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UWBTS — Introduction

Understanding the War Between the States

A Supplemental History Study Booklet for Diligent and Inquisitive Middle and High School Age Students

This truthful, many-faceted and comprehensive booklet empowers diligent and inquisitive students in public, charter, private and home-schools to acquire an authentic understanding of America’s most horrific conflict.

Written in 2015 by many Members of The Society of Independent Southern Historians and co-edited by founders Dr. Clyde N. Wilson and Howard Ray White.

Understanding the War Between the States, commonly called the Civil War, the War of Rebellion, etc., requires a broad view going back to settling the British colonies of North America, beginning at Jamestown, Virginia Colony, in 1607.  Students need to go back 254 years (8 to 10 generations) and move forward to the year 1861 to properly experience the cultural and political divisions that led to Sectionalism, State Secession and War.  So, our authors take you back to the beginning and rapidly move forward.

The Society has written this booklet for a target readership of diligent students between the ages of 12 years and 18 years who have inquiring minds and are engaged in serious, formal study of history in public school, charter school, private school and in home schooling.  We challenge students to rise to the level of scholarship within this booklet, while we know that most will not make the effort.  Hopefully, you are one who will.  We also know this booklet will surely find readers among college students, parents of students, and even among other inquisitive adults.

This booklet is intended to be a supplement to the student’s regular history text as assigned by his school program and his teacher.  So it does not replace the student’s assigned textbook.  But the expense of engaging the student also with this booklet is minimal because it is provided at cost in print form and free of charge in computer download and e-book form.  No authors have earned any money from their contributions; they have volunteered their time in hopes of benefiting you, the inquiring student. 

Who are we?  The Society of Independent Southern Historians is a non-profit, web-site-based, educational association registered in North Carolina.  Although membership is concentrated in the Southern States, it encompasses all of the American States.  The copyright for this work is held by the Society, which only requires that no one alter or copy and/or reprint this work for profit. 

This gift to American students will enhance understanding of:

  1. The nature of the Southern Culture and the Northern Culture and westward expansion;
  2. The causes of 1850’s political sectionalism in the Northern States and the rise of the Republican Party;
  3. The motives/legal issues surrounding State Secession;
  4. The response to secession by President Lincoln and the Republican governors of the Northern States;
  5. The four-year-long war that inflicted 400,000 Federal deaths, 350,000 Confederate deaths and the deaths of perhaps 35,000 white civilians and 200,000 black Southern civilians.
  6. The Political Reconstruction that followed, which greatly increased the power of the Federal Government.

Approximately 600,000 Africans were imported into North America, primarily in ships operated out of Great Britain and New England.  By the time of the War Between the States (1860 census), the population of African immigrants and their descendants had expanded by approximately 700 percent: to 3,950,528 who were bonded to owners (slaves) and 476,748 who were independent (free), a little over half of the latter living in the Southern States.  These men and women can take pride in the role they played in raising families and building America.  We also present their history and how their lives were impacted by the war and the Political Reconstruction that followed.  We also tell how Native Americans suffered.

This booklet imparts a clear and truthful understanding of the most horrific war ever suffered in North America.  Sadly, that is bloody business.  If the bodies of the 400,000 Federal dead were stretched from Washington, DC southward, with arms stretched upward holding a bouquet of flowers, laid down, toe to flower, the line of bodies would reach to Charleston, South Carolina.  That defines a Horrific War!  What political disintegration caused it?  You are about to find out.

In print form, this booklet is made up of 39 chapters presented on 44 sheets of 8-1/2×11-inch paper, printed front and back.  The chapters are organized into six Sections, the first titled, “The Evolution of Two Cultures – North and South – from 1607 to 1846.”  In this Section Dr. Wilson, Mr. White and Vance Caswell present relevant history in Chapters 1 through 10.  Section Two, “African Americans of the Southern Culture,” contains three chapters written by Caswell, Barbara Marthal and Les Tucker.  Section Three, “The Rise of Political Sectionalism in the Northern States – Inciting Secession,” contains 5 chapters by Egon Tausch, Wilson and White, all essential to the student’s understanding.  Section Four, “The War Between the States . . .” contains 12 chapters by Dr. Wilson, White, Caswell, Steve Litteral, Karen Stokes, Patrick Kealey and Earl Ijames, which present all necessary facets of the history, leaving none untouched.  Section Five, “After the Conquest – Consequences of Political Sectionalism and Horrific War,” contains 7 chapters by Litteral, Tausch, William Cawthon, Joe Stromberg, Joyce Bennett and Gail Jarvis, and none doubt the importance of their writing.  Section Six, “Discussion Subjects and Concluding Information,” contains 5 chapters by Wilson, White, Marthal, Paul Graham and H. V. Traywick, wrapping up the history and encouraging thought and discussion.  Each chapter ends with suggestions for class discussion and a few recommended reading resources, for reflection and discussion are keys to good understanding. 

By the way, the primary way that historians mislead students is not by telling untruths, but by omitting history critical to truthful learning, what the Society call’s “the sin of omission.”  We correct that deception.  Here you learn the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.   You will soon be voting.  Please apply the wisdom gained here, for you are America’s future.  We, the authors, hope parents, teachers and students accept the approach we have taken to enhance everyone’s understanding.