True or false: For the south the primary aim of the war was to preserve slavery?

14 Answers

  • 7 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    ~Clearly and most obviously false.

    The right to own slaves was guaranteed in one way or another by no fewer than seven provisions of the US Constitution (See Article I, sections 2 and 9, Article IV, Section 2, Amendments IV, V, IX and X). Slavery could be abolished only by state law or constitutional amendment.

    In March 1861, the northern controlled, republican dominated congress, in an attempt to stop the southern secessions, passed the Corwin Amendment. If ratified, Corwin would have become Amendment XIII and would have prohibited any future attempt to offer or consider an abolition amendment. The ploy failed, the southern states continued to secede (as was their constitutional and sovereign right, but space precludes an explanation as to why) and Corwin was withdrawn. They did not secede to retain a right already guaranteed to them by the Constitution and which right would have been guaranteed into perpetuity by Corwin.

    In 1864, for the very first time, an abolition amendment was proposed. With the South absent, it was defeated. Had it passed and been submitted for ratification, it would have been resoundingly defeated in convention or at the polls. Abolitionists may have been vocal, but they were always in the minority. By 1860, about 75% of federal revenues were raised in the South, mostly from tariffs on the southern cash crops like tobacco, sugar, cotton and rice. About 75% of those revenues were spent in the North. The sparse population of the South meant that there was never an adequate labor pool upon which the southern planters could draw. Due to the inhospitable climate and the filthy, brutal nature of the work, a paid labor force could not have been relied on to prepare the fields, sow and tend the crops, harvest them and get them to market. The federal government and the northern industrial, mercantile, financial and transportation and shipping interests that so heavily relied on the southern crops were as dependent, or more so, on the southern slaves than the owners themselves. Add to the financial havoc and massive depression that would have followed sudden and immediate emancipation of some 4 million slaves the social upheaval that would have resulted. Consider 4 million suddenly freed slaves, angry, uneducated, penniless with no means of support, no marketable job skills and no place to go roaming the countryside, seeking revenge and a means of survival.

    The illegal and unconstitutional Emancipation Proclamation was intended as a weapon of war. It was also redundant since Congress had purported to do the same thing earlier with the equally illegal and unconstitutional Confiscation Acts. EP and the Acts were intended to bankrupt the CSA governments and aristocracy, to destroy the southern economy and the very fabric of southern society. The were intended to foster large scale desertions from the CSA armies (the hope was that line troops would rush home to protect their property and families from rampaging hordes of freed slaves) and from the CSA governments and officer corps (most government officials and military officers owned slaves and under EP and the Acts, all they had to do to keep their slaves was to renounce the CSA and swear fealty and allegiance to the USA). EP and the Acts also attempted to allow USA officers to ignore their oath to preserve, defend and protect the USA Constitution. Article IV, section 2, required them to return "liberated" slaves to their rightful owners. That was obviously self-defeating since the slaves were used by CSA armies to do things federal armies had to devote enlisted personnel, such as construction, foraging, cooking and general camp maintenance, and the slaves were absolutely critical to the CSA economic survival. Ratification of Amendment XIII was coerced after the war not as a moral or humanitarian gesture but as a means to totally destroy the southern economy and way of life to such an extent the the South would not soon be able to rise again.

    The CSA states seceded, in accordance with the central premise of the Declaration of Independence, because the federal (not national - the USA was a confederation of independent nation-states, not a unified single nation composed of subservient political sub-divisions called "states") government no longer served, defended or protected the rights and interests of the governed.The USA responded by launching an invasion of the free and independent nations of the CSA in an aggressive war the sole goal of which was to conquer and annex the CSA states, thereby retaining the tariffs of the South and eliminating competition for the theft of the First Nations lands in the West.

  • 7 years ago

    This is one of those statements that is true in some ways but false in key ways. The war aim of the Confederacy was independence from the Union. Some slavery states did not join the Confederacy (like Maryland). Other slavery states did not initially join the Confederacy when the Deep South rebelled in early 1861. Even Virginia, which became the military heart of the Confederacy, did not vote to secede from the Union until after April, 1861, when President Lincoln mobilized Northern regiments after South Carolina's militia fired on Fort Sumter. However, the preservation of the economic system of plantation agriculture operated by slavery was the chief political motivation for why South Carolina and other states of the Deep South seceded after the election of Lincoln.

  • A. T.
    Lv 7
    7 years ago

    Correction: The primary aim of the States that seceded and formed the Confederate States of America was to preserve slavery. Once the Confederacy was at war, the primary aim was to preserve the Confederacy by military, political, and social means. Slavery, was the "cornerstone" of the CSA.

  • 4 years ago


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  • 7 years ago


    The declarations of secession by the states that seceded say as much VERY clearly.

  • 7 years ago

    True, in that slavery was an institution the Confederacy wished to maintain. False, in that most of those fighting in the war did not own slaves, and believed they were fighting foreign invaders/oppressors. To them, it was a case of the more populous north forcing policies and laws on the south that benefited only the north.

  • Anonymous
    7 years ago

    The bigger picture was about preserving individual states' rights over what was seen as the growing power of the Federal Government. Slavery was the most burning issue that the South wished to keep in the hands of the states but other issues played into it as well.

  • Anonymous
    7 years ago

    The Declaration of Secession of South Carolina, Mississippi, Alabama, Texas, & Virginia all indicate as much.

  • 7 years ago

    True, the south wanted to keep slavery, while the north wanted to end slavery

  • 5 years ago


  • 7 years ago

    False, they wanted independence, this did include slavery but that wasn't the main reason. They felt overruled by the north and felt they had no power of their own. They were tired of being told what to do. It was about the pride of a southern man.

    Source(s): My mom's a history teacher
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