Secession and Civil War Questions and Answers

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Describe one main goal of the Union (other than the emancipation of slaves) and of the Confederacy at the very beginning of The Civil War.

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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I think that that one element out of the question might need to be refined.  I don't think that the Union's explicit goal was the emancipation of slaves.  Certainly, for abolitionists in the North, the elimination of slavery was an important enough cause for which to fight.  Yet, for the vast majority of Northerners, the issue of slavery was not something over which war needed to be fought.  For the North, Lincoln's stated goal of preservation of the Union was the main goal of the conflict.  In Lincoln's speeches before the outbreak of war, slavery was never mentioned as an issue.  The paradigm that the North used was that the South separated from the nation, causing the war to be fought.  For their part, the South believed that the issue of slavery was something that represented tradition and a sense of identity.  They believed the Northern objection to slavery was nothing more than intrusion, and in the preservation of their own sense of freedom and identity, they believed that war was the only answer.  For the South, the election of Lincoln signaled the belief that the North would never be able to accept the South, and for this, war or separation was called.

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