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Some pages of letter to Francis Higginson from father Stephen Higginson II
(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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In his letter, Stephen Higginson exhibited the range of Northern views on the Civil War in his reaction to South Carolina seceding from the Union. He believed that slavery held back the United States' progress in the nineteenth century. By calling southerners "barbarians," Higginson reflected a common northern belief that members of a slave society were uneducated, economically stagnant, and out of harmony with nineteenth century morals. While many Northerners wanted to fight to preserve the Union, Higginson said the United States would be better off without the burden of slavery and did not think his country should fight to keep slave states within its realm. This letter was penned to his seventeen year-old son, Francis J. Higginson, who would later participate in the blockade of South Carolina and continue on as a Rear Admiral of the United States Navy, commanding America's first true battleship, the "Massachusetts."
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