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The war was completely unnecessary. Slavery would have atrophied and ended naturally, as it did in all other countries in this hemisphere. The economic pressures of agricultural mechanization in the late 1800's would have made manual field labor unnecessary and too costly to maintain. Precisely how it would have wound down is uncertain, but the plantation owners may have been more ready to accept manumission payments.
Lest the rest of the country feel too self righteous, check to see how many Northern states permitted black voting in the late 1860's - 1870's.
 

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