Talk:Confederate States of America

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Former good article nominee Confederate States of America was a good articles nominee, but did not meet the good article criteria at the time. There are suggestions below for improving the article. Once these issues have been addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake.
March 13, 2007 Good article nominee Not listed
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Slave States of the Confederation[edit]

Reading the article about the Civil War , it frightens me to read how accusing toward slavery the south is depicted. All should well remember there where far more slaves in the North than the South. A huge number of Southern Blacks did joint voluntarily the Southern army to fight for the Southern right. Lincoln only came with the idea of abolition in 1863, not '62 as mentioned and for one purpose only ! Hope of seeing Blacks from the South deserting (weakening) the army to joint (strengthening) the union. Also, when the idea of abolition came to get strength, most Northern slave owners where totally and utterly against it. In example, even in the house of the butcher U.Grant, there where lots of reticence to let go the slaves. Ownership of slaves was in those days a way of life and by no mean a racist condition.Cite error: There are <ref> tags on this page without content in them (see the help page). Written history cannot be changed just to please some so called anti-racist people. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:40, 21 June 2015 (UTC) Has not been very selective in his readings on the American civil war. (eg: he claims "there where far more slaves in the North than the South." --All the states north of the Mason Dixon line had long before abolished slavery. A huge number of southern blacks did not join the Confederate Army. Rjensen (talk) 00:06, 22 June 2015 (UTC)
As I recall, something approaching 85% of the enslaved population held in 1860 were on cotton plantations in the deep south. Usually Unionist states with slaves are referred to as Border States. Slave owners rented, then had slave labor drafted for the Confederate armies. Most railroad repair crews in the South were enslaved, so, yes, they were a valuable asset on the Union railroads when they escaped to freedom -- as were once enslaved farm workers raising Union army foodstuffs in the South. Ownership of American slaves was race-based enslavement, hence the repeated kidnapping of free blacks into perpetual slavery. TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 19:56, 21 June 2015 (UTC)
Lincoln wanted to issue the Emancipation Proclamation in the summer of '62, but was advised to wait for a Union victory, to carry more credibility. Valetude (talk) 10:42, 17 July 2015 (UTC)

According to the 1860 census data as presented on, the total number of slaves held by the South was 3,521,110, while the North held 429,416, so the North held a little less than 11% of the slaves in the country at the start of the war. Therefore, the North did not hold more slaves than the South. --AlwaysLiberty — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:11, 11 August 2015 (UTC)

Also, the "Northern" slaves referred to above were in fact in the border states of Maryland, West Virginia, Kentucky and Missouri - that is, southern states. These states chose not to oppose the Union in the war, but they weren't then, and aren't now, northern states. Slavery had been outlawed in all Northern states by the outbreak of the war; this was elemental in the tensions that brought on the war. It's true that the Dred Scott decision allowed Southern slave owners to import their captives to Northern states and continue to "own" them there, so there were in fact some slaves in the free states at the outbreak of the Civil War.
As for Lincoln's abolitionist sentiments, they are well documented long before he became president. He also had a draught of the Emancipation Proclamation in his possession at least a year before he promulgated it. The witness who attested to this said that at the time Lincoln showed it to him, the President said he'd promulgate it that instant if he thought he could survive it politically. Laodah 07:19, 16 September 2015 (UTC)


I am both saddened and disgusted by the attempts of die-hard neo-Confederate revisionists to rewrite this article to be more favorable to the South. I can't help but wonder whether this has something to do with the recent racial tensions in the United States. In light of these disgusting attempts to make this article more pro-South then neutral, I'm concerned about the expiration of the articles semi-protected status on October 10. Does anyone else think that this article's status should be extended? It would help ensure its protection from these revisionists. As for those who are trying to rewrite this article, I beg of you, stop trying to revise this article. I understand your pride in your Southern Heritage. I was born in the South, so I understand where you're coming from. But the connection between slavery and Southern secession cannot be ignored. There is irrefutable evidence supporting this. Confederate Leaders said so themselves. Please do not try to change this article to reflect the revisionist view of Southern History. This article must remain neutral and unbiased, as is required of any encyclopedia article. Thank you. Anasaitis (talk) 19:38, 5 October 2015 (UTC)

Agree to investigate restoration of protection. The DumbBOT Q&A says,

Q4: How can I have the page protected again? A4: See Wikipedia:Requests for page protection; note, however, that pages are generally not protected just because they get a couple of vandal edits; see Wikipedia:Protection policy for details.

--- so I suggest we look further into it. TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 02:43, 12 October 2015 (UTC)
I suggest indefinite Semi-protection, which "prevents edits from unregistered users (IP addresses), as well as edits from any account that is not autoconfirmed (is at least four days old and has at least ten edits to Wikipedia) or confirmed.”
WP:SEMI continues, "This level of protection is useful when there is a significant amount of disruption or vandalism from new or unregistered users, and/or to prevent sock puppets of blocked or banned users from editing, especially when it occurs on biographies of living persons who have had a recent high level of media interest.” — well, American Civil War gets a significant amount of disruption or vandalism whenever there is race-related news, which is persistent, as Anasaitis suggests.
Guidelines for administrators says, "Administrators may apply indefinite semi-protection to pages that are subject to heavy and persistent vandalism or violations of content policy (such as biographies of living persons, neutral point of view)."
An example is the bi-monthly attempts to impose the Blood Stained Banner in the info box which never flew in the Confederacy, and is an expression of contemporary symbolism for neo-Confederates. See Brief history of Confederate flags, which quotes the author of “Confederate Military History”, Confederate General Bradley T. Johnson, “I never saw this flag, nor have I seen a man who did see it.” -- the BSB. TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 10:03, 12 October 2015 (UTC)

Wrong year?[edit]

Preparations for Lee's incursion into Pennsylvania were underway to influence the midterm U.S. elections. Confederate independence and nationhood was at a turning point. "Southerners had a right to be optimistic, or at least hopeful, that their revolution would prevail, or at least endure". The result was a defeat at Gettysburg...

This seems to refer to Lee's first attempt to invade Pennsylvania (Sept. 1862), shortly before the mid-term elections, when Britain and France came closest to granting recognition to the Confederacy. It was Lee's defeat at Antietam, not Gettysburg, that killed this prospect. Valetude (talk) 12:51, 17 April 2016 (UTC)
Material about consideration of influencing midterm U.S. elections was not to be found in referenced pages. It is removed. TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 15:14, 18 April 2016 (UTC)
I can't add a better reference at the moment, but there is ample documentation of Lee's intention to influence the U. S. mid-term elections, including, IIRC, a letter or report from Lee himself. See, e.g., Joseph L. Harsh, Taken at the Flood: Robert E. Lee and Confederate Strategy in the Maryland Campaign of 1862. In any event, unless unsourced matter is false or at best dubious, it's better to add a "citation needed" tag, rather than to delete it. J. D. Crutchfield | Talk 20:06, 18 April 2016 (UTC)
@Valetude and Rjensen: Valetude's point was that the "midterm" consideration was of 1862, which the Harsh title refers to, not Gettysburg's 1863 incursion, which was meant to threaten the capital at Washington DC and/or the mint at Philadelphia (see routes of march for elements of Lee's army at turn-around for Gettysburg).
The capture of gold from Philadelphia (as had been taken from the mints at New Orleans, Georgia and North Carolina) and the subsequent capture of DC (or a demonstration before its fortifications) would have influenced the presidential election of 1864 as well as down ticket elections, so yes, I personally POV agree with your speculation. It just doesn't conform with the pagination of the reliable source referenced. In any case, nesting favorite facts into the narrative as referenced WITHOUT sourcing is bad practice. TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 04:33, 19 April 2016 (UTC)
the statement is correct re 1862 and Antietam. See John David Hoptak (2011). The Battle of South Mountain. p. 16.  Rjensen (talk) 06:20, 19 April 2016 (UTC)
Thanks to Rjensen for the citation. In an article about the CSA, I'd use Sharpsburg, rather than Antietam, just as we'd use British spelling conventions in an article on England. J. D. Crutchfield | Talk 17:48, 19 April 2016 (UTC)
Agree, but. My preference is to name battles here after the style, "Sharpsburg (Antietam)" -- so as BOTH to conform with the preponderance of sources using "Antietam", AND to allow for Southron eccentricity. But I am not sure my POV can fly in an encyclopedia for the general reader.
So @Jdcrutch: -- we are agreed to delete "to influence the midterm U.S. elections" for Gettysburg in 1863, and make the narrative conform to the source in Thomas as referenced -- and now confirmed -- both in Harsh and Hoptak -- that strategic consideration applies only to 1862? The elections in 1863 were in the spring for U.S. (Federal) Government in West Virginia and Virginia Confederate state offices -- Gettysburg was too late to effect those. As Hoptak put it on page 16, “In early September 1862...The 1862 midterm elections were less than two months away". TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 04:28, 20 April 2016 (UTC)
Yes check.svg Done. also, note that the section is under "diplomacy", and the "midterm U.S. elections" is a domestic consideration. Information on the consideration of midterm elections introduced in the midst of material take from Emory Thomas is in the wrong year and wrong narrative section. Perhaps the sourced information belongs in "military strategy". TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 15:42, 21 April 2016 (UTC)

"The cause of slavery" revert[edit]

On 19 April, Jdcrutch reverted a contribution by IP.97 as, “anonymous, unsourced, and based on an unjustified premise”. The copyedit was " In addition, abolitionist sentiment was on a steady rise in Britain, making any adhesion to the cause of slavery politically difficult [there].”

Abolitionist sentiment among European nations in the 19th century is a well known development. The only “white” nation still tolerating slavery was the United States, which had during the Civil War begun emancipation under the Lincoln Administration. That left only the insurgents of the Confederacy supposing to constitutionally guarantee slavery into the twentieth century, -- making it very unlikely that Europeans would recognize it, whether or not the summer 1863 incursion at Gettysburg was successful.

If that premise is not found in Blumenthal (1966), Jones (2009) or Owsley (1959), another source should be found to supplement the narrative on “diplomacy#international diplomacy”, pointing out that, "abolitionist sentiment was on a steady rise in Britain, making any adhesion to the cause of slavery politically difficult [there]." TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 09:23, 24 April 2016 (UTC)

What "whiteness" has to do with anything is a mystery to me. Does the writer mean to suggest that "white nations" (whatever those may be) are to be held to a higher moral standard than others? Are we to understand that Brazilians and Cubans (let alone Mexicans, Chinese, Turks, and Arabs) were not "white" enough in 1863 to appreciate the enormity of slavery? I really did not expect to see a racist variation on the "They Deserved It" theme advocated in the Twenty-first Century.
Be that as it may, my chief objection to the assertion I reverted was that it seemed to be based on the premise, that the cause of the C. S. A. was absolutely equivalent with "the cause of slavery". It is beyond reasonable dispute that the main precipitating cause for the secession of the first seven States that formed the C. S. A.—and a powerful contributing cause for that of the States which seceded after Lincoln launched his war against the C. S. A.—was the fear of their governing classes, that the Republican party, having achieved complete dominance in the federal government, would move to destroy the South's remaining political power by abolishing its economic foundation, viz., slavery. That fact, however, by no means makes the cause of the C. S. A. absolutely equivalent with "the cause of slavery".
I would not object to something along the following lines, if properly supported by reference to reliable sources:
In addition, abolitionist sentiment, which portrayed the Confederate cause as a "slaveholders' rebellion", was on a steady rise in Britain, making any action favorable to the CSA politically difficult.
J. D. Crutchfield | Talk 15:44, 25 April 2016 (UTC)
The subject is the Confederacy, Confederates called themselves a white Christian nation, yet were so blind to "the enormity of slavery" so as to guarantee its perpetuation constitutionally. As the "cornerstone" of the CSA was slavery, it follows the rebellion was absolutely equivalent with "the cause of slavery". The economic value of exports in cotton would not have gone down without slavery, only the profit margins -- although some contemporaries believed wage labor was cheaper than slavery. Free black and slave labor was used in the Tredegar Iron Works, steel might have been had at Birmingham, Alabama with a rail connection or two. Slavery was a drag on Southern economic development, not its "economic foundation".
Not only did abolitionists consider the Confederate cause as a "slaveholders' rebellion", so did most of the common soldiers fighting in grey, as they referred to the late conflict as a "rich man's war and a poor man's fight." TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 16:19, 25 April 2016 (UTC)
The writer is free to present this one-sided, moralistic misrepresentation of history on his own web site, but it does not belong on Wikipedia. I feel no need to answer his fallacious arguments here, as abler hands have long since refuted them. J. D. Crutchfield | Talk 16:32, 25 April 2016 (UTC)
Many influential slave holders in the Confederacy intended to conquer Mexico to re-enslave people of color there, leaving "white" hidalgos free, imposing a race-based slavery as provided for in the Confederate Constitution. The slave power in Virginia successfully made it unconstitutional to abolish slavery in Virginia in the 1850 Convention and authorized removal of free blacks, because of their continuing fears of emancipation as sought by a majority of the white male voters, since abolition passed in 1832 in the House of Delegates but only failed in the malapportioned Virginia State Senate favoring slave "property" counties. The Confederate Constitution reads, "the institution of negro slavery, as it now exists in the Confederate States, shall be recognized and protected be Congress". That was, in the words of Jdcrutch, "the enormity of slavery" in the Confederate cause. -- Recalling that history is not a misrepresentation of it.
Your white-washing twist to history in an alternative text, "abolitionist sentiment, which portrayed the Confederate cause as a "slaveholders' rebellion" is unsatisfactory as wp:weasel style. Amateur writers paraphrasing the Jefferson Davis post war defense of the Confederacy in a "Lost Cause" literature are not reliable sources for historical analysis and interpretation. TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 11:10, 26 April 2016 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────I think the writer ought to have looked up the word enormity in a dictionary. J. D. Crutchfield | Talk 21:01, 26 April 2016 (UTC)

Okay, lets not use code words from a fringe subculture. "enormity" does not just mean "big", it is "a grave crime or sin" it is "something perceived as bad or morally wrong" on a "great or extreme scale, seriousness, or extent" -- in the foundation of the Confederate States of America by its ruling slaveholders.
You will note that in most Confederate states, to ensure slaveholder rule, the voting franchise is more limited than that under the United States by state Constitutions promulgated by slave power fiat during the Rebellion, and large landowners owning slaves were exempted from an otherwise universal conscription at first...though the more restrictive Virginia Constitution proposed by the Secession Convention failed ratification by the people there. TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 09:21, 27 April 2016 (UTC)

Issues with the map of the CSA[edit]

The map's caption is "The Confederate States in 1862. Light green denotes claims made by the Confederacy. Medium green denotes western counties of Virginia that separated from that State and were admitted to the Union as West Virginia. Teal denotes the rest of the Indian Territory that did not sign a treaty with the CSA."


The CSA had signed treaties with all of the tribes of the Indian Territory, which makes the caption factually incorrect.

The map seems to be an attempt to show that the Indians in Indian Territory were divided in their sympathies, but it is not an accurate depiction of political geography of the Indian Territory. The Cherokees and Creeks were divided into factions which supported the South and factions that did not. The Indians that did not support the Confederacy fled to Kansas, leaving their lands in control of the factions of their tribes which supported the Confederacy. The Union did not regain control over the Cherokee and Creek lands in 1862, which is the year mentioned in the map's caption.

Can we get a more logical map? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:05, 24 April 2016 (UTC)

Yes check.svg Done I copy edited the caption to read, "Teal denotes the still contested Indian Territory." TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 08:21, 25 April 2016 (UTC)

Were slaves "African American"?[edit]

Surely they were just African at that point? Mazz0 (talk) 16:25, 13 July 2016 (UTC)

No, they were African-American, see the earlier transition to Anglo-African at The Transformation of Virginia, 1740-1790 by Rhys Isaac. By the way, the first Africans to Virginia from Angola were Roman Catholic, which on conversion to Anglican Protestantism, made them eligible for emancipation after seven years' service until the 1680s. See the interracial Bacon's Rebellion of 1676 for more context in the first half-century of slavery in America. Later, there were other streams of African immigrants from west Africa to America who were Animists and Muslim, but by the mid 1800s, the inroads of Baptists and Methodists proselytizing among slave populations in the First and Second Great Awakening had made the American-held slave an African-American. TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 05:45, 14 July 2016 (UTC)
All, or virtually all, slaves in the C. S. A. had been born in America; and their ancestors, generically speaking, had been settled in English-speaking America since the early seventeenth century; so they were at least as thoroughly American as their white neighbors, and modern usage would not consider them African. Polite usage in the 1860s might refer to them so, as reflected in the name of the African Methodist-Episcopal Church, and the institution sometimes referred to as African slavery (though it was more common, I believe, to refer to them as negroes—using a lower-case n—or mulattoes, respectively). I would not favor Wikipedia's following that outdated practice. Calling black Americans "Africans" seems to imply that they are (or were) not really Americans, and thereby to legitimate their unequal status in American society. That subordinate status fostered the development of a distinct sub-culture (or several sub-cultures) among black Americans, but that was no less American than the New England Yankee sub-culture, the Pennsylvanian Quaker sub-culture, or the Virginian Cohee sub-culture, and no more African than those were British.
Whether or not, and under what circumstances, Wikipedia should refer to the slaves of the Confederate States as "African American" is an open question, as far as I'm aware. There is an argument that all Americans of African ancestry should be referred to as African Americans, regardless of context. Alternatively, one could argue that Wikipedia should follow the polite usage of the time and place under discussion. Then again, some white people appear to believe that they should use "African American" wherever somebody else might use "black". (I've even seen a reference to the plight of "African Americans in South Africa"!) I'm not aware of any current scholarly consensus on the subject (and I confess I haven't tried to find out if there is one). If there is one, we should follow that (even though I suspect I wouldn't like it, if current academic usage in other areas is any indication).
My own preference is generally to refer to persons born in Africa as Africans (or according to their respective nationalities, if I know them), and to persons born in the United States (or the Confederate States, if there is ever a case where that matters) as Americans (or according to their respective States, if that seems appropriate). If race or ancestry is significant, I try to use an inoffensive adjective or noun consistent with that practice. I tend to prefer black over African American, first, because it's a term black people chose for themselves as a badge of pride, when well-meaning white people tended to call them "Negroes"; and, second, because African American seems to suggest that white people like me, who are generally called "American", without a modifier, are the real Americans—a notion I reject.
In any event, in the present context, it certainly is not incorrect to refer to the slaves of the Confederate States as African Americans; and it certainly is not preferable, if it is acceptable at all, to refer to them as Africans. J. D. Crutchfield | Talk 19:57, 14 July 2016 (UTC)
Well said, indeed! Cleopatran Apocalypse (talk) 05:20, 16 July 2016 (UTC)