Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The South's Ideological Aggression: Property Rights in Slavery and the Outbreak of the Civil War

 ICYMI, "Response to Stogie at Saberpoint and 'Why the Civil War Was Not About Slavery...'"

The last round of interactions on Professor Livingston has fizzled out, and Stogie has tucked tail, not responding to further comments.

Indeed, he's pretty much announced his own personal secession. See "I am a Confederate," and "Survival in a Post-American World."

So, on to the next iteration, if Stogie's up for it. As I've argued, Professor Livingston's piece was mostly a smokescreen, filled with red herrings, designed to deflect attention away from the origins of the Civil War in Old South's white supremacist planter regime. The war was indeed about slavery. The Northern states had abolished slavery and sought to restrict its spread to the territories. The Kansas-Nebraska Act, and especially the Dred Scott decision, destroyed any accommodation that existed regulating the instituion. As Southerners pressed their ideological agenda for slavery, particularly the meme of states' rights, the ultimate irreconcilable differences boiled to a head.

Slavery was the basis for the outbreak of the war.

See Professor James Huston, at the Journal of Southern History, "Property Rights in Slavery and the Coming of the Civil War":
This article proposes an economic explanation for the Civil War --- an explanation based on the existence of a dual system of property rights. The thesis is that southern secession grew out of the irreconcilability of the two regimes of property rights: one in the South that recognized property in humans and one in the North that did not. As long as the United States was fragmented into small market areas these two regimes did not conflict; but the transportation revolution stitched market areas together, and no longer could the effects of slavery be confined to the South. Northerners recognized that, by means of a national market, the effects of the southern labor system could be transmitted to the North, depress the wages of free laborers, and thereby upset its economy. Northerners thereby felt compelled to constrict the effects of slavery. By the same token, southerners, who had placed vast amounts of wealth in slaves, opposed any restrictions on property rights and promptly demanded northern recognition of southern rights regarding slavery --- thereby expanding property rights in slaves from the local to the national arena. Northerners perceived this demand as ideological aggression, and it was the basis for their fears of the nationalization of slavery. Southerners were not going to allow any attack upon the property rights that gave them wealth and income; northerners could not allow southerners to win the battle over property rights because it would cause a fundamental recasting of northern society.
I'll link this over at Saberpoint. Perhaps Stogie will pause his hunkering down for a bit and engage in a new round of discussion.

And be sure to read Professor Huston's piece in its entirety.