I’m a history buff. Once upon a time, I listened to a historical fiction audio drama, and since that fatal day, I’ve been a goner. One of my favorite eras in history is the American Civil war. Some people call it The War Between the States, while others prefer the title of The War of Brother against Brother, and some very strange people like the title of The War of Northern Aggression.
Today I’m going to give you a bit of my thoughts on this sad time in American history. Or, in better words, I’m going to be debunking some of the thoughts that I’ve fallen across during my learning, because my dear people, don’t believe all you read in a history book…Or online. Please, use your brain and THINK.
(Note: I do not have a degree in history or anything close to that. I’ve just read a lot, heard a lot of talks on history, and observed other history lovers.)
1. You are either a souther or northern sympathizer. There’s no middle ground.
When you read a book about the Civil war, or you hear a speech, you need to recognize one plain factor. There is no middle ground when it comes to the Civil war. Some may say, “I don’t agree with either side.” Regardless of how much you agree, you agree with one side more then the other.
The speaker/writer/person will have a side that they lean to in their argument. I mean, we’ve all seen this when we’re fighting with our siblings. Our parents never have partial interests, they always lean to one side or the other.
This was recognized all over the United States during the war, it was recognized in the years of reconstruction, and somehow in the years following, it has been lost.
My dear friends, in this fight, there was no middle ground.
2. Both Sides Were Wrong.
WHAT? Yes, both sides were wrong. Because both sides had sinners on them! The South as well as the North, and the North as well as the South. Every “cause” besides the cause of Christ has been wrong in some shape or form, because the people behind the cause are sinners, just like you and me.
Both sides had good stands and bad stands, just like politics today. Both sides had brave men, and both sides had cowards. Just like in any war today. One of the huge faults of people learning history now-a-days is the fact that we tend to forget that however much of a genius they were, they were still human. Humans are humans, whether they’re a 10-year-old Confederate drummer boy, or the 55-year-old general of the Federal army.
I admire both sides of this war, and different people on both sides, but each person has faults. History doesn’t often guild this faults, instead, it makes them all the more evident.
3. The South Wasn’t Christian.
Again, I hear you Southern Sympathizers gasping. Anyone who told you that the government of the Confederate States of America was Christian is a lier. In fact, most Confederate politicians were crafty men that loved bribes. (If you think you can be a Christian and accept bribes, please, read the book of Proverbs. Thank you.)
Guess what? They were politicians, after all. Politics hasn’t changed much since the beginning of American history, and it certainly hasn’t changed in the past 150 years. The politicians in the South were headstrong and stupid, as well as being terrible when it came to war tactics.
4. Abraham Lincoln Wasn’t A Hero
There was a man that came out of the Illinois wilderness, and became the hero of America overnight, right? Well, he did become a hero overnight, but it wasn’t when he was elected. It was when he died.
Abraham Lincoln wasn’t well loved by the people or by the politicians of the North. The people were well tired of him by the time 1863 rolled around. It was only by Sherman winning the Atlanta campaign that Lincoln was able to be re-elected.
The politicians didn’t like Lincoln for many reasons, some being his stupidity when it came to war matters, others because of his beliefs in both religion and politics, while others disliked him because of his insane wife. (I could write a whole articles about Mary Todd Lincoln, but I think I’ll refrain.) Needless to say, Abe Lincoln wasn’t viewed as a hero in the North until he was dead.
5. Jeff Davis Wasn’t a Hero
No one angers me more in the Confederacy than Jeff Davis himself. The people who elected Davis as President of the Confederacy made a grave mistake. Davis was as bad as Lincoln himself when it came to war matters, and he wasn’t a very good people person. He wasn’t impersonal when it came to officials, and he wasn’t very good at smoothing the rough spots in the Confederate government.
He was often blinded his personal likes or dislikes of people. (Take for example his liking of Braxton Braggs, which led to the fall of Atlanta.) Jefferson Davis is one of those men that you read about, and you just aren’t able to say if he was just sadly stupid, or if he did all that he did on purpose. Regardless to say, Jefferson Davis never was, and never will be, a hero.
6. The South would never have won.
I heard more Southern Sympathizers gasp. I’ve often heard people say, “If this had happened in this battle, the South would have won.” Or they say, “The South could have won if this person did this.”
I’m here to shake your beliefs, people. The South never would have won, because the South never was ready to win. The South never even had time to consider what they would do if they won.
I already spoke on the state of Southern politics. That is just one reason why the South would never have been able to win. The South had no Patrick Henry, no Thomas Jeffersons, and certainly, they had no John Adamses. Instead, they had a bunch of men that squabbled like children over each of their assumed rights.
Also, the South had no economy to support them if they won. They were an agriculture country that heavily relied on slaves. Even if they had won, the North would still have had some control over the slave trade and shipping their products to say, England. The South was unable to support itself.
7. The North Needed Better Soldiers
People look at the North, and see superb politicians. But unfortunately politicians are not the only people who win battles. Not only did the North lack brilliant and courageous generals, they also sadly lacked moral in the common foot soldier.
Let me put it this way. In the South, the boys were fighting on their land, their country side, and in front of their homes. The Northern boys had no fear of the Confederate Army marching into Pennsylvania or Ohio and destroying their homes. So? Many Northern boys didn’t go. There wasn’t honor or much glory in the idea of leaving sweet hearts and families to get a stray bullet in the chest.
Many of the soldiers in the Northern Army were vagabonds and men in for the money.
Please remember I said many. There were men like Arthur MacArthur who were courageous and risked their lives for others. But if the Northern Army had had the moral and generals that the Southern Army had, they would have won the war much earlier.
8. The South Needed Better Politicians.
The men from the South were mostly hardened planters. Men that came from English, Scottish, French, and Spanish stock. They were used to heat, used to sweat, and used to hardships, and they were fighting for the land that gave them food.
Many people forget to take religious beliefs into consideration when it comes to the Civil war. I’m going to show you something interesting. In the 1840s and 50s, the church in America split, and there became Southern Baptists and Southern Presbyterians. The split of the church in America was evidence of the oncoming struggle, and played a rather large role.
The men of the South experienced a great revival in their camps during the war time. Men that had always been brave and courageous, now laid down their lives at the feet of the cross. This not only boosted determination in these men to protect their lives, but also gave them courage to give them away on the battle field.
Unfortunately it isn’t just soldiers and generals that win battles. You need smart, brave, and upright men as politicians to win a war and change the world. It was these men that the South was lacking.
What should you take away?
If you had to take away anything from this post, I want you to take away this simple thought. In America today, we often dwell on the individual. We can hold our own, we each must fight for our own freedom, but I’m here to tell you something. We can never buy our own freedom.
The freedom that you and I enjoy today has already been bought for us. We shouldn’t fight for our freedom, but for the freedom of those who come after us. Christ paid the price for the ultimate freedom from sins, but in this life on earth, as Christians, we are called to fight for freedom from earthly tyranny.
In order to fight and win, we need to study the mistakes of those who have gone before us. We need to be well grounded in history, so when our turn to fight comes, we can remember what worked for those before us, and what didn’t.