Destruction and Reconstruction: Personal Experiences of the Late War
The history of the United States, as yet unwritten, will show the causes of the "Civil War" to have been in existence during the Colonial era, and to have cropped out into full view in the debates of the several State Assemblies on the adoption of the Federal Constitution, in which instrument Luther Martin, Patrick Henry, and Others, insisted that they were implanted. African slavery at the time was universal, and its extinction in the North, as well as its extension in the South, was due to economic reasons alone. The first serious difficulty of the Federal Government arose from the attempt to lay an excise on distilled spirits. The second arose from the hostility of New England traders to the policy of the Government in the war of 1812, by which their special interests were menaced; and there is now evidence to prove that, but for the unexpected peace, an attempt to disrupt the Union would then have been made. The "Missouri Compromise" of 1820 was in reality a truce between antagonistic revenue systems, each seeking to gain the balance of power. For many years subsequently, slaves – as domestic servants – were taken to the Territories without exciting remark, and the "Nullification" movement in South Carolina was entirely directed against the tariff. Anti-slavery was agitated from an early period, but failed to attract public attention for many years. At length, by unwearied industry, by ingeniously attaching itself to exciting questions of the day, with which it had no natural connection, it succeeded in making a lodgment in the public mind, which, like a subject exhausted by long effort, is exposed to the attack of some malignant fever, that in a normal condition of vigor would have been resisted. The common belief that slavery was the cause of civil war is incorrect, and Abolitionists are not justified in claiming the glory and spoils of the conflict and in pluming themselves as "choosers of the slain
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