When I was little, Abraham Lincoln was my hero, and I believed that the war was about slavery, and freeing the slaves. Consequently, I was quite sure that the Union was right, and the Confederates were wrong. It was perfectly clear and logical to me. I never knew that there were people who saw it differently; and I was quite shocked when I encountered people who called themselves Confederates, and thought it ridiculous that I would take the Union’s side.
I had many debates and arguments with my ‘Confederate’ friends about it, and I imagine I made quite a pest of myself. I did start to learn that the Civil War was a lot more complex than I thought, and that was good for me. It didn’t change my opinion much, though. Maybe there were people who were fighting for state’s rights, but so what? The underlying issue was still slavery. And as for state’s rights, the only reason Southerners were kicking up a fuss was because they wanted state’s rights to practice slavery.
When I got tired of arguing, I just stated happily that the war was over, so it didn’t really matter whether they were Confederates or not. I think for the most part, that’s my opinion now. The war is over, and the Confederates lost it. As to what it was about, or who was right, that’s hard to say. I don’t think any war is ever about one issue or event. It turns into a big tangle of issues and events, and no one quite knows how to fit them together. Who knows what exactly the leaders were fighting for, much less what each soldier out of millions of soldiers were fighting for?
What I do know is that the Union was fighting to preserve the country, and to resolve once and for all issues that had been festering since the beginning of our country. And I’m quite positive that the biggest issue was slavery. Am I still glad that Lincoln abolished slavery, and that the Union won? You better believe it! I may be a little more vague about what I think, but it does always seem to come down to that, and that’s why I will never be a Confederate.