Re: The Civil War was about slavery, nothing more
Yes, South Carolina did indeed complain about the North’s declaring slavery to be “sinful.” And why shouldn’t they? The North treated its free black residents as pariahs, no abolitionist ever offered a workable, sane plan for its extinction, and it was northern ships that brought slaves from Africa into this country, not southern ships. And long after the slave trade had ceased to be profitable and was abolished, those northern states continued to make profits from processing crops raised with slave labor. And through all this Northerners pointed accusatory fingers at their Southern countrymen while continuing to try and “remove the mote from their brothers’ eye.” No one likes a hypocrite, you see!
And when John Brown pulled his little stunt in Harper’s Ferry, many so-called northern intellectuals (people like you), declared him to be a saint. They seemed unconcerned that Brown planned to raise a black army that would have marched through the south killing men, women and children alike. By the way, speaking of slave rebellions, I have the unedited record of Nat Turner’s uprising, complete with all the gory details, including beheadings of children and the murder of infants. Would you like a copy of it?
It is therefore very easy to see why South Carolina and other states decided to leave. When you find yourself in close proximity to someone who dislikes you intensely and whose intent seems to be to inflict harm on you, the normal human reaction is to put as much distance as possible between yourself and the offending party.
And as far as the oft-quoted Alexander Stephens goes, his statement about the Negro not being the equal of the white man is no different from what most of white America, north and south, felt at the time. In fact, Lincoln said nearly the exact same thing. 
Mr. Stephens also marveled at the incongruity of the North’s behavior, noting how the North, despite expressing hatred for the South, ostensibly over the issue of slavery, refused to let the South go. He criticized the north’s feigned expressions of humanity while accurately zeroing in on their real motive – “collection of taxes. “ Funny how I never see any of you so-called journalist wheeling out this particular quote?! By the way, would you like a copy of the actual quote? I didn’t think so.
And no, Nathan Bedford Forrest did not lead a massacre of unarmed black people. Those black people were armed, many were drunk as skunks, and Forrest himself reigned in his men when he saw what was going on. That too is a matter of record.
And no, secession is not treason. Many of the north’s best legal minds warned against trying Jefferson Davis for treason. They all said that the government had no case and would lose in the courts what it had won on the battlefield. Besides, have you ever read the words of the Founders themselves on the subject of state sovereignty? We both know that the answer is “no!” Well, I have, and secession is not treason.
Now I can back up anything I’ve said here with facts and references. So if you want references, I can provide them. In the interest of brevity and in the belief that your real motivation is not a discussion of history but an attack on your fellow countrymen, I have not included them in this email.
Like those of your ilk, you have never heard old sayings like, “live and let live,” or “mind your own business.” I was brought up on those two sayings. I was also brought up to recognize the fact that people may have opinions that differ from mine and to respect their opinions. Therefore, I am usually the last person to go out and deliberately pi** on anyone’s cheerios. However, I was also taught not to allow myself to be pushed around. Whenever I encounter someone like yourself, someone who fervently believes that his sh** doesn’t stink, I push back. So here comes some pushin’!
Newsflash – no one was “kidnapped,” at least not by white men. Slaves taken out of Africa were purchased by white men from native African slave traders and chiefs. Africans were and still are the world’s most prodigious practitioners of slavery. No, your ancestors weren’t kidnapped, at least not by men who looked like me. They were purchased by guys like me from native Africans who had already “kidnapped” them. In case you still don’t get it, your ancestors were already someone else’s slaves. And had they remained slaves in Africa, they would have most likely ended up in someone’s cooking pot or as victims of human sacrifice. Please consult the diaries of Doctors Stanley and Livingston, or the diary of Conrad Maulte Braun on these matters if you don’t believe me. 
We did not take your freedom, or your names, or your dignity. We could not take away things which you never had anyway in that glorious land of your distant ancestors. Yes, we did take you out of Africa and to America. Yes, we did use your labor. And no matter how revolting that may seem to you in 2011, for your ancestors, it probably saved many of their lives, and in the end, it gave you something that you never would have had if they had remained in Africa – that something is – “CIVILIZATION!”  2200 years ago, my distant ancestors were out building roads throughout the known world. 2200 years ago, your distant ancestors were squatting in mud huts, unable to dream of a wheel. And if someone who looked like me hadn’t come along and shown them what a wheel was, they never would have figured it out! The 600,000 slaves who were brought into North America multiplied over a period of several hundred years to the point where today, their descendents number almost 40 million. Today, many of their descendents, like yourself for instance, sit in high holy judgment or cry about people not liking them or people not doing what they want them to do. Today, you get paid buku bucks to sit and write op/ed pieces and throw stones at people like me, who ask nothing more of people like you than to be left alone to tend to what is important to us. Life is good, eh?
No, I don’t cry about slavery, I don’t feel sorry about it in the least, I would never apologize for it, and there will be snowball fights in hell before I surrender one hard earned dollar of mine for anything resembling reparations. In fact, given the fact that had your ancestors not been slaves, you would be now sitting in a mud hut in Africa trying to avoid being killed or mutilated by your neighbors, I’d say that maybe, just maybe, you owe me something.
No, slavery was not the cause of the war. And there did not have to be a war. The South did not want a war. It simply wanted to be left alone and go its own way, something that the North refused to allow it to do. Failure to comprehend the meaning of “mind your own business” does have its consequences, and in this particular case, the consequence came in the form of 620000 lives lost.
Go – remember yourself as you wish. We do not wish to take whatever “memories” you have of yourself, fabricated or otherwise. Go construct whatever little fantasy you wish in order to find peace with yourself. Just leave our memories alone. We are here. We have always been here and we always will be here, and we have as much right to our “memories” as you do yours.
Just remember, the world does not revolve around you, it never has and it never will. No one died and made you king, no one gave you the right to dictate to others how they should think or what they feel. And if you want to understand the real cause of that war, well, just go over to the nearest mirror and take a good long look and you’ll see it staring back at you. The cause was people who think like me trying to get away from people who think like you and people who think like you refusing to let them go.
Have a Happy 150th!
Bill Vallante
Commack, NY