E.J. Dionne reminds us that April 12, 2011, will mark the 150th anniversary of the firing on Fort Sumter and the beginning of the Civil War. Except countless gasbags to declare to us that the Civil War was fought over states’ rights, which is hogwash.
The usual argument that the war was not fought over slavery hinges on the fact that the northern states went to war to preserve the Union, and Lincoln himself declared that he was willing to protect slavery in the southern states if that would keep southern states in the Union.
However, it is a bare-assed, unadulterated fact that the only reason several slave states tried to secede and form a new confederacy was to protect the institution of slavery, a point Dionne makes very clearly. Any other “causes” the confederates thought up were clear afterthoughts.
So South Carolina started the war by firing on a federal military installation, Fort Sumter, leaving Lincoln little choice but to send troops to put down the rebellion. And ever after, generations of southern whiners have called this the beginning of the War of Northern Aggression. And the culture of denial and victimhood continues to this day.