Earlier this week I asked about why white northerners chose to resist secession and go to war. Kevin Levin took that post and ran with it, asking readers to extend their analysis southward to residents of states that declared for the Confederacy. Let’s focus for a moment on that question, especially because it does say something about the connections between slavery, racial attitudes, and allegiance that complicates matters … as in the case of Andrew Johnson, who saw nothing wrong with slavery (as opposed to rich Whig slaveholders), was a bitter racist, and yet stood out as a unionist who braved danger in pursuit of his position.
That’s right, I said something positive about Andrew Johnson.
So what motivated white southern unionists to decide and act as they did?