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Close to the flame by VINYLSPIDER
.. Southern States had every Constitutional right to go out of the Union But Lincoln said, no. Lincoln said, this Union can never be broken. Now, that was a terrible responsibility for one man to take. But he took it knowing that he would be obliged to fight the greatest war in human history, which he did and which he won. So he not only put the Union back together again but he made an entirely different country, and all of it in his own image..
Gore Vidal. Lincoln
.. I write about the nature of fire by the burned hand
Note from the author: I am taking a liberty of using the word Negro through this article when describing the events of the US Civil War. That's how people were called at that time. I have no intention to insult or denigrate African- Americans in any way. Here's my logic- Negroes were property; African- Americans never were and never will be forever.
It is my opinion that if we want to show the real story of the people's progress we need to fight the demon of exceptionalism by showing persistently that although people can be very different in particular, they are stunningly similar in big, general, mass events; the same powerful forces guide them, the same waves of love and hatred possess them, the same great callings are in the hearts of the strong and the same satanic whispers are in the hearts of the malicious. Exceptionalism is a true "enemy of the people' and unless we here in the US step down from the mystical City On The Hill and acknowledge that we are by far not better than anyone else we can face a wrath of Humanity so profound and so destructive that it is scary to even to imagine. We really tempt the fate here and that's why I would like to show how history can help us to understand ourselves and make the right decision.
1. The Peril Of The Southern Confederacy
If Southern Confederacy had freed its own slaves unconditionally in 1861 it would have been an independent state now. There would not have been any Civil War in the US. Who knows, maybe Lincoln would have been alive and writing memoirs together with Jefferson Davis in 1870s. Something like 'Abe and Jeff: North and South'.
But Confederacy did not free its slaves; it made that bondage a cornerstone of their new Constitution. And that was the end of them, right at the start. Lincoln had all the right to say no. From that moment all the progressive Humanity was on his side- he sure as Hell was destined to win. American exceptionalism played a really dirty trick on the Southerners- their hubris brought them to peril.
Northern bankers, industrialists and financiers did not like black people. They though loved the money turnaround. They were young, predatorish and active and they needed action and recognition throughout the world, especially in Europe. But Europe was developing and changing. In the European salons, in the parlors of Lloyd's and English East- Indian company, in the cozy brothels of Paris new Americans heard again and again, "When will you folks get rid of that atrocity, slavery? It is an obstacle in the way of the Free Trade." And yes, it was. In 1848 a wave of revolutions had forced the ruling class to reforms. As French had already abandoned slavery in colonies since the Great Revolution, England soon followed suit. Russia had just learned a tough lesson in the Crimean War and was preparing to abandon the serfdom; the last bastion of feudalism was falling. That all resulted in the shift in the world's markets and different assessment of property values. US slave-owners began to feel the heat right away.
Negroes were property. Land and negroes were the two main property sources for the Southern "gentry', the first one being exploited and the second- one- worked to death. But none of those two were profitable any more. Land- ownership can be profitable in two cases: if you rent it to someone else or if the people who work on it -- love it. Oil deposits were not discovered yet and cotton was the main product of the South. Sugar cane, tobacco and peanuts were not that far behind though. So there was not much rented property and the people who worked on those fields were slaves. They did not love that land at all. Had no reason to.