"All on account of slavery"

Diary entry, December 24, 1860. Carter G. Woodson Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (004.00.00)

The country seems to be bordering on a civil war all on account of slavery. I pray God to rule and overrule all to his own glory and the good of man.

This blog complements the Library of Congress exhibition, “The Civil War in America.” This series of posts chronicles the sacrifices and accomplishments of those—from both the North and South—whose lives were lost or affected by the events of 1861–1865. To learn more about the object featured in this blog entry, visit the online exhibition.


  1. Old Irish Rebel
    November 13, 2012 at 1:25 pm

    Slavery was not an issue at the beginning. Lincoln actually
    backed the Corwyn Ammendment to the Constitution, which would
    have protected slavery in the South. The Harper’s Ferry terrorist attack of 1859 had convinced the South that northern abolitionists would use any method to end slavery and murder all southerners in their beds. Lincoln failed to distance himself from the abolitions in his party and when elected the South began the process of secession. Lincoln actually would have let the 7 orginal seceded states go except they would have to pay US tariff which made up 80 % of the budget. The Morrill Tariff greatly increased the tariff which only guaranteed the South would refuse to pay it. Lincoln would then lay plans to start a war he felt would be easily won so
    he could get his tariff money. Slavery was added later only to fill
    the ranks and to cause anarchy in the South.

  2. Kathryn
    November 19, 2012 at 10:25 am

    While we and historians can argue the causes that led up to the Civil War, the personal opinions of those who were living at that time, such as Rev. Tanner, have the greatest authenticity and are most fascinating to me. While Old Irish Rebel’s revisionist comments contain some truth, I don’t think they are relevant to a diary entry. By its very nature, a diary represents how the person who wrote it viewed his world at that particular time and place – it only needs to be true for the writer.

  3. CAKarl
    November 25, 2012 at 7:14 am

    I do not disagree with all that you have said; however, I do believe there may be some personal biases and opinions not supported by evidence. As I understand it, Lincoln neither supported nor rejected the Corwin Ammendment; in a last ditch effort to maintain the Union, and to support the Republican Party platform, he accepted the ammendment as a compromise. Lincoln personally did not support slavery but felt it was not within his power as president to interfere with this particular ‘state’ issue. He did oppose the expansion of slavery to other states.

  4. Another old Irishman
    November 25, 2012 at 9:25 am

    Dear Old Irish Rebel,

    I read your message several times. In your first sentence you said the war did not start due to slavery. Then in the vast majority of the rest of your message, you explain how slavery was indeed the cause.

    I’m guessing that was not your intent. Turns out the truth just finds a way…

  5. daktsk
    November 28, 2012 at 5:45 pm

    For all who say that Slavery was NOT the cause of the war, I’m sorry, but you are wrong. Lincoln wanted the Union to stay in one piece at all costs, and he was willing to deal to make that happen, the war had already started in Kansas. Why? Because of the decision to make all these soon to be states, with slavery or not. Blood was already shed long before Harpers Ferry, and the compromise was history. You can talk about tarriffs all you want, but if you think for one second that the eventual confederacy was just going to roll over and say……..ok, all new states west of the Mississippi will be free states……your deluding yourself. A diary by a women named Merrick said it all when she said, “the biggest sugar plantation in La. with no slaves isn’t worth 2 cents”. I’m on my eighth diary which are being transposed by the University of NC. You don’t have to read many to learn the truth. In 8, I haven’t heard the word tarriff once. Start with Mary Chestnut.

  6. ranger373
    November 28, 2012 at 11:35 pm

    Dear Old Irish Rebel.
    If the Irish had been slaves a doubt have such apologist’s View of Slavery.

  7. Me
    January 4, 2013 at 1:34 pm

    slavery was a big issue. I do believe that it was the main cause of the wore, and any one who says otherwise should revise his history.

  8. Old Irish Rebel
    January 18, 2013 at 10:12 am

    I studied the War of Northern Aggression for many years and would love to debate any and all.
    The information in my original blog is correct. Mr. Lincoln felt he had to have his tariff. In Tanner’s eyes,it was “all about slavery” . The diaries of Southerners record such
    items as “defense of hearth and home” and Constitutional rights
    reserved by the States to secede. Slavery was not THE issue. A large majority of southerners owned no slaves and certainly would not put their lives on the line to defend it (the Irish especially). A new related but seperate subject of slave revolts and northern attitudes would change their minds. My favorite comment comes from Henry Kyd Douglas, a lawyer on “Stonewall” Jackson’s staff.
    ” Personally I had no feeling of
    resentment against the people of the North because of their desire to
    free the slave, for I believed Negro slavery was a curse to the people
    of the Middle States. ” “But I do not think I could have followed that
    example so far as to drag the banner of freedom into the mire of
    deception and insurrection that Brown prepared for it and then glory
    in the falsification of his true character.” The Irish had been in servitude to the English for centuries but thousands fought for Southern Independence. You can’t revise history. The northern states invaded a soveriegn nation peacefully created using it’s own Constitution. For LIncoln it was about the money. For most Northerners the war was for union. For most Southerners, it was
    about defending against slave revolts and Consitutional liberty.
    Did not 13 colonies secede form England? If we are truly a free
    people should we bayonet freedom seeking states back into the

  9. Crimsons44
    December 30, 2013 at 8:31 am

    To those who doubt that preservation of slavery (the right of states to have legal slavery within their borders and to require non-slave states to return escaped slaves) was the central issue of secession resulting in the Civil War, and preservation of slavery was the main reason for the secession of southern states, I suggest that you read the Ordinances of Secession, starting with South Carolina on December 20, 1860. Perhaps also you might want to read southern newspaper accounts in microfilm in your local library starting in 1858, with the Lincoln-Douglas debates for the United States Senate race from Illinois.