Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity

John Marszalek: Could the war have been prevented?

By John Marszalek

Giles Distinguished Professor Emeritus of history at Mississippi State University

Marszalek

Of course. No event in human history is predestined to occur just as it did.

However, to avoid a war over slavery sometime would have required the 19th century before 1861 to have developed differently: no religiously based abolition or religiously based pro-slavery; no Manifest Destiny; no Mexican War and a U.S. victory within it to bring new territories into the nation; no anti-slavery movement insisting that slavery be kept out of these territories and a pro-slavery movement which insisted just the opposite; no social, political, and economic upheaval which produced a Republican Party united around the slavery in the territories issue and a slave South united in just the opposite direction; no Abraham Lincoln; no southern fire eaters; and on and on and on.

Contra-factual history is entertaining, but anyone's interpretation is as good as anyone else’s. The war came, in fact, and this is the real issue.

By John Marszalek  | November 9, 2010; 4:21 PM ET
Categories:  Views  | Tags:  John Marszalek  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Gary Gallagher: Could the war have been prevented?
Next: Ohio town honors forgotten Civil War soldier

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company