by Andy Hall
One of the canon beliefs of the modern Southron Heritage™ movement is that blame for all the violence and bloodshed that followed the Southern states' secession lies, solely and completely, at the feet of Abraham Lincoln and his administration. Had the Southern states been allowed to "peacefully secede," none of the "late unpleasantness" would have happened.
The actions or missteps of the major players in the path to secession are always open to historical discussion and analysis. What's invariably missing from the arguments of those who now actively defend the secession of South Carolina and the states that followed is a recognition that, at the time, the conflict over slavery and secession was anything but peaceful. It was often direct, personal, and angry, and sometimes led to violence and murder. Supporters of secession across the South organized local vigilante committees to root out those they thought disloyal to the cause, and silence them one way or another, either through intimidation or violence. Years of inflammatory speeches, editorials and demagoguery by the fire-eaters created an environment across the South where dissent -- or even suspicion of dissent -- was often met with threats and violence.