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 Posted: Thu Nov 10th, 2011 12:39 pm
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Mark
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I think you are looking at it from a 21st century point of view sgtredleg. When Sherman went north in 1860, he did not know that the war would ultimately result in the 13th Amendment (in fact Sherman was rather bigoted by 21st century standards for all of his life). What he did know was that (in his opinion) Southern hotheads had broken up the Union which he saw as the last best hope for freedom on earth. Remember, the the spread of liberty in Europe had been violently suppressed by the revolutions in 1848. Sherman and other Union men (north and south) believed that if the South was allowed to go its way, it would doom the American experiment and this nation would prove that men could not govern themselves. Men on both sides really believed that they were fighting to preserve democracy. Was "hard war" needed? Well, try putting yourself into Sherman's shoes in 1864. The South remains unsubdued after the three bloodiest years in American history and shows little sign of being ready to give up. Their armies have been battered time and time again and always escape destruction. So, what supports the armies? War material and support from the homefront. If you can convince the homefront that the war is not worth continuing then the Southern armies will collapse. In the end Sherman was correct: the south crumbled from within because of the external pressure. By the way, what we consider "total war" was humane considering other wars that these men would have been familiar with: take the thirty years war, Napoleon in Spain or even the Indian wars on this continent. Hope that helps.

Mark

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