|Actually, it was about|
ethics in games journalism.
The State of South Carolina was particularly incensed at the tariffs enacted in 1828 and 1832. The Tariff of 1828 was disdainfully called, “The Tariff of Abominations” by the State of South Carolina. Accordingly, the South Carolina legislature declared that the tariffs of 1828 and 1832 were “unauthorized by the constitution of the United States.”
Think, folks: why would the southern states secede from the Union over slavery when President Abraham Lincoln had offered an amendment to the Constitution guaranteeing the PRESERVATION of slavery*?To start. let's click off the places where Baldwin (and everyone else who denies the obvious fact that the South seceded over slavery) gets it right:
1) Yes, other states had threatened to secede before.
2) Yes, the South had every right to secede.
3) Yes, Lincoln acted illegally in "Preserving the Union" by force.
4) Yes, Lincoln would have kept every slave in chains forever to save the Union.
5) Yes, Lincoln was racist. Just about everyone in America except John Brown was racist.
Everything Baldwin (and other libertarian types) says about Lincoln is true. But there is nothing you can say about how awful and terrible Lincoln was that will change the fact that South Carolina and the other slave states seceded in order to preserve slavery, not to escape taxes.
How do we know? Well for starters, they said so in the Declaration of the Immediate Causes Which Induce and Justify the Secession of South Carolina from the Federal Union.
South Carolina had long been a hotbed of secessionist talk and was, not surprisingly, the first southern state to pull the trigger. What follows are excerpts from the resolution they adopted on December 24th, 1860, and that laid out their reasons for leaving the Union. Spoiler alert: the word "tariff" is not found in it, while "taxes" is found but once. And that is a complaint over the government "burthening [slaveowners] with direct taxes for three-fifths of their slaves."
Here's why the Palmetto State seceded, in their own words, interspersed with commentary from yours truly:
We affirm that these ends for which this Government was instituted have been defeated, and the Government itself has been made destructive of them by the action of the non-slaveholding States. Those States have assume[d] the right of deciding upon the propriety of our domestic institutions; and have denied the rights of property established in fifteen of the States and recognized by the Constitution; they have denounced as sinful the institution of slavery; they have permitted open establishment among them of societies, whose avowed object is to disturb the peace and to eloign the property of the citizens of other States. They have encouraged and assisted thousands of our slaves to leave their homes; and those who remain, have been incited by emissaries, books and pictures to servile insurrection.This opening salvo, based on the complaints list in Declaration of Independence, presents an interesting challenge for those who say that the South seceded over "states rights." Are they not here complaining that the northern states denounced slavery as sinful (whence goes free speech?), and allowed anti-slavery societies to exist (whence goes freedom of association?) People in other states even wrote books and drew pictures that the South found offensive (whence freedom of the press?) and the federal government refused to stop them. The horror!
The truth is that before the war the southern states did not give a damn about states' rights except when it came to preserving slavery.
But let us continue:
For twenty-five years this agitation has been steadily increasing, until it has now secured to its aid the power of the common Government. Observing the forms of the Constitution, a sectional party has found within that Article establishing the Executive Department, the means of subverting the Constitution itself. A geographical line has been drawn across the Union, and all the States north of that line have united in the election of a man to the high office of President of the United States, whose opinions and purposes are hostile to slavery. He is to be entrusted with the administration of the common Government, because he has declared that that "Government cannot endure permanently half slave, half free," and that the public mind must rest in the belief that slavery is in the course of ultimate extinction...Read it again: "...the public mind must rest in the belief that slavery is in the course of ultimate extinction."
We have a bingo. SC noted that every state north of the Mason-Dixon line went for Lincoln. For all their noise about "the forms of the Constitution" and "a sectional party" (Disqualify!!!) their complaint is simply that their guy(s) lost the election and a northern-based party won it without the electoral votes of a single southern state. Whether Lincoln was actually against slavery or not (and we'll assume for the sake of argument that he was not**), Lincoln would not be the last president. With the failure of slavery in Kansas and the continued growth of northern population, the writing was on the wall: the North could henceforth elect any president it wanted. The South would never again control the presidency as firmly as it had since the nation's founding. And therefore slavery would become extinct in the United States, if not by the hand of Lincoln, then by the next Republican elected, or the next.
Sectional interest and animosity will deepen the irritation, and all hope of remedy is rendered vain, by the fact that public opinion at the North has invested a great political error with the sanction of more erroneous religious belief.It is underappreciated exactly how much it bothered the South that so many in the North called slavery sinful. The legislature of Georgia placed a bounty of $5000 on the head of minister William Lloyd Garrison for that very reason. The South's rhetoric had moved over the course of a century from slavery being a necessary normal, to it being a necessary evil, to arguing, by the 1850s, that it was a positive good, both for the slaveowner and the slave. A widespread belief, promulgated by a growing number of northern Christian ministers, that chattel slavery was evil to its core and that people who took part in it were horrible awful sinners, was something they could not, and would not, stand for. Nor did they ever think such a religious difference could be overcome.
We, therefore, the People of South Carolina, by our delegates in Convention assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, have solemnly declared that the Union heretofore existing between this State and the other States of North America, is dissolved...Blah, blah, blah, so long and thanks for all the fish. An overbearing federal government was fine so long as it served the interests of slaveholders - Southern politicians complained long and bitterly about personal liberty laws in northern states*** and used every power in the Federal arsenal to subject these states to central control. It was only when they realized they would no longer control that power, when they feared it might be used against slavery, that they decided that Union was a bad idea.
To sum up:
1) The South seceded to preserve slavery. They had every right to secede, but they did it for the shittiest reason imaginable. It's no wonder their modern defenders try to make it about taxes or states' rights.
2) The North invaded because bankers and politicians foresaw that the US could be a world power if it remained in one piece. In other words, preservation of the Union was necessary to increase the power of Washington, DC. It's no wonder their modern defenders try to make it about slavery.
3) The Civil War was not about slavery or taxes or states' rights, though all of them played a part in how the morality of the war was presented to those who fought. This was necessary because the Civil War was mostly just a fight to decide whether the rich, powerful men down South or the rich, powerful men up North would get their way.
* I can think of four reasons right off the top. 1) The South asserted that the Constitution already preserved slavery. 2) There was no guarantee that 2/3 of both houses would approve, much less 3/4 of the states. 3) There is no way Lincoln could guarantee the preservation of anything - any amendment can be rescinded. 4) Because Presidents don't get to vote on Constitutional amendments. In other words, they had the good sense not to believe Honest Abe.
** The Republicans were not even abolitionist as we think of it today. White workers and farmers were growing tired of having to compete against slave labor. In fact, while Kansas came into the Union as a free state, it is little known that it almost came in as a state where black people would have been forbidden to live by law. Opposed to the expansion of slavery is not the same as opposed to slavery.
*** States' rights? LOL. Give us our slaves back. Without even making us prove they were ever slaves.