For Jeff Antley, South Carolina’s decision to leave the Union is nuanced.
While it’s true that preserving slavery was a prime motivator for those who signed the ordinance — just read the Declaration of Immediate Causes for Secession drafted mere days later — the peculiar institution impacted the South in many ways. “African servitude is not as simple as a moral issue,” Antley says. “It’s a financial issue. It was a social issue. It was a political issue because [slaves] were counted in the census.”