J.W. King's "10 Reasons for the Civil War"

Mr. King in listing ten causes of the Civil War implied slavery was a side issue, because not all Southerners owned slaves. That's true, but perhaps he should ask the question as to whether those who held political and economic power owned slaves.

I'm going to find out the answer, because I don't know the answer at this point. To reassure Mr. King, this is going to be a totally objective look at the Congressional and State politicians, as well as those who signed the Articles of Secession. So far I've looked at the Alabama Congressional delegation in office at the time of that State's secession. Both U.S. Senators did own slaves. Four of the seven Congressmen did not own slaves. So the score for Alabama's representation in Congress was Yes: 5 No: 4

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Billy Bearden's picture
Submitted by Billy Bearden on Sun, 10/15/2006 - 10:34am.

Are you going to do a comprehensive study, say where folks like William Penn (founder of Pennsylvania) George Washington and Thomas Jefferson owned slaves, or a limited study of a 5 week period where the Secession Convention members owned slaves?

Don't forget to include those other forgotten places that seceeded like Arizona, Missouri, Kentucky, and the Indian Nations Creek, Choctaw, Osage, Cherokee, Seminole, etc...

Will you include leaders like Gen US Grant who owned them and said he would resign and offer his sword to the Confederates if he thought the war was being fought to free slaves?

Submitted by aprilw on Sat, 10/14/2006 - 8:06pm.

This will be educational. I would like to see what you come up with, however I think you will find that both Southern and Northern officials owned slaves. I think that even when it was illegal in the North there were politicians who owned slaves that were located in the South. I think though it was illegal to have them in the North, you could legally buy and sell them and so people did to make profit even if they did not own farms/plantations.
As far as Southern officials owning slaves, I am sure a lot did. Maybe not all who could afford it, but I think probably most who could afford it probably did.

Billy Bearden's picture
Submitted by Billy Bearden on Sun, 10/15/2006 - 10:59am.


Yes, sad to say that the North enjoyed the benefits of slavery during the War Between The States. While Lincoln sent his invasion force South to force us back into a once voluntary Union at the point of Bayonette, slavery continued in Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, and in the Union held places of Missouri and Kentucky.

Lincoln had in his hand the 2nd version of the 13th Amendment, also known as the "Corwin Amendment" and was prepared to offer it to the South. It had already been ratified by 3 Northern States. Had the South decided to remain in the Union, the Corwin Amendment would still be law, and it declared the Slavery as an institution would remain forever in perpituity and Congress would have no authority to change it.

Lincoln admitted West Virginia into the Union as a slave state in 1863.

Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation freed slaves in the Confederate States not in Union control, but EXEMPTED slavery where it existed in Union states and Union controled areas of the South.

Slavery was not ended until December 1865 by the 3rd version of the 13th Amendment - 8 months after the war was finished.

Submitted by Donald Thompson on Fri, 10/20/2006 - 5:49am.

The Corwin Amendment, for those not familiar with it, was a proposed amendment to the U.S. Constitution introduced by Ohio Congressman Thomas Corwin in 1861, essentially as a last ditch effort to avert Civil War. The proposal sought to prohibit the Federal government from interfering with existing “domestic institutions,” i.e. slavery. The amendment was approved in the House of Representatives by one vote more than was required and then passed onto the Senate for voting on March 2, 1861. Again, it was passed with the exact number of required votes, 24. The irony of its passage was that seven Southern states had already voted secession.

As with any proposed amendment to the Constitution it then had to be ratified by three quarters of the states. It was ratified in Ohio, Maryland, and Illinois, but then lost its momentum.

With regard to the slaveholding status of Abraham Lincoln and U.S. Grant, both married women whose families had long histories of owning slaves, however they themselves did not own slaves and did not employ slaves in their households. No one has ever figured out this boy-girl thing when it comes to love. It’s also true that many of Mary Todd Lincoln’s relatives fought for the Confederacy. Lincoln, contrary to the popular belief, was not opposed to the continuation of slavery where it already existed. He was, however, opposed to its expansion into the western territories. Quite simply Lincoln believed that slavery would die of its own volition by the year 1900.

As is correctly pointed out, the Emancipation Proclamation only applied to slaves in states unified under the Confederacy. A contradiction to be sure, but one that Lincoln, the consummate politician, was willing to maintain in order to prevent border states such as Maryland and Kentucky from seceding from the Union.

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