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The Daily Need

Can you celebrate secession without celebrating slavery?

Can you celebrate secession without celebrating slavery? That question seems to be the core tension surrounding the upcoming celebrations of the American Civil War’s 150-year anniversary. The New York Times recently reported on a series of events over the next four years that commemorate the sesquicentennial, including a “Secession Ball,” a candlelight memorial at Antietam, a parade in Montgomery, Alabama, and a mock swearing-in of the Confederacy’s would-be president, Jefferson Davis.

The legacy of slavery that was central to the Civil War is no cause for celebration, of course; in fact, many of these memorial events will hardly be mentioning it. Michael Givens of the Sons of Confederate Veterans told the New York Times that “our people were only fighting to protect themselves from an invasion and for their independence.” Jeff Antley, another member of the organization and Secession Ball organizer, said that “defending the South’s right to secede, the soldiers’ right to defend their homes and the right to self-government doesn’t mean your arguments are without weight because of slavery.”

But the failure to recognize the role of slavery at all has left several others aghast. Lonnie Randolph, the president of the South Carolina chapter of the NAACP told the New York Times that promoting the Confederacy’s idea of “states’ rights” really refers to “their idea of one right — to buy and sell human beings.”

While it might be possible to celebrate an idealized version of a war glorifying independence and self-governance outside of slavery, it isn’t history. Ta-Nehisi Coates of The Atlantic posted a lengthy excerpt of the official declaration of South Carolina’s grievances and reasons for secession, which very much center on the fear of losing the institution of slavery. Mississippi’s declaration of secession also clearly states, “Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery — the greatest material interest of the world.” State historians in Georgia have also recognized the central role of slavery in the state’s decision to secede.

Coates argues that idealizing the Confederacy at all equates to celebrating slavery itself:

When you celebrate the Confederacy, you are not celebrating something that was nobly flawed, nor are you celebrating a rash hot-headed mistake. You are celebrating a world wherein the president of the United States could not exist. You are celebrating a fully formed ideology, the goal of which was to raise a republic that would make slaves of nearly every black person you see before you today, until the time of God’s judgment. God’s judgment has come and gone, but the bilkers of history endure.

When you celebrate the Secession, you celebrate American apartheid. You celebrate evil. No one should ever let that pass.

But are the celebrations really about history, or some other kind of long-lost ideal? And if it is the latter, is that still acceptable? After all, sanitizing and glorifying the past during the celebration of national holidays is not a unique phenomenon. Rarely do celebrations of American Thanksgiving or Columbus Day focus on mass killings of Native Americans during the colonial period.

Share your opinions on the sesquicentennial and Confederacy celebrations in the comments section. Our co-host and resident history expert Jon Meacham will be addressing the issue and some of your comments in an upcoming episode of Need to Know.

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  • Yankee

    The revolt by the Confederacy was an act of treason (defined by the Constitution as “taking up arms against the country”) and the soldiers, while pardoned for the good of the nation, were traitors. At some point we need to face that fact, and especially need to stop flying US and CSA flags together. In history, the bearers of the CSA flag burned the US flag in the streets. There’s nothing noble here, nothing.

  • Dfromtennessee

    Growing up in the south I have tried to understand the motives behind many who fly the Confederate flag instead of the American flag. Many who do, I have found, don’t even know anything about the history behind it which leads me to believe that their motive is racial. I have also found that some pick and choose parts of history to hide behind when their motives are racial. We cannot ignore the fact that although some may say it was about fighting for independence, the facts seem to show that it was about protecting the right of the wealthy to enslave other human beings based on the color of their skin. The fact that some celebrate this piece of history on such a grand scale, while ignoring some of the facts, is somewhat disheartening. We should celebrate the fact that we have overcome the injustice of enslavement of any human being and stop celebrating the likes of authors such as Sarah Palin who have a skewed view of history and what patriotism is all about. She and so many others live in an unrealistic world of their own when they think racism is dead, and anyone who says that is confirming the fact that it does still exist.

  • James

    I understand that people want to celebrate their regional history, and to that end, I guess I don’t blame them. But I think some of these organizations get the history wrong. Alexander Stephens, the Vice President of the Confederacy, said that the, “cornerstone,” of the CSA was that the races are NOT equal. Unlike Chief Justice Taney, he admits that, “All men are created equal,” includes blacks. But instead of then being antislavery, he explains that this was the fatal flaw of the Union. That does not mean that every Confederate soldier who lost his life was fighting for slavery–far from it–but it does mean that the motive for secession at the institutional level was to protect slavery.

  • Southernatheart

    I do not see anything wrong with what is going on. You can definitely celebrate secession without celebrating slavery; most of the southerners did. The Confederate soldiers were men from all classes and walks of life but they all died for the same thing- independence, home and country, freedom (not slavery). Many Confederates did not approve of slavery so why must we always associate them with it? No, to them it wasn’t illegal, a revolution is always legal in the first person, they simply did what had to be done to defend their home and way of life. Let the festivities begin!

  • bananaloca

    Southerners weren’t only fighting to keep slavery…they were also fighting to expand slavery. White southerners who did not own slaves didn’t want blacks to take away their jobs and per racial motivations, perferred to keep them on plantations. The Civil War was treason, plain and simple and it was over slavery. Yes there were economic differences…the South had forced labor and the North had free labor…forced labor is slavery…so fighting because of that and saying it is something else like “state rights” is absurd. There is no way one can celebrate succession without celebrating slavery as slavery was the reason for the succession.

  • Truthiness

    History is easily distorted by any interest group that presents a narrow focus, choosing only facts that support their case. This a readily apparent in the politics of today when voters are presented with “facts” that seem to prove both sides’ cases when presented or spun in a certain way. Similarly, history can be spun by leaving out certain details that may not suit the goals of the purveyor. Those celebrating secession conveniently omit reasons for the secession that might discredit their cause. Indeed, many of our historically significant events have dark details that should give pause to some of our jubilation. yet, we are not alone in doing this. The Japanese government conveniently omits some of the atrocities perpetrated by their armies in the 20th century. The Soviet Union was always considered a prime example of edited history, spinning some it’s darkest acts into achievement. The naysayers of the Holocaust dispute facts and use a form of reverse spin to fault historically accepted facts. Of course, our history books have evolved over time to try and present a more balanced view of own history, and not without much derision from some critics. This is not a unique phenomenon by any means. Any celebration of the act of secession that omits slavery as a reason for the secession is historically inaccurate and should be derided for what it is:spin. The leaders of these celebrations are no better than those who are derisively called “Holocaust denyers”.

  • truthiness

    I like southern rock. I enjoy the hospitality of the south. I’ve met many open-minded, intelligent Southerners in my time. I even like the confederate flag because it’s attractive and represents a cultural heritage I admire in many ways. But separating the act of secession by the states from the institution of slavery and the role it played in that secession is just an inaccurate judgement of historical fact. As pointed out elsewhere in these various posts, many of the secessionist states identified protection of the institution of slavery as a predominant reason to secede. So honor those dead Americans that died defending a cause that many of them neither participated in nor approved of, but do not dishonor them by denying the historical truth that they were led to war by the leadership that was protecting an inherently evil institution called slavery.

  • Fred Welsh

    Treason is a hard word especially in a land that won its independence through rebellion. The founding fathers accepted the right to rebel against a government that failed in some fundamental way. They never denied the right of that government to resist their rebellion. The South exercised that right and lost. The decision of southern leaders to take their region into war was not in the end a wise one.

    As for independence, independence to do what!! Well, keep slaves of course. That’s what the independence was for.

  • Mylam16

    The weakness of not celebrating slavery will either be a black hole with no redemption only condemnation. Practicing Catholics cherish redemptive necessities for they offer true penitence which does not mock our mere human condition. So, slavery and all its anger, hatred, and pain will always need to live on, spoken or unspoken, written or unwritten, for those who are catholic and cherish their need for penitence. It’s only human. MOJ

  • Spencer

    All of us white folks should pay reparations to African Americans to right the wrongs of slavery. How about 10,000 dollars per white family.

  • KCarl7

    The North with more population and more states, controlled both houses of the Legislature. To import desired goods from the world, you have to export equal value of goods. All we had, in sufficient quantity, to export on the world market was mostly rice and cotton. The Legislature over taxed those products with export taxes, making it difficult to sell at the going price and make a profit. The south was going broke under the load of taxes and the North was spending those taxes on Universities, roads, bridges, harbors and such. The south got fed up with “taxation without enough representation” and revolted. They say the American revolution was a justified war, and the Civil war was started for almost the same reasons, taxation without proper representation.
    It was Lincoln that brought up slavery near the end of the war, with the idea of shortening the war. Slavery was not why the war was started.

  • Grnslevs

    I don’t get it! What are you saying?

  • Annasson2

    I will not deny anyone their Constitutionally guaranteed right to celebrate or protest, or whatever, but please understand that those men fought and died to further the institution and industry of slavery. It was not the first or only time men have fought for an ignoble cause. The dishonor comes when men and women (in this time) pretend that slavery was not the issue. It was.
    As Americans, we should acknowledge the sacrifice of so many, but also celebrate the defeat of an evil and vile institution.

  • Jessica A Bruno

    Unsure what I really think on this because I’m a Yankee and not a Southern. The only solution that I can think is have some sort of plague in order commente, spl (spelling) the history of all of this.

  • ed corrigan

    An Unfinished Work

    Abraham, oh Abraham
    Paradox of a man
    Wherefore art thou,
    Oh Abraham?
    Who will lead us from our wanton ways?
    Who, this day, will summon
    The better angels of our nature?
    Who, this day, shall set us free?
    After more than one half million vessels
    Having spilt their full content,
    Having consecrated battle fields of green,
    Having nobly advanced a new
    birth of freedom,
    Having secured the bonded-man’s dream…
    And, yet, the gulf remains.
    A chasm of racism divides
    Brother against brother,
    Sister against sister,
    A house divided cannot stand.
    More than one half million vessels slain,
    As the woe due to those
    By whom the offence came.
    Multitudes paid the ultimate price
    In purchase of the national stain…
    And, yet, the gulf remains.
    Through the mystic chords of memory
    Abraham speaks to us the living,
    Let us strive to finish the work we are in;
    To bind the nations wounds
    With malice towards none
    With charity for all
    In order to form a more perfect union.
    Let us seek God’s sacred grace.
    Our blood hath runneth together
    Blending brothers and sisters,
    In the mystic river of sorrow and hope.
    Almighty God, we beseech thee,
    Let us be as one.

    Copyright © Ed Corrigan 2010
    All Rights Reserved
    Italic quotes –
    Abraham Lincoln 1860’s

  • Yamoa85

    So all Southerners were traitors and the north had no slaves during the course of the Civil War. I guess all the black southern Freemen who fought and defended their homes, families, and lands against the north like the men who defended the Port of New Orleans didn’t exist either. When the Emancipation was signed in the third year of the Civil War I guess that wasn’t in response to England ‘s near decision to support the south. That would mean the riots in the North protesting the Emancipation like those in New York didn’t happen either.
    I see yankees and racists (You don’t have to be white or from the south to be one ya know) are still in control of history.
    Talk about revising history

  • Torontofred

    The civil war started because of slavery? No no no. I’m Canadian. This is what I know. The balance of federal power before the war sided with the North. The South, in modern linguistic terms, felt ripped off. Slavery was a minor issue. Most Southerners, possibly 95%, did not own a slave. Three years after war broke out, slavery was raised from minor to major.

    What burns me is that on PBS TV, the gentleman stated that the celebrations shouldn’t exclude the slavery issue as it was one of the primary reasons for entry into the was. I was not! Statements like that on PBS distorts history. Shame.

    By the way, 50,000 Canadians served in that war for the North. The French Canadian who helped pen O’Canada served as a Northern Cavalry Lt. I’m sure this fact won’t show up at all during the celebrations.

  • Michael C. Lucas

    The facts are that people believe propaganda over facts if it suits there opinion. Revisionist have the idea that slavery was the issue! Yes, I am a southerner, members of my family purchased, owned and traded slaves. We can not change history but it can be corrupted by zealot idealist. As terrible as it is viewed today, it was not always considered so, by the multitude during the course of human history. We are all subject to the powers that be. Slavery is not prejudice to whom it enslaves, all creeds of humanity have suffered its cruelty. The cause of the war and the redemption for the conflict are two subjects the issue of slavery has been integrated into for propaganda. For Anglo- Americans, the argument was about control of the government and country. Neither side wanted the other to dominate the Authority over the other. The issue of slavery was only a distinction primarily associated with the south, because the majority southern states had come to rely on slave labor inherited from the colonization. The south inherited the burden of it, and as the Northern industry grew built from free labor the demands in trading, progress and the greed of wealth came to a head. American expansion was largely due to Southern leaders, which Northerners felt threatened by. In order to compromise fair power between the North and South, legislation was passed to fairly divide the wealth of the new acquisitions. Though the compromises were argued and agreed to by the legislators, enforcing it was altogether another matter. In order to fight expansion of one sides power over the over they came to blows. The reality is by attacking the inhumanity of slavery the North attacked the economy of the South, in the ideal presumption that they were better. The facts clearly present that the war was over the greed of power for the country vs. the issue of slavery. The war for human rights is continuous. Southern Americans Anglo and African have as much right to equal rights as any American, as any human, as any life. Today the slavery issue is still used for politically motivated attacks against Southerners. Who have been and continue to be as good citizens as they were soldiers.

  • Michael C. Lucas

    A symbol is only racists when ignorance perceives it to be, people are inherently ignorant because they choose to be. The Confederate Flag has nothing to with ignorance or racism except by the ignorant who choose to think it is. It is a symbol of honor and a stand for independence of Southern Americans, people who justly defended their families, states and country from invasion.

  • Proud Southerner

    The South didnot invent slavery.The North was responsible for every slave that was brought to this country.All the slave ships were Northern vessels owned by Northerners.Wealth was created in the North at the expense of the freedom of the Africans brought to this country by Northerners.Slavery in this country is more to blame on the North as the South.
    What about the Africans that captured their own,sold them to Northerners who transported them to this country only to loose what freedom they had.
    Don’t pick on the South if you don’t have all the facts.
    We get only what the Government wants us to have.

  • dfromtennessee

    I understand your logic Michael C. Lucas, but I did not say that the Confederate flag has anything to do with ignorance or racism. I was merely pointing out that some people hide behind it with ignorance and racism.

  • Torontofred

    I’m the Canadian just below your entry. Thank you sooooo much with that in-depth explanation of the true causes and events that led to the war. I simply couldn’t have done it. I simply wanted to point out that the slave issue was not the major issue. But I did study the civil war in the Canadian school system without the bias. Propaganda…. what a horrible beast.

  • Torontofred

    What our friend is trying to say is Catholics use their practice of confession (you tell God through a priest what you did wrong and that your sorry in order to clean the slate and start new) to rid the sin.

    So…. extending it to the South, there should be a united cry confessing their sin.

    Unfortunately, the North along with the South are in it together. Northern owned ships brought the slaves in. And escaped slaves from the south caught in the north were returned to their owners. Not nice.

    The United States have elected a black (and white) president. I think the confession was made.

    And let us not forget our friends in the True North. A great many escaped slaves, via the underground railroad, found freedom in Canada.

  • Torontofred

    Traitors, eh?? The war of 1775 was a civil war. 13 colonies (out of a total of 15 and Quebec) breaking away from England in the new world. By your definition, they are traitors. The remaining colonies decided not to break away. They are called patriots. In less then 100 years, Canada was officially formed without a single shot fired. Should Canadians view Americans as traitors? Especially after the war of 1812… a situation where British citizens in Upper Canada, out numbered and out gunned, fought desperately for their form of government, their rights and their freedoms. And they won!

    The argument about being called a traitor or patriot has a great deal of reliance on who won the war. So yeah… Southerns are traitors.

  • Vinnemont

    In response to your comment,

    “The United States have elected a black (and white) president. I think the confession was made.”

    I would like to point out that the one (of forty-three total) black president’s election and presidency have been mired with accusations of illegitimate citizenship and misplaced assumptions about his religious beliefs. Doesn’t sound like much of a confession to me. With the exception of JFK, how many of our president’s have had to defend themselves from such personal attacks?

  • Don't Drink It

    while it is true that slavery was an issue, the north profited from it by shipping them in and processing cotton into textiles. truely, slavery was a secondary issue for most people. economics and politics motivated the war. were it not for fear of losing, neither side would have offered freedom to slaves. it was a strategem. a good thing motivated by selfishness. we need to acknowledge that slavery was wrong. we also need to acknowledge that the interest that ultimately led to its demise was not altruistic. i wish it were otherwise.

  • Michael C. Lucas

    Sadly a lot of people stand behind the United States flag with ignorance and racism! We have lost sight of those brave men in blue & gray who served through the war and eventually served together again during the Indian Wars and the Span-Am War. Who shook hands across the stonewall at reunions and embraced Americanism. Having faithfully done their duty, yet respecting each sides sacrifice and honor.

  • Just saying

    Hmmm, since you bring Stephens into the picture, why did you not bring in Lincoln. I seem to remember he stated the black is not nor will be equal to the white man. He never mentioned slavery during the first years of the war. He issued his proclamation when the north was handed defeats. I even have papers which say the South is intergrated with blacks and whites in their forces. The writers would hope Lincoln would do the same but refused to put them on the same level.

  • Hogwash

    Now that’s good form Yankee! Where were you educated in the knowledge of treason? Where did you get you definition of Civil War from?
    Let’s talk!

    The act of treason under the constitution is betrayal to a country. Treason cases most often occur when secrets or information is passed along to bring demise to a country. THIS DID NOT HAPPEN!

    A civil war is when a group tries to violently take over a country. THIS DID NOT HAPPEN.

    Two of the greatest document pertaining to freedom, the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, point directly to the rights of the people including that when people did not like a form of government, they had a god-given right to throw it off and form their own. (Secession was this point). LINCOLN made statements validating these principles early in his political career.

    Was there a violent attempt to overthrow? I know there was no attempt.

    The Southern states rejoined their sovereign rights into a nation called the Confederate States or America. Guess what? The United States still existed only with fewer states, less people and most important much less tax revenue. (Lincoln stated and greats concern.)

    So how could a trial for treason take place when the documents of the founding fathers said states were sovereign and could shake off one government to form their own?

    IF the North was entering a war to abolish slavery, someone should have at the very least, told Lincoln!

  • Mark Behrend

    Though no fan of the Confederacy (the Southern ancestor of whom I am most proud was a leading abolitionist), I must take issue with Jon Meacham’s concerns that Southern revisionists might raise doubts as to the Civil War being fought over slavery. If anything, the revisionism is the official history, and our long-standing attempt to confuse an outcome of the war with its causes.

    Historical fact simply does not support the myth of a war to free the slaves, as the following ten points — some of them surprising, and many of them avoided in school curricula — can attest:

    1) South Carolina’s secession was prompted specifically by the National Banking Act, which Southerners feared was the final breach in the dam of states’ rights. By putting monetary policy squarely in federal hands, they saw it bankrupting the agricultural South in favor of an increasinly industrial North.

    2) Several months elapsed between the secession of seven states (Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Arkansas only seceded when war commenced, and only to keep their sons from being forced to fight fellow Southerners) and the outbreak of war. During this time, the federal Congress passed a constitutional amendment, guaranteeing the right of slave-holding states (five of them in the North) to practice slavery in perpetuity. Though the outbreak of war prevented the amendment’s ratification, Congress responded to the initiation of hostilities by passing a separate resolution, declaring that Northern war aims did not include the alteration or abolition of any Southern institution.

    3) Lincoln, rather more famously, declared that he would do anything to preserve the Union — specifically including everything from complete emancipation to permanent slavery.

    4) During its partial occupation of Southern lands, the Union funded its war effort, in part, by working the land with slave labor.

    5) An order was issued allowing Union officers from slave-holding slaves to bring as many as three slaves onto Union Army posts as personal servants.

    6) Though the servfice of thousands of black Union troops is well known, it is rarely mentioned that they were paid at half the rate of white troops. Few know that there were also black Confederate troops (though not nearly as many), and that they were paid the same salary as whites. At last check, one of the top officials in the leading Confederate memorial society was a black professor at American University, whose great-grandfather fought for the South.

    7) There is a similar disconnect in our recollection of how each side treated its prisoners. While most of us know that Southern commanders held white Union captives in prison, but summarily executed captured black troops, it is less well known that Northern commanders followed exactly the same policy. When Confederates were captured in the North, white soldiers were imprisoned, though blacks were shot.
    8) Lincoln sat on his Emancipation Proclamation (which specifically exempted slaves in Union states!) until Ulysses Grant forced his hand — demanding its implementation as his price for assuming command of the Union Army, which had been on the verge of defeat under both of his predecessors. While this certainly made slavery an issue after 1863, the circumstances make it a rather artificial one. The fact that Lincoln resisted it for so long also proves his determination to keep slavery out of the war, which, for him, was strictly a question of Union.

    9) Though it became convenient, after the fact, to say the war was fought to free the slaves, the argument for a war against slavery in 1861 was the position of a small and radical minority. Nor was slavery the “black and white” issue that politically correct historians might suggest. While it was legally impossible to be black and free in pre-war Arkansas, for instance, fully a third of Louisiana’s blacks were free, and included a thriving black professional class in New Orleans. More surprising still, a black family in that city was one of the largest slave-holding families in the entire South, with more than 500 slaves of their own.

    10) To borrow a metaphor from Ross Perot, slavery was like the “crazy aunt in the attic.” Though it was an underlying factor in the war aims of both sides, it was one neither side wanted to admit. As Thomas Jefferson said, decades earlier, slavery was like holding a wolf by the ears — you didn’t want to hold on, but you were even more afraid of letting go.

    Much as we might hate to admit it, America was a very different country in 1861. Most white Americans — including most abolitionists — believed blacks were inherently inferior to whites. Lincoln himself doubted we could ever integrate successfully.

    We can all be thankful that slavery ended with the war, but it is a betrayal of history to say slavery was its purpose. Had it been the only issue, the war simply wouldn’t have happened. Like most wars, the Civil War was essentially a miscalculation.

    The South saw two regions growing apart, and believed that states that had freely entered a federation had an inalienable right to leave it. Most Northerners probably agreed, but few on either side could have imagined that secession would result in four years of slaughter, with 600,000 dead, and a third of the country in ruins.

    Even its aftermath deserves serious rethinking. Though blacks were nominally “free,” it was a meaningless victory for many, who found themselves landless, penniless, and illiterate — “free” only to work for slave wages, in a racial atmosphere openly more hostile than it had been under true slavery. There was no Klan before the Civil War, and few lynchings. Afterward, the rules weren’t nearly as clear — a fact which led thousands of blacks to flee to urban poverty in the North, and thousands of Southern whites to start over, often with nothing, in a truly wild West.

    2011 will be a good time to reflect on “The War” (many Southerners still call it that, causing little confusion with more recent conflicts), and the 150 years that have passed since. But neither North nor South has much reason to celebrate the Civil War itself. I think my great-grandfather — an obscure cavalryman from North Alabama — saw it more realistically than most historians. Far from glory, he recalled only the filth, disease, heat, cold, and starvation. “If they ever have another one,” he told my great-grandmother, “they’ll have to get somebody else.”

  • teacher

    What concerns me is the desire to point fingers on who began or furthered such an inhumane system that existed for hundreds of years in our country. No man should boast in the capture and “owning” of another human being. No, those in the North were not blameless, nor were those in African who sold their own, BUT, this does not excuse Southern slave owners and politicians from participating and furthering such a despicable practice.

  • William Y

    Who are the personel  of slavery? What are there names? Tell the story. For the next four years let up commemorate the historical events and win the battle again and write another ending!                                                                                            Let us demonstrate the edification of the other and reap the love which is one.

  • Anonymous

    Why would anyone want to celebrate secession? Maybe we should create an annual “Benedict Arnold Day” during which we honor all of our nation’s traitors.

  • skeptik

    So if you celebrate Independence Day, july 4th, do you celebrate “American apartheid” & “evil” as well? 

  • Anonymous

     You only “know” this because this is what is taught. That doesn’t make it so. The Secession Declarations themselves mention slavery as the root cause – &, for the ones that don’t, you can find speeches by their politicians that do. It is due strictly to the conciliatory policies of Reconstruction that the true racist cause of the war is soft-pedaled.

  • Gamberucci Marcello

    My long comment on behalf of the Confederacy has disappeared.What have i done wrong?

  • Gamberucci Marcello

    Abraham Lincoln has unleashed a cruel war agaist 13 Confederate States who had decided to secede, not to aggress Mr lincoln in Washingston.As we know the history books are written by the victors.I cannot sympathize with people Like lincoln,a devious character who is to blame for the death of more than a million southeners,military and civilians alltogether, and tecumnseh sheridan, a blood thirsty criminal who has burnt and destroyed many southern cities, with his troops killing and raping like crazy.With overwhelming means, men and technology the North for the first two years of the war, passed from one failure to another in the military field..Exacerbated,after Anteintam(a draw), Lincoln found the idea of justifying the war prosecution with the the idea of freeing the slaves(only in the south,ironically).After the battle of gettysburg on July 1-3,1863,personally ordered that Confederate soldiers dean in the battle,be removed and not put in a suitable grave becuse they were rebels!What a noble man.After the war, Gen Robert E Lee one of the greatest military figures in North America has been deprived othe US citenship and denied burial on US soil.He has been reinstated as US citizen only in 1975 by Gerrald Ford!Indeed at Appomattox lee surrendered to Ulysses Grant as the chief of the armies of the Confederate States of America.The unconditional surrender has been accepted as such by the Yankees.I do not conceive slavery at all but that is not the subject of this debate.Most of the troops from the south that gave their life for their countris, Virginia, Alabama,Texas, Carolina,etc,etc,were poor farmers, soldiers or normal people,not rich palntations owners.Who holds a grudge and hatred?In the end Lincoln won and saved the Union,a great accomplishment, no dobt,but by which means and at which cost and suffering in human lives(both sides).Was it worth it?150years have passed and the answer is not that easy,but history can’t be changed.