I have argued with conservatives on Huffpo and elsewhere, innumerable times, about the reason for the Civil War. They like to claim that it was really about “states rights”.
Let there be no mistake. The Civil War was about slavery, the enslavement of human beings.
Alexander Stephens, the Vice President of the Confederacy, from the speech he delivered 150 years ago (known as “The Cornerstone” because in this speech he laid out the “cornerstone” of the Confederacy, and the primary cause of the impending civil war):
Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its corner- stone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth.
Let there be no mistake, indeed.
The New York Times derides Stephens and the coming civil war, April 2, 1861
It would be difficult, without the deliberate declaration which Vice-President STEPHENS has given to the world, to believe that a national revolution could ever be conducted on the theory which he assigns as underlying secession. Some noble human motive-- some yearning toward light and liberty -- has hitherto consecrated every revolution: some indeed have been steeped in splendors; while this age has been cheered and blessed with the spectacle of a spontaneous upheaval of popular life, on another Continent, which is a pure gain to progress, and claims the tears and laurels of mankind. It has been reserved for the Slave Power of America to bring into the theory of society a doctrine utterly wicked, retrograde, diabolical. As stated with applause, the other day, by Mr. STEPHENS, in the town of Atlanta, it is perhaps the most purely atrocious thing in history. It may well give us pause that in this Nineteenth of the Christian centuries, and in America of all countries in the world, a theory of the social contract such as this could be seriously promulged:
Via Bob Cesca