Why was the Confederacy so obsessively devoted to preserving slavery?

By now, don’t you wonder why?

Why, from its birth pangs to its death rattle, was the Confederacy so obsessively devoted to the preservation of the Antebellum South’s system of slavery?

Slavery had existed in countless places and times, but the Confederacy’s own Vice President, Alexander Stephens, declared that his new government was “the first in the history of the world” to be “founded upon…the great truth” of its variety of slavery.

And it was the first in the history of the world to die for it. As the great historian C. Vann Woodward told us, “Nowhere else did a slave society wage a life-and-death struggle for its existence with abolition at stake.”

So, why were Southerners so committed to what they called their “peculiar institution”? Posed in that form, the question answers itself. It was valued so highly because it was “peculiar” — not in the sense of “odd,” but in the sense of “unique to.”

Its distinctive brand of slavery was the South’s, and the Confederacy’s, defining essence, to a degree that was rare if not unprecedented in world history. To begin to understand this, we need to note an important distinction first made 50 years ago by scholars of ancient slavery — that between “societies-with-slaves” and “slave-societies.” In societies-with-slaves, those in bondage were fewer in number, generally below 20 percent of the total population. To the degree that they did any productive labor, they shared it with many other non-slave laborers.


Of slavery’s two primary functions — to enable exploitation of labor, and to bestow status upon the slaveholder — the emphasis in these societies was the second. Therefore, slaves in a society-with-slaves were not the primary source of the masters’ wealth and power, but instead were a way for those masters to show off their wealth and power, to raise his own social standing by degrading the standing of enslaved house servants or concubines. Crucially, slavery in such a society was not economically fundamental; it was incidental.

In slave-societies, by contrast, the scale was greater, with slaves at times making up the majority of the population. Their labor was economically vital, often being the primary source of wealth, and therefore power, for their masters and for the entire society.


Consequently, slavery was not incidental in such a place and time; it was fundamental. It was — as always in a slave system — also a means to establish the master’s status, his “honor.” As such, its hierarchical mindset pervaded the culture, influencing every institution. Of course, there was no precise line between the two, but without question, throughout the 5,000 years of human civilization, the smaller scale societies-with-slaves vastly outnumbered the larger slave-societies. There have been only five “great slave-societies” in all of human history — four of them being Classical Greece and Rome in ancient times, then Brazil and the Caribbean islands in the early modern era.

And then there was the fifth, the one matched in scale only by Ancient Rome, the one called by Harvard scholar Orlando Patterson, “the most perfectly articulated slave-society since Ancient Rome.” The one, however, that exceeded Rome or any other slave-society in the totality of its economic, political, and social importance. The one that was more rigidly racialized in its definition of status than any other. The one that, in its labor exploitation, was arguably more profit-driven than any other. The one that insisted on creating its own “nation” specifically dedicated to its preservation – to be, more than any other, not merely a society in which slavery existed, but to be a society openly, proudly defined by slavery. This was the slave-society of the Antebellum American South. Its “nation” was the Confederacy.

“Peculiar,” to say the least. And so, we begin to see the roots of obsession.

Jim Wiggins is a retired Copiah-Lincoln Community College history instructor.


  • Very interesting info!Perfect just what I was searching for!

  • madden 19 auction house

    July 11, 2018

    you are actually a just right webmaster. The website loading pace is incredible. It seems that you are doing any distinctive trick. Furthermore, The contents are masterwork. you’ve performed a wonderful job in this matter!

  • Ivory Mattione

    July 18, 2018

    Thank you for every other informative web site. The place else could I am getting that type of info written in such a perfect method? I have a mission that I’m just now running on, and I have been on the glance out for such info.

  • zvodretiluret

    July 22, 2018

    Undeniably consider that that you stated. Your favorite justification appeared to be on the web the simplest thing to take into accout of. I say to you, I certainly get annoyed even as other people think about concerns that they plainly do not know about. You controlled to hit the nail upon the top as smartly as outlined out the whole thing without having side effect , folks can take a signal. Will likely be back to get more. Thanks

  • Cleotilde Ekman

    July 30, 2018

    Some truly nice stuff on this website , I love it.

  • pikachu onesie pajamas

    August 1, 2018

    Since the admin of this site is working, no doubt very quickly it will be famous, due to its quality contents.

  • sloth onesie

    August 1, 2018

    Thank you for the auspicious writeup. It in fact was a amusement account it. Look advanced to far added agreeable from you! However, how could we communicate?

  • adult onesie

    August 1, 2018

    Wonderful site you have here but I was curious if you knew of any user discussion forums that cover the same topics talked about in this article? I’d really like to be a part of online community where I can get suggestions from other experienced people that share the same interest. If you have any suggestions, please let me know. Kudos!

  • zvodretiluret

    August 1, 2018

    Hi, i think that i saw you visited my blog thus i came to “return the favor”.I am attempting to find things to enhance my website!I suppose its ok to use some of your ideas!!

  • I added a new list. As you’ll see it’s bigger than most of them. I hope you all have had a great week!

  • cathleenprecious

    August 7, 2018

    It’s been a busy week for you. What’s the best way to get rid of the stress of a busy week? The best and only way is by spending some time with the beauties over at These are the girls who know how to treat a man right.

  • amberlaray

    August 8, 2018

    A good time is what you’ll have with the girls at This is by far the most exciting site on the entire internet. Don’t think twice about visiting this site. Not if you’re in the mood to have a little kinky fun.

  • ryannabanks

    August 8, 2018

    Are you searching for a little fun? If you are, then is the best site for just that. You’ll find plenty of hot babes there who love to get down and dirty. That’s exactly what you’re looking for right this very second.

  • lizrose90

    August 9, 2018

    Take a good look at This is the one site where you can have a lot of fun. The fun you can have here is exactly what you’re looking for. Enjoy yourself and meet some sexy ladies in the process.

  • Best online dating site

    August 10, 2018

    Are you looking for love in all the wrong places? There’s just one site where you can meet all kinds of local singles. There’s never a shortage of girls at this site. By far the best part is, you can go on a date tonight. Hook up here and start the day off right. Before you know it, you’ll be in love and hearing the birds sing once again.

  • Best dating site

    August 11, 2018

    Are you searching for a date? If so, there’s just one place where you should go. has more horny singles than any other place online. You can go there and hook up immediately. These are the type of singles who like to have some fun in the sack. Get laid today and put a big smile on your face tonight.

  • sexyassistant_

    August 11, 2018

    The weekend is fast approaching. Why not spend it with a sexy cam girl? There’s plenty of them over at All of these girls are wanting to have a good time. That’s exactly what you’re looking for too. The most fun you’ll ever have online is right here. Have yourself a good time and meet someone new. That’s what this site is all about.

  • click here

    August 11, 2018

    Most definitely identifying with your post. Listen to my spotify playlist – i hope you’ll dig it.

  • Just imagine for a second if you could get into the mind of a millionaire. Think of all the things that you could learn. Well, you actually can do just that. A millionaire is giving away all of his secret right on the internet. You don’t even need to leave the house to learn what made him rich. All it takes is visiting He will literally teach you all of the secrets to making money. Don’t you think it’s time that you earned the living that you deserve? Change your life today by simply following the link above. Do it for yourself and everyone that you care about.

  • koleksi youtube terfavorit

    August 12, 2018

    hi there! , I enjoy the creating very a lot! promote we communicate further around your post for AOL? I need an experienced during this dwelling to solve my own difficulty. Can be which is you! Writing about to look at you.

  • Did you know that people make their entire income promoting ClickBank? You too could be one of the many who have quit their job. Affiliate marketing is as old as the internet. It’s not going to go away any time soon. You too can get your piece of the pie. Why shouldn’t you? Do you really like working the job you have? Are you going to be able to do it until you retire? If you’re job requires physical labor, then you know the answer to that question. There’s no way you’re going to be able to do that when you get older. That’s just the truth and no one needs to tell it to you. Right now you could be making money online. Does it require work? You better believe it does. No honest person is ever going to tell you that it’s possible to become a millionaire online without doing any work whatsoever. It’s not possible. That doesn’t mean there isn’t money to be made. There’s plenty of money out there to be made by people just like yourself. Now you know there’s going to be a pitch for a product. You’re right about that. Click on the link and check it out. There’s a video you can watch that will explain everything. It will tell you how to make money using ClickBank. Watch the video and see what you think. You too can be one of the many who earn a living promoting ClickBank. Some people earn a good living and there’s no reason why you can’t.

  • Are you the type who likes to hangout on social media? Have you ever thought about making it a career? You can help promote their business using social media. This means you can do what you already love doing and make money at it. Does this sound like something you’d like to do? If so, then check out You can help people and make some money in the process. You already hang out at social media sites. Why not make a few bucks doing it?

  • This design is spectacular! You obviously know how to
    keep a reader entertained. Between your wit and your videos, I
    was almost moved to start my own blog (well, almost…HaHa!)
    Excellent job. I really loved what you had to say, and more than that,
    how you presented it. Too cool!

  • Www.Sensory.Id

    August 13, 2018

    Your article on Why was the Confederacy so obsessively devoted to preserving slavery? is very good. We hope you can continue delivering many more article . Long live

  • suba analuba

    August 15, 2018

    vsRhqO Some really great information, Glad I noticed this.

  • onesie pajamas for adults

    August 16, 2018

    Write more, thats all I have to say. Literally, it seems as though you relied on the video to make your point.
    You clearly know what youre talking about, why waste
    your intelligence on just posting videos to your
    blog when you could be giving us something enlightening to read?

  • Best anal sex site

    August 17, 2018

    Are you the kind of guy who loves to watch sexy girls get fucked in the ass? If so, then you need to check out this site This is the one place where anal sex lovers can get their fix. You’ve never seen asses this tight fucked by cocks this big. Each asshole is super tight and it gets fucked by a huge cock. It’s impossible not to beat off while watching these beauties getting ass fucked.

  • This blog is definitely interesting additionally informative. I have picked up many useful tips out of this source. I ad love to come back again soon. Thanks a lot!

  • Thanks for any other fantastic post. Where else may just anybody get that type of info in such a perfect method of writing? I have a presentation next week, and I am at the look for such information.

  • bulk landscape rock near me

    August 17, 2018

    What blog hosting website should I create a blog on?

  • to learn more

    August 17, 2018

    I visited a lot of website but I believe this one has something extra in it in it

  • enviar mensaje por whatsapp

    August 17, 2018

    This is one awesome article.Really thank you! Awesome.

  • help for heroin withdrawal

    August 17, 2018

    we could greatly benefit from each other. If you happen

  • spy cam

    August 17, 2018

    Keep up the fantastic piece of work, I read few blog posts on this site and I believe that your web page is actually interesting and has got units of outstanding info.

  • If you are ready to watch comical videos online then I suggest you to pay a visit this web page, it includes in fact so humorous not only movies but also additional data.

  • Say, you got a nice blog.Really looking forward to read more. Fantastic.

  • bursa metro nakliyat

    August 17, 2018

    Bursa Metro Evden Eve Nakliyat
    Merhabalar. Yeni bir iş yerine veya yeni bir eve taşınmak her ne kadar sevindirici bir durum olsa da bazen eşya taşıma sırasında zorluklarla karşılaşmayın asansörlü nakliyat ve hasara karşı korkmalı paketleme hizmetlerimile siz müşterilerimizin hizmetindeyiz

Post a Comment