On occasion I revisit places in cyberspace that were once hotbeds of discussion and debate about the American Civil War, but which have since fallen on hard times to the point that they are cyber ghost towns. Such is the case with the once-active usenet group “alt.war.civil.usa,” where I found the inspiration for today’s query in a somewhat confused post.
The question is a simple one (here we go again … although simple questions often have complex and involved answers): why did most white northerners in 1861 decide to resist secession and ultimately accept the need to wage a war to prevent it from becoming successful?
Note: this is different from the semi-coherent ramblings in the muddled usenet post, which confuses all sort of issues (for example, one who “loved” the Union might well see secession as a way to purify it, as in the case of William Lloyd Garrison). But I digress.