By and large, I fully agree with Douglas Pickrell's letter to the editor in your January 26 issue repudiating state Rep. Todd Clodfelter's (R-Tucson) comments about the Confederate flag . But I do strongly disagree with Clodfelter's comment, "It is probably also true that most of the people who lost their lives in the Civil War had no idea what they were fighting for."
Anyone who has studied and learned about American History in the 40-year period before the Civil War from 1820 to 1860 discovers that the ultimate and final resolving of the slavery issue became more and more prominent and contentious as time passed.
Abraham Lincoln made this fact crystal clear in his House Divided speech to Illinois Republicans attending their state convention in Springfield, Illinois , June 16. 1858, after they had named him their candidate to run against the Democratic candidate Stephan A. Douglas for U. S. Senator stating:
"We are now far into the fifth year , since a policy was initiated (Kansas_Nebraska Act) with an avowed object and confident promise of putting an end to slavery agitation. Under the operation of that policy, that agitation has not only not ceased, but has constantly augmented. In my opinion, it will not cease, until a crisis (Civil War or ?) shall have been reached and passed. A HOUSE DIVIDED AGAINST ITSELF CANNOT STAND. I believe this government cannot endure permanently half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved-I do not expect the house to fall but I do expect it will cease to be divided. Either the opponents ( Abolitionists and citizens of states where slavery is prohibited ) will arrest the further spread of it , and place it where the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is in course of ultimate extension : or its advocates (Powerful Democratic Congressmen from the south and very wealthy plantation owners) will push it forward , till it should become lawful in all the states ,old as well as new, North as well as South."
In his second inaugural address on March 4, 1865, shortly before the war essentially ended on April 7, 1865, Lincoln, a master at using the English language to clearly and simply describe complicated issues such as the cause of the Civil War stated: "One-eighth of the whole population were colored slaves, not distributed generally over the Union, but localized in the Southern part of it. These slaves constituted a peculiar and powerful interest. All knew that this interest was, somehow, the cause of the war. To expand and extend this interest was the object for which the insurgents would rend the Union, even by war, while the government claimed no right to do more than to limit the territorial expansion of it."