Congress has inflicted frightful punishments on its members--now you know that. When they tried Mr. Fairoaks, and a cloud of witnesses proved him to be--well, you know what they proved him to be--and his own testimony and his own confessions gave him the same character, what did Congress do then?....Congress intimated plainly enough, that they considered him almost a stain upon their body; and without waiting ten days, hardly, to think the thing over, they rose up and hurled at him a resolution declaring that they disapproved of his conduct! Now you know that. –Colonel Beriah Sellers, The Gilded Age, Mark Twain,...
The infusion of slavery into American life was an error which cost the country dearly in the long run. The fact remains that most people in the South did not own slaves, were not obsessed with owning them and did not make money off them. Most were small farmers, merchants, etc. It was the large landowners, slave traders and politiccians who fanned the flames of discord by refusing to eradicate slavery. The average Southerner would not pick up the gun to defend slavery. He would pick up the gun to defend his turf. Lincoln is one our greatest Presidents because he was willing to do what he had to to preserve the Union. At the end of the war he was the best friend the South had and his assassination cost the South dearly.
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