Monday, January 14, 2008

A New Perspective on The Civil War

My mom is on several homeschool e-loops and this one lady had an interesting opinion on Lincoln's reason for the civil war. She does use some direct quotes so I am finding myself leaning this way... Definitely NOT a popular opinion, but could it be true? Your thoughts are welcome...

"Perhaps, however, the idea that the abolition of slavery was the cause
of this war is historically inaccurate.

Lincoln was not fighting to free slaves but to promote and secure his
idea of a strong, central government that would control the states. By
bringing in the slavery issue, *after* the start of the war, Lincoln
was hoping to encourage the slaves to revolt in the South and to make
the Southerners look like cruel slave-holders. It was nothing more
than a political foil to keep England and France from joining the
Confederate ranks, which they were seriously considering, having even
sent delegates to the South. Lincoln's claim that Southerners hoped to
irreversibly establish slavery was completely false. Both England and
more recently Russia had peacefully freed their slaves through a
gradual process that intrigued the Southerners greatly. They were very
interested in doing likewise, and had begun to implement a similar
program years before the War.

Also, contrary to popular belief (fueled by modern-day history
revisionists) the Emancipation Proclamation did not free slaves or
outlaw this abominable institution. It simply "freed" the slaves
living in the Southern States, leaving their Northern brethren in
chains. It is interesting to note as a little aside, that many
Unionists protested this change in the war's "cause." Many were
indignant at the idea of dying for a "negro" and many even deserted at
this point. Even after the war, the 13th amendment that actually
abolished slavery was not ratified until 1901. Why? Because Delaware
- a northern state - absolutely refused to ratify it (December 1865).

Although Lincoln (and the Union position) are considered "The Great
Emancipator(s), their introduction of the slavery issue in promoting
their cause had little to do with good-will or moral principles. It
was instead a desperate - and may I say clever - move calculated to
sully the Confederate cause. As a matter of fact, Lincoln himself said
in 1862 that: "My paramount object in this struggle is to save the
union ... If I could save the union without freeing any slaves, I would
do it; if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone, I
would also do that."(1)

In the end, he chose the latter as the more politically expedient way.
Unfortunately, most history textbooks summarily describe the war as one
fought over slavery - with the Union army representing the
abolitionists and the Confederates representing the cruel slave owners.
A study of the original writings, however, will prove that nothing
could be further from the truth."


(1) Abraham Lincoln in a letter to Horace Greeley, editor of the New
York Tribune, dated August 22, 1862.


My Redeemer Liveth said...

Hey Katie.
I've heard something similar to this before. Quite interesting if you ask me :) Thanks for the tid bit ;) Miss and love y'all! :)

Vida said...

Well said.