Charles Beard, a noted historian said that the American Civil War was a conflict between industry and agriculture.
Alexander Stephens, a southern statesman said that the war was about states rights.
Horace Greeley, a northern newspaper man, and prominent abolitionist claimed the war was fought over the issue of slavery.
Abraham Lincoln said it was a struggle "testing whether that nation, or any nation, so conceived and so dedicated can long endure."
Lincoln said his paramount object was to save the Union, and if he could accomplish that by not freeing any slaves, he would free none; "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 alone I would also do that. What I do about slavery and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union."
What would have happened if Davis would have said that his paramount object was to save the Confederacy, and if he could accomplish that by not freeing any slaves, he would free none; if he could save it by freeing all the slaves he would do it; and if he could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone he would also do that.
What if he would have taken the attitude that what he did about slavery and the colored race would be done to help save the Confederacy?
Jefferson Davis was profoundly dedicated to the cause that he led. Many prominent Southerners, including Robert E. Lee, were troubled in conscience by slavery. Davis never manifested any qualms about either slavery or secession. His support of state sovereignty and the Southern way of life was based on deep conviction.
When Lincoln composed the Gettysburg Address he did not talk...