If the Declaration
of Independence justifies the secession from the British Empire
of 3 million Colonists in 1776, we do not see why it would
not justify the secession of 5 million Southerners from the
Federal Union.....Horace Greeley
If the union was formed by the accession
of States then the Union may be dissolved by the secession of States....Daniel
Webster, on the floor of the U.S. Senate 2/15/1833.
Any people anywhere, being inclined and having the power, have
the right to rise up and shake off the existing government and
form a new one that suits them better. This is a most valuable,
a most sacred right, a right, which we hope and believe is to liberate
the world. Nor is this right confined to cases in which the whole
people of an existing government, may choose to exercise it. Any
portion of such people that can, may revolutionize and make their
own, of so much of the territory as they inhabit.....Abraham
Lincoln in his speech in Congress in 1846.
Abe Lincoln when asked "Why not let the
South go in peace?"
Lincoln replied: "I can't let them go. Who would pay for the government?"
Please choose from any of the links below:
And Why Abraham Lincoln Started The War Of Northern
Aggression To Protect His Own Political Career
-by Frank Conner
To justify their claims that our Confederate ancestors
were like Nazi concentration-camp guards--and therefore that all
Confederate symbols must now be obliterated, the civil-rights activists
argue as follows: the Southern states rebelled against the Union,
and started and fought the "Civil War" to protect the
unspeakably-evil institution of slavery.
Those are blatant lies, and it is very important
for all Southerners to know that. But because the North won the
war, you have to look very hard to find the books which tell the
*** John S. Tilley's "Lincoln Takes Command" and
Ludwell Johnson's "North Against South" are two such
I took most of the material below from those books
several days ago, to refute a claim in the SCV list server that
Lincoln couldn't have been THAT bad a person. Well, he was.
The North's Republican party came out of nowhere
in 1854, formed from the wreckage of the Whig party (the Northern
Conscience-Whigs), and from the Free-Soilers and the Know-Nothings.
It opposed slavery, and it demanded a powerful national-government
which would subsidize Northern industrialization. The new Republican
party grew very rapidly. Not surprisingly, its key bankrollers
were Northern capitalists--financiers, shippers, industrialists,
etc. Two of its founders and strongest political-leaders were Salmon
P. Chase (first a senator and then a governor); and William H.
Seward (also a governor and a senator).
There were two factors about the election of 1860
which disturbed the Southerners so badly that Southern states subsequently
seceded. First was the Republican-party platform for 1860. Basically,
the Northern capitalists wanted the U.S. government to tax (only)
the South deeply, to finance the industrialization of the North,
and the necessary transportation-net to support that. In those
days, there was no income tax. The federal government received
most of its revenue from tariffs (taxes) on imported goods. The
Southern states imported from England most of the manufactured
goods they used, thus paid most of the taxes to support the federal
government. (The Northerners imported very little.) In 1860, for
example, just four Southern-states paid in 50% of the total tariffs.
In 1860, the averaged tariff-rate was 18.84%;
the Republicans spread the word that they were shooting for 40%--which
could bankrupt many Southerners and would make life much harder
for most of them. The Republican platform included a transcontinental
railroad (following a Northern route); extensive internal-improvements
to extend the transportation net for the Northern manufacturers;
a homestead act which would eliminate the only other important
source of federal funding, etc.
Second, if the Republicans somehow managed to
gain control of Congress AND the White House, they would then be
able to use the federal government to enact and enforce their party
platform--and thus convert the prosperous Southern-states into
the dirt-poor agricultural colonies of the Northern capitalists.
And given the trends in demographics, the Southern states would
never be able to reverse that process. The intent of the Declaration
of Independence and the U.S. Constitution would then have been
subverted completely: the Southern states would no longer be governed
with the consent of the governed--but instead bullied mercilessly
by the Northern majority. Why, then, remain in the Union?
Came the election.
At the 1860 Republican convention in Chicago,
Chase and Seward were the favored candidates. Lincoln was a dark
horse. In national politics, he had served only in the House, and
only for one two-year term--1847-49: he had left Congress 11 years
earlier! Lincoln had only three things going for him: he was considered
a political lightweight, who could easily be manipulated by the
power brokers; he himself was from Illinois, so the convention
hall was located on his own stomping-grounds; and both he and his
campaign manager--David E. Davis--were extraordinarily-adroit politicians.
In 1860 the vast majority of the Republicans did
not want war. But the relatively-mild Seward had earlier coined
several phrases which led many to believe mistakenly that he was
a warmonger. And if Seward might possibly lead the country into
war, the hot-head Chase would probably do so. Lincoln the unknown
murmured soothing words of peace--which went down well. Meanwhile,
he and Davis manipulated that convention behind the scenes in ways
that would make today's dirty-tricks advocates turn green with
envy. Consequently, Lincoln won the Republican nomination.
Meanwhile, the numerically-far-stronger national
Democratic-party was busy self-destructing over the issue of slavery.
So when the 1860 election-returns came in, it
turned out that the Republicans had won the White House, and substantial
majorities in the House and the Senate. When that message sank
in, Southern states began seceding from the Union--beginning with
South Carolina on 20 December 1860.
Several of them said that the main issue was the
protection of slavery, but that was strictly for local consumption
by people who did their thinking solely in terms of simple slogans.
The Southern legislators could do their math; thus they knew full
well that the only truly-safe way to protect the institution of
slavery would be for the Southern states to remain in the Union
and simply refuse to ratify any proposed constitutional-amendment
to emancipate the slaves. For slavery was specifically protected
by the Constitution, and that protection could be removed only
by an amendment ratified by three-quarters of the states. In 1860
there were 15 slave states and 18 free states. Had the number of
slave states remained constant, 27 more free states would have
had to be admitted into the Union--for a total of 60 states--before
an abolition amendment could be ratified. That was not likely to
occur anytime soon. But with the Southern states seceding, the
issue of slavery could then be settled by force of arms at any
After the Republicans gained control of the presidency
and the Congress, eleven Southern states eventually seceded from
the Union--specifically to avoid becoming the helpless agricultural-colonies
of the Northern capitalists.
This move took the Northern capitalists completely
by surprise. The South was like the little boy who was forever
crying "wolf." Southern states had been threatening to
secede ever since the Tariff of Abominations and the days of Calhoun;
the North no longer took those threats seriously. But with the
South now gone, there would be no federal funding to industrialize
the North--for the Northern citizenry would certainly never agree
to be taxed to pay for it. And far worse than that, the many, many
Northern-capitalists who had been earning fortunes factoring the
Southern cotton-crop, transporting the cotton, and buying the cotton
for New England textile-mills now faced financial ruin. The South
normally bought its manufactured goods from Britain, anyway. Now,
as a sovereign nation, the South could easily cut far better deals
with the British financiers, ship owners, and textile mills to
supply the South with all of the necessary support-services--leaving
the Northern capitalists out in the cold.
This was all Lincoln's fault! If he hadn't been
elected, the South wouldn't have seceded; and the Northern capitalists
would not now be in this mess.
So as President-elect Lincoln prepared to take
office, he was in a world of hurt. He had the trappings of office--but
not the power base to support him safely in office against the
slings and arrows of his outrageous political-enemies. Both Seward
and Chase had well-established power bases (financial backers,
newspapers, magazines, personal political-organizations, etc.);
both of them wanted Lincoln's job; both of them merely awaited
the first opportunity to spring a political trap on him, subject
him to deadly ridicule, and thereafter cut him off at the knees.
Given time, Lincoln--who, after all, did occupy
the presidency--could weld together a formidable power base of
his own; but right at the beginning of his term he was perilously
vulnerable. He MUST now have the support of the Northern capitalists.
Lincoln was a Whig masquerading as a Republican,
because that was now the only game in town. He didn't care anything
about the slavery issue; he preferred to temporize with the abolitionists.
But he couldn't temporize with the Northern capitalists. He would
have to drag the South back into the Union immediately, or he'd
(figuratively) be shot out of the saddle and discredited very quickly;
then Seward or Chase would really be running the country; and Lincoln
could forget all about being reelected in 1864. That was unthinkable.
But there was no way Lincoln or anyone else from the Republican
party could possibly talk the Southern states back into the Union
at this stage of the game; so he would have to conquer them in
war. (He assumed it would be a 90-day war, which the Union Army
would win in one battle.)
If you read Lincoln's first inaugural-address
with any care at all, you'll see that it was simply a declaration
of war against the South. It was also filled with lies and specious
reasoning. In 1860, the official government-charter for the U.S.
was the U.S. Constitution. In writing it, the delegates to the
Constitutional Convention of 1787 (some of the most-canny politicians
in the country) had pointedly omitted from it the "perpetual
union" clause which had been a main feature of the unworkable
Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union, the U.S.-government
charter adopted only six years earlier in 1781. Under the Articles,
no state could secede lawfully unless all states seceded simultaneously.
But the Constitution--which Lincoln had just taken an oath to uphold--did
not contain that clause (or any other like it); so any state could
secede lawfully at any time. The South did secede lawfully. Honest
Abe flat-out lied when he said that was not so; and he subsequently
used his blatant lie to slaughter 623,000 Americans and Confederates
eventually--in order to perpetuate himself in political office.
Lincoln needed an excuse to start his war of aggression,
because Congress did not want war and would not declare war of
its own volition. The most-likely hot-spot in which Lincoln could
start his war was Charleston Harbor, where shots had already been
fired in anger under the Buchanan administration. But the newly-elected
governor of South Carolina, Francis Pickens, saw the danger--that
Lincoln might, as an excuse, send a force of U.S. Navy warships
to Charleston Harbor supposedly to resupply Maj Anderson's Union
force holed up in Fort Sumter. So Gov Pickens opened negotiations
with Maj Anderson, and concluded a deal permitting Anderson to
send boats safely to the market in Charleston once a week, where
Anderson's men would be allowed to buy whatever victuals they wished.
(This arrangement remained in effect until a day or so before the
U.S. Navy warships arrived at Charleston). Maj Anderson wrote privately
to friends, saying that he hoped Lincoln would not use Fort Sumter
as the excuse to start a war, by sending the U.S. Navy to resupply
Before his inauguration, Lincoln sent a secret
message to Gen Winfield Scott, the U.S. general-in-chief, asking
him to make preparations to relieve the Union forts in the South
soon after Lincoln took office. Lincoln knew all along what he
was going to do.
President Jefferson Davis sent peace commissioners
to Washington to negotiate a treaty with the Lincoln administration.
Lincoln refused to meet with them; and he refused to permit Secretary
of State Seward to meet with them.
After Lincoln assumed the presidency, his principal
generals recommended the immediate evacuation of Maj Anderson's
men from Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor--which was now located
on foreign soil. To resupply it by force at this point would be
a deliberate act-of-war against the C.S.A.
It turned out that Lincoln's postmaster general,
Montgomery Blair, had a brother-in law, Gustavus V. Fox, who was
a retired Navy-captain, and wanted to get back into action. Fox
had come up with a plan for resupplying Fort Sumter which would
force the Confederates to fire the first shots--under circumstances
which would force them to take the blame for the war. Lincoln sent
Fox down to talk with Maj Anderson about the plan, but Anderson
wanted no part of it. Lincoln had Fox pitch the plan to his Cabinet
twice. The first time, the majority said that move would start
a war. But the second time, the Cabinet members got Lincoln's pointed
message, and capitulated.
Meanwhile, Congress got wind of the plan. Horrified,
they called Gen Scott and others to testify about it; Scott and
the other witnesses said they wanted no part of the move against
the Confederacy in Charleston (and nor did Congress). Congress
demanded from Lincoln--as was Congress's right--Fox's report on
Maj Anderson's reaction to the plan. Lincoln flatly refused to
hand it over to them.
Lincoln sent to Secretary Cameron (for transmittal
to Secretary Welles) orders in his own handwriting (!) to make
the warships Pocahontas and Pawnee and the armed-cutter Harriet
Lane ready for sailing, along with the passenger ship Baltic--which
would be used as a troop ship, and two ocean-going tugboats to
aid the ships in traversing the tricky shallow harbor-entrance
at Charleston. Fox's plan was to send 500 extra Union-soldiers
to reinforce Maj Anderson's approximately-86-man force at Fort
Sumter--along with huge quantities of munitions, food, and other
supplies. The Confederacy would, of course, resist this invasion--in
the process firing upon the U.S. flag. The unarmed tugs would,
of necessity, enter the harbor first, whereupon they would likely
be fired upon by the C.S.A., giving Lincoln the best-possible propaganda
to feed to the Northern newspapers, which would then rally the
North to his "cause."
Lincoln sent orders for the Union naval-force
to begin its journey so as to enter Charleston Harbor on 11 or
12 April. Next, Lincoln sent a courier to deliver an ultimatum
to Gov Pickens on 8 April, saying that Lincoln intended to resupply
Fort Sumter peaceably or by force. There was no mistaking the intent
of that message.
Lincoln had set the perfect trap. He had given
President Davis just enough time to amass his forces and fire upon
the U.S. Navy. But if Davis acquiesced instead, Lincoln need merely
begin sending expeditionary forces to recapture all of the former
Union-forts in the South now occupied by Confederate forces; sooner
or later Davis would have to fight; and the more forts he allowed
Lincoln to recapture in the interim, the weaker would be the military
position of the C.S.A. As a practical matter, Davis was left with
Accordingly, the C.S.A., informed that the U.S.
Navy was en route, demanded that Maj Anderson surrender the fort
forthwith. Anderson refused; Beauregard's artillery bombarded Fort
Sumter into junk (miraculously without loss of life inside); and
Anderson then surrendered with honor intact. The U.S. Navy arrived
during the bombardment--but because elements of the force had been
delayed for various reasons, did not join in the fight. The Navy
was allowed to transport Anderson's men back to the U.S.
Thereafter Lincoln wrote to Fox, pronouncing the
mission a great success. Lincoln ended his letter by saying, "You
and I both anticipated that the cause of the country would be advanced
by making the attempt to provision Fort Sumter, even if it should
fail; and it is no small consolation now to feel that our anticipation
is justified by the result."
Folks, that ought to be plain enough for anybody
Now Lincoln had his excuse for a war (assuming
that he continued to lie his head off about it--which he did);
but there was no reason for him to believe that Congress would
declare war against the South on his say-so. In fact, there was
every indication that they would not. So instead of calling Congress
into emergency session and asking them to declare war (which was
their prerogative, and not Lincoln's), Lincoln simply declared
war himself--by calling the C.S.A.'s defense of its sovereignty
in Charleston Harbor an "insurrection" against the U.S.
government. Lincoln did not call Congress into session until several
months later--when his war had progressed so far that Congress
could not then call it off, but as a practical matter would have
to rubber stamp it.
So Lincoln started the war virtually single-handed.
Without vulnerable dark-horse Abraham Lincoln
assuming the presidency in 1861, I do not believe we would have
had a war. Nobody wanted one except Lincoln and a few rabid-abolitionists
and some Northern-capitalists whose fortunes were threatened. I
consider Lincoln a megalomaniacal sociopath whose like we have
not yet seen--and I pray we never will see.
This author has an excellent new book, The
South Under Siege 1830-2000.
-by Thomas J. DiLorenzo*
There is a good reason why the Lincoln legend
has taken on such mythical proportions: Much of what Americans
think they know about Abraham Lincoln is in fact a myth. Let’s
consider a few of the more prominent ones.
Myth #1: Lincoln invaded the South to
free the slaves. Ending slavery and racial injustice is not why the North
invaded. As Lincoln wrote to Horace Greeley on August 22, 1862: “My
paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and it
is not either to save or destroy slavery. If I could save the Union
without freeing any slave, I would do it . . .”
announced to the world on July 22, 1861, that the purpose of the
war was not “interfering with the rights or established institutions
of those states” (i.e., slavery), but to preserve the Union “with
the rights of the several states unimpaired.” At the time
of Fort Sumter (April 12, 1861) only the seven states of the deep
South had seceded. There were more slaves in the Union than out
of it, and Lincoln had no plans to free any of them.
invaded to regain lost federal tax revenue by keeping the Union
intact by force of arms. In his First Inaugural Lincoln promised
to invade any state that failed to collect “the duties and
imposts” and he kept his promise. On April 19, 1861, the
reason Lincoln gave for his naval blockade of the Southern ports
was that “the collection of the revenue cannot be effectually
executed” in the states that had seceded.
war “saved the Union.” The war may have saved
the Union geographically but it destroyed it philosophically
by destroying its voluntary nature. In the Articles
of Confederation, the Declaration of Independence, and the
Constitution, the states described themselves as “free and
independent.” They delegated certain powers to the federal
government they had created as their agent but retained sovereignty for
themselves. This was widely understood in the North as well
as the South in 1861. As the Brooklyn Daily Eagle editorialized
on Nov. 13, 1860, the Union “depends for its continuance on
the free consent and will of the sovereign people of each state,
and when that consent and will is withdrawn on either part,
their Union is gone. The New York Journal of Commerce concurred,
writing on Jan. 12, 1861, that a coerced Union changes the
nature of government from “a voluntary one, in which the people
are sovereigns, to a despotism where one part of the people
are slaves.” The majority of Northern newspapers agreed.
Myth #3: Lincoln
championed equality and natural rights.. His
words and, more importantly, his actions, repudiate this myth. “I
have no purpose to introduce political and social equality
between the white and black races,” he announced in his Aug.
21, 1858 debate with Stephen Douglas. “I, as well as Judge
Douglas, am in favor of the race to which I belong having the
superior position.” And, “Free them [slaves] and make them
politically and socially our equals? My own feelings will not
admit of this. . . . We cannot, then, make them equals.”
In Springfield, Illinois
on July17, 1858 Lincoln said, “What I would most desire would be
the separation of the white and black races.” On Sept. 18, 1858
in Charleston, Illinois he said: “I will to the very last stand
by the law of this state, which forbids the marrying of white people
Lincoln supported the
Illinois Constitution, which prohibited the emigration of black
people into the state, and he also supported the Illinois Black
Codes which deprived the small number of free blacks in the state
any semblance of citizenship. He strongly supported the Fugitive
Slave Act, which compelled Northern states to capture runaway slaves
and return them to their owners. In his First Inaugural he pledged
his support of a proposed constitutional amendment that had just
passed the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives that would
have prohibited the federal government from ever having
the power “to abolish or interfere, within any State, with the
domestic institutions thereof, including that of persons held to
labor or service by the laws of said State.” In his First Inaugural
Lincoln advocated making this amendment “express and irrevocable.”
was also a lifelong advocate of “colonization” or shipping all black people
to Africa, Central America, Haiti – anywhere but here. “I cannot
make it better known than it already is, “he stated in a Dec. 1,
1862 Message to Congress, “that I strongly favor colonization.” To
Lincoln blacks could be “equal,” but not in the U.S.
Myth #4: Lincoln
was a defender of the Constitution. Quite the
contrary: Generations of historians have labeled Lincoln a “dictator.” “Dictatorship
played a decisive role in the North’s successful effort to
maintain the Union by force of arms,” wrote Clinton Rossiter
in Constitutional Dictatorship. And, “Lincoln’s amazing
disregard for the Constitution was considered by nobody as
James G. Randall documented
Lincoln’s assault on the Constitution in Constitutional Problems
Under Lincoln. Lincoln unconstitutionally suspended the writ
of Habeas Corpus and had the military arrest tens of thousands
of Northern political opponents, including dozens of newspaper
editors and owners. Some 300 newspapers were shut down and all
telegraph communication was censored. Northern elections were rigged;
Democratic voters were intimidated by federal soldiers; hundreds
of New York City draft protesters were gunned down by federal troops;
West Virginia was unconstitutionally carved out of Virginia; and
the most outspoken member of the Democratic Party opposition, Congressman
Clement L. Vallandigham of Ohio, was deported. Duly elected members
of the Maryland legislature were imprisoned, as was the mayor of
Baltimore and Congressman Henry May. The border states were systematically
disarmed in violation of the Second Amendment and private property
was confiscated. Lincoln’s apologists say he had “to destroy the
Constitution in order to save it.”
Myth #5: Lincoln
was a “great humanitarian” who had “ malice toward none.” This
is inconsistent with the fact that Lincoln micromanaged the
waging of war on civilians, including the burning of entire
towns populated only by civilians; massive looting and plundering;
rape; and the execution of civilians (See Mark Grimsley, The
Hard Hand of War). Pro-Lincoln historian Lee Kennett wrote
in Marching through Georgia that, had the Confederates
somehow won, they would have been justified in “stringing up
President Lincoln and the entire Union high command” as war
Myth #6: War
was necessary to end slavery. During the 19th century
dozens of countries, including the British and Spanish empires,
ended slavery peacefully through compensated emancipation.
Among such countries were Argentina, Colombia, Chile, all
of Central America, Mexico, Bolivia, Uruguay, the French
Colonies, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela. (Lincoln did propose
compensated emancipation for the border states, but coupled
his proposal with deportation of any freed slaves. He failed
to see it through, however). Only in America was war associated
In sum, the power of
the state ultimately rests upon a series of myths about the alleged
munificence of our rulers. Nothing serves this purpose better
than the Lincoln myth. This should be kept in mind by all who visit
the new Lincoln statue in Richmond.
*Thomas DiLorenzo is the author of The Real Lincoln:
A New Look about Abraham Lincoln, His Agenda, and an Unnecessary
War (Random House, 2002) and a professor of economics at Loyola
College in Maryland.
Interests & the War for Southern Independence
-by Richard B. Abell, PLPOW Member
Economic interests had a great deal to do with
the initiation of the War for Southern Independence. The South
had been pushed to beyond reasonable tolerance. In 1860 the revenues
that supported the Federal government were derived from export-import
taxes (there were no sales taxes or income taxes) and essentially
three-fourths of these taxes were paid by the South. The Federal
government then used these monies to fund projects in the North
or West - but not principally in the South that had paid the monies
into the accounts! The South had to pay twice; first to export
their cotton and then to import the goods purchased abroad from
the profits made from the cotton sales. Further, the North was
using these taxes to protect their own non-competitive industries.
The South was being abused and victimized by the North. The Republican
Platform of 1860 called for a high protective tariff that was anathema
to the South.
There were a whole series of political issues
leading up to the War and contributing to the seeking of our independence.
of secession was supported by President Jefferson in his famous
Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions. New England was debating secession
from the rest of the United States in 1803 because of their opposition
to the Louisiana Purchase and again in 1814-15 because of their
opposition to the War of 1812. They had actually called for a Congress
of New England to be held in Hartford, Connecticut, in the spring
of 1815 for the purpose of secession. The War of 1812 was concluded
between Christmas 1814 and the Battle of New Orleans in January
1815 and thereby vitiated the need for the Congress which was then
cancelled. New England also was on the verge of secession in 1846-47
during the Mexican War. The South was first thinking of secession
as early as 1798 because of its concern over the Alien & Sedition
Acts. Thought about it again in 1832 with the South Carolina Nullification
crisis over tariffs, again over the Missouri Compromise issues,
again in 1850, and finally in 1860. I could go on ad nausem and
ad infinitum on the political issues.
An underlying and most important understanding
for secession was the sociological/ historical/cultural divisions
the South from the North. These were very real and very deep.
many ways they still exist. In 1860 there were essentially two
nations of peoples living within one political entity. Separation
was inevitable. However, war was not inevitable - that was sought
by Abe Lincoln who simply did not understand the South. I would
refer you to one of the best books that I have ever read on this
topic of cultural division within early America. See Albion's
Seed by David Hackett Fischer. This 800 page tome is intimidating
well worth the read in order to understand these United States.
There were essentially four groupings of British that emigrated
to America from 1607 through 1776. Each represented a different
geography of England, different cultural and historical experiences
and different religious and philosophical perspectives. They
each left for reasons of persecution by others. Upon arrival
their own evolution separate from England and all others. The
Puritans went to New England from East Anglia and environs;
went to Pennsylvania from the Midlands; the Anglican Cavaliers
to Virginia and the Carolinas from the Southeast of England;
and, the Scots-Irish to the mountains of Pennsylvania, Virginia,
Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, Kentucky, Georgia, and north
Alabama. These divisions echo on the Mason-Dixon line that separates
the historical South from the North. These cultural distinctions
gave different values to each grouping. The peoples of the North
and the South spoke the same language but had different dreams.
Conflict and division were inevitable.
The above is a synopsis and not exclusive. Read, research, and
make up your own mind - do not accept as Gospel what your professors
Godspeed. Deo Vindice!
.....Richard B. Abell, PLPOW member
of the Civil War
- by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr., Thursday, May 11,
The historical event that looms largest in American
public consciousness is the Civil War. One-hundred thirty-nine
years after the first shot was fired, its genesis is still fiercely
debated and its symbols heralded and protested. And no wonder:
the event transformed the American regime from a federalist system
based on freedom to a centralized state that circumscribed liberty
in the name of public order. The cataclysmic event massacred a
generation of young men, burned and looted the Southern states,
set a precedent for executive dictatorship, and transformed the
American military from a citizen-based defense corps into a global
military power that can't resist intervention.
And yet, if you listen to the media on the subject,
you might think that the entire issue of the Civil War comes down
to race and slavery. If you favor Confederate symbols, it means
you are a white person unsympathetic to the plight of blacks in
America. If you favor abolishing Confederate History Month and
taking down the flag, you are an enlightened thinker willing to
bury the past so we can look forward to a bright future under progressive
leadership. The debate rarely goes beyond these simplistic slogans.
And yet this take on the event is wildly historical.
It takes Northern war propaganda at face value without considering
that the South had solid legal, moral, and economic reasons for
secession which had nothing to do with slavery. Even the name "Civil
War" is misleading, since the war wasn't about two sides fighting
to run the central government as in the English or Roman civil
wars. The South attempted a peaceful secession from federal control,
an ambition no different from the original American plea for independence
But why would the South want to secede? If the
original American ideal of federalism and constitutionalism had
survived to 1860, the South would not have needed to. But one issue
loomed larger than any other in that year as in the previous three
decades: the Northern tariff. It was imposed to benefit Northern
industrial interests by subsidizing their production through high
prices and public works. But it had the effect of forcing the South
to pay more for manufactured goods and disproportionately taxing
it to support the central government. It also injured the South's
trading relations with other parts of the world.
In effect, the South was being looted to pay for
the North's early version of industrial policy. The battle over
the tariff began in 1828, with the "tariff of abomination." Thirty
years later, with the South paying 87 percent of federal tariff
revenue while having their livelihoods threatened by protectionist
legislation, it become impossible for the two regions to be governed
under the same regime. The South as a region was being reduced
to a slave status, with the federal government as its master.
But why 1860? Lincoln promised not to interfere
with slavery, but he did pledge to "collect the duties and
imposts": he was the leading advocate of the tariff and public
works policy, which is why his election prompted the South to secede.
In pro-Lincoln newspapers, the phrase "free trade" was
invoked as the equivalent of industrial suicide. Why fire on Ft.
Sumter? It was a customs house, and when the North attempted to
strengthen it, the South knew that its purpose was to collect taxes,
as newspapers and politicians said at the time.
To gain an understanding of the Southern mission,
look no further than the Confederate Constitution. It is a duplicate
of the original Constitution, with several
improvements. It guarantees free trade, restricts legislative
power in crucial ways, abolishes public works, and attempts to
rein in the executive. No, it didn't abolish slavery but neither
did the original Constitution (in fact, the original protected
property rights in slaves).
Before the war, Lincoln himself had pledged to
leave slavery intact, to enforce the fugitive slave laws, and to
support an amendment that would forever guarantee slavery where
it then existed. Neither did he lift a finger to repeal the anti-Negro
laws that besotted all Northern states, Illinois in particular.
Recall that the underground railroad ended, not in New York or
Boston — since dropping off blacks in those states would
have been restricted — but in Canada! The Confederate Constitution
did, however, make possible the gradual elimination of
slavery, a process that would have been made easier had
the North not so severely restricted the movements of former slaves.
Now, you won't read this version of events in
any conventional history text, particularly not those approved
for use in public high schools. You are not likely to hear about
it in the college classroom either, where the single issue of slavery
overwhelms any critical thinking. Again and again we are told what
Polybius called "an idle, unprofitable tale" instead
of the truth, and we are expected to swallow it uncritically. So
where can you go to discover that the conventional story is sheer
The last ten years have brought us a flurry of
great books that look beneath the surface. There is John Denson's "The
Costs of War" (1998), Jeffrey Rodgers Hummel's "Emancipating
Slaves, Enslaving Free Men" (1996), David Gordon's "Secession,
State, and Liberty" (1998), Marshall de Rosa's "The Confederate
Constitution" (1991), or, from a more popular standpoint,
James and Walter Kennedy's "Was Jefferson Davis Right?" (1998).
But if we were to recommend one work — based
on originality, brevity, depth, and sheer rhetorical power — it
would be Charles Adams' time bomb of a book, "When in the
Course of Human Events: Arguing the Case for Southern Secession" (Rowman & Littlefield,
2000). In a mere 242 pages, he shows that almost everything we
thought we knew about the war between the states is wrong.
Adams believes that both Northern and Southern
leaders were lying when they invoked slavery as a reason for secession
and for the war. Northerners were seeking a moral pretext for an
aggressive war, while Southern leaders were seeking a threat more
concrete than the Northern tariff to justify a drive to political
independence. This was rhetoric designed for mass consumption .
Adams amasses an amazing amount of evidence — including remarkable
editorial cartoons and political speeches — to support his
thesis that the war was really about government revenue.
Consider this little tidbit from the pro-Lincoln New
York Evening Post, March 2, 1861 edition:
"That either the revenue from duties must
be collected in the ports of the rebel states, or the port must
be closed to importations from abroad, is generally admitted.
If neither of these things be done, our revenue laws are substantially
repealed; the sources which supply our treasury will be dried
up; we shall have no money to carry on the government; the nation
will become bankrupt before the next crop of corn is ripe. There
will be nothing to furnish means of subsistence to the army;
nothing to keep our navy afloat; nothing to pay the salaries
of public officers; the present order of things must come to
a dead stop.
"What, then, is left for our government?
Shall we let the seceding states repeal the revenue laws for
the whole Union in this manner? Or will the government choose
to consider all foreign commerce destined for those ports where
we have no custom-houses and no collectors as contraband, and
stop it, when offering to enter the collection districts from
which our authorities have been expelled?"
This is not an isolated case. British newspapers,
whether favoring the North or South, said the same thing: the feds
invaded the South to collect revenue. Indeed, when Karl Marx said
the following, he was merely stating what everyone who followed
events closely knew:
"The war between the North and the South
is a tariff war. The war is further, not for any principle, does
not touch the question of slavery, and in fact turns on the
Northern lust for sovereignty."
Marx was only wrong on one point: the war was
about principle at one level. It was about the principle of self-determination
and the right not to be taxed to support an alien regime. Another
way of putting this is that the war was about freedom, and the
South was on the same side as the original American revolutionaries.
Interesting, isn't it, that today, those who favor
banning Confederate symbols and continue to demonize an entire
people's history also tend to be partisans of the federal government
in all its present political struggles? Not much has changed in
139 years. Adams's book goes a long way toward telling the truth
about this event, for anyone who cares to look at the facts.
William E. Widemeyer writes...
CSA Capt. William E. Widemeyer, 6th Missouri Inf. writes to his
wife at Guntown (just south of Corinth), MS AUGUST 5, 1862
Complains of not receiving mail from home, but says...
...although I am naturally of buoyant spirits, I cannot help
but feel displeased and low-spirited...but look to the bright
of the future, trusting that the vile invader of our sacred
rights will soon meet with just retribution for his tyrannical
then, and not 'til then, will the dark cloud that now obscures
our country be dispelled, and peace and prosperity smile on
our [Southern] land.
They Fought The War
The Augusta Free Press, September 21, 2004
-by Robert Powell
....As a descendent of Confederate soldiers, three of whom paid
the ultimate sacrifice, I request your open-mindedness and patience
at my defense of the Confederate battleflag. Please pass this letter
on to those offended by the Flag of my Fathers.
"Any society which suppresses the heritage of its conquered
minorities, prevents their history, and denies them their symbols,
has sewn the seed of its own destruction." Sir William Wallace,
The foundation of any offense against the Confederate flag is
based on the belief that the Confederacy was formed by the Southern
states to resist the North's efforts to abolish slavery. Though
widely believed, this is a monstrous lie.
The North had little concern for the slave. On March 6, 1857,
the U.S. Supreme Court ruled (in the Dred Scott decision) among
other things that the right to own slaves was as protected by the
U.S. Constitution as the rights of freedom of speech, religion
and etc. It thereby struck down as unconstitutional all laws that
prohibited or limited slavery anywhere the U.S. flag flew.
"Such a decision is all that slavery now lacks of being alike
lawful in all the states. Welcome, or unwelcome, such decision
is probably coming, and will soon be upon us."
"We shall lie down pleasantly dreaming that the people of
Missouri are on the verge of making their state free, and we shall
awake to the reality instead, that the Supreme Court has made Illinois
a slave state." Abraham Lincoln, June 16, 1858, in response
to the Dred Scott decision.
Historians mainly spin this event by teaching that this decision
out raged the North and sped the coming of the Civil War, but in
reality, less than four years later, on March 2, 1861, Congress
passed a constitutional amendment that would prohibit the Constitution
from being altered in its protection of slavery. This was primary
a Northern thing because seven Southern states had already seceded
from the Union. It was immediately endorsed by President James
Buchanan, and on March 4, 1861, within an hour of becoming president,
Lincoln endorsed this amendment in his first inaugural address.
A proposed Article 13 (unratified) read "No amendment shall
be made to the Constitution which will authorize or give to Congress
the power to abolish or interfere, within any state, with the domestic
institutions thereof, including that of persons held to labor or
service by the laws of said state."
Lincoln's response: "I have no objection to its being made
express and irrevocable," he said in his first inaugural address,
March 4, 1861.
Some argue that the Confederate flag is treasonous and un-American.
I answer this charge by quoting two sources that are regarded as
unimpeachable by most Americans - the Declaration of Independence
and Abraham Lincoln.
"That to secure these rights," the Declaration reads, "governments
are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent
of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive
of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish
it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such
principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall
seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness."
"Any people anywhere, being inclined and having the power,
have the right to rise up and shake off the existing government
and form a new one that suits them better," Lincoln said in
1848, in regard to Texas seceding from Mexico. "This is a
most valuable, a most sacred right - a right which we hope and
believe is to liberate the world."
Therefore the Confederate flag is no more treasonous or un- American
than the U. S. flag. Both were born in rebellion and revolution.
They represent our veterans, especially those who never survived
to enjoy "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness," but
gave the last full measure so that we might. They are my flags,
a part of my heritage. Acts of extreme bravery, personal sacrifice
and deplorable crimes were committed under both. And because they
are public domain, they have on occasion been used by those with
hateful agendas, and as a result some have declared them guilty
by association, however this, too, is freedom.
The average Confederate soldier was the son or grandson of the
Revolutionary War solder and had been taught to cherish his freedom
and the Constitution. They fought to preserve the Union, only it
was the spirit of the Union, not the geography of the union, as
did Lincoln. The South never forgot that the Revolution was fought
for freedom and independence, not Union. The North, however, seemed
to never to remember this.
And one of my Confederate forefathers was a Native American, 1st
Sgt. Chester R. Vann of 51st North Carolina, Company K. He lies
in grave 729 in the POW Cemetery in Elmira, N.Y., along with 1,181
other North Carolinians. About 20 percent of the soldiers of the
South were also nonwhite, being mostly African-Americans, Native
Americans and Hispanics
Our forefathers provided us with the Bill of Rights to grants
us protection for our basic freedoms, including the freedom of
speech. This freedom is to protect offensive speech, as there is
no need to protect nonoffensive speech. There is, however, no provision
made to address the problem of our being offended by something
or someone. Some would have us reverse this order; banning freedom
of speech to grant the freedom from offense.
The attacks on the Confederate flag are in direct proportion to
the denial of Northern participation in, protection of, and profit
from slavery. The old adage that if you tell a lie, you'll have
to tell another one to cover it up is certainly true here. The
real reason Lincoln gave for invading the South was to collect
their tariffs, customs and duties (taxes) and to gain economic
control of the South. This is not a pretty motive, but it was the
true cause of the Northern invasion of the South.
"I have declared a thousand times, and now repeat that, in
my opinion, neither the general government, nor any other power
out side of the slave states, can constitutionally or rightfully
interfere with slaves or slavery where it already exists," Lincoln
said on June 23, 1858.
"I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere
with the institution of slavery in the states where it exists.
I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination
to do so," Lincoln said in his 1861 inaugural address.
It was the North that was attempting to protect slavery through
its constitutional amendment passed on March 2, 1861 and the Crittenden-Johnson
Resolution passed again on July 25, 1861. Endorsed by both political
parties and backed by two U. S. presidents (one Lincoln), these
acts attempted to fortify the U.S. Constitution against future
amendments that would allow slavery to be abolished.
The South rejected both.
The attacks on the Old Confederacy and her symbols are exercises
of the highest degrees of hypocrisy and intolerance and possible
only through ignorance of history. It continues to reveal that
even in the 21st century; native Southerners continue to suffer
the bigotry of even those who preach tolerance and diversity.
"The contest is really for empire on the side of the North
and for independence on that of the South," wrote The London
Times on Nov. 7, 1861
"The war between the North and the South is a tariff war.
The war is further, not for any principle, does not touch the question
of slavery, and in fact turns on the Northern lust for sovereignty," said
Karl Marx in 1861.
"The Northern onslaught upon slavery was no more than a piece
of specious humbug designed to conceal its desire for economic
control of the Southern states," said Charles Dickens in 1862.
"Unlike modern Americans who have been brainwashed by the
Lincoln cult, in the 1860s the entire world knew that in his first
inaugural address Lincoln pledged his support for a constitutional
amendment that had just passed both the House and the Senate that
would have forbidden the federal government from ever interfering
in Southern slavery.
"The whole world also knew that in that same address he threatened
a military invasion of any state that failed to collect the newly
doubled federal tariff. The states that seceded did not intend
to collect the U.S. government's tariff and send the money to Washington,
D.C., so Honest Abe kept his word and waged total war on fellow
citizens for four years, killing some 300,000 of them, including
one of four men of military age and tens of thousands of civilians," said
Thomas J. DiLorenzo.
To the end of ignorance, bigotry and intolerance.