Letters to the Editor

South's 'way of life' was all about slavery

Cheers for Charlie Davis and his May 14 letter about the odd remarks of the Rev. Andrew Pearson, assistant rector at the Parish Church of St. Helena, at a Confederate Memorial Day ceremony in Beaufort.

In saying that the soldiers being commemorated died for a way of life, it certainly sounded like he was lamenting the end of slavery. The "way of life" that was ended by the Union victory was that slaves no longer did work for which they were not paid, and were freed from the indignity and inhumanity of being bought and sold.

What else changed in the South? It had been an agricultural economy before the war and it continued for many years after to be mainly an agricultural economy. The difference was that the black people who worked the land after the Civil War were paid to do so.

Every person has to be saddened by the horrible loss of life of so many young men on both sides of the conflict. And it should be acknowledged that many of those young men, whether Confederate or Union, probably did not know the politics of why they were being called to serve. They just did what they were asked because their friends were also fighting.

But no reputable historian today denies that the Civil War was started and fought mainly to continue the practice of slavery in the Southern states. That was the "way of life" that was ended.

Barbara Temple