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The American Civil War, (1861-1865) killed 600,000 soldiers and probably killed as many civilians. Much of the South was utterly destroyed, and arguably our economy was drained in the process of both the war and reconstruction.
Discuss: was it worth it?
I say: No. Maybe. (I am open to being convinced otherwise, anyway.)
The main argument for "yes," I think, is that slavery was a crime against humanity and the war freed about 4,000,000 slaves. However, they would remain an economic, political, and despised social underclass for more than a century and enjoyed few rights in practice until very recently. Also, I am not convinced that slavery could have survived for much more than a generation or so. At the time of the Civil War, it was already an antiquated economic and social system, barely able to compete with the industrialized north. I'm also convinced—maybe naively—that Southerners would eventually progress, and slavery would disappear ... without having to kill 1,000,000 people. I think this is the most basic area of disagreement, and it's the area I'm the least certain about, but what it boils down to, for me, is basic math: If someone offered you the choice of killing one person to free four slaves, would you do it? I don't think I could.
Another argument is that the war preserved the Union. I say, this was obviously not worth fighting a war over. The South remains a drain on both our economy and our political system. To this day, we are probably among the most divided first-world countries. If Texas of whoever wanted, or tried to, secede now, I sure as hell wouldn't stop them using force.