Our history has been a bitter one dominated by colonialism, racism, apartheid, sexism and repressive labor policies. The Civil War was perhaps the most momentous event in American history. The survival of the United States as one nation was at risk, and on the outcome of the war depended the nation's ability to bring to reality the ideals of liberty, equality, justice, and human dignity. The war put constitutional government to its severest test as a long festering debate over the power of the federal government versus state rights. Its enormously bloody outcome preserved the Union while releasing not only four million African Americans but also the entire nation from the oppressive weight of our country's original sin, slavery. .
On September 22, 1862 President Lincoln issued the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation. It stipulated that anyone in bondage, in states, or parts of states, still in rebellion on January 1, 1863, would be "thenceforward, and forever free." What were Lincoln's intentions? He knew there was virtually no chance that white Southerners would return to the Union just because he had threatened to free their slaves. My theory, the real reason that the war was fought was about expansion West and not about slavery. Why was this worth fighting over? The North wanted to ensure that western land would be settled by free white labor, and not by black slave labor. They were industrial and wanted to expand their industries west while the South wanted to expand agriculturally using slaves as their laborers. Slavery had been first and foremost an economic system for the South. It was their way of life. When the North and South could not come to an agreement, the South decided to secede from the United States, which fueled the beginning of the Civil War. The United States was no longer united. They became two nations: The United States of America (known as the Union and the North) and The Confederate States of America (known as the South or Rebels).