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Matters of Expediency: Wheeling in January 1863

January 6, 2013

Editor’s Note: This article is part of an occasional series on the Civil War sesquicentennial provided by members of the Wheeling Civil War 150 Committee....

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Jan-06-13 3:40 AM

Remembering the big fuss made for the Civil War Centennnial in my youth, I must say I'm saddened by the lack of greater interest in the national media. The Civil War was the biggest thing in our history. More than the Revolution, it made the country we are today.

I suppose that's part of the problem. Our government and their cheering section, the media, want to push us away from that nation of individuals, making us a ons-size-fits-all place.

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Jan-06-13 3:18 PM

The Civil War did indeed have an enormous influence on the development of the nation. It substantially strengthened the national government, in part, by giving it increased jurisdiction over the states. The war forced both the North and the South to pool the resources of their member states and assign more power to the central governments to direct the war effort. The North was more successful at this than the South, and it had more in the way of resources to support its efforts. A prolonged war definitely favored the North.

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Jan-07-13 9:54 AM

I am often disappointed when modern historians choose to denigrate the movement to abolish slavery in this period. Historians now make light of the Emancipation as being just some thing that Lincoln did to harass the South but having read extensively of the period I am uncertain what motivates them to do that. Newspaper stories, essays and even letters home from Union soldiers indicate that there was strong feeling to end the use of humans as property and on moral grounds. States chose to be free states and in the most eloquent of terms. I know that it rankles liberal thinkers that Lincoln was a Republican, perhaps even to the point to downplay the struggle to abolish slavery and that certainly is nonacademic but one that liberal historians feel compelled to follow to be acccepted by their like thinking peers. It was a great time in America, as was the desegregation of schools (enforced by Eisenhower a..yikes..Republican).

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Jan-07-13 9:59 AM

And before political cultists join the chant and bashing of me, I should state that I am a liberal, a lifelong Democrat and one with credentials carved from the civil rights movement. While in the South in the period the fact was not lost on me that the forces that Dr. King fought were nearly all strong, racist Democratic governors and local political bosses from the Democratic party known as the Dixiecrats and they held great power in the Congress from post Civil War until the mid 60's. Politics does not serve justice well and we need to abandon it as a way of life and begin to judge each other on personal terms. Lincoln's oratory on slavery is some of the most moving in this nation's history. The legions of men who went to war from free states should not have their sacrifice diminished for modern political babble. The nation ended slavery and good for us all.

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