|View single post by pender|
|Posted: Fri Nov 11th, 2011 10:36 pm||
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, you have repeatedly used this quote about Democracy on this board." Southern hotheads had broken up the Union which he saw as the last best hope for freedom on earth." Also you wrote "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." I agree with what you wrote about Sherman, and I would also agree to an extent with these quotes. That they believed in their minds this was true.
The problem I have with it is this, Southern hotheads had broken up the union. Yes they were hotheads, but they no longer wanted to be part of a union they felt trampled on their rights. Wrong or right that is how they felt, how is that democracy to be forced in the union? They also did not want king Abe(southern thinking) ruling over them. The last best hope for freedom is hotheaded Southerners, that were traitor's that wanted slave's? I say this because it would have been a northerners view.
I can understand why they might believe the American experiment might fail, looking over one hundred and fifty years of American history. But in their time are they going to place that much emphasis on the Southern people and Southern land and resources? As far as resources, we know they did not have alot at the time, except agriculture.
"this nation would prove men could not govern themselves" As England could not govern Scotland or the Soviet Union thier satellite nation's. Are even Rome over it's Empire.
Mark as I said before I agree with you this may have been their thinking. I have wrote this not so much at you, as toward the northern view of the time you have quoted. Southerners have been accused of saying they were fighting for their freedom (Southern Democracy), and fighting for thier rights, while at the same time holding their black neighbors in bondage. Can this not also be said of the northern government, they speak of freedom, but deny it to their Southern neighbors. It may be hard to believe for some when speaking of the great American Experiment, but there were those in the Southern armies and in the Southland that gave their lives blood to not be apart of it. To them it was Despotism and Tyranny.
Tell me if I am wrong, but I perceive the above mentoined quotes as meaning, That without the South land and its people that made up the Confedarcy. That have been so ridiculed by some then and now. The north would have never been able to achieve the great American Experiment. In other words the road to greatness could only come from the South. Though Southerners wanted no part of it, they were essential to it.
The way I see it, if I am wrong plese explain how, Pender