What they fought for is an analysis of a aggregation of about a 1000 personal letters and diaries entries written by the soldiers who fought America’s celebrated Civil War. This book seeks to specify the political orientation of what the soldiers understood they were contending for. and their comprehension of the result of their service. Although counter statements agree that most soldiers could not give a solid account of why they fought for. nor the existent Constitutional issues that were at interest; the ideas the soldiers recorded show that they fought for more than merely masculine individuality ; they extremely valued being at place safe with their loved 1s. at any cost. This book gives an inside perceptual experience of the Civil War. and a wide apprehension of the sentiments of the people of that epoch. Mc. Pherson successfully defines the single motive of each of the work forces who volunteered and risked their lives for what they believed was right. and the glorious cause to contend for. The book begins with a chapter titled “The Holy Cause of Liberty and Independence”; the writer identifies the popular political orientations evidenced in the letters sent by the soldiers at the beginning of the Civil War. and emphasizes their apprehension of what they fought for.
On one side were the Confederates. a group fueled by thoughts of Liberty and self-determination. linked to seek retaliation of northern oppressors and promote independency of the cotton land of the South. Confederate soldiers were motivated by strong emotional devotedness to their land. as shown by a missive from a Louisiana corporal in the Army of Northern Virginia. “for I am willing that my castanets shall decolor the sacred dirt of Virginia in driving the envading host of autocrats from our soil” ( Mc. Pherson 11 ) . The South besides found emotional support in comparing their war with the Revolutionary War. tie ining Northerners as oppressors like the British had been to the settlements. Confederates must turn out they were worthy of the autonomies and constitutional rights their initiation male parents had earned; this was something to contend for. Furthermore, the soldiers were fed of hatred by the interest of protection of their adult females and households back place. If the North was to win. they would everlastingly be oppressed by their triumph. and slaves of their accomplishments. The Confederates fought to advance the well-being of their household and the protection of their land “from Yankee indignation and atrocity” ( Mc. Pherson 20 ) .
On the other side was the Union. besides known as the Yankees; a group determined to set out the Rebels of the South. and continue the state that was created in 1776. Like the Confederates. the Union besides found support in the memory of the Revolutionary War. Union soldiers fought the “Traitors who sought to rupture down and interrupt into fragments the glorious temple that our sires reared with blood and tears” ( Mc. Pherson 28 ) . If the South was to splinter it would hold destroyed and undermined the power and authorization of the Constitution. and hence interrupt the brotherhood that made up the United States of America. The Union soldiers referred to the Confederates as the “Rebels”. who did not merit to be portion of the united states for their selfish and inhumane wonts. yet their land belonged to the state as a whole. A soldier in the Sherman ground forces wrote to his married woman “We want to kill them all away and cleanse the country… their penalty is light when compared with what justness is demanded” ( Mc. Pherson 40-41 ) .
Union reserves could not bear the idea of secession. for they “will be held responsible before God if we don’t make our portion in assisting to convey this blessing of civil and spiritual autonomy down to wining generations” ( Mc. Pherson 28 ) . For the North. defense of the fatherland. and of the autonomies and the authorities created by our establishing male parents was the “glorious cause” for which they fought. But war could non last everlastingly. and casualties and homesickness wore work forces out; a manner out of war had to be found so peace could be established one time once more. The most of import measure was the great recognition that bondage was the really cause of the war. The existent president Abraham Lincoln had already announced the Emancipation Proclamation in hopes of stopping this fatal conflict. Confederate leaders clarified that the United States “had been founded on the false thought that all work forces are created equal” while through secession. the new authorities of the South was based “upon the great truth that Black is non equal to white adult male; that bondage. subordination to the superior race. is his natural and normal condition” and so. the new cotton slave democracy will have founded on “the great physical. philosophical. and moral truth” ( Mc. Pherson 48 ) .
Confederates felt support from their initiation male parents with the cause of contending for autonomy and feared to be enslaved by the North. Yet. how could the south output for the so called autonomy? when they held slaves? This mere inquiry was the force of the North. The Union favored Emancipation as agencies to win the war; non because they were straight favored by liberating inkinesss. but because uncluttering out bondage would weaken southern rebellion and hence end war and remain as a united states. A deficit of Confederate work force led to thought of build uping slaves and to allow them freedom as a recompense for their service; Confederates believed it was better to proclaim emancipation and freed the Negro by build upping slaves than to be defeated and oppressed by the North. Yet some Whites rejected the thought of contending alongside with Negroes. and assured that they volunteered their services to contend for a “free white man’s country… non to liberate negroes” ( Mc. Pherson 55 ) . Soon after the Emancipation Proclamation was in the caputs of every soldier. the war became a “contest between bondage & A ; freedom. & A ; every honest adult male knows what he is contending for” ( Mc. Pherson 62 )
This was an unintended intent of the war ; weather many supported or opposed the cause. everybody seems to hold that “the war will ne’er stop until we end slavery” ( Mc. Pherson 57 ) . And after Lincoln’s proposal to amend the abolishment of bondage “he received about 80 % of the soldier vote” ( Mc. Pherson 67 ) . successfully being reelected and everlastingly altering the strong base of what is now the United States of America. the celebrated “Land of the Free” . What they fought for is a gift to any history-lover reader ; to acquire a clasp of the letters written by the very soldiers of the Civil War is capable to great grasp by anyone. James Mc. Pherson has quoted some of the most controversial phrases written by the soldiers during the war ; some quotation marks were used to back up his prejudice. while others were exposed to antagonize his ain statements. giving an overall wide position of the ideas of the reserves over their assorted war experiences. The reader is good informed of the uneven representation of the soldier ideas by per centums of those whom letters survived over clip.
These representation per centums are given for both. the Confederates and the Union reserves. and are organized by subjects and given with a brief description of the writer of the quotation mark. However. the cited phrases are intercalated among the readings of the writer. and no existent grounds of the letters is given other than the simple quotation marks written by the writer. For those of us who like to see the existent thing. we had to believe in the author’s words this clip. Furthermore. the book explores a great trade of accent on subjects such nationalism. autonomy. and award by both parties. The author does a great occupation comparing both sides of the war. demoing different sorts of ideas. and go forthing a concluding perceptual experience unfastened for the reader’s ain reading. What They Fought For is a singular book which analyses the ideas of the mere people who everlastingly changed the class of our lives.