Views on why and how secession occurred plagued the thoughts of Anson D. Morse and others. Morse, explaining to his comrades why the country remained divided even twenty years after the close of the war, stated that "the terms North and South retain too much of their earlier meaning. This vitality of the sectional spirit....testifies to the completeness of...the conservatism of American character." It is this conservatism that Morse analyzed. Claiming that slavery was the chief cause for the secession of the South, Morse turned to his friends and explained that it was the South's unwillingness to accept change that brought about the bloody conflict.
If the South had decided to accept the changes in the country, and if the North had not tried to force the changes, Morse hypothesized that the entire Civil War might have been avoided. Even so, the South, "having resolved on disunion" was not to be placated. The traditional manner of making concessions and compromises was not inclined to work at this juncture. The South imposed heavy and unrealistic demands upon the North that they could not accept without "suffering great moral injury."