The American Civil War was fought from 1861 to 1865 between the 25 States of the Union and the 11 seceding states of the Confederacy.
The Perspectives of the Nation during the Election of 1860 Edit
During the Presidential election of 1860, the Southern States of the antebellum period promoted the idea that the Constitution of the federal government protected the right to hold slaves within the federal territories, whether or not the inhabitants of the territory agreed with the "peculiar" institution. The presidential candidate of the Southern Democrats for the most controversial of all American elections was John C. Beckenridge.
The Northern Democrats split off from the Southern members of their party and opted instead for their presidential candidate Stephen Douglass, who promised to uphold his then well-known policy of "territorial sovereignty", which simply declared that the Constitution was best interpreted as leaving the slave-holding or free nature of potential up to the inhabitants of the states themselves.
Finally, the newly-created Republican Party of the Northern states promoted the idea that the Constitution clearly protected the rights of slaveholders in the states where the "peculiar" institution already existed so that the Union of the States necessary for the defense of the inalienable rights to "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" would not be compromised, but that it was intending to restrict slavery from expanding into any future territories so that the abomination against the system of natural rights which the country identified with wouldn't be inhibited from dying a natural death due to the natural ineffectiveness of its tyrannical nature. The first presidential candidate ever successfully elected by the Republican Party was Abraham Lincoln.
Two Competing Conservative-Liberal Constitutional Ideologies Edit
The State of South Carolina warned that they would take the election of Abraham Lincoln as a sign that radical abolitionist had seized control of the federal government of the United States in a way ininimical to their interests, and that they would secede from the nation if Beckenridge was not successfully elected to enforce their views on the constitutionality of slavery upon the nation. After Lincoln was successfully elected to the office of the Presidency, South Carolina made good on its threat and was followed by eleven other Southern States to create the Confederate States of America. They elected as their President the strict "state's rights" ideologue Jefferson Davis, and made it constitutionally illegal for either their sectional federal government to prohibit slavery within the confines of Confederate territory. Ironically, Jefferson Davis had no qualms as a defender of "states rights" to engage in the "big government" tactic of starting up a mass draft applicable everywhere throughout the Confederacy. The Confederate Democrats were engaged in that oddest of revolutions against a federal government, to rally their entire populous to overthrow any sort of government which did not preserve the social status quo treasured by the slave-holding aristocratic minority of the South. The Confederate ideology expressedly rejected the notion that all people were created equal in the eyes of God, and proclaimed the spread of black enslavement as a supposed means of guranteeing the social welfare of poor whites by "ensuring" that the latter could not drift into the lowest economic extremes through the use of black slavery as an artificial prop for the undeveloped Southern economy. The Confederacy largely followed a free-enterprise capitalist policy, though with the singular protection of the right of whites to have property in black persons and thus undercutting the possibility of their laboring for economic development in pursuit of their own interests, and thus sought to mantain a life of economic splendor for their white populpus while remaining at a remove from the work and thus disinterested in the immediate effects of the labor which provided their sustinence, in fact holding the leaders of corporations built on the backs of free laborers in great suspiscion. As a result, the land of the South remained seriously under-industrialized throughout the course of the war, and eventually they could no longer stand a chance against the increasing efficient Northern war machine.
The Northern States, on the other hand, saw in this proclaimation of a "state's rights" revolution against the federal govenment the anarchaic decision to reject the terms of the contract both the North and the South had agreed to that constituted the Federal Government of the Union simply because it did not currently promote their own interests (even though it promised that it had no intention of touching the property they now held) after a long period of doing, and also the aggressive machinations of a tyrannical "slave power" intent on forcing its own interests upon the rest of the Union. The Union government under President Lincoln, oddly enough given the circumstances, refused to consider the possible constitutionality of a federal draft, preferring a voluntary-reward system of acquiring the soliders necessary for their cause. Furthermore, President Lincoln held good on his word of not interfering with property in the form of slaves where it already existed in the South, even overturning the efforts of more Radical Republican abolitionalists within the army to that effect, until military necessity required him to issue the Emancipation Proclaimation to strike at the economic base supporting the Confederate revolution. This document did not free the slaves within the border slave states that remained within the Union, nor anywhere already under the control of the Union army; however, once this ground had been covered, President Lincoln had effectively declared the state's skirmish a war for the abolition of slavery, and from that point onward promoted the protection the natural rights of black Americans to "life, liberty, and the pursuit (not gurantee) of happiness" as a means towards dehabilitating the constitution of the Confederacy and the motivating ideology on which it was based. Largely on the basis of internal tarriffs used to garner the funds for internal development, the North was rapidly industrialized as a result of the Civil War, eventually supplying its war machine with enough power to demolish the Southern revolution, undercut as the former's economy was by the loss of their slaves.
Both the Confederacy and the Unionists percieved themselves to be acting according to the moral dictates given by the Christian Bible, both believed that they were acting according to the best revolutionary principles of the Enlightenment in the proper application of the natural rights of mankind, and both considered themselves to be affording those who they deemed worthy of the inalienable rights of mankind with the best possible economic security to be found under heaven through the federal government. In the Civil War period, it is almost impossible to designate which side consisted of liberal Americans and which side consisted of conservative Americans, as the institution of slavery confuses the basis of the modern categorization of the two completely.
The Bible and American Slavery Edit
“ ’Cursed be Canaan! The lowest of slaves will he be to his brothers.’ He also said, “Blessed be YHWH, the God of Shem! May Canaan be the slave of Shem. May God extend the territory of Japeth; may Japeth live in the tents of Shem and may Canaan be his slave.” - Genesis 2:25-27
This verse was often quoted in defence of the slavery of men and women of African descent by the slaveholders of America, and is currently often used by liberal to denigrate conservative intepertations of the Scriptures in favor of sentimental moral re-interpertations of the Scriptures in line with the current modernistic culture of our day. But what was this verse intended to actually apply to?
The verse's primary purpose apparently was the moral justification for the children of Israel’s (God’s chosen representative of Shem’s line) subsequent conquest of the land of Canaan, obviously populated by the line chosen to represent Canaan. The case which the biblical context of the verse in Genesis seems to call for as a whole is the justification for Israel’s warmaking on the inhabitants of Canaan at all, when so soon out of slavery themselves and thus otherwise seemingly without warrant for the conquest and thus for judicious use of the given war-allowance of enslaving the survivors of the subject population. (If this had not been true, God would not have required a long enough duration of time for the representatives of Canaan’s line to be as unworthy of freedom in their land as Noah’s prophetic curse had indicated.) Japeth’s representatives (a defintion which expands to also include all those who do not represent Shem’s line: the Gentiles) may take part in these blessings of God, but only through their deference given to Shem’s chosen representatives. The idea of a given race warfare existing simply because of the differences in the race’s descent from their common source in Noah through Ham, Shem, or Japeth cannot be found in a straightforward reading of the biblical text at all, and thus there can be no justification in the Scriptures for the theft of African persons from their homeland for the purpose of serving Japeth’s descendants with their very lives and souls (especially given the mockery made of the condition that Japeth be blessed through his respect of Shem’s direct connection of God found in the rampant Anti-Semitic outlook of the time). Even more treacherous and against Scriptural prescendent was the counting of enslaved Africans as part of the Southern population while withholding from them the right to vote; the Scriptural prescedent clearly allows one’s fellow countrymen to be made into slaves but opposes life-long enslavement of other Israelites (with strict punishments discouraging Israelites remaining slaves to Israelite masters), something which is clearly opposite the decision foistered upon the Constitution by slaveholders to count African slaves as part of a state’s population for one’s own aggradizement while withholding the treatment of them as actual bretheren for life. It is not necessary to substitute a more sentimentalistic re-interpertation of the words of Scripture in order to keep a clear conscience about slavery in the modern world; the slave-holder's understanding of the verses were always just such a liberal interpertation of the words in order to fit the former preferences of secular society rather than their literal meaning taken in their proper context, and to deny the rightfulness of the African slave-trade and thus to affirm the pragmatic necessity of abolishing the institution of slavery altogether as the possible extent of the sinful mankind's abuse of the institution in the freer conditions of the modern world became clear does not require one to deny anything essential about the Bible.