Analysis Of Shaara´S Killer Angels

1405 words - 6 pages

Shaara’s novel Killer Angels shows the battle of Gettysburg through a number of unique viewpoints. Shaara offers a more intimate view of the battle than other Civil War novels. A reader can see the battle through the eyes of both Union and Confederate leaders. Through the novel the reader is able to see why each character is fighting and what they hope to gain from the war. Readers can also see the effect that the war has on the different characters. I will examine the war through the eyes of several different characters from Shaara’s novel.
The causes of the war and reasons for fighting parallel each other. The primary cause of the Civil War was the issue regarding slavery. The issue of slavery is brought up several times throughout the book. Arthur Fremantle, the British observer, believed that the South was fighting to protect slavery and their way of life. Colonel Chamberlain also mentioned slavery as a reason for the war and stated that he found it to be appalling. Despite racism and prejudice in the North, many northerners still believed that the slaves should be freed. They saw the institution of slavery as contradictory to the Bible and civilized society. Colonel Chamberlain mentioned that he was fighting for the “dignity of man” (pg. 27). The South was feeling pressure from anti-slavery and abolitionist groups in the North. The South felt that the North was trying to destroy the southern way of life. The North on the other hand, had become more successful in industry and didn’t seem to understand the importance of slavery in the South. The South’s entire society and social structure was based on slavery and they were not willing to end the entire system. The South argued that slaves had their place at the bottom of society and by ending slavery the entire balance would be disrupted. Debates over whether or not slavery would be allowed in new territories often became bitter and continued to drive the North and the South further apart. Despite the differences in beliefs regarding slavery, President Lincoln wanted the Union to stay together even if that meant slavery would still exist in the South (text pg. 418). To Lincoln reuniting the Union was the number one priority. However, even the tolerance of slavery was not enough to keep the southern states in the Union.
Another cause of the war was political tensions between the North and the South. Jim Kemper made the case the entire war was about southern freedom. The South felt like the north was not protecting their rights and the only way for the South to be free was to secede from the Union. The Rebel prisoners also talked about how they were fighting for southern rights, although they could not say what that meant when they were asked. During this time period the North and South were at very different points economically. The North wanted legislation that favored industry, while the South wanted legislation that favored agriculture and slavery. ...

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