No, Lincoln Could Not Have Just “Bought” the Slaves from the South. Here’s Why the Civil War Could NOT be Avoided…

By | June 22, 2022

Bad ideas are like herpes: they never really go away, and you’re kind-of stuck with them forever. One of the most persistent bad ideas in American history is the notion that Abraham Lincoln specifically or the Northern states generally could’ve simply “bought” the Southern slaves and then freed them. [I think this might be particularly relevant since the Texas Republican Party just voted to secede from the nation this week, and so the “bad idea” of secession rears its ugly, stupid head once again.] Sensible people quickly point out that the most likely thing the cash-flushed Southern states would’ve done is buy more slaves, and make slavery even bigger. But even if you include a provision that there could be no new slaves after the buying program was instituted, it still wouldn’t have worked.

I know Ron Paul talked about this and Neo-Confederates keep insisting it was possible, but it definitely wouldn’t have been possible…

One…The South had been itching for a Civil War for a loooong time before it actually happened. Keep in mind that Andrew Jackson’s first Vice President John Calhoun was even talking about secession 40 years before the Civil War actually took place. Jackson was vehemently against this—saying he would secede Calhoun’s head from his body if he tried to secede from the federal government—and even said one of his greatest regrets was not killing John Calhoun. I’m not kidding.

Jackson’s presidency delayed the Civil War for a few decades, but the bad ideas behind secession just kept bubbling up. Something Neo-confederates always forget to mention is that the South seceded before Lincoln ever took office. The idea that he was forcing them to give up slavery (when he hadn’t even taken office yet) or that the North was seeking a Civil War to free the slaves is just flatly not true.

Two…The Southern states were given a “buyback” proposal multiple times and showed no interest at all in it. They had built an entire economic system around slavery—free labor for them—and cotton was the most valuable crop on the planet at the time. They might have made a temporary windfall selling “their” slaves, but they still would’ve had this enormous agricultural-based economy where they don’t want to pay wages. Speaking of that system…

Three…Even after the Civil War ended, the Southeast was constantly trying to find ways to keep de facto slavery going like the Black Codes or using convict labor or “paying” “freed” slaves in room-and-board. Even after losing the Civil War, they still weren’t really big on the idea of a fair day’s wages for an honest day’s work. And I don’t think it’s a total coincidence that that mindset has continued to this day, where the non-unionized, right-to-work South pays lower wages than anywhere else in America and 8 out of 10 of the poorest U.S. states are Southern ones.

One thought on “No, Lincoln Could Not Have Just “Bought” the Slaves from the South. Here’s Why the Civil War Could NOT be Avoided…

  1. Southern and not proud

    Well thought out and great lesson in actual history. Why are we not teaching history and the mistakes that were made more in this country before we actually make them again or worse?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.