Did Democracy Cause the American Civil War? (24 Nov 2011)
Articles,  Blog

Did Democracy Cause the American Civil War? (24 Nov 2011)


>>Hello everybody. Thanks so much for coming
to yet another round of our lunchtime
lectures here at UCL. My name is Jason Dittmer and I’m
in the Department of Geography. I’m very pleased to be here
to introduce today’s speaker, Dr. Adam Smith from the
UCL Department of History. He’s been a historian
of the 19th century and he has published a book
called American Civil War available on Amazon.com. And today he is talking
on the topic, “Did democracy cause
the American Civil War?” We’re going to have about half
an hour, maybe half an hour plus for the lecture and
there’ll be a few minutes for questions at the end. Thank you very much. Let’s please welcome, Dr. Smith.>>Thank you very much. Thank you. [ Applause ]>>Thank you. Thank you very much
indeed for coming. Now I hope you won’t feel
that I’ve brought you here under false perspective,
if I begin by saying that if you want a one-word
answer to that question, I’m afraid that answer
is probably “no”. Now it’s partly no because
if you ask a slightly silly question then you always get a
slightly unsatisfactory answer and the question “what
caused the civil war?” such a superficially simple
question is phenomenally difficult to answer, not
least because life, history, is never as straightforward
as cause and effect that implication of a
mechanical relationship implies. But having said that,
sometimes in life, short hands are necessary and so if you did ever want a
one-word answer to the question of what caused the American
Civil War then I’m afraid I’m gonna disappoint you further by giving you the really
important answer which is that that one-word answer has
to be not democracy but slavery. No serious historian has
questioned the centrality of slavery to the coming of the American Civil
War for many generations. But the issue arises,
they’re not of what was the ultimate issue
that divided North and South that created the circumstances
in which conflict was possible but how and why it did. Slavery caused the American
Civil War but it caused it and complicated and
sometimes in unexpected ways. This was not a conflict between
a united anti-slavery North and a united pro-slavery South. Nor, and this is even more
important, nor was it a conflict between a modern,
industrializing, sophisticated, progressive nation in
the North and a backward, near-feudal nation in the South. That’s an exaggeration
but that’s– that image of how the war came
does crop up again and again in many history textbooks. It contains of course
a kernel of truth. But I would argue that in so
far as modernity is an issue in the coming of the civil war, it’s not that it pits a
modern North against some kind of pre-modern South,
but that modernity– aspects of modernity act on both
North and South during the 1840s to create the circumstances
for war. And what I mean by that is that technological
developments imprint– the invention of the telegraph, which meant that information
could be transmitted in moments across the nation, the
mobilization by politicians of mass political
parties using modern– what in the 19th century were
modern campaigning techniques. All of these things
which were aspects of America’s 19th century
democratic politics were the factors that turned that
underlying conflict over slavery into war, a hundred and
fifty years ago, in 1861. Now the relationship
between democracy and the American Civil War is
a somewhat paradoxical one. On the one hand, we think of the
American Civil War quite often as representing the
triumph of democracy and that was very much how
many people at the time, not just in the United
States but here in Europe also understood
the meaning of the conflict. John Bright, the great British
radical-liberal politician, wrote that if the North failed, if the Southern Confederacy
succeeded in winning its independence
in the American Civil War, then European democracy
would be silenced and dumbfounded forever. One of my predecessors, a historian at UCL called E.S.
Beasley, who was very involved in London labor, radical
politics, wrote of the time when the North eventually did
triumph in 1865 but the defeat of the Confederacy would
give a vast impetus to democratic sentiments
in England. On some existential
level then observers of the American Civil
War saw democracy in a universal global sense
as being at stake and that of course is very much how
this man, Abraham Lincoln, wanted people to imagine
the American Civil War and wants us even now as
it were to think about, this Lincolnian vision of
the war as a triumph of– as an ultimate test
and then as a test and then ultimately a
triumph for democracy, is a Lincolnian vision. This is what he said at
the beginning of the war, near the beginning of
the war in July 1861, “This is essentially
a people’s contest. On the side of the Union it
is a struggle for maintaining in the world that form and
substance of government, whose leading object is to
elevate the condition of men, to lift artificial weights
from their shoulders to clear the paths of
laudable pursuit for all, to afford all an
unfettered start and a fair chance in
the race of life.” And he put it even
more [inaudible] in his famous Gettysburg
address in 1863 when he said that what the war was
determining whether– was whether government of
the people, by the people, for the people, would
perish from the Earth. So in this– in all of these
ways then the civil war seems to be a test in the
triumph of democracy. But it was also surely a
great democratic failure. The civil war came about because
of political institutions that existed in the United
States in 1861 were unable to contain the conflict
between North and South. The first seven slave
states that seceded, the Deep South states, did
so even before this man, Abraham Lincoln,
became president. They seceded in reaction just to his election during the long
interregnum between the election in November and what was then
the inauguration in March of the following
year, March 1861. And so they seceded in
response to a lawful election because the election
of Abraham Lincoln as the first Republican
Party President– the new Republican Party which represented the
anti-slavery views or at least the opposition
to the extension of slavery of many northerners by 1861. And Southern slave states
seceding in response to Lincoln’s election
made no bones about what their
motivations were. It’s quite clear if you read
the ordinance of secession, the documents that Southern
state legislatures published to justify their decision, but then motivations were
the preservation of property and what they meant by
property was human property, property in slaves. The difficulty with maintaining
a slave system is that you claim to have ownership of property
that has voices and has legs. Your property is therefore
inherently unstable. Millions and millions of
US dollars were invested by Southerners in slavery
in the years leading after the civil war and it
was that capital investment in human property which
was, they thought, threatened by the
election of a president who did not share their basic
assumption that you could claim to have property
in a human being. That is the Achilles
heel of a slave system. It depends upon everybody else
agreeing that you can impose and justify your property
rights within the polity. You need to be able to
go to court to be able to get your property back if
it runs away or if it rebels against you and that
was the threat that Abraham Lincoln was posing. So here we have what seems to
be an extraordinary situation of the world’s– in
the early 19th century, the world’s most
advanced democracy, a country that celebrated,
as in this painting here by the Missouri artist
George Caleb Bingham– that celebrated its
democratic value. This is a painting
from the early 1850s of an election taking place in
Missouri, bathed in sunshine, with touches of drunkenness
on the edges. There’s a man there
who’s probably drink– drunk too much whiskey but it’s
fundamentally a celebration of the rational critical
process of democratic process. And yet it was this country
and only this country, the nation that was celebrated
and remarked upon and feared and perceived as being the
quintessential democracy.>>It was only in the United
States that the process of transition from slavery to
emancipation was accompanied by four years of
bloody civil war, costing more that 650,000 lives. Everyone else in the
western hemisphere where emancipation took place,
it did so without a war. And so my question is
what is the relationship between those two things? What is the relationship
between the United States as the world’s first
democracy and the United States as the place where
the most bloodiest war in the western world took place
between the defeated Napoleon and the start of the
First World War in 1914. I’m gonna make three
points about this. The first is that democratic
politics empowered slaveholders. Now what I mean by that
is that slaveholders within the United States had a
number of advantages not shared by slaveholders within
the British Empire or the French Empire or
in the Brazilian Empire or anywhere else in the western
hemisphere in the 19th century. They first of all
had an advantage of a federal constitution that gave them the basic
political unit for state which was the basis for the
creation of the Confederacy. Without federalism, the American
Civil War clearly couldn’t have happened in the way that it did. They had the advantage
of a constitution which in some significant ways
gave them in-built advantages– advantage of representation. But for all of that, what I think really gave
Southern slaveholders power in the United States, in the run after the civil war
was their capacity to build popular support
for their positions. We have to ask why
it was that only– the answer to my question
of what, when or why only in the United States did
this Great War happen around emancipation. One answer to that, the
straightforward answer maybe that only in the United
States in the middle of the 19th century did
slaveholders have the confidence, the arrogance
to believe that in spite of the anti-slavery
progress that would be made in the proceeding
20 or 30 years, they could create a
slave holding republic and be proud of it. And they were proud of it. As the vice president of the
Confederate States of America, Alexander Stevens, said
that the cornerstone of the new republic was
the idea of slavery, the innate inequality of races. How did the Southern slave
owners have the confidence to believe that they could get
away with what, in retrospect, seems to have been
a reckless gamble? Well I think it is because
of the way they had been used over many decades to
building popular support both within the South and within
the nation as a whole. They were always a minority. Only a minority of Southern
whites ever owned slaves and for most of the history
of the American Union, there were always
more free states and many more people
living in free states than there were living in slave
states and yet, time after time, slaveholders held the
presidency of the United States. Time after time, it was
slaveholding presidents or people sympathetic
to slaveholders, who appointed Justices
to the Supreme Court. Slaveholding Southerners
dominated the Senate and all the important
committees. One of the main instruments
that enabled them to do that was the Democratic Party. The– or as 19th century
people usually referred to it, The Democracy, the mass national
organization which was created in the 1830s in support of the– of President Andrew Jackson
himself a slaveholder, which attracted a
broad coalition of support including socialists,
radicals in urban context in New York City and in
other places but which had as it’s bedrock idea, the
idea of white men’s equality. And this was what may seem
to us to be the great paradox in which 19th century
American democracy was founded. The idea that you
could be democratic, that you could only
be democratic and give genuine
equality to white citizens because your system was
predicated on the system of racial exclusion and
ultimately in the South of race based slavery. So there was no tension in when
Democrats, capital D, Democrats, members of the Democratic Party, many of them Southerner
slaveholders, tension between their advocacy
of the idea of democracy and their advocacy of their
idea of race-based slavery. To them, the two things were
predicated on each other. You could only have
democracy if you had slavery. When the institutions that had
enabled Southerners to keep hold of national politics collapsed
as they did in the 1850s when the national Democratic
Party eventually split, then Southerner slaveholders
turned to building support within their own
section, within the South for secession to
leave the Union. And one of the reasons why
they’re able to do this was because democratic politics over many years have
produced an image of the North that was distorted
in critical ways. This is a man, John Imboden who
was campaigning for election to the Virginia Secession
Convention, so this was a special election
to determine whether the state of Virginia, the state that
has produced George Washington and Thomas Jefferson
and James Madison, whether that state still with
the largest number of slaves in the Union in 1861
should secede. “Black republicans”, he said,
that was always the term used by opponents to describe
the Republican Party of Abraham Lincoln. “Black republicans are religious and political fanatics whose
undisguised purpose it is to destroy all our future
prosperity and greatness by subjugating us and
the other slave states to the uncontrolled domination
and power of the North and finally under the
forms of the constitution, to affect the abolition
of slavery and re-enact here the dark
drama of San Domingo.” That’s a reference
to the slave revolt in that island in the 1790s. So those kinds of images of
the North enabled the South to take their step
to separation. Not everybody agreed
in the South with the rationality
of secession. Not everybody agreed that it
was the most judicious way of preserving their way of life. But once their states seceded, most white Southerners
went along with it. This is a very revealing
quote I think from a man called
Jonathan Worth, from upstate North Carolina,
from the hilly region where there were relatively
few slaves compared to the Piedmont regions
of the state to the East, “I’ve been forced by surrounding
facts to take sides”, he wrote to his brother in
May 1861 after the secession of his state, North Carolina. “I leave the flag of the
Union because I am subjected and forced to submit to
my master, democracy. I think the South is
committing political suicide but my lot is cast with
the South and being unable to manage the shift, I intend
to face the breakers manfully and go down with my companions.” But ultimately what he
called his master democracy, his need to submit to the will
of the majority that forced him to go along with the
secession of the South. So democratic politics I
think empowered slaveholders. And democratic politics
also helped to shape Northern
sectional consciousness. In some ways, democratic
politics created the North. This is the first page
of a campaign songster, a book of campaign songs to
be sung by the supporters of the new Republican Party, in their first ever
presidential elections in 1856. They didn’t win that election
but they came close enough to be able to imagine winning
it, four years later in 1860. And so sung to the tune of
the star spangled banner, this song talks about the
discovery of the North, the free North, who had in the
beginning of the second stanza, they asked us with sneers,
can you show us a North? Does the North exist? But three months,
their candidate in 1856 demonstrated this
sectional consciousness. The North now in the hands of this new sectional
Republican Party was going to stand up for itself. Now just as images of the
North, distorted images of the North drove Southerners
into the arms of secessionists so in the North the
images presented in the popular press
helped to demonize the South and create the circumstances where people could imagine
Southerners as their enemies.>>This is a very famous
incident which took place on the floor of the Senate
of the United States, where an anti-slavery
Senator from Massachusetts, Charles Sumner, was brutally
attacked, beaten almost to death by a Southern congressman,
Preston Brookes. The point about this
is that in some ways, this was not so exceptional. There were repeated incidents
of violence on the floor of the Senate and the House of the United States
throughout the 19th century, what’s special, what’s
particular in the incident is the
way it was dramatized. It was a media event. Images like these were
transmitted, were sold, were enclosed in
newspapers, were re-printed in new illustrated magazines. So for the first time in the
1850s, people could see images of Southerners behaving
in brutal ways. You see the caption
underneath this image says with heavy irony,
“Southern chivalry, argument versus clubs”,
appalling abuse of an apostrophe there
[laughter] you’ll notice. This is another image
demonstrating the Northern view of the South and this explains
why so many Northerners in the spring of 1861 were
willing to go for war– to go to war because they
thought this would be a quick and easy and honorable glory, a victory that would
cover them in glory. This is how one Northern
cartoonist imagined the Southerners were
recruiting for their army. Having to push them in
the recruiting station, literally at the point of
a bayonet, get them drunk on whiskey, see the
recruiting sergeant as resting his board
on a whiskey barrel. These guys are not gonna
be up for much of a fight against the Yankee soldiers. And of course this is a cartoon, but what it reflects is
a very deep-seated notion about the degradation
of the Southern society which were produced by
anti-slavery propagandas who argued the poor white
Southerners were so disempowered by the existence of
slavery, were so degraded that they would be
unable to fight. What Northerners failed to
understand was that slavery in the South created
a broad prosperity that didn’t include everybody but which did bind together
white Southerners in ways that most Northerners
completely failed to recognize. What happened in other
words in the United States by the late 1850s was that
there were two entirely separate national conversations. There was no mediated space. There was no neutral news media. Northerners and Southerners
were shouting past one another, saying to one another, “You step over that line and–
oh you just did.” There was no conception
or understanding, or ability to connect or
relate to the other side. And then my third and
final point then is that democratic politics fed
frustration with compromise and what was called
politics as usual. The United States have
been built on compromise. Many of the great
politicians who have rose– risen to national prominence
in the 1820s and ’30s and ’40s, had been the compromisers. Comprise was– had been a good
word, a word to be or proud to be associated with to
put the national interest, the preservation of
the union above petty or sectional or partisan
concerns. That kind of politics was
thoroughly discredited in the 1850s, one of the
reasons of course was because the rising anti-slavery
movement in the North argued that there was a
higher morality, a morality of the sanctity of
human life and the principle that slavery was one which
transcended the compromises and the need to place the
union or even the preservation of peace above those other
higher moral principles. But this was also
accompanied by the sort of sentiments represented
in this. But I think this is
a brilliant image, the seven stages of
the office seeker. And this is dripping with
contempt, this image, showing the treating,
the stomping, the begging for office, the
corruption of politicians. Huge anti-politician sentiments
swept across the North in the 1850s, sweeping away
many established politicians in both the Democratic Party
and the other national party, the Whig Party which
indeed collapsed entirely in the early– in the
early to mid-1850s. The Republican Party which arose into this context presented
itself as being a new kind of party, an anti-party
sort of party if you like. These were people
who in the words of Republican Party
literature were fresh from the loins of the people. These were not professional
politicians. This was always the claim, these were not professional
politicians. These were people who were
gonna go into Washington with a new broom, some of these
may be planning familiar to you. We’re gonna go to Washington
with a new broom and clean out, clear out the organ stables. And this poor hapless
fellow, James Buchanan, who’s the democrat elected
in 1856, who is often, in some ways I think unfairly,
he usually comes bottom of those polls that
are occasionally done of American historians where
you have to rank, you know, the presidents from
best to worst. And James Buchanan often
comes at the bottom. I mean I took part on one of
those surveys quite recently. I didn’t put him at the bottom. I think there’s something
to be said for Buchanan but the poor man, he did
at the end of the day, presided the dissolution
of the nation, so you can see why he
often doesn’t do well. And the problem that
Buchanan faced is that he was the ultimate
pragmatist. He was a great admirer
of Edmund Burke, the 18th century
British philosopher, who was the great
philosopher of pragmatism. The believer in the incremental
accumulation of wisdom, the respect for existing
institutions, the idea that institutions
are locally based and that it’s perfectly
acceptable to have one set of moralities, and one set
of institutions in one place and a different one
somewhere else. Buchanan profoundly believed
that and he was a man ahead of his time because those
ideas would have gone down extremely well in
politics 20 years earlier. But he was swept out
of office in the face of this rising anti-politician
sentiment. You can imagine,
still on Buchanan, you could imagine the sad scene of Buchanan’s New
Year’s Day levy of the White House
were traditionally like other previous
presidents, he invited people around to come and
shake his hand. And he stood there
forlornly in the– in one of the reception rooms
downstairs in the White House as senators from the South
and senators from the North and representatives from the
North and representatives and other people filed past
him refusing to shake his hand. He was condemned by both sides. But with the pressure then
on politicians in the winter of 1860, ’61 in the face
of secession was to place– was to accept war, was
to accept war rather than confront the
alternative which was presented as being concession,
as backing down. “Only blood can wash out
so much innocent blood as slavery has shed”, wrote
an abolitionist correspondent of the Maine senator,
William Pitt Fessenden. The man from Fred
Spinner, who was not a man from Rhode Island
called Fred Spinner who was not particularly
anti-slavery, not a– not a [inaudible] abolitionist
anyway, wrote in a letter in April 30 of 1861, “They,
the South must be put down, conquered and thoroughly
subdued if need be. They have no earthly hope of
overcoming this government.” Both of these people were
writing in the aftermath of the firing of
the first shots, but they had been saying similar
things even before the first actual warfare had broken out. Politicians mail bags in both–
both Northern politicians and Southern politicians’
mail bags were [inaudible] with correspondents
imploring them to bring this crisis to a head. The pressure in other words was
for politicians to accept war as an alternative to compromise. Let me just finish with
this thought, though the– an influential– it might be
quite surprisingly influential theory that international
relations theorists talk about called Democratic Peace
Theory and this is the idea that posits, that democracies
rarely if ever would go to war with one another. This is a very problematic
theory, not least because of the
difficulty of defining democracy and for that matter war and
for the lack of empirical data but is based on an
intuitively plausible assumption which I think dates back
really to Emmanuel Kant which is the idea that the more
responsive the government is to public opinion the less
bellicose it’s likely to be.>>I think what the
experience of the United States in the 1850s demonstrates is that there are however
circumstances in which war is not merely a
demonstration of the failure of democratic processes but
can actually be the likelihood of war can be exacerbated
the more the public opinion in some circumstances
is exercised. Thank you. [ Applause ]>>That’s great. Thank you very much. We do have some time for
questions and before I call on anybody, sorry, I ask that
you wait when I call on you for somebody with a
microphone to get to you as all of your questions will be
podcasted and broadcasted and all kinds of casted
so do we have any hands. We have one down here
and one up there. So if you would go first then.>>What if the South
had won in ’61 or ’62?>>I mean, well we would
be in all possibility, in all probability living
in a very different world. I think that it’s however,
the difficulty that I have or don’t think it’s very likely that the South would
have won in 1861 or ’60. I think it’s possible that the
North might have scored a knock out blow quite early on the war. I think the South could
have won the civil war but it could have been a
long and drawn out war. It would have been a matter of persuading the
north to stop fighting. This issue of public opinion
and the importance of it, continues to be the critical
thing after the war begins. General Lee, the confederate
general understood exactly that his real target was not
so much the union armies. It wasn’t even the capital
city Washington DC per se, it was northern public opinion. That was one of the reasons he
launched the raid in St. Marilyn in 1862 and into Pennsylvania
in 1863 to bring the war home to northern, onto northern
soil and to give ammunition to those anti-war
politicians within the North who were arguing that the price of maintaining the Union
wasn’t worth the cost in lives. So the civil war was fought as
a battle over public opinion. I mean in that sense,
Lincoln’s phrase, this is a people’s contest
was perhaps more true than he envisaged
when he said it.>>I misunderstood the backdrop
of all this was the struggle to decide whether newly admitted
states would be free or slave. Of course and that
debate took place within a democratic context. If that struggle had not been
occurring, in other words if there were no more
territories attempting to become states, would the
north have felt the need to be anti-slavery if the
situation was more stable?>>I think you are
absolutely right. The critical thing to understand
and of course there is much that I wasn’t able to say
in my little half hour talk but the critical thing about the
civil war is that it takes place in a geographically
dynamic situation. It was the borders of the
United States that constantly, were constantly expanding
during the early 19th century and as you rightly say,
the dispute over whether to allow slavery in the newly
organized territories of Kansas and Nebraska which were
organized by Congress as US territories in a bill that
went through Congress in 1854, that conflict was a sort of
vortex which swept up a lot of other things and which
generated a lot of these kinds of feelings that I’ve been
talking about in my lecture. You can go back a step
further than that and say that if the United States had
not launched its aggressive war of territorial acquisition
against Mexico in the 1840s, and then not therefor
acquired vast new territories in California, New
Mexico, Arizona, or all of that great
sway of the United States that came into the Union then. Then perhaps the slavery
issue could for a time, at least had been contained
because at least the line between slavery and freedom
would have been specified. Even then though, I
mean you have to reckon with the imperial ambitions
of slaveholders because even– because in 1861 and
even after the formation of the confederacy slaveholders
were not just talking about expanding slave
rule within the Union, they were talking about creating
a Caribbean slave empire expanding into Cuba and
into Central America and perhaps even bringing in
some of the slave republic– remaining slave states in
South America such as Brazil into some great agglomeration. So the wars– an imperial
mentality to slaveholders which anti-slavery people
understand to be rightly felt that they had to check. But that sense of
geographical dynamism is as you rightly say, critical.>>More questions, one there.>>Thank you. Why is there such sense of
lingering bitterness as it seems to me in the south
for the civil war when we practically forgotten
the Second World War, let alone the First World War. They really hang on to–>>You mean why is there still
such anger and bitterness today? You mean in–>>Yeah, it would– yeah.>>Well, I– I–
the American Civil– I mean I’m not sure
that– I mean it’s– the American Civil War
is the defining event in American history. I mean it shaped everything
that’s happened subsequently and, you know, you– you know,
I often say when I go into, you know, I talked in
schools to [inaudible] who are studying the civil
rights movement and so on. And I say, you know, I always
want to make a point to them that you can’t understand,
you know, why Martin Luther King
stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to give
his I Have A Dream speech unless you know who Abraham Lincoln
was and understand the civil war and its legacy of
reconstruction and amendments, the constitutional amendments
that followed and the legacy of racial segregation that
followed the civil war. And– and the poverty of the
South which was it’s sort of most salient characteristic
long into the 20th century, was a fairly direct
consequence of the– the civil war and the
destruction of these– these millions of dollars
of property, you know. Mississippi had been, if
you include slave property, the richest estate in the union
in 1860, it was the poorest in 1865 and it pretty much
remained there ever since. So the civil war has that legacy that matters I think
that’s– that’s one reason. I don’t know whether,
I mean there’s been– this is the 150th
anniversary and this year, there’s been a lot of
the outbreak of the war. And this year there have
been some squeamishness. The Virginia Governor
got into hot water by declaring a young confederate
history month which appear– which was opposed by the NAACP
and by many history professors and seem to be a celebration
in its first articulation so it could be a
celebration of the confederacy without properly recognizing
the legacy of slavery. So there have been some– some
squeamishness of that kind but, you know, actually I think
what’s most interesting about is 150th anniversary,
is how little of that is being
compared certainly to the centennial celebrations
of the civil war which happened of course in the 1960s during
the civil rights movement and that was a very tense
and complicated time. I mean you could
imagine in 1961 when– when there was celebrations of
the creation of the confederacy, you know, that what– if
you imagine how you would– you would feel if you
were an African-American in the [inaudible] in 1961 when
they’re celebrating the creation of the confederacy,
obviously by 1963 and 1965, the commemorated
events were turning against the white segregation. So that was a highly
politicized commemoration. This one I think much less so. The demographic of the science
is changing so much, you know. It’s no longer now a matter of
African-American and white folks in most states [inaudible]
with a huge rise in the number of Hispanic-American
people living in the South. The latest census was
quite really striking in showing how much
that’s changed even in the last 10 years. Never mind in the last 50. So I think the question
is in 200 years, in the 200th anniversary
of the civil war, will it still have that power? I don’t know. I won’t– I suspect it might
not, but I’m doing myself out of the job in
saying that to happen. [ Laughter ]>>We have a question up here.>>Can yo make the argument
that it was not enough democracy in the South, and the fact that southern politics were
dominated by rich minority?>>Well, they were dominated by racial majority
actually strictly speaking in most states. I mean there were more white
people than black people in most southern states. I mean you certainly, I
mean of course that’s– of course it’s true that judged by our standards today the
size was not democratic and the size wasn’t
democratic by those standards until after the 1965
Voting Rights Act. But– but it nevertheless
was a form of democratic politics
predicated on ideas about populate sovereignty,
about the engagement and equality albeit
racially constricted, which I’m arguing
gave the minority of– of slaveholders within the
white community which gave that minority the– the political power that
they– that they did.>>But you know, that you can’t
I think dismiss the size as– as Lincoln did in as many– and as many northerners
did at that time as being an oligarchical
aristocratic society. I mean there’s– there’s
some truth in that of course. But it’s– but it’s– but compared to real
oligarchical aristocratic societies at that time, the
size looks very democratic. It all depends on who you, of course what your
point of comparison is.>>Okay, I’m afraid we
are running out of time so if you could join
me with one more round of applause for Dr. Smith. [ Applause ]>>Thank you very much. [ Inaudible Remark ] [ Applause ]

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