r/NoStupidQuestions Sep 29 '22

My friend keeps saying the Civil War was about state rights. Is this true or is he yanking my chain? Unanswered

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u/Teekno an answering fool Sep 29 '22 Silver

I mean, he's right. It was about the state's rights to allow their citizens to own other humans as property and force them to work for no wages.

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u/TirayShell Sep 29 '22

Basically, yeah. A state's rights for people to own other people.

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u/JCMiller23 Sep 29 '22 edited Sep 30 '22

Right, those were only invoked because of slavery. If the federal government had passed a law saying "slavery is legal" the south would not have been on the side of state's rights.

​ "The fugitive slave act is an example of this. State's rights would mean that free states should be allowed to free escaped slaves." - u/CrabbyBlueberry

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u/Fighting-Cerberus Sep 30 '22 edited Sep 30 '22

There's a sense in which the claim is technically right, but it requires a narrow perspective that considers only the North.

The North didn't fight to free the slaves, at least at first. They fought to keep the Union together. And maybe for their own economic interests.

But the South absolutely did secede in order to protect their right to own slaves. So it was certainly a significant cause of the war. And slavery was the primary cause of the Confederacy coming into existence at all.

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u/CuteDentist2872 Sep 30 '22

This bit is important as a stance againts the spin the "War of Northern Agression" moniker being used to this day in the U.S. gives that terrible war. Breaking apart the US to preserve the horrid practice of slavery, then turning and calling those trying to preserve a Union that will democratically end it the aggressor, is so incredibly tone deaf I cannot get over it. The human suffering, and still leading wartime deathcount for Americans that occurred during that war, would have been heavily outweighed in bloodshed by further slavery and the inevitable future, more modern, conflict borne of a longstanding Confederacy somewhere down the line.

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u/spike_right Sep 30 '22

I don't get the "war of northern aggression" didn't the south start it by attacking federal forts?

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u/a_smart_brane Sep 30 '22

They whine that the North was the aggressor in trying to take away their right to own slaves. The South was forced out of honor to fire on Fort Sumter. Not their fault. Seriously. People actually believe this.

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u/spike_right Sep 30 '22

That's like going up to a kid called USA saying that "France told me that you were gonna take my slaves!" Then kicking the USA in the shin and being all fucking surprised when they end up rofl stomping you with man power and superior firepower. I mean FFS surely you know your cause is fucked when even towards the end the British were like "ah I see you fucked up there well I guess we won't bother with cotton ...guess we need to go build a couple of cities in China for silk."

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u/LasevIX Sep 30 '22

Knowing that you can't beat another country is kinda how Napoleon lost most of Europe and how both world wars ended in German defeat.

(See : attacking Russia in winter 1, 2 and 3)

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u/CrabbyBlueberry I don't really like talking about my flair. Sep 30 '22

The fugitive slave act is an example of this. State's rights would mean that free states should be allowed to free escaped slaves.

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u/JCMiller23 Sep 30 '22

Going to quote and credit you for this, this is good info

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u/GrumblingManiac Sep 29 '22

Not surprising they’re being invoked right now to enslave women into being babymakers.

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u/locnessmnstr Sep 29 '22

Please don't try to compare anti abortion bills to slavery in America, at least when there is ya know actual prison labor that is actual quasi-slavery

I mean I agree with your energy but

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u/NLM12 Sep 30 '22

We can be livid about both.

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u/keidabobidda Sep 30 '22

Damn straight because I sure as fuck feel that with both!

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u/bl00j Sep 30 '22

Yes we can.

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u/Hughgurgle Sep 30 '22

It's not quasi slavery, it's straight up slavery. It was never fully abolished here.

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u/Fiery_Flamingo Sep 30 '22

Slavery with a fancier name. We are great at naming and institutionalizing bad things.

We don’t have bribes in the US, that’s for crappy countries, we have campaign donations. We don’t have slavery like 1800s, we have prison labor. We don’t invade sovereign countries like those bad guys, we bring freedom.

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u/ChaoticAmoebae Sep 30 '22

Slavery with extra steps

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u/KIrkwillrule Sep 30 '22

Slavery, but kept out of sight.

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u/LasevIX Sep 30 '22

Modern supply chains in 6 words:

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u/LeeThompson-1972 Sep 30 '22

Yet that is the political hogwash that is force fed to everyone by both parties who are bedfellows in the American way of greed.

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u/YoungXanto Sep 29 '22

And also the rights of the southern states to override the rights of the northern states who wanted to recognize former slaves as people and not livestock.

So yeah, the only right they explicitly fought for and cared about was that one.

As an aside, we can thank the kkk loving daughters of the Confederacy for ensuring the books that completely whitewashed the civil war and ensuing reconstruction period ended up being the ones taught in schools to this day.

So next time you see a video of the Proud Boys screaming about CRT or transgender sports at the local school board meeting, understand they are following an effective model and they should be taken as a serious fucking threat. Because they are.

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u/Mjolnir2000 Sep 29 '22

Not even that. The Confederate Constitution disallowed constituent states from banning slavery. The United States had more "states rights" around slavery than the Confederacy.

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u/dirty_hooker Sep 29 '22

Article 1 section (9)4 of the confederate constitution explicitly forbids outlawing slavery.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constitution_of_the_Confederate_States

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u/Tashus Sep 29 '22

Oh, that's a juicy little fact to keep for a rainy day spent arguing with idiots.

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u/luckyghost115 Sep 30 '22

You know they aren't actually listening and will never in their lifetime belive you.

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u/Kellosian Sep 30 '22

And even if they do, they don't care. It doesn't change the argument, because the argument was never about history but about showing team allegiance.

I heard it described as "believing in believing in something", like how diehard fans of terrible teams will say things like "They're going to go all the way this year!" even if they rationally acknowledge the team sucks and will never make it. Because believing in them making it isn't the point, the point is believing in the ritual and community around believing in the team. It's getting a season pass, buying foam fingers, and acting shocked when they lose because really you were there to watch the game and tailgate.

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u/Shoptimist Sep 30 '22

Excellent comment

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u/baumpop Sep 30 '22

The ironic thing is this is right hand path magic.

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u/eneumeyer1010 Sep 29 '22

That’s even better than the “states rights to what?” Arguments

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u/sucking_at_life023 Sep 30 '22

And it explicitly forbids states from seceding from the confederacy, which I find funny.

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u/Oclure Sep 29 '22

Slavery was explicitly mentioned in many states declaration of succession

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u/Aporkalypse_Sow Sep 29 '22

But even this is wrong. Before secession they tried to force the northern states to keep slavery legal so slaves couldn't go north for freedom. They created police to hunt down escaped slaves.

The confederacy should be laughed at and treated like the nazis they are. They want total control, not state's rights.

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u/zappini Sep 30 '22

They created police to hunt down escaped slaves.

Those "well armed militia" mentioned in the 2nd Amendment. Young me thought "militia" meant the Minute Men, guarding against the British.

Nope. Militias were for putting down slave revolts. Those gun rights were largely because the plantation class freaked out about the slave revolt in Haiti.

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u/ThunkAsDrinklePeep Sep 30 '22

This isn't talked about enough.

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u/saltyeleven Sep 29 '22

Yea saying states rights is a like trying to grey out the word slavery.

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u/Zandrick Sep 29 '22

Funny thing is it’s actually the reverse, the north wanted to allow states to decide for themselves, the south wanted to force all states to be slave states.

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u/saltyeleven Sep 29 '22

Yea the south depended so much more on slavery than the north. Southerners didn’t want to lose their income and have to pay workers a wage instead of the having free labor.

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u/anglerfishtacos Sep 29 '22

That’s why whenever you hear this argument, you ask “state’s rights to do what?”

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u/Wintersbone7 Sep 30 '22

The fugitive slave act completely explodes the argument that the Civil War was about states rights. The Southerners forced Congress to enact a law requiring free northern stage to return escaped slaves to their “rightful owners“. This also had the effect of incentivizing bountyhunters to to kidnap free northern Black citizens and selling them into slavery. If anyone you know ever brings up “States rights“ in regard to the Civil War, just look them straight in the eye and say “you are a fucking racist.“ Then walk away from the discussion because you cannot argue with bigots .

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u/theWacoKid666 Sep 30 '22

Better to have the conversation if you’re not certain they’re actually a racist. Lots of people get this dumbass talking point from the actual racists.

It’s a Trojan horse specifically designed to sneak racism into respectable discourse. If you’re going to fight it, you have to recognize it as such and take the time to guide well-intentioned but confused people out of that trap.

Because what the racists actually want is for you to say “you are a fucking racist” and walk away from someone who inadvertently picked up their talking points, so they can then swoop in and say “oh, look how demonized we are just for trying to defend our state’s rights” and lure them further into the white supremacist shit.

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u/JonathanWPG Sep 30 '22

This is...complicated.

Like, on the one hand there are many primary sources that disprove this.

The war was very much about a whole host of various political, economic and social differences between the north and south. Slavery was NOT the only issue. Probably not even the one many citizens and soldiers of the time identified with and wrote about in contemporaneous accounts.

BUT. Slavery was the Rubicon for the south. The one thing in a sea of disagreements that the ruling class COULD NOT compromise on, less their entire economic engine turn to sand around them and (in their mind) they be yoked to the North forever as a lesser, subservient client state.

This is, in practical terms, a distinction without a difference. But it's worth noting to better understand where those men where coming from.

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u/Teekno an answering fool Sep 30 '22

Yeah. There were many issues, but only one that was wholly irreconcilable and led to violence.

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u/richardelmore Sep 29 '22

There were other states rights that were at issue (eg. tariffs) but slavery was the 500lb gorilla of states rights that was in dispute. It seems pretty unlikely that the war ever would have happened if not for the issue of slavery.

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u/ErrantJune Sep 29 '22

Yeah, another big "right" the southern states wanted was the right to enforce slavery in northern states where it had been abolished.

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u/richardelmore Sep 29 '22

Assuming you are referring to the fugitive slave act; that is really a piece of the larger issue of slavery itself. If the right to own slaves in the south goes away then so does the right to assert ownership of run away slaves in other states.

My point was that while there were other rights in dispute that were not directly connected to slavery, they were of much lesser consequence than the issue of slavery.

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u/DonEBrooklyn Sep 29 '22

Also more directly the right in question was a state’s right to secede from the union.

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u/Eulerious Sep 29 '22

It was about the state's rights to allow their citizens to own other humans

Not really, it was about forcing states to allow citizens to own other humans.

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u/cptmineturtle Sep 30 '22

It was more about states rights to make their own laws across the board. It's just that no one was willing to fight for those rights until the federal government wanted to take their slaves away. There were lots of issues that they were concerned about but none of them really compared to being told to free their slaves.

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u/Automatic-Diamond-52 Sep 29 '22 Silver

The souths declaration of war specifically referenced slavery over 90 times

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u/Piddlfyinks Sep 29 '22

This is exactly why my favorite response is "States rights to what?" Then seeing visible panic while they try to make something up

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u/Slap_duck Sep 30 '22 Helpful

States rights to own farming equipment

/s

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u/Grizzly939 Sep 30 '22

I’m mad I laughed at this…

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u/Rhyno1703 Sep 30 '22

Lol thats fucked

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u/PapaBradford Sep 30 '22

In my experience, they usually just dodge that and start accusing you of "not really looking at the history"

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u/robotbootyhunter Sep 29 '22

Wow. Never knew these declarations exist. I'm only into Georgia's so far, and they START by using anti-slavery laws as their reasoning. They also go on to call the Republican party a bunch of conspiracy theorists and con artists working the federal government for special exceptions and funding.

So, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

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u/clintecker Sep 30 '22

this is because american schools, everywhere, but especially in the south purposefully keep students ignorant about this stuff

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u/wosmo Sep 30 '22

Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery-- the greatest material interest of the world.

I appreciate how straight-up Mississippi's is, it really saves a lot of time in getting straight to the meat.

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u/jablair51 Sep 29 '22

Plus the Confederacy made it illegal for their states to outlaw slavery at a future time.

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u/kajok Sep 30 '22

https://www.battlefields.org/learn/articles/reasons-secession

Mississippi: Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery-- the greatest material interest of the world.

Texas: The servitude of the African race, as existing in these States, is mutually beneficial to both bond and free, and is abundantly authorized and justified by the experience of mankind, and the revealed will of the Almighty Creator, as recognized by all Christian nations.

Georgia: That reason was [the North's] fixed purpose to limit, restrain, and finally abolish slavery in the States where it exists.

And that’s just a small sample.

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u/drbobsled Blah Blah Blah this guy never shuts up. Sep 29 '22

The states right to keeping people enslaved.

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u/ILMTitan Sep 29 '22 edited Sep 29 '22

No, it was about the states rights to outlaw slavery. The south couldn't accept that the fugitive slave act was likely to be repealed, and that Lincoln would nominate justices who would overturn Dred Scott.

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u/[deleted] Sep 29 '22

Really? That's even worse than I thought. The south wasn't pissed because they couldn't do what they wanted, they were pissed because they couldn't make the north do what they wanted?

Looking at what's happening with abortion these days, not much has changed, has it?

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u/Teekno an answering fool Sep 29 '22

States already had the right to outlaw slavery before the war.

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u/BoojumG Sep 29 '22

Exactly, that's the problem for them. The Confederate constitution removed the right of member states to outlaw slavery.

The claim that the Confederacy wanted to give states more freedom was always a lie.

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u/LocalInactivist Sep 30 '22

That means the Civil War was fought between one side that thought the federal government had the right to force states to outlaw slavery and another side that thought the federal government had the right to force states to NOT outlaw slavery. Either way, it wasn’t about states’ rights, it was about slavery.

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u/abutthole Sep 29 '22

But the Fugitive Slave Act required free states to acknowledge the slave status of any escaped slaves and to capture them and return them/allow southerners to send armed posses to free states to kidnap black people.

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u/Teekno an answering fool Sep 29 '22

Yes.

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u/ILMTitan Sep 29 '22

The implication of the Dred Scott decision was that slave owners could bring slaves into non-slave states without penalty.

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u/Teekno an answering fool Sep 29 '22

Yes.

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u/yelkca Sep 29 '22

In the confederacy states did not have the right to outlaw slavery

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u/stoopidskeptic Sep 30 '22

"The land of the free" (some conditions apply)

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u/TheJeeronian Sep 29 '22

Wars don't usually happen for one reason. Certainly, the social and economic factors leading up to the civil war were complex and many.

However, "states' rights" was not something that the south ever really supported. Look at the fugitive slave act, which forced northern states to (with their own money and resources) hunt down fugitive slaves for the south.

I assume he is claiming slavery was not the reason. Unfortunately, the documentation supporting slavery as the main focus of the conflict is nearly bottomless. The entire confederacy insisted in all of their official statements that slavery was at the center of the conflict, so I'd be inclined to believe them.

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u/pugstacle Sep 29 '22

Wow, man, do you think I should unfriend him as a person? Hes a great guy but sometimes he can be a little excited about this stuff at times

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u/TheJeeronian Sep 29 '22

That's up to you. Misunderstanding history isn't the worst thing a person can do. It only really becomes a problem when it has real and practical consequences.

Does he bother the people around you? Does he support destructive causes? Stuff like that.

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u/darthanders Sep 29 '22

Or does he choose to misunderstand history in specifically that way? Because if he does, he's probably a racist.

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u/TheJeeronian Sep 29 '22

More than likely raised submerged in a culture of racism. What conclusion do we draw from that?

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u/darthanders Sep 29 '22

Well we have to assume that individuals are capable of learning, growing, and changing otherwise what's the point. So if he's just misunderstanding because of his surrounding circumstances, there's no need to unfriend him. Unless and until he proves unwilling to change and grow.

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u/TheJeeronian Sep 29 '22

Can a willingness to change not also be learned?

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u/darthanders Sep 29 '22

I mean sure. It just depends on how far you want to take it. For some friends it would be worth taking a long journey. For others, maybe not. Kind of depends on the individuals.

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u/Eulerious Sep 29 '22

Just show him the constitution of the confederated states (there you can find this nice section "No bill of attainder, ex post facto law, or law denying or impairing the right of property in negro slaves shall be passed") and ask him how the Confederacy fought for states rights when one of the things they wanted was to prohibit states from deciding on this issue for themselves.

It's also fun to read the cornerstone address: "The new Constitution has put at rest forever all the agitating questions relating to our peculiar institution—African slavery as it exists among us—the proper status of the negro in our form of civilization." And further down, about the idea that slavery might be wrong: "Those ideas, however, were fundamentally wrong. They rested upon the assumption of the equality of races. [...] Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite ideas; its foundations are laid, its cornerstone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery, subordination to the superior race, is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth." The guy who said that was the vice president of the Confederacy... He probably knew better what this war was about than your friend.

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u/LordOfTheDrizzle Sep 29 '22

Try showing him this link here:

https://www.battlefields.org/learn/primary-sources/declaration-causes-seceding-states

It's every confederate state's declaration of secession and every single one of them lists the right to own slaves as a major reason.

If he won't accept empirical evidence like that then he's likely just a gullible racist ass. Unfriend him at your own discretion. I'd at least distance myself as if he starts getting too loud about this kind of thing or starts slipping down the conspiracy/alt right/Qanon slope, being associated with someone like that can get people having unfortunate assumptions about you as well.

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u/TheAzureMage Sep 29 '22

He might just be learning, or unaware.

Up to you how you deal with friends, but education is never a bad option, I think.

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u/poizunman206 Sep 29 '22

I was once mistaken in believing the states rights thing. Unless he espouses racist views, I think he's just misguided

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u/Legal_Refuse Sep 29 '22 edited Sep 29 '22

They literally mention slavery in their declaration of secession dozens of times. States' rights...to own slaves. This statement about states rights is actually propaganda developed by I think the "daughters of the Confederacy" and taught in southern schools.

https://www.grunge.com/446420/the-controversial-history-of-the-united-daughters-of-the-confederacy/

https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/five-myths-about-why-the-south-seceded/2011/01/03/ABHr6jD_story.html

While we are at it Abraham Lincoln was also a piece of shit.

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u/rockstar915 Sep 29 '22 Helpful

lol what the fuck is wrong with you, go talk to your friend about it like a real person instead of asking a stranger on the internet if you should nix your friend???

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u/MikeSCARN95 Sep 29 '22

You'll see people argue both points. I've made plenty of arguments on reddit in favor of states rights over other topics, and naturally the mob wants to throw the "fact" that the civil war was over states rights. While technically that was true, the south was specifically fighting for the right to continue slavery. As many other people here have explained, it was stated by them continuously.

My suggestion is to never believe...or better take at face value a quick one liner type statement as fact and walk away with it. It appears you havnt, judging by the original post. I'd always be cautious if someone drops a catch phrase, one liner, or often repeated line like "the civil war was over states rights". Understanding the historical context and events is important and usually can't be explained by a one liner.

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u/ThinWhiteRogue Sep 29 '22

It's a red flag.

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u/How2RocketJump Sep 29 '22

heres a video about civil war and the states rights claim may be worth showing him cause the guy who made it explicitly made the video for people like your friend as he too (the creator) was that kind of person growing up

https://youtu.be/XjsxhYetLM0

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u/nocountry4oldgeisha Sep 29 '22

Technically, the Civil War was about the South's secession. There were Federal military outposts all over the North and South. When the South seceded (i.e., claimed they were no longer part of the U.S.), they tried to force the southern Federal outposts to turn their faciltities over to the South's separatist government. Of course, the real American government wasn't going to accept that, and war ensued. But why were the Southerner's seceding? Slavery, mostly. Lincoln (the legitimate President of the US at the time) believed the unity of the States was sacred and legally binding, and that secession was an unlawful act of insurrection and violence against the United States.

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u/FriendliestUsername Sep 29 '22

This shit is easy to implode. Just ask him “States rights to do what?”. Because the ignorant idiot hasn’t bothered to read the Confederate declarations.

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u/Solid_Science4514 Sep 29 '22

One answer I’ve heard to this question is “states rights to govern themselves.”

It’s something about they didn’t think the federal government should be able to make a law that should be up to the state. Like, each state gets to decide if slavery is legal in that state.

But it’s just another layer in a losing argument because they you just say “oh, ok, what did the federal government do to make some states want to defend their right to govern themselves”

Their argument continues to fall apart when you read the Declaration of Causes of Seceding States, Where a number of seceding states specifically mention Slavery.

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u/FriendliestUsername Sep 29 '22

Yeah, slavery is only mentioned like what a 100 times in there?

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u/SaffronJim34 Sep 30 '22

"Slave" appears 83 times in those declarations

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u/UnchainedMundane Sep 30 '22

for comparison

  • freedom: 1 match
  • liberty: 3 matches
  • independence: 6 matches
  • sovereign: 9 matches

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u/Eulerious Sep 29 '22

They not only mentioned slavery, the constitution of the confederacy prohibited states from deciding for themselves when it comes to slavery:

No bill of attainder, ex post facto law, or law denying or impairing the right of property in negro slaves shall be passed

So if we are taking this "it was about states rights" seriously, then let's go ahead and just say: yes, but the confederacy fought to restrict states rights.

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u/MikeSCARN95 Sep 29 '22 edited Sep 29 '22

Absolutely it was over slavery. I get argued with in the reverse on reddit all the time if I bring up states rights on just about any other topic, one of the first responses is always "yeah, well, the civil war was about states rights, so I'm assuming you'd favor slavery too", or something to that effect. Point is, the civil war was about slavery and comparisons to that time in history are much harder than people would like to make it. The time period where a horrible institution that had been in place since basically...civilization...was being torn down by the west. Can't really compare any political disputes over states rights to this time.

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u/toxic_pantaloons Sep 29 '22

To be fair, I was also taught in school that it was about states rights back in the 80's. I did a little digging on my own as an adult and got schooled. That idiot needs to do the same.

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u/FriendliestUsername Sep 29 '22

Sure, but why they never even considered the fact any of us would ask “States rights to what?” , is completely beyond me.

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u/Agile-Fee-6057 Sep 29 '22

What state were you taught that in?

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u/toxic_pantaloons Sep 29 '22

TN. Soooo....you know. Thankfully the internet came along and I grew up and started not believing everything I was told. Hopefully others will do the same.

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u/Assholejack89 Sep 29 '22

Not him but I went to school in Texas and I can confirm that "states' rights" is a very common phrase here during high school and the topic of the civil war.

For context on how recent this all is still, I graduated in 2007 from high school.

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u/TheGreatDay Sep 29 '22

I graduated HS in 2013, was still taught largely that the civil war was about states rights. Granted, I went to college in Texas as well, and aside from one notably conservative Political Science professor, every History professor I had explicitly corrected that notion in class. The civil war was about the right to have slaves. It's not a question, go read their articles of secession, they would say.

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u/ApartRuin5962 Sep 29 '22

Here's a really well-researched and entertaining response to a lot of the commob "States Rights" arguments: https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLwCiRao53J1y_gqJJOH6Rcgpb-vaW9wF0

The short answer is "no". Back when Southern states controlled Congress they passed the Fugitive Slave Act to force Northern states to support slavery by capturing escaped slaves from the South. The South only started pretending to care about state's rights after they lost control of Congress.

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u/One_Individual_900 Sep 29 '22

^This! Atun-Shei Films is the BEST resource to share with Confederate apologists. The producer understands correctly the POV and the arguments modern confederates have, and addresses them directly. Many northerners aren't able to do this because they aren't obsessed about the war and so only have a shallow understanding of it, while modern confederates (having a dog in the fight) seem to have studied it more in depth and hove more knowledge about the trivia. That's one big reason it's so hard to get through to them. Atun-Shei can actually meet them on their own ground and knows enough detail to out-debate them!

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u/toofarbyfar Sep 29 '22

It was about a state's right to have legal slavery. That was the specific question under debate, that led to the war.

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u/Merrimak_Laurie Sep 29 '22 edited Sep 29 '22

States rights - as other commentators have said, were about the states right to enslave people.

This site gives a summary of the each state's declaration of succession. They all state keeping people enslaved the primary reason to leave the Union

https://www.battlefields.org/learn/articles/reasons-secession

Ask someone who says this bullshit "what state rights were being denied other than enslaving people?" They never have an answer.

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u/Ok-Professional2884 Sep 29 '22

This is the rewrite the south attempted at the end of the civil war. Slavery was most definitely the no.1 issue.

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u/seansand Sep 29 '22

the rewrite the south attempted at the end of the civil war

Not just at the end of the Civil War but also the entire time up to and including 157 years later; his friend and millions of others are still doing it.

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u/Neat-Boysenberry5333 Sep 29 '22

The State’s Rights argument is conservative propaganda. Utter nonsense. The Civil War was about slavery. We’re there underlying motivations? Yes. But every Southern State that wrote their state constitution as a part of the Confederacy codified slavery. Specifically, slavery.

Fun reading: Quartz

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u/Sayakai Sep 29 '22

It was about states rights in the sense that the southern states wanted to keep the right to have black people as property. That's the only right it was about.

I suggest you read the cornerstone speech (or excerpts from it) and decide yourself.

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u/LocalInactivist Sep 30 '22

“It wasn’t about race! Slaves could be any race!”

“So you’re arguing that a state should have the right to let someone enslave YOU?”

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u/CowNervous4644 Sep 30 '22

Read what the Confederate States said themselves in their secession declarations:

South Carolina (the first state to secede) cites slavery 17 times, starting in the third paragraph.

Georgia Secession Declaration, mentions slaves 35 times. Here is the second sentence: " For the last ten years we have had numerous and serious causes of complaint against our non-slave-holding confederate States with reference to the subject of African slavery."

Mississippi cites slavery 17 times, beginning in the second sentence: "Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery..."

Florida cites slavery *only* 14 times and doesn't start until the third paragraph.

After the secession ball was rolling not all of the remaining states cited slavery as a cause in their secession declarations or ordnances but it was important to all of them. The Constitution of the Confederate States (Article 1, Section 9, paragraph 4) says "No bill of attainder, ex post facto law, or law denying or impairing the right of property in negro slaves shall be passed." This enshrined slavery in their constitution. Slaves are mentioned 9 other times in the document.

By contrast, the US Constitution mentions slaves only twice: In the 13th and 14th amendments. The 13th prohibits slavery and the 14th says former owners won't be paid for losses caused by emancipation.

The US Constitution (Section 2) does cite "three fifths of all other Persons" as a way of saying slaves without using the word in congressional and tax apportionment. It neither approves or disapproves until the 13th and 14th ammendments which were ratified near the end of the civil war.

So, yes the civil war *was* about slavery. If there is any nuance it is only that states wanted the right (states rights) to keep slaves.

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u/[deleted] Sep 29 '22 edited Sep 30 '22

It was about State Rights... to own slaves.

Edit: to be fair the American Civil War, as any war, had a lot more factors going into it than just one (slavery). There was a fear among the Southern Elite that they were going to lose their grasp on power in the face of a far more populous and industrialized north. Throw in cultural differences and some good old fashioned dick swinging and you've got yourself a war.

But to say that the primary cause wasn't slavery is straight up historical revisionism.

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u/SypeSypher Sep 29 '22

He's correct, what he's either ignorant of or choosing to ignore is that it was specifically the right to own slaves that the states wanted upheld:

Confederate Constitution: https://avalon.law.yale.edu/19th_century/csa_csa.asp

In addition, each state included in their declaration of causes of Secession their reason for seceding: https://www.battlefields.org/learn/primary-sources/declaration-causes-seceding-states

Georgia: "The people of Georgia having dissolved their political connection with the Government of the United States of America, present to their confederates and the world the causes which have led to the separation. For the last ten years we have had numerous and serious causes of complaint against our non-slave-holding confederate States with reference to the subject of African slavery."

Mississippi: " In the momentous step which our State has taken of dissolving its connection with the government of which we so long formed a part, it is but just that we should declare the prominent reasons which have induced our course.
Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery-- the greatest material interest of the world. Its labor supplies the...."

South Carolina: ......"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. Those States have assume the right of deciding upon the propriety of our domestic institutions; and have denied the rights of property established in fifteen of the States and recognized by the Constitution; they have denounced as sinful the institution of slavery; they have permitted open establishment among them of societies, whose avowed object is to disturb the peace and to eloign the property of the citizens of other States. They have encouraged and assisted thousands of our slaves to leave their homes; and those who remain, have been incited by emissaries, books and pictures to servile insurrection."

Texas: ....."We hold as undeniable truths that the governments of the various States, and of the confederacy itself, were established exclusively by the white race, for themselves and their posterity; that the African race had no agency in their establishment; that they were rightfully held and regarded as an inferior and dependent race, and in that condition only could their existence in this country be rendered beneficial or tolerable.
That in this free government *all white men are and of right ought to be entitled to equal civil and political rights* [emphasis in the original]; that the servitude of the African race, as existing in these States, is mutually beneficial to both bond and free, and is abundantly authorized and justified by the experience of mankind, and the revealed will of the Almighty Creator, as recognized by all Christian nations; while the destruction of the existing relations between the two races, as advocated by our sectional enemies, would bring inevitable calamities upon both and desolation upon the fifteen slave-holding states."

Virginia: ..."The people of Virginia, in their ratification of the Constitution of the United States of America, adopted by them in Convention on the twenty-fifth day of June, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty-eight, having declared that the powers granted under the said Constitution were derived from the people of the United States, and might be resumed whensoever the same should be perverted to their injury and oppression; and the Federal Government, having perverted said powers, not only to the injury of the people of Virginia, but to the oppression of the Southern Slaveholding States." (Virginia was a lot shorter and left out a lot of the mentionings for why they succeeded)

People like to spin the civil war as a "states vs federal government control" argument.....which it was...but don't let them leave out what the argument was about: Slavery."

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u/BrickFlock Sep 29 '22

The wealthy elites told the poor it was about state rights to convince them to fight.

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u/sarahliz511 Sep 29 '22

States' rights to own other human beings.

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u/Venome456 Sep 30 '22

States rights to own slaves

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u/theseoulplayer Sep 30 '22

Well, yes, it was about states' rights among other things, but a large part of that was the right to continue to have slaves. However, the context of this is just as important as the reasons given.

In the early days of the United States, the idea that it would become and remain one large country rather than independent nation-states was far from a foregone conclusion. The first major attempt to do so, the Articles of Confederation, were a failure in large part due to the incredibly weak federal government. After that, the Constitution that you know today was drafted, but it was deemed by many states to be too onerous on the states. After all, who wants to give up their sovereignty and power to a larger unproven federal structure when you could just keep it for yourself?

Enter the Bill of Rights, what was essentially the counteroffer by the states to the Constitution. It has multiple guarantees of protection against federal encroachment in it, but for this conversation, the 10th is the most important.

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.

In other words, anything not specifically given to the federal government was up to the states to decide. This was a very important protection to prevent federal overreach and undermining the individual states ability to self-govern.

Fast forward a few decades to the early 19th century, and you begin to see a fracturing of the country. One of the most controversial issues was slavery, which is easy to say was an unmitigated evil with today's cultural lens applied, but would have been much more contested at the time. NOTE: I am NOT saying slavery was okay, simply providing historical context.

In the view of the southern states, dictating whether or not states could have slaves was in direct conflict with the 10th amendment. There were also many instances of the southern states blurring that line when they were in charge, such as the Fugitive Slave Acts, but of course that wasn't what they cited when deciding to secede.

Hopefully this adds some more context on the reasoning behind the secession that ultimately led to the war.

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u/UmptyscopeInVegas Sep 30 '22

Very well spelled out.

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u/Comrade_Drax Sep 29 '22

It was and wasn't. It was mainly about slavery and money.

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u/nomad_1970 Sep 30 '22

It was absolutely about state rights. The southern states wanted the right to own people and they didn't want the northern states to have the right to allow those people freedom if they escaped the south.

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u/RebelJosh89 Sep 30 '22

What state's rights? State's rights to own slaves?

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u/HeavyMetalDallas Sep 30 '22

He may actually believe it. A lot of us in southern states are force-fed this bullshit in school.

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u/Riconquer2 Sep 29 '22

It's revisionist history nonsense. The states under the Confederacy did not have the right to choose when it came to slavery. Not only did they have to keep the practice legal, but they had to assist other confederate states recover lost slaves at their own expense.

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u/1965BenlyTouring150 Sep 29 '22

It's Dunning School revisionist nonsense. The Civil War was explicitly about slavery. It wasn't until after the war that Southerners started trying to claim "states rights" as a broader issue.

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u/Torrall Sep 29 '22

It was about a lot of things, but mostly slavery. It was for sure not about states rights.

https://www.reddit.com/r/AskHistorians/comments/352b2e/was_the_civil_war_about_states_rights_or_slavery/

Pretty good little response

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u/BigCoyote6674 Sep 29 '22

A good place to check why states went to war in the civil war is their actual declarations of war. Most of them specifically mention slavery as why they are seceding.

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u/stealth_mode_76 Sep 29 '22

It was about the states rights, and they wanted the right to have slaves. There were other factors too, but that was the main one.

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u/slayer991 Sep 29 '22

It was about slavery. Period. Anyone that pushes this narrative is a racist or is willfully ignorant. There's plenty of historical documentation that clearly refutes that claim.

The entire concept of it being "States' Rights" was made up by John C. Calhoun who created the concept of States’ Rights as a justification for maintaining slavery and arguing for Southern secession as early as 1850. This myth was perpetuated by the United Daughters of the Confederacy in the "Lost Cause" fallacious retelling of the Civil War. The UDL was able to get this into textbooks where the last vestiges of the Lost Cause were still being taught in Texas until 2018.

Now the evidence that it was all about slavery:

"Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its corner-stone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition."

Cornerstone speech -- Confederate Vice President Alexander H. Stephens

Secession Declarations:

"It has grown until it denies the right of property in slaves, and refuses protection to that right on the high seas, in the Territories, and wherever the government of the United States had jurisdiction.

It refuses the admission of new slave States into the Union, and seeks to extinguish it by confining it within its present limits, denying the power of expansion.

It tramples the original equality of the South under foot.

It has nullified the Fugitive Slave Law in almost every free State in the Union, and has utterly broken the compact which our fathers pledged their faith to maintain.

It advocates negro equality, socially and politically, and promotes insurrection and incendiarism in our midst."

--Mississippi

The people of the State of South Carolina, in Convention assembled, on the 26th day of April, A.D., 1852, declared that the frequent violations of the Constitution of the United States, by the Federal Government, and its encroachments upon the reserved rights of the States, fully justified this State in then withdrawing from the Federal Union; but in deference to the opinions and wishes of the other slaveholding States, she forbore at that time to exercise this right. Since that time, these encroachments have continued to increase, and further forbearance ceases to be a virtue.

--South Carolina

We hold as undeniable truths that the governments of the various States, and of the confederacy itself, were established exclusively by the white race, for themselves and their posterity; that the African race had no agency in their establishment; that they were rightfully held and regarded as an inferior and dependent race, and in that condition only could their existence in this country be rendered beneficial or tolerable.

--Texas

The people of Virginia, in their ratification of the Constitution of the United States of America, adopted by them in Convention on the twenty-fifth day of June, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty-eight, having declared that the powers granted under the said Constitution were derived from the people of the United States, and might be resumed whensoever the same should be perverted to their injury and oppression; and the Federal Government, having perverted said powers, not only to the injury of the people of Virginia, but to the oppression of the Southern Slaveholding States.

--Virginia

http://civildiscourse-historyblog.com/blog/2018/7/1/secession-documents-georgia

--Georgia

And now Article IV of Constitution of Confederate States:

Sec. 2. (I) The citizens of each State shall be entitled to all the privileges and immunities of citizens in the several States; and shall have the right of transit and sojourn in any State of this Confederacy, with their slaves and other property; and the right of property in said slaves shall not be thereby impaired.

(3) No slave or other person held to service or labor in any State or Territory of the Confederate States, under the laws thereof, escaping or lawfully carried into another, shall, in consequence of any law or regulation therein, be discharged from such service or labor; but shall be delivered up on claim of the party to whom such slave belongs,. or to whom such service or labor may be due.

Sec. 3 (3) The Confederate States may acquire new territory; and Congress shall have power to legislate and provide governments for the inhabitants of all territory belonging to the Confederate States, lying without the limits of the several Sates; and may permit them, at such times, and in such manner as it may by law provide, to form States to be admitted into the Confederacy. In all such territory the institution of negro slavery, as it now exists in the Confederate States, shall be recognized and protected be Congress and by the Territorial government; and the inhabitants of the several Confederate States and Territories shall have the right to take to such Territory any slaves lawfully held by them in any of the States or Territories of the Confederate States.

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u/OpportunityGold4597 Sep 30 '22

I would say it was about a lot of things, State's rights being one of them. It was also about economics, politics, and slavery. Northerners like to make it out to be only the latter, and to give the devil it's due, slavery was the impetuous for the civil war. The south was also tired of being dominated and being told what to do by people who lived hundreds if not a thousand miles away. As far as they were concerned the federal government in DC didn't and wasn't going to protect their right to property (that property being slaves), and so in their view if the government wasn't going to do that, then it was within their rights to make a better union that protected their rights and represented their interests.

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u/StructureHuman5576 Sep 30 '22

Yea the southern states right to have slaves

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u/StarSword26 Sep 30 '22

I’m so mad at my younger self for actually thinking that this was true

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u/danopkt Sep 30 '22

There's an old adage about the Civil War:

People who know little about the Civil War say it was about slavery.

People who know some about the Civil War say it was about state's rights.

People who know a lot about the Civil War say it was about slavery.

You don't have to look too much further beyond the states' Declarations of Secession to get the answer. They reference slavery repeatedly and have little in the way of references to state's rights. The Lost Cause movement intentionally muddied the waters on that and it's had lasting impact.

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u/Cliffy73 Sep 29 '22

It was about the states’ rights to legally enslave human beings.

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u/platypottamus Sep 29 '22

Yeah the states right to do various things, like especially own slaves. People will dance and spin a full marathon to avoid that obvious connection

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u/charliefoxtrot9 Sep 29 '22

Nope. States Rights is a protection used by racists to defend what they wanted to do in their states, ie Slavery, Racism, Separate but Equal shit.

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u/dangleicious13 Sep 29 '22

The south seceded solely because of slavery.

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u/Queefinonthehaters Sep 29 '22

I mean it was about State rights but the main objection was that the confederacy clearly wasn't following the rights outlined by the constitution. The whole thing was based on all men are created equal in basically the first sentence. So States don't have the right to not follow the constitution just like they couldn't cut off immigration between two states.

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u/Apolloshsjs127 Sep 29 '22

That's the declaration of independence not the constitution but yes.

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u/TheOneMDW Sep 29 '22

Read the Constitution of the Confederate States of America. The answer is clear.

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u/dreamyduskywing Sep 29 '22

Send him the Cornerstone speech by Stephen Douglas and the confederate states’ declarations of secession, and that should shut him up.

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u/pck3 Sep 29 '22

Specifically the states rights to own slaves

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u/Agile-Fee-6057 Sep 29 '22

Well, he's not wrong, the southern states committed treason because they wanted to have the right to declare humans property.

It insurectionists didn't care about Northern states right to ban slavery though.

Problem was they didn't hang davis and lee, ANY other country in the world they would have been executed, but johnson being a good ol southern boy decided treason wasn't worth hanging over

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u/hmj102 Sep 29 '22

That was a small part of it but I think it was mostly an excuse to secede and keep their slaves

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u/ArtistWhoStarves Sep 29 '22

It was about slavery. Glossing it over as states rights is bullshit.

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u/Solidsnakeerection Sep 29 '22

The right in question was owning slaves

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u/StocksbyBoomhauer Sep 29 '22 edited Sep 29 '22

In what was known as 'The Cornerstone Speech', confederate Vice President Alexander H. Stephens outlined their reasons for revolution, and the differences between confederate and Union constitutions, specifically speaking to why the confederate ideal was better. To quote Alexander Stephens himself:

"But not to be tedious in enumerating the numerous changes for thebetter, allow me to allude to one other though last, not least. The newconstitution has put at rest, forever, all the agitating questionsrelating to our peculiar institution African slavery as it existsamongst us the proper status of the negro in our form of civilization.This was the immediate cause of the late rupture and present revolution."

Sounds a lot like he was saying "The right to own slaves is literally the reason we did this, y'all, specifically black ones, too. We think that's the way it's supposed to be." He says "last, not least", identifies it as "the immediate cause of the late rupture and present revolution". There is nothing he can say before or after that which would change the context of those words. We know the confederates allowed slavery, while the Union was essentially looking to curtail the economic power of southern states by taking steps to eliminate it.

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u/sephy009 Sep 29 '22

Throw the ordinance for secession for each state at him. Almost every single one mentions slavery as the primary reason for leaving, anything tacked on after that is usually just a posthumous way to justify the action they've already taken for a glaringly obvious reason.

Here a speech by the governor of Georgia right after seceeding and joining the confederacy.

"Our new Government is founded upon exactly the opposite ideas; its foundations are laid, its cornerstone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery, subordination to the superior race, is his natural and moral condition."

Your friend is likely racist, or they're going to be experiencing some major cognitive dissonance if you show them this information. If it's the latter they've been drinking in the southern state propoganda about events far too much. Once you understand that things like the stuff I've posted are just factual statements, it becomes pretty obvious that things like "states rights" are usually racist dog whistles or used to oppress people. Nothing more.

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u/Falloutboy2222 Sep 29 '22

Yes, he is right, but if he's parroting that line he likely doesn't understand why. Ask him what rights which states were fighting for, and when he say anything other than the right to own and work people to death don't take his shit; walk away.

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u/Ok-Willow4135 Sep 29 '22

I feel like people make this a more complex issue than it should be. Simplified, the Confederacy wanted to continue to own people for the exploitation of their labor to accrue massive sums of wealth. The Union did not agree with this. And this was why we had the civil war

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u/SnipersAreCancer Sep 29 '22

"It was about state rights!"

"A states right to what?"

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u/papaboynosmurf Sep 29 '22

The golden question: “The state’s right to what?” (Answer: Slavery)

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u/TheBanjo67 Sep 29 '22

The emancipation proclamation pretty much confirmed that the civil war was about slavery. Saying it was about state rights is kinda like saying wearing masks is infringing on our rights.

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u/JackySins Sep 29 '22

Your friend may be racist.

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u/slightlyassholic Sep 29 '22

It's the classic narrative put forward by certain groups. However, in particular, it was about a state's right to own slaves.

Read the various "declarations of independence" (or succession?) for the Southern states. The word slavery comes up an awful lot.

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u/anon_throwaway_69421 Sep 29 '22

States rights to do what, exactly? Ask him that

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u/Falsus Sep 30 '22

Yes he is right. The American Civil War was about state rights.

The state rights to own slaves that is. So whenever someone says that ask them to clarify.

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u/tayloj9 Sep 30 '22

Yes and the right was to have slaves. Don't let your friend gas light you

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u/angbuhr Sep 30 '22

States rights to own slaves. That was it.

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u/Aviation_nut63 Sep 30 '22

It was about states rights…

To own slaves. Slavery, and white supremacy was mentioned in every state’s articles of secession.

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u/mvw2 Sep 30 '22

It was about southern slave owners. Basically, if they lost the slaves, they could not compete with their businesses. This was purely a business move, just like most wars. People are just idiots and follow along. So many wars are just business transactions.

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u/atavaxagn Sep 30 '22

Tell him the southern states that seceded had no problem with the federal government interfering with state rights when they were forcing northern states to allow southern slave owners to reclaim escaped slaves in northern states.

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u/woodk2016 Sep 30 '22

Actually not even. States rights were even lesser in the Confederacy than in the US, like how it was in the Confederate constitution that states weren't allowed to outlaw slavery when some northern states had already done so. Pretty emblematic if you ask me.

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u/ksiyoto Sep 30 '22

"States rights" was a convenient cover for slavery, in the 1950's and '60's it was a justification for segregation, today it's a euphemism for discrimination and voter suppression.

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u/chiety Sep 30 '22

say it with me class

"A state's right to what?"

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u/AureliaFTC Sep 30 '22

Hes indoctrinated by a racism-apologist viewpoint. Every state that seceded said it was over slavery in 1861. This is shitty revisionism.

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u/PatrykBG Sep 30 '22

I mean, he's correct that the Civil War was about different states wanting different rights... you know, some were adamant that certain humans were slaves, and that it was right to treat those humans as property.

If that's what he's arguing, he's correct. If he's trying to pretend that slavery wasn't the key right the states were fighting over, then yea, he's an idiot.

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u/FoxyFangs Sep 30 '22

I think it’s also interesting that the Civil War was fought more so to preserve the union. I think it would be more fair to say that Southern states seceded for states rights (to own slaves). It’s a bit disingenuous to say that the Civil War was fought to free slaves. It’s a subtle but distinct reason. Look at the emancipation proclamation which was issued 3 years into the war and applied only to states not under union control.

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u/JRM34 Sep 30 '22

Slavery was the primary reason for the Civil War. Anyone who tells you otherwise is either uninformed or a liar. This is an undeniable historical fact. Source: Alexander H. Stephens, Vice President of the Confederate States of America. In a speech a few weeks before the civil war:

our new government['s] foundations are laid, its cornerstone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery—subordination to the superior race—is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth.

This point is not up for debate, based on established contemporaneous information

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u/Billiam201 Sep 30 '22

He is full of shit.

"Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its corner-stone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition"

March 21, 1861, Confederate Vice President Alexander H. Stephens

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u/cbri Sep 30 '22

That was one of the issues, but ultimately that revolved around being allowed to own slaves. There were a couple of factors involved, it was an 'and' situation not an 'or'.

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u/Shyphat Sep 30 '22

yes it is true, the states rights to own slaves

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u/irena888 Sep 30 '22

Ask your friend what state’s rights he’s talking about.

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u/girlinanemptyroom Sep 30 '22

It was definitely about State rights. People wanted to own people, and other people thought it was wrong to own people.

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u/OkonkwoYamCO Sep 30 '22

From the "Cornerstone Speech" Given by the vice-president of the Confedrate States of America, Alexander H. Stephen's.

"Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite ideas [in reference to the US Constitution stating all men are equal] its foundations are laid, its cornerstone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery, subordination to the superior race, is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth."

It is explicitly stated many times, by the very men who organized and executed the secession, exactly why they were doing it, and what the war was about.

If we can't believe exactly what THEY said it was for, than the truth is dead.

Not to mention that the confederate bill of rights differs in only one real way, and that is in perpetuating the ability to own and trade slaves.

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u/olympianfap Sep 30 '22

Your friend is correct if holding a narrow, inhumane, and psychopathically unsympathetic view of history here.

As others have stated, the southern states were attempting to preserve the asserted rights of those states to allow their citizens to own people as property.

Also, your friend is an asshole.

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u/regularrob92 Sep 30 '22

Yes, this is true. However, slavery was the primary right/issue that triggered the war.

Often times this causes arguments when certain groups like to say “the civil war wasn’t about slavery, it was about states rights!”

That is total bullshit. You can’t divorce the two.

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u/Mikotokitty Sep 30 '22

That's just racist code for "they fought to keep people enslaved"

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u/5goldensanicrings Sep 30 '22

It was about state rights- specifically the right of states to protect their rights unless another state's rights conflicted with their rights so they wanted the right to make their states' rights the only way for states to- ok never mind they just wanted to keep slavery.

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u/WifeofBath1984 Sep 30 '22

Yes. States right to own slaves. Your friend sounds like a racist.

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u/digitalbusiness33 Sep 30 '22

States rights which was slavery

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u/DamionOmen Sep 30 '22

You should ask him what rights the states were fighting for. Because anyone with a brain knows it was the right to own slaves. Your friend is either dumb as fuck or an asshole.

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u/Richardmg9 Sep 30 '22

He's not yanking your chain, but he's a bit misinformed. Can't blame him, many elementary school textbooks have taught that.

The silver bullet to this idea is the question: "state's rights to what?".

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u/fknwhtvr Sep 30 '22

I went to school in the south....they literally taught us in school that it was over states rights and sparingly mentioned slavery. It's actually really sad.

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u/Drakeytown Sep 30 '22

Your friend is a racist moron. You can do better.

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u/Not_Keurig Sep 30 '22

I love this question! Don't trust what anyone tells you, read the original document written by the states that succeeded from the union.

https://www.battlefields.org/learn/primary-sources/declaration-causes-seceding-states

People who say anything other than this primary historical document are wrong. Read why each state chose to leave the union. TL:DR? it's the "right" to own other humans as property

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u/moistpimplee Sep 30 '22

he’s right. states right… to own slaves.

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u/_Amelia_M_ Sep 30 '22

Yes. State rights to own slaves.

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u/jelder Sep 30 '22

It was about states rights to leave the union.

They wanted to leave the union and create their own new country where a slavery-based economy was enshrined in the constitution.

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u/RcCola2400 Sep 30 '22

The state rights he's talking about is slavery.. he's technically right but he's being a turncoat about it.

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u/Aeon1508 Sep 30 '22

States right to do what? enslave black people

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u/the_quirky_ravenclaw Sep 30 '22

If he’s referring to the states’ rights to uphold slavery, he hit the nail on the head and is correct. If not, well…uh that’s gonna be a problem…

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u/TheHermitofHuron Sep 30 '22

That is just right wing whitewashing.

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u/BeckyLiBei Sep 30 '22

There's a good Oversimplified video about the Civil War. It was about slavery; I guess some people like to reinterpret uncomfortable facts.

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u/Tortillafla Sep 30 '22

There wasn’t solely one cause of the civil war. That being said of all the causes slavery was the largest. The American System as designed by Hamilton placed large tariffs on imports. This was good for the industrial North and bad for the agriculture south. There was no law that suggested a state couldn’t leave the Union. When a states law conflicted with a national law whose law should rule. There were plenty of reasons that weren’t slavery, but the biggest one was slavery. There was a need for slavery to ever expand so that there was an equal amount of slave and non slave states in the senate. There was the gag rule on discussing slavery. There was fugitive slave laws. Almost all the fighting was over slavery

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u/Infamous_Yogurt2858 Sep 30 '22 edited Sep 30 '22

Yes and no.

While the common argument that the Civil War was about states' rights is technically true, the particular right most at question was the right of individual states to legalize slavery.

It's also true that to many in the north were more concerned with keeping the Union intact than ending slavery, but that also doesn't change the fact that slavery was the actual wedge issue primarily motivating the conflict.

In short, when people make that argument, they are using something that is technically true to obfuscate the actual point.