reply to post by Eight
To add to this, one has to understand that blacks were generally disliked and discriminated against in the North. While abolition was a popular topic
gaining prominence in wealthy and intellectual circles, it really didn't mean much for the common man of the North. While the abolition/preservation
of the institution of slavery was always a major powder keg behind the War, that wasn't the reason it was fought. Blacks were not allowed in the
Union Army initially, and later Negro Corps were often composed of runaway slaves used (ironically) as slaves to do the manual labor of the military
while the white men are the ones who actually fought and died. Many black enlisted men were never even allowed to fire a shot in the fight for their
freedom initially. Worse, some used them as "raider" squads to loot, sack, and burn Southern communities and plantations.
Rather, the Civil War was fought for the North primarily to preserve the Union - and this is generally reflected in the letters home from the soldiers
in the field.
One of the reasons why slavery was such an issue, and secession the only answer, is because the South felt as though they we incapable of receiving
proper representation. Being largely agricultural, the South lacked the dense urbanization and population the Industrialized North had. Therefore,
issues popularly supported in the North would almost always gain dominance over the South, rendering the South mute and subjugated in matters of
South Carolina was the first state to make good on their threat of secession, following the election of known abolitionist Abraham Lincoln.
The issue of slavery was not a focal point of the Civil War initially. It took a string of Union defeats to weaken international reluctance to support
either side. England's navy and textile industry was highly dependent on Southern Cotton crops, but England was reluctant to throw their support
behind the South due to the threat of French intervention - nor could they be morally seen to support an emerging nation which promoted the
institution of Slavery they had already abolished. Some within the British parliament even advocated using the America's struggle and support for the
South as way to slyly begin to reintroduce slavery in their own nation. With each Southern victory, the hammer of British intervention came closer.
Lincoln combated this by helping to turn the Civil War into a moral obligation to free the Slaves, rather than just a political and civil dispute
between American territories. However, his words would hold no real weight if the Union could not prove it was capable of winning the war. While the
North took substantial losses at the battle of Antietam - they were successful at turning back the Confederacy and driving them out of Maryland. This
first part in the storm Lincoln used to issue the Emancipation Proclamation - an ineffective proclamation that did not immediately free any slaves,
but turned the war to a moral struggle for freedom.
With the uncertainty over possible French assistance to the Union threatening new conflicts with England, popular support at home for the abolition
position of the North, and confidence shaken in the South's successful victory - the Emancipation Proclamation achieved it's intended impact. To
keep England from backing the South.
So the real answer as to whether the Civil War was fought to end slavery or merely the preservation of the Union is.... it depends on who you ask.