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5 years ago  ::  May 21, 2009 - 9:08AM #1
SeraphimR
Posts: 8,323

Something I've always wondered about ...


Was the American Civil War worth it?  Are abolitionists to be admired because they helped foment this dreadful war?  What do you think of John Brown, for instance?


With hindsight we can understand that slavery would have withered away anyway because of the advantages of farm mechanization. 


Or was preservation of the Union worth the cost?

The louder he talked of his honor, the faster we counted our spoons.
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5 years ago  ::  May 21, 2009 - 10:24AM #2
Ironhold
Posts: 10,909

The Missouri Conflict showed that even as far back as the 1830s tensions between the militant abolitionists and militant slaveholders wouldn't end without bloodshed; the Civil War, sadly, was doomed to happen.


 


For those that do not know, here goes.


In the 1830s, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, better known as the Mormons, relocated to Missouri and established that as their headquarters.


The leadership of the church was anti-slavery, as were the vast majority of the members. In fact, an official publication contained an open missive stating that any free black willing to brave the journey could find refuge in the Mormon lands within Missouri.


Problem was, Missouri was a slave state. The residents had already been clashing with the Mormon populace over a variety of issues, such as theological differences, the tendency for the Mormons to maintain insular communities, the astonishing immigration numbers (Mormons were on track to become the majority population within the state), and the tendency of the membership to vote as a block.


Although church leader Joseph Smith had stated that he was opposed to the concept of using force to achieve abolition (even going so far as to publicly condemn those abolitionists who did use force), in the minds of the native residents the church still represented a clear and present threat to the existing way of life. Mob violence had already broken out against the church in 1831, and fighting was ready to break out again.


The spark came when Sidney Rigdon, a high-ranking church official, gave what has been known as the "Salt Sermon." It was a fire-and-brimstone sermon in which he declared that any member of the church who had gone apostate was no better than salt without its savor; he then reminded everyone that by the New Testament, salt without its savor was fit for nothing more than being trod upon. Rigdon followed it up by saying that any mobs who tried to assault Mormon settlements would get worse than they would give. Some of the apostates who this sermon was directed towards got offended, and spread a false report that the "Salt Sermon" really meant that the church was aiming to take over the state.


The first battle - the Gallatin Voting Battle - came when a mob of 200 men surrounded the courthouse in Gallatin County in the name of refusing any Mormon in the county the right to vote that election day. When the mob roughed up a few Mormons to prove that they were serious, Mormons from elsewhere were rallied in order to provide help. The mob found itself soon outnumbered, and so stood aside. 


This incident was followed by mob violence against Mormon settlements. The Mormons sought relief from the state government to no avail (Governor Boggs hated the church), and were turned down flat by President Van Buren (who is quoted as saying that if he tried to help the church, he'd lose Missouri's vote in the next election). This caused the membership to realize that they would have to handle the mobs personally; a self-defense militia soon formed, and at least one group ended up raiding towns believed to be the launching points for the mobs in retaliation.


The climax came when a report came out that a mob had kidnapped some Mormons. A team was hastily assembled to retrieve them, and the Battle of Crooked River ensued. Among the dead was a member of the Missouri state militia. Said person deserted his post in order to fight alongside the mob, but when the report came back to Governor Boggs it was presented in such a fashion as to suggest that the Mormons assaulted a Missouri militia unit. Boggs responted by issuing an executive order declaring that all Mormons in the state were to be killed or driven out.


This culminated in the Haun's Mill Massacre, in which a group of Missouri militia rode into the town of Haun's Mill and killed 18 men who had tried to buy time for the women and children to escape. They then followed this up by executing a 10-year-old boy right in front of his own mother, the justification being that you needed to kill vermin (one account said nits / lice, the other said foxes) while they were young so that they wouldn't grow up to be menaces as adults.


A series of kangaroo courts were convened in order to justify executing Joseph and several other leaders, but in the end militia general Andrew Doniphan realized that what was going on was illegal and allowed the men to escape.


The Extermination Order would remain on the books until 1976. Although largely forgotten after the 1800s, it came back to light when someone tried to use it as a defense in a manslaughter case: the victim had been Mormon, and so the accused couldn't have actually committed a crime since the Order said it was OK. This forced then-governor Christopher S. (Kit) Bond to publicly rescind it.


Although non-Mormon historians don't like to talk about the Missouri Conflict for one reason or another (my guess is that either they don't know about it or that those who do know are made too uncomfortable by the implications & ramifications), it was effectively a prototype for the Civil War.

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5 years ago  ::  May 21, 2009 - 1:53PM #3
Want to know
Posts: 1,668

May 21, 2009 -- 9:08AM, SeraphimR wrote:


Something I've always wondered about ...


Was the American Civil War worth it?  Are abolitionists to be admired because they helped foment this dreadful war?  What do you think of John Brown, for instance?


With hindsight we can understand that slavery would have withered away anyway because of the advantages of farm mechanization. 


Or was preservation of the Union worth the cost?



Was it worth it? I am sure the slaves thought so. However it was like most wars, it could have been avoided. As usual both sides believed God was on their side.

"Now we see as through a glass, darkly but then face to face:  now I know in part, but then shall I know even as also I am known."  I Corinthians 13:12
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5 years ago  ::  May 21, 2009 - 4:07PM #4
Whisper01
Posts: 2,565

Was the American Civil War worth it? 


By 1850's standards? Yes, the issue was decided on the battle fields and the victor retained the nation. Worth it? They thought so because they continued and finished it in the face of the ugly face of war that quickly disipated the youthful enthusiam of battle.


With hindsight we can understand that slavery would have withered away anyway because of the advantages of farm mechanization. 


Withered away after how much time? How much time is acceptable to disband heinous behaivour? How long had the seeds of discontent ferminted during the era of slavery? How where those slowly heating embers to be cooled by realization that this in-human industry will eventually fall away? Hindsight is rather good, but no one has it when the descion needs to be made ay what?


Or was preservation of the Union worth the cost?


By2009 standards? Yes, so much would not have been accomplished that I personally proud that did. No matter though, what does this have to do with Christian Debate? What is the point of speculation of whether time lines went in different direction?


???? John



 

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5 years ago  ::  May 21, 2009 - 4:25PM #5
SeraphimR
Posts: 8,323

May 21, 2009 -- 4:07PM, Whisper01 wrote:


Was the American Civil War worth it? 


By 1850's standards? Yes, the issue was decided on the battle fields and the victor retained the nation. Worth it? They thought so because they continued and finished it in the face of the ugly face of war that quickly disipated the youthful enthusiam of battle.


With hindsight we can understand that slavery would have withered away anyway because of the advantages of farm mechanization. 


Withered away after how much time? How much time is acceptable to disband heinous behaivour? How long had the seeds of discontent ferminted during the era of slavery? How where those slowly heating embers to be cooled by realization that this in-human industry will eventually fall away? Hindsight is rather good, but no one has it when the descion needs to be made ay what?


Or was preservation of the Union worth the cost?


By2009 standards? Yes, so much would not have been accomplished that I personally proud that did. No matter though, what does this have to do with Christian Debate? What is the point of speculation of whether time lines went in different direction?


???? John



 




The question is a moral one, and so appropriate for Christian debate.  Is war justified, and in this case a rather gruesome one, to disband heinous behavior.


Using hindsight we can say, "I wish it hadn't happened", or "I'm glad it was fought."  And we might use such judgements to guide future action.

The louder he talked of his honor, the faster we counted our spoons.
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5 years ago  ::  May 21, 2009 - 5:14PM #6
Whisper01
Posts: 2,565

The question is a moral one, and so appropriate for Christian debate.  Is war justified, and in this case a rather gruesome one, to disband heinous behavior.


Ah, morals as in context of belief and worship of God and Gods plans for us. Gotch ya!


Is war justified? Well yes or no depending upon the situation. As in all things it is relative to what we are fighting for or against. War in Iraq is rather questionable but war in WWII was rather straight forward (when someone launches an un-declaired attack upon your country you are rather thrust, as a nation, into the war).


Was the Civil war justified? Well in the 1850's ya, both sides thought so  or they would not have fought it. Either side could have given in when the seceding stated seceded, but neither did and so both thought it justifiable to fight it out.


In 2009, with hindsight in place, I find that the Confederacy did not want war at all, simply to secede from the Union. Was it justified to secede at all or fight for said seceding? They thought the laws of the union where not for them but against them and it was an un-fair system. They where justified to do what they did in that light. They where also justified to fight for thier perogative that did not endanger any life until the Union came with war against them. At the same time it was justifiable for the Union to stop what they saw as a breaking of the law in seceding. They where fighting for what their forfathers created during the American Revelution. Ergo it was very justified to them.


Slavery has so little to do with the seeds of discontnet that formulated the war, it was more of a rally point for the North and a defensive position by the South. I personally think the war was a great waest of time and effort, but it was not my war and I did not live in that time. But great things came out of that war, progression by the USA to become a world power. It was the birth not of that notion, but the power and endurance to reach for it in time. Without it is hardly conceivable we would be ready for the wars that followed that we did not start, and history would be rather different. Go figure?


Using hindsight we can say, "I wish it hadn't happened", or "I'm glad it was fought."  And we might use such judgements to guide future action.


I'm not glad or un-glad. I simply learn lessons from it without having the endure it. You got it right in that we should use such judgements to guide future actions. Not should we or should we not based on the issues that preceeded the Civil War but by the outcome of those decisions. As General Sherman stated "War is Hell and you can not refine it", there is a lesson to learn! Here is another great quote "Always strive for peace, but be prepared for war", live and learn I guess...


:-) John

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5 years ago  ::  May 21, 2009 - 5:30PM #7
Merope
Posts: 8,783

This thread was moved from Christian-to-Christian Debate. 



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5 years ago  ::  May 28, 2009 - 7:29PM #8
Ashe
Posts: 311

May 21, 2009 -- 9:08AM, SeraphimR wrote:


Something I've always wondered about ...


Was the American Civil War worth it?  Are abolitionists to be admired because they helped foment this dreadful war?  What do you think of John Brown, for instance?


With hindsight we can understand that slavery would have withered away anyway because of the advantages of farm mechanization. 


Or was preservation of the Union worth the cost?




In my opinion no, it was not worth all of the lives that were lost.


I admire abolitionists in their goal to provide freedom to all, I disagree with the manner in which they went about obtaining it.


John Brown and his crew were murderers.


 

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