The Borderland in the Civil War

The Borderland in the Civil War

The Borderland in the Civil War

The Borderland in the Civil War

Excerpt

The Civil War has usually been described as a conflict between two wholly distinct sections, abruptly divided by state boundary lines. It grew out of the controversy over slavery, it is said, and was waged on the one side by slaveholders and their misguided neighbors, while on the other side the people of the North fought to emancipate the slaves and to maintain the Union. Such a view, though a natural one, gives an incorrect impression of the character of the struggle. In the first place, the boundary between the sections, throughout most of its course, was artificial. There had been no such development of state patriotism as would make the people choose one side or the other because their public authorities told them to do so. In the second place, there was in the beginning, and there existed during the whole course of the war, a middle section in which the question of slavery was unimportant compared with other issues. Three of the Western slave States fought under the national flag because they loved the Union and hoped to keep their slave property within it. In three of the greatest free States half the people had no quarrel with slavery, and would have been glad to see it prosper. These groups, contiguous to each other, formed a third section which had little in common with the other two. It took part in . . .

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