Essay on The Motives for Which They Fought

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The causes of the Civil War are somewhat unique when compared to other struggles throughout history. Conflicting ideas of liberty and political ideologies, makes one question the motives of those who gave up their lives, family, and future for such a cause. Some historians agree that the main interest for both the North and South was political in nature, arguing that if the government fell, so would the future and characteristics of both nations. This linkage of God, family, and homeland drove many to fight for their own children, but also for the future of all generations. The many diaries and personal accounts profess that soldiers felt an overwhelming sense of duty, which extended first to their closest relatives and friends, those …show more content…
The two authors, McPherson and Sheehan-Dean, expound upon many of the political reasons that drove men on both sides to enlist. Both authors point out that all the men in the beginning who joined the military were volunteers. This has great significance, when taking into consideration the fact that they fought out of their own free will. These shared beliefs by those in 1861, makes one question the specific reasons these men justified within their own minds, a motive of such great importance, that they would freely give up their entire existence to protect their interests. Patriotic duty could indicate a host of motivations connected to the reasons for why they endured such grinding hardship. One main aspect could have been the social pressure from society that was placed on those who enlisted, expressing a desire to fulfill a duty and responsibility in service of country. Many in a close community could question, or look down upon a man that was unwilling to stand up and protect his own family from harm’s way. Many of these soldiers could have thought the same, reasoning that, protecting their family, meant to fight for their country.
The author McPherson stresses the evidence that men in the North, were certain that “Republican Liberty” was worth dying for, even towards the last days of the war. This particular view of liberty in the North was to defend the republican freedoms,