"Sequestering" Resources-- the South and the North
dmschanoes at earthlink.net
Tue Jul 15 09:36:30 MDT 2003
We got onto the Civil War through a discussion of the origins of
capitalism and discussion of primitive, "initial" accumulation.
A participant posted a comment that the civil war involved the
Union's creation of a national popular front, and that in the
last or final analysis, the war wasn't about slavery, or
precipitated by conflicts in the development of productive
forces, but a battle between the US and the British bourgeoisie,
which makesthe South a proxy for the British. I don't know
where you stand on that argument, but if there ever was an
argument that took economic determinism and stretched to the max
to accommodate that which did not exist in reality, that
argument is the one.
I always said that the war was a conflict between the means and
relations of production with the South determined to prevent
Northern expansion, so the South could maintain its grip on the
political power of the country, thus protecting its peculiar
institution, ergo the "dress rehearsal" with the nullification
and secession crisis, 1828-1832. I always said that battle was
made manifest throughout US history, from the time of the
Constitutional Convention and afterward in the conflicts over
the territories and the admission of new states to the Union.
No, the North did not resolve the problem with the election of
Lincoln or secession for the Union would have confronted a
fundamentally hostile power on its border, still determined to
thwart its free soil-free labor movement to the Pacific. Nor
was the Union prepared to cede its installations in the South to
the Confederacy, and those installations were not just govt.
properties but also private properties.
The North had no choice but to pursue the war, put down the
slaveholders' rebellion, and the only real way to do that was to
destroy the property, the economic organization of the South, the
The notion that the Union should let the South go ("let him go,
he is not worth thine ire"), had some currency in the North, but
didn't play too well in Peoria.
I introduced the census data to answer in part, a question from
R. Bandari (excuse any misspelling please) about the
backwardness of plantation agriculture and its resistance to
I may be wrong in all that I have argued. If you have a more
complete, developed analysis of the real forces behind and in
front of this war, I'd love to read it.
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