Slavery In Chandra Manning's What This Cruel War Over

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Chandra Manning’s “What this Cruel War was over” poses the question of what the Civil War was fought over. She then introduces the argument that the war was undeniably over slavery. Using the letters, diaries and newspapers of soldiers who lived and fought during the civil war Manning explains the ways in which slavery and race relations influences the men who volunteered and fought in the civil war.
Manning begins her book with three quotations that back up her argument. The first quote is by the Thirteenth Wisconsin Infantry Regiment “the fact that slavery is the sole undeniable cause of this infamous rebellion, that it is a war of, by and for slavery, is plain as the noon-day sun”(Manning 3). Next, the white southerners of Morgan’s Confederate Brigade state “any man who pretends to believe that this is not a war for the emancipation of the blacks . . . is either a fool or
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Slaveholders were the elite and wealthy and many white southerners had the aspiration to one day become a slaveholder. The northern economy heavily relied on the labor of slaves and if they were to be emancipated the economy would crash. What would happen if slaves were set free they could endanger the lives and livelihood of white men, women and children? The confederacy also view slavery, not as a sin but as a God given right. They used slavery in biblical times to justify their current ownership of human beings (Manning 113)
Though “What this Cruel War was over” we the racial strides made during the civil war that would cause white Unionists to peruse racial change. The author does a great job at showing the various position of whites following their victories defeats and up close look ar slavery. Manning believes that the civil war allowed the white northerners to empathize with the black men and women who were enslaved which enabled the soldiers to commit to the war more than the

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