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Why The War Was Not About Slavery


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Why The War Was Not About Slavery

By Clyde Wilson on Mar 9, 2016

Conventional wisdom of the moment tells us that the great war of 1861—1865 was “about” slavery or was “caused by” slavery. I submit that this is not a historical judgment but a political slogan. What a war is about has many answers according to the varied perspectives of different participants and of those who come after. To limit so vast an event as that war to one cause is to show contempt for the complexities of history as a quest for the understanding of human action.

Two generations ago, the most perceptive historians, much more learned than the current crop, said that the war was “about” economics and was “caused by” economic rivalry. The war has not changed one bit since then. The perspective has changed. It can change again as long as people have the freedom to think about the past. History is not a mathematical calculation or scientific experiment but a vast drama of which there is always more to be learned.
I was much struck by Barbara Marthal’s insistence in her Stone Mountain talk on the importance of stories in understanding history. I entirely concur. History is the experience of human beings. History is a story and a story is somebody’s story. It tells us about who people are. History is not a political ideological slogan like “about slavery.” Ideological slogans are accusations and instruments of conflict and domination. Stories are instruments of understanding and peace.  
:snip:  https://www.abbevilleinstitute.org/clyde-wilson-library/why-the-war-was-not-about-slavery/ 

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The North Did Not Go to War to End Slavery by Gene Kizer, Jr.

 
 Slavery Was Not the Cause of the War Between the States, The Irrefutable Argument. by Gene Kizer, Jr. - front cover - slavery not the cause of the Civil War

If they had, they would have started by passing a constitution amendment abolishing slavery. They did the opposite. They overwhelmingly passed the Corwin Amendment, which left black people in slavery forever, even beyond the reach of Congress. This alone proves, unequivocally, that the North did not go to war to end slavery or free the slaves.
 
(This post is Chapter Two of my book, Slavery Was Not the Cause of the War Between the States, The Irrefutable Argument., available on this website)
 
The North does not get to redefine, in the middle of the war, its reason for going to war. What the North proclaimed in the beginning, stands, as its reason for going to war -- and it is unchangeable.

War measures halfway through the war, such as the Emancipation Proclamation that freed no slaves (and prevented close to a million slaves from achieving their freedom), have nothing to do with why the North went to war in the first place.

 
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