View Full Version : American Military History
Aldeth the Foppish Idiot
Thu, 17th Mar '05, 5:27pm
The U.S. was responsible for the American Revolution. It was instigated by British activity, but the bottom line is if enough people (I've heard estimates of about 1/3 of the then-present 3 million Biritsh citizen who supported the Revolution) didn't support the Revolution, it would never have happened.
The Confederacy obviously started the Civil War. Basically, if they felt like they could ever elect another pro-slavery president, the Civil War wouldn't have happened. See the point about the Revolution above for the analogy.
The USSR definitely has at least as much blood on its hands for the Korean and Vietnam War as do the Americans, the Vietamese and the Koreans themselves. Same applies to China in the Korean War - they were actually involved in combat.
And sorry for the bad pun but... fire away.
Thu, 17th Mar '05, 6:23pm
That's great :D
I still disagree with the Confederacy starting the civil war (some could actually argue it was started by an author). The chief concern by the South was the North choosing to enforce their opinions and beliefs on the South. The Southern states did not believe the federal government had the authority to override the state's laws -- Lincoln's platform was partially based on the escalation of federal government responsibilities so they superceded that of the state governments.
The south was extremely opposed to this, so they left the Union. To the south the issue was not about slavery, but rather the rights of the state governments were being greatly diminished (something even Jefferson couldn't do). Before Lincoln, the states were the primary governing bodies. The federal government was not very powerful -- the south felt like their rights were being stripped from them because they did not have the same populace that New York and Pennsylvania has.
As far as pro or anti-slavery, many of the leaders of the Confederacy believed the slaves should be freed before the start of any war. They felt their issues would be ignored and the northern soldiers would see them as the slavers from Uncle Tom's Cabin -- they were right. That perception still exists today. Most Americans believe the civil war was fought over slavery -- in reality it was fought to determine whether the state or federal government had more power.
I had thought someone would correct my comment about the British firing the first shots in the revolutionary war (especially some history grads). The first man shot at the Boston massacre was a black man, who was facing the British soldiers, and was shot in the back. The British soldiers swore over and over at their trial they responded to fire -- someone had shot at them first.
Thu, 17th Mar '05, 8:08pm
The USSR definitely has at least as much blood on its hands for the Korean and Vietnam War as do the Americans Well I don't consider selling weapons to be nearly as bad as direct interveniton with military force. Allthough I agree that in Korea USSR was as responsible and perhaps even more responsible than US I can't really find a way to blame USSR for the Vietnam War.
Thu, 17th Mar '05, 8:36pm
I also think the US underestimated the extent to which communism was part of a national liberation movement in Vietnam, and not just another domino falling under Soviet influence. Vietnam sought out the support of the Soviets as a protection against China as much as for any other reason; witness the Chinese support of Cambodian terrorism against Vietnam, the Chinese invasion of Vietnam in 1979, etc. Part of the reason Vietnam was a "quagmire" was due to the number of different overlapping interests and factors at play, including the legacies of Chinese and French imperialism, the desire for national liberation, the Cold War between the US and the Soviets, the "cold war" between China and Russia, Chinese support for Cambodia and fears of Vietnamese "imperialism," etc etc. Most likely a more sensitive response from the US to these conditions would have improved the eventual outcome, but I'm not sure exactly how...
Fri, 18th Mar '05, 1:01am
The civil war may have been about states right but the burning states right issue was the question about slavery. To say it was about states right is just putting another name on the same thing.
Fri, 18th Mar '05, 1:11am
America has a military history?
Fri, 18th Mar '05, 2:07am
The problem with having a big war about slavery is that slavery was in the process of being banned all over the world anyway so all the bloodshed in the American Civil War was a bit pointless (to put it mildly) - unless anyone thinks that USA would continue to have slavery when the rest of the world didn't.
Chandos the Red
Fri, 18th Mar '05, 5:48am
The chief concern by the South was the North choosing to enforce their opinions and beliefs on the South. I mentioned on another thread this whole issue on the Civil War could go on until the "cows come home" and we would not be any closer to a definitive answer. So, we will start here. What do mean by this comment? There was an election, Lincoln won. He was voted Prez by a system of ballots. Now, how is this different from the red state, blue state, situation we have today?
Here we have the particular regions of our country voting for George, and regions voting against his sorry butt; the regional lines are as obvious as the Mason-Dixon line. Yet, the blue states have to live under one of the worst administrations in the history of the US (IMO). In fact, they are having the "opinions and beliefs of the red states forced on them." So, what gave the SOUTH, a sectional region, the "right" to nullify a national election?
BTW, feel free to believe that somewhere in this debate the written words of the Declaration of Independence will be brought up - thought you may want to prepare a bit....
The British soldiers swore over and over at their trial they responded to fire -- someone had shot at them first. And the British soldiers were defended by which Founder in that trial? Hint, he was not the author of the Declaration, but on the committee which was given the task of drafting the document ;) But I had originally thought that you meant the shots fired at Lexington, not Boston. But even that is disputed....
[ March 18, 2005, 06:50: Message edited by: Chandos the Red ]
Fri, 18th Mar '05, 7:51am
If any one nation should get the blame for Vietnam, it should be France. It started as a war of decolonization, after all.
Fri, 18th Mar '05, 9:08am
Why blame? Each party did what they thought was best for the nation.
Depends which nation we are talking about, America saw the commies as a threat and forced it down where-ever they could to keep themselves(and the rest of the "free world" safe). The Vietnamese fought for their freedom, and the French fought to keep their colonies..
Agent Orange, napalm, bombstrikes, massacres, were used to achieve that end, the survival of their own nation.
Sure 'innocent' blood will be shed, that has happened in every war, but it also depends on whose side you are on, for example, do you think the terrorists saw the American citizens as innocent on 9/11? Do you think the American soldiers saw the German civilians as innocent when they bombarded Dresden?
Of course not, they are the enemy, and the enemy is not innocent, why would they be my enemy then?
What is this innocent thing anyway?
[ March 18, 2005, 10:16: Message edited by: Morgoth ]
Fri, 18th Mar '05, 9:34am
Using chemical weapons on everyone, and napalming villigers was the best interests of the nation?
If the USSR started the war, then why do the Vietnamese refer to the war as 'The American War'
Vietnamese plaintiffs have condemned a US court's decision to dismiss their legal action against manufacturers of Agent Orange during the Vietnam War. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/4339419.stm
Who can forget that photo of little Kim Phuc running scared, naked and burned because she was visiting a temple?
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/breakfast/2270672.stm It amazes me how anyone can support such crude and cruel tactics.
Aldeth the Foppish Idiot
Fri, 18th Mar '05, 4:10pm
BTW, feel free to believe that somewhere in this debate the written words of the Declaration of Independence will be brought up - thought you may want to prepare a bit....
For the non-American's who have every right to be unfamiliar with the Declaration of Independence, I believe the particular passage being referred to here is (quoting from memory - I may be off by a word or two, but I doubt it):
"We hold these truths to be self-evident: That all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Hapiness."
I apologize if anything is slightly off there, or possibly mis-spelled. As an aside, this is not how the Declaration of Independence starts. While it is probably the most famous part of the Declaration, it is actually the second paragraph of the document.
It amazes me how anyone can support such crude and cruel tactics. Who is supporting them? There's a difference between acknowledging they happened (which has been done) and say that those giving the orders to use such weapons thought themselves justified to do so, and then saying you fully support their decision (which may or may not be true, depending on how you interpret Morgoth's post).
Fri, 18th Mar '05, 4:43pm
Now for a dog's breakfast of responses....
America has a military history? We kicked the British's ass twice -- isn't that enough? :p
Here we have the particular regions of our country voting for George, and regions voting against his sorry butt; the regional lines are as obvious as the Mason-Dixon line. Yet, the blue states have to live under one of the worst administrations in the history of the US (IMO). In fact, they are having the "opinions and beliefs of the red states forced on them." So, what gave the SOUTH, a sectional region, the "right" to nullify a national election? Hence, the war.... If the blue states were to attempt to split from the union and form "The Confederation of Whiners" we would have another civil war (which would be pretty short since most of the military are red-sympathetic).
do you think the terrorists saw the American citizens as innocent on 9/11? Yes, they did. It doesn't matter to them. Read the 'Minimanual of the Urban Guerrilla' by Calos Marighella (a.k.a., Carlos the Jackel) sometime -- it's quite enlightening.
Slavery was in the process of being banned in the south. Most historians estimate the south would have abolished slavery on their own by the 1880's (still too long in my opinion). The north was fighting against slavery and unification of the United States, the south was fighting for state's rights and to not be told by the blue states what to do (oops -- well, close enough).
It amazes me how anyone can support such crude and cruel tactics. I don't know of anyone in the US that supports those tactics today. Different wars had different tactics.
Fri, 18th Mar '05, 4:48pm
We kicked the British's ass twice -- isn't that enough? O.K. - The first would be the American Revolution but what was the second time?
If by the second time you are referring to the War of 1812 I would say that a great many people would disagree about that.
Fri, 18th Mar '05, 4:55pm
Hey, you forgot my smiley -- history is written by the winners....
Actually, in the War of 1812 the American Navy beat the British Navy the majority of battles and pretty much won the war. The harrassmen campaigns in British waters helped. Alright, the ongoing 'arguement' Britain had with France MAY have influenced the outcome a bit, too. But it IS clear the British did not win (after all the Union Jack is not a part of the American flag).
Fri, 18th Mar '05, 5:01pm
I read something about Roosevelt ordering the kidnapping of innocent Paraguayan civilians who
happened to be of Japanese race to trade for American POWs.
Also - invading and stealing land from Mexico, Invading Canada.
Just wondering. I cannot find any proper facts on the above.
Chandos the Red
Fri, 18th Mar '05, 5:07pm
Hence, the war.... If the blue states were to attempt to split from the union and form "The Confederation of Whiners" we would have another civil war (which would be pretty short since most of the military are red-sympathetic).Really? I would suspect that there are a lot of rank-and-file soldiers who are from blue states, as well as many in the corp of officers. But don't worry, the blue staters are true-blue Americans, unlike those traitors of the confederacy who sought to dissolve this great country just so that they could hold on to their human "property."
Fri, 18th Mar '05, 5:18pm
Well, the U.S.A. declared the war and started out by trying to conquer what is now Canada - and failed miserably at that. Of the battles that actually occured elsewhere they were several defeats on both sides. The British were focusing their attention on the French and had no real intention of recapturing the U.S.A. so I would have to say that the war ending with the pre-war status quo intact was hardly a loss.
The history books in the U.S.A. may say that the British were defeated but I can assure you that the history books elsewhere either put it down as a draw (if they are being honest) or as a win for the British. I can assure you that the Canadian history books are just as silly in bragging about how we drove back the American hordes in 1812 as the U.S. history books are at bragging about U.S. history.
Fri, 18th Mar '05, 5:31pm
Chandos - Adams, of course. (Sorry for the delay, but I have been insanely busy.)
Fri, 18th Mar '05, 6:27pm
unlike those traitors of the confederacy who sought to dissolve this great country just so that they could hold on to their human "property." I guess you did fall for some of the propaganda in history class.... I was referring to the fact that most military members vote Republican -- they may come from those states, but the way the military votes is well documented.
Also - invading and stealing land from Mexico, Invading Canada. Don't forget the near total annihilation of the Native Americans. Truly the worst moments of American Military History -- Wounded Knee is the lowest point ... it's enough to make you cry.
Wow, the Mexican-American War. IIRC, the war was started because Mexico and Texas never really decided where the border was. The Texans (and the US) thought the border was the Rio Grande while Mexico thought it was the Nueces River. When the US had military between those two rivers, Mexico attacked. Granted the ultimate culprit was the US Manefest Destiny policy and desire to annex California and Oregon. The end result was Santa Anna became a VERY rich man and America bought the land between its western border and California. Gadsden must have been drunk in 1852 when he negotiated purchase the land south of the Gila river in Arizona -- otherwise Arizona would have ocenside resort community on the Gulf of California.
On an entirely unrelated note -- a significant number of the founding fathers died of complications from syphilis. Kind of gives a new meaning to the term founding fathers....
Aldeth the Foppish Idiot
Fri, 18th Mar '05, 6:29pm
Yeah, the War of 1812 was not the U.S. military's finest hour. After all, the Biritish did sack Washington D.C., and even set the White House on fire. If there was a "finest" moment for the U.S. in that war it was the U.S. forces stopping an attempted Bitish invasion near New Orleans (led by future President Andrew Jackson).
Incidently, what do Canadians feel about basically being a British colony for a long time after the U.S. gained independence? Is there (or more appropriately was there) any ill-will?
Fri, 18th Mar '05, 6:43pm
Ahhh the famous "Battle of New Orleans" which, IIRC, happened after the war was technicially over. The peace treaty had been signed, but due to time/travel the soldiers in the field had no idea that the war was over.
Fri, 18th Mar '05, 6:50pm
Hey, speak for yourself -- the War of 1812 proved to the world that the British Navy could be defeated. Oliver Hazard Perry's defeat of the British fleet in Lake Erie is a great example... 'We have met the enemy and they are ours.' McDonough's defeat of vastly superior Britiah forces at the battle of Platsburg Bay was truly brilliant. All major conflicts at sea were won by the Americans (who can forget about Old Ironsides). The only land battle won was the Battle of New Orleans -- fought after the treaty at Ghent was signed.
Fri, 18th Mar '05, 6:54pm
Yeah, but that does not change the fact that the British forces got their butts kicked at New Orleans big time.
The British ground forces were also turned back at Baltimore although that was more of a stalemate.
Of course the surrender of Fort Detroit is probably even more embarrasing for the Americans. The British tactics of dressing up militia in British regulars' uniforms, having troops advance into position and then sneak away and remarch into the same position again, and having the First Nations tribes loudly performing war dances sounds like something out of a bad fantasy novel.
Fri, 18th Mar '05, 9:04pm
Heh, all the wars of America occured after Swedens last last war. More or less, the last was the annexation of Norway in the early 19th century but it was mostly peaceful. Sweden was technically involved in the Napoleonic wars as well, on all sides one time or another but not much fighting was really done. This is kinda off topic but I just found the contrast quite amusing, in US history (and most western nations) the time from 1789-now is littered with wars they have been involved in while more or less nothing happened on that front in Sweden during that time. Heck, up til I was 12-13 my albeit fuzzy but still view of the time between the Napoleonic wars and WW1 was one of peace and industrialisation cause that was what we were taugth in history class (history in Sweden is as nation centric as in most other countries).
Wow, long off-topic rant, mostly because I wait for my anti-virus scan to finish so I can play WoW.
Fri, 18th Mar '05, 9:21pm
One could argue that Sweden was very much involved in WWII even if they were not taking part in combat. Given the significant advantage Germany gained from trade with sweden and the material aid Sweden gave to Finland during the Winter War and we got even recruits from Sweden during our both wars so even Swedish soldiers were involved in the war.
Additionally Sweden invaded Aaland during the winterwar without our permission which could have been considered a war declaration and would have been too if we did not have our hands full with our tiny Russian neighbour and if Sweden had not given us material support and number of recruits.
One more thing you forgot was the war of Finland before Napolen in which Sweden lost the entire Finland to Russia. Sweden was quite clearly in war then and was not only "technically" involved. Of course Swedes did not fight too much to keep Finland since about the only ones who fought in that war were Finns and Sweden even after numerous requests did not send us much help. I really do not think that leaving a third of your nation in a war without any help is something to be very proud of.
Sat, 19th Mar '05, 1:06am
The war you are talking about is the most recent serious war Sweden was involved in. As I understand it We were not too keen on losing the eastern half of our nation but there was not all that much we could do and the general sent to hold a vital and crucial fortess committed stupidity verging on treason so when the fat cats in Stockholm had finally gotten around to rally up an army and being ready to ship it away the entire finnish gulf was controlled by the Russians and no forces were left to bolster the forces sent to Finland. This I have learnt on civfanatics forum and not in history, as far as I rememeber we were just told that we lost Finland to the Russians one time or another.
Oh, and we gave you Åland back didnt we? Despite its population being almost completely Swedish? Didnt know that we annexed it though. What I do know is that I was quite uncertain as to whether Åland was Swedish or Finnish up until I was 14-15 or so.
Sat, 19th Mar '05, 1:39am
As I understand it We were not too keen on losing the eastern half of our nation but there was not all that much we could do and the general sent to hold a vital and crucial fortess committed stupidity verging on treason so when the fat cats in Stockholm had finally gotten around to rally up an army and being ready to ship it away the entire finnish gulf was controlled by the Russians and no forces were left to bolster the forces sent to Finland. This is somewhat speculated. It is a possibility that the commander in charge of Suomenlinna (Sveaborg) did indeed betray Sweden since the walls of the fortress were far from breached when it finally surrendered. On the other hand though Sweden did not seem too eager to defend us considering the time they had to mobilize. Sweden did not keep active communication with Finland during the war and their mobilisation was horribly slow if there even was a serious mobilisation. No nation is very eager to loose land but the entire war was very poorly organized from Stockholm.
Oh, and we gave you Åland back didnt we? Despite its population being almost completely Swedish? Didnt know that we annexed it though. What I do know is that I was quite uncertain as to whether Åland was Swedish or Finnish up until I was 14-15 or so. Yes you did, but that hardly makes it right now does it? The League of Nations quite clearly stated that Aland was a part of the Sovereign state of Finland and a demilitarized zone with a limited autonomy. Something the Swedes were not very willing to respect once Finland got into serious trouble. What I in my turn know that I have been certain that Finland was Finnish from the day I was about 4-5 years old. ;)
Chandos the Red
Sat, 19th Mar '05, 8:08am
Indeed DMC, John Adams was the brave soul who took on the Boston establishment in boldly defending the British soldiers who participated in the Boston Massacre.
I guess you did fall for some of the propaganda in history class.... I was referring to the fact that most military members vote Republican -- they may come from those states, but the way the military votes is well documented.Can you support those numbers regarding military voting? Also, keep in mind that voting for a political party may not have the same weight for some others who may value their home states, their homes and families, friends and brothers and sisters, over politicial parties. In other words, just because some in the military vote republican does not mean that they would turn their guns on their fathers and mothers.
Well, since you are making my formal credentials an issue, I can give you some background on the formal stuff I’ve done. Although I did a minor in history, it never really touched American history, (except in my basics); mostly Renaissance and Medieval history was my area. Thusly, most of my class work was something like: Tudor and Elizabethan England, The Renaissance in Italy, the Crusades, etc. Nevertheless, whenever I comment on history, I am always prepared to quote my sources, but only if necessary. Here are a few I can say have shaped my thinking:
For the Revolutionary Generation, I prefer Gordon Wood, James Flexner, David Fischer, and Jack Rakove (particularly Rakove’s work on James Madison and the Constitution). Joe Ellis is ok, but I don’t like his views on Jefferson very much. IMO, Gordon Wood is probably America’s best historian on the Revolutionary generation, at least that I’ve read for the non-specialist.
For the Civil War there isn’t anyone better than the extraordinary Bruce Catton, IMO. But of course, I like to read James Mcpherson also. I would also mention Richard Wheeler for his remarkable book, Witness to Gettysburg, which is one of the best books I’ve read on the battle, along with Catton’s masterpiece, Glory Road. I am ashamed to say that I have not read much of the great Shelby Foot. I know he is one of the premiere writers on the Civil War, and at some point I hope to get to him.
But Gettysburg would be a good place for us to visit, especially for the purposes of our dialogue on slavery, and its connection to both the Revolution and the Civil War. These are the very last lines of Catton’s Glory Road:
Perhaps there was a meaning to all of it somewhere. Perhaps everything that the nation was and meant to be had come to a focus here, beyond the graves and the remembered echoes of the guns and the wreckage of lives that were gone forever. Perhaps the whole of it somehow was greater than the sum of its tragic parts, and perhaps here on this wind-swept hill the thing could be said at last, so that the dry bones of the country’s dreams could take on flesh.
The orator finished, and after the applause had died away the tall man in the black frock coat got to his feet, with two sheets of paper in his hand, and he looked out over the valley and began to speak. That is how Glory Road ends.
Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address is considered one of the most important documents in American history. The Orator alluded to by Catton is a Mr. Edward Everett. I don’t know a whole lot about him. But who does? Yet, that November day he was the featured orator at the ceremony to commemorate the hallowed battleground of Gettysburg in 1863. He spoke for several hours, and to great applause. Almost as an afterthought, President Lincoln added a few of his own words. After he had awkwardly concluded, the crowd gathered at Gettysburg was, at first, not even aware that he had finished, brief as his words were. These are the famous opening lines:
Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
At that point, many had considered the founding of the nation to be in 1787, the year that the Constitution was framed in Independence Hall, at Philadelphia – although it was ratified in 1788. But Lincoln fixed the date: “Four score and seven years ago”, which of course, counting from 1863 was the year 1776. In this way Lincoln restated the principles of the spirit of 1776, and the crafting of the Declaration of Independence as the date that the Founding Brothers had “brought forth a new nation.”
The Constitution is a remarkable document. Nevertheless, it was important to the delegates who represented the South because it was intentionally vague on the issue of slavery. But for this view, we will have to leave the hills of Gettysburg, and move to Federal Hall in New York City, scene of the Second Congress.
Two Quakers came calling there in February, 1790 in an effort to take Congress to task, so to speak, for its failures to live up to the principles of 1776. The issue was slavery and the Society of Friends was there to present a petition that would force Congress to finally honor the statements of liberty and equality that Jefferson had so eloquently expressed in the Declaration. They were instantly attacked by the southern delegates who accused them of attempting to create “sedition.” And the southerners ordered that Federal Hall be cleared of all spectators and reporters.
In the private debate that followed, the delegates from Georgia and South Carolina rebuked the Quakers as unpatriotic, (for not taking part in the War of Revolution) and ordered that no debate on the issue should even take place. The argument was that the North was not to tamper with the rights of Southern states where “slaves were an economic precondition.” And that God himself was “pro-slavery.”
In fact, when the Constitution was framed, it had been agreed upon by members of the Convention that there would be no federal intervention on slavery for the duration of 20 years. And the Constitution’s existence rested on its evasiveness regarding the issue. But the real problem was that the population of slaves was growing exponentially in the years after 1787, and that rather than disappearing, the institution of slavery was actually flourishing. The liberal and radical principles of the Declaration anticipated that slavery would be abolished. In fact, Jefferson had proposed legislation that outlawed slavery in all the Western territories, which was defeated in congress by a heartbreaking margin of only one vote.
As regards to the issue of the “South’s rights” that notion rested with the deep-seated regard and respect for “private property.” And as slaves were “property,” Southern slaveholders regarded any encroachment by the federal government on the institution of slavery as an encroachment by government on “private property.” These are really the specifics of the State’s rights arguments. How else can one regard the notion that a fellow human being can constitute only 3/5 of a real person? Another Constitutional compromise was that a slave counted as 3/5 of a person.
The Northern delegates were forced to agree upon this notion regarding the South’s claim for representation in the House of Representatives. Otherwise, the Southern delegates to the Constitutional Convention would not agree to the final document.
It should be clear at this point why the Declaration is the indispensable document regarding the spirit of liberty, and although the Constitution is a remarkable document, Jefferson’s statement of radical and liberal principles was the document of choice for Lincoln in “defining the dream and promise of America.”
[ March 19, 2005, 08:55: Message edited by: Chandos the Red ]
Sun, 20th Mar '05, 9:47pm
the War of 1812 proved to the world that the British Navy could be defeated. Oliver Hazard Perry's defeat of the British fleet in Lake Erie is a great example... 'We have met the enemy and they are ours.'
Mmm.. the US Navy consisted of what, 6-10 frigates at the time? Any third rate European navy could have taken it out without half trying.
I seriously doubt anyone knew about american sinking some gunboats on Lake Eire. Much less taking it as a sign of weakness of the supreme RBN.
Tue, 22nd Mar '05, 5:23pm
It was more than 8-10 frigates. The Battle at Platburg Bay stopped the British invasion. The battle is interesting to read about (and the aftermath -- a lot of courtmartials on the British side). The two dominant Navies that point were Britain and France, with the US and Spain behind by a bit -- I don't know of any other real players. I'm not saying we could have taken on Lord Nelson at any time (except after he died) -- but the US Navy certainly was capable of defending itself at sea.
By the way, the US was drawn into the War of 1812 because Britain was still impressing recruits on American soil. Such things were not looked upon too kindly by the Americans.
Chandos: I'm really not sure what you mean by 'did an minor in history.' Either you graduated from college with a minor in history or you did not. I took a lot of history in college, especially military history -- but I wouldn't count that as a minor. Your quotes regarding slavery, while valid, are 80 years out of date for the civil war. Quotes from confederacy leaders would be more appropriate to showing the feeling of the south and whether the issue was states rights or slavery. Like I said, the was states rights for the south and slavery for the north -- but since the winners write the history books, slavery is what's taught in schools.
I wouldn't expect someone not in the military to pay attention to polls about military voting -- you can google them if you wish. Most I find put the military at ~60-70% republican voting which should not be surprising (over 80% of the military voted against Clinton). It may not be related, but democrats have repeatedly blocked attempts to make absentee voting easier for military members (such as polling places on military bases).
Tue, 22nd Mar '05, 8:23pm
I'm not saying we could have taken on Lord Nelson at any time (except after he died) -- but the US Navy certainly was capable of defending itself at sea.
The American Navy was notoriously pitiful. It was almost impossible to get funding for ships. Strange consider that American shipbuilding was excellent and it had a considerable merchant marine and experienced crews (Also the reason why the Brits enjoyed to press them). What existed grew as a response too the barbaresk pirates. It didn't list a single ship of the line at this point. In Europe Britain listed hundreds France and Spain 20-30 (I think) Denmarks Navy had taken a heavy hit in 1807 but up to then it had been the second largest in Europe. Both Sweden and Russia fielded dozens of ship of the line each. The navy of Holland has always been sizable even though they at that moment were part of France. Turkey had a sizeable navy with plenty of galleys Even the kingdom of both of Sicily’s mustered more naval power the Americans.
In case you don’t know a frigate has 20-40 cannons. A standard ship of the line had around 70 but the difference are far larger then that since a ship of the line was designed for taking and giving punishment, the frigate for speed and manoeuvrability. All the american navy could do was harass shipping and take out pirates. They would never have dreamed of standing up to the British Navy, with or without Lord Nelson.
By the way, the US was drawn into the War of 1812 because Britain was still impressing recruits on American soil. Such things were not looked upon too kindly by the Americans.
No that's a pretext. The real reason for a war is always that someone thinks they can get away with it. With Britain having it hands full with Napoleon the opportunity to conquer Canada was to tempting. When Britain had won the war with France and regular soldiers where sent to Canada the Americans realized it was hopeless.
Tue, 22nd Mar '05, 10:17pm
I feel sufficently chastised for my bravado. The US fleet was not very extensive, but nonetheless gave the British fleet more losses than the royal navy had experienced in the previous twenty years. The largest ships were called frigates, but were more like Barry Bonds class frigates -- 44 24 pounder long guns with faster firing rate than the 16 pounders used by most of the world along with another 20 40 pounder carronades. These were very capable warships (there are a few historic writers who claim these should have been classified ships of the line).
The US relied on geographic isolation to keep the big 70+ gun ships away -- it seemed to have worked.
The constant harassment of British warships on the commercial trade was another contributing factor for the War of 1812 -- trade ships were getting seized around France and the crews pressed into service.
Wed, 23rd Mar '05, 2:16am
Actually, in the War of 1812 the American Navy beat the British Navy the majority of battles and pretty much won the war. The harrassmen campaigns in British waters helped. Alright, the ongoing 'arguement' Britain had with France MAY have influenced the outcome a bit, too. But it IS clear the British did not win (after all the Union Jack is not a part of the American flag). I love selective memory. If it weren't for the French, the colonists would have been crushed. The efforts of the navy may have staved off the worst that Britain could have thrown the way of the US, but claiming that they "kicked Britain's ass" twice is really stretching it. After all, the US didn't burn London to the ground or force them onto the defensive. The Brits didn't meet their objective (conquering the colony) but it's hardly as though they were systematically repelled by the indomitable colonists.
The US relied on geographic isolation to keep the big 70+ gun ships away -- it seemed to have worked.I can see parallels to the Six-Day War, only Israel did beat the hell out of the countries threatening them. Keeping an aggressor at arm's length isn't the same as whipping them.
unlike those traitors of the confederacy who sought to dissolve this great country just so that they could hold on to their human "property." I don't know as much as I would like to about the American Civil War, but I was under the impression that the entire economy of the south depended on slaves at the time and was significantly weaker than the north's. Changing the law to suit the north after their infrastructure could accommodate it but the south's could not, and then claiming that the Civil War was all about freeing the slaves sounds like a Bush argument about invading Iraq. Change your justification after a better one becomes available? I can think of a few other examples...
That isn't to say that the slaves shouldn't have been freed, especially given the most famous parts of the Declaration of Independence. But don't pretend that what Lincoln and Co. had wanted to do all along was to walk the path of righteousness and equality.
Reminds me of Apu taking his citizenship test in The Simpsons. When asked why the Civil War started, he launches into an extensive list of factors but is cut off by the assessor, who says "Just say slavery".
Chandos the Red
Wed, 23rd Mar '05, 3:02am
Either you graduated from college with a minor in history or you did not. Yes, I did graduate with a minor in history. But is was only a minor, like 12 or 15 advanced credits, if I remember. Is that good enough?
Your quotes regarding slavery, while valid, are 80 years out of date for the civil war. No, sorry, they are not. Most serious historians agree that the problem of slavery did not suddenly appear in 1861, or magically overnight, but that it had been an ongoing problem since the time of the nation's founding.
I wish you would address the issue head-on instead of all the smoke sceens and distractions that you keep putting out there, such as "how many hours I have in history" and all that rot - like your patronizing comments, such as: "I guess you fell for that propagana in history class," or other condesending statements like, "either you minored in history or you didn't."
As I said, I'm not a specialist in the area of American History, but I guess what you mean by a "lot of history" you mean to say that you are an expert of some sort, which I don't pretend to be. I have the ability to back up my statements with real sources regarding the topic, which is something I did learn in college that was esstential if one wishes to be taken seriously. It would be nice if you would do the same.
I don't know as much as I would like to about the American Civil War, but I was under the impression that the entire economy of the south depended on slaves at the time and was significantly weaker than the north's. Yes, that was the same arguemnt made by the South and the slave-holders to justify the continuation of slavery. It is nothing new. Those of us who thought slavery was a moral outrage have heard that argument over and over again. But, I'm not sure if you are making their case. On the one hand you say, "yes, the slaves should be freed," (how decent of you) on the other hand you say, "well, the South really was economically dependent on them, so the North was unfair." Which is it? Why don't you put yourself on the line, and consider which is the more important from a standpoint of the moral high-ground?
[ March 23, 2005, 06:24: Message edited by: Chandos the Red ]
Wed, 23rd Mar '05, 6:36pm
In fact, when the Constitution was framed, it had been agreed upon by members of the Convention that there would be no federal intervention on slavery for the duration of 20 years. This is not entirely accurate -- the exact terms were no federal intervention on the IMPORTATION of slavery. I think this did happen, but by then the slave owners were 'breeding' their own and it really wasn't an issue to them.
Southern slaveholders regarded any encroachment by the federal government on the institution of slavery as an encroachment by government on “private property.” These are really the specifics of the State’s rights arguments. How else can one regard the notion that a fellow human being can constitute only 3/5 of a real person? Another Constitutional compromise was that a slave counted as 3/5 of a person.
The Northern delegates were forced to agree upon this notion regarding the South’s claim for representation in the House of Representatives. Otherwise, the Southern delegates to the Constitutional Convention would not agree to the final document. This is a little misleading -- the Northern states wanted slaves to only count for 3/5 of a person to control the House of Representatives. Had the Northern states allowed each black to count as a person for representation it would have shifted the balance of power in the House.
Prejudice and discrimination were very high throughout the US. Whites in the North and South believed the blacks were unintelligent savages and accepted the blacks were an 'inferior race.' This belief was unfortunately dominant even beyond the civil war. There is even a rumor that Lincoln wanted to send the slaves back to Africa -- he didn't want them to slaves anymore, but didn't want the in America either. So much for the high ground here.
Over 75% of southerners did not own slaves. Yet, they still fought in the civil war -- why? It was not an issue of slavery to these people. The issue cannot be simply attributed to slavery.
Chandos: I agree, the barbs are not necessary and I apologize. But it's extremely tempting to respond to your jabs (not an excuse, just my devil's advocate personality coming out).
Chandos the Red
Wed, 23rd Mar '05, 8:00pm
Thanks, T2. :) My feelings are the same: apologies here for any miunderstandings.
On the Constitution, my source is Joe Ellis: Founding Brothers. This is the exact quote:
The position of all the speakers from the Deep South seemed to be that the Constitution not only prohibited the Congress from legislating about slavery or the slave trade; it forbade anyone in Congress from even mentioning those subjects publicly.The implication seemed to be that all aspects of slavery were off limits to the Federal government, at least that's how I read what Ellis is saying. The Constitutional Convention met in private and the only notes taken were by Madison, himself. The exact wording of the agreement among the delegates may or may not be fully known with any accurarcy. We can, in part, gage this by as Ellis points out, the reaction of the delegates.
On the issue of why the South fought - James Mcpherson wrote an excellent book, which is titled: What They Fought For. It's been a long time, but if I remember right, he touches on the notion that the non-slaveholders of the South were persuaded by the notion of "Southern Exceptionalsim" - that particular state of Southern culture, which set it apart from all the other cultures of the western world. And that they were defending it; mostly at the behest of the plantation owners, who represented a sort of arsitocracy, which was essential to the culture itself.
Mcpherson also contends that that despite popular belief that large numbers of white, southern males, who were not plantation owners (the aristocracy), were ignorant and illiterate, and easily manipulated, that the opposite was true: They were well-informed of the issue of slavery, property rights and the consolidation of federal power. Thus, they were more inclined to fight that much harder and with more conviction.
But slavery was at the core of that culture, while certainly not the only core issue in Southen Exceptionalism. The queston then becomes: if the institution of slavery is removed from the Southern culture of the mid-1800s, is there any reason to fight a civil war? The removal of the slave based economy and slave based culture changes the equation radically.
The rumor of Lincoln's idea to remove all the freed slaves to Africa has been bantered about quite a bit. Jefferson had the same view, because he believed that the freed slaves and the white population could never exist together. He felt that the free slaves would always resent their past treatment and that they would never be able to forgive what had happened to them during their hard years of captivity.
Thu, 24th Mar '05, 3:39am
Chandos, challenge accepted.
In a nutshell: the north was in the right.
I'm not taking the side of the South or the slave-owners, I'm just saying that I can understand their indignation at the northern states. The actions of the legislature were unfair to the southern states - but I consider that to be much less important than the abolition of slavery. So yes, if there was any moral high ground to be had, I would say it was with the north, especially having read your discussion of the DoI and its approach to slavery. Emancipation was long overdue. However, the Civil War wasn't just about slavery, it was about the division of powers and political matters.
That's not to say the South was justified; I find it appalling that nearly a century after the Declaration of Independence that slavery was still practiced. But I can understand the South feeling aggrieved and mistreated, or that their interests were not being represented or considered. They shouldn't have based their economy on slave labour, but when the limited prosperity of those states were threatened, it is unsurprising that they defended their own interests and "human property" (as disgusting a term as that is).
That doesn't make them morally correct or morally superior, though. It just makes their actions slightly less abhorrent because they were being threatened. Leaving aside the issue of slavery, it is what anyone would do. Of course, we cannot dismiss slavery in this matter, and the right to self-determination is more authoritative than any nation or state, in my opinion.
Chandos the Red
Thu, 24th Mar '05, 4:58am
NS - Ok, I understand your position on this much better now. Thanks for taking the time to respond. The argument over the division of powers is not new in American government. It started from almost day one. The argument is still ongoing, even today. But we don't fight a civil war over such issues. To be sure, there are bands of militia groups running around the backwoods of almost every state, including the North, who would like nothing better than to have it out with the "evil federal government." But they really are the exceptions.
Most loyal Americans understand that the government is, in large part, really an extension of the will of the People. Hence, the reason we have so many elections. Our government is "a government by the People," at least in theory.
Jefferson and Madison's idea of proper government was a weak central government, with a more powerful state government, which they felt would be more effective in governing. The closer the governement was to the people whom it represented, the better the representation. That was how Thomas Jefferson saw it. Not by accident many of the Founders, but not all, who resided in the South held this view closely. And they were typically Virginians: Jefferson, Madison, Patrick Henry, George Mason, etc. John Marshall and George Washington were two exceptions to this "Virginian cabal of Founders."
Those who favored a strong central government were typically Northern and urban - Alexander Hamilton, John Adams, John Jay, etc. Two exceptions - George Washington and John Marshall, both from Virginia and certainly powerful Federalists, especially Marshall.
But the one thing that all the principle Founders agreed upon was that the unity of America was more important than matters of ideology. Even Jefferson finally came to see himself as an "American first" before being a Virginian, but it took years for him to realize this (just as it took him years to finally see that his radical form of "republicanism" was really "democratic." Most of the Founders disliked the term "democracy," even while they were engaged in putting the American government on the road to democracy.
But no man meant more to the founding of America than George Washington. Those of us who admire him, truly see him as "first in the hearts of his countrymen." He pleaded with us to remain true to the country which he and the other Founders had labored so much for in its creation.
Here are his famous lines from the Farewell Address:
The unity of Government, which constitutes you one people, is also now dear to you. It is justly so; for it is a main pillar in the edifice of your real independence, the support of your tranquillity at home, your peace abroad; of your safety; of your prosperity; of that very Liberty, which you so highly prize. But as it is easy to foresee, that, from different causes and from different quarters, much pains will be taken, many artifices employed, to weaken in your minds the conviction of this truth; as this is the point in your political fortress against which the batteries of internal and external enemies will be most constantly and actively (though often covertly and insidiously) directed, it is of infinite moment, that you should properly estimate the immense value of your national Union to your collective and individual happiness; that you should cherish a cordial, habitual, and immovable attachment to it; accustoming yourselves to think and speak of it as of the Palladium of your political safety and prosperity; watching for its preservation with jealous anxiety; discountenancing whatever may suggest even a suspicion, that it can in any event be abandoned; and indignantly frowning upon the first dawning of every attempt to alienate any portion of our country from the rest, or to enfeeble the sacred ties which now link together the various parts.
For this you have every inducement of sympathy and interest. Citizens, by birth or choice, of a common country, that country has a right to concentrate your affections. The name of american, which belongs to you, in your national capacity, must always exalt the just pride of Patriotism, more than any appellation derived from local discriminations. With slight shades of difference, you have the same religion, manners, habits, and political principles. You have in a common cause fought and triumphed together; the Independence and Liberty you possess are the work of joint counsels, and joint efforts, of common dangers, sufferings, and successes. Many of us understand what went into the crafting of this nation; the thought, the labor, the sacrifice; but most of all the hope of the Founders that they had given us a vast legacy, and that we would see clearly that which Washingtion was expressing in his final address to us - the hope that we would see oursleves as Americans first, and that our Liberty is dependent upon that "national union" of which Washington, as well as the other Founding Brothers have come to represent.
[ March 24, 2005, 05:44: Message edited by: Chandos the Red ]