Re: South’s ‘way of life’ was all about slavery
Below is my comment on this. There is an old belief that the simplest answer is usually the best. However, in the case of history, that is seldom the case.
So much to correct, so little opportunity to do so.
Slavery still existed in the North; it was not limited to the South. Indeed, Lincoln said that the slaves in New Jersey might be emancipated by 1914!
The first man to legally own a black man in the American colonies – was a black man! There were black slave owners in the South and free blacks, but there were few to none of that race in the North where "black codes" prevented them from entering (much less settling) there. From the beginning, it was the South that worked to end the importation of slaves from Africa, and the North that carried on the trade. Before the advent of radical abolitionists in the North, the South had a thriving abolitionist movement which ended only when the Northern radicals tried to incite servile insurrection and the murder of whites (whether or not they owned slaves) by blacks. These people – including John Brown – were not interested in the well being of the black man, but in using him to kill white Southerners!
The major problem with ending slavery, as Thomas Jefferson noted, was what to do with blacks who had become a very large population within the body politic. It was assumed by most whites of that day – Lincoln included – that he could not be assimilated into the white culture and as he could not migrate North or West because of the black codes in place in those states and territories, the very real question in the South was, "What shall we do with the Negro?" (There is a book out with that title which addresses this issue.) Many (including Lincoln) favored colonization in Africa, the West Indies and Central and South America. But blacks were kept in the South despite the region’s extreme poverty until the manpower shortage during WWI saw the first large migration of blacks north to fill the factories and mills of Northern industry.
Finally, if slavery had been the cause of secession, then the cotton states would immediately have returned to the Union because Lincoln and the Republicans had passed through Congress the Corwin Amendment to the Constitution which would have placed slavery in that document in perpetuity; that is, it could not later be revoked. That secession continued clearly proves that slavery – though an important issue – was not the DEFINING issue. Sadly, our present Marxist revisionist version of history is more interested in being politically correct than being simply correct.