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


JimJim, you are correct that the central motivation of the Union was not to “free the slaves.” That doesn’t mean that the South’s motivations for secession were not to guarantee the institution of slavery. It was. Their articles of secession prove it. In other words, the central motivation for the Union was to maintain federal control over the states, but the central motivation for the Confederacy was to permanently enshrine slavery. Those two things can be true at the same time.

I grew up in the south, and was taught all of those same talking points in school, and believed them for years. “This is not a defense of slavery BUT…” As Mindysan has pointed out, all of them reduce down to slavery. I am especially ashamed to have been snowed by the industrial vs agrarian argument, as if that does not persist today.


That argument always pisses me off more than anything else. The South fought specifically to keep it around for as long as they could, because Congress would’ve started to kill it in just a few years if they hadn’t fought!

If they’d been allowed to go (not going to even pretend that they could have won, because LOL NO), they would have happily stayed as a broken agrarian slaveowning banana republic for generations, if not forever. It’s literally what they went to war for.


This is one of the scarier false statements in circulation. Slavery had been dying, as it cost more to keep men enslaved than the produced, and so the practice was fading for economic reasons. Then the cotton gin was invented. Suddenly slaves became incredibly productive economic engines. This could have gone on for a very long time.


May I suggest “Lies My Teacher Told Me” as an antidote to high-school history


I personally think that it would have ended in internal revolution, with the poor whites eventually going toe-to-toe with the tiny number of super-wealthy landowners because they were getting more and more squeezed out of the economy.

Have read, quite good.


That there is a sound of cognitive dissonance. Poor sap is so tied to an identity based on things so gruesome that his mind can’t possibly accept them so he needs to come up some sort of rationale. It’s himse he is trying to convince and not doing a very good job at it, judging by how hard he keeps trying.

Sad truth is his ancestors might have not even been from a slave holding caste. Most probably they were some of hundreds of thousands poor whites that slave owners screwed over by marching them into a loosing war.


That is a possible alternate history, but the economic argument post-cotton gin just doesn’t hold water.




How so? Even fewer white workers were needed as a proportion of the labor force post-cotton-gin to produce much greater volumes of cotton. Poor whites got poorer from this automation, not richer? Non-slaveholding farms couldn’t compete, moving up the barrier to entry.

(Actually, lots of parallels here for some stuff we’re seeing in modern economies, but that’s a whole different discussion)


Aint that Ken Burns fella sure got a purty mouth…
I mean a succinct and memorable way with words: what he said.


He should learn to just get angry and babble something about not spoonfeeding someone and self-reliance like the racists on the internet.


I don’t understand how that works. It is always cheaper to have a workforce you don’t have to pay than one you do.


He looks like the Deliverance ‘purty mouth’ guy after Obamacare dentistry.



As I was explaining to my classes just last week, the southern and northern economies were intimately tied, and the northern economy was just as implicated in the slave trade.

It also strikes me that for the enslaved people themselves, as well as the many free blacks and the vocal yet maligned abolitionist movement, the war was ALWAYS about slavery and the moral discussion around that. The southern plantations owners and the northern business elites shouldn’t be the only bellwether of understanding what the war was about.


This guy was too dumb to even vomit out the usual excuse trotted out for the Civil War aka “state’s rights”


Something that I was reading not long ago that I found very interesting is that it was called “the civil war” while it was going on, but then afterwards, during restoration, the remaining neo-antebellums then started to call it “war between the states”. It was never about “states rights” since before the war, the South fought in the courtroom against the rights of the Northern states for being safe-havens for escaped slaves.


Yeah, I think it’s incredible to think how different the world would have looked if Lincoln had made different choices and let the South go its own way. It’s impossible to imagine the Confederacy voluntarily giving up slavery in the 19th century, which means it’s entirely possible that the first half of the 20th century (at least!) would have featured honest-to-goodness slavery as a legal institution.

What the hell would that have meant for the rest of the world? Somebody get Newt Gingrich on the phone and tell him we have a great idea for an alternative history…


No one was saying it was a war to free the slaves.

The Confederacy attacked the Union which, in turn, mobilized to defend itself. That’s why the war was fought.

Freeing the slaves was arranged long after the first shots were fired as a means to settle the dispute once and for all. Sadly, it seems like too many people are all too eager to relive it, even in 2018.


I LOVE what the ultra-Conservative, PragerU has to say about the subject. I might’ve even gotten this from B.B.? I forget.


Our World Book encyclopedia (from the late 70s) called it that. (Presumably it was a southern edition.) I also recall taking a tour of the Tennessee State Capitol 36 years ago, and the tour guide went on at some length about why it was properly “The War between the States” and not the “Civil War.”