The Making of a Confederate

Better Essays
The romanticized version of the Civil War creates a picture of the North versus the South with the North imposing on the South. However, after reading “The Making of a Confederate” by William L. Barney, one can see that subdivisions existed before the war was declared. The documents analyzed by Barney primarily focus on the experiences of Walter Lenoir, a southern confederate and a member of the planter elite. His experiences tell a vivid story of a passionate and strongly opinioned participant of the Civil War as well as demonstrate a noticeably different view involving his reasoning when choosing a side. Between analyzing this fantastic piece of literature and other resourceful documents from “Voices of Freedom” by Eric Foner, one…show more content…
He defends the South’s position on slavery which is a deeply grounded belief. Abraham Lincoln describes this situation as a disagreement on the definition of liberty in his “Address at Sanitary Fair, Baltimore” (1864). He explains that liberty may mean “for each man to do as he pleases with himself, and the product of his labor; while with others the same word may mean for some men to do as they please with other men” (Forner 287). It is easy to see how this disagreement was heading in a catastrophic direction as the South continued to fight for the whole reason they came to America in the first place. The Confederates were willing to fight to death to defend their definition of freedom because the North winning the war equated to the very same thing in their minds; the end of their lives. Not every southern Confederate felt this strongly about slavery or desired to go to war. Some southerners, like the Lenoirs, did not necessarily want to have slaves but didn’t really know how to accomplish anything without them on a plantation. Walter Lenoir had planned to move north to be free of the burdens of managing slavery, but with the battle at Fort Sumter, Southerners who were leaning one way or the other were suddenly forced to defend their homes and families from what they considered a declaration of war. Walter had already decided that, “If we are to have disunion, I will cast my fortunes with the South…” (Barney
Get Access