The reasons for the “Civil War” are complex including states’ rights, but have been reduced to the issue of slavery. Considering the increasingly strong federal government we have had for the last 75 years or so, our ancestors have been vindicated on the issue of states’ rights. The result has been the loss of balance of power between the federal government and the state governments.

There were five slave states which sided with the Union: West Virginia, Kentucky, Maryland, Delaware and Missouri. In the Emancipation Proclamation, Lincoln excluded the slaves in those states. He only included the slaves in the Confederacy over which he had no authority. When Lee surrendered to Grant, Lincoln’s executive order went into effect. The emancipation of the slaves in the Union was settled with the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments to the Constitution.

The issue of slavery was not a priority for the farmer who wanted to provide for his family. His loyalty was to his state, not the federal government. In 1863 following the draft riots in New York, slavery came more to the forefront and has become the primary issue for our current conflict.

The Confederate statues celebrate the common man, the farmer, the tradesman who took up arms to protect his home. His interest was to withdraw from the Union to free the states from a powerful federal government. The statues honor him for his principles, regardless of whether you or I may agree and they deserve that honor.

Darlene Denton, Gainesville

Recommended for you