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Mr. Lincoln’s War: An Irrepressible Conflict?

June 16, 2009
Patrick J. Buchanan

Thirteen decades after Appomattox the questions remain: Was it “an irrepressible conflict”? Was it a necessary war? Was it, as Churchill wrote, “the noblest and least avoidable of all the great mass-conflicts of which till then there was record”? Was it a just war? What became of the great tariff issue that had divided and convulsed the nation equally with slavery in the decades before the war? Are there lessons for us in this most terrible of tragedies where all of the dead were Americans?

After any such war, it is the victors who write the history. That has surely been true of the Civil War. Among the great myths taught to American schoolchildren has been that the “Great Emancipator,” Abraham Lincoln, was elected to free the slaves from bondage, that America’s “Civil War” was fought to end slavery in the United States.

This is fable. Even the name given this terrible war is wrong. A civil war is a struggle for power inside a nation like the War of the Roses, or the horrible war between Bolsheviks and Czarists in Russia, “Reds” and “Whites,” after Lenin’s October Revolution. The combatants from 1861-1865 were not fighting over who would govern the United States. The South had never contested Lincoln’s election. The South wanted only to be free of the Union.

The story continues …..

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