Three weeks ago, I gave you the first hints about my new writing project and promised to get back soon. I didn't forget.
In my research, I find more and more evidence of the raw revenge that was so present in the Civil War, on both sides. Following the history of the abolitionist movement, of course, is essential in studying the complicated conflict in it's entirety.
What started out for the North as a set of good, solid principles on the part of well-intended abolitionists was picked up by those who believed that violence was the only way to obtaining justice. (John Brown is the foremost example.)
The extremists on both sides believed this and quickly got the full attention of everyone in the country. That put a serious hiatus on the efforts of people who wanted to negotiate. That's what frustrated Lincoln to the hilt.
Ever heard about compensated emancipation? It was a plan that Lincoln tried to implement, but nobody wanted to listen. It would have ended up costing the nation less than the War inevitably cost in dollars and cents. Of course, it would have saved many, many lives, too. For, if the plan had been well-received, by either the South or the border state of Missouri, then the War would have ended at least two years earlier than it did!
It was in Missouri that Lincoln held the highest hope for this plan that had first been proposed, years before the War began by Elihu Bruitt. Lincoln thought this was the place that would successfully receive it. He thought he could use Missouri as an example for the secessionist states. Was he ever wrong! Missouri legislators would not even answer Lincoln's letter of request on the matter!!
No matter what we do as activists or advocates, for any cause, may we seek the avoid the trap that so many fall into today--using violence and unethical means to accomplish the end result immediately. Not realizing how many more lives may be destroyed with such a strategy. Or how long it will take to really obtain justice, once "peace" is initially obtained. This is exactly what war does.
We haven't yet learned all of our lessons from the Civil War. History does repeat itself. Extremists are needed for sure. They always are to make social change. The challenge is to be an extremist who acts ethically, with wisdom and a degree of realistic expectations.
Stay tuned. There's a LOT more to come!