Why the South Fought the War

Why the South Fought the War

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D. W. Griffith's film "Birth of a Nation" shows that the South fought the war not only to protect slavery, but also to preserve a whole culture, a way of life. Their wealth and identity belonged to the land they lived on. Southerners fought to protect sovereignty, pride, identity, and their decision to secede which was under attack by a despot - President Lincoln. Few of the southerners could give up their culture without a fight.

"Birth of a Nation" tells the story of the Civil. One of its main missions is to portray the true southern way of life. The south was an aristocratic society. Everybody was happy and content with their everyday lives. Even slaves shown in the movie looked happy and were even dancing. They didn't look as they were going through big hardships and were oppressed by their masters. The south fought for preserving a culture that believed in the superiority of the white race, which meant that even those whites who didn't own slaves might still defend a slave culture. The people were made to feel better than blacks. Slavery was the heart of the Southern culture. Without slavery the structure of society would collapse. The South fought the war not only to protect their economic interests, but to preserve a culture and a way of life.

When Abraham Lincoln became a threat to slavery, they felt that the whole way of life is being eliminated.

Poet Henry Timrod, a Southerner, who is sometimes called "the poet of the Lost Cause," writes about a threat to Southern culture in his poem "Carolina."

The despot treads thy sacred sands,

Thy pines give shelter to his bands,

Thy sons stand by with idle hands,

Carolina!

He breathes at ease thy airs of balm,

He scorns the lances of thy palm;

Oh! who shall break thy craven calm,

Carolina!

Thy ancient fame is growing dim,

A spot is on thy garment's rim;

Give to the winds thy battle hymn,

Carolina!...

The author refers to the President Lincoln as a "despot," a tyrant who will "break thy craven calm" and change the life in the South.

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Timrod calls people of Carolina to "Rise all thy strength" to protect their culture. This poem provokes the rushing tide of intense feeling for noble and innocent people who are being invaded. Every word of it is filled with power, determination and makes one feel pity and sorrow.

Timrod's "Carolina" is very important in describing Southern people, as it illustrates their feelings, sentiments, ideas, and opinions - the motives which influenced their actions, and the objects which they had in contemplation, and which seemed to them to justify the struggle in which they were engaged.

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