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Roger Broxton's Argument

By , Cedar City, UT

The statement made by Roger K Broxton that the Civil War was conceived over tax issues is incorrect. His blatant, biased claims that black people fought in the confederacy, that slavery was in fact not abolished, just renamed sharecropping, and that the military base Fort Sumter was used as a tax collection fort are completely false. The war was most definitely declared over the slavery that was dividing the nation into two separate lifestyles. Abraham Lincoln’s efforts to abolish slavery and strengthen the United States as a whole are still remembered and recognized today in many ways, and he has been immortalized as one of the greatest presidents of the country.

Firstly, the confederate troops did consist of some black Americans and slaves. But Broxton was not telling the whole truth. Most of the slaves were forced to aid in the battles by their masters, but even then they were only there to accompany their masters or toll the back lines of the troops. They aided as manual laborers, cooks, and teamsters, as in the confederacy it was illegal for black men to actually fight in the war. CivilWar says, “Active fighting ended less than three weeks after the law was passed, and there is no evidence that any black units were accepted into the Confederate Army as a result of the law.  Whatever black combat service might have occurred during the war, it was not sanctioned by the Confederate government. Even beyond the Official Records, there is no known letter, diary entry, or any other primary source in which a Confederate mentions serving with black soldiers” (Para. 8). Forcing black African-Americans to participate on the battlefield against the side they agreed with, but not even letting them fight doesn’t really qualify as a real, full-fledged soldier. So, technically, no, there were no black African-American soldiers in the confederate army. But they were forced to aid the soldiers in their battles.

Next, with first the Emancipation Proclamation and then the 13th Amendment, slavery was officially and undoubtedly abolished in all of the U.S., including both the north and the south. With plantation owners at a lack for workers, and freed slaves looking for work and ways to earn money, the process of sharecropping was born. The word sharecropping is self-explanatory. Plantation owners would trade the African-Americans’ labor for a share of the crops they harvested. Then the laborers would sell said crops and earn money. Slavery and sharecropping is in no way the same thing. With sharecropping, it was mutualistic. The laborers would get money, and the plantation owners would get their crops tended to. With slavery, the plantation owners were parasitic, using and benefiting solely from their slaves, who would work from dusk to dawn, tirelessly harvesting or providing other work. Slaves were considered property, not humans. They only got two-thirds of a say in political votes. If slaves didn’t work hard enough or didn’t abide by cruel rules, they were caned, whipped, shackled, branded, mutilated, and beaten. As said before, sharecropping was a lot better than slavery was. Plus, it wasn’t just freed slaves sharecropping with plantation owners. Historical documents from many sources have proven that at least two-thirds of sharecroppers were in fact white people looking to get back on their feet financially from the war. Only the other 33 percent were freed slaves.

Lastly, Fort Sumter was never used as a tax collection fort.  Fort Sumter’s construction was for the purpose of guarding the mouth of Charleston Harbor. With 12-foot-thick walls spanning up to 50 feet high, Fort Sumter was one of the most heavily guarded and fortified forts in the Union. It stood atop a manmade island, and the walls were made of pure granite and seashells. Clearly, there was no possible way that people visited this fort to pay taxes. The fort’s reason was to guard Charleston Harbor for trading routes, so if they granted anyone in the confederacy safe passage to the island would defeat the whole purpose of its construction. Many attacks on Fort Sumter were fought, but it still held its ground. If the confederacy had reason to violently attack the fort, then it would have to be housing something more important than tax collections.

To conclude, Broxton’s claims are clearly false. African-Americans did not serve in the confederate army (at least not willingly), slavery was not the same thing as sharecropping, and Fort Sumter was most definitely not a taxation fort. These claims about the Civil War and Abraham Lincoln’s decisions whilst being president are as distasteful as they are untruthful. The whole four years of bloodbaths and fighting were surely not carried out because of taxes. They were fought to decide the future of our country; slavery; or no slavery.






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