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In 1861, the nations most deadly war began. To make it worse, the enemy we fought was ourselves. This was known as the Civil War. The Civil War was caused due to rising tensions between the northerners and the southerners. The rising tensions caused America to clash with itself. One of the most interesting parts of this war was that nobody knew exactly what each side was fighting for. Answers varied from we want to keep our slaves to we want to keep our state’s power in the government. The Civil War was without a doubt a war for freedom.
During the Civil War, there was propaganda that depicted the life of a slave as he transcended from a slave to a freedman where he later dies from fighting for the Union(Havens and Hellholes, pg 212).
If this was a war about something other than freedom, then there should be no reason for there to be propaganda depicting the state of slaves. Since it was, in fact, a war about freedoms and slavery, then it makes perfect sense for propaganda to depict matter that directly correlate to the main components of the Civil War. This means that people were able to recognize what role slavery was playing in the current war. David Goldfield once said, Both northerners and southerners recognized slavery as the immediate cause of the Civil War(CrashCourse). If slavery was recognized as the immediate cause for the Civil War, there should be no person able to stand behind the claim that the Civil War was about anything but the freedoms of unjustly enslaved persons. Even if all the southerners were explicitly not fighting to keep slaves, they would still be fighting for freedom, the freedom of their state.
How it works
Southerners saw themselves in a fight for their own freedom(CrashCourse). There are a few flaws with the southerners claim about not fighting for the right to have slaves. If they are fighting for state rights that means they are in fact fighting to keep slavery because that is exactly what the state would do immediately after gaining its freedom from the federal government. On top of that, we can conclude that the Civil War was not about state rights.
If the war was about state rights, the war would have started during the nullification crisis in the 1830’s where Andrew Jackson said that South Carolina couldn’t declare a tariff null in their state.(CrashCourse)
If the south was dead set on the war being about their state rights, then they should have started the war when they were the angriest about their state rights. They instead start it thirty years after when the tensions were lower than they were previously. If they had actually been willing to start a war on state rights, then they definitely would have started it back in the 1830’s. In other words, they were in no way fighting for their state rights alone, there had to be something else included in that package that made them want to fight the country they just became a part of.
One analogy that was used to describe the south’s tactics was the south is a rattlesnake with no rattle to warn of it’s intent to land a deadly blow(Northern Children). Meaning that the South was fighting with subtle and cowardly ways such as complaining about government policies, failing to support President Lincoln, working to undermine the war effort, and ready to strike at the National existence whenever an opportunity is presented(Northern Children). Meaning that the south originally had no intentions of playing nice to the North making a war inevitable. What the southerners today call Northern aggression was inevitable due to their irritable behavior that later became the leading factor that caused the tension between the North and the South. Thus making the Civil War partially about freeing the northerners from the southerner’s passive aggressive attacks.
Late into the not-so-civil Civil War, one southern girl was found stating, If all the words of hatred in every language under heaven were summed up together into one huge epithet of detestation, they could not tell how I hate Yankees.(Invaders). Insults of this magnitude towards both sides were definitely not uncommon. This war created great amounts of discrimination against the north and south portions of the United States. This demonstrates the hatred between both of the factions, but neither side was entirely right nor wrong. Both sides fought for different types of freedom. The freedom of the individual tends to overrule the freedom of the state.
Julia Ward Howe was quoted in saying, As he died to make men holy, let us die to make men free.(CrashCourse). This quote definitively means that at least some of the northerners were very much aware of the part that slavery was playing in the Civil War. This person literally states that people are going to die to let other people become free. There is little evidence that can be provided against the idea that the Civil War was a war for freedom. Some people might mention that people weren’t fighting to free slaves because it would mean that slaves would start to take the poor soldiers jobs after the war(CrashCourse).
The reason that the soldiers are fighting the war has a large impact on both moral of the soldiers and the reason for the war. If the North’s soldiers didn’t want to free the slaves, what were they fighting for? The simple solution is that it didn’t matter why the soldiers were fighting, most of them were drafted into the army meaning that they had no choice in the matter. Therefore voiding most of their concerns.
The Civil War was a war for freedom because the propaganda about the war was slavery based meaning the war must have been as slavery based as well, even if the South wasn’t fighting for keeping their slaves they still were fighting for their state freedoms. Thus the war was definitely for freedom whether it was for the freedom of the slaves, or if it was for the freedom of the southern states.
CrashCourse. The Civil War, Part I: Crash Course US History #20. YouTube, YouTube, 28 June 2013, www.youtube.com/watch?v=rY9zHNOjGrs.
Havens and Hellholes. Google Drive, Google, drive.google.com/file/d/0B2M3RL7mor_wbkpMaGVrWEZfZnBVSWhOQmVJZy1jVl9Ccm5V/view.
Invaders and Rebels in the Occupied South. Google Drive, Google, drive.google.com/file/d/0B2M3RL7mor_wLXZDQ0tNRlBrX3NHYV9HNll2dDVFN2Rub19z/view.
Northern Children. Google Drive, Google, drive.google.com/file/d/0B2M3RL7mor_wSmRoRzd3RFMwQkFEbmk0TDNaeWhpTENEbUlJ/view.
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