Monday, June 13, 2011

Upstate Yorker Antiwar Abolitionism

Bill Kauffman introduces us to War of Northern Agression / War Between The States / Civil War historian Edmund Wilson, whose aim it was to "remove [the war] from the old melodramatic plane and consider it from the point of view of an anti-war morality" — Wilson’s Picket.

"The disaffection of [Upstate] New York toward the Civil War … is behind my own attitude," wrote Mr. Wilson. Yet, as Mr. Kauffman notes, "As a good Yorker from the cradle of abolitionism, he understands that 'what [the South] fought for was really slavery' and that too many Southern Democrats were expansionists who would have annexed half the Western Hemisphere if given the chance."

Mr. Kauffman informs us, "Wilson groups Lincoln with Bismarck and Lenin as 'uncompromising dictator[s]' who 'established a strong central government over hitherto loosely coordinated peoples,'" and later, "His favorite Confederate is Vice President Alexander Stephens, the indomitable invalid Georgian whose opposition to conscription and defense of habeas corpus vexed the centralizers of the CSA."

[Just this past weekend I was as close to home as I've been this millenium, when I visited the City of Rochester, home of the heroic libertarian Frederick Douglass.]

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Blogger Pints in NYC said...

Bismarck and Marx both liked Lincoln.

NYC had considered secession also.

3:18 AM  
Blogger The Western Confucian said...

I think Mr. Kauffman let his localism get the best of him with what he inserted in the brackets in Mr. Wilson's statement about "[t]he disaffection of [Upstate] New York toward the Civil War."

You're right, NYC, to her credit, had anti-draft riots.

8:46 AM  
Blogger Pints in NYC said...

NYC had more than just anti-draft riots.

There were bona fide calls for the City's own secession and the creation of our own sovereign city-state that would have been called "The Free City of Tri-Insula," including Manhattan, Staten Island, and Long Island.

Here's an interesting wikipedia page covering some history of various NYC secessionist movements over the years:

Fun stuff!

11:33 AM  
Blogger The Western Confucian said...

The Free City of Tri-Insula! I like it?

I'm sure you're aware of Norman Mailer's "left conservative" mayoral campaign to return "power to the neighborhoods."

11:40 AM  

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