Kirkpatrick Sale authored an op-ed piece on June 13 titled “A little talk about ‘The War’,” attempting to both rewrite history and put his own spin on the rationale for our Civil War. His argument is that slavery was not the primary reason for the war and that anyone who has studied the conflict and the political environment leading up to it understands it was primarily about economics.

But the South and its primarily agrarian economy depended upon cheap slave labor.

The institution of slavery, regardless of where it started, enabled the South to thrive economically. Eliminating slavery would have eliminated the differential economic advantage slave states had accrued over the years and caused economic dislocation on a massive scale. Thus, by definition, the war was about slavery, albeit dressed up in a different guise. To have perpetuated such a brutal and dehumanizing practice for any reason was un-Christian.

On June 27, Mr. Sale wrote a letter rebutting a June 20 op-ed by Jack Bass, disagreeing with his thesis. In it, he urges “Southerners” to continue buying into the argument that the motives of “the North” justified secession at the time.

Mr. Sale has written extensively over the years on secession and the rationale for it, but to continue to pit “North vs. South” as a valid argument for political division is not persuasive.

Particularly since the last time regional differences in this one nation made indivisible cost hundreds of thousands of lives.

Robert Bell

Navigators Run

Mount Pleasant