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Papapete rants: All you Civil War history rewriter, YES, IT’S ABOUT SLAVERY!!! You can say “States Rights” like a mantra as much as you want, but the South didn’t secede because it didn’t like the current OSHA regulations. The “States right” that we’re talking about was the “right” to OWN other human beings. What do you think the Missouri Compromise was about? Have you ever heard of “Bleeding Kansas”? The South seceded because they were afraid that they would lose the right to keep other people as property. Period. End of story. The rest of the argument is smoke and mirrors.

That’s a pretty silly argument. I’d be interested in hearing an explanation of why the New England nations were discussing secession in the 1820s if the Civil War was about nothing but slavery.

The underlying motivations are actually unimportant. The simple fact is that the states had a right to secede, regardless of why they wanted to do so. This right was abrogated by military force. Therefore, the war was over states rights. This is supported by the post-war fact that secession is now no longer considered a states right.

What mystifies me about the hysterical SLAVERY SLAVERY shouters is that it is not as if slavery is an automatic casus belli. The institution has been practiced continuously throughout human history and is being practiced today in more than a few countries. The fact that the South wished to continue what had been a legal institution throughout the entire nation since its founding is hardly outrageous. Furthermore, it ignores the economic realities of the time, which is that the North was forbidding the South to trade with England and France through the use of severe import taxes.

Remember, war is always about exerting power and resisting the exertion of power. Always. The very notion that the North went to war to free the poor black slaves is downright laughable when viewed through the dispassionate eye of a military historian, particularly considering that the Northern slave states did not free their slaves until after the war.

Consider an analogy. A state which has always permitted abortion suddenly votes to ban it as infanticide. The mores have changed with the development of prenatal technology, and it is now viewed as a disgusting procedure by the majority of the populace. The large city in the center of the state, with a high population of morally suspect women who can’t figure out how to use birth control, is shocked by this ban and decides to exercise its right (postulated here) to secede from the state. Does the state have the right to invade, pillage and prevent the city from seceding, even if the city has the right to secede and the state has no written or explicated power to stop it from doing so? After all, these people are murdering babies!