The Origins and Causes of the U.S. Civil War, 2nd Edition

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Re: The Origins and Causes of the U.S. Civil War, 2nd Edition

Postby Thanas » 2016-01-01 02:45pm

NecronLord wrote:Not under contention. I am saying that I believe you're over-selling your point by saying that there was nothing racial about Spanish slavery, when the spaniards had an elaborate race-purity ideology, sufficient that the main work of the infamous spanish inquisition seemed to be inquiring into people's racial backgrounds. You said that having a certain skin colour wasn't the pre-requisite for slavery. I seriously question that.


You are not getting the point. I am not saying there was no racism in the spansish empire. I am saying that the institution of spanish slavery, as it evolved out of the reconquista, did not have a racial basis per se, unlike in the south. Slavery was not restricted to one race. It was, so to speak, "equal-opportunity slavery" of the kind practiced by the arabs (where the spanish got it from) and the Romans long before. Whereas in the south it always was restricted to one race.

Also, I advise you to read what I wrote. My exact words were:

In all those societies having a certain skin colour was no prerequisite or justification for slavery


And it was not. There always was a necessary second element to it before one could be a slave. The spanish did not necessitate that somebody being black must usually or always be a slave, nor did they assume that. Unlike the South.
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Re: The Origins and Causes of the U.S. Civil War, 2nd Edition

Postby NecronLord » 2016-01-01 03:11pm

I suspect you are thinking about prerequisite in a different way from me? I would say being of an 'impure' racial group in the Spanish Empire was a prerequisite for being enslaved; the statistics you presented earlier, the 271,000 enslaved africans in New Spain in 1800; what was the number of enslaved Españoles at the same time?

From everything I've ever seen on the topic it has seemed to me that being of a "lesser caste" was required to be a slave in the Spanish Empire, with the exception of penal-labourers, and the nearest I can get on their numbers is under a thousand at different points in San Juan in the 1770s, with the comment that export of prisoners was due to the difficulties with black slaves in Cuba at that time; and obviously, when they served their sentences, they were released.

That's what I mean when I say 'being black/indian/arab/etc' at different points was a prerequisite for slavery in the Spanish Empire; it was largely something that happened to them. The justification was obviously, on religious/penal grounds, not on racialist grounds a-la the Confederacy, but from everything I know on the topic, it was racial slavery nonetheless.
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Re: The Origins and Causes of the U.S. Civil War, 2nd Edition

Postby Thanas » 2016-01-01 03:36pm

NecronLord wrote:I suspect you are thinking about prerequisite in a different way from me?


Maybe. What I was thinking of is how you can be treated as a slave legally and how people will treat you.

In the South, being black was enough. People assumed you were a slave because you were black. The same is not the case in Spain, where being black was not enough - one had to actually be a slave to be treated as a slave, no matter whether you were black, yellow or white/arabic. For example, you had to actually be owned by somebody. People who sold you had to present proof of ownership.

In the south - well, 12 years a slave and all that.

I would say being of an 'impure' racial group in the Spanish Empire was a prerequisite for being enslaved; the statistics you presented earlier, the 271,000 enslaved africans in New Spain in 1800; what was the number of enslaved Españoles at the same time?


I do not know, but I would wager it being zero due to all the white slaves who had existed being spanish muslim converts (but considered moors) and those were forcibly converted in 1610 and/or set free.

From everything I've ever seen on the topic it has seemed to me that being of a "lesser caste" was required to be a slave in the Spanish Empire,


Well, I would approach it a bit differently. I would say you could belong to a lesser caste and be a slave, but there was no reason to assume you automatically were a slave because you were of a lesser caste.

That's what I mean when I say 'being black/indian/arab/etc' at different points was a prerequisite for slavery in the Spanish Empire; it was largely something that happened to them. The justification was obviously, on religious/penal grounds, not on racialist grounds a-la the Confederacy, but from everything I know on the topic, it was racial slavery nonetheless.


I can sorta agree with that, but to me the intentions behind it makes it different and "less worse" so to say. The Spanish were willing to accept blacks as free members of society and free blacks were the norm, while slavery was the exception. OTOH it is very hard to find any well-integrated black community in the south - with intermarriages, political and military roles - while it is easy to do so in the Spanish Empire.

So it happened obviously to arabs (because they were enemies and muslims), blacks (because they were muslims, heathens or were sold to the Spanish), asians (because of a host of reasons) and indians (because they were enemies and got conquered) and earlier on white muslims (during the reconquista). The end result may have been racial slavery, but the objective was not to enslave members of a particular race or to prove racial superiority per se (though undoubtedly the latter happened).

To me the spanish thought process is more like "I need good and cheap labour, somebody is selling me arabs/indians/asians/blacks and I can use them. Maybe I will marry one of them or set them free if they work well." In short, racism was a byproduct, not the intended outcome from the start. The Anglo-American southern slavery was more like "I need labour, he is black, he is my slave". Note that indian slaves are almost unheard of in comparison in the south. Slavery there was focused on one race (unlike in Spain), intermarriage was forbidden/frowned upon and very few owners ever set their slaves free.
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Re: The Origins and Causes of the U.S. Civil War, 2nd Edition

Postby NecronLord » 2016-01-01 03:56pm

Absolutely, I'm really only saying that there was a de-facto racist element to it; obviously the justifications were primarily religious (and being demonstrably-catholic was a good way to avoid being a slave) and that it's not really comparable to the Romans in practice, and at times was very similar to the South (French Haiti springs to mind).
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Re: The Origins and Causes of the U.S. Civil War, 2nd Edition

Postby Imperial Overlord » 2016-01-01 05:20pm

French slavery was very much race based, but it was very much a system of colonial exploitation and also produced large numbers wealthy black and mixed race plantation holders. The legal basis for slavery was explicitly colonial with the legal status of the slaves changing if they entered France, often resulting in emancipation under the Ancien Regime. While in no way admirable, the system is markedly less despicable than that practiced in the American South.
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Re: The Origins and Causes of the U.S. Civil War, 2nd Edition

Postby Steve » 2016-01-02 11:50am

It's also important to remember that slavery in the US, as an ideology and just an economic fact, changed from the birth of the country to what it was like seventy-plus years later when the war broke out. While there were certainly committed slave-owners even then, manumissions were also more common for ideological, religious, or even economic reasons (the latter was stuff like "I can't afford to have these slaves and there aren't any buyers for them, so I'll just free them" - which was probably more the case for people with small numbers of slaves that they might develop personal affections for, and who would be prone to such immediate issues). The South was actually showing an excess population that invited manumissions; additionally they weren't as strict on slaves or blacks as a whole.

Then a number of things happened. The Haitian Revolution, for one, excited the latent terrors and fears of the slave-owners, and a slave rebellion conspiracy just after the turn of the century (1803 IIRC) further stoked the fires. As did the later conspiracy of freedman Denmark Vesey and later Nat Turner's slave revolt.

Then you had the economic factors. Eli Whitney's Cotton Engine (or "Cotton Gin" if you want) turned cotton into a lucrative cash crop in a region fit for cotton-growing, and just as the Industrial Revolution was beginning and providing a ready market. This meant that Southern slavery didn't endure the economic hit that Caribbean slavery took when sugar refining from sugar beets and other sources became readily available a couple decades down the road; while sugar still had some economic value, cotton quickly became the main cash crop of the South and a major source for money for the region due to ready buyers from the North and from Europe (Britain and France especially). Amanda Foreman's "A World on Fire" remarked on a Texan senator (state senator I believe) who even gave a speech at the start of the Confederacy that Britain would have to support the Confederacy because "even Queen Victoria must bow to King Cotton".

In addition, the westward expansion of the United States opened up the "Southwest" of that time - Mississippi, Alabama, later Louisiana and Arkansas - to an expansion of slavery. Just as cotton was becoming more and more valuable. The end result was an alternative for the states with excessive slave populations; instead of just having to manumit your slaves in a market where their value is too low, you can sell them off for a lot more money to slave-traders that are shipping them to the Lower Mississippi region (which had an enormous slave population by 1861, about the highest concentration of slaves in the entire South could be found in the counties adjoining the Mississippi River).

Now, all of the sudden, you give the Southerners a massive economic interest in maintaining slavery while simultaneously scaring the shit out of them with the thoughts of what a slave rebellion would involve and their pre-existing fears that a large freedman population would harbor grudges for their treatment as slaves. Slavery had become both economic and social necessity, and to deal with the troublesome issue of how you're supposed to have slavery in a land of the free, you see the construction of the Southern Ideology; Freedom requires Slavery. Freedom can only truly exist if there are slaves. And just look at those black slaves, see how backward they are, how trusting, like little children. They're better off as slaves than as freedmen! How dare you imply otherwise, sir, you are impugning my honor! I'll see you on the commons at dawn with pistols! If you dare continue to say such slanderous things about my rights to my property I shall fight, I shall resist, I shall secede!

(And yes, Southern Congressmen did indeed stand in the House and Senate of the United States and say that freedom was not possible without slavery, that slavery was "a positive good").

While racism certainly existed in the North too, and is a problem that transcends regions or even countries, I myself believe that you can trace a lot of American white-black racist issues to the institution of Southern slavery and the toxic ideology it created as a defense. So, yeah, I can see why people call it the worst example of slavery in Western history. Granted, I've heard the Spartans weren't much better in how they treated the Messenians, but it's been a while since I read any materials on that, I only remember some of the stuff like "secret police to randomly kill helots" and such.
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Re: The Origins and Causes of the U.S. Civil War, 2nd Edition

Postby cmdrjones » 2016-01-04 12:32pm

Thanas wrote:
cmdrjones wrote:Of course, the Confederates were the worstest evar!


Yes, in many aspects they were when considering the history of the western world.

In Rome, a slave could own property. Even moreso, he had the right to earn money to buy his freedom. He could marry of his own will. He could have children of his own will. He was protected by law from certain cruel treatments (though at times the law demanded some cruel treatment as well). Still, all of this points to a far different picture than the south. Even moreso, he could, after getting his freedom, became a valued and honored member of society, with some freedmen even getting more power than senators and de facto ruling the entire empire. You show me one instance where that happened in the south.

Note that mine slaves are the exception to this because being sent to the mine was like getting the death penalty, only that you died by mining instead of being executed. It was not the norm.

Even further, slavery was not tied to racism. Neither in the Roman, nor the mongol, nor even the Spanish or French forms of slavery. In all those societies having a certain skin colour was no prerequisite or justification for slavery. Unlike in the south.


In form, if you find racism the worst thing ever, then this will BE your boogeyman. Myself, i find the scouring of the Earth's (known) surface by the Mongols, the obliteration of entire cities and religions by the Romans and the vast millions dying in slave pits in China for example to be worse...
Perhaps the South would have mellowed a bit ont eh slavery thing had theirs lasted far longer than the incredible scope of the Romans or Mongols, or if they had exterminated slaves by the tens of millions like the Arabs did. So, in that we can agree.
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Re: The Origins and Causes of the U.S. Civil War, 2nd Edition

Postby Thanas » 2016-01-04 02:10pm

cmdrjones wrote:In form, if you find racism the worst thing ever, then this will BE your boogeyman. Myself, i find the scouring of the Earth's (known) surface by the Mongols,


The Mongols never scoured the known surface of the earth, they got stomped on pretty hard once they tried to take on powers that were actually competent militarily.

the obliteration of entire cities and religions by the Romans


What cities and what religions did the Romans obliterate? We know that they destroyed carthage, but what other examples of obliteration and what scale are we talking about here?

Perhaps the South would have mellowed a bit ont eh slavery thing had theirs lasted far longer than the incredible scope of the Romans or Mongols, or if they had exterminated slaves by the tens of millions like the Arabs did. So, in that we can agree.


Citation needed for the arabs exterminating tens of millions.
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Re: The Origins and Causes of the U.S. Civil War, 2nd Edition

Postby Lord Revan » 2016-01-04 02:48pm

Quite frankly I can't think of a simple example of a religion that the Romans exterminated, IIRC Romans tended to favor assimilating local beliefs into their own, the procecutions of jews and christians wasn't really trying to destroy those religions (main issue the romans had with jew and latere christians was that they didn't worship the emeperor(s) as gods and they had tendency to rebel).
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Re: The Origins and Causes of the U.S. Civil War, 2nd Edition

Postby Elheru Aran » 2016-01-04 02:52pm

There's a bit of a brain-bug that the Romans exterminated the Druids. While they did destroy the primary religious center of the druids on Iona (IIRC?) as far as I know they didn't bother hunting down and exterminating the priests.
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Re: The Origins and Causes of the U.S. Civil War, 2nd Edition

Postby Lord Revan » 2016-01-04 03:10pm

Elheru Aran wrote:There's a bit of a brain-bug that the Romans exterminated the Druids. While they did destroy the primary religious center of the druids on Iona (IIRC?) as far as I know they didn't bother hunting down and exterminating the priests.

Even then wasn't more the case of the druidism being a rallying point for rebels so destroying the religious centre was more a case of crushing the morale of the rebels then exterminating a religion (which would explain why they didn't bother tracking down the priests, there was no point once the rebellion was crushed).
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Re: The Origins and Causes of the U.S. Civil War, 2nd Edition

Postby Elheru Aran » 2016-01-04 03:12pm

Lord Revan wrote:
Elheru Aran wrote:There's a bit of a brain-bug that the Romans exterminated the Druids. While they did destroy the primary religious center of the druids on Iona (IIRC?) as far as I know they didn't bother hunting down and exterminating the priests.

Even then wasn't more the case of the druidism being a rallying point for rebels so destroying the religious centre was more a case of crushing the morale of the rebels then exterminating a religion (which would explain why they didn't bother tracking down the priests, there was no point once the rebellion was crushed).


Wikipedia (the only source I have to hand at the moment) isn't particularly helpful, but I think you're about right. It wasn't an anti-religious act as much as it was suppressing insurrection. Thanas will probably know better, of course.
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Re: The Origins and Causes of the U.S. Civil War, 2nd Edition

Postby Thanas » 2016-01-04 03:26pm

Druids are a bit of a strange case in that it is widely assumed the Romans persecuted the Britannic druids for spreading rebellion. But then again we have plenty of gallic religion being assimilated, see for example the case of Epona.

But then again the persecution was also happening because druids practised human sacrifice, something the Romans outlawed.
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Re: The Origins and Causes of the U.S. Civil War, 2nd Edition

Postby Elheru Aran » 2016-01-04 06:19pm

I had thought the human sacrifice thing was an open question? Beheadings after fights, certainly-- there's plenty of skulls all over the place-- but I was fairly sure the consensus was that it was quite an open question how regular of a thing human sacrifice was among the Gallic/Celtic tribes... certainly it did occur on occasion, as a number of bog-bodies demonstrate (Lindow Man, Tollund Man etc).
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Re: The Origins and Causes of the U.S. Civil War, 2nd Edition

Postby LaCroix » 2016-01-05 05:53am

Also, while pretty ruthless in combat (a part of their strategy - if you surrendered without fight, you wouldn't be harmed. Resist, and you face their unrestrained fury), the Mongols were pretty lenient rulers (for that time) once you were conquered or submitted to them. Especially in the later period, they mostly just demanded taxes, but left all societies to do as they pleased as long as they respected their authority and basic tennants of their law. The initially did restrict some religious practices they didn't like (without forbidding the religion per se), but ceased doing so during the later times of their reign, as well.

If they hadn't splintered that fast, they'd probably would be remembered more positively. Right now, we mostly know them for their expansion period (which frankly, is a violent period for whatever expanding empire you look at), which kind of tips the scale to the evil end, overshadowing what they might have been.
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Re: The Origins and Causes of the U.S. Civil War, 2nd Edition

Postby Metahive » 2016-01-05 08:47am

Cute, cmdrjockstrap tries to play Atrocilympics. If I murder four people, do I get to feel all smug and superior just because Jack the Ripper murdered one more? Don't let yourselves get distracted by this stupid red herring, guys. It doesn't matter how many shit-regimes came before the CSA or how many came after, a shit-regime the CSA was in any case. All about it stunk and we should celebrate its downfall most vigorously.
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Re: The Origins and Causes of the U.S. Civil War, 2nd Edition

Postby LaCroix » 2016-01-05 09:15am

Also, jury of peers. Compared with nations of their period, Romans or Mongols weren't really standing out, negatively. They mostly did what others did, only more successfully.

The CSA does stand out, far alone in the field, though, and by no means positive.
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Re: The Origins and Causes of the U.S. Civil War, 2nd Edition

Postby Lord Revan » 2016-01-05 10:04am

Indeed while I'm not 100% sure on the Mongols, the romans were no worse then their peers and in some cases even better.
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Re: The Origins and Causes of the U.S. Civil War, 2nd Editio

Postby Rogue 9 » 2016-01-05 05:10pm

To indulge in quoting myself:
Rogue 9 wrote:[E]ven if you can find some worse regime than the chattel slave system of the antebellum American South, that does not lessen the evil of that peculiar institution.

In my humble opinion that's all that really needs to be said. The Romans and Mongols are a red herring, and we're all dutifully chasing it.
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Re: The Origins and Causes of the U.S. Civil War, 2nd Edition

Postby Metahive » 2016-01-06 04:58am

Yeah, it doesn't matter how many people the Romans fed to the lions or how big a pile of skulls Genghis Khan amassed, the CSA still remains an example of an extremely vile "state" founded on anti-human principles and originated out of a childish temper-tantrum thrown by sociopathic rich fucks who literally hated democracy. Too bad they managed to dictate the narrative afterwards. If only history had been written by the victors then.
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Re: The Origins and Causes of the U.S. Civil War, 2nd Edition

Postby Rogue 9 » 2016-01-06 09:59pm

Yeah. Fun fact; I'm presently reading Our Man in Charleston, a biography of Robert Bunch, who was the British consul in Charleston, South Carolina 1853-1863. The Charleston gentry was rather in love with their British ancestry, and he reported at the outbreak of the war that no small number of them were openly discussing becoming a Crown dominion again if it would get the British Empire on their side. (They did not seem to consider that this would mean the abolition of slavery, since Britain had already done so within its empire, or if they did they thought that the demands of producing cotton would win them an exception due to its value to the United Kingdom.)
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Re: The Origins and Causes of the U.S. Civil War, 2nd Edition

Postby Steve » 2016-01-07 03:33pm

That's pretty much what they expected. That their cotton was of such supreme importance to the world economy that Britain and France would force the Union to let them separate to the point of military force, even though Britain was also anti-slavery and the French didn't care much for it.

And Napoleon III did harbor some pretty pro-CSA sentiments, but they were self-serving (the Confederacy as a buffer for his plans to absorb Mexico and other parts of Latin America into a French-dominated region), while in Britain the sentiment was generally pro-CSA among the cotton merchants and textile manufacturers in Liverpool and adjacent areas as well as the parts of British society who hated "Yankee mobocracy" and saw Southern planters as fellow gentlemen. The ways the strong pro-CSA sentiments tried to reconcile this with British anti-slavery beliefs (especially given that there was a growing segment in the Confederacy that wanted to resume the legal African slave trade, which Britain had spent nearly half a century trying to suppress - an advocate of this was even one of the first Confederate officials sent to negotiate in London, heh) could be amusing. For instance, a denizen of Liverpool, James Spence, spent the war as a loud advocate of British support for the Confederacy, and claimed in a book that if aided in granting independence the Confederacy would obviously end slavery. They just needed to be able to do it safely and couldn't because of the hypocritical fanatics of the Yankee North. His own Confederate backers and employers were aghast, of course.
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Re: The Origins and Causes of the U.S. Civil War, 2nd Edition

Postby Civil War Man » 2016-01-07 04:10pm

Rogue 9 wrote:Yeah. Fun fact; I'm presently reading Our Man in Charleston, a biography of Robert Bunch, who was the British consul in Charleston, South Carolina 1853-1863. The Charleston gentry was rather in love with their British ancestry, and he reported at the outbreak of the war that no small number of them were openly discussing becoming a Crown dominion again if it would get the British Empire on their side. (They did not seem to consider that this would mean the abolition of slavery, since Britain had already done so within its empire, or if they did they thought that the demands of producing cotton would win them an exception due to its value to the United Kingdom.)


It's rather sad that Bunch has been largely ignored by history until recently. Everything I've read about him so far has been fascinating, since he seems to have played a pretty large role in keeping England out of the war.

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Re: The Origins and Causes of the U.S. Civil War, 2nd Edition

Postby Rogue 9 » 2016-01-07 09:39pm

Civil War Man wrote:
Rogue 9 wrote:Yeah. Fun fact; I'm presently reading Our Man in Charleston, a biography of Robert Bunch, who was the British consul in Charleston, South Carolina 1853-1863. The Charleston gentry was rather in love with their British ancestry, and he reported at the outbreak of the war that no small number of them were openly discussing becoming a Crown dominion again if it would get the British Empire on their side. (They did not seem to consider that this would mean the abolition of slavery, since Britain had already done so within its empire, or if they did they thought that the demands of producing cotton would win them an exception due to its value to the United Kingdom.)


It's rather sad that Bunch has been largely ignored by history until recently. Everything I've read about him so far has been fascinating, since he seems to have played a pretty large role in keeping England out of the war.

On paper he was a minor consular official and most of what he did is buried in letters and dispatches to the Foreign Office. It's no surprise that he'd get passed over in favor of Lord Lyons, his superior in Washington, when studying Anglo-American relations during the war. But he behaved much more like a minister in how he communicated with London (to the annoyance of several of his superiors), and how he convinced the South Carolinians that he was on their side while undermining their cause with every diplomatic bag he sent is a fascinating story to read. He was so good at dissembling that he even convinced William Seward that he was pro-secession and got his diplomatic status revoked. :lol:
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Re: The Origins and Causes of the U.S. Civil War, 2nd Edition

Postby Steve » 2016-01-08 09:05am

I'm re-reading MacPherson's "Battle Cry of Freedom", an illustrated version with pictures and paintings and insets and such with descriptive blurbs, and one point I found interesting reading was that MacPherson acknowledges that a lot of the commentary, letters, etc., of Southerners at the outset of the war were mostly cries of standing up for their "states' rights" and preventing Yankee invasions of their homeland. He then points out that for all of that talk, all of the hatred and rage and anger about "Black Republicans" spurred this sort of talk on, and their hatred of Republicans was because the Republicans were against letting slavery expand into the territories - the Southerners wanted a federal slave code governing territories, IOW, it would be automatically presumed that slavery was allowed in the territories unless the population of said territory wrote a state constitution forbidding it.

He also pointed out that there was an impending court case in the federal courts regarding slaves who were set free when their masters brought them to New York that could have very well proved the "Second Dred Scott" that Lincoln and other Republicans warned about, as a Southern pro-slavery ruling would have essentially prevented free states from declaring free slaves brought into their jurisdiction.
”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

American Conservatism is about the exercise of personal responsibility without state interference in the lives of the citizenry..... unless, of course, it involves using the bludgeon of state power to suppress things Conservatives do not like.

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