War is the second-worst thing humans can do to one another—a point made in this pointed speech about the barbaric practice that stained the United States for too long, and the war that ended it.
An army is power. Its entire purpose is to coerce others. Now, this kind of power cannot be used carelessly or recklessly. This kind of power can do great harm. We have seen more suffering than any man should ever see. And if there is going to be an end to it,it must be an end that justifies the cost.
“Now, somewhere out there is the Confederate Army. They claim they are fighting for their independence, for their freedom. Now, I cannot question their integrity. I believe they are wrong,but I cannot question it. But I do question a system that defends its own freedom, while it denies it to others.To an entire race of men.
“I will admit it … war is a scourge. But so is slavery. It is the systematic coercion of one group of men over another. It has been around since the book of Genesis. It exists in every corner of the world. But that's no excuse for us to tolerate it here—when we find it right before our very eyes, in our own country.
“As God is my witness, there is no one I hold in my heart dearer than you. But if your life or mine is part of the price to end this curse and free the Negro, then let God's will be done.”
- spoken by the character Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, to his younger brother
Thomas, in the movie Gods & Generals