Useful Notes The American Civil War Discussion

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03:27:49 PM Aug 4th 2016
In "The Civil War in Fiction", it looks like people are mixing in discussion about the Civil War, period. e.g. in the "Older Civil War movies" section it says " The Black soldiers are the exception, since they know exactly what they are fighting for, and — conscious of the good example they must set — act with the utmost discipline and valor." True in real life, but I don't believe many US movies of the period showed black soldiers at all, and I'd be quite surprised if they were generally shown (in movies of the early 20th century) to be the bravest and most disciplined Union troops.

So... I'm going to pull out "discussion of the Civil War" from the sections on "The Civil War in Fiction".
02:19:27 PM Dec 28th 2015
Draft Riots - what little research I've done indicates that there were fewer than 2000 casualties, much less deaths, but the article reads "... still remains the most violent incident in the city’s history (far more people died there than in 9/11), ..." I think ~5,000 people died in the 9/11 attacks, not 120 [Casualty counts vary by source. See *Mc Pherson, James M. (1982), Ordeal By Fire: The Civil War and Reconstruction., New York: Alfred A. Knopf, p. 360, ISBN 978-0-394-52469-6.]
08:30:43 PM Jul 11th 2015
edited by ike755
We might want to add something about how the Stars and Bars are starting to be censored due to a knee-jerk reaction to the Charleston shooting. The reaction reeks of Hitler Ate Sugar: Dylan Roof was bad. Dylan roof had a Confederate flag. Therefore, the Confederate flag is bad. Q.E.D.
09:12:06 PM Jul 11th 2015
edited by kchishol
That is pure bunk, the Confederate Flag in all its variants was meant to represent a nation founded from the beginning on White racial supremacist tyranny. (Here's a source for that statement: Furthermore, the modern display of the Confederate Battle Flag got started in direct reaction to the advances of civil rights beginning with Harry Truman's desgregation of the US military (

Furthermore, the Confederate Battle Flag was the standard of the Army of Northern Virginia led by Robert E. Lee, a General who claimed to loath slavery, but hypocritically allowed the enslavement of free blacks in his military operations:

Lee's army also had a policy of seizing and carrying off into slavery in the South every black person it encountered - man, woman, or child, escaped slave or freeborn citizen of Pennsylvania. This Great Struggle: America's Civil War, p 214 - Steven Woodworth, professor of history at Texas Christian University

When Albert Jenkins' rough-hewn cavalrymen made their initial foray into the Cumberland Valley in mid-June, "they took up all [the people of color] they could find, even little children, who they had to carry on horseback before them" to be claimed or sold in the slave markets in Richmond. Gettysburg: The Last Invasion, p 73, Allen Guelzo, Henry R Luce Professor of the Civil War Era and Director of Civil War Era Studies at Gettysburg College

Cavalry units of the Army of Northern Virginia also kidnapped blacks, both slave and free, during the Pennsylvania campaign in June of 1863. Freedom at Risk: The Kidnapping of Free Blacks in America 1780-1865, p 15, Carol Wilson, Professor of History at Washington College

All the more reason to consign that symbol of tyranny to a museum.
02:00:17 AM Jul 12th 2015
Please do not use discussion pages for debating Real Life controversies.
01:50:45 AM Oct 14th 2013
edited by
Hydro Globus: Why does this article stink of being Written By The Victors? I realize that in a civil war, the losers generally integrate, but this frankly reads like propaganda.
12:58:22 AM Jan 3rd 2014
How does it read like propaganda? Examples?
11:05:29 PM Jun 23rd 2014
'Stink'? 'Propaganda'...? I never take such claims personally but that's a bit far, surely. You'll have to be more specific, moreover.
11:27:44 AM Jul 7th 2014
Yeees, let's be nice to the slaver aristocracy and their plutocratic ethnic state...
11:47:56 AM Jul 7th 2014
There are plenty of people who think that the Civil War was not about slavery. They are a fringe viewpoint, though.

Anyhow, I question why we have a trope list here. The Civil War is not a story.
03:36:10 PM Jul 24th 2014
Yeah, tropes don't apply to Real Life...
05:33:01 PM Jul 17th 2017
edited by RPowell
["This scene turns up in Civil War epics made as recently as the 1980s (the TV miniseries North and South)!"]

Let me correct you regarding "North and South: Book II". The majority of the slaves LEFT the Mont Royal plantation and the Main family. Only two remained behind - Semiramis and Ezra. Semiramis remained behind because she wanted to see Charles Main, the family's cousin, again, towards whom she harbored a crush and had been friends with before the war. Ezra remained behind because he was in love with Semiramis and wanted a chance to win her over. Servile loyalty to the Main family had nothing to do with their reasons for remaining on the Mont Royal plantation. Whoever the moderator is for this website need to get their facts right.
10:16:50 AM Feb 25th 2012
We need to make the introduction more Hollywood History and less messy. Just focus on 1.) Hollywood claims slavery caused to war, 2.) The Confederacy is the Big Bad and the Union are the Big Damn Heroes, and 3.) Slaves are La Résistance
04:18:11 PM Mar 1st 2012
Why should it be more Hollywood History?
09:03:38 AM Mar 4th 2012
I agree with making it less messy but turning it into Hollywood History is a bad idea. If anything we should make it more like the pages of other wars and historical events.
07:43:13 PM Dec 28th 2010
Crazy Awesome: Union General Dan Sickles. A political appointee, he was competent enough to still be commanding a sizeable force at Gettysburg. He was also completely nuts. These two facets of his personality got together at Gettysburg. After his leg was amputated, he was carried off the field, waving his leg at his troops to encourage them and smoking a cigar.

Try as I might I cannot find anything that upholds the validity of this story. And wouldn't they take him to a hospital to amputate hiom rather than doing it right there on the field?

07:53:08 PM Feb 10th 2011
He was indeed shouting encouragements to his men as he was carried off, but I doubt he was waving his leg at them, since it was not blown off by the shell. It was amputated later, however, and placed in the Smithsonian (where Sickles would eventually go to visit it).

I wouldn't really call Sickles "awesome," though, since the thing he is most famous for is advancing his corps at Gettysburg against orders, thereby opening the Union left for an attack.
08:37:08 AM Feb 26th 2011
I might be the guy who added that story (can't remember). If it really is antecdotal, please remove it.
03:38:50 PM Dec 13th 2011
edited by AVehicle
I read the above article, and found many problems with it. 1. Listing the Confederate government as Affably Evil is inviting a flame war. 2. Slavery is listed as the most important issue of the war. Obviously it wasn't the only, but this article wrongfuly discredits all other reasons. Did you know Stonewall Jackson ran a sunday school that taught slaves to read, write, learn religion, and limitedaspects of law? Even though it was illegal? How about the Confederate self imposed ban on the importation of slaves? Or President Jefferson Davis' statement that slavery would eventualy go away on its own? Or that many black confederate infantry recieved pensions for their service (Black Confederate Soldiers online database). Don't believe me? You can find out yourself by reading online (not the other wiki) or by looking it up at your local library :D. 3. This article I guess, could be considered a product of its time if it in the end never gets looked into seriously. P.S. Did you know that Honest Abe took around 1,100 political prisoners, including the legislature of one state that would have suceed from the union? Not only that, he ignored the Supreme Court's decision that it was illegal and unconstitutional to hold those prisoners without trial.
05:01:50 PM Sep 9th 2012
Slavery was the only issue that could have caused the South to separate. Say what you will about cultural differences, economic differences, and states' rights, slavery is at the core of the problem.
07:29:36 AM Nov 13th 2010
This page is under the index Furry Comic. I can't figure out how to get it off. Help from a wiki veteran?
03:25:24 PM Jan 31st 2011
Old Man Ho Oh fixed it.
08:32:09 PM Mar 6th 2010
Under alternate character interpretation the page seems to be arguing that the war had nothing to do with slavery. I'm damn sure that's not right. Am I reading this wrong?
11:23:49 AM Mar 25th 2010
edited by Vert
Nope, that's exactly what it says and not only that, the whole intro is just plain wrong. The American Civil War was, from the very beginning, predominately about slavery, full stop. Read here to see why. The fact that nearly 150 years after the end of the war, something so simple as that is still contentious is just, just, [...].

Anyway, I haven't edited anything yet due to the Rule Of Cautious Editing, since I don't want to spark a Flame War, but this whole page really has to change.
11:44:17 AM Apr 9th 2010
Slavery was a back burner issue that only came to the front due to politics.

In reality the tensions between north and south truly had little to due with slavery in the beginning.

It started with tariffs, the north wanted high tariffs, the south wanted low tariffs. High Tariffs would profit the industrious North, Low Tariffs the agricultural South.

This was obviously 100% irreconcilable, but it was also a hard thing to really get worked up over publicly without seeming greedy.

And so the North and South began to squabble over everything, not just slavery. But slavery got more and more attention as the focus for arguments. This arguing was really bad for the slaves as the compromises made regarding them always made things worst for them, and then the South began making even harsher slave laws to spite the North.

And everyone got so worked up over slavery that the real reason they hated each other was pretty much forgotten. And then the war started.

So in short Slavery served merely as a channel for the hatred the two sides felt for each other.
05:26:11 PM Apr 10th 2010
Sorry, but if you read the link above, the main cause is clearly portrayed as being slavery. Now usually The Other Wiki isn't the most reliable of sources, but this seems like an exception to that rule, not only because of the subject sensitivity, but also due to the massive amount of links available.

Again, I'm not in a position to actually starting editing things here, but let me just quote two small, almost irrelevant people, as stated in The Other Wiki, commenting on the causes of the war, before it ended:

Confederate Vice President Alexander Stephens said that slavery was the chief cause of secession (...) Similarly, Confederate President Jefferson Davis also reversed his original position, that the central cause of the war was the issue of slavery, arguing after the war that states' rights was its principal cause (...).

Essentially, this page is playing up the Lost Cause trope which, to me, an outsider in all of this, seems just plain wrong. Much like how World War II page is horrific when it comes to the way it presents the facts (making the disclaimer to America Wins the War page well justified).
02:07:21 PM May 1st 2010
Is no one going to do anything? At the very least, prove to me that I'm wrong? Or, if not, start changing things around?
09:17:15 PM May 7th 2010
The Alternate Character Interpretation was supposed to reflect the fact that the issue is commonly disputed (especially by Europeans/British many of whom outright refuse to believe slavery had anything to do with the war at all - 'cause that's how it's taught in schools over there), ie. there are alternate interpretations, thus the trope applies. Nothing to do with what did or didn't happen in reality; that's what the article intro is for.
01:41:13 PM Aug 16th 2010
From the Southern point of view, it's not about the rights of man and slave, it's about losing your entire economic base, and thus your entire society built upon it. Since Technology Marches On, the South would have ended up technologically and economically stagnant, or they would have had to cave in to the North's desire for industrialization and high tariffs. Nobody likes change, of course so we had a not-so Civil War over it.
06:24:16 PM Oct 4th 2010
edited by RedWren
In order for the war to have been entirely about slavery, you can't just say the South wanted to keep slaves. The North also has to be fighting specifically to free them. I could go on about this, but I think Honest Abe said it pretty well.
My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that. What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union; and what I forbear, I forbear because I do not believe it would help to save the Union.
03:13:02 PM Oct 12th 2010
That became rather moot post-Antietam. After the issue of the Emancipation Proclamation Lincoln made it clear that any attempt to negotiate a peace to the war rested on the preconditions of "Union" and "Emancipation". Several border states uneffected by the proclamation took action to free their own slaves during the war and with the 13th Amendment on the way it is clear the slavery anywhere in the United States would be outlawed and the army would be used to enforce it.
09:27:16 PM Dec 2nd 2010
I find Red Wren's argument unconvincing. It is true that Lincoln's motivation was always to preserve the Union and oppose secession; his and his party's policy toward slavery was containment. It does not follow, though, that the war was not about slavery. If there had been no secession, there would have been no war. And the reason for secession - as stated by themselves (as linked above) - was the preservation of slavery. In this, it does not matter that, had the southern states not seceded, the Lincoln's stated policy was to leave their peculiar institution alone (more or less); they perceived a threat, and broke away preemptively. All attempts at compromise were rebuffed, and the secessionists went and attacked the United States. So while Lincoln cared more about preserving the Union than about slavery, the secessionists cared more about preserving slavery than they did about the Union.
06:14:25 AM Dec 11th 2010
Of course it was about slavery. It just wasn't ALL about slavery, as some would make it out to be. The other big issue at the time was states' rights, which was not just some crazy excuse people use to justify their political beliefs. One of the best ways to illustrate the mindset of the time is General Lee, who chose the Confederacy over the Union because he was more loyal to his state than the country. There are still people who feel this way today, though there are fewer of them, because nationalism is more popular than sectionalism these days. Taking this into account, then, it is not surprising that so many states seceded (legal or not). People will fight for their way of life, and that's just what both sides did. It just happened that the South's way of life unfortunately depended heavily on slaves (for those who could afford them, at least). To tie it back to states' rights, aside from the issue of slavery, the north wanted to preserve the Union, while the South wanted to go back to a system more like the days of the Articles of Confederation, even if that would be a stupid, stupid move.
05:03:49 PM Sep 9th 2012
The only states' right, however, that could have triggered the war, was the right to own slaves. You don't secede over whether the government can tax alcohol.
08:39:32 AM Sep 17th 2012
edited by WildWestSamurai
Ahem. I direct everyone to South Carolina's proclamation of secession, which very clearly states that South Carolina was breaking off from the Union due to outrage over Abraham Lincoln's election as President and that they were worried he was going to outlaw slavery. Tariffs weren't even mentioned in the damn document! And as for states' rights, South Carolina was angry at Northern states' expression of states' rights by not following federal law and openly disobeying the Fugitive Slave Act and other such laws. Other states' proclamations contained similar language. Now, whatever Lincoln's intentions were is irrelevent. The Southern states were the ones who broke it off, and it was the South that started the war via the attack on Fort Sumter.

It was about slavery. End of story.
11:28:30 AM Dec 17th 2012
Not only that, but the South Carolina Ordinance specifically criticizes Northern states for using their "states rights" to avoid enforcing the Fugitive Slave Act. The vague, general concept of "states rights" isn't nearly as important as what right they're referring to.
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