GDG- NPS, Slavery and Economies

Andy Mills amills at
Thu Jan 5 11:43:16 CST 2012

My apologies as I am not the best at getting ideas and thoughts out of my head and rationalizing them so others can understand.  

Having made my disclaimer, I am curious as to why the war wasn't all about money?  

Secession caused the war and slavery caused secession, I think based on emails I have read over the last couple days, everyone agrees with this statement.

But what caused slavery?  The immediate cause was the need for cheap labor centuries before the civil war, so the underlying cause of slavery was money, ergo money caused slavery and slavery caused secession so the root cause was money?

I understand that by 1860, there was also a racial element to America's slavery and part of the reason for maintaining the system was this racial element but I don't think this was the major force in maintaining the "peculiar institution", as the major force was simply put:  money.

So why wouldn't the root cause then be economics, that without allowing slavery into the territories, slavery would slowly die and as a result, so would the way of life for the slave holding aristocrats of the South and their desire to maintain slavery was a desire to maintain their statuses, income, etc.  

One example would be Hampton Plantation outside Baltimore.  It was one of the largest and richest prior to the Civil War but slowly fell into a period of decline once slavery was banished from the country until the NPS saved the mansion future generations (yes, I know other organizations originally saved it in 1948, but didn't want to go into all the history of it).  We can look at many of the James River plantations that had to open their doors to the public to preserve and protect their properties because they were no longer sustainable once slavery was abolished.  

I agree that the original south seceded to protect slavery, but underneath that, slavery was there to support their income / economies, so if you want to say slavery led to secession which lead to the war, why can't you further define it that money led to slavery which lead to secession which led to war and as such, the root cause is the all powerful dollar?

I understand this is a simplistic view and possibly an incorrect view of the situation, but to me, secession caused the war and a desire to protect slavery led to secession (I understand that you can't separate slavery from 1860 South), but the root cause of slavery was money.  American slavery / chattel slavery wasn't like the Native Americans that took slaves from rival tribes to help replenish their population, or Rome that took slaves from captured armies.  Slaves in those societies were not the basis of the economies as it was in the Antebellum South.  

I hope this makes sense, but wanted to get some viewpoints to see if this is a valid opinion or is full of holes.


-----Original Message-----
From: gettysburg-bounces at [mailto:gettysburg-bounces at] On Behalf Of John Lawrence
Sent: Tuesday, January 03, 2012 8:48 PM
Subject: Re: GDG- NPs & Slavery

>I am not arguing  whether not Lincoln could have  have chosen another 
>method to react to secession.  I'm not arguing Lincoln did not go to
>war to preserve the union.   I am simply stating the  historical fact
>that secession was caused by slavery and war was the result.
>It is impossible to have any discussion of the causes of the war or the 
>cause secession without the inclusion of slavery.
>The indisputable point is  slavery was the cause of secession which was 
>the cause of the war.
>The other what-ifs do not apply to that.
>Take Care

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