March 19, 2007
In reply to Mr. William Butler’s letter: If he says that to his Confederate ancestors, they are going to tell him to go back and read his history more closely, if they can stop spinning in their graves long enough to do so.
It is certainly not undisputed that the Confederates were fighting to perpetuate slavery. Insofar as the political issue of slavery was a factor, the South was fighting to end slavery on its own terms, which it would have had to do within a couple of decades.
For economic reasons, the practice of slavery was dying out in the Western world by 1860, and had gradually been abolished in the northern states since the founding of this country. It would have soon been ended by those same economic forces within the southern United States had it not been used by abolitionist propagandists in the North as a red herring to stir feeling against the South and thus aid the national government to "preserve the Union" by force, along with preserving its many revenues flowing from the southern states (witness Charles Dickens’ famous quote at the time).
The last country in this part of the world to abolish slavery was Brazil, sometime in the late 1880s, and like all the others except the United States, without fighting a war. The conclusion seems inescapable that the United States, but for the reasons aforementioned, would have done the same.
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