Did Slavery Doom the Confederacy?

In this brief video clip Eric Foner talks with one of his graduate students about the crucial role slavery played in the formation and defeat of the Confederacy. Included is a reference to the debate surrounding the recruitment of slaves into the army. The reference to McCurry is Stephanie McCurry’s, Confederate Reckoning: Power and Politics in the Civil War South. This looks to be part of Foner’s ongoing MOOC course.

[Uploaded to YouTube on November 22, 2014]

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3 comments… add one
  • chancery Dec 5, 2014 @ 13:57

    Thanks Jimmy. As I’ve just discovered, this conversation is from the first week of the second part of Professor Foner’s course. In section 1.5, Foner discusses a book by Raimondo Luraghi, which argues that the most promising strategy for the south, a purely defensive/guerrilla campaign, wasn’t possible. Guerrilla warfare relies on a supportive civilian population, “but in the South you’ve got 3.5 million people who want the other side to win.”

  • chancery Dec 3, 2014 @ 11:01

    This clip is evidently from the yet-to-be released second part of Professor Foner’s three part civil war MOOC on Edx. I’ve enjoyed and learned from the first part, although I don’t find it as probing and thought provoking as Professor Blight’s lectures.

    I’m not clear to what Foner is referring when he mentions the Confederacy’s “internal problems with slavery,” but presumably he will expand on the notion when the course is released.

    I’m curious to know how you found this clip; a google search on “youtube.com Foner slavery doom confederacy” turns up only your blog post. Were you “salted” with teasers for the course?

    Finally, you might be interested in an excellent recent google hangout that Professor Foner did in connection with the first part of the course.


    • Jimmy Dick Dec 3, 2014 @ 14:17

      We have a pretty nice discussion going in the forums in Foner’s class on this subject right now. Currently, the concept that the CSA could have won had they armed the slaves from the very beginning, but couldn’t as arming black slaves went against the very principle they were fighting for. Basically put, the cause of the conflict was the main obstacle for the CSA and its limited chances for victory. Other factors are also mentioned, but right now the conversation is hinging on this central point.

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