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|Let me suggest a book (well maybe more of a long essay) for folks to read that changed my mind about Poor Southern Whites and the war. We all tend to give them a pass as not owning slaves and just protecting thier "homes and rats." The book is Charles Dew's Apostles of Disunion about the ambassadors from the seceding states who went to the other southern states to lobby for seccession. Dew mainly bases the book on the public speeches given by these ambassadors as reported in southern newspapers of the time. Plain and simple, the appeal to non-slaveholding whites was flat out white supremacy and negroes will be marrying white women if they are freed. Per the newspapers, such talk galvanized the poor whites to action. At least the slaveholders had the flimsy excuse of protecting their property rights but for many non-slaveholders there was definitely a racist reason to fight. Yes some joined the adventure or wished to "defend their homes." But there were less noble motivations and it wasn't isolated but widespread in the south.