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  • Writer's pictureDonald V. Watkins

Explaining the American Civil War Should Not Be Hard to Do

By: Donald V. Watkins

Copyrighted and Published on January 28, 2024

An Editorial Opinion


For Nikki Haley and others of her political ilk, explaining the American Civil War should not be hard to do.


The Civil War is a shining example of the greatness of 2,128,948 ordinary Americans from slaveholding and non-slaveholding states who served in the Union Army. Of this number, 640,046 Union soldiers were casualties of war.

According to official government records, 110,100 Union Army soldiers were killed in battle; 224,580 of them died of diseases; 275,174 were wounded, and 30,192 were prisoners of war.

I honor the sacrifices of these 2,128,948 Union soldiers, who were overwhelming white Americans. These soldiers left their families, communities, and farms across America to put an end to the system of private and commercial slavery in our country, even if they had to die to do so.

Slavery, as authorized in the Thirteenth Amendment, still exists within America's state and federal penal systems. No U.S. president, whether Democrat of Republican, conservative or progressive, black or white, has seen fit to dismantle penal slavery, even though they had/have plenty of legal tools to do so.


Because of the personal sacrifices of these 2,128,948 Union soldiers, my family members of African descent are free men and women today.


I am not aware of any American voter who favors private and commercial slavery.  Yet, politicians like Nikki Haley tip-toe around the issue of slavery, as if they believe some GOP voters and Independents want a reinstatement of the old system of private and commercial slavery in the U.S. To my knowledge, no voter wants to enslave any group of Americans.


Twice in American history, ordinary Americans with extraordinary courage rose up to put down tyranny within our borders.  The first time this occurred was when the colonists fought and won the American Revolution.  The second time this occurred was when 2,128,948 Union soldiers fought and won the Civil War


After the Civil War was won, America, as a measure of grace, forgave the Confederate Army officers and soldiers who waged a war against the United States. 

Personally, I cannot honor anybody who fought and died to keep my ancestors enslaved. However, I fully understand that there are tens of millions of Americans who feel the need to honor enslavers for reasons that are personal with them.

I do not believe in any form of enslavement -- no matter how many school boards reimagine slavery in today's history books to make it seem benign and beneficial to American slaves of African descent.


The American Revolution and Civil War were two great moments in American history. All Americans should embrace and celebrate these moments in our nation's history.


No American should be ever be ashamed of the fact that 2,128,948 Union soldiers fought and won a war to put an end to private and commercial slavery in the U.S.

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