HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » TomCADem » Journal
Page: 1

TomCADem

Profile Information

Member since: Fri May 8, 2009, 12:59 AM
Number of posts: 16,580

Journal Archives

Why Poor, Non-Slaveholding White Southerners Fought In The Civil War

Most confederate soldiers in the civil war did not personally own slaves. Indeed, the existence of slavery helped to depress the wages of poor whites in the pre-Civil War South. With low wages and few schools, southern whites suffered a much lower land ownership rate and a far lower literacy rate than northern whites. So, why did poor Southern whites support secession from the United States prior to the civil war?

As the article below and quoted source material illustrates, racism not only oppresses the objects of racism, but it oppresses working class whites as well. With the funding and proliferation of racist, right wing media outlets like OANN, Newsmax and Fox News, we continue to see the use of racism as the ultimate con job on the working class.

Trump represents a modern example of this con job, a rich white male who literally lives in a country club whose biggest accomplishment is a tax cut to folks likes himself, yet he draws much of his support from working class whites whose benefits and health care he has repeatedly sought to cut.

https://www.battlefields.org/learn/articles/why-non-slaveholding-southerners-fought

As a Southerner with ancestors who fought for the Confederacy, I have been intrigued with the question of why my ancestors felt compelled to leave the United States and set up their own country. What brought the American experiment to that extreme juncture?

The short answer, of course, is Abraham Lincoln’s election as president of the United States. What concerned Southerners most about Lincoln’s election was his opposition to the expansion of slavery into the territories; Southern politicians were clear about that. If new states could not be slave states, went the argument, then it was only a matter of time before the South’s clout in Congress would fade, abolitionists would be ascendant, and the South’s “peculiar institution” – the right to own human beings as property – would be in peril.

It is easy to understand why slave owners would be concerned about the threat, real or imagined, that Lincoln posed to slavery. But what about those Southerners who did not own slaves? Why would they risk their livelihoods by leaving the United States and pledging allegiance to a new nation grounded in the proposition that all men are not created equal, a nation established to preserve a type of property that they did not own?

* * *
Non-slaveholders, a plantation owner predicted, were also in danger. “It will be to the non-slaveholder, equally with the largest slaveholder, the obliteration of caste and the deprivation of important privileges,” he cautioned. “The color of the white man is now, in the South, a title of nobility in his relations as to the negro,” he reminded his readers. “In the Southern slaveholding States, where menial and degrading offices are turned over to be per formed exclusively by the Negro slave, the status and color of the black race becomes the badge of inferiority, and the poorest non-slaveholder may rejoice with the richest of his brethren of the white race, in the distinction of his color. He may be poor, it is true; but there is no point upon which he is so justly proud and sensitive as his privilege of caste; and there is nothing which he would resent with more fierce indignation than the attempt of the Abolitionist to emancipate the slaves and elevate the Negroes to an equality with himself and his family.
Go to Page: 1