Civil War was about many things, but mostly slavery

April 14, 2011

The adjective "all" in C. Lyon's letter "Civil War wasn't all about slavery" (April 12) raises the question of degree: How much was slavery the cause of the Civil War? But while no one can claim that slavery was the only factor in the war, slavery's role as the primary cause cannot be denied. To do so distorts and corrupts history and deemphasizes the seminal influence of black slavery on American society and politics at the time, and its legacy.

That Robert E. Lee had qualms about slavery; that blacks owned black slaves; that a class-based draft led to riots in Northern cities doesn't mitigate the "peculiar institution's" central role in the violent division of the nation, they merely demonstrate the complexity of race and slavery in America at the time.

John G. Bailey, Edgemere

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