Wednesday, July 8, 2015
David writes: "As we are observing the commemoration of the War for Southern Independence, referred to in the North as the Civil War, or the War of the Rebellion (neither of which it actually was), I offer these thoughts and observations."
Causes of the War: Contrary to what you may have been taught, the war had less to do with slavery and more to do with economics and states' rights.
When Lincoln called for war, he did not mention slavery, but gave as his reason for attacking the states which had seceded as being the noble cause of preserving the Union...ignoring the fact that the Union would have been perfectly preserved, just smaller, if the seceding states had been left alone.
Nonetheless, "preserving the union" was what most of the Union soldiers fought for. I have personally read over 100 letters and diaries of both Confederate and Union troops, and not one of them mentioned preserving slavery or abolishing slavery as the reason they were fighting. In fact, there was a great deal of animosity toward slaves in general and blacks in particular in the Union boys' diaries.
The Confederates felt that they were being invaded by forces which had been causing them economic misery through high tariffs for almost 60 years. After all, it is estimated that 92% of the Confederate soldiers did not own a slave and were not interested in owning a slave. The vast majority were small farmers and they darn sure wouldn't fight and die for someone else's slaves. State' rights and the resistance of tyranny were the reasons given almost exclusively by the Confederates.
Shelby Foote writes about the long, tall Confederate private captured during the war. A Union officer asked him, "Why are you fighting? You are not rich. You don't own any slaves. You are just a small farmer."
The young Confederate looked the Union officer up and down, turned his head and spat out some tobacco juice, looked back at the officer and responded, "Because y'all are here."
As an aside, it is interesting to note that General U. S. Grant was the slave overseer on his Father-in-Law's plantation prior to the war and Grant's wife refused to free her slaves until she was forced to after the war by the 13th Amendment."
I will cover Lincoln and his reasons for declaring war in subsequent posts. I hope you will follow this series and learn some things that aren't taught by those who only teach from the book of "Historical Liberal Talking Points".