Letters to the Editor

It was Southern slave owners, not President Abraham Lincoln and the Republicans, who started the Civil War, readers say in response to an op-ed by a North Carolina history professor.
It was Southern slave owners, not President Abraham Lincoln and the Republicans, who started the Civil War, readers say in response to an op-ed by a North Carolina history professor.
Posted: July 06, 2012

Failing grade on Civil War

David Goldfield deserves a failing grade ("A deadly rush into Civil War," Monday). Southern slave owners took their states out of the Union because they wanted no restrictions on the expansion of slavery. They feared any political evolution that would make a peaceful end to slavery possible.

In 1860, Lincoln and the Republican platform recognized the constitutionality of slavery in the states where it already existed, but opposed the creation of any new slave states. Lincoln's hope was that, eventually, there would be enough free states to peacefully amend the Constitution to eliminate slavery, although this might take 50 years.

The secessionists chose to start the Civil War by attacking a U.S. fort and forcing it to lower the Stars and Stripes. It was not started by Northern evangelicals. It wasn't started by Lincoln or anyone else trying to end slavery or preserve the Union. It was started by wealthy Southern slave owners.

The war they got didn't turn out as expected. Ever since, too many people have been whining about it and trying to blame anyone and everyone except the people responsible.

Peter Ross, Philadelphia

Secession not GOP's fault

Missing from David Goldfield's analysis is any acknowledgment that the Southern states viewed themselves as sovereigns in a marriage of convenience, from which they could withdraw if that's what it took to keep their slaveholding economy. Indeed, slaveholder Andrew Jackson probably saved the Union by delaying secession while he was president, and at a time when the North was much less of an industrial giant capable of sustaining four years of warfare. Secession did not spontaneously arise in 1861 in response to evangelical fervor; it was a decades-old cornerstone of Southern identity.

Marc Schneier, Wynnewood

Worried about hospital merger

I am very worried about the proposed hospital merger ("Abington and Holy Redeemer to merge," June 28). What about those young women whose pregnancies go horribly wrong? How far will they have to travel to get the medical and anesthesiology services their complicated situations require? How long before emergency contraception for rape victims and prenatal testing are also withheld?

I know that my sister members in the National Council of Jewish Women will think twice before availing themselves of the services of any institution that places more worth on a few fetal cells than it does on a woman who embodies a lifetime of nurturing from family, friends, and community. Kudos to Abington Memorial for listening to its community in the past before developing reproductive health policies. I pray that this highly reputable hospital will continue to provide all manner of quality, legal medical services.

Eleanor Levie, National Council of Jewish Women, Philadelphia

Change judicial election system

Thanks to Walter Phillips for "Pa.'s system of electing judges represents cash, but not quality" (Sunday). I have served for almost three decades as a Democratic committeeperson — a job I enjoy except for having to recommend judicial candidates. It is very difficult to get reliable information about judicial candidates.

Supporters will argue that people should choose their judges, but voters have opted out. In an off-year election, when many judicial candidates are selected, turnout is between 15 and 25 percent. And only about half of those voters will vote in judicial races. One interpretation is that the people are sending a message that they do not want to elect judges. It's time to change this bankrupt system.

Karen Bojar, Philadelphia

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