Should Soldiers Be Allowed To Go To War?

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One of the most debated topics in American history is on what the motivation was for the soldiers and people of both sides to go to war. In a conflict fought mainly by volunteers, the reasons are many and different reasons exist for those on different sides and over time their reasons may have changed. Another question is whether or not soldiers were motivated by the same reasons/ideals by their political leaders, to which I say in the most part yes, although there are some exceptions. However in general the main reasons why the soldiers and leaders on both sides went to war came down to the cultural/structural differences between the South and the North, the issue of slavery, for “their nation”, to fight for their homes and to fight for their…show more content…
William Seward was a leading anti-slavery figure who later became secretary of state in the Lincoln administration. He believed that the two systems held by the North and the South (free labour and slavery) were “incompatible”. He stated that eventually America would have to become either fully a free labour nation or a slaveholding nation. While not everyone felt so strongly about this in the North (many didn’t care about the slavery issue at all) it was a reason that soldiers and leaders on either side went to war and fought for (in the North to end it, in the South to defend it). Lincoln was of the opinion that while he would never accept the extension of slavery he would make no direct attempt to interfere with it where it existed. He and most other Northern political leaders believed slavery would die out, as long as there was no expansion. This is a key issue. When the US expanded its territory into the West there was fierce debate as to whether slavery should expand with it. Obviously the North were against it (believed would give extra power to South and lead to further expansion of slavery) and the South were for it. The Southern economy was beginning to show cracks as slaves were becoming very expensive and more people couldn’t afford them. They viewed the expansion into other territories as a way of continuing slavery and saving their money.…show more content…
Leaders and soldiers both believed in these concepts and were key reasons for going to war on both sides, each side believing they were doing the right thing. The Civil War has been described as a conflict over alternate versions and visions of the American nation. The North believed it was crucial that “the nation” stay together and if the South were allowed to succeed, that nation would be ruined and all that had been sacrificed/fought for to create this independent free nation would be lost. Many justified going to war as it was the only method of keeping the union together, one soldier telling his wife that “it is better to have war for one year than anarchy and revolution for fifty”, there was a belief that if the South were allowed to secede, it would set a precedent to allow other states to leave the nation in the future. Lincoln (who strongly believed in the idea of the nation and the Union) being re-elected in 1864 shows how the soldiers supported Lincolns beliefs and believed the war and its sacrifices meaningful and necessary. The South believed their culture and values were so different from those of the North that they couldn’t live in the same nation so they created (or tried to) their own nation. Jefferson Davis said the main aim of this war was to

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