What They Fought For By James Mcpherson

1058 Words5 Pages
In “What They Fought For”. James McPherson engages the reader with the general themes of what motivated the individual soldier to enter to fight in the Civil War. The book is divided into three chapters, giving the insight of many soldiers being divided by the border between the north and south. The lack of censorship at the time allows the reader to clearly see the insight of what these soldiers were trying to display. Although the soldiers are not equally represented by these few letters. There are still a lot of factors that could ultimately affected the overall believes of the soldiers. For example the opinion of the illiterate soldiers were not disclosed because they lacked the ability to write, the unskilled and farmers were also under represented. We see more of the voices of the skilled laborers in these diary entries and letters. the comments made by these soldiers might seem a bit too excessive due to there expressions of preferring to die at war than see their country be subjugated, we must remember that the age of Romanticism in literature music and psychology was taking place at this time. Liberty and republicanism seemed to form the fundamental theme as to why soldiers from both sides decided to enter the Civil War. Each side felt connected to the previous debates made from the Founding Fathers when trying to separate from the power of the British. The Confederates would refer to themselves as rebels, like the name given to the patriots in the revolutionary war. While the Union soldiers would also feel that they were upholding the Revolutionary war, wanting to feel worthy of that heritage. The initial patriotism and ideological commitment of many soldiers resulted in transforming into hatred and a passion for revenge... ... middle of paper ... ...lition have become greatly noted, especially after the Emancipation Proclamation. Many soldiers began to see the abolition of slavery as the only way out of the war, as seen in the quote "The only way to put down this rebellion is to hurt an instigator and abettors of it. Slavery must be cleansed out... The time has come to march through this infest of vipers with fire and sword, to liberate every slave” (60). As we can see there was a lot of different things that motivated the soldiers that truly did participate in the war to join the battle field during the Civil War. Pride and the alteration of the United States government system were main reasons that were noticed and seen throughout both sides of the battlefield. “What They Fought For” allows the reader to enter this new side of the Civil War and see exactly what was going on through the minds of the Soldiers.
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