Going to a boarding school, which brought in students from all over the country, conversations about the civil war were always very interesting and informative. While I, a student from the north was taught about the war that freed the slaves from southern cruelty, my friends from the south were taught about a war for the state’s rights and resisting an overcontrolling federal government. Thus, in history class, we examined the surface claims of both the north and the south but also the multi-layered reasons for the civil war. The different views of different parts of the country still exist and are part of the reason there was such a debate with the removal of confederate statues.
While the north did generally want to end slavery, part of the reason was the economic prosperity that the cotton industry and slavery gave the south over the north, whose lands permitted industry. They thought too much southern power would mean their oppression. The north wanted to preserve the union as well. The south also had a stake in the game and felt particularly threatened as the balance of free and slave states shifted giving the North more federal power. Without slavery, the Southern economy would take a big hit, and they feared the northern power that would ensue as a result.
However, I found it very interesting to dive more specifically into Abraham Lincoln, who is usually considered a hero for the emancipation proclamation. Yet, looking at his changing statements regarding slavery it brings a new element of politics that has to be considered. Do you think that it matters what other intentions went into the emancipation proclamation because, at the end of the day, it went into effect and ended slavery? Is the end result all that matters when examining Lincoln, or is that just glorifying a history that needs to be looked at with critique?