Civil War BY credd5280 Civil War Essay Prior to reading the book The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara I must say that I was extremely ignorant to the topic of the Civil War. If someone were to ask me why the Civil War took place I would say plain and simple, “slavery. ” Although slavery was the main cause for the war, I didn’t understand how or why the topic of slavery was ever a debate. There are very few people in todays society that can say without hesitation that slavery was at all ethical or moral. The mere thought of humans being treated as objects rather than people is absurd.
But for the south slavery was more than that, slavery was a way of life. The south flourished and thrived off of the crops and cotton that the slaves worked on, so as you can imagine abolishing slavery was something that the south could ill afford. Abraham Lincoln was the president at the time of the Civil War. He was elected President on November 6, 1860. He had a lot to deal with as the southern states were frustrated with his outright opposal of slavery. Not even two months after being elected as president the first succession of the United State was among us.
On December 20, 1860 South Carolina succeeded from the union. This triggered the succession of many other states such as Mississippi, Florida, Georgia, Arkansas, and other southern states. Lincoln believed that the southern states weren’t allowed to perform this action. Southern States didn’t feel that way and rightfully so. The people in the south felt as though the federal government was overusing their power. A quote from the book that really stuck out to me was when Moxley Sorrel stated “know that government derives its power from the consent of the governed.
Every Government, everywhere and sir let me make this plain: we do not consent. We will never consent. ” (65) Rather than fghting over the topic of slavery the south believed that they were fighting for freedom of the states. This is true, the reason that states have such strong government power is to prevent in the words of Sorrel “central tyranny’. (65) It outraged the southerners when the Englishmen told them that they were fighting over the topic of slavery. Pickett, a confederate soldier made an analogy that sums up how most southerners felt about why the war was occurring. think my analogy of the club was best. I mean, it’s as if we all Joined a gentlemen’s club, and then the members of the club started sticking their noses into our private lives, and then we up and resigned, and then they tell us we don’t have the right to resign. ” (66) I believe that some of the southern confederates felt that way, but I also believe that others simply Just didn’t want to admit that the war was over slavery, realizing how bad that it sounded. One person who didn’t believe in slavery was General Robert E. Lee. General Robert E.
Lee was a great commander and general. He had the respect of all of his soldiers and wherever he went he was praised upon. This was because he represented what the south wanted to represent in that being he didn’t own slaves. General Robert E. Lee’s right hand man was General James Longstreet. General James Longstreet was second in command behind General Lee. General Longstreet was also a great soldier. He never got caught up in “The cause” he was For the most part the union always frowned upon the idea of slavery and stuck ehind President Abraham Lincoln.
The northern states were afraid that with the secession of the southern states would hurt the country as a whole. They thought the separation of the states would eventually lead to the creation of small countries. A turning point in the story was when Colonel Joshua L. Chamberlain’s(the voice of the Union army) soldiers ran into a slave that had escaped from the south. When General Chamberlain saw the beaten up slave numerous thoughts went through his head. At first he felt bad for the black man.
Then he became overwhelmed that he was really seeing a black man, he became hesitant and didn’t want to touch him. He soon came to his senses realizing that he wasn’t acting morally or ethically. He remembered a quote that the minister had said during a conversation that they had in which the minister said “what if it is you who is wrong after all? ” (170) after coming to his senses Chamberlain assured the nourishment and welfare of the slave before continuing his journey. ” I think that this represents how most northerners felt about slavery.
They looked t slaves as if they were normal human beings, while the people in the south saw them as property. Ultimately, despite what the south said about the reason for the civil war, it all comes down to slavery and the opposing viewpoints when it comes to the topic. I can say without a doubt that the book The Killer Angels definitely altered my opinion about people in the south as a whole. I empathize more for them than I did in the past because I understand the legitimacy of their points in regards to the states having power and the United States Constitution.