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Kevin M. Kruse @KevinMKruse
, 12 tweets, 4 min read Read on Twitter
No, as a professor, I understand the Civil War was fought over slavery, because that's what the South repeatedly said the Civil War was about.
In its simplest terms, the Civil War came about because the southern states seceded.

And the southern states seceded to protect and defend slavery.

And we know this because they said so at the time.

Proudly. Openly. Repeatedly.
For instance, here's Mississippi's secession declaration, which declared its reasons quite directly:

"Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery -- the greatest material interest of the world."…
South Carolina likewise explained that they were leaving the Union because of "an increasing hostility on the part of the non-slaveholding States to the institution of slavery."…
Here's Texas, citing "an unnatural feeling of hostility to these Southern States and their beneficent and patriarchal system of African slavery."…
Here's Robert E. Lee's home state of Virginia, making clear that their cause was in line with the other "Slaveholding Southern States" in wanting to defend that institution at all costs.…
Look beyond these declarations to comments from leaders of the Confederacy, and listen to what issues they say their cause and their new country, the Confederate States of America, were dedicated.
Here's the "Cornerstone Speech" by Vice President Alexander Stephans, who said in 1861 the CSA was founded on the idea that "the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery--subordination to the superior race--is his natural and normal condition."
Or let's listen to William T. Thompson, the man who designed the Confederate flag.

"As a people we are fighting to maintain the Heaven-ordained supremacy of the white man over the inferior or colored race," he said in 1863. The flag he designed was meant to show that.
Historians have written countless books explaining this.

But if you won't read them, here's my former colleague Jim McPherson, noting how the war was absolutely about slavery and southern arguments shifted to "states' rights" only very late in the game.
Some joke that the war was fought over states' rights--states' rights to own slaves.

But that's not true. Southern states insisted that northern ones be forced to back slavery by the Fugitive Slave Act. When it came to states' rights to opt out of slavery, they were against it.
Again, as a professor I know all this, because this is what actual historians of the Civil War all say.

Even if you won't listen to them, you should listen to what the leaders of the secession movement and the Confederacy say. Because they were *pretty* damn clear about it.
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