Slavery had grown and expanded nearly to its full potential by the middle of the 1800s. With the vast tracts of land now opened in the West, slavery had the chance to spread almost unabated into the West. While it grew at an alarming rate - higher than in many
Through much of the South, Confederate Memorial Day continues to be celebrated. With ceremony and paid time off, the adherents to the Southern Cause have long come together to remember the Confederate dead, lament their defeat in the Civil War, and wax prejudicial about black Americans. Let's take a look
The 1856 election pitted James Buchanan against John Fremont, the latter remembered as a radical abolitionist. From the Deep South came the warnings of disunion should the progressive Republican candidate win. However, at the time of the election, his personal politics on slavery went mostly unstated. In the build up
When the slave states of the Deep South seceded, most gave reasons why they were making this move. In their various “Declaration of Causes,” South Carolina, Georgia, Mississippi, and Texas all listed slavery as the reason. The state of Tennessee, however, appears to be an interesting exception. Rather than drawing up an Ordinance of Secession, they issued a Declaration of Independence. Within that Declaration, Tennessee mentioned nothing at all about slavery. In fact, they gave no reasons at all why they were seceding.
There was, of course, a reason – and one not too far under the surface of their declaration. To discover it doesn’t even take all that much digging. As it turns out, the Tennessee secessionists responsible were incredibly upfront about why they wanted to leave the Union.
The idea is often put forward that up until the issuing of the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, the Civil War was fought by the United States to keep the Union together. It’s claimed that only after did it become a war to free the slaves. This, however, is not entirely accurate. From the start, especially to the Republican Party, the war was one to do both. It’s purpose was to reunite the nation, while its intended consequence was to abolish slavery. Nowhere is this made clearer than during the first summer of the war.
It’s important to recognize just how early this drive for emancipation began. Not only were there simple stirrings and rumblings, but actual votes were taken and actual laws were passed that actually freed people enslaved by Confederate masters – all before the first large battle took place.
Few things are more Southern than a Baptist minister from South Carolina running a newspaper called the Christian Banner. James W. Hunnicutt, though most of his early life prior to the Civil War, was a fairly typical Southerner. Though stringently a Unionist, he supported the right to own slaves, even
Prior to the Civil War, black American slaves had fought in every conflict. Sometimes they were forced, other times they were allowed to volunteer, and were even granted freedom as a reward for their service. This reward descended from a long tradition of emancipating slaves who risked their lives for their masters in a time of war. Usually, the prospect of freedom was the only reason for a slave to fight.
During the Civil War, a few Confederate citizens offered their slaves so that they might be used not only for digging trenches, but in combat. Never in any such discussion was the idea of emancipation entertained. Quite the contrary – the promise to keep the slaves enslaved following the conflict was floated in hopes of gaining favor. Nevertheless, all offers were refused until the very end.
In this short piece, let’s take a look at the history of slavery in American warfare, as well as the refusal of the Confederate government to arm its slaves.