Honor In The Civil War

Submitted By debbyjean3020
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Honor: The Cause in Difference Definition

Throughout the Civil War, the Union and Confederacy represented their causes in very different ways but one focal principle of both sides’ causes was their belief in honor. Each side had a different definition of the importance of honor in the fight for freedom and how it affects the battle. The Union soldiers believe that honor was defined by the fight to uphold the values of the United States, whereas the Confederate soldiers believed the definition of honor was based on liberty and their individual rights of freedom as free white men. In the beginning of the Civil War, the Union’s belief in honor was mainly associated with the illusion of freedom for mankind. Their main goal was to be the “beacon light of liberty and freedom to the human race.” (Foner, Give Me Liberty, 504). As the war continued, more Northerners started to realize that the war had much deeper roots. More Union soldiers believe that the confederates’ defiance, rebellion, and treason against the Union needed to be punished. The Confederacy’s succession angered may Union and Republicans in the North. Union soldiers believed that the war was important for the honor of the nation, which was their burden to bear. Channing says, “By war, God is regenerating this Nation” and the nation needs to reunite (Channing, What the Cruel War was Over, 39). Northerners believed that the war was vital in bringing a sense of honor and unity back to the country. The preservation, honor, and unity of the country came at a price, the price of abolishing slavery (Foner, Give Me Liberty, 504). The Confederate soldiers believed that they were fighting for honor and independence from suppression inflicted by the North. This honor was rooted deeply in southern tradition that was intertwined tightly to agriculture. With the new president and governance of the Republican Party, “Many white southerners felt that the opportunity was eroding for economic independence through ownership of land and slaves-liberty as they knew it.” (Foner, Give Me Liberty, 495). Many Southerners believed that without slaves, plantations would not be as successful, which made southerners more indebted to North (Foner, Give Me Liberty, 495). Oddly, the majority of southern men, who fought in the war, did not own slaves. Instead these men fought for their selves and families statuses in the future. Channing states that, “Non-slaveholding Confederate soldiers regarded black slavery as vital to the protection of their families, interests, and very identities as men,” writes Manning, “and they relied on it to prevent race war” (Channing, What the Cruel War was Over, 39). The definition of freedom differed in the two regions as much as the definition of honor. In 1864, Lincoln said “We all declare for liberty but in using the same word we do not all mean the same thing.” (Foner, Give Me Liberty, 522). The majority of Southerners believed that freedom was their God given right as free white men and this freedom was meant for mastership of lesser persons (Foner, Give Me Liberty, 522). These freedoms including the right to own land and slaves, allowed for Southerners to