limp our cancerous power structure along a little longer, because we’re kind of fine with getting a bunch of people killed as long as we still get to be in charge” (“We” here being the wealthy plantation families).


Well the “rebel flag” as such is rather a-historical. The saltaire cross of the Confederale Battle Flag was almost always square, not rectangular. The only period rectangular use was as the Naval Jack, not on land. It was popularized during the 1950s-1960s as an emblem of “massive resistance” to the end of segregation. So it isn’t so much about slavery per se as it was about white supremacy, racism, and segregation forever.

True. For many in the North, anti-slavery sentiment was rooted in a racism so deep that they didn’t want to share a continent with black people. It is important to recognize that the large plantation owners, who owned large tracts of land, and many slaves to work on them were the 1%ers of their time. Those who complained about “slave power” were complaining about the power that all this wealth gave them. All that wealth gave them political power to set trade and economic policies in their favor, rather than that of small farmers or industrial concerns in the north. But those difference were rooted in the great wealth that Cotton brought and the slaves that the wealth was stored in.


In that sense it’s similar to the (often mass-produced) statues to Confederate soldiers now being pulled down: a legacy of Jim Crow rather than venerable symbols of “Southern heritage”.


Indeed, as the professor emeritus of Russian/Soviet history (of all things) used to like to point out, there were most certainly hotbeds of unionism in the south, during the war… Part of the reason that the south lost (other than being behind in industrialization, not having as many trains, etc), was that there were most certainly class tensions rising between the elites and the people actually putting their bodies on the line. I seem to remember some bread riots during the war in the south, as well.

So, both the north and south were splintered places during the course of the war itself, but the north was much better able to overcome that (in part by adding black soldiers to the mix, and in part by appealing to the moral crusade against slavery after the emancipation proclamation.


Nah, it was about limping along a power structure, at the end of the day. The rich plantation owners resisted the shit out of industrializing their agricultural industrial base because they liked keeping things how they were: with them at the top.

Over the long run, of course, this crippled them economically relative to the industrializing North, which had a lot to do with why they gradually waned in power politically enough that they were about to lose the balance of power in Congress (due to the founding of new, slave-free states) that they’d resisted for a long time. And it’s also why they lost the war, as they just weren’t able to pump out guns and cannon and use rail for logistics like the North did.

Very short version: the high school history books make it sound kind of like it could’ve gone either way, but in reality it was like a household where parents finally put their foot down and the undisciplined kid throws a punch at dad and gets an epic ass-beating in response. They never really had a chance, and the North was just sick of their shit and trying to play nice.


THIS. Why is this so hard to grasp?


Because public school education in America kind of stops at “Slavery but also STATES RIGHTS” unless you take like an AP/Honors history class.


Thank you, Texas textbook monopoly.


Way down in the sixth stanza


Bingo! Didn’t want to get too deeply into it, but exactly this. Tons of playing down of bad Conservative-type decisions and actors throughout history in those shit-piles.


Living in VA, the trope of “War of Northern Aggression” is so well rooted that people think it is an actual fact. The blank looks you get when you point out actual facts are priceless. I once printed out the SC and TX declarations of independence for a coworker to prove the fact. He refused to read them since they were "Just modern reinterpretations of the thoughts of these noble men. " At some point you have to realize the patient is too far gone and just let them go.


Thanks BB, I needed a good laugh today.



Right? It’s just a gimme! It’s all horseshit, but you can make is sound pretty non-slavery on its surface with minimal effort:

“The war was primarily about the federal government expanding its powers at the expense of state’s rights and interfering in states’ economies and government in ways that none of the framers would have accepted. It was about southerners believing that local and state governments were better suited to their needs than a distant federal authority. Yes, slavery was a not a good thing, but it would have ended naturally in the evolution of these economies without the need for war started by the north.”