Vol. 16 No. 10 1949 - page 971

Nor was the slavery the cause. The issues ansmg over slavery
were in Randall's judgment "highly artificial, almost fabricated....
They produced quarrels out of things that would have settled them–
selves were it not for political agitation." Slavery, Craven observed,
was in any case a much overrated problem. It is "perfectly clear,"
he wrote, "that slavery played a rather minor part in the life of the
South and of the Negro."
What then was the cause of war?
one word or phrase were
selected to account for the war," wrote Randall, " ... it would have
to be such a word as fanaticism (on both sides), misunderstanding,
misrepresentation, or perhaps politics." Phrases like "whipped-up
crisis" and "psychopathic case" adorned Randall's explanation. Cra–
ven similarly described the growing sense of sectional differences as
"an artificial creation of inflamed minds." The "molders of public
opinion steadily created the fiction of two distinct peoples."
result, "distortion led a people into bloody war."
uncontrolled emotionalism and fanaticism caused the war,
how did they get out of hand? Who whipped up the "whipped-up
crisis"? Thus the second revisionist thesis:
2) that sectional friction was permitted to develop into needless
war by the inexcusable failure of political leadership in the fifties .
"It is difficult to achieve a full realization of how Lincoln's genera–
tion stumbled into a ghastly war," wrote Randall. " ...
one ques–
tions the term 'blundering generation,' let him inquire how many
measures of the time he would wish copied or repeated if the period
were to be approached with a clean slate and to be lived again."
was the politicians, charged Craven, who systematically sacri–
ficed peace to their pursuit of power. Calhoun and Adams, "seeking
political advantage," mixed up slavery and expansion; Wilmot in–
troduced his "trouble-making Proviso as part of the political game;"
the repeal clause in the Kansas-Nebraska Act was "the afterthought of
a mere handful of politicians;" Chase's Appeal to the Independent
Democrats was "false in its assertions and unfair in its purposes, but
it was politically effective"; the "damaging" section in the Dred Scott
decision was forced" by the political ambitions of dissenting judges."
"These uncalled-for moves and this irresponsible leadership," con–
cluded Craven, blew up a "crack-pot" crusade into a national conflict.
It is hard to tell which was under attack here- the perfonnance
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