Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Celebrating Secession Without the Slaves

ATLANTA — The Civil War, the most wrenching and bloody episode in American history, may not seem like much of a cause for celebration, especially in the South.

And yet, as the 150th anniversary of the four-year conflict gets under way, some groups in the old Confederacy are planning at least a certain amount of hoopla, chiefly around the glory days of secession, when 11 states declared their sovereignty under a banner of states’ rights and broke from the union.

The events include a “secession ball” in the former slave port of Charleston (“a joyous night of music, dancing, food and drink,” says the invitation), which will be replicated on a smaller scale in other cities. A parade is being planned in Montgomery, Ala., along with a mock swearing-in of Jefferson Davis as president of the Confederacy.

In addition, the Sons of Confederate Veterans and some of its local chapters are preparing various television commercials that they hope to show next year. “All we wanted was to be left alone to govern ourselves,” says one ad from the group’s Georgia Division.

That some — even now — are honoring secession, with barely a nod to the role of slavery, underscores how divisive a topic the war remains, with Americans continuing to debate its causes, its meaning and its legacy.

“We in the South, who have been kicked around for an awfully long time and are accused of being racist, we would just like the truth to be known,” said Michael Givens, commander-in-chief of the Sons, explaining the reason for the television ads. While there were many causes of the war, he said, “our people were only fighting to protect themselves from an invasion and for their independence.”
Read the rest here.


The Archer of the Forest said...

I still live in utter amazement at how Yankees still don't understand the South and can't be bothered to try.

Anonymous said...

I still live in amazement at how Southerners still don't understand the South and can't be bothered to try.

Matushka Anna said...

I posted about this not too long ago. Slavery was not much more than a red herring. It was more about states' rights and the balance of power between North and South in congress. The victors write the history books, however.

The Archer of the Forest said...

Anonymous, I might take your cheap shots seriously if you bothered to make yourself known.

Anonymous said...

Oh for heavens sakes: to suggest that slavery wasn't a key issue in the war is absurdist. Yes there is more to the story, but not to the exclusion of slavery. At the end of the day, a Christian - and by this I mean an Orthodox Christian - is compelled to acknowledge that the system was based on an abomination.

Born in the deep south, happy to profess it bears the marks of this sinful world. We all need to be focused on our repentance rather than justification and obfuscation. And that includes Southerners, Northerners and all the rest of us.

Le Panda du Mal said...

Yes, it was about states' rights- namely, the states' right to enslave human beings. It's good that this "right" was violated... now if only they could have done it without half a million men dying. Rejecting the hypocritical rhetoric about self-determination doesn't mean one doesn't understand the South. "All we wanted was to be left alone to govern ourselves"- yeah, except half the population of your state were not allowed to govern themselves.

The Anti-Gnostic said...

yeah, except half the population of your state were not allowed to govern themselves.

Do you think the Great Society and Title VII are about self-governance?

The US freed slaves by enslaving free men.

The Anti-Gnostic said...

At the end of the day, a Christian - and by this I mean an Orthodox Christian - is compelled to acknowledge that the system was based on an abomination.

Hmm. When did the Church first get around to condemning slavery? Has the Church ever condemned feudalism or indentured servitude?

I'm not arguing for slavery. I just don't think the issue is as morally polar as you make it.

The Ochlophobist said...

Eugene Genovese, particularly in A Consuming Fire: The Fall of the Confederacy in the Mind of the White Christian South and in The Slaveholders' Dilemma: Freedom and Progress in Southern Conservative Thought 1820-1860 makes quite clear and documents in great detail that the Southern Presbyterian Divines across the South were declaring that God would judge the slave states due to their "unbiblical" practice of slavery. They noted that slavery in the Bible was not based on a racial basis, that slaves in biblical times could own property (including other slaves), could marry, could testify in court, and sometimes were able to earn their freedom (the Levitical law, of course, required means for slaves to earn their freedom or to be granted it during Jubilee). This message was preached by Calvinists throughout the South (and orthodox Calvinism was the most prominent theological position in the Antebellum South) prior to the war, though with the rise of the abolitionist movement the Divines found themselves in an awkward position as they felt the need to both attack the current practice of slavery and attack abolitionism, which they felt was an entirely wrong response. After the Civil War, the Southern Divines declared that the outcome of the war was God's judgment on the South for having practiced unbiblical slavery. The vast majority of Southerners would have heard and read (those that could read) this message many times from various religious leaders and those who spoke about what religious leaders were saying, which was a common topic of conversation. Again, all of this is well documented in Genovese. I have yet to find a serious historian who disputes Genovese's work on this matter. With regard to the "the war was not about slavery rhetoric" while it is true that in the years immediately leading up to the war there were politicians and those they incited who used this line of thought, and insisted it was about state's rights, certainly in the years immediately after the Civil War nearly all Christians in the South, which is to say most Southerners, viewed the war in connection to the slavery issue. It was only well into reconstruction that the "it wasn't about slavery" rhetoric became universal in the South, and, of course, this was when those practices that would become Jim Crowe were being codified and the Klan was on the rise, etc.

Anonymous said...

Shamelessly cut-and-pasted from a thread elsewhere:

'I got me slave-girls and slaves.' For what price, tell me? What did you find in existence worth as much as this human nature? What price did you put on rationality? How many obols did you reckon the equivalent of the likeness of God? How many staters did you get for selling that being shaped by God? God said, Let us make man in our own image and likeness. If he is in the likeness of God, and rules the whole earth, and has been granted authority over everything on earth from God, who is his buyer, tell me? Who is his seller? To God alone belongs this power; or, rather, not even to God himself. For his gracious gifts, it says, are irrevocable. God would not therefore reduce the human race to slavery, since he himself, when we had been enslaved to sin, spontaneously recalled us to freedom. But if God does not enslave what is free, who is he that sets his own power above God's?

St. Gregory of Nyssa, Homilies on Ecclesiastes

Sybok said...

Yeah State's Rights was pretty much manage their own economic laws... just so happens their economy was based on human slavery! In the 19th century!

Whenever I look at my portrait of William Tecumseh Sherman, I feel a rush of victory

The Anti-Gnostic said...

"Whenever I look at my portrait of William Tecumseh Sherman, I feel a rush of victory"

That's the short term view. Long term, the South kept its low taxes and sunshine and recovered its wealth.

In application, the only 'separation of powers' that has ever mattered has been the competing interests of the several States against the federal governmnent. The feds killed 600K men consolidating government power in D.C. and is sinking under fiscal and imperial overreach. They rule an increasingly divergent, alienated and angry populace.

Tawser said...

Not meaning to be pedantic, A Consuming Fire is by Drew Gilpin Faust, not Eugene Genovese. I suffered through too many years in grad school to let that pass.

Tawser said...

And for the Orthodox abolitionists on this thread, you could please site for me a single Orthodox saint who protested the practice of Russian serfdom? I don't mean to be a smart ass. I'm curious. I am not aware of a single one.

Anonymous said...

"That's the short term view. Long term, the South kept its low taxes and sunshine and recovered its wealth."

You've got to be kidding. You might be right in terms of the top 1% of the population, ( Limbaugh is an example of the fine fruit that the top 1% produces), but certainly not in terms of the general population.

Your fixation on the evils of government blinds you so much that you cannot see anything at all.

Very typical of an "Anti-Gnostic" pro ignorance advocate.

The Anti-Gnostic said...

Gnosticism has gotten the universal condemnation of the Church, so I'm in good company.

And also, please stay up North.

Anonymous said...

Gnosticism has gotten the universal condemnation of the Church, so I'm in good company.

And also, please stay up North.

It all depends on what is meant by "gnosticism" as you should know.

There is true "gnosis" and false "gnosis". Being "anti-gnostic" doesn't distinguish the two. Obviously, you haven't studied the subject that well.

As for staying up North, I don't intend to stray into the region called the South where people are ignorant and proud of it, if you are any indication of the type of person living there.

The Anti-Gnostic said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Anti-Gnostic said...

Obviously, you haven't studied the subject that well.

The arrogance, superficiality, and shrill, aggrieved tone of your posts tell me you have.

Good day.

John (Ad Orientem) said...

OK folks. I think this is an appropriate time to for me to remind people again to avoid debating personally or engaging in ad hominems. Please stick to the issues at hand. Thanks...


Anonymous said...

It's not an ad hominem response when pointing out the abysmal ignorance and arrogance of a poster's statement.

Anti-Gnostic particularly riles me with his smug "knowing the real truth" attitude which makes him, ironically, a "gnostic".

It's difficult to discuss a subject such as slavery and the South with someone who, of course, really "knows" the subject and is quite sure that common view is erroneous at the very least.

Le Panda du Mal said...

"The US freed slaves by enslaving free men."

I'm sure this line sounded really cool and romantic before you typed it, but now that it's out here in the real world and not confined to a comic book or cartoon somewhere, it comes across as melodramatic nonsense.

The Ochlophobist said...


When bothering to correct someone on a thread, it helps to check and make sure that you are correct first:


The book is by Genovese. Good grief. As is obvious, grad school means little these days.

John (Ad Orientem) said...

If you disagree with his comments then refute them with facts. If the manner of expressing his opinions riles you than take a deep breath before responding or do what I do when people post comments that I have a low opinion of... leave them for others to draw their own conclusions. I have generally found the caliber of comments posted here to be both thoughtful and well presented even when I don't agree with the. Yes there have been exceptions. But when they pop up very often others will jump in and gently (but ruthlessly) dissect silly statements thus sparing me the trouble.

In short you may ridicule the opinion, but not the poster. Those who have mastered that rather delicate art are often able to effectively do both without coming across as crass or lowering themselves to name calling. Once you drop to that level however than you have pretty much lost the argument. If you are having trouble with that I would suggest walking away from the discussion.

For the record I don't agree with AG's comments and have addressed them on a number of occasions in other threads. I believe his views represent little more than a modern variation on mid 19th century "Know-Nothingism." But as long as people don't cross the line I have drawn in my guidelines for commenting then I generally will let them stand (or fall) on their own merit. I don't like censoring opinions, even those with which I vigorously disagree.

All of which said, I will reluctantly delete any further comments which in my judgment constitute a personal attack on other commentators.

Under the mercy,

John (Ad Orientem) said...

For an example of what I am referring to see the very cutting but perfectly fair comment posted by Le Panda du Mal.

Tawser said...

Forgive me. I was so sure about Consuming Fire I didn't bother to check. Faust makes a similar argument. And I am still waiting for someone to tell me why an Orthodox Christian should be opposed in principal to slavery. Based not on modern moral sentiment but on tradition. And bearing in mind that slavery in one form or another has flourished in Orthodox civilizations with no protest from the church of which I am aware.

Tawser said...


I am struck by your comment that it is acceptable for comments to be "cutting" provided that they are "fair?" Why? I don't get it. Why isn't it possible on the internet to express an opinion without cruelty? And the distinction between the opinion and the writer is fine in theory but disingenous in practice, since all opinions are reflections of those who hold them and the blow still strikes home. You are simply defining the acceptable forms of nastiness.

The Ochlophobist said...


Define slavery.

In most cases, ancient slavery, medieval feudalism, and Russian serfdom, whilst nasty and despicable things, were practiced in a manner more akin to what we might call indentured servitude than slavery as it was usually practiced in the American South. Thus St. Gregory in the quote above is condemning actions which were often not as severe, generally speaking, as slavery in the South. St. Nil Sorsky does not condemn Russian feudalism as an institution per se, but when arguing why monks can't own property and thus lord over serfs he has some choice words for those who do such things.

I think that one could easily construct an Orthodox argument against chattel slavery as practiced in the American South. It gets more complicated when talking about those ancient slaveries in which slaves could own property, marry, testify in court, earn incomes which sometimes enabled them to support families, etc. The fathers on the whole were not going to condemn that institution then because it provided a safety net of sorts for many people. Their insistence tended to be upon slave-owners being charitable to their slaves, and what was meant by that was perhaps akin we would mean by insisting that company owners treat their employees (wage slaves) well. Slave-owners did do horrible things during ancient times, such as killing slaves without cause, etc., and those actions would certainly have been condemned by the fathers.

The Ochlophobist said...

All that said, the philosophy and anthropology that the fathers made use of and baptized did not so concern itself with the institution of slavery for the most part, and it is no surprise that the fathers don't often touch upon the subject. We, however, live at a time when a great deal of study and serious analysis has been done with regard to the conditions of working persons and the exploitation of the poor and working classes by rich and powerful persons and institutions. When considering a very modern working phenomenon, such as dangerous chemicals being sprayed on tomato fields in Mexico while workers without anything to protect their skin and lungs are in the fields, a practice which is common there and done because it is cheaper than setting a time aside with no workers in the fields to do it, it is inconceivable to me that the fathers would consider such a practice and then begin to reflect on the glory of human freedom and how this freedom should be reflected in mass free markets, etc., etc., ad nauseum. They would condemn such a practice, as St. Gregory condemned slavery in the quote above. And if in a given case they did not condemn it, they would be wrong. The fact is, just as we know more about how human cells transfer calcium and make ATP, we also know more about the working conditions among the people of the world. It is interesting to note that with the exception of the peasant's revolts shortly after the Reformation, for the remainder of modernity virtually all radical movements against slavery and the oppression of workers began in the upper classes. I laugh every time I hear some tea party type talking about greed as the motivation behind socialism. All European socialism, but especially Anglo socialisms (Fabianism, etc.) came straight out of the upper classes. Heck, in England for a good long while there were far more radicals in the House of Lords than House of Commons. There are manifestations of working class socialism, of course, especially in American populism, but these always followed work done by upper class sorts. When one looks at the history of upper class people taking an interest in the welfare of the poor and beginning to offer radical solutions to social problems, it follows the growth of information technologies in modernity (and the ability to travel with increasing speed, which allows for a verification of the information). Ivan Karamazov, if you will, is only possible after the advent of the newspaper and the train. In short, the social consciousness of the upper classes, who fueled the fights for "justice" for the poor and enslaved, came about because they had more information. Thus I am not sure it works to state that upper class folks from pre-modern times "would not have supported" anti-slavery movements, or some such thing (not that we can say they would have either), because in pre-modern times their access to information and analysis regarding the conditions of workers on a large scale was far more limited. St. Gregory wrote what he wrote about human slavery based on simple particular human observation, and thank God for it. But imagine had some Cappodocian version of Marx written a work which in great detail analyzed the lives and work of the working classes (slaves) during St. Gregory's time. It is hard for me to think that if they were supplied with what they believed to be reliable information regarding the state of most working people, with details of both typical cases and the extremes (bad and good), that the saints would not have ranted and raved against such things, in the manner that St. John Chrysostom routinely did.

Fr. Benedict Crawford said...

By way of full disclosure, I speak as a born and bred Southerner from the hills of northern Alabama.

John, I appreciate your comments about the difficulty of passing judgment on persons who lived in a radically different time. I have no doubt that your medieval peasant friend would indeed be shocked to see the world we have created for oursevles.

Also, to Owen, I greatly enjoyed reading your comments regarding the fathers and slavery. Very insightful. Thank you.

For all that, while no one could credibly argue that the Civil War was not about slavery, in so many ways slavery is just the tip of the iceburg. For many of us in the South, in our collective memories and those of our grandparents, the Civil War and its aftermath was an almost unforgiveable intrusion into our life and culture of outsiders who were hell-bent on destroying not only slavery (abominable as it truly was), but also many good things in our culture. It was an attempt on the part of modern industrialism to destroy what was in many ways a traditional culture. And if the war was not enough to entrench animosity, then the way in the South was treated by the North after the war certainly managed to entrench it. In northern Alabama where I grew up, for example, the poverty of the early 20th century largely flowed right into the poverty of the depression, and this in turn stretched into the mid-20th century. In my own father's time, the poverty experienced by so many in rural areas was felt as a lasting and very visceral reminder of war. Whether or not the aftermath of a war in the 1860s had anything to do with poverty in the 1950s, the fact is that a connection was perceived.

In no way am I trying to justify the practice of slavery. It was an abomination, plain and simple. But old and deep wounds take a long time to heal, and there's more to the story than slavery.

Anonymous said...

"That's the short term view. Long term, the South kept its low taxes and sunshine and recovered its wealth."

Does this statement really need to be refuted with facts?

Plus "AG" has never defined "gnosticism".

You're correct. There really is no need to dispute such comments but I'm not sure that ridicule isn't called for.

Anonymous said...

Fr. Crawford,

Perhaps the poverty you refer to was actually quite in evidence in the South before the Civil War. It was not perceived as such because of slavery. Perhaps Jim Crow was an attempt to keep the same perception after the war.

CJ said...

If you showed the Dred Scott decision to any of the Fathers, they would be beside themselves at the proposition that black slaves had no rights that white people had to respect. Whatever the horrors or injustices of ancient slavery, serfdom, etc., they didn't go that far, and any of the Fathers would see it as contrary to the fatherhood of God.

reader joseph said...

there were poor whites in the South before the War, just as there were after. using the excuse of Reconstruction, and the resultant Jim Crow laws seem, to me, to have been just another way for the "traditionalists" to keep their position in society.

i can agree with a strong critique of industrialism and its effects on the agrarian ways of the South, but a lot of the people who bemoaned its passing did so because it threatened their power over sharecroppers, both white and black, and therefore their income. what so often passes for "traditional ways" is just the continued exploitation of the poor by the rich. exceptions to be had, of course.

Salaam said...

Seems to me that Orthodoxy has always been more concerned about the salvation of individual souls than re-engineering society. Hence St. Gregory of Nyssa's quote above.

Another example: Orthodoxy tells us as individuals to give to the poor, but it does not tell us to create or not to create a welfare state.

Anonymous said...

Whether or not serfdom in Russia was actively opposed by the Church is secondary to the point that serfdom was an imperial imposition and in no way intrinsic to Orthodox culture. The Russian Church was strongly subordinated to the state when serfdom became institutionalized. A lot of Russian culture was deeply deformed from an Orthodox perspective.

I would also suggest a read of Hart's Atheist Delusions for a discussion of Christian impact on Roman slavery.

melxiopp said...

The "Disunion" blog series by the New York Times (http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/category/disunion/) might also be a helpful resource on this topic. In it's own words, "'Disunion' revisits and reconsiders America's most perilous period -- using contemporary accounts, diaries, images and historical assessments to follow the Civil War as it unfolded."

Today's post is "The Cultural Roots of Disunion" by James C. Cobb, which starts out:

"The traditional take on how the Union came apart after Abraham Lincoln’s election rests on the irreconcilable political and economic differences between North and South over slavery. Yet the secession crisis didn’t emerge overnight, and the long build-up to it also involved concerted efforts on both sides to construct self-serving pseudo-ethnic and civic identities. These identities consciously exaggerated the cultural antipathy between the two sections — and contributed greatly to their eventual split."


The Ochlophobist said...

As I am sure readers of this thread are aware, there were a number of county governments in the south, and other local level government and civic groups that were opposed to Southern succession and the C.S.A. It is worth noting that in most Southern states there is a "Union" country and at least some of these got that name because they were full of union sympathizers during the Civil War. As I recall at least three Southern counties succeeded, or attempted to succeed from their state government because these counties were pro-Union. To my knowledge in each instance in which you see a local county or local area go pro-union and against the CSA and their Southern state, these counties were populated overwhelmingly by poor, yeoman whites.

Southern agrarian writer Frank Lawrence Owsley’s influential work Plain Folk of the Old South has been discredited almost unanimously by scholars of Southern history writing in the last two generations. The fact is that at the time of the civil war large land owning de facto aristocrats were destroying the yeoman culture of the South, which is one reason my own paternal ancestors kept moving westward, from NC, to Alabama, to Mississippi, and finally to Arkansas were they were at the time of the Civil War. The only reason they stayed there is because they “made it” and got big as it were, the largest slaveholding family in Helena, Arkansas at the time of the war, themselves becoming a part of the de facto Southern Aristocracy. My maternal family, however, were Welshmen who ended up in and around mining communities in WVA, and I have studied WVA history for most of my life. Here again we see small white landholders who had been itching to get out from the unjust taxation schemes of the Aristocratic run Virginia that was east of the Alleghenies. While West Virginians split with regard to the number of troops they sent to the North and to the South, it is worth noting that those sent to the South tended to come from upper class families with business connections in eastern VA and/or folks who owned larger parcels of land. Poor whites in WVA tended to care nothing about the war or fight for the Union.

All this is not to say that many poor whites did not buy into the confederate rhetoric and serve as pawns in the political machinations of the Southern aristocracy. Americans have a heart for war, and militarism has always been strong in the South. It is only to say that the matter was a complicated, and that there were many instances of small landholding whites in revolt against the CSA. And to suggest that poor whites who fought for the CSA were not fighting for the interests of the yeoman Southern farmer. They were fighting for the interests of Southern Aristocrats, but told that they were fighting for their own interests. Of course the poor Southern whites who said no to the CSA had no love for Northern industrial capitalists, but I suppose the tyrant 1000 miles away was deemed better than the one in Nashville, etc.

The Ochlophobist said...

- cont'd -

What gets even more interesting is that these tensions between small landholders and large landholders (who had connection to finance) continue after the Civil War. The popular story is that carpetbaggers took control of a great deal of land in the South after the War, but that is exaggerated. With the transition from Southern aristocracy to tenant farming, within 1-2 generations, we see prominent Southern families (albeit many never recovered) who become huge landowners again (my father’s mother’s family in Helena included), this time with the machinations of big finance and manipulated state legislatures behind them. The results were conflicts that were essentially military like battles between poor white landholders and those men hired by wealthy whites. The most famous of these is the Green Corn Rebellion in 1917 in OK, but this mimicked what had been seen in a number of Southern states for the prior couple of generations. See in particular the Mudsills of Hell: The Farmers' Alliance, Populism, and Progressive Agriculture in Tennessee, 1870-1915 by Connie L. Lester. Though she uses the word ‘vigilantism’ to refer to actions which I consider militia in nature. When you have a battle between hired thugs fighting for a huge landowners and small tenant farmers that involves nearly 1000 men fighting, it is a bit more complicated than vigilantism.

All this is to say that the tradition of the Southern yeoman never developed broadly across the South in the manner the Southern Agrarians suggest, at least not in a sustainable manner, and it was under threat even within the Antebellum South, by attacks from Southern aristocrats who were largely successful in snuffing out the Southern yeoman. This would play into the politics and economics of work in the South to this day. White tenant farmers, white sharecroppers, and whites with small landholdings were ripe for radical revolt from wealthy landowners and banks from 1870 to 1920, and what prevented that from happening (when it was prevented) was an appeal to racism. For the call to radicalization and unionization and the political machinery it would have taken to overcome wealthy landowners would have required poor whites and poor blacks to engage in political and economic alliances. In the past many years a number of dissertations have been written on the influence of banks and wealthy Southern businessmen upon Jim Crow laws and even with regard to their giving financially to racist groups such as the Klan. It was vital to the powers that be that poor whites and poor blacks were kept in a state of social antagonism. Jim Crow benefited rich Southerners. This is why the South is decidedly non union today. So when you think fondly of that non-union Toyota plant in north Mississippi, keep in mind that it is there because of a century+ long tradition of keeping poor Southern whites and poor Southern blacks from saying enough is enough to the financial elite. In that sense, the transition from antebellum South to reconstructionist South mattered little.

Seeker said...

You gotta be kidding/

It is an indictment of the US educational system that every single child does not know that the Civil War was entirely about the SPREAD -- the SPREAD -- of slavery.

For over a generation, certainly from 1820 on, the South collectively had but one focus -- the spread of slavery. Not the protection of slavery, the SPREAD of slavery.

Not sorta, not kinda, not "in a way", not "well you could look at it that way". The expansion of slavery was so central that the Southern leaders issued FIve Ultimatums -- before the Civil War.

All five ultimatums were about the SPREAD of slavery.

The SPREAD of slavery.

As Toombs screamed to cheering crowds "EXPAND OR PERISH".


As the governor of Florida said, just stopping the SPREAD of slavery is "like burning us to death slowly".

Every history book in every school of this country, should show the Five Southern Ultimatums.

All five were written by the exact same leaders that created the Confederacy. They weren't written by someone else, they were written by the founding fathers of the slave nation -- CSA.

All five Ultimatums were about the spread of slavery.

Why aren't these Ultimatums even mentioned in ANY US text book?

These Ultimatums were announded loudly and proudly in Southern newspapers. Richmond headlines about the ultimatums said " THE TRUE ISSUE!"

The SOuthern leaders screamed these ultimatums. The Southern newspapers boasted about these Ultimatums.

But for some reason (I think I know what it is) the South and its apologists and "historians" simply don't go there.

These Ultimatums were not simply the rantings of the Founding Fathers of the CSA. These exact demands were their demands FOR DECADES.

This is what the South was about -- this is what the "Compromise" of 1820 was about. This is what th "Compromise" of 1850 was about. The entire history of the South from 1800 on, was focused, like a laser, on the SPREAD of slavery.

1861 was just another of the relentless efforts by SOuthern leaders to push slavery even further, as they claimed that was the will of God Almighty.

Every person who claims slavery was not the cause of the CIvil War should read the Southern Ultimatums, and then read the SOuthern newspapers, and then read the SOuthern books, and speeches and documents of the period.