Most students believe that the South was fighting to keep all of the slaves in bondage, while the benevolent Yankees were fighting to free the slaves in captivity — nothing could be further from the truth.
The motivation of Lincoln was consolidating political power — not freeing the slaves. The notion that he was trying to free the slaves from the get-go is a complete fabrication. Lincoln also was a racist, even though he thought slavery was wrong ..
The notion of Lincoln being a benevolent color-blind freer of slaves is simply not true. It’s a fantasy cooked up by the men who won the war. After all, if you’re telling your grandkids that you waged a war that killed 600,000 men, that destroyed the city of Atlanta, and millions of people were wounded, it doesn’t sound good to say “we did it for political power”.
So what were the real reasons the South seceded? The following should be helpful to understand:
- Anti-South Party. The GOP was anti-southern ..
- Anti-South Tariffs. In the 1830s, the US government passed tariff essentially forcing the South to buy products from the North ..
- No Nullification .. The “strong central government” camp had become much more powerful than the state-sovereignty camp, at least in DC.
- Capping Southern Influence .. The North was soon to completely overpower the North in the federal government, leaving the South in a position where they were essentially forced to do whatever the North wanted.
- Structure of Government. The North repeatedly was trying to change the constitution to make the senate elected by popular vote rather than state legislatures .. The South wanted state sovereignty, and the North wanted the federal government to more able to regulate the internal affairs of the states — and not just in slavery.
- No Need for the North ..Since they were being politically isolated and economically exploited, they believed there was nothing keeping them to stay in the North. They also believed that leaving the Union at any time was their contractual right.