The American Civil War started on April 12, 1861 when Confederate Forces fired on Ft. Sumpter in Charleston Harbor. A place that I have had the pleasure of visiting several times. The trip out on the harbor boat is well worth the time and effort. I like to think about the "what if's" of history. What if Hitler had not declared war on America four days after Pearl Harbor? What if Hitler had not invaded Russia? What if Nixon had won the 1960 presidential election instead of Kennedy? What if the South had decided not to initiate the Civil War by firing on Ft. Sumpter? What if they had held their fire instead? In my opinion there is the possibility that the South could have won their independence without firing a shot. Just think of the dilemma that Abraham Lincoln would have faced. As it was when the South fired on Ft. Sumpter it united the North in much the same way as the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor united all Americans in 1941. Young men all over the North flocked to the recruiting offices angry that Southerners had the audacity to fire on the flag. Yet if the South had refused to fire the first shot any aggressive act by Lincoln would have looked like unwarranted coercion on his part.
The South had many allies in the North that were sympathetic to their cause. Several compromises had delayed the onset of the war. For example the Missouri Compromise of 1820, the Compromise of 1850, and the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854. There had even been a last minute proposal to amend the constitution. A 13th Amendment that would have forever protected the institution of slavery. Martin Van Buren had originated the strategy of electing Northern Presidents with Southern sympathies. This was yet another attempt at appeasing the South. Just before Pearl Harbor about 90% of Americans were against going to war with anyone. Roosevelt was facing the same dilemma that Lincoln faced. He would have had to take the American people kicking and screaming into a war against Japan or Hitler, although he knew that war was coming. Pearl Harbor ended Roosevelt's dilemma. At least in regards to Japan. Hitler would solve the other half of the dilemma by declaring war on the United States four days after Pearl Harbor. Ft. Sumpter did the same for Lincoln.
|General P.G.T. Beauregard|
|The Confederate Stars & Bars after the Surrender|
|Women watching the battle and weeping from the rooftops of houses on the battery|