Schweitzer is mostly right but wrong nevertheless. Yes, states’ rights was the immediate cause of the Civil War. But, an individual state’s right to do what? To have slavery. Eleven states didn’t secede from the Union between November 1860 and April 1861 because of tariffs, taxes or Indian removal policy.
Your article presupposes that in slavery’s absence, something else would’ve caused the Civil War. That assumption doesn’t help us very much, because it ignores the central issues of slavery and race, and how those issues played a central economic role in building the US prior to 1861. Not to mention the major factor in creating a unifying effect for the nation in the connections between freedom and race, at least before the 1850s.
The other issue that’s important here is that many of the themes of the Civil War remain unresolved. Southern Whites defending a flag and a “way of life” that depended on the subjugation of millions of people during slavery and after the Civil War — you know, the Jim Crow era (1877-1970-ish). When folks defending the Stars and Bars use the term “way of life,” they never describe it in any detail, as if we know what this means, as if we’re only talking about barbeques and blue-grass bands. The day that Confederate apologists get real about slavery and segregation is the day that we can finally stop debating about the causes of the Civil War and the sanctity of the blood-stain Confederate flag.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost