Literature The Guns Of The South Discussion

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10:05:58 PM May 15th 2011
The following trope example has been removed.

  • Easy Evangelism: After winning a war to keep slavery, after hundreds of thousands of deaths, the South agrees to get rid of it, just because an Alternate History future sees it as wrong. Part of an Author Tract that Southerners really weren't racist, after all.

The problem with this is that, while it is true that Harry Turtledove arranged the events in this book to encourage the South to abolish slavery, the fact of the matter is that those events were not especially improbable. The book is set after Pat Cleburne's (historical) proposal to add free Black soldiers to the Confederate army and grant them citizenship; in the original timeline it was adopted on Lee's urging shortly before Richmond fell, and it's established that Black troops served in the Union.

Furthermore, the Rivington men - the foremost pro-slavery speakers - have convinced the entire Southern people that they're Complete Monsters, and slavery is de facto dead in the border states. There's also the manner of Lee's emancipation proposal in the book, which is both gradual and compensated. At no point do slave owners lose property without being paid for it, after all.

The final line accusing Turtledove of an Author Tract is fairly well absurd. As the trope listed just below (Even Evil Has Standards) points out, Turtledove makes no attempts to hide the fact that the southerners are extremely racist: Nate Caudell, who is a reasonable and tolerant man, is willing to accept that one bright black man is more intelligent than one stupid white woman, but finds the idea of state-sponsored schooling for black as well as white children a joke.
10:09:29 PM May 15th 2011
I've also removed Politically Correct History and an attached Justifying Edit.

  • Politically Correct History: By the time the Easy Evangelism of the entire South takes place at the end, you wonder how slavery ever existed in the South, since obviously they were just waiting for a good excuse to treat blacks as equals.
    • Well, "treat blacks as equals" is going a bit too far. More like "freeing them from slavery while still keeping them an established underclass".
12:33:44 AM Jun 18th 2011
edited by Fanra
First off, the idea of adding free Black soldiers to the Confederate army never got anywhere. for obvious reasons. There were almost no free Blacks that wanted to fight for the Confederacy. Perhaps a very, very small number did.

True, Lee did, once the South was well into losing the war, wrote the Confederate Congress urging them to arm and enlist black slaves in exchange for their freedom. But in The Guns of The South, he would never bother to do so, since they won. All the events that led Lee to write the Congress never happened in the book.

It also has nothing to do with ending slavery. Even if it had happened, they would have only freed those slaves who fought. Not the women, not the children, not the old Blacks, etc.

Sure, the Rivington men are Complete Monsters. We get that. But just because a Complete Monster is in favor of some of the ideas you are, doesn't change your basic ideals. Hitler Ate Sugar.

As for Robert E. Lee's emancipation proposal, guess what? Abraham Lincoln proposed the very same thing before the South lost tens of thousands of its men fighting to keep slavery.

Frankly, Abraham Lincoln himself was not suggesting the South end slavery. What he was fighting for was that the new states and territories be free states. The current slave states were free to continue slavery. A few weeks before the war, he went so far as to pen a letter to every governor asking for their support in ratifying the Corwin Amendment as a means to avoid secession. The Corwin Amendment would have guaranteed slavery in the slave states with an amendment to the US Constitution.

It was only later, after the war had been going on for years that Lincoln decided to end slavery. Even so, the famous Emancipation Proclamation only freed slaves in states still in rebellion (that is areas he didn't even control, which made it a propaganda speech with no force). Those states that were not in rebellion and had slaves could keep them.

He sought to persuade the states to accept compensated emancipation in return for their prohibition of slavery (an offer that took effect only in Washington, D.C.). Note that his offer was turned down by the slave states who went to war against him.

It is all back to the same lie that Southerners like to believe, that somehow the Civil War wasn't really about slavery after all. Guess what? It was.

Sure, it is also true there were other reasons. And yes, the North really did want to economically "oppress" the South. But slavery was the reason for the war. No nation is going to after they win a war to keep slavery, to suddenly get rid of it because 'it isn't nice'.

As for the crap about, "Oh, the future says slavery is bad and we were evil to have slaves, so therefore we will get rid of it". Well, guess what? Most nations on Earth at the time were saying the exact same thing.

Section 9, Article 4 of the Constitution of the Confederate States of America:

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