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This Day in Georgia Civil War History

December 02, 1861

Editorial Claimed War was for Subjugation of the South

The Richmond Times Dispatch editorialized on what they believed the war was being fought for - and made some very accurate statements about the advantages the North had, but firmly believed the South could overcome them.

…But what is this war for? We think it is just for what Mr. Lincoln says it is - the subjugation of the Southern people. It is useless to say that no sane Yankee can indulge such an idea. No Yankee is sane upon this subject. The consolidation idea in the Northern mind is universal and ineradicable. You might as well attempt to convince a Northern man that the city and county of New York are not part of the State of that name, or that Boston does not belong to Massachusetts, as that the Southern Confederacy is not a part of the Union. They look upon it as we look upon Northwestern Virginia, and mean to bring it back just as we mean to bring back the “State of Kanawha” to where it belongs. They think they can do it, for they have capital, numbers, great cities, all the outside show of wealth and power, whilst the South has a large, sparsely settled territory, with a comparatively small population, with no money, no manufactures, no commerce, its ports all closed to the outside world. If they cannot whip us at once in the field, they think they can tire us out and starve us out. If education and intelligence were as universal in the North as they pretend, they would never entertain such absurd notions. They do not understand either Southern resources, Southern character, or the decisiveness and solemnity of this great occasion. It is evident that they expect all this commotion will pass away like a summer cloud; that, here and there, the lighting will scathe some homestead and the hail desolate some field, but that, on the whole, the atmosphere will be purified, and the future more healthful and brighter than the past. The value of the Union to the North shows us the precise amount in dollars and cents of what the North is fighting for. Calculate the amount of Southern contributions to Northern commerce, manufactures, trade, and enterprise in every form, and you have what the North is fighting for in figures which cannot lie. We do not say that this is the only spring and motive of the war. The Northern mind has of late years been abolitionized, and the anti-slavery element adds its sullen fire to the threatening flame. The irritation, arising from the carefully disseminated idea that the South looks upon the North as a race of cowards, has also more to do with the persistency with which this war is and will be waged than is generally imagined. …