I realize I'm a couple days late posting anything on this, but Tuesday was a 12-hour war of attrition at work, and I didn't get around to writing anything until today.
Nevertheless, for anyone who may have been living under a rock for the past couple of weeks, Tuesday marked the 150th anniversary of the start of the American Civil War. On April 12, 1861, confederate forces bombarded Fort Sumter off the coast of Charleston, S.C., prompting the official start of the war. Nearly four years to the day and more than 500,000 dead troops later, Lee surrendered on April 9, 1865. Four years and two days after the start of the war, Lincoln was shot by the firebrand, John Wilkes Booth, at [[Ford's Theatre]] in Washington.
As an original resident of South Carolina, the first state to secede from the Union, I am interested in examining both the causes of the Civil War and the effects from the fallout. My Civil War professor at Clemson University, Paul Anderson, supplied me and my fellow history students with this pithy summation of the root causes behind the War Between the States:
Both slavery and anti-slavery caused the Civil War.
This was literally one of the first sentences he uttered to us after roll call.
We know the story well. Southern aristocrats and politicians, of course, were fighting for the extension of slavery into the territories and for the continuation of slavery in the South, the South's economy being almost exclusively dependent on the peculiar institution. That's not to say that the North didn't have a stake in the preservation of slavery. It was both a purchaser of Southern goods and an implicit participant in the slave trade, as slaves would often be brought to America on Northern ships. I'm sure Northern ship owners profited mightily from this enterprise.