Saturday, July 13, 2024

Most controversial Civil War dilemma discussed at next Round Table meeting

One of the most thought-provoking questions still debated today about the Civil War is whether it was really necessary. This will be the topic for discussion at the next Brunswick Civil War Round Table meeting, featuring popular returning guest speaker, A. Wilson “Will” Greene.

His presentation is entitled, “Avoidable Tragedy or Irrepressible Conflict: Was the Civil War Inevitable?” Everyone is invited to attend. 

The meeting will convene Tuesday, Nov. 7, at Hatch Auditorium on Caswell Beach. Registration and refreshments begin at 6:15 p.m. The guest fee is $10, and can be applied toward the $25 annual membership dues.

Was the Civil War inevitable? In simplistic terms, the primary causes of the Civil War were the differences in opinions about the issue of slavery. Could the conflicts between the federal government and the states, and between the North and South, be resolved in some way? The answer is yes. If the federal government allowed states to do whatever they wished, and the Northern and the Southern states decided they did not need one another, the Civil War would probably not have happened.

However, the bigger question was the identity of the United States of America as a single entity. When this question was asked, the federal government could no longer ignore the states, nor could the Northern and Southern states ignore one another. It stopped being simply a question of politics and economics.

For the South, slavery was a common and accepted practice, since individual states could make their own laws about such matters. To abolish slavery altogether would be to weaken, if not destroy their economic machine.

For the Northern states, abolishing slavery would only minimally affect them considering their immigrant labor force. One option was that the Union could have simply allowed the Southern states to secede, concluding it was not worth the trouble. But once the Southern states dug in and seceded to form a Confederacy, the Civil War was inevitable.

No one is more qualified to speak to this issue than the guest speaker. Will will examine the background of this sectional conflict, a conflict as old as the republic itself, and render a judgement as to whether our country could have resolved its differences peacefully or were we condemned to go to war with ourselves to define our national destiny.

Greene recently retired from a 44-year career in public history. He worked for the National Park Service at various historical parks as a historian and manager, was the first executive director of what is now the Civil War Trust, and most recently retired as the founding director of the Pamplin Historical Park and The National Museum of the Civil War Soldier near Petersburg, Virginia.

Greene is the author of six books and more than 20 published articles In addition, he has been study leader for the Smithsonian Institute since 1989, leading battlefield tours from Oklahoma to Pennsylvania, and has spoken at numerous symposia, Civil War round tables and conferences around the country covering all the major Civil War campaigns.

According to a release from the Round Table, its “success is largely attributable to the quality of its speakers. Will is a prime example. This meeting is destined to be both informative and entertaining given Will’s knowledge and charisma. Everyone is cordially invited to attend and experience firsthand why this Civil War Round Table is the largest Civil War roundtable in the country with over 1,200 members.”

For information about the Round Table or the upcoming meeting, contact president Mike Powell at (910) 278-3545, or email to The organization’s website is You can also visit its Facebook page for interesting Round Table developments and announcements.

Submitted by Chuck Roedema

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