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Response to merrily (Reply #80)

Mon Jun 29, 2015, 10:01 AM

90. You're thinking of voiding the Confederate debt as an amelioration for the south

It was the opposite. It was supposed to be a tough lesson for anyone who loaned money to the Confederate government.

That was a double hit to southerners as overnight the money in their pockets, in the bank and even buried in the backyard already became worthless.

The Confederate government financed the war overwhelmingly with a war bond campaign. Citizens rich and poor traded in their gold and silver for Confederate war bonds. It was a patriotic exercise which went on in waves throughout the war. Many free Blacks took part too.

So in refusing to pay the bonds back, and even forbidding the southern states to pay their own people back, you again impoverished an already defeated and impoverished people.

At the Hampton Roads conference just a month or so before Appomattox, President Lincoln offered Vice-President Stevens a deal. If the CSA laid down its arms, an arrangement would be worked out to compensate slave owners for their lost property. That put the question in front of the CSA government. Were they fighting for independence or for their slaves. President Davis rejected the offer as he would not trade his country's independence for anything. He said it would violate his oath of office to defend and protect his nation if he agreed to its dissolution. Looking back, he should have taken the deal.

Could the US have done more to help the defeated south fiscally?

Yeah. What it did was systematically destroy the southern economy during the war, then made the currency worthless, made the people's financial investments worthless, made their greatest source of accumulated wealth (slaves) worthless and then allowed a class of vultures to come down south to buy up land from the widows and the disabled at pennies on the dollar from the people who couldn't pay their tax bills. Then they made fun of the south for being economically backward which still goes on today.

Yeah. There's a whole lot more the government could have done.

For one thing a huge change like ending slavery should have been shared by the whole nation, not just one class of people. Freed slaves should have been given either land or an income for a time at least until they could be educated. Slave owners should have been compensated for their economic losses. It was a huge change to the country's economy and the country should have shared the economic burden for the change. Lincoln understood this but once he was dead President Johnson and congress were more into punishment than help.

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LineLineLineLineReply You're thinking of voiding the Confederate debt as an amelioration for the south
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