The Role Of Slavery In The Civil War

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The 1861-65 Civil War is widely considered a defining moment in American history. The outbreak of the war was the culmination of slow-burning sectional tensions, which came to a head with the secession of 11 Southern slaveholding states from the Union and the subsequent formation of the Confederacy. However, what initially began as a political disagreement quickly escalated into a conflict in April 1861 when the Confederacy insisted on their right to leave, which was met with vehement opposition by the loyal states. In the four years that fighting lasted, between 627,000 and 761,000 soldiers lost their lives alongside an indeterminate number of civilian casualties thus cementing the war as America’s deadliest ever conflict (Hacker 307). Whereas…show more content…
Slavery was undoubtedly a fundamental reason underlying the existence of disunion that eventually led to the conflict. However, contradictory views on the issue existed even among the Unionists themselves (McPherson 39). Nevertheless, most Union soldiers were indifferent to the issue unlike their Confederate opponents who mostly believed they were fighting to protect their society, in which slavery was an integral component. Consequently, slavery was not as much an issue for the North as it was for the South, which is why the argument that that was the primary pursuit is inherently…show more content…
The legitimization of the South’s secession would have laid the foundation for the balkanization of the Union, which is why it was imperative to deal with the issue decisively. Whereas the South began and lost an ultimately unjustifiable and costly war, the prevalent argument as to the reason for the war is riddled with error. The Civil War was primarily about ideology and principle, these being right to secede and the sovereignty of the state as exemplified by slavery. Whereas the War led to massive losses in terms of both human and economic cost, it remains an iconic part of American history for its role in the preservation of the unity of the Union and birth of the Emancipation, which ushered in a new era of American
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