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


Blame it on textbooks which teach our children blatant lies about the civil war and pretend slavery was only one of many issues.

No, they all knew what it was about. They all joined with the traitors to our nation in order to maintain a nation of white supremacy. The idea that most weren’t fighting to maintain slavery is just a revisionist lie told by the children of traitors.

This is sarcastic right? You don’t actually believe the war was started by the North do you?


When I was a kid I learned that the civil war was about slavery. Then I went to college and learned that the civil war was about the ability of states to choose their own policies and about a spectrum of federal practices that were unfair to some states. Then I graduated and read even further to conclude it was all about slavery.

It was a war waged because the politicians were all slaveowners and were panicked that their livelihoods were about to be made illegal.

The idea of, I dunno, maybe paying the slaves for their work was apparently too radical to even consider.


What kind of college did you go to? The core reason is pretty much slavery, because it had such a massive gravitational pull in the American economy.


It was in the south. However, I should point out that I wasn’t hearing that from a professor, that was from other students. Students who used the phrase “War of Northern Aggression” unironically.


I’m in the south. Pretty much none of us would say (meaning me and my fellow historians, not all southerners) that slavery wasn’t the core reason for the war. Most professional historians are also keenly aware of the lost cause narrative and know it’s historically inaccurate… In fact that has it’s very own historical field now, people who study the lost cause mythology and how it was perpeptuated (primarily by southern, white women of means).

The students wonder why I’d like them to listen to me, at least sometimes in class… What did your profs in your history classes say, that’s my concern.

(also, this picture always cracks me up and I can hear Adam Savage’s voice in my head).


I was lucky to have a spectacular AP History teacher. He was a Civil War re-enactor, with family ties to Tennessee during that era. He re-enacted as a Tennessee officer.

We had new textbooks the year I took the class. He said, “Please turn to page [something]. Conveniently, the section on the many causes of the Civil War starts with Slavery, and that section has a page break before the next 4 reasons. Go ahead and tear out those pages. We won’t be needing them.”


Just as “under god” was added to the pledge during the Red Scare.


Nice. Tennessee was a major Northern stronghold as many mountainous areas in the east didn’t enjoy the agricultural benefits of slavery and were largely dependent upon Federal infrastructure such as railroads and postal services. Funny how economic inequality can clear peoples’ eyes to the realities of human suffering.


Oh, he re-enacted as a Confederate, but didn’t teach as one. :wink:


Do any of his family reenact as saboteur?


Fun fact: portions of farm accounting to this day are directly a result of having slave labour. So the fact that the South’s economy was so heavily farm-based (with pl}antations essentially being factory farms, not the small, bucolic myth they like to present), and slaves were treated more as equipment… Slavery was undoubtedly the biggest thing.

It’s kind of like the resistance to regulations – especially those combatting big-money crimes. Slavery was tied into the Southern economy much the way money laundering is tied into our modern one: eliminate it, and the entire house of cards collapses. Knowing how precarious their position was, the 1% did exactly what they are doing today: convincing the useful idiots lower down that the big, bad, federal government was coming to take away their way of life. That the “Northern Elites” were trying to infringe on their precious freedoms. Those 1% knew exactly what they were defending, but they knew they couldn’t get Jimmy-Joe Average to give a crap and fight the war for them, if it was just “we want to keep and force the return of human beings”, the guy with 2 square acres of vegetables he has to work himself isn’t going to die for that.

Yes, the official documents say it’s about slavery, but your average soldier was as well-informed as your average Fox News viewer when it came to shit like that. So I can see how this myth of “States Rights” started… It was deliberate propaganda. There’s little difference between what the slaveowners did and the big-money players are doing today.

That’s one of the things that has me so scared. The parallels between what happened then and what’s happening now are huge. Support was growing for the idea that maybe owning humans wasn’t a good thing, and the big-money players were scared they’d have to revamp everything. Today, support is growing for the idea that massively polluting industries and financial shenanigans aren’t good things. Since so much money is tied up with these activities, the same message is being broadcast, only now it’s “Coastal Elites” coming to take away your freedom.

After all, if it worked before…

#NeedsMoreLikes (formerly known as "All the Likes")

Can you expand what you mean by that?


Best summary yet!


Isn’t this why a whole heap of people insist that the war wasn’t about slavery? Rather than being stupid, they’ve simply had a false version of history pushed at them by schools, parents and all other adults surrounding them as they grew up. Could any of us have broken free of such carefully taught cultural indoctrination if we had been brought up with such a lie?


Also 140 years of “the lost cause” and the whole noble rebel bullshit that leads to batshit shit like this:


Life is full of contradictions.

And some people go through that buffet line waaay too many times.


Whether or not the average soldier was poorly informed, a possibly more accurate picture is that the 1% started the war (and I’ll throw the northern 1%ers in with the southern 1%ers for the sake of argument), and, once started, the war was fought on southern land, which also included non-plantation private land. And, to paraphrase Neil Young, the Union soldiers weren’t coming to “deliver the mail”. I think it’s fair to say a lot of southerner took up arms simply to defend their homes. Racism probably wasn’t the primary motivation for most of the rebel soldiers.

I think it’s an important distinction for framing the history. Like any other war, the US civil war was started on behalf of the 1%, but it fell on the 99% to fight it. I can understand how Southerns who aren’t racists (and I’d dearly love to believe that accounts for most of them) want to believe there’s more to their ancestors than racism even if they’re deluding themselves. I don’t think the discussion can move forward if we insist there was nothing more to the war than racism, even if it was fundamentally about racism at its core.


It wasn’t. It was about slavery. The economy of the south had grown reliant on slavery and the 1% as you note, propelled the 99% into a conflict to defend it. Which they did willingly (those who didn’t abstained or joined resistance, which there was a lot more of than many want to let on). Support of slavery is the most blatant form of racism. There is no way you can separate the two. The belief that confederate apologists are somehow going to “move forward” is ignoring the fact that any discussion about the war that doesn’t begin and end with slavery and it’s inherent racism is not a discussion at all. It is not the role of progressives to drag troglodytes into the future. Just as with everyone else, they have to do it for themselves. It is, however the role of right-minded people to rebut these bullshit talking points and evasion at every turn.


I disagree. Until we are willing to accept the real fundamental reasons and say “Regardless of what your great-grandfather told you, it was about the confluence of racism and greed”, we will never get past where we are. Accepting the other narratives as anything other than the cynical propaganda that they are, lets people insulate themselves today. The more we say “it was about more than that,” the more we give cover to the idea that there was a noble cause worth defending.

And would they have needed to come at all, if the South hadn’t decided they’d rather die than give up their slaves? Hell, as has been pointed out upthread, if they’d even been willing to compromise on the slave hunting issue, there might not have been a war.


I’ll go you one better; as Americans, we can’t even begin to fathom any system of civilization and governance that isn’t dependent upon deeply entrenched exploitation in order to succeed - the exploitation of natural resources (to the detriment of the entire ecosystem) the exploitation of animals, and the exploitation of other human beings.