When Gloating Stops, The War Will End

November 06, 2010

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

Regarding the editorial, "No End": I would suggest that the Civil War will end when history ceases to be the propaganda of the victorious.

The editorial says that without question slavery caused the war. I have a question: How? Some historians have said to look at the wording in the Ordinances of Secession — they have slavery written all over them.

That may be true, but it does not answer the question. The Ordinances of Secession were declarations of independence, not declarations of war. The seven cotton states didn’t secede so they could have a war. They seceded to get away from the North and be let alone. What, then, caused the war?

It was caused by Lincoln’s refusal to let those states withdraw peacefully from a voluntary union. Cotton was king and the North needed Southern cotton for its mills and southern markets for its manufacturers. With the South out of the Union, the North would wither on the vine.

Cloaking Northern interests in robes of morality, Lincoln maneuvered the South into firing the first shot and then called for troops to drive the South back into the Union at bayonet point.

Twenty-five years earlier, Tocqueville had written: "If the Union were to undertake to enforce by arms the allegiance of the confederate States by military means, it would be in a position very analogous to that of England at the time of the War of Independence."

Virginia refused to send troops to Lincoln for any such purpose, and promptly seceded. Then-Gov. Letcher’s letter of refusal contains this monumental rebuke to Lincoln: "You have chosen to inaugurate civil war . . . ."

H.V. Traywick.
Richmond.