The Union as It Was

A minority on the left is possibly willing to admit that a few “good Southerners” during the War Between the States opposed slavery, secession, and the Confederacy.  Probably a much smaller minority would concede that a considerable number of Northerners opposed the war either to preserve the Union or to free the slaves.  That, in early 21st-century America, is simply too much reality to bear by people who seem to imagine that, for four long years, hundreds of spontaneous Two Minute Hates and abuse of the Confederate Battle Flag occurred daily across the 15 states remaining in the Union, and that so many fervent Northern abolitionists volunteered for army service that Lincoln was compelled to scrap the draft and establish a lottery system allowing everyone an equal chance at holy martyrdom.

Northern Opposition demonstrates otherwise.  It shows also that the Founding Fathers’ view of the United States as a federal system of sovereign states established for the welfare of those states, not the benefit of the system itself—which was also the majority view, South and North, right down to 1861—was robustly maintained throughout the war by a significant, and vocal, segment of the Northern population.

The excited patriotism that followed the Confederate attack on Ft. Sumter began to wane fairly quickly, and the casualty figures for the summer and fall of 1862, added to the...

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