150 Years ago Today...

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by Ugg, Dec 20, 2010.

  1. Ugg macrumors 68000

    Ugg

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    #1
    South Carolina abandoned the United States.

    It's no surprise that a lot of southerners still glorify the confederacy and the culture surrounding slavery. Throwing a "Secession Ball" glorifying the event hardly seems appropriate.

    Whether it's revisionist terms like "triangular trade" or canards like "It was all about states' rights", there seems to be a collective amnesia in America when it comes to slavery.

    I wonder if the US is just doomed to endlessly fight costly wars, whether against slavery, our oil addiction or even universal health care.

    Lord Simcoe placed a partial ban on slavery in Canada in 1791, England followed in 1807. Why did it take another half century for the US to take a stand? There's no doubt in my mind that the FF sold their souls to the devil when allowing slavery. I wonder how they would explain away the millions of deaths and endless suffering they caused?
     
  2. kavika411 macrumors 6502a

    kavika411

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    #2
    What does this sentence mean?
     
  3. citizenzen macrumors 65816

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    #3
    Probably for the same reason we're lagging behind on universal healthcare. It's pretty obvious to me that those early settlers had sperm that swam in circles... and we've been paying the price ever since.
     
  4. Ugg thread starter macrumors 68000

    Ugg

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    #4
    Think about it. The rest of the world banned slavery, the US took another half century and then another 100 years before it really did anything to rectify the wrongs committed.

    The Oil Embargo of the 70s prodded Europe and Japan into producing energy efficient cars, the US still has an abysmal MPG across the board. Much less the fact that the dollars we pay for the oil we import mostly go to corrupt, backwards nations like Saudi Arabia, Nigeria and Venezuela.

    UHC is pretty common throughout the world yet the US if fighting tooth and nail even though it's less expensive and would serve society better.

    Is the US doomed to constantly fight battles that the rest of the world solved peacefully decades ago? Is that mentality a part of our national heritage?
     
  5. eawmp1 macrumors 601

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  6. iJohnHenry macrumors P6

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    #6
    Well, perhaps in the same way that 5P is "Special". ;)
     
  7. Ugg thread starter macrumors 68000

    Ugg

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    #7
    I think exceptionalism will be our downfall and it was certainly why South Carolina voted to secede from the Union. They believed that the universal truth that slavery was wrong, did not apply to them. The rest of the south jumped on that same bandwagon and more than a million Americans lost their lives.
     
  8. likemyorbs macrumors 68000

    likemyorbs

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    #8
    Southerners for whatever reason think its ok to flaunt the confederate flag, which up north is viewed as a hate sign. They still don't want to acknowledge that their ancestors were wrong, and if they're christians (which most southerners are), they don't want to come to terms with the fact that by their own beliefs, their ancestors are burning in hell.
     
  9. Nein01, Dec 21, 2010
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2010

    Nein01 macrumors 6502

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    #9
    when was the last time america learned from history?

    sometimes i feel like the simplest answer is that we just have to wait for all the stupid people to die off before real progress can be seen.

    it's very frustrating to be a sane person and live in times like these. one day, it really will be as simple as "ok, let's stop making weapons and destroying the earth and start looking after each other on this floating rock in space."

    we HAVE the technology for electric and even solar powered cars. GM and the oil companies took all the electric cars away and crushed them when they were last introduced. i wonder if it'll happen again..
     
  10. Ugg thread starter macrumors 68000

    Ugg

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    #10
    The New York Times has been running a series of articles on the Civil War and I'm sure we'll see a lot more interest in it during the next four years. Of course, I'm sure a lot of white southerners have a problem with a Yankee paper discussing the south, but until we come to terms with the Civil War, the US will never be able to deal with racial inequity.

    It's sad that the south continues to be populated with ostriches.
     
  11. skunk macrumors G4

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    #11
    Unfortunately, stupid people are still being born.
     
  12. CaptMurdock macrumors 6502a

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    #12
    Hell, we couldn't even convert to the metric system, a far more logical and simple standard of measurements. Pounds, ounces, quarts, gallons -- spare me.
     
  13. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

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    #13
    it depends. I have a friend who grew up in both the North and then in Texas. He was surprised at the radical differences in how the Civil War was taught. In the North it was still call the rebellion instead of the Civil War and not made a huge part of the history. Painting the South as this horrible thing. On the flip side in the South the North is not painted as horrible but it is an important part of history. Another huge difference is the hero of the South are very difference in the North. Andrew Jackson and Lee are though of as very different.

    Civil War was an important part of history and has a radicel difference. I do find it strange how some of the worse generals of the war were from the north and it is painted over. You had some of them that would burn entire towns as they went threw it.
     
  14. OutThere macrumors 603

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    #14
  15. Sam Yikin macrumors regular

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  16. iSaint macrumors 603

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    #16
    Have you seen Africa lately? Or South America? Or Latin America?

    The US is hardly behind in exceptional behavior. In fact, I would say we are far more liberal than most of the world.
     
  17. Sam Yikin macrumors regular

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    #17
    I grew up in the north of the north (Vermont) and I distinctly remember being taught the horrors of Sherman's march to the sea. I know this is purely anecdotal, but still, I thought it might be interesting.


    Anyway, these attempts by certain (not all) southerners to rewrite history is quite disturbing. No matter how you look at it, the Civil War was about slavery (maybe not at the surface, but it was the root cause of the entire thing). This is an issue where the south (as the confederacy) was CLEARLY in the wrong, and any attempts to say otherwise are simply false.
    I would normally say this is a small sect of extremists, but the prevalence of these groups and ideas is worrisome. Look at the Sons of Confederate Veterans. EVERYTHING that little dude that pops up says is WRONG and completely ignorant of history. But look at this. There are some very prominent politicians in that list. That is, honestly, quite frightening.
     
  18. Ugg thread starter macrumors 68000

    Ugg

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    #18
    I should have said "western world".

    Are you saying that the current, collective US attitude towards blacks is liberal? I disagree.

    I grew up in Montana, and Sherman's March was covered in my US history class so I don't think it's a matter of whether it was covered or not, but more a matter of how it was spun.

    That's what's so worrisome about the confederate fan club, it's not just a small extremist group. It's very much mainstream as is shown by the "Secession Ball". There's something really sick about celebrating slavery.
     
  19. localoid macrumors 68020

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    #19
    Ignorance is bliss

    I think the observance of the Civil War Sesquicentennial has the potential to be a good thing, provided the history of the war was openly studied in a scholarly manner by all "concerned parties". But of course that probably won't happen -- the history of conflict will get boiled down to a 30-second sound-bite and quite likely most Americans of the 21st century will learn little, if anything, regarding the war and its causes.

    Most have long since made up their minds. The talking points of Southern apologists will be the same as it's been since just after the war -- that the conflict was really about "states' rights". On the other hand, many Northern historians will be adamant that slavery was the only issue, and many will firmly believe that none of the Northern states were ever guilty of any sins associated with slavery or issues of race.

    To ignore the fact that slavery was the chief cause of the conflict is foolish, but so is insisting that other factors weren't involved. Few will mention that slavery had existed in many Northern states and in some it was legal and practiced in some even at the outbreak of the war. The North's vested-interests in slavery and the economic benefits it derived from the "King Cotton" economy and the institution of slavery will be largely ignored.

    During the Civil War Centennial (1961-1965) I was a student in grade school. The observance received a good bit of note in the media, which caused me to become interested in it. After researching the subject, this was the first time in my life I can recall being aware of "the lies my teachers were teaching".

    I can recall taking in a book that showed that numbers of slaves counted in the local census of 1860 the day after my teacher had proudly proclaimed "of course our state fought for the Union because we didn't have any slaves here" and remember her face flushing red with anger as she proclaimed "that can't be right".

    By the next day, my teacher had prepared a rebuttal to the facts I'd presented. After some thought on the matter, she'd come to the conclusion that a few slaves might have been present in the area, but these folks were simply "left over" from previous attempts to use slaves that had resulted in failure. "They just too lazy and weren't smart enough to do the kind of work we did here -- other than picking cotton they weren't of much use to anyone". She then went on to explain how Lincoln's (reputed) plan to "send them back to Africa" would have been a great thing for America.

    A few weeks later the same teacher went on a 10-minute rant about integration, explaining to her class how learning had once flourished in the local area under the "separate but equal" policy of having separate schools for black and white students. She proudly boasted that "most Negroes will admit that things were much better when they could be with their own kind". I remember seeing a few tears rolling down the cheeks of the black girl, the only black student in the class, that sat next to me in class during the teacher's rant.

    Throughout the remainder of the school year, this teacher continued to paint a picture of how the North was 100% squeaky clean and the South was 100% evil in regards to issues of slavery and race and yet she continued to expose how bigoted she really was, almost daily. I learned a lot that year -- primarily how f'ed up some people really are.

    Again, I think the Sesquicentennial could be great learning opportunity. But unfortunately, few people would want to come face to face with the real truths that such a study might reveal. We'll probably end up following the course of least resistance and simply sweep the issues under the rug.
     
  20. iSaint macrumors 603

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    #20
    Better than many places. But, yes, western world would be better covered.

    I've always considered the fact that the US has the most diverse population in the world, therefore is prone to more prejudices. Countries with little or no minority populations appear peaceful to the outsider.
     
  21. iSaint macrumors 603

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    #21
    I speak from a perspective as a member of the US Episcopal Church as a part of the worldwide Anglican Communion. The US is far more liberal: e.g. ordaining women as priests (our Presiding Bishop is female), ordaining openly gay men and women as clergy.

    This is limited, but also a good example of how I perceive the US to be more compassionate and accepting on a worldwide level.
     
  22. Ugg thread starter macrumors 68000

    Ugg

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    #22
    I agree that our diversity leads to prejudice, but I would also say that such a statement also serves to cover up the wrongs of slavery.

    Awhile back I had an interesting conversation with a guy from Mexico. He said that Mexico is still suffering a post-colonial hangover.

    Mexico's been free for over 200 years, but the system in place at the time of independence favored the almost feudal land owners. Land reform eventually changed that but a weak education system and the once again, almost feudal PRI that was in power for so long created a system of economic and psychological dependency. Education reforms over the last 30 years and the Catholic Church's weaker role in government and a growing middle class are addressing some of the remaining problems, but it will be years before there's a true sense of equality in Mexico.

    The institutionalized dependency created by slavery and the failure to address it until the 1960s has created generations of free blacks who have a difficult time functioning outside of that dependency.

    It really makes me sick to think of all those wasted years and even since the Civil Rights Movement, how little we've done to address that root problems.

    Upper middle class whites holding a "Secession Ball" under a confederate flag only reinforces the southern white disregard for the evils of slavery. Can you see how I am personally disgusted at such blatant disregard for human decency?
     
  23. Sydde, Dec 22, 2010
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2010

    Sydde macrumors 68020

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    #23
    I am not convinced of the causal connection. England has a rather/very diverse population, yet their apparent cultural attitudes (as portrayed in TV and movies) appears to be much more relaxed toward race (most notably interracial marriage). Of course I could be wrong, not having had the opportunity to observe actual Brits.
    The assumption that the war was the answer to slavery is not fully well grounded. How do we assess what would have happened had it not come to blows?

    The reality is that the was never any injunction against secession: SC, et al, were within their legal rights to leave the U.S. Had the war been drawn in the Confederacy's favor, or not been prosecuted in the first place, what might have happened?

    Would the U.S. not have applied considerable economic pressure on the Confederacy, probably boycotting or tariffing plantation products, leading to an end to slavery most likely before the 20th century? How might this have affected the treatment of blacks overall (bearing in mind that the Ku Klux Klan fed in large part on resentment over reconstruction: the attitude of Southerners would very likely be quite different)?

    With the Confederacy competing with the North over westward expansion, what effect would that have had on the native populations? Might the "Indians" have fared better had the U.S. not been able to marshall its full strength against them?

    Perhaps of greater significance, how might a divided country have affected the development of our modern Plutocracy? Large corporate interests fare better on an economic plain, where the laws they have to deal with are consistent, the regulators few and easy to get to. I cannot help but think that our economy would have a very different structure had the events of the 1860s turned out differently, though most of what has happened would probably still happen, just in a different time frame.

    Slavery was certainly vile and deplorable (and there are those who claim it still is, but may be actually worse, being underground in the U.S.), but the industrial economy has been pretty darn ugly without it, almost to the point that the difference is mere semantics. The issue of the Civil War, its causes and its effects, is not nearly so simple as good v. evil.
     
  24. iSaint macrumors 603

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    #24
    The church I was once a member of had an Eight o' May luncheon commemorating the day the women had to gather to cook for themselves after slaves were emancipated. That was the date the news hit my former hometown. Granted, they turn the proceeds in for the good of the community, they still refused to change the name.

    Ever get a glimpse of the Kappa Alpha fraternity spring rituals?
     
  25. Ugg thread starter macrumors 68000

    Ugg

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    #25
    Have you ever heard of the Brixton riots?

    Even though England was a major colonial power, there weren't significant numbers of non-christian, non-anglo saxon foreigners in England until the post colonial period in the 1960s. Since England banned slavery in 1807, the immigrants who arrived after WWII, didn't have that stigma to deal with.

    Even closer to home, we can look north to Canada and see that they've done pretty darned well or so it seems. Talk to anyone over the age of 50 and your mileage may vary. I visited relatives north of Toronto last July and was amazed at the degree of racism and resentment. There are enough conflicts in the major urban centers of Canada to make it clear that even Canadian assimilation isn't free of problems.



    Three fifths was an issue affecting the entire US. Why should the south receive representation for slaves who had no voice? This gave the south an unfair advantage in government, ensuring that no real opposition could be mounted against their voting bloc. The North could have withheld their capital, but then the South would have sought more from overseas. There was no real political or economic solution to slavery.

    Remember, the southern slave owning class' capital was tied up in slaves and land. Which meant they were falling behind in technological innovation. The south's demise was imminent. No matter how slavery ended, it would have meant the loss of massive amounts of capital to the south, ensuring animosity for decades to come. The KKK was bound to exist no matter what. Too many years of supposed "white supremacy" had already passed for there to be a peaceful transition.

    Westward expansion in the mid 1800s was necessary and inevitable. The Irish famine and the nascent European nationalist movements and most importantly, the railroad and industry in general unleashed an enormous wave of migration. Remember, there were few prohibitions on immigration during that time.

    The Louisiana Purchase was almost empty of people and Spain's power in Mexico was growing. Then, in one of those fortuitous twists of history, the US gained title to California a year before the gold rush. The only way to retain possession of new territory is to have your own people settle it. Due to the huge waves of immigration from Europe (how would you have halted that?) there was no longer any need for slavery from a manpower standpoint. And many European immigrants were just one or two generations removed from serfdom.

    In regards to Native Americans, it's probably a good idea to look north again and realize it wasn't westward migration that caused so many problems with Native Americans, but the mindset of those in power. Native peoples in Canada weren't viewed as vermin to be exterminated.

    The Gold Rush poured massive amounts of money into Northern banks. Remember the south was inward looking and anyway all their capital was tied up in slavery so they didn't have any to invest out west. This massive influx of capital was largely what allowed the North to wage and win the war. The money financed the railroads, the ports and strengthened US trade. The North was leaving the south behind economically.

    Finally, why should we have to spend so much time arguing about the economic reasons justifying slavery when the very idea of "owning" another person is so morally repugnant?
     

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