Frankly, I was shocked by the reasoning used by a State College man in a CDT letter (“Politicization of history,” May 4) defending the remarks of our unprecedentedly ignorant president about how the Civil War could have been avoided.
The letter described how slavery “would naturally become unsustainable.” How Europe was “opting out of Confederate cotton....” How an independent South “would have collapsed under its own weight, which would have freed the slaves without war.” He does not say how many extra decades the slaves would suffer under this Trump-like deal.
As one whose great-grandfather went in harm’s way as a battlefield surgeon with two Union Army regiments, I’ve read many books over the past 85 years on the Civil War and how it came about. I urge the State College man to read some of them. Plenty are available for free reading at Schlow Centre Region Library and Pattee Library at Penn State.
One thing he would learn is that the war came starting with the compromises made with plantation slave holders at the Constitutional Convention in 1787 in order to keep the southern states in the nation. Even then, the white South was fearful that northerners would someday try to abolish slavery, the foundation of the southern economy.
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To argue that southern slavery would somehow just fade away is delusional. Slaves had many other uses than picking cotton, including as bedmates (see Thomas Jefferson). And southern preachers said the Bible approved of slavery.
It’s all in the books.
John N. Rippey, Zion