A different perspective on War Between States

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Leonard Pitts Jr., who usually writes very good columns, recently wrote of others’ supposed "lack of historical knowledge" about the War Between the States.

To begin with, it was not a "civil war" since the South was not attempting to take control of the federal government. It was not a war about slavery. Abraham Lincoln repeatedly stated that if the South rejoined, slavery could continue.

The war was to force the South, the richest and most productive section of America, to remain as the main financial support of the federal system.

Also, only 7 percent of Southerners owned slaves. It is unbelievable that the other 93 percent would join a terrible war against great odds to merely support slave owners.

Many slaves had been freed before the war. In South Carolina, 258 freedmen were slave owners themselves, and two owned 100 slaves each.

It is unfortunate that Pitts does not honor the 60,000 blacks (mostly freedmen) who fought for four years in the Confederate armed forces.

The War Between the States was for independence, and as the U.S. Supreme Court told Lincoln in 1861, was legally and constitutionally permitted.

As a Southerner and a student of the war, I admire the men, black and white, who fought for the Confederacy and blessed its flag.

Charles W. Stockell