fidesquaerens (marta_bee) wrote,

on the Civil War, and news coverage of the anniversary

Today is the 150th anniversary of the beginning of America's Civil Wars. I've seen a theme in the discussions on several leftist blogs, news sites, etc.: those silly southerners, they *still* think the CW wasn't over slavery.

1) No war ever has just one cause. No individual is ever just motivated by one point, for that matter. Human psychology is complicated.

2) In any era, 55% is landslide public support. Even assuming a good democracy, even assuming the assumption that the South was fighting to free the slaves, this does not mean every or even the vast majority of Southerners were pro-slavery.

3) Saying the north was anti-slavery and implying the south was pro-slavery is misleading. I grew up believing (and still believe, to an extent) that the war wasn't over slavery. Or rather, it wasn't simply north = slavery good / south = slavery bad. For many I suspect the question wasn't is slavery good, but rather who should be deciding that question. And while I of course find slavery highly offensive, I also find it offensive that outsiders to the society should be imposing the decision on a culture.

Small comfort to the enslaved, of course. But I do wonder how many Southerners in the 1860s just framed the question differently. It's kind of like with the labels pro-choice and pro-life. Is anyone actually against choice or life?

1 A.M. blog posts aren't always the most thoughtful. But really, I am frustrated by the exposure and am really and truly glad that the anniversary has passed... :-S
Tags: politics, south
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