The Civil War, or "The War of Northern Aggression," had its origins in slavery
and economic rivalry between a north that was becoming dominantly industrial
and a plantation controlled south that was dominantly, and was firmly remaining,
agrarian. We learned this in history class, and there is much truth in this
The Prelude to War:
There was an historical precedent to secession, the secret New England
Hartford Convention of 1814.
I shall let Uncle Tom's Cabin speak for the "Peculiar
Institution" itself. Although I may be tarred and feathered for it
(grin), I have put the entire text of Uncle Tom's Cabin up on this web site
in HTML. It is an excellent, and unbiased, view of slavery in the South
and the underlying causes of the war. Mrs. Stowe very accurately portrayed
even the northern view towards blacks, which may surprise you.
Full Text of Uncle Tom's Cabin
Slave Rebellion, was the fear of all slave owners.
All farmers in the South did not use slaves! (coming). Two immediate
examples: General Francis Marion, the beloved Swamp Fox, did not use slaves
on his rice plantation. He did not believe in the institution. My
Great Great Grandfather, Allen Jerry Gill, owned some 1500 acres, and farmed
some 225 acres of "black bottom land" in Beaufort County (became Hampton
County) with no slaves either (documented in the U.S. Census and Barnwell
and Hampton Co. records). Please submit other documented examples.
These events finally led up to the
secession of several Southern
states from the Union.
Were we pre-ordained to lose, as some have claimed? Perhaps not. The
South fought a defensive war. Several times the north came close to
ceasing the war effort. Several cases of happenstance acted against
us, including the death of Robert E. Lee's strategist and right arm man,
Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson, at the hands of his own men (he trained them
all too well!), and the loss of Lee's message before the battle of Antietam.
Had these not happened, some historians have argued that Antietam
would have been a different battle, and Jackson would never have let
Lee enter battle at Gettysburg, nor pursue Pickett's Charge, nor have permitted
Longstreet to not support Pickett. Jackson was a master strategist,
but with a difference from Lee. Lee was a master defensive
strategist. Jackson was a master of offense. Jackson once
single handedly cleaned all the Yankees out the Shenadoah Valley at Lee's
request! Jackson was perhaps Lee's closest advisor, and his absence
was sorely felt. Had the Hunley not sunk, she would have struck terror
in the hearts of Yankee sailors.
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documents may be freely used for private purposes, and included in your own
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Please send any errors, corrections, conjectures, updates, etc. to
Dr. Frank O. Clark.