What misconception about history infuriates you? (self.AskReddit)

AskReddit

5086 ups - 3025 downs = 2061 votes

Edit: Oh wow, this had 12 upvotes when I went to bed. 6,000 comments later...thanks for all the replies!

9806 comments submitted at 05:44:38 on Oct 14, 2013 by PM_ME_UR_TITS_PLS

  • [-]
  • SimpleManSC
  • 470 Points
  • 13:37:45, 14 October

I am frustrated by the educational trend of consolidating enormous historical events into buzzwords. The American Civil War was about "slavery." World War II was about "Nazis." The American Revolution was for "freedom." This establishes and reinforces profound ignorance and discourages critical thought.

  • [-]
  • kugelblitz527
  • 44 Points
  • 15:10:15, 14 October

This happened in my high school class around senior year. The new civics teacher slowly found out that most of the students had no clue about how the government works or how major American wars were started, so he devoted most of the class to clearing up any misunderstandings and providing more depth to what they'd been taught since they were 6. Plenty were surprised to figure out that the North was actually still pretty racist and segregated.

  • [-]
  • SimpleManSC
  • 6 Points
  • 23:15:58, 14 October

Abolitionists were a small but very vocal political minority in the North. The vast majority of Americans were ambivalent towards slavery since it was seen primarily as an economic institution, not to mention that virulent racism was pretty much the cultural standard of the day. From a cultural/political standpoint the Northern war effort was driven by a sense that the South had violated their contract with America and that national unity superceded the desires of individual states. The idea that the North was fighting this noble crusade to free the slaves was retroactively attached when that became the preferred narrative.

  • [-]
  • Eurynom0s
  • 2 Points
  • 00:24:13, 15 October

And Lincoln, for instance, had his political roots in the Free Soil movement. They didn't give a shit about slavery except to keep it from spreading west so that white men wouldn't have to compete against slave labor in trying to find work.

And note that the Emancipation Proclamation only applied to the Confederacy--as in, the places where Union law was not in effect. It was purely a ploy to try to undermine the Confederacy from within. Lincoln is clearly on the record as being more than willing to keep slavery around to end the war.

  • [-]
  • EmmettDoyle
  • 8 Points
  • 01:27:36, 15 October

Actually, Lincoln was very openly against slavery itself and stated so, publicly, many times. He just understood the difference between his own sentiments and the duties of his office as bound by the constitution and his oaths. Also, the Emancipation Proclamation did not abolish slavery because 1) he didn't have that power and 2) he didn't want the remaining slave states to join the confederacy.

  • [-]
  • BobbyBruceBanner
  • 26 Points
  • 14:57:39, 14 October

Actually there were numerous causes, aside from the obvious schism between abolitionists and anti-abolitionists, economic factors, both domestic and international, played a significant–

EDIT: (Though I have to say, that it's actually a bit of a misconception that slavery WASN'T the primary factor in the Civil War)

  • [-]
  • unwholesome
  • 23 Points
  • 15:04:22, 14 October

Right, it's hard to pretend that slavery wasn't a primary cause when the Confederate states explicitly said "we're seceding because of slavery" in their declarations of secession. Even harder when you consider that CSA Vice President Stephens explicitly said that the Confederacy was based upon the "truth" that blacks are inferior to whites.

By the same token, I get very frustrated with the misconception that Lincoln was indifferent to slavery. He cared about slavery very much, but his dedication to the Constitution constrained the ways he felt he could go about emancipation.

  • [-]
  • natophonic2
  • 10 Points
  • 15:37:06, 14 October

I think it's fair to say that, for Lincoln, the decision to enter the conflict was driven by the perceived need to keep the Union together. While his writings make clear that he personally found slavery abhorrent and sympathized with the abolitionists, they also make clear that if he could have preserved the Union without ending slavery in the South, he would have taken that pragmatic (even if immoral) route.

For the Confederate states, however, the war was clearly about State's Rights. That is, the right of states to keep the institution of slavery completely intact within their own state and promote its spread to other territories. And you're right about the Southern states' declarations; the one from Texas is cartoonishly racist.

  • [-]
  • unwholesome
  • 9 Points
  • 15:46:08, 14 October

Right, even though Lincoln was manifestly anti-slavery, his main goal during the Civil War was preservation of the Union. And even in his election speeches, he said that approach regarding slavery was to limit the spread of slavery into the territories rather than end slavery where it already existed. That's part of what led him to make strategic choices like limiting the Emancipation Proclamation to only the rebellious states instead of extending it to Maryland, Missouri, or Kentucky.

In fact, I think Lincoln was a far more crafty, pragmatic thinker than a lot of history textbooks give him credit for. I'm just concerned that some people interpret this pragmatism as callousness toward slavery, as if he weren't instrumental to the 13th amendment's passing.

And holy smokes yeah, Texas' declaration is like a Tijuana Bible version of Yosemite Sam level of racist.

  • [-]
  • turtleeatingalderman
  • 1 Points
  • 03:19:13, 16 October

> strategic choices like limiting the Emancipation Proclamation to only the rebellious states instead of extending it to Maryland, Missouri, or Kentucky.

Well, that was also because his war powers limited him to confiscating 'property' from rebels and in rebel territory (though Lincoln didn't personally agree with the notion that the humans held in slavery were property).

  • [-]
  • zaccus
  • 4 Points
  • 21:09:36, 14 October

>for Lincoln, the decision to enter the conflict was driven by the perceived need to keep the Union together.

That, and the fact that the Confederate Army attacked Fort Sumter and he had no other choice. I point this out because many people seem to believe that Lincoln/the North was the aggressor in that conflict, which doesn't make sense given the facts.

  • [-]
  • blackcrowes
  • 1 Points
  • 21:42:21, 14 October

Because, "given the facts," South Carolina attempted to purchase the fort from the Federal government. Lincoln, in his attempt to ensure unity, denied this proposal. South Carolina ceded this, but stated that there could be no supplies sent to relieve those men, as South Carolina owned the surrounding water.

Also, Seward sort of implied (promised) that Lincoln would sell the fort and was generally disingenuous, as he thought that he would be running the show.

  • [-]
  • turtleeatingalderman
  • 1 Points
  • 07:15:39, 15 October

>as South Carolina owned the surrounding water.

According to South Carolina. But it's actually nice to see a relatively level-headed and accurate discussion of the Civil War on reddit.

  • [-]
  • blackcrowes
  • 1 Points
  • 14:35:12, 15 October

Well of course, it is all predicated on the fact that SC saw it as legal to secede and Washington failed to acknowledge [this]. It was also a tricky situation as recognizing SC's claimed right would internationally acknowledge their separation since the claim hinged upon the precedent of where international boundaries are drawn in the ocean.

Most definitely, but this is the sort of discussion that no one wants to have, as they require both knowledge and tact. They also need be capable of communication - such as not leaving out certain bits of information to intentionally shift meanings.

As an addendum to all, regarding these posts about the Civil War, my statements are in no means meant to be taken as support for such an abomination. I attempt merely to illuminate people of the truth. Just because one group committed a sin does not open the gates for another to sin in kind.

  • [-]
  • SimpleManSC
  • -2 Points
  • 23:23:59, 14 October

Lincoln quite deliberately antagonized a Confederate response at Fort Sumter in order to instigate war. It was clear that war was going to happen soon but the Confederacy had made it abundantly clear that they would not enter a conflict except to defend themselves.

  • [-]
  • Das_Mime
  • 3 Points
  • 02:22:49, 15 October

> Lincoln quite deliberately antagonized a Confederate response at Fort Sumter in order to instigate war.

The Confederacy had Fort Sumter under siege before Lincoln even took the oath of office. Sorry, but provisioning a fort that is being threatened by rebels and insurrectionists is good defense policy, it's not "provocation". The Confederates were 110% responsible for their decision to fire on Fort Sumter. They weren't defending themselves, they were attacking a military installation of the United States.

This has been your daily clarification of what "defend" means.

  • [-]
  • turtleeatingalderman
  • 2 Points
  • 07:17:51, 15 October

You stopped me from making a longer comment. Thank you.

  • [-]
  • SimpleManSC
  • 6 Points
  • 15:05:29, 14 October

That's my point. The Civil War was the largest war of American history with decades of economic, cultural, and political influences. It's one of the most complex and impactful events in our history and individuals are trained to associate and explain it with a singular word. That's a huge disservice.

  • [-]
  • Das_Mime
  • 3 Points
  • 02:24:06, 15 October

Well, that "singular word" refers to the institution which was the primary and overarching cause of the Civil War, so while it's not a complete description, it's still fairly accurate.

  • [-]
  • TeTrodoToxin4
  • 1 Points
  • 19:31:19, 14 October

Way to quote Apu!

  • [-]
  • Deverone
  • 1 Points
  • 19:29:57, 14 October

Just say 'slavery'.

  • [-]
  • Buscat
  • 30 Points
  • 17:25:59, 14 October

The Civil War one is actually pretty accurate. There are a bunch of points of strife between the North and South, and they all pretty much boil down to slavery.

The one that bothers me is when people think that the USA joined WW2 in Europe to "save the Jews". I mean, the Holocaust had not really begun in 1941 to the extent that it would in later years even when it was going on, outsiders were unaware of the scale of it until close to the end of the war. It was a shock reaffirmation that they'd done the right thing, but it wasn't a cause.

  • [-]
  • bge951
  • 9 Points
  • 18:57:40, 14 October

> The one that bothers me is when people think that the USA joined WW2 in Europe to "save the Jews".

Do people really think that? I've never heard it. I've always had the understanding that we thought Hitler was dangerous and needed to be stopped before he could consolidate his power there.

  • [-]
  • tepdude
  • 6 Points
  • 22:07:37, 14 October

The problem with this thread is that folks are complaining but not giving the correction. Why did we go to war then? I always thought it was pearl harbor. Am I wrong? I came here to learn something, but all I know is that there are lies out there. WHAT IS THE TRUTH?!?!?!?!?

  • [-]
  • Wibbles20
  • 3 Points
  • 22:46:25, 14 October

After Pearl Harbor, America declared war on Japan. Then Germany declared war on America a few days later.

Now for a different look at things, the "lies out there" as you say.

I think I read somewhere that Japan was supposed to have declared war on America an hour or so before the attack commenced, but the Japanese embassy in America didn't send the papers across, but effectively the same thing ended up happening in the end whichever way you look at it.

A few days later, Hitler declared war on America. In fact, America was starting to build up troops in England. I think they were helping to defend naval bases in Northern England, but can't remember exactly where or what they were doing because I wasn't really paying attention to that part of the doco.

So actually, America was preparing for war, but Japan/Germany made them show their hand before they were ready.

  • [-]
  • Das_Mime
  • 2 Points
  • 02:25:37, 15 October

> So actually, America was preparing for war

Preparing for a possible war is not the same thing as a definite intent to go to war. Without Pearl Harbor, the US would have entered the war much later or possibly not at all.

  • [-]
  • Wibbles20
  • 1 Points
  • 03:17:06, 15 October

Roosevelt wanted to go to war in Europe, but didn't have public approval so he built up his forces so when he did, he would be ready to join the war. He even stationed troops in england to be ready to help out.

So yeah, he wanted to definitely go to war, but i understand what you're saying

  • [-]
  • Das_Mime
  • 2 Points
  • 05:03:50, 15 October

Well, the Lend-Lease program was open support for Allied militaries, starting in March 1941. So the US was clear that it was providing economic/materiel aid to the Allies, but wasn't going to send its troops.

  • [-]
  • the_sound_of_turtles
  • 2 Points
  • 23:35:03, 14 October

Just adding on to what you were saying, Roosevelt already wanted to go to war in order to support the English, but there was no public support. Pearl harbor was basically the excuse Roosevelt needed to join the war

  • [-]
  • Wibbles20
  • 1 Points
  • 23:52:57, 14 October

Yeah, exactly. As well, he knew about Pearl Harbor before it was going to happen, but wasn't sure the exact date, times, etc., just that there was going to be an attack. So he withdrew the aircraft carriers and other major vessels. This gave him the public support to go to war

  • [-]
  • Wibbles20
  • 1 Points
  • 23:52:57, 14 October

Yeah, exactly. As well, he knew about Pearl Harbor before it was going to happen, but wasn't sure the exact date, times, etc., just that there was going to be an attack. So he withdrew the aircraft carriers and other major vessels. This gave him the public support to go to war

  • [-]
  • dakay501
  • 1 Points
  • 01:34:56, 15 October

We also declared war on Hungary and Romania but no one seems to remember that.

  • [-]
  • bge951
  • 1 Points
  • 12:03:59, 15 October

Yes, the attack on Pearl Harbor was our excuse (catalyst might be a better way to say it) to get into the war. But (as I recall, and I'm no historian) there was a strong sentiment among the American people that we should stay out of the war if at all possible*. Obviously, the attack by Japan meant we were at war with Japan. But that did not mean we had to fight in Europe too. Of course, when Germany declared war soon after, we were in on that front as well. The incentive to begin fighting there immediately, though, was to keep Hitler from gaining strength, not to save the Jews.

*This is important. Roosevelt had been re-elected in part on the promise to do all he could to keep the U.S. out of the war. Compare the gung-ho attitude around WWII (where we were attacked and had to defend ourselves) vs. Vietnam or Korea (where we were getting involved in other countries' business).

  • [-]
  • Paradoxius
  • 10 Points
  • 16:31:40, 14 October

And you'll notice it always makes the winners the good guys.

  • [-]
  • themanbat
  • 8 Points
  • 18:31:54, 14 October

Um... Stalin and Mao and Castro and the Khmer Rouge won.

  • [-]
  • EmmettDoyle
  • 2 Points
  • 01:29:53, 15 October

To be fair, Castro won against a regime much more repressive and unjust than anything Castro replaced it with. A lot of Russians, especially working class and peasant ones, would have said the same of Stalin versus the Tsar (and I say that as a staunch anti-Stalinist).

Now, the Khmer Rouge, they were just monstrous. Of course, they got defeated by the communist Vietnamese- while the US and other western nations aided and supported the Khmer Rouge.

  • [-]
  • bge951
  • 1 Points
  • 19:01:06, 14 October

And their histories (in their respective nations) featured them as the good guys.

  • [-]
  • Wibbles20
  • 1 Points
  • 22:53:18, 14 October

It's only the Western view of these guys that portrays them as bad guy.

Like if you look at Hitler. Sure he ordered the persecution of Jews, gypsies, gays and the disabled. But he got Germany back on its feet after the Treaty of Versailles and the Great Depression pretty much wrecked it. Also, many of the medical break throughs wouldn't have happened if the Nazis didn't experiment on the Jews.

So there is always 2 sides to every story

  • [-]
  • Das_Mime
  • 2 Points
  • 02:28:05, 15 October

> But he got Germany back on its feet after the Treaty of Versailles and the Great Depression pretty much wrecked it.

Ah, another history myth. Hitler's so-called "economic miracle" was based entirely on heavy deficit spending and money-printing, which would have led to another massive crash if Germany hadn't conquered other nations and stolen their reserves of currency and metals.

>Also, many of the medical break throughs wouldn't have happened if the Nazis didn't experiment on the Jews.

Actually, the Nazis' experiments were not nearly as important scientifically as many people seem to think. Most of them were carried out less-than-rigorously. They were largely a sadistic rather than scientific endeavor.

  • [-]
  • Wibbles20
  • 1 Points
  • 03:21:40, 15 October

Unemployment was getting high (not sure of exact figure and on phone so can't link to it anyway) and he got it down to close to zero. This was because he pretty much forced people into a job of his choosing (most were in the military or manufacturing for the military). A lot of work was already done by Stresemann (can't remember how to spell his name), who stopped the hyperinflation.

Through his experiments we know the causes of hyperthermia and also i read somewhere that he was one of the first people to see the correlation between smoking and lung cancer.

But yeah, i get here you're coming from. It was because they were sadistic and willing to do anything to another human that we were able to learn from it

  • [-]
  • Das_Mime
  • 2 Points
  • 05:02:21, 15 October

He was able to employ people because of deficit spending, which was only sustainable because of raiding other nations' treasuries.

Hitler had some anti-smoking programs, but he was nowhere close to the first to realize that tobacco was harmful to the lungs.

The hypothermia experiments were some of the very few which had scientific value. Doctors have some very active ethical discussions about using the data from Mengele's murderous experiments, but at the same time, the value of those experiments should not be overstated.

  • [-]
  • Paradoxius
  • 1 Points
  • 00:27:58, 15 October

And even if, like me, you say that all of that good stuff don't add up to outweighing the bad, there are plenty of people the western world reveres as heroes whose good deeds were outweighed by the bad as well.

  • [-]
  • Wibbles20
  • 1 Points
  • 00:30:16, 15 October

Yeah, i'm kinda the same. I always look at both sides. I'll be like, this guys evil, but he did all this good stuff too, or vice versa

  • [-]
  • ArkitekZero
  • 20 Points
  • 16:37:53, 14 October

The Civil War was about slavery because anything else it could be about is unimportant by comparison. Like we're talking the national equivalent of breaking your cocaine habit versus trying to prevent occasional awkward boners.

  • [-]
  • TheChubbyBunny
  • 1 Points
  • 19:14:39, 14 October

But, those awkward boners have got to go.

  • [-]
  • dakprime
  • -3 Points
  • 19:52:13, 14 October

I have to disagree with that assessment. The American civil war was a fought mostly due to the fact that several Southern States representatives and State government didn't believe that the national government was looking out for their interest (some of which related to slavery). They then decide to leave the Union at which point they were told by the national government (read Lincoln) that they couldn't leave. This led to many of the other southern states leaving the Union as they saw this as an infringement on state rights. This led to the Union declaring war on the now separate Southern government. The emancipation proclamation which is the big reason that everyone acts like this war was nothing more than some backwards southern trying to keep slavery while the north fought for the freedom of all peoples is not what people think it is. The proclamation stated that all ssouthern states are to return themselves to there rightful place in the Union by a specific date and if they did not that all their slaves would be deemed freed by the Union. This was not attempt to end slavery in the Union as we had already started passing legislation for that. The proclamation was designed to cause problems for the southern as they would now have to deal with slave revolts along with the actual war as word of the slave new found "freedom" spread.

  • [-]
  • lojafan
  • 5 Points
  • 21:37:04, 14 October

The Union never declared war. If they had, they would have legitimized the Confederacy as a "foreign government", separate from the United States. President Lincoln called for troops to be raised to quell the rebellion. The southern states that had not seceded, would now secede because of this measure, including my home state.

Slavery is a key part of the Civil War. It would be like saying "All Germans in the Wehrmacht during WWII fought because they loved being Nazi's." Well some probably did, but most did not. Most were not even Nazis. There is never just one cause for war, especially the Civil War.

  • [-]
  • turtleeatingalderman
  • 3 Points
  • 07:50:35, 15 October

>States representatives and State government didn't believe that the national government was looking out for their interest (some of which related to slavery)

The reason they all cited in their declarations of secession was northern hostility to slavery and lack of enforcement of the Fugitive Slave Act.

>They then decide to leave the Union at which point they were told by the national government (read Lincoln) that they couldn't leave.

Because they couldn't, legally. The first sentence of the Constitution prohibits that shit. "We the People, in order to form a more perfect Union" carries with it the perpetual union clause of the Articles of Confederation. Lincoln moreover maintained (as did Jackson, Webster, etc.) that the federal Union was lastly the creation of the people, not the states. It was the people's decision to elect him, and his duty to defend the Constitution from rebels, who proclaimed a nonexistent right without the consent of the people of the United States.

>This led to many of the other southern states leaving the Union as they saw this as an infringement on state rights.

They also bewailed northern states that exercised their states' rights to not enforce the Fugitive Slave Act. They moreover favored the Dred Scott decision, which interfered with the northern states' rights to eliminate slavery within their borders, as it maintained that slaveowners who move to states or territories that had outlawed slavery were allowed to keep their slaves. The states' rights argument fails at the most basic level.

>This led to the Union declaring war on the now separate Southern government.

No it didn't. At all.

>The emancipation proclamation which is the big reason that everyone acts like this war was nothing more than some backwards southern trying to keep slavery while the north fought for the freedom of all peoples is not what people think it is.

No, the southern declarations of secession are that reason, really, which was in turn the result, more or less, of anti-slavery or opposition to the expansion of slavery in the nawth.

>The proclamation stated that all ssouthern states are to return themselves to there rightful place in the Union by a specific date and if they did not that all their slaves would be deemed freed by the Union. This was not attempt to end slavery in the Union as we had already started passing legislation for that.

Huh? I honestly don't know what you're saying here, perhaps (though I hate to fall back on it) because English is not my native language, so sometimes grammatical errors confuse me in a bizarre way (not a jab at you, I make such errors all the time).

>The proclamation was designed to cause problems for the southern as they would now have to deal with slave revolts along with the actual war as word of the slave new found "freedom" spread.

Well, it was more a result of Lincoln needing to convert the war effort to a higher moral plane given the bloodiness of the war (especially after Antietam), an effort to undermine the southern economy during the war effort, a necessary response to the question of slaves "abandoned" by their "masters" in conquered territory, and the issuance by a president with a moral objection to slavery, and whose election prompted secession.

You can attack the EP for not going far enough, but you have to keep in mind that it's conservatism was a necessary restraint, both politically and legally. Making the war entirely about slavery in late 1862 would have been unwise, given a need to keep the border states in with the Union, which was fighting against slave-owning traitors. Lincoln, moreover did not have the authority to deal with slavery in any way other than as a wartime measure. Actually abolishing slavery required a Constitutional amendment, which was passed in 1865.

  • [-]
  • maleman
  • 2 Points
  • 20:58:15, 14 October

>several Southern States representatives and State government didn't believe that the national government was looking out for their interest (some of which related to slavery).

The vast majority of which were rooted in Slavery.

  • [-]
  • blackcrowes
  • -1 Points
  • 21:44:40, 14 October

While I disagree with the above comment generally, I must say that your quoted section lends itself to a more economic outlook. Yes, this is rooted in slavery, but that is rooted in cotton.

  • [-]
  • turtleeatingalderman
  • 1 Points
  • 07:21:27, 15 October

>Yes, this is rooted in slavery, but that is rooted in cotton.

Which was an industry dependent upon slavery? I don't know what you're trying to argue here.

  • [-]
  • pete2104
  • 3 Points
  • 18:57:07, 14 October

Yes! This needs to be at the top of the page!!

  • [-]
  • Massa1337
  • 2 Points
  • 18:22:33, 14 October

You just described every other post in this thread...

  • [-]
  • fps916
  • 2 Points
  • 20:16:23, 14 October

There's actually a rhetorical theory for this. It's called "ideographs" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ideograph_(rhetoric)

  • [-]
  • SimpleManSC
  • 2 Points
  • 23:45:07, 14 October

Thanks!

  • [-]
  • XK310
  • 2 Points
  • 01:11:09, 15 October

People LOVE simple. It's unfortunate.

  • [-]
  • woodyreturns
  • 9 Points
  • 17:06:08, 14 October

Well I dislike anyone who says the Civil War was about States Rights. That to me is just a Southerner trying to revise history and wash over what they were inherently mad about. It was about slavery. I don't see how you can argue differently.

  • [-]
  • thestonedkoala
  • 3 Points
  • 18:24:15, 14 October

Separatists almost broke the nation apart during the War of 1812 when some of the Northern Atlantic States grumbled about breaking away from the fragile union and suing for peace with the British. Another Civil War almost broke out during the Nullification Crisis with Jackson and Calhoun when South Carolina almost seceded from the Union.

Slavery was a major part of why the Confederacy rose but to disregard almost 90 years of history and not understand the challenges the Union faced during those years is laughable. A Civil War would have happened regardless of slavery or no slavery. It might have been postponed a little later.

As well, some Northerners were not oppose to slavery and some Southerners were. Slavery was actually dying out in the South. And many, many Southerners did not own a slave. Those large plantations? That was like the 1% of society owned those large plantations. Yes, there were a bigger number (but still a small percentage of the population) that owned slaves but to think EVERY Southerner owned a slave or even believed in Slavery that fought in the Civil War is ignorant at best.

I find that many people apply today's standard on yesterday's issues. The unified Union that we see today? That didn't really come about until the 20th century. Up until the Civil War/Spanish American War, soldiers identified more with their state than their country. They might disagree with their state but they were Statists and not Federalists.

  • [-]
  • TheColorOfStupid
  • 3 Points
  • 20:24:41, 14 October

> A Civil War would have happened regardless of slavery or no slavery.

Are you serious? What evidence or reasoning do you have to back up this ridiculous claim.

  • [-]
  • thestonedkoala
  • 1 Points
  • 22:18:12, 14 October

Because it almost happened before without the pretense of slavery (Nullification Crisis). The widening gap between the 'North' and the 'South' in terms of industrialization. Tariffs, taxes.

  • [-]
  • TheColorOfStupid
  • 2 Points
  • 22:24:34, 14 October

The Nullification crisis most certainly did not almost cause a civil war. South Carolina was the only state attempting to challenge the federal government.

And you could still argue that slavery hurt southern industrialization, which in turn made tariffs harm them more, which in turn caused the nullification crisis.

  • [-]
  • SimpleManSC
  • 1 Points
  • 23:35:46, 14 October

The tariffs were placed on the South to force them to sell their cotton to Northern industrial interests instead of overseas. This was nullified because it was seen as an immoral and unjust use of political power to favor certain economic interests at the expense of less powerful political constituents.

  • [-]
  • TheColorOfStupid
  • 1 Points
  • 23:54:39, 14 October

And what's your point?

  • [-]
  • SimpleManSC
  • 1 Points
  • 23:59:03, 14 October

To clarify why the South would be so opposed to them.

  • [-]
  • TheColorOfStupid
  • 1 Points
  • 00:16:33, 15 October

And how is that relevant to the point that I made? I was already aware of what the tariffs were about and why the south didn't like them.

  • [-]
  • turtleeatingalderman
  • 1 Points
  • 07:54:28, 15 October

Tariffs were not mentioned as the causes for secession before the Civil War. The southern states didn't mention them in their declarations of secession. You'd think they would have if they were so important.

  • [-]
  • turbodrinker
  • 2 Points
  • 22:20:41, 14 October

As stated above, it's difficult to put today's views on reprehensible issues aside. In the context of the times, though, the institution of slavery existed, and state laws in the south permitted it. The federal government in the early and mid nineteenth century was not what it is today.

Southern state governments didn't like the idea of a federal system that could define what they could and couldn't do. Eventually, a conflict would have arisen that would put that idea to the test.

There are numerous prior conflicts that pitted groups against the federal government in the past, just not as big as the civil war (the whiskey rebellion, for example). The civil war defined the federal government that we know today.

If a federal income tax was proposed in 1870, and the civil war hadn't been fought yet, we might have seen armed conflict... Partially because people don't like taxes, but also because the idea of a federal system superseding a state system hadn't yet been tested. Taxes and property rights were and remain touchy subjects. The issue of states rights still exists today (see marijuana laws out west), but no one is going to war over it. It's been established and tested that the federal government supersedes state government... the civil war settled it.

  • [-]
  • TheColorOfStupid
  • 0 Points
  • 22:25:30, 14 October

>Southern state governments didn't like the idea of a federal system that could define what they could and couldn't do.

Bullshit. It was written in the confederate constitution that slavery could not be abolished in any state. The war was not about states rights.

  • [-]
  • turbodrinker
  • 1 Points
  • 22:42:12, 14 October

On my phone right now, and I can't find what you are referring to. Link? Their constitution also laid out some very specific additional powers that confederate states had, which the United States did not. From what I read, confederate states retained the right to tax interstate commerce, as well as rights governing which federal administrators could operate in their state. These rights are held at the federal level in the United States.

Slavery was legal, but the importation of slaves from anywhere but America was still illegal, as it had been since 1808.

So, I have to disagree with you, it was about states rights. Slavery was the flashpoint, but the war defined around states rights versus a centralized federal government.

  • [-]
  • TheColorOfStupid
  • 1 Points
  • 23:56:14, 14 October

Article IV section 2(1) and 3(1) basically say all states have to allow slavery and any new territories or states have to allow slavery.

Again, this was not an issue of states rights. It was an issue of slavery.

  • [-]
  • SimpleManSC
  • 1 Points
  • 23:38:13, 14 October

I don't think that's right. I believe that slavery was explicitly protected in the Confederate constitution to avoid the political issues that lead up to the war, but there was nothing to stop a Confederate state from not using slaves.

  • [-]
  • TheColorOfStupid
  • 1 Points
  • 23:57:28, 14 October

Section IV articles 2(1) and 3(1).

  • [-]
  • Aeillien
  • 2 Points
  • 01:47:56, 15 October

Not only are you wrong, I can prove you are wrong with one single quote:

From the Declaration of the Immediate Causes Which Induce and Justify the Secession of South Carolina from the Federal Union, 1860:

"These ends it endeavored to accomplish by a Federal Government, in which each State was recognized as an equal, and had separate control over its own institutions. The right of property in slaves was recognized by giving to free persons distinct political rights, by giving them the right to represent, and burthening them with direct taxes for three-fifths of their slaves; by authorizing the importation of slaves for twenty years; and by stipulating for the rendition of fugitives from labor.

We affirm that these ends for which this Government was instituted have been defeated, and the Government itself has been made destructive of them by the action of the non-slaveholding States."

In other words, South Carolina found the eleciton of Abraham Lincoln, a moderate anti-slavery politician, to be a potential threat to slavery. Said potential threat to slavery was sufficent to commit treason. QED, slavery caused the Civil War. There were other causes, but they derived from slavery or were not sufficient. Only slavery was both sufficient and necessary.

Doc can be found at: http://avalon.law.yale.edu/19thcentury/csascarsec.asp

  • [-]
  • themanbat
  • 1 Points
  • 18:30:33, 14 October

It was about States Rights! Particularly the right to own slaves! Haha, I'll show myself out.

  • [-]
  • hippieofkindness
  • -3 Points
  • 17:37:33, 14 October

You can argue that quite easily. The fact that you think it can't be argued shows your astounding lack of knowledge.

  • [-]
  • woodyreturns
  • 3 Points
  • 17:48:04, 14 October

You can argue that (slavery was not the cause of Civil War) quite easily? Oh wow. Good for you dude. I'll just shake my head and let you continue because you clearly have an astounding amount of knowledge.

  • [-]
  • hippieofkindness
  • 0 Points
  • 20:58:16, 14 October

Anyone who paid attention in high school U.S history could easily argue that slavery wasn't the cause. Many issues caused it, not just slavery. Robert E Lee was against slavery, if it was about slavery he would have fought for the Union not the Confederacy. There was way more to it than slavery.

  • [-]
  • blaquelotus
  • 2 Points
  • 22:39:46, 14 October

Robert E Lee fought because his home state asked him too. And he was extremely loyal to Virginia. His state's cause may have not been his own (Indeed he hoped that VA wouldn't take the course they took) but he still fought for it. So I'm not sure he's best the example here.

  • [-]
  • MeloJelo
  • 1 Points
  • 18:08:12, 14 October

So why not share your knowledge with an outline of other issues that were of equal or greater importance along with reliable sources supporting your assertions?

  • [-]
  • hippieofkindness
  • 0 Points
  • 20:53:13, 14 October

Would a textbook count as a reliable source? I paid attention in U.S history so I know there was way more to it than slavery. Like the southern states feeling they were being unfairly taxed. Slavery was an issue, but it wasn't the main issue.

  • [-]
  • courtoftheair
  • 5 Points
  • 16:00:54, 14 October

Everything America does now is for perceived 'freedom' and fighting 'terrorism'. They forget that they are the ones going over there, killing their children. One mans terrorist is another mans freedom fighter.

  • [-]
  • ninjanerdbgm
  • 0 Points
  • 19:22:03, 14 October

Except that American soldiers aren't going to villages in Afghanistan and killing people to scare the living people into seeing things their way. There's a huge difference between terrorism and poor motives.

  • [-]
  • lojafan
  • 1 Points
  • 21:40:34, 14 October

Terrorism is perceived in different ways to different people. To some, terrorism is flying planes into buildings full of innocent people. To others, like myself, it is using force to further agendas and policies (War on Drugs is a good example.) The use of force is never legitimate unless it is in defense.

  • [-]
  • 976-EVIL
  • 2 Points
  • 23:00:36, 14 October

And then of course you have its actual definition, the use of violence to enact political change.

*Sorry that wasn't clear. I wasn't arguing or anything. Just saying yeah that's what the definition says lol.

  • [-]
  • lojafan
  • 1 Points
  • 01:04:42, 15 October

No worries!

  • [-]
  • courtoftheair
  • 1 Points
  • 21:46:26, 14 October

Except there have been cases where they have.

  • [-]
  • AdrianBrony
  • 5 Points
  • 16:02:51, 14 October

Honestly, I do still agree with the civil war one.

Pretty much everything that caused that war could be traced back to slavery.

Even the state rights thing, well, what right in particular was it about?

  • [-]
  • ghotier
  • 1 Points
  • 22:35:46, 14 October

[Devil's Advocate]

A state's right to secede from the Union.

I look at it like this. They wanted to secede because they were afraid they would lose the right to keep slaves. But if they hadn't tried to secede, then a war wouldn't have happened. And when the war was over, the only Consitutional consequence (I'm being extremely reductionist here) was that states didn't have the right to secede. The abolition of slavery didn't happen until later.

Still, it was all about the South wanting slaves.

  • [-]
  • SimpleManSC
  • 1 Points
  • 23:27:04, 14 October

Secession is a Constitutional right per the Ninth and Tenth Amendments.

  • [-]
  • ghotier
  • 2 Points
  • 23:44:25, 14 October

It's kind of weird that we went to war over it, then.

  • [-]
  • SimpleManSC
  • 0 Points
  • 23:48:05, 14 October

I agree. Weird and tragic.

  • [-]
  • Kittens-of-Terror
  • 2 Points
  • 20:50:23, 14 October

Not to mention at least that the Civil War (at least to begin with) was not about slavery any way but was about a lack of representation for the south in Congress. The war was not even garnered on slavery till the Emancipation Proclamation.

  • [-]
  • dakay501
  • 1 Points
  • 01:37:48, 15 October

Slavery was still the fundamental reason for the war and the division between north and south. It is more complicated than that i know, but the idea that the war had absolutely nothing to do with slavery is just southern propaganda.

  • [-]
  • Kittens-of-Terror
  • 1 Points
  • 01:57:45, 15 October

Well of course it wasnt all about slavery but it really was not the primary reason for the war. Its certainly not the largest reason And it certainly is not the smallest. So On the other hand Those who say that slavery was the primary reason for the war are those who are trying to make everything about racism, And ironically those who are trying to use The prod of racism on the black community for their own benefit

  • [-]
  • Ilovegettingb-jays
  • 2 Points
  • 19:38:54, 14 October

I'm so glad you brought up the American civil war. The Federal government thinks it is important for people to think the Southerners were all evil, cruel, heartless slave owners so that they don't realize that it was really about standing up to a tyrannical government. How could they feel comfortable teaching people that it is ok to stand up to them?

  • [-]
  • Das_Mime
  • 2 Points
  • 02:30:13, 15 October

> it was really about standing up to a tyrannical government.

How is a confederacy which prohibits member states from ending slavery more oppressive than the Union? You've got some seriously fucked up doublethink going on. If you want tyranny in 1860s America, look no further than the brutal slavery forced upon millions and millions of people.

  • [-]
  • Ilovegettingb-jays
  • 1 Points
  • 02:53:26, 15 October

I was speaking about tyranny in regards to the relationship between the confederacy and the union, not the relationship between the slaves and their owners. The fact that slavery is in itself tyrannical does not change the fact that so was the federal government in regards to the south. While slavery may have been the specific issue it really came down to economics. The civil war was fought over many of the same principals as the revolution but I'm sure you could argue that the British weren't tyrannical If you compare them to how the colonists were treating their wives.

  • [-]
  • Das_Mime
  • 1 Points
  • 05:06:47, 15 October

Yeah, no, not so much. The Union was never tyrannical in any respect toward the Southern states. Do you even know about the Fugitive Slave Act? It forced Northern states to give up their sovereignty for the cause of returning escaped slaves to the South. The Confederacy was the ultimate opponent of states' rights.

  • [-]
  • Ilovegettingb-jays
  • 0 Points
  • 16:32:33, 15 October

If there were enough reasons for supporting either side to have a civil war, then there is enough for us to argue for a lifetime

  • [-]
  • Das_Mime
  • 2 Points
  • 19:29:32, 15 October

By that logic, there's a legitimate debate about whether the Nazis were good guys or not. You're an idiot, go home.

  • [-]
  • Ilovegettingb-jays
  • -1 Points
  • 19:35:20, 15 October

That was the logic for me to stop arguing with you, not why I'm right in the argument. And I'd say it was a wise choice. But since you wanted to continue anyway... I'm right, you're wrong, neener neener neener! I always know when I'm making progress in an argument when the opposing side resorts to name calling.

  • [-]
  • Das_Mime
  • 2 Points
  • 19:39:06, 15 October

Okay kid, go live in your racist fantasyland.

  • [-]
  • SimpleManSC
  • -1 Points
  • 23:40:42, 14 October

Exactly. It's basically character assassination of an entire category of political belief.

  • [-]
  • hatcrab
  • 1 Points
  • 17:30:17, 14 October

Edit: I read the post below and get what you were after. I thought you referenced the motivations and circumstances for Germany to start the war, not the reason the Allies reacted the way they did

  • [-]
  • GroinBaggage
  • 1 Points
  • 18:23:40, 14 October

I really don't understand why everyone thinks all American children are taught like that. When I was in 8th grade, it was made abundantly clear to everyone that the things mentioned above were false, or at least to an extent where they wouldn't be correct if they were left without further explanation.

edit Word choice.

  • [-]
  • EmmettDoyle
  • 0 Points
  • 01:26:28, 15 October

Um... to be fair, the Civil War was about slavery. The southern states seceded to defend the institution from an increasingly anti-slavery north, a shifting federal government, and an openly anti-slavery president. The Lost Cause mythology is just that- a mythology. The secessionists at the time were very open about the cause of their secession. Also, World War Two kind of was about Nazis. You know, the dudes who invaded Poland, and then the rest of Europe. What else do you think it was about?

  • [-]
  • cozmonaut22
  • 1 Points
  • 02:22:11, 15 October

People from the south day it's about "state's rights. " my response? "Yeah, your state's right to have slavery."

They don't like this very much.

  • [-]
  • SimpleManSC
  • 1 Points
  • 06:59:56, 15 October

So brave.

  • [-]
  • DarkStar5758
  • 1 Points
  • 03:58:01, 15 October

Civil War- state rights vs government rights

WWII- balance of power in Europe

American Revolution- colonist rights

  • [-]
  • Spodermayne
  • 1 Points
  • 17:38:58, 15 October

I don't like, however, when people deny slavery's involvement in the Civil War. Most college-level history classes and textbooks show that slavery was easily the number one reason for the war. "No but it was because Lincoln wanted to unite the North with the South!" Well, yes, but the reason they separated WAS slavery. Growing up in Missouri and reading textbooks from NY that's always what I learned. Upon moving to Tennessee, everyone thinks slavery wasn't even a part of the war.

  • [-]
  • usav3t
  • 1 Points
  • 16:49:24, 14 October

Agreed. Although as far as the civil war is concerned "slavery" gets more traction than "states rights" which is arguably the main reason for the war taking place.

  • [-]
  • MeloJelo
  • 5 Points
  • 18:06:42, 14 October

But, weren't the seceding states mostly concerned about whether they had the right to keep expanding slavery?

  • [-]
  • TheColorOfStupid
  • 1 Points
  • 20:25:56, 14 October

The confederacy said in their constitution that you couldn't end slavery. So it wasn't about states rights to decide on slavery, it was just about slavery.

  • [-]
  • CrunchyKorm
  • 4 Points
  • 18:07:34, 14 October

This seems to be the answer for the common misnomer, but it doesn't mean slavery is the "incorrect" answer.

I mean, the states wanted to maintain rights ... to keep slavery.

  • [-]
  • SteveSharpe
  • 2 Points
  • 18:27:35, 14 October

The primary cause for the Civil War was "States Rights" in that it was mainly them wanting to keep the right to own slaves. Most of the economic factors involved had to do with the North having more of an industrial footprint and little need for the institution of slavery, while the South's cotton industries depended on it heavily at the time. The Civil War was very much about slavery, its impact on the economy of both sides, and whether or not a future America would allow it to continue.

Lincoln entered the war to preserve the Union and emancipation was a secondary effort, but slavery is the reason why the Confederates needed out.

  • [-]
  • CrunchyKorm
  • 1 Points
  • 18:05:34, 14 October

Kinda hard to teach kids about the nuance of the world's most important events. To teach young people you have to keep it in simpler terms to start

  • [-]
  • Tallywhapper
  • 1 Points
  • 19:18:58, 14 October

This is probably the best articulated opinion I've heard in a while.

  • [-]
  • SimpleManSC
  • 1 Points
  • 19:34:41, 14 October

Thank you.

  • [-]
  • atafies
  • 1 Points
  • 21:13:22, 14 October

Unfortunatley not enough people like you are becoming professors and teachers.

  • [-]
  • noseeme
  • 0 Points
  • 19:40:01, 14 October

>I am frustrated by the educational trend of consolidating enormous historical events into buzzwords. The American Civil War was about "slavery."

Says the simple man from South Carolina (OP's username). Civil War historical revisionism is a real doozy. The Civil War was mostly about slavery, including the fact that the South's economy was highly dependent on the "peculiar institution". The rest of it was just about emotional things like pride, honor, and essentially saving face, as evidenced in the writings of prominent political figures from the South, including Jefferson Davis.

  • [-]
  • SimpleManSC
  • 1 Points
  • 23:44:32, 14 October

Slavery was the political catalyst of a long standing dispute over the rights and powers of the individual states. Most Southerners believed that an individual state was free to run itself however it wanted to so long as it didn't directly violate the Constitution and that their affairs were not predicated on the approval of outsiders.

  • [-]
  • mothermilk
  • 0 Points
  • 15:28:07, 14 October

Hey, no accusing 'the profit motive' of doing bad things.

  • [-]
  • Conan97
  • 0 Points
  • 20:31:24, 14 October

SLAVERY FREEDOM NAZIS FUCK YEAH MURICA!

  • [-]
  • MrIste
  • 0 Points
  • 21:57:02, 14 October

Ugh. Obviously it's a bit more black and white than "slavery, Nazi's and Freedom", but in the big picture, that is what those three wars were about.

  • [-]
  • x86_64Ubuntu
  • 0 Points
  • 00:08:22, 15 October

Of course Lost Cause Ideology would rear its ugly head in this thread.