Day 5  21 January 2003 
1. Names. It’s MLK Jr. Day (well, it was) and we’re talking about slavery and how it more or less ended. Let me read you a piece of one of King’s last sermons. (You should know that by 1967 he had come out as an opponent of the Vietnam War, a position that cost him with some who wanted him to stick to civil rights. In this excerpt he explains why he won’t do that.)
Martin Luther King, Jr. preaching in the Washington National Cathedral on
March 31, 1968:
One other challenge that we face is simply that we must find an alternative
to war and bloodshed. Anyone who feels, and there are still a lot of people
who feel that way, that war can solve the social problems facing mankind is
sleeping through a revolution. President Kennedy said on one occasion,
Mankind must put an end to war or war will put an end to mankind." The world
must hear this. I pray God that America will hear this before it is too late
 ... It is no longer a choice, my friends, between violence and nonviolence.
It is either nonviolence or nonexistence, and the alternative to disarmament,
the alternative to a greater suspension of nuclear tests, the alternative
to strengthening the United Nations and thereby disarming the whole world
may well be a civilization plunged into the abyss of annihilation. ... This
is why I felt the need of raising my voice against that war and working
wherever I can to arouse the conscience of our nation. ...
We are challenged to eradicate the last vestiges of racial injustice from
our nation. ... It is an unhappy truth that...spoken and unspoken,
acknowledged and denied, subtle and sometimes not so subtle - the disease of
racism permeates and poisons a whole body politic. And I can see nothing
more urgent than for Americans to work passionately and unrelentingly to get
rid of the disease of racism. ...
We are challenged to rid our nation and the world of poverty. Like a
monstrous octopus, poverty spreads its nagging, prehensile tentacles into
hamlets and villages all over our world. They are ill-housed, they are
ill-nourished, they are shabbily clad. I have seen it in Latin America; I
have seen it in Africa; I have seen this poverty in Asia. ... Not only do we
see poverty abroad, I would remind you that in our own nation there are
about forty million people who are poverty-stricken. ... I have seen them in
the ghettos of the North; I have seen them in the rural areas of the South;
I have seen them in Appalachia. ... There is nothing new about poverty. What
is new is that we now have the techniques and the resources to get rid of
poverty. The real question is whether we have the will.
We are challenged to develop a world perspective. No individual can live
alone, no nation can live alone, and anyone who feels that he can live alone
is sleeping through a revolution. The world in which we live is
geographically one. The challenge that we face today is to make it one in
terms of brotherhood. ... Through our scientific and technological genius,
we have made of this world a neighborhood and yet... we have not had the
ethical commitment to make it a brotherhood. But somehow, and in some way,
we have got to do this. We must all learn to live together as brothers. Or
we will all perish together as fools. We are tied together in the single
garment of destiny, caught in an inescapable network of mutuality. And
whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly. ... That is the way
God's universe is made; this is the way it is structured.

MLK Jr. on "not yielding to the politic of despair" but keeping Hope alive!

Date: 20 Jan 2003 04:34:14

Indeed, the subtle temptation is too familiar, after engagement in
sustained unheeded protest, to slide into the mire of desperation
complicated by an unsettling inextricable fear...that war may be
inevitable in spite of much faithful action.   We need some sustenance
from the Spirit here!  Suddenly, it occurred to me that Martin Luther
King Jr.'s closing words in the last Sunday Sermon he ever preached on
March 31, 1968 in Washington D.C.--excerpts from which I quoted on
MennoLink a few days prior--provide just the fertile ground and
inspiration I need for crafting a prayer of hopeful motivation this
wintry morn in Goshen.  May we all be lifted up from wherever we may
So...I invite you to listen once again to MLK Jr., and take heart from
his own benediction -- the stirring conclusion of his sermon entitled
"Remaining Awake Through a Great Revolution."    --Clair Hochstetler,
Goshen, IN
"On some positions, cowardice asks the question, is it expedient?  And
then expedience comes along and asks the question, is it politic?
Vanity asks the question, is it popular?  Conscience asks the question,
is it right?
There comes a time when one must take the position that is neither safe
nor politic nor popular, but he must do it because conscience tells him
it is right.  I believe today that there is a need for all people of
goodwill to come with a massive act of conscience and say in the words
of the old Negro spiritual, "We ain't goin' study war no more." This
is the challenge facing modern man.
Let me close by saying that we have difficult days ahead in the
struggle for justice and peace, but I will not yield to a politic of
despair.  I'm going to maintain hope as we come to Washington in this
campaign.  The cards are stacked against us.  This time we will really
confront a Goliath.  God grant that we will be that David of truth set
out against the Goliath of injustice, the Goliath of neglect, the
Goliath of refusing to deal with the problems, and go on with the
determination to make America the truly great America that it is called
to be.
I say to you that our goal is freedom, and I believe we are going to
get there because however much she strays away from it, the goal of
America is freedom.  Abused and scorned though we may be as a people,
our destiny is tied up in the destiny of America.
Before the Pilgrim fathers landed at Plymouth, we were here.  Before
Jefferson etched across the pages of history the majestic words of the
Declaration of Independence, we were here.  Before the beautiful words
of the "Star Spangled Banner" were written, we were here.
For more than two centuries our forebearers labored here without wages.
 They made cotton king, and they built the homes of their masters in the
midst of the most humiliating and oppressive conditions.  And yet out of
a bottomless vitality they continued to grow and develop.  If the
inexpressible cruelties of slavery couldn't stop us, the opposition that
we now face will surely fail.
We're going to win our freedom because both the sacred heritage of our
nation and the eternal will of the almighty God are embodied in our
echoing demands.  And so, however dark it is, however deep the angry
feelings are, and however violent explosions are, I can still sing "We
Shall Overcome."
We shall overcome because the arc of the moral universe is long, but it
bends toward justice.
We shall overcome because Carlyle is right-"No lie can live forever."
We shall overcome because William Cullen Bryant is right-"Truth,
crushed to earth, will rise again."
We shall overcome because James Russell Lowell is right-as we were
singing earlier today,
Truth forever on the scaffold,
Wrong forever on the throne.
Yet that scaffold sways the future.
And behind the dim unknown
stands God, within the shadow
keeping watch above his own.
With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair
the stone of hope.  With this faith we will be able to transform the
jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of
Thank God for John, who centuries ago out on a lonely, obscure island
called Patmos caught vision of a new Jerusalem descending out of heaven
from God, who heard a voice saying, "Behold, I make all things new;
former things are passed away."
God grant that we will be participants in this newness and this
magnificent development.  If we will but do it, we will bring about a
new day of justice and brotherhood and peace.  And that day the morning
stars will sing together and the sons of God will shout for joy.  God
bless you."
Well. If that moves you, as it does me, maybe you’ll want to do something about it. A number of BC folks will be joining others in a march against rushing to war against Iraq, meeting at the Catholic church on the corner of Cable and Elm in Lima at 4:00. I can take a few riders, or ask around.


2. For today, from J/H: the antislavery movement, the Civil War, Reconstruction. For my money these are some of the most intriguing and challenging chapters in this book.  That showed up in responses as well. I think that one or another response raised just about every key question that I hoped to discuss in this section, and so I think we’ll look at some of those, and ask those of you who responded to talk a bit about what you wrote to help frame those discussions.


The big thing that always stirs some people up is the discussion of Lincoln, and how he might have been able to avoid war if he’d acted differently. I’d like to hear from some of you who wrote on that subject—Amy, Miranda, Ryan, Joe.


Let’s also look closely at what J/H actually say about this. 110-111, on the “exceptional statesmanship” it would have required.


Another key question: could slavery have ended without the Civil War? See p. 107, on the emancipation of serfs in Russia and the elimination of slavery in the British Empire and Brazil. Is the argument that Americans are so inferior morally to the citizens of those countries that we would have clung to slavery forever if not for war? If not, then what?

These “what if?” questions are unanswerable in one sense, but (I think) essential in another. History always turns out only one way, but it seems inevitable only after the fact. There are always choices. There are many possible wars that didn’t happen—the Cuban Missile Crisis, the whole forty-year stalemate of the Cold War. And if you feel uneasy when J/H engage in what-if thinking, remember that more standard versions of historians use it just as much as they do. Those of you who argued that anything else Lincoln did would have been worse, or that slavery would never have ended without the Civil War, are using exactly the same logic, just to a different end. Right? Not?

 The standard view: the war was tragic but inevitable, and it was effective in that it preserved the union and freed the slaves. 105: on “revisionist” history and the possibility the war might have been avoided.

The imagination of alternative actions. History looks inevitable only in hindsight, yes? Not much trickier than trying to be accurate about alternate histories, but does that mean we should assume that no other path was possible? To pick one easily imaginable fork in the road, what about a country where Booth failed to assassinate Lincoln? How might that have changed the path of post-war events?  Would he have been able to steer a steadier course than A. Johnson and Congress, come up with a plan for reconstruction that averted the worst excesses of retribution and the violence that resulted? It’s plausible, at least, that we might now be decades further along the path toward real civil rights for African Americans. Offers two alternate scenarios for the Civil War. Lists six novels, all alternate Civil War histories. Harry Turtledove, The Guns of the South.   The Alternate History Travel Guides. Lighthearted. Uchronia, the “alternate history list.” Another alternate history site. Has a bibliography of “alternate history” texts. Summary of essay by Milton Waldman, "If Booth had Missed Lincoln." Assassination fails because Booth's gun misfired. Reviews a Lincoln biography which claims Lincoln's reconstruction problems are caused by Radical Republicans instead of his policies. More on Greeley’s “Go in Peace” idea.

What about this question: how important was preserving the union? Lincoln accepted war rather than secession. What if the deep southern states had seceded? The Churchill scenario, 106. Almost surely slavery would not have lasted into the 20th century anyway, according to Pfaff (107).

At any rate, it is clear that Lincoln went to war not to end slavery but to preserve the Union. See the famous letter to Greeley of 1862: “If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that. What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union; and what I forbear, I forbear because I do not believe it would help to save the Union.” The site said this letter received “universal acclaim in the North.” Hmm.

Possibilities for compromise in 1860-61. Here J/H are pretty critical of Lincoln. What about all that? They suggest he “largely let events control him” (110) rather than taking initiative and building alliances that might have enabled compromise. The Crittenden Compromise, which might well have passed if put to popular vote, though it was opposed by Greeley and others because it might have expanded slave territory westward and it maintained current slave territories and the Fugitive Slave Act.

113: the war itself. Advances in technology made for massive deaths, more accurate muskets a big factor. Unconditional nationalism of both Lincoln and Jefferson Davis. Codes of military honor.

115 ff on Killing. Usually it’s possible, and standard practice, to dehumanize and/or demonize the enemy, to maintain that they’re not like us, not really human, don’t value life in the same way “we” do. This was more difficult in the Civil War, because it was a war among Americans.

116 on Dave Grossman’s research into the many who didn’t actually fire their weapons at all, or not at the enemy—as many as 80-85% (!) On the “Killology” research group, more on Grossman and his book On Killing.

117 “militant Christian religion” and songs like “Battle Hymn of the Republic.” The Holy War, again, the belief/hope in redemptive violence.

Race riots, charities, the development of a gun culture (120).

The aftermath and the transformation of memory, from horror to glorious cause. Even Lincoln’s assassination contributes to the mythology.

From his second inaugural address:

  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 strengthen, perpetuate, 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 restrict the territorial enlargement of it. Neither party expected for the war the magnitude or the duration which it has already attained. Neither anticipated that the cause of the conflict might cease with or even before the conflict itself should cease. Each looked for an easier triumph, and a result less fundamental and astounding. Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God's assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men's faces, but let us judge not, that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered. That of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes. "Woe unto the world because of offenses; for it must needs be that offenses come, but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh." If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offenses which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offense came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to Him? Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said "the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether."

Chapter 6: “Revolution Derailed: Reconstruction.” 

What’s our standard image of reconstruction? Carpetbaggers and scalawags trying to profit from the war, scandals and a mess, but At Least the Slaves Were Free? Merely “a rather embarrassing footnote,” as J/H say (123)?

124: “white dominion in the South was not undermined, but reformed and made more lasting and durable, by the violence of the Civil War and Reconstruction.”

The black “revitalization movement,” during and after the war. Black soldiers, many killed or missing. The Massachusetts 54th, memorialized in Glory.

Problems of land reform and economics, “40 acres and a mule.” But neither northerners nor southerners really wanted to set blacks up as equals on their own land. 129: “white-controlled wage-earning laborers.”  Lincoln showed little support for any more.

130: long interval between end of war and congress meeting. Johnson’s reconstruction, favorable to South, created white backlash. Congressional reconstruction was radical but unsuccessful, resisted in South by underground violence, KKK, lynchings, etc.

133: three groups, planter aristocracy, freed blacks, other whites; the “other south” allied eventually with the planters to repress blacks and institute control by white Democrats.

134-5 result was sharecropping, segregation, Jim Crow laws, essentially a new version of domination and exploitation without the legality of slavery.

135: might it have been different? The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of South Africa as a positive example. Again, who can say? 137: Truth telling, Restorative justice, Forgiveness and mercy.

Student Responses:


I think that the book "The Missing Peace" brings up some interesting viewpoints on what would have happened if things would have been done differently when it comes to times of war.  I can honestly say that until I came to Bluffton I did not think much about war or peaceful ways to deal with the conflicts that our country has with others.  I still don't feel that we can completely avoid war.  Yes, it is good to try to solve conflicts in a peaceful way as much as possible but we also can't sit back and let another country take over and kill our people.  I am thankful for the people that do protect our country.  In the Civil War it would have been wonderful if the south would have agreed to allow the slaves to go free peacefully, but in reality this would probably not have happened.  Even though I don't know that the Civil War could have been done peacefully I am sure that in every war there are things that could have been done in a better way to save more lives.  On page 115 the book says that  "Lee had serious doubts after Gettysburg whether the South could win the war."  Lee continued to fight for five months after he felt that he should stop because he was going to be defeated.  Instead he allowed for many more of his men to be killed.  When he finally decided to surrender he should have done so twenty-one months earlier to avoid the excessive "sacrifice of life" that happened.  I agree that in this instance the price of honor was high.  I also found the chapter on reconstruction interesting because it shows that we are not always told the entire story of what happens after a war has taken place.  Both good and bad come out of war and it is important for people to be aware of both sides.  One of the good things that happened was that the slaves were freed.  On the other side the Ku Klux Klan was a product of the war and a tradition of violence followed.  It is important that people see both sides of what is happening so that they can better understand what is happening and what can be changed.


-Kristen Washington


Joe Turner


      Shoulda. Coulda. Woulda. The way that I take this book is that it is just putting down political leaders that they thought made bad decisions in the past. The thing is that they were not there and they were not put in the same position as these men, so how can they sit back now that it is all been said and done and say this is the way they should have done it. I know that it is important that we look back at our history and try to learn from our mistakes, but I also think that it is wrong to slam men that helped found this nation and say what they did was a big mistake. I believe if you look at our society today that everything turned out alright and that we are the most powerful nation and we can support ourselves just fine. What Abraham Lincoln did as a leader was very important to the American way. He took a stand and said that the nation cannot be divided. He said it was important for us to stand together. The bible says in Mark Chapter 3 verse 24 “And if a kingdom be divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.” I believe that President Lincoln believed this and knew that our nation would become weak if we let the Confederacy succeed from us. Abraham Lincoln was faced with a dispute that had been going on for years and he was the one that had to come up with some type of resolution. When our country was first founded this was an issue, but they chose to just ignore it and thought that eventually slavery would phase out. That did not occur though and I believe that the historians that say slavery would have eventually ended on its own are crazy.




I always have had an interest in the heroism placed on the Civil War. Here

we have a war that is not based on an outside terror or a specific  "evil

person", but a war that is based on the terms of the people all living in

the same land. In a way when you think about it, it really was a big mess

just waiting to many ideas and perceptions all evolving in a

time when things lacked the needed structure and guidance, as well as a

strong sense of nationalism in which our nation has today…(not saying that

it’s perfect).

Heroism at the time was defined during this era as, “fight and die”. It

didn’t really matter if tried to stop a blockade peacefully, or that you

fully supported the ideas of some of the great leaders (Lincoln and

Greeley), who had ideas and strategies for peaceful agreements.  The idea of

a hero was basically this: if you killed and especially if you died…instant

hero. Now don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t classify myself as a total

pacifist, but what I would agree to would be to analyze other alternatives

before getting out the gun and blowing off you brother’s head. After reading the assigned chapters I found it interesting how different

churches played different roles and how doctrines changed and influenced

cretin aspects of the war. I also agree with the authors when they say that

the given knowledge of such events go on unacknowledged in our society…that

was an eye-opener to me especially since I went to a Christian school my

entire life and all I ever heard about the Civil War was the blood and guts,

brother against brother, the winners and the losers…never the different

roles of the churches. I think that so much of history is never taught

because it lacks that sense and romantic feelings of heroism, a perfect

example such are the words for the “Battle Hymn of the Republic”.  In short

I guess we all have our own meaning of heroism…to me, fighting to die and

even dieing to fight, is not just cause to solve an issue, especially when

other ways are always present.


-Erin Weber


In the chapter it talked about other ways of solving the slavery issue in a nonviolent way.  The book gave the example they used was the 1990s South Africa solved the problem in a nonviolent manner.  The US has always settled things by fighting.  It was in the past, it was how they solved things.  I think that is the reason that the early Americans used violence and war to solve the slavery issue.  During that time, war was all they were used to when it came to solve things.  I am not sure of South Africa's history, but I know that the US used force to get what they want.  I feel this is why we used war to end slavery.
-Zach Simpkins


There were some interesting questions raised in these chapters about the Civil War, and some interesting statements as well.  I am a pacifist, so there are some things that really strike me and that I really believe.  There is one quote in the book by Horace Greeley about the American Civil War that states, “War is a hideous necessity at best and a civil conflict – a war of estranged and embittered fellow-countrymen - is the most hideous of all wars.”  That statement really makes sense and I do think it is very sad that this nation had to fight itself to “resolve some problems”.  It is hard for me to comprehend how people choose to go to war – I don’t understand how people can decide that the only resolution is by war.  And I think that those who are opposed to war should not just ignore the problem, I think they need to become active in society as well, to try to impact the nation and the nation’s belief system.  I thought one good illustration of the Civil War from the pacifist’s point of view was this: “The burned out fuel of the Civil War eventually was measured in piles of dead bodies, amputated limbs, grieving families, crushed human spirits, as well as the destruction of material resources – cities, fields, roads, homes, and churches.”  I think it is important to realize the negative aspects of war.  It leaves so much destruction that is right in front of us.  War is made to seem so glamorous and brave.  It says in this book that recruitment campaigns call men to “fight and die” instead of “kill” for the country.  I understand that it must take a lot of courage to put your life aside and go engage in something so risky, but I do not see anything glamorous about it.  What I get out of my Christian faith and my understandings of God and Jesus Christ totally clashes with the American idea of the war as appealing. 

Something I found interesting was how some Christians during the Civil War felt like that was a sign that Jesus was coming back.  One sentence really struck me, and it says this, “ Indeed, the coming Kingdom of God depended upon the triumph of God’s Kingdom in America”.  I feel like that is almost the way people feel in America right now.  People definitely seem to believe that Americans are God’s chosen people and that God is only in favor of American citizens.  Signs have been posted all over the place since September 11 saying “God bless America”.  Every time I see one of those, I think yes, that is true, but also God bless Russia, and Afghanistan, and Iraq, and Korea, and Canada, and Argentina, etc. etc.  I know that America is a very powerful nation and has a lot of good attributes as well, but it is not perfect, and God is not only with Americans, He is with everyone.  It also makes me sad how people blend their Christian faiths with being patriotic to USA.  Being Christian has nothing to do with being an American citizen.  I am a Canadian citizen, and people in Canada are far less patriotic there.  And it is not because they don’t like being Canadian, but they just aren’t devoted with everything they have to the country they are a citizen of.  I think it is good for people in a nation to stick together, but I don’t think it is necessary to favor your country over others and use your power negatively and destructively.


- Erica Wiebe


Throughout chapter 5 there is a feeling that Juhnke and Hunter believe that Lincoln was not a very good president.  It seems that they believe compromise would have been the end to the problems of slavery during this time.  How can the North compromise with Southerners who were unwilling to compromise or give up their rights to own slaves?  Under the section titled "Options to Avoid War", they talk about letting the Confederacy secede from the North.  What would this have accomplished?  How do we know that they would have ever rejoined the Union?  Furthermore, who is to say that slavery would not have then spread to the West? Sure, laws could be made, but if enough people break the law...Plus, enough people have to back the law in order for it to even become a law.  Therefore, war would probably again break out.   Also, if the country had split, what would have kept a future war from breaking out resulting in one side wanting to regain control of the other? Horace Greeley felt that the Confederacy was not strong enough to support itself as a separate country…Why?  They may have seemed weak, but wasn’t America herself weak when the war against Britain broke out?   Nobody believed that America would actually be able to gain her independence from the then super power of Britain.  There is very little time spent throughout on the thought that we could have possibly split into two separate countries.  I fell that if the Confederacy had been allowed to secede quietly, there would have been a real and possible situation.  Some scholars thought that the Confederacy would have brought on a slave rebellion had slavery been allowed to continue.  This leads me to Spartacus.  Would the extreme measures have been taken in the Confederacy as in Roman times?  Who’s to say?  Again, all signs point to war.  Stanley L. Engerman felt that slaves were treated just like any union worker…That is beyond my understanding!  Were these industrial workers beat or raped?  I doubt it!  To go back to President Lincoln, why badmouth something or someone that cannot be changed?  Juhnke and Hunter seem to think that they would have done a better job had they been in Lincoln’s position.  Early in the chapter, they talked about peaceful secession, yet on page 110, they blame Lincoln for secessions that took place.  They claim that Lincoln should have been a national president rather than a sectional president.  Aren’t all presidents sectional presidents?  Put into perspective, the answer to this is yes.  No one man can ever hope to please everyone in a single country let alone a single community.  How could Lincoln have possibly supported both abolitionists and slave activists?  He wouldn’t have been able to and if he tried, people would have looked down on him for that for not being able to make up his mind.  So, in Juhnke and Hunter’s minds, Lincoln loses either way.  They say slavery was not likely to be successful in the west…what makes them think this?  They badmouth Lincoln for being unwilling to “abandon his party’s principles”.  What on earth is wrong with this?  So a man sticks by what he believes…is that so wrong?  So Lincoln had 2 choices…let the South secede and become two separate countries, which would inevitably go to war in the future for control, or let slavery stand and have America remain a single country.  Apparently treating African Americans like dogs would have been better than going to war to protect the North from tragedy. 

-Miranda Thorn


In the “Missing Piece” In chapter 5 the “Civil War” I felt that this chapter was very interesting, because it showed different views on how the war should have been and constructed in a non-violent way.  After reading this part I felt that if we would have left the South alone and let them have their slaves that our country would have ended up like the middle east except fighting over the rights to free blacks.  The story to me led on that we should have just let slavery happen and do nothing about it.  I don’t know about anyone else, but if I were a slave I sure would want somebody fight to get me free.  I don’t think that something’s were done right in the Civil War meaning all the fighting.  I can see the other side of the views to.  I also think that if we would have at least talked about it and like the Russians did when they abolished serfdom.  The Civil could have easily been stopped.  I just know that something had to have been done or it could have gotten really serious and could have split our country for good.

            I know that many people say the reconstruction period was just as bad as the war and really it was.  The south did not want to let the slaves go and when they did they tried to kill them.  Most of the slaves talked back to their owners saying I don’t have to listen to you and they didn’t, but the master’s were very unhappy, because of this reconstruction period. Yes the union was saved, but really blacks have not been equal since then or even before.  Look at today in 2003 blacks are still fighting against racism, look at the senator that made the racial comments he did, and stepped down from office.  Blacks will never escape the agony of their skin color and fall into the trap of the white man racist.  If blacks want to be completely free there has to be a black president to show society that we are all-equal and no matter if your black, red, yellow, brown whatever color you are. We are all Gods children and we need to see our peers and ourselves from the inside and what they stand for and believe in and not judge people, let God do that.

-Ryan Whitaker

After reading this chapter in the book, I wasn't really sure what I thought

about what the authors were saying.  I found it very interesting that they

kept describing the civil war as a war of brothers fighting brothers,

because although some people involved might have known each other at the

time, there wasn’t a “brotherly connection” between the people of the North

and the people of the South at that time in history.  I agree with Lincoln’s

meaning of the war when he described it as a way to preserve the union and

free the slaves, because that is actually what it did.  I do not understand

how the authors could have written that another interpretation could have

been that the war was not necessary or inevitable.  The statement about

wise” people making more timely decisions to eliminate slavery or to

compromise political differences and avoiding the civil war honestly seems

like a ridiculous suggestion to me.  I feel that the war was indeed

necessary to get to where we are now, because there is no way to prove that

any “wise” person would have come along and come to the anti-slavery

decision by his own free will.

      The two options given to avoid war were explained in a very interesting

way.  The first option being “let them go in peace” was a very interesting

way to look into the Southern states wanting to leave the Union.  Although

this approach might not have lead to the war taking place, it also didn’t

ensure that there wouldn’t have been another war later, between the states

that left he union and the Northern states.  I believe that it made far more

sense to keep the union together, and fight for it, then to take the chance

of the secession and have to face the other problems that might come up

because of it.


-Amy Rodabaugh