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Was slavery worth fighting a civil war?

The Sun along with the rest of the liberal media has over-hyped Gen. John Kelly’s recent statement that a failure to compromise caused the Civil War. At no point did General Kelly ever state or infer that slavery was justifiable. But on its face value Mr. Kelly’s statement is true. The Sun confirms its veracity by citing several previous compromises that did in fact avoid a civil war.

The real question Mr. Kelly’s words beg is, “Was the death of more than 700,000 Americans worth ending slavery?”

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To all but the liberal left this is a reasonable question, especially in light of the fact the Civil War did little if anything to improve the lives of blacks or change the way cotton was produced in the South. Yes, the war emancipated the blacks, but after the war they were forced to live as indentured slaves under onerous sharecropping contracts. The “40 acres and a mule” promise was never kept.

As for Southern cotton production, by 1870 the South had produced more cotton than it had in 1860, and by 1880, the South exported more cotton than in had in 1860. The Southern plantation system was built on backs of slaves before the war and it was built on the backs of indentured slaves after the war. And it would continue for another 60 or 70 years until 1926 when John Rust invented the first mechanical cotton picker that would eventually make slave labor uneconomical.

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For Mr. Kelly, and for me, instead of over 700,000 dead Americans, no real change in the lives of blacks, no change in the Southern economic system, one more compromise would have been acceptable.

Steve Williams, Towson

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