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To Nikki Haley On the Root Cause of the Civil War: It Was Slavery

U.S. Slavery

When recently questioned about the cause of the U.S. Civil War, Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley demurred, stating, ‘I think the cause of the Civil War was essentially about how the government would be structured — the freedoms and the limitations on individuals.’

When asked the question again, Haley equivocated, saying, ‘What it means to us today is about freedom — that’s what that was all about. It was about individual freedom, economic freedom, and individual rights.’ She then further complicated what should have been a straightforward political response by alleging that the person who asked the question was a ‘Democratic plant.’ She added, ‘We know when they’re there; we know what they’re doing. Why is Biden doing that? It’s because they want to run against Trump. They’re trying to help Trump.'”

In addressing Nikki Haley: The United States fought the Civil War because the Southern states sought to perpetuate the indefinite enslavement of Black Americans.

From 1619 to 1865, the enslaved endured widespread murder, rape, torture, starvation, child separation, kidnapping, and deprivation on a national scale.

The ancestors of Black Americans suffered unmitigated horror for eleven generations, something that is difficult to fully appreciate, understand, or fathom.

The descendants of the enslaved did not gain the right to vote en masse until 1968.

Even though the franchise was guaranteed to Black males following the Civil War, in practice, it was exceedingly challenging, if not impossible, to exercise this right due to the prevalence of racial terrorism and state laws at the time.

According to records maintained by the NAACP, 4,743 lynchings occurred in the U.S. from 1882 to 1968.

“Lynchings were violent public acts that white people used to terrorize and control Black people in the 19th and 20th centuries, particularly in the South. Lynchings typically evoke images of Black men and women hanging from trees, but they involved other extreme brutality, such as torture, mutilation, decapitation, and desecration. Some victims were burned alive.The narrative of Black America is inseparable from the story of America itself.”


The indecent treatment that Black Americans continue to endure demonstrates that we are still far from achieving the ideal of ‘liberty and justice for all.’ As a society, we cannot move forward until this is acknowledged.

The stolen labor of enslaved Africans greatly contributed to America’s present prosperity today.

This reality is often overlooked, as accepting it would require some members of society to confront their ancestors’ complicity in mass atrocities.

For some, this truth is painful to bear, so they may choose to ignore, minimize, or deny it.

In addressing Nikki Haley: The practice of holding individuals in bondage is fundamentally opposed to freedom; it is, by its very nature, slavery — the complete opposite of liberty.

Haley’s failure to adequately answer this question has revealed a disqualifying lack of moral courage.