I have this pet peeve when it comes to discussion of the War of Southern Secession and it is the people who finger point saying that such and such person or group was racists as if that ad hominem somehow settles everything there is pertaining to the war. Newsflash for the unaware: the entire United States was FULL of racists. It was ingrained in the culture and it was wrong but it was there nonetheless. It was in the South, it was in the North, it was in the East, it was in the West. It was everywhere.
Some common finger pointing statements:
There were few slaves in the North. Typically pointed out by people who are anti-Confederacy.True, but the majority of northerners still treated people of color as sub-human. Additionally, many made money off the slave trade even after getting rid of their own slaves because their issue with it wasn’t slavery itself but having to be in near proximity with people of color.
Many of the slaves in the South were treated well and didn’t wish to leave their owners after being freed. Typically pointed out by people who are anti-Union and usually when they are feeling defensive. This is quite subjective but there is evidence to support it as well. However, no matter how well you are treated being a slave means your life decisions are in the hands of someone else.
Neither of the above statements prove that either side had the moral superiority when it comes to slavery. I can think of racist southerners as well as southerners who went out of their way to free the slaves they had inherited before abolition because they felt it was immoral. I can think of abolitionist northerners but I can also think of northerners who didn’t want slavery to end, owned slaves of their own, thought people of color sub-human, and/or were known to abuse their slaves. The fact is that there were crappy people then and there are crappy people now and none of the above means a thing when it comes down to a discussion of the war. The stereotypes hurt everyone.
If some of the above is all you know to say when debating the war it’s time to do some more research and come up with some legitimate talking points.