Lead: One hundred and fifty years ago the Republic was facing its greatest crisis. This continuing series examines the American Civil War. It is "A House Divided."

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: As the terrible, cold, wet winter of 1865 slowly blended into spring, the dreams of Southern independence flickered and then died. What began with such great hopes just four years before, sustained by enormous white sacrifice, enduring in the face of almost irresistible opposition and odds, teetered on the precipice of historical reality. The South had sought to arrest or at least block the revolutionary changes, in population, industrialization, urban life and in shifting attitudes toward a more powerful Federal engagement in the lives of citizens that, in Southerners’ views, had infected other regions. The southland’s preference for aristocratic social structure, family, religion, rural life and, most of all, the institution of slavery, were under assault. To save its society and particularly its peculiar tradition of human bondage, the South would break the sacred bonds of Union and strike out on its own.

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