In 1859, Sherman finally found a job he liked as headmaster of a military school in New Orleans that eventually became Louisiana State University. While there, he developed a deep affection for the South and its people. But this was a time of great political tension in the United States. For years, the North and the South had been arguing over several issues. The most important issue dividing the two sections of the country was slavery. Many Northerners believed that slavery was wrong. Some people wanted to outlaw it, while others wanted to prevent it from spreading beyond the Southern states where it was already allowed. But slavery played a big role in the Southern economy and culture. As a result, many Southerners felt threatened by Northern efforts to contain slavery. They believed that each state should decide for itself whether to allow slavery. They did not want the national government to pass laws that would interfere with their traditional way of life.
By 1861, this ongoing dispute had convinced several Southern states to secede from (leave) the United States and attempt to form a new country that allowed slavery, called the Confederate States of America. But Northern political leaders were determined to keep the Southern states in the Union. Sherman believed in the Union and felt that the Southern states' secession would cause a long and bloody war.
He resigned from his job and moved his family to the North in February 1861.
Was this article helpful?