by Jim Jester
The “Civil War”, as commonly called, is still one of the most discussed and written about subjects in America. Like most Americans, I grew up in the public “fool” system hearing about the “great president Lincoln who freed the slaves and made things right in America.” But, I knew something was wrong with this story because we are always misled about anything of importance. And so, I decided to search out the truth about this war that took so many lives. It is my attempt to correct the lopsided history, provide us with needed facts to combat these lies; and how this era still effects us today.
Every year I cringe at the propaganda of Black History Month. Now – I don’t mind if blacks have their history but it should not be used to denigrate our Southern founding fathers – the heart of America’s founding. So, I decided to declare January as White History Month (April is Confederate History Month). Soon afterward, someone asked me if I was still fighting the Civil War. To which I answered, “No, but I am still fighting for freedom; so in that sense I am still fighting a war.”
Seldom does anyone hear about the War of 1861 from the viewpoint of the Southerner. We have only heard the story from the perspective of the Northern conqueror.
First, the term “Civil War” should never be used to refer to the war because it is inaccurate and misleading. It makes a mockery of both the lawful existence of the Confederacy and the Declaration of Independence and Constitution, while at the same time masking the unlawful actions of the North. A civil war is a war within one’s own country. The South had already lawfully seceded, and therefore was its own country.
Mildred L. Rutherford (1852-1928), historian general for the United Daughters of the Confederacy, coined the term “War Between the States.” She was influential enough to get Southern version history textbooks published for Southern high schools using this term. She held that we were not one Nation in 1861, but rather were a Republic of Sovereign States, thus it was a War Between the States. Today’s readers could misunderstand this term because we view the United States as being one Nation before the War of 1861; and we view states (in lower case “s”) as subservient to the federal power. However, all of America was a confederation of States! We had formed a confederation (or union) of sovereign States (upper case “S” to designate a sovereign country) for the main purpose of self-defense. Rutherford holds, “We were not a Nation until after the surrender.... A civil war must be in one State between two parties in that State. If we acknowledge that ours was a Civil War, we acknowledge we were a Nation… and therefore had no right to secede. This is what the North would like us to acknowledge.” Thus, she corrected the error of calling it the “Civil War.” Rutherford went on to correct other terms for the war:
It was not a “War of Secession” as some would have us to call it. The Southern States seceded with no thought of war. They simply wished to have a government where their rights, reserved by the Constitution, should be respected. The war was caused by the North attempting to coerce us back into the Union, contrary to the Constitution, and for no reason save that the States of the South demanded their rights. If we call it a War of Secession we admit the seceding States brought on the war. The Northern States seceded from the Constitution.
It might be called a “War of Coercion,” for the North did coerce the seceding States.
It was not a “War of Rebellion,” for Sovereign States cannot rebel, therefore secession was not rebellion. This is acknowledged now by all thinking men. Dr. Charles Stowe, son of Harriet Beecher Stowe, said, “There is no doubt that there was a rebellion, but the rebellion was on the part of the North, not the South. The North rebelled against the Constitution – the South stood by Constitutional rights.”
It was not a “War of Sections.” The North did not fight the South, for brothers were arrayed against brothers in many cases. There were men of the South who enlisted on the Union side. There were many men of the North who enlisted on the Southern side. Both North and South were contending for a principle and not because they hated each other.
It was the “War Between the States,” for the non-seceding States of the United States made war upon the seceding States of the United States to force them back into the Union. Please call it so, and teach it so.
With this concept of America as a union of independent States, consider this; it could have been the Northern States that seceded from the Southern States forming their own confederation. In fact, there were some States considering this idea because they were so rabidly anti-slavery that they did not want to be associated with the South. Do you suppose the South would have declared war on them to force a re-unification? I do not think so; it would be good riddance and both sides would have been good neighbors.
The only real civil war in America was actually the Revolutionary War, for we were a colony of Britain (one kingdom) – Englishmen fighting Englishmen. Our rebellion against King George was not truly a revolution, for by definition, a revolution is the forcible overthrow of a government, and we were not attempting to overthrow the British Empire. We only wanted autonomy, as did the South, not the overthrow of a government; and we set up a parliamentary government very similar to Britain and called it Congress.
Those who have studied American history should conclude that the South was justified in separating from the North. This sounds absurd to most Americans today, although attitudes are changing because of today’s economic realities, making secession look like a good idea. Others would ask, “Are you for slavery?” The answer to this question depends on how one defines “slavery.” Abuse and cruelty of those in servitude is always wrong. But servitude, in itself, is not necessarily wrong. No one is “head over heels” for slavery, and I certainly do not like being a slave. Yes, I admit I am a slave! Why don’t more Americans realize they are under a form of servitude today?
What about economic slavery? Isn’t that what slavery is about anyway – economics? People do not need shackles and chains to be a slave. Any time they feel that their place of employment is taking advantage of their labor by not paying them what they are worth is slavery. When the government can receive part of their paycheck is slavery. When the IRS can seize bank accounts or ask for records is not only slavery but also tyranny. When a nation’s currency is inflated, reducing its buying power is slavery. Both debt and interest is slavery. We are worse off today than the Negro race was on the plantations of Dixie during the nineteenth century. I shall explain.
Neither the War of Northern Aggression nor the 13th Amendment ended slavery; instead, it was expanded to all Americans, regardless of race, in the form of taxation and debt. Economic bondage is the worst kind of slavery or servitude (call it either one; although we may sometimes define these words differently). The 13th Amendment to the Constitution that supposedly ended slavery says, “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude… shall exist within the United States….” To most people “slavery” and “servitude” is the same thing, and for most practical purposes, this is true. So why was this new law written this way? As many know, legal language usually takes on a different meaning. If the amendment had said “there shall be no slavery in the United States,” someone might interpret their workplace conditions as “slavery” and sue in court over the issue. Or, someone might sue over taxation as “slavery” and they would have a legitimate argument. Those who wrote the new amendment knew this would cause a problem, and that they wanted various forms of taxation, and did not want anyone contesting their actions. So they included the words “involuntary servitude” to alleviate such a problem. As much as these two terms in the amendment seem to be identical, they actually are not, because someone can voluntarily serve their employer and it would not be considered “slavery.” Now, the length of service to an employer is your choice, but considering that most mortgages today last for thirty years, you might as well figure you will slave your life away to pay off such a loan (and still pay about three times for your home). Is this not slavery? This is wrong according to the Bible:
At the end of every seven years thou shalt make a release. And this is the manner of the release: every creditor shall release that which he hath lent unto his neighbor; he shall not exact it of his neighbor and his brother; because Jehovah's release hath been proclaimed. – Deuteronomy 15:1-2, ASV
Therefore, seven years is to be the maximum on a loan, and if it was not paid within that time, it was to be released anyway. Oh, but today it is “all right” because we volunteer and agree to the taxes as well by filling out the appropriate paperwork required by the government. In this way, slavery continues in America, not by physical chains, but by legal trickery and economic conditions. Contrary to the Laws of God, debt and taxes continue. We should not tolerate this slavery of our people. Nevertheless, this slavery is the result, and punishment, for not following God’s Laws.
We can volunteer for slavery through debt and taxes, but it is not our natural state. However, it is the natural state for other people not within the covenant relationship of our God; for the following verse in Deuteronomy says, “Of a foreigner thou mayest exact it….” The word foreigner here is not someone who is traveling, but a stranger or alien in the sense of race. Therefore, the Bible does support slavery for certain people; and, “The borrower is servant to the lender” (Proverbs 22:7), regardless of who they are. Slavery is also the result of certain conditions. Consider: what does a conqueror do with hundreds of dependent people after the destruction of a war? He might put them to work in exchange for food and protection; after all – the Bible says if a man does not work, neither should he eat. My point is that as unfortunate slavery is, sometimes, in the providence of God, it is a result of certain conditions.
Slavery Turns Radical
The South has been known and referred to, as the “Bible belt.” During the 19th century, the churches of America had gone through many changes, usually church splits over doctrinal differences. Most of these changes took place after the second “great awakening.” The result? The church-scape of America went from a few major denominations to thousands of smaller denominations. It was a move away from historic Christianity. This gave way to new doctrines that had never before been considered by the Christian faith. One such doctrine was the “equality of all races,” which came out of the French revolution. Their motto, “liberty, equality, fraternity” sometimes expressed as “the brotherhood of man” had its origin in ancient India and later Judaism, Masonry and Catholicism. It did not come from the Christian Bible. This doctrine had found its way into the churches and was used as a foundational belief for the radical abolition of slavery. They reasoned, if we all descended from Adam, then we all are brothers and we all are the same. This reasoning also led to interracial marriages in the 20th century. Before this, no church would perform a marriage for a mixed race couple. Now the state legalizes most marriages by way of the license, even though officiated by a pastor/priest.
Slavery has been a part of our world since the dawn of time. There is hardly a tribe, culture, nation, or empire that has not practiced it, nor a continent where it did not exist. Indeed, some anthropologists consider slavery an early sign of civilization, rather than an indication of barbarism. No matter what our race, religion, or nationality, we all had ancestors who were in bondage. Africans, Arabs and Berbers did slave trading under international law long before it began in Europe. Two major waves of slave trading took place from the ninth to the nineteenth centuries: the trans-Sahara and trans-Atlantic waves removed over twenty million Africans from their native land (five million died in transit) by Moslems, Jews, and Christians.
The impression that most Americans have (being taught in our public “fool” system) is that most of the African slave trade was done by the American South. This is a lie! Of the millions of blacks taken from Africa, only 4% went to the United States, 2% to Mexico, and 2% to England. The remaining 92% of the African slaves went to South America and the many islands of the West Indies. Warring black tribes gathered them, Jewish pirates of the Caribbean shipped them, and Jewish merchants sold them in the ports of the New World. The main port for the United States was New Amsterdam (later, New York), where Jewish merchants profited enormously from their human trade. If blacks today want reparations for their ancestors’ slavery, they should look to the Jews, not the white man.
Slavery had been a part of America since it’s founding. In 1619, a Dutch trading vessel brought twenty slaves from the West Indies to Jamestown (Negroes were already in this area as early as 1526 and therefore 99% of all blacks were native born). The Massachusetts colony was the first to participate in the African slave trade. The first slave ship, the Desire, was built in 1637 and sailed from Salem, Massachusetts. Many more ships followed and became the cornerstone of commerce in New England for the next 200 years. The Yankee slave trade was based on three commodities: rum, slaves, and molasses. A ship loaded with fish and rum would be traded in Africa for slaves. In the West Indies, the slaves were traded for molasses, and the molasses was taken back to New England to be sold to make more rum. Even after Congress had outlawed the importation of slaves into the United States, the Yankee slaver found markets in the Caribbean and South America. During the Indian Wars, Massachusetts captured, enslaved, and sold Native Americans (even those who came to them under amnesty) to islands in the Caribbean (Official Records: War of the Rebellion, Series I, Vol. 16, p. 273-275). In contrast, Virginia passed a law (Ibid, Series II, p. 277) making it illegal to enslave or deport a Native American. In 1778 (ten years before Massachusetts and thirty years before Britain acted upon the trade), Virginia by an act of the General Assembly outlawed the slave trade. It not only prevented the importation of slaves but also stipulated that if any were brought in contrary to the law would then be free forevermore. Yet, the liberal media is always ready to bash the South over slavery. By 1800, every state north of the Mason-Dixon line, except New Jersey, had provided for the abolition of slavery, immediate or gradual. The South was never a viable slave market at this time; and favored abolition.
The Constitution recognized slavery and protected the slave trade for twenty years from congressional interference. Abolition petitions began during Washington’s first administration, and continued until the War of 1861. Kentucky came into the Union in 1792 as a slave state. A fugitive slave law passed the next year, allowing a runaway slave to be reclaimed by his owner in any state without a jury trial. In 1805, Congress defeated a bill to emancipate slaves in the District of Columbia. While the South was winning the legal argument for slavery, the determined North began to emphasize the moral side of the question. But, the hypocritical North did not practice what they preached; they continued to trade both Native Americans and Africans. Most Americans today would be surprised to know that the Constitution protected slavery (Virginia colony objected to this provision), and even more shocked to know that the first clear prohibition of the slave trade was in the Constitution of the Confederate States of America!
How did the North abolish slavery? The brainwashed Americans of today like to sing the praises of the benevolent North: “glory, glory, hallelujah; his truth is marching on” and how they voluntarily got rid of the injustices of slavery and racism. I will attempt to show them their “just cause” and deflate their ego just a bit. The fact is that Yankees love to make a profit – that is why they continued the African slave trade and the Native American slave trade as well; and the proof is seen in how they emancipated the slave. Truth is, no law was ever passed in the North that granted freedom to a person already in slavery! All those who were slaves when the law was passed would remain slave. After a certain date and a slave child had reached a certain age, he or she would be free. This was a method of gradual freedom based on greed and racism. By freeing only those born into slavery after a certain time and age, the Yankee protected the master’s property rights. Also, the law did not prohibit the slave owners from removing their property to another part of the country. Just before the slave children reached the age of freedom, the owner could sell them to a Southern state where they would remain slaves. Slave use in the manufacturing North dwindled before it did in the agricultural South. The North, with this system of emancipation, was able to remove their unprofitable and undesirable population of blacks without affecting their economy (with a profit to boot). The South was never allowed such a luxury.
How were the freed blacks treated in the North? They were treated as second-class citizens; always in a lower social and legal position. The Kennedy brothers in their book, The South Was Right, p. 77, addresses many Yankee myths about slavery, including this question:
One way to judge the quality of life in those times is to look at the rate of population increase by comparing the number of live births with the number of deaths for a given year. Surely if the evil South was as bad and the North was as wonderful as the Yankee myth-makers would have us believe, then the percentage increase of the black population in the North would be greater than in the South. According to the 1860 census records, the percentage of increase in the black population in the South was 23 percent. The increase in the North was a bleak 1.7 percent. A race of people who have proven themselves fruitful under slavery and the present-day welfare system were nearly annihilated by Yankee emancipation! The returns from the 1850 census show that of white Northerners and Southerners, one person in every thousand was either deaf, dumb, blind, insane, or idiotic. For the free blacks of Yankeedom, one in every 506 was afflicted with one of these conditions. If the North was such a better place for blacks, then it would be natural to assume that the Southern blacks would be in worse condition. Not according to the 1850 census records, it demonstrates that only one in 1,464 had a condition as previously described. To put it bluntly, according to the United States census records, the Negro slave in the South was in a better mental and physical condition than his free black brother in the North.
So the myth that blacks were treated so terribly by the South is just that – a lie and propaganda from our public fool system and media to make the North appear justified into entering their illegal war. These facts make it clear that the Southern people do not deserve the burden of guilt that they have been forced to endure. There is plenty of guilt to go around (which we rarely hear about): the black tribesman, the Jewish merchants, the Northern slavers, etc. And, let us not forget the Jewish slave ships flew the U.S. flag!
The Northern abolitionists began to develop an extreme position. In 1821 Benjamin Lundy, a New Jersey Quaker, adopted Negro emancipation as his life mission, and started a weekly periodical, The Genius of Universal Emancipation. He traveled widely preaching his doctrine and planned colonies of freed slaves in Haiti. Such activity ended the anti-slavery societies of the South, which had preceded those societies of the North, and made free discussion in the South impossible, the leaders dubbing it treachery to the South’s best interests. And, before someone criticizes the South for an economic system based on slavery, they should consider the conditions of the age in which they lived: manual labor was the way of life – there were no Tractor Supply’s or WalMart’s – you had to live off the land.
In 1828, Lundy converted a young Boston printer, William L. Garrison, who left Lundy behind in a radical demand for complete and immediate emancipation. In 1831, he began publishing his Liberator, in which he announced that he would neither think, speak, nor write with moderation. He denounced the constitution as “a covenant with death and an agreement with hell,” and burned a copy publicly to show his horror of its legalization of slavery. The South certainly was not very fond of him, having recently been shocked by the massacre of 60 white men, women and children in Virginia by a fanatical Negro preacher and slave, Nat Turner and his followers. The South at once demanded that the North silence the incendiary abolition literature, and legislated against both slave and free Negroes. In Delaware, six blacks were forbidden to assemble. Virginia gave 39 lashes to any slave found with a gun. Northern businessmen did not like Garrison either. Boston tarred and feathered Garrison on the Common. Northern free Negroes were discriminated against throughout the North. Opposition to slavery was one thing, but radical abolition was quite another.
In 1852, Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin appeared. She had married a professor in a theological seminary, and spent at least eighteen years in Cincinnati under conditions where slavery was constantly brought to her attention. Across the Ohio was a slave-holding community. Slaves were constantly escaping from their masters, and these were protected and guided northward by the group in which Mrs. Stowe lived. When her husband moved to Maine in 1850, she wrote her novel, which was a religious message she must deliver. The book catapulted into popularity, arousing the emotions of the North against the institution of slavery, although it’s harsh picture was by no means typical of the average slave-owner. President Lincoln greeted her later in the White House, and welcomed her as “the woman who brought on the Civil War.”
Every American knew about the slave uprising in Haiti in 1791. In fact, there were over eighty such uprisings in the Caribbean alone from 1805 to 1850. Yet these radical abolitionists had the audacity to promote, with no wisdom or financial compensation, the “no strings attached” release of uncivilized (and uneducated for the most part) slaves upon a civilized society. Haiti was the worst of all these uprisings. The French revolution brought liberty, equality, and fraternity to the black slaves. Once announced, the ex-slaves sought revenge. They raped, tortured and killed whites and destroyed their homes and plantations. Their leader told them that they could kill in any way they chose. When Napoleon responded with 45,000 troops to restore order and white rule, they failed and faced death. After the slaves were through with them, they sought out any remaining whites. When it was over, the 20,000 whites living on the island were dead – the modern world’s first genocide, a super anti-white ethnic cleansing. It paved the way for a pure black society, which, for a time was the hope of blacks everywhere. Today, a similar white cleansing continues in South Africa under black rule.
Because of this pressure from the North (and the memory of uprisings), the South’s opinion had changed since the wise emancipation views of Washington and Jefferson. How could moral and ethical arguments move the South to surrender billions of dollars worth of slaves and billions more of depreciation in the value of their farmlands? Surely, justice demanded some wisdom and fair compensation, if this drastic change in the fundamental laws and institutions of the United States was to take place. But no wisdom appeared and no compensation was offered. While the rest of the world was quietly freeing its slaves, the angered Southern states enacted laws to make slavery permanent and continue their aristocratic way of life.
Americans today do not realize that while the North was preparing for war, the South had already made moves against slavery. Many leaders of the South had set their servants free and expected slavery to eventually end because of competition and technology. The South had also sponsored a plan of purchasing slaves and establishing a colony of them in Africa. In the 40 years before the war, 10,500 Negroes were sent over (only 1/12 of the annual birth rate among the slaves) at the cost of $1,806,000. Moreover, before the war started, slavery had already begun to diminish in the South and black servants were treated far better in the South than anywhere else in the world (including the North). The war was not about slavery, as we shall see. Slavery was only the catalyst used to inflame the moral do-gooder.
Abolitionist doctrine held that all races were equal and therefore slavery was morally wrong and must be abolished immediately. This universal view of the Bible had infiltrated the churches over a long period and was contrary to the commonly held beliefs of Christians at that time and contrary to the Bible itself. Probably the most often overlooked passage is Deuteronomy 14:2, “For thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God, and the Lord hath chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto himself, above all the nations that are upon the earth.” The meaning of “nations” in the Bible is not just a political or geographic boundary, but primarily a racial or familial division. Exodus 11:7, “…The Lord doth put a difference between the Egyptians and Israel.” There are many other such examples that illustrate that God does not consider everyone equal. The Apostle Paul told one servant to return to his master; and Abraham, “friend of God” and “father of the faithful,” owned hundreds of slaves! The churches’ new doctrine of the “equality of all” led to an anti-slavery conclusion that they felt was a higher moral standard than was held in the past. The churches of the nation had a major role in changing the minds of the public about the once respected institution of slavery. A large part of the blame for the war could be laid at the door of the church.
Seeing no hope with the election of a Republican (Lincoln), South Carolina seceded from the Union, 20 December 1860, by unanimous vote of the 169 members of the secession convention. They also published a list of grievances, as the signers of the Declaration of Independence had done in 1776. The grievances all pointed to the issue of slavery and how the North had determined to exclude the institution in the West, and to a less extent, limit it in the South. Northern historians point to this list (pulling it out of it’s historical context) to say that slavery was the main grievance. But, of course it was not. The people of South Carolina had come close to secession over the tariff in 1832. This was a matter of survival, self-determination, and states’ rights. Seeing the effort by the North to end the economic institution in which their whole society was based, there was no other choice but to separate. Within six weeks, six other leading cotton states followed South Carolina’s example: Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas.
Maryland was a border state that came very close to joining the Confederacy. It’s legislature (prior to its collective jailing by Lincoln) declared:
Resolved, that Maryland implores the President, in the name of God, to cease this unholy war, at least until Congress assembles; that Maryland desires and consents to the recognition of the independence of the Confederate States. The military occupation of Maryland is unconstitutional, and she protests against it, though the violent interference with the transit of federal troops is discountenanced, that the vindication of her rights be left to time and reason, and that a Convention, under existing circumstances, is inexpedient.
Northern informers had identified members of the Maryland legislature who might support secession when the legislature met. Secretary of War Simon Cameron issued an order to Major General Banks that “all or any part of the Legislative members must be arrested” to prevent secession. Under cover of night, 12-13 September, all suspected Southern sympathizers in the Maryland legislature, and other influential citizens, were arrested and locked up at Fort McHenry. Fifty-one citizens were arrested, and the democratic government in the state ceased to exist! And yet, both the Annapolis Gazette and the Baltimore American supported the act of the federal government.
But, that was not the end of the destruction of the duly elected government in Maryland. In November there was an election, and to make sure only Union people were elected, all members of the federal armed forces voted, even though they were not residents of the state. At the voting booths, citizens had to pass through platoons of Union soldiers who had bayonets affixed to their rifles. The elections were a fraud; and elections are still a fraud! Today we have electronic manipulation, illegal aliens voting, brainwashing by the media, and worst of all – both major parties carry out the same agenda, resulting in a “lesser of two evils” syndrome leading our nation into communism.
Many newspapers were questioning the motive and purpose of going to war. The Chicago Times had the courage to raise that question:
It cannot be possible that a Christian nation can desire to see thousands and tens of thousands of their people and tens of thousands of a kindred people butchered, and all the expenses and horrors of a civil war incurred without some adequate motive. To assume a different ground, would be to confess ourselves barbarians or demons. We then repeat the question as to what adequate motive we have for inaugurating a civil war?
After examining the situation, the newspaper could find no sufficient moral reason to justify a civil war. In a short time, a military officer arrived at the Chicago Times, shut down the newspaper, and sealed its presses. Thus the freedom of the press, as guaranteed by the First Amendment, was curtailed, not from calls to support the South or take up arms against the federal government, but just from asking for the right to question the motive to invade the South and engage in war. These were legitimate questions that demanded rational answers, not an iron fist.
The Republican administration began making arrests based on rumors and holding trials before military commissions. The Supreme Court attempted to check this tyranny. In the case of Ex parte Merryman (1861), a citizen of Maryland, John Merryman, was arrested at night in his home and imprisoned at Fort McHenry under the orders of General George Cadwallader, commander of the fort. From his military prison, Merryman petitioned for a writ of habeas corpus to Chief Justice Roger B. Taney. Taney granted the writ and set a date for a hearing; but neither the general nor Merryman showed up. Instead, the general sent a letter to the Chief Justice explaining his actions and citing the decree of President Lincoln suspending the writ, which meant that Merryman could languish in prison for as long as the general decided, with no right to a trial or inquiry into whatever charges the general decided to make.
In response, Justice Taney ordered federal marshal Washington Bonifant to bring the general before the court the next day along with the prisoner. Bonifant went to the fort but the soldiers refused to admit him. Bonifant had the legal authority to summon a posse to arrest General Cadwallader and being him into court, but this would have caused an armed conflict. Justice Taney had no other recourse but to write his opinion and send a copy to Lincoln. The president ignored the writ and Merryman remained in prison. Lincoln then wrote an order for the arrest of the Chief Justice, when it was his duty to obey the decision of the Court. Lincoln assigned the task to the U.S. Marshall but allowed him to decide the details of the arrest. Taney was never arrested. Lincoln had taken the position that he had the right to suspend the writ without congressional approval, and that he had the final say on the constitutional question, not the court. Thus, like dictators of the past, Lincoln put himself above the Congress, above the Court, and above the Constitution.
In the case Ex parte Milligan, the court ruled that the military courts of President Lincoln were illegal; and it included those arrests after congressional approval. In short, the Milligan case held that not even Congress could suspend the writ of habeas corpus in areas where civilian courts were still open. Blackstone had said that the power to suspend habeas corpus could only be used for a short time and then only by the legislature.
The Republican Party took the mantra of the extreme abolitionists. They hated the South and were called “radicals.” In their eyes, Lincoln could do no wrong. No crime seemed worthy of criticizing Lincoln, be it his war tribunals, suspension of habeas corpus, ignoring the Supreme Court, ignoring the Constitution, corrupting the voting process, bypassing Congress, closing newspapers, arresting citizens, decreeing a naval blockade, and spending millions of dollars on war equipment. The Republicans created an American gulag for an estimated 20,000 political opponents. They even attacked the Supreme Court because of its decisions. With the furor over the Milligan case, the Senate, the Washington Chronicle, the Bureau of Military Justice, and others, called for the impeachment of the Justices of the Supreme Court, and to even reconstruct it (FDR style). The leaders of the Republican party, the press, the Christian clergy, and a host of others, were so filled with hate that they called for the extermination of all White people in the South, every man, woman and child, and to re-people the Southern territory – ethnic cleansing at its best.
The chairman of the Ways and Means committee, Thaddeus Stevens, was willing that the South “be laid waste, and made a desert, in order to save this Union from destruction.” Before a Republican state convention in September 1862, he urged the government to “slay every traitor – burn every rebel mansion. …unless we do this, we cannot conquer them.” The New York Times wrote in March 1861 that the North should “destroy its commerce, and bring utter ruin on the Confederate states,” and this was before the bombardment at Fort Sumter. Another radical editor, of the New York Herald called “for the punishment of all individuals in the South by hanging, and the confiscation of everybody’s property in the seceding States.” “Richmond,” said another, “must be laid in ashes,” and as for Baltimore, “it must become a heap of cinders and ashes, and its inhabitants ought either to be slaughtered, or scattered to the winds.” Virginia and Maryland deserve to be “laid waste and made desolate” and 500,000 troops should “pour down from the North, leaving a desert track behind them.” The attitude of these radicals shows that they had put government and gold above God. In contrast, the South made no genocidal threats against the North.
Popular perception believes that Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation freed the slaves. Not true. A president cannot issue a proclamation overturning established law. Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation was in no sense “law”, nor did it purport to free all the slaves (the 13th Amendment to the Constitution later did this). It freed none in the Border States, and none in Federally occupied areas of the South (like New Orleans). The proclamation announced that slavery was abolished in areas in rebellion against the United States. Those areas, of course, were in the South, where Lincoln had no control. But what about the slaves in areas Lincoln did control? Nothing is said about them. In fact, the six parishes of Louisiana under Union control at that time were specifically excluded from this supposed great document of freedom, as well as the forty-eight counties that became West Virginia. The proclamation states that these excepted areas are “left precisely as if this proclamation were not issued.” In other words, Lincoln declared free those slaves he had no power to free, and left in bondage those that he could have set free! So much for the myth of Lincoln as the great emancipator.
What was Lincoln’s motive with this Emancipation Proclamation? We have a clue as to its timing. Lincoln had vowed to collect tariffs in the South (which had doubled and the South opposed); and on 6 April 1861, Lincoln announced he was sending men and supplies to Fort Sumter. His Proclamation was issued, 22 September 1862, and made effective 1 January 1863. Hostilities were well underway with the first artillery shots from the Confederacy firing upon the fort after negotiations had failed, 12 April 1861. On the 15th Lincoln called forth “the Militia of the several States of the Union, to the aggregate number of 75,000.” To the South, this was a declaration of war. Previously, Lincoln was willing to give up the fort (it was state property; the fort was leased). According to Jefferson Davis, in his “Message to the Confederate Congress About Ratification of the Constitution,” April 29th,
“The declaration of war made against this Confederacy by Abraham Lincoln, the President of the United States, in his proclamation issued on the 15th day of the present month, rendered it necessary, in my judgment, that you should convene at the earliest practicable moment to devise the measures necessary for the defense of the country.”
The naval blockade of April 19 was the defacto declaration of war (1) against the South, even though the government never officially admitted so. All of these acts, and others which followed, required congressional approval according to the U.S. Constitution. If Lincoln had wanted to end slavery (as we are taught) with a proclamation, why did he not do it sooner? Why, after a year and a half of unimaginable slaughter? Because he was losing the war! One of Lincoln’s early drafts of his Emancipation Proclamation, contained language calling for a violent uprising of slaves. He wanted their help to defeat the South. The South had driven the Federal troops out of Virginia and had armies in Maryland and Pennsylvania. Lincoln issued the Proclamation after the battle of Sharpsburg (last of five battles the North lost), and in so doing; he changed the nature of the war from restoring the Union to a war fought over the morality of slavery – it was both a war measure and a political effort to discourage foreign intervention. It worked.
European writers condemned Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation and there was talk of intervention to help the South. They wanted emancipation but not a slave uprising. England had ended slavery but it was controlled and the government paid the slave owner for his loss. There were regulations regarding their emancipation, but there were no controls over Lincoln’s method. The Nat Turner uprising and John Brown’s effort was still fresh in the minds of Americans. Slave uprisings were not a figment of the imagination, as Haiti had proved.
From the Southern perspective, it was even more dreadful. With most men serving in Confederate Grey, their wives ran the plantations – a single white woman with her children and slaves? In many Southern eyes, the proclamation was a Yankee invitation to incite slave uprisings against Confederate families, and thus shorten the war. Horatio Seymour, soon-to-be Democratic governor of New York, called the scheme “a proposal for the butchery of [white Southern] women and children, for scenes of lust and rapine, arson and murder, unparalleled in the history of the world.”
Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation also contained something else he had in mind for Southern, but not Union Border States: slaves “impressment” into the Federal army, often against their will. A horrendous 68,000 of the 186,000 African-Americans who shouldered arms for Lincoln’s armies died during the war. They provided significant manpower and deprived the Confederates of their services.
The draft did not make the war more popular in the North (it brought anti-draft riots in N.Y.C.), but it did put a dampening effect on British or French intervention on the side of the South (as did later Northern victories on the battlefield). Both countries wanted the continued flow of cotton from the South for their textile industries, and agreed with Southern independence; but neither of them wanted a war over slavery. Popular opinion in these countries was on the side of the Confederacy, but because of Lincoln’s threats they officially took a neutral position.
Lincoln’s real motive – the proclamation was a “war measure,” not a humanitarian measure. He knew that blacks would make good soldiers, as had been proven in the South. While the proclamation did encourage some slaves to seek freedom, there were no uprisings or murders of women and children; which speaks volumes about good Southerners – both black and white. This is strong evidence that slaves were treated quite well in the South. Furthermore, according to census records, 95% of blacks stayed in the South rather than flee to the North through the Underground Railroad.
Lincoln had no plan (except for expatriation to Africa) and no idea of what would happen if three and a half million slaves were released on society without any wealth, land, or education (Did he even care?). Robert E. Lee’s wisdom is seen in this quote made after the war and sudden emancipation:
The best men in the South have long desired to do away with the institution, and were quite willing to see it abolished. But with them in relation to this subject the question has been: What will you do with the freed people? That is a serious question today. Unless some humane course, based on wisdom and Christian principles, is adopted, you do them a great injustice in setting them free.
The alternative to starving was to either steal or return to the work force of the slave economy. Within less than a year thousands of black men, most of them without food or skills or money did not know what to do. Then later (after the war) came the Republican carpetbaggers with the answers: vote for us; hate the Southern whites, your former masters, and we will make you masters over them; after all, you built the South and now you can begin to reap the rewards of your labor if you let us be your guide and new masters. This was the sales pitch, and it worked for a while; but in the end, not much would change.
Another motive for Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation: According to Lincoln’s old friend, Illinois Representative Orville Browning, and others, Republican senators demanded the president conduct a more resolute war effort, including emancipating all African-American slaves in America. They threatened to bring down his administration otherwise. Browning’s diary of 31 December 1862 recorded that Judge Benjamin Franklin Thomas of the Massachusetts Supreme Court told Browning: “The President was fatally bent upon his course, saying that if he should refuse to issue his proclamation there would be a rebellion in the north, and that a dictator would be placed over his head within the week.”
The following shows that neither the federal government nor Lincoln had the best interest in mind for the slaves. As early as August, 1861, Congress began to enact a series of acts declaring that Negroes employed as laborers on fortifications or in transportation of ammunition and supplies, should be at once legally freed; that runaway slaves owned by men bearing arms against the Union should not be returned, after they had once reached the Union lines; and that all slaves in areas conquered by Union armies should be freed. General Fremont, commanding the Department of the West, went beyond this, and on 31 August, announced that all slaves owned by Missouri rebels were liberated. President Lincoln directed him to revoke this order because it went beyond the Confiscation Act. Nine months later General Hunter, of the Department of the South, passed a similar regulation concerning slaves in South Carolina, Georgia and Florida. Again, Lincoln overruled this order, stating that the liberation of slaves in any state must be reserved to the President, as commander-in-chief.
This made Lincoln very unpopular with Northern abolitionist sentiment, but he saw how valuable it would be to the Northern cause to have these states take the lead in peaceful emancipation, and would remove the chief obstacle to restoring the Union. Another important objective was to win the border states of Maryland, Kentucky, and Missouri, who were still wavering and might join the Confederacy at any time. In a special message to Congress, 6 March 1862, Lincoln recommended that a law be passed, pledging the government to cooperate with any state in passing an emancipation law, providing for compensation to the owners of liberated slaves. This fair proposal found no enthusiasm from Congress or the states most concerned. There were about 430,000 slaves in the three border states mentioned and Delaware, worth $400 each, or a total of $175,000,000. If this proposal had shortened the war by just three months, it would have saved government money. This was a great disappointment to Lincoln.
Pressure had been growing on Lincoln to free the slaves throughout the country by a military order. Horace Greeley wrote an editorial in the New York Tribune in August, 1862, called “The Prayer of Twenty Millions”, scolding the President for his “mistaken deference to rebel slavery.” Lincoln replied with a letter that the preservation of the Union was far more important than the termination of slavery, “If I could save the Union without freeing any slave, I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves, I could do it…. What I do about slavery and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union.” American ministers abroad wrote the President that the United States could not expect the support of other nations, if it was not made clear that this war was not for conquering the South, but was intended to end slavery.
Contrary to what Americans are taught today, Lincoln did not care about the welfare of the black race. In his Annual Message to Congress, December of 1861, he proposed three new amendments to the Constitution. Article One said: “Every state wherein slavery now exists which shall abolish the same therein at any time or times before the first day of January in the year of our Lord one thousand and nine hundred, shall receive compensation from the United States…” In other words, as a compromise with the South, Lincoln was prepared to give any Southern state another 38 years to abolish slavery as long as they stayed within the empire. Lincoln acknowledged that his Emancipation Proclamation was neither permanent nor unchangeable, and that he would consider allowing the Southern states to reinstate slavery if only they would rejoin the Union and pay their taxes (doesn’t this sound familiar). To his credit, Lincoln would have worked out some kind of a deal (there were two other proposals) to keep the states in the Union because he plainly admitted that his Proclamation was a “war measure” not a permanent end of slavery. If the war ceased, the proclamation would no longer be in effect. His only permanence regarded the slaves themselves, who were to remain free; which would allow his colonization plan to ship any or all of them out of the country, but slavery could continue until it was phased out in any manner the various states chose, up to the turn of the century. By spring of 1861, three states had ratified Lincoln’s “proslavery amendment” and the others likely would have done the same if given the chance. However, with the Fort Sumter incident the whole proposal was dropped.
Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation succeeded in one of its goals - favorable international propaganda for his war; and failed completely in another goal - the causing of a slave insurrection in the South. It did not free a single slave, as has long been noted. Emancipation, which was peaceful in most places in the world, came as the result of a vicious military invasion and occupation carried out by forces pursuing their own selfish agendas and without any real interest in the welfare of those being freed. Those supposedly freed still were not citizens until after the death of Lincoln with the passage of the 13th and 14th Amendments to the Constitution. They cared not about slaves; they only wanted the land and resources of the South. To the conquerors, the freed people were instruments to be used; when the using stopped, the South was left impoverished, with a lasting hostility between the races, which had not existed before, and with the black population in many respects worse off in 1900 than in 1860.
Someone has said that to find out what is going on in the world, all we have to do is follow the money trail. Peter the Great said, “Money is at the heart of war.” President Lincoln, on his own authority, had already started the ball rolling towards war but he lacked the financing. When he finally met with Congress (3 months later), they felt they had to support him in his plans, so the “rubber stamp” Congress went along. This same policy we have seen in our day – all done with the excuse of “supporting the troops.”
No one wanted a war, except for a few radicals. The businessmen of New York City felt that the South could keep their “peculiar institution” (actually slavery was not odd, but rather the standard) and be a part of business as usual. After all, New York was deeply involved with slave trading and was the basis of the wealth for such New York names as the Lehman Brothers, John Jacob Astor, Junius and Pierpont Morgan, Charles Tiffany, and many others. New York City, the center of America’s cotton trade (as early as 1815) opposed all attempts at abolition within its borders, and along with New Jersey, was the last Northern state to resist the passage of emancipation laws.
Later (December 1860), when the Southern states began seceding, New York City’s mayor Fernando Wood advocated that his city secede as well, for it was primarily King Cotton that was keeping it economically stable. After the war broke out, New York’s governor, Horatio Seymour, refused to enlist African-Americans until he was forced to by the U.S. War Department.
The North’s heavy dependence on slave trade, much of which was with the South, helped precipitate the war. In March 1861, the Confederacy adopted its Constitution, which included a clause banning slave trading with foreign nations. That, of course, included the United States. The North panicked and decided to beat the South into submission rather than let her cut off one of the Yankee’s primary streams of wealth. Big government liberal Lincoln, who promised not to interfere with slavery, was put into office by Northern industrialists and launched Lincoln’s War a few weeks later.
Newspaper articles supported the South’s right to secede. But public opinion in the North began to change when Lincoln started to enforce his tariff collecting activities on South Carolina, resulting in a tariff war. Shipping ports in the North charged a high tax on goods coming into the country. The South’s tariff was much less and therefore the ships would want to dock in Southern harbors. This enraged businessmen in New York and they quickly changed their tune about the South. Rather than compete with the South, they decided to support Lincoln and get the struggle over with. If, during March, both the Confederate and Federal congresses had not created a “war of tariffs,” the Fort Sumter incident may have never occurred.
Charles Adams in his book When in the Course of Human Events, p.63, writes:
The North needed the South for its prosperity and commerce; the South did not need the North – it could buy the goods it needed from Europe and could strangle Northern business at its pleasure. It could require tolls for goods bound for the northwest, traveling up the Mississippi River onto the Ohio and Missouri Rivers. Its low trade zone would foster smuggling along the 2,000-mile border from the Atlantic Ocean to New Mexico. None of these fears were irrational, or even exaggerated, and war would be far more tolerable than a Southern Confederacy hell-bent on punishing the North over the tariff issue, which had been a bitter pill for the South to swallow for over thirty years. The Civil War got started as a ‘rich man’s war’ and not as a war over slavery.
The North needed the Southern economy. For example, the export of cotton alone from the South in 1859 was valued at $161,434,923. The total export of all goods from the North was only $78,217,202. In 1828, Senator Thomas H. Benton declared:
Before the Revolution the South was the seat of wealth, as well as hospitality…. Wealth has fled from the South, and settled in regions north of the Potomac: and this in the face of the fact, that the South, in four staples alone, has exported produce, since the Revolution, to the value of eight hundred millions of dollars; and the North has exported comparatively nothing. Such an export would indicate unparalleled wealth, but what is the fact? ... Under Federal legislation, the exports of the South have been the basis of the Federal revenue…. Virginia, the two Carolinas, and Georgia, may be said to defray three-fourths of the annual expense of supporting the Federal Government; and of this great sum, annually furnished by them, nothing or next to nothing is returned to them, in the shape of government expenditures. That expenditure flows in an opposite direction – it flows northwardly, in one uniform, uninterrupted, and perennial stream. This is the reason why wealth disappears from the South and rises up in the North. Federal legislation does all this.
President James Buchanan’s message to Congress declared, “The South had not has her share of money from the treasury, and unjust discrimination had been made against her….”
In early March, even before Lincoln took office, Congress passed the Morrill Tariff, the highest in American history, with a duty on iron products over 50 percent. On March 11, the Confederate Constitution was adopted, and a low tariff was instituted immediately, essentially creating a free trade zone in the South. In less than two weeks Northern newspapers grasped the meaning of these two tariffs – one high and one low. Before these two tariffs, the newspapers had called for peace, but many now called for war. Lincoln, on his way to his inauguration, March 4, gave the South the option of “taxes or war.” When Lincoln was asked why the North should not let the South go, his reply was, “Let the South go? Let the South go! Where then shall we get our revenues!”
By late March, the Northern world had changed with Wall Street and the newspapers leading the way. The business community suddenly realized that it was not an issue of slavery, as many in the South had so strongly maintained (the South just wanted to end it their way and in their time). Rather it was “now a question of national existence and commercial prosperity,” wrote August Belmont, a leading banker in New York connected to the European Rothschild banking establishment. Originally a champion of peaceful secession, Belmont was all for a hot war once the tariff war began. One of the most intriguing developments at this time, was when over a hundred leading commercial importers in New York, as well as a similar group in Boston, informed the collector of customs, they would not pay duties on imported goods unless those same duties were also collected at Southern ports. This threat forced Lincoln to abandon his initial plan to turn over Fort Sumter to the Confederates. Only a month before, these merchants had favored giving up the forts, but by early April they were all for reinforcing both Fort Sumter and Fort Pickens (in Florida, Pensacola harbor).
Because of Yankee history, the South has always taken the blame for firing the first shot of the war. However, few have heard that there were provocative acts before Lincoln took office. The first hostile act by the North was on December 26, 1860, when Major Anderson spiked the guns at Fort Moultrie and moved at night into Fort Sumter. The second hostile act was on January 9 when an unarmed civilian merchant ship (“Star of the West”), full of supplies, and 200 soldiers, was sent by the Buchanan administration to resupply the fort. The ship was forced to turn back when fired upon by the military forces of South Carolina. The third hostile act occurred on April 4, 1860, when Lincoln ordered supply ships and warships to Fort Sumter. In response to this, South Carolina fired on the fort on April 12, before the ships could arrive.
Like all dictators, Lincoln wanted to appear justified in his actions, so it was necessary to provoke the South into firing the first shot. He called his cabinet together twice for advice on sending reinforcements to Sumter. At the first meeting, they were against it because it would mean war. The secretary of the Treasury, Salmon Chase was in favor of military action. In the next cabinet meeting, the call for war was approved and the Sumter expedition was ordered the next day. When the news of the planned resupply of Fort Sumter reached the South, president Davis ordered the bombardment (no one was hurt and the Northern soldiers were allowed to return home). The North actually drew the first blood in the raid by the radical abolitionist John Brown at Harper’s Ferry, in which; ironically, a free black man (Heywood Shepherd, whose pleas for water were ignored for 12 hours until he died) was killed. Lincoln had baited (2) the South, used the firing upon the American flag to rally Northern opinion to his cause, and formed an army of 75,000 against his countrymen (In his own view!). On 3 May 1861, he authorized enlistment of 82,000 additional soldiers and on 4 July asked for 400,000 volunteers – the first martial law in America. Virginia and the other remaining states (Arkansas, North Carolina, Tennessee) withdrew and the Confederacy assumed its basic geography.
At the very end of March, a committee of New York merchants visited Lincoln. There is no record of what was said, but a Washington newspaperman learned that at the meeting the merchants had placed great emphasis on the tariff issue and that it was destroying business. He then wrote that “it is a singular fact that merchants who, two months ago were freely shouting ‘no coercion’ now are for anything rather than inaction” (Philip S. Foner, The New York Merchants, Chapel Hill, 1941, p. 301). Support for war poured into Washington, and the quick change in the attitude of New York’s commercial interests had to have a powerful influence on Lincoln’s administration. One merchant wrote to the secretary of the navy, Gideon Welles, that the business community was now in full support of the administration, especially if it would “persevere and crush this thing out.” A Wall Street man said that if the government embarked on an armed policy “a hundred million dollars can be raised on Wall Street to sustain the government.” The merchants of the North, whether Democrat or Republican, now saw that there was only one course for them. They had prospered under the Union as one nation, and now believed prosperity would continue only if the United States was maintained as one nation and one tariff. They had no choice but support Lincoln in his policy of “preserving the Union.” Better to pay for war now than suffer a prolonged economic disaster in a losing trade war. The president was given the message, “Wall Street… is ready to sustain the government heartily and liberally.”
The British had questioned, what is the North so angry about to start a war with their own brethren and ours as well? This was insanity to them, especially coming from a civilized nation. To most Europeans, Lincoln had a morality problem when he rejected all offers and attempts at compromise and settlement. Karl Marx summed up what all the major British newspapers were saying about America, “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.” One British publication, Fraser’s Magazine, April 1861, contained a number of articles on the tariff, as not only a cause of the war, but an event that made reconciliation between the North and South impossible: “Congress was rapidly passing a new tariff of the most stringent protectionism to Northern manufacturers! The untimeliness of the measure has filled all England with astonishment. It is a new affront and wrong to the slave states, and raises a wall against the return of the seceders.”
The wrong to the Southern states had a long history. John C. Calhoun had explained the problem ten years before in a reply to Daniel Webster’s famous speech on the Union. Calhoun gave three main grievances that could lead to secession. The first was the exclusion of the South from new territories, thus upsetting the balance of power. Second, the growth of federal power in spite of the limits set by the constitution. He could see on the horizon the coming of an all-powerful government obliterating state sovereignty. The third grievance involved taxation as a two-edged sword against the South. Calhoun had said, “The North had adopted a system of revenue and disbursements in which an undue proportion of its proceeds appropriated to the North…the South, as the great exporting portion of the Union, has in reality paid vastly more than her due proportion of the revenue” (Speech on the Slave Question, American Issues, 1941, p 513).
Before the ultra-high Morrill Tariff adopted in March of 1861, Southern indignation found expression in the House of Representatives by John H. Reagan of Texas, 15 January 1861:
You are not content with the vast millions of tribute we pay you annually under the operation of our revenue laws, our navigation laws, your fishing bounties, and by making your people our manufacturers, our merchants, our shippers. You are not satisfied with the vast tribute we pay you to build up your great cities, your railroads, your canals. You are not satisfied with the millions of tribute we have been paying you on account of the balance of exchange which you hold against us. You are not satisfied that we of the South are almost reduced to the condition of overseers of northern capitalists. You are not satisfied with all this; but you must wage a relentless crusade against our rights and institutions. (Pamphlets on Secession, November 1860-April 1861, Chapel Hill 1996, p 150)
President Buchanan signed the Morrill Tariff two days before Lincoln took office. The South knew it was useless to stay in the Union. With the election of the anti-South Republican Party candidate, their only chance for survival was secession.
Americans are constantly taught that the North fought to abolish slavery. Yet, President Lincoln constantly reiterated that he had no intention of doing so. On the 4th of March, 1861, a little over a month before the start of the war, he gave his first Inaugural Address:
Apprehension seems to exist among the people of the Southern States, that by the accession of a Republican administration, their property, and their peace, and personal security, are to be endangered. There has never been any reasonable cause for such apprehension…. It is found in nearly all the published speeches of him who now addresses you. I do but quote from one of those speeches when I declare that “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.” Those who nominated and elected me did so with full knowledge that I had made this, and many similar declarations, and had never recanted them.
If Lincoln believed, as was true, that he had no legal right to meddle with slavery (and promised not to) just five weeks before the start of the war, it is obvious that for the man who started the conflict, it was not about slavery. Another example during the summer of 1861, Lincoln scolded Northern abolitionists who were pushing for emancipation:
We didn’t go into the war to put down slavery, but to put the flag back, and to act differently at this moment, would, I have no doubt, not only weaken our cause, but smack of bad faith; for I never should have had votes enough to send me here, if the people had supposed I should try to use my power to upset slavery. Why, the first thing you’d see, would be a mutiny in the army. No! We must wait until every other means has been exhausted.
Here Lincoln admits he would never have been elected and that soldiers would mutiny if he had used his power to abolish slavery in the country. Amazingly, Lincoln’s own soldiers made it clear that they would have never joined the army if they had thought the battle was an abolitionary one. General Grant spoke for nearly all federal soldiers when he said:
The sole object of this war is to restore the union. Should I be convinced it has any other object, or that the government designs using its soldiers to execute the wishes of the Abolitionists, I pledge to you my honor as a man and a soldier, I would resign my commission and carry my sword to the other side.
Therefore, the War of Northern Aggression was not totally over slavery, it was about maintaining the Union. In Lincoln’s First Inaugural Address, as he was planning his coming war (over a month before the Battle of Fort Sumter), he stated that his one and only issue with the Southern States was money: “My main purpose is to collect the duties and imposts; but beyond what may be necessary for these objects, there will be no invasion – no using of force against or among the people anywhere.” We all know what happened; was “Honest Abe” conniving and deceitful against the South?
No soldier, North or South, was fighting over the slave issue. Less than 5 percent of Southerners even owned a servant, even at the peak of slavery. No one was about to fight and risk his life, or family, or business, for a minority of slave-owners. To the Northerners it was for preserving the union; to the Southerners it was for the right of each state to govern itself; to the politician and businessman it was for money, greed, ego, power, and empire. The only reason slavery even became an issue was because of abolitionist propaganda and Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.
Illinois Senator Stephen Douglas put Lincoln’s talent for duping the American people this way: “He has a fertile genius in devising language to conceal his thoughts.” He also once said, “Lincoln is to be voted in the south as a proslavery man, and he is to be voted for in the north as an Abolitionist… he can trim his principles any way in any section, so as to secure votes.” And, isn’t this the same method used by politicians today? The truth of the matter is that privately, as opposed to publicly, Lincoln never wavered about what lay behind the conflict – money and empire building. So why do Northerners and Reconstructed Southerners continue to maintain that the war was about slavery? The answer is that secession was legal, making abolition the only possible defense for the North’s illegal invasion of the South. The slavery issue was just a public diversion. Lincoln declared that the South was guilty only of rebellion; and, without the consent of Congress and contrary to pleas from the Supreme Court, Lincoln raised an army and invaded the Southern states.
Abraham Lincoln was the typical lawyer-politician who would say whatever it took to get votes and support from whatever audience he was addressing at the time. This is why he occasionally would bring up slavery as the cause of the war – he was the ultimate demagogue. His shady back-room dealings, deception, secrecy, pseudo-religiosity and double-talk got him elected twice with less than fifty percent of the vote (Sound familiar?). On 31 January 1865 he referred to slavery as “the original disturbing cause.” But this was another smoke screen for his true covert agenda: the beginning of his “American System” economic plan, in which the government was to be changed from Jefferson’s conservative confederation – a weak decentralized government supported by small, self-sufficient nations called “states”; into Henry Clay’s liberal federation – a strong central government ruling over weak subservient states. These two visions of the American empire had been around even before it’s founding. It is obvious which form of government we have today. As most liberals, Lincoln wanted to enlarge the federal government and increase the power of the presidency, neither of which he could fully do if the South seceded. Thus, to build the empire, the South’s Jeffersonian limited government had to be subdued.
The idea of empire for the new American republic was nothing new. It had been promoted by Hamilton, Clay, and others. Edgar Lee Masters chronicled how Lincoln dedicated his career to carrying forward Henry Clay’s so-called American System of government:
Henry Clay was the champion of that political system which doles favors to the strong in order to win and keep their adherence to the government. His system offered shelter to devious schemes and corrupt enterprises. He was the beloved son, figuratively speaking, of Alexander Hamilton, with his corrupt funding schemes, his superstitions concerning the advantage of a public debt, and a people taxed to make profits for enterprises that cannot stand alone.
Unbelievable as it is to Constitutionalists, Lincoln found support for his dictatorial power in the U.S. Constitution (as Commander in Chief). Politicians today (both Democrats and Republicans) continue their dictatorial power to do what their Handlers tell them to do, sometimes actually violating other parts of the Constitution, such as the Bill of Rights section. Many Founders opposed the Constitution because it gave too much power to the government. Those who supported the new Constitution were called “Federalists” and those against it became known as “Anti-Federalists.”
Patrick Henry and George Washington (both Anti-Federalists) were invited to attend the constitutional convention (held in secret) in Philadelphia to represent Virginia. Both declined to go. Later, Washington relented after his close friend, James Madison, convinced him that the convention could not be a success without his presence. On the other hand, Henry was never convinced.
Patrick Henry was one of the strongest, most vocal, leaders of the Anti-Federalist movement. Henry was terrified of the new Constitution. He argued that the delegates who created the Constitution at the convention had not been given the mandate to completely replace the Articles of Confederation, but to suggest improvements that could be made to the Articles. Beyond that concern, he was extremely fearful that a strong federal government would, over time, usurp the rights of the states and become as tyrannical as the government they had just fought in the Revolutionary War. Henry was afraid the rights of the states would be weakened by the new Constitution.
Patrick Henry spoke to the Virginia Ratifying Committee, June 5, 1788. His address was quite long and detailed many problems with the new proposed Constitution comparing it to the Virginia Declaration of Rights. Below are just a few of his comments:
Had the delegates, who were sent to Philadelphia, a power to propose a consolidated government instead of a confederacy? Were they not deputed by states, and not by the people? Who authorized them to speak in the language of We, the people, instead of We, the states? States are the characteristics and the soul of a confederation. If the states be not the agents of this compact, it must be one great, consolidated national government of the people of all the states.
Henry stressed, that to part with the present confederacy (Articles of Confederation) they were under, and adopt this new consolidated (federal) confederacy under this new Constitution was simply a revolution:
The Confederation, this same despised government, merits, in my opinion, the highest encomium: it carried us through a long and dangerous war; it rendered us victorious in that bloody conflict with a powerful nation; it has secured us a territory greater than any European monarch possesses: and shall a government which has been thus strong and vigorous, be accused of imbecility, and abandoned for want of energy? Consider what you are about to do before you part with the government. Take longer time in reckoning things; revolutions like this have happened in almost every country in Europe; similar examples are to be found in ancient Greece and ancient Rome, instances of the people losing their liberty by their carelessness and the ambition of a few.
The Anti-Federalists fears were justified, for with the new Constitution taking the place of the Articles of Confederation the original founding principles of a limited federal government had evaporated. Henry, on more than one occasion, stressed the importance of the public liberty over a consolidated empire:
If we admit this consolidated government, it will be because we like a great, splendid one. Some way or other we must be a great and mighty empire; we must have an army, and a navy, and a number of things.
When the American spirit was in its youth, the language of America was different: liberty, sir, was then the primary object. We are descended from a people whose government was founded on liberty: our glorious forefathers of Great Britain made liberty the foundation of every thing. That country is become a great, mighty, and splendid nation; not because their government is strong and energetic, but, sir, because liberty is its direct end and foundation. We drew the spirit of liberty from our British ancestors: by that spirit we have triumphed over every difficulty.
But now, sir, the American spirit, assisted by the ropes and chains of consolidation, is about to convert this country into a powerful and mighty empire. If you make the citizens of this country agree to become the subjects of one great consolidated empire of America, your government will not have sufficient energy to keep them together. Such a government is incompatible with the genius of republicanism. There will be no checks, no real balances, in this government. What can avail your specious, imaginary balance, your rope-dancing, chain-rattling, ridiculous ideal checks and contrivances?
Consider our situation, sir: go to the poor man, and ask him what he does. He will inform you that he enjoys the fruits of his labor, under his own fig tree, with his wife and children around him, in peace and security. Go to every other member of society: you will find the same tranquil ease and content; you will find no alarms or disturbances. Why, then, tell us of danger, to terrify us into an adoption of this new form of government?
Much of what Patrick Henry said was prophetic of what was to happen to the South within a generation. Was the South permitted to go their own way, and enjoy the fruits of their own labor, under their own fig tree, with their families in peace and security? No. Empire took priority over liberty. If Henry were alive in 1861 there is no doubt he would have been outraged by the actions of president Lincoln and sided with his state, Virginia.
I see great jeopardy in this new government. I see none from our present one. I hope some gentleman or other will bring forth, in full array, those dangers, if there be any, that we may see and touch them.
Consider how the only remaining defence we have left is destroyed in this manner. Besides the expenses of maintaining the Senate and other house in as much splendor as they please, there is to be a great and mighty President, with very extensive powers - the powers of a king. He is to be supported in extravagant magnificence; so that the whole of our property may be taken by this American government, by laying what taxes they please, giving themselves what salaries they please, and suspending our laws at their pleasure. – Patrick Henry
The South had experienced the high taxes of the new consolidated government. If Patrick Henry could see us now, he would wonder what happened to the American spirit and why we tolerate the taxes and tyranny of the 21st century. We can also blame the Constitution as a reason for the war, because while it claims to limit political power, many presidents have used it to claim power; and it provides no punishment for those who take power that it does not specifically grant. We could say that the War of 1861 was a continuation of hostilities between the Federalists and the Anti-Federalists. Only difference was that they had the wisdom to avoid a physical fight with their brethren over their differing philosophies. Lincoln accomplished his mission of establishing Federalism; and today he sits memorialized in Washington, DC, in a design that echoes a classic Greek temple used to house a god.