After the war, in one of the great efforts of spin control in our history, both [Jefferson] Davis and [Alexander] Stephens, despite their own words, insisted that the war was not about slavery after all but about state sovereignty. By then, of course, slavery was "a dead and discredited institution," [historian James] McPherson wrote, and to "concede that the Confederacy had broken up the United States and launched a war that killed 620,000 Americans in a vain attempt to keep 4 million people in slavery would not confer honor on their lost cause."
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
No-Spin War Zone
As we prepare for the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the Civil War, E. J. Dionne cautions readers not to fall for the canard, successfully promoted by the Confederacy's president and vice president, that the cataclysm was about state's rights instead of southerns' desire to preserve slavery at all costs: