tv The Civil War U.S. Constitution and Secession CSPAN June 7, 2020 9:00am-10:01am EDT
historic site in st. louis hosted this talk. introduce dr. dwight pitcaithley -- he worked for the national park service for 30 years. he was the chief historian of the national park service. so he's kind of the watchdog for us. he teachese retired, at new mexico state university. he teaches public history, civil war history any other book that came out this week, "the u.s. constitution and secession." it is my distinct pleasure and dr.r to introduce you to
dwight pitcaithley. [applause] ms. drake: -- dr. pitcaithley: nick promised he was not going to include the rockstar part. thanks to nick for that wonderful introduction. thank you that we can have a conversation that goes on for another 30 or 45 minutes. robert and moran, who, many of you know, was a pulitzer prize civil war is our only felt history." history lived in the national imagination. i think that's true whether your
ancestry goes back that far or not. my mostly does not. but the civil war affects -- ken burns, maybe -- it's part of the dna. we think about it a lot. every year when i teach the civil war course, the first day i give my students an exam and i ask them, in a word or phrase tell me what caused the civil war, what caused secession? without secession there is no civil war. everybody has an answer. it's not the same answer. but they all have an answer. its states rights -- no, no, no. it's labored. no, it's the tariff. general economic issues. i think it's cultural differences to train the north and south. somebody else would say, it was really the ultimate clash between an agricultural south and in industrial north. got an answer. if you are like me when i
started this research about 10 years ago i had read a lot of the secondary work, but most of it about the war itself. dots along the way. in november,ected south carolina secedes in december but by several other states in the deep south, lincoln is inaugurated, fort sumter is fired on april, lincoln calls out troops, former state secede, and the war is on. bless you. there's a lot going on that those dots don't connect. everybodyupon myself, needs a project in retirement -- to set aside myself -- i did not have a book in mind, but i went to satisfy myself, what caused secession? i wanted to dig as deep as i
could into the records and it surprise, much to my secession winter is incredibly well documented. incredibly documented. i wanted to keep it to the elected officials. what did they say. what would they argue? other historians have used newspaper editorials. they have used editorials. ks,y have taken different tac internal organs of the parties. i wanted to hear what the elected officials were saying. theyare the ones to whom delegated the responsibility to solve the problem, the problem, being lincoln's election. and it turns out there is no shortage. theress met over that time,
congress met about a month after lincoln' as election to the march 4 inauguration day. it resulted in about 2000 pages of data by day, hour by hour, line by line arguments from these men. if you're interested, it's online thanks to your tax dollars and the library of congress. this happens to be the congressional globe. you can go in day by day. a word of warning. there were three columns per page. 10-point type. bring your reading glasses. the second large gathering would
be the proceedings of the secession conventions. they met, they argued. -- alluld publish this of this was published in 1862. texas waited until 1912. virginia -- they claim in the introduction that they did not have enough money until 1912 the publisher. i do argue with that. longest deliberated the -- we have deliberations. a third range of information is from the state legislatures in
tennessee and kentucky. tennessee did ultimately secede. this is from the state legislature. kentucky never thought about calling the secession convention. there's a lot of discussion between the governor and the house of representatives and the senate and they left their printed version almost immediately. finally, there is the record of the washington peace convention. in early january, the legislature called for a national convention to find out had to do now that lincoln been elected president. 21 states and representatives, 131 men. there.el is still i think the room that they gathered in is not there. millard hotel is there. it's where lincoln spent the night before they moved into the white house.
or about a week before they moved into the white house. thoseou aggregate all of pages, all of the information you end up with about 8000 pages of printed, published .nformation over secession within that information -- this is all new to me. i had no idea i would enter this world. i got sucked into it and the more i got into it the more i wanted to get into it because i did not have to deal with handwriting. historians often have to deal with handwriting. some people have good dementia and some don't and it can make you crazy. i've done research on that site as well. this has all been published. , therethose 8000 pages are three subsets of information that are directly on what the south was thinking when it was thinking about secession and the and thee the letters
speeches of the commissioners. they appointed commissioners to go from that state to the other slave states to convince them to secede as well. good's a thin and very book -- i think he gathered about 40 speeches to the elected officials in those states. another is zeroing in are the declarations of secession when -- theyided to secede decided this is important enough we need to create a committee that creates a justification or
an in those the people states and to the rest of the country and really, to the world because the world was watching about why the state secede. so there's an introductory paragraph or two. it's an introductory -- and then there's a list of grievances. this is why i'm leaving. this is what is wrong and we are leaving. web., you can find on the this is the second or third chapter in this book. category of sort of the newest and most revealing in many ways -- if you remember your high school history you might
remember senator john crittenden, a senator from kentucky. he offered the crittenden resolutions on december 18 of 1860 as a means of solving the problem. it is in the form of a constitutional amendment. parts.six six subsets. six articles. the first to propose constitutional amendment was james buchanan. until march 4 of 1861 and in his last address to , gives a long speech and at the end of it, offers this constitutional amendments to solve it. many people, at that point democrats,hern
believed to be constitution was broken. you could not solve the problem with the law by congress. you had to amend the constitution. and james buchanan's address and proposal opened the floodgates and as i went through this material, it's very clear looking back -- i did not know what i was going to get into, but i kept running into constitutional amendments. proposed constitutional amendments to solve the problem. it turns out i found 67 of these. all designed to solve the problem. they were proposed in congress. some were proposed in secession conventions. the washington peace conference proposed six by different people . an early draft of the collected works and a final draft.
president cannon proposed one. william seward prison -- proposed one. andrew johnson and stephen proposed at least one. three governors chimed in. they came from state legislatures, governors, congress, secession conventions, and the washington peace convention. my book is built around these amendments. because as i learned, no one else had gathered them or analyze them. what do they mean? james buchanan had three subsets. crittenden's had six. most had more than one. very few were one paragraph long. jefferson davis's was one paragraph. -- subsets.e sets when you add those up, there's about 350 different topics that are embodied in the 67
amendments. one of the first things i had to , listingtegorize them , the proposals down the left side and if you had 1850'stensively in the from the compromise of 1850 two -- it's ther -- itt number of articles dealt with slavery in the territories. not surprising, because that is the election. that is the election around election turned her what do we do? are southerners allowed to take their slaves there and have them there as long as they want. should the federal government prohibit slavery?
the republican party did not until 1856.ing they could not decide on what the policy should be. he said, let the people in those territories, let them decide what to do. shouldid the governor protect and slavery is property. so, slavery in the territories was the first or highest number of issues in the 67 amendments.
fugitive slave was, not surprisingly the second-most popular. the south was very passionate. popular was the articles protecting slavery in district of columbia, for obvious reasons. southern senators and representatives went to want toon and would take slaves with them to take care of them while they were there. they wanted to make sure that no one prevented them from doing that. the fourth category dealt with the transit of slaves. protect the right of slave owners to take their slaves. these are runaway slaves -- these are not runaway slaves, but to take their slaves into northern territories on a sojourning basis.
southerners, plantations, big plantation owners often went to philadelphia and new york to do business and when they traveled there, they would take their slaves with them. , after allowing a riod, that slaveowners could, in the state for nine months and if they left before the nine months was over, there's no problem. the legislature decided, if we are a free state, we are a free state. we should prohibit slaves. and in 1852 family from virginia went to new york city, did not fully understand the law. their slaves were taken from them. the slaves went to canada. virginia sued. and they went through the new
york supreme court where virginia lost both times, which is exactly what the governor of .irginia wanted to happen they're pretty sure that if the slave case had gone to roger donny he would have voted in favor of virginia and slaveowners would've been able slaves into free state's as long as they wanted to call them sojourners. create ahey would process for secession. as you know, the united states constitution does not provide for secession. there's no back door. if you are in, you are in. five of these amendments proposed a process for getting
out. reopeningave proposed the executive branch to give southern interests a better chance of succeeding. one of those provided a triumvirate executive department. a northern president, a southern president and a western president. all in the oval office at the same time. here is the ticker. each one armed with veto power. you can imagine how well that would have worked. it did not go anywhere, but nevertheless, that was the proposal. two, were purposely designed to prohibit protective tariffs. the tariff issue was really big in the 1930's and 1940's, not so much the 1950's and 1960's, but two virginians proposed articles
in their amendments against the effective tariffs. two articles around three and 50. and so i think we can save the tariff had nothing to do, or very little to do, next to nothing to do with secession interests. importantly, when you look at all of these, 90%, 90% of 67 amendments were carefully and purposely designed to protect slavery in various ways around the country in the federal constitution. and interesting subset is 10 or 11 proposed nationalizing slavery. at this time it was protected under state law.
no one really argued that. if she wantedd slavery, you could do that. if you wanted to opt out, you could do that as well. but this subset said we should nationalize slavery. slavery should be protected at the national level and the poster child for that was not other than mississippi senator jefferson davis, who two days before christmas of 1860 ,roposed an amendment that said by amendment of the thatitution, recognized the states of the union shells stand on the same footing as any other species of property, so recognized. jefferson davis was willing to fore state authority federal protection of slave
holding. we don't know about these, because no them pass, right? that's not true. one did pass. the so-called core when a minute. thomas corwin was the chair of the ad hoc house committee set up to solve the problem. it had been earlier proposed by members of congress, secession conventions, 26 proposals, that would have protected slavery in and it was approved by the senate the morning of inauguration day. it simply said that congress has to abolish slavery in the states.
if you're familiar with lincoln's first inaugural, he mentions that. he says the constitutional amendment passed the senate. i have not seen it. i know of its. i would not mind if it were made perpetual. as anh in 1860 14 lincoln abolitionist -- in 1861 for lincoln as an abolitionist. he was willing to protect slavery in the states where it existed. the war rolled over him and of course, we had another 13th amendment that does the opposite . it abolishes slavery throughout the united states. let me conclude. make some concluding remarks here. and then we can talk about what you want to talk about. three conclusions after going
through these 8000 pages. many of the pages two or three or four times, because some of the verbiage was fairly collocated. i think it is very easy to say -- fairly copyedit. i think it's very easy to say that the self failed to protect -- self failed to protect slavery. it is as clear as it can get. slavery was undergirded by the notion of white supremacy. black people were inferior. slavery is good for them. it's good for us. we are balancing things. i think you can elaborate that a little more to say the south seceded to protect the institution of slavery and the andon of white supremacy the amount of verbiage i found documents both of those.
the second one is one i had to hunt down a little bit. i wanted to find out who is the antagonist? who is the bad guy? in the declaration of independence, it's king george. who were the southern states railing against? they were not railing against congress. they were railing against the federal government as james -- the federal government has not done anything to you. the bad guy, the antagonist was the north. the northern people. the northern state. abolitionist in general as they wound up, and eventually lincoln.
they believed that the north was filled with abolitionists. they believed it. in any popular discussion, they are taking away with -- they are taking away states rights. ,n looking at these amendments it turns out that southerners were perfectly willing and stateed trading protection and authority for slavery for federal authority slavery. the issue is not about states rights. it was about property rights. i think the amendments in the
book make that very clear. i have a couple other points, but i think i can weave them into my answers. stop.m going to ranger dave has the microphone. selecting the questioners. all i have to do is think about some answer. >> thank you for your service. i had not read that for 30 years. fell madly in love with the scott.ents of dred storiesective is caring andt how they were vilified
having to spend 90 years in conclusion -- in seclusion. i think she died. the desecration threats against where fred was very and having gravemoved in an unmarked -- they finally did a marker she's the great granddaughter -- and then the desecration was, thatsedly about the fact the civil war was dred scott's fault. when you're -- in your opening remarks, i noticed --
dr. pitcaithley: new mexico state. dredey didn't mention scott or harriet beecher stowe -- dr. pitcaithley: lincoln. yes. that's right. that's right. >> the little lady who started this great war. i was just curious. i think athley: couple answers to that. to place blame, i encourage my students not to place blame. it's sort of a useless exercise. i am not sure that roger b. tawney cares what i think about his decision at this point. the chief person, if you want to blame somebody, you might blame eli whitney. right?
people were making money before that, that just exploded it. i think my students, if i were teaching at texas tech, maybe a texas school, one of the seceded states, although it is west texas and lubbock was not around until -- has anybody been to lubbock? [laughter] it might get a different answer if i was teaching in hattiesburg, mississippi there , might be a different answer. after i had my students to that list of what caused secession, then i had them vote. one student, one vote. i wrote all of their topics on the boards. states rights wins 9 times out of 10. very powerful that lost cause , interpretation of the war.
whether we understand it or not. because we are talking about protecting states rights is easier than talking about protecting slavery. if you have an ancestor in it, you really want that guy to have -- to have fought for something like states rights and not bondage. incidentally, states rights is not recognized in the constitution. states don't have rights. people have rights. states have power. the federal government has power. the way the decision is written. although that argument has been, the phrase has been used from the beginning, certainly john c calhoun popularized it in the 1830's. that's a side note. thank you for that question. >> thank you. i'd like to know your thoughts about whether it's profitability
and economics, or white supremacy, or both that are at the core of those 90% amendments , proposed amendments that focus on slavery, which is a cause, but since the crux of saying that it's slavery stems from is it economics and profitability, or is it white supremacy? dr. pitcaithley: all of the above. you'd be perfect if you asked, what the civil war is about and you said economics, you would be absolutely right. but it's economics and slavery. it is the $4 billion that were invested in slaves. not a product, slaves themselves. 4 million slaves, $4 billion. the figures move a little bit billion to $4.5 billion. that is an investment. you cannot discount that.
at the same time, woven in here, is, and certainly in these arguments and in some of the healthy amendments is the issue of white supremacy. in the northern states there are -- in 1860, there are 18 northern states. free blacks could vote without restriction in five of them. they can vote with restrictions in another three. which means that in 10 states, northern states, free states, they couldn't vote at all. so i think another subset of the amendments, about 10, prevented black people from voting or holding public office. anywhere. there's a white supremacy thing coming in. we don't care what massachusetts vermont,r new york, or
whatever those states were. they were mostly new england states, those five. we do not want them voting at all or holding office. so the white supremacy thing sort of seeps into it everywhere , and the economic issue, and basically the southern way of life which is built on both of those things. i wouldn't try to separate those in any way. they are both very compelling reasons that pop up. let me make one final comment on white supremacy. when virginia secedes, finally, after firing on fort sumter -- actually they are busy working on approving articles of the 13th amendment they were putting together on april 12. the day the firing started at fort sumter. they get a telegram from the governor at south carolina that says we have started bombarding the fort.
it will fall at any minute. they immediately stop work and start talking about secession. up until that time they were interested in compromise. but turned just like that. alexander stevens, the vice president of the confederacy, is in montgomery where the confederate government is at the time. he hears that virginia has finally seceded four days after fort sumter. he takes the train to richmond and gives this long speech on the floor of the convention and butng, it is a long speech, our new constitution, the confederate constitution, is built on the idea of the supremacy of the white man and the inferiority of the black man. he doubles down on it and says, i repeat, our way of life is built upon black inferiority. it is as visceral as you can get, that part of it.
.t is actually startling i live in new mexico. we have an interesting relation with the number of races. to see it as viscerally expressed as it was by alexander stevens and a host of others. >> i have a question. when they talk about superiority and inferiority, what kind of reasoning? like, we have had the bell curve, the size of the head, all these things have come up since then. so, was it just because i say? dr. pitcaithley: oh, no. thank you. that is a great question. slavery did not have to be defended until it was attacked. sort of an interesting equation. it was not really attacked until around 18030. that boston guy, william lloyd garrison, publishing the liberator newspaper. small voice -- big voice in some
ways, really irritated the southerners. and, because of his constant attacks on slavery and slaveowners, they had to develop a defense of slavery. that, sort of a cottage industry in a way developed throughout the south. and there are no shortages of books, some of them quite thick, defending slavery. they were mostly broken down into three sections. natural history. they're just not like this, their brains are smaller, and so forth. they bring in a lot of pseudoscientific arguments. culturally slavery had been around for a long time. a lot of countries had acknowledged it. raciallyhat was not based slavery. greece and rome were not racially based.
rush's system was not racially based. slavery in africa was not race based. but here in the united states we developed quite a robust argument about that. finally, the kicker was it was ordained by god that these were inferior people. thise theological part of -- fromnating, because a number of perspectives, but the one that caught my eye is, if black people are so different from us, and some of the arguments that they are different, they are, they are different species, they would argue. what does that do to the creation story? what, when did it go wrong? we have one creation story, all come from the garden of eden, but then there is this offshoot.
obviouslyogians said there were two creation stories. we're not sure where the other one took place, but there had to be two, because white people came from this branch and black had to come from another branch somewhere. but they would elaborate, quite a bit on that. if i -- i'm sort of interested in that theological part of the white supremacy. i got into this rather late in the manuscript. i expanded it quite a bit before i sent it to the press, but there is more to be done there. there is no shortage of this stuff. ged stool,ree-leg that they argued that black people are inferior. >> the supremacy was not just blacks only. that was the reason for the slavery, but it was any other --
white is white, if you weren't white. so, any other kind of nationality in the state could not be? dr. pitcaithley: they did not make that argument. now, the american party, we need a historian in the room, around 1850's were anti-immigrant. no nothings and all that were against all sorts of those other people. but the work that i've seen on defining slavery kept it simple, white and black. >> were women no nothings? dr. pitcaithley: um, nick? >> it is the question have women participated in the know nothing party? dr. pitcaithley: i think it was partly tongue-in-cheek question. yeah. >> did missouri consider secession at all?
dr. pitcaithley: yes, thank you. we never met before the state. i did not pay you $5. i love talking about missouri, because missouri was the only state that called a secession convention and then decided not to secede by one vote. a farmer on st. louis, george best voted for secession. everyone else voted against it. nearly a unanimous vote, but the far more important is they developed a proceeding, 350 pages or so that they published in 1861 or 1862. the arguments in missouri are the same as the arguments everywhere else in the other states. they just reasoned secession was not the answer. in fact, the speech by john barrett that i included, i include three speeches at the end, just to give a sense of the arguments.
they are representative speeches. one from illinois from a republican. one from john barrett, democrat from missouri. and one fomrrom a wonderful character, one of the character characters, lewis wigfal from texas who was a senator from texas. barrett starts his speech. this is on the floor of the house of representatives in , by talking about red mouthed abolitionists and demagogues and heady foggers -- and headyil petty foggers aimed at northern anti-slavery people. he gets wrapped up and you know where this is going he is going to argue for secession immediately. he gets 4/5th through it and he
says but secession isn't the answer. we agree with everything you said. all the horrible thing to say about northerners. secession is not the answer. and apparently people believed him. although, that was in washington, he was a member of the secession convention and the convention voted not to secede by one vote. because he thought as well as alexander stevens, the question was why was andn't it the answer? they felt that slavery was protected in the constitution as it was. the four slave states that did not secede felt the same way. missouri, kentucky, maryland and delaware not much of a slave , state but a slave state nevertheless. they felt a protected just fine. there is an interesting book by woman who looked at kentucky and the confederate move there. -- movement there. kentucky figured that slavery was protected and united states constitution. what happens at the end of the war? slavery is abolished. the title of the book is something like when kentucky
turned confederate. it's after the war. because they felt they were sold a bill of goods. they were promised protections by slavery, and the war changed everything. and after the war. >> do you know the story about buchanan saying, i'm sorry, saying to buchanan, do not say anything when you're campaigning for president about slavery because i'm going to take care of the issue, because he knew -- dr. pitcaithley: you are talking about at buchanan's inauguration. when buchanan was inaugurated. buchanan was inaugurated on march 4, 1857, right? the dred scott decision came out two days later on march 6. who swears in buchanan? the chief justice of the supreme court robert g tawny. they are seen whispering on the
podium, and republican wags have said ever since that tawny was telling buchanan, do not worry about slavery. i have got it covered. there is some truth to that because buchanan tried to influence. he wrote letters to two justices getting them to make sure that they were going to vote against dred scott in the election. there was some collusion. but that sounds like the conversation they might've had during buchanan's inauguration. >> i am not good on dates, so help me. how does missouri deciding not to secede fit in with the missouri compromise and missouri and maine? dr. pitcaithley: that was 1820. a long time before. the trade-off was, congress wanted in the senate to make sure there was a northern state and southern state, and that balance never got out of whack.
-- in 1819, 1820 when missouri petition to become a state, it would have upset the apple cart and part of the missouri compromise is will it, we'll let missouri come in as a slave state and maine as a free state. and there shall be no slavery north of there. and it lasted for 34 years until the kansas nebraska act, which brought the genie out of the bottle yet again. >> yeah, the feeling of the inferiority of the black race was just not a southern feeling. it was also a northern feeling. many of grant's generals had that feeling. but, in the north, it was not a threat. it wasn't a threat to the way of life as it was in the south. so, i think it was more of a defense in the south, unneeded -- a needed defense.
dr. pitcaithley: we never met, either. give you five dollars to ask that. when i teach my course, at the beginning, i make it is very clear that there is as much racism as the north as the south. no slaves in 1830 and 1860, but a lot of free blacks. as i mentioned earlier, only 5 states allowed those free blacks to vote without restrictions. so that gives you some indication. no shortage of racism in the north. i think it's emerson who writes in 1850, that he never thought much about slavery at all. it's just not on his frame of reference until the fugitive slave act of 1850, which then, he could be deputized to help a marshal capture a runaway slave. but there is, but it wasn't the north that seceded, it was the south and built the issue, the
organizational aspects of slavery for labor based on white supremacy. north didn't have the labor force, but they certainly had no shortage of racism. no question about that. good point. >> you said five states passed, the amendment, is that correct? what if they have not fired on fort sumter, is there a chance that could have passed? it's hard to make assumptions. or were they southern states, states?hern northern andey: southern states? ohio, i don't remember, it was the first state, but it was one of those states. two northern and three southern, if i remember that.
it's in a footnote. [laughter] one of the interesting things that i do play around with in the book is, what if the south had not seceded? when does slavery end? it took a war to create the 13th amendment, 14th amendment, and 15th amendment. what if there had been no war? when would slavery, which was, the chart was going up this way, still making lots of money, no signs of weakening, moving south and west. everybody was making money, including those mill workers in lowell, massachusetts, and new hampshire, and new jersey. when would it have ended? would it have ended? i was asked this at a conference couple years ago when i had not developed the thinking much. and my sort of answer off the top of my head was maybe during the 1920's and 1930's with the onset of mechanized cotton picking. i'm rethinking that. and i think i was probably too hasty.
with the through line of white supremacy we see and continue to see in this country, i think one could make an argument that it could still be with us. different form. slavery was very malleable. could be different things at different times. i think there is a pretty good argument to be made that it could still be with us in different ways without a war. without that option the south did not have to secede. had options. i go through a couple of those in the book. it is all counterfactual, of course. but, when i started finding this white supremacist language there, it may be think about, what is the south had not seceded? what if they had argued for the ratification of the corbyn amendment, which would guarantee slavery in the south. at the same time, slavery was moving westward. only half of texas was settled by white people.
only half. if you know texas, the i-35, corridor. the east was settled with 600,000 people. almost none to the west. the territory that was discussed when they talked about the western territories was new mexico. the mexican cession was split into two territories at the 37th parallel. utah to the north, new mexico to the south. new mexico ran from texas to california. arizona was not hived off till 1863. in 1859, the new mexican territorial legislature developed one of the most sophisticated slave codes in the nation, allowing slaveowners to come in. there were only 24 slaves brought in by military people but technically, officially, a new mexico in 1860 was a slave territory. slavery legally existed from
virginia to california in 1860. what if they had backed off the passion, pushed for the ratification of the corwin amendment, pushed slavery west into west texas and to new mexico? i think you have a different political landscape for all of this. think, [inaudible] dr. pitcaithley: would lou wallace have stopped it? the civil war general more famous as the author of ben hur. i don't think he got any movie rights. it's a counterfactual. i don't know. i don't know. was thepens -- he governor of the territory. exactly right. new mexico went for the slave code because a representative congress at the time, a man named miguel otero, believed that the winds were blowing that way. toward the south.
or with the south, i should say. he convinced the territorial legislature to enact this slave code. miguel otero went to congress, being hispanic from new mexico, but he fell in love with a southern belle from south carolina. she had three brothers, very involved in politics, and they turned his head. he became this advocate and just misjudged it. but without a war, it's different. it's a different ballgame. yes? >> two questions. one is, the theology question that you brought up. theologianshern counter it, or was it just the southern ones? dr. pitcaithley: i can't answer that. the material i have looked at was focused on defending slavery, not the other side. so, i don't know. i don't know if it is there or
not. >> then a question is, is there anything that you have not said that you thought you would want to share with us? dr. pitcaithley: good question. i think i have covered most of what i wanted to talk about. one of the things was the through line of white supremacy that struck me in reading this stuff. one of the things in my notes i was going to suggest, in 1860, s lavery was the most obvious manifestation of white supremacy. you could deal with slavery through the 13th amendment. couldn't do anything with white supremacy. 100 years later, segregation was the most obvious manifestation of white supremacy. you could legislate against segregation. you couldn't legislate against white supremacy. in recent years, it has bubbled up again.
in our own times in violent ways. i think this is the last question. >> we heard nothing from you about other pressures, like international pressures, against the united states. regarding the slave trade. don't you think that a lot of that was really important? dr. pitcaithley: it, it, it didn't factor into -- keep in mind my look is at secession itself. it comes to play mostly, much more in jefferson davis than in alexander stevens. he wanted and expected the support of france and england during the war because of the large amount of cotton going mostly to england, but a number to france as well. jefferson davis was a far better politician than alexander stevens. he never mentioned slavery as a
reason for secession. there are really good quotes on white supremacy earlier in this period that i'm looking at, alexander stevens is the joe biden, can i say that, of the administration. he would say anything. as i said in his speech to the virginia secession commission, convention, it's about slavery. it's about white supremacy. that is why we left. we are better for it, and our constitution is built on that. jefferson davis was playing it a little more carefully and he was quite surprised, think he was rather surprised, when england did not come in on the side of the confederacy. and part of that was the slavery issue. england realized -- it would 30's, islavery in the think throughout the empire. , if it was about slavery, they were not going to get involved. >> also, there was an incredible giving up of slaves that the french and the british did.
lost an incredible amount of money. dr. pitcaithley: earlier. >> earlier and during the civil war. because cotton, was no longer being sent to britain and made for the cotton mills. so, what happened in britain was that incredible numbers of people pushed against slavery, despite the fact that they were now out of work. so, there was, in 1812, around 1812 when spencer perceval was the prime minister. he was an incredibly hardline abolitionist. he actually didn't allow american ships into port if they had any slaves on their ships at all. so, there was, there were powerful business reasons to get rid of slavery.
do you have any issues with that? dr. pitcaithley: i don't have any issues with it, is just not something i looked into. i think i understand that, at the same time, about beginning of the civil war, cotton was becoming grown much more in india as part of the british empire, and that helped supply some of that need. i told you exactly everything i know about that. but i've read that that's the case, and so it alleviated that need a little bit, but you got the wilberforce issue in england against slavery. and the general, the cultural, i think, in england was for freedom, against slavery, and, so they didn't come in on the side of the confederacy. best i could do. >> and there was a comment from some general in the confederacy
that said, why the hell did we expect england would come in on our side? they lost a huge amount of money. the business people. to end slavery. so, why would we think that they would even bother to even think about coming on? dr. pitcaithley: am i correct in understanding that some money was made in england by deploying arms and munitions, under the table, to the confederacy through gun runners and that sort of thing? i have no idea how much. it would've been illegal. the international slave trade was illegal in the united states after 1808, but it continued in an illegal fashion. i think ranger dave had just pulled the plug. >> will you be available for more questions? we have copies of his book in our gift shop if anyone is interested in that. otherwise, thank you again for being here. [applause]
>> this is american history tv on c-span3, where each weekend we feature 48 hours of programs exploring our nation's past. the american civil war museum interpretation specialist karissa marken talks about civil war guerrilla fighters who later became outlaws in the west, including jesse james, his brother frank and their gang. this event was recorded by the american civil war museum in june 2016. karissa: i will start off with a word of warning. when i compiled all the information i wanted to share this evening, the first time i went through it and timed it, i spoke for an hour and a half. i hope you are comfortable. we might be here a while. just kidding. don't get mad at me. last year, when josie was
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