RE: “It was never about slavery.”
If you take slavery out of the dispute, I don’t see how you motivate millions of soldiers - North or South - to run across open fields into direct gunfire.
I mean, would you risk your life today to stop California or New York City from seceding?
In 1860, as war talk heated up, half the people in America had lived their entire lives within 100 miles of their birthplace.
Very hard for me to believe that farmers in Vermont got so agitated about farmers in Georgia seceding from the Union that they went to war.
I do believe the southern soldiers disliked the idea of a government far away telling them how to live and what to pay them among other things.
You are correct. It was about slavery. Southerners did not want to be enslaved by northerners and their all powerful federal government.
There was a third nation, Mayland, that seceded from the South. Mayland had no slavery. The people there were brutalized by the North. I have visited some of the caves where the people lived for years hiding from the invading Yankees.
It was nothing about slavery. Most slaves and indentured servants for several centuries from England were white.