Yeah, the Civil War conversation from a couple days ago is still going strong. And again, I’m struck by something that I feel is deserving of a blog post; the refusal of Civil War apologists to acknowledge white supremacy as one of the precipitating causes for the war ( it always flummoxes me.) The same folks who envisage white southerners as too stupid to parse through Confederate war rhetoric to willfully decide the issue for themselves will turn right around and say they don’t know enough about the psychology of supporters of the Confederacy to impugn their motives. In a nutshell, they’re saying that they know enough about white southerners to know what they thought about race, or if they were in fact racist, but they can, and do, know enough to know that they were manipulated into the war by southern slave owning politicians. Get it? It wasn’t their fault. Here’s an example:
We now know that the war was primarily about slavery (at least on some level) but, no doubt, many Southerners thought it was about tyranny. That is, while they didn’t want to give up their slaves — probably even more they didn’t want some busybodies up in Massachusetts or Vermont telling them they couldn’t have them. South Carolinians certainly didn’t tell Quakers in Pennsylvania that they HAD to own slaves.
But when I challenge the above statement by saying this:
Yes, tyranny as it relates to chattel slavery. South Carolina was upset that New York no longer allowed “slavery transit.” In Mississippi’s secession declaration, they wrote “our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery — the greatest material interest of the world.” Southerners, rich and poor, were highly invested in the buying and selling of blacks and knew full well that they wanted to maintain the free labor and superiority that accompanies having absolute power over another human being.
Well, I’m not that familiar with any psychological analyses of the antebellum Southern mind. Its not exactly on my priority list of things to study: philosophy, theology, history of Ancient Near East, historical biblical criticism ( southern quasi-feudal mindset, not so much) .
It’s enough to make you wanna take a drink.