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 Post subject: The South
PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2020 7:07 pm 
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One of my hobbies is listening to adult continuing education recorded lectures. Recently one of the lecturers said when he was going up his father referred to the US Civil War as, "The War of Northern Aggression." I have never heard this. Is it familiar to anyone here?

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 Post subject: Re: The South
PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2020 7:13 pm 
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Yes, I've heard it before. Not often, though. I understand it to be a strictly Southern usage, but I don't know how prevalent it is these days, nor the contexts in which it tends to be used.

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 Post subject: Re: The South
PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2020 8:43 pm 
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I've heard of it as well.

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 Post subject: Re: The South
PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2020 1:57 am 
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Yes it was used in the former confederate states. It argues that the North wanted to gain political control of the south and turn the region into more or less a colony--that the north was an imperialist power. The phrase isn't used much any more but the argument is still around


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 Post subject: Re: The South
PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2020 10:14 am 
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It's one of the many phrases used to turn the violent struggle to uphold white supremacy and the institution of slavery into a cute tiff between neighbors.


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 Post subject: Re: The South
PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2020 10:51 am 
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bigsciota wrote:
It's one of the many phrases used to turn the violent struggle to uphold white supremacy and the institution of slavery into a cute tiff between neighbors.

Have you ever thought of applying to the Diplomatic Corps? :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: The South
PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2020 11:44 am 
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benhall.1 wrote:
bigsciota wrote:
It's one of the many phrases used to turn the violent struggle to uphold white supremacy and the institution of slavery into a cute tiff between neighbors.

Have you ever thought of applying to the Diplomatic Corps? :lol:


Ha, that's me being diplomatic and safe for the board!

The Declarations of Secession from the states that made one (not all did) are quite enlightening for anyone wishing to read more:

https://www.battlefields.org/learn/primary-sources/declaration-causes-seceding-states


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 Post subject: Re: The South
PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2020 12:14 pm 
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bigsciota wrote:
Ha, that's me being diplomatic and safe for the board!/

Well, thank goodness for that! :lol:

bigsciota wrote:
The Declarations of Secession from the states that made one (not all did) are quite enlightening for anyone wishing to read more:

https://www.battlefields.org/learn/primary-sources/declaration-causes-seceding-states

I thought I wanted to read more ... started ... and then found that I really didn't. :(

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 Post subject: Re: The South
PostPosted: Fri Jun 26, 2020 3:49 pm 
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bigsciota wrote:
It's one of the many phrases used to turn the violent struggle to uphold white supremacy and the institution of slavery into a cute tiff between neighbors.

I don't think anyone using the phrase "War of Northern Aggression" is trying to portray the bloodiest war in U.S. history as a "cute tiff between neighbors".

Even a casual reading of the historical records shows there were many causes besides the obvious conflict over slavery. I suspect the "Northern Aggression" phrase is intended to focus on the states rights aspect.

I found an essay by James McPherson on why individual soldiers fought a fascinating read. https://www.britannica.com/topic/Civil-War-Why-They-Fought-The-1793303

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 Post subject: Re: The South
PostPosted: Fri Jun 26, 2020 5:06 pm 
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"Wanton aggression" was a phrase used by Jefferson Davis in his first inaugural address so it was likely a phrase in common usage in the days leading the American Civil War by people of the slave holding states who attempted to secede and remained so the minds of many people who populated those states.


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 Post subject: Re: The South
PostPosted: Fri Jun 26, 2020 5:20 pm 
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Michael w6 wrote:
One of my hobbies is listening to adult continuing education recorded lectures. Recently one of the lecturers said when he was going up his father referred to the US Civil War as, "The War of Northern Aggression." I have never heard this. Is it familiar to anyone here?


A common expression in the southern U.S.

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 Post subject: Re: The South
PostPosted: Fri Jun 26, 2020 6:00 pm 
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It's overwhelmingly about slavery. Slavery dominated American politics for twenty years before the war. Slavery was the issue in the newspapers every single day. Slavery was the cause of terrorist violence in Kansas, and John Brown's raid: debates about slavery led to fistfights on the floor of the House. It was about slavery. Individual soldiers gave individual explanations, but slavery is the overwhelming primal cause. McPherson agrees with this: a really good book on this is Stephanie McCurry, Confederate Reckoning.

Northerners often had little or no sympathy for African Americans but they were deeply concerned about what they called "the slave power," which they saw as a sinister conspiracy to control their own governments. They pointed to the Fugitive slave act, which required you to assist in tracking escaped slaves, and to the Dred Scott case, which effectively made slavery legal in states which had abolished it. 3/4s of southern whites did not own slaves, but they benefited socially politically and economically from a system in which slaves occupied the lowest positions, and where it was profitable they aspired to own slaves. Those areas where slavery was not profitable tended to be less interested in secession.

For reasons that escape this Pennsylvania-raised Yankee, a cloud of romance clings to the confederacy still

An 18 year old often has no idea why he does what he does--one of my students, a colonel in the US army, said "it's always the same story: they join up thinking it's going to be cool and then they're stuck."


Last edited by PB+J on Sat Jun 27, 2020 5:14 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: The South
PostPosted: Fri Jun 26, 2020 9:17 pm 
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swizzlestick wrote:
Even a casual reading of the historical records shows there were many causes besides the obvious conflict over slavery. I suspect the "Northern Aggression" phrase is intended to focus on the states rights aspect.

I found an essay by James McPherson on why individual soldiers fought a fascinating read. https://www.britannica.com/topic/Civil-War-Why-They-Fought-The-1793303


Perhaps you could present those other causes to those of us less enlightened. It would be as surprising to me as it would be to the vice president of the Confederacy, Alexander Stephens:

Quote:
Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its corner-stone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth.


As for the MacPherson essay, I'm sure that many Axis soldiers in WWII or ISIS soldiers recently had a variety of individual reasons for taking up arms. That does not change the hideousness of the cause that they collectively fought for, and it should not mitigate our revulsion over that cause and rejection of all those who would fight for that cause, whatever their reasoning might be.


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 Post subject: Re: The South
PostPosted: Sat Jun 27, 2020 5:28 am 
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This point is often overlooked: the North had the state's rights argument. By 1840 all the Northern states had abolished slavery. In the Dred Scott case, 1857, the Supreme Court dominated by slaveholders nullified those bans. To simplify, a slaveowner who served in the Army moved to two different free states, bringing Dred Scott, a slave, with him. Scott sued, arguing that he could not be a slave in a state which had banned slavery. The Court ruled that a slaveowner could bring his slaves into a free state and they would remains slaves, thus nullifying that States' decision to abolish slavery. The Court asserted that northern states had no right to legislate on the question of slavery or on the rights of African Americans. It's a complete negation of the right of Northern states to abolish slavery.

Any event has complex multiple causes, and if you want to be determinist about it any event could have 100, 000 causes. But the proximal cause is slavery; there's no real ambiguity about this.

John Singleton Mosby, the Confederate raider, wrote:

"We went to war on account of the thing we quarreled with the North about. I never heard of any other cause of quarrel than slavery. Men fight from sentiment. After the fight is over they invent some fanciful theory on which they imagine that they fought."


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 Post subject: Re: The South
PostPosted: Sat Jun 27, 2020 8:56 am 
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PB+J wrote:
This point is often overlooked: the North had the state's rights argument. By 1840 all the Northern states had abolished slavery. In the Dred Scott case, 1857, the Supreme Court dominated by slaveholders nullified those bans. To simplify, a slaveowner who served in the Army moved to two different free states, bringing Dred Scott, a slave, with him. Scott sued, arguing that he could not be a slave in a state which had banned slavery. The Court ruled that a slaveowner could bring his slaves into a free state and they would remains slaves, thus nullifying that States' decision to abolish slavery. The Court asserted that northern states had no right to legislate on the question of slavery or on the rights of African Americans. It's a complete negation of the right of Northern states to abolish slavery.


I can find no evidence that Maryland, Missouri, or Kentucky abolished slavery before it was re-instituted.

I've always found it ironic that Maryland calls itself the Free State even though it didn't abolish slavery till late in the Civil War.

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