Debate:Was the North right to prevent Southern secession in the US Civil War?

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Negative Opinions

No, the South had the right to choose for themselves whether they should be American states or not. Yes, slavery was horrible but things were already changing and that was not the Union's choice to make. The goings on in Columbia, Nashville, Baton Rouge, and Austin were not the business of anyone in Washington, no matter if it's 1861 or 2007/ --Working for Him 20:48, 7 February 2007 (EST)

Excellent debate topic, and I see reasons to agree but on a different basis. Abraham Lincoln himself felt that the South could leave and the United States would inevitably reunite a few decades later (without slavery). Why push it and kill so many people just to avoid a few decades of separation? There are limits to what force can accomplish.--Aschlafly 21:01, 7 February 2007 (EST)

This is a tough issue; any other time i'd say no without a second thought, but it seems hard to justify turning the other way and allowing slavery to continue in the south. --BenjaminS 01:16, 18 February 2007 (EST)

I don’t believe Lincoln or others had a right to prevent secession. The only reason some States finally decided to sign the agreement to form a Union was because of their right to secede. From what I understand, the initial problem was the treatment of Southern states by Northern businessmen who used laws and government to cheat the South of fair trade and apply unfair taxation. If those issues were resolved, I doubt the South would have pursued secession. This debate is thoroughly addressed in Thomas DiLorenzo’s book, “The Real Lincoln”. The author also contends that slavery would most likely have been resolved in time by other means. --Maxygolf 11:58, 23 March 2007 (EDT)

Positive Opinions

Yes, because if the divine hand of God wanted the South to secede, he would not have let the North win. -- RobinHoodjr

Yes, the North was justified in preventing the South from seceding from the Union. What is the point of having a government if any state can choose to leave whenever they feel like it? Contrary to popular belief, the Civil War was not about slavery. Slavery may have been the main issue the South seceded for, but the North went to war solely to preserve the Union. That reason is as good as any to go to war. Sure, slavery as an agricultural and economic base was outdated and on the way out, but slavery as a social structure was as strong as ever, as evidenced by the formation of white-supremecist groups such as the Ku Klux Klan. True, the Confederate States may have eventually rejoined the United States after slavery had run its course, but the Federal government can not afford to set the precedent of letting whoever wants to leave cease to be part of the Union.

It is informative to see what Abraham Lincoln did as the Southern States seceded. He declared that the Federal Government would keep federal Armories, Forts and property. The Southerners then attacked those Federal Forts (Like Fort. Sumner.) The states were too intertwined with the Federal Government to allow secession. (unsigned entry)

Looking at this from the standpoint of geopolitics, I think Harry Turtledove has it right when he posits in his American Empire series that had the USA and CSA continued into the mid-twentieth century as independent countries, they would have taken opposite positions on all unavoidable international issues -- possibly including the fight against Nazism. This is too bad, because I would really like to be able to say that people in, for example, South Carolina are not required to be in the same country with people from California whose beliefs are totally opposite. It seems to be a case of pragmatism overruling principle. On the other hand, reunification does mean I got to move to Texas from Pennsylvania in 1983 and meet all the nice conservatives who have subsequently shaped me. Incidentally, why is there no article here on Christian Exodus? -- Amyz, 10:04, June 1, 2007 (EDT)

Many people think of this the wrong way. The United States did not recognize the Confederacy as a separate nation (and for that matter neither did many other nations, including Britain), thus the government treated the Southern Army as a rebel army, not a foreign one. So, legally the U.S. government had a right to put down this rebellion, as it had in the Whiskey Rebellion and Shay's Rebellion (although that is technically pre-Constitutional). Saying that putting a rebellion down is a governmental right is sticky as that implies that dictators can put down popular rebellions legally (which I am against). Also this goes against one of the major shapers of our Constitution (Locke, Hobbes, or Rosseau, can't remember which), who said that if the government does not serve the people as they desire, they have the right to rebel. This also brings up moral relativism, as slavery seemed alright to most Southerners and wrong to most Northerners, and who can say which side was right with any definitivness. In the end though, it all turned out alright, so it must have been fine. To put it generally, history is the greatest judge. --Snotbowst 14:25, 17 May 2008 (EDT)

Other Opinions

Well its my personal belief that there was a bigger thing going on. IF the US of A had not stayed together as one Union we would have lost both World War I AND World War II had we not been one nation. So I think the Lord motivated the North to try and save the Union. I however would have fought on the side of the South even though most of my people fought for the North from Iowa, Indiana and Illinois. --Wally 12:38, 26 June 2007 (EDT)