Originally created 02/24/03

The South lost the war, remember?

After reading some of the letters to the editor concerning former President Abraham Lincoln, it amazes me that - after 140 years - such diametrically opposing viewpoints about all things concerning the American Civil War are still held by "presumably" educated people.

I am neither a liberal, nor am I a transplanted Yankee who looks down on those from the South with righteous superiority. I am a Southerner by birth, raised in the public-school system of Richmond County, taught - as most people reading this were - that the Civil War was not about slavery. We were taught that the war was fought instead over "states' rights" - nice, neat words that mean basically whatever you want them to mean.

Contrary to those who cannot grasp the fact that their ancestors (mine included) fought for the wrong cause, the states' rights in question centered primarily on the right of each Southern state to continue holding a race of people in bondage. For sure, there were other issues, but the institution of slavery and its growth into the boundaries of our country was the primary one.

Abraham Lincoln was one of the greatest presidents in our nation's history. America is the strong, free country it is today because he provided courage, strength and wisdom during the darkest time in our history.

History lesson aside, let me encourage fellow Southerners to let go of the past. The "glorification" of a time when Americans fought each other, and brother killed brother, makes no sense. A flag that honors that time, yet is offensive to one-third of the population, has to be changed. And the revisionist history that turns great presidents into demons is scary. Fellow Southerners, get over it. We lost.

Steve Conyers, North Augusta, S.C.


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