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Slavery's primary role in the Civil War

None of reader C. Lyon's arguments mitigates against slavery's primary role in the Civil War ("Civil War wasn't all about slavery," April 12). For example:

1) West Virginia was admitted to the Union as a slave state but with a constitutional provision that required the gradual abolition of slavery.

2) Slavery ended with the passage of a constitutional amendment – the 13th -- a slow process that was made much more so in the immediate post-war period when the number and status of former slave states was uncertain.

3) The Emancipation Proclamation was an act of war designed primarily to weaken the Confederacy by depriving it of its labor force.

4) Secretary of War Winfield Scott refused Robert E. Lee's conditional offer to serve the Union.

5) Lee remained a slaveholder despite his qualms about slavery in the 1850s.

6 and 7) That there were slave-holders who supported the North while some people opposed to slavery supported the South merely indicates the complexity of slavery and race in America at the time.

8) Black slavery gave even the poorest white Southerners a status and prerogative that bound whites together regardless of the huge disparity of wealth in the South.

9) A class-based draft that disproportionately affected Irish immigrants and other poor whites; a long and bloody war; and the frustrations of urban life in the mid-nineteenth century New York caused the Draft Riot in July 1863.

10) That some free blacks owned black slaves only indicates the predominance of slavery in the Southern economy at the time.

John G. Bailey, Edgemere

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