The lecture The Logic of Secession by Dr. Ed Ayers explains the many different facets of the south’s perspective on secession and slavery. He makes one point very clear, secession was not instantaneous and inspired by strong emotions, but rather was a logical, thought out process, that had to do with many issues one of them being slavery. However, there were many other divides between the north and south including politics, the economic divide, and even a division upon the interpretation of the Bible. All of these issues eventually led to secession and ultimately the Civil War. The speaker's purpose was to create a dialogue per se. History is written by the winners, and as the outcome of the Civil War would tell you. The south lost. It is too common that students and historians alike do not hear both sides of the story. Dr. Ayers was attempting to show the side of the south that scholars so rarely see in history textbooks today as he unveiled the true thoughtfulness behind every action and reaction that the south made. The listeners most definitely heard from the southerner's point of view, but Dr. Ed Ayers left out the northerners voices as they are often heard. Everyone knows what the north did. Most recently reading The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglas I came to realize many parallels to the lecture. Many of the movements that were mentioned in the lecture were happening alongside Fredericks story. For example, the Underground Railroad, the Mason Dixon line, and even the southern economic boom was included. The reading helped me understand the lecture because I could put a life to it, rather than simply listen to an older gentleman speak of the southern perspective, I had read about someone who lived it.
Questions from class:
What role did South Carolina play in the secession of the southern states?
South Carolina was the main instigator in the secession of the southern states and territories. When they left the senate was made to be out of balance, this convinced a lot of southern states to also secede so that they may have an equal voice in the governmental process.
What happened when the Virginian delegates came to Lincoln with a so called “solution”?
The Virginians were grotesquely optimistic in their ability to bring together the rest of the southern states. Being the home of so many Founding Fathers this task would obviously come naturally to all Virginians. They came to Lincoln simply asking for time, so that they could convince the entirety of the south to return to order. Lincoln, for obvious reasons, declined their offer.
Questions we are left with:
Though the speaker said that secession was not all about slavery, a lot if not all of the issues Dr. Ayers spoke about was tied to slavery in some way, could this have been all about slavery?
Why was the balance of the Senate so important to the South?
When the South realized their thriving economic stability, why didn’t they simply refuse to give the North much needed resources until they caved to their demands?
Could the Civil War have been avoided?