Editorial: North Good, South Bad?


Robert E. Lee - the focus of evil in the 19th Century?

     If only it were that simple we would be spared the painful task of thinking.  Sadly, I believe "North Good, South Bad" is an all too common opinion.  A typical K through 12 education (for that matter even a college education) barely touches on the war, so most people are never exposed to a meaningful analysis of this important time in American history.  For that matter, teachers aren't encouraged to discuss controversial topics, especially when race could be at all involved.  So if the average person thinks about the war at all, his opinion on this vital subject is often based entirely on ignorance. 

   Confederate sympathizers must confront the issue of slavery, which forces them into one of two things.  Firstly, they can admit that the Lost Cause was less than holy, or secondly they can deny the importance of slavery as a cause for the war or downplay its horrors.  The Union side, on the other hand, has no obvious issue like slavery to tarnish their image, but should we assume that their cause was a holy crusade?  

     Below, I do not argue that the Civil War had nothing to do with slavery or even that slavery wasn't the greatest single cause of the war.  I do argue that the war was more complex than many people believe, and that the reunification of the country and end of slavery were probably the only good things to come from the war.  As we will see below, the causes of neither side in the Civil War were wholly righteous.  You might say that the war was not good versus evil, but rather good and evil versus good and evil.  The evil side of the Confederacy - the protection of slavery - is obvious, and there is no need to bore you with the obvious.  So since studying history without analysis and understanding is largely useless, let's wade into the controversy and see the other side of the story.





Back to Civil War Virtual Battlefield Tours