Southern Nationalism In The Civil War

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The Civil War resulted due to the division and the gradual collapse of the Union between the two sections. It can be argued that both the North and South were distinct regions. However, both regions initially displayed nationalism in various ways at the beginning of the Civil War. Southern nationalism allowed the Confederates to justify their secession and independence. The formation of the Confederacy and the established Confederate Constitution in February 1861, nationalism validated their status as an independent country. The foundation of Southern nationalism was its unique southern regional identity. This identity was built on factors such as climate, geography, economic development, and cultural values. The institution of slavery, however,…show more content…
Constitution and altered it by explicitly protecting the institution of slavery. This peculiar institution was what made the Confederacy unique. Sectionalism over economic, social, political, and constitutional issues regarding slavery continued from Buchanan’s inauguration in 1857 until secession after Lincoln’s election in 1860. “The expansion of slavery into western territories provided the catalyst for the growing perceptions of northerners and southerners that they held different intentions of the republic’s future.” “In the South, loyalty to slavery and its required expansion became the hallmark of party politics as the region’s politicians—Whigs, Know-Nothing, and Democrat—competed to demonstrate their loyalty to southern rights.” This loyalty was a significant characteristic of Southern Nationalism. The flag of the Confederacy was also another symbol of Southern Nationalism. “The Confederate government quickly became for the South, the successor to the federal government at Washington. A flag, the “ Stars and Bars,” was adopted for the new republic after a study by a committee that concluded that keeping the United States “Stars and Stripes” would be impractical and unpatriotic.” Southerners feared that white supremacy was in danger and feared slave rebellions. This was heightened by national events like John Brown’s Raid. This unified the South against the abolition of slavery…show more content…
Democratic editorials took a strongly pro-Unionist position, applying the words traitor and rebellion to the Confederates and their attack on the flag.” The South also exhibited nationalism in newspaper articles as well. The first major battle of the Civil War took place on July 21, 1861, which resulted in a defeat for the Union army. William Russell, a reporter for the London Times, documented the atmosphere in Charleston, South Carolina after the Confederate victory. He observed, “Crowds of armed men singing and promenading the streets.” And concluded “Secession is fashion here. Young ladies sing for it; ladies pray for it; young men are dying to fight for it; old men are ready to demonstrate it.” South Carolina was ecstatic and had a positive outlook on the war. Both sides felt that the war was going to be relatively short. Russell also noted “States’ Rights are displayed after its legitimate teaching, and the Palmetto flag and the red bars of the Confederacy are its exposition. The utter contempt and loathing for the venerated Stars and Stripes, the abhorrence of the very words United States, the intense hatred of the Yankee on the part of these people.” The South perceived the North as a tyrannical power, and South Carolina’s secession emphasizes the relationship between the right to revolution and separation from the Union paying homage to the American Revolution. The Union’s defeat furthered the
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