With all the recent uprising concerning Confederate monuments, it reminded me of the time I asked an old southern woman just why the south saw fit to rise up against the north. This is what she exhibited as to just why most southerner’s went to war as “Rebels” against the U.S. Government.
I would estimate roughly most people probably touch the lives of perhaps four generations. When I was still in my youth I sat with curiosity and amazement with a woman who had witnessed the Southern Troops camping on her father’s farm in Virginia.
She grew up to be a nurse at the turn of the century, but as she grew older her recollections became sharper on what she experienced as a child.
She was past 100 years old when I spoke with her, the oldest member of the Hampden Community in (Baltimore City, which is still portrayed as a southern town in the 1940’s encyclopedias) so I just couldn’t resist the chance to voice to her the question of “just why the south went to war with the North”.
To my shock, the old women drew up her fist and pounded on the table shouting “because the Federalists invaded Virginia, that’s why”!!!
If you think past all the emotional driven reactions to slavery, even now in the 21st century, you would realize that most of the south was poor, and predominately agricultural with allot being illiterate, and not even knowing any history as we are taught today. The point being that survival, and their families, were allot more important to most of them personally, than was the moral question concerning slavery by abolitionists.
Emphasising that only the rich plantation owner, and politicians, would have been invested in slavery in the southern states, and was seen as just another commodity of properties that they would suffer the loss of in loosing this war. Also remember, that the abolition of slavery was only applied to the Southern States to bolster the economic, military, and moral positions of the “Union” as it was politically and militarily expedient to introduce such legislation for the overall advancement of the north, while helping to ensure the destruction of the south.
While the majority of Southerners were driven by the idea of a “heavy handed federal government” who had crossed the line in undermining “states’ rights” (Confederacy) which the people felt threatened by.
Often historians seem to “overthink history” forgetting that the average person is but concerned about their personal situations, not unlike the politics of the day.
This is why a hundred year old women would still be infuriated to the point of pounding on a table and screaming at me: “because the Federalists invaded Virginia – that’s why”!
Let’s not overthink the past, why attempting to justify ones position in the current age, seems only rational to me.