Wednesday, October 20, 2021

When in the Course of Human Events

A review of When in the Course of Human Events: Arguing the Case for Southern Secession (Rowman & Littlefield,  2004) by Charles Adams

Did the South go to war for sport?

Not being a professional historian, my historical toolbox is not large. But one tool has often gotten me to the heart of past events. That tool is to ask:

What is the most incongruous thing in these events?

The most incongruous thing in the debate over the causes of the War Between the States is that, if the South wanted to preserve slavery, as the many (sic) declarations of causes for secession clearly admit, then why on earth was it willing to go to war to do so? The Corwin Amendment, which would have established slavery irrevocably, which would have been America’s 13th Amendment, had been given to them before a shot was fired. A Northern Congress, absent of all the Southern states, had proposed it; Lincoln had personally promoted it; and five states – not one of them Southern – had ratified it. Why would the Southern declarations champion slavery as a cause for secession and as a casus belli when there was absolutely no need? And if the South seceded for other reasons, why did it not state those reasons to the exclusion of a principle which was not at issue whatsoever, and which was likely to alienate European support? Did the South go to war for sport?

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  1. Just to show how poorly our schools teach history, I have never heard of this and I grew up in the South in the 50s and 60s! I never believed the CW was about slavery since none of the soldiers (who gave their lives for the cause) owned any! Thanks for this newfound knowledge!