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SUNDAY, JULY 24, 2005
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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Thanks for the memories
of Coach Phil Cavnar

THE DECATUR DAILY:

I would like to thank THE DECATUR DAILY for the articles on Coach Phil Cavnar.

I am a parent of two former East Limestone students and one of the band bus drivers and have spent 11 years around E.L. football. The article by Brooke Milam about Coach Cav making life easy for her fits him to a tee.

He was always that way to me and all the other people associated with not just football but all areas of school. Again, thank you. In my opinion your articles were better than our local paper.

Tony Kirk

Athens

Confederate cause
enslaved Southerners

THE DECATUR DAILY:

The Confederate Army was a pluralistic people of many ethnic groups, and 98 percent of them owned no slaves. So, why were there about 500,000 casualties and deaths sustained to the Confederate Army when slavery was the obvious issue? We can discover two reasons why they fought for a cause that actually enslaved them, too.

The first reason was the feudalistic system of law they lived under. The Southern aristocrats descended from the British colonialists and ruled the local, state and federal legislatures as Democrats, Whigs (Republicans in the North) and other minor parties. These aristocrats controlled the government by controlling the legal and economic systems. This gave them control of the poor working and slave classes in their states, making it easy to control votes for secession from the Union and to press the poor and uneducated into military service.

The second reason was the enrollment process itself. You cannot rule out patriotism as a motivation for enlistment during the first part of the war. However, the numbers tell us the volunteering dropped after the first battles. Volunteering also dropped when laws were passed to protect the Southern aristocracy from the horrors of war. A man could be excused from enlistment by owning 20 or more slaves or hiring a substitute for $30,000 in gold. In 1862, the Southern legislature in Richmond voted the first Conscription Act (draft) in American history. They amended the act until it covered all men except the slaves from the ages of 17 through 50.

These reasons justify "a rich man's war and a poor man's fight." This gave them two choices: one was to enlist; the other was prison and hanging from the gangs sent out to police them into submission.

What choice would you have made?

Phillip M. Chenault

Decatur

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