Though most people voiced their own opinions about the conflict, there were quite a few who produced opinions of others – either experts or contemporaries – as a form of evidence to back up their side.
Most people derive their personal opinions from the opinions of others or derive them entirely on their own from known data. Unfortunately, whether from an expert, an historical figure or some concoction of their own, they are all still just opinions.
Opinions, no matter what their provenance, “prove” nothing other than it is something someone believed. Unfortunately, the only thing it proves is that there were differing points of view on the subject… as there still are.
Several commenters made big issue of Jefferson Davis changing his opinion on what the cause of the war was. So what? So have a lot of other people. Opinions come and go whether yours, mine or someone else’s.
Let’s try and stick to the facts. Interpretations of facts can go far afield as well. But not as far afield as other speculation.
If we don’t try and reign in some portions of the discourse, we’ll be ranging all over kingdom come looking for answers.