Before I begin, it’s important we cover a few facts:
-The South had no intention of invading and occupying the North. However, the North had every intention of invading and occupying the South in order to force Southerners into continued subservience to the federal government. To the South, a victory would have been simply being left alone to create their own government. On the other hand, Lincoln repeatedly and openly stated that his only reason for engaging in a continued war with the South was to “preserve the union.” The South wanted nothing from the North, other than to be left alone. Had the North simply allowed the South to secede from the Union, no war would have been fought.
-Confederate General Robert E. Lee was an abolitionist. Lee called slavery “a moral and political evil.” He also said “the best men in the South” opposed it and welcomed its demise.
-President Abraham Lincoln wanted to send the slaves back to Africa and was a racist bigot. He frequently used the “N” word and made disparaging remarks about blacks.
-Confederate General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson was also an abolitionist. While his family had slaves, they were basically treated like hired workers. Jackson said he wished to see “the shackles struck from every slave.”
-Union General Ulysses S. Grant and his wife held personal slaves before and during the War Between the States. Grant’s excuse for not freeing his slaves was that “good help is so hard to come by these days.”
-Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation did not free the slaves of the North. They were not freed until the Thirteenth Amendment was passed after the conclusion of the war. (Think about that – the ‘Union’ did not abolish slavery until AFTER the war.)
-Lincoln supported the Fugitive Slave Act and “Black Laws” that were designed to strip the rights of black people.
-Battlefield letters compiled of Confederate troops show that almost all of them were fighting because they felt the federal government was violating their state’s rights in numerous ways. The institution of slavery itself is almost never mentioned. The federal government had aggressed against the South in numerous ways unrelated to the slavery issue. Obviously slavery played a key role, but it wasn’t the only factor that caused the war.
-Lincoln provoked the attack on Sumter by sending a hostile fleet there as ‘reinforcements’ and his generals positioned themselves in a threatening stance. Tulane University’s site on the attack states:
Stephens identified the beginning of the war as Lincoln’s order sending a “hostile fleet, styled the ‘Relief Squadron’,” to reinforce Fort Sumter. “The war was then and there inaugurated and begun by the authorities at Washington. General Beauregard did not open fire upon Fort Sumter until this fleet was, to his knowledge, very near the harbor of Charleston, and until he had inquired of Major Anderson . . . whether he would engage to take no part in the expected blow, then coming down upon him from the approaching fleet . . . When Major Anderson . . .would make no such promise, it became necessary for General Beauregard to strike the first blow, as he did; otherwise the forces under his command might have been exposed to two fires at the same time– one in front, and the other in the rear.” The use of force by the Confederacy , therefore, was in “self-defence,” rendered necessary by the actions of the other side.
~700,000 Americans died fighting the Civil War.
So let’s say the North simply let the South walk away from the Union without invading them. Now the question is, ‘would slavery have gone away in the South without a civil war?’
Of course it would have. Every other nation on the planet ended slavery without firing a shot. The South would have become a pariah among nations to the point where external pressure would have forced them to abolish it.
Further, if the North would have repealed the fugitive slave acts and fully abolished slavery (which they didn’t do before the war), slavery in the South would have become unprofitable because slaves would have fled to the North in large numbers. This very situation is what caused slavery to collapse in Africa.
So we can say with a great deal of certainty, that today, the South would be slave free even if no war had been fought.
Would the US have entered into WWI if the South had not been occupied by Northern aggressors?
I think it’s highly unlikely that either the North or the South would have involved themselves in WWI. Without a unifying federal government, it’s doubtful that either side would have willingly injected themselves into a European war.
If the US had not involved itself in WWI – would Hitler have come to power? Highly unlikely. The Germans wouldn’t have been oppressed to the point that made Hitler’s rise possible.
In fact it’s very likely that the North wining the US Civil War resulted in the deaths of tens of millions of people in foreign wars due to the repercussions of nationalist statism that developed in post war America. Is it better that 700,000 Americans were killed and potentially tens of millions more were killed or is it better that we fought a violent war that brought about an end to slavery and state sovereignty?
For a real history of the US Civil War, that doesn’t hold a racist bigot up as the second coming of the Christ, look here.