Monument Avenue Statues In Richmond, VA

unionblue

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Serious question: have you considered that they saw the situation differently than you do? Every time I read one of your posts, you are imposing your frame of reference and your understanding on them, and I would suggest that the reverse should be true if you're going to understand these men.
Serious answer: At one time I fully believed the Civil War was about ANYTHING other than slavery. After years of reading and research, I no longer hold that opinion.

I am imposing my understanding on the participants of the time because at one time I simply believed what men told me they believed. Evidence in the form of historical fact suggests they believed what they wanted to believe instead of trying to understand the causes and beliefs of the time of the Civil War.

I understand your concern about my understanding of the men of the time. But you should not concern your beliefs with my own understanding.
 

Viper21

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Who said that the average Southern citizen ever were not honorable people?
Lots of people. To include some current politicians, media folks, activist historians, vocal folks on social media, & even some folks right here on this very forum.
One last thing. I have never stated Confederate soldiers were not honorable men. I have simply stated, time and again, they fought for slavery because they had no choice in the matter.

Unionblue
We'll just have to disagree. Regardless of politics, men enlist, & fight for their own reasons. I certainly didn't join the Army to forward American Imperialism. I served for my own reasons.

Was it politics or a sense of duty, honor, & protection of our country that so many enlisted immediately following 9/11..? https://www.uso.org/stories/2849-why-9-11-inspired-these-patriots-to-join-the-military
 
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100%

It doesn't matter how many times it's repeated, some folks are stuck on moral judgement of our ancestors, & can't fathom they were honorable people, in spite of what a few Southern politicians said or proclaimed. Listen to what politicians say today. Even those in your own districts, or states. Do they all represent you, & your values..? If not, then why are we to assume it was any different in 19th century America..?

I have the unique privilege of having copies of, over a dozen letters written during the war, by one of my Confederate ancestors. Not one time does he mention slavery, or anything even close to it. He speaks of battles, troop movements, honor, courage, duty, love of his family, friends, & God. It is clear from his letters, he expected to die on the battlefield, & like most people in that situation, he spoke of what really mattered to him.

Eleven of them, are transcribed & online. Read em yourself: https://altchive.org/node/15013 Then tell me what he was fighting for, & or why he enlisted.
Many men enlisted and fought for many reasons. Did some enlist because there was secession? Yes, just as many enlisted because they saw the north as tyrannical. Did some enlist for the cause of abolition and/or the preservation of that "peculiar institution"? Yes, that too. There were many Confederate officers who took up the cause to protect their homes, businesses, and assets. However, there were many more that didn't own slaves but enlisted because of loyalty to their homeland, their state as much as there were who enlisted for the preservation of the Union. Read the letters home that are available, these topics are all in those letters and more. Many fought on both sides for the pay; to help to support their families while still others enlisted for the travel and even the adventure. Many, although they may not have known before the war, knew that when the war began felt the want and need to leave home with their friends and brothers.

To say it was all about slavery is entirely ignoring the historical record. Abe Lincoln himself hesitated to free the slaves until after the battle of Antietam because he said he knew there would be a revolt in the north. And even then his Emancipation Proclamation did NOT free the slaves in the border states because he had a real fear of losing those states to more secession. That didn't happen until our Constitution was amended.

Those that want to assuage their guilt by tearing down statues and destroying our history are missing out on so much more history that is being ignored for political expediency and an old failed ideology. My $0.02
 

Scott1967

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I think its pretty well established that soldiers enlisted for different reasons.

Did the CSA soldier enlist to protect Slavery? , Well some obviously did while others enlisted for other various reasons mainly as a point of camaraderie being that most were from small hamlets and towns where everyone knew each other and grew up together and I think this is the main reason for Southerners joining , On the flipside I'm sure many understood they were fighting to preserve slavery with it being part of the Confederate constitution but in truth I don't think they really cared or weren't bothered.

The North on the other hand had many early war enlistments with men wanting to preserve the Union but as the war dragged on the reasons for joining varied just like the South but the North had the added incentive of Bounty's which was a good and a bad policy.

I don't believe for an instant the Northern soldiers cared about freeing the slaves at all we have plenty of eyewitness accounts of Northern Soldiers being at most lukewarm to the idea and then we have Sherman's March where the Army simply ignored the plight of many thousands of freed Black people who followed the army.

What we also have to remember is their was very little support to freeing the slaves in the North apart from the wealthy and zealous the average man didn't give a fig about freeing the slaves it was only when it became a war aim in late 1862 that some people warmed to the idea only because it would weaken the South and not because it would free the Slaves.

Although I love reading about the Civil War I find it incredibly sad that all those men lost their lives and in reality America has barely changed at this time with people still drawing lines in the sand and placing themselves in one camp or another instead of acknowledging that maybe both sides saw right in what they were doing and that Black people just got caught in the middle of it all either way defining who is American nowadays is a tough call as many see themselves as a sub faction rather as a complete whole nation.

While you should never forget your history you should be fully aware of future history and that time moves on , Looking to far behind you at the past and celebrating that past can have an adverse effect on the future just food for thought imho.
 

unionblue

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Many men enlisted and fought for many reasons. Did some enlist because there was secession? Yes, just as many enlisted because they saw the north as tyrannical. Did some enlist for the cause of abolition and/or the preservation of that "peculiar institution"? Yes, that too. There were many Confederate officers who took up the cause to protect their homes, businesses, and assets. However, there were many more that didn't own slaves but enlisted because of loyalty to their homeland, their state as much as there were who enlisted for the preservation of the Union. Read the letters home that are available, these topics are all in those letters and more. Many fought on both sides for the pay; to help to support their families while still others enlisted for the travel and even the adventure. Many, although they may not have known before the war, knew that when the war began felt the want and need to leave home with their friends and brothers.

To say it was all about slavery is entirely ignoring the historical record. Abe Lincoln himself hesitated to free the slaves until after the battle of Antietam because he said he knew there would be a revolt in the north. And even then his Emancipation Proclamation did NOT free the slaves in the border states because he had a real fear of losing those states to more secession. That didn't happen until our Constitution was amended.

Those that want to assuage their guilt by tearing down statues and destroying our history are missing out on so much more history that is being ignored for political expediency and an old failed ideology. My $0.02
@johnTbridgens203PA ,

I find myself agreeing with a lot of what you say above about the various reasons men joined the Confederate army.

But we have to agree none of the men from either side just didn't wake up one day and say, "Let's fight!" While men enlist for various reasons, they don't do so until their government requests it, or drafts them, for reasons the leadership considers essential to the nation. The national issue of the day was slavery. It was the one issue that could not be compromised on or settled in political debate. It was the cause of the American Civil War.

Many cry that there were many other issues that concerned the South at that time. I hear cries of "States Rights!" The federal government infringing on Southern interests and then northern business interests taking unfair advantage of the region. Yet the only issue apparently important enough for men to die for was the maintaining of the institution of slavery. That one issue chokes the nation and forces an armed conflict. No other issue had that power.

You speak of the historical record and so do I. From what I read every other issue put forth as an excuse for civil war, ALWAYS circles back to slavery. The bottom line is that Lincoln did issue the Emancipation Proclamation in spite of northern opposition. Lincoln also was the driving force behind the 13th Amendment, the one that eventually freed those slaves in the Border States.

I appreciate your $0.02 and hope to talk with you again.

If I haven't already done so, welcome to the forum.

Sincerely,
Unionblue
 

Stone in the wall

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It meant that more in the slaveholding South than anywhere in the North. $4 BILLION in 1860 dollars of slave property that out valued all the Northern factories, railroads, gold deposits, banks, ships, you name it and the South had more money. The first millionares in the US were rich Southerners who grew cotton and had slaves gather it for them.

Death to Northern profits? A question for you. Did the North go broke at anytime during the Civil War?



An overbearing North? That one is hard to swallow, especially since the South had held almost all of the federal government for nearly 70 years before Lincoln's election. Track the number of Southern Presidents, leaders of the Senate and the Supreme Court and then explain to me how the North dominated anything of political importance when Southerners held these important government positions.

African Americans got NOTHING from any so-called or imagined service with the Confederate army. The Post War South reveals NOTHING in the way of African American rights because no intention was ever made to include them in the South's political life. The Confederacy, even in it's last desperate days, could not see it's way clear to free ANY slave that would have served in the Confederate army.

The myth simply doesn't tally with the historical record.
Trick question. Kinda hard to go broke when you are continually borrowing money. But by 1866 the National Dept was 3.5 billion.

The Souths political power started dropping shortly after Texas became a state Dec 1845. Before the war the next 6 would be Free states starting with Iowa.

Imagined service? Seems to fit both sides: With the Confederate invasion of Pennsylvania, Philadelpian African American educator and activist Octavius Catto worked to organize a colored regiment for defense of the state. When they arrived a Harrisburg they were turned away, and returned to Philadelphia. State authorities were not yet ready or willing to accept black soldiers. (John A. McAllister's Civil War.)
 
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Stone in the wall

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Defense of home and family brought about by those who could not see an end of slavery. Are you of the opinion that the average Confederate soldier had no idea what brought about this civil war? Do you not even consider the idea that free slaves put upon an equal, social and legal footing, had no concerns for the average Southern citizen? The fear of slaves unbound and free to travel and express themselves and compete as equals in society, the fear that the resentment of being enslaved might boil over into violence?

We must, we have to, take into consideration, how deeply ingrained slavery was in the Southern mind of the time. Defense of home, duty and honor, has to take into account how slavery effected everyday life and perceptions of those wanting to do such service. No man ignored what cause brought him to such service. I fail to see why we should ignore it here, in the 21st century.

I find your final sentence a bit perplexing. In the first part of your post, you give one reason for service, then list that hate, envy, and contempt of those fighting for those who wished to maintain that slavery for themselves. It was this difference that finally brought the Confederacy to an end.



Who said that the average Southern citizen ever were not honorable people? Who said they all agreed with the Confederate leadership? And like you said, politicians of today don't always represent our wishes in this present time. I wasn't in favor of involvement in Vietnam when I first enlisted in the military, but I accepted the fact I might be sent there. When I talked to the veterans of that time, they said they didn't fight to stop the reds from taking over the country, but that they fought for one another, as all soldiers do throughout history.

Confederate soldiers, like soldiers of today, enlist for various reasons and causes, but they ALL fight for the political goals and objectives of their political leaders, whether those objectives are honorable or not. Every Confederate soldier fought to preserve slavery, whether he wanted to or not. This does not make them dishonorable. It makes them in service to a bad cause, the wrong cause, fighting against the flow of history.

I agree there were many different views among the soldiers themselves as to why they were fighting. Mine fought for slavery, as his records and documents clearly indicate to me. Was he a dishonorable man to me? No. Her was just wrong in his belief that holding slaves was a good thing.

You say your ancestor never said a thing about slavery in any of his letters to his loved ones? Did he ever leave any word on how he felt about the institution? Did he say why he felt the war had come about? When I wrote letters home to my wife and family, I never mentioned the debates in Congress, the press or the speeches of President Johnson in them one time. I was more concerned with personal, closer issues than those things.

One last thing. I have never stated Confederate soldiers were not honorable men. I have simply stated, time and again, they fought for slavery because they had no choice in the matter.

Unionblue
My final sentence shows non slave owners didn't enlist to fight to keep another man slaves. So no they didn't all fight for slavery.

The average Confederate soldier, Most could read and write. So yes they would know what the newspapers said, the others would be getting second hand knowledge. One can not ignore that the ranks swelled after Lincolns call for troops, and the threat of invasion. This reason was why and when Virginia, Arkansas, NC, and Tennessee seceded.

My take is, some Confederates were indeed fighting for slavery, and they fought arm to arm beside those who were fighting for other reasons. Same as voting my friend, we both may vote for the same candidate, but for different reasons.
 

unionblue

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@Stone in the wall ,

It does not, in the end, matter why men enlisted in the Confederate army. They all ended up fighting for the same political objectives of that attempted nation, what their leaders in each of the seceding states left the Union for.

As @Viper21 has stated in a previous post, he did not enlist in the current US Army to fight for American imperialism, but he did go wherever the Army sent him and perform the job he was trained for, just as I did during my time. At no time during my military service, did the President, the US Congress, the US State Department, the Gov. of Ohio, my CO or 1st Sgt, EVER ask me if I agreed with being sent to a strange, far off land to kill people I had never met or had a personal disagreement with. I had enlisted (at 18 years of age) to repay the country who had given me shelter, peace, an education, and a safe home to live in. I did not enlist to fight in Vietnam but ended up supporting what I thought was a bad war. I, and all the other soldiers, who had enlisted for college benefits or pay or "fun, travel, and adventure," had no say in being assigned somewhere we did not want to go or to fight in a cause we did not believe in. But we went where we were ordered to go.

The government and the Pentagon regard soldiers as tools in a tool box, to be used for whatever job needs tending to, No one asks the tools if it's OK to perform a job, they just reach in, select a tool, and go to work. @Viper21 states that his Confederate army ancestor makes no mention of slavery in his letters home to his family. Yet my Confederate ancestor (and his three brothers) owned slaves and I am certain, from the documents I have found, they were fighting to maintain the right to keep those slaves.

The bottom line is, you, or they, could enlist for any reason they thought important to them, but they fought for the political objectives of the Confederacy. They had no choice.

It may make us all feel better or get right with our Confederate ancestors, to say they did not enlist to maintain slavery as their reason for enlisting. But the hard fact is, every time they targeted a Union soldier and pulled a trigger, no matter what reason they themselves used to end that other soldier's life, they did so to secure slavery.

Unionblue
 

Viper21

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It does not, in the end, matter why men enlisted in the Confederate army. They all ended up fighting for the same political objectives of that attempted nation, what their leaders in each of the seceding states left the Union for.

Exactly. My Virginia ancestors, just like Robert E Lee, fought to defend Virginia from invasion/coercion by the Federal Government. My Virginia Confederate ancestors, didn't enlist until Yankees were in Virginia.
 
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As I have asked you before in a previous post, did the North go broke during the Civil War?
As the Civil War progressed, the tax inflows could not keep up with government spending. The result was an increase in budget deficit ($931 million in 1865) and an accumulated debt of $2.68 billion (from a debt of $64.8 million in 1860).Oct.

Would think one wouldn't need to borrow money to the tune of 2.68 billion if they were not indeed broke.
Trick question. Kinda hard to go broke when you are continually borrowing money. But by 1866 the National Dept was 3.5 billion.

The Souths political power started dropping shortly after Texas became a state Dec 1845. Before the war the next 6 would be Free states starting with Iowa.

Imagined service? Seems to fit both sides: With the Confederate invasion of Pennsylvania, Philadelpian African American educator and activist Octavius Catto worked to organize a colored regiment for defense of the state. When they arrived a Harrisburg they were turned away, and returned to Philadelphia. State authorities were not yet ready or willing to accept black soldiers. (John A. McAllister's Civil War.)
Guess it's a trick question when it comes to governments........but in my opinion if the only way you can do things is borrowing money.....your broke......or you wouldn't need to be borrowing money....

If the creditors called in all the debt, the only to pay it would have been print worthless money.
 

unionblue

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Exactly. My Virginia ancestors, just like Robert E Lee, fought to defend Virginia from invasion/coercion by the Federal Government. My Virginia Confederate ancestors, didn't enlist until Yankees were in Virginia.

At least Lee called it for what it was, that secession was nothing but rebellion.

And we still cannot skip over the reason Virginia and the rest of the Upper South joined the rebellion.

In support of their sister, slaveholding states, who wanted to ensure slavery's continued existence, even it's expansion, all at the expense of the results of a free and fair election by ordinary citizens.
 

unionblue

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Trick question. Kinda hard to go broke when you are continually borrowing money. But by 1866 the National Dept was 3.5 billion.

Don't confuse today's national debt with that of 1861-1865. I remember when one famous man was asked who would win the Civil War, he replied, "The one with the most money." The North never came close to financal colaspe during the war despite the lack of trade with the South. The South, on the other hand...
The Souths political power started dropping shortly after Texas became a state Dec 1845. Before the war the next 6 would be Free states starting with Iowa.

Really? The loss of the White House to Lincoln represented one third of the federal government. The South could still project it's agenda upon the rest, right up to 1860, with the Supreme Court and the Congress/Senate.
Imagined service? Seems to fit both sides: With the Confederate invasion of Pennsylvania, Philadelpian African American educator and activist Octavius Catto worked to organize a colored regiment for defense of the state. When they arrived a Harrisburg they were turned away, and returned to Philadelphia. State authorities were not yet ready or willing to accept black soldiers. (John A. McAllister's Civil War.)

Neither were the State governments of the South. Compare the numbers of USCTs in the field with that of what has actually been researched and shown concerning black Confederates. The Confederacy never fully accepted the idea of former slaves becoming soldiers, ever.
 
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@johnTbridgens203PA ,

I find myself agreeing with a lot of what you say above about the various reasons men joined the Confederate army.

But we have to agree none of the men from either side just didn't wake up one day and say, "Let's fight!" While men enlist for various reasons, they don't do so until their government requests it, or drafts them, for reasons the leadership considers essential to the nation. The national issue of the day was slavery. It was the one issue that could not be compromised on or settled in political debate. It was the cause of the American Civil War.

Many cry that there were many other issues that concerned the South at that time. I hear cries of "States Rights!" The federal government infringing on Southern interests and then northern business interests taking unfair advantage of the region. Yet the only issue apparently important enough for men to die for was the maintaining of the institution of slavery. That one issue chokes the nation and forces an armed conflict. No other issue had that power.

You speak of the historical record and so do I. From what I read every other issue put forth as an excuse for civil war, ALWAYS circles back to slavery. The bottom line is that Lincoln did issue the Emancipation Proclamation in spite of northern opposition. Lincoln also was the driving force behind the 13th Amendment, the one that eventually freed those slaves in the Border States.

I appreciate your $0.02 and hope to talk with you again.

If I haven't already done so, welcome to the forum.

Sincerely,
Unionblue
I'm sorry but I don't see it that way at all and your words will bear me out. Certainly slavery was a major factor but it was the election of Lincoln that broke open the dam. There had been talk regarding civil war going way back to the 1850s during the Bloody Kansas and the earlier Missouri Compromise.

I disagree with the notion that men fought and died primarily for another mans possessions. Many did but many more did not as I stated earlier. I believe that, at least in part, is naive.

One of my favorite history professors explained it best. He said that history is a river and the river cannot happen unless the many tributaries that feed it are extent. There is no single river, each of those tributaries; some large while others of varying size, feed that larger body to it's inexorable conclusion, the sea. Slavery was a large tributary to be sure but there were so many others that culminated in the outbreak of hostilities. I stated a couple here but we can also add to that list the Dred Scott decision, John Browns raid and hanging, Harriet Beecher Stowe's book "Uncle Tom's Cabin" and of course, the attack on Fort Sumter. I am impressed that you have animus for the idea of states rights and be that as it may, it was a big tributary.

Lincoln wrote to Horace Greely, newspaper editor at the time (1862), in part; "I would save the Union. I would save it the shortest way under the Constitution. The sooner the national authority can be restored; the nearer the Union will be "the Union as it was." If there be those who would not save the Union, unless they could at the same time save slavery, I do not agree with them. If there be those who would not save the Union unless they could at the same time destroy slavery, I do not agree with them. My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery.

He also said, "if I could save the union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others I would also do that."

You see even in 1862 the preservation of the union was no minor issue (tributary).

 

Stone in the wall

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Don't confuse today's national debt with that of 1861-1865. I remember when one famous man was asked who would win the Civil War, he replied, "The one with the most money." The North never came close to financal colaspe during the war despite the lack of trade with the South. The South, on the other hand...


Really? The loss of the White House to Lincoln represented one third of the federal government. The South could still project it's agenda upon the rest, right up to 1860, with the Supreme Court and the Congress/Senate.


Neither were the State governments of the South. Compare the numbers of USCTs in the field with that of what has actually been researched and shown concerning black Confederates. The Confederacy never fully accepted the idea of former slaves becoming soldiers, ever.
My bad should have been 2.6 billion. Don't know how I hit 3.5 or why I didn't catch it.

Not just 1/3, Republicans had taken over the senate by 1861.
 

dlofting

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I'm sorry but I don't see it that way at all and your words will bear me out. Certainly slavery was a major factor but it was the election of Lincoln that broke open the dam. There had been talk regarding civil war going way back to the 1850s during the Bloody Kansas and the earlier Missouri Compromise.

I disagree with the notion that men fought and died primarily for another mans possessions. Many did but many more did not as I stated earlier. I believe that, at least in part, is naive.

One of my favorite history professors explained it best. He said that history is a river and the river cannot happen unless the many tributaries that feed it are extent. There is no single river, each of those tributaries; some large while others of varying size, feed that larger body to it's inexorable conclusion, the sea. Slavery was a large tributary to be sure but there were so many others that culminated in the outbreak of hostilities. I stated a couple here but we can also add to that list the Dred Scott decision, John Browns raid and hanging, Harriet Beecher Stowe's book "Uncle Tom's Cabin" and of course, the attack on Fort Sumter. I am impressed that you have animus for the idea of states rights and be that as it may, it was a big tributary.

Lincoln wrote to Horace Greely, newspaper editor at the time (1862), in part; "I would save the Union. I would save it the shortest way under the Constitution. The sooner the national authority can be restored; the nearer the Union will be "the Union as it was." If there be those who would not save the Union, unless they could at the same time save slavery, I do not agree with them. If there be those who would not save the Union unless they could at the same time destroy slavery, I do not agree with them. My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery.

He also said, "if I could save the union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others I would also do that."

You see even in 1862 the preservation of the union was no minor issue (tributary).

But didn't all those things you mentioned have something to do with slavery ?

Lincoln's election raised concerns that he or his party would start the country on a path to abolition. The issues in Kansas were about it entering the Union as a slave or free state. John Brown was trying to start a slave uprising and Dred Scott was about the fugitive slave act.

While I agree that there were other issues, the only one that led directly to civil war was secession prompted by slavery.
 
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Yes, but I was referring to the seminal events. I believe the letter that Lincoln wrote was most prescient and central to his duty as POTUS.
 

DanSBHawk

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I'm sorry but I don't see it that way at all and your words will bear me out. Certainly slavery was a major factor but it was the election of Lincoln that broke open the dam. There had been talk regarding civil war going way back to the 1850s during the Bloody Kansas and the earlier Missouri Compromise.

I disagree with the notion that men fought and died primarily for another mans possessions. Many did but many more did not as I stated earlier. I believe that, at least in part, is naive.
The side that initiated the shooting made it clear that it was about slavery.

The sectional dispute about Slavery wasn't merely a dispute about "possessions." It was a dispute over ideas about labor, race, civil rights, human rights, etc. It was much bigger than a dispute about property.
 

unionblue

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Yes, but I was referring to the seminal events. I believe the letter that Lincoln wrote was most prescient and central to his duty as POTUS.
But John, every event you mention ion your post#534 above had to do with slavery as it's central theme, every one.

And what you believe Lincoln wrote was central to his duty as POTUS, you realize hew had already written the Emancipation Proclamation at the time of his letter to Greely and that it was mainly due to his efforts the 13th Amendment abolishing slavery was passed in Congress shortly before his death.

Lincoln's primary duty was to preserve the Union, but without him, slavery would have survived into the future. And slavery's preservation, in mine and recorded history's view, was central to the Confederacy.

Unionblue
 
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