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PoP's Southern American: The true cause of the War Between the States

7/29/2011

The true cause of the War Between the States

“The true cause of the War Between the States was the dignified withdrawal of the Southern States from the Union to avoid the continued breaches of that domestic tranquility guaranteed, but not consummated by the Constitution, and not the high moral purpose of the North to destroy slavery, which followed incidentally as a war measure.

As to the war itself and the result thereof, the children of the future would be astonished that a people fought so hard and so long with so little to fight for, judging from what they gather from histories now in use, prepared by writers from the North. They are utterly destitute of information as to events leading to the war. Their accounts of the numbers engaged, courage displayed, sacrifices endured, hardships encountered, and barbarity practiced upon an almost defenseless people, whose arms-bearing population was in the army, are incorrect in every way.

A people, who for four long years, fought over almost every foot of their territory, on over two thousands battlefields, with the odds of 5,864,272 enlisted men against their 600,000 enlisted men, and their coasts blockaded, and rivers filled with gunboats, with 600 vessels of war, manned by some 35,000 sailors, and who protracted the struggle until over one-half of their soldiers were dead from the casualties of war, had something to fight for. They fought for the great principle of local self-government and the privilege of managing their own affairs, and for the protection of their homes and firesides.

The facts are that while the South has always been prominent in making history, she has left the writing of history to New England historians, whose chief defect is “lack of catholic sympathy for all the sections of the country.” They especially treat the South as a section, almost as a foreign country, and while omitting the glaring faults of their own ancestors and their own section, they specialize the faults of the early Virginia colonists and the Southern colonists generally. They speak of slavery as a crime for which the South is solely responsible…and ignore the historical fact that England and New England are as much responsible for it as their brothers of the South; that it was forced not only on New England, but on the South, by Great Britain, and in spite of the protests of Virginia and other Southern colonies.

The histories written by Northern historians in the first ten or fifteen years following the close of the war, dictated by prejudice and prompted by the evil passions of that period, (and generally used in the schools), are unfit for use, and lack all the breadth, liberality, and sympathy so essential to true history, and, although some of them have been toned down, they are not yet fair and accurate in the statement of facts.

Until a more liberal tone is indicated by Northern historians, it is best that their books be kept out of Southern schools. It is therefore important that that the Southern people be aroused and take steps to have a correct history written, a history, which will vindicate them from the one-sided indictment found in many of the histories now extant.”

(Report of the Historical Committee (excerpt), United Confederate Veterans, Gen. S.D. Lee of Mississippi, Chairman, presented at the Houston Reunion; Confederate Veteran, June 1895, pp. 165-166)

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