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Old 03-30-2016, 10:26 AM
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Default Curious twist in the US Civil War -- the South was excessively individualist

Colin Woodard has come out with a successor of his book "American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America" -- "American Character: A History of the Epic Struggle Between Individual Liberty and the Common Good".
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The Deep South in the antebellum period was an extreme individualist’s dream. The purpose of the state was limited to the protection of private property through the provision of courts, circumscribed police functions, and military defense. Individuals at the top of the social pyramid were highly protective of their own liberties, uninterested in those of others, and hostile to the notion of human equality.

Taxes were extremely low, and were designed to spare those most able to pay them. ...

With scant taxes collected, there were very few public services.
Like no public schools until after the Revolutionary War, and not many of them even then. By comparison, New England had had taxpayer-supported public schools since the early 17th century.
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Because state law enforcement, courts, and prisons were so underfunded, people took the law into their own hands, and security and police work were largely carried out by privately organized militias, plantation overseers, and lynch mobs.
There was an exception to this laxity: Deep South governments outlawed criticism of slavery.
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The oligarchy’s fixation on individual liberty and the sanctity of property was so extreme that it handicapped the Confederacy’s ability to defend itself and its political system.
Despite food supplies dwindling in the war, even supplies for soldiers, the planters refused to grow food crops like grain, instead preferring their main cash crop, cotton. Planters refused to loan their slaves out to Confederate army officers who wanted to build fortifications. The Confederate government's passing a conscription law in the spring of 1862 provoked a lot of outrage, including from the Confederacy's Vice President.
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In 1863, with a full-scale Union invasion well under way, the CSA empowered the army to seize grain and other goods for the war effort; when an officer presented South Carolina planter James Henry Hammond with an order for a share of his corn, he tore it up, tossed it out the window, and declared that submitting to it meant “branding on my forehead ‘Slave.’”
I love that last part. Here's another source: Wartime Diary and Letters of Senator James Henry Hammond of South Carolina. He was a big-name Southern politician and defender of slavery: James Henry Hammond
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Old 03-31-2016, 05:26 AM
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Default Re: Curious twist in the US Civil War -- the South was excessively individualist

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Originally Posted by lpetrich View Post
There was an exception to this laxity: Deep South governments outlawed criticism of slavery.
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The oligarchy’s fixation on individual liberty and the sanctity of property was so extreme that it handicapped the Confederacy’s ability to defend itself and its political system.
Despite food supplies dwindling in the war, even supplies for soldiers, the planters refused to grow food crops like grain, instead preferring their main cash crop, cotton. Planters refused to loan their slaves out to Confederate army officers who wanted to build fortifications.
This is an interesting argument and judging from your summary, it's persuasive. I'd add the caveat that it wasn't just freedom of speech and military defense that was kneecapped by the oligarchs of the slave states. Even the sanctity of property itself was a target. Many slaveholding states passed laws making the industrial processing of cotton illegal. That was a great boon to northern manufacturers (including one in my father's hometown in Connecticut) who happily made out like bandits from the production of fabric out of raw cotton, but it forced cotton growers to keep their operation strictly agricultural, requring a great deal of land and labor for limited profits.

That's because slavery was more important than individual liberty, more important than private property, more important than anything else to the power brokers, plantation class and their vast phalanxes of against-self-interest poor white supporters. The fantasy of the genteel "southern way of life" borne on the whip-mutilated backs of enslaved Black people trumped everything.
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Old Yesterday, 11:27 AM
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Default Re: Curious twist in the US Civil War -- the South was excessively individualist

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Old Yesterday, 03:06 PM
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Default Re: Curious twist in the US Civil War -- the South was excessively individualist

Go pea.

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Old Yesterday, 08:38 PM
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Default Re: Curious twist in the US Civil War -- the South was excessively individualist

On the bright side this brought up an interesting thrad for us relative noobs. (Yooper, Limon, and I?)
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Old Today, 06:02 PM
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Default Re: Curious twist in the US Civil War -- the South was excessively individualist

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On the bright side this brought up an interesting thrad for us relative noobs. (Yooper, Limon, and I?)
And me, an old noob
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Old Today, 07:23 PM
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Default Re: Curious twist in the US Civil War -- the South was excessively individualist

You know who I miss who is an old noob? Demimonde.
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