Atijera, Princess Issue 7: Pro MW: 8-9:25 am
In Issue 7, Was Slavery the Key Issue in the Sectional Conflict Leading to the Civil War, Charles B. Dew and Joel H. Silbery debate on whether the idea of slavery is the main issue that started the Civil War. Charles B. Dew seems to strongly agree to the idea that slavery was the key issue. In his article, Apostles of Disunion: Southern Secession Commissioners and the Causes of the Civil War, Dew mentions the Southern secession commissioners and how their main reason to secede was to protect slavery and the purity of their white race. He supports his claim by using primary sources, such as the speeches and letters from these Southern secession commissioners. He also clarifies how slavery was not just a key issue, but it also influenced other racial issues that also contributed to the start of the Civil War.
Charles B. Dew first supports his argument by analyzing the speeches and letters that were written by the Southern secession commissioners. These commissioners were merely your average citizen that had little experience with politics. He goes on to explain that many commissioners “possessed a reputation for oratory” (Pg. 313), meaning that most of these chosen commissioners were people who were able to convince a mass population of people to secede against the Lincoln Committee. Dew then describes how these “commissioners’ words convey an unmistakable impression of candor,” (Pg. 314) meaning they were honest in what they believed in. However, he considered these speeches and letters as reliable sources because they included “white Southerners talking to fellow Southerners with no need to hold back out deference to outside sensibilities” (Pg. 314). He would actually read and see from the commissioner’s perspective to see why they felt the need to secede and why including the letters and speeches from the Southern commissioners supports his view on why slavery is the key issue to the start of the Civil War.
Dew includes many examples of speeches and letters from many Southern secession commissioners, but one that really stood out was one that emphasized that the South wanted to protect slavery and keep the purity of their white race. In the article, Dew mentions one of Alabama’s secession commissioners, Stephen F. Hale, and he says the words “amalgamation or extermination” (Pg. 317), which means that the South either ha...